A few weeks ago I was contacted by one of a number of active elders who are “awakened” from Watchtower indoctrination, but who must keep up a pretense of being loyal to the organization due to being threatened with shunning.
This elder told me that he had recently attended the special meeting between his circuit overseer and the local body of elders.
Apparently, an unusual topic was brought up towards the end of the discussion involving official instructions on dress and grooming that echoed Tony Morris’ infamous “tight pants” rant at the 2014 US branch visit.
There was little I could do about this story at the time, because it was one anonymous person’s anecdotal account that was impossible to corroborate. Occasionally I have to put a story like this on the back-burner until further details emerge.
But then, to my delight, a bethelite recently approached me with parts of the circuit overseer “outline” featuring the exact material the elder described. Scans of the pertinent parts are below. You will notice that circuit overseers are only to start discussing the material once ministerial servants have been dismissed from their part of the meeting…
Three things stand out about the above instructions to elders. Perhaps most significantly, the guidelines shamelessly discriminate against people who, by their nature, display traits of the opposite sex.
Homosexuality has long been condemned by the organization thanks to various passages from the Bible. But now Watchtower is taking matters one step further. It is not enough to simply refrain from acting on one’s homosexual impulses, which are widely acknowledged to be with someone from childhood rather than being learned behavior, as Watchtower insists.
In the wake of these new guidelines, merely acting in a camp or effeminate way if you are male, or in a tom-boyish way if you are a female, is enough to render you a second-class citizen if you are a Jehovah’s Witness.
This removes arguably the last argument commonly used in defending the organization’s homophobic stance – that it is okay to be gay so long as you don’t act on it. Now a person’s very nature is being brought under scrutiny, and elders now have a free license to inflict misery on any Witness who wrestles with their feelings toward others of their gender even if they are being careful to observe the bible’s prohibitions on homosexuality.
The second, rather obvious point is that sanctioning the kind of clothes someone wears is the very essence of totalitarianism. These latest instructions could have come straight out of a page of George Orwell’s 1984.
Whether someone chooses to wear tight fitting clothes or not, or is inclined to wear their hair in a style reminiscent of the opposite sex, is clearly a personal choice and has nothing whatsoever to do with whether they are a good person or not. Watchtower’s obsession with appearance demonstrates to any reasonable onlooker that the organization is now primarily concerned with the superficial rather than the spiritual – with the earthly rather than the heavenly.
It would be hard to imagine Jesus pulling someone to one side and scolding them because their garments were too “tight fitting,” “revealing” or “highlighted the body.” By contrast, Watchtower is now pursuing such trifling matters with pharasaical fervor, to the point of telling someone they can’t go preaching if they don’t fall in line. (I understand many ex-Witnesses reading this would feel relieved to be banned from the tedious door-to-door work, but let’s remember the mindset of indoctrinated Witnesses, who feel their participation in the ministry is a life-or-death matter.)
It was in 1 Corinthians 4:6 that Paul (whose words are so often quoted in support of Watchtower’s ideas about clothing) is reported to have instructed: “Do not go beyond the things that are written.” It will be difficult for any Witness reading this information to not see that this is precisely what the Governing Body is unashamedly doing – going beyond what is written in the Bible and making up new, arbitrary rules based on nothing more than personal opinion and preference.
For some reason known only to the likes of Tony Morris, the style of dress and grooming that was fashionable in the 1950s is what God has in mind for all Christians if they want to survive Armageddon, and anyone who wears anything more modern and fashionable is treading on thin ice.
This brings me to my third and final observation, which is to note the ease with which Tony Morris’ personal homophobic fixations have translated into official Watchtower policy.
As I noted at the time of his eccentric ramblings at the 2014 U.S. branch visit (see above), the smartest thing for the Governing Body to do in the wake of Tony’s ludicrous performance would have been to eject him from their inner circle. Doing so would have sent a powerful no-nonsense message that the Bible is the organization’s sole authority, and there is no room for egos or personal crusades.
Instead, with the issuing of this circuit overseer outline, the Governing Body has done the opposite. They have shown that either (1) they are easily manipulated by a strong personality, or (2) they have shared Morris’ “metrosexual” concerns all along and just didn’t have the guts to enact laws on the subject until now.
Either way, the evidence that the Governing Body is deluded and completely unworthy of respect or veneration is there for all to see. And as yet more secretive, eyes-only material like the above continues to seep from Watchtower’s increasingly porous walls, we are being treated to a warts-and-all portrait of a backwards bunch of senile, deluded men with nothing left to offer but narrow-mindedness, bigotry, and a doomsday fantasy.
- Tony Morris scapegoats gay people in bizarre child abuse denial rant
- Dear Watchtower, THANK YOU for your “tight pants” copyright complaint!
- Rawstory: Jehovah’s Witness leader promotes child safety cartoon with homophobic rant
- Freethinker: JW chief targets gays in child abuse video
- Pink News: Jehovah’s Witness Leader, “homosexuals” are child abusers
- After his branch visit performance, is “Tight Pants Tony” now a liability for the Governing Body?
- Deluded or dangerous? – My thoughts on Anthony Morris III following his Rome visit