but what about those of us who practiced shunning before--when we were members of the watchtower cult ?
Through my life as a JW, no one who was really close to me or my family was disfellowshipped. I actually can't recall myself shunning people up until the point when I was on my way out and shunned the entire WT organizational structure.
how did it make you feel ? bad ? good ? superior ? more " spiritual"?
As I don't recall specifically or arbitrarily shunning anyone, I can't say anything about feeling anything. However, I can address the feeling of grandiosity and superiority that some JWs display when they refer to either people who they shun or people who have been shunned.
I never shared that feeling, never felt comfortable people assassinating other people's character and talking down to people that way. Furthermore, every time I saw or heard any JW acting that way, the very first thought that always came to mind was "As soon as I turn my back from him/her, I'm next".
do you think it did any good ? did the shunned person return to the cult as a result ?
No, and though I know of people who have returned after being shunned, my take on those people have always been that they show some sense of discomfort with themselves, people who didn't like themselves much, or people who are very afraid of life and making decisions on their own. The congregation gave them shield from everything that they fear, which seems to be pretty much everything, hence, they come back.
Then those I knew were shunned and didn't returned, that I know of, seem to have ok lives. Some are more successful than others, but at least in my experience, I've never seen any shunned person who never returned becoming anything close to what they say they should/will.
or did it drive them further away--or permanently ?
I used the practice of shunning to my advantage. Thing is that in my case they didn't have the last word, and it was me the one who shunned them to the carajo. They were not necessarily in disagreement, and who knows, maybe they did make an announcement about me, who knows, who cares.
What I have observed in others, the few people who I know have returned after getting disfellowshipped who returned (EXCEPT for those who have other reasons, such as wanting to reestablish or maintain a relationship with JW loved ones, not because they believe the Jehovah crap), don't look like people who know how to manage their own lives. The shunning itself may be a traumatic experience to some, particularly those born-in who suddenly find themselves out of what has been their entire life as they knew it. Nothing good can come of such practice.
do you really think it serves any positive purpose ?
See my previous last two sentences.