Just finished the chapter in Ray's " Christian Freedom " book on " Misuse of Disfellowshipping . I highly recommend anyone reading it as it has NUMEROUS experiences of individuals who were mistreated so unjustly by the WT society's rigid rules - many in spite of 40, 50, or 60 yrs. of faithful alleigance to the WT society's rules. Too many to list here - but buy the book it's worth it !
I wanted to hit on some brief main points to whet your appetite or interest. First of all- What the WT society SAYS and what it DOES in regards to DFing and shunning are TWO different things. In public relations statements here are what certain GB and WT representatives stated :
Walter Graham , WT Canadian Branch, quoted in a Toronto Newspaper - " If someone doesn't want to live by our principles, he's free to leave. There's no badgering here, no physical or emotional harassment.... We don't dictate from headquarters. "
Samuel Herd GB member quoted when he was a C.O. in the Chicago Tribune - " We're not spiritual policemen.... We don't try to stifle anyone in his opinion. "
Robert Balzar , WT headquarters public relations man - " If people do not want to stay they are free to leave.... I cannot understand why those disagreeing simply do not leave quietly . "
Is this an accurate portrayal of WHAT happens if one chooses to LEAVE Jehovah's Witnesses ? Notice Ray Franz quote on pg. 358 from " In Searcxh of Christian Freedom " It states, " Those who think of " quietly withdrawing " know that they have a gun at their heads, the weapon being the threat of official disfellowshipment ( or that of being officially pronounced " dissassociated " producing the same results. ) Though not physically being placed before a firing squad, any Witness attempting to leave the organization for conscientious reasons can do so only at the risk of being labeled heretical, unfit for true Christians ( other Jehovah's itnesses ) to associate with, someone that even family members should treat as an " outcast ". The organizational policy allow no possible way to LEAVE WITH HONOR. Only a person insensitive to human feelings could think that there is " no emotional harassment " involved. "
In the Ancient Israelites days people were to openly confess their sins to one another in a manner where others would have access to information about circumstances involving a sinner where people would be able to make a assessment THEMSELVES of how to view the offender or offense- instead of elders locked in a back room in clandestine, secret meetings outnumbering the sinner 3 to 1 with NO eyewitnesses !
But how are witnesses told to deal with a fellow member who sins today in JW congregations ? Franz states on pg. 374 , " The rigid policy advanced in the final analysis actually works against helping persons who slip into error. A Witness cannot even go to a friend in his congregation to discuss a sinful error with any degree of assurance that what he or she says to the friend will be kept confidential. If the sin is anything the organization classifies as a " major sin " its officials must be informed and the ecclesiastical court must decide whether actions need to be taken or not. Witnesses are made to feel that they are NOT showing love if they fail to report fellow members who have not " gone to the authorities"(elders ) about their personal wrongs. " Ray Franz continued saying an interview of Circuit Overseers in 1987 indicated that they " believed that by far the majority ( some gave figures of 70 % or more ) of elders were NOT qualified to serve in a judicial capacity. Actual experience shows that adherence to organizational policy is paramount with the great majority of such men and that legalism all too often stymies the natural feelings of compassion they might otherwise have. "
Ray continues on pg. 384, " The harsh reality of the situation strikingly reveals the hollowness of public relations statements " earlier expressed about JW members being " free to leave" with no " badgering ". " There are hundreds, thousands of persons who know how contrary to fact those statements are. They know that to express ANY disagreement, no matter HOW respectfully made, or to engage in any discussion of a viewpoint that differs with ANY of the organization's teachings, even in private conversation among close friends, is ti invite investigation and trial by a judicial committee. They know that it is almost impossible to withdraw quietly, that the view is, in effect, " you cannot quit, we must fire you. " Why ? Because by so doing the person who has conscientous concerns about the organization's course and teachings is then placed " OFF LIMITS " to all other members. There is NO DANGER of these members conversing with such ones and beginning to think about matters that the organization declares to be unthinkable. "
So there you have it ! Disfellowshipping is done , not so much to help a sinner see the error of his or her ways - but more importantly to the WT society it is done to prevent any disfellowshipped members from sharing information with active Jehovah's Witnesses which may influence their minds against WT policies and teachings. It , in effect, " cuts off " ANY communication with a witness who has been kicked out ! Even IF the information is important to the remaining ACTIVE JW's - they are told to automatically reject ANYTHING a former witness says. And this even includes INACTIVE WITNESSES !
So- Have you seen these things occur that Ray Franz speaks of ? Feel free to share any experiences you have seen with this happening too. The more we talk about the WT injustices we've seen - more people will get access to information they need to make informed decisions ! If you get a chance to read this book- I highly recommend it . It was amazing HOW MANY people have been unjustly abused by the WT society. As always I look forward to your input ! Peace out to all, Mr. Flipper