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The End of the Marking Talks

The August 2023 Watchtower is still missing from but I now have the copy from the forbidden edition and it is full of good stuff. Thanks goes to Atlantis the illusive exjw elder that made it available to us and for starters the cover has been changed, so are we to believe that one or more of the jws that appear on the original front cover have been disfellowshiped as it has been the case many times in the past? They are worst than the Stalinist communist propaganda machine that used to airbrush people from their publications everytime thatsomrone was accused of 'wrong think" by the Communist party. We will have to wait and see for more clarification.

So today we concentrate on the Questions from Readers article that signals the end of all marking talks something that I did make a video over 3 months which was part of the 10 year plan to save the Watchtower series(go back and watch all 4 videos if you like)

Now if you don't know what marking is or you haven't listen to a marking talk in your kingdom hall,it is a talk given by an elder where he describes a person that the elders don't like but they don't mention his name. The talk describes what he or she does wrong which although is not something that merits disfellowshiping if she or he carries on doing it it will have serious consequences on them. After the talk the elder's wife will engage in an official whispering campaign telling all the gossipers in the congregation who that person is and as a result they will be excluded from all social events in the congregation but will still be included in group arrangements for the ministry or basic participation at the meetings such as answering in the Watchtower. The marking comes to an end when the marked individual comes to his senses and changes their ways, after a passing of time

an elder or the co-ordinator of elders will invite him to a congregation social gathering usually

when all congregation is invited marking the end of his social exclusion from the rest of the group and signaling to the congregation that it is alright to include him or her in their social gatherings. This is in a nutshell what marking is. The new change now is that all elements of the marking process remain apart from the most important part, the original humiliating marking . In other words this is not anymore an official whispering campaign rather an unofficial one.

Now before we delve into the article and the changes let's first read the verses that back this practice in 2 Thess. 3:14,15:

But if anyone is not obedient to our word through this letter, keep this one marked and stop associating with him, so that he may become ashamed. 15 And yet do not consider him an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother

Now what is the setting of these verses. Apparently some in the congregation of Thessalonica had left their jobs or had stopped working altogether because they thought the End was imminent, reminds you someone you know,and instead where meddling with matters that didn't concern them, do you mean like the local elders? Because we read in the same chapter in verses 11 and 12:

For we hear that some are walking disorderly among you, not working at all, but meddling with what does not concern them. 12 To such people we give the order and exhortation in the Lord Jesus Christ that they should work quietly and eat food they themselves earn

I can count at least 4 elders in my congregation that were living on social benefits for no good reason pretending to be pioneers and transferring themselves from one rich sister's to another's meddling with their affairs. One of the wordly husbands confided in me sometime ago " I may as well put a sign outside my house "Free B&B" which is free bed and breakfast accommodation in the UK terms You really can't make this stuff up!

So unlike most other Churches that see these verses applying to that particular situation that arose in the 1st century congregation of Thessalonica, Jehovah's witnesses turned it into a cottage industry and a power trip tool for elders around the world to boss anyone in the congregation that they didnt like or they didn't like the way they contacted their business. I for one was marked twice for having the audacity to preach to 120 Muslims about Christ in an organised debate and although there is no specific direction against preaching about Christ since this is the whole point for going from door to door there is a prescribed way that Jehovahs Witnesses do debates with other religions and that is that you don't do one at all. So the only way to punish me was by marking me twice and on the third time I got my invite for apostasy for a judicial committee. It's like working for a business , you get 3 warnings and then you're out. So let's get to the actual article as it appears in this still unpublished WATCHTOWER(some of the wording sounds strange because it has been translated from another language):

What legally Constitutes Defamation of Character?

The following is the legal definition here in the UK but I'm pretty sure it is the same around the world:

Defamation of character occurs when an untrue statement is made about you, your business, or your offerings that can damage your reputation (=that is what marking talks are). An important aspect here is that the negative statement must be conveyed to others, not just to you personally. 

For example, if someone makes a wrong claim about you or your business directly to you, it doesn’t qualify as defamation since there’s no third-party involvement.

However, suppose the same claim is made in a public setting (=like over the platform of your local Kingdom Hall) or through a medium where others can observe it, such as a social media post, a review on a website, or an article. In that case, it then becomes a matter of defamation. This is because the statement can potentially harm your reputation among those who hear or read it (=this is what a marking ralk does, harms your reputation amongst the members of the congregation)

It’s vital to note that not all negative statements are defamatory. The statement must be untrue and presented as a factual claim rather than an opinion to be defamation. Additionally, there must be evidence that the statement caused or has the potential to cause significant damage to the reputation of the individual or entity targeted.

The real reason why they are stopping marking talks

The real reason why marking talks have come to an end are legal reasons and not concern about the correct Biblical understanding on the matter. With the advent of social media and other platforms where your name and reputation can be tarnished in new and more sophisticated ways many countries had to sharpen their laws on defamation of character and many especially celebrities have won court cases based on this better and broader understanding of what constitutes defamation of character. Now any begrudge Jehovah's Witness can pick up the phone to a lawyer or solicitor the day after his or her marking talk and sue the elders of their congregation. The society has enough battles to fight already the last thing that want is defamation cases for silly reasons in local congregations.

What has been your experience?

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