firstly I'm a df'd witness.
I was in the org all my life.
vividly remember out witnessing as a kid in the 80s with my mum and having apostates jumping houses before we could get to them ..all the way up the street.
remember it because the guy looked like tom baker from dr who - frizzy hair and long colourful scarf.
I think the people at the doors were made more curious by them actually, so when we knocked ,they were inclined to have a listen.
anyway I'm out and cant see myself ever going back,because my family has fully shunned me..and even if I was to go back and be a member..i don't think I could forgive them...totally scarred me.
anyway my question is :
if you were head of this religion and you wanted to keep it clean and pure etc..how would you deal with people who delib broke the rules?
no shunning of course..but whats the alternative??
The alternative is to treat people as human beings, with kindness and dignity.
In reading the scriptures that the Watchtower uses to justify shunning, you might think about the fact that there is no mention of a secret committee of three elders, an official announcement or use of the word disfellowship. Those are things that they made up and I think they have gone far beyond what the scriptures intended. The rules are set up in a way that often leaves elders with little recourse but to disfellowshipped, the process is very much stacked against the person who has been accused.
My opinion is that if you have a member of your congregation who claims to be Christian but who you know is openly acts in a way that is contrary to Christian values, then you should then stop associating with them. It's something that an individual would decide based on their knowledge of that person and their conduct. It's not based on a one time mistake and it doesn't apply to people who aren't associating with the congregation.
For example, a man leaves his wife and lives with another woman without getting divorced but still attend the meetings, then you would stop talking to him. But if a man cheated on his wife once and you happened to hear about it, you would not stop talking to him because everyone makes mistakes. Or if someone leaves the religion and then did things contrary to Christian values you would not need to stop talking to him because he is not claiming to be Christian so there is no need to do anything.
I believe the Watchtower uses shunning to keep and maintain control, not primarily to keep the congregation clean. There is a lot of evidence that the process is unfair, in that elders and their families are treated more leniently, that women are penalised more than men, and that it is often used even when the person has done nothing wrong, or has has expressed sincere repentance. It places a burden on family members who feel they must shun, even when they know the person has done nothing wrong or is repentant. It's a cruel system that has resulted in many broken families and suicides, there is nothing remotely Christian about it.
Imagine if all JCs were in public and all the congregation could attend. The religion if even still kicking would be totally different .
f you were head of this religion and you wanted to keep it clean and pure etc..how would you deal with people who delib broke the rules?
Is the same way you deal with people that break family rules or social rules. If a friend of mind becomes a child molester, or a bank robber or a out of control drug users, i will feel compelled to evaluate my relationship with this person. NOT because a group of old men forces me to, but because i'm an adult and i can manage these things.
So the answer is to let each person decide how they want to handle it. It is not the job of the Washtowell to micro manage people's lives. If someone really is a bad person, folks will naturally draw away from this person.
The best way to keep the religion clean would be to simply terminate the membership of unrepentant sinners, revoking their status as a JW so that they are now viewed as any other never-JW member of the public. JWs don't shun never-JWs. They just see them as bad association and are supposed to avoid having close friendships with them. There is even a little more leeway given if the never-JW is a flesh and blood relative.
Shunning is a bad way to keep the religion clean. Why? When members know the punishment for their secret sin is shunning, they just keep their sin secret and continue in it. So shunning deters many sinners from going to the elders with the result that there is much sin going on in secret within the congregations worldwide.
The act of shunning is not needed to keep the congregation clean from the defilement of unrepentant sinners. All that is required is that the person's membership in the religion be terminated. One of the greatest contradictions in JWs claim that shunning is needed to keep the congregation clean, is the fact that they allow never-JWs who are known practicing fornicators to participate in their meetings by commenting. So a failure to shun an expelled member tarnishes the congregation, but Jehovah is A-OK with a practicing fornicator participating in congregation meetings by commenting, just because he was never a JW? Really?!! Explain that logic to me. If they were genuinely concerned with keeping the congregation clean they would not be allowing non-JWs to comment at the meetings - especially non-JWs who they know are living immoral life-styles according to their teachings.
The real reason for shunning is control - controlling the members with fear and controlling (preventing) the flow of information from ex-members to current members. Shunning also serves to keep serious sins hidden.
Why should humans do the work that belongs to the Lord? When the Israel, God's chosen people and practicers of the only true religion, strayed from the path YHWH sent in the Babylonians and punished them. After all, only Jehovah truly knows a person's heart and whether they are repentant.
If I were running the religion, rather than placing myself in and enforcement role,my purpose would be to be of assistance to anyone wishing to develop or maintain a personal relationship with God. I would teach from the platform whatever I though the Bible had to say and let those in the audience apply it in their lives as best they could or as they see fit. If they needed help in reaching their personal or spiritual goals and asked for my assistance, I'd offer it to them.
If there were certain ones who were living lives that were blatantly contrary to what was being taught, they'd be welcome to attend but to avoid any conflict of interest, I simply wouldn't use them in the program being taught from the platform or in any capacity where it seemed as if they were representing the Congregation.
As it is in the rest of life, rather than infantilizing the members of the Congregation with rules, policies and regulation, they would be allowed to use their own "Bible Trained" conscience and personal discretion to decide for themselves who they associate with in the congregation or anywhere else in their life.
great replies - thanks very much.
yes I agree, it should be a personal decision.
but I do wonder what would happen if ones deemed as 'bad association' were disruptive during the meetings etc... then the elders would have to get something like a restraining order from a court of law.. so it eventually becomes just like a disfellowshipping I guess.
the only difference is the police would be involved and not the elders.
Water finds its own level. If a religion promotes a clean life and you belong to it and live contrary lifestyle you are not going to have much in common unless you've got a partner in crime at church or KH. Your not going to promote charity if your a selfish bastard.
People who wont behave is nothing new, think about someone who misbehaves in a football club. It is easy to throw him out without thinking about shunning.