This weeks meeting under the section - Living as 'CHRISTIANS', starts off with 'Repentance Makes a difference', which is a talk given by an elder taken from w06 11/15 27-28 par 7-9
In a nut shell it discusses those who have been disfellowshipped and then show repentance. It then goes on to discuss reinstatement and how a certain amount of time must pass by before this can take place. It makes the following point in the paragraph.
'A disfellowshipped person is not automatically accepted back into the Congregation after a certain amount of time has passed. Before he can be reinstated, his heart condition must undergo a great change. He must come to realize the gravity of his sin and the reproach he brought upon Jehovah and the Congregation. The sinner must repent, pray earnestly for forgiveness, and conform to Gods righteous requirements. When requesting reinstatement, he should be able to give evidence that he has repented and is producing 'works that befit repentance'
So effectively , lets just say for argument sake a person is genuinely repentant (similar to the prodigal son) and his or her heart desire is to genuinely 'return back' to God. He or she cries their eyes out before the elders, telling them they are truly sorry for their wrong doing and genuinely wants to do right in Gods eyes again. The following happens:
Well firstly, there aint no preparing the fattened calf or joyful party for the returned prodigal son or daughter...Nope! Instead they receive a welcome back Watchtower style; which is that the person MUST sit at the back of the hall and be shunned for most, if not more than a year by the entire congregation. No one can speak to them; they cant speak to anyone (such Christian love and encouragement!). They will continue to be shunned until the BOE come to a decision that the person 'is truly' repentant.
It isn't good enough for such a person simply to have no privileges in the hall, which would be fairer and perhaps more more fitting...nope!; Watchtower goes further than that. The individual will be treated to what amounts to being a proverbial leper for a period of time and then all being well can then and only then, be reinstated back into the Congregation where they can experience the prodigal son style welcome!
Right after the elder gives this 'loving' talk, the next item is a discussion on the topic 'Forgive Freely?
OH.. THE IRONY