PART 1: My family and I stopped being active witnesses some 3 and a half years ago. We did the fade thing, thus we are neither DA’s nor DF. Before we stopped, I served as an elder. The past four years we’ve been celebrating christmas. We’ve had christmas decorations, including a tree the past three years. My family has accepted our fading nicely, I must say. I do not confront them with my opinions, and they do not interfere with my new way of life. Thus, some aspects of our lives, are simplye not discussed, e.g. Christmas. Today, I was sleeping on the couch, when my daughter suddenly wakes me up, stating that my sister and her sons are standing outside, making a unexpected visit. At first I sort of panicked, realizing I could not hide the decorations. The panic lasted only for a few seconds though. Then I hugged my sister in the entrance, and she smiled as she always does. I guess she was sort of mentally prepared that we celebrate christmas, and that she had prepared her sons as well, because there was no comment or reactions whatsoever. I guess I was the nervous one, wandering about and chatting unstoppingly for some minutes... Now, her two sons are falling to sleep in the christmas decorated house of her «astrayed» brother. Looking back, I think it is just ok that she has seen it, and accepting it in such a gracious way. I guess one reason is that we respect each other lives. She has chosen not be told details for me abandoning our previous common beliefs and I have respected that. I guess she’ll just keep it to herself what she saw, unless she is being directly asked by our JW parents. Just wanted to share it. A happy new year to all of you. PART 2: (the day after) I guess I was premature as to assume that my family is more "tolerant" than others. It seems my sister did mention do our parents that we had "full" christmas. (We have not been to meetings for close to 3,5 years). When I came home from work today, my father suddenly showed up (instead of my sister, who should pick up the boys). He had a stern look, stating he wanted to have a word with my wife and myself. He looked knowlingly towards the christmas tree, almost satisfied to have seen the evidence personally. Obviously, he wanted to see for himselv before turning us in. His conscience did not allow him not to tell the elders that we celebrate christmas. We have deliberately not DA just not to make it difficult for the immediate family to have at least some contact with us. We pleaded with him what was the point to bring it up, we have not tried to live a double life, just a normal life. So, now, after almost 4 years, we’re about to face "judgement". So if he decided, to go further with it (I think he will, he is a rather stubborn person), the PO will be notified. He is younger than me, and his family used to be our closest friends. So now, he is is sort of responsible of making our fate as related to family connections. I do not fully know my sister’s part in this, perhaps she just made a passing remark, not realizing that our elder father would react that strongly. I am, however, surprised that he was so naive as to think that we’ve been living in som some sort of vacuum these years. We have not done anything to make a false impression, just not mentioning things straightforwardly. My parents have heard our children remarks on gifts, family visits, christmas carols etc. I am not angry, just feeling sad, and disappointed and feeling resignation. I’ll keep you informed on what’s happening.
So if your father is the first witness, is your sister going to be the second witness?
I do not really know. When we started the fading, we did say that we chose not to DA in order not to make it difficult for our family to socialize with us and vice versa. We did however, not want to remain hostages to a belief system we do not abide to. So, for some years, I guess the status have been. nothing asked, nothing said. And we’ve got along quite allright in that line. However, my father, being stubborn and an elder, is obviously the hardliner in the family. I think however, it resembles a lot to taliban and nazis to report their own family members. After all, no one else in the congregation is affected, we make no claims of being JWs anymore to neighbours, colleagues etc. It really just complicates matters. What does he really accomplish by doing this? Just to cleanse his own conscience, but destroyting relations completely with me and the rest of the family. It will also affect my children, making the distance to their grandparents even bigger, although he stated that that was not affected. JWs being a registered religious community in my country, has to abide by the law. It explicitly states that in order to withdraw from a religious organization one has to either persinally give instructions to so to the religious community or send a written message. Unless this is done, it would not be valed. Thus, a unilateral statement from the JWs that "... is no longer a Jehovah’s witness" would be invalid unless a person has agreed to that being said.
Here in the USA a Witness will be shunned for accepting military employment. No meeting, no letter, no conversation at all. Now that strategy is well tested with no problems for fifty or more years and the strategy has been applied to other items like blood medical treatment and observing certain holidays. Now in today's Watch Tower Society it's an express lane to shunning to do several things like talking to an elder, accepting certain medial treatments, having the wrong employer, and observing certain holidays.
You took one of the shortcuts. You set up a Christmas tree AND let a Jehovah's Witness see it. Make that, let TWO Jehovah's Witnesses see it:-)
Here we go after the Jehovah's Witnesses with reporters and cameras for things we don't like them doing, so they stay away from us:-) A good defence is a good offense:-) If they come after you, go to the media. Let the fun begin . . .
PS: If I had kids, I wouldn't let a Witness within 100 miles of them, EVER! I let my Witness parents have access to my sons and 2 of them joined them as Witnesses and shunned me. If I had to, I'd run a Witness off with a shotgun who was after my kids. Witness grandparents are absolute poison.
Boy your ass is grasped. I feel your pain,one of things you can do if you still have your old Sherdarding book is remind them in a letter the you wish to be left alone and mention the page number of the Elders Book saying the same thing after time the person is not a threat to the congregation the Elders are to leave the person alone. But also remember the book says if they send the ELders to talk to you and you let them, talk to you then you have shown them that you except their authority over you, then you are back under their sights. Do not let two ELders talk to you at anytime. YOu should know all of this being an Elder yourself once. Do not think they will not try to destroy your family because they will try very hard to do it. If they send you a certified letter do not pick it up, but send it back to sender. Do not answer your phone let the answering machine take it. Make sure everyone in your family know not to talk to even your father about any of it. Threaten to sue them and name a Lawyer by name. You have to make it more trouble than it is worth to them. I HAVE DONE ALL THE ABOVE AND IT WORKS. I have told others in your place the same thing and it has worked fot them.
P.S. I almost forgot it cost almost nothing, go have a lawyer send the Elders a letter stating you want left alone and if they DA you, you will take any legal steps to have civil justice
I did the same thing when I was 17 and now it's been 20 years and I get a letter from my mom that the check I sent was considered a Chrsitmas gift and that she could not accept it. It did not say Merry Christmas. My heart is heavy and I know your mind has got to be scrambled. They kept asking me if I was coming back. I guess I should have been blunt but, didn't and the letter with the check was opened by my wife thing it was a thank you card. It was basically a seperation letter. I am a disc jockey and celebrate many events. I am enjoying them all for the last 14 years. Keep your head up!
Inquiry Man, You are not alone. I have not gone to a meeting in a year and a half now. The funny thing is that the elders know that I have read both Ray Franz books and have done serious research via the internet ( my wife tells all ).Yet they have made no efforts to contact me at all. The PO said when I first told him about the Mexico- Malawi scam, that he would come over with the CO and look at my evidence. Guess what?????? They never came. I called home from work every day the CO was in town and my wife told me they never called or made arrangements to meet with me. Im waiting for the Kangaroo court session, I have so much info now I would love to tape it, and share it with eveybody. But it seems they wont give me the chance to humiliate them. Anyway stand firm in your new convictions. Never be ashamed of who and what you are. Be Real
Boy your ass is grasped.
ROFLOL!!! Too funny.
Make sure your father understands that he is potentially shooting himself in the foot. Does he realize that shunning works both ways, and that he may be cut off from his grandchildren???
I agree with Gary, if I had kids and my parents decided to shun me, they would have no further contact with my kids.
I did the same thing when I was 17 and now it's been 20 years and I get a letter from my mom that the check I sent was considered a Chrsitmas gift and that she could not accept it. It did not say Merry Christmas.
My brother and his wife (both JW's and he an elder) have been sending our mother oranges in December for many years now. Many times he has said they can accept gifts but not a Christmas gift or a Birthday gift. She gives them a box of pears in December and they accept it without a problem. They are the only members of the family who are JW.
One of his sons (my nephew) got out a few years ago and since the Summer of 04 has been shunned by them. At least we now get to see this nephew for the holidays. Still learning new things of what went on in the JW's and thinking of ways for my brother to see the light.