I would like to hear your experiences with being SHUNNED

by jwfacts 71 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Blithe Freshman
    Blithe Freshman

    I have not experienced much shunning, we moved. J

    Just recently was told by our last child in the cult:

    They don’t want to visit when his sisters are around, but want to come.

    Just immediate family members, Dad (inactive), I & minor unbaptised sisters still at home.

    I’m df’d, sisters living on their own df’s & disassociated.

    He has redefined the idea of immediate family. L

    Our family was very close, he must be missing us to come up with this reasoning.

    It’s very sad, we love & miss him all the time.


  • Justitia Themis
  • Jeffro

    I was never firmly convinced that JWs had the 'truth' (but had not yet realised Christianity itself is a pack of lies), and the primary reason I stayed with it as long as I did was that I did not want to lose the friendships I had (which was a strong reason to not question my beliefs). I did not have many friends on the 'outside' and was not especially confident (that's a whole other story), and after much peer pressure, I was goaded into 'baptism' in 1997. Thereafter, I rose to the giddy heights of occasionally reading paragraphs at the 'book study', handling microphones, and even being an 'attendant' at a few 'conventions' and 'assemblies'.

    In April 2004 I began a Bible study project about the 70 years (supposedly from 607 to 537 BCE). Though my intent at the outset was not to disprove JW doctrine, after examining the relevant scriptures in more than the cursory JW fashion I very quickly came to the conclusion that the JW chronology is quite impossible. After realising JW doctrine directly contradicts the plain reading of Jeremiah 25:11-12, I decided to study the matter in greater detail. (My examination involved only the Bible, JW literature, and encyclopaedias, Strong's concordance and the works of Josephus, but not any so-called 'apostate' material. At this stage, I was not aware of any 'JW forums' online.) I talked to my JW father about my concerns, but not in detail, and he suggested I write to the Society, which I did in August 2004.

    Throughout this time I was sharing a house with 3 other JWs who I considered close friends (one of them got married and moved out during this period), but I did not discuss my concerns with them, to avoid an outright charge of 'apostasy'. Prior to any of this, I had never enjoyed 'field service', because I would get very nervous at the doors, and generally did the accepted minimum to avoid being hounded by the 'elders', but I started to avoid it as much as possible, despite (well-intended) 'encouragement' from my housemates. I also missed many of the 'meetings', and when I did go, the jargon and fallacies made me uncomfortable; it was difficult even getting through the propaganda-filled songs. Because of the anxiety of knowing I could not continue going along with false JW beliefs, my health suffered--chronic reflux, sleeplessness, fatigue, diarrhoea, fungal mouth ulcers, weight loss, which the doctor confirmed were all caused by stress.

    A few weeks after I wrote to the Watchtower Society, I received a reply from them, which basically said, "this is what you have to believe, or face the consequences". A few days later, the local 'elders' came after me. The 'elders' were unable to provide any valid response to the issues I had raised, and I provided further information showing that the Society's claim of being God's chosen 'organization' is inextricably connected to their false chronology about 607 BCE. By the end of the 'discussion', their response was that I had not convinced them to 'leave the truth', which I thought was a pretty stupid rebuttal. Because I had not discussed my views with anyone else, they could not 'disfellowship' me for 'apostasy', but they were clearly uncomfortable with the information I had presented.

    I hadn't been to many 'meetings' up to that point, and things were already fairly tense at home. A couple of weeks later, my housemates gave me the ultimatum that if I wasn't going to the 'meetings', that I would have to move out as soon as possible. I found the first available rental accommodation--a 2-bedroom flat in a bad neighbourhood (I've moved 5 times since then, including 9 months overseas, and now have my own place). My former housemates helped me move (which left them without a lounge suite or television), but they left as soon as the furniture was unloaded. One of them visited briefly (with another JW friend) a few weeks later, and I saw them again at a JW funeral in December 2004. They were civil but not especially friendly. After the funeral service at the 'Kingdom Hall', an elderly JW started giving me a lecture about how I should go back to the 'meetings'; after trying to be polite, I had to bluntly tell him that his comments weren't appropriate at a funeral. My father phoned me a few times during this period, always to talk about how bad 'the world' is and the 'short time before Armageddon'. One of the deceased's sons who also escaped the JWs moved in with me for a few months, and I'm told his mother blames me for him leaving the religion. Another 'sister' phoned me during this time (presumably she got my new phone number from my new housemate's mother), to tell me a pathetic anecdote about how a 'medium' told Oprah Winfrey (conveniently, off camera) that "'demons' are 'out to get' JWs"; I assumed this was meant to 'scare' me back to 'the truth'.

    The local 'elders' wanted to have another meeting with me, so I wrote to them, stating that I did not consider my baptism valid, specifically because the claim that they are 'God's spirit-directed organisation' is tied to their false doctrines about 607 and 1914, and that I therefore do not consider myself subject to any of their procedures. I explicitly directed in the letter that no statement was to be made about me to the congregation, and that if any such statement had already been made that it must be retracted, with a statement that I am to be regarded in the same way as any person who has never been baptized as a JW. I heard nothing from them for a few months, but received a phone call in late April 2005, where they told me they'd decided I'd 'disassociated'. I told them they were acting against my explicit direction, that I don't recognise any validity in their procedures, and hung up. I learned that they made their standard ambiguous congregation announcement a few days later, ignoring their own policy for right of appeal. In hindsight, it probably would have been simpler to not bother sending any letter at all, but since none of them were talking to me anyway, it makes little difference.

    Earlier this year, I saw a JW former-friend at the supermarket. He was talking on his mobile (cell) phone and didn't talk to me at all but gave an enthusiastic smile and a friendly wave. I'm not entirely sure whether it was the phone call, or his gradual realisation that I'm 'evil', but he then went hurrying out of the store. I also saw his wife (who I went to school with) on a couple of different occasions this year. On the first occasion, she either ignored me or didn't recognise me; the second time, I said "hello" in passing and she just smiled politely.

    My father (and step-mother) still talks to my brother (who was never baptised, also has no interest in the religion, and has referred others to my information about their false beliefs), but with only a couple of exceptions hasn't spoken to me at all since 2004. (The exceptions were when I was going on an extended overseas trip (only because he happened to turn up at my brother's place while I was visiting), and when there was a possible tsunami threat). My brother's wife and other non-JWs have pointed out this distinction of baptism is nothing short of bizarre. I learned a couple of years ago that my father actually tells people that I don't answer his phone calls. In another incident, a co-worker saw my father in the building where I work (he was there as a client, and mentioned his son works there, possibly prompted about the surname in common). He told my colleague that he would visit me while he was there, which was a lie, and he made no attempt to do so.

    My mother and I have never been close (there's that other story again), but things have been improving in the last few years. She disassociated from the JWs (and re-married) about 15 years ago, but she nominally believes the religion is true and expressed a desire to return after her mother died (because she wants to see her in 'the new system'). Last time I saw her, she gave me a gift for my birthday, but she also used a few JW-isms. I haven't heard anything from her for a couple of months and I suspect she may be getting involved with them more.

  • JW GoneBad
    JW GoneBad

    jwfacts, my experience with shunning is mostly as an observer. The amount of needles pain, anxiety and the toll that it has taken on its' victims is too indescribably agonizing for me as an eyewitness to relate. I don't even know where to begin, and thats' because I've seen too much of it over the years.

    Shunning is high on the list, along with disfellowshipping and the abstain from blood doctrine that bring the greatest reproach on "Jehovah", the God of the Bible. JWs by themselves can take the credit of bringing a world of contempt on their own God by this teaching alone! What idiotic behavior!

    It indeed is a good topic to BTTT!

  • its_me!

    Too much shunning for me to type! Telling the whole story requires a quiet corner in a nice coffee shop with gallons of coffee! Short version---- I was born-in, married to a 4th generation JW. We seperated, I had not been df'd, but was treated as if I was. Once I was, the elders so graciously ALLOWED my parents to take me in, as I had no education or means to support myself. However, they told my parents that they were not allowed to go anywhere in public with me or do anything recreational, or talk about anything spiritual with me. My mom was my closest friend, and we share many interests and a similar sense of humor, and we could no longer laugh together or go anywhere together, or have our long talks. One of the loneliest times in my life. I got to share a house with my mother, but not a relationship. I was reinstated, and quickly faded because I found it to be more pleasant to be disfellowshipped than to be reinstated yet still treated like a leper by the congregation. Of course I moved out of my parents house because I could not live there unless I was an actuve dub. My relationship with my mother has never recovered. The stories here make me very sad, but not nearly as sad as ANGRY!!!

    Boyzone, Aquagirl, Moshe, and all of you who have had similar experiences, ((((((hugs))))))). I have felt the pain of being shunned by many, but I have never had a child, so I have not had to experience the agony of seeing your child suffer NEEDLESSLY.

  • jwfacts

    Thanks for your experiences Jeffro and its_me, and I agree with your comment JWGB that it does more harm than good to Jehovah's name. I never stop thinking about my estranged family, but over time it gets easier to bear. its_me, since your mother was your best friend I can't imagine you will ever get over the hurt and anger at loosing that relationship.

  • its_me!

    jwfacts--- I think about it every day, but the pain has dulled a bit. I am trying to concentrate on making myself a happier life on the outside. This is a great thread. It hurts to read the stories, but there is a sense of empathy and understanding that is therapeutic.

  • blondie

    I have never been df'd or da'd. While I was an elder's wife without any "spiiritual" flaws per the BOE, I had family members and other jws treat me as if I were. The elders did not believe it until some of my family pulled the same game on the BOE in their congregation and their families and even the CO. Although disciplined by the CO, these individuals continued their personal df'ing of people and swtiched to another congregation.

    I come from a very dysfunctional family and they are dying like flies this year. Those of my generation have moved far away to escape the results of their little personal df game in this area.

    Now that I am inactive, I'd like to say that the shunning began with that...but all it takes is moving to another nearby congregation, and few jws from your old congregation will keep contact...unless they want something from you.

    So I have not been close to my family for a long time, they are toxic and abusive. It has been healthy for me to stay away.

    I wonder if friends and family stay away they are obeying God or rather humans. If they are afraid that some how the elders and others have a direct line to God to advise him of who is worthy of eternal death. I think of the priests who did not listen to Saul and avoid David, but gave him and his men food...and they were rewarded with death at the hands of one of Saul's supporters.

    (1 Samuel 22:9-19) 9 At this Do′eg the E′dom·ite, being stationed as he was over the servants of Saul, answered and said: “I saw the son of Jes′se come to Nob to A·him′e·lech the son of A·hi′tub. 10 And he proceeded to inquire of Jehovah for him; and provisions he gave him, and the sword of Go·li′ath the Phi·lis′tine he gave him.” 11 At once the king sent to call A·him′e·lech the son of A·hi′tub the priest and all the house of his father, the priests that were in Nob. So all of them came to the king. 12 Saul now said: “Listen, please, you son of A·hi′tub!” to which he said: “Here I am, my lord.” 13 And Saul went on to say to him: “Why have YOU men conspired against me, you and the son of Jes′se, by your giving him bread and a sword, and there being an inquiry of God for him, to rise up against me as a lier in ambush the way it is this day?” 14 At this A·him′e·lech answered the king and said: “And who among all your servants is like David, faithful, and the son-in-law of the king and a chief over your bodyguard and honored in your house? 15 Is it today that I have started to inquire of God for him? It is unthinkable on my part! Do not let the king lay anything against his servant [and] against the entire house of my father, for in all this your servant did not know a thing small or great.” 16 But the king said: “You will positively die, A·him′e·lech, you with all the house of your father.” 17 With that the king said to the runners stationed about him: “Turn and put to death the priests of Jehovah, because their hand also is with David and because they knew that he was a runaway and they did not disclose it to my ear!” And the servants of the king did not want to thrust out their hand to assault the priests of Jehovah. 18 Finally the king said to Do′eg: “You turn and assault the priests!” Immediately Do′eg the E′dom·ite turned and himself assaulted the priests and put to death on that day eighty-five men bearing an eph′od of linen. 19 Even Nob the city of the priests he struck with the edge of the sword, man as well as woman, child as well as suckling and bull and ass and sheep with the edge of the sword.

  • Knowsnothing

    I DA'ed not to long ago, as some of you already know. In the situation I was/am, it was the biggest blessing/mistake of my life. My mother told me the day I announced my decision to her that she would rather die than know my decision. I also work with a few JW's, and 2/3 are cool and kept speaking to me, but the third completely ignored me the first couple of weeks. It was a really tense, difficult atmosphere to work with. I know the person was hurt from the heart and I didn't know that person would take it so hard. The JW even cried on a couple of occasions.

    Needless to say, this was very difficult to deal with and I didn't know what to think or what to do. I was filled with rage and anger at this religion and even at its people. I'm pretty sure that during those months, I endured so much stress and heartache, that it affected my health. I had done nothing wrong, all I did was decide to leave a religion I no longer believed and I was considered dead to all for such. It was pretty bad too, that a lot of JW's come to where I work, although I must say a few have been at least nominally nice. The ones I knew more personally took my decision to heart and would not even look at me, or if I had to deal with them, they would be strictly work-related talk.

    Fastforward a couple of months later, I decide to go back because I was given this ultimatum, go back or leave your single mother. I won't go into further detail of who gave the ultimatum or the situation that led to it, but at the end of the day, it was the best thing for me. My mother is now happy again even though I will never believe in this again, and all I have to do for now is attend meetings. I am trying to hold back getting reinstated as long as I possibly can. That way I don't have to go preaching or study for meetings. My co-worker is still distant, but I am beginning to cope with that because 2/3 ain't bad. Obviously, I am not saying I don't wish for another alternative. If I could have my mother and leave the religion, I would, but also given financial circumstances for both, parting ways is not an option.

  • lilbluekitty

    The majority of my father's side of the family don't talk to me at all anymore, after my father sent that letter I posted a couple weeks ago. Because we live over 2,000 miles away from each other (most live in New England, I live in South TX) it's not usually too bad for me, except that they no longer reply to my texts and some have removed me on Facebook. I'm being fairly cautious with the few JWs on my mother's side, letting them know I don't want to be a JW anymore but not really telling them I now attend church and want to be baptized as a Christian soon. They do contact me less, mostly letting me be the one to contact them, but so far things are okay with us.

    I honestly haven't seen or any JWs from my old congregation here in ages, or the one I attended 2 years ago, with the exception of the day a sister and her husband knocked loudly on the door while my husband and I were taking a nap, scaring us and then they gave my husband the latest magazines because I decided to hide out in my MIL's room. LOL. I hardly ever see field service groups lately, it's kind of strange.

Share this