If this is love…

hypocrite - stockHow many times have you heard the scripture quoted that says we must “love our neighbor as ourselves?”

It’s one of those scriptures that most people have heard regardless of their religious affiliation. It’s one of those verses that goes hand in hand with the Gospels’ “Golden Rule” to “do unto others as you would have done to you”—a teaching common to many traditions.

In this vein, a recent Watchtower article about “loving one’s neighbor” referenced the scripture at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, which defines “love” that went on to state:

Just as God has shown patience and kindness in dealing with imperfect humans, we must be patient and kind when others make mistakes and are thoughtless, or even rude.

The article continued:

Genuine love is not easily provoked and “does not keep account of the injury,” as though we were making entries in a ledger when others do something unloving.

It closed with this comment:

If someone offends us but asks for forgiveness, love moves us to forgive him.1

However, this explanation of what “love” is flies in the face of their extreme shunning policy. They claim that their disfellowshipping arrangement is an act of love. But how can it be “love” if people are injured by it? Where is the patience, kindness, and forgiveness? How many times do we hear of former members who were judged harshly, unfairly, or even harassed into making declarations of guilt?

Some, like me, refused to attend a judicial committee and were notified that they were cut off from family and friends via registered letter. Like an axe fall, their family ties were severed. This is love???

In 2004, there was a question from a reader of the Awake! magazine (another Watch Tower Society publication) in which the reader questioned the use of the term “unconditional love” used in a previous article. The writers replied, “The phrase ‘unconditional love’ was used to suggest that parents should not imply that their love for their children is fragile or tenuous—that it might be withdrawn at any moment because of some failing on the child’s part or that the child is obliged to earn parental love by doing everything just right.”2

Yet, is this not exactly what families do when they cut off a loved one in their family due to outside pressure from church policy enforcers? They make it clear that their love IS fragile and tenuous.

If you’ve ever wondered what kind of influence and pressure Jehovah’s Witnesses are under to shun their own family members, take a few minutes to watch and listen to the following video of a talk given by Watch Tower Society representative Steven Bell.3 If this is love…

Psychology Today refers to shunning as “silent bullying.”4  Anthropologist Janice Harper elaborates in another article, stating,

“To targets of shunning, the near instantaneous isolation almost always comes as a shock, and the intensifying silence that encircles them is indeed deadly. The impact of shunning is so severe that those religions, organizations and families which routinely employ it, do so because they know just how effective a form of social control the practice can be, debilitating even the strongest people once it commences.”

Harper goes on to say,

“To survive as humans, we must rely on social support, and when we withdraw that support on the basis of unpopularity we might advance our own social survival, but we erode our own capacity for compassion and our own potential to be fully human and humane. Whether we shun someone professionally in the name of professionalism, in our religious institutions in the name of God, or in our own families in the name of pride, we lessen ourselves, our spirits and our humanity. Silence is not always golden; it is deadly when it extends to shunning….”5

If this is love. . .

Jehovah’s Witnesses need to ask themselves why the Watchtower’s teachings and publications seem to have double standards when defining “love.” The public needs to ask why it turns a blind eye to this silent bullying that is happening all around the world in high control groups. Some day soon I hope we can agree to treat each other with mutual respect and compassion, helping instead of harming our fellow humans.

The Dalai Lama once said,

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”

END NOTES:


1. The Watchtower – 2014, w14 6/15 pp. 17-21, “You Must Love Your Neighbor as Yourself”
2. Awake!—2004, g04 2/8 p. 30
3. Video by John Cedars, JWSurvey.org
Posted on by June 18, 2014
Steph Le Gardener

About Steph Le Gardener

I'm a former 4th generation JW who's been out since 1992, re-creating my world and family of the heart. I keep busy with my work for a not-for-profit organization which specializes in education for senior leadership in healthcare, as well as my many hobbies, including: gardening, crafting, nature photography, reading, and writing. For nearly eight years, I've been an active voice in the ex-JW community, supporting those who have found their way out of cult life, and now I add my voice with others as an active volunteer for Advocates of Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA). I can be reached at writers@aawa.co.

Comments

If this is love… — 10 Comments

  1. Great article highlighting the extreme hypocrisy within JWs, Steph! Loved the quote from Questions from Readers. Nice work!

    • Thanks, Isabella! This topic is near and dear to my heart. I have seen thousands feel the sting of the Watch Tower Society’s brand of love, which is nothing more than emotional abuse. People should be allowed the freedom to love their families in a natural way without coercion from any outside source. The manipulation by the Society is horrendous.

  2. This organisation do not know the meaning of any type of love. There love is conditional upon YOU following their extreme non Biblical rules. We have learnt far more on forgiveness since we became real followers of the Lord Yeshua…read our article on bitterness and forgiveness on our web site http://www.lifespringchurchcyprus.org blessings from former JW of 47 years David

  3. An elder had affair with my wife and I have been paying the price. Their policies and judiciary system is a kind of politics and tricks to silence people who start to Awake!

  4. Great article Steph! It reminds me of an Awake June 2013 article where it is admitted that the “silent treatment” is used to manipulate people. In the context of a marriage it said, “He then gives his wife the silent treatment, shunning her in the hope that she will break down and concede to his wishes”. The Governing Body certainly know what they are doing. I hope in time they will be made accountable.

  5. I was DF at the age of 15. I am now 38. To this day my mother brother and sister do not talk to me. They have missed out on my marriage, my two beautiful daughters, my whole life! The extreme shunning from my family is very painful, even to this day… Learning the truth about the truth has given me a different perspective and that perspective is utter confusion. I truly believe that Jehovah does not condone the tough love attitudes set forth by the society. It is hurtful, unforgiving and most of all is non Christlike. Jesus forgave murders and harlots. Does the organization consider me worse than a murderer or harlot??? I was df for the giving of blood at a school blood-drive. I was to immature to make a life decision, (baptism). I have paid the price many times over. When is enough, enough??! I pray Jehovah brings to light sooner than later, the detrimental and unbiblical teachings of the watchtower bible and tract society.

  6. JW claims to know what is love or unconditional love, but in their organization they don’t have it. The main reason because they cut off God and they view everyone on Earth as enemies of God if they are not JW. Whatever religion that you believe in it says in the Holy text that God reached out to people because he loves people and all of his creation deeply. In some religions, he came as an incarnate in order to establish direction or examples and relationship with mankind. God did not shun out anyone, but came on Earth to do his leadership teaching about love, peace, respect, truth, good actions, and more. He wants people to establish a relationship with him a deep one and to understand their purpose in life. He also wants people to make a positive impact to nature, people, and animals through good works (such as environmental and animal protection, volunteering at animal shelter, help the poor, clean litter, plant trees, being a positive role model to others, and other ways). JW doesn’t believe in God’s teaching, but sin using the bible to attack others beliefs and to convert them into their JW in order to cut off people from God and the world.

  7. JW thinks they are above God, above the law, above humanity, and above all of creation. Does this sound anything Godly or what God would teach? The answer is A Big NO! The only person that humans need to submit to is God through your own prayer or talk with God. It doesn’t require any organization or anything, just a personal deep prayer or talk with God at your home or anywhere whether it’s driving your car, sitting on the bus, at the library, in your yard, or anywhere you can just think and speak quietly in our heart and mind and God will listen. Submit to the Lord and he will show what Love is and he will do what he can to establish a deep relationship with you.

Share your thoughts . . .