Rec'd a letter from my Dad - need some advice...
I think it's a matter of accepting the situation for what it is. They have come to this decision and given you notice. What can you do, really? It is what it is. I DA'd in 90s. I've been shunned since then, except for "family business." I know I can't change them. So I accept the situation for what it is. It's a high control religion and can be very destructive to families. It sucks. But you can't change what you can't change. So sorry you are going through this.
Wow so triggering.
My in-laws love the same one way conversation- no interest in you "please don't reply".
It is part of the emotional retardation that happens with that religion.
I honestly feel sorry for them, they are so screwed up by that religion that they cannot communicate as a normal person. I mean what is "family business". How about family connection and love?
My wife has struggled for a few years with this sort of BS. We are finding peace through not expecting them to act as normal parents, we have other people now who are our friends and confidants, we have some very special older friends who fill the role of unconditional loving parents.
Removing that expectation from the real parents actually has helped us find peace and continue a stunted one sided by respectful relationship.
Hope that helps.
Another thought--since you are NOT D/F or D/A, the normal shunning rules according to the organization do NOT apply to you. You might try responding and reminding them of that. In fact, you could couch it something like they are running ahead of the chariot in treating you as if you are D/F. Isn't this [the fact you have NOT been D/F] something to leave in Jehovah's hands and trust his organization will handle it in due time (gag)? They are, in fact, acting presumptuously in treating you as if you are D/F when, in fact, you are [and here you might drum up some quasi acceptable excuse, though if it has been several years, it might be harder. Still, you could say depressed/ struggling emotionally/ confused/ taking things to Jah in prayer, etc.]
Turning the tables.
Here's my 2¢ worth. Just something I would consider saying...
You ask us to respect your right to believe and live as you think best. We do and we will, even though we do not share those beliefs. We ask the same from you. Anything less would be hypocrisy.
You may remember that the July 2009 Awake! said, "No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family." Did the Governing Body mean what they said, or were they institutionalizing hypocrisy?
We understand and accept that you do not agree with the way we now see certain things, but that doesn't mean we're not still family. Why can't we set aside this divisive issue, and simply love each other the way we should? We will gladly agree not to criticize the organization or your beliefs, and in return we ask that you acknowledge our right as adults to have our own beliefs. Any discussion of religion can simply be off the table. Would that work for you?
I don't really think such a reasonable approach will work. I mentioned that Awake! article to my very PIMI sister, and she practically shouted, "THAT DOESN'T APPLY TO US!!! WE HAVE THE TRUTH!!!'
On another occasion, when she and her husband made clear that they would be shunning me from then on, I told them that no matter how badly they treated me, they would always be welcome in my heart and in my home. Her response? A very accusatory, "You're just trying to be magnanimous!" Sheesh! In the voice of Steve Martin, "Well excuuussse me!"
Since then, I've made it clear that social coercion and emotional blackmail will not work on me. In fact, they have the opposite effect. Whenever we do have contact, I remind her that my heart and my home remain open to them. No response...
Anyway, I know how you feel and where you're coming from. Good luck. I hope that one day our loved ones will realize just how hypocritical their position is and what a bad "witness" they are giving when they cruelly shun family whose only crime is leaving the religion.
Excellent reasoning. Too bad the religion isn't reasonable.
Again, thank you all for the kind words and advice - I think we will stay quiet and see if this blows over in a couple months. Treat them with love and respect - even though they are not doing the same.
"Since then, I've made it clear that social coercion and emotional blackmail will not work on me."
This is the key thing. Let them know that you can not and will not be bullied. We all have to do this in order to let WT know that their tactics don't work.
I truly believe that as more and more JW's wake up and leave the cult, WT and JW's will be well known for their tactics. The shunning is becoming known to the outside world. Who the hell is going to want to join a cult that does this to it's members?
I don't view the choice the parents have made as bullying, coercion or blackmail. They have made a decision to disassociate from their adult children based on their convictions. Everyone, in a free society, has the right to associate or not associate with the adults of their choice. Moreover their tactics do work to the ends of their cult whether people protest or not. Shouting, "That's not nice!" is not going to change anything.
Best let them isolate themselves.
It is obvious that your situation has resonated with many here in this site.
You mentioned you have been a Lurker and not controversial. Many of us on this site, probably me included, are rather more confrontational in our personalities than you are, and I see good in both personality styles as long as one is balanced. Something we have not been taught by our shared religious backgrounds.
Isn’t it interesting that even from your parents perspective, Jehovah has not brought final judgment on individuals, including your family, and the Jehovah’s Witness organization has not judged you by disfellowshipping you, yet your parents feel they must render judgment.
Would it do you any good to respond, not to your father, but to your mother? Mentioning that the letter was written by your father and you wish to respect HIS wishes.
You could tell her that you have absolutely NO desire to: “drive down to express your negative thoughts and feelings towards us, the congregation and the organization.” but, that you very much love both of them and only want the best for them.
The “Awake!” from 2009 could be quoted but I would use the complete paragraph as it appeared:
“Although the Bible makes a clear distinction between true and false teachings, God allows each person the freedom to choose how he or she will respond. (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20) No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family. Does study of the Bible lead to family breakup? No. In fact, the Bible encourages a husband and wife who practice different religions to remain together as a family.—1 Corinthians 7:12, 13.”
I wish you well and I sympathize with your situation my friend.
Tell them they are reaching an age where they become a burden both finically and physically and thank them for freeing you of any obligation to help out. PS. You will never see your grand kids again.
Seriously don’t do anything . Focus on your wife and children. That is your world now.