If Shunning Didn't Exist, Would JW's Exist In Their Current Form?

by AllTimeJeff 34 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • AllTimeJeff

    In my opinion, this is the crux of the matter where ex JW's are concerned.

    So many religions have disagreements with their members. But you can disagree, research, question, and leave if that is your wish. You may receive some sanction depending on the religion, but no shunning is required in the major faith's and religions of Christendom. (Mormon/JW religions notwithstanding)

    I personally don't think that forums like this would exist or be needed if shunning the way JW's do it were to disappear. One could simply research and see if what JW's said was really so, make up their own mind, leave if they wanted, and still be able to talk with friends and family.

    The Governing Body in this case would be free to continue to publish their religious fiction, and it would really be your responsibility at that point if you believed it or not, because there wouldn't be a "gun" to your head to "believe or else".

    What do you think? Is that the key? Or am I all wet on this?

  • leavingwt

    Yes, you are correct.

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    You are correct Jeff. If they ever stopped the shunning practice, the Jw's would likely dissipate rather quickly. Most cults use a severe form of shunning to hold membership, typically assuring the intact flock that those who leave have left God and joined Satan [or similar].

    Without the discipline used to hold them together, the fabric would soon tear and the religion would shrink. I believe that a large percentage of Jw's would, if allowed, investigate their religion. A large percentage of that percentage would leave if the penalty for doing so was absent. As it is, they dare not investigate, for to do so would be to create immense anxiety for themselves for what they might find. So they just tow the company line.


  • zarco


    I agree with you. The organization is completely designed to force behaviors that they want by introducing negative consequences if you do not do them.

    1. Field service is an activity that no one wants to do – at least the door to door part – but they have a time counting process to enforce the behavior

    2. Few want to attend all the endless meetings – but if you don’t you are viewed as weak and some in the congregation stop socializing because the WTBS encourages association with only spiritual people

    3. If you question the “slave” – you are labeled an apostate and the organization mandates a judicial committee, which is a pretty severe consequence to what many times are sincere questions

    4. Few want to spend their resources sitting for 3 days at a convention listening to someone read from a manuscript – again the consequences of not going are informal shunning

    If the negative consequences were to be removed and if members could practice free will the Witnesses would be far different and only the hard core believers would stay.

    Interestingly, if what the Bible says about the Christ is true. He used positive reinforcement to attract people. He refreshed, healed, fed and taught. He didn’t seem to have any problem with meeting attendance – he met and exceeded the needs of those he served. I think any religion must pass the “Christ test” to be sustainable long term.

    The Witness religion is a new religion that will not be around long term in any meaningful way unless they begin to provide positive things to people who do the things they want done.


  • dinah

    Jeff, how many do we have just on this board who still attend meetings just so they won't lose family and friends? If that consequence was taken away, they would leave in droves.

    I would bet the majority have thoughts of getting off that treadmill, but dont want to lose everyone they have ever known.

  • AllTimeJeff


    I started this because there have, and will continue to be, threads started here about "how to bring the Watchtower down". Barbara Andersons post (which got me thinking) was about lawsuits against religions like JW's in relation to shunning, and their relative success or failure rates....

    To me, the only way you bring down a cult like this is to remove the control. This is where Mormons and JW's differ from other cults, because they essentially have no other control mechanism besides shunning. Because of this, no amount of letter writing, or demonstrations, are going to result in what many of us would like to see, the elimination of this cult.

    JW's I think will adapt. They can't stay this way, because they are leaking money, and money is what makes their world go round. What role if any disfellowshipping will have in their future remains to be seen. Looks like its going to stick around a bit longer....

    I was very late in understanding the ramifications of shunning. It wasn't until Gilead that I realized how cold this cult is, and what disfellowshipping is all about. It comes off in layers for me... Still does..... I need to think a bit more about this....

  • whoknows

    I totally agree with all of the above. I was df'd about a month ago and when it happened, I cried. I'm not sure why, I certainly don't believe one crumb of what they teach anymore, and I had been inactive for two years. Even though all of our friends shunned us from the beginning, I knew that being df'd was irrevocable for me, and possibly we would never again have contact with our best friends unless they leave. As a punishment it is very effective and it works well for them.

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    Me too! I gave precious little thought to the effects of shunning on people while I was inside. But, in the back of my robotic mind, was the awareness that I would be without friends and family should I ever do anything worthy of Df'ing. I didn't walk about in fear of that - but it motivated me just the same. I was a 'good little Jw' - I did not seek to live outside the box that the GB painted on the floor for me. So, I did not consider those consequences often nor deeply. I just assumed I would always be 'center cut Jw'.

    It bothers me with great intensity now. I suppose on one level, that is due to the fact that I did not 'deserve' to be ill-treated. I acted in conscience, as I had been told I should act all my life. I left due to conscience, and I suppose on some deep levels expected the cult to react with that understanding. I was not humping the PO's daughter, or sniffing cocaine. I was just acting on what I thought at the time was my 'God given conscience'.

    It has acted as a repellent to me now. I hate the organzation. Had they allowed me to just leave I would not have hated them as much. I would have just left, retained a few contacts, and got on with life. So the sword cuts both ways. It keeps some Jws in - those who leave over principle, it changes them. Or at least it did me.

    All in all - they cannot afford to ever change it. But if they do - and recall that the lawyers are in charge these days, not the theologians - they will bleed like the proverbial stuck pig. Perhaps the lawyers are willing to risk that, I don't know. The theologian captors never were.


  • lepermessiah


    You totally hit the nail on the head. It is a control mechanism, first and foremost. Even the most honest hearted person is not allowed to question the arrangement or the judgement. Unfortunately, many hard-core JW's carry it like a badge of honor - "Well, at least we do something to those who break God's Law" or "At least we keep our congregation "clean". The scriptural basis for it is flimsy to say the least - that is why I first started questioning it. Then, the more I thought about it the more unloving I thought it was. Some people would pass a DF'ed person on the road if they were "laying" there so to speak, so I always pondered Jesus' question as to "Who really is my neighbor?

    I think now that people are leaving in droves, they are left to ponder their next move. I still feel though, if they were to change DF dramatically, it would really freak out most JW - how do you explain a 180 on that one??? I think that would cause many to further question things.

  • parakeet

    Posters with better minds than mine have written over the years that getting rid of the shunning doctrine would bring the WTS to its knees in less than five years.

    Free exchange of ideas between dubs and apostates? As long as the gb have a single neuron firing in their brains, it will never happen.

Share this