Seeker4 -Still No Word on DFing

by Seeker4 31 Replies latest jw friends

  • Seeker4

    Es, Three years - sorry, they sure can. Unless you've got that in print somewhere? I'd love to see it - but I'm sure you're wrong. S4

  • Seeker4


    Three years - sorry, they sure can. Unless you've got that in print somewhere?

    I'd love to see it - but I'm sure you're wrong

    And a further update, today is Sunday, May 1, and still no word from elders, and no announcement.


  • Mulan

    Seeker4 My cousin's husband was threatened with disfellowshipping about 6 years ago, and he told them if they took it any further, he would sue them. They dropped it and he never heard from them again. Now he lives in another state and has successfully dropped off their radar. So maybe that's what happened with you too.

  • IP_SEC

    The length of time is not the issue with them. It is whether you are considered a witness by the community or the congregation.

    Im sure that the community does not think of you as a dub.

    Have you seeked out the companionship of the congregation during this time? 7 years is a long time. Im sure the average dub dont consider you a dub. In 7 years there has been ppl move in and out. Its a different place with a lot of different faces who have never heard of seeker4.

    Sounds like those guys are barking up a tree that bethel will tell them to leave alone.

    Good job there seeker4, you didnt let those bullies push you around.


  • AlanF

    A few more thoughts on this subject:

    The Society can't legally disfellowship someone who is not a Witness, because DF'ing is a religious sanction not applicable to a non-member. That's particularly true for someone who never was a Witness, and I'm certain that in the 1980s a U.S. court so ruled. And obviously, it would be ludicrous to say that someone who never was a JW has disassociated himself.

    But there's a big gray area with respect to people who were once active JWs but no longer are. How does an average person decide that some individual is no longer a JW? The question is not how someone is treated by individual JWs or the JW community as a whole, but how that community, and society at large, views the individual. For example, my wife is counted as "inactive", and has been for more than 20 years. No one views her as a JW, but some of her JW family and former JW friends treat her as if DF'd, while others maintain friendly relations.

    According to certain JW elders I know, the Watchtower Society (at least, until recently) has viewed "inactive" former JWs as still JWs in the sense that they're not DF'd or DA'd. But this still raises many legal questions.

    For example, I'm neither officially DF'd or DA'd, but have been inactive since about 1979, except for a short (and virtually gun-at-the-head) stint in 1982-3. None of my family, and likely none of my former JW friends or acquaintences, have viewed me as a JW for at least 20 years. I certainly haven't thought of myself as one for most of that time. If the Society decided to have me officially DF'd or declared DA'd, how would they do it? Officially, a JW must be DF'd or DA'd by the elders of some congregation (the Watchtower Society has taken pains in court to claim that it has no control over what local elders do in these matters), but since I've not been a member of any congregation since 1983, when I became permanently inactive, what congregation would they choose to do the dirty work? The one in whose "territory" I live? But doing that would imply that a former JW automatically becomes a member of whatever congregation in whose "territory" he lives. This is clearly ridiculous because it would imply "once a JW, always a JW unless DF'd or DA'd". Kind of like the Mafia, no? I seriously doubt that a claim along this line by Watchtower lawyers would fly in court.

    So the question of whether a person could win a lawsuit for libel, slander or defamation of some sort must hinge on the question of how a court would determine if a person was still a JW when the DF'ing or DA'ing took place. And if the court determined that the person was not viewed as a JW, then elders declaring that such a person is to be shunned might well be determined to be an act of slander, defamation or harassment. I suspect that, if a person who was DF'd or DA'd under these circumstances brought a lawsuit against local elders or the Watchtower Society, and raised these questions during the pre-trial proceedings, or even threatened to bring a lawsuit and raise them, the Society would back off. I really doubt that they would want questions such as I've raised in this post to be discussed on the record in open court, since critics would have a field day with the Society's answers. I think that the Society would judge that its best policy would be to let sleeping dogs lie.


  • Mulan
    I really doubt that they would want questions such as I've raised in this post to be discussed on the record in open court, since critics would have a field day with the Society's answers. I think that the Society would judge that its best policy would be to let sleeping dogs lie.

    As the Brits would say, I think you are "spot on".

    I wish they would take that attitude with us. So far they have, but I hear they are gathering the wolves again. We'll see. The CO visit is this week.

  • silentWatcher

    Interesting points Alan. I never understood WHY they bother DF or DAing someone.

    It's irrelavent because they can de-facto shun someone. Don't underestimate the power of "marking" (an unofficial sanction). For example with the Andersons, all you would need would be for every CO to mention that "due to laws of Caesar, what is bound in heaven cannot always be bound upon the earth. However, we know how Jehovah views those casuing divisions in the congregation. If we are spiritually mature, we will not listen to such ones. etc etc". Then, allow the "elderette" gossip machine to "unofficially fill in the details."

    If you want to go further, you can get restraining orders against the individual, so that they cannot set foot in a KH. Claim they made a threat against the congregation, and turn it into a game of "he said, she said."

    I've seen it work at the circuit level when a "well-known" elder went apostate and threatened to sue if they were disfellowshiped. Yes, his old congo ended up successfully getting restraining order against him (trumped up charge of him making a threat; but 2 elders claimed to have heard). No formal announcement from the stage, but the net impact was the same.

  • AlanF

    Mulan, you might want to try some of the suggestions on this thread just to see what will happen. Can't hurt, eh?

    silentWatchtower, your points are well taken. That's why this is a gray area, and some of the suggestions/ideas in this thread may or may not work. Much depends on how much grief the elders want to put up with, and how much the Society is pressuring them. No pat answers.


  • RunningMan

    Those are some very interesting points. I have been inactive for over three years now, and the congregation of which I was a member was disbanded this spring. If faced with a dfing situation, I might argue that I was never a member of the congregation taking the action. Interesting.

    However, since I am not a sinner like the rest of you, I hopefully will not have to face this - maybe a couple of decades will put enough water under the bridge.

    Either way seeker4, if you throw up enough legal smokescreen, they might just decide to let sleeping dogs lie. No one likes a shitstorm.

  • Seeker4

    Some good points here. Let me respond.

    I was, of course, baptized. At age 11, to be exact. When I said I am not a Witness I meant that I had left the Witnesses completely as far as I was concerned about 7 years ago, though I became inactive 10 years ago.

    The gray area AlanF was talking about is what this all boils down to - How are you viewwed by the community aat large, and how viewed by the congregation. The elders are saying that I was quite well-known throughout several circuits, and as such have to be treated as though I were still a JW.

    My point in the letter to the body was that the elder's manual describes how to deal with someone who has "been inactive for some time" - and I consider a decade a considerable amount of time. The manual raises that question
    about how the person is viewed. My argument is that by stopping preaching 10 years ago, and stopping all meeting attendance, not even going to the Memorial, for at least 6 years, and perhaps longer, I was making a statement that I was no longer a JW, and the WTS direction in the manual is to leave the matter alone until such a time as the person desires to come back into the congregation.

    The main area of interpretation is whether or not the person is viewed as a JW still by the community and cong.

    It's a bit open ended to say the least, but by my using the WTS's direction in the elder's manual, I told the body that I felt they were failing to follow "theocratic direction," and as such were harrassing me, and that I would sue them individually for acting out of harmony with the elder's manual . It was sort of weird, in that I was in a sense sitting down with this body, via my letter, and counseling them on how to apply the society's direction.

    The only reason I was interested in doing this at all was because I have Witness family still, and I find the whole shunning and punishing aspect of the Witnesses particularly heinous. I wanted to call them on it. I wanted to have my say, and tell them exactly what I thought of the whole arrangement. While sitting in judgement of me, I wanted them to understand that there are thousands of us judging their actions as well, their willingness to go along with whatever they are told to do by the Society. I wanted them to understand that I wasn't secretly mourning leaving "the truth," but that I was feeling sorry for them - in living a lie, they are most to be pitied.

    I'd kept my mouth shut for a long time, and I wanted to finally tell everyone on the body exactly what I was thinking. Some of these men have been lifelong friends. I'm not proud of leaving my wife, or of living as an adulterer, but I'm not particularly ashamed of it either. More than anything I'm immensely sorry for the hurt those actions have caused to my family - but I'm not hanging my head in shame about it. I'm apologizing - but in the end it's my life and I have just this one chance to live it, and I'll live it as I want.

    So, that's the gist of what my thinking was. As one person wrote, I didn't want to let anyone bully me jusst because they thought they still had some authority over me. I made clear what I felt about that.

    Thanks for the support. AlanF, I'll try to call you this week.


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