Why disfellowship must be eliminated for the survival of the WT itself

by TheScientist 109 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • TheScientist

    This topic I digress about why the WatchTower relaxing the rules of disfellowship is essential for its survival. Many things I'm going to say are not my ideas, some are, the point is, I'm condensing everything in a logical and concise way.

    The first thing we have to keep in mind is that the WT's main objective in instituting disfellowship has always been not to lose members because of the damage that a dissident could do, or to avoid gaining new members because of the bad reputation of a confessed sinner in the his/her region. In the end, the more active members, the more money to the coffers.

    In this case of disfellowship due to apostasy, to avoid any spark, texts were sought out of context that even prohibited saying "hi". Thus avoiding any opportunity to make those inside also question.

    That worked? It worked, it worked very well until... the internet came along! The internet popularized the voice of the excluded, and allowed someone inside, suffocated by pressure, to understand who the Watch Tower actually was in just a few clicks. The stampede accelerated with the internet. But not everyone fled, at least physically. The disfellowhip itself created a specific type of dissident perhaps as undesirable as the declared one: PIMO (physically in, mentally out).

    PIMO is bad for WT for several reasons: the first is that if the person no longer believes in it but remains inside, the same person will no longer contribute to the coffers, will not seek new believers, and can even subtly open the eyes of the spouse or other family member inside. Furthermore, depending on the position of the PIMO, it may contribute to confessed dissidents by delivering documents compromising the WT itself, such as letters, minutes of judicial commissions (including pedophilia), etc.

    The only way to get rid of PIMOs is to disfellow them, but detecting PIMOs is a non-trivial task.

    In addition to the internet, society in general has evolved a lot on the issue of human rights, which has reflected in public opinion that it no longer tolerates human rights violations, including those practiced by sects. Laws against physical and psychological harassment, privacy protection laws, etc. And the State bodies themselves took a strong stance against abuses. Generating a series of legal proceedings and relative bloodletting in the WatchTower's coffers. Furthermore, another ally showed up to publicize these actions: the press!

    For a narrow-minded member, the WatchTower can manipulate them into simply turning off the TV or closing a news website when the news is not favorable to them. But what about the 99.99% of citizens exposed to this news? The reflection of this news, which includes headlines about how Jehovah's Witnesses treat disfellowshipped people, makes people run away from JWs. The result is what we see today: pioneers walking around the streets and blocks or in the cart without being able to speak to anyone.

    Therefore, the WT is in a dilemma: it cannot find new members and is struggling to keep those who are there. Would the solution be to close in on itself? It would work for a while, but as soon as the older people died, the religion would die with them. Besides, the fact of pressure could make even more dissidents. So it is taking the opposite path: making the burden lighter to keep those inside, including young people.

    Here comes the question: if they also put an end to disfellowship (as this would give freedom to the PIMOs, soften their legal burden, and improve their negative image in the public, etc.) this would not open up a room for dissent to influence those inside? It would open. But here's the thing: it would have no effects! It would have no effects because when that point arrives, the main reason that makes people wake up, which is pressure, will no longer be as high on the members. I said this in a topic in the other JW forum:

    It will be so good to be deceived and be inside it, that if you try to talk to someone about the rotten things in the WatchTower, she'll say: "ah... but that was a long time ago".. In the end, we'll even let them go... Because the WatchTower will be harmless to the point that we think the best thing is for them to stay there... Being deceived but happy...
    From my experience and of others, many people woke up when they started to evaluate whether all the pressure on us made sense, and then we began to question whether religion might not be everything they claimed, etc., and the rest of the story we know. By removing the "pressure" factor, fewer "wake up" will occur, but at least the members will be less harmed and not harm others.
    Therefore, it would be like us trying to open the eyes of a Catholic friend by talking about the inquisition, the sale of indulgences, etc., with our friend feeling happy about going to church every Sunday, praying his rosary, etc., and it's not doing him any harm. myself and to no one.

    That is, ending disfellowship by restricting it to a concept like other churches do (like a reprimand without being able to participate in certain things), will make many simply PIMOs leave the religion without cutting family ties, and by leaving the sect more "peace & love", the dissidents themselves will no longer find sense in trying to expose it, and even if they still want to expose it, the impact will be little. The good side is that the members inside will do less damage to themselves and their family, the bad side is that everything bad that the WatchTower promoted against members and former members will go partially unpunished. But this story is not new, just look at the history of the Catholic Church...

    Well, that's what I think, the discussion is open to contradiction...

    Ps: Let me give a short introduction: I' am Brazilian and active participant of former JW's forum in my country. I'm out from the sect since 2013 but I still have family there. I have follow all the "new lights to make the sect light". And because this, I think the dissidence's work won't make much sense as the sect become lighter.

  • Vidiot

    Hmm… well thought-out, and definitely worth considering.

    They’ve allegedly had outside financial consultants come in and advise them, and if that’s actually the case, the recent mainstreaming attempts are almost certainly a result of that.

    I wonder if said consultants essentially deduced what you just did, and spelled it out for them in a way they could grasp and accept.

    The ultraconservative Old Guard wanted a fucking Army marching in lockstep, unified in thought and action against a hostile, doomed world.


    …maybe the moderates were able to genuinely grasp that a less draconian and punitive Fellowship (or at least, a more convincing appearance of one) has a better actual survival probability in said world.

  • DesirousOfChange

    I believe there is a greater incentive for WT to cool it on disfellowshipping/shunning. They are being labeled as an "extremist" sect/cult/religion -- particularly in Russia at the moment. While no one really cares about what happens in Russia, as it can be spun as "persecution", but WT is getting lots of negative reviews/publicity in other more western nations too. The DF policy is seen as a violation of Human Rights and as political views lean more and more liberal on such matters, they realize they may face legal action by the State against them, ie, loss of charitable status. (OMG! Don't do anything to put the WT funds at risk!)

    WT has already backpedaled on taking DF action against anyone who accepts a blood transfusion in a life-or-death situation -- as long as they "repent" for their sin/weakness. I believe this all started with their compromise in 1998 on the "blood policy" with Bulgaria and the European Human Rights Commission when they promised that JWs could have "free choice to have transfusions without control or sanction" by WT. This is an issue that WT would like laid to rest.

    Hopefully, their policy of shunning for any other "sins" will also become to be seen as a human rights issue to authorities. The only way to affect change at WT is to hit them where it hurts -- their pocketbook. Legal action lawsuits by governmental authorities and the risk of charitable status are a double whammy to them. The fact that it may not cause too much harm within the Congregation is merely a favorable byproduct for them.

  • TheScientist
    Yes. The legal issue and how lawsuits drain WR's coffers was one of the factors I mentioned. In Norway they are prohibited from mentioning from the stand the name of someone who has been disfellowshipped due to data protection law with the risk of losing their religious status (and having to pay taxes). These same data protection laws are being adopted in the whole Europe, and even Latin America and soon, I hope that Norway's measure prohibiting menionate names will be adopted in UE and LA countries. This and other factors make GB think about to what extent the disassociation is being effective so as not to lose members since the internet is already doing this. And leaving the sect lighter, the less sense it will make to maintain disassociation.
  • Vidiot

    Not to mention that the internet has inadvertently enabled the XJW community to create a pretty decent support system to help more vulnerable former Witnesses not feel alone…

    …and most on the verge of exiting (for whatever reason) know it by now…

    which would go a long way in making the threat of shunning and ostracizing a lot less scary.

    I’m really starting to wonder just how far they’ll be willing to go to keep their tax-exemption...

  • TheScientist

    I’m really starting to wonder just how far they’ll be willing to go to keep their tax-exemption...

    It is quite possible for them to take unimaginable directions. It is no wonder that they have already given up doctrines (at least locally, as in the case of blood in Bulgaria) in exchange for not losing their status as a religion. And look, the Bulgarian case is decades old.

    It was one of my first topics here:


  • Vidiot

    The Bulgaria capitulation was mostly loopholed weasel-wording…


    I am also reminded of state flags in Chilean KHs, (grudgingly) signing on to the Aussie CSA redress scheme, and, of course, the big one…

    …telling the rank-and-file to stay home during Covid.

    Kinda makes you wonder what other little budges they’ve had make, and just how many. 😏

  • Beth Sarim
    Beth Sarim

    ""I’m really starting to wonder just how far they’ll be willing to go to keep their tax-exemption...""

    if the borg's tax-exemption goes,,it is the end of the borg as we know it.

    expect them to spew more hateful, demanding rhetoric. the borg could become more demanding,more cruel. remember that Jehovah = Organization to the $heeples minds.

    as long as that mental hook is there....it's cringe worthy. to think what the borg may demand of it's followers.

  • TonusOH

    They could ease a lot of rules by going in the other direction in response to the idea that the end is almost on us. Traditionally, they pushed the idea that it was necessary to be as focused and self-disciplined as possible, so that the end found us on our best behavior. But why not push the idea of Jehovah as merciful and desirous of everyone being saved, through the relaxing of the rules and expectations? More people stay in and have the opporunity to accept salvation when the day of judgment arrives. The rank and file could have a more normal home life, with less stress.

    The constant pressure and anxiety of waiting for the end of the world eventually becomes overwhelming when the end doesn't actually come. I don't think it's any surprise that people get worn out, leave, and realize that there is a better life outside of the organiztion. Ease the pressure and you might keep a lot of those people from leaving.

  • TheScientist
    Ease the pressure and you might keep a lot of those people from leavin

    That's the point! Only after that, they relax the disfellowship rules converting it to a rebuke like other churchs do (not officiallly having a JC, not allowing participation in teocratic activities or some social meetings, etc, but keeping to talk to the reprimanded). The dissidency argumentation will have little force. As I said, it will be the same that try convince a Catholic friend or relative leave her church argumenting about the Catholic Church crimes, where she is feeling well there. The ignorance will be a bliss.

    This scene from Matrix movie clarify this:


    In the end, by relaxing disfellowship, they will free themselves from governments persecution and clean up (a little) their negative image in society.

Share this