Why did the watchtower stop saying that so and so is disfellowshipped? Why did they change this?
Why do they say: Brother is no longer JW VS Brother is disfellowshipped?
to keep you guessing what they DID!.. they love rumors.. and counsel against it...
They seem to think that it somehow absolves them of some unstated legal issues...
Probably the notion is that it deceptively sounds like the person left the JWs voluntarily rather than being rudely kicked to the curb.
How does this change things legally?
They like to believe that even people who are no longer witnesses still think it's The Truth, they are just incapable of living up to the standards.
But if someone disassociates themselves, then they weren't just being punished for sinning, they CHOSE to leave.
Which means maybe they *gasp* no longer think it's the truth!?
So now regardless of whether X disassociates himself or he is disfellowshipped, the elders announce X as being "no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses."
That way the congregation will assume X is being punished and they won't think that it was X's choice
So if you disassociation yourself you still have a chance of an elder getting on a stage and saying: He or she is no longer being one of JW's? Even if you just decided that you no longer want to be apart of it. That you didnt do anything wrong you just dont want to be a part of it. Wow.
You cant win or lose with this so called religion.
How does this change things legally?
It may not. But in theory here's how:
The magazines say how to treat disfellowshipped people; Like garbage.
If they announce: Bob is disfellowshipped. Then they are saying: "Treat Bob like garbage."
But they never actually SAY: "Bob is disfellowshipped." They say: "Bob is no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses."
Now of course every witness in the building KNOWS what that actually means. But they never officially say it.
So the law can come back and say: "You told Bob's family to treat Bob like garbage!"
The witnesses can say: "No we didn't, they did that all on their own. We said to treat 'disfellowshipped' people like garbage, but we never said Bob was disfellowshipped! Their own consciences must have compelled them, not us."
The WTS has never explained it of course.
It accomplishes a couple of things:
1) In the past, there were different phrases depending on the action ("X has been disfellowshipped" or "X has disassociated himself"). While the end result (shunning) was the same, there was perhaps a perceived notion from the audience that if you disassociated yourself, you were more in control - maybe you took a stand on principle, instead of being caught bonking another man's wife.
Now, there is no distinction at all - "X is no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses" indicates that "X" could have done any sort of vile, unspeakable acts.
It ratchets up the fear a bit - the audience thinks "If I get caught, and announced, people will think I'm a wretched person".
2) The lack of distinction also serves to protect from slander lawsuits. If you say "X has been disfellowshipped", you are in effect saying "X is guilty of some heinous sin - he committed some evil act, and far worse, he isn't even repentant!" Depending on the country, perhaps that "in effect" notion could be construed as slander.
Now, though, by saying "X is no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses" no one has heard anything "evil" implied. The audience thinks "Maybe X quit on his own, maybe he didn't, who knows? But we've got to shun him just the same".
It really is quite diabolically ingenious. The WT lawyer who convinced them to change the announcement language probably got bumped up to a GB-level apartment in Bethel.
They can not be sued for slander . If the charges that the disfellowshipped person untrue/unproven
Incidentally - this is just one more reason why I have been saying that the Legal Department really has more influence these days than either the Service Department or the Writing Department.
This is obviously a Watchtower Society Legalism.