I Think I have Found a Way to Litigate

by Simon Templar 22 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Island Man
    Island Man

    Watchtower will say that at your baptism you voluntarily entered into a contract with them to abide by their rules and knowing the consequences that will come to you if you disobey.

    They will also say that the decision by family and other JWs to shun you is a personal decision and they cannot force members to associate with anyone. They will say that members are exercising their personal religious convictions when they choose not to associate with you.

    I think the best route that can be taken is to use their own literature to show their repeated instructions to members to shun their DFd relatives; and show the penalty that comes to those who refuse to shun DFd ones. You would have to make the case that WT is inciting members to engage in this action rather than the members just coming up with the idea all on their own.

    In other words, you would have to use a line of reasoning that is similar to the line of reasoning used to criminalize inciting of hatred toward certain groups. Work on proving that the JW organization and its Governing Body is an extremely influential authority in the lives of JWs and couple this with their instructions to JWs to shun former members.

    But it will be hard because religion is involved and states tend to be very wary of doing anything that may be seen by some as trampling on religious freedom. They will tend to err on the side of having your personal rights trampled on than doing anything that can be argued as violating religious freedom.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    Jehovah's Witnesses do not disfellowship anyone who is NOT a baptized member of the cult.

    No one is forced to become a JW; they are not shanghaied, no one puts a gun to their head.

    You say you were TRICKED? You say you were DECEIVED? So is every other religious person.

    The people who shun you are doing so because of their own self-interest. Do you think they should toss away their spiritual lifeboat to make a person who BROKE THE RULES (that's YOU) feel good? WHY? Why should they put your interests ahead of their own?

    To expect otherwise is just silly.

    Now go ahead and denounce me as a "Watchtower lawyer." In this instance it would be a compliment.

  • Simon

    You seem to have a very one sided view of laws and rights and are not considering how the things you are suggesting could be used against how you intend.

    The law says the state if independent of religion and people have the right to chose the religion they want. You have that. You can leave. What it doesn't guarantee you is that you can leave and still receive the benefits of staying. That's no different to losing the benefits that an employer provides when you decide to quit.

    What you seem to want is to leave and have the religion then bow to your will and what suits you. How about their rights? How would you balance the rights of people who don't want to have contact forced upon them? It works both ways - we can't have people forced to associate with us but in return, we are not forced to associate with them.

    How could it ever work differently?

    How would you expect the government to ever intervene in what are religious interpretations and practices and family interactions?

    The government should intervene but only if religious are transgressing existing rules and rights. For instance, people should not be killed for leaving a faith. People should not be imprisoned or beaten for refusing to believe something. That is when government should intervene. That they fail to often act when serious issues are on the table makes me think the chance of "mom won't invite me to the BBQ" is never going to be anyone's focus.

  • Sanchy

    Wasn't the case Paul v. Watchtower Bible and Tract held in the late 80s basically arguing similar points as the OP?

  • JeffT
    It works both ways - we can't have people forced to associate with us but in return, we are not forced to associate with them.


    If you can make them talk to you, there will be nothing to stop them from coming to your house and preaching to you for twelve hours non-stop.

  • Island Man
    Island Man

    I beg to differ with the prevailing sentiment that it cannot be done. Many are looking at this issue as one of trying to legally force JWs to associate with ex-members. It doesn't have to be that way for it to work.

    Right now in many countries there are laws against inciting violent hatred toward groups of people. Such laws do not force everyone in the country to perform acts of kindness toward groups of persons. They only seek to prevent the public dissemination of hateful propaganda against groups.

    In a similar way, Watchtower can be called to account for unduly inciting JWs to shun their ex-JW relatives. The crux of the issue is Watchtower inciting the members against their ex-JW family - not forcing JWs to associate with their ex-JW relatives.

    JWs should have the right to freely choose whether or not they want to associate with their ex-JW relatives WITHOUT Watchtower inciting them not to and punishing them if they do. Most JWs shun their ex-JW relatives BECAUSE Watchtower tells them to and BECAUSE they face negative consequences if they refuse to comply.

    If Watchtower is called to account for its incitement and is legally restricted from such incitements and is barred from punishing members who choose to associate with their ex-JW relatives, then over time conditions will change such that far less JWs will be shunning their ex-JW relatives. But they will still have the freedom - true, unfettered freedom - to do so if they wish. Right now Watchtower is practically coercing JWs to shun their ex-JW relatives so they're not really doing it of their own free will free of all duress.

    So I think there is a case to be made but it has to be articulated the right way. It's not about forcing JWs to associate with ex-JW family. It's about punishing and halting Watchtower's use of undue influence to coerce JWs into shunning their ex-JW family. Yes no one can force JWs to associate with who they don't want to. So why does Watchtower get the right to force JWs to shun? It has to work both ways - no forcing either way.

  • FatFreek 2005
    FatFreek 2005
    smiddy: they are nothing more than volunteers who choose of their own violition to follow suggestions made by the organization .

    Those aren't simply suggestions by the org. They are directions that if not followed are backed up with punitive action. Next to death, they are the most punishing actions I know of, separation of family.

    Nobody in the organization forces anyone to comply with their directions , you do so voluntarily .


    The r&f member doesnt have to abide by that pressure , they can choose not to ,they are responsible for their own actions and nobody else.
    Island Man: They will say that members are exercising their personal religious convictions when they choose not to associate with you.
    again -- ditto.

  • FatFreek 2005
    FatFreek 2005
    Nathan Natas: ALL of us made a BAD DECISION when we "decided" to be baptized as JWs. At some point you just have to accept responsibility for you MISTAKES, FORGIVE YOURSELF . . .

    To those who did, in fact, get baptized -- that is true. However, not all who receive the shunning treatment have been baptized. Case in point is here on another thread that is running right now, Shunning & separation from family. There, the OP states:

    I was raised in JW as a child. My dad was a jw my mom was not, they are divorced now. I was never baptized or anything but I stopped going once I had the choice at age 12. Now I am 41 and my dad will not associate with me, my wife or my 3 kids.

    And his is not unusual. One of my sons, now 54, decided to not get baptized before leaving home. He continued to have a family relationship till a few years ago when they virtually cut him off, shunning included. I suspect that the org has put the hammer down -- even on unbaptized ones who had long exposure to Watchtower stuff -- not long ago.

  • Vidiot

    "I'm gonna sue the Jehovah's Witnesses for disfellowshipping me!

    That'll make 'em want to associate with me again!"

  • Vidiot

    Seriously though, unless it could be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the disfellowshipping action was directly responsible for the injury or death of someone, I doubt any court-oriented attempt would have much success.

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