There are so many gems in In Search of Christian Freedom but I thought this section in 'indoctrination and subordination' was excellent, summing things up brilliantly, worth highlighting for anyone who hasn't read the book;
"The sum of the evidence is, then, that although no extreme
physical isolation occurs, a very effective mental isolation is pro-
duced by the organization’s interpretation placed on Jesus’ words
about not being part of the world. The community of believers
becomes quite insulated and intellectually sealed off from any
source of Scriptural material other than that coming from the one voice,
that of the organization. They are continually told that this is the only
way to keep them from being misled. The apparent aim is to create a
sterile atmosphere in which the views and interpretations of the orga-
nization can circulate freely without having to confront any challenge.
As a rule the longer one is associated with the organization the more concentrated his or her social contacts are, the more restricted friendships are to those within the organization. Even “worldly” relatives, meaning non-Witness relatives, are often gradually shunted off to a rather cool and distant relationship.
One’s thus becoming part of an exclusive community with only limited, “necessary” contact with anyone outside is the factor that gives such enormous power to any disfellowshiping decree established by the organization. One’s whole social life resides within the organization. If associated for many years, to be disfellowshiped means to be cut off from virtually every friend- ship one has.
Particularly for those in their elderly years of life this can present a devastatingly depressing prospect. The situation par- allels closely that of persons in apostolic times who were ‘cast out of the synagogue,’ since the synagogue was the center of all so- cial contact in a Jewish community.23
I strongly doubt that most persons, in reading the Bible itself, would ever be led to view Jesus’ words about not being part of the world in the extreme way conveyed by the Watch Tower publications. Not that such an exclusivistic view is not found in the Bible. It is. But it is the viewpoint taken by the Pharisees, not that taught by Jesus Christ or his apostles. As already seen, the very name “Pharisee” means “separated” or “exclusive.” In their extreme views, this religious group sought to be separate from, and exclude from their associa- tion, all persons not holding to their particular traditional teach- ings and standards of holiness, viewing all such as “unclean.”24
Jesus Christ set a very different example from such extremists and this incensed them, caused them to condemn him and the way he associated with others. In reading his words, not only in the Sermon on the Mount but in all his teachings, one finds that Jesus’ primary focus was not on an elaborate set of doctrinal interpretations but on the real goal set out in the Scriptures, their true aim and thrust, namely love of God and love of neighbor."