Who is it really disciplining????

by jeremiah18:5-10 12 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • jeremiah18:5-10

    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?

  • Bobcat


    You're right about DFing. It is a vindictive assault masquerading as 'loving discipline.' And in a sense, the WT is reaping the results of it. There are tons of people DFed and many return for all the 'secular' or 'non-spiritual' reasons you mentioned. They let many back who 'learn to play the game.' It can't help but have a slow poisoning effect on the whole.

    The current harping on obedience and being quick to follow thru on instructions, the lack of brothers 'reaching out,' etc, all this may actually be symptoms (at least in part) of the DFing policy.

    But to change the DFing/Shunning policy now would also take time for the effects of the change to play out. I can only compare the WT to those monkeys holding on to the coconuts that you hear about in talks sometimes. Holding on to their power is the only way to keep going for them. Even if it means the flock has to lose.

  • Reality79

    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?

    None of that matters to them. Once you're DF/DA, you might as well be a rapist and mass murderer as far as the org is concerned. I read on a recent thread that now they are even subtly encouraging JWs to start shunning inactive ones. Soon people will start shunning others who do less than 20 hours a month on the ministry.

    Any religion that makes people scared to breath while treading on eggshells isn't operated by "love" at all. They're a nasty and vicious organisation who twist scriptures to suit their evil agenda. I mean, the very nerve to tell people to shun their own children who leave "the truth" and end up tearing apart families is totally heinous. What gets me is, everybody's following the instructions of a group of men (who couldn't give two shits about anybody) they don't know personally and will never even meet.

  • WTWizard

    To me, the only "discipline" disfellowshipping me would be would amount to the time they waste worrying about my returning. As there are those still deeply attached to my going into the cancer, I am sure they are still deeply attached to my staying in. And when they no longer have that, they waste copious amounts of spiritual energy (which they don't have to waste) worrying about when I am going back. If I finally get disfellowshipped, they might be able to pick up the pieces--however, that part they invested by binding my soul to joke-hova will always be there lending to them worrying about my reinstatement (which isn't coming).

    Nor would "abandoning me to Satan" be discipline for me. That would only deprive joke-hova the use of my soul, since joke-hova would then have to release my soul to Satan. At which point, Satan (who has had an interest in saving mankind right from the beginning from a tyranny that is absolute) would be able to actually work with me, so I won't be coming back in the next life as a son of one of the most devout jokehovian witless couples on the planet and stripped of any chance of ever freeing myself from the cancer.

  • etna


    I think you are correct in saying that to live a happy life and enjoy your children is the best way to go. When your parents or in-laws ring and say they miss you and your family, it will show that you haven't stopped them from seeing them. They might realize it is a CULT......... Good luck and keep us informed.


  • Phizzy

    The DFing and shunning are mainly used by the WT to keep those still in under strict control. if they really wanted the person to repent and return they would have a programme of rehabilitaion in place, where Elders helped the person on a regular, at least weekly, basis.

    As it is, it is the equivalent of locking up a criminal for a while with no attempt to rehabilitate. That just makes for re-offenders as the penal system well knows.

    I think that living a happy life free of the WT speaks volumes, but is no gurantee it will free other JW's.

    It is certainly good to show the lying propaganda of the WT for what it is, and may well remove some of the fear of leaving that most have.

    I have not heard of any who have left who are less happy for the move, even if their life in freedom was harder for a while.

  • jeremiah18:5-10

    @ Phizzy

    I think that living a happy life free of the WT speaks volumes, but is no gurantee it will free other JW's.

    Is there any action that would guarantee freeing other JW's? I don't believe so.

    The thing is all of the devout ones have a persecution complex and a cult-mind, any attempt to free their mind or to reason with them is met with thier pre-programmed response of intellectually shutting down, I used to be just like that. There's no desire to see the TTATT. Only the desire to stay in the "spiritual paradise".

    I dare say the only way to ever reach one is to make life appear better on your side, not through words, but rather through actions. They have to develop the "crack" in their faith themselves. It has to occur naturally, it can't be forced.

  • carla

    Excellent post and I wish you the best!

  • sir82
    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.


    Curiously, if disfellowshipped JWs are honest and state those reasons as their motivation for wanting to return, they'll never be allowed to.

    I.e., as a final indignity, disfellowshipped JWs must lie to the elders bout their reason for wanting to return, if they are to have any hope of actually doing so.

  • jeremiah18:5-10


    Therefore, how satisfying and rewarding is it for an individual to betray their true self and convictions just to maintain relationships with individuals (friends or family) that we realize are obviously blinded and mentally captive and who are delusional in thinking that we are the ones that are "sick, misguided, and mislead"?

    I realize that the ultimate desire of such ones whether DF'd or inactive or fading is that they will help their believing friends and family to escape in tact. Truly that is a noble endeavor and to be admired. But at what cost to you? What cost to your family that has left with you? I also realize this is a touchy subject and I'm in no way ridiculing those who make this difficult choice, I simply have a difficult time comprhending it anymore.

    For me anyway, my personal integrity far outweighed any supposed, hoped-for accomplishment that I likely would never achieve by hanging on and staying in. Perhaps I'm selfish. Perhaps I'm just lucky because I escaped with my wife and kids, something many of you have not been able to do. I feel for you.

    Still, I maintain that actually owning your convictions and living accordingly will not only result in a better, happier life for you, but will also be more likely to have a deep impact on the still-believing family members trapped inside. I believe this because what keeps them in more than anything is "who else would we go to?" or "where else would we go?" Whichever the WT question that they mis-quote is. Therefore I propose that by finding happiness and success outside of the WT and moving on actually shows them that there is somehwere to go and that there is happiness and satisfaction to be had in life outside of the WT. Who knows how powerful and impactful that could be in giving them the courage to wake up.

    Thats my hope and belief anyway. I hope I'm not to naieve about this and I hope no one takes this position as being disrespectful toward those who stay in for the sake of family.

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