Is it true? Heard a rumor WT postphones Disfellowshipping until further notice!!??
Lostwun: I wonder if the WT is getting challenge that it is violating "freedom of speech" laws in the USA & that is why the elders were told by the org to leave it be, because just expressing doubts or speaking could be covered under the freedom of speech?? Just a thought!
It would certainly be a relief if the policy of disfellowshipping were to be quietly dropped. However, in that the evidence is that the WTBTS is a cult, the removal of the disfellowshipping sanction would be a significant loss of control for the cult. Then again, there is the problem of many individuals having internalised disfellowshipping in their own minds such that even although there is no announcement about an individual's having been expelled, congregation members nevertheless stop talking to you and avoid you - rather like pre-emptive disfellowshipping. That can he hurtful too.
In my case, I am de facto shunned just because I twice answered up at WT study (carefully using quoted references from published WT literature) pointing out that elders can only expect the obedience which they frequently demand, if their decisions are based on scripture. Otherwise, how can you give a rebuttal to the accusation that you are a "man pleaser" or "follower of men" I reasoned. I also explained that they are confusing "peitheo" (listen, persuaded, but translated as obey in Heb 13:17) with "peitharcheo" (obedience to authority).
So even if the policy of disfellowshipping were to be halted or relaxed, their way of marginalising some individuals at a congregation level continues to be problematic. But there are consequences nevertheless, for since I answered up I have discovered that there are 12 other dissidents in my congregation - they do communicate with me. Of course, the WTBTS gets not one little penny from me in contributions - absolutely nothing. My fellow dissidents also give nothing! This all started with the local BoE's blowing a wind and kicking the sheep.
Disfellowshipping is a prime cult control instrument. The cult only works if the leadership has complete ability to superintend the beliefs and actions of the devotees.
To not disfellowship would allow for normal human behaviour! Antisocial behaviour is regulated in normal communities by avoiding objectionable people but in a closed society such as in a religious cult, aberrant behaviour is highly disruptive. By not disfellowshipping, the GB would hopelessly lose both their tight control and their assumed authority on which cultism depends.
@ Nicholas Kopernicus, I am heartened to know that there are as many as twelve dissidents in your cong...
The org is getting more and more mainstream every day. They realize they have to do this to survive. So it would make sense to relax the rules towards disfellowshipping in some cases. They certainly must know that if someone disassociates themselves by letter, that is not the same thing at all to someone who is committing some gross sin regularly as a congregation member.
I was a JW for about 15 years. I finally left for good when my parents and siblings left our home and moved to Nebraska - where the need was greater. For several years between the mid-1960s and early to mid-1970s, my parents knew I was disfellowshipped, but since I did not live nearby we only saw each other for a week at a time every couple of years when I would travel to see them and would stay in their home. Our relationship was basically OK and cordial because I was only there for a week or so.
In the early to mid-1970s, my father wrote a letter to me and my brother telling us that he could no longer visit us and we could not visit and stay in his home. He told us that my mother was broken up over this new guideline, but she had agreed to abide by the Watchtower's guidance. (My father was an elder at the time). He felt that this was Jehovah's way to get my brother and I back into the Truth before Armageddon arrived in 1975.
Around 1978-79, he wrote me a letter and told me that he and my mother could once again invite us to visit and stay in their home. All was back to normal - except that we could not discuss doctrine (he could preach to me, but not me to him). He asked me to inform my brother of the new relaxed rules. He accepted all the blame for his own misunderstanding of the new guidelines (and also his belief in the 1975 prophecy). Sometime around late 1981 or early 1982, one of my grandparents died and the funeral was held in Oklahoma. My father and mother traveled from their home and I met them at my grandparents home. All was well for the most part. The funeral was in a Baptist Church (my grandparents) and both my father and mother were there, as was I and my then wife.
After the funeral, my father called me aside and told me that he wanted to talk to me privately. He was near tears and told me that my mother was terribly upset by new developments. Once again he and my mother would have to shun my brother and I. I did not know it at the time, but this sudden change of direction was due to the Bethel "apostasy" and the DFing of Raymond Franz. I was very angry at the Watchtower's flip-flops and challenged my father to think it all through and see the complete lack of love (or logic) to the restored and expanded shunning policy.
While both my brother and I were disfellowshipped for "fornicating" with our wives before marriage, we had done nothing else, were raising good kids, and were good citizens. We honored and respected our parents and supported them in a myriad of ways. My father knew we were as good or better than 90% of the members of his Kingdom Hall - and were far more loving and supporting than our JW sister was to them.
Years later, during a conversation after my mother's funeral, my father and I talked for a bit about the shunning issue. He was not the brightest bulb in the room, but he recognized then that if the WT did away with shunning, they would have an exodus out of the cult like they did after the failure of the 1975 prophecy when nearly a third of JWs left the society for at least some period of time. He knew that the little Kingdom Hall he went to with about 30% teenagers would be nearly empty in a matter of months if shunning was no longer practiced. He still hoped my brother and I would return to "the Truth," but realized that was our past, not our future.
Can I believe that the Watchtower might pull a new "shunning policy" out of their hat? I do - in fact I see it happening relatively soon. They will start by redefining "sinful" practices. They may even allow a small amount of dissent among the members - as long as they keep their doubts to themselves. They may ignore faders and just leave them alone - as long as they do not commit sinful activities or become known apostates. They will probably ignore private actions between unmarried adults as long as what they do is kept private and is limited in scope.
I also see the possibility that more things will become "matters of conscience" - let Jehovah decide who is sinning and who are just pushing the boundaries a bit.
I also see them suggesting more monetary contributions to the Kingdom Hall and preaching work by individuals, leaving them be as long as they are putting money in the pot each month.
Many of you will disagree with me. But like I mentioned several paragraphs above - this has already happened at various times in my life within my own family. I have cousins who are JWs (one who is currently an elder) - who have been DF'd and resuscitated several times in past years. Many Kingdom Halls essentially have revolving doors, members being DF'd several times over the years, and now they are back in good standing once again.
Remember, all you have to really do to get back your family and friends is say your sorry, that you repent, and that you believe in Jehovah. They want you back. They need your money...
alanv - "The org is getting more and more mainstream every day..."
No it's not.
The recent "rebranding" is to give it the appearance of mainstreaming.
Make no mistake; in all of their recent internal correspondence, they've staunchly reiterated all of their most ultraconservative and authoritarian stances.
Alanv and Vidiot: which confirms that the Watchtower religion is all about "appearances."