I have been studying with a brother for some months now. Before that i was studying with another brother at the previous city i was living in. I am an unbaptized publisher and looking to make spiritual progress.
The brother and his family have been very good to me and I wholly appreciate their love. They've told me they see me as a spiritual son.
However, I am put off by their conduct sometimes. They often whisper to each other during meetings and joke at inappropriate moments. Their comments often seem trite or self-absorbed.
I don't want to sound ungrateful but it's a problem for myself. I'm thinking of changing congregation, as I feel pressured to sit with them, which I don't want to do.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.
JW Advisor: I am glad that you are not seeing it as an excuse to leave. Their irreverant behavior shows some spiritual immaturity and you have done well to recognize it as such. Though you should know that you are not under any obligation to sit with them. We each have to take charge of our own choices.
There is no real wrong answer here except failure to act [for peace]. So I'll list your options below, some of which you already considered:
1) Find a new congregation. This is effectively the neuclear option and not one I recommend. You're going to have a problem moving every time there's someone in need of a little correction. Running away never solves anything. We should also avoid developing or letting persist any trait of cowardous in ourselves. With prayer, Jehovah helps us to be brave. Running away in times like this shows reliance on ourselves rather than Jehovah. Nevertheless, there may be a time, when you've exhausted all other options, that changing congregations may be necessary
2) Move to a different seat. I recommend a seat far away from them and a little forward from them so you won't be distracted from a distance. This doesn't really resolve anything and could end up alienating you from them in the long run. Not only are they your Bible teachers, but soon they will officially be your spiritual brother and sister, assuming that you progress to baptism. (It sounds like you are on your way with the humility you are showing in this matter.) It is important not to become alienated from our brothers and sisters unless they commit a serious sin [and are in need of showing repentance].
3) Tell them how you feel. This is really the best answer in most situations. On your own, whether at the congregation or during your Bible study, or with a special visit to their home, sit them down and explain that you have been bothered by their behavior during the meetings. If they are humble, they will respond positively. But always remember, no matter what their response, that each will carry their own load. (Galatians 6:1-5) As servants of Jehovah, everything we say to draw others to the truth or in counseling others is in service to Jehovah. Our words allow Jehovah to work through us. By stepping up to give counsel or encouragement or a witness, we are acting as Jehovah's mouthpiece saying what he wants to tell the people we talk to. If someone rejects your reasonable counsel, particularly if you use a scripture or two or refer them to one of the organization's Bible-based publications, remember that it is Jehovah's counsel they are rejecting, not yours, (Luke 10:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:8) as long as the counsel is given from a place of love and concern and not from intense negative emotion or egotism. I think your Bible teachers will be very humbled by having to be counseled by their own Bible student for what even the world considers disrespectful, and it may serve to make them into a much more spiritual team and better servants of Jehovah.
You might be able to illustrate their behavior by referring to the music video at tv.jw.org that showed the pioneer couple who were taking photos of each other and selfies and ignoring passers by. That obnoxious behavior is easily comparable to talking and snickering during meetings. [May 14, 2017, 4:36 PM]
Worried one wrote [May 15, 2017, 2:23 AM]:
Thank you very much for the advice; it is certainly helpful. I shall endeavour to pray upon the matter and seek a resolution to the problem.
JW Advisor: We are glad to help. Thank you for contacting us. We would be glad to hear how things have worked out for you in this matter. [May 18, 2017, 4:41 AM]