Elder School Notes,11-26-94, Speaker-Abrahamson, Service Department .

We have a message from the Governing Body on how to handle certain problems in the congregation. We encourage you to take notes and refer back to them when problems arise on matters discussed therein.

While psychologists have been discredited many times the bible has never been discredited. Sigmund Freud made many observations that were considered the foundation of treatment of mental health. Yet years later many of the treatments he recommended have been proven to be faulty. What should our attitude be toward outside sources?

*** Rbi8 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 ***
5 Actually fornication is reported among
YOU , and such fornication as is not even among the nations, that a wife a certain [man] has of [his] father. 2 And are YOU puffed up, and did YOU not rather mourn, in order that the man that committed this deed should be taken away from YOUR midst? 3 I for one, although absent in body but present in spirit, have certainly judged already, as if I were present, the man who has worked in such a way as this, 4 that in the name of our Lord Jesus, when YOU are gathered together, also my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 YOU hand such a man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, in order that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

6 Y OUR [cause for] boasting is not fine. Do YOU not know that a little leaven ferments the whole lump? 7 Clear away the old leaven, that YOU may be a new lump, according as YOU are free from ferment. For, indeed, Christ our passover has been sacrificed. 8 Consequently let us keep the festival, not with old leaven, neither with leaven of badness and wickedness, but with unfermented cakes of sincerity and truth.

9 In my letter I wrote YOU to quit mixing in company with fornicators, 10 not [meaning] entirely with the fornicators of this world or the greedy persons and extortioners or idolaters. Otherwise, YOU would actually have to get out of the world. 11 But now I am writing YOU to quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man. 12 For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Do YOU not judge those inside, 13 while God judges those outside? “Remove the wicked [man] from among yourselves.”

The admonition was to quit mixing in company with those of the world. Paul did not go to Greek philosophers for advice he sought solution to this problem through God’s spirit. What was being tolerated was incestuous fornication the counsel was to remove the wrongdoers for their midst. Our standards are the same today as 2000 years ago they have not changed we do not need psychologists to advise us in its application.

Note what the bible says about the principle of headship.

*** Rbi8 1 Corinthians 11:3 ***
3 But I want
YOU to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn the head of a woman is the man; in turn the head of the Christ is God.

How does the principle of headship help us to correct certain matters? Keeps the proper respect for those who have responsibilities.

*** Rbi8 2 Corinthians 11:5-6 ***
6 But even if I am unskilled in speech, I certainly am not in knowledge; but in every way we manifested [it] to
YOU in all things.

Paul may have been unskilled in speech but not in his knowledge of God’s Word. Why should elders not hold back from dealing with weighty matters relating to mental or emotional problems? We are qualified as Paul was and like him we rely on Jehovah.

Purpose of bringing this matter to your attention was an article written in the 10/8/91 AWAKE! on child abuse. It seems as a result of some who read this article, things got off track and certain brothers started an office to give psychiatry advice. They started to build an elite group who thought they were the only ones to give advice on child abuse. Brothers this was a wrong course to follow, while we are not going to tell brothers and sister to not go to therapists, we are thoroughly equipped as spiritual shepherds to deal with problems those in the congregation may face. As elders we do not seek worldly advice that may water down counsel on divorce, marriage and respect for headship. Do not use things that have not been tested. Therapies cannot stand the test of time or the light of day. There are many who have went through many adversities, brothers and sisters went through concentration camps, children saw their parents put to death, yet they survived and managed to go on with life. The same holds true today and applies to traumatic experiences such as child abuse. To help in that regard on 3-23-92 a letter was written to all Bodies of Elders and related fine information on how to handle child abuse problems. This letter used the scripture at

*** Rbi8 Proverbs 21:13 ***
13 As for anyone stopping up his ear from the complaining cry of the lowly one, he himself also will call and not be answered.

It pointed out the need to provide a listening ear, to have sympathy and to be empathetic to troubled brothers and sisters. We as elders should be long suffering and use the art of teaching in helping those who have emotional and mental problems.

*** w83 10/1 28 Help for the Victims of Incest ***
It Does Not Help to Say . . .

One woman who was having problems because she had been a victim of incest over many years went to the elders in the congregation to discuss her problem. “They told me to forget about it,” she reports. The well-intentioned reasoning behind that advice was doubtless that since the bad experiences were all in the past and nothing could be done about them now the best thing to do was to put them out of her mind and think good thoughts. (Philippians 4:8) Unhappily, it is not as simple as that.

Why not? Well, think of someone who has had an arm severely disabled in an accident. His friends visit him to help him. Would it help for them to say to him: ‘Oh, forget about it!’ Of course not. There is no way he can forget about it.

Similarly, many women who have been incestuously abused are unable just to forget about it. For some, it is stamped on their consciousness like an emotional scar. One victim wrote: “My grandfather assaulted me when I was seven years old, not just once but on a number of occasions. My naiveté left me defenseless. Now I feel the repercussions constantly. It’s been a living nightmare ever since. The memory can be pushed back for a while only to resurface and make me sick to my stomach. I feel ashamed and dirty, and I wasn’t even to blame.”

True, the emotional scars of incest (and other traumatic experiences) are not visible. But they are just as real as physical scars. So how can those be helped who have them? One way is to listen to the victim and encourage her to “talk it out.”

This article shows how we should help victims of incest. When one sister brought her problems to the elders she was told to forget about it. That is a very bad thing to say. Also we should not say did you make it up? Instead become kind and compassionate.

*** Rbi8 Ephesians 4:31-32 ***
32 But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave
YOU .

What is our stance toward Multiple Personality Disorders? Bible does not give support to it. It is true we understand the brother or sister may have a problem but if this does arise in your congregation, don’t be shocked, at the same time do not probe into details. We should listen sympathetically and exercise patience. This cannot be handled quickly it takes time along with prayers and understanding.

*** Rbi8 Psalm 69:33 ***
33 For Jehovah is listening to the poor ones,
And he will indeed not despise his very own prisoners.

BOE 3-23-92 Paragraph 2,3- As elders our time is limited and we have many responsibilities. Elders must care for their families and the congregation. Some elders must put boundaries on their time. When time does not allow you to fully discuss matters with someone who is troubled then just offer brief counsel, a prayer along with a scriptural thought. Then perhaps set up to meet again at a later time. Try to be helpful and you may wish to direct troubled ones to mature older sisters who may wish to help. These mature sisters would stay in consultation with the elders and turn matters back over to them if they find problems of a judicial nature.

What about judicial committees? What qualification is needed in order to serve in this capacity? Spiritual qualifications such as kindness, good judgment, a zeal for righteousness, a sensitivity to others feelings, yet we should not and do not need to be educated in therapy.

How do we as elders view professional therapy? We should have no involvement in any kind of group therapy. Elders are spiritual shepherds. You should not read about therapy or try to educate yourself in anyway in this regard. Elders do not offer therapy in any way in the Christian congregation. The GB offers this caution and as elders we do not want to go contrary to the scriptures.

In the 3-23-92 BOE a special sheet was given to all elders entitled, “What elders can say to victims of abuse.” This information should provide a basis of how to help those who suffer abuse. Elders will also want to utilize the Index for further resources to refer to. We should assure the victim that Jehovah loves them despite what has happened. A victim may feel guilt but bare in mind they are the victim not the perpetrator. Victims may have disquieting thoughts and vexation. Who causes this?

*** w95 1/1 9 Triumphing Over Satan and His Works ***
20 At present a Christian can be certain that, in one way or another, Satan is behind these horrible thoughts. If some in the congregation suffer in this way, they are wise to see such frightening mental impressions as a direct attempt by Satan to upset their spiritual equilibrium. They need patient and understanding Scriptural support. By prayerfully turning to Jehovah and by benefiting from spiritual shepherding, those experiencing distress will avail themselves of power beyond what is normal. (Isaiah 32:2; 2 Corinthians 4:7, 8) Thus they will be able to endure faithfully and refuse to allow evil intrusive thoughts to affect the peace of the congregation. (James 3:17, 18) Yes, they will be able to oppose the Devil, showing the same spirit that Jesus did when he said: “Go away, Satan!”—Matthew 4:10; James 4:7.

Satan is behind these horrible thoughts and it is his attempt to upset the victim’s spiritual equilibrium. How do the overcome this? By earnest prayer they can guard their heart and mental powers.

AS ELDERS WE USE GOD’S WORD NOT THERAPY!

You are qualified to deal with these matters. We see the real value of God’s word. Therapists scoff and say, “Do you think you can just read a scripture and say a prayer and make people better?”

We say, “What is better than that?”

Victims say, “I pray but it doesn’t work.” The scriptures say, “Pray incessantly.” We have to realize some things will not be healed till the new order. While some may use empty deceptions and false reasoning we will not be swayed. While we may not understand we know Jehovah does and we rely upon him.

Lovingly shepherd the flock of God

Jesus said, “I shall not leave you bereaved.” We recall on the night of his death Jehovah sent the holy spirit to minister to him.

*** Rbi8 Ephesians 4:7-8 ***
7 Now to each one of us undeserved kindness was given according to how the Christ measured out the free gift. 8 Wherefore he says: “When he ascended on high he carried away captives; he gave gifts [in] men.

Christ conquered the world by remaining faithful to the death, you were taken captive to Christ and no longer a slave to sin. As approved servants of Christ you are given to the congregation as gifts in men, actually gifts from Jesus to the congregation. All elders use their abilities as a hiding place from the wind to those in need.

When those in the congregation face emotional or mental upset, how are we to treat or deal with them?

*** Rbi8 Romans 1:8-9 ***
8 First of all, I give thanks to my God through Jesus Christ concerning all of
YOU , because YOUR faith is talked about throughout the whole world. 9 For God, to whom I render sacred service with my spirit in connection with the good news about his Son, is my witness of how without ceasing I always make mention of YOU in my prayers,

As elders we should be anxious to come to and assist those in need. Out attitude should be like that found at

*** Rbi8 John 10:5 ***
5 A stranger they will by no means follow but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.

When a shepherd deals with the flock the sheep will follow his voice, but when a stranger calls they do not listen. What kind of voice do you have in your congregation? Do you have the voice of a shepherd or the voice of a stranger? Do we rarely visit with the friends or converse with them at the meetings? We should develop a close relationship with brothers and sisters.

*** Rbi8 Ephesians 4:13 ***
13 until we all attain to the oneness in the faith and in the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of stature that belongs to the fullness of the Christ;

Accurate knowledge needed for us to become a son of God. We must assist the congregation and as we do be swift about hearing and slow about wrath.

While certain article may offer imperfect advice, our correction will always be based on God’s word the bible.

*** Rbi8 Isaiah 50:4 ***
4 The Sovereign Lord Jehovah himself has given me the tongue of the taught ones, that I may know how to answer the tired one with a word. He awakens morning by morning; he awakens my ear to hear like the taught ones.

Jehovah gives us the tongue of the taught ones. We have the responsibility to use the bible to inform ourselves on instruction about emotional and mental upsets. How did Jehovah deal with depressed people?

*** Rbi8 Jonah 4:1-3 ***
4 To Jo'nah, though, it was highly displeasing, and he got to be hot with anger. 2 Hence he prayed to Jehovah and said: “Ah, now, O Jehovah, was not this an affair of mine, while I happened to be on my own ground? That is why I went ahead and ran away to Tar'shish; for I knew that you are a God gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, and feeling regret over the calamity. 3 And now, O Jehovah, take away, please, my soul from me, for my dying is better than my being alive.”

Jonah wanted to die but what did Jehovah do? He asked simple questions, He made no accusations or condemnation, He was patient, He used the illustrations through a bottle gourd plant to help Jonah understand. So what are the fundamentals? Easy language, simple questions with no intimidation.

*** w94 2/1 25-6 Do You Dignify Others When Offering Counsel? ***
Warm, friendly, and loving counsel is indeed welcome. Counseling others the way you want to be counseled is beneficial. (Matthew 7:12) A good counselor takes the time to listen and seeks to understand the one being counseled—his thinking, his position, and his feelings—instead of criticizing and condemning.—Proverbs 18:13.

Let them know you love them.

(Interview with two elders)

How do you shepherd?

  1. With intense love.
  2. Be perceptive to needs of friends.

What have you done to know the flock?

  1. Work with them in field service.
  2. Visit with them at the meetings.
  3. Converse on a one to one basis.
  4. Invite each member of the congregation over to our home for a meal within a one year period.

What if a brother or sister wants to seek help for therapy?

  1. Up to each one individually to seek help in conjunction with marriage mate.
  2. BOE 3-23-92 (review caution if a victims decides to seek help)

*** w75 4/15 255-6 Questions from Readers ***
Questions from Readers

ó Do Jehovah’s witnesses feel that it is proper to consult a psychiatrist?

Whether a Christian will consult a psychiatrist, or any other doctor, is a matter for personal decision. However, true Christians have deep faith in the Bible’s power to give helpful guidance. They realize that the Creator knows more about man—including the human mind—than any human does. Thus, Jehovah’s witnesses view any method of treatment in the light of the “wisdom from above.”—Jas. 3:17.

While psychiatrists specialize in the treatment of mental and emotional disorders, it is good to appreciate that the methods used by individual psychiatrists often differ drastically. For example, one handbook is entitled Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy: 36 Systems. Why so many different views? Because, despite much research, comparatively little is known of the workings of the human mind. The book The Mind states: “The causes of [various mental illnesses] constitute the most important unsettled question of modern psychiatry. Answers have been given, but none of them are conclusive.”

Some psychiatrists use “talk treatment,” often delving into the patient’s childhood relationship with his parents—assuming that such methods will “release” certain fears or hostilities. Others concentrate on getting the patient to learn new habits (sometimes using hypnosis for this) in the hope that a new “behavior pattern” is the answer. Still others take the view that most mental illnesses are physical (such as chemical imbalance of the body or malfunction of the nervous system) and so treat with drugs or perhaps diet and vitamins. Highly controversial, brain surgery for mental illness is seldom recommended.

Since true Christians are striving to have “the same mental attitude that Christ Jesus had,” they are rightly concerned with the beliefs of anyone who would influence their thinking or behavior. (Rom. 15:5) While not all psychiatrists and analysts are atheists or agnostics, many are. One study revealed that over half of the analysts interviewed agreed with Sigmund Freud’s view that belief in God was “infantile” and out of harmony “with reality.” Many believe that man is driven by “animal instincts inherited by man in his evolution from the lower forms of life.” Further, as reported in the book The Psychiatrists: “Most psychiatrists and analysts believe that the laws regulating sexual behavior are far too strict.” (Page 167) Would you want to mold your life according to the thinking of men who view matters in this manner?

Today there is widespread treatment with drugs, and here, too, it is wise to consider carefully the result. Although the use of drugs as medicine is not forbidden to Christians, and in some cases certain drugs may bring a measure of relief, a servant of God should be very cautious with anything that might enslave him, making him an addict. (Rom. 6:17; 12:1) Some persons, choosing treatment that does not involve drugs, point to good results with therapy that employs large amounts of vitamins, which is a form of treatment receiving increasing attention today.

In regard to seeking medical treatment, it is of interest to note the Bible principle found at 1 Corinthians 12:26. Here the Scriptures teach that when one part of our body suffers, other parts are affected. In harmony with this principle, those with mental or nervous problems may find it advisable to have a thorough physical examination, as frequently there is a health problem of which they are not aware. Even some who thought they were going insane, or suffering from demonic harassment, have found that they had “low blood sugar” or another ailment.

Of course, there are many diseases and infirmities that have no known “cure.” Again, Jehovah provides assistance. His Word can help us to build up our endurance. (1 Tim. 6:11, 12) Too, in this way we are aided to withstand distressing bodily adjustments, as those that sometimes accompany the menopause or aging.

But what if the problem is not physical? What if it is a matter of feelings of hostility or despondency—problems in getting along with others? James 5:13-16 speaks of one who has problems of a spiritual or emotional nature calling the older men of the Christian congregation, the purpose being that they may ‘grease him with oil,’ that is, impart comforting Bible counsel, and also “pray over him.” The result of all this? The text continues: “The prayer of faith will make the indisposed one well, and Jehovah will raise him up [out of his despondency].” Of course, to benefit, the spiritually sick one must be honest and open. He must seek and follow the Bible counsel; he must work in harmony with the prayers offered in his behalf.—Jas. 1:25.

This places much responsibility on Christian elders. They must offer earnest prayer, looking for Jehovah’s direction. By exercising patience, love and concern, they can often get at the root of the difficulties. The elders should help the troubled one to see how our God invites us to throw our burdens on Him. (Ps. 55:22; 1 Pet. 5:7) Sometimes it is necessary to help one to see how to ‘put away wrath’ or to concentrate on what is chaste. (Col. 3:5-14; Phil. 4:6-8) And frequently, one truly repentant may feel “guilty” or “beyond forgiveness.” Feeling crushed, he thus needs assurance such as that at 1 John 1:9.

So, while Jehovah’s witnesses do not categorically rule out the possibility of treatment by doctors specializing in emotional or mental problems, if a Witness does consult such he should carefully scrutinize any treatment recommended. He should never forget that keeping Jehovah’s laws works toward his mental health today and everlasting life in the future. If he is uncertain as to the wisdom of a certain therapy, then he may wish to discuss it with elders in the Christian congregation—although the final decision is his own (or of a parent or the joint decision of husband and wife). And foremost, as with all other areas of life, true Christians will want to take full advantage of the strength that Jehovah provides, appreciating that they have powerful assets in God’s Word and spirit. “For the word of God is alive and exerts power . . . and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart.”—Heb. 4:12.

*** w82 6/15 25 "Good Health" and Christian Reasonableness ***
“Good Health” and Christian Reasonableness

THE apostle Paul wrote to Christians in ancient Philippi: “Let your reasonableness become known to all men.” He thus encouraged them, and all Christians since, to manifest a spirit of moderation and intelligent balance.—Philippians 4:5.

We need reasonableness when it comes to our health. For example, we need to avoid overindulgence or extremes in what we eat, and we should get adequate exercise and rest. Our attitude toward treatments should likewise be based on reason, reflecting care that we do not get caught up emotionally in some health fad. Reasonableness is also needed in balancing our spiritual health and our physical health; we need to “make sure of the more important things” so that health concerns do not push God’s kingdom into second place.—Philippians 1:10.

Selectivity as to Treatment

In deciding on medical or health matters, it is good to appreciate that even these matters can be influenced by popularity or fads. You may be able to recall treatments that once were popular but now are viewed quite differently. Do you remember when doctors used X rays for acne, removed children’s tonsils for minor reasons or prescribed the new sulfa drugs or penicillin for almost any infection? Things have changed. Though these therapies might be appropriate in some cases, experience and research have revealed some undesirable side effects or indicated that they should be employed quite selectively.

If doctors schooled in the “scientific method” and trained to be cautious about new drugs or therapies could be influenced by prevailing opinion, how much easier it might be for laymen to become unbalanced about health fads. And millions have. Often they have taken up some treatment having a limited therapeutic value but that was grossly misused by unqualified persons. Other “cures” that became popular actually were totally ineffective because they were frauds.

In the article on “good health” this same principle would be applied to mental problems. We need to have reasonableness. Some therapy may seem reasonable, but how is the therapist being influenced, how are they influencing you? Do they have testimonials from patients? What qualifications do they have? What are their credentials?

When we look to the bible we see it is helpful in all areas. BOE 3-23-92 paragraph 2. We need to balance our responsibilities and exercise patience when dealing with such ones.

*** Rbi8 1 Thessalonians 5:14 ***
14 On the other hand, we exhort
YOU , brothers, admonish the disorderly, speak consolingly to the depressed souls, support the weak, be long-suffering toward all.

Console those who suffer from mental anguish.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON HANDLING PROBLEMS IN THE CONGREGATION

Q: Baptized publishers claim to be suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder. Some go on to commit serious sins and when confronted have claimed the sin was committed by an alternate personality who was undedicated. Some have even asked to have a home bible study conducted with the personality who is not dedicated. What is the proper view of this situation?

A: Brothers and sisters in this category have a severe emotional disorder, as elders we should be patient and kind, remember Jehovah knows the persons heart.

*** Rbi8 Psalm 139:23 ***
23 Search through me, O God, and know my heart. Examine me, and know my disquieting thoughts.

*** Rbi8 Jeremiah 17:9-10 ***
10 I, Jehovah, am searching the heart, examining the kidneys, even to give to each one according to his ways, according to the fruitage of his dealings.

Jehovah is able to see through the matter and search a person’s heart. A person’s past experiences may have had an adverse affect, but the reality is we are dealing with one individual who is trying to link the new personality with the old personality and use MPD as an excuse.

*** Rbi8 Ephesians 4:20-22 ***
20 But
YOU did not learn the Christ to be so, 21 provided, indeed, that YOU heard him and were taught by means of him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that YOU should put away the old personality which conforms to YOUR former course of conduct and which is being corrupted according to his deceptive desires

We are to put away the old personality and true Christians put on the new personality. As elders we deal with dedicated Christians accordingly. MPD should not be used as an excuse to avoid a judicial committee it would be unscriptural to do so. If a person is already dedicated we do not conduct a bible study with an alternate personality, there is only one person to deal with.

There is a scriptural standpoint for following this course of action. When the angel with the writer’s inkhorn marked the foreheads for those who would be saved he made one mark on each person. One mark-one personality.

*** Rbi8 Mark 12:30 ***
30 and you must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.

The bible says we are to love God with our whole mind and strength, to do this means there is no room for MPD.

*** Rbi8 Philippians 4:6-7 ***
6 Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let
YOUR petitions be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard YOUR hearts and YOUR mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.

Paul said to not be anxious over anything but to let the peace of God guard our mental powers and thoughts.

*** Rbi8 1 Corinthians 14:33 ***
33 For God is [a God], not of disorder, but of peace.

We serve a God of peace not of disorder, thus there is no support for excusing serious sin based on MPD. KS pg. 132 (if wrong committed judicial committee automatic)

Q: Should elders get involved in learning or giving therapy?

A: BOE 3-23-92, NO, we should not read any books to learn of any therapies or offer books to others. Elders should have no involvement at all with any therapy methods. We use God’s Word as our source for therapy.

*** Rbi8 Hebrews 12:12-13 ***
12 Hence straighten up the hands that hang down and the enfeebled knees, 13 and keep making straight paths for
YOUR feet, that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather that it may be healed.

God’s Word can straighten up the enfeebled knees.

*** Rbi8 James 5:13-14 ***
14 Is there anyone sick among
YOU ? Let him call the older men of the congregation to [him], and let them pray over him, greasing [him] with oil in the name of Jehovah.

If anyone is sick the answer is to pray in the name of Jehovah.

*** Rbi8 2 Peter 1:5-8 ***
5 Yes, for this very reason, by
YOUR contributing in response all earnest effort, supply to YOUR faith virtue, to [ YOUR ] virtue knowledge, 6 to [ YOUR ] knowledge self-control, to [ YOUR ] self-control endurance, to [ YOUR ] endurance godly devotion, 7 to [ YOUR ] godly devotion brotherly affection, to [ YOUR ] brotherly affection love. 8 For if these things exist in YOU and overflow, they will prevent YOU from being either inactive or unfruitful regarding the accurate knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

By trusting in God’s Word we supply to our faith virtue and we are able to deal with all things relating to the flock.

Q: How does a judicial committee judge a person with emotional problems?

A: *** Rbi8 John 7:24 ***
24 Stop judging from the outward appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

As elders we should have balanced judgment, we should not look at the outward appearance.

*** w81 9/1 26 Repentance Leading Back to God ***
23 The judicial committee should be very concerned about keeping the congregation clean and should exercise particular care if the wrongdoer has secretly carried on gross sin over a long period. The same would be true if they were dealing with a person who had established a pattern of sinning and then seemingly had repented. A number of times he may have done wrong but because he appeared repentant he was reproved each time and was allowed to remain in the congregation. Now he has sinned again. In such cases the elders, having in mind also the welfare of the whole flock, must consider whether his life gives true evidence that he is producing “fruit that befits repentance.” Has he not by his way of life shown that it is very questionable that he belongs in God’s congregation?—Ps. 119:104; Rom. 12:9.

If a person has a history of abuse as a child they should be treated with kindness and compassion but at the same time the must truly be repentant. We should avoid misplaced sympathy. If a person has a pattern of sinning over along period of time as elders we should ask our self, “Does their life give true evidence of works of repentance?” Just because a person has been abused does not totally excuse their actions. A wrongdoer may have difficulty expressing their feelings encourage them to express how they really feel. As a committee you must determine the degree of culpability.

*** Rbi8 2 Chronicles 19:5-6 ***
6 And he went on to say to the judges: “See what
YOU are doing, because it is not for man that YOU judge but it is for Jehovah; and he is with YOU in the matter of judgment.

As a judicial committee you must find works of repentance.

Q: Retrieved Memory-a publisher approaches the elders and says they have a memory they have retrieved. They remember being sexually abused in the past. When should a judicial committee be formed?

A: If any publisher approaches the elders with an alleged repressed memory, elders should encourage the individual to focus on coping with the distress and sorting through all the facts. All communication must be kept in strict confidence. The elders as well as the accuser must keep these matters confidential.

*** Rbi8 Proverbs 25:8 ***
8 Do not go forth to conduct a legal case hastily, that it may not be a question of what you will do in the culmination of it when your fellowman now humiliates you.

If the testimony is determined to be not valid yet the accuser persists with their charges and talking to others in the congregation what should elders do?

*** Rbi8 Matthew 18:15 ***
15 “Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

The accuser would approach the accused to discuss the matter. If the accuser is not emotionally able to talk face to face they can use the telephone or perhaps write a letter. By doing so the accused is being placed on record before Jehovah. If the accusation is denied there would be no further action as you do not have two eyewitnesses to the offense. If the accused confirms the accusation then the body of elders would proceed with a judicial committee. A person who suffers from a repressed memory regarding abuse would not be considered a credible eyewitness.

After Mt 18:15 has been followed, by taking the first step in approaching the accused there is no need for a second or third step. Because Repressed Memories are inadmissible for judicial action, Mt 18:15 applies in principle only.

Elders should be consoling with RM victims. Encourage them to read the bible, pray,

*** Rbi8 Romans 12:18-19 ***
19 Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah.”

*** Rbi8 Romans 14:11-12 ***
12 So, then, each of us will render an account for himself to God.

Encourage them to trust in Jehovah as they keep matters confidential. If a person continues to talk offer them caution and remind them the harm it can cause to slander another in the congregation.

*** w94 7/15 22 How Do You Settle Differences? ***
However, attempts to restore peaceful relations are not always successful. The book of Proverbs reminds us that it is difficult to settle differences with someone who finds it hard to respond. Proverbs 18:19 says: “A brother who is transgressed against is more than a strong town; and there are contentions that are like the bar of a dwelling tower.” Another translation reads: “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: And their contentions are like the bars of a castle.” ( The Englishman’s Bible ) Eventually, however, sincere and humble efforts are likely to succeed in the case of fellow believers who desire to please God. But where gross sin is alleged, the counsel of Jesus recorded in Matthew chapter 18 needs to be applied.

Settling Serious Differences

“Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, in order that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. If he does not listen to them, speak to the congregation. If he does not listen even to the congregation, let him be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector.” —Matthew 18:15-17.

*** w94 7/15 23 How Do You Settle Differences? ***
What motives should the offended person have? Should he try to humiliate his fellow Christian and want him to grovel? In view of Jesus’ counsel, Christians should not be quick to condemn their brothers. If the transgressor recognizes his fault, apologizes, and tries to rectify matters, the one sinned against will have ‘gained his brother.’—Matthew 18:15.

In approaching the accused if there are others who have repressed memories and serve as witness the accused should be advised of the witnesses against them who also may follow the principle of Mt.18:15. If the accused continues to deny the wrongdoing then no action would be taken. Keep confidential and be kindly to the accused.

We do not mean to say Repressed Memories are false but they are just not scriptural to pursue. Two eyewitnesses must be provided to establish a matter.

*** Rbi8 Deuteronomy 19:15 ***
15 “No single witness should rise up against a man respecting any error or any sin, in the case of any sin that he may commit. At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses the matter should stand good.

The principle of two witnesses must stand when dealing with any accusation of wrongdoing. On the other hand if a clear case of child abuse that has substance it would be handled as any charge of judicial wrongdoing in the congregation, (KS 119-131)

Q: What value does the bible have in dealing with emotional and mental problems?

A: *** w90 4/1 11-15 God's Word Is Truth ***
God’s Word Is Truth

“Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth.”—JOHN 17:17.

“YOUR word is a lamp to my foot, and a light to my roadway.” (Psalm 119:105) So said the Hebrew psalmist. Only a minority today have respect like that for God’s Word. In this 20th century, God’s Word exists in written form as the Holy Bible. It has been translated into more languages and distributed more widely than any other book in history. Yet, most refuse to accept it as a lamp for their feet. Even those who claim to be Christians prefer, for the most part, to follow their own ideas rather than let the Bible light their roadway.—2 Timothy 3:5.

2 In sharp contrast, we who are Jehovah’s Witnesses agree with the psalmist. For us, the Bible is a God-given guide. We know that “all Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Unlike many today, we do not want to experiment in matters of morality and conduct. We know what is right because the Bible tells us.

3 This has brought us great benefits. We have come to know Jehovah, and we have learned his magnificent purposes for the earth and mankind, so we are confident that a bright future is possible for us and our families. We agree wholeheartedly with the psalmist who said: “How I do love your law! All day long it is my concern. Wiser than my enemies your commandment makes me, because to time indefinite it is mine.”—Psalm 119:97, 98.

Witnessing by Conduct

4 We have, therefore, every reason to agree with Jesus’ words addressed to his Father: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) But recognizing this fact puts an obligation upon us. We must help others to realize that God’s Word is the truth. In this way they too will be able to enjoy the blessings we experience. How can we help them in that way? For one thing, we must make every effort to apply Bible principles in our everyday lives. In that way, righthearted ones will see that the Bible’s way really is the best.

5 This was the gist of the apostle Peter’s counsel to Christian women whose husbands were unbelievers. He said to them: “You wives, be in subjection to your own husbands, in order that, if any are not obedient to the word, they may be won without a word through the conduct of their wives.” (1 Peter 3:1) It was also the principle behind his counsel to all Christians—men, women, and children—when he said: “Maintain your conduct fine among the nations, that, in the thing in which they are speaking against you as evildoers, they may as a result of your fine works of which they are eyewitnesses glorify God in the day for his inspection.”—1 Peter 2:12; 3:16.

The Bible’s Superior Wisdom

6 Further, Christians can help others to appreciate the Bible if they do as Peter also counsels: “Sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of you a reason for the hope in you, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect.” (1 Peter 3:15) Christian ministers should be able to defend the Bible and explain to others that it is God’s Word. How can they do that?

7 One persuasive line of reasoning is found in the book of Proverbs. There we read: “My son, if you will receive my sayings and treasure up my own commandments with yourself, so as to pay attention to wisdom . . . , you will find the very knowledge of God. For Jehovah himself gives wisdom; out of his mouth there are knowledge and discernment.” (Proverbs 2:1-6) God’s own wisdom is found in the pages of the Bible. When a sincere person sees that profound wisdom, he cannot fail to realize that the Bible is more than merely the word of man.

8 Consider a few examples. Today, success in life is usually measured in financial terms. The more a person earns, the more successful he is thought to be. The Bible, however, warns against putting too much emphasis on material things. The apostle Paul wrote: “Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.”—1 Timothy 6:9, 10; compare Matthew 6:24.

9 Experience has shown how appropriate this warning is. A clinical psychologist notes: “Becoming No. 1 and rich does not make you feel fulfilled, satisfied, authentically respected or loved.” Yes, those who spend all their energies pursuing wealth often end up feeling bitter and frustrated. The Scriptures, while acknowledging the value of money, point to something far more important: “Wisdom is for a protection the same as money is for a protection; but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom itself preserves alive its owners.”—Ecclesiastes 7:12.

10 The Bible has many such precepts. Another one is: “He that is walking with wise persons will become wise, but he that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly.” (Proverbs 13:20) This has also been proved true by experience. Peer pressure has led young people into drunkenness, drug abuse, and immorality. Any who mix with users of foul language eventually find themselves using similar disgusting speech. Many steal from their employers because ‘everyone is doing it.’ Truly, as the Bible also says: “Bad associations spoil useful habits.”—1 Corinthians 15:33.

11 One of the most famous pieces of counsel in the Bible is the so-called Golden Rule: “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them.” (Matthew 7:12) If mankind followed this rule, the world would clearly be a better place. But even if humans in general do not follow the rule, it is better for you individually to do so. Why? Because we were made to care for others and be concerned about them. (Acts 20:35) A psychological study conducted in the United States to find out how people reacted when they helped others reached this conclusion: “It appears, then, that caring about others is as much a part of human nature as caring about ourselves.”—Matthew 22:39.

The Bible’s Counsel—Uniquely Wise

12 Today, of course, there are many sources of counsel outside the Bible. Newspapers carry advice columns, and bookstores are full of self-help books. Additionally, there are psychologists, professional counselors, and others who offer advice in different fields. But the Bible is unique in at least three aspects. First, its counsel is always beneficial. It is never mere theory, and it never works to our harm. Anyone who follows the Bible’s counsel has to agree with the psalmist when he said to God in prayer: “Your own reminders have proved very trustworthy.”—Psalm 93:5.

13 Second, the Bible has stood the test of time. (1 Peter 1:25; Isaiah 40:8) Counsel from human sources is notoriously changeable, and what is in fashion one year is often criticized the next. However, although the Bible was completed almost 2,000 years ago, it still contains the wisest counsel available, and its words are universally applicable. They apply with equal effect whether we live in Africa, in Asia, in South or North America, in Europe, or in the isles of the sea.

14 Finally, the wide range of the Bible’s counsel is unequalled. A Bible proverb says: “Jehovah himself gives wisdom,” and no matter what problem or decision we face, there is wisdom in the Bible that helps us to solve it. (Proverbs 2:6) Children, teenagers, parents, old folks, employees, employers, people in authority, all find that the wisdom in the Bible applies to them. (Proverbs 4:11) Even when we face situations that were unknown in the time of Jesus and his apostles, the Bible gives us counsel that works. For example, back in the first century, tobacco smoking was unknown in the Middle East. Today, it is widespread. Nevertheless, anyone who takes note of the Bible’s counsel to avoid being “brought under authority [or controlled] by anything” and to keep clean from “every defilement of flesh and spirit” will avoid this habit, which is both addictive and destructive to health.—1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 7:1.

For Our Long-Term Good

15 True, many say that the Bible is out-of-date and irrelevant in this 20th century. However, the reason likely is that the Bible does not say what they want to hear. Following Scriptural counsel works out for our long-term benefit, but it often takes patience, discipline, and self-denial—traits that are not popular in a world that encourages us to seek instant gratification.—Proverbs 1:1-3.

16 Take the matter of sexual morality. Scriptural standards are very strict. The only place for sexual intimacy is within marriage, and all such intimacy outside marriage is forbidden. We read: “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men . . . will inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10) Moreover, for Christians the Bible requires monogamy, one husband for one wife. (1 Timothy 3:2) And while there are extreme cases where divorce or separation might be allowed, the Bible says that in general the marriage bond is for life. Jesus himself said: “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh’ . . . So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has yoked together let no man put apart.”—Matthew 19:4-6, 9; 1 Corinthians 7:12-16.

17 Today, these standards are widely ignored. Loose sexual practices are tolerated. Sexual relations between dating teenagers are viewed as normal. Living together without the benefit of marriage is accepted. Among married couples, illicit sexual affairs by either partner are not uncommon. And divorce is pandemic in this modern world. These relaxed standards, however, have not brought happiness. The bad results have proved that the Bible was right after all in insisting on strict moral standards.

18 Ladies’ Home Journal said: “The emphasis upon sex that typified the sixties and seventies has brought not infinite human happiness but some serious human misery.” The “serious human misery” here referred to includes that of children traumatized by their parents’ divorce and that of adults suffering deep emotional pain. It also includes an increase in single-parent families and an epidemic of young single girls who have babies when they are hardly out of childhood themselves. Moreover, it embraces a pandemic of sexually transmitted diseases, such as genital herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and AIDS.

19 In view of all of this, a professor of sociology noted: “Perhaps we are grown up enough to consider whether it would not serve us all better to promote premarital abstinence as a policy that is the most responsive to the needs of our citizens and their right to freedom: freedom from disease, freedom from unwanted pregnancy.” The Bible correctly states: “Happy is the able-bodied man that has put Jehovah as his trust and that has not turned his face to defiant people, nor to those falling away to lies.” (Psalm 40:4) Those who trust the Bible’s wisdom are not deceived by the lies of those defying the Bible and saying that a looser moral code brings happiness. The Bible’s wise, if strict, standards are for the best.

Difficult Problems in Life

20 The wisdom of the Bible also helps us to handle the difficult problems we face in life. For example, in a number of lands, there are Christians living in severe, deep poverty. Yet they cope with their poverty and still find happiness. How? By following the inspired Word of God. They take seriously the comforting words of Psalm 55:22: “Throw your burden upon Jehovah himself, and he himself will sustain you.” They rely on God for strength to endure. Then they apply Bible principles and avoid harmful, wasteful habits, such as smoking and drunkenness. They are industrious, as the Bible recommends, and thus often find that they can feed their families when lazy people or those who give in to despair fail. (Proverbs 6:6-11; 10:26) Further, they heed the Bible’s warning: “Do not be envious of those doing unrighteousness.” (Psalm 37:1) They do not resort to gambling or to criminal activities, such as selling drugs. These things may offer a quick “solution” to their problems, but the long-term fruitage is bitter.

21 Does following the Bible really help those who are very poor? Yes, as many, many experiences prove. One Christian widow in Asia writes: “Although I live near the poverty line, I am not resentful or bitter. Bible truth fills me with a positive outlook.” She reports that a notable promise given by Jesus has been fulfilled in her case. Jesus said: “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) She testifies that by putting her service to God first in her life, she always receives, in one way or another, the material necessities of life. And her Christian service gives her dignity and a goal in life that makes her poverty endurable.

22 Truly, the depth of its wisdom shows that the Bible really is God’s Word. No book produced solely by humans could cover so many different aspects of life and be so deeply discerning and so consistently right. But there is another fact about the Bible that demonstrates its divine origin. It has the power to change people for the better. We will discuss this in the next article.

    1. God’s Word is truth.
    2. God’s Word is never based on theory. Bible has stood the test of time.

*** Rbi8 1 Peter 1:23-25 ***
24 For “all flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like a blossom of grass; the grass becomes withered, and the flower falls off, 25 but the saying of Jehovah endures forever.” Well, this is the “saying,” this which has been declared to
YOU as good news.

Saying of Jehovah endure forever.

    1. God’s Word is never harmful. The wide range of the bible is unequaled.

*** Rbi8 Proverbs 2:5-6 ***
6 For Jehovah himself gives wisdom; out of his mouth there are knowledge and discernment.

*** Rbi8 2 Timothy 3:15-17 ***
16 All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.

All scripture is inspired of God and we can trust it as a source to go to.

*** w75 4/15 255-6 Questions from Readers ***
Questions from Readers

ó Do Jehovah’s witnesses feel that it is proper to consult a psychiatrist?

Whether a Christian will consult a psychiatrist, or any other doctor, is a matter for personal decision. However, true Christians have deep faith in the Bible’s power to give helpful guidance. They realize that the Creator knows more about man—including the human mind—than any human does. Thus, Jehovah’s witnesses view any method of treatment in the light of the “wisdom from above.”—Jas. 3:17.

While psychiatrists specialize in the treatment of mental and emotional disorders, it is good to appreciate that the methods used by individual psychiatrists often differ drastically. For example, one handbook is entitled Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy: 36 Systems. Why so many different views? Because, despite much research, comparatively little is known of the workings of the human mind. The book The Mind states: “The causes of [various mental illnesses] constitute the most important unsettled question of modern psychiatry. Answers have been given, but none of them are conclusive.”

Some psychiatrists use “talk treatment,” often delving into the patient’s childhood relationship with his parents—assuming that such methods will “release” certain fears or hostilities. Others concentrate on getting the patient to learn new habits (sometimes using hypnosis for this) in the hope that a new “behavior pattern” is the answer. Still others take the view that most mental illnesses are physical (such as chemical imbalance of the body or malfunction of the nervous system) and so treat with drugs or perhaps diet and vitamins. Highly controversial, brain surgery for mental illness is seldom recommended.

Since true Christians are striving to have “the same mental attitude that Christ Jesus had,” they are rightly concerned with the beliefs of anyone who would influence their thinking or behavior. (Rom. 15:5) While not all psychiatrists and analysts are atheists or agnostics, many are. One study revealed that over half of the analysts interviewed agreed with Sigmund Freud’s view that belief in God was “infantile” and out of harmony “with reality.” Many believe that man is driven by “animal instincts inherited by man in his evolution from the lower forms of life.” Further, as reported in the book The Psychiatrists: “Most psychiatrists and analysts believe that the laws regulating sexual behavior are far too strict.” (Page 167) Would you want to mold your life according to the thinking of men who view matters in this manner?

Today there is widespread treatment with drugs, and here, too, it is wise to consider carefully the result. Although the use of drugs as medicine is not forbidden to Christians, and in some cases certain drugs may bring a measure of relief, a servant of God should be very cautious with anything that might enslave him, making him an addict. (Rom. 6:17; 12:1) Some persons, choosing treatment that does not involve drugs, point to good results with therapy that employs large amounts of vitamins, which is a form of treatment receiving increasing attention today.

In regard to seeking medical treatment, it is of interest to note the Bible principle found at 1 Corinthians 12:26. Here the Scriptures teach that when one part of our body suffers, other parts are affected. In harmony with this principle, those with mental or nervous problems may find it advisable to have a thorough physical examination, as frequently there is a health problem of which they are not aware. Even some who thought they were going insane, or suffering from demonic harassment, have found that they had “low blood sugar” or another ailment.

Of course, there are many diseases and infirmities that have no known “cure.” Again, Jehovah provides assistance. His Word can help us to build up our endurance. (1 Tim. 6:11, 12) Too, in this way we are aided to withstand distressing bodily adjustments, as those that sometimes accompany the menopause or aging.

But what if the problem is not physical? What if it is a matter of feelings of hostility or despondency—problems in getting along with others? James 5:13-16 speaks of one who has problems of a spiritual or emotional nature calling the older men of the Christian congregation, the purpose being that they may ‘grease him with oil,’ that is, impart comforting Bible counsel, and also “pray over him.” The result of all this? The text continues: “The prayer of faith will make the indisposed one well, and Jehovah will raise him up [out of his despondency].” Of course, to benefit, the spiritually sick one must be honest and open. He must seek and follow the Bible counsel; he must work in harmony with the prayers offered in his behalf.—Jas. 1:25.

This places much responsibility on Christian elders. They must offer earnest prayer, looking for Jehovah’s direction. By exercising patience, love and concern, they can often get at the root of the difficulties. The elders should help the troubled one to see how our God invites us to throw our burdens on Him. (Ps. 55:22; 1 Pet. 5:7) Sometimes it is necessary to help one to see how to ‘put away wrath’ or to concentrate on what is chaste. (Col. 3:5-14; Phil. 4:6-8) And frequently, one truly repentant may feel “guilty” or “beyond forgiveness.” Feeling crushed, he thus needs assurance such as that at 1 John 1:9.

So, while Jehovah’s witnesses do not categorically rule out the possibility of treatment by doctors specializing in emotional or mental problems, if a Witness does consult such he should carefully scrutinize any treatment recommended. He should never forget that keeping Jehovah’s laws works toward his mental health today and everlasting life in the future. If he is uncertain as to the wisdom of a certain therapy, then he may wish to discuss it with elders in the Christian congregation—although the final decision is his own (or of a parent or the joint decision of husband and wife). And foremost, as with all other areas of life, true Christians will want to take full advantage of the strength that Jehovah provides, appreciating that they have powerful assets in God’s Word and spirit. “For the word of God is alive and exerts power . . . and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart.”—Heb. 4:12.

*** w88 10/15 29 Mental Distress-When It Afflicts a Christian ***
Talk Therapies

In some cases, consideration may also be given to having the patient talk matters out with a trained professional. Perhaps a trusted family doctor who is personally acquainted with the patient can serve in this way. What, though, about accepting treatment from a psychiatrist or a psychologist? This would be a personal decision to be made with due caution. Therapists differ in their approaches to treatment. Some, for example, still practice forms of Freudian psychoanalysis, the validity of which is challenged by many in the mental health field.

Of even more concern is the fact that some well-intentioned practitioners have given advice that flatly contradicts the Bible. Failing to understand Christian principles—even viewing such as “foolishness”—some therapists have even concluded that following the Bible’s strict moral code is the source of a person’s difficulties!—1 Corinthians 2:14.

However, some practitioners, including psychologists and psychiatrists, offer forms of talk therapy that are not really psychoanalysis but are a means of helping a patient to understand his illness, reinforcing the need for medication, and ironing out practical problems. A Christian may find such therapies helpful, but he needs to get his facts straight before accepting treatment: Just what does the treatment involve? What kind of advice will be given? Does the physician understand and respect the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses? If talk therapy is agreed to, ‘test out the words’ of a doctor instead of just accepting everything unquestioningly.—Job 12:11, 12.

For the most part, then, mental distress can be viewed as a medical problem—not a spiritual one. Understanding this fact, families, elders, and congregation members can better be of support to sufferers. At times distressed ones also need spiritual support. How the congregation can provide this will be considered in a future issue.

[Footnotes]

See the October 22, 1987, and September 8, 1986, issues of our companion magazine, Awake!

The Society does not recommend or pass judgment upon the various medications and treatments employed by physicians. Research in the Society’s publications may, nevertheless, prove helpful.

If an ill one has difficulty explaining his Bible-based stand to a physician or therapist, perhaps some mature Christian can assist him.

[Picture on page 26]

By being sympathetic listeners and counselors, elders can often help persons suffering emotional distress

[Picture on page 29]

Sometimes it is advisable for a mentally ill person to seek medical help

*** w94 7/1 9-10 At Which Table Are You Feeding? ***
Avoiding “the Table of Demons”

4 The question all of us face is, At which table am I feeding? We cannot escape the fact that we are obliged to eat at one table or the other. (Compare Matthew 12:30.) We would not knowingly want to be partaking of the table of demons. To do that would cost us the favor of the only true and living God, Jehovah. On the other hand, to partake of food only at Jehovah’s table leads to our everlasting life in happiness! (John 17:3) There is a saying that a person is what he eats. Anyone, then, who wants to keep in good physical and mental health has to watch his diet. Just as high-fat junk food, though tastily prepared with chemical additives, does not contribute to our continued physical health, so the propaganda of this world laced with demonic ideas is bad figurative junk food that will corrupt our minds.

5 The apostle Paul foretold that during the last days, people would be led astray by the “teachings of demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1) Not only are such demonic teachings found in false religious beliefs but they are also widely promulgated in other ways. For example, we need to analyze and weigh what books and magazines we and our children read, what television programs we view, and what plays and films we watch. (Proverbs 14:15) If for recreation we read fiction, does it feature senseless violence, illicit sex, or occult practices? If we read nonfiction in order to be instructed, does it expound a philosophy or way of life “not according to Christ”? (Colossians 2:8) Are empty speculations presented, or is involvement in worldly social movements advocated? Does it foster the determination to get very rich? (1 Timothy 6:9) Is it a publication that subtly presents divisive teachings that are un-Christlike? If the answer is yes and we continue to read or view such material, we risk feeding at the table of demons. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of publications that promote worldly philosophies that seem so enlightened and current. (Ecclesiastes 12:12) But none of this propaganda is really new; nor does it work for one’s benefit and betterment, any more than what Satan cunningly said to Eve worked for her betterment.—2 Corinthians 11:3.

*** Rbi8 Psalm 41:1-3 ***
41 Happy is anyone acting with consideration toward the lowly one;
In the day of calamity Jehovah will provide escape for him.

2 Jehovah himself will guard him and preserve him alive.
He will be pronounced happy in the earth;
And you cannot possibly give him over to the soul of his enemies.

3 Jehovah himself will sustain him upon a divan of illness;
All his bed you will certainly change during his sickness.

*** Rbi8 Psalm 115:8-11 ***
9 O Israel, trust in Jehovah;
He is their help and their shield.

10 O house of Aaron, put YOUR trust in Jehovah;
He is their help and their shield.

11 Y OU that fear Jehovah, trust in Jehovah;
He is their help and their shield.

Jehovah will sustain those who are emotionally distressed and they should trust in Him to help and shield them.

As elders we should visit and pray if they go into the hospital, offer to run errands and provide scriptural help. If you do that you are successful and you have done what you are trained to do. Be careful to not criticize therapy if they are under treatment. Go by for a visit caution them on only accepting assistance from those who accept bible principles. Share an encouraging scripture such as,

*** Rbi8 Romans 5:3-5 ***
3 And not only that, but let us exult while in tribulations, since we know that tribulation produces endurance; 4 endurance, in turn, an approved condition; the approved condition, in turn, hope, 5 and the hope does not lead to disappointment; because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy spirit, which was given us.

Exult in tribulation as it produces endurance.

*** Rbi8 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 ***
3 May
YOU have undeserved kindness and peace from God our Father and [the] Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I always thank God for YOU in view of the undeserved kindness of God given to YOU in Christ Jesus;

*** Rbi8 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ***
7 just because of the excess of the revelations.

Therefore, that I might not feel overly exalted, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan, to keep slapping me, that I might not be overly exalted. 8 In this behalf I three times entreated the Lord that it might depart from me; 9 and yet he really said to me: “My undeserved kindness is sufficient for you; for [my] power is being made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, will I rather boast as respects my weaknesses, that the power of the Christ may like a tent remain over me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in insults, in cases of need, in persecutions and difficulties, for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am powerful.

Paul said, “When I am weak I am powerful.” Those who are abused must realize they may have a thorn that might not be taken away.

*** rs 118-20 Encouragement ***
For persons facing PERSECUTION because of doing God’s will—

Ps. 27:10: “In case my own father and my own mother did leave me, even Jehovah himself would take me up.”

1 Pet. 4:16: “If he suffers as a Christian, let him not feel shame, but let him keep on glorifying God in this name.”

Prov. 27:11: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.” (By faithfulness we provide an answer to Satan’s false charge that no one suffering great hardship will continue to serve God.)

Matt. 5:10-12: “Happy are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them. Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake. Rejoice and leap for joy, since your reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you.”

Acts 5:41, 42: “[The apostles], therefore, went their way from before the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to be dishonored in behalf of his name. And every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus.”

Phil. 1:27-29: “Only behave in a manner worthy of the good news about the Christ . . . and in no respect being frightened by your opponents. This very thing is a proof of destruction for them, but of salvation for you; and this indication is from God, because to you the privilege was given in behalf of Christ, not only to put your faith in him, but also to suffer in his behalf.”

For those disheartened because of INJUSTICE—

Ps. 37:10, 11: “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”

Isa. 9:6, 7: “There has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom in order to establish it firmly and to sustain it by means of justice and by means of righteousness, from now on and to time indefinite. The very zeal of Jehovah of armies will do this.”

Dan. 2:44: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”

See also Isaiah 32:1, 2; 2 Peter 3:13.

*** w78 4/1 17-20 Recognize Christ's Vital Place ***
‘All fullness dwells in him’

10 Recognition of Christ’s headship, however, is not just a matter of acknowledging his foremost position in the congregation. Note that the apostle Paul continues: “God saw good for all fullness to dwell in him.” (Col. 1:19) According to God’s good pleasure, Jesus Christ occupies the foremost place in the congregation, not only as regards preeminence and authority, but also in having the “fullness” of everything that Christians need. The Son of God is the embodiment of divine qualities, including wisdom. Hence, he, not any human on earth, is the one to whom true Christians look as their exemplar and the appointed source of guidance and instruction.

11 Jesus Christ’s perfect example and teachings do not have to be supplemented by human philosophies and traditions. In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul developed this aspect further when he wrote: “Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ; because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily. And, so you are possessed of a fullness by means of him, who is the head of all government and authority.”—Col. 2:8-10.

12 Back in the first century, Christians were in danger of being led astray by the “elementary things of the world,” that is, the primary or fundamental principles of the world alienated from God. These elementary things included the unscriptural concepts of the Greeks and other non-Jewish peoples as well as the non-Biblical traditional Jewish teachings. On the surface, some of the philosophies and teachings may have seemed very plausible. They may have been accompanied by reasoning and argument that had a certain appeal to human thinking. But they lacked a solid foundation. These baseless teachings—whether on doctrine, on human conduct, or as to how things should be done in the congregation—were really “empty deception.” So, there was good reason for Christians to be on guard against becoming the prey of some false teacher and being turned aside from the way of the truth.—Compare 1 John 2:26, 27.

13 Discussing still other wrong views that were prevalent, Paul says further: “Let no man judge you in eating and drinking or in respect of a festival or of an observance of the new moon or of a sabbath; for those things are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality belongs to the Christ. Let no man deprive you of the prize who takes delight in a mock humility and a form of worship of the angels, ‘taking his stand on’ the things he has seen, puffed up without proper cause by his fleshly frame of mind, whereas he is not holding fast to the head, to the one from whom all the body, being supplied and harmoniously joined together by means of its joints and ligaments, goes on growing with the growth that God gives.”—Col. 2:16-19.

14 Christians at Colossae were thus being urged not to allow others to sit in judgment of their faith and righteousness, claiming that they could not gain salvation unless they became circumcised and began following the law of Moses. Individuals judging in this way were going back to the “elementary things,” the ABC’s of true worship, ignoring God’s further development of matters and denying that “all fullness” now dwells in Christ. Hence, such persons were not holding fast to the Head, Christ, and were sidetracking individuals from sound doctrine that was essential for them to grow spiritually.

15 For Christians at Colossae to yield to the persuasions of a promoter of false doctrine could result in their being deprived of the “prize” set before them. What was this prize? It was the glorious reward of immortal heavenly life.—1 Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 3:14; 2 Tim. 4:7, 8; Rev. 2:7.

16 As the apostle Paul pointed out, a man who would deprive a Christian of the valuable prize of life might seem quite innocent of wrongdoing. The apostle described him as one “who takes delight in a mock humility.” (Col. 2:18) So, to all appearances, he was a man of great condescension. Yet this condescension, or humility, was only a false front.

17 What he was in actuality is evident from Paul’s referring to such a one as “‘taking his stand on’ the things he has seen, puffed up without proper cause by his fleshly frame of mind.” (Col. 2:18) What did the apostle mean by saying this about a teacher of falsehood? The expression “taking his stand on” was a phrase anciently used in connection with the initiation rites of pagan mysteries. Not satisfied with the complete and simple truth revealed through Jesus Christ, he took pride in the belief that he had attained wisdom and holiness superior to what his Christian brothers shared generally. By trying to supplement Christian truth with false, speculative reasoning, he actually deviated from the faith. In his estimation, the Son of God was not the sole depository of knowledge and wisdom. Such a person did not believe the inspired words: “Carefully concealed in him [Christ] are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.” (Col. 2:3) He insisted that there were depositories of knowledge and wisdom other than God’s Son that could be looked to by the congregation for direction.

A Christian’s position today

18 Today God’s servants do not face precisely the same situations that prevailed in the first century. Nevertheless, there are vital lessons for us to draw from what Paul wrote to the Colossians. For example, all Christians, especially elders, must exercise care not to inject themselves into the private affairs of others and not to put any unscriptural personal viewpoints and philosophies on an equal footing with the truth revealed in the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.—Compare 1 Timothy 1:3, 4; 2 Timothy 4:1, 2.

19 Whatever spiritual counsel or advice that a Christian may give to others should be based, not on personal preference, prejudice or on worldly principles, but on the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. Since everything that the Son of God taught harmonized fully with the inspired Scriptures, the complete Bible can and should rightly be used for giving spiritual help. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) A person’s failure to stick to the Scriptures would constitute a disregard for the Head of the congregation. (Compare Matthew 7:24-27; 15:3-9; John 17:17.) It would also imply that all “fullness” does not dwell in the Christ but that Christ’s “lack” must be supplemented by personal opinion and human philosophy.

20 What of Christians who accept the personal philosophies and opinions of others as a guide for determining the rightness of a particular course? They may well injure their conscience and hinder their spiritual growth. Why? For one thing, the Bible shows that ‘perceptive powers must be trained by use.’ So, when others are unduly influencing or even controlling an individual’s decisions, this person is not going to grow spiritually but will remain a babe, unable to distinguish right from wrong.—Heb. 5:14.

21 Moreover, because of trying to conform to what are merely the unscriptural personal opinions of another Christian, some persons may get needless feelings of guilt about caring for personal affairs, wholesome entertainment, recreation, and so forth. For instance, a respected member of the congregation may openly express the view that the “last days” are absolutely no time for God’s servants to be thinking about making major home improvements. While many may recognize this as a private opinion and remain unaffected by it, some could begin to feel guilty about their plans. Those who allow themselves to be unduly influenced by the personal opinion of someone else may later experience problems and inconveniences that could have been avoided by going ahead with their reasonable plans. Similarly, in other areas of life, whenever God’s Word is displaced by the views of imperfect men as a source of guidance, serious problems can result. But we are always safe when we make decisions based on the example and teachings of the perfect Son of God.

*** rs 288-9 Philosophy ***
Philosophy

Definition: The word philosophy is derived from Greek roots that mean “love of wisdom.” As used here, philosophy is not built on acceptance of belief in God, but it tries to give people a unified view of the universe and endeavors to make them critical thinkers. It employs chiefly speculative means rather than observation in a search for truth.

How can any of us acquire true knowledge and wisdom?

Prov. 1:7; Ps. 111:10: “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge . . . [and] of wisdom.” (If the universe were not the product of an intelligent Creator but only of some blind, irrational force, then no unified view of the universe would be possible, would it? Nothing that would qualify as wisdom could result from a study of something that was itself irrational, could it? Those who attempt to understand the universe or life itself, while endeavoring to leave God and his purpose out of account, meet with constant frustration. They misinterpret what they learn and misuse facts that they glean. Leaving out of account belief in God destroys the key to accurate knowledge and makes impossible any truly consistent framework of thought.)

Prov. 2:4-7: “If you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God. For Jehovah himself gives wisdom; out of his mouth there are knowledge and discernment. And for the upright ones he will treasure up practical wisdom.” (Jehovah provides needed help through his written Word and his visible organization. An earnest desire and personal effort, including the use of one’s thinking ability in a constructive manner, are also necessary.)

Is it realistic to expect to find absolute truth from this Source?

2 Tim. 3:16; John 17:17: “All Scripture is inspired of God.” “[Jesus said to his heavenly Father:] Your word is truth.” (Is it not reasonable that the Creator of the universe would have full understanding of it? In the Bible he has not told us everything about the universe, but what he has had recorded there is not speculation; it is truth. He has also stated in the Bible what his purpose is for the earth and for mankind and how he will accomplish it. His almighty power, superlative wisdom, flawless justice, and great love guarantee that this purpose will be fully accomplished, and in the best possible manner. His qualities thus assure us that his statement of purpose is completely dependable; it is truth.)

Philosophy does not look for truth it comes from people with limitations who often are influenced by demonic spirits.

The Governing Body asked to share these special reminders for all shepherds to apply.

    1. Elders are well equipped to deal with emotional and mental problems. Elders should use no outside books or do any studies on therapy to treat victims of abuse. They are already trained by being well versed in God’s Word.
    2. When we contrast worldly wisdom with Godly thinking-we stay with God’s Word.
    3. Lovingly shepherd the flock, be a sympathetic listener and consoling to those with mental and emotional disorders.
    4. When problems arise follow the Q&A given above in dealing with MPD, RM, Alternate Personalities. If wrongdoing is established proceed on a judicial basis.

Brothers this is a clear signal from the Society, if anyone decides to push against this direction it will call into question their qualifications as elder. There is no negotiation regarding these points the Governing has taken a firm stand. It might be compared to the stand taken with handguns as those directives were followed these will be followed also.

*** w94 1/1 19 Take Refuge in Jehovah ***
19 After that, the marriage registrar pondered over the things he had heard. “Jehovah’s Witnesses . . . the most important work . . . the end of the world . . . God’s Kingdom . . . everlasting life.” Puzzled as to what all of this meant in the life of a 96-year-old man, he decided to search for the Witnesses to look into the matter further. He accepted a home Bible study and made rapid progress. Today, this marriage registrar is a baptized Witness. Thus, when we obey Jehovah even in what others may consider to be small matters, it may result in untold good for us and for those who are eyewitnesses of our conduct.—Compare 1 Peter 2:12.

20 Older ones who have let the truth mold them into honest people set a good example for young ones in this dishonest world. In Myanmar lives such a young sister. She comes from a poor and humble family of ten children. The father, a pensioner, is a regular pioneer. One day in school, the sister found a diamond ring, which she promptly took to her teacher. As the class convened the next day, the teacher told the class how the ring was found and handed in for return to the owner. Then she asked the young sister to stand before the entire class and explain why she had done this, knowing that other children might have chosen to keep it. The sister explained that she was a Witness of Jehovah and that her God does not like stealing or any kind of dishonesty. The whole school heard about it, giving our young sister a good opportunity to witness to teachers and students alike.