Disfellowshipped


#1

Hello all,

Could some Witnesses or former witnesses answer a question for me? This is a true story. A girl who was a senior in high school converted from the Witnesses to Catholocism. As part of being disfellowshipped her family threw her out of her home. This was a few years ago, and she is alright, but I always wondered of that is standard or if her family reacted more strongly than the norm. I can see how parents would be upset, crushed even, if a child converted to a different religion... but to throw a daughter out onto the street before she even graduates high school? Thank you in advance for your answers!

Yours,
Jessica


#2

As one who was all disfellowshipped, I can say that her parent’s reaction was right on the money as far as the JW’s go. I’m not the least bit suprised. You have to understand that to her Witness parents, her becoming Catholic is the equilivant of YOURchild announcing that they will now worship Satan. It’s so much more than just converting to another religion. To the Witnesses, the Catholic Church is as bad as it gets… truly in the palm of Satan’s hand.

I’m very sorry for your friend.


#3

Carol Marie is correct.

One of the worst things about being a JW is that if someone leaves the group, the family is encouraged to shun that one. This means to many JWs that they are to treat that one as if they are dead.

I know of many instances where JW parents have kicked out minor children who have rejected the religion.

In my own case, I left the JWs when I was an adult and moved far away from the area where I was well known as a JW.

Ironically, this physical distance has allowed my parents to at least have a pleasant relationship with me without undue pressure from their JW leaders to shun me.

I am sure that if I lived in the same community that they do, the pressure for them to shun me would be much more intense.

You can read my conversion story if you wish at the following website

catholicxjw.com/UniversalFamily.html


#4

Carol Marie is correct.

One of the worst things about being a JW is that if someone leaves the group, the family is encouraged to shun that one. This means to many JWs that they are to treat that one as if they are dead.

I know of many instances where JW parents have kicked out minor children who have rejected the religion.

In my own case, I left the JWs when I was an adult and moved far away from the area where I was well known as a JW.

Ironically, this physical distance has allowed my parents to at least have a pleasant relationship with me without undue pressure from their JW leaders to shun me.

I am sure that if I lived in the same community that they do, the pressure for them to shun me would be much more intense.

You can read my conversion story if you wish at the following website

catholicxjw.com/UniversalFamily.html

Jeff Schwehm

www.catholicxjw.com


#5

Great story! Welcome home, Jeff!

Cathy D


#6

20 years ago, when I “studied” with the jws, shunning of parents and children and anyone who lived under your roof was part of the “bringing them back to the truth” routine. Supposedly, if the shunned one felt the backs of his own family, as well as the congregation, he would rush back to be “in the truth”. If the person was disfellowshipped, forget it. No one outside of the house would speak to that person at all about anything. If the disfellowshipped person was living with relatives, only minimal conversation may take place, i.e. “pass the salt”. Absolutely NO religious discussion of any kind. If the person was living on his own, no one, including relatives, could speak to him about anything, for any reason.

Really makes a person want to rush back, huh? Well, believe it or not, they do because the ostracizing is unbearable for some. They have a website I’ve seen that is to help people trying to adjust their lives after being tossed out of the jws.
Believe you me, those people take their shunning and disfellowshipping VERY seriously. Interestingly, you’ll have a difficult time getting any jw that shows up at your door to discuss it. A lot of them aren’t even aware of all it entails until it hits home.

It is an awful “religion” in many ways.


#7

This is not unlike the Catholic penalty of excommunication, although with us, the excommunicated are encouraged to be loved on, to encourage them to come back to the Church.

[quote=catsrus]20 years ago, when I “studied” with the jws, shunning of parents and children and anyone who lived under your roof was part of the “bringing them back to the truth” routine. Supposedly, if the shunned one felt the backs of his own family, as well as the congregation, he would rush back to be “in the truth”. If the person was disfellowshipped, forget it. No one outside of the house would speak to that person at all about anything. If the disfellowshipped person was living with relatives, only minimal conversation may take place, i.e. “pass the salt”. Absolutely NO religious discussion of any kind. If the person was living on his own, no one, including relatives, could speak to him about anything, for any reason.

Really makes a person want to rush back, huh? Well, believe it or not, they do because the ostracizing is unbearable for some. They have a website I’ve seen that is to help people trying to adjust their lives after being tossed out of the jws.
Believe you me, those people take their shunning and disfellowshipping VERY seriously. Interestingly, you’ll have a difficult time getting any jw that shows up at your door to discuss it. A lot of them aren’t even aware of all it entails until it hits home.

It is an awful “religion” in many ways.
[/quote]


#8

Originally posted by Scott_Lafrance
This is not unlike the Catholic penalty of excommunication, although with us, the excommunicated are encouraged to be loved on, to encourage them to come back to the Church.

You are so correct. Love is the key. Further, my understanding is that by the time ex-communication is pronounced, the person is quite aware what the ultimate penalty is and has had plenty of opportunity to “fix” things.
I understand that The Church does not ex-communicate for petty reasons either, like saying that a certain overseerer is a jerk or verbally disagreeing with a Church (Watchtower) pronouncement - which is idiotic anyway since if one hangs in there long enough, they change their “pronouncements” constantly and, eventually, you may agree after all! :whacky:


#9

[quote=catsrus]You are so correct. Love is the key. Further, my understanding is that by the time ex-communication is pronounced, the person is quite aware what the ultimate penalty is and has had plenty of opportunity to “fix” things.
I understand that The Church does not ex-communicate for petty reasons either, like saying that a certain overseerer is a jerk or verbally disagreeing with a Church (Watchtower) pronouncement - which is idiotic anyway since if one hangs in there long enough, they change their “pronouncements” constantly and, eventually, you may agree after all! :whacky:
[/quote]

Even Martin Luther was given every opportunity to recant of his heresy before he was officially ex-communicated.

It is only the very stubbon people who end up being ex-communicated in the Catholic Church. Even so, there is usually someone who is prepared to keep the dialogue open and help them to reconcile.

What I have read about the disfellowshipping in the JWs is that this can happen for minor reasons, or in the case of those who have experienced abuse because they refused to retract an allegation of abuse against another member of the Watchtower Society. There are plenty of testimonies that are available on this issue.

MaggieOH


#10

What makes the Disfellowshipping and shunning so bad for the JWs is the way in which it is done.

The entire process is secret and the accused has no rights whatsoever.

If there is an accusation of wrongdoing against a person, the elders will form a judicial committee. This judicial committee asks as prosecutor, judge, and executioner.

The accused is not allowed to have any representation in most cases. In addition, the elders who serve on the committee while told they should keep things confidential often do not. (Wives have a way of getting information out of their husbands.)

The whole system is patently unfair and set up in such a way that corruption is really bad.

This means that if an elder or group of elders dislikes you then they can have you disfellowshipped and then once you are disfellowshipped from the organization the shunning begins.

I have a friend of mine who is an ex-JW because he started having doubts about their blood doctrine. He was sharing his doubts with some others on the internet who had similar doubts. His wife who is a very devout JW found the email that my friend sent, printed it out and gave it to the elders.

The elders formed a judicial committee to speak with my friend about his doubts. They really did not listen to his reasons for his doubts the focus was on being loyal to the organization. They told him that he had to give up his internet access to show that he was sorry for what he had done.

Even though he did that, the elders still disfellowshipped him and then his wife left him on the grounds of “spiritual endangerment”. The JW elders evidently encouraged her to leave him. His mother and father and sister do not speak to him to this day.

Once he lost his wife and every friend he ever knew (he was raised a JW) he had to be rushed to the hospital because he had an outbreak of the shingles (which can be brought on by being highly stressed out). His mother came to visit him. Her message was that Jehovah had stricken him with this illness so that he would return to the organization.

After this experience, he started building a new life without the JWs (good for him) and went for two years without seeing his mother. He even ran into his mother at a hardware store during this time but his mother either did not recognize him or refused to speak to him there.

In any case, these stories are real and there are many of them. We really need to pray for these people and help them when we can.

Jeff Schwehm

www.catholicxjw.com


#11

Wow, Jeff, I feel very bad for your friend. He must be suffering terribly. Also, what about families? It seems as though it would be heartwrending for a parent to have to not speak to a child. Even if one is convinced that matters must be that way and sticks to his or her religious convictions, that person must feel intense pain at having to shun family members. All people affected by this process will be in my prayers.

Yours,
Jessica


#12

Doesn’t solve the issue… but… sometimes misuse of lnaguage does contribute to problems…

ffellowship is a NOUN, not a VERB

YOu can be in fellowship or out of fellowship, and you can withdraw fellowship or extend it… but you can’t “fellowship.”


#13

[quote=Servant1]Doesn’t solve the issue… but… sometimes misuse of lnaguage does contribute to problems…

ffellowship is a NOUN, not a VERB

YOu can be in fellowship or out of fellowship, and you can withdraw fellowship or extend it… but you can’t “fellowship.”
[/quote]

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “fellowship” is a verb. . . just an old one. “To unite in fellowship” and “to accompany” are listed as obsolete meanings; “to admit to fellowship or associate with” and “to join in fellowship” are noted as being used only in the religious sense and mostly in the US.

Not that it makes much difference really. is a language geek :wink:

This whole thing is sad. What a harsh, cruel way to deal with people. It hardly seems designed to build up satisfied, healthy communities.


#14

It happens. JW is just another one of your standard garden variety cults. “Don’t leave us, or else!” I grew up reading Jack Chick tracts and I still became a Catholic. Evidently you need to check your brain in at the door at some of these churches. Catholicism didn’t require me to do that. :smiley:


#15

I have a friend Michelle(Only Child in the Family) whose parents were baptist until she was eight years old. They both searched for new faiths separately. They both found their individual and respective churches. (drum roll…) Her father became a baptised member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and her Mother became a Jehova’s Witness. Surprisingly enough, her parents are still married. Granted, she has never heard her mother say a single word to her father since she was eight years old. Her father was his usual old self as she grew up. (Now in college) He would always sneak Christmas Presents to her, and take her trick or treating when her mother wasn’t looking. The patience that man must have…


#16

The patience that man must have…

More likely, the patience the child must have…I feel for Michelle. Growing up in that atmosphere must have been a trial beyond what most people ever have to endure. It either will send her screaming from Faith altogether (sad) or bring her into the fold of God’s people. (pray)


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