Dilemma of Shunning Policy

by Drearyweather 49 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Drearyweather

    Apologies if this topic has been discussed earlier.

    I was thinking of whether demanding for a ban on shunning policy would be beneficial for the larger society. Following are some things that we need to remember while advocating the issue:

    1. Shunning is not limited to JW's and for many Americans, it is not that controversial as it seems.

    2. JW Shunning is not a dark secret policy. In the Anderson case, the court stated that people who become JW's voluntarily subject themselves to the shunning policy. Hence it is difficult to argue that you were unaware of the policy while getting baptized.

    3. Some Ex-JW's who are shunned now, were active shunners themselves when JW's and chose to shun errant members. Even though told by the WT, many of us shunned others because we believed it to be the truth and chose to follow it. Many of us were grateful that we had that choice and our constitution protected our choice. Until the axe fell on us. Now that we are on the other side, all of a sudden we cannot blame the WT for our choices.

    4. My freedom to believe something is shit for someone else. But that's what is the price we pay to live in a free society.

    5. It is often good to warn others of this policy than to wish that a law be passed which prevents its exercise because when that happens a pandora's box of "lawful" control may descend upon us. Freedom of religion exists not to protect us from radical religion but from radical government.

    6. A government that forces JWs to speak to ex-JW's will one day force Ex-JW's to attend JC hearings. It may even force you to invite a JW (who was a former child abuser) to your family dinner.

  • The Fall Guy
    The Fall Guy

    Prevention is better than cure: use every opportunity to advertise, advertise, advertise, the extreme punishment which awaits any convert who openly questions or challenges a current JW dogma.

    Only the governing body of JW's has the right to see that a long-held teaching is no longer "truth" and to abandon it. This is the golden rule for JW's.

  • stillin

    If more of the Witnesses had the good sense to ignore bad policy, it would become a non-issue. Soon, the leaders would see that verybody breaks this rule and that to "discipline" the rule-breakers would vacate the Kingdom Halls.

    I know many who would be in trouble with the elders because they don't follow the shunning policy to the letter. Especially with regard to family members.

  • WillYouDFme
    1. Shunning is not limited to JW's and for many Americans, it is not that controversial as it seems.

    Really? Every person I have talked to since I faded (and was shunned anyway), is horrified by it, and right away says - "I didnt know JWs were a CULT, I just thought they were nice people who rang doorbells."

  • slimboyfat

    I don’t think it’s that complicated actually. The solution is to remove privileges from organisations that promote shunning as policy, not to punish individuals who follow shunning practices of such organisations. So we would allow organisations to practice shunning but remove charitable status or tax exemption and other privileges from these organisations. This would be accompanied by public information explaining the reasons for this approach and the harm caused by shunning communities. This solution avoids any problems surrounding personal freedom because they can still shun if they wish, but there is a reasonable public stigma involved in promoting this practice. If this approach was adopted I think we would be amazed how quickly Watchtower and other groups would drop shunning practices. Or if they didn’t they would suffer significant, and justified damage to their reputation.

    It's not about somehow forcing people to talk to other people. Human relations are complicated and cannot be regulated in this way. It is about getting the organisation to remove shunning practices from their literature and policy statements, or allowing them to suffer reasonable reputational and societal consequences if they refuse.

  • inbetween09

    well said, slimboyfat !!

    If shunning stops, JW would quickly fade away, and the higher ups are perfectly aware of it.

  • Doubting Bro
    Doubting Bro

    While I agree with Slim, I don't think that solution would pass constitutional muster in the US. You can't treat one religion differently from another religion based on their practices unless such practices are against the law. Shunning could never be against the law. To me, you should remove tax exemption from all religious organizations unless such organizations can prove they are providing charitable work which would not include religious instruction (as it currently does). And then, only provide exemption for the portion of the organizations revenue that is devoted to charitable causes.

  • slimboyfat

    It would be a net benefit for the organisation.

    If shunning stopped it’s true that some JWs would leave as a result, but many more would stay, it would foster an environment for openness and discussion, some of the wackier doctrines like 1914 would be dropped, and those who do feel the need to leave wouldn’t harbour the same resentment or bitterness that the current shunning policy causes. They may keep on good terms with JWs, turn up for the memorial sometimes, retain normal memories of JW life involving good and bad. JWs would be known as a peace community that truly values family and kindness in fulfilling their commitment to Bible principes.

    Stopping shunning is a win for everyone.

  • Doubting Bro
    Doubting Bro

    But shunning is literally the only tool they have to really force people to comply. If not for that, how would they enforce their crazy rules? That would be the single largest fundamental change they've had in a very long time. Sure, it would be great if they dropped organizationally mandated shunning although it would take at least a generation to change the behavior.

    To drop a scripture, Jeremiah 13:23 - can a leopard change its spots? Or can a cult not be a cult? (or high control religion if you prefer more politically correct language).

    If they morphed to a mainstream religion, they likely could grow it but only after suffering major losses and totally rebuilding. Not saying it can't happen but wouldn't wager anything on it.

  • slimboyfat

    doubting bro I think it’s pretty easy actually to make the case that organisations that harm the public should not be given tax emeption or charitable status. (We wouldn’t want to support groups that promote self harm for example) That would seem a pretty basic and reasonable requirement for an organisation to receive any sort of support from society.

    I also think it’s pretty easy to demonstrate that shunning is a harmful practice. Even Watchtower literature implicitly concedes this point, for instance when it talks frankly about the psychological pressure applied to people who lose all their friends and family. And when it talks about the heartache of disfellowshipping. (Blaming the victim of shunning for the situation, rather than the system of shunning itself of course)

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