Can a Person Resign From Being One of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

by UnshackleTheChains 22 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • UnshackleTheChains

    How many witnesses are aware that technically, according to Watchtower policy, they can if they wish too...associate with dissociated and disfellowshipped relatives. For all those who are dissociated or disfellowshipped, please share this with your relatives who are currently shunning you. There is nothing the elders can do as long as they are not discussing spiritual matters. The worst that can happen is they lose some privileges, but will not face a judiciary.

    Here is what is written on their website

    Can a Person Resign From Being One of Jehovah’s Witnesses?


    Yes. A person can resign from our organization in two ways:

    • By formal request. Either orally or in writing, a person can state his decision that he no longer wants to be known as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    • By action. A person can take an action that places him outside our worldwide brotherhood. (1 Peter 5:9) For example, he might join another religion and make known his intention to remain part of it.—1 John 2:19.

    What if a person no longer preaches or attends your meetings? Do you view that person as having resigned?

    No, we do not. Resigning, or disassociating oneself, is different from becoming weak in faith. Often, those who for a time slow down or stop in their worship have not abandoned their faith but are suffering from discouragement. Rather than shunning such ones, we try to give them consolation and support. (1 Thessalonians 5:14;Jude 22) If the person wants help, congregation elders take the lead in providing spiritual assistance.—Galatians 6:1;1 Peter 5:1-3.

    However, the elders are not authorized to coerce or pressure someone to remain as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Each person makes his own choice regarding religion. (Joshua 24:15) We believe that those who worship God must do so willingly, from the heart.—Psalm 110:3;Matthew 22:37.

    Now here is what Watchtower policy says in the elders secret handbook...Shepherd the flock of God:

    'If members of the congregation are known to have undue association with disfellowshipped or disassociated relatil'es who are not in the household, elders should counsel and reason with those members of the congregation from the Scriptures. Review with them information from the "God's Love" book, pages 207-208; The Watchtower of April 15, 1988. pages 26-30; or the article "Display Christian Loyalty When a Relative Is Disfellowshipped" in the August 2002 Our Kingdom Ministry. If it is clear that a Christian is violating the spirit of the disfellowshipping decree in this regard and does not respond to counsel, it may be that he would not qualify for congregation privileges, which require one to be exemplary. He would not be dealt with judicially unless there is persistent spiritual association or he openly criticizes the disfellowshipping decision'

  • StephaneLaliberte

    And here is your problem: 1) Its in the elder's book. 2) It is entirely left to the elders to decide what "persistent spiritual association" and "openly criticizes the disfellowshipping decision" means.

    For instance, they could miss understand "criticizing the disfellowshipping decision" to mean: "criticizing the disfellowshipping arrangement". In that regard, anyone openly admitting to others that they keep contact with their disfellowshipped family could, in effect "openly criticize" this arrangement by their actions.

    In addition, this information is not printed anywhere EXCEPT in the elder's manual. This is not a mistake. They do not want this to become common knowledge. Someone trying to use and explain this information in front of an abusive JC will automatically be flagged as a potential apostate. A rebel who has illicitly placed his hands on sacred knowledge.

  • UnshackleTheChains

    Hi SL.

    But having this knowledge leaves the elders powerless. If the elder body act like bell ends over a members insistence to associate with their, daughter, mother, father etc, they can take it up with the circuit overseer. As long as they are not discussing spiritual matters, they technically can associate. There is nothing more the elders can do on the matter apart from take away some privelages... which is probably a blessing in disguise. It's there in black and white.

  • smiddy

    What Elders say and what they do can be two entirely different things.They are a law unto themselves .

    Do you honestly think the CO, or DO, would not back up the body of Elders over such a matter ?

    Jehovahs Witnesses speak out of both sides of their mouth , it suits there purpose to do so.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    JW.ORG is obfuscating the matter.

    Sure, you can quit the JWs, and when you do you will be subjected to the loving provision called "shunning."

  • Tameria2001

    Tell you the truth, for myself, and my husband, with them shunning us, they are actually doing US a huge favor. Because all our JW relatives are very toxic, and most of them have some severe mental issues. So even if a new light came out some time down the road where they stopped shunning. My husband and I would be shunning them, because we don't want them in our lives. I would go so far as to put a restraining order to keep them away if need be.

  • punkofnice

    Good luck to anyone that tries. There is no legal redress when it all goes wrong.

    As Nathan Natas says: shunning, That's the result, no matter how well armed and informed a person is.

    There is the theory and the reality.

  • rebelfighter

    They may say that on their public website BUT watch this month's broadcast for a video reinforcing the shunning of your child. Or the summer broadcast at the RC. Their sick policy is to shun family members who leave the truth! In reality in most cases you do not have to be DA or DF just be inactive can now get you shunned. That is there on the website for the public to think they are a bunch of nice guys, I think most of us know better.

  • UnshackleTheChains

    Ok. Let's suppose my mother disassociated and informed me of her decision by letter. She also tells me that she will respect my beliefs and not discuss spiritual matters when visiting each other. Let's also say that my father is a non witness and has never been one.


    1. I have no choice in the matter as would be awkward and unfair on my non witness father as he has every right to associate, particularly when it comes to seeing their grand children.

    2. According to their policy, As long as I don't criticise the disfellowshipping/disassociation arrangement, I will not face a judicial.

    3. I will not face a judicial if I emphasise that we have agreed that no spiritual matters are or will be discussed.

    If you stick to the script as per above there is absolutely nothing more they can do apart from take some privileges away.

    If the elders attempt to bring a judicial, they are breaking Watchtower policy and you can therefore appeal this

    You could even say that someone told you many years ago ( but can't remember who) that this was the policy.

    I am telling you folks this is a loop hole that everyone should know. The rank and file are encouraged to shun their relatives as per the convention video, but technically according to their own policy, they can't bring someone before a judial re what mentioned above!

  • freddo

    Yebbut they have their little catch all of "brazen conduct" and "causing divisions" to layer on top when they make their decision and are then called upon to justify it.

    As in it may not be a JC offence of itself but it is causing divisions in the congregation and they are being brazen about it.

    The CO will back them to the hilt saying he will not overrule what is a question of judgement.

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