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My First Letter to the WTS:

March 31, 1999


Watchtower Bible & Tract Society

Service Department                                                                                         

25 Columbia Heights

Brooklyn, NY 11201


Dear Brothers,


I am writing to get clarification and a ruling on a matter concerning porneia.  The situation is rather complex so I will explain the pertinent details.


About the middle of January (1999) I separated from my wife of 17 years due to her severe and lengthy challenge with alcoholism.  Our 12-year-old son is living with me.  For more than five years, I intensely struggled to exhaust all available means of helping her overcome her addiction, (both congregationally and medically).  The situation only deteriorated and I feared that physical harm would come to my son or me.  Therefore, I took a scriptural separation and resigned from serving as an elder. 


About the same time, a past incident came to my attention.  It seems that back in July 1989, my wife and another spiritual sister took a trip to visit some friends in a previous city of residence.  While there, the two (my wife and the sister, who was/is also married), went out to a bar/lounge to “party”.  They hooked up and danced with two worldly men and ended up going with them to their apartment about 2 a.m. “for breakfast”.  While in the apartment, the sister and one man sat on the couch and engaged in kissing.  My wife and the other man went into the bedroom and closed the door.  According to the sister, my wife was in the bedroom for 45 to 60 minutes.  My wife adamantly denies that anything improper took place.  She does admit to being in the room with the door closed, and to kissing and dancing with a man.


My wife has a history of uncleanness and loose conduct with other men while being married to me.  She has told me of several occasions in which she was involved with kissing and dancing with other men including one incident in which she was in a car with a man who put his hands in her private areas.  This is all in addition to several “emotional affairs” with other men over the years.


On page 111, the Kingdom Ministry School Textbook states that someone staying “all night in the same house with a person of the opposite sex … under improper circumstances” would constitute acceptable circumstantial evidence of porneia.


There is no question as to whether my wife was there, (she admits it), nor that it was under “improper circumstances”.  There is also no question that sufficient time passed for porneia to be committed.


My question is: What time frame constitutes “all night”? 


In view of the circumstances of this incident, as well as my wife’s troublesome history with such things, it is my belief that there is acceptable evidence of gross wrongdoing.  Indeed, in my heart, I believe that she has broken the marital bond.


I have spoken with the local body concerning the matter, but they have chosen not to proceed because of her adamant denial of any wrongdoing and the lack of more than one witness.  However, since my wife freely admits to being there, the issue of more witnesses seems to be irrelevant. 


In view of the fact that quite a few years have passed since the incident, I am not demanding judicial action.  I have no desire to be merciless or unkind toward her.  Nevertheless, I do view the matter as serious and in need of an answer.


I will accept whatever decision you deem appropriate in this matter.  I look forward to your timely response.


Your Brother,


Doug Kelley



cc:        Body of Elders, Circuit Overseer



The Society's Response:



My Response to their Response:


May 24, 1999


Watchtower Bible & Tract Society

Service Department                                                                                         

25 Columbia Heights

Brooklyn, NY 11201


Dear Brothers,


I am writing in response to your letter, dated May 7, 1999 (XXX:XXX), which was in response to my letter dated March 31, 1999 concerning my marital situation.


With all due respect, I do not believe my question was answered.  My question was, “What time frame constitutes “all night?”” as found on page 111 of the KS Textbook.


Your response stated that my Christian wife, along with another Christian sister, spending 45 – 60 minutes behind a closed door in a worldly man’s apartment in the middle of the night would not constitute “all night.”  If 1 hour does not constitute “all night,” then how many hours do?  Is it 3 hours?  6 hours?  8 hours?


Frankly, I just don’t understand the reasoning here.  Please allow me to restate the facts:


1.                  My wife has a history of loose conduct and has committed porneia on at least one occasion that I know of, (for which she was forgiven).  That means that she was dancing, kissing (“necking”), fondling and otherwise having improper contact with a number of other men;


2.                  She was behind closed doors with a worldly man with more than sufficient time to commit any number of gross sexual acts;


3.                  She admits to being there under improper circumstances;


I honestly don’t know how else to make the point.  My wife has many times “cheated” on me by betraying our marital trust.  On numerous occasions, she “made out” with other men.  She has flirted with numerous men.  She actually has had men fondle her sexual organs, which constitutes porneia (for which she was forgiven).  Now she has spent a substantial period of time behind a closed door, in a worldly man’s apartment in the middle of the night under improper circumstances.  What on earth is one supposed to think?  Can there be any question as to the impropriety and adverse appearance of the situation?


Your response also endeavored to state that “if I had resumed sexual relations this whole thing would be a “mute” (actually “moot”) point.”  The fact is that I have not resumed sexual relations with her after finding out about this incident.  Therefore, it is not a moot point.


Your letter also stated that “suspicion of adultery is not sufficient to establish Scriptural freedom.”  With this I agree.  But the undeniable fact of the matter is that the very substance of the statement on page 111 of the KS Textbook concerning circumstantial evidence is based wholly on “suspicion.’  It is understood that the whole

idea behind this statement is that if a person spends long enough with another person under improper circumstances, that it would constitute sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. It is in this spirit that I believe that sufficient evidence of wrongdoing exists.  The truth of the matter is that it does not take an entire night to commit porneia.  45-60 minutes is all that is necessary. 


Brothers, the fact is that my wife has been unfaithful to me many times, at least once involving porneia.  I have been enormously forgiving. There is strong and irrefutable circumstantial evidence to show that she has again committed porneia.  I have literally done everything scripturally and physically possible to save my marriage.  Nothing has been successful. It is now time to take the necessary steps to rectify matters.


In all honesty, I appreciate that you cannot scripturally answer my question as to what time frame constitutes “all night.”  I also appreciate that you cannot make my decisions for me.  All I ask is that the congregation respect my very carefully thought out decision, that is, that my wife has freed me scripturally.


There is no logical alternative other than to allow this matter to be established through the congregation.  And this is what I request—that you direct the local body to allow this matter to be established through the congregation.



Your Brother,


Doug Kelley


cc:        Body of Elders


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