Sunday, February 25, 2007

How to Survive Discipline -- Utter Denial (part 4)

The disciplinary process has essentially 5 steps from an evidence perspective
  1. An individual confronts you
  2. Several individuals confront (a confrontation in front of witnesses)
  3. It goes to the elders who investigate (or trial)
  4. Conviction
  5. Church call for repentance / excommunication
Denial is very effective on steps beyond the 1st step, and this makes it very tempting. The biblical standard for evidence is several witnesses. Most likely the prosecution doesn't have that. If push comes to shove they aren't going to be able to prove their case and they are unlikely to convict without evidence. Further, the conviction without evidence is unlikely to be taken seriously by anyone else and thus community support for discipline will be lacking.

This strategy does have a major negative. It raises suspicions and diminishes trust tremendously. Further if you do get caught for the same act after having denied they are going to throw the book at you. Moreover because they think you got away with something, they are going to try harder to catch you and when they do the consequences will increases. This leads to a large increase in fear for you as a member, and that's going to cause emotion disfellowship. For this reason, really should be considered part of "stall" rather than a solution. Think about Nixon and Clinton, it wasn't the crime as the cover up.

If you deny the charges utterly make sure that at least one of the below is true:
  1. You can prove your innocence beyond a reasonable doubt or
  2. You start laying the ground work for changing churches.
  3. You understand they are really going to nail you on the next thing you did do.
  4. You are mainly trying to prevent civil harm and don't care very much about your church relationship
This strategy while often the one used, tends not to be very tempting, but really is useful only in the limited cases above.

Lets look at 2 cases:
Stuart Jones book (see walk throughs) gives the example of a man who is looking for his nephew during the sabbath on behalf of his brother at a football game. He is charged with sabbath breaking and because the only defense witnesses was a close relative (the brother) and the offense was public he is sentenced to excommunication (he ends up winning the appeal on a technicality btw). Lets assume for a moment he lacked the nephew excuse. In the story there is only witnesses and that witness only saw his car. Total denial "No I wasn't at the game and neither was my car" or "oh I was ill, my cousin had my car" would have killed the prosecution's case dead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am amazed that this blog would suggest lying to deny a wrongdoing one is confronted about. If you are willing to lie to cover a wrongdoing, then you are most certainly showing evidence of unrepentant and blatant patterns of sinning.