The WTS sanctions the practice of shunning or disfellowshipping of unrepentant wrongdoers. This practice cuts the person off from not only the congregation members, but also their still believing family. The WTS backs up their action by threatening the members (congregation and family) with being DF'ed themselves if they choose to associate with the DF'ed person.
The claim in part is that its an act of loving discipline that may move the wrongdoer to repentance and to return to the congregation and thus to Jehovah. Is this really so?
For this to be an effective act of loving discipline, it would require that the wrongdoer really wants to return, that perhaps they just need an attitude adjustment towards their wrongdoing. Perhaps that is what some JW's want and perhaps need. But even with these individuals would their return really be motivated out of a pure heart with a desire to return to Jehovah or rather motivated by other forces?
In most cases, those who return do so because of 3 reasons. 1.) Missing their family that has cut them off. 2.) missing the congregation members that have cut them off. or 3.) Not being able to function normally in society and thus needing the only social circle they've ever known.
For the most part, it is NOT due to some deep desire to return to Jehovah or the WT. **disclaimer- there are, I'm sure, isolated cases of individuals having such lofty, pure. albeit misguided motives.
What if the "wrongdoer" however is apathetic or very definitively doesn't want to return? What if they have no interest in living an immoral life or getting involved in politics or violence or any other "bad" conduct? Is such a person benefitted by this "loving discipline" at all?
It would seem obvious to me that any person that has decided to move on with their life, spirituality, and goals outside of the WT would not be benefitted EVER by this act of DFing. Instead, the only thing that comes from it is a complete and utter destruction of their family life, assuming they have family "still in".
The still-believing family then becomes the ONLY one being disciplined. The DFed person moves on and develops other friends, social and professional contacts and perhaps builds an emotional wall around the previous family relationships, turning off those feelings and emotions.
This is exactly where I'm at in my life. I have only my wife, kids, and one brother that I can "associate" with. My parents, my in laws and extended family, all of which are JW's, have nothing to do with me or my family (even though I'm the only one DF'ed).
What is the result? I have "cut them off" emotionally, not allowing them to hurt me. I have nothing invested in them anymore. They wield no power over me. Sure I would love to have some sort of a relationship (one that doesn't involve religion at all) but I have learned how to HAPPILY live without it.
The effect of this has been rather interesting. Over the last few weeks my parents have reached out to me. My dad called me over Christmas and in the course of our conversation, he asked if we were celebrating Christmas, he quickly said, it doesn't matter to me either way, just curious. I replied that I will not answer any questions of that nature or about my religious beliefs at all. I said that we talk so little I do not want what little time we get to be contentious. He paused and then said he agreed and that he too wanted to enjoy our brief association. He conveyed that he missed my children and hearing from us. A few days later my mom called my wife and had a similar discussion.
I have informed them that I have every intention of respecting their beliefs and faith as long as they will respect my right to having my own beliefs and faith. I also have stipulated that if you do not want your faith to be weakened due to association with me, then never bring up religious matters or beliefs. There are plenty of other things in life to discuss and enjoy without ever discussing religion.
I have not completely re-opened my heart or emotions at this point. I am going to move forward cautiously.
What I have determined is that, while I wish my parents and inlaws would learn the TTATT and leave the WTS, that it will never ever happen as a result of talking to them about anything religious or by trying to disprove their beliefs. All this does is bring up the cult-inculcated reaction of an apostate alarm. They immediately shut down any cognitive, critical thinking skills and immediately slide into defense mode. Regardless of what you say or how compelling it may be, all they hear is "I'm an apostate, I want to lead you away from Jehovah" all they see is "the Devil".
Therefore, I have decided the most effective way to defeat the DFing policy is by simply living a happy, successful, clean, moral life. By enjoying my children and their lives, and demonstrating that the WTS has NO CONTROL or INFLUENCE over me anymore. This drives them crazy and intrigues them. JW's are convinced that you cannot be happy outside of the organization. Happiness and success and having no "hard feelings" toward the WTS and the congregation, etc is the most powerful attack.
I am commited to this tactic and am hopeful that I will have success.
What are your thoughts? Have any had success with this tactic?