I agree totally with Furuli’s point that there is a double standard. There was a Watchtower in the past couple of years that stated the double standard explicitly. In the very same ‘study’ it complained about non-JW relatives who cut off family just for ‘studying the Bible with JWs’, and yet boldly insisted that apostates who ‘leave the truth’ must be shunned. It’s hard to understand what kind of mentality allowed the Watchtower writer to put those contradictory sentiments into print.
However, Furuli doesn’t go far enough. If the implication is that nobody should be shunned for simply ‘walking away’, but that shunning is okay for serious sin such as fornication, then there is a problem with that. There must be thousands of children of JWs worldwide who are being shunned by parents for ‘fornication’ that is decades in the past, or for coming out as gay. That’s indefensible too, and I’m not sure exactly where Furuli is drawing the line here.
I know one story of a family, two parents, and a son, who moved to Australia when the son was 15 years old. They only lived in Australia for two years and then returned to the UK. While they were in Australia the boy managed to get himself disfellowshipped for being intimate with his girlfriend. When the family returned to the UK they dutifully told the local congregation about the boy being disfellowshipped (this was back in the 1950s and there’s a suggestion they could have hushed it up and got away with it, but they informed the congregation as the ‘honourable’ thing to do) so the boy was totally shunned by his old congregation he had grown up with. He tried at various points in his life to get reinstated but he just couldn’t stand attending meetings where no one would talk to him. His parents maintained minimal contact with him for the rest of his life, even this minimal contact drawing criticism from some, and other JWs wouldn’t talk to him at all, until he died relatively young in his 60s. How does a policy that results in such absurdity make any sort of sense?