LC: 51. HOME LIFE RULES
A. When one leaves the Home's property, he or she should go with another member as a safety precaution, in accordance with the Scriptural admonition in Luke 10:1. There may be times when this is not possible, but such times should be infrequent and generally only for emergencies, or for a good reason agreed to by a Home officer.
Going two by two is Scriptural and a wise principle that Jesus established, and this rule has been in place since the beginning of the Family. There are, of course, times when it's not possible to go two-by-two, but for the most part, members should. When it is deemed not possible, it should be with the agreement of a Home teamwork member.
In most cases you should try to take as a partner someone who is able to be of assistance in case of an emergency. For instance, your partner should be old enough and responsible enough to telephone the Home in case of any problems or if they were to get separated from you. Determining whether a child is responsible enough to be a partner on a particular occasion will also depend on where you are going, how far from Home, if you will be driving or taking public transport, etc., and should be a matter that is counseled about and agreed upon by the Home teamwork.
Our rule [is] going at least two by two wherever you go, not only for strength and companionship, but also for the sake of safety and a legal witness and emergency messenger in case anything happens that needs help! (ML #155:65).
B. Homes should take precautions to keep their mailing and other address lists secure.
The names, mailing addresses, and telephone numbers of provisioning and other contacts are your private business and therefore should be kept safe and secure. It's very important to keep such files secure, and encrypted when possible, and/or in a safe place, so they will not be stolen or fall into the hands of our detractors or others.
The most important thing to protect is the work and the Family, and first of all, that means your mailing list, the addresses of Homes and families throughout the land (ML #953-2:1).
Be sure you don't betray your own brethren by not having destroyed all excess files and records and correspondence and stats and names and addresses, only keeping the ones you absolutely have to have for reference! (ML #1889:97.)
C. Computer files (other than programs) must be kept encrypted, and be "wiped" after they have been erased.
Computers are capable of storing a great deal of information, much of which is private. Personal and Home computer files should be encrypted when not in use so the information will not be stolen. When a file is deleted, it should be "wiped" to ensure that the file or disk is totally wiped clean. Simply erasing or deleting a file does not take the information off the computer; it basically only takes the file name off and the actual text can still be retrieved from the hard disk or floppy disk.
These [communications] all must be very secure, including our records and stats, etc., and not permitted to be neglected or kept in unsafe places or operated unsafely with any measure of insecurity, if at all possible (ML #1677:26).
D. Members must endeavor to protect the safety and security of their Home and other Homes.
1. Homes wishing to pub their street, PO box or e-mail address, or their telephone number in any continental or WS publication, must have a majority agreement of their Home to do so. A Home teamwork member must submit the request.
See LNF 260 for more details on this.
Security is essential to success if we're going to survive and keep going and keep preaching and keep our lives and disciples and continue the Message with the men and the methods and the organization and communications (ML #1677:26).
E. Selah trash is to be burned or shredded regularly (recommended daily).
Be very sure that no confidential materials or papers or identifying envelops, etc., bearing names, addresses, or other selah information is ever placed in trash containers which are emptied by the System! Burn or destroy these separately in your own wood stove or fireplace (ML #155:51).
F. Members must keep their personal legal papers in order and up to date.
Members need to make sure that they have copies of their legal documents available. It's wise to carry sufficient and appropriate identification with you when you're off the Home's property. What you would choose to carry would depend on where you live. In many places a driver's license or local identification card will suffice. In other places a photocopy of your passport would be enough. If you have to carry your actual passport, please make sure it is kept in a safe place, like in a money belt, or in a neck pouch inside your shirt.
In some countries carrying identification is not required by law; however, it is a good safety precaution to carry ID at all times when out.
Everyone's papers and passports and visas should be in order (ML #1067:140).
You don't always have to use your precious passport itself for identification! Sometimes just a driver's license or registration card or some other personal I.D. will do (ML #1021:5).
G. To ensure the privacy of our members and their Homes, members should preferably use modem communications instead of live phone calls between Homes. Additionally, e-mail or other modem communications between Homes should be secure.
Some areas may have had certain local rules concerning whether Homes could call other Homes, or their area office, directly from their Home. Any such rules should be decided upon by a Home referendum of all the Homes in that area.
Using modems is the preferred method of communicating by phone because, among other things, it saves time and money. It also helps to eliminate misunderstandings because the message is written instead of simply spoken. We realize that not every Home will always have a modem, but no matter what phone methods you use, you should make sure you are being wise and secure in what you say on the phone. More and more as time goes on, phone communications are becoming easier for others to listen in on, particularly cellular phones.
H. Homes that consist of four or less voting members must have at least some of their members meet for fellowship and prayer with another nearby Home a minimum of once a month. A "nearby Home" is one that is not more than two hours away by land or water transportation.
Although our larger Homes have a greater measure of fellowship, such is not the case with smaller Homes. And because we feel that Homes with four or less voting members may become rather dry spiritually without fellowship with other Homes, we want to encourage them to have regular fellowship with other Family members. However, in light of the time and logistics involved in organizing such a fellowship, it is only required that such small Homes fellowship with other Homes if they are nearby.
If the rule were to state that every Home that has four voting members or under must visit another Home once a month, it might cause a great deal of hardship in some cases. For example, if the nearest Home is 1,000 miles away and you must go there every month, that is going to be very expensive and quite taxing. You'd either have to fly, or it would take a day or two to drive there and another day or two to drive back, plus the day of fellowship, so that's five days out of your month!
If the nearby Home is a maximum of two hours away by car, bus, train or ferry, then it is much more feasible to visit once a month. The travel and fellowship time could be done in one day and shouldn't cause any undue hardship. Exceptions may be made for reasons of health.
There are times when you need to fellowship and share each other's problems and joys and victories and projects and plans and needs, etc. It certainly is a command of the Lord by the Holy Spirit through His Apostle that you should assemble yourselves together! (ML #1001:55, 98.)
[If] a large Home is already having good fellowship within their Home, then we won't require that they fellowship with another Home. But I still feel they should try to, at least occasionally (ML #2532:9).
I. The Home decides, by a two-thirds majority, if any of its members may take outside employment or engage in business, which members may do so, and what employment may be taken, or business engaged in.
In some cases, some Home members might desire to take a secular job or perhaps run a business, as a means of support. As the "Charter of Responsibilities and Rights" does not specifically prohibit it, it is generally allowed. We are not recommending it, but it's not forbidden. Since such a decision affects the Home, financially and otherwise, it will be the Home that decides, by two-thirds majority, if they will allow any of their members to get a job. They should also discuss and decide who can get a job and what kind of job is acceptable. Remember, if you want to get a certain job and the Home doesn't want you to, the Home's decision prevails; but you can seek out another Home or start your own if you don't want to abide by the decisions of the Home you are in.
We believe you should certainly pray that if the Lord wants you to take on one of those System jobs, that He will open up the one for you that will be the most fruitful in witnessing as well as in support, and the one least demanding in hours, subject matter and other requirements (ML #2406:107).
J. The Home decides, by a two-thirds majority, if any of its children, teens or adults may attend outside schools or engage in outside classes, who may do so, and what schools or classes may be attended.
Similar to the situation with adults getting outside employment, the Charter does not specifically prohibit children attending System school, so it is generally allowed. We are not recommending it, but it's not forbidden. Since such a decision affects the Home, it will be the Home that decides, by two-thirds majority, if they will allow any of their children to attend outside schools. The voting members should also discuss and decide which children should go to an outside school and what kind of situation is acceptable. Remember, if you want to send your children to a certain school and the Home doesn't want you to, the Home's decision prevails; but you can seek out another Home or start your own if you don't want to abide by the decisions of the Home you are in.
Some of the teens or adults may want to attend a night class on some subject that would be helpful to their ministry or that they have a particular interest in. If the Home is in agreement with the plan and the subjects, they can vote to allow it.
We're for the most part trying to encourage [the Family] that they can teach their own children, have their own childcare workers and their own teachers, if possible. If not, they can send them to the local System [school] if they have to! (ML #332B:80.)
K. It is recommended that members select movies they view from the "Movie Lists" published by World Services and follow the advice as to the selection of the film, the age group for which the film is suggested, and the appropriateness of the film for the target audience. It is not recommended that you watch a movie that is not on the list, but it's not forbidden.
If you feel that a movie (or portions of it) is suitable for an age group younger than the suggested rating, you may show it to them, provided you have previewed the movie, and counseled about its suitability with a responsible adult.
1. If a Home plans to watch a movie that is not listed on a WS Movie List (or other Family publication), the Home must appoint a preview committee of at least two members 18 or older to judge the suitability of the movie and the age group(s) to which it can be shown. It is recommended that if possible, a member of the Home's officers be on the preview committee. The previewing committee has the authority to disqualify a movie for Home viewing.
a) An exception to this rule could be if the movie has already been previewed and recommended by another Home previewing team who has watched the movie with the age group they are recommending it for, or by an area or continental officer.
We realize that it's not always possible to select movies from the WS movie guides. But we feel it is imperative that any movies not chosen from the WS movie guide be screened and approved by a preview committee before being shown to the entire Home or groups of the Home's teens or children. Therefore we have amended the Charter to make it a rule that any movies not on a WS-recommended movie list be previewed before being watched by the Home.
We hope that in most cases, Homes will select the movies they watch from those rated by WS in the Grapevine, Family Movie Guides or other Family publications. However, in cases where rated films are unavailable and/or the Home wants to watch a film that has not yet been rated (such as a new release), it's important that the film first be "screened" in order to make sure it is appropriate for the Home, particularly if the planned audience will include teens, JETTs or children. In other words, the Home teamwork must not go solely on the recommendation of someone who may have seen the movie (unless the recommendation comes from another Home's teamwork or an area or continental officer, as explained above). They should appoint a Home previewing team of at least two people, including a teamwork member if possible, responsible to preview the movie.
While this may be an inconvenience, it will save time in the long run from having to deal with the negative repercussions that a bad movie could have on people. You may want to review what Dad has said in the Letters about System movies to help your Home in previewing and selecting videos.
I think the choice of movies for young people--children and teenagers--is extremely serious and should be taken very soberly, and the adults should make sure that it's the right kind of movie to really portray the right things in the right light and with a good lesson application at the end that will stick with them (ML #2451:47).
L. Because of the unedifying nature of a great deal of System music, Family members must follow the counsel given in the MLs and other Family publications when selecting music to listen to, such as "New Music for a New Day" (ML #3022, GN 658, Lifelines 22).
There is an extremely wide spectrum of System music, some of which is Godly and edifying and much of which is not. It is not possible to legislate exactly what kinds of music can and cannot be listened to. There are a number of Letters from Dad and Mama, as well as various Hope Mags and other pubs on the subject that give the guidelines for listening to System music. Family members are expected to follow this counsel when selecting music to listen to.
Some of music's message is the deafening roar of Satan himself--the old lion going around seeking whom he may devour. [But] the sweet, heavenly music lifts you into heavenly spheres, transports your spirit into heavenly places and makes you want to be good and do good, and inspires you to higher things--this is the Voice of God! (ML #326:28,29.)
(Maria:) Grandpa has explained many times that music is very powerful, and it can have either a positive or negative effect on us. Music is a vehicle for the spirits who inspired the composers to convey their message to generations afterwards. Knowing this, we can all agree that listening to the wrong music is like playing with fire (ML #2891:55).
M. Members who wish to read books or have their children read books other than educational textbooks, or those on the recommended book lists, must receive the agreement of a simple majority of their Home.
Ecclesiastes 12:12 says, "Of making many books there is no end." The World is full of millions upon millions of books, some good, some bad, some edifying, others not. It would be impossible for WS to make a comprehensive list of acceptable books as we have done with movies. Because of this, if someone in the Home wishes to read a book, other than an educational textbook or a book included in a WS recommended book list, they must first explain to their Home which book they wish to read, and the Home must agree by a simple majority.
Like movies or music, books are spiritual food, and if you eat bad food, it does you harm. Certainly not all books are bad, but neither are all good, so care must be taken in the choice of reading material, especially in our busy lifestyle. Although some books, like some novels, are not unedifying, they nevertheless generally take a fairly long time to read, which would take away from our more important duties like reading the Word, witnessing, fellowshipping with others, etc. When deeply engrossed in the reading of a novel, the reader can often tune out what is going on around them and become absorbed in and sometimes even addicted to the novel. Such absorption can be spiritually detrimental. For this reason it is necessary for the Home to come to an agreement if they will permit a member to read a specific book other than educational textbooks or those on the recommended book lists.
Books were my downfall. They nearly ruined me! I oughta know--I used to have a whole roomful of 'em, so many I couldn't even read 'em all, until the Lord showed me I didn't have time to read books if I didn't have enough time to read my Bible (ML #54:45).
Each book would have to be judged individually. Moreover, it would probably depend a great deal on the person themselves and what effect the book would have on them. ... I'm quite surprised to think that our young people would have a lot of extra time to read, especially considering that there are thousands of pages of past Letters, and hundreds of pages of new literature being printed each month on many different subjects. I know that other books have their appeal, but the Letters have the power to give us the strength for these Endtime battles. There are a lot of other books that are good and interesting and informative, but if they take away from our time in the Word, they can be detrimental to our spiritual--and even our practical--growth (ML #2931:21,22).
The criterion is not "Will it hurt'm?" but "Is it good for'm?"--Is it edifying, profitable, inspiring and does it teach a good lesson? (ML #1643:136.)
It's so much simpler to do the things that make us feel good and don't require such a spiritual effort or struggle. It's so much easier and more fun to sit down with some System novel and escape into the world of romance, mystery or adventure.--And once you get hooked, to keep doing it over and over again. ... The Enemy has many ways of lulling us to sleep and of getting us to waste God's precious time with activities that don't count towards Eternity (ML #2931:76,79).
If [our school-aged children are] interested in poetry or various other kinds of literature, you could let them read it if they want to, the writings of various famous poets and authors like Shakespeare, Scott, etc. If they want to read books, let them read historical fiction or just plain straight history. ... (Maria: There'd be enough special projects just stemming from the MO Letters, things that they'd want to learn more about.) (ML #371:46,47).
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