Disfellowshipping – who’s at fault?

By Len Miller

The announcement, “John (or Mary) Doe is no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” is repeated some 70,000 times each year in Kingdom Halls throughout the world. The Watchtower Society wants its followers to believe that these individuals became so unrepentantly contaminated with evil that it became necessary to remove them from association with faithful members.

I suggest that nothing can be further from the truth. I think these former members lost their trance-like acceptance of Watchtower teachings long before those formal announcements.

When I was a faithful adherent, I felt that if the Watchtower had asked me to stand on my head and stack greased BB’s, I would have given that task a valiant effort. That’s the way it is with hypnotized folks. It doesn’t matter what the suggestion might be, they’ll try to do it. From Wiki, James Randi, a famed professional magician and skeptic, offers the following definition of hypnosis:

“. . . [It’s] a mutual agreement of the operator and the subject that the subject will cooperate in following suggestions.”

Enter credibility. Nothing destroys confidence between parties more than when one of them sees chinks in the armor of the other. Husbands and wives encounter this all too frequently, often resulting in divorce. “Familiarity breeds contempt,” goes the expression – and that is displayed daily among couples. One spouse fails to hold up his end of the bargain by exhibiting unfaithful behavior, poor hygiene, or a general lack of respect and attention – and the other sees it. Even behavior that was viewed as “humorous” before marriage is soon seen as contemptible – after the “knot is tied.”

In the Watchtower structure, many folks are finally seeing chinks in the Society’s armor. The Watchtower’s contradictions and flip-flops in doctrinal matters are among the major issues. And yet it’s not surprising when the leaders of the Watchtower say there are no problems with what they teach. “Wait on Jehovah,” is their usual defense to these issues. “Simply put it on the back burner,” is another suggestion frequently used by those in authority. Many of the JW old timers have learned to just accept these responses.

The problem here is that back burners have only so much room. In my opinion, an individual’s sense of propriety becomes the overwhelming control factor. The old saw, “the Society makes mistakes because they’re human”, no longer cuts it with many JWs. Why?

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