This was the JW position on excommunicating as of 1947:
This article shows that the Watchtower society thought excommunication was unbiblical. It finds “no support in these scriptures” and is “foreign to Bible teachings”.
A change happened in the fifties regarding this view of shunning. Notice these cites from 1970:
*** w70 6/1 pp. 351-352 Questions From Readers ***
But the primary question under consideration has to do with a relative outside the immediate family, one who does not live in the same household. Would any contact be possible?
Again, the disfellowshiping does not dissolve the flesh-and-blood ties, but, in this situation, contact, if it were necessary at all, would be much more rare than between persons living in the same home. Yet, there might be some absolutely necessary family matters requiring communication, such as legalities over a will or property. But the disfellowshiped relative should be made to appreciate that his status has changed, that he is no longer welcome in the home nor is he a preferred companion
*** w70 6/1 p. 352 Questions From Readers ***
But until that happens, faithful Christians have an obligation to uphold the disfellowshiping action by avoiding association with the disfellowshiped individual. If that one is a relative living outside the home, they will try to have no fellowship with him at all. And if some unavoidable and absolutely necessary family matter comes up, they will keep contact with that one to a bare minimum, definitely not having any interchange of thoughts on spiritual matters. In that way they prove their loyalty to God, his Word and his congregation.
Quite a change! Now instead of saying excommunication is unbiblical the Watchtower society goes to the extreme of saying even disfellowshipped relatives that do not live in the home should be completely shunned. Only in the most dire and extreme situations should the DFed relative be spoken to.
Now let us consider a 1974 Watchtower:
*** w74 8/1 p. 471 par. 21 Maintaining a Balanced Viewpoint Toward Disfellowshiped Ones ***
21 As to disfellowshiped family members (not minor sons or daughters) living outside the home, each family must decide to what extent they will have association with such ones. This is not something that the congregational elders can decide for them. What the elders are concerned with is that “leaven” is not reintroduced into the congregation through spiritual fellowshiping with those who had to be removed as such “leaven.” Thus, if a disfellowshiped parent goes to visit a son or daughter or to see grandchildren and is allowed to enter the Christian home, this is not the concern of the elders. Such a one has a natural right to visit his blood relatives and his offspring. Similarly, when sons or daughters render honor to a parent, though disfellowshiped, by calling to see how such a one’s physical health is or what needs he or she may have, this act in itself is not a spiritual fellowshiping.
Now we see a significant change has happened in that now association with a DFed relative living outside the home is up to each individual. In the early 80’s it changed again. From that time until the present the policy has become stricter once again. Let’s see what a 2008 publication says:
*** lv pp. 208-209 How to Treat a Disfellowshipped Person ***
In other cases, the disfellowshipped relative may be living outside the immediate family circle and home. Although there might be a need for limited contact on some rare occasion to care for a necessary family matter, any such contact should be kept to a minimum. Loyal Christian family members do not look for excuses to have dealings with a disfellowshipped relative not living at home. Rather, loyalty to Jehovah and his organization moves them to uphold the Scriptural arrangement of disfellowshipping.
***w2011 7/15 p.31***
Suppose, for example, that the only son of an exemplary Christian couple leaves the truth. Preferring “the temporary enjoyment of sin” to a personal relationship with Jehovah and with his godly parents, the young man is disfellowshipped.—Heb. 11:25.
13 The parents are devastated! On the subject of disfellowshipping, they know, of course, that the Bible says “to quit mixing in company with any- one 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.” (1 Cor. 5:11, 13) They also realize that the word “anyone” in this verse includes family members not living under their roof. But they love their son so much! Strong emotions might cause them to reason: ‘How can we help our boy return to Jehovah if we severely limit our association with him? Would we not accomplish more by maintaining regular contact with him?
14 Our hearts go out to those parents. After all, their son had a choice, and he chose to pursue his unchristian lifestyle rather than to continue to enjoy close association with his parents and other fellow believers. The parents, on the other hand, had no say in the matter. No wonder they feel helpless!
15 But what will those dear parents do? Will they obey Jehovah’s clear direction? Or will they rationalize that they can have regular association with their disfellowshipped son and call it “necessary family business”? In making their decision, they must not fail to consider how Jehovah feels about what they are doing. His purpose is to keep the organization clean and, if possible, to incite wrongdoers to come to their senses. How can Christian parents support that purpose?
We have seen significant changes back and forth on policy on this extremely important matter. In 1947 shunning is anti-biblical. According to the 1970 Watchtower shunning of DFed individuals is to be practiced even with relatives not living in the home. In 1974 the policy becomes much more lenient and it is a conscience matter. In the 2008 book we see that once again DFed relative are to be totally shunned.
What does this show about this policy? Could it possibly be guided by God? Is there any way God would be so changeable and fickle? The only logical way to view these changes is that all of these changes were due to men’s opinions on the matter not God’s direction.