DIVORCE, BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS, AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES


 
JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
CONGREGATION
MEMBERSHIP - AFFILIATION
TERMINATION
WEBPAGE
 
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Over the years, we repeatedly have received requests from Jehovah's Witnesses asking our advice and assistance with their many and various troubles with the domineering Body of Elders in their local congregation. Many such requests ultimately also asked us provide legal advice, and we do NOT provide legal advice. We simply attempt to educate readers in general as to the facts and their rights relating to certain topics, and we always recommend that readers seek the specific counsel and the legal representation of a local attorney.
 
We finally decided to build this webpage as an alternative to having to respond to many of such requests. If your question is not answered on this webpage, then our blanket suggestion is to gather together everything that the WatchTower Society has ever published on the topic of your concern, and take that research information to a local attorney for their legal advice and legal representation.
 
 
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CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
MEMBERSHIP - AFFILIATION STATUS
 
 
Jehovah's Witnesses should remember that, per the WatchTower Society's publications, they are NOT MEMBERS of the WatchTower Society, they are NOT MEMBERS of the national Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, they are NOT MEMBERS of any other WatchTower corporation, and they even are NOT MEMBERS of the local Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses which they regularly attend.
 
No local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses maintains a "membership roll", nor does the national Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses or any other WatchTower corporation maintain a regular "membership roll". In fact, there are multiple MILITARY DRAFT court cases from the 1940s-1970s in which the courts wrestled with the issue of how did the Jehovah's Witness defendant actually proved that he was a "Jehovah's Witness".
 
According to WatchTower publications, an individual becomes a "Jehovah's Witness" by repenting of their past sins, dedicating their lives to doing "Jehovah's" will, and thereafter symbolizing that dedication publicly by being baptized. According to the second of the two questions posed to baptismal candidates prior to their public baptism, that dedication and subsequent baptism "identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization".
 
Evidently, exactly who/what is "God's spirit-directed organization" with whom a Jehovah's Witness is expected to "associate" (whatever "associate" means) is left open to the interpretation and discretion of each individual "Jehovah's Witness". If the WatchTower Society intends otherwise, it should plainly state to which corporate entity or entities "Jehovah's Witnesses" are expected to "associate", because the WatchTower Society has made clear for decades that "Jehovah's Witnesses" are NOT MEMBERS of any of its' affiliated entities, nor even the local congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses.
 
Interestingly, in the United States, almost none of "Jehovah's Witnesses" were baptized at a function conducted by a local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Instead, nearly all "Jehovah's Witnesses" were baptized at Circuit or District conventions conducted by the national Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and/or the WatchTower Society, with such baptisms being administered by representatives of the national Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and/or the WatchTower Society.
 
Interestingly, although it is generally recommended that Jehovah's Witnesses living within certain geographic locations attend Kingdom Halls located in that same geographic area, "Jehovah's Witnesses" are NOT REQUIRED to attend a specific Kingdom Hall. Neither are there any published rules nor regulations which prohibit a "Jehovah's Witness" from ceasing to attend one Kingdom Hall and starting to attend a different Kingdom Hall. Thus, the final determiner of which Kingdom Hall a "Jehovah's Witness" attends is left to the discretion of individual "Jehovah's Witnesses".
 
Although the WatchTower Society teaches that performing "field service" is an essential element of being a "Jehovah's Witness", and while "status" in the organization is dependent on such, there is no REQUIREMENT that a "Jehovah's Witness" engage in such, nor is there a REQUIREMENT that a "Jehovah's Witness" report such activity to a local congregation on a monthly basis. Neither is there any published rule or regulation which prohibits a "Jehovah's Witness" from performing "field service" in a geographic area where that "Jehovah's Witness" does not reside. Thus, it is been left to the discretion of individual "Jehovah's Witnesses" as to how, when, and where they fulfill their personal dedication to do Jehovah's will.
 
Thus, we can find NO REQUIREMENT that a "Jehovah's Witness" must attend ANY local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in order to maintain their status as one of "Jehovah's Witnesses", much less be REQUIRED to attend a specific congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.
 
Therefore, the authority that any Body of Elders maintains over any individual "Jehovah's Witness" is granted to that Body of Elders through the "implied consent" of the individual "Jehovah's Witness" via their regularly attending functions at that given Kingdom Hall. Remove the attendance, and the implied consent and the granted authority to the Body of Elders over them is removed.
 
Obviously, these are merely our opinions and interpretations as to WatchTower Society beliefs and practices as to "membership", or lack thereof, and any application of such would need to be tested in the courts by a "Jehovah's Witness" willing to fight a lengthy and costly public court battle. (In our neck of the woods, there is an old adage that goes something like this: "Never pull your gun unless you are also willing to pull the trigger.")
 
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Several years ago, a visitor to our websites communicated with us regarding a personality conflict that had arisen between them and one of the Elders at the local Kingdom Hall which they had been attending for several years. That reader's situation had become so unbearable that they were considering "disassociating" themself from their congregation, which would have only made their situation that much worse due to the WatchTower Society's requirement that their JW family and JW friends thereafter SHUN THEM. We suggested to that "Jehovah's Witness" that they gather together all information published by the WatchTower Society relating to "membership" and the termination of such, and seek the counsel and representation of an attorney in their area.
 
In gratitude, that Jehovah's Witness later sent us a copy of a letter which supposedly had been sent to the involved parties. We are reproducing some of the content of that letter with necessary editing changes for obvious reasons. We make the content of this letter available to our readers solely as an additional piece of research which they may turn over to their own local attorney for that attorney's perusal. We make no claims whatsoever as to the accuracy or the utility of the letter or its' content. Responses to this or similar letters are completely unpredictable and uncontrollable. Use likely may result in excommunication and shunning. Use of the following letter in its present form is strictly prohibited by the copyright holders.
 
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TERMINATION OF CONGREGATION AFFILIATION
 
 
January 1, 2014
 
BODY OF ELDERS
Roseville, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses
4321 East Main Street
Roseville, Ohio 99933
 
Dear Sirs:
 
SINCE,
 
1.)  I was baptized in 1988, as a minor, outside my state of residency, at a District Convention conducted by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, with said baptism having been administered by representatives of said Watch Tower Society who were not fellow congregants at my then local Kingdom Hall, and
 
2.)  I have since relocated to Roseville, Ohio, where I personally selected both the Kingdom Hall and the Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses which I attended for five years until June 2013, and
 
3.)  Per the Watch Tower Society's own teachings, I became a "Jehovah's Witness" by making my dedication solely to Jehovah God, and not to any person nor earthly organization, and
 
4.)  I have never been designated as a "member" of any entity affiliated with the Watch Tower Society, and
 
5.)  I have never been designated as  a "member" of any Kingdom Hall or Congregation which I have attended, and
 
6.)  I have never been required to attend any specific Kingdom Hall or Congregation, and as an adult, I have always attended a Kingdom Hall and a congregation of my own choosing, and
 
7.)  I have ceased attending any functions at the Roseville, Ohio Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, and whatever relationship once existed between the Roseville, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and myself has ceased to exist.
 
 
THEREFORE,
 
I would like to privately and confidentially terminate whatever affiliation may exist with the Roseville, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. I have not attended any function at the Roseville, Ohio Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses since June 2013, and I will never attend any function at the Roseville, Ohio Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in the future.
 
My consent, whether expressed or implied, to any authority over me granted to the Roseville, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and its' BODY OF ELDERS by my past regular attendance at the Roseville, Ohio Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses is hereby withdrawn. Any and all exercise of such authority shall CEASE immediately.
 
This letter is NOT a notice of "disassociation" as defined by the Watchtower Society, or its affiliates, and any attempt to treat this letter as an act of "disassociation" will be met with swift legal action, including the seeking of compensation for any and all damages.
 
I resolutely remain one of Jehovah's Witnesses. In the past, I have attended functions at many different Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses, and I have regularly attended circuit and district functions conducted by the national Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and the Watch Tower Society. As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, I may choose to continue to attend future circuit and district functions conducted by the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and the Watch Tower Society, and I may eventually choose to regularly attend some other Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.
 
Any communication of the contents of this letter beyond the BODY OF ELDERS of the Roseville, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, will be considered a breach of confidentiality and an invasion of my privacy, and will be met with swift legal action, including the seeking of compensation for any and all damages, plus the filing of applicable criminal charges.
 
Since this notice terminates whatever affiliation may have once existed with the Roseville, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, no Elder nor other representative of the congregation, including any Circuit Overseer or District Overseer, should henceforth communicate with any other person or entity regarding any matter whatsoever having to do with my family or I. Any such communication will be considered a breach of confidentiality and an invasion of my privacy, and will be met with swift legal action, including the seeking of compensation for any and all damages, plus the filing of applicable criminal charges.
 
Since this notice terminates whatever affiliation may have once existed with the Roseville, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, no Elder nor other representative of the congregation, including any Circuit Overseer or District Overseer, should attempt to communicate with me or contact me in private or public with regard to any matter whatsoever. This notice does not require any response from the Roseville, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Any public or private communication or contact from a representative of the Roseville, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses will be considered trespass and harassment, and will be met with swift legal action, including the seeking of compensation for any and all damages, plus the filing of applicable criminal charges.
 
I further demand that any and all records of whatever affiliation may have once existed with the Roseville, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses be destroyed immediately. Any disclosure of such records, or the content of those records, to any party outside the BODY OF ELDERS of the Roseville, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses will be considered an invasion of privacy and confidentiality, and will be met with swift legal action, including the seeking of compensation for any and all damages, plus the filing of applicable criminal charges.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
 
Bertie Rutherford
789 Russell Road
Roseville, Ohio 99933
 
 
 
REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART OF THE PRECEDING LETTER IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. ORIGINAL COMPOSER RETAINS ALL RIGHTS. FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES ONLY. NO CLAIMS ARE MADE AS TO ACCURACY OR UTILITY.
 
 
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DIVORCE, BLOOD TRANSUSIONS, AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

EMPLOYMENT ISSUES UNIQUE TO JEHOVAH'S WITNESS EMPLOYEES