How to Deal with Shunners Part I. It Is They Who are Afraid

by jst2laws 49 Replies latest jw experiences

  • jst2laws

    Shunners, they are afraid. How to deal with them. Having been DF'd about a year ago for Apostasy (the sin of thinking for yourself without disengaging your mouth) I have taken advantage of several opportunities to speak to local JW's. I say "local" because on our trip this past summer about half of the several dozen folks we visited were JW's in good standing, but were not likely to get caught. It is distinctly difficult to speak openly with "local" JW's as they, especially in chance meet ups, are AFRAID. Not only afraid of you (the disfellowshipped) but afraid of other JW's reporting them. So the 'locals' go into automatic mode when caught up in the unexpected presence of "evil" (the DF'd one). I do not find this personally offensive. I remind myself that not only did I once do this but how I longed to talk to the DF'd, especially for apostasy, to challenge my faith. I did this frequently in the door to door work and as an elder (big surprise I'm out now?). Are you aware that many JW's are curious as to what you have learned but are afraid to ask, or afraid of getting caught asking? Of course, you could always allow yourself to be hurt by their spontaneous shunning in reaction to an unexpected meeting by yelling some obscenities at them. Yes, if feels good to let loose an expletive, especially those of the fricative nature. But this will only confirm in their minds the WT lie that we are immoral, unhappy people who get no happiness out of life except to 'persecute the chosen ones'. I am hopeful that by discussing this and sharing positive experiences more of us will be able to relax and deal more effectively with our 'shunners'. I'll start out with an experience. Confidence in yourself, they are afraid On a construction job about 2 months after my disfellowshipping I was explaining to a cable TV installation crew where I wanted the cable outlets. I noticed one was not only familiar but nervous. It was a young man who had moved away a few years ago but had returned about the time of me DFing. I asked him if we knew each other and he reluctantly responded with his name. He was obviously embarrassed and uneasy not only because he was talking to me but his boss, the subcontractor, was there too. My lack of uneasiness may have made him feel all the more nervous. In view of my belief that most JW's are only following rules more out of fear of getting caught than fear of talking to those DF'd I spoke softly and with a smile: "You can't wave high but you CAN wave low" Saying this, with my elbow tucked into my side and my wrist at my pocket level I waved a greeting at him (wave low). He smiled and turned. I later heard that he was amused by my interaction with him. No big thing. But I was not hurt, he was not made to feel uneasy, and next encounter who knows what may happen. How about a little discussion of this and some experiences you have had. jst2laws

  • DanTheMan

    I like your style Steve.

    I have a 100% borg JW lady that I work with, she is a member of the cong that I DA'd from. I say hi to her when I see her in the corridors or in a break area. At first she seemed quite uncomfortable with this but as time has gone on and she has realized that a simple greeting is all that I'm going to say to her, and that I'm not going to try to engage her in conversation, she has become more relaxed and often returns my greeting.

    I'm sure that she tells people at my old hall that she sees me smoking outside though LOL

  • little1

    "Apostasy (the sin of thinking for yourself without disengaging your mouth)" That cracks me up! I hope you get more replies on this thread. I find it very interesting. Sometimes I wish I had been more "forward" with my beliefs and disbeliefs about the JWs with my ex boyfriend. But arguing or discussing religion gives me the heebie jeebies, so I usually made my comment and left it alone. He knew I thought it was crap, tho.

  • Jez

    I changed the rules. THEY may have to ignore me...but I certainly do not have to ignore THEM. I am not bound by the laws anymore. So now, I say hi, how are you. I am polite and kind to most. This old lady was sitting at McDonalds eating a cone with someone. She recognized me but turned away. As my husband and I left, I turned to her and said, "You look really good, you look healthy and I am glad to see it." She smiled and said thank you.

    MANY of the congregation still wave at me or say hi in public. Although I have had the extreme as well where this one freak shields his eyes from me with his hand and turns his face away from me when I walk past him. I say stuff to him...yah, I say stuff to him alright and I say it loud.


  • toreador

    I run in to some JWs and they cant get away fast enough and others will be really friendly and chatty. Its kinda weird. I dont know if some dont know or havent heard the rumors or if they have and dont care.

  • shotgun

    Great post jst2laws

    I am not df'd or da'd because the WT SS came and told me a JC would be initiated if they got reports of me expressing my feelings on the WT to any of the Bro or Sis...I've disengaged my mouth but it's been hard.

    I had longtime friends get married this past summer and ask me to be part of the wedding party, I agreed. They knew already my stance and feelings and only after I agreed to do this they told me if I still had doubts about Jah Org then they couldn't use me. I told them not to use me then and they didn't.

    Everytime you run across an old JW friend they bring it up in casual conversation somehow...wasn't that a wonderful talk on blah, blah at the circuit assembly and what a fine WT we just had on Sticking with Jah Org....all the while knowing your position and that your voice has been taken away under penalty of apostasy.

    Sometimes I think ones who have been df'd or da'd have it better in that no one tries to stuff the WT crap down their throat and if they do you can reply in kind with anti-truth serum.

    Like I mentioned...excellent post on rising above and understanding the individual JW's shunning response.

  • Mulan

    We very seldom see anyone from the local congregation, so I think they see me first and hide. Before, when we were active JW's, I was constantly seeing others from our congregation at the grocery store, Costco, or in restaurants. There is a nice Romanian JW family, that still greet us and act like we are normal people. When we do see someone, they act like we are invisible. We usually laugh out loud when they do that.

    Once at a small store, I was in the entryway talking to a disfellowshipped woman that I've known for years. A loyal dub walked in and "royally snubbed" us. My friend asked me if I saw that, and we both started laughing. The "sister" turned, frowned at us, and walked on.

    A woman I've known all my life, has a Bible study with a woman at the home where my parents live, and she never fails to greet me.

    But, we aren't df'd either.................yet. In time, we will see what happens.

  • jst2laws


    as time has gone on and she has realized that a simple greeting is all that I'm going to say to her

    Good example of the fear they have. In your case she seems afraid of responding to you and where it might lead. Some day you might even be able, in the right circumstance, to say "how are you?". If she would only say "fine", what a revelation to reply "good, I'm fine too" from one who is supposed to be 'gnashing' his teeth and 'eating his own vomit". Little1

    I hope you get more replies on this thread

    I hope so too. With so much negativity about politics and bad experiences with JWs I hope we can get into some constructive ideas about what we survivors can do to help others to wake up. Jez

    As my husband and I left, I turned to her and said, "You look really good, you look healthy and I am glad to see it." She smiled and said thank you.

    "thank you" and a smile? You were great, Jez. You treated her like a human being. And she responded like a human being. The Watchtower can't control human nature. I will respond to shotgun, Toreador and Mulan soon.. Any other good experiences? Jst2laws

  • outnfree

    Well, Steve, I agree wholeheartedly that "It is They Who are Afraid."

    Recently, I related my dismay at my ex-PO's wife prosyletizing on campus, and how she at least, when I greeted her, responded with monosyllables and a fixed smile on her face. Well, she was back the following week, but I had errands to run between classes, so I did not engage her in conversation. But, can I feel smug (and perhaps a wee bit ashamed that I am not as kindly as you) when I relate the following experience?

    This week I saw that she had another "sister" with her, but I was prepared. I had made up a sign that says "I am a Watchtower Escapee. Ask me why Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult." and also prepared a handout on the 14 Commonly Recognized Characteristics of a Cult, indicating how Jehovah's Witnesses fit the bill and listing this and other websites for further information. So I went to fetch them from my car.

    I felt, however, that I should give G--- a bit of a heads up and an explanation about why I was going to combat her efforts. So, as I had two weeks previously, I approached from within the building in front of which she had set up her display table. I walked up and said, "Hello," and totally freaked out when I realized that the other "sister" was actually my former PO!!! I was already shaking from self-imposed intimidation, and seeing M-- did NOT help!!!

    So I greeted M-- as well and explained to them both that I had not left the Witnesses without very serious thought, that I considered the religion to be not only dangerous, but deceitful, that I realized that they were convinced in their own minds that they were doing a "good work", but that I wanted them to know... At this point, M-- interrupted me and said, in his best elder voice "Brenda, you need to move along now." G--- was staring stonily ahead not even looking at me this time. I repeated, "Yes, but I want you to understand..." "Brenda, you need to move along now," he repeated. And kept on repeating, while I was forced to talk over his robotic response (and to get him angry because I did not respond in fear and/or humility to his pronouncement that I needed to move along) and to finish telling them that because *I* sincerely believed the religion to be a danger to the students, I would be working to combat their efforts. And then I left them alone.

    And went to a spot at least 25 feet away, which is what the University administration requested I do, and sat with my sign and my information sheets until I had to go inside for my noon class. They were packing up before I got to the second floor landing.

    Now, I was not as nice with these two as I have been with others whom I've run into because I am determined to do my part to dissuade them from their campus ministry and/or to prevent their winning any new converts. However, I DO greet any other Witnesses I meet locally with a "Hello, how are you?" because I find it senseless to pretend that we don't know one another and I won't play their shunning game. I usually feel (despite getting shaky) that I am the one living life to the full, much better off than they, and so I should be pleasant and courteous. Many are actually pleasant and courteous in return. Only in a few instances have I gotten stone faces or the pretense of not having been heard and/or seen.

    I agree with Mulan, though. They must be hiding, because I rarely run into people anymore whom I used to see ALL THE TIME in local gocery stores and at the Mall. They're dropping off my radar screen, and you know what? That's okay!

    Best to you and Joy!

    Love, Brenda

  • MegaDude

    You're right, Steve. They are the ones that are afraid.

    My brother has shunned me for years but I decided not to close the door on him. Slowly but surely over the years he has warmed up more and more and allowed me to share information with him. We actually went scuba diving together in Mexico this summer but then he began shunning me again after we got back. I'm not sure what kicked it off.


    JW wife pressure?

    Latest WT talks focusing on ex-JWs?

    To tell you the truth, I was really hurt. We'd had a great time on our trip. I started typing an email to let him know in no uncertain terms was he to bother contacting me but I decided not to send it. It just bums me out so bad when he goes back into shunning mode because the time we spend together is so enjoyable.

    Last night he called me up out of the blue. He asked me to join him and his friends from work at a bar and we had a blast drinking beer and shooting the breeze. No heavy topics of conversation. He left a message on my phone after he got home that he missed me so much, and thanked me over and over for coming out to see him. There was a lot of emotion in his voice and I could tell he meant what he said. When I heard that message it was suddenly all worth it.

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