Clarification needed re shunning policy
Hi everyone. I am in the process of writing to parliament about the practice of shunning by Jehovah's witnesses.
What I need to clarify if the practice is 'specifically' mentioned in any of the books used for bible study/ recruitment leading up to baptism?
I would be grateful if anyone could clarify this in case I get my facts wrong when writing my letter.
Upon being approved to become a Publisher© an individual is provided with the Organized book and told to read it. By the time they qualify for baptism they should have had ample opportunity to familiarize themselves with it's contents, such as the following section on Disfellowshipping aka. "Shunning - it's what we do :-)"
A "bible student" is expected to complete studies in 2 books: "What Does the Bible Really Teach" and "Remain in God's Love".
In practice, a student might "qualify for baptism" after studying the first book only (in which case, he is expected to complete the "2nd study book" shortly after baptism).
The first time "disfellowshipping" is mentioned explicitly is in the 2nd book (God's Love) on pages 39-40:
In a loving family, each member does his part to make the others happy. But imagine that one person rebels. Everybody in the family tries again and again to help him, but he rejects the help. He may decide to leave home, or the head of the family may have to ask him to leave. Something similar can happen in the congregation. A person may choose to keep doing things that displease Jehovah and harm the congregation. He rejects help and shows by his actions that he no longer wants to be part of the congregation. He may choose to leave the congregation himself, or he may have to be disfellowshipped. If this happens, the Bible clearly says that we should “stop keeping company” with him. (Read 1 Corinthians 5:11-13; 2 John 9-11) This can be very difficult if he is a friend of ours or a member of our family. But in a situation like this, our loyalty to Jehovah must be stronger than our loyalty to anyone else.—See Endnote 8.
20 The disfellowshipping arrangement is a loving provision from Jehovah. It keeps the congregation safe from those who do not care about Jehovah’s standards. (1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 12:15, 16) It helps us to show love for Jehovah’s holy name, for his high standards, and for Jehovah himself. (1 Peter 1:15, 16) And the disfellowshipping arrangement shows love for the person who is no longer a member of the congregation. This strong discipline may help him to realize that what he is doing is wrong and motivate him to change. Many who were once disfellowshipped later returned to Jehovah and were warmly welcomed back into the congregation.—Hebrews 12:11.
Thanks for that information.
There is a further appendix in the God’s Love book about how DFed people should be treated.
The problem is that they describe the punishment but the offence is unclear. What exactly are "things that displease Jehovah"? Disagreeing with the GB? Leaving? You don't have to actually break any rules to have broken that rule - just wanting to leave is enough. And of course they are not clear that they treat people who are not disfellowshipped as though they are disfellowshipped effectively making the rule "if you leave, you have disfellowshipped yourself".
I am writing to the Scottish parliament to highlight that the watchtower is duplicitous in how they inform interested ones with regards to their shunning policy. What's more, young teenagers approaching baptism don't realise they are under undue influence and not capable of understanding the seriousness of their baptism and watchtower policy.
For example, in the Nov 22 1998 awake magazine, the society discusses the human rights declaration and go on to quote article 18 about how "everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and Religion: this right includes freedom to change his religion......."
Watchtower promotes this view to the general public, yet they violate this human right when someone chooses to leave the organisation by using the control mechanism of shunning.
What's more, the section in the organised book on disfellowshipping and disassociation is not really clear in that individuals are unaware that they are to be completely shunned full stop, which includes their close relatives who are Jehovah's witnesses.
I personally can't recall going through this section as got baptized shortly after I finished the live forever book!
I was oblivious to the shunning policy and only realised what this involved years after I was baptized.
I am including a few screen shots of the book “organized to do j****’s will”. There is a section on disfellowshipping. Also in the questions for baptism there a few that deal with it as well. In theory witnesses know about it before they get baptized. The problem is, as Simon noted, nobody u derstands (not really) what leads to it and how devastating it can be to a cult member. There is some ephemeral belief that god will look out for you and never allow you to be unjustly df’d and the older men are all good guys and wouldnt take a personal grudge out on you like that etc etc
As long as you are a willing member of a religion you are subject to that religions in house ecclesiastic authority . JW baptism confirms your cult membership.
Freedom of Religion laws give rights to both those who practice religion and those who wish to leave a religion.
Since religious activity is a personal and voluntary activity there are no legal requirements that need to be met to join, explore, change or abandon any religion.
Your acceptance of ecclesiastic authority "Started" when you chose to be baptized. and, until you engineer a defining "Stop" you are viewed as a member.
The good news is you aren´t legally required to inform anyone at all about your decisions in this voluntary/personal enterprise. Nor give reasons, or write letters or meet with elders - but you do have to stop being a JW to stop being treated as one.
Ecclesiastic authority applied to former members would then violate ones freedoms of religion
these are examples of the very numerous offences that lead to be disfellowshipped (found here: http://jwfacts.mobi/disfellowshipping-and-shunning/disfellowshipping-watchtower-offences/ )
Bible discussion of shunning in 1 Corinthian’s 15 and 2 John is limited to just the following areas; Fornication, Greed, idolatry, Revilers, Practicing Drunkenness, Extortion and One who does not remain in the teaching of the Christ.
This list should be the full extent of reasons for which to be disfellowshipped. In fact, Diotrephes was reprimanded for attempting to throw people out of the congregation unnecessarily.
3 John 9,10 “I wrote something to the congregation, but Diotrephes, who likes to have the first place among them, does not receive anything from us with respect. That is why, if I come, I will call to remembrance his works which he goes on doing, chattering about us with wicked words. Also, not being content with these things, neither does he himself receive the brothers with respect, and those who are wanting to receive them he tries to hinder and to throw out of the congregation.”
Following is the vast list of offences the Watchtower has created for which a Jehovah’s Witness can be disfellowshipped or disassociated.
The abbreviations refer to the following publications:
– Kingdom Ministry (km)
– Watchtower (w)
– Jehovahs Witnesses – Proclaimers of Gods Kingdom (1993) (jv)
– Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock (ks91-E)
– Organised to Accomplish Our Ministry (om)
– Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 1 or 2 (it-1 or 2)
- Adultery (sexual intercourse with a person other than your marriage mate), includes;
- Abandoning wife and eloping with another woman – w79 11/15 31-2, w76 p.728
- Planned adultery to break Scriptural marriage ties – w83 3/15 p.29
- Remarriage without Scriptural permission – w56 10/1 p.597
- Polygamy – jv 176
- Dating a person not legally divorced – ks91-E p.135
- Apostasy – w83 4/1 pp.22-4, km 8/80 pp.1, 4. includes;
- Rebellion against Jehovahs organization – w63 7/1
- Promoting sects – it-2 886
- Associating with disfellowshipped people including;
- Friends – ks91-E p.103, w81 9/15 pp.25-6, w55 10/1 p.607
- Family – ks91-E p.103
- Blood and blood transfusions – w61 1/15 ks91-E p.95, jv p.183-4
- Drug use – ks91-E p.96
- Drunkenness – ks91-E p.95, it-1 656
- Dishonest business practices – w63 7/1, w86 11/15 14
- Employment violating Christian principles – km 9/76 p.6, km 2/74
- Working for any religious organization – ks91-E p.95
- Working in a gambling institution – ks91-E p.136
- Selling tobacco – ks91-E p.96
- Contract work at a military establishment
- False worship. Includes;
- Attending another church ks91-E p.94
- Following mourning customs that involve false worship – w85 4/15 p.25
- Fornication it-1 863
- Bestiality – w83 6/1 p.25
- Incestuous marriage – w78 3/15 p.26
- Artificial insemination and surrogate motherhood.
- “True Christians, therefore, avoid surrogate motherhood as well as any procedures that involve the use of donated sperm, eggs, or embryos” g04 9/22;
- “Artificial insemination of a married woman by a donor other than her husband makes her guilty of adultery” g74 8/8 p.28
- sexual abuse of children – g93 10/8 p.10Reviling – ks91-E p.94, w96 7/15 pp.17-18; it-1 p.991; it-2 p.802
- Fraud – ks91-E p.94, om pp.142-3
- Gambling or related employment – w80 9/1, ks91-E p.136
- Gluttony – w86 5/1
- Greediness, this in used to include;
- gambling ks91-E p.95
- extortion ks91-E p.95, w89 1/15 22, it-1 p.789
- greed in relation to bride-price: w98 9/15 p.25
- Homosexuality – w83 6/1 pp.24-6
- Idolatry – w52 3/1 p.138
- Loose conduct – ks91-E pp.93, 96, w83 3/15 p.31, w73 9/15 p.574, it-2 p.264, ks91-E p.93, w83 3/15 p.31, w73 9/15 pp.574-6, w97 9/1 p.14, it-2 p.246.
- Sexual perversion
- Disregard for Jehovah’s moral standards
- Disrespect, disregard or even contempt for standards, laws and authority,
Rather than restricted to the usual definition of sexual perversion, the Watchtower defines “loose conduct” as including “disrespect to elders”. This enables this term to be used to disfellowship for a wide range of offences not elsewhere covered, and as such is used to cover all manner of sins, such as refusal to cease fellowship with disfellowshipped people, or even being contemptuous in a judicial meeting where no other sin can be proven.
- Lying – ks91-E p.94, g00 2/8 p.21
- Non neutral activities (involvement in politics and the military) – ks91-E p.96
- Military service and non military service including working casual work (certain civilian work has recently been made a conscience matter w96 5/1 p.20) – ks91-E p.96
- Obscene speech – ks91-E p.95
- Parents condoning immorality – w56 p.566
- Political involvement, including voting or holding a political card in Malawi – ks91-E p.96 (w99 11/1 p.28 made voting a conscience matter)
- Porneia. Includes oral and anal sex between married couples, mutual masturbation between persons not married to each other, homosexuality, lesbianism, fornication, adultery, incest, and bestiality. – ks91-E p.93
- Slander – ks91-E p.94, w63 7/1, w89 10/15 p.14, om p.142
- Smoking or selling tobacco – km 2/74, ks91-E p.96
- Spiritism (includes yoga w02 8/1 p.22) – w55 10/1 p.607
- Stealing, thievery – om pp.142-5, ks91-E p.94
- Subversive activity – w95 10/1 p.31
- Sexually perverse practices within marriage, such as oral and anal sex – w83 3/15 p.31
- Heavy petting and breast fondling – ks91-E p.92
- Touching of sexual parts – ks91-E p.91
- Practice of viewing abhorrent Pornography – w2012 3/15 p.31
- Violation of secular law if flagrant attitude – w86 10/1 p.31
- Violence, extreme physical abuse, fits of anger – ks91-E p.96, w75 p.287, g01 11/8 p.12
- Includes Boxing w81 7/1 pp.30-1, ks91-E p.142
Wilful non support of family, endangerment of mates spirituality – w88 11/1 pp.22-3, km 9/73 p.8, ks91-E p.95
- Worldly celebrations such as Christmas – ks91-E p.95 (It appears celebrating birthdays is not a reason to be disfellowshipped)
- Adultery (sexual intercourse with a person other than your marriage mate), includes;