A 3 Day “Remain Loyal to Jehovah” Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses took place in Ghana over the weekend of August 12 – 14th 2016. One Jehovah’s Witness who attended that convention, was not there to be “spiritually nourished”. No. He was there to document the reaction of his fellow brothers and sisters to the shunning talks given as part of a symposium entitled, “Loyally Uphold Jehovah’s Judgements”. His experience is one that some might find shocking. Yet, it’s an experience that many ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses might find encouraging.
I arrived at the Assembly Hall in Kumasi is the second capital of GhanaKumasi just as the music video presentation started playing. I looked around to find a good spot to sit. I settled on a seat in the second hall. As I took my seat beside a woman of about 60 years of age, I said “Good morning”. She was with a heavily pregnant young woman, who was no more than 20 years old.
Thanks to avoidjw.org, I had already watched all the talks and videos of the convention. And here I was, armed with all the talk outlines. While sitting quietly, I waited to hear what was read from the outlines and observe the reaction of the attendees to the numerous talks on ‘shunning’ and ‘loyalty to an organization’.
Little did I know that I was going to experience ‘shunning’ in a way that I couldn’t have even imagined. Nor did I think that one of Jehovah’s Witnesses would use their God-given free will and decide what is right and appropriate for herself.
From the beginning of the program, each speaker, one after the other, behaved liked pawns on a chess board. They proudly followed the outlines provided by the ‘governing body’. It was agonizing sitting and listening to all that ‘rubbish’. Yet, here I was, having already taken my spiritual ‘disinfectant’ .
The attendees, as usual, were thinking they were receiving directions from ‘God’. They listened carefully and applauded after each talk and each drama in the talks.
After an agonizing 2.75 hours, the Friday morning program was over. Soon the afternoon session started and I tried real hard to not doze off. Finally, it was time for the ‘shunning talks’. The ‘shunning talks’ are the talks numbered 14 to 16 of the Friday program. The symposium was entitled ‘Loyally Uphold Jehovah’s Judgment’.
I was anxious to see how my fellow Ghanaians would respond to the ‘shunning talks’. During the first talk of the symposium, the first shunning video was shown. To my surprise, no one clapped when it ended. This is particularly surprising here in Ghana because in my part of the world, they clap to every video. This is done no matter if it is an interview or demonstration. This was completely out of the ordinary. No one clapped. And even when the talk ended, the attendees were hesitant to applaud.
In the second talk of the symposium, when the speaker mentioned shunning of inactive ones, the two women sitting beside me suddenly felt uncomfortable. The second shunning video was then shown. What followed was probably the most interesting and proudest moment of my life attending conventions. As the announcement of disfellowshipping was made, I turned my head noticed the two women beside me look at each other. When the father ‘drove’ his daughter from the house, the younger pregnant woman held the older woman’s hand tightly. Then she said, loud enough for me to hear, “Will you also drive me out?”
The fear in the voice of that young pregnant woman terrified me also. It impressed upon me the terrible effect watchtower’s shunning policy has on folks. However, the response from the older woman calmed my heart.
She replied, “How can I drive my daughter out? I won’t and cannot drive my own daughter from her house! It’s your house too. I brought you to this earth. I am your mother. You are my daughther and I am not leaving you alone. I love you and will continue to love you no matter what.”
At that moment I got to know the relationship between them. It was a mother and daughter. I also discovered that the pregnant daughter is disfellowshipped. The tone of the mother was very tender and reassuring. The firm grip the mother gave the daughter when saying all that was to tell her, ‘No one and no organization is making me choose between a religion and my daughter.’
These two ‘mighty women’ had just defied the organization in the presence of others.
After this video too, no one clapped. Nor did they clap to the last one either. I don’t know why they did not clap but to me it was a way to show their disapproval for the policy of disfellowshiping and the command to shun ‘inactive ones’. I see it as ‘shunning of the shunning’.
After that long wait, the day was over and my heart was joyful seeing this mother and her pregnant disfellowshipped young daughter hold hands and chat heartily out of the Assembly Hall in total defiance of a direct command to SHUN.
They showed in front of everyone that true unconditional love exists. Their congregation elders may not be happy. The governing body will not be happy but they said, ‘Go to hell’. They did what any sensible human would do:
Their defiance told me that not all witnesses are or will blindly follow just anything, or anyone. These people may not be ‘awake’ to the fact that they are in a high-control cult. But it may be easy for them to wake in the future. So let’s not give up!
LET’S FIGHT ON! And help others wake up and get out of the, distructive cult that is run by ‘Watchtower’.