Here Is Jehovah's Witnesses' Official Stance On Shunning

Submitted by Andrew on September 19, 2012 - 12:57 pm

I have heard it for many years, and I’ve seen quite a few comments on JWB, that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not shun former members. I’ve been called a liar, an apostate, and worse, each time I point out that this shunning behaviour is the sign of a cult.

Well, brothers and sisters, let’s turn to the Watchtower Society and see what they have to say about it. After all, for most Jehovah’s Witnesses, what the Watchtower says is the final word on any issue.

On the official Jehovah’s Witness website, there is an FAQ entitled, “Do You Shun Former Members of Your Religion?”

The article begins like this, and see if you can spot the initial deception.

Those who were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses but no longer preach to others, perhaps even drifting away from association with fellow believers, are not shunned. In fact, we reach out to them and try to rekindle their spiritual interest.

Did you get it? Let me point it out just in case you didn’t. Is that paragraph talking about former members? No. They are talking about ‘inactive’ ones, not ‘disfellowshipped’ ones. So most people would read this first paragraph, see the ‘not’ in italics, nod their head in agreement that they don’t shun, and carry on their lives. But not me. I kept reading.

The second paragraph says:

 If, however, a baptized Witness makes a practice of breaking the Bible’s moral code and does not repent, he or she will be shunned or disfellowshipped.

Tada! They admit it. Disfellowshipped people get shunned. Plain and simple. No two ways about it. Jehovah’s Witnesses official stance is that former members of their religion get shunned. In fact, the above sentence also indicates that being shunned is the same as being disfellowshipped. Being disfellowshipped means being shunned. (I threw the italics in there because the Watchtower inspired me. It was that or holy spirit.)

Next paragraph.

What of a man who is disfellowshipped but whose wife and children are still Jehovah’s Witnesses? The religious ties he had with his family change, but blood ties remain. The marriage relationship and normal family affections and dealings continue.

Ah! So if a man gets disfellowshipped, the marriage changes but carries on as normal… Are you confused? I certainly am. Let’s use an example. Say a husband gets disfellowshipped. All Jehovah’s Witness friends start to shun him. Obviously this can cause some stress in a marriage where a wife would want to carry on associating with people who treat her husband in such a way. Many marriages do carry on and problems get ironed out, but to say ‘normal family affections… continue’ is just a load of rubbish. Many Jehovah’s Witness marriages end in divorce when one member gets disfellowshipped.

That ‘normal family affections’ bit… That just isn’t true. I stopped being a JW only for my step-mother – the woman who raised me – to completely disown me and shun me. There are countless examples of teenage children being kicked out of their family home and shunned – here is a powerful example I encourage you all to read.

The shunning policy always seemed a bit harsh to me. I mean, I stopped believing that Jehovah’s Witnesses were the true religion. That’s all I did. I didn’t kill anyone or rape a child (which I might have gotten away with if you consider the JW policy on child abuse…). I simply had a different opinion to them. My punishment was to be completely shunned and disowned. I had the same punishment as someone who would get disfellowshipped for committing a crime.

The article concludes:

Disfellowshipped people who reject improper conduct and demonstrate a sincere desire to live by the Bible’s standards are always welcome to become members of the congregation again.

So what is ‘impoper conduct’, or grounds for being disfellowshipped? Well, in the Watchtower Study Edition of November 2006, it says “ Disfellowshipping takes place only if a member of the congregation unrepentantly engages in gross sin”.

A ‘gross sin’ sounds pretty bad. That must be like doing something illegal, right? Well, you can be disfellowshipped for having a different opinion to them, wearing clothes they don’t approve of in the Kingdom Hall, letting your child play with a Warrior Wizard toy, watching a magic show and even for saving your child’s life by giving him or her a blood transfusion. You can be disfellowshipped for going to the police when your child has been abused by a fellow Jehovah’s Witness. You can be disfellowshipped for reading JWB! Don’t believe me? If you’re a Jehovah’s Witness reading this, go to your elders and tell them you read JWB and will continue doing so. Basically anything you do that they don’t like, no matter how small, can be counted as a ‘gross sin’.

Before I finish up this article, I want to point you to the Wikipedia article on Shunning, which points out (with references) that “Social rejection has been established to cause psychological damage and has been categorized as torture.” Yes, folks, it is not an over-exaggeration to say that Jehovah’s Witnesses tortureformer members. Some people have committed suicide as a direct result of their friends and families shunning them in line with Jehovah’s Witness policies. According to several reports, Jehovah’s Witnesses commit suicide at a rate far exceeding (5-10 times greater) the general US population!

The article also says that there are two main reasons why shunning takes place. 1. To modify the behaviour of a member, and 2. To remove or limit the influence of a member. Yep. I thought it too – “Cult”.

So, don’t ever let a Jehovah’s Witness tell you that they don’t ‘shun’ former members and call you a liar. It says they do, in context, right there on their website. They’ll try and justify it to you and themselves, but at the end of the day, that sort of behaviour is a clear cut sign that they are a controlling cult.

Follow me (Andrew) @MinotaurAndrew, Jaymes “Teeny Pyjamas” Payten @JaymesPayten, or our official account @JehovahsBlog on Twitter

Derangedjdub Derangedjdub
36-40, F
8 Responses Sep 20, 2012

i had a visit by JW once so i told them what Gods Voice sounds like because i heard him speak once and they thought i was nuts and exaggerating but nope it was very real , i said you know what the bible says and all you have learned of God and they said yes , and i said everything he is is in his voice and they thought it was nonsense , well so much for what they thought i thought , then they went further and tried to suggest it may have been Satan or the Devil and i thought never mind , lol

Everything is blamed on the devil. Even individuals own "suffering" due to their own incompetences of which they would never admit and own up to are blamed as tests of the devil as a test of their faith

I so agree with you on this matter, I was disfellowshipped because I ask them to do so, because I felt no matter how much I done it was never enough for them, I went door to door 2 days a week anew eked a full time job and they JW said that I should do more, I decided that I did not like to be controlled. My sister and brother are JW and do not have anything to do with me if there are other JW around , but will talk to me if they get a chance if they are not being watched and that is very offensive to me, if I am not good enough for you around them then stay away from me, I respect your be leaf and do not go around them and I expect to be respected also. But I do know one thing if they enter into the kingdom of heaven I will also, you do not have to belong to a religious org. To be a Christian .

I strongly agree all the way!!! it's time to start being you. and continue to love for who you are. you can't please nobody in the organization. I've been there and done that! you have positive choices in your life for people who love you and be around you for who you are!

True, on so many levels. I am not a JW and never was, raised Catholic and still am today. However, my part time job takes me into the inner workings at a yearly JW District Convention. This past year one of the talks was on Disfellowshipping and family members. As one of the elders tried to tie the disfellowshipping concept to the bible by reading various passages from all over the bible. Bascially twisting it to make it sound like it was Gods doing and not theirs. they are just carrying out what God wants, you know blame him not us.

He proceeded on to tell a story about how he showed up at a "sisters" house and she had a disfellowshipped family member there at her house, well, he thought she was probably there to take care of needed family business, but he then stated that "he was appaled when the "sister" hugged the disfellowshipped family member". Thats right he siad he was appalled in front of 6000 people. Go figure.

and all the cows in the audience.. just follow along to be slaughtered.. maybe a bit dramatic .. but once you start to think for yourself you are a serious threat to JW's. I am so fascinated that you manage one of the convention centers. I would love to hear more! :)

Well, they hold it at the local large concert venue, and my job basically comes with the building, so they have no choice there. But every other job in the venure they do, from cleaning it at the end of the day to everything, they basically hand the keys over to JW.

I am not sure if JW wants to do everything because they are too cheap to pay for staff or they just do not want "unwanted" ears?

But these conventions in my mind are just brainwashing crap, really comical to listen to, everything is scripted and the same from weekend to weekend, only the people and speakers change. I guess/think their main HQ dictates everything that is said.

I was one for 40 years, and I also have a combined total of 7 generations in JW's between both parents. They are cheap. I don't think it has to do as much with who hears the information. You must HATE summer... smirks! At least you get to admire some nice looking ladies.. te he he.. OH MY GOD I AM GOING TO BURN IN HELL!! LMAO

It is boring, and there are some attractive ladies present, all wearing dresses.

haha lol

How did you "escape" what made you decide to leave? JW seem to be a close knit community, they do not like to converse with outsiders unless they are trying to convert you.

I find it really intersting that they frown upon going to college, they say if takes one away from serving Jehovah. I think they frown upon it because when you go off to college you leave the protecting fold of the JW community and your are influenced by others and will realize it is all fooey. What do you know or think?

when I was a jw at 19. my mother had a fit that she didn't wanted me go to college. I told her that just too bad my education is more important than this. she got mad and gave me the silent treatment for almost a year. i'm not let no jw organization from the so called governing body tell me how to live my life and pursuing my education!!!

You go Girl!

that's all they can wear is dresses on top of submissiveness!

? What do you mean? Outside of religious functions JW woman wear jeans, slacks, shorts, or other clothing.

let me put it to you this way. shorts and mini skirts up your *** is not allowed. you can't get a man that way.

You are a little off balance - slow your roll. Most if not all "non JW's" wear shorts or skirts even mini skirts that are length appropriate. Unless the person is a ******** or ***** or on spring break... I wore both shorts and short skirts that where appropriate for the occasion like 100 degree heat- beach- working out- etc etc. don't stir the pot with your opinions. JW's are a dangerous cult - lots of problems but post your "opinions" on your own wall. Keep it factual on my wall. I'm a 7 generation Former JW with 40 yrs under my belt. College educated

it's my opinion, my freedom, Amen!

Absolutely !

11 More Responses

I was born into this religion, forced to sing their songs at people's doors, bullied extensively and shunned when I left at 18. My mother is so brainwashed that she won't talk to me or see me at all in 12 years. I am getting married in June and she won't be there because we are worldly used to make me so sad and even thought maybe I should end my life because I must be a terrible person. I was lucky that after I left the religion I made true friends. Even my father left 4 years ago and says they are a fraud and full of bs. If you are in it...get out before you ruin your life!

I'm out. I went to my gram's funeral this past weekend and all of the JW's that were family hugged on me and treated me very well! I was very relieved. The family pulled together and mourned my Grandmother's death with dignity and love. That is very unusual I think. Thanks for sharing your experience. Congratulations on your engagement! That is so exciting!

We share this in common D,I was brought up by witness parents until I reached 15,and escaped its suffocating tentacles.The hours as a child spent in monotonous bible meetings,personal study with my father at home,out on the doors with the watchtower and awake(is it still going,the awake?)left little free time,and even that was mixed with bans on mixing with "the world".As if that wasnt enough,the no xmas/birthday stance served further to isolate and make a target of oneself to the usual ridicule.Its a small world my friend.

BIG BEAR HUGS!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing that with me! If you can imagine ... finally leaving after 40 years of trying to be some kind of "good" JW, but then it never seemed like enough, and I always felt guilty... What happened at 15 PH?

adolescence,a longing for long hair,stifling frustration and a yearning to be free to do as other kids could D.My father was a powerful man,and could be violent too.But my longing to be free of all that made me stand up to him and refuse to go.He took it far better than Id imagined he would,and just asked if I recognised it as the truth,to return.What Ive found since is that the "god" jehovah was anything but what he claimed :)

Well I will say that I still pray. A LOT. but I know the god of the JW's is not it. and I know that JW's are not it.

i totally believe in the Creator and pray too,He is the supreme being of loving kindness,not the psychopath jehovah profiled in the bible,so we are in agreement :)


2 More Responses

I was raised in JW family and went through the whole world ending bull story in 1974-75 was even told not to go to university as the world system would end, ended up spending a year in jail for refusing to do national military service here in South Africa, this at the request of the organization. All through high school I was not allowed to associate with any girls in my school or even in my congregation, was not allowed to play sport or have any worldly friends. The few of us in the same age group in the congregation are now all in our 50’s and have failed marriages and not good track records with relationships at all and most are very disillusioned about the bull dust we were feed and the wasted life we were forced to lead. JWs thanks for nothing and if there is a creator then hopefully one day you will be held accountable for all the lives and marriages you destroyed.
Paul vB

Thanks!!! I am right there with you!!! I feel exactly the same way!

Every thing said here is exactly as my experience was.

You have to remember something. These JW's that come in here and argue and stuff?They aren't supposed to. It's against the policy of their religion. Which is always funny. You know who your dealing with right off the bat. Somebody who doesn't know the Jehovah Witness official stance about chat sites and comment boards yet.

It's very simple, stay off them!

Anytime you see one commenting in here, they are going against their religion! They are noobies who are all full of the fire, but really don't have a great deal of knowledge about their new religion yet.

All you need to do is tell them to go tell an elder what they are doing. If they are actually attending, practicing they'll disappear. They'll get admonished for getting on the internet and arguing.

"What are you doing on the net? If you have that much free time, you could be pioneering"
"but but but" no buts!

The truly joyous thing is when, 2,3 years later they come back and say we were right!

I have read about cults mainly in the newspapers and stories about people who are hired by parents to kidnap and deprogram their children. I realize that you grew up as a JW and that must have been tough. I have a friend in AA who joined a few different cults years ago. he says they are all about power, control and sex. many people think that AA is a cult (my wife at one point said that i was brainwashed) My AA friend says that one way to tell that AA is not a cult is that cults have guitars and AA does not. he says this tongue and cheek, but he also says that it's true....
Kudos to you for having the strengh and courage to leave. I think you have another story in here and I vaguely recall that you were married to a church elder? Or, it could be someone else or one of my many memories that arent real....