What the Australian Royal Commission says officially about Shunning!

by Daniel1555 11 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Daniel1555

    This is an excerpt about shunning from the Royal Commissions latest (final?) report: I think it is a must read and shows clearly that shunning also needs to be considered when child abuse is discussed and how cruel it is.

    Here the report:

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are counselled against associating, fraternising or conversing with a person who has been disfellowshipped or who has chosen to disassociate from the Jehovah’s Witness organisation. This practice is known as ‘shunning’.

    Even family members are instructed not to associate with a disfellowshipped or disassociated relative unless the association is unavoidable – for example, if they share a house with the person.

    Violation by a Jehovah’s Witness of the decree against associating with a disfellowshipped or disassociated person may itself, in certain circumstances, be a disfellowshipping offence.

    There is evidence before the Royal Commission of the difficulty that people experience in deciding to leave the Jehovah’s Witness organisation because of the fear of being shunned by friends and loved ones.

    BCG told the Royal Commission that, when she decided to leave the Jehovah’s Witness organisation, she and her three children ‘were completely shunned, ostracised and actively avoided by members’ of the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses that she had left.


    The Royal Commission heard evidence that a person who wishes to leave the Jehovah’s Witness organisation must ‘disassociate’ from the organisation. A person takes the action of 'disassociation’ if that person ‘deliberately repudiates his Christian standing’ and rejects ‘the congregation by his actions or by stating that he no longer wants to be recognised as or known as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses’.

    Mr Geoffrey Jackson gave evidence that, if a person ‘definitely’ no longer wants to be subject to the Jehovah’s Witness organisation’s discipline and rules, they must actively leave the organisation by disassociating.

    The Royal Commission heard that, if a person does not want to formally disassociate, they may instead choose to become ‘inactive’. Documents in evidence describe an ‘inactive’ person as a person who might have ‘failed to study God’s word regularly’, may be experiencing personal problems or may have ‘lost his zeal for serving Jehovah’.

    The Jehovah’s Witness organisation still considers a person who chooses to become ‘inactive’ to be a Jehovah’s Witness and therefore still subject to its rules and disciplinary procedures.

    Furthermore, that ‘inactive’ person will remain the concern of elders and others in the congregation in relation to the ‘rendering [of] appropriate spiritual assistance’ to that person.

    Mr O’Brien told the Royal Commission that a person who chooses to become ‘inactive’ rather than disassociating entirely from the Jehovah’s Witness organisation is able to retain their ‘spiritual and familial association’.

    It is clear that members of the Jehovah’s Witness organisation who no longer want to be subject to the organisation’s rules and discipline have no alternative but to actively leave (or disassociate from) the organisation.

    Shunning and survivors of child sexual abuse

    It is conceivable that a survivor of child sexual abuse may no longer wish to be part of, or subject to the rules and discipline of, the Jehovah’s Witness organisation at all. This might be the case especially if they feel that their complaint of abuse was not dealt with adequately or if their abuser remains in the organisation. As discussed above, a survivor’s decision to actively leave (disassociate from) the organisation would typically result in that person being shunned by other members of the organisation.

    Also, it is conceivable, if not likely, that a survivor’s entire family and social networks comprise members of the Jehovah’s Witness organisation. A survivor of child sexual abuse may therefore be faced with the impossible choice between staying in an organisation which is protective of their abuser in order to retain their social and familial network and leaving the organisation and losing that entire network as a result.

    Mr Geoffrey Jackson gave evidence that the decision to disassociate and leave the Jehovah’s Witnesses was a ‘difficult’ one that can be ‘personally devastating because [a person] can lose their whole social network and their families’.

    The Watchtower & Ors submitted that the Royal Commission’s consideration of the practice of shunning is ‘outside the Terms of Reference and has no immediate relevance to institutional responses to child sexual abuse’. We do not agree with this submission. In our view, it is clear that the practice of shunning is an inextricable component of the institutional response to child sexual abuse (bold is mine).

    The Jehovah’s Witness organisation’s practice of shunning members who disassociate from the organisation has the very real potential of putting a survivor in the untenable position of having to choose between constant re-traumatisation at having to share a community with their abuser and losing that entire community altogether.

    The Jehovah’s Witness organisation’s policy of requiring its members to shun and actively avoid those who leave (or disassociate from) the organisation:

    makes it extremely difficult for a person to leave the organisation

    can be upsetting for those who leave and for their friends and family who remain behind

    can be particularly devastating for those who have suffered child sexual abuse in the organisation and who wish to leave because they feel that their complaints about it have not been dealt with adequately or because their abuser remains in the congregation.

  • Daniel1555

    And now compare that what the new WT study article from March 2017 says on page 19:

    Paragraph 7

    Each of us can examine his heart to see if it is fully devoted to God. Ask

    yourself, ‘Am I determined to please Jehovah, to defend true worship, and to

    protect his people from any corrupting influence?’ Think how much courage

    Asa had to muster to stand up to Maacah, who was “queen mother” in the land! You probably do not know anyone who acts just like her, but there may be a situation in which you can imitate Asa’s zeal. For example, what if a member of your family or a close friend sins, is unrepentant, and has to be disfellowshipped? Would you take decisive action by ceasing to associate with that person? What would your heart move you to do?

  • Daniel1555

    I think speaking to df'd relative must be a real problem for the gov. body.

    They harshly portray their cruel stand in all their assemblies, now openly use the word 'shunning' in the title of their assembly talk, show it in a video how to go about shunning. They show it again in a video in their Nov. broadcast (just imagine the boy and girl where standing near the railway tracks or on a bridge on the edge to commit suicide and call their mother, and she doesn't take the phone according to these videos).

    And now again in a Watchtower article.

  • Daniel1555

    Even if the JW religions would have everything right, all their teachings being true and beneficial, the practice or teaching of shunning former members would make it a false religion in my eyes.

    To use their own illustration.

    What if you find a candy lying in stinky mud? Would you eat it?

    The JW organisation doesn't even have a candy to offer ;-)

  • Vidiot

    If Old Man Jaracz were still alive, he'd be blowing his top at every other sentence.

  • pale.emperor

    I have a sneaky feeling that the child abuse reporting policy will be revised in 2017 and the rank and file will think it was Jehovah's doing... not knowing that there's been a major court case and it's taken 5 decades of abuse and cover up for force them to do something.

  • stuckinarut2

    Great thread!

    Thanks for posting these report findings of the ARC!

    Yes, this practice of speaking critically and negatively of those who fade or leave, smacks of paranoia and propaganda!

    The society (GB) paints the picture that all who leave are wicked, evil, unrepentant sinners. The reality is, that is far from the truth! Most who leave have just learned the disturbing facts of the society! Simple!

  • Vidiot

    pale.emperor - "I have a sneaky feeling that the child abuse reporting policy will be revised in 2017..."

    Don't count on it.

    They've given every indication that will not budge on this.

    From their perspective, they can't... the negative consequences to the Org would far outweigh the positive.

  • Vidiot

    What happened at the RC further reinforced my personal conclusion that all the higher-up WT reps are full-on True Believers...

    ...they fully expected that Jah would have their back during the inquiry, and their defense of the Org's policies would be eloquent, convincing, and an "exceptional witness".

    I imagine a lot of them went home afterwards and poured themselves good stiff drinks to settle their nerves. :smirk:

  • tor1500

    Hi All,

    I live in USA...do you think this news will ever reach us...Is this ARC thing all over the media in Australia ?

    I can't bring it up or they'll know I'm on a site that does know....


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