Can’t cope with being disfellowshipped…..Need some advice
The pain you are feeling is intended to break you. It doesn't matter to them that you are now expressing remorse, they want you to suffer enough that you will never risk rebelling again, a year is usually considered the minimum amount of time. It has nothing to do with the bible and everything to do with power and control. The word "disfellowship" is not even in the bible, nor is there any mention of specific time periods of shunning after a person expresses remorse and changes their conduct. Did the father of the prodigal son tell him he had to suffer for a period of time after he returned? No, he was welcomed back with open arms.
If you are willing to continue on with this humiliation to regain contact with your family, that's entirely up to you of course, but I would urge you to use the time before you are reinstated to research this religion you belong to and find out what they are all about. I am sorry to say I was in for twenty eight years but was still not aware of many things about it, because they hid their history of false date predictions, doctrine flip flops and pedophilia issues. Do yourself a favor and become educated so that you at least know what you are going back to.
You should also learn about cults and the specific techniques they use to manipulate people. Some things common to cults:
- They control your time, as in numerous meetings and other time requirements
- They control your relationships, as in being told not to associate with non members, especially former members
- They claim to be the sole authority or have special knowledge
- They use fear, obligation and guilt to control people.
- They control information, people are warned not to trust anything not written by them.
By the way, I was disfellowshipped at one time myself, so I know first hand how painful it is. It was so painful I immediately went back, something I deeply regret now, as I wasted another fifteen years in the religion. I have been out now for sixteen years and have never been happier.
I understand where you're coming from as im going through the same thing.
For a while i went to all the meetings and studied like hell. But in those meetings, as a person being shunned you see how unloving and just plain wierd the whole thing is. These are people who are going out of their way to NOT talk to you and NOT even look at you.
If in doubt of any Christian idea, look to Jesus as an example. Because, after all, he is the model for all of us to follow. Ask yourself: who did Jesus shun? The story of the good Samaritan is a great example of how we should treat people who dont believe what we believe. Shunning is the exact opposite of that story.
Also, if Jesus chose the WT society in 1919 - why did they introduce shunning much later in the 1950s? If it's biblical it would have existed since the first inception of the WT society. In fact, the old WT magazines called shunning "a weapon" used by apostate Christianity.
The bottom line is the love you have for your family is being used as a tool to get you to submit. That's what cults do. That's not what Jesus or the true God would stoop to. Nor ever has in the bible.
There is no holy spirit involved in that JC. Period. If it were, why is there an option to appeal? And why have some appeals resulted in an overturning of the original decision? How have some apostates managed to be reinstated?
What you're feeling is understandable. But understand also that your family are still in "prison" and you're not.
I'll assume your reference to Hell is rhetorical.
Moving to a different Congregation is one possibility as you can often gain support from the Elders there who can only judge you on your current attendance and humble demeanor.
Other then that I concur with the advice that tells you to move on with your life, make new friends, attend a kinder better church where you are not put into the role of anything other then a Christian with a need to believe. Regardless of your 'sin' you are being badly treated by one and all including family and friends who are under duress to shun you in fear that if they don't they could be DF as well.
Stop for a moment and understand that you are being treated this way because you allow them to treat you like this. You are clinging to their rules instead of living by your own rules. Shun those that shun you move yourself to a place of worship that brings you comfort and hope.
Highlighting answers in the Watchtower does not bring comfort and hope.
I'm not going to question your motives or your sanity; I'm going to tell you how the game is played:
The name of the game is SUBMISSION, and the way it is played is you stop asking for reinstatement and remain silent, waiting on their ( the JC's) great good pleasure.
When THEY are satisfied that they have broken you and that you are now compliant, they will reinstate you.
Your role in this game is "PAWN." You must let the JC "have their way with you," and there must be no whimpering or protestation.
Nathan's write-up is spot-on.
Reinstatement success has a direct correlation to sniveling, groveling, self-humiliating, and whimpering.
If you can do all 4 while moaning pitifully about your "damaged relationship with Jehovah" you'll be back in no time.
Some elders make DFd people wanting reinstatement jump through the hoops a bit. They get them to keep submitting letters etc. Supposedly to prove they truly are repentant , but often it is just to have control.
Have you left it at least 6 months? That tends to be the minimum time.
The best way is actually not to submit a letter at all. Just stop attending. When the elders start to get worried & make enquiries just tell them you thought they didn't care & weren't interested in you returning.
If you are just getting the run around , maybe drop a letter to the branch or find out where the CO lives - maybe cc the elders. Tell them that you have made repeated efforts to be reinstated but the elders aren't interested or communicating so you are disillusioned & giving up. That usually spurs some activity - it did in a neighbouring congregation to ours where the elders were playing games.
But as other posters have said - what's the point? If you are just doing it to renew relationships with family , remember that even when you are reinstated , it's never quite the same - you'll always be that "sister who was DFd" ( whispers / gossip etc behind your back for the rest of your life ). I always remember we had a sister DFd many years ago who became a pioneer etc & people would make snide remarks on "Miss Goody Two Shoes used to be DFd , don't you know" when she had parts on the assembly etc. It never left her - it never will. And presumably by posting here you know it isn't "the truth" - if you subsequently fade , increasingly ex-JWs are being shunned anyway.
Call it a day - move on - get a life. And I mean that kindly....
Here's a thought. You miss your family & friends...that's a good thing...but what kind of family and friends are they really, would you call them conditional friends...think about how would Jesus handle this....The does scripture that mentions no natural affection come to mind ? So if you return they are your family and friends again...but as of now, they aren't. These are real questions to ask yourself. If you were not a witness, would you be friends with someone who only walked, talked or thought like you, would you be friends/family of someone(s) who only talked to you when they felt like it or only if you did something for them....What is the definition of a real friend or a family member?
Remember too, if you get re-instated, one day, you will have to shun someone, & will you remember when you were shunned, & you will remember those feelings you had...Don't do to people what you don't want done to you.
NO organization can keep you away from GOD...& if you want to come back write a letter & say, You have repented & would like to know would like to return....but being out, I've found out that even though I was DF'd I could still talk to God, because no one can keep me away from Jehovah, he still loves me...if he could forgive Manesseh, David, etc, I know he sees my heart even if you don't. So if you feel that I should not be re-instated as of yet, that's ok, I'll still worship and praise Jehovah from wherever I go...just like some of our brothers & sisters who in in prison, nothing stops them from Jehovah, not even prison walls. So I will wait on Jehovah to move your hearts to re-instate me. & My closing statement is this...With Jehovah, what can MAN, do to me.
Now Bettyboop, don't be afraid of people, people that are not JW's are nice folks...you are on this site & you must have noticed, none on here are what the org. describes. None of the folks outside the org. are bad either. If folks were so bad, we would be stepping on dead bodies all over the place....I know many witnesses are shy or introverted, but trust in God & he'll give you more than you'll ever ask for.
I'm a witness, haven't been one for a long time & I know TTATT, I've made some great friends, love them, but I know they only love me because I'm a witness...if I wasn't...you know the rest...Guess what ? I'm ok with that..I have kept my friends that are not witnesses, & they love me, we have been friends for years, no they are not perfect, nor am I, but we have been there for each other through thick & thin. Their love is unconditional...What I'm trying to get you to see is heart of the people you are trying to get back with...do they truly have love in their heart? In Psalms, there is a scripture that says, even if Mother or father leave me, he still has Jehovah...Don't be afraid to come out of your comfort zone & meet new people....
You can volunteer, there is so much to do so you won't feel isolated...go to the hospital & hold a baby that their mother was on drugs, go talk to an elderly person in a nursing home. Be a mentor to a young person who needs someone...so many ways you can give of yourself, that witnesses would never do, because they can't count the hours...The world as we know it may one day come to an end...but in the meantime, we are all still here & folks still need help...don't stick your head in the sand & act like the only way to help folks is being a witness, that's just kool-aide.
Boyfriend, well, that's up to you. Learn to like yourself, so others will like you too..
Welcome Betty! Glad you found us.
The advice is good here. Honestly, there is no replacing years of relationships that you have cultivated. Even if you are reinstated, you are different, they know you are different, and they also are different. Things will never be the same as you might think they will be. Life will always be cautious around you and you will carry the mark of "DF" forever.
However, if you start building a life that you want to live while you are waiting for what you think you want, it will be time well spent. You will have the satisfaction of developing yourself into the person you were meant to be. Find a hobby or craft or volunteer work that you enjoy, and you will meet people that feel the same as you.
Nothing worthwhile is easy, but the rewards are great. As much as you wish to be reinstated, it means nothing to the elders. JW's are all about punishing...it's very important to them. Those that miss meetings or don't meet a good average in service are always called out...punished. You can never win with elders. But you can win at your life if you try.
Wishing you strength for the journey.
You probably should avoid mentioning to the elders that you believe in hell fire and that god is imperfect. It may be counterproductive.