Recently, it came to my attention some things the Workers & Friends are doing regarding “hiding” what goes on in their group, and it just baffled me. I wasn’t aware until just a few days ago that workers lists no longer have addresses on them. I’m assuming they only have the workers names and their field on them. The explanation given to me was that they didn’t want their information to “get in the wrong hands”. The workers list in my day would include name, field, mailing address and phone numbers…not their social security numbers or any banking information. That is what the rest of us have to worry about getting in the wrong hands!
There was a funeral here locally last week and the daughter of the deceased (it was her father who passed) lives in Australia and wasn’t able to attend. At her mother’s funeral a couple of years ago (she wasn’t able to attend that one either), her niece recorded the service with her I-pad but the daughter told me on Facebook just today that she wasn’t allowed to view that funeral because, once again, their fear that it might get in the wrong hands!! It was her mother’s funeral! The family did not want the niece recording the fathers funeral last week but she did on her phone anyway and she sent it. Good for her!
During the convention season here, a 800 number is given to a select few so they can listen, free of charge at home if they are unable to attend the convention. I know a number of friends who take advantage of that service and they really appreciate it. Two years ago, that number was shared with me and I listened in on a couple of meetings. I appreciated hearing the hymns and identifying voices in both prayer and testimony. When I asked for the number last summer, I was told I would have to go through one of the workers in order to get that number now. And, now I hear they have discontinued that service altogether for guess what reason? “It might get in the wrong hands.”
The workers are obviously unaware that just about every church nowadays broadcasts their services over a live stream on the internet. It’s great if you are unable to be there or have to miss a sermon that you wanted to hear.
It just doesn’t make sense. They want newcomers to “join” their group yet they are bound up in fear that someone will find out about them. What are they afraid of? Are they doing anything illegal? If so, then they need to fix it and make things right. Are they afraid of getting shut down? If the Lord wants them to continue meeting publicly, don’t they trust Him to make sure they can? Are they afraid of being found out because of the money involved that is never reported? Well, make it right! Get that non-profit status and/or report your earnings and pay taxes like the rest of the real world. They are not being honest at all and yet, no one ever looks at it that way. But they could be! They say they have ‘nothing to hide’ but obviously they do or they wouldn’t be operating in such a state of secrecy. Are they afraid of publicity at their conventions? Well, newspaper articles have been written before, people have picketed conventions before. If they were truly living IN THE LIGHT, there would be no need for secrecy. Are they afraid of abusers being found out and reported? Well, thankfully that IS coming to the light nowadays and being dealt with and hopefully stopped.
Secrecy is different than discretion. Discretion is defined as: “the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information.” Every business has it’s CEO’s or Board of Director’s meetings and things are discussed there and documented and made available to the general public if requested. And yes, there are many a private conversation and/or discussion. Not everyone is in the “know” nor do they need to be. But the meeting group isn’t so much afraid of their own knowing what is going on as they are of the ‘world’ knowing what is going on. And once again, I’m sitting here racking my brain trying to figure out what information they are afraid of the “world” finding out.
Decades ago the book “The Secret Sect” was written about the meeting group so obviously, it has been an issue for a long time. I hope and pray that more and more people in that group stop and consider the secrecy part of things and encourage the workers to truly “walk in the light” and not in darkness. It’s so much more freeing and healthy in the light. Also, let us not forget that iconic verse “God is love and perfect love casts out fear because fear has torment.” Amen. Why torment yourself or allow yourself to be tormented when torment is never coming from God?