Questions From Readers
● Is it proper theocratic procedure, when a person has a complaint against another, for him to write or petition the Society to take action and have his letter signed by several others in the congregation, which means he would have to recruit these signers?—F. R., United States.
To circulate and get signers for letters or petitions of complaint would sow discord and create divisions in the congregation. One of the things that Jehovah hates is “a man who sows discord among brothers.” And the brothers are admonished to avoid “those who create divisions.” (Prov. 6:19, RS; Rom. 16:17, NW) If you have a complaint against a brother you should go to him with it, not to others. Because you cannot get along with him is no reason for you to make it so others cannot get along with him either. Rather than create more divisions, try to heal the one you have with him by going to him and discussing the trouble. If the breach is not healed, you may want to take one or two mature brothers with you to discuss the problem. When you do this, be honest about it. Do not tell your side of the story to them first and get them on your side, but let them hear it first when you and the other brother are present, so that the mature brothers do not enter the discussion with prejudiced minds that would color their judgment. You should not go into the conference seeking your vindication; rather you should be seeking a fair solution, whether it favors you or the other brother.
If it is a personal matter be willing to make concessions, even beyond the point you think reasonable and fair, to gain unity with your brother. If it involves the congregation or the service work, perhaps the brother you disagree with being a servant, theocratically recognize the organization and co-operate with him. If you think his error is very serious you might discuss it with the congregation committee, and after that even with the circuit servant if you consider it necessary, but always in the presence of the brother you are accusing. If you still think the matter is not properly adjusted and that the work is being interfered with and you want to write the Society, do so, but supply the brother with a copy of your letter, and do not try to involve others by getting them to sign your complaint. Let the facts disclosed give the necessary weight to your views, not a long list of names. Then consider your obligation fully met, leave it up to the Society to act or not to act, and you co-operate with the servant as long as the Society keeps him in his position of service in the congregation. Then you will be following a fair, proper and adequate procedure. But to write charges and recruit signers is very much out of order.
● Why did Adam and Eve become ashamed of their nudeness after eating of the forbidden fruit?—P. R., United States.
After eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, Adam and Eve were sinners. “Then the eyes of both of them became opened and they began to realize that they were naked. Hence they sewed fig leaves together and made loin-coverings for themselves.” They could no longer look at each other in a pure way, but apparently now harbored passionate thoughts that were improper. The quality of conscience, which distinguishes man from lower creatures, began to condemn them and made them feel guilty and ashamed. So they sought to conceal these body parts that roused the passionate thoughts that gave them guilty consciences. It would not be wrong for them to look at each other’s nakedness or even consider the natural and proper execution of the sex act, for this would be in accord with Jehovah’s purpose in creating them to multiply and fill the earth. But after their sin they apparently could not view this in the same innocent and pure way, but their contemplations were soiled by base passion and impure sensuality. So their consciences hurt them and a sense of modesty caused them to hide these body parts, and their guilty feelings made them hide from Jehovah because of fear. Love throws out fear, but they showed they lacked love for God by disobeying him, so fear came upon them and caused a restraint and made them cover their bodies and hide from Jehovah. Thus they tried to escape from the condemnation of their consciences and from the pronouncement of the penalty for disobeying Jehovah.—Gen. 3:7-10; 1 John 4:18, NW.