On Thursday November 2, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada heard a case involving a disfellowshipped Jehovah’s Witness who challenged the fairness of the procedures. In his opening statement, Jehovah’s Witness elder and lawyer, David Gnam (a managing partner of W. Glen How & Associates LLP), claimed that “normal family relations continue with the exception of spiritual fellowship…”

David Gnam in Court

Segment from the Supreme Court of Canada on November 2, 2017 with David Gnam giving a false statement.
Note: Full hearing is available to stream or download at the end of this blog post.

David Gnam Before the Supreme Court of Canada on Nov 2, 2017.


… As the meeting progressed with Mr. Wall, the elders came to the decision that Mr. Wall was not sufficiently repentant for his disgraceful conduct and the congregation elders took the decision to disfellowship him. That word is used by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t use the word ‘shun’ or ‘shunning’. They refer to it as disfellowship, disfellowshipping, disfellowshipped because that really gives the sense of what’s taking place within this particular religious community. Disfellowship literally means “no further spiritual fellowship with the individual”. […] As I point out at paragraph 22 of my factum, the nature of the relationship, then, of a disfellowshipped person is not completely shunned. The disfellowshipped person is able to come into the congregation meetings, they’re able to attend in the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they’re able to sit wherever they like, they can sing the spiritual songs with the congregation. As far as their family members are concerned, normal family relations continue with the exception of spiritual fellowship. And, the door is not closed to Mr Wall either. The person who is disfellowshipped can, after a period of time, ask to be re-instated in the congregation, because that is the purpose of the discipline.

Text bolded for emphasis

Is David Gnam a Liar?

It may be true that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not use the word ‘shun’ or ‘shunning’ but this is disingenuous. Jehovah’s Witnesses may use the words “disfellowship, disfellowshipping, disfellowshipped” instead of shun but according to dictionary.com, it defines ‘disfellowship’ as a person who is “officially shunned by other members”.

Furthermore, for David Gnam to say “a disfellowshipped person is not completely shunned” because they can attend meetings, sit where they like, and sing songs does not mean they are not completely shunned. A disfellowshipped person can also enjoy the same ball games, go into the same food stores, attend the same doctor’s surgery as any other Jehovah’s Witness. In all cases, whether it is a Jehovah’s Witness sponsored event or not, the disfellowshipped person will be shunned by all other Jehovah’s Witnesses

David Gnam tells the Supreme Court of Canada that “normal family relations continue”. This is not true. The ‘authorized website of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ jw.org has this to say when referring to the bible story of Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu being killed by God:

Our loyalty to Jehovah can be greatly tested when a loved one is disfellowshipped. Jehovah’s instruction to Aaron provides a clear message to those who must cut off association with a disfellowshipped relative. Our love for Jehovah must be stronger than our love for unfaithful family members.

Love For Jehovah Stronger Than Love for Family

What does ‘cut off association’ mean? The Jehovah’s Witness publication Insight on the Scriptures, gives the answer. That publication refers to it as punishment of ‘death’, ‘expulsion’, and even uses the word ‘shunned’.

David Gnam is an elder within the Jehovah’s Witnesses. As such, he is very aware of church doctrine. He knows that when one is disfellowshipped, normal family relations do not continue. Jehovah’s Witness family members must ‘cut off association with a disfellowshipped relative’. That means that disfellowshipped ones are treated like they are dead, ghosts walking among them: parents completely cut off their children, children completely cut off their parents, grandparents cut off their grandchildren, grandchildren cut off their grandparents, and so on.

Further Proof of Shunning

There are a number of videos that the Jehovah’s Witness leaders use to encourage families to completely cut off their disfellowshipped family members. Do you think they show up David Gnam to be a liar? We’ll let you decide.

Dramatization of parents shunning their disfellowshipped son

The above video depicts the shunned son as wanting to leave the family home, or wants to be troublesome. This is rarely the case. Note how the mother ignores the text message from her son. That is how shunning works. This dramatization also reveals that the couple have been shunning their son for over 5 years.

Dramatization of a Jehovah’s Witness couple shunning their daughter and grandchildren.

In the above dramatization, the Jehovah’s Witnesses present shunning from the perspective of a formerly disfellowshipped member. The video depicts disfellowshipped persons as being selfish and bad persons, which is rarely the case. Her parents are presented as victims of her actions. The video reveals that the daughter had been shunned for over 15 years. No mention is made of what happened with the father of her children. Non-Jehovah’s Witnesses are depicted as faceless, without emotions or feelings.

Did David Gnam lie to the Supreme Court of Canada?

If he did, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favor of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ shunning policy based on a lie. And following in the footsteps of Scientology, the Jehovah’s Witnesses ‘rejoice’ over this win on the jw.org website.

Further Information:


Full Webcast of the Hearing on November 2, 2017 (3 hours)

10 Responses

  1. All I know is,if you expose wrong doing Elders,and they are in the elite group,they do not get disciplined but the tellers and exposers do….I was a Elder,PO,Pioneer,and have experienced it myself. Even at the death of my mother (witness since 1958) no family member could even walk over and say ‘sorry for your loss”….and anyone who calls you or stops by your home..is ‘warned’.Pitful

  2. This is the video that started our journey of researching outside of WT to find out just what lies we had been brainwashed with for 42 years.

    During our research we found that the “company” that David Gnam ‘works’ for, W. Glen How & Associates, just happens to have the same physical address as the Canadian Bethel. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but finding that WT had a law firm running out of Bethel, of which David Gnam is the ‘managing partner’, and that Shane Brady is a ‘partner’ in this ‘company’ just added fuel to the fire that was now raging in us and moving us to remove ourselves from WT.

    The rest is history. Brainwashed no more, and using critical thinking in every aspect of our lives now, we disassociated on 1 April 2020, and have never felt so free and happy.

  3. BUT they do you use word shun!!!! Caps below are mine:

    “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.”

    Second paragraph in this article.

  4. So, does this mean David Gnam is ASHAMED of the JW shunning rule, since he denies the term in court? When I was a JW (20 years ago) I felt deep shame for being forced to shun my own beloved mother, after getting a threatening letter from an elder from her congregation.

    Do an Internet search for “JWs + shunning” – and see how many videos populate the screen. Or search JWborg literature and see how many times the word “shun”, “shunning”, or “shunned” come up.
    Terrible, deceptive, evil cult.

  5. Well, what can anybody say about such statements (lies) to a court?

    Those in the ‘know’ understand that all JWs and their lawyers included believe that lying under oath is perfectly legitimate because in their minds they are using ‘theocratic warfare’ which in their understanding legitimizes lying to the ‘higher authorities’. This has been a tried and tested method for many decades among the organization and a Governing Body tactic.

    1. Yep, this.

      Unfortunately JW doctrine explains this as “theocratic warfare”. Basically lie about their stance on something in order to get a favorable ruling so they can continue unhindered as a religion. I think Scientology has a similar trick. The tactic is getting more exposed lately, especially in this area of court and government sanctioned committee testimonies. So let’s keep on exposing this and maybe court officials can start to recognize it.

  6. Jehovah’s Witnesses have invented their own definitions of words so as to deceive people. The above is a typical example.

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