Jehovah’s Witnesses Recognize That People Have the Right to Change Religions, Just Not Their Religion

by Watchtower-Free 13 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Watchtower-Free

    By Alexandra James

    The official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses,, has a Frequently Asked Section that recently addressed the question of whether or not JWs pressure people to change religions (this site). According to their answer, they don’t pressure people to change religions, and agree with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when it says that a person should have the freedom to change religions. According to the JW website, “these rights carry with them the obligation to respect the rights of others both to maintain their beliefs and to reject ideas that they disagree with.”

    This is a very interesting statement, and by “interesting” I mean grossly hypocritical and yet another absolute smack of outright dishonesty on their part. Jehovah’s Witnesses say that people have the right to change religions and that they deserve “respect” when it comes to that right, but this is not something that they offer to those who leave their religion. Not only are those who choose to leave the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses not given respect, but these people are punished in the absolute worst way. Consider:

    Capture change religion

    From the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Let’s Start With Shunning

    Leaving the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses means being shunned and cut off from your entire family and all your friends, even if you’re a “young one,” and no matter your reasons for leaving. Please see the Shunning category of this site for more detailed information.

    This shunning is all-encompassing, and is done to anyone who officially leaves or “disassociates” themselves, and to anyone who is excommunicated or disfellowshipped. Parents will typically not speak to children or will keep contact very minimal at best. Children will not speak to parents or siblings who have left. Extended family is also very often shunned; grandparents may not talk to their own grandchildren, if the parents of those grandchildren are disfellowshipped or disassociated.

    How is this showing “respect” to those who “reject ideas that they disagree with”? According to, respect is defined as “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person,” and “deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment.” Deference is defined as “respectful submission or yielding to the judgment, opinion, will, etc., of another.”

    Shunning someone, cutting them out of your life completely and in some cases even refusing to look at them because they reject your ideas about religion, is not “courtesy” and it doesn’t show “submission” to their opinion. Rather, it’s a form of bullying, emotional blackmail, and punishment.

    Next, It’s Name Calling

    Jehovah’s Witnesses often use the term “apostate” when talking about those who have left the religion, and especially those who speak out against it. This is not a nice term from them; they refer to Satan as being “the foremost apostate” (January 15, 2006, Watchtower) and often say that apostates are dangerous (“…the apostate does not have your well-being at heart…” February 15, 2004, Watchtower).

    The July 15, 2011, Watchtower says outright, “apostates are ‘mentally diseased,’ and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings.” It went on to give very direct, clear counsel on how such “apostates” are to be treated; “We do not receive them into our homes or greet them. We also refuse to read their literature, watch TV programs that feature them, examine their Web sites, or add our comments to their blogs.”

    This takes their punishment of those who leave to a whole new level; not only are they to be avoided, but they’re also outright slandered as being “diseased.” Forget that some leave the religion because of being victims of pedophilia or domestic violence, or because of seeing clearly that the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses obviously has no direction or guidance from god and has failed in their prophecies time and again. No, any who leave the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses are “diseased.” Again, how does this show “respect” for someone who has different ideas than them when it comes to religion?

    The Hypocrisy

    So apparently Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves feel no “obligation to respect the rights of others both to maintain their beliefs and to reject ideas that they disagree with.” This obligation of respect is for other people, when someone wants to leave a religion and become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. When that happens, they deserve respect and deference and consideration, but when someone leaves the JW religion, they deserve to be called “diseased” and actually physically avoided, as if that “disease” was literal.

    The practices that Jehovah’s Witnesses have when it comes to how they treat those who leave their religion are shameful enough, but putting this horrific PR-spun page on their website when it’s something they themselves don’t truly follow is outright, blatant dishonesty. I might pose the question to them, Since you claim that it’s so important to respects the beliefs of those who don’t agree with your religion, when are you going to do that? When are you going to give up the practice of telling people that they should shun even “young ones” who leave the religion, and when are you going to apologize for calling these supposed apostates “mentally diseased”? If it’s so important that people be given a choice when it comes to religion and such a basic right they have to be respected for that choice, why not set the example in that? Show the world what it means to respect others and to show deference to their decision, rather than berating the world for doing to your new members exactly what you do to your ex-members.

    *** ***


    Just think, 99% of JWs don't know that the WTBTS hangs out at OSCE conventions as a registered member. They don't know the OSCE is the "primary partner" of the UN either!

    Out of the remaining 1%, very few actually care that the WTBTS is in bed with the OSCE. Where do these ideas about "human rights" come from anyway?? Do you think TOMO III made them up because he is a champion of human rights!??

    The above is pure PR bull shit.


    NOTE: All percentages are estimates by DD and should not be considered as factual. DD does not assume responsibility for any resulting embarrassment that may result from using these estimated figures. DD does not endorse the use of any of the above without expressed written consent. DD does endorse midget wrestling, the reverse cowgirl, spandex/yoga pants, alcohol use, medical MJ, violent video games, and Science.

  • TheFadingAlbatros

    I think there is much more than hypocrisy due to the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses recognize that people have the right to change religions, JUST NOT THEIR RELIGION.

    I think that regarding this hard line taken by the JW org.we can speak of IMPOSTURE, of TOTAL SHAME, or of FRAUD..

    I know what I am talking about because I am shunned by a part of my own family since I have decided to withdraw myself officially from the JW org. due to reasons of conscience and to escape from organized and orchestrated manipulation.

  • OneFingerSalute

    Playing devils advocate somewhat, the JDubya's actually DO respect the decision of people to leave the Dub's. According to the JW website, “these rights carry with them the obligation to respect the rights of others. . .

    They use weasel words to wriggle out from under the REAL truth. While not TECHNICALLY lying they skirt the edge very close by saying they respect the RIGHTS of other to choose. Members who find out TTATT can leave anytime they want. It is the right of others to choose AND THEN BE RESPECTED after exercising that right that is not true.

    Just my two-cents FWIW

  • richgirl
    Great article Alexandra! The FAQ article also mentioned that when some of Jesus' disciples left off following him, he let them leave, and he did not coerce them into staying. I wonder how WT would define "coerce". As one of my "inquisitors" said to me, "We are not in the arm twisting business", as in forcing me to stay. At my JC meeting the same elder explained that we have free will, that they had "no trouble" with me doing things my way, and that they did not "judge me for that"!!! (Strange when clearly they were judging me. I was at a judicial meeting after all.) He said that everything I had presented to them "made a lot of sense". I explained that prior to the 1980s I would have been able to just walk away from the organisation without repercussions, but now they had the power to "hurt" me, to punish me. That is not "respect". I had to spell it out for them how I would be hurt, how I would now be treated and viewed by my friends, what lies my friends would now have to believe about me. I read a few quotes from WT magazines. They were clearly uncomfortable but went ahead and followed GB directives anyway, as I knew they would.
  • Finkelstein

    Well yes if your leaving another religion and coming to theirs.

    To show how two faced and deceiving this proclamation is, if a baptized JWS decided to leave and join another religion, that person would be publicly demonised and shun by all the associating members in the congregation of where that person attended.

    All if any friendships are to be cut off, even their own family if it be the case .

  • skin

    At 5min in this speaker says that one of the reasons a DFed person wants to return, is so they can have association with the Brothers and Sisters again. What? "association with the Brothers and Sisters again". That is completely the wrong reason for returning. The real reason a DFed person should want to return is if they want to rekindle their relationship with Jehovah. NOT because of family and friends, this attitude should be considered a self centered one from the DFed person and not the type of person that Jehovah would want associating with his people.

    This type of reasoning is plan wrong, but then again, every witness lapping this up would be thinking that this is a marvelous provision from Jehovah, and there is nothing wrong with it.

  • opusdei1972

    Here is an interesting article (in Spanish) on that point:

  • Finkelstein

    The WTS proclaims that the only way to achieve a true understanding of Jehovah and his will and purpose is to be accepting, learned and subservient to his earthly publishing house, the Watchtower Corporation.

  • SimonSays

    Mental disease definition

    Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.

    6 How can we protect ourselves against false teachers? The Bible’s counsel regarding how to deal with them is clear. (Read Romans 16:17; 2 John 9-11.) “Avoid them,” says God’s Word. Other translations render that phrase “turn away from them,” “keep away from them,” and “stay away from them!” There is nothing ambiguous about that inspired counsel. Suppose that a doctor told you to avoid contact with someone who is infected with a contagious, deadly disease. You would know what the doctor means, and you would strictly heed his warning. Well, apostates are “mentally diseased,” and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings. (1 Tim. 6:3, 4) Jehovah, the Great Physician, tells us to avoid contact with them. We know what he means, but are we determined to heed his warning in all respects?

    Does this mean as a person or the persons behavior. If you are going to psychoanalysis something, it would be helpful to do it right. Since shunning values are personal, let’s say I don’t know if your DF’d, dissociated or just left. It wouldn’t matter to me one way or the other as a person. The people who know you would be in a better position to reason why they wouldn’t want to associate with you. The bulk of your bitterness is based in family and the perception of fellowship from others. I don’t know you from Adam but that simple way you’re distorting some of the facts will lead me to conclude you’re not an honest person. So why would I like that type of fellowship. So if that is the consensus, then how would it be better spiritually for others that know you if your only be criticizing their effort for doing right by God and they know that fact. Well you be civil and hold your tongue? Or will you badger them, as you are critical of them here.

    People don’t know me, but many have been critical of me, are they right or wrong. It doesn’t matter if they think I’m dumb or ignorant since I have already made the choice of thinking that about them.

    So what’s left a continual rotation without an end? Perhaps with your analogy you might consider this word: Since your avatar speaks volumes.

    Analytical definition

    Relating to or using analysis or logical reasoning.

    Analytical methods"


    systematic, logical, scientific, methodical, left-brained, (well) organized, ordered, orderly, meticulous, rigorous;


    "the best chapters take a more analytical approach and try to work out some key principles"

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