Not long ago some super-secret “training videos” meant for the elders of Jehovah’s Witnesses were leaked online, and I’ve already commented on how one such video shows gross negligence in their instructions on counseling suicidal congregation members. I’ve also already commented on this next subject in particular, but I find it so vulgar and obscene that it deserves its own blog post.
Confession of Fornication
This video in particular deals with a young man, “Robbie,” who has confessed to committing fornication with a girl and getting her pregnant. Robbie presents the matter as a one-night stand, but the elders counseling Robbie ask him when the girl told him that she was pregnant. Robbie says it was “a couple of weeks later.”
At that point, one elder says that this “doesn’t quite add up,” because “a woman would not know she is pregnant in that short of a time. [The girl] would have had to have told you possibly a month and a half after the incident, at least.” He presses the issue later in the video, saying that it would be more likely two months after having had sex before she could know she was pregnant.
As I’ve brought out in other posts, this statement is so ignorant, it’s blinding. This is not the 1800s where women need to rely on a calendar to tell them when they’re pregnant. A good home pregnancy test today can tell you if you’re pregnant some 5 days before your next period, and a doctor’s blood test can tell you within days of conceiving. Sometimes at the doctor’s office, this test is given whether or not a woman suspects she’s pregnant, as a pregnant woman cannot take certain medications or undergo certain procedures. What if this woman had gone to her doctor to have x-rays taken or as part of a followup for other issues, and the doctor first needed to give her a pregnancy test, and that test revealed her condition? This could have happened within a week of her conceiving.
This “six weeks” scenario is also applicable only if the girl had sex the very next day after her last period ended, then waited four more weeks for her next period, then waited two weeks after it was late to determine she was pregnant. As I’ve said in other posts, what if she had sex on Friday the 1st, but was expecting her next period a week later, on Friday the 8th? She might wait another full week to take a pregnancy test, on Friday the 15th, but the test would confirm her condition, and it would then be “a couple of weeks” after their sexual encounter.
The elder in question seems to be in his 40s and is wearing a wedding ring, so there is absolutely no excuse for this lack of knowledge of conception on his part. It’s also noteworthy that none of the other elders in the room or Robbie himself offer him correction. In other words, all the men in the room are ignorant about conception and pregnancy tests.
The Danger of This Ignorance
Pointing out this ignorance for a laugh or an eye roll is one thing, but in truth, this is actually downright dangerous for many in the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In the video, Robbie eventually confesses that it was more than a one-night stand with this woman, but what about those who may have had sex only one time but are accused of lying about it because of this same ignorance?
The elders are given absolute authority when it comes to deciding if a person should be shunned from the congregation for doing something wrong, and this shunning is complete and all-encompassing. Family members who are still Jehovah’s Witnesses will not speak to their parents, children, or anyone else that is shunned, and I’ve heard many stories of spouses who get divorced after their mate is disfellowshipped or disassociates themselves and is then shunned. You can understand how devastating this situation would be for any Witness.
The scenario of an elder deciding that a person should be disfellowshipped and shunned because he assumes the person is lying is not far-fetched. As I’ve brought out in previous posts, elders are told that “discernment is needed” when a woman claims to have been raped, based on her “mental disposition, circumstances leading up to the incident, and any delays in reporting.” So an elder can decide all on his own that a woman is lying about being raped and may have her shunned for fornication based simply on his own opinion of her “mental disposition,” his opinion of the circumstances surrounding the rape, and his opinion of when and how she should have reported the incident. Without any formal training in dealing with rape victims, psychology, criminology, PTSD and the like, he can just decide that she’s a liar and have her shunned.
Here too we see that possibility. While Robbie was caught in a lie, there may be other circumstances where elders don’t realize their own blinding ignorance and stupidity when it comes to conception and pregnancy, and may disfellowship and shun someone despite that person’s pleas of innocence. A person might swear up and down, and be telling the truth, that a woman told him she was pregnant “a couple of weeks” after their sexual encounter, but an elder, relying on his own flawed understanding of conception and pregnancy and ignorance of pregnancy tests, will disfellowship that person anyway.
Guided by Holy Spirit?
Before their meeting with Robbie, the elders pray among themselves, and then pray again when Robbie is present. They mention to him the need to be honest because they have prayed for holy spirit to guide and direct him, and they make sure Robbie understands that a lack of honesty might be “grieving the holy spirit.”
How can I believe that there is guidance for these men from god’s “holy spirit” when it comes to a person’s heart, if that same holy spirit cannot guide them on something as simple as conception and pregnancy? The holy spirit doesn’t somehow magically allow them to understand when and how a woman can find out she’s pregnant, but it’s supposed to help the elders understand a person’s heart condition and whether or not they’re repentant of their actions?
This entire scenario calls into question the qualifications of the elders as men who claim to be guided by god. They’re ignorant of something as simple as a pregnancy test and conception, yet think they’re in a position to judge heart conditions. How can I trust any of them after seeing this video, and why should anyone trust them when they’re obviously so uneducated and without guidance of any sort, much less guidance from the god who supposedly created women and her ability to get pregnant? I’m afraid to tell them that the earth is round and revolves around the sun; I’m not ready to be burned at the stake.
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