Shunning

Lonely Man-bw

The Watchtower instructs Jehovah’s Witnesses to disfellowship and shun members deemed “wicked.”

“Disfellowship: To “remove the wicked man” or woman from the congregation.” Watchtower 2011 Jul 15 p.23

“Thus ‘disfellowshiping’ is what Jehovah’s Witnesses appropriately call the expelling and subsequent shunning of such an unrepentant wrongdoer.” Watchtower;1981 Sep 15 p.22

Disfellowshipped members are judged to have unrepentantly committed any of a set of prescribed infringements, such as fornication or smoking. They might even be someone who merely disagrees with Watchtower doctrine openly.

Even family members must not speak to a disfellowshipped person under almost any circumstance.

“Really, what your beloved family member needs to see is your resolute stance to put Jehovah above everything else – including the family bond. … Do not look for excuses to associate with a disfellowshipped family member, for example, through e-mail.” Watchtower 2013 Jan 15 p.16

“… a simple “Hello” to someone can be the first step that develops into a conversation and maybe even a friendship. Would we want to take that first step with a disfellowshiped person?” Watchtower 1981 Sep 15 p.25

This is justified on the basis that if a person is disfellowshipped, they must be wicked.

Unscriptural

The term disfellowship does not appear in the Bible and the current Watchtower doctrine is derived from selective misapplication of Scripture.

Watchtower maintains that Jesus should be our perfect role model when it comes to how we treat others. And yet there is no record of Jesus shunning anyone. If anything, he was renowned for speaking to all kinds of people, including sinners. Jesus’ advice on such matters was based on principles of love, where he instructed his followers not to judge, but rather to be loving and merciful to all.

Luke 6:27-37 But I say to YOU who are listening, Continue to love YOUR enemies, to do good to those hating YOU … Continue becoming merciful, just as YOUR Father is merciful. Moreover, stop judging, and YOU will by no means be judged; and stop condemning, and YOU will by no means be condemned.”

Originally, the Watchtower followed these principles, and if a person was deemed to be engaged in wrongdoing, the person was not shunned, but treated in a “kindly, courteous way in which it would be proper for us to treat any publican or Gentile, withholding the special rights or privileges or greetings or voting opportunities that belong to the church as a class separate from the world.” (w1919 51 p.69) The current practice of disfellowshipping was not instigated until the 1950’s, and as late as 1947 excommunication was described as a pagan means for church leaders to gain tyrannical power. (g47 1/8 p.27)

Watchtower now ignores Christ’s example, not to mention their own historical teachings, and chooses to emphasize two Scriptures, 1 Corinthians 5:11 and 2 John 10. Whilst these passages show a basis for limiting association with wrongdoers, the Watchtower application goes well beyond what is written.

1 Corinthians 5:11 “But now I am writing YOU to quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man. For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Do YOU not judge those inside, while God judges those outside? Remove the wicked [man] from among yourselves.”

At 1 Corinthians 5, Paul did not demand strict shunning. Rather, he advised not to socialise with a person claiming to be a brother who is practicing wrongdoing. If the person is no longer engaged in the wrongdoing or no longer identifies himself (or herself) as “a brother,” then this passage should no longer apply. 1 Corinthians 5 does not say to completely shun a person, nor does it indicate application to immediate family members. Furthermore, it is only applied to six specific practices. The Watchtower has extended this list to over 30 offences, including practices never condemned in the Bible, such as smoking, gambling, and receiving a blood transfusion.

The second scripture the Watchtower frequently draws on is 2 John.

2 John 7 -11 “For many deceivers have gone forth into the world, persons not confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Look out for yourselves, that YOU do not lose the things we have worked to produce, but that YOU may obtain a full reward. Everyone that pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. He that does remain in this teaching is the one that has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to YOU and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into YOUR homes or say a greeting to him. For he that says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.”

The Watchtower decree to not say “a simple ‘Hello’” (w81 9/15 p.25) is based on a misapplication of this passage, since 2 John 10 is discussing the Antichrist.

Not only does the Watchtower extend its application of 1 Corinthians 5 and 2 John well beyond their intended meaning, it has also created a legislative process without Scriptural support. People that have been through a judicial committee regularly describe it as a star chamber, as the accused sits in a secret meeting before a minimum of three elders. The accused is forbidden to bring witnesses, to record the proceedings or to have legal representation, and is often asked to discuss the accusation of wrongdoing in intimate detail.

Unethical

“If no one turned around when we entered, answered when we spoke, or minded what we did, but if every person we met ‘cut us dead’ and acted as if we were nonexistent things, a kind of rage and impotent despair would before long well up in us, from which the cruellest bodily torture would be a relief; for these would make us feel that, however bad might be our plight, we had not sunk to such a depth as to be unworthy of attention at all.” (The Principles of Psychology Volume 1 pp.293-4 William James Dover Publications)

Human beings need the love and affection of their families. Social psychologists have discovered that within five minutes of ostracism, basic human needs are threatened.[1] If this can happen in five minutes, imagine the torment inflicted on a person when they are shunned day after day, year after year, without so much as an email or text message.

Being disfellowshipped causes serious emotional side effects. Those that believe Watchtower doctrine are told that whilst disfellowshipped they are condemned to everlasting destruction. To be reinstated, they are expected to attend Watchtower meetings regularly for at least six months, sitting at the back of the hall and being ignored by everyone there. Those who become unbelievers, with no intention of returning to the Watchtower Society, realize they are unlikely to freely associate with Witness family and friends for the remainder of their lives.

It is therefore with good reason that Steven Hassan, in Combating Cult Mind Control[2] advises on the first question a person should ask before joining any controversial group:

“Does your group impose restrictions on communicating with former members? This is one of the most revealing sets of questions you can ask any cult member. Any legitimate organization would never discourage contact with former members.”

Why it must be stopped

Disfellowshipping is not an insignificant issue. Figures supplied in the Watchtower indicate that 1% of Jehovah’s Witnesses are disfellowshipped each year[3] and only one third return.[4] On that basis, there are over one million people currently in a disfellowshipped state. Almost all of the seven million active Witnesses are also affected, as most have friends or relatives they are expected to shun.
DFover30yrs

Although Jehovah’s Witnesses are not the only religion to impose shunning, the Watchtower regulations are among the most extreme, and quite possibly affect the highest number of individuals.

The United Nations recognises the importance of the family unit to society and as being a fundamental human right. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12 states:

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.”

It is time for governments to acknowledge that shunning is an illegal violation of important human rights, and for these to take appropriate action against religious groups that insist on enforcing this evil practice.

Further Reading

For an in-depth discussion on disfellowshipping, see jwfacts.com/shun.


Footnotes

[1] Williams, K., & Carter-Sowel, A. (2007). Ostracism. In R. Baumeister, & K. Vohs (Eds.), Encyclopedia of social psychology. (pp.642-644). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412956253.n384

[2] Park Street Press 1990, page 109

[3] ”In recent years disfellowshippings worldwide have been approximately 1 percent of publishers.” Watchtower 1992 Jul 1 p.19

[4] Statistics provided in Watchtower 1974 Aug 1 p. 466 and Watchtower 1960 Dec 1 p.728 indicate that roughly only 1/3 return.

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Comments

Shunning — 68 Comments

  1. Bravo pourcet article.Je me suis retirée volontairement ( j’en avais assez de leurs fausses révélations) il y a 6 mois après 54 ans. Ma famille me hait mais bien que je me retrouve seule avec mon chat (à 70 ans), je garde la tête haute (comme le coq qui continue de chanter avec les pattes dans la boue), heureuse d’être sortie enfin de cette organisation satanique. J’ai acquis une foi solide en Jésus et je refuse de me laisser détruire. Votre site est pour moi d’un très grand réconfort. Merci.

  2. Thanks a lot for this article! And especially for the scriptural arguments. (I don’t need them to think, I need them to argue.)

  3. This article well illustrates the imminent need for the Governing body to change their stand on the disfellowshipping arrangement. I have no problem with anyone that is a JW or anyone that wants to be one, however I take exception to the organisation leaders abusing their position to manipulate members through the practice of shunning. A recent Watchtower article actually inferred that the practice of shunning was a good motivating factor for disfellowshipped members to return. Such candid and frank openness is quite incredible because it implies that disfellowshipped ones would return because of a desire to associate with loved ones again. For an organisation that claims to be God’s divinely appointed slave class, should the motivating factor for a disfellowshipped ones return not be a restored relationship with God? It is clear that the Governing body of JW’s use shunning to control members. Governments must put in place laws that stop such action so that people can be safeguarded from this kind of abuse. AAWA will help people thinking about becoming one of JW’s make a well informed decision, and for now that’s a start. Thanks for the article Paul.

    • Good point Phil. The Watchtower 2012 Apr 15 p.12 said ” However, because he did not receive even the slightest communication from any of his family, the burning desire to be with them became one motivating factor in his restoring his relationship with Jehovah.” It shows the Watchtower unashamedly admitting that shunning is used to bribe people back into the religion.

    • Good points…I’ve know many who returned simply to have contact with relatives, then after reinstatement stopped attending meetings. I read Franz’s ‘Crisis of Conscious’ and was moved by his statement refering to Proverbs ‘there is a friend sticking closer than a brother in a time of need’ He then said ….. ‘I once thought I had many such friends but in the end I had very few’…..sometimes I feel so alone………..

    • This is what really gets me too Phil; the pure idea of repentance and returning to God seems to have been lost somewhere along the way.

  4. Treatment of Disassociated or Disfellowshipped

    “Under Watchtower doctrine, after baptism it is considered so wrong to change religions that JW family members living outside the immediate household are absolutely prohibited from communicating with such a person on any subject at all, with the sole exception of “necessary family business”. Family members are compelled under threat of being excommunicated themselves to shun the person who changed their religion”.

    Few JW’s know this but the position as indicated in the Shepherd the Flock of God Book with regard to association with disfellowshipped or disassociated RELATIVES who are NOT living with family members is that any RELATIVES who choose to continue associating to quote “would NOT be dealt with judicially unless there is persistent SPIRITUAL association or he openly criticizes the disfellowshipping decision”,section number 6, page 116.Although elders are advised to discourage such association the bottom line is as quoted. This reflects what was stated in the 1991 Elders book Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All The Flock. To quote from page 103 of this publication, “Normally, a CLOSE RELATIVE would not be disfellowshipped for associating with a disfellowshipped person unless there is SPIRITUAL association or an effort made to justify or excuse the wrongful course”. However in the 2010 Shepherd the Flock of God book the standard position with regard to associationg with disfellowshipped or disassociated NON RELATIVES is continued. To quote from page 60 under the heading Brazen conduct, loose conducy 10 ” Wilful, continued, unnecessary association with disfellowshipped NON RELATIVES despite repeated counsel” constitutes Brazen Conduct which can lead to judicial action by the elders. Of course there is no scriptural evidence for a distinction between the treatment of disfellowshipped or disassociated relatives or non relatives. Despite the sections quoted above from the two elders only publications parents are told to shun disfelowshipped (or disassociated) FAMILY MEMBERS NOT living under their roof, see Watchtower Study Edition July 15, 2011, pp31-32.
    With regard to the hypocritical position the Watchtower Organization takes on Is It Wrong To Change Religions, see a more recent article in the Awake July 2009 page 28-29 “The Bible’s Viewpoint,Is It Wrong to Change Your Religion?”

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed the video as an expose of this cruel practice carried out in the name of religion. It was extremely well done. I am someone who has been shunned for years by my mother and father due to their allegiance to the Watchtower. However, even so I still wholeheartedly disagree that it is “time for governments to … take appropriate action against religious groups that insist on enforcing this evil practice.” I don’t want my mother and father’s love and interaction because a government tells them that they have to.

    While I hate shunning, one thing I would hate even more is to be subject to a government that mandates conformity and crushes freedom of belief.

    • Hi Michael,

      I am not encouraging crushing freedom of belief, but rather preventing religion from acting unethically. If a religion mandated its members into slavery or child sacrifice, there are few people, I imagine yourself included, that would oppose a government sanctioning the religion for those practices. It would not be considered crushing freedom of belief, it is simply preventing religion breaking the law. I feel enforced shunning should also be considered illegal and dealt with accordingly.

      The Watchtower is under legal pressure in regards to blood, with many governments imposing a blood transfusion on Jehovah’s Witness minors when critically required. Similarly, the Watchtower is being forced to pay victims where its policies have allowed sexual child abuse that could otherwise have been avoided. It is a great outcome to observe terrible doctrine changing, regarding blood and pedophilia, as a result of such pressure over the last two decades. I welcome such change regarding shunning as well.

      If the Watchtower softened its stance on shunning, some parents would still choose to shun their children. But at least it would be their choice, and not imposed by a religion. The government cannot tell your parents not to shun you, but they can protect their right to choose a relationship with you on their own terms. It is the Watchtower that is crushing freedom of belief, and governments should work to give that freedom back to its constituents.

      • I’m curious as to the changes to the blood transfusions stance that you referred to, as I have been away from ‘witnesses for aprox 10 years. I also think that any law banning shunning would simply put the practice underground….the shunning would be spread word of mouth as opposed to announce from the platform.

        • Steve, there is a list of the ongoing changes at http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/blood-transfusions.php#L2

          Regarding shunning, I agree that you cannot totally prevent it. There are JW parents that shun their faded children by their own choice. But by toning down the requirement, there will be families that feel able to keep up some level of involvement without such levels of guilt. As it currently stands, it is hypocritical for the Watchtower to state “No one should be forced to … choose between his beliefs and his family.” (Awake! 2009 July p.29) but force that on its members.

      • Hi Paul,

        It was kind of you to reply to my comment! I agree with you, of course, that slavery and child sacrifice should not be permitted in the name of religion. However, those things are illegal in every country. As far as I know, it is not illegal anywhere to cut off contact with one’s own family members, whether it is for religious or any other reasons.

        Therefore, I would want my government to be neutral with respect to religion, and enforce criminal laws even if they are broken in the name of religion (like the ones you mentioned), but not restrict conduct that would not otherwise be legal just because a religion is involved. Ultimately I must acknowledge that it is my parents’ cruel choice to shun me, even if they would not do so but for their religion. No one puts a gun to their head and makes them shun me or stay in their religion. Perhaps it is different with some parents, but they genuinely believe they must shun me to please God, and will not even speak with me if others would not find out.

        I am not sure how government intervention could even be implemented. Of course they can and should mandate blood transfusions for minors. But surely you wouldn’t suggest that people could get a court order that your family invite you over for dinner or have a chat on the phone. The government ordering that the Watchtower cease publishing material about shunning would send shivers down my spine as well with the censorship implications of something like that. Perhaps it’s my American background that colors my opinion differently from those with a different background, but the idea of the government going beyond enforcing laws that apply to everyone and making people “play nice” with each other just doesn’t sit right with me.

        • I don’t know, I was baptized as a minor (12 yrs) and DID NOT have that lengthy list of sins you commit to be ‘disfellowshipped’, and severed, shunned forever from your Mother, Father, brother and hundreds of people I grew up with. I think its child cruelty that this baptismal process is a coersion based on to achieve levels of approval, and not allowing a child to grow to an age where he or she can make the adult decision that yes, this is a religion I want to follow, instead of getting busted for smoking and kissing a boy at 18 and getting kicked out for good out of a religion that professes to be all loving, supportive, godly and the ‘truth’. If anything its right up there with trafficking children, taking away their rights, controlling their destiny without them having a healthy say in it. How does a child know whats right for themselves or their entire lives as a preteen? One, two mistakes and now its been 22 years with no contact from my family. I picked up the fractured, splintered pieces of my heart and life, and it took me many moons to get over the anger. I let it fuel me through nursing school, and now I have a full life, but that place in my heart, where that religious cult robbed me, its not only a travesty, its KILLING people. 15,000 people last year committed suicide. This is a dangerous brainwashing program that constantly changes up the beliefs to match the day, and all these zombie Witnesses with a flashy grin on, as their hurting inside because being perfect is impossible to do, and the fear of the end for them has just creating such a mental disaster in their world, and of course not to mention that they’ve severed their heart out where the joy of their kids used to be, and its replaced with the monotony of repetitive teachings, meetings and service. All for salvation. Shunning belongs in the days where people were stoned to death, we learn with love, attention, forgiveness, a chance, not negligence, abandonment, and catastrophizing damaging words that ring in your eyes for life….”you have chosen to die….to be part of Satan’s world, you cannot be in our family anymore”. Because of a smoke and a kiss. Well, if Satan’s world means a wonderful 14 yr sea kayak guiding career, then a nursing career, travel all over the world, and lots of beautiful friends along with a spiritual connection with my higher power…that I like this world. Look at me now Mum! Your poisonous, cantaminated, Satan-worshipping daughter did it!!!! And fuck that cult, I want to wake these people up to think for themselves, unfold all those layers of mushy brain filled repetitive teachings that are damaging, mythical, and dangerous for relationships and families. Humans, its time for your awakening! Stop living in fear and with no sense of self, don’t you deep down miss your kids? Is a doctrine more important that a life you and God brought into the world together? Disfellowshipping is not mentioned in the bible, its a hateful mindfuck, manipulative tact to get people to come back after they fill with so much shame and co-dependency, but you know what? It wasn’t worth it, to sacrifice my brain that’s filled with original thought, creative intelligence, freedom to think and act on mine and God’s terms, to have faith in the flow of life, and to know that no matter what, we are all going to die someday, and return to what we are originally and that is spirit. We’re spirits having a human experience, so have one!! Try not to do it in an imprisoned mind. Choose freedom. Question everything. Test drive it all, Have courage to say, these things are wrong wrong wrong, and we have the power to help our children in this cult, to protect them better. They deserve a chance. I never did, that was all robbed from me. Enough said. Be well everything, thanks for readin the ramble…

          • Thank you for saying all that Stacy, you could be my daughter, who was dis-fellowshipped at age 14 for smoking. I brought her to her favorite elder hoping he’d help her with her attitude and it went to a committee meeting. It was like a nightmare. I ended up pulling her back into JWs, by that time I didn’t care about whether it was for ‘the right reasons’, I asked her to do it for me, if for no other reason. And I knew it would make life easier for her too. I just wonder what percentage of people return to being a JW because they love God, and how many feel forced to compromise their integrity just to get access to their families again?!?

  6. once you get in….you never get out without paying a disgusting lifetaking sickmaking price…i would like to say more but i become angry if i do so…sorry for that..
    I am an inactive JW in the Netherlands and boy can i tell you story,s…

  7. As a former JW I have mixed feelings about whether it should matter if I approve of their practice of shunning or not. For families with children, who don’t have a voice in the matter, I’d say shunning needs to be stopped. But for an adult like myself, who knew going into the organization that shunning would be the end result if I left the organization, I don’t feel I’m in the right to say the entire practice needs to stop. I left almost 2 years ago and even though none of my close friends will speak to me at all now, I knew they would not be speaking to me since that was what I was taught over a decade ago going in. It feels wrong to me to tell them how they should run things since I was clearly aware of the consequences of leaving. Just my thoughts. I don’t think children should have to be impacted by this, but informed adults, I think, need to just deal with the practice and get on with their lives. I don’t know if they have a different standard when dealing with families with minor children, though.

    • I strongly disagree, people only shun when they have to because the organization tells them to, if shunning was a natural thing everyone at some point would end up being shunned, because everyone sins, men with no support from any God get to judge who gets shunned, this is a total wrong practice often decided by people with little or no qualifications, no experience of real life. I think shunning is a direct violation of human rights, bullying, ostracism and a form of harassment. If it did not cause some form of damage to the person, it wouldn’t work. Using emotional blackmail to win anything shows a weakness and unethical approach to getting your points believed. Regardless of what you were taught they also make out that repentance is key to being kept from disfellowshipping, it’s pot luck, anyone can put on a fake show or turn on repentance to stay with family and friends, just like most don’t even confess when up to ‘wrongdoing’. It is highly flawed. This is my humble opinion anyway.

      • Helen I saw all the fake shows and remember when I realized that only some JWs are sincerely trying for pure worship. I have to disagree a bit about shunning-in my non JW family individual shunning has always been employed when people reach an impasse in their relationships. I don’t think it is a good thing, but it exists, possibly it is a natural coping mechanism. I don’t really know.

    • I think it makes a huge difference if you were raised In the religion or not. For those of us that have our families, and all the friends we’ve ever grown up with, and now they can never talk to us again. And knowing that I’m an apostate, I’ll never see them again. Well, I’ll see them at funerals and such I’m sure. But my existence won’t even be acknowledged. Its a cross I know I must bear, but its a real hard thing to carry.

  8. In my opinion, it is unfair that minors are allowed to make a dedication and baptism, which will eventually lead to their disfellowshipping if they change their minds or not follow the WT practices. This should not be allowed before reaching adulthood and realizing what the world is all about. It should only be allowed for individuals who could make an informed choice for themselves. Does an 8 to 18 year old really understand the full impact and meaning of the baptism questions? Do most 8 year olds know what fornication means? I hope not, but I have known 8 year olds who have been baptized. A child and teenager may be able to recite the written answers and scriptures, but to actually have the full understanding of the practices and the world before you are an adult is not possible. I think completely different in my late 20s than at 15 when I was baptized.Most children raised as JW are trying to please their parents and are going along with group thinking or peer pressure since their JW friends are doing it. As a child growing up as a JW, that is all you really know so of course that is what you plan to remain as an adult for the rest of your life. Then you leave home, get into a career and have experiences and exposure that may make you change your views on what you thought as a young, sheltered JW child (as most are, especially the homeschooled as I was and know many others). The children who do not actually get baptised do not suffer the same consequences as ones who do go along with baptism. The unbaptized children who decide to no longer live according to WT rules are still allowed to associate with their families. They may be distanced from the spiritually strong family members, but active family members do not have the consequences they would have for speaking to a disfellowshipped family member. Many active JW keep in close contact with the unbaptized relative in hopes to ‘win them over’. This is one of my biggest issues with disfellowshipping.

    • I completely agree. I was baptized at 13 and dishfellowshipped at 21. I used to constantly argue with my parents that you are not even allowed to make a life commitment of marriage until you are 18 so why should something I did at 13 be held against me. Both my parents were not raised JW’s but came into it when I was a baby. The argument of making a decision of my spiritual beliefs as an adult as they did doesn’t work either. My mother was raised Catholic and I always tell her that when she became an adult that belief didn’t make sense to her so she found a belief that did. Why can’t I be the same way? I believe in Mother Earth and not in popular religions and their fairy tale gods (not to insult ones who do, we all believe differently). But it’s like talking to a brick wall. They really are brain-washed. It’s so hypocritical to preach to others what you believe but refuse to listen to what others believe. I’m 35 now. I try not to argue any more and just talk with them when I can. They won’t ever change and life is too short to argue. I’ve risen above the pain and made my life my own. That’s all we can do.

  9. I think it would be a good idea to focus a lot on the very non-biblical and flimsy reasons people have been disfellowshipped. Everyone is all put in the same category of “wicked” and also endure extreme shunning. It matters not for “what” you have been disfellowshipped for, only that you are DF.

    • Isabella, that is a good idea, and in line with your idea, I do hope to put together a video with AAWA’s help of people saying in brief what they were disfellowshipped for and the treatment they receive.

      • I would be up for that x i still have had no real reason presented to me. In fact they told me to re-attend the meetings and they would forget about the conversations I had expressing concern or ‘doubts’ as they put it. They had no evidence of any wrongdoing, but slyly dis-fellowshipped me a few weeks after their Judicial. The judicial ended with the offer of me just forgetting what I had found out and carrying on with my usual congregational activities and all would be forgiven.

  10. hi Paul, excellent blog. i have 1 query though as when i talk with current JWs about disfellowshipping they come back with this- they equate Jesus’brothers as mentioned in Matthew 25 where he says you did this to my brothers you did it to me. so by extension they apply 2 John to them. and if we fail to acknowledge them as Christ’s brothers then we are not denying christ.

    now I know that is BS but any ideas on a good counter- argument?

    thanks WildeLover

    2 John 7 -11 “For many deceivers have gone forth into the world, persons not confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Look out for yourselves, that YOU do not lose the things we have worked to produce, but that YOU may obtain a full reward. Everyone that pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. He that does remain in this teaching is the one that has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to YOU and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into YOUR homes or say a greeting to him. For he that says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.”

    • If you read 2 John 7-11 closely, it is not talking about exJWs, it is talking about

    • anyone
    • “not confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.” Therefore, JWs should treat a former JW in the same manner as a person of the world. If they do not apply this Scripture to shun all worldly people, then they have no basis to use it to shun a former JW.

      • that is very true Paul. however, ( please forgive me for I am playing Devil’s advocate). the context leads me to understand that John is instructing Christians to shun those who do not remain in the teaching of Christ. and of course they throw Matthew 25 into the mix too where they elevate Christ’s brothers to the level of Christ himself..
        but their reasoning is terrible. i suppose I am looking for a smoking gun where there can none be found :-/

        The Sheep and the Goats

        31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

        34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

        37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

        40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

        • Wildelover, even if it were taken to only apply to Christians that did not remain in Christ’s teaching, that would include the 2 billion Christians on earth, not just the handful of JW’s. Or course, the Watchtower makes the distinction that it only applies to “true Christians”, even though that is not the term “true” is not stated or implied by the context.

          Arguing doctrine is usually pointless, for as long as a JW is convinced anything that they Governing Body states is true. I would avoid doctrinal discussion with a Witness who starts presenting such illogical arguments. The first step is to offer proof that what the Governing Body presents is not consistent, accurate or truth, and hence they are not guided by God’s holy spirit. Only once they accept that is a Witness able to reason beyond what they are told to believe.

    • I always say, if you are so worried about associating with people who don’t have Christ in their heart, and the scripture is interpreted to say ‘get away from this person’….isn’t it better to have faith in yourself that your faith is solid, that you don’t have to have a panic attack that someone is going to contaminate you or rob you of your rehearsed biblical teachings? Its a bit judgemental to ASSUME he doesn’t have his own godly connection, and we’re not here to judge, And it doesn’t matter what his faith is, every faith leads to God to the Universe, to our Divine. That’s why there are several religions (not that I’m religious) but there are several DIFFERENT kinds of strains of humans right? Not everyones the same, everyone’s going to have a spirit and a spiritual connection to their higher power, This scripture she is a serious judge to conclusion. And so what if he agnostic. HE’S ALLOWED ITS CALLED FREE WILL.

  11. If a person is disfellowshipped, that simply means Jehovah’s Witnesses choose to not communicate with the person anymore. It’s any person’s civil and constitutional right to cease communicating with a person for any reason.

    This takes place in society all the time. People disowning a person for selfish or unselfish reasons. No one is ever criminalized for their decision on this matter. It’s actually criminal to try and force yourself on a person after they’ve informed you they wish to no longer communicate with you. That constitutes stalking and harassment, crimes punishable by law. What is a person who “forces” a person after they’ve informed you they wish to no longer communicate with you.

    A stalker.

    https://www.ncjrs.gov/ovc_archives/nvaa99/chap21-2.htm

    Stalkers, by their very nature, want more. They want contact. They want a relationship with their victims. They want to be part of their victims’ lives. And, if they cannot be a positive part of their victims’ lives, they will settle for a negative connection to their victims. It is this mind set that not only makes them “stalkers,” but also makes them dangerous. Thus, virtually all stalking cases involve behavior that seeks to make either direct or indirect contact with the victim.

    • Ryan, you have missed the point. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not given the choice to cease communication with a disfellowshipped person. They are forced to shun, under the threat of being disfellowshipped themselves. Each JW should be given the right whether or not to choose to associate with their own children, which is why the way the Watchtower enforces disfellowshipping violates the UN charter of human rights.

      If you read the linked article on jwfacts.com you will see that I advocate the Watchtower practice of “marking” as a more acceptable approach and more in line with Scriptural guidance. “Marking” warns the congregation that a person is not following Watchtower regulation and to consider limiting association. However, it is the right of each JW as to whether or not to consider association with that person.

      • You have the right to disagree, but you stated the following;

        “It is time for governments to acknowledge that shunning is an illegal violation of important human rights, and for these to take appropriate action against religious groups that insist on enforcing this evil practice.”

        A few years ago, I did some work for an insurance agency and overheard an account manager state that family members disowned a client because she developed Alzheimer’s disease.

        w81 9/15 p. 28 par. 15 If a Relative Is Disfellowshiped . . .

        For example, a disfellowshiped parent may be sick or no longer able to care for himself financially or physically. The Christian children have a Scriptural and moral obligation to assist.
        ————————–

        I can’t say a person’s never been disfellowshipped for associating with a person who’s disfellowshipped, but I’ve never heard of it. My grandmother has always associated with her two disfellowshipped daughters. Not too long ago she wanted to regular pioneer and two elders visited her and said she wasn’t approved because of her longstanding association. A judicial committee however, was never even mentioned or alluded to. I’ve always associated with my disfellowshipped mother. I’m not currently attending meetings, but I’ve never been approached by an elder for associating with my mother.

        It doesn’t really matter why a person chooses to associate or not associate with another person, it’s not a crime punishable by law in democratic societies or federal republics and never has been.

        You’re basically presenting an upside-down view of the world in which nonviolent, unarmed, law abiding citizens are subject to the use of military force from powerful and heavily armed governments. There have been governments like that in the past and the world at large doesn’t really appreciate it.

        The Stalinist apparatus of the Soviet Union carried out many of the greatest crimes of the twentieth century.

        Speaking of the UN’s charter of human rights, the UN has never advocated the use of force toward nonviolent, law-abiding religions or belief based groups for any reason.

        Declarations of the UN stipulate conversely the opposite;

        http://www.un.org/documents/ga/docs/51/plenary/a51-542add1.htm

        Implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief

        A. Situation of religious minorities ……………. 55 – 121 13

        1. Christian minorities ……………………. 56 – 98 14

        (a) Catholic minority ………………….. 57 – 70 14

        (b) Protestant minority ………………… 71 – 83 17

        (c) The Jehovah’s Witnesses …………….. 84 – 98 18

        • You are completely misrepresenting my comments, and I find it offensive that you would attempt to align what I wrote with the actions of Stalin.

          I am not advocating violence against religions, such as the Watchtower, that violate human rights. There are many other forms of action, such as removing their charity or tax exempt status.

          Your use of anecdotal evidence is meaningless, though you do ironically highlight the point I was making when recounting that your grandmother has been sanctioned for associating with her children. For most people, such religious behaviour borders on insane.

          • Problems begin when a government goes beyond its respective purpose. There are varying degrees of the use of force.

            A tax exempt status just applies to nonprofit organizations. An organization is tax exempt just because they’re nonprofit. I don’t see that this has anything to do with the subject at hand.

            The use of force that comes to mind are things that Michael mentioned in a prior post.

        • Are you kidding me? Did Raymond Franz, who worked as a member in the Governing Body get disfellowshipped for having lunch with a disfellowshipped member of the WT? He wrote Crisis of Conscience. I know 3 people in my city who were disfellowshipped for fellowship with their best friends who were DF’d. [Expletives removed by editor.]

    • Ryan, you really are missing the point. The fact remains the Watchtower for legal purposes tries to use as many manipulative words as it can possibly get away with, to enfore their practice of shunning. Also it uses examples where a christian would be forced to stay away from a situation or person and then says well this is the same that needs to be done in cases of disfellowshipping. Like not going anywhere near a leper etc.. The fact remains Ryan, that people who are in the congregation are guilt tripped or emotionally blackmailed into following the course of shunning. If this were not such a big deal, why do many of them cry when the announcements are made, because it pains them to not mix anymore, not that they have ‘sinned’ because if they were simply reproved for their sin, they would be greeted with open arms, like the prodigal son. The reason it pains is because they have to let go of the person they love, and the association they could once freely have with that person. Congregations are make up of disloyal spy’s who run to their elders when a person expresses ‘doubts’, or is seen to be committing a sin and the other party refuses to go and ‘confess’ to the elders etc. Tattle tellers, gossipers, with nothing better to do than these very things. This is because they are so encapsulated in this small minded way of thinking, as independent thinking is a sin also. It is a very controlled environment, and the congregation members are taught very forcefully how to show conditional love, which I have to add is mental abuse, and leads to dysfunction, not producing anything positive, only producing mind controlled obedient slaves. It is an absolute disgrace that they manipulate people into believing ludicrous things such as education and making themselves better off financially is to be avoided, as the world is going to end soon at the hands of Armageddon. How many poor brothers and sisters have struggled financially and lost out on pensions and job opportunities. Kindness shown to the likes of struggling pioneers etc is simply down to human nature, not a movement of holy spirit. You can find this anywhere, not just in the witness world. You can believe that the Watchtower is the one true path to salvation if you like, because only you have to answer for your actions to God. But to advocate the practice of shunning and try to minimize the severity of this practice is very disrespectful as those who are experiencing this practice are suffering greatly, and to make excuses and use examples of people who do not really listen to the reproof or counsel in relation to shunning, does not hold any real substance, as they get labelled as ‘spiritually weak’, and then get taken less seriously or gossiped about by the ‘stronger’ ones in the congregation, Cliques form in this way also, and they are in every hall. It is unhealthy and ungodly. I am not even going to bother throwing scriptures into the mix as any one who truly researches the bible and other religious texts knows that the only inspired writings the apostle Paul ever referred to were present in the Torah, as the only scriptures available to the Apostle Paul at that time were the ones contained in the scrolls, so to try to build a religious foundation on the subsequent books and apply them as the inspired word of God is unethical. That isn’t following Jesus it’s following Paul, who changed so many of the things that Jesus taught. Jesus really was truly holy, and got it right the first time every time.

      • “I am not even going to bother throwing scriptures into the mix as any one who truly researches the bible and other religious texts knows that the only inspired writings the apostle Paul ever referred to were present in the Torah, as the only scriptures available to the Apostle Paul at that time were the ones contained in the scrolls, so to try to build a religious foundation on the subsequent books and apply them as the inspired word of God is unethical. That isn’t following Jesus it’s following Paul, who changed so many of the things that Jesus taught. Jesus really was truly holy, and got it right the first time every time.”

        I didn’t miss that it was brought out that the disfellowshipping arrangement was “unscriptural.” I don’t see how this is relevant to anything.

        http://www.atlassociety.org/religion_objectivism

        Is Religion Compatible With Objectivism?

        Objectivists reject the existence of God for the same reason they reject the existence of elves, leprechauns, and unicorns: because there is no credible evidence of such beings. Objectivists are atheists because the arguments for the existence of such a being are not sound.

        What is the principle for forcing association with a person especially if you don’t share their core values?

        http://www.atlassociety.org/family-relationships-objectivism-objectivist-ayn-rand

        Question: What sort of relationship should a person have with his family?

        Answer: Objectivism holds that the fundamental standard for all relationships is the trader principle. This principle holds that we should interact with people on the basis of the values we can trade with them – values of all sorts, including common interests in art, sports or music, similar philosophical outlooks, political beliefs, sense of life, and more. Trade, in this broad sense, is the only proper basis of any relationship—including relationships with members of our families.

        Many people are indoctrinated with the belief that we must automatically love family members simply because they are family. This is the view expressed in bromides like “They’re still family” or “Blood is thicker than water.” This view is not compatible with the trader principle, since we may not gain any values from certain family members, and hence may not love—or even like—them.

        There is a distinction between the family that we are born into and have no choice about—parents, siblings, relatives—and the family we can choose for ourselves—a spouse. Since the former relationships are unchosen, it would be a rare coincidence if we could truly love each member of our family for who they are. The likelihood of being born surrounded entirely by people with whom we share core values is not very high. Affection for our family members would be a genuine reflection of shared values only if we could imagine feeling this affection even if they weren’t family.

        “It is a very controlled environment, and the congregation members are taught very forcefully how to show conditional love, which I have to add is mental abuse, and leads to dysfunction, not producing anything positive, only producing mind controlled obedient slaves.”

        The only real “mind control” that can be spoken of was instituted during the Dark Ages, Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany, when no one could teach anything outside what was “politically correct” or official church doctrine without being subjected to capital punishment or physical force through some other means.

        Initiating the use of physical force (government intervention) through any means is immoral unless a person(s) has initiated its use.

        http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=arc_ayn_rand_the_nature_of_government

        The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights – The Nature of Government

        Man’s rights can be violated only by the use of physical force. It is only by means of physical force that one man can deprive another of his life, or enslave him, or rob him, or prevent him from pursuing his own goals, or compel him to act against his own rational judgment.

        The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships—thus establishing the principle that if men wish to deal with one another, they may do so only by means of reason: by discussion, persuasion and voluntary, uncoerced agreement.

        The necessary consequence of man’s right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use.

    • One of the least discussed aspects of bullying, and perhaps the most powerful and damaging, is the practice of shunning. Shunning is widely practiced among certain religions; the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of Scientology, even the otherwise forgiving Amish have made shunning a religious tenet to control the conduct of its members. 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. When a person is shunned, it is because they have done something to displease someone, or are perceived as distinctly “different” from the group and are therefore an “unknown” force. Shunning is thus a feature of a broader spectrum of aggressive behaviors, including accusation, sabotage, investigation and other efforts to control or remove the person from the group. To shun a person consequently isolates them at the very point when they most need support. It further erodes their self-esteem and their ability to withstand attack. Moreover, when a worker is targeted for elimination, once they are shunned it becomes very difficult to defend their position as former supporters disappear, and even more difficult for them to find new work. And shunning is a particularly effective tactic to undermine a worker’s legal claims, however legitimate, because it is very difficult to prove a negative. Shunning is a non-action — to shun is to avoid, not to interact. 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, and once commenced, it is difficult to stop. But on individual levels it can stop, if each of us considers how and whom we shun. We rarely shun the most nefarious of leaders in our groups and organizations, but we routinely shun those who are powerless or losing power, however good-hearted but imperfect they may be. And when we do shun, we rarely call it by name, and virtually always shift the blame to the target as having brought it on themselves, regardless of their suffering. We justify shunning through gossip, revising our opinions of those we once respected and in many cases loved, and by diffusing our responsibility as we note others are doing the same.

      The longer we shun a person, the harder it is to break the silence and make peace. Should old acquaintances be forgotten, or might each of us consider those we have forgotten because, for whatever reason, we joined with others to create another person’s pain? You may give no greater gift this season than to reach out and un-shun someone whose social isolation you have helped create, however unintentionally. At most, you risk rejection. At best, you help to heal a heart, at the very least, your own.

  12. Paul, I suspect that Ryan is one of those lost souls that Abraham Lincoln referred to when he said that there were always a few fleas that a dog can never reach. I personally cannot be bothered by his nonsense, however cool it may be to his convoluted line of thinking.

    • Richard, I find you very offensive. You’ve referred to JWs as “brain-dead” and now because Ryan has a different viewpoint than AAWA, you “cannot be bothered by his nonsense”. I think that yourself (and perhaps AAWA in general) believes that ALL ex-JWs agree with the AAWA. That is not the case and it’s an arrogant attitude to assume that we do. I think there are a lot more ex-JW opposers to the AAWA message out here than the AAWA has taken into consideration. The AAWA might be the “few fleas” instead of the big dog that it thinks it is.

      I, too, agree with Ryan. Discontinuation of the shunning practice should come from the people of the WT, not the government.

  13. I am out since 2001 but my parents keep having contact with me. But honestly, sometimes I’d rather not…. Once / twice a year I get engaged in those “when are you thinking of coming back-conversations”… I hate those, I do not want to hurt them so I try to get out as fast as possible of this conversation. But they keep trying…reminding me of “the consequences”…..
    But in the end they are my parents and I just cannot break the contact even though it is not how it used to be. Our contact is more like an acquaintand than a parent. There is not a lot we can talk about as their whole live is about JW and mine is not…..

    • Michaela, I get what your saying. It is very hard to have a relationship with a parent who speaks to you. You have nothing really in common to them that holds any real value. My own mother is slowly starting to see flaws, I have tried to tell her the truth in the past but gave up, but sadly she is beginning to see things that internally she knows are wrong, like the kingdom ministry school that tells the witnesses to pack a survival suitcase and so on. It’s very scary that the organization has the power to tell the witnesses to drop everything and leave their homes when the time is right, (Jonestown springs to mind at this point) but as much as it hurts or irritates, take comfort that you will find friends that will love you for being you and have the same moral codes and values that the witnesses charade so well.

  14. Hi there. Paul is doing a great job with Ryan’s thinking. He is sticking to his guns about what the facts are and is being quite the professional in this; conduct expected in a professional organization whose aim is to help refugees from the Watchtower Society.

    Ryan’s being a one-track tool, and it’s okay for me to make that statement because I have no association with the AAWA professionally or privately. However, this site is not jwsurvey or jwstruggle or jwblog, where ad hominem is more frequently found. This is AAWA and the aim is to not come off as overtly critical of dissenting views.

    I’m in no way aiming for this to be a criticism of you as a person, and it’s not. It’s more of a reminder that it is easy to lose sight of where you are when your plate is so full already. Perhaps it would be a good idea going forward to not make comments about readers (whatever their view) along the lines of “don’t bother with that guy because he’s beyond help.”

    This Association is a help group. No one should be beyond help.

  15. Its a comfort to know that I am not the only one dealing with this pain. I have been contemplating writing my story but after much thought here is the shortened version. I was 15 when I was baptized, at the age of 17 I knew I had made a mistake. I was thrown out of my house as a senior in high school because I had refused to pretend anymore. It was a very hard decision to make at such a young age but my eyes were luckily opened and decided to live a normal teenage life. After being reprimanded by the elders and my own parents for “wrongful association with worldly individuals” I was thrown on the streets. I finished high school out of the drivers seat of my car for 8 months. Things were tough but I couldn’t pretend anymore and just hoped one day my family would accept my decision. There were alot of hard times being homeless not eating sometimes for days on end. At 19 I decided to join the Marine Corps as an infantryman. The military and the experiences gave me the tools and strength I needed to survive. But now at 24 years old and being out of the Marine Corps for almost a year now, not having that loving close bond with my family for 7 years has taken its toll. I miss them dearly. I am not an emotional person but I still catch myself becoming extremely emotional when I think about my family. I call My dad, mom, 2 brothers and sister almost every day to get nothing but a voice-mail, no return calls or texts. I do not hate them for what has happened to me because it has made me who I am now and has also led me to meet my beautiful and amazing soul-mate. Her family is very supportive but I don’t show them the hurt and pain that is still inside. I am happy to finally find the AAWA, its a comfort to know that im not the only one in this.

    • ” I do not hate them for what has happened to me because it has made me who I am now and has also led me to meet my beautiful and amazing soul-mate. ” Stuart, have you told your family this? I’d probably leave it on voice mail.

  16. I remember that my parents used to say that the babys are not baptized because they are given the choice when they are more mature. But that is so not true.
    I remember that my dad came to me one day and said, “I think it is about time you get baptized”.
    I should have said no…..but I felt I had no choice.
    When I got baptized I felt nothing….
    Anyway, my parent still talk to me but there is not so much we have in common anymore, the bond with my parents is lost, after years of having a double life.
    They keep trying to get me back, but I really don’t want to. Everytime they start talking about me coming back soon before it is too late upsets me at lot.
    I think if I would honestly tell them that I am never coming back they would stop having contact.

    Stuart: that is a really tough story, I am so sorry for you. But I am glad that you found someone, you can call your soul mate. I found someone like that too and I also have a great family in law, they are my real family now.

    • Don’t go back to something like that for any reason but its for your soul. If you don’t resonate with the teachings, its not for you. And keep in mind, your parents deep down, want you smiling like crazy and having fun with your life. Its not fun living your life for other people, its a miserable experience. Connect to your purpose, do what you love, live your life, your parents may still be there life will play out as it will. My Dad finally came around after he left my Mom, and that’s nice, No Mom though, I miss her but we’d have nothing in common, she’s a devout Witness. I’m a retired kayak guide/nurse Buddist who loves yoga. She doesn’t even know how to be proud of that, cuz in her mind I should be a missionary in Europe somewhere, being a super star pioneer. pppft! Not this gal. Good for you, be proud, and love your new fam.

  17. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses who were around in the 1940-1980 period remember that “shunning” as a practice mostly involved those who had been disfellowshipped for committing adultery or fornication – and in a few cases, felony criminal acts. “Shunning” those persons was actually logical and other than the disfellowshipped person’s close family members, JWs tended to avoid having social contact with such people. That made total sense to all of us. In the mid-1950s the Watchtower began expanding the use of shunning to those who committed somewhat lesser “sins” like smoking or domestic abuse.

    In the early 1970s the Society really clamped down hard and banned social contacts even with family members who were disfellowshipped except for “family business” and “elder or child care and support.” Even then, family members living within the same house were not expected to shun each other.

    After the 1975 “Armageddon didn’t show up like the Watchtower promised” debacle, the Watchtower once again loosened the rules somewhat. In fact, they even claimed that some JWs had gone overboard and shunned family members when they should have been trying to show love to them. We all knew the truth; the Watchtower was shifting the blame for its failed teachings to individual publishers just as they had with the 1975 prophecy.

    Since the early 1980s the Watchtower has expanded shunning to include anyone who left the organization because of disagreement with teachings or policy, taking blood transfusions, going to a university, getting a government job, socializing with disfellowshipped or disassociated former JWs, or any number of non-biblical infractions. They have expanded shunning to include JWs marked for any number of reasons – poor meeting attendance, low field service hours, and other non-biblical reasons.

    In fact, it seems like every year the Watchtower expands the number of misdeeds or infractions that will result in shunning. Some congregations have had more persons disfellowshipped over the past ten years than new converts (even including children “born-in” to the religion). Some congregations have elder bodies that are so strict and conservative that everyone wonders “who’s next”? Very few congregations in North America have not had at least one or two publishers disfellowshipped. Many Kingdom Halls have installed a row of isolated seats at the back of the auditorium that are reserved for disfellowshipped, disassociated, and marked JWs. Other Halls require shunned persons to attend meetings sitting in one of the conference rooms – completely isolated from everyone else.

    Part of the problem is that some elder bodies are made up of older men who are full of self-pride and lacking in love for the brothers. They want to exercise their power as often as they are given a chance to do so. They actually look for opportunities to call someone on the carpet. Some elders are so eager to punish someone they even turn on other elders and ministerial servants, punishing them because their teenagers decided to go to college or someone in their family decided to stop going to meetings.

    The excessive use of shunning among modern JW congregations is clear evidence that elders are not being guided by holy spirit and they do not understand the real concept of Christian love and brotherhood. Instead of shepherds and protectors of the congregation’s members, they see themselves as police, prosecutors and judges.

    • Yes, you nailed that point accurately. I was 5 when my parents joined, and left DF’d at 19, and its a series of very traumatic events with some pale moments that represented some laughter and flirting. I grew smart very fast, and at a young age my senses felt sharp. So I heard repetitive messages, I saw fellow sisters and brothers reading word for word answers to questions on our Sunday Watchtower study. I watched everyone nod their head up and down, and side to side in unison. Clapping in harmony. I see things in patterns so it wasn’t hard for me to miss. Role playing was where you could have a bit of fun on stage, but you really couldn’t deviate to far out from the initial message. I tried to read answers to questions and respond in my own words to make sure I understood, and often asked questions right after that would fall within the context of what was being said. I can count on both hands how many times I’ve been reprimanded for that. I’ll lose my ‘answering priviledges’ if I be too ‘wordy’ and not use the answer written. I felt put in a box. And that’s when the imprisonment of my thoughts happened. I had to keep a diary for original thought because I was being programmed over and over what to say, door to door, when I was witnessing to people, taking part in meetings, it was all rehearsed, studied first, and my questions and wonderments ceased to exist, but my heart longed to live, to spread my wings. Elders have such a power, I was sexually molested by one, and couldn’t prove it because you need 2 people around to see it to prove it, and I grew accustomed to thinking men with authoriity were powerful but never to be trusted. By my teenage years I was so affected by the hypocrisy, I was angry and acting out, sneaking out to go drink, go to band practice and to play ball with my schoolmates, I split off at 14 yrs old. I felt like someone had a pillow over my face, constantly. I couldn’t keep up the facade of my baptised, pioneering ass so I let out a rebel yell as loud as I could, and pretty much became a wild child. I couldn’t help it, I wanted to play guitar, drive my car fast, party hardy, bust out into living while still trapped. I was disassociated for drinking, and I just knew I couldn’t never live out my life like this. I wanted adventure, love, God, but not a JW God that I was afraid of, I felt I had a soul, that I had a reason and I felt propelled to do something and connect to something greater than myself. I was working so hard in the confines of my JW life, that my split off lifestyle is who I truly was and by 19, I had those 3 sneering, judging, prosecuting elders sit me down and say….”are you gunna still kiss boys? and smoke cigarettes?” I giggled. “I’m sorry you came all the way down here for this but you asked for it…..(and up I go and flip both birds) hell yes I’m gunna kiss and smoke!” I said it out of spite. I lived 15 long bunged up years locked in someone else’s bad dream, I’m setting myself FREE! They said, in their very cocky, ignorant ways (and these men have known me since I was 5) “well, you are choosing a dying path and we will be disfellowshipping you then. No contact with friends or family, and now how does that feel?” “It’ll hurt for the rest of my natural life, but this …holding people back from their lives from their dreams and aspirations, its wrong. I’m young, I want to go to Nursing school, I don’t want to be a suffering missionary. Save the job for someone who has a calling for that. I want to move to the ocean! Eat fistfuls of lobster, climb mountains, celebrate holidays, life, dance, feel what life is meant to feel! God made me in his image, I am God, I’m a wee bit of god energy, and I’ll live it large. I know you think that its following Satan, but this….this feels wrong, it feels pressurized, pushed on me, imposed, I’ve been held mentally, emotionally hostage in this religion where I have had to lie to my parents that I’m going to a friends’s place, but I’m actually running to band practice because I’m in a full orchestra and we’re practicing for a festival competition…(My family did not know I played for 5 straight years) and I was good! What a shame! Tired of being an outcast, bullied and a prisoner. Disfellowship me then. Never forget my words, cuz I mean em. And off they went, their arrogant asses just sneered over their shoulder at me, and that was my final memory. The pain of the disfellowshipping never went away. I lost every single person I know. And that was 25 years ago. I’ve had a fabulous life so far, but it was been at the expense of my family and alot of my sane mind sometimes. I don’t exist to my mother her. Its hard. But its the life lesson. And I wouldn’t trade any of it….

  18. Watchtower shunning is NOT a personal choice but mandated by organization: one excuse immorality, other asking questions concerning organizational policies misrepresented as speaking against Jesus’ teachings-as an apostate. If a member speaks, says a greeting and reported, grounds for disfellowshipping -Ray Franz’s experience and others.
    Shunning as my three children adhere to is complete non association, speak to, phone, because they want to adhere to the organizationa taboo, curse.

  19. Good recount of the advancing shunning practices. I was baptized 1967. No mention of any disfellowhipping. Heard some negative comments but ignored them because Watchtower and all its good claims of God’s Kingdom, threat of Armageddon ye, brainwashed good front put up in magazines and even visited the Watchtower Farm in N Y. Later farm was closed, more profitable to buy commercial foods-not considering the escalating toxic productions and processes. Still kept going for 30 years. Finally quit with a note to the elders. They tried to meet again before they read my note and consequently disfellowshipped me. Tramatic when I was hoping for relief. Thankful to AAWA for finally making available advocates voices. Hopefully help to reunite families, friends and neighbors.

  20. I don’t know, I was baptized as a minor (12 yrs old) and DID NOT have that lengthy list of sins in front of me that you can commit to be ‘disfellowshipped’, I never would have done it. And just a few years later, a severed, shunned relationship from my Mother, Father, brother and hundreds of people I grew up with. I think its child cruelty that this baptismal process is a coersion based on to achieve levels of approval, and not allowing a child to grow to an age where he or she can make the adult decision that yes, this is a religion I want to follow, instead of getting busted for smoking and kissing a boy at 18 and getting kicked out for good out of a religion that professes to be all loving, supportive, godly and the ‘truth’. If anything its right up there with trafficking children, taking away their rights, controlling their destiny without them having a healthy say in it. How does a child know whats right for themselves or their entire lives as a preteen? One, two mistakes and now its been 22 years with no contact from my family. I picked up the fractured, splintered pieces of my heart and life, and it took me many moons to get over the anger. I had ‘worldly’ people there for me in a heart beat with unconditional love I never knew existed. I let it fuel me through nursing school, and now I have a full life, but that place in my heart, where that religious cult robbed me, its not only a travesty, its KILLING people. 15,000 people last year committed suicide. This is a dangerous brainwashing program that constantly changes up the beliefs to match the day, and all these zombie Witnesses with a flashy grin on, as their hurting inside because being perfect is impossible to do, and the fear of the end for them has just creating such a mental disaster in their world, and of course not to mention that they’ve severed their heart out where the joy of their kids used to be, and its replaced with the monotony of repetitive teachings, meetings and service and squealing and gossiping about each other. All in the name of salvation. Disfellowshipping belongs in the days where people were stoned to death, we learn in powerful ways with love, attention, forgiveness, a chance, not negligence, abandonment, and catastrophizing damaging words that ring in your ears for life….”you have chosen to die….to be part of Satan’s world, you cannot be in our family anymore”. Because of a smoke and a kiss. Well, if Satan’s world means a wonderful 14 yr sea kayak guiding career, then a nursing career, travel all over the world, and lots of beautiful friends along with a spiritual connection with my higher power…that I like this world. Look at me now Mum! Your poisonous, cantaminated, Satan-worshipping daughter did it!!!! And screw that cult, I want to help wake these people up to think for themselves, unfold all those layers of mushy brain filled repetitive teachings that are damaging, mythical, and dangerous for relationships and families. Humans, its time for your awakening! Stop living in fear and with no sense of self, don’t you deep down miss your kids, freedom….living your life in bold, creative, passionate ways? Is a doctrine more important than a life you and God brought into the world together? Shunning is hateful, and psychologically damaging, deeply disturbs your place in life where you feel grounded, wanted, like you matter. Disfellowshipping is not mentioned in the bible. It was brought in a 1952 as a manipulative tactic to bribe people to come back after they fill with so much shame and co-dependency,- and the unfortunately thing is, people feel so lost and scared about not knowing how to live their lives, the shame and self-loathing makes them crawl back to endure shameful months at the back of the meeting hall and begging for approval and status again. But you know what? I never went back, it wasn’t worth it, to sacrifice my brain that’s filled with original thought, creative intelligence, freedom to think and act on mine and God’s terms, to have faith in the flow of life, and to know that no matter what, we are all going to die someday, and return to what we are originally and that is spirit. We’re spirits having a human experience, so have one!! Try not to do it in an imprisoned mind. Choose freedom. Question everything. Test drive it all, My girlfriend married a brother who beat her constantly, and she couldn’t leave because of the disfellowshipping laws around divorce, so her out was to have a one night affair, say she did it, took the shun, and thats 18 years ago, lost her family. Have courage to say, these things are wrong wrong wrong, and we have the power to help our children in this cult, to protect them better. They deserve a chance. Enough said. Be well

  21. Hello Robyn xx Sorry I haven’t been on here in a while, but yes all about the organization, their funding, connections, affiliation with the occult and so forth….

  22. Hi Robyn, I think I have replied already to this, but yes found out about the occult roots, and backtracking their beliefs, anyway, you know it really is mind blowing how much this organization has affected us, what a good job, susceptible people like us were never selected for Jonestown!, But with the backing the WT has from government, there is time yet to witness their instructions when the so called tribulation, new world order kicks in! I just hope my family are not let to their ultimate demise!

  23. Grive over past. Let go and move on with new relationships without the judgemental ideas of the partial to Watchtower Truth non-truth
    I am slow after 8 years feeling the “let go let God” Been reading much to open my reasonings of truth and knowledge and acceptance of the Natural, True God of the Universe and not to closed-minded religions.

  24. Paul, is it possible to have a private email address or p.m service to communicate? I cannot seem to find one to contact you. I understand if you do not accept private mails.

    Regards
    j

  25. Shunning a person is one of the most horrible things a religion can do, the humiliation signals it sends out to that individual is catastrophic.This example puts the fear of God in any witnesse that may be straying, they take one look and just fall back in line, bro’s & sister’s have usually made many friends over the years of service but once your disfellowshiped you have no one, remember most witnesses have very few worldly friends as the watchtower instructs not to mix with unbelievers. So were do you go who do you call, who is there to pick up the pieces, to be honest it is a mindfield of emotions, you feel unworthy unclean unappreciated. I know because I have been there and it is a very dark place, I had no one to help me but some how with prayer I got through, so I hope this site does what it says it will do and help those that need it the most, what a joy that would be for those members who are thinking of leaving and know they have some one to help adjusting to a new way of life, I now feel better getting that of my chest.

  26. has anyone ever written a letter to the WTS? Im considerig on continuously bombarding them with correspondence about the view of shunning, the emotion trauma it causes.
    “because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do” steve jobs

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