Are Former Jehovah’s Witnesses Shunned?

To shun someone, according to The Free Dictionary is to avoid social contact with, or to stay away from, a person. According to Wikipedia, shunning often involves implicit or explicit shame for a member who commits acts seen as wrong by the group or its leadership.

What JW.org says…
…about Shunning Members

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. In fact, we reach out to them and try to rekindle their spiritual interest.

We do not automatically disfellowship someone who commits a serious sin. If, however, a baptized Witness makes a practice of breaking the Bible’s moral code and does not repent, he or she will be shunned or disfellowshipped. The Bible clearly states: “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”—1 Corinthians 5:13.

What of a man who is disfellowshipped but whose wife and children are still Jehovah’s Witnesses? The religious ties he had with his family change, but blood ties remain. The marriage relationship and normal family affections and dealings continue.

Disfellowshipped individuals may attend our religious services. If they wish, they may also receive spiritual counsel from congregation elders. The goal is to help each individual once more to qualify to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Disfellowshipped people who reject improper conduct and demonstrate a sincere desire to live by the Bible’s standards are always welcome to become members of the congregation again.

WT Jan 1 15, p.16
Shunning their daughter

What AvoidJW.org says…
…about Shunning Members

Although JW.org says that Jehovah’s Witnesses who no longer preach or drift away from association are not shunned, in practise this is not true. Jehovah’s Witnesses will consider such a member as “bad association” and so will avoid social contact with them. This is shunning. The only ones who will “reach out to them and try to rekindle their spiritual interest” are the elders.

Jehovah’s Witnesses regularly disfellowship and shun many who commit a serious sin even if they DO NOT make a practice of breaking the Bible’s moral and even if they DO repent. Why? Because the determination of repentance is open to interpretation. Shepherd the Flock of God (2010) page 91/2 states: ‘the degree of regret (repentance) ought to be commensurate “With the degree of deviation”‘ and ‘an individual may have gone so far into sin that he may not be able to demonstrate sufficient repentance.‘ Both statements are NOT SUPPORTED by scripture.

Even though JW.org says that normal family relationships continue when a father is disfellowshipped, in practise this is rarely the case. In many situations, their children will shun them. This is especially true if they are baptized Jehovah’s Witnesses and have moved away from home. Also, the Watchtower fails to mention how family relationships are greatly affected when other family members are disfellowshipped. For example, parents will shun children who are disfellowshipped and no longer live at home; the same is true about siblings – where one is disfellowshipped, the other sibling or siblings will shun him or her.

Although disfellowshipped individuals may attend Jehovah’s Witness services, they continue to be shunned. The member who is disfellowshipped is completely ignored by all at the Kingdom hall; it is as though they are non-existent.

Shepherd the Flock of God (2010)

Images of Pages 91 & 92

Page 91 of Shepherd the Flock of God
Page 91
Page 92 of Shepherd the Flock of God
Page 92

 

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