Why do elders not disfellowship inactive people?

by kenpodragon 43 Replies latest jw friends

  • kenpodragon

    When I left the religion, I walked away and did not get DF'ed or DA myself. In doing so, my wife left the religion at the same time. In our life we have been very nonWitness in our life. We have disowned Christianity, and practice Shamanism. We celebrate every holiday for Pagan reasons and are deep in martial arts. So a lot of people ask, how come you have not been disfellowshiped?

    When I was a elder, which is what I was when I left, I knew the answer to this question and still do. That is why I handled things the way that I did with being inactive. The thing is, elders are suppose to take care of the congregation. So anything separate from the congregation is not their business. They are only suppose to disfellowship people who are wanting to attend or who were active when they sinned and did not show remorse, basically they live a life that is not in line with their rules. To the point, follow the rules or get out. If you left on your own and did something, they honestly did not care ... as you took yourself out on your own. Now I am not saying there isn't a few zealots out there that do not know this info and go after everyone like they are the police, as we had someone like that too. The thing is the CO removed that person for wasting time on matters that were not productive and he is now out of the religion ... basically, he wanted power!

    So if you walked away and you worry if they might hunt you down some day and DF you, don't!! They really do not give a crap any more then you do. My wife and I have been turned into elders of 3-4 different congregations that we know of, by people who wanted us DF'ed and none of them did a thing. In fact, the last time they were down right bold in telling the family members involved to drop it and leave it alone.

    Just my thought


  • dmouse

    I agree Dragon, this is what I have experienced too. As long as you don't cause trouble and don't want to be veiwed as a JW they will, on the whole, leave you alone. I am in that position myself.

    Of course, the world is full of vindictive elders on power trips and it is these people that will pursue ex JWs to the ends of the Earth. I guess there is no unity in this regard either, it's just a matter of luck - some elders are ok others are scum.

  • minimus

    I also agree kenpo, but I won't be surprised if they change that one too.Nobody is really safe if they can change the rules in the middle of the game.

  • drawcad_1

    by not disfellowshipping the people that just walk away the numbers will stay high, giving people a false sense that there are more witnesses than there really are. Maybe only 4 million as compared to the 6 million that they claim.

  • Been there
    Been there

    Good point Drawcad,

    But............I was df'd and I had not been to a meeting in five years. At my interigation I told them I was not interested so just let me go. I was not repentant. This was back in 1980. The witch hunts were around that time were'nt they?

  • Robdar


    This has also been my experience. I told my 2 favorite elders that I was leaving. I left with their blessings. Hehe, one of them even told me that he knew that I would be back one day. They have never hunted me down. I have never been shunned by my former congregation. It is possible to leave peacefully.

    Great post. I am sure it will help many who are frightened of possible repercussions from the decision that they have made.



  • Marilyn

    Dragon, My husband and I left off meetings in 1979. We stopped all association except family association. When visited and asked why we left the Org, we answered honestly that we had lost faith, and we were doubtful that God existed. We stayed to ourselves and made no effort to convince others that our choice was right for others. My brother visited us at our home a few times to try to debate all the issues with us. They were always enjoyable discussions but we resolved nothing. Over two years after we stopped meetings we were called and told that a judicial committe (sp?) was to be formed to discuss whether we were apostate. The committee was made up of two local elders and a visiting elder from another State in Australia. He was like a Nazi and he didn't like us much because we'd been close friends with his daughter in law whom he didn't like much either.

    So they used an out of towner, which I thought was non WT policy. The other elders who knew us would never have been so hard line. I agreed to a Bible study (which I truly did not want) but my offer was rejected - in other words I made an effort to repent even though I had no faith left in me. And when we appealled the disfellowshipping, they denied it without forming another committee.

    My feelings were that they wanted to make an example of what happens to people who leave. They also felt angry that we could just up and leave - that the brain washing or whatever it is, didn't work for us. I think they resented us reclaiming our freedom.

    I know you mean well, but many many people have not been treated as you suggest we should have been treated. It's all very well to have rules but there is an extremely wide application of them and it can so often depend on how small minded and ignorant the local elders are.

    My disfellowshipping, for doing nothing wrong, has caused my jw parents a great deal of pain. You can't even begin to imagine what we've been thru over the last 20 years and it totally pisses me off to know that other exjws have had no problems at all in leaving. It's so unfair to indiscriminately pick on some and not others. Though I don't resent your lack of trouble I'm pretty damned pissed off about mine, because I've been treated like a leper by my brothers and sister for all these years, excluded from family events with grown nieces and newphews I've never met. All because my jw family do exactly what the WT tells them and they don't think anything thru for themselves. If the WT labels you wicked, then that's the end of the story.

    Sorry for ranting, but this is a raw subject for me. I've always felt really annoyed at how irrationally my husband and I were and still are treated.


  • jack2

    Marilyn, when I started reading this thread I had a feeling I'd come across a post like yours.

    What kenpo said may be true in some cases and in some localities, but not in all. We had a couple cases a few years back when I served as an elder in which it almost got to the point where some people where hunted down for possible df'ing.

    Marilyn, I am very sorry for what happened in your case! Clearly, you are the victim of still another jw injustice. Stories like yours and many of the others that I read here sadden me greatly.

  • Dizzy Cat
    Dizzy Cat

    I am in this position as well and happy to be so. This is means that my one contact in *the truth* will still talk with me and in that way I get to see him still. He is a good and reasonable chap and I know that he wavers on many points that the society teaches, so in my own small way, I like to think I help keep his feet on the ground about spiritual matters.

    He also suffers from depression and without my support, I know he would be in a right state!

    So for me, I'm happy to be in the shadows.

  • Prisca
    When visited and asked why we left the Org, we answered honestly that we had lost faith, and we were doubtful that God existed.

    I think that's where Marilyn and her husband made the mistake.

    If you do a quiet fade - gradually missing meetings and field service to point where you don't go at all, keep your "dissenting" thoughts to yourself, and don't have much, if any, to do with other congregation members - the elders will pretty much leave you alone. If you express something along the lines that you would like some "space" and will contact them when you are ready, in my experience they will respect your wishes and leave you alone.

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