19 August 2016
I felt the need to highlight something that needs to be addressed immediately! Given the more recent emphasis on how we are to treat those who are disfellowshipped or disassociated, I decided to read over the Watchtower article of February 2015 entitled ‘Do You Hate Lawlessness? The article emphasises that we are to shun such ones outright and backs this up by using your interpretation of scripture.
Though I find the organisations policy on ‘disfellowshipping and ‘disassociation’ repugnant / extreme, and certainly wouldn’t shun my own relatives or friends who simply choose to resign from the organisation, I accept that you have a right to make up your own policies in accordance with freedom of religion here in the UK (article 9, European Convention of Human Rights).
However, though disassociation is mentioned in your literature, the subject of disfellowhipping and disassociation is never clearly explained to those who are newly studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses. This policy is not clearly explained in the current ‘Bible Teach’ book we use to study with interested ones. If a person is to become a baptised Jehovah’s Witness / a member of the Organisation, they should be fully informed of your shunning policy before deciding to make a commitment to get baptised.
One of the biggest hurdles I faced when studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses was the blood issue; but my study conductor fully explained the reasons why we are to avoid blood…which I reluctantly, at the time accepted! Why? Because it was brought out in the live forever book which I studied at the time. I was completely oblivious to your shunning policy which only really sunk in several years later. In today’s politically correct world; the charity commission’s investigations into some of the organisations policies – which includes shunning; and the organisations ongoing emphasis of shunning (which promotes the shunning of our own family members if required), individuals may soon possibly be well within their rights to highlight this issue and bring about a legal case to nullify their baptism if they wanted to. They could soon be in a position whereby they could walk into any lawyer, show them the book they first studied to become a witness, and highlight the fact that there was nothing mentioned around the shunning policy; that they had not been informed.
If this fear tactic (shunning policy) is very much part of our faith, then people have a right to know about it before getting baptised. This information should be fully explained in the Bible teach book or other books used in future when studying with interested ones we find in our ministry. I hope you find this feed back helpful.
Brother J M