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FSM 287 DO       Charter Questions and Answers - Part Two
--Questions Relating to the Charter, Answered by WS Leadership

Copyrighted © February 1996, The Family, Zurich, Switzerland


       A. "Ban the Bomb" No Longer in Effect       2
       B. Is Restricting of Sexual Sharing or Marriage Rights Permissible?       2
       C. Should Pregnancy Result in Marriage?       3
       D. Threesomes       3
       E. Lesbian Relationships       4
       F. What Is Pornographic?       4
       G. Couples Presently Living Together, Not Legally Married       4
       A. Problem Kids       5
       B. How Much Education Do the Teens Need According to the Charter?       5
       C. Teens Drinking Coffee, and Other Non-Specified Restrictions on Minors       6
       A. TSers Provisioning and Using Family Tools       6
       B. TSers Going in Debt       6
       C. Who Is Eligible to Be a TSer?       7
       A. Photocopying of D.O. Pubs Permitted Under the Charter       7
       B. Address Requirements for Receiving WS Mailings       7
       C. Are Homes Eligible for Missed Back Mailings?       8
       D. Who Is Responsible for Cost of Home Library Orders?       8
       E. Imperative to Follow Instructions on BAR Pubs       8
       F. OK to Take D.O. Pubs Out of the Home       8
       G. Lit for Live-outs, Active Supporters, Mail Ministry Members and TSers       9
V. FINANCES       10
       A. Tithe Based on Total Income       10
       B. 16- and 17-Year-Olds' Voting Rights Don't Cover Finances       10
       C. Personal Flee Funds Allowed by Charter       10
       D. Absolving Members from Debts when a Home Closes?       11
       E. Giving Home Assets to Members Transferring?       11
       F. Clarification on Sharing "Windfalls"       12
       A. Small Homes Favored in Area Votes       12
       B. Area Goals to Determine Acceptable/Unacceptable Behavior       12
       C. Tie Vote of Confirmation of Area Officers and/or Area Goals       12
       D. Difference Between Area Goals, and Local Decisions Made by City Councils       13
       E. Decisions Affecting Homes in Metropolitan City Areas       13
       F. Coordinating Witnessing Areas Within a City       13
       A. Rights of an Individual Moving to Another Country       14
       B. Food Rules       14
       C. Contact Lenses, Dental Braces and Sunbathing       15

A. "Ban the Bomb" No Longer in Effect
       Q-40: In the {\b \i Sex and Affection Rules}, we noticed that there was no mention whatsoever of inter-Home sharing. Is the "Ban the Bomb" rule still maintained? If so, would it be good to make this very explicit?
       A: While we didn't highlight the fact that "no inter-Home sharing" was no longer a rule, the very fact that it is not mentioned as being a rule means it is no longer a rule. One of the reasons we did not accentuate the relaxation of this past rule is that with so many other changes going into effect with the implementation of the Charter, we didn't feel that there was any extra emphasis needed on sexual sharing between Homes when there would already be so many changes to cope with.

B. Is Restricting of Sexual Sharing or Marriage Rights Permissible?
       Q-41: In the past, we established sexual sharing guidelines for our new national disciples who've joined in more conservative and less-westernized countries, so that only a national of that particular Area who has been in the Family for a year and is over the age of 21 can share with a consenting adult. This was mainly to protect our younger women having to make decisions about their sexual involvement until they have a well-rounded knowledge of the Word on the matter and can make educated and full-of-faith decisions about sharing. We mainly want to ask if there will be room for such sharing guidelines under the Charter?
       A: While local guidelines can be made pertaining to a country or Area by establishing Area goals through Home Referendums (as outlined in Election Rules, D. pg. 144), Area goals cannot take away rights granted under the Charter. The Basic Responsibilities of the D.O. Home, F.1, pg. 46, states "The goals of the Continental Area, country and/or city cannot violate or contravene the Charter of Responsibilities and Rights or the Fundamental Family Rules." So in the above-mentioned scenario, under the Charter you could not take away the rights of adult disciples who are able to share sexually once they've been in the Family for six months or more, in accordance with the Sex and Affection Rules.
       So in situations of this nature, where it does seem expedient to allow new disciples more time to get a better bearing on the Word and our sexual sharing beliefs before engaging in sharing, the key would be in educating our new disciples. One of the main points to get across, especially to new female disciples, is that girls don't have to say yes to sharing sexually with someone who approaches them for a date. You could explain something to the effect that, "If you are of age, it is your right to share sexually after you've been in the Family for six months. However, it is also your right to make the decision not to share sexually until you feel you are ready for it, and it is our advice that you nationals wait till you've been in the Family for a year and/or reached the age of 21 before you begin sexual sharing. Of course, it is ultimately your decision...."

       Q-42: The {\b \i Marriage Rules}, D, D.1 and D.3, pg. 157, state that "Members who have reached the age of 18 who wish to marry someone above the permissible age range for sexual activity, as outlined in the {\b \i Sex and Affection Rules}, may do so providing they enter into a six-month period of engagement," and "refrain from sexual activity during the first three months of the engagement that involves the touching of each other's genitals."
       In the past, some older brethren have married young, relatively new national disciples. Some of these marriages have worked out very well, but in other cases the couples were not very well matched. Some of the girls seem to have been a bit naive, while others may have been too eager to find a husband. Does the Charter make any provision to help avoid similar situations where young disciples rush into marriage?
       A: Similar to what we have suggested above concerning national disciples, education of new disciples seems to be the key. Between not being able to have sex for their first six months in the Family, and the additional three-month waiting period before a YA can have sex with the older person they're engaged to, this would require a minimum of nine months before a young new disciple could have sexual intercourse. Hopefully this minimum waiting period would allow sufficient time for them to get grounded in the Word regarding our sexual beliefs, and to come to a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities should they choose to have full sex with their prospective mate.

       Q-43: In some countries and cultures it is considered scandalous for a woman to become pregnant before she is married. Particularly in a case where the unmarried pregnant mom is a young and/or relatively new national disciple, this can have serious repercussions for her and/or the Family. Could some "fine print" be added to the {\b \i Marriage Rules} to help avoid such problems?
       A: We appreciate the problem, but we don't feel we can limit the worldwide Family by conditions in a few fields. So again, education of your new disciples seems to be the key.

C. Should Pregnancy Result in Marriage?
       Q-44: In cases where sexual sharing between unmarried partners results in pregnancy, what is the responsibility of the father as far as being obligated to marry the mother?
       A: The Lord has given us the Law of Love, and the guiding principle in all such decisions is love and responsibility. When the Lord has brought about a child from two people sharing, it is a serious matter that should be considered prayerfully and lovingly by those involved, to find the Lord's will in view of raising and caring for the child. At the same time, the Lord has given each of us the majesty of choice and a free will, and we have to judge each situation on its own merits, just as the Lord judges each situation differently. So while we do encourage couples to stay together for the sake of the child or children resulting from their union, we cannot attempt to legislate righteousness in such cases by making a hard and fast rule that if the girl gets pregnant, then the couple has to get married.
       In the case of a couple being on "Make It Work," which is for the purpose of confirming if the couple should get married, a pregnancy could be considered a confirmation. However, the final decision likewise rests with the couple involved.

D. Threesomes
       Q-45: There don't seem to be any comments in the Charter on threesome relationships. Does this mean they are allowed?
       A: By the very fact that threesomes are not specifically prohibited under the Charter, they are therefore allowed. While we are not promoting threesome relationships as the new "in thing," we expect that there may be cases where the Lord leads individuals that way--for example, a married couple taking in a single mother, or similar situations where the faith of the individuals involved extends beyond the norm.

       Q-46: As outlined under {\b \i Permanent Marital Separation Rules, }A, pg. 159, the Charter makes it more difficult for couples to separate. We can foresee this leading to more threesomes, especially in cases where couples have children but are no longer romantically attracted to each other and mainly stay together for the sake of the children.
       One fellow in that position had this to say: "When praying about a separation from my wife, I realized that I have eight children who would all be sad and adversely affected by a separation, and I felt like I was outnumbered. There's only one of me and eight of them!" This father came to the conclusion that even if it meant sacrificing his own happiness to some degree, he wanted to put the happiness of his children first. His decision seems noble and right, but perhaps a threesome relationship would be another option? For example, if he was involved with a single sister who wanted to help care for the children, his wife might really appreciate the help and he would likely be a happier, better father if his needs were also met. Perhaps such threesome arrangements could also help some of our single moms by providing them with mates. So here is our question: Taking these factors into consideration, do threesomes have a place in the post-Charter Family?
       A: That's a beautiful testimony about the father realizing that his personal desire was outweighed by his children's desires, as whether a couple has one or a dozen, their children are certainly a major consideration when contemplating a separation. Praise the Lord!       Regarding threesomes as an alternative to separations, as explained in the previous answer, the Charter does not prohibit threesome relationships. So in some cases this could be a viable alternative, according to the collective faith of the individuals involved.

E. Lesbian Relationships
       Q-47: The Charter only makes one reference to woman-with-woman sex. The {\b \i Sex and Affection Rules, }L, pg. 139, says "female homosexual relationships are not permitted." Does this also apply to occasional dates between two women so inclined, or to women who are in a threesome marriage?
       A: Under the Charter, outright lesbian relationships are banned. However, the same is not true of two girls cuddling, or a woman having a threesome date with a man and another woman, etc., if they so desire. Therefore, the clause of the Charter cited above was deliberately worded to only prohibit lesbian relationships.

F. What Is Pornographic?
       Q-48: Someone wrote to say that he considers most types of nudie cuties to be innocent and not within the Charter definition of pornographic, even though they might be considered "sexually stimulating." He mentioned he has some such pictures which he looks at occasionally, and feels they aren't causing him to have spiritual problems. He also pointed out that the Letters make it clear that a man's desire to see a beautiful, naked female is normal, natural and not a sin. His question is whether or not this subject is covered in the Charter.
       A: In the Sex and Affection Rules, K, pg. 139, the term "pornographic" applies only to those items "whose sole purpose is to sexually arouse the viewer." Therefore, the above mentioned nudie cuties do not appear to contravene the rules in the Charter.
       The Charter did not change what Dad has always taught in the Letters concerning the beauty of nude women. The above-mentioned clause in the Charter merely outlaws crude, vulgar pornography where the sexual organs are the main characters, something which Dad made very clear in the Letters that he was against.

G. Couples Presently Living Together, Not Legally Married
       Q-49: There are couples in the Family who are now living together, but not legally married. Under the Charter, are these couples considered married?
       A: If a couple is mated, regardless of whether they have had a legal ceremony or not, they are considered married within the Family; similar to common law marriages in the System. (If a couple considers themselves mated, they should be listed as such on their Home's TRF.)
       Under the explanation for Marriage Rules, pg. 155, it also says, "There are relationship arrangements other than marriage. A man and woman may decide to just room together, with the understanding that it is not a marriage but instead is a temporary union, which is their prerogative."
       Whether or not a couple who room together consider themselves mated, and/or want to get legally married, is entirely up to them.

A. Problem Kids
       Q-50: It isn't clear to us in the Charter if the {\b \i Responsibilities of the Individual Member} come into full effect when kids turn voting age--16--or if all children, including those under 16 years of age, need to meet the requirement of being "good solid discipleship material." Could this be clarified, please?
       A: The answer is found in the Charter's Preface, pg. x, under "Age Designation," which states, "Although the full application of the Charter is for all those who have reached the age of 16, our younger Family members are also generally expected to uphold the same standards of behavior outlined within the Charter."

B. How Much Education Do the Teens Need According to the Charter?
       Q-51: {\b \i Rights of the Children, }E, pg. 39, says that kids are to receive "sufficient time, opportunity and educational materials to receive an adequate education that allows them to become competent in a manner appropriate to their age, ability and aptitude, in the skills of reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, sciences, and other curricular subjects, including practical-life skills."
       Most of the delegates felt that the term "adequate education" seems vague, so how that term is interpreted and applied may vary greatly from Home to Home. For example, in some Homes there may be teens who want to learn more about a certain subject or skill, but their Homes don't feel it's necessary. What do teens do if their Homes feel they are up to par but the kids themselves don't feel comfortable with their education?
       A: The Charter says that "If a child wishes to receive more education in a certain field of study, they may do so if their parents agree. It would be up to the child to explain their desire to the parents, and up to the parents to see if the Home can comply. If not, the parents will have to decide whether they want to move to a Home that can" (pg. 39). So, with this in mind, it is the Home's responsibility to make available as much education as the teens and children desire. The minimum education is defined very generally with the term "adequate education" but this is not meant to limit the education the child or teen receives. The children or teens must receive at least that much education. But if the teen desires more, then the Home should try to accommodate them.
       The term "adequate education" is deliberately quite vague, because with so many children and teens in so many different countries and situations, it would be very difficult to define an exact standard that would apply to all. The Charter already defines that they should have at least a grade eight level of education, and if they want more education it should be made available to them. We hope that parents and Homes will "be as supportive and accommodating as possible of our children's individual desires for special training, as mentioned in the letter to the judge in GN 653.
       "* The essence of this point has been written directly into the Charter. Each parent or guardian of children in the Family is responsible, on an ongoing basis, to see to it that their children are properly and sufficiently educated scholastically, physically, emotionally and spiritually (see pg. 33). Further, it is the duty of each Home to provide parents with sufficient assistance and resources to properly educate their children (pg. 36). Further, all Family children have as a Charter-guaranteed right, `Sufficient time, opportunity and educational materials to receive an adequate education that allows them to become competent in a manner appropriate to their age, ability and aptitude, in the skills of reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, sciences, and other curricular subjects, including practical-life skills' (pg. 39).
"*Also, the Charter adds that `If a child wishes to receive more education in a certain field of study, they may do so if their parents agree. It would be up to the child to explain their desire to the parents, and up to the parents to see if the Home can comply. If not, the parents will have to decide whether they want to move to a Home that can' (pg. 39)." (End of quote from GN 653.)

C. Teens Drinking Coffee, and Other Non-Specified Restrictions on Minors
       Q-52: If the Charter does not specifically restrict minors from certain practices which were previously reserved for adults, who decides what the teens may or may not do? For example, the "Fundamental Family Rules" {\b \i Food and Drink Rules, }D, pg. 127, state, "In order to avoid the negative effect of caffeine, the daily maximum for any caffeinated beverage, such as coffee, tea or cocoa, is two cups." We have had a few problems with young teens abusing caffeine because this clause doesn't give any age restriction for drinking coffee.
       A: Sorry, this point about young teens and caffeinated drinks was overlooked when the Charter was written. This point has now been clarified by Charter Amendment No.6 (LNFs 234) which states: "Caffeinated coffee and tea are only for those 16 and over."
       For any situations which arise involving adult privileges applying to minors, for which the Charter does not place specific restrictions, please refer to the list of rights under Rights of the Children point 8, pgs. 39-41. Kids under the age of 16 years are subject to the authority of their parents in all areas not specifically included on this list. So if the practice or privilege in question is not a guaranteed right, and parents feel that it would be harmful to their younger teens, they have the authority to forbid their teens to partake.

A. TSers Provisioning and Using Family Tools
       Q-53: Can TRF Supporters provision in the name of the Family, using brochures or the Family Activity Videos? Though the "Statement on TRF Supporters" mentioned that without prior written authorization from their Continental Office, TSers could not act as official representatives of the Family, other than in the capacity of a distributor of Family publications or productions, it says nothing about provisioning. Could this be clarified?
       A: Although the "Statement on TRF Supporters" doesn't spell this out in black and white, it is clear that, without CRO permission, TRF Supporters cannot act as official representatives of the Family. So it could be argued that TSers could be refrained from provisioning in the name of the Family. However, we didn't want to disallow TRF Supporters the right to provision, so if they are clear in their presentation that they are only associate members of the Family, then it is generally acceptable for them to provision.
       However, if a TRF Supporter's provisioning were to cause problems for the D.O. Family, and/or the TSer was being a bad example, their Continental Officers have the right and would be justified to intervene, citing the "Statement on TRF Supporters," specifically responsibility point A.9 that you refer to above. And if the bad sample TSer balks at that, responsibility point A.4 states they must "refrain from activities or behavior that would be a reproach to the cause of Christ and/or reflect negatively on the Family," so the CROs have sufficient authority here to take further action if necessary.

       Q-54: Is it OK for TSers to use the two Family International Outreach videos in their outreach and other presentations, provided they explain that they are only associate members of the Family and not full-time members?
       A: Yes. We don't want to deny our TSers use of this wonderful tool, provided they are good samples. However, the "Statement on TRF Supporters" was worded to allow the CROs to intervene and forbid any TSers to use the tools if they find them causing problems for the D.O. Family.

B. TSers Going in Debt
       Q-55: The TS Statement doesn't broach the question of TSers living in debt, and then borrowing to get out of debt. In some cases this has become a reproach to relatives and others. This seems to be a problem with some TSers locally. So we thought that it might be good to emphasize the necessity of staying out of debt, just as we've done with our D.O. Homes. Perhaps something should be included in the TS Statement, to the effect that living in debt isn't in line with our Family standard or sample.
       A: This was not specifically addressed because we do not require the same level of financial stability of TRF Supporters that we do of the D.O. Homes, since the TSers are living on their own. It seems that since most of society is living in debt, it would be hard to require the TSers not to. Nearly everyone in the System has mortgages, credit card payments, and all sorts of loans that they need to pay.
       If their indebtedness is beyond that which is acceptable by society at large, and they are thus a reproach, there is the provision in the "Statement on TRF Supporters" (A.4) that gives their CROs the authority to cancel their membership.

C. Who Is Eligible to Be a TSer?
       Q-56: Some of our GP members are clamoring to become TSers. Is there any provision for GP members being able to move up to TS status? Some of these former members who are now GP members seem very sweet and sincere and just as qualified as any of our TSers, but as far as we know there's no mechanism in place for them to be able to graduate up to TS status. Could this be clarified?
       A: As long as a GP member, or anyone for that matter, obeys and lives up to the stipulations in the "Statement on TRF Supporters," he is eligible to be a TSer and report as a TS Home.
       He also has the option of becoming a TS new disciple and join an existing TS Home (see Classifications of Family Membership and Literature, D, pg. 161).

A. Photocopying of D.O. Pubs Permitted Under the Charter
       Q-57: The Charter refers quite a bit to the "Discipline Guidelines" GN (GN 591), and it has been suggested that each family have their own copy. Could WS give permission to photocopy this particular GN?
       A: Under the Charter, because it's not specifically forbidden, D.O. Homes are now allowed to photocopy D.O. pubs, including GNs and FSMs, if desired, for members of their own Home. (Permission to do so was recently specifically granted in LNFs 220, GN 618.)
       However, please remember that it is still an excommunicable offense to give D.O. lit to those whom you know are not D.O. members (without WS or CRO permission [EDITED: "F.1, pg.119"]), or bootleg pubs to any D.O. Homes which are ineligible through being on Probationary Notice. (See more on this under Offenses Warranting Excommunication, F, pg. 119, and "Photocopying of D.O. Lit Now Possible," FSM 276, pg. 3.)

B. Address Requirements for Receiving WS Mailings
       Q-58: (From a CRO:) We've noticed that a few Homes in our Area are using their D.O. mailing address as an address to receive mail from other D.O. members, and in one case this address was given to trusted and close friends they consider DFO. We're not sure how prevalent this may be, but it raises the question of whether this is permissible. As far as we understand, giving a D.O. address to non-D.O. members was strongly discouraged in the past, and from what we understand, Homes are supposed to have an address that is used solely for their D.O. mailings, a second address for DFO, and a third address for the GP. On the other hand, we see that new Homes opening up may feel that three addresses may be a bit too much to maintain, especially very small Homes in smaller cities.
       A: The World Service Reporting and Mailing Rules, A, pg. 153, makes only one stipulation about receiving WS mailings, and that is that "Homes must have a post office box or a mail service, one which cannot be used for receiving GP mail."
       However, we wouldn't recommend Homes receiving DFO mail and WS mailings at the same post office box or mailing service, even though it is not expressly forbidden under the Charter. However, only receiving GP mail and WS mailings at the same address is prohibited.
       The ideal is for Homes to maintain separate addresses for these three separate functions if at all possible. And if a particular Home's situation appears serious enough to jeopardize their security or the security of the field, the CROs could address the issue, citing the following: "Members must endeavor to protect the safety and security of their Home and other Homes," as per clause D of Home Life Rules, pg. 131.

C. Are Homes Eligible for Missed Back Mailings?
       Q-59: Past policy has been that NPCs will not replace back mailings to Homes in the cases of no or low tithe, or no or late TRF. However, the Charter now states that "Homes placed on first-stage Probationary Notice have 30 days to make the specified changes. Once the changes are made and verified, the Area Office must immediately notify the Home and the Continental Office that the Home is no longer on first-stage Probationary Notice. Upon such notification, the Continental Office will release all WS mailings held during the 30-day period."
       It seems to imply that if a Home sends in a low tithe or late report, etc., their missed mailings will be replaced if they rectify the situation within 30 days. Is that the case?
       A: Yes, if a Home makes up their tithe, they will be sent any missed mailings from the previous month.
       In the case of no or low tithe or no or late TRF, a Home is automatically placed on Probationary Notice. However, they are eligible to get their copies of missed mailings, if within the 30-day probation period, verification is made that they corrected the reason for being placed on Probationary Notice. (See Procedures for Placing a Home on Probationary Notice, D, pg. 105.)

D. Who Is Responsible for Cost of Home Library Orders?
       Q-60: (From a CRO:) Due to the expenses to the Service Center (SC) of storing books, and the shipping cost of getting Home libraries to the Homes, as well as the large number of man hours and time that it takes to assemble and pubs purge the libraries, our SC has asked us if they can charge the Homes a certain amount per library ordered. We seem to recall reading somewhere that the provision of D.O. lit for our D.O. Homes was something that the Homes were entitled to as a service, covered by their tithe. Could this be clarified, please?
       A: Responsibilities of Continental Officers, F, pg. 81, guarantees that Continental Offices will distribute all new mailings from WS. However, under Responsibilities of the D.O. Home: Regarding the Welfare of Its Members, A.3, explanation, pg. 57, it says, "It is the Home's responsibility to attempt to gather the Family publications necessary for as complete a set of pubs as [EDITED: "is"] available." So we see no problem with the SCs charging the amount necessary to cover their cost of getting book orders and/or libraries to Homes that request them.

E. Imperative to Follow Instructions on BAR Pubs
       Q-61: In the past, failure to destroy BAR pubs could result in the withholding of a Home's mailings, but since the Charter doesn't address the subject in the "Fundamental Family Rules," it doesn't seem the Continental Office can apply any kind of a penalty for this.
       A: Good point! We have amended the Charter and made it a specific rule that BAR pubs must be processed by the designated date or the Home will be subject to disciplinary action. (See LNFs 234, Amendment No.3.)

F. OK to Take D.O. Pubs Out of the Home
       Q-62: Some witnessers have asked if it would be possible to take some D.O. pubs with them when they go on a faith trip. This point is not covered in the Charter. However, in FSM 166, "Questions and Answers on Family Policy: Part 2," page 7, it mentions that DFO pubs can be taken on special ministering trips but should not be carried while on high-profile outreach. Some Homes would like to know if road teams can take D.O. material when they go on faith trips if they keep these materials at their hotel while they are witnessing. This way they don't have to miss out on the latest pubs and they can have more feeding devotions while out on the road.
       A: Under circumstances similar to those described above, we feel it is OK for witnessers to take D.O. material with them while on the road, providing they do everything in their power to uphold the security of these pubs. As mentioned in the Home Life Rules, D, pg. 131, "Members must endeavor to protect the safety and security of theirs and others' Homes."

G. Lit for Live-outs, Active Supporters, Mail Ministry Members and TSers
       Q-63: Can we share selected DFO lit, such as some Christian Digests, etc., with our "Active Supporters" and "Mail Ministry Members" or are they only allowed GP lit? Also, if we send some DFO lit, such as the Christian Digests, to an ex-member who doesn't really fall under any of the membership categories, is this OK? I guess the question is, is it okay to be a little more liberal with the DFO lit?
       A: Concerning DFO pubs, Dad wrote, "DFO lit can go to ... relatives, friends and fish who are very friendly and supportive, not people who are going to find fault and pick it to pieces and deliberately criticize or use it against us!" (See ML #1697:1,3,4,17,18,21 and 943:9-15.)
       Also in LNF 145:16 (GN 475), we stated: "The Christian Digest is DFO, which means excerpts of it, or even the entire booklet, may be shared, like the Outlook or WND, with receptive and friendly outside friends whom you feel need or could benefit from the material therein."
       So as long as these guidelines are respected, you may share DFO lit or portions of it with such folks.

       Q-64: Are TSers allowed to read recent D.O. lit while visiting a D.O. Home? In the {\b \i Classifications of Family Membership and Literature, }E and F, pgs. 161-62, it says that Live-Out members and Catacombers are eligible to read "certain D.O. publications at the teamwork's prayerful discretion. (Only to be read at the D.O. Home.)" From this, some TSers have gotten the impression that they are also eligible to read certain D.O. lit at the D.O. Home (at the teamwork's discretion).
       Our understanding was that a TSer is not a Live-Out or a Catacomb disciple, who are more like D.O. members, and for one reason or another (such as military service or age) are unable to live-in full time. Therefore, since a TSer is not a Live-Out or a Catacomb disciple, the clause about being able to read D.O. lit in a D.O. Home doesn't apply to them. Could this be clarified?
       A: You are correct. TSers are not eligible to read new D.O. lit while at the D.O. Home. When the Charter mentions the possibility of Live-Outs or Catacombers reading "certain D.O. publications," we were projecting that the "D.O. publications" the Homes will choose to read with their Live-Out and Catacomb disciples will be chosen from amongst the D.O./TS pubs, and not D.O. material geared only towards full-time live-in members.
       So when a TSer asks to read new D.O. material they are not eligible for, the D.O. Home should explain to the visiting TSer that they already receive D.O./TS pubs in their monthly mailings, while the Live-Out and Catacomb disciples are only allowed the possibility of reading some of these same publications, provided they do so at the Home. In other words, it is not a case of Live-Out and Catacomb disciples being allowed to read certain publications which the TSers are denied.
       We wouldn't want to make D.O. lit so accessible that some TSers looking to take the easy way will assume they can have the "best of both worlds"--not having to live up to the D.O. standard in the Charter, but still able to go to a D.O. Home and read all the latest D.O. lit. The Word is still the main leverage we have available to reward the most faithful and sacrificial members of our Family. TSers wanting to get the full counsel of God will have to become D.O. members to get it.

A. Tithe Based on Total Income
       Q-65: A YA asked a question about tithing. She said that in her Home they'd had a very lively debate on the correct method of deriving the tithe from their income. Some reasoned that the correct way to tithe was to first take the seed corn out of the Tool income and then tithe what's left--rather than tithing the overall income. They based this on a clause in the Charter that says if a Home member decides to depart, the Home must give the departing member at least 50% of the income which that member raises, after taking out the seed corn and tithe. This YA contended that income is income, plain and simple, and all should be tithed. Was hers the correct counsel?
       A: Yes, this YA gave the correct counsel. The scriptural precedent is that tithing applies to all income, as expounded upon in several MO Letters.
       It appears that those who argued otherwise were referring to a clause on fundraising and debts in the Right of Mobility, 3.c) (1), explanation, which says, "The Home can determine what amount of those funds will go towards the payment of your debt or liability, but it must be at least 50% of the net income. If you bring in $100 in a day of fundraising, the seed corn for tools and the tithe on that $100 will first need to be taken out. If the seed corn is $20 and the tithe is $10, it will leave $70 net income" (pg. 23).
       The pith of this excerpt from the Charter clearly shows that 10% of total income is required as a tithe: "If you bring in $100 in a day of fund-raising, the ... tithe on that $100 will first need to be taken out.... The tithe is $10."
       God's formula for tithing is still 10% of total income.

B. 16- and 17-Year-Olds' Voting Rights Don't Cover Finances
       Q-66: (Prior to Charter being finalized:) We're concerned that 16- and 17-year-olds, if they have the right to vote on financial matters in their Home, could end up stuck with the very big responsibility of financial debts! Most of our kids at that age just don't have sufficient training or experience to make decisions of this nature, and we'd hate to see them saddled with having to pay off huge debts that their Homes may incur.
       A: As you will have read in the Charter, the decision was taken that 16- and 17-year-olds should not have voting power on financial matters, nor the responsibility for such. They are allowed to sit in on all Home meetings where finances are discussed and hopefully learn through observation. This way if any bad financial decisions are made, hopefully our 16- and 17-year-olds can learn from the mistakes of others without having to bear the brunt of partial responsibility for those mistakes themselves. So while 16- and 17-year-olds are voting members on all other Home matters, they have a two-year training period before assuming the right to vote on financial matters and the responsibility that goes with it. They should use this time to learn, through observation and other means, to make wise financial decisions. For further details, see the Rights of the Individual: Within the Home, B, pg. 15.

C. Personal Flee Funds Allowed by Charter
       Q-67: We were wondering about the idea of having personal flee funds. Since the HER was collected, most people don't have personal flee funds any more, but wouldn't it be a good idea to have them for emergencies? Should Family members, especially those not residing in their passport country, consider raising some flee funds?
       A: Flee funds are definitely allowed under the Charter. Financial Rules, D, pg. 146, gives the guidelines for working this out in the Home: "The amount of funds collected by an individual Home member for travel, landing funds or the purchase of some major personal item, as well as the methods and procedures used to collect them, and the disbursement of such is to be decided upon by a two-thirds majority."
       The explanation under this clause goes on to say: "Allowances need to be made in certain situations where a Home member might have to build up some personal savings for a specific purpose, such as saving funds for traveling and landing funds for changing fields, or the purchase of some major personal item such as a guitar or a caravan, or something along those lines.
       "In the past, there were occasions where members held personal flee funds, but when their Home had financial problems there was sometimes pressure from the shepherds on a person to donate their flee funds to pay the rent or other bills. In order to keep this from happening again, all voting members (18 years of age and over) of the Home will need to be involved in these decisions, so that everyone is aware of all aspects of the situation.
       "The methods and procedures for collecting and saving these [EDITED: "flee"] funds and how the funds can be spent, and the amounts that are collected, have to be decided upon by a two-thirds majority of the Home's voting members (18 years of age and older). There needs to be agreement between the person trying to save the funds and the Home as to how the collecting, spending and amounts will be handled.
       "The person should first explain to the Home why he needs to collect the funds, how much he needs, and how he intends to get and save these funds.... The Home would then need to discuss this and decide which of these proposals they agree to.... The main point is that the Home should discuss it at the onset and decide together on some arrangement that seems good to all, and then they should stick to their agreement. The member should be allowed to personally keep the funds the Home has agreed to let him keep in his possession if he chooses to."
       Another means of raising flee funds would be through designated cash gifts from friends, parents and supporters. Such gifts are covered under the clauses and explanations in the same section. (See D.1, covering solicited "designated gifts" and D.2, covering unsolicited "designated gifts," pg. 147.)

D. Absolving Members from Debts when a Home Closes?
       Q-68: (Prior to Charter being finalized:) Regarding the closing of a Home, would it be good to make provision for a Home to voluntarily relieve certain people from their portion of the debt? We feel this would be helpful, especially in the case of single moms with young kids, and childcare workers or others who aren't seasoned out-reachers, or those who don't have personal contacts or people who they can call on to help in such a time of need, etc.
       A: The fact is, when a Home closes, there shouldn't be a debt. Under Rights of the D.O. Home, C and D, pgs. 60-63, a Home that is closing first raises whatever funds they can and uses these financial assets toward the payment of its debts and liabilities. In extenuating circumstances where a Home must disband before all of its debts and liabilities are paid, the Home must apply for a Home Loan, if available, in accordance with the Rights of the D.O. Home, D.2, pg. 62, to pay any further outstanding debts, and as outlined in D.3, "assign to all voting members their portion of the remaining liabilities, including the Home Loan," which is a debt then owed to WS, and each individual needs to pay off their portion of the Home Loan.
       However, in the case of a Home closing, which has a responsibility to pay back a Home Loan debt, the Home could vote to release a particular member from his share of the loan, and distribute this person's portion to the other members; providing two-thirds of the Home is in agreement with such a plan.
       There may also be a case where someone who is about to join a new Home is deemed so valuable by the new Home, that their portion of the Home Loan could be paid by the receiving Home.

E. Giving Home Assets to Members Transferring?
       Q-69: (Prior to Charter being finalized:) The Charter mentions that when a Home closes and there are assets, the Home should decide how to divide those assets. If a person is responsible for their share of the debts and liabilities, shouldn't they also be in line for their share of any assets?
       A: If a Home is liquidating all their assets because they are disbanding, provision is made to divide the assets between the Home members, as outlined in the Rights of the D.O. Home, C.3.d.), pg. 62. However, if it's just a case of someone leaving the Home, this is not required, as the Home is going to need to continue to function as a Home. So while the Home could decide to give a love gift to the departing member, it is not required of the Home.

F. Clarification on Sharing "Windfalls"
       Q-70: In the {\b \i Basic Responsibilities of the D.O. Home, }C, explanation, pgs. 45-46, it states that a person who receives a large windfall can use some of it for their personal needs, some of it for their Home and Area, and then share as much as possible with WS. Can we clarify how much is a "large windfall"?
       A: The principle applies regardless of whether someone receives $10,000 or $110,000; it's just the percentage that they might wish to share with their Area and WS which may vary.

A. Small Homes Favored in Area Votes
       Q-71: When speaking of Home Referendums which establish Area goals, {\b \i Election Rules, }D.1.b), pg. 144, it states, "Each Home, regardless of size, counts as one vote." This makes it possible for a minority of the Area population to get a majority of the votes. By giving each Home one vote, a few larger Homes with a majority of the population could be outvoted by a greater number of smaller Homes who vote against them. Shouldn't the vote each Home carries be proportional to their adult population?
       A: When finalizing the Charter, we faced a decision of tilting the balance in favor of large Homes or small Homes. We decided to favor the smaller Homes, as it is important to gear Area goals to these smaller field Homes, not only the larger Homes which are usually in the main cities.

B. Area Goals to Determine Acceptable/Unacceptable Behavior
       Q-72: As explained in {\b \i Responsibilities of Individual Members, }Q, pg. 9, D.O. Homes are responsible to "endeavor to conduct themselves as good Christians, showing outgoing love and concern for others, and refrain from activities or behavior that would be a reproach to the cause of Christ and/or reflect negatively on the Family."
       Could Area or country guidelines be established by leadership so that Homes would know what would be considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the different countries?
       A: Yes, such guidelines could be established as Area goals which are carried out by a Home Referendum amongst the Homes affected, following the procedures outlined in the Election Rules, D, "Home Referendum," pg. 144.

C. Tie Vote of Confirmation of Area Officers and/or Area Goals
       Q-73: Regarding the Vote of Confirmation for Area Officers, and votes on Area goals, there's a question as to what would happen if there were a tie. For example, if out of six Homes in an Area, three voted for and three against a certain Officer, what would be the result? Also if an Area Officer didn't get the Vote of Confirmation, with the majority vote against him, does that mean that the CROs have to remove that Area Officer from his position?
       A: Votes of Confirmation, as well as votes for Area goals, must pass by a simple majority; if more than half of the voting Homes do not vote in favor of the measure, as in both of the examples mentioned above, the measure doesn't pass.
       The Authority of Continental Officers, A.2, pg. 84, states, "Officers appointed by the Continental Office must have their appointment confirmed by a simple majority of the Homes in a Vote of Confirmation." In the case of a tie vote, the officer has not received a majority confirmation; therefore the CROs will need to appoint another candidate for that Area Officer position.
       Similarly, the Election Rules, D.2., pg. 144, says about [EDITED: "non-financial"] Area goals: "Area goals are confirmed by a simple majority of the voting Homes." If an Area goal proposal doesn't receive sufficient votes to pass, another referendum for a modified Area goal could be resubmitted by the CRO, giving more facts and/or reasons why they feel it is needful, or presenting new choices. But the bottom line is, if the Homes don't by majority vote accept a referendum, and/or vote to confirm it, then the Area goal can't be implemented.

D. Difference Between Area Goals, and Local Decisions Made by City Councils
       Q-74: What is the difference between Area goals and the Homes themselves getting together in a City Council to decide what they would like to do in their immediate Area?
       A: Although it's the same principle involved, a main difference is that the City Council is a local coordinating body, while an Area goal establishes a policy for a larger area, oftentimes a country or countries, by means of a formal referendum.
       In the latter case, an Area goal is first proposed by the CRO and decided upon by Home Referendum, that is voted on by the Homes in any given country or Area. Though the idea for a Home Referendum may possibly originate from an individual or Home, it is the responsibility of the CRO to communicate with the Homes and put the proposed idea to a vote.
       On the local level, let's say a certain city has five or six Homes, and they form a City Council (as explained in the Right of Mobility, C, explanation, pg. 27). The Homes in that metropolitan area, by way of their City Council, can decide how to coordinate their witnessing and provisioning activities, etc., without the CRO or Area Office's direct involvement. Those decisions would not be considered "Area goals," therefore the VSs and the CROs do not need to get involved in them. (If there are inter-Home problems that the Homes can't seem to work out, the VS does have the authority to try to help them work it out.)

E. Decisions Affecting Homes in Metropolitan City Areas
       Q-75: In multiple-Home cities, there is a need for coordination between the Homes to help direct or focus any overlapping or unified citywide efforts. Provisioning is a good example. In situations like this, should the Area Office or the VSs be involved in the city councils, helping to direct the Homes' unified efforts?
       A: The ideal would be if the Homes within a multiple-Home city, by way of their City Council, decide on issues together as outlined in the Basic Responsibilities of the D.O. Home, J, pg. 48. The VSs should not need to actually participate in these City Councils, though they could if it seems expedient.
       A City Council is meant to be a coordinating body for the Homes in a given city, not a governing body. Neither the chairperson nor any of the other City Council members are the equivalents of the past LASs or DASs and they have no authority, collectively or individually, over the Homes. It's recommended that the City Council have a rotating Chair, to highlight the fact that the council chairmanship is not a local leadership position.

F. Coordinating Witnessing Areas Within a City
       Q-76: An area we feel will probably need to be addressed--perhaps in some Areas more than others--is that of "witnessing zones." This comes up when there are more than one or two Homes in a city. In these multiple-Home cities it is important that a lot of different people don't approach the same people with our tools or sponsorship, fund-raising and provisioning appeals, as this can antagonize rather than win people.
       A: As covered above, Homes located in the same city can get together and discuss and decide locally on such matters in a City Council, or informally.
       As far as how establishing witnessing areas in a given city might work: Let's say the five Homes in the Area have set up a five-man City Council consisting of one Home teamworker from each Home, whom each Home should have elected to represent them. Before the Home representatives go to a City Council meeting, they'll probably inform the other members of their Homes as to what is going to be discussed at that particular meeting. If witnessing areas is going to be on the agenda, the main outreach personnel in one Home might say, "Our preference, if the other Homes are in agreement, would be to get such-and-such part of town." The Home members are going to have to trust their teamworker to represent them when he or she goes to the City Council, but ultimately they need to trust the Lord for the outcome. The Home representative/teamwork wants to do all they can to keep their Home members happy, and they want to keep their witnessing going well, so they have a good incentive for trying to come up with the good witnessing spots for their Home. While the goal is to make the division as fair and equitable as possible, with larger Homes having a larger area, etc., love and unselfishness should be the prevailing spirit at City Council meetings. Each Home, in the person of their representative, should look lovingly on the needs of others and prefer others above themselves (Phi.2:4; Rom.12:10).

A. Rights of an Individual Moving to Another Country
       Q-77: The {\b \i Responsibilities of Continental Officers}, K (explanation), pg. 83, regarding clearances to a country in a different CRO Area, says, "If you receive clearance to a country from the CRO, you have the right to open a Home in any city that doesn't already have a D.O. Home." We were unsure whether this is a deliberate clause meant to deny those who receive clearance from another continent the option to open a Home in a city that has a D.O. Home, or whether they could, provided they follow the {\b \i Procedures for Opening a Home in a City that Already Has a D.O. Home }(pgs. 99-100).{\b \i  }The way the above clause is worded doesn't seem to allow for this possibility. If such is the case, why?
       A: As you suggested, those moving to another CRO Area can open a Home in a city that has a D.O. Home, provided they followed the Procedures for Opening a Home in a City that Already Has a D.O. Home, B and C, pg. 100.
       As far as interpreting things of this nature, basically whatever is not explicitly forbidden in the Charter and the "Fundamental Family Rules" is implicitly permitted. Also, please bear in mind that while framing the Charter we generally attempted to deal with one issue at a time. The points are intertwined of course, but it would have been impossible for us to trace to its conclusion every possible scenario that could stem from each point at hand. This means that you may not always be able to find a single clause that specifically explains the entire procedures to get you from Point A (where you are now) to Point C (where you want to go); in some cases you may need to find one answer that gets you from Point A to Point B, then another that will take you from Point B to Point C.
       Using the above example, one clause may deal with clearances to a country in a different CRO Area (Point A to Point B); however, the accompanying explanation usually does not attempt to cover every option that is open to new personnel once clearance has been granted (Point B to Point C). One such portion may point out that once clearance is granted to a country, the individuals receiving the clearance have the automatic right to open their own Home in any city that does not presently have a D.O. Home (unless a "closed city"). But there are of course other options open to them (such as joining an existing Home, or opening their own Home in a city where D.O. Homes already exist, etc.), providing they follow the proper procedures as outlined in the Right of Mobility section of the Charter (pgs. 18-30).

B. Food Rules
       Q-78: (From a CRO:) A Home asked us if they can eat a certain kind of bread that they get from a contact, which is not made from whole-wheat flour. Also, some Homes ask if it is OK to provision System ice cream. Rather than have to answer such questions, could something be said about this?
       A: Everyone is expected to make their own decisions on such matters based on the appropriate "Fundamental Family Rules." You'll recall The Governing Principles of the Rules, B, pg. 116, says, "Family Rules are to be obeyed at all times by all D.O. members, with exceptions only in rare situations when warranted, or in an unavoidable circumstance...." And clause D, pg. 117, goes on to say, "All matters that are not addressed in the `Charter of Responsibilities and Rights' and `Fundamental Family Rules' should be decided upon by the individual and/or the Home after prayer, counsel, and the reading of the Bible, the MLs and other Family publications."
       The Food and Drink Rules, A & B, pg. 125, address "Biblically unclean food" as well as "junk food, foods and drinks with high sugar content, white sugar, white flour and products made with such." These are foods which we trust Homes are going to "avoid as much as possible ... except when unavoidable and on appropriate occasions."
       If a Home occasionally provisions bread that is not completely whole-wheat and/or has ice cream for their monthly birthday parties, and so forth, this is certainly tolerable. However, if an individual or Home is overusing or abusing this "exception" clause, the VS or CRO has the right to bring this to their attention. The Responsibilities and Authority of Area Officers, G, pg. 87, says Area Officers are responsible to " ... offer advice and counsel to help [EDITED: "Homes"] progress spiritually, physically or organizationally, as well as advice on the well-being of the members, including children. If and how such advice is implemented must be agreed upon by a simple majority of the Home." Clause I, pg. 88, gives Area Officers the authority to "determine, through visitation, observation and investigation, as well as discussion with Home members, whether a Home and/or individuals within the Home are fulfilling the Responsibilities of Individual Members and/or the Responsibilities of a D.O. Home."

       Q-79: {\b Even though we encourage our Homes to provision healthy food, they may get something like pork sausages from a new contact. Of course, this can sometimes be due to a weakness in some of our Homes--lack of faith in provisioning. In the long run, of course, they can and should explain to such a contact that we don't eat certain unclean foods and that we prefer other meats. But could they accept the first offer from this new contact and then lovingly explain to them why we don't eat it, and what we prefer, if they can supply it? We could possibly offend a new contact as much as someone that invites us to their house to eat. There's a quote from Dad that says, "They've just got to go ahead and eat by faith! This is what Paul told his disciples. The question came up the other day about someone who was given a lot of pork through provisioning, and asked if they should eat it. I said, `Of course! Whatever the }Lord provides, you eat!'" (ML #2546:57, GN 396).
       A: As covered in the previous answer, we feel a Home has the leeway to occasionally eat provisioned "unclean" food like well-cooked pork sausages if this is what the Lord provides. However, an Area Officer would have every right to speak up if a Home is continually seeking to provision unclean or non-recommended food.

C. Contact Lenses, Dental Braces and Sunbathing
       Q-80: Some pubs stress, through giving experiences people have had, that contact lenses are not good for your eyes. My daughter asked if she could use contact lenses when she is singing and dancing with her show group. Her glasses are quite thick, and when she is dancing she takes them off because they aren't comfortable and can fall and break. But this means that she can't see the audience that she is singing to! So my daughter would like to have contact lenses for these times, but use her glasses when she is at home or doing other witnessing. I don't want to start anything new or set a sample that would not be good in my position as a shepherd. My question is, would this be a Matthew 9:29 situation?
       Also, some parents would like to use braces on their children's teeth, but it has been brought up that we don't recommend it because generally they are used for cosmetic or vanity purposes. We have some children whose teeth are so crooked it is difficult for them to chew. Can this type of decision be made by the parents or the Home which would be involved in provisioning the dental/orthodontic work, and would it be a decision for them to make rather than leadership getting involved in a decision like this?
       A: Because we have not forbidden contact lenses, nor braces on children's teeth, etc., in the Charter, it means we are generally allowing individuals the right to prayerfully make such decisions, expecting they will consult Family pubs on the subject, and pray and hear from the Lord on the matter.
       VSs have the authority to bring to the attention of parents relevant articles in Family pubs--in this case, those having to do with contact lenses or dental braces--and offer their counsel, as per the Responsibilities and Authority of Area Officers, G, pg. 87: A VS can, "when visiting a Home, offer advice and counsel on ways to help a Home progress spiritually, physically or organizationally, as well as advice on the well-being of the members, including children. How and if such advice is implemented must be agreed upon by a majority of the Home." So essentially the final decision rests with the parents and their Home in such cases.
       You also mentioned, "I don't want to start anything new or set a sample that would not be good in my position as a shepherd." This is a very responsible attitude to have, since whatever leadership does will continue to have a lot of influence in setting and maintaining a sample that others follow. So while Mat.9:29 applies, so does "in a multitude of counselors there is safety" (Pro.11:14b).

       Q-81: Is sunbathing acceptable? We ask because excessive sunbathing can be quite dangerous, and rules have been set for arguably less dangerous offenses, such as drinking too much coffee or tea. Just because certain things are not found in the Charter, it doesn't necessarily mean that we can now do or use certain things that in the past Dad has been quite firmly against, does it?
       A: First of all, the Preface to the "Fundamental Family Rules," pg. 115, says: "Any `rules' that are not included in the "Fundamental Family Rules" are not to be viewed as overall Family rules. This does not mean that any of Dad or Mama's counsel from the Letters that has not been included in the Charter should be ignored, or that it no longer applies. The counsel in the Letters still very much applies, and should be implemented as needed in your personal and local situations."
       On this subject of sunbathing, it should be pointed out that although Dad has cracked down on individuals who went to extremes, he never considered it a sin for someone to be somewhat tanned, or to get good healthy exercise out in the sun. It's excessive sunbathing that is dangerous and that we are against.
       Since enough "guidelines" have been published outlining the dangers of excessive sun, especially for fair-haired and fair-skinned individuals and children, we feel the Family can make their own personal decision concerning this matter. Thus we didn't feel it was necessary to include a rule in the Charter regarding sunbathing, nor attempt to legislate the amount of time someone can spend in the sun, especially since conditions vary so much worldwide.
       Since whatever is not explicitly forbidden in the Charter or "Fundamental Family Rules" cannot be enforced as a Family rule, this matter is therefore left up to the individual. Of course, this is not to say that you can't remind someone of what Dad has written on the subject, warning of the dangers of melanoma, and so forth. A Home could also, by a simple majority, make a Home Regulation on how much sunbathing is permissible by its members, as outlined in Responsibilities of Individual Members, M, pg. 7, which each Home member would then be required to abide by in order to retain their membership in that Home.

[EDITED: "end"]

Copyright © 1996 by The Family