This story is quite remarkable and no doubt many will appreciate it being told. It is telling for several reasons; it highlights the fact that the Watchtower Organization can expel and marginalize anyone for literally anything if they are crossed. They did that to Ray Franz back in the early 1980s and they recently have done it to these fine folks. There are some six pieces of documentation in the account and it is in some ways “a complicated mess”, but it really boils down to a couple of active Witnesses informing on someone to the elders. Once the accusations are made, the Kingdom Hall gossip-mill and then even the Watchtower machinery begins to turn. If you do not play ball then they can simply call three strikes and you will be put out.
For years people have been leaving the Watchtower Organization for varying reasons. The Watchtower itself used to mention the actual number of those disfellowshipped each year. Public relations shill for Watchtower, J.R. Brown said this in 1992:
“Elders disfellowship 50,000 to 60,000 Witnesses around the world each year”, Brown said. “It’s not an unusual occurrence, as far as we’re concerned.”
Like most thinking, reasonable people, we see that this is a cruel and inhumane practice, one that separates grandparents from grandkids, and Mothers and Fathers from their own children. It literally destroys hundreds or perhaps even thousands of families each year when it is enforced by JW elders acting as Watchtower representatives. Many spouses are urged to file for divorce or separation by members when their mate chooses to leave the Jehovah’s Witness movement.
A poster on JWnet made a very thought provoking post and I took his excellent idea and made an informational graphic to illustrate his point. It is heartbreaking that these few men of the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses have so much power and yet use so little of it for true good. Some have postulated that Brother Herd (a current member) is in favor of removing the blood ban but does not have the required 2/3 majority vote to affect change in JW policy. Whether this is true or not we do not know, nor probably ever will. In the meantime, each year an untold number of brothers and sisters die for refusing the medical use of blood.
What we do know is that silence and the failure to act when people are dying and being harmed all around you is immoral to most people of conscience. One current governing body member used to be what I would consider a friend of mine, and taught my pioneer school many years ago. But how could I call him friend today while the brothers and sisters in the Kingdom Halls are leaving by the tens of thousands? How could I call him friend when he has the power to stop the shunning of millions of people? Or at the very least recuse himself from further participation in something that is “crooked and cannot be made straight”. (Ecclesiastes 1:15)
I most certainly cannot read your mind, and it’s likely that no one else on earth can either. However, if you happen to be seeking reinstatement into a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and are here on JWStruggle reading an article like this, then it becomes quite easy to guess what’s on your mind: You have begun to awaken to the serious problems within the Watchtower Organization and religion, and you are thinking about how to get reinstated so as to again have access to asleep JW family members and friends. We here at the Struggle “get it”, and you are not alone. In fact our good friend Londo (who wrote the article The Myths of Disfellowshipping) successfully gained reinstatement recently for that very reason, and his experience and impressions will be shared in a later portion of the article. To be sure though, the elders that sit in judgement when a person seeks reinstatement can’t read minds either. Nor can they read a person’s heart.
I wanted to share just a fraction of the feedback I have received, as much of it is quite encouraging. The few negative comments have literally constituted less than one percent of what has been said regarding the YouTube videos making up my entire Judicial Trial process and documentation of it.
Recently I spoke at length to an active JW elder who is asleep in the movement. We needed to speak on a business matter, but yet he was the one that began asking me questions about my trial. At one point he said,
“I heard you put your judicial committee meeting all over the internet and lied to the elders- is that true?”
My judicial trial is now over. The elders were not arrogant or mean spirited. Mutual respect was shown by all four of us, but these men were compelled to follow the Watchtower policy playbook, and by those standards of men they had no alternative but to disfellowship me. I do not blame them, and harbor no ill will towards them.
After much prayer I felt that I had to let my light shine, and that the Lord was with me, giving me the words that I should say. I was found guilty of “apostasy” as defined by the Watchtower Organization, and they will be announcing that I am no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses on Tuesday the 25th of September. I am not devastated, nor downhearted. Quite the contrary, as literally hundreds of people have been expressing their thanks and prayers in my behalf. It is overwhelming and very much a humbling experience for me.
The elders sent me a letter summoning me to a judicial committee, accusing me of “spreading apostate teachings that go against Bible truth as taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses.” For those of you that are in the know, this means that they have already determined that I am guilty of the above mentioned “crime”. The letter was sent certified mail, and when I received it I signed and printed “Martin Luther” on the return receipt. I wrote back and asked for a date one week later as I could not make the 8/30 day they had ordained for my spiritual stoning.
A continuance was granted and I was given a tentative date of 9/12/2012 so we will see what happens. I am not afraid of this meeting, however it is not something that I relish either. I personally feel it must be done as my conscience will not allow me otherwise. The early Christians were fed to the lions and Yeshua said that if we confessed him as Christ we would be persecuted and delivered up before the synagogue and expelled. (John 16:1-4)
Are you disfellowshipped, dear one? Do you now feel lost, bereft, and directionless? If so, know that when Jesus looks down from heaven, he feels toward you exactly as he felt toward individuals during his earthly ministry. Matthew 9:36 says regarding him: “On seeing the crowds he felt pity for them, because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.”
By his life course, Christ our Exemplar showed us how to live. (1 Peter 2:21) There is no record of him of shunning anyone. In fact, he did just the opposite, eating with individuals from God’s dedicated nation who had strayed–sometimes severely so–and this is what gave such ones the strength to turn their lives around. (Luke 15:1, 2, NIV). Should we not then imitate our Lord in all things? In carrying forth Paul’s admission in Corinthians not to worship as a group with an unrepentant sinner, could we break God’s instructions to us given through the life course of his Son? Should not the Lord’s example be the overriding factor, especially in regard to repentant wrongdoers?
If someone is spoken of as being guilty of the above-titled offense, what does it really mean? Here are some definitions of the expression “talking out of both sides of your mouth”:
Speaking with a forked tongue.
Saying one thing, but meaning something else.
As you may already be aware, on September 21st 2011 I began taking a survey of all current and former Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world. The survey canvassed the opinions of all who share a connection with Jehovah’s Witnesses, irrespective of whether they are active, inactive, disfellowshipped, disassociated or even non-baptized family members. The purpose of the survey was to find out what people really thought of your leadership on certain issues, particularly since you go to such vigorous measures to prevent people from freely voicing any dissenting opinions.
It has not gone unnoticed that you recently advised the brothers to even stop writing to you or your representatives with any questions that are not covered within your publications (w11 10/15 p. 32). It is against this backdrop of increasing disinterest on your part towards the personal views or queries of your flock that this new global survey has been founded, and the results are enclosed herein.
We have written a number of times on the site about disfellowshipping and shunning of a fellow brother or sister. We know that even Jesus himself was “disfellowshipped” by the Jewish Sanhedrin. As currently practiced, this Witness doctrine goes far “beyond the things that are written” (1 Corinthians 4:6) by enforcing a list of over a hundred different things a person could be expelled for . How much needless pain and suffering has this doctrine caused you or someone you love? 60,000 are added to this list by elders that are “just following orders” every year. Thousands of brothers have stepped down and resigned their position over the last several decades due to this and other aspects of the harshness and judging that they are pressed into service to do to their “fellow slaves”. (Matthew 18:28)
The following poem has been and continues to be inspirational to many that have been affected by this un-Christian practice:
Those of you who live in America will have been familiar for some time with the Westboro Baptist Church, a radical and hateful denomination that feels it is fulfilling its Christian ministry and following in the footsteps of Christ by holding up offensive signs and picketing funerals, most notably those of fallen soldiers. I recently […]
The main scripture that is used for the shunning of disfellowshipped people is this passage at 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 “9 In my letter I wrote YOU to quit mixing in company with fornicators, 10 not [meaning] entirely with the fornicators of this world or the greedy persons and extortioners or idolaters. Otherwise, YOU would actually […]
People since the beginning of time have been revising their history. When a person in favor with the king lost his status or went rogue, his name never spoken again. If his likeness or name was carved into the walls, the walls were destroyed or erased. Officially, he never existed. A number of books have been written about this, with 1984 by George Orwell being among the most famous. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is another great book that is ironically about the banning of books. It was itself a banned book for many years and may still be in certain places of the world.
The following is a list of scriptures taken from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. As you read and meditate on them, decide for yourself whether disfellowshipping as taught and exercised today is scriptural or not: