At what point were you taught about disfellowshipping? What page in the current study book is it covered?
Even thinking about born-ins here. At what stage of your 'bible teaching' were you taught about the practice of disfellowshipping?
Reading John Cedars book and the section about when the more crazy shit gets introduced to you is very telling. The theory is that you will be taught all the nice panda/paradise/resurrection stuff first and THEN after a long period of initial teaching, you will receive the more extreme doctrines.
Having thought about this over the years, it completely resonates. I recall it being very late in the day that I was taught about shunning. Even then, I didn't in any way understand just how cruel it actually is because the way it's taught to a 'bible student' is so soft soaped and watered down. Almost skimmed over.
So, how about you? And at what point is the doctrine of disfellowshipping introduced in the current JW bible study publication? Is there any material about the practice of shunning on jw.org?
Any input is very much appreciated.
I do know in my initial investigating into the JW, when marrying one, the sanitized public face has nothing about it.
It took a sudden shock of my husbands wanting to get baptized, and my instantaneous boatloads of deep research for me to recognize the depth of this horrid practice.
When they have a front page "public" watchtower entitled" Is disfellowshipping Christian". I would like to know how many prostitutes Jesus shunned. I personally knew from an early stage about DF practice but I bought the story how the rotten apple spoils the bunch. But I'm a realist and know some people don't deserve association with a group united in a structure eg eg pedophiles should be shot. If I ruled a community I would have only ONE rule.... Don't encroach on the liberties of others.
Even the most committed witness, provided you are not a seasoned elder that has seen it all, would tell you that DFing is carried out to weed out the rotten apples. Those who commit fornication and such. By the time they become aware that it goes beyond that and that people get DFed for petty things, they indoctrination runs so deep that you can not talk against it.
Yes the whole truth about the disfellowshipping thing is sold to people in such a way that it's either glossed over superficially, quickly covered in a perfunctory way ie question answer move on fashion, or made to appeal to the student's sense of justice because of course there is no justice in the "world." In the honeymoon period of pre- baptism when love bombing is at it's strongest it only seems like a teeny tiny fly in the ointment no need to get off the "venga bus" to everlasting life when "armagedon is round the corner."
Even born-ins that get baptized at an older age don't think it will ever happen to them or their family.
Typical culty behavior bait and switch advertising, downplay the negative turn up the volume on the imaginary positive. If DFing is so just and loving why not own it!
Never told and didn't know anyone who was until I was early teens and we settled in one place. Suddenly, there were announcements almost every week about some teenager being df'd for fornication. That was when they announced people in the circuit as well as your own congregation and the "sin." It was also when the WT had articles about how dangerous "petting" was and that teenagers needed a chaperone. That changed our little parties a lot. Many out of wedlock pregnancies and quick marriages.
It was a crazy time....no more under 18 dating too. Lots of breakups; knew 15, 16, 17 year olds exclusively dating, serial dating not allowed even then.
As a born-in, I innocently picked up and accepted stuff that in any other context would be disturbing.
A "softening" work steadily precedes fully embracing shunning. Every single time the topic comes up among JWs, it is overly slanted against the disfellowshipped individual. JW organization employs a strategy known as "Blaming and/or vilifying the victim":
In the language and framing of the organization, disfellowshipped individuals have:
- unrepentantly continued to engage in ungodly and immoral behaviors,
- cared little for their loved ones and family by their actions,
- spurned the loving help elders have extended,
- turned their back on our loving Creator, Jehovah God who always has their longer term best interests in mind,
- pushed ahead of Jehovah's organization,
- allowed pride and a selfish spirit to rule them and cloud their judgement,
- shown total disregard for weaker ones in the congregation,
- not cared if they stumble faithful servants of Jehova,h
- proudly tried to get congregation members to stop worshipping in truth and follow them,
JW organization knows that the shunning teaching "works" primarily because those who are shunned - or are about to be shunned - have been dehumanized and cast in the worst possible light.
Over 20 years ago, at an extended family reunion organized by a non-JW family member - but which included several JW family members and relatives - two much younger and intoxicated JW cousins rushed up to me and shouted in front of everyone, "You've caused all the trouble in our family." The older of the two then physically pushed at my chest whilst giving me the most menacing look - I barely knew either of them but other JWs had told them "all" about me. Others present told them to stop it and go back inside the hall where most of the extended family still were.
Whilst non-JWs expressed shock at the unprovoked attack, JWs present slithered away without a word. I have no doubt that the local elders did a "fine" job of demonizing me, casting me in the most unflattering way so that sentiment against me was readily inflamed in the context of alcohol consumption (BTW, I'm a life long teetotaller).
Born-in here, hmm I was in a fairly small congregation but I think my first experience with being told not to talk to someone because they were disfellowshipped was when I was around 9 or 10 with a young woman in her late teens or early 20s who got reinstated years later. Later her brother also got disfellowshipped and reinstated a year later, oddly enough that man was on the judicial committee that disfellowshipped me.
If you look at the library online and do a search for "disfellowship", you'll see that it doesn't show up in any of the books that are typically studied with interested ones.
It looks like the word is used mainly in Watchtower articles.
I did find this interesting though. If you filter the results to just the bible it brings up "footnote words indexed". It shows three scriptures...
John 9:22 His parents said these things because they were in fear+ of the Jews, for the Jews had already come to an agreement that, if anyone confessed him as Christ, he should get expelled from the synagogue.
It was when I was a child and my mom and I were in the grocery store. I spotted my auntie in another aisle and started towards her excitedly. My mom grabbed my arm and yanked me in another direction. She said we don't talk to Aunt C now because she's disfellowshipped. I wasn't sure what that meant and was disappointed and confused. She was my favorite aunt.
Sadly, this same aunt returned to the cult and shuns me now for fading.