I called Bethel about shunning family, unexpected response.....
I'm all ears----
I'm posting this to perhaps help those who have been severed from their families, this information may help you be able to atleast restore 'being a family'. (This is a definite solution for parents, children and siblings, if you are outside the immediate family circle then it will be harder) This can free their conscience to associating as family. What happened in the phone call is related and I give details further on.
My personal situation - In really trying to find the truth and do the right thing, reading the bible caused me to find things that I didn't agree with being taught. So I'm on my own trying to understand and sort things out. With a bunch of twisting and based on their defintion of an apostate, in a JW's eyes I 'could' be considered one. Aside from what I think, if I am with my family, my conduct is no different then if I was still with them. (If your lifestyle has changed a lot, you smoke, etc, you'll have to be willing to refrain from those things while you are with them / visiting and not talk about it.)
FIRST STEP TO BEING BACK WITH YOUR FAMILY - YOUR MINDSET -
You must be very sensitive to their conscience. You have been a JW before, if you are with them, or talking to them, do not say anything that will offend or make them uncomfortable. If you smoke, don't do it around them or talk about it. If you curse, refrain from doing it around them. The bottom line, don't give them a reason to think you are a bad influence or a reason to pick at their conscience. O and do not talk down or try to persuade them into leaving, etc. Also be empathetic that the only reason you are being shunned is they are 100% they have the truth, and just put yourself in their shoes and remember back to when you thought as they do.
NEXT PART....IS YOUR SHUNNING THEIR PERSONAL IDEA OR DO THEY THINK THEY HAVE TO DO IT?
You will have to reason with them to start this part. Something like, "I know you won't talk or associate with me because of your conscience and that not following it is against Jehovah", I was confused and unsure about how JW's or how you are supposed to treat me in (whatever situation for you no longer being a JW). I was shocked that actually the opposite is taught.
The July 09 Awake says this..."No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family. Does study of the Bible lead to family breakup? No. In fact, the Bible encourages a husband and wife who practice different religions to remain together as a family.—1 Corinthians 7:12, 13." Other research brought out how a husband and wife are bound, united, from their marriage and vow under God. They are not blood relations but made family from a promise, but children and parents don't take a vow, they are made a family from the start.
The 1988 4/15 watchtower says this....."a man who is disfellowshipped or who disassociates himself may still live at home with his Christian wife and faithful children. Respect for God’s judgments and the congregation’s action will move the wife and children to recognize that by his course, he altered the spiritual bond that existed between them. Yet, since his being disfellowshipped does not end their blood ties or marriage relationship, NORMAL FAMILY AFFECTIONS AND DEALINGS can continue." - So we can't discuss spiritual things, but again the bible and the WT say normal family affections and dealings can continue.
((NOTE: in that WT it says it only applies to those within the immediate family circle. If you look up that definition it's parents, siblings, children. The next paragraph that article then has a "BUT", and says those outside such as grandparents should still shun, so if you are outside the immediate family circle then it will be a little harder to convince it's okay to associate, but read on....))
Those sources above will cover any reason one may be DFed or no longer a JW on being able to associate with family. If you assure them you won't talk about spiritual things and your conduct with them will be no different then if you were a JW, then they should have no problems being able to associate.
IF YOUR REASON FOR NOT BEING A JW IS BIBLE CONSCIENCE OR DISAGREEMENT ON WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS...the following will add a lot to it.
First as stated in the last section it says one shouldn't be forced to choose between his beliefs and his family. Then the 2005 Sept 1st Awake (might of been WT), a whole article about Mennonites and a family who studied. For them going against their religion and studying the bible, it said they were excommunicated and "it was a CRUEL blow". They labeled the act of mennonites excommunicating a member for bible based conscience as CRUEL. So the question, is it only 'cruel' if the one studying the bible and having doubts on their beliefs is not a JW? So the society realizes it's 'cruel' for one to be shunned based on their conscience and beliefs. Combining this with the article stated above, it seems like the society says a person should be free to follow their conscience on the bible, and cutting them off or having to choose between that and family as a 'cruel' practice.
Also you noticed in the brochure, "Jehovah's Witnesses, who are they and what do they believe".
It says this...."They are dedicated to
God to do his will. It is of vital importance to them that their beliefs be based on the Bible and not on mere human speculations or religious creeds. They feel as did the apostle Paul when he expressed himself under inspiration: "Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar." (Romans 3:4, New World Translation*) When it comes to teachings offered as Biblical truth, the Witnesses strongly endorse the course followed by the Beroeans when they heard the apostle Paul preach: "They received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11) Jehovah's Witnesses believe that all religious teachings should be subjected to this test of agreement with the inspired Scriptures, WHETHER THE TEACHING IS OFFERED BY THEM or by someone else." - SO you are actually encouraged to compare and test the teachings with the bible.
Then in the brochure is a "Questions from interested people". It's about how to learn and understand the bible. Now all JW's believe that they can't learn or understand it on their own, it can only come through the faithful and discreet slave or governing body. Does the answer back that up? It actually says this...."How can I learn to answer questions on the Bible?
You must study the Bible and meditate on it, at the same time asking for God's spirit to direct you. (Proverbs 15:28; Luke 11:9-13) "If any one of you is lacking in wisdom," the Bible says, "let him keep on asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching; and it will be given him." (James 1:5). (It adds a note that bible aids 'may' be needed). So the answer is saying read the bible, have faith God will give you understanding, and you'll get it, if you still need help then other things can be used.
NEXT STEP - COMBINE EVERYTHING AND ASK THE IMPORTANT QUESTION. "As I was reading and seeing all of this, I was really confused. Even I thought your shunning me was taught from the society. But while going out witnessing and bringing these things to people, it looks like they are being told, "Everybody who is serious about God should check the bible and make sure everything is in agreement with the scriptures, even JW's of their teachings. If their conscience and understanding disagree with what they are taught, they should be free to follow their conscience. It would be a cruel thing to shun somebody or force them to choose between their family and what they feel is right from their understanding of the bible. So there are only 2 conclusions I could think of for this, because I also have been under the impression JW's were supposed to shun anyone and any family who left no matter what the reason. So either it's been misunderstanding and people have been doing that and thinking that, OR are lies and deceit being printed and told to people??? ((DON'T FORGET YOU DON'T WANT TO HIT THEIR CONSCIENCE OR THEM GET AN UNEASY FEELING AND PARANOID THIS IS A TRICK OR APOSTACY OR TWISTING, SO SAY OR ASSUME IT'S GOT TO BE A MISUNDERSTANDING)) "It's definitely got to be a misunderstanding". (YOUR GOAL IS TO BE ABLE TO VISIT OR BE FAMILY LIKE AGAIN AND THEM TO HAVE A CLEAR CONSCIENCE DOING SO, SO SHOWING ALL THE ARTICLES IS NOT TO EXPOSE ANYTHING, ITS TO CORRECT THE MISUNDERSTANDING. THEY MIGHT START THINKING ON THEIR OWN BUT IF YOU IMPLY ANYTHING YOU'LL BE OUTCAST AGAIN)
THE PHONE CALL TO BETHEL - After seeing all this and the super clear contradiction if supposed to shun family who leave, I called Bethel just to ask about the policy of what to do if a family member leaves the organization. I told the elder I was speaking with I had doubts and disagreements on teachings vs what I was reading in the bible. I wasn't trying to talk my family out of leaving, and not doing anything bad or anything to be a bad influence to them. Since I no longer share the same beliefs, they consider me apostate. Whether I'm considered one or not, bottom line I am trying to do the right thing, I believe different then what was being taught, and if I agree not to talk about spiritual things and not being a bad influence, will they still be told or encouraged to shun?
HIS RESPONSE: With family members, that is their own conscience and for them to decide. We will not tell them yes or no, that is on them themselves. If they feel you are being a bad influence on them, they may choose not to, either way they must decide we won't say one way or another. Based on what you told me it sounds like they may be taking things to an extreme, but that's their choice. I even mentioned they said they read something that if I didn't go to meetings anymore they were to treat me as an apostate and can't associate with me. He said whatever they think they read they misunderstood it or took it to an extreme, that again they wouldn't be told they can't associate with family.
I was shocked on that, I was expecting to hear that they would be instructed to shun and then I was going to ask about all these articles I quoted already.
So as long as you won't be doing 'worldy' things around them or in their eyes a bad influence, else they can use the "bad association spoils useful habits", and you don't bring up critical things of the organization, you should be able to have normal family dealings and affections as the WT worded it.
If you do lead in their eyes a worldly lifestyle (they already know details), you are still family/blood tied, so using that article and if you say "Hey, when I am around you all my conduct will be just as if I was a JW and I won't talk about spiritual related things", that may work.
Interesting...thanks for relating that.
This is all spin and PR, or, to forgive my French, bullcrap!
Randy Watters had a good article on this on Freeminds, where he mentioned the Trinity of Voices. One voice is the PR machine to the public. The second voice is to the rank and file. The third voice is from the Branch to the Elders. After reading recent study articles, the message is loud and clear: Shun the DFed and DAed, shun anyone saying anything 'apostate', even if they are relatives. If you do not, you are making God angry, and you can be disfellowshipped.
Besides, the publications say things without actaully saying them sometimes. And they cause persons, such as my parents, to go one step beyond what the Society's offical stance is. So the bottom line is: no matter what the Trinity of voices is saying, individuals will do what they are indoctrinated to do in such a way the Society can step back and say, "Hey...we didn't tell them to do that!"
Being an inactive free thinker, associating with famility, and being DF'd are two different things. Also, If you're DF'd and away from the home it's a no go no matter what. But if you're DF'd and living under the same roof that's another story.
There was a recent WT study article on this. It was VERY blatant about the WTS stance of this.
It's all classic doublespeak, straight from 1984.
they speak in double tongue, just like the awake -vs- wathtower................. public edition -vs- sudy editon............
it's all for covering their ass............... don;t believe a word they say, they will not back it up!
If you are DFed and living away from home, you are still blood family and part of the "immediate family circle". The example in the 88WT didn't say a mother may have a hard time not speaking to her son, it said 'grandparent', which is outside of the immediate family circle.
To Londo - Yes it may just be PR stuff. BUT those who are JW's believe it's the truth and only group lead by God. They can't ignore what the articles are saying to those they are being given to. And JW's believe Satan is the one who lies and deceives. So "O it's a misunderstanding then" will be the only answer they can give or hear on why the WT and Awake clearly speak against shunning family on grounds of their bible conscience.
The whole point is show what they are doing is against what's in print and what interested people are told and that it's nowhere commanded in the bible either.
DaCheech - if people just go with what most practice, but if the family who is practicing the shunning, was to show their elders those articles and ask, "Okay, when witnessing we are saying these things, is this true or not, are we allowed to speak to our kids/parents/etc" They will have to tell them it's their choice, it's a conscience matter, or explain why lies are being distributed.