Do you occasionally get those stopping moments? Y'know, when the enormity of what we've gone through strikes you? Or when some aspect of the WTS experience occurs to you? The disfellowshipping/shunning thing grabbed me today.
Consider: When it comes to those of us who've no longer believe it's "The Truth," what is shunning? 1) A Bible-based measure meant to discipline unrepentant ones and protect the congregation? Or 2) An institution-based measure meant to emotionally manipulate doubters and keep rank & file members from being influenced by what they know?
I ask you, how can anyone force someone else into belief and acceptance of something with which they don't agree? Imagine this in some simple area of life. Let's say between a husband and wife...
HE: "So, you ready to watch "Lost" tonight, hon?"
SHE: "I don't think so. I'm just not really into it anymore."
HE: "Not into it? What are you talking about? We always watch "Lost." We've always said it's the greatest show on TV."
SHE: "Yeah I know, sweetie, but I'm just over it. I mean, it was great for awhile, but the storyline seems weird now. The characters aren't as compelling. It's just not for me anymore."
HE: "So, are you trying to tell me you no longer believe it's the greatest show on TV?!"
SHE: "Um, well, yeah I guess not. I like "Top Chef" now."
HE: "I do NOT accept this!"
SHE: "You don't?"
HE: "No! I know for a fact that "Lost" is the best program in television history; and you used to say it yourself!"
SHE: "Honey, I know I used to, but now I've changed my mind."
HE: "Oh no you haven't! You've just let your mind become twisted and disloyal. You and I are going to sit down for a few hours, and I'm going to re-prove to you why "Lost" is the best."
SHE: "Sit down? Re-prove?"
HE: "Let me get my legal pad..."
SHE: "You're freaking me out. Stop all of this! Sitting down for hours isn't going to change anything. You're just going to have to accept it: I no longer think "Lost" is for me."
HE: "Well I most certainly am NOT going to accept it!! And until you come to your senses and admit what is clearly and obviously the inerrant truth, namely that "Lost" is the pinnacle of televised theater, I will have no dealings with you whatsoever."
HE: "That's right. I will not speak to you, I will not even eat with such a person. Same goes for the kids. I need to protect them from your independent thinking. After a period of, say, many months of shunning and isolation, I will let you grovel at my feet and try to convince me that you again recognize "Lost" as being the divinely-appointed end-all-be-all. Until then, shame shame shame on you!"
I guess that's the part that got me today. When someone is never baptized, JWs won't shun them for leaving or discontinuing their study. The idea is that these people just don't know any better. But if you were baptized and decide to leave, it is as if they refuse to believe you no longer recognize it's "The Truth." They take the position that you must know it's "The Truth," but that you are apparently just wanting to follow some wicked, empty path. And they reserve the right to stay angry at you because of it.