JW.org: “Jehovah’s Witnesses Do Not Shun”

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The Watchtower Society’s website, JW.org, now claims that “Those who were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses but no longer preach to others, perhaps even drifting away from association with fellow believers, are not shunned.” [LINK]

This is an amazing statement. It’s actually so amazing that tens of thousands of former Jehovah’s Witnesses will be surprised to know this amazing fact – especially since most of their former JW friends and family have indisputably shunned them for years – and for some, decades.

Here is a common and accepted definition of “shun” and “to shun:”
shun: persistently avoid, ignore, or reject (someone or something) through antipathy or caution. To avoid, evade, eschew, steer clear of, shy away from, keep one’s distance from, give a wide berth to, have nothing to do with.

Jehovah’s Witnesses may be surprised to learn that this is the Watchtower’s official policy – or at least the public version of their handling of wayward members.

A very high percentage of former Jehovah’s Witnesses would be very happy to have their separation from the Watchtower religion managed by that published and public definition.

Unfortunately, the reality appears to be quite different – especially when comparing the above statement with recent policy statements presented at the Watchtower’s 2016 conventions and TV.JW.org video presentations. According to reporter “Covert Fade” at website JWSurvey.org [LINK to article]:

“Essentially, any action that would result in a baptised Jehovah’s Witness being disfellowshipped will now result in an inactive one being shunned without the requirement for Judicial Committee action… 

“…This will come as deeply upsetting news for the many inactive ones who have “faded;” the term often used for those who, by a mixture of good fortune and careful planning, have managed to leave the Watchtower religion without sanction from a Judicial Committee, and thus avoided the penalty of shunning. Many such ones still have contact with their Jehovah’s Witness families; contact that now may be cut off if their families consider this person to be “sinning” in the way prescribed by the Governing Body.”

There may be another reason that there seems to be a disconnect between what the Q&A page on JW.org states with very firm and straightforward wording – and what Jehovah’s Witnesses are being taught at their 2016 summer conventions. Maybe the Watchtower wants to have a “public” policy AND an actual “internal” policy. They’ve been known to present a different story to the public than what may be actual fact within their congregations. Anyone remember the infamous term “theocratic strategy”?

Many former Jehovah’s Witnesses who may have decided to just fade away by no longer attending Kingdom Hall meetings or being involved in the door-to-door ministry, may suddenly find themselves unwelcome among their former friends and family for no other reason than the Watchtower making a policy change.

Those of us who closely watch the actions and changes (both public and private) within the Watchtower religion understand what is happening. The organization is bleeding members and losing more potential new converts because of two factors:

1. The effects of public disclosure by former members and the public press of their lack of credibility in dealing with child abusers and other criminals within their ranks.
2. The ever growing expansion of published news and private bloggers that expose unfair and unsupportable (not to mention “unChristian”) policies, handling of child abuse, and financial management by the Watchtower’s leadership.

It is no surprise to us at all that the Watchtower would use their JW.org website to publicly misinform readers, news agencies, and potential new recruits by misrepresenting the truth.

What is even more inexplicable is the fact that since their 2016 summer conventions, the Watchtower has reportedly begun to tighten the rules even more than publicly announced. The Watchtower leadership is taking a very hard line against any kind of dissent within their ranks. They are clearly using the threat of shunning to rein in those who might consider fading away into some forgotten obscurity. Taking away someone’s friends and family connections is cruel hammer, but the Watchtower’s leaders clearly do not care.

23 comments on “JW.org: “Jehovah’s Witnesses Do Not Shun””

    • Alan
    • December 2, 2016

    How on earth does this work? They say one thing on their website but say the opposite even with videos about a mum and dad at the 2016 conventions!!!!! This is an ever so less obvious religion to Jim Jones and Jonestown. It lies (“they lie”, quote from Jim Jones himself) yet the liars are the 7 at watchtower city in Warwick. It’s lies are concealed within truth!? The blood doctrine, organ transplants and vaccination stance from the 60’s is this religions Koop aid. To quote another “apostate”, let’s review: IT’S A CULT!

    • Irene
    • December 30, 2016

    My mother has started studying with these people and has started attending meetings. She lives with my semi-functioning alcoholic father. My 3 sisters and me are wondering if my mom will be asked to stop associating or talking to us, and if so, when? and what about her relationship with my father? How can we help my mother? Is there a legal way to keep these people away since they are a cult?

    • Sylvia Althof
    • January 2, 2017

    It is a lie that JW does not shun their relatives. I am an ex JW. Most of my JW family shuns me but one of my relatives who didn’t shun me was reported to the elders and threatened with disfellowshipping so had to shun me against her will.

  1. Jehovah’s Witnesses, especially elders, will defend the Watchtower beyond comprehension – even when the evidence is overwhelming. It’s like the old rebuke, “you going to believe me – or your lying eyes?” They are like thieves being caught with the evidence in their hands responding, “This stuff? What stuff? You must be confused.” Literally – that’s the way it is. Shunning began with 2nd WT president, Joseph Rutherford, when he tossed out and banned any contact with those on the Watchtower’s board of directors who voted against him to be Russell’s replacement. After that, it applied to anyone who took issue with something Rutherford or his assistants wrote or promoted – right or wrong, biblically supported or not. What really amazes me is the number of JWs who have in the past been shunned or have shunned their own friends and family – and then will turn around, look you in the eye, and tell you emphatically that JWs don’t shun! Those who admit it do not place the blame on the Watchtower, but will tell you that they, and they alone, made the choice to end relationships with former friends and family. Being shunned myself for well over 40 years by members of my own family – who, when you can get them away from other JWs, are very loving and interesting people who really seem to care. But they can not and will not go against their religion.

    • Aleksandra Nowak
    • January 3, 2017

    Hi everyone I am a former JW I have published my book about my life and growing up as a JW. My dream is to get through to many people like me and know that we are now alone in this after leaving. Life can be amazing after JW , Please have a look at my book and let me know your thoughts
    https://www.amazon.com/Lily-Valley-K-Nowak/dp/1460270983/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

    • Roberto
    • January 8, 2017

    This official statement does not relate to disfellowshipped or disassociated. Read the rest of the article from jw.org

    • Alex
    • January 10, 2017

    My son is 12 years old and his mother and Half of is family which is large are JW’s. I am with little faith although I was raised Catholic. My son has told me he is a devoted JW and I feel that he is slowly slipping away from my family . Being 12 years old he has the right to say how much she wants to spend at dads. He has decided to cut half the days And only going to come on weekends. I would love to talk to someone for some advice. In hopes I can show my son that the JW’s are not he only choice. My name is Alex my phone number is 778-835-8921

    • Michael Martie
    • January 13, 2017

    They still shun people, it’s how they keep people in. In my many years as a witness I have seen many families destroyed by this. This is a well written and truthful article.

    • ex jw
    • March 28, 2017

    i was baptized at 16, disphellowshipped at 19. i am 33 now. and it is apparent to me now that the mind control and brainwashing off the witnesses is the corner stone of their “faith”
    it took years for me to even remotely realize this.
    up until a few years ago i would not even look at literature that they would call “apostate” even tho i had been disfellowshipped for a number of years already.
    i am a critical thinker and this is not welcome in any kingdom hall.
    there are no individuals in the “truth” only people blindly following the orders of old men. without question, and under the disguise of gods word.

    my heart goes out to any and all ex jws who have lost all the friends and family they cared about, over this religion of “brotherly love”

    • Ms.Florencia Ragsdale
    • April 18, 2017

    I want to come back,, I was disfellowshiped years ago, will it be hard?

    • Amanda Jane Moore
    • May 11, 2017

    My father and mother emigrated to Perth Australia many decades ago when I was very young. I am now in my mid 50’s. We were a typical Jehovah Witness family. Shortly after arriving in Australia my parents divorced. Given the shunning practice it destroyed our family with my mother staying in the JWs and my father and the children my brothers and myself leaving. When we grew up we all went separate ways and hardly seen each other let alone communicated to any standard. I got closer to my father after a failed marriage but hardly seen my mother who remains in the faith. The shunning certainly had the desired effect of destroying our family. My father remarried a non JW and is very happy.

    Decades later I was going through a very difficult time and started to get closer to my mother, I had a normal life up until then but was depressed with relationship issues as well as work and health issues. I started to look at going back into the JW faith through my mother and ended up cutting the rest of my family and friends out of my life who were all non JWs. I ended up only knowing JWs.

    I now go through stages of utter depression at my life which has been ruined by the JWs and Watchtowers critical execution of a faith that is full of contradictions, false predictions, outright cruelty and disregard for any way of life that is not dictated by the Watchtower. At times you feel they make it up as they go along. They have zero tolerance for other faiths, yet all other religions practice Harmony to all others, JWs don’t.

    While the JW faith is not new it is relatively new compared to the mainstem religions. I am convinced that if it was started in more modern times it would be considered a cult and banned in most first world countries. They prey on vulnerable people who are down, conflicted or going through tough times. These are their bread and butter converts, who join with promises of a better more fulfilling life. That is not the case, you end up frustrated, confused, depressed and more importantly alone with no friends out with the JW faith. This is exactly what the Watchtower wants. I have never felt so alone or depressed, with no real friends outside the Witnesses, I have lost all my family except my JW mother. I even gave up emails, social media etc and my lifestyle, hobies. Again this is what they want as the last thing they want is you getting unbiased information especially from ex JWs who out number practising JWs. My life is destroyed which has caused me to make several attempts to end my life. You are in effect brain washed.

    I would urge anyone who has family or friends who in a moment of weakness consider joining JWs to not abandon them. You need to be there for them when they are spat out or when they realize the magnitude of the mistake they are making. I don’t have that support network. This is exactly what the watchtower wants. They don’t care they are ruining lives.

    I have no idea what I will do or what life holds for me as I don’t have a non JW support network. I even gave up the man I loved dearly because he had no intention of being a JW! Life is very tough being a JW. Its full as I said of contradictions, false predictions and extreme lack of tolerance to non JWs and cruelty to practising JWs.

    So please do not abandon any friends or family who get sucked into this false faith, they will need you. We need to do as much as we can not to loose people to this cult which ruin’s lives. They have no regards for countries laws and traditions which can be seen in all the child abuse hearings that seen to be happening in a lot of countries. This is the tip of the iceberg and not the only abuse they practice or cover up. I hate to think how many people take their life when they can see no way back. I have been and still are there. I would give anything to turn the clock back. While I don’t agree with what has been happening in Russia and their lack of tolerance to religion and human rights I do think their approach to ban this religion may not be a bad thing.

    So please think twice before joining this religion they are masters of manipulation and preying on vulnerable people while at the same time practicing zero tolerance for others or other countries laws. Not the ideas you would associate with any other religion.

    Amanda Jane Moore
    Perth Western Australia

    • Shannon Scott
    • May 20, 2017

    I am being shunned right now just because I don’t do what they want me to do. I am stuck with a brainwashed husband and no family left and no where to go.

    • Alessandra
    • May 24, 2017

    My family and I left the JW religion two years ago and our so called “friends” from this religion do not even bother to say hi to us when we encounter them face-to-face. My used-to-be best friend who’s still a JW and whom I grew up with since I was a child, doesn’t even bother to call, text, or send me an email. This policy of shunning/ostracizing people who don’t want to be JWs anymore is ridiculous. It hurts so much because you can never be fully-healed of all of the suffering and mental bullying you are receiving and will keep on going as long as you live. Sometimes you just want to cry and ask yourself “Why? Why can’t they see the ACTUAL truth behind the absurd lies they tell? Why?” Even though I’ve gotten over the phase of freeing myself from their beliefs that brainwashed me and instilled fear of my own life in me because I thought “Jehovah” would let me die in Armageddon/Judgement Day for “disobeying Him”, that part of my life would never be fully-healed because of the years lost in believing in an hypocrite, religious ideology.

    • Hans
    • June 12, 2017

    I faded 4 years ago and all my “witness” friends left. I’m so happy I always kept a few good “worldly” friends around. Those were the people that were really there for me when I need some true friends.

    • Misty
    • July 2, 2017

    I really don’t get this. I grew up as a witness in my hometown, went to meetings with my grandparents, but drifted away from it when I got older, especially after I moved to a new city. A large chunk of the town I lived in are Witnesses, and they know I don’t go to meetings or studies anymore, and when I get home once in a while, they have never EVER acted differently to me then they did when I was a witness. I was never shunned, no one avoided me, they would come right up and have conversations, or I would go to thier house for lunch or dinner. None of my family even gave me disapproving looks or words.
    My uncle got into a bad spot, and had a child before he was married, and that did get him disfellowshiped (revoked his position as an Elder), but he was never shunned. Many of our family members and other friends from our home town made the trip to California for when he married the other women he met who eventually fell in love with. She was not even a Witness. I have not ever heard if they rejoined the congregation, but no one ever even spoke badly of them.
    So I have a really hard time believing that a whole group of people, who were /truely/ Witnesses would treat some one this way, even if there was a disagreement. I have spent most of my life at least in association with Witnesses, in two different states, even when I have not been one myself, and I’ve never seen an example of someone being shunned, or anyone being disfellowed unless they did something actually deserving of it ( I mean this literally, like they became violent and hurtful to others). Yes, Witnesses are cautioned against who they spend time with, but to me it never seemed to be any different from any parent who was actually trying to care for thier children warning them against ‘hanging out with the wrong crowd’ that might get them into trouble.

    • Emma Pearline
    • July 22, 2017

    There is a first time for everything. What a sweet name. This surprises me. That was not the way it was when I was a JW. Have you been following the ARC in Australia? Maybe the ones there have taken a forgiveness pill.I hope all stays well. Peace and Love, Pearline

  2. Misty – I think that a majority of the readers of this website and others like it will recognize that your experiences with Jehovah’s Witnesses are not typical. I agree that there are some Jehovah’s Witnesses who choose to ignore the rules and will continue to treat their ex-JW friends and family in mostly normal ways. But they are not typical. For those of us who have been disfellowshipped or simply walked away and left the religion – we know what most Jehovah’s Witnesses do – and that is mostly shun and ignore their ex-JW friends and family. Writing a comment on a website like this and trying to convince our readers that how we describe JW shunning is all wrong – convinces no one of anything except your own ignorance – or worse. JWs shun! JWs mostly follow Watchtower guidelines and stop having normal relationships with their ex-JW friends and family members. You can write a hundred comments to a hundred websites claiming that “shunning rarely happens and when it does it is an act of love” – but you will convince our readers of only one thing: You are either ignorant or culpable. And, I might add, probably are yourself “a shunner.”

    • Susan S
    • August 9, 2017

    Here’s my story! Maybe it will help others who are contemplating leaving the JW organization.

    I was born into the religion; both sets of grandparents were Witnesses, mom, dad, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and sisters. My dad had even been in prison as a “conscientious objector” during WWII. We were a close family and I remember a pretty loving childhood. Of course, since I was female, I was well-trained in my subservient role. For many years my dad was the “Congregation Servant”–a role that was replaced later by the “Elder” system. Our vacations were spent at District Assemblies; we “special pioneered” during our summer vacations, and our world revolved around the religion. 5 meetings a week, door-to-door on Saturday mornings, family WT study to prepare for Sunday. I was ostracized at school (skirts to my knees, not saluting the flag, no pep assemblies, school dances, etc.,) but I excelled in my schoolwork–always straight A’s! When I was 16, I was assigned to go door-to-door with a sister from the congregation who was revered by others. Her whole life was about preaching and studying and the thought was that she would be a good example for me. Well, the exact opposite happened and it was at this point that my eyes began to open. It would be many more years before I made my escape, but this is where it began. She was a hypocrite at the highest level–I won’t go into all the details–seriously a horrible person. At age 18 I was married off to a good JW boy and we quickly had 2 sons. My husband was employed as a janitor for a business owned by other JWs. We barely had enough money to pay rent and put food on the table, yet I was prohibited from working, except to offer babysitting services. Watching my babies grow up like this began to break my heart, and it seemed it would always be this way. I don’t know how I managed to get the courage, but I applied for a job as a typist and was hired! My husband, mom, dad, sister were livid with me and refused to help in any way. That just strengthened my resolve! After 2 years (during which my husband seldom worked), I fell in love with a man I worked with and filed for divorce. My family tried to take my sons away from me, but an attorney I worked with was having none of it. From that moment on, everyone I had ever loved or cared about began shunning me and my little boys. Fast forward to today–I enjoyed a wonderful marriage, my sons grew up to be wonderful, loving men, I graduated from college and had a career I loved. My husband and I are now retired and enjoying our golden years together. My mom, dad and 1 brother died without ever speaking to me again. The shunning was painful at first, but the pain lessened as I lived and learned and met many non-JWs who are wonderful people. There is life after JWs and their hateful shunning. I’m living proof!

    Best wishes!

    • Falcao
    • August 15, 2017

    Ooooh yes, they do indeed shun… shun, condemn AND judge!… the complete opposite of what they preach… I no longer have a relationship with my mother because of them… it’s very saddening

    • Anon
    • August 21, 2017

    How refreshing to read and see I’m not the only one who has had unpleasant experiences with this organisation!I was never a member of this cult as I could see through it from the start!My ex wife was and over a period of some 35 years,yes 35 years they have controlled the way she thinks resulting in hardly any contact with my grown up boys over the years.At one stage,they tried to remove my son from his Primary School without my knowledge!I would state that I would defend anyone’s right to worship or follow their beliefs in a free and democratic society but this organisation is a cult and an insidious one at that!

    • Rob
    • September 21, 2017

    I just checked …… JW brothers houses destroyed along with …..everyone else
    ..in the recent Mexico quake…..no one is protected …..3 Witnessess and Kingdom Halls
    …..nothing was out of reach
    Even at the possibility of an Armageddon in the future ..it will be th same
    …and yet that is why they preach
    To you to be saved …no one is safe …..it makes no difference who you are
    Do research !

    • Tan
    • September 25, 2017

    Yes. I am one of the potential victims because the Circuit Overseers threatened me that if I do not agree to cooperate with them to slander another person, they will take further action against me, implying that they will disfellowship me through juduciary committee. That means they could destroy my circle of friendship and even the relationship with my family. It is horrible and very damaging if some rules are distorted with evil intention. It is also a very sad thing that you donnate money to support some people who will harm you mentally and spiritual. Some of the people in authority in this organization say one thing but do another thing. They are spiritual wolves.

    • Terry J Arowcavage
    • November 13, 2017

    I quit going to the meetings for 2 1/2 years. Nobody ever called on me or to me to see why or encourage me. I was out golfing with a friend and was smoking a cigar and a witness saw me. Finally I got a call from the elders to meet with me that night. By the end of the conversation, one elder told me that I was a lousy Dad,Father and Husband and that he was going to take my family away from me. My wife and kids never received calls from family members and some of them lived in the same town. I always want to be the better person and not show disrespect to anyone. I don’t believe in God and only did to get the love of my family members. Getting a new tattoo with the words of a old Billy Joel song I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners have much more fun! Good luck to everyone and don’t let NOBODY get you down!

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