Related to the concept “brazen conduct” are the two unbilical disfellowshipping offenses “unnecessary association with disfellowshipped or disassociated individuals” and “dating though not scripturally free to remarry” However, the Shepherd book says that these two disfellowshipping offenses do not represent an exhaustive list.
When a Witness is summoned to a meeting with two elders or to a judicial committee, the elders may view his actions or attitude as “brazen,” and he may be disfellowshipped because of this. This means that the concept of “brazen conduct” can be applied in many different situations.
The problem, however, is that the concept is vague and ambiguous, which is also the case with many other disfellowshipping offenses. Therefore, one judicial committee will disfellowship a brother while another committee will not disfellowship him for exactly the same offense.
The term “brazen conduct” is used as an umbrella term for “unnecessary association with disfellowshipped or disassociated individuals” (12.17 (1)) and “dating though not scripturally free to remarry” 12.17 (2).
However, the book for elders, “Shepherd The Flock Of God”, point 12.17, says regarding the two actions mentioned above that “this is not an exhaustive list.” This means that other attitudes or offenses may also be viewed as “brazen conduct.” For these situations, I use the term “Brazen conduct—different situations.”
Point 12.15 (1) of the Shepherd book says:
Momentary Touching of Intimate Body Parts or Caressing of Breasts: If such conduct occurred on a few isolated occasions, especially between two persons involved in a courtship with the intent to marry, counsel from two elders may suffice to handle such minor uncleanness. The elders should inform the coordinator of the body of elders of the situation. However, if the conduct occurred on numerous occasions and the actions escalated in gravity and frequency, it may constitute gross uncleanness with greediness, requiring judicial action. Their wrongdoing may constitute brazen conduct if they give evidence of a disrespectful, insolent attitude toward God’s laws. For example, individuals may have no intentions of pursuing marriage.
We note that touching of intimate body parts may be viewed as “gross uncleanness with greediness.” But the text in brown shows that some situations of this form of touching may be viewed as a disrespectful, insolent attitude. This means that persons doing this may be disfellowshipped because of a “brazen attitude.”
Point 13.4 in the Shepherd book discusses persons who let others view pornography, and it says:
If the body of elders learns that a Christian was promoting the viewing of pornography (whether abhorrent or nonabhorrent forms), such as by inviting others to view it, this could give evidence of a disrespectful, insolent attitude, which would require handling by a judicial committee on a charge of brazen conduct.
The two quotations refer only to two particular situations. But the Governing Body’s heads-up to elders that the list is ‘not exhaustive’ opens up the possibility for the application of the term “brazen conduct” to many different situations. If the elders decide that a brother or sister shows a disrespectful and insolent attitude in any situation, even in situations that would not normally result in disfellowshipping, the person can still be disfellowshipped because of this added conditional stipulation.
I now return to what we see in so many disfellowshipping offenses, namely, vagueness and ambiguity. For example, what exactly is a “disrespectful, insolent attitude? This cannot be clearly defined, and I am certain that the elders of different judicial committees will view it differently. And the result is that some brothers and sisters will be disfellowshipped because of the subjective viewpoint of hardliners or because of a faulty interpretation of the attitude of the brother or sister under scrutiny at the committee hearing.
It is really bad that the Governing Body has made up and invented so many disfellowshipping offenses that have no Bible basis. When a number of these are vague and ambiguous, the system that the Governing Body has created in the congregations is very far from the just system based on love that we find in the Christian Greek Scriptures.
Only two disfellowshipping offenses are connected with the term “brazen conduct.” But because this term can be applied in any judicial case on the assessment of the members of the judicial committee, a great number of situations can be said to be an expression of brazen conduct or brazen attitude.
The very concept is vague and ambiguous, and because of this, different committees will treat similar cases differently.