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When Family members leave the JW Organization-Should they be Shunned?

“Although the Bible makes a clear distinction between true and false teachings, God allows each person the freedom to choose how he or she will respond. (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20) No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family. Does study of the Bible lead to family breakup? No. In fact, the Bible encourages a husband and wife who practice different religions to remain together as a family.”—1 Cor. 7:12,13  (Awake 2007 pg 29)

“According to one estimate, there are more than 10,000 religions and sects in the world. In one country about 16 percent of the adult population have at some point switched from one religion to another. It is no wonder, then, that there are disagreements about religious beliefs among relatives and friends. Thus the question, How should Christians treat loved ones who do not share their faith?”

A Special Relationship: ” Consider, for instance what the Bible says about the special relationship between parents and their children. No time limit is implied in the command at Exodus 20:12 to “honor your father and your mother.”. In fact, in Jesus’ discussion of this command, recorded at Matthew 15:4-6, it is obvious that he was speaking of the honor that Adult children would render to their parents.”

“The Bible book of Proverbs cautions against showing disrespect toward one’s parents. Proverbs 23:22 advises that you should “not despise your mother just because she has grown old.” Pointedly, Proverbs 19:26 warns that one who “is maltreating a father [and] that chases a mother away is a son acting shamefully and disgracefully.”

“It is clear from the scriptures that we should not neglect our parents. The fact that our parents do not accept our religion does not cancel our relationship with them. These Bible principles apply similarly to other blood relationships and to one’s marriage mate. Clearly, Christians remain morally and scripturally obligated to love their relatives” (Awake 11/8/03)

“In most cases, however, Christians do not face severe opposition from their loved ones. Their relatives simply do not share the same understanding of Bible teachings. The Holy Scriptures encourage Christ’s followers to treat unbelievers “with mildness” and “deep respect.” (2 Timothy 2:25; 1 Peter 3:15) The Bible aptly counsels: “A slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all.” (2 Timothy 2;24) The apostle Paul also counseled Christians “to speak injuriously of no one, not to be belligerent, to be reasonable, exhibiting all mildness toward ALL men.” (bold added)- Titus 3:2.”

“Many who are not true Christians love their parents and other relatives and communicate regularly with them regardless of their religious affliation. Should Christians Witnesses do any less?” Many may live far away from their parents or loved ones. ” It may not be possible to visit as often as desired. But writing letters, calling on the telephone, or keeping in contact regularly in other ways will assure our loved ones of our affection.”

The unedited direct quotes and  references for all of the above are: Awake,  November 8, 2003;  Awake, September, 2007 page 29;   Watchtower, November 1, 2008.

So clearly if this is what is written in the Awake and Watchtower, it comes directly from the Governing Body, and applies to all. It is good sound reasoning from the scriptures.

Many family members have chosen to change their religion from a witness to the Bible Students. I have met  many at the conventions. There is no real conflict in teachings, for there is freedom and liberty in Christ to have differences in thought on scripture. That is why we encourage open discussions of the scripture without retaliation if one thought differs from another.

I recently called the education dept. at Patterson, New york. I explained the severe treatment many are receiving if they stop going to the Kingdom Hall. They sent me the articles by mail. I explained that one Mental Health professional says he has so many patients that are being treated so harshly with this shunning practice that it is creating emotional distress. So much so that one client suggested a class action to deal with this since it might be millions that have exited the organization of Jehovah Witnesses for various reasons.

Each individual has the right to choose not to associate with whomever they please. But, to blame God is wrong. To say this is what Jehovah and Jesus says to do is wrong.  And as you see the organization,  “in writing”, does not encourage it in the Awake or Watchtower. So where is this extreme attitude coming from if not from Jehovah, Jesus or the watchtower or awake magazines that are read by many?  Christians coming to this site are lovers of the Word of God. We are all Brothers in Christ.

As regards judging whether a person will die and go to Gehenna as some are saying; The Bible states “Stop judging and you will not be judged” Luke 6:37

For the judge of all is Jehovah and Jesus the Anointed. “Jesus is destined to judge the living and the dead by his manifestation in his kingdom”  2Tim. 4:1

Melchizedek, Priest and  King of Salem, was worshipping and approved by Jehovah at the same time that Abraham was chosen to produce the seed.( Gen. 14:18-20)

Elijah thought he was the only one worshipping Jehovah but at least 7,000 were approved and their worship was accepted by Jehovah during the same time period. (1 Kings 19:18)

The Acts of the Apostles have numerous instances of Holy Spirit leading different individuals in various ministries.  Paul was especially appointed by Jesus, and the Christians accepted him, although he was their persecutor.

Many of our Jehovah Witnesses relatives are doing what Moses did, he stepped in the place of Jehovah, by judging his people, as rebels. It is God’s place to judge and punish. We are all witnesses of Jesus to the glory of Jehovah.  He will judge all in Millenium, thru Christ.  (Num. 20:9-13)

In Jesus’ day, at Mark 9:38-40 We see a man preaching Jesus, but not traveling with them. Jesus said do not forbid him. If one recognizes Jesus and the value of his death, if one trusts in him for eternal life along with his King-Priest bride  and seek to follow in his steps, we are brothers. Many persons leaving the organization of Jehovah Witnesses do not denounce these teachings. Most object to worship of any but Jehovah and Jesus and wish to refrain from adding extra burdens not mentioned in scripture, ie, blood transfusion, condoning pedophiles etc. They simply have a conscience and must obey it. They don’t, however try to forbid witnesses from voting their conscience. Many like highly organized religion with set dogma. 1Sam. 8:19-22 The nation of Israel wanted a visible King. “No, but a king is what will come to be over us. And we must become, we also, like all the nations” ‘. A relative told me that to speak against the Governing Body is like speaking against the Catholic religion’s Pope. I looked at him  in disbelief, he saw his mistake immediately. But that was the truth. Jehovah still dealt with the nation of Israel when they rejected the freedom they had to deal directly with him. They however suffered under each of those kings. Each decade or so the Governing body changes policies also just like a new king or president. In the case of the blood issue some that died for refusal of certain parts of blood would live today, because now this regime says that taking certain parts of blood is okay. But like Israel, many of our brothers and sisters like having a visible governing body of men. It is between them and Jehovah, no need to shun them.

This is a  direct quote from  Awake mag. about Catholics and the no meat on Friday issue . Sort of like the blood issue  and organ transplants changing doctrine.
Changes that Disturb People.-“One of the reasons is that people are disturbed by what is happening in their churches. Yes, millions of persons have been shocked to learn that things they were taught as being vital for salvation are now considered by their church to be wrong. Have you, too, felt discouragement, or even despair, because of what is happening in your church?” Awake! April 22,1970, p8 Many former witnesses have and have chosen to study exactly what the Bible teaches without indoctrination from so many books, KM etc.

Healing and forgiveness  is needed in some households now.       1Peter 3:10-12 says For,”he that would love life and see good days, let him restrain his tongue from what is bad and his lips from speaking deception, 11  but let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; LET HIM SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.” Many family members have said a lot of ugly things to each other because someone told them they had to judge their brother. That loyalty to God is equilvalent to loyalty to an organization or to men.

Ephesians 4:32 says ” But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you.” This applies to all Christians, whether a Jehovah Witness or Bible Student or just a plain old Christian. (Acts 11:26) It would be better sometimes if some professed Christians didn’t take the name at all:( the way we treat each other.)  R5404:6  Forgiveness by all parties involved will make for a peaceful relationship. Stephen who asked that the sin not be charged against his stoners. (Acts7:60) A result he will see is that the chief stoner, Paul, became a Christian. Not forgiving, a person who shuns you, is unchristian, you should rather pray for them.( Jas.5:16) Paul also has the right attitude  in Philippians 3: 13 “Brothers, I do not yet consider myself as having laid hold on [it]; but there is one thing about it: Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead, 14 I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus. 15 Let us, then as many of us as are mature, be of this mental attitude, and if YOU ARE MENTALLY INCLINED OTHERWISE IN ANY RESPECT,  God will reveal the above [attitude] to you ” (NWT).  Other Christians may differ on understanding of a scripture at times but that is not a reason to shun them. There is liberty and freedom in Christ, just as in the 1st  century congregations after the ascension of Christ.

Napoleon used the phrase divide and conquer. He divided the enemies against each other and won. It is a control tactic. They have to divide the family, so they shun ones that have left. If you let it determine your life then they have won. Your family can’t be replaced;  but put in some substitutes. A spiritual brother can be closer than a blood brother. There are many here that can act as your fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. Remember, we all die, and go away. Think of your loved one as on a long faraway journey. You can at least send them a card or a letter. Do not treat them as they treat you. You will feel the peace of God in your heart.

No one can claim they are the only one on earth that God is using at any given time. There is no scriptural support for this teaching. While the Bible may mention one group it does not say there are not other worshippers of Jehovah in a different place. Many were not aware of the large group of Romania brothers, but that didn’t mean Jehovah wasn’t aware and accepting them. We simply can’t tie God’s hands, he is the Creator and his Son has been assigned to Judge. Our loyalty is only to Jehovah, Jesus and the Bible’s counsel. 
There are persons that may be dangerous to one’s spiritual well-being. A person might make a decision to protect himself, but wholesale shunning because a person decides to leave the organization of  the watchtower is not scriptural.
The Governing body requires individuals to suppress their inner sense of morality to accept the will of the group (in the name of God), engaging in “group think” practices which only reinforces the power of the group: “practice makes perfect”, so with each subsequent individual they shun, it only makes it easier the next time, and eventually shunning becomes an unthinking knee-jerk response that makes questioning the action increasingly immune from cognitive challenge (it shifts into the territory of habit, just the way it’s always been done).
The segregation movement of the south was exactly like this, moral people followed the crowd. The governing body uses prejudice the same way as the segregationist of the south and most watchtower witnesses humbly submit, even when they are aware of the pain they are inflicting. That their relatives are human and no threat to them in any way.
A child or parent can actually be in the hospital dying and some witnesses have refused to go see them.
The practice of blindly following the commands of a leader or authority figure was studied by social psychologist Stanley Milgram in his famous study at Yale in 1961. The following video depicts a recreation of Dr. Milgram’s study: simply replace the ‘authority of science’ with ‘authority of the elders and members of the congregation’ (adding the element of peer pressure into the mix), ‘delivering electrical shocks as punishment’ with ‘delivering emotional shocks of shunning as punishment’, and ‘subjects administering electrical shocks’ with ‘JWs who shun’, and you’ve got the exact same paradigm in action.

We cannot escape our history. Only forgiveness can release us from our Past.  Thank you for reading. Jacqueline

53 comments to When Family members leave the JW Organization-Should they be Shunned?

  • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

    This is a sad story about the Mayor o Huntsville Alabama because of his age when it happened.
    It turned out okay however.


    I am so glad I had not moved in with family when I finally left in 2010. I had been very ill and all my sons wanted me to move in with one of them but I would have been homeless. So glad I was protected from that by blessings beyond imagination that made it possible for me to heal at home. This story tugs at your heart. I would have died if my child was forced into this.

  • Warum muss man denn über dieses Thema viele Worte verlieren? Ist es denn sinnvoll, Gottes Gesetze zu modernisieren? Nein.

  • Jacqueline

    I just received in the mail two bulky plain white envelopes without a return address, because it looked shady I started to throw them away without opening. But I have relatives here and they said open it and they were Jan.15,2010 and March 15, 2010 watchtowers with their name torn off and underlined with little notes all over.
    First it is from South Suburban, Il, so it is a relative as I have many who are witnesses living in that area.
    First the magazines are too old to send out as the society has changed quite a bit of what is written in those articles. I had those before I left the corporation in 2010.
    We also awoke two days ago to see an invitation to the DeKalb convention this weekend. The window to a bedroom was open and if they had rang the bell or knocked relatives would have answered.
    I say this because I know these relatives are on this site browsing and I would not object to their coming over for a discussion and identifying themselves on the envelopes. We however can have a Bible discussion, putting all books aside. This will let the word of God be the final say. Book of Romans encourages to Let God be found true and every man be proved a liar. To me Christianity is a way of life not belonging to an earthly organization and governed by a board. The Bible is sufficient. We may also dialogue here if you like.
    This is the only way I can let you know I love you and I am willing discuss your concerns. Thank you, Jacqueline

  • Bob

    This is an article I received which might be of interest.
    The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses – Should You Shun a Family Member? The Governing Body Decides

    Should You Shun a Family Member? The Governing Body Decides

    The official website of the religious corporation known as Jehovah’s Witnesses answers the question “Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Shun Former Member of Your Religion?” the following way:
    “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. We do not automatically disfellowship someone who commits a serious sin. 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. The Bible clearly states: “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”—1 Corinthians 5:13.
    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.
    Disfellowshipped individuals may attend our religious services. If they wish, they may also receive spiritual counsel from congregation elders. The goal is to help each individual once more to qualify to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. 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.”
    Note the following statement with regards to those who have been disfellowshipped (this applies also to those who voluntarily relinquish membership of the religious order through disassociating):
    “The religious ties he had with his family change, but blood ties remain. The marriage relationship and normal family affections and dealings continue.”
    “Normal family…dealings continue.”
    Is that statement ambiguous?
    Well, it certainly isn’t exhaustive in its scope of describing the sort of “dealings” the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses would class as “normal”.
    But let’s assume normal means normal.
    Normal family dealings would include holiday, meals together, regular association, chats, and so forth, wouldn’t it?
    A “normal” person would assume so, based on reading the above answer from the Governing Body.
    However, as is often the case with the Jehovah’s Witness religion, controlled by the legal entity known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, what the public are told differs from what members are told.
    The video below is a recording of a talk presented at the 2013 District Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This talk, prepared for Jehovah’s Witnesses by the religion’s Governing Body, outlines clearly what’s expected when a family member is disfellowshipped or disassociated from the religion.
    Please watch and listen, and then re-read the above quoted answer from the http://www.jw.org/en/ website.
    Normal family dealings or cutting the person out of your life completely? After all, no one should be forced to choose between their family and their faith, right?

    from the one you spend your lives trying to “help” people and when some of your brothers makes questions or want more help to understand… you disfellowship him.

    in the first Christianity all judgments were open to all the congregation. the same happened in the ancient Israel.to the doors of the city.only PHARISEES judged Jesus in secret.

    why you judge your brothers in secret? why they must be alone in the room?

    the disfellowship – the way you are making it – is unscriptural and you show not the same jealousy for your brothers as only how to make many hours and acquire for yourselves titles… if you don’t fight for the truth, God will judge you with true justice and EVERYONE will be able to see your shame you will not be in SECRET!!!
    you eat from vineyards that you did not planted and you live in houses that you did not build be careful that some day you dont expect your Master will come and will cut you to pieces and assign you a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
    Matthew 24: 48-51

    • Jacqueline

      Hi cryptojudeo, thank you for commenting. I whole heartily agree with you on all of your points. The pain, misery and degradation of sitting before 3 men and being asked pornography questions even to 12 or 13yr olds is not acceptable. Disfellowshipment and the resulting shunning by family and friends is used to put fear in the heart of other in that organization or corporation. They keep members by fear not of Jehovah God but fear that a wife will divorce her husband if he is disfellowshipped and vice versa. The bible says it is to come before the congregation when a person slips into sin and needs help to overcome with love. The governing body has stated in the July 15, 2013 watchtower that they and only they alone are the faithful and discreet slave and Jesus has appointed them over all his belongs already. So they are receiving their reward now and live as billionaires. They are driven around in expensive cars. Vacation with wives in the finest places. They neither work nor toil for it but have fooled a great many people.

      You sound in pain. I feel this thing has happened to you or someone you love. I am sorry if this is the case. Maybe the men from the Jehovah Witness media is monitoring this site and will see you pain. Many of the anointed of Jehovah witnesses have tried to help, some of them have been cowards and sat by while these men commit atrocity after atrocity on those repentant of severe sins and in need of love and help. Some have been treated abhorrently for disagreeing with this so called “governingbody” (sanhedrin) and their policies on blood that makes them “baby killers”. See this link for the Awake magazine that shows the pictures of the dead children. (http://orthocath.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/jehovahs-witnesses-and-blood-transfusions-for-minors/
      You are welcome here on this site, to fellowship and learn the truth about the Bible as best we can and to give your comment and opinion also.
      I don’t know if you can call in tonight on our Wednesday night study. To do this with skype you have to have skype credit.
      Take Care and may God be with you. Jacqueline

  • Jacqueline

    The article “Of Whom Shall I Be In Dread?” (July 15, 2012) The article highlights positive attributes of King David before saying…
    David forcefully articulates his trust
    in Jehovah’s help by saying: “In case
    my own father and my own mother did
    leave me, even Jehovah himself would
    take me up.” (Ps. 27:10) We may conclude
    from the events mentioned in
    1 Samuel chapter 22 that David’s parents
    did not abandon him. However,
    many today have had to endure extreme
    rejection by their family. Yet, many thus
    forsaken have found help and protection
    in the warmth of the Christian congregation.

    I can only assume that this paragraph is referring to those whose parents etc have abandoned them on religious grounds because they have chosen to join Jehovah’s Witnesses. I do know of at least one person who has endured something similar on becoming a Witness. Arguably, both the Society and the intolerant and unloving family members are equally culpable in such an instance.
    However, what’s really striking about the above statement is how blatantly the Writing Department completely ignores the untold numbers of broken homes and families that have been decimated by their unscriptural application of the shunning doctrine. They paint themselves as a welcoming sanctuary for those whose families take drastic action, and reject any notion that in most cases their doctrines CAUSE family break-ups rather than being a solution for them. They freely accuse families of “forsaking” their loved ones, without acknowledging that they ENCOURAGE family members to forsake one another when it suits their agenda.

    Comment made by Cedars on JWN

  • Jacqueline

    Ken, I thought you would like that explanation, if fact only JW are offended by a cross, going to great lengths to get rid of them. The watchtower is identified by the little tower. I know I am on their site by this logo. But they don’t worship that logo on watchtower sites.

    I am about to get some sleep. I was up most of the night on the phone with my sister, she was in a closet after all patients were secure in Birmingham.
    A Tornado hit at 3am. It was cominf straight at here employment area and othe family members.
    It jumped however and hit centerpoint, 2 dead so far. one is 16 yrs old. We have located all relatives except one niece that lives in that area. I have over 60 relatives in that one city. Roffs are off, just a disaster there. So I need to get rest as I am not quite a well person. So see yall later. (Alabama talk) (:)

    • Ken

      Hi Jacqueline, sure hope your niece is ok(I just said a prayer). Wow….60 relatives all in one city!!BTW, where can I get the BS logo?

      • Jacqueline

        Ken probably one of the brothers can mail it to you or email. I want to use it as my picture when I comment on other sites so they will know it is BS.
        One brother has reported spammers on some of the other BS sites. Often it is the same person. So we might have to block spammers. This is dishonest and I have found you can’t trust dishonest people. It’s like we used to do to governments with our letter writing. Once the society clogged one third world nation’s postal system by having publishers and pioneers write numerous letters. Once brothers asked for my letterhead. They wanted it to be a legitimate business. I told them I would havce to approve everything written. Most of the publishers were made to write a lie for they didn’t know what the issues were. (ie) Malawi, the carrying on your person at all times a card like our SS card or driver’s license.(they lost everything and their sisters and daughters were raped) They knew better because our license have the politician’s signature on it that is in term. Look at your driver’s license. They never apologized. Now they are billionaires they can help these brothers who have never recovered. So other sites are blocking a spammer after appealing to their sense of decency. If it was not a scare and control factor you could overlook. But their purpose is the same as we used to do to governments when they crossed the society. Now it is about control. Also it takes up time of the commenters, you see the pioneer is counting the time so it does not matter to them. Also in this day and age people don’t answer their doors and the internet has given them a way to check out a religion’s teaching.The upcoming Feb. 4th conference will be an opportunity to learn more about armageddon. BTW only effective sites are getting the spam commenters. We know some by name, so we are pretty sure they are spammers. I left because you can’t trust the society and their henchmen to be honest. Found our niece, I think, in Birmingham because no one has called me. Last nite was an all nighter for me. I am a big sister of a big family. It’s funny they called to tell me where they were hid so I could make sure someone looked in the cellar for them after the tonado hit. Jefferson County is where all of them are. But thank the Lord they are all okay. In Christ Jacqueline

  • Jacqueline

    I guess I owe everyone an apology for printing articles sent to me by Patterson Ed. Ctr. I think however the three persons I spoke with knew about the upcoming article in the July 15th, 2011 watchtower.
    So they sent me articles to do a balancing act, to show that the Public copies of the Watchtower carry a different and opposite message than the Publisher copy. But I am giving the Link here so persons can see the real thinking of the governing body. Perhaps I will put it in the body also as a link.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this article. It was very uplifting. I have even posted the link on Facebook in hopes that my (inactive and former) JW relatives may read it.

    • Jacqueline

      Hi Anonymous, The watchtower society is facing lawsuits in Brazil because as we know the CO, DO and in other talks witnesses are taught such hate tactics. I actually talked to the education dept. at Patterson, New York and received the copies in my mailbox to print. So I hope, like you, that some relatives will actually see it in writing that this practice, (shunning) against God and the” family system” He has set up for a harmonius society is not scriptural. Jesus’ brothers didn’t accept him until after his death. They tried even to talk some sense into his head at times. Did he shun them? No. In fact no footstep follower of Christ would do that. The society is concerned with numbers and money. They know persons will come back just to get their family back. This is called blackmail and is a crime in most Moral Societies. It is also a form of bullying.
      Many that get reinstated leave afterwards. Some of us are not DF’d and have left of our own free will so returning in any form wouldn’t be desirable. It is a part of the suffering for Christ that Christians endure. As in the pass most persecution of Christians (foot-step folowers) was brought on by religion. Matt. 23:33-36 shows that the pharisees had built up an organization of policies, and any not following them, they persecuted, even killing the son of God. Those that are being shunned are in good company, for a slave is not better than their master. When you try to worship Jehovah and not men, (idolatry) you will meet with suffering. Heb. 10:32-34 talks of such suffering for Christ. With every person that leaves, a dollar leaves. There is no real concern for people because when and if they return they are marked.
      It’s about control, also, but man rules man to their injury. So hopefully some relatives will go by what they actually see written in the watchtower, although it covers them from legal action. The courts go by written stated policy. But hopefully some will use this to defend themselves when they start back their relationship with their loved ones. Also remember most GB and Bethel higher ups and policy makers don’t have children. Br. Rutherford’s son didn’t attend his funeral, it is reported. Take care dear anonymous.

  • pat

    Does the bible students have meeting in or near Muskegon, Mi?

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