I Understand that there was an announcement to the effect that I, Matthew Barrie am no longer considered to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses on 05/02/09 at Bishopbriggs Kingdom Hall.
I am reliably informed that the brother in question , Ronnie Moffat, was concerned that in order for there to be no breach of confidentiality he acted without the knowledge of the majority of the rest of the body of elders when he made the above announcement.
I am also reliably informed that other members of the body assumed that the announcement would be on the 12th of February 2009.
This is however, in my view surely the most serious breach of my confidentiality there could possibly be.
To the best of my knowledge I have the right of appeal by letter to the appeal committee within seven days of the appeal being heard. And yet while I am preparing my appeal letter It is disclosed only four days after the appeal that not only that I am under judicial action, but that I've actually been disfellowshipped!
In my view there can only be two explanations for this situation:-
1.I have no right of appeal and therefore the brother was right to act as he did.
2.I do have the right of appeal but the brothers on the appeal committee chose not to inform me of that right, and therefore the announcement should not have been made.
This is a very serious matter. Is it fair and reasonable to assume that the person being accused is aware of all his rights and should know what to do or say at all times?
I would kindly like to point out to the brothers that I requested by letter ,dated 18/01/09 before any of the judicial meetings had taken place to be informed of what my rights and responsibilities were should the matter be taken to an appeal committee. (ref. point 18) For the brothers to ignore this request and refuse either the right of appeal itself or not to inform me of my rights or responsibilities is a serious and flagrant disregard for both my legal rights and more importantly Theocratic Justice. Is is not the case that one of Jehovah's cardinal qualities is Justice?
I would like to state for the record that in my view this case has been mishandled from start to finish, to the extent that I could not possibly receive a fair trial. I will outline below why I feel this to be so.
1. A number of the body of elders in Bishopbriggs have demonstrated knowledge of the proceedings against me and have passed that knowledge on to several publishers not connected to the case.
They have shown that they are predisposed to the possibility of me being removed from the congregation.
The men I have specific knowledge of are Lee Green snr ,Gordon Harper and most worryingly Ronald Hunter ,who was one of the accusers.
I have Witnesses of these actions of all of the above named.
2.Ronald Hunter went on a "shepherding" visit to Anne Byrne and discussed private and judicial matters relating to my case with her and Susan Hunter his wife ,who was also present. He then made several False accusations to Anne Byrne relating to me ,of which there are also two witnesses.
3.Ronald Hunter then attended a further "shepherding" visit to Peter and Nan Barrie with Ronnie Moffat.
Is it fair that my Judge/juror in the shape of Ronnie Moffat would undertake a visit with one of my accusers Ronald Hunter to gather evidence against me from my parents?(January 2009) Surely it must be recognized that this is contrary to natural justice? How can Ronnie Moffat sit as chairman of my committee and purport to be impartial?
4.When it came to my attention that Ronald Hunter had said some serious things about me and my family which in my view amounted to slander I followed Matt . 18.15 and went to speak with him.(25/12/08)
This visit was unproductive as brother Hunter refused to answer some questions, and couldn't remember having made the statements to Anne Byrne. He then made a false accusation to my face that I had been teaching her falsehoods.I had done no such thing and had little or no contact with her and certainly no doctrinal discussions. Following Ronald Hunter's visit Anne Byrne was very upset and has now disassociated herself from Jehovah's Witnesses.
5.During the first judicial after I was sent out I could not help but overhear brother Hunter in another room making sweeping hurtful statements about other young persons who are connected to the local Hall, in which he states what is clear to him about their life course and motivation. During this discussion he tries to influence the other witness Paul Barrie by saying that an honest question I had asked of brother Barrie during the hearing was "twisted, and the mark of an "apostate".
6.The testimony of brother Hunter was that I "believe" all the subjects that were discussed in the shepherding visits. At no time did I forcefully state that. Also by way of example during the course of brother Hunter's testimony He states that "Matthew made it very clear that all must partake of the emblems at the memorial if they want to be saved". I have carefully reviewed the evidence and consulted with my wife and I have a record of all the conversations I have had which involve Ronald Hunter.Unfortunately I cannot find any evidence to support brother Hunter's assertive statement.
Can I kindly point out that although Ronald Hunter and the other brothers concerned are elders, the scripture in Proverbs 6.16-18 applies with equal force to all of us.
There are six things that Jehovah does hate; yes, seven are things detestable to his soul: lofty eyes, a false tongue, and hands that are shedding innocent blood, a heart fabricating hurtful schemes, feet that are in a hurry to run to badness, a false witness that launches forth lies, and anyone sending forth contentions among brothers.
In my view given the circumstances and handling of this case and the behaviour, speech and attitudes displayed by some of the brothers involved I can only ask that the case against me be dropped .
There is no evidence against me from anyone else in the congregation and in fact the evidence I presented showed that I was being commended by both accusers for keeping any private views I may hold to myself.One of the brothers ,Paul Barrie said recently that he had no problem with me talking to him "because if you can't talk to the elders then who can you talk to?" I also have evidence which Lee Green Snr is aware of that I very recently refused to discuss any views I may hold with my good friend , his son who is a JW.
The fact that I did want to discuss My personal view with either committee is not evidence of being an "apostate", rather an entirely reasonable reaction to the situation where the elders tried to use shepherding settings to obtain and use information in a judicial environment on the premise that they were there to help.
I also feel that brother Hunter's testimony should be dismissed based on the above evidence. Matthew !8;16 says that every matter should be established "at the mouth of two or three witnesses" In my view brother Hunter would be removed as a credible witness if this was a court of law, which would leave Paul Barrie as the sole accuser.
Surely, if as Jehovah's Witnesses believe, a person's eternal salvation is at stake this should be of the utmost importance?
I hope that this can be settled amicably at this time as I didn't ask for this situation to arise. It is my hope that this matter can be resolved without me needing to take things any further.
Since the brothers were so eager to announce that I am no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses I would be happy for them to make an announcement as soon as possible to the contrary.
I await your consideration of my letter of appeal and pray that the Holy Spirit will lead you to make the correct decision .
Matthew J. Barrie.