Aloha, I'm new and in need of legal advice

by robyn1991 23 Replies latest jw friends

  • robyn1991

    So I've been told there are a few people on her that could help me with this problem?

    To cut a very long story short, I was raised a JW, I left the WT in January to be with my partner, a non-jw. I was Marked for dating, even though I hadn't attended a meeting since december. I was kicked out (Rented from bethelites), my sister took me off our shared car insurance so I had no car, she cancelled my phone contract so I had no phone, and I had no job (worked with JWs)

    So had a couple of months of stress. After I was marked, the elders left me pretty much alone. UNTIL me and my partner decided to have a baby, we were living together and I still hadn't attended a meeting in months. I obviously had to tell my mother, who proceeded to tell EVERYONE she could, despite the fact I told her it wasn't her business to spread around.

    I received a summoning to a judicial committee for my crimes, I replied telling them I was happy and healthy and did not require their assistance. They continued to send me letters through my father, as they didn't have my address. These letters got more and more irate at me for not attending their JC's. They also made efforts to discover my new phone number from my parents so they could harrass me further.

    I sent them another letter informing them that if they continued to send me letters or attempted to obtain my contact details from my family, I would take evidence to the police and have them done for harrassment. I also added that if they made any announcment regarding my status or standing within the congregation, I would consider this defamation of character and attemped damage to my reputation and I would take them to court for damages.

    All was quiet for about a month, until I got a text from my dad telling me they DF'd me last thursday. They had clearly breaching my wishes and DF'd me without my knowledge or permission. I was not told it would be happening, nor informed WHY. They DF'd purely on word of mouth that I was pregnant and the fact I did not attend a JC.

    I'm going to try and get myself a soliciter on monday, and have found one nearby that would be interested in my case. I'd like to sue the body of elders from my congregation personally, for harrassment and defamation of character. Does anyone have any idea how much of a chance I have? It is my understanding that they cannot publicly announce my name and religious status without my knowledge or permission.

    Many thanks.

  • Witness My Fury
    Witness My Fury

    H'mmm so much for keeping a low profile and taking it slow eh.

    Too far too fast i'm afraid. What DID you expect? 1 month of no meetings then you piss them off sufficiently to get MARKED (marking talk given to cong but you not named, but elders tell you in private meetings this is your status and the talk will be about you)... then you live with the guy for months and then decide to have a baby AND then to tell your mother (who then tells the elders)!

    Now you dont want them to DF you? Well i'm guessing it's a bit late to be thinking about that now isn't it?

    Not what you wanted to hear i gather, but just sayin it like it is. As for the legal cease and desist stuff then it's also too late as they have DF'd you.

    Overall NOT the way to leave WTS lala land unless you don't give a flying F**k about anyone.

    Welcome to the board btw...

  • GLTirebiter

    Welcome, Robyn!

    I'm going to try and get myself a soliciter on monday, and have found one nearby that would be interested in my case. I'd like to sue the body of elders from my congregation personally, for harrassment and defamation of character. Does anyone have any idea how much of a chance I have?

    Consulting an attorney is a good decision! That is who you should talk to for legal advice. The law and the legal precedents that would support or refute your case vary from place to place. That's why you need an expert professional to advise you.

    It is my understanding that they cannot publicly announce my name and religious status without my knowledge or permission.

    That depends on the law where you live and all the circumstances of the event. Some here have succeeded with cease-and-desist efforts, others have not. Because you said "solicitor" instead of the American word "Lawyer", I suspect that you live under different laws than I do, so I can't even guess what your chances would be.

    Good luck to you, and please keep us updated!

  • EntirelyPossible

    Yeah, they totally can. Courts are very reluctant to get involved in internal church matters. Many have tried, never heard of a case where it succeeds.

  • Curtains

    hi robyn - welcome

    tough situation.

    I dont have any legal training but am interested in this subject. I'd suggest that before you consult a solicitor write to your local body of elders asking them what your status is at present. Hopefully they will reply which will give you something in writing that your solicitor can work with.

    Nowadays Jehovahs witnesses say "so and so is no longer a part of the congregation" in their public announcements. And this would be true in your case, so the announcment in itself can seem harmless. So I would suggest that in your letter you ask the elders if you are now to be treated as a disfellowshipped person and if so what this entails.

  • Gayle

    Too late now. They can announce that "so and so is no longer a JW." At least they can't say any moral issue reasons on the platform any more. Very unfortunately, most sadly, they can influence your family to not talk to you any more.

    But welcome to this site. You can get so much morale support here. Though you obviously made a decision to leave the KH life you need to really learn 'why' that life doesn't work for you. It wasn't "the truth" but is a very high mind-control religion with immense falsehood and manipulation. It is very important for you to learn and read about the facts about Jehovah's Witnesses that have been kept secret from you.

    Check: and other sites too. Read the book Crisis of Conscience by Ray Franz. You owe this to yourself.

    I gather you are pregnant presently? You will have to move on to provide for your child and good free life, a normal child's life with your unconditional love. You can move on to a positive life, taking effort and taking time.

  • LostGeneration

    I have no legal advice to give you, though I think your chances of winning are extremely slim at best.

    Suing them at the local level though will give them plenty of stress, and possibly help them to quit the thankless job of elder in the future. If thats worth it to you then go for it. If every elder had to worry about getting sued for their JC decisions I would bet that quite a few would quit being elders.

  • Sapphy

    Hiya & welcome!

    I wouldn't bother about the disfellowshipping. It's basically an ol' boys club. They make the rules and can dis you or re-instate you at will.

    If you lost your job because you were marked & they broke your employment contract because of that, sue them for wrongfull dismissal. Ditto the housing situation. It is my understanding they should have given you at lease two months notice...

  • Sapphy

    Oh & try and get your story into the local paper as a human interest - I lost my house, job and car simply to be with the man I love etc.

  • NewChapter

    Hi Robyn. Are you in the US? Your Aloha made me think so, but your use of the word solicitor made me think not.

    There probably isn't much you can do about this. They repeatedly asked you to attend the JC and you didn't. So they did it without you. They always can point out that you were invited. In the US the government doesn't meddle too much within a religion. They never step in and tell a congregation how to run things. Medical iinformation is protected by HIPPA laws, making it illegal for doctors to discuss your health without your permission. There is no such protection for Religion. The elders were practicing their free speech when they announced you were no longer a JW. And you aren't--so it's not slander. If they were harrassing you, you would have a small criminal case, but they probably won't be contacting you at all anymore so there will be no case.

    The only other possible case you may have is your job. It's illegal to discriminate against religion on the job. Is that what happened? Did you get fired after your DF? THAT could be a case. But if you had some other arrangement, such as some type of cooperative effort with other JW's, well they get to choose their business partners.

    I know you are angry, but you are free now. Use your energy to concentrate on your baby. We'll support you while you work out the grief and adjustment. We all wish we could sue the WT, most of us cannot. Your life is yours now. Congratulations.

    So tell us about yourself. Why did you decide to leave? Was it something you read? Someone you met? We love details.


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