When a Loved One Leaves Jehovah – Study 2021/39
“How often they … made him feel hurt.” – Psalms 78:40
[Study 39 from ws 9/21 p.26, November 29 – December 05, 2021]
What is this article really about?
Is it really about loved ones actually leaving Jehovah?
Or is it about leaving the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
This is an important distinction.
Does one actually make Jehovah feel hurt as per Psalms 78:40, because of leaving the Organization? The perception of the brothers and sisters is, yes, he does, because of the wording of articles like this in the publications of the Organization. But is that the case in reality? Do we have any evidence that Jehovah feels that way? No, we do not have any evidence that this is the case. We only have innuendo and scriptures taken out of context.
As an example take the author.
Do I believe Jehovah is Almighty God? Yes.
Do I believe Jesus, his son, is the second most powerful being in the universe? Yes.
Do I still read and study my Bible? Yes.
Do I still believe that Jehovah’s Witnesses are God’s chosen Organization today? No.
Do I still believe that the Governing Body have been appointed as the faithful and discreet slave and will rule over us from heaven? No.
In fact I read my and study my Bible more so than I did when I attended the meetings regularly for many years. In fact, for those interested, what I discovered when I read and studied the Bible personally without referring to any religious literature, (only using Bible Hebrew and Greek Interlinear Translations and Dictionaries) I noted down and is now published on a sister site www.UnderstandTheWord.com.
With this in mind let us examine the first 3 paragraphs of this Watchtower study article.
“HAS one of your loved ones been disfellowshipped from the congregation? That can be heartbreaking!” (para.1).
Now, being disfellowshipped from the congregation implies that someone has done something seriously wrong against Bible principles. Most witnesses would quickly conclude that the person likely committed immorality of some kind. But is that what is really being discussed here? We get a clearer indication in the next sentence.
“ “When my faithful spouse died after 41 years of marriage,” says a sister named Hilda, “I thought it was the worst thing I could ever experience. But when my son left the congregation, his wife, and his children, it was far, far worse for me.”
Firstly, note the complete lack of detail as to exactly what happened and why. There is actually potentially immediately a contradiction. The study article only vaguely implies the son was disfellowshipped. But if he was disfellowshipped then actually he was thrown out of the congregation, forced to leave the congregation. It also presumes that he was guilty of the unknown charge(s) on which he was disfellowshipped. However, equally he may have been unrepentant in the eyes of the judicial committee (and hence disfellowshipped), solely because he had not done what he was accused of. Did he cease to believe in Jehovah God? Or just the Organization and its teachings? The article does not say, and in my view purposely so, because the Organization wants to perpetuate the myth that leaving the Organization equates to leaving Jehovah, when that is not the case.
The author knows of a family where the husband left the congregation, and then separated from his wife and child. However, he was forced to leave his wife and child because his wife did not want to remain married to someone labelled by her friends in the congregation as an apostate, just because he just no longer wished to attend meetings and could not continue to pretend that the Organization was whiter than white when having discover the lies it tells and the child sexual abuse it covers up.
Avoid Blaming Yourself (para 4-8)
“We need to remember that Jehovah has given each of us the gift of free will. This means that we can choose whether we will obey him or not.” (para 5). This is at least an accurate statement. We all have free will and we have to make a personal choice whether to obey God or not. But it is not for others especially a judicial committee to rule on whether we are obeying God or not.
However, in these paragraphs there are many statements that deliberately blur the distinction between leaving the Organization and leaving Jehovah and portray them as one and the same action, which we have already established they are not.
What You can do to stay Spiritually Strong (para 9-14)
What are the tips given here?
- “Maintain a routine of reading God’s word and meditating on it as well as attending Christian meetings.” (Para 9). Why this wording? The sub-text is read God’s word, think about it, you won’t understand it, so go to the meetings and listen to the interpretation of the Governing Body and the Organization.
- Should it not say: Maintain a routine of reading and personally studying God’s word, and sharing what you have found with others whom you meet. But it does not, because they do not want you studying the Bible independently of the Organizations teaches.
- “Pour out your concerns to Jehovah. When you experience distressing feelings, do not stop praying to him.” (Para 10). This is good advice. But sadly the next paragraph is not.
- “Support the decision. Disfellowshipping is part of Jehovah’s arrangement. His loving correction is in the best interests of everyone, including the wrongdoer. (Read Hebrews 12:11.)” (para 11). Hebrews 12:11 does not give evidence that disfellowshipping is part of Jehovah’s arrangement. Nor that the punishment of disfellowshipping is actually loving, nor in the bests interests of everyone.
- Hebrews 12:11 states “True, no discipline seems for the present to be joyous, but it is painful; yet afterward, it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”. The Greek word here translated discipline is defined as “the rearing of a child, training, discipline” to train someone to reach full maturity.
- Therefore how can being disfellowshipped be likened to training, helping someone to reach full maturity? To train someone you need to set the example, and also speak and reason with that child or person. Yet, disfellowshipping means that the disfellowshipped person is no longer spoken to anymore by any member of the Organization or their own family until they are reinstated. The only exception made is that speaking with elders in very limited instances, mainly when they check if that one is repentant of what they were accused. No attempt to assist or train the disfellowshipped one is made, nor indeed, is possible. No encouragement is given on a regular basis to such a disfellowshipped one.
- Why then cite this scripture? It appears its sole purpose is to justify and emphasize the painfulness of this so-called discipline, which is in actuality, punishment. All parents will know by experience that not speaking to a child is the worst way to treat a child. Furthermore, rather than reasoning and training the child to do the right thing, it results in resentment and \ or hate towards the parents and never gets the truly desired results. Any changes are made out of fear and emotional blackmail not by a change of view. So why would a loving God sanction such punishment and such an inferior method of handling wrongdoing?
- “Any negative comments about the way a disciplinary matter was handled by the elders have likely been initiated by someone who did not mention details that would put the wrongdoer in a bad light. We simply do not have all the facts. It is wise, then, to trust that the elders who took judicial action made every effort to follow Scriptural principles and to judge “for Jehovah.”—2 Chronicles 19:6.” (para 11). If the judicial process as dictated by the Organization is followed then no-one except the judicial committee will have all the facts and details. But is this judicial process in secret mandated or even suggested by scripture? Try to find any mention of a judicial committee in scripture. You will not find any mention or hint. How were things done in Israel under the Mosaic Law? Read Deuteronomy 21:18-21 and you will see that wrongdoing was brought in public to the older men of the city at the gate of the city, in full view of everyone passing by. The hearing took place in public, not in secret. Witnesses had to give testimony in public where it could be refuted or corroborated by others. The accused could also defend himself against such accusations. Everyone there could make up their own minds based on the facts, and everyone would know what happened. No secrecy there, no potentially biased 3 man committee to judge in secrecy without witnesses for the defence being allowed.
- “By supporting the elders’ decision to disfellowship your loved one, you may actually help him to return to Jehovah. “Severing family association with our adult son was extremely difficult,” admits Elizabeth, quoted earlier. “But after he returned to Jehovah, he admitted that he deserved to be disfellowshipped. In time, he expressed appreciation for the lessons he learned. I came to value Jehovah’s discipline,” she says. Her husband, Mark, adds: “Much later, our son told me that he wanted to come back in part because we did exactly what we had to do. I’m so glad Jehovah helped us to be obedient.”” (para 12). Note the following phrases in that experience.
- “he admitted he deserved to be disfellowshipped” – How is this different from one admitting ‘he deserved to be imprisoned’? Imprisonment and disfellowshipping are both forms of punishment.
- “much later, our son told me that he wanted to come back in part …” It was only much later that the son was prepared to admit that a major factor in this couple’s adult son returning to the Organization was the emotional blackmail he was under. The son saw that he would have no relationship with his natural parents if he continued to remain outside the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Is that a good or right reason to return? Blackmail is blackmail, and one of the worst types of emotional abuse, and accepted world-wide as a criminal act in non-religious contexts. Surely emotional blackmail is a worser criminal act in a religious context.
- One only has to take a look at the many personal experiences on Youtube of Witnesses who were disfellowshipped who returned to the congregration for the sole purpose of being able to speak to their parents and / or family again.
Open Letter to the Governing Body. 28 November 2021
“Hear, please, this, YOU head ones of the “ Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses “, the ones detesting justice and the ones who make even everything that is straight crooked” (Micah 3:9)
- Disfellowshipping and shunning as practiced by the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is emotional blackmail, a criminal action, unloving, and unchristian.
- The Judicial committee system as practiced is a rigid pharisaical man-made set of rules devised by the Governing Body and its helpers.
- The Judicial committee system has nothing to do with justice, fairness, helping wrongdoers or helping victims.
- The Judicial committee system is unscriptural, especially the secrecy in which it is practiced. It leads to damaging slander and gossip and does little or nothing to protect the members of the congregations, just the Organization’s reputation and wallet.
- The Disfellowshipping is worse than the Excommunication as currently practiced by the Catholic Church.
- Maybe you should read some older articles of the Awake magazine (Consolation)
- Disfellowshipping is Excommunication by another name.
- Disfellowshipping is an Interdict (prohibition) on association with ones family and friends.
- Witnesses disfellowshipped are Damned to die at Armageddon if not reinstated.
- Businesses of and employment of Disfellowshipped ones are Boycotted.
- Disfellowshipped ones are Slandered, either by gossip in the congregation because of the secrecy surrounding the reason or by the Judicial Committee’s judgement that the disfellowshipped one “has left Jehovah” which may not be true.
- Those disfellowshipped for no longer believing the Governing Body are God’s channel of communication on earth today, face an Inquisition from the judicial committee and Torture from the loss of their loved ones and friends.
- Disfellowshipped ones employed by Witnesses usually Lose their Jobs, Those self-employed face Loss of income as Witnesses will no longer employ them.
- Apply to yourselves and take notice of what you published in the January 8th 1947 Awake where you stated about the Catholic church that :
- “The Hierarchy seeks to enforce on the pretext that it is God’s Law. The authority for excommunication, they claim, is based on the teachings of Christ and the apostles as found in the following scriptures Matthew 18:15-19; 1 Corinthians 5:3-5; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Galatians 1:8-9; 1 Timothy 1;20; Titus 3:10. But the Hierarchy’s excommunication, as a punishment and “medicinal” remedy (Catholic Encyclopedia), finds no support in these scriptures. In fact, it is altogether foreign to Bible teachings.- Hebrews 10:26-31.”
- Reverse the introduction of the Judicial Committee system as instigated by President Nathan Knorr in 1952.