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Do Jehovahs Witnesses shun Child Victims of Sexual Abuse


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Nicola:

The EASIEST way to "quit", is quit coming here.. just stop .. anyone that quits will be like the hole left in a bucket of water when you pull your hand out..

This is an open forum clearly labeled as being an "Arena of Ideas" ... and sometimes the sand runs red with the blood and gore of bad ideas, and even the winners of the thought experiments get seriously bloodied.... this is the way it SHOULD be among adults.

Political correctness is what in a previous generation used to be called craven cowardice.

My Dad, whose "real religion" was the United States Navy, once told me in lamentation that in the "old days", ships were made of wood, and the men were made of steel ... but today, the ships are made of steel, and the men are made of wood.

Iron sharpens iron, but you WILL get "bloodied" and sometimes have skin torn off ... but if you want a knife edge intellect, and comprehensive discernment, and STRENGTH ... that is the price that the Universe demands. 

There is NO OTHER WAY.

Iron sharpens iron ... soft soap sharpens NOTHING ... and those who ALLOW their feelings to be hurt by words universally become "Snowflakes", who are melted at the slightest friction.

Like the Eagles sang about standing on a corner, in Winslow, Arizona ( .. what a fine sight to see ... ) ... don't let the sounds of your own wheels .. drive you CRAZY.

.

 

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Risking accusations of semantic quibbling, I have to say that disassociation is just not the same as non-association (or formerly associated). The term disassociate, or more commonly, dissociate, when applied to one's former affiliation to a group, seems to imply a formal separating or severing of a relationship formerly held, rather like a divorce. This might include publicly severing one's former connection with that group, perhaps going as far as formally renouncing aims and objectives o

On the 10th of this month, the Australia Royal Commission held Case 54 which was a review of the responses of Jehovah’s Witnesses to the Commission’s findings.  The representatives from the Australia branch swore on the Bible “to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.  Did they comply with this solemn oath before God?  You be the judge after watching this video:  

How about applying the Law of Reason and the Law of Love ..........? " you have been badly hurt in body and mind .. you are angry and confused ....you no longer feel comfortable in being around people who did not defend you in your most desperate time of need and you loathe walking into the Hall ..with its vivid reminders of your abuse ...so you want to be out....that's ok ....we understand..   but we still love you and we are here for you......." Contrasted by: " you have chosen to di

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11 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Personally, I welcome the opportunity to share in a forum like this because, among other things, it trains thinking ability, enables me to test the soundness of a view, and to adjust when an error, weakness, or ambiguity is exposed. Surely that is one of the lessons contained in Proverbs 12:17: "The first to state his case seems right, until the other party comes and cross-examines him".

I for one share your view, but there are some who don't, and then what could have been a worthwhile discussion, whereby those who participate offer their opinion without judging the other persons opinion and mutually come to some beneficial conclusion, turns into a one sided lecture and/or ad hominem attack which basically grinds everything to a halt. If everyone did that there would be no point of a discussion forum.

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13 hours ago, Nicola said:

Anna I am writing stuff in defense of the society,  I did not say that we shouldn't be discussing this although I do think it was unfortunate someone started the discussion, I am merely defending the governing body! 

Please re- read what I said about the Governing Body, I never said they NEED  to wear "big boys pants" (I blame @TrueTomHarley, his style of writing rubs off on me sometimes :D all I could think of was a metaphor) I said they already DO, therefor they don't need someone like you, (or anyone for that matter) to defend anything, since you yourself do not have the complete facts either. They are competent and capable of caring for things such as these and have been since Russell's time. When you came on here you asked someone to briefly explain what the Royal commission was about. I sent you a link, to which you replied that you would rather read the Bible than read through all that stuff. So I read through all that stuff for you, sacrificing my time reading the Bible, so that you wouldn't have to. It is true, maybe I should not have underlined those parts, I should have left you to form your own conclusions instead of letting you know what I thought were important points. Otherwise I am not aware of anything that I said which should make you feel you had to defend the society. Perhaps you too misunderstood what I said. One of the beneficial things I learned on here is to really try and READ carefully what other people have written, and try and get the sense of it. It seems we both missed the sense of what the other one was trying to say.

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Hi Nicola, you've made too many assumptions and hence drawn some conclusions based or some poor assumptions. It may be an age related issue, but I have no intention of discussing anything further with you, as it would just end up in an argument. Thank you for your attempt, good day to you...

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On 5/7/2017 at 2:41 AM, Nicola said:

Anna I am writing stuff in defense of the society,...I have the right to stand up for the society against murmuring!  

 It is of interest that the very arguments that the anti-cultist apostates from the Russian Ministry of Injustice say about "disfellowshipping"  and "some" here on this forum about those having "total control"  are EXACTLY the same arguments Korah brought up in Numbers Cp. 16. Like those taking the lead in Jehovah's Organization are "tyrannical". Korah said  "Now do you also want to make yourself an absolute ruler over us? as well as "Why, then, should you exalt yourselves above the congregation of Jehovah?  Num 16. Those were the words the REBELS said not the loyal ones!  Jehovah says showing such disrespect to his imperfect human reps such as Moses and Aaron was showing disrespect to Him. And we know what happened.

  Moses and Aaron stood up against disloyal ones as well so don't feel bad about it or even feel the need to argue with them. Jesus said it bluntly when he said :" “Do not give what is holy to dogs nor throw your pearls before swine,  so that they may never trample them under their feet and turn around and rip you open". Matt. 7:6.

  A forum is like a high school cafeteria where different tables discuss different things and sometimes it is necessary to change tables to the nerdy ones before a food fight entails.

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Anna I received a personal message from someone who told me that he agreed with what I was saying here, that brothers and sisters were not supposed to be congregating on the internet being openly critical of the society and the way they handle things, this site can be observed by anyone!  And people claiming to be JWs are saying they don't believe in disfellowshipping!  The person agreed that this is an unhealthy environment, said they mostly stayed away, just checked in occasionally and directed me to a better site!  I am not bossy, but when I see some things that are clearly in conflict with what I learn at the Kingdom Hall, then I have a right to point it out, in fact it is good to have enough courage to say something!  I am only spending time online because I had foot surgery and recovering, thought if there were some answers I could give unbelievers about the truth, I would!  But I know for a fact that we are not encouraged to go online and critique our organization and fraternize with apostates!  A JW actually scolded me for pointing out that the supposed brothers shouldn't be saying we are wrong for disfellowshipping, and said that was "judgmental" of me, but the mature brother messaged me to say he agreed!  The choice is yours if you want to hang out online to dissect the organization, or if you want to attend meetings, go door to door, do personal study?  You know what you should be doing

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Anna, I asked if someone could sum it up for me, then you sent a link which was very long, but then you said you would sum it up the next day!  But then I did read some of it and made that clear and commented on it already, so you didn't really need to reply!  The only reason I had any curiosity is because I would like to be able to answer people if they bring that subject up to me, I don't want to try critique our brothers!  I also thought that was very rude that you called me bossy!  Fortunately, I was defended by some people on here, with personal messages

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18 hours ago, Nicola said:

Anna I received a personal message from someone who told me that he agreed with what I was saying here

Well good for you! :) I am happy for you, you obviously feel you need a support group. On the other hand, I know my intentions, Jehovah knows my intentions, and that is all that ultimately really matters to me.  I am happily married, with a lovely family, in a lovely congregation, with great friends and wonderful elders so I really don’t give two hoots about what anyone on here thinks of me. It’s not important. However, I do regret when one cannot have a decent discussion because of self-righteous attitudes like yours. You muscled your way in here like a vigilante, with your sleeves rolled up ready to set everyone straight with your opinions as if we didn’t know half as much as you did. I really didn’t think this was the purpose of this forum, but the @The Librarian might prove me wrong

18 hours ago, Nicola said:

Anna, I asked if someone could sum it up for me, then you sent a link which was very long, but then you said you would sum it up the next day! 

Actually this was the other way around, you never asked for a summary initially, this is what you said: " I am a Jehovah's Witnesses and what exactly is the Australian Commission saying that the JWs did wrong in handling of sexual abuse cases?  I only want answers from other JWs, not from haters of us!" Then, I sent the relevant link, (to the Australian Commission) to which you replied: "Anna I am not going to read that whole thing, I would rather spend my time reading the Bible!  Can anyone sum it up?" That is when I said I would sum it up for you the next day

18 hours ago, Nicola said:

But then I did read some of it and made that clear and commented on it already, so you didn't really need to reply! 

You are right, I didn't need to reply, (and now wish I hadn't) but I wanted to honor my word. Plus, I was aware that you wanted to be informed so that if someone confronted you with this problem you would be able to give an informed reply. You see, I had listened to the whole hearing when it was streamed live a couple of years ago, and I had read all the transcripts from the summary of the Royal Commission, the statement of GB member Geoffrey Jackson, submissions on behalf of the WT etc. etc. so I figured I was the right person, however, I should have just directed you to your congregation elders as they also know about these things, and they would have been in a better position to talk to you face to face and answer your concerns. I realized this after you started going on and on and I had already been there where you are now a few years ago, and had discussed this ad nauseam on this and another forum, and I was tired......and am tired, especially when I read judgemental rhetoric by self- important people who seem to think that without them, no one would know their ABC's.

Oh and......

18 hours ago, Nicola said:

in fact it is good to have enough courage to say something!

pat yourself on the back dear, it takes much courage for some to set people straight on a discussion forum :)

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Anna:

You will have to give Nicola some slack ... although 50 years old, she is still very young, and has not learned how hard it is, or why you HAVE to do homework, or that the Bible does not have a theme, thread, chapter or verse on motorcycle maintenance.

.I would pat myself on the back for that inspired philosophical gem, but I would need both elbows on the same arm, and with the other arm, point it out.

 

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5 minutes ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Anna:

You will have to give Nicola some slack ... although 50 years old, she is still very young, and has not learned how hard it is, or why you HAVE to do homework, or that the Bible does not have a theme, thread, chapter or verse on motorcycle maintenance.

.

 

Hey! How old do you think I am, 90? xD

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      “She would often come over and borrow tools – a saw, a pickaxe – whatever,” said Tristani. “She was always doing something.”
      The Tristanis said in one of their first meetings with Lauren Stuart a few years ago she attempted to “recruit” them into the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      “I said we were Catholics and weren’t interested,” he said. “She accepted the answer and it was the end of that.”
      Lauren Stuart worked at an area gym, he said, and her husband was involved in some form of medical business in the Ann Arbor area.
      Darlene and Dennis Buck, who live a block away on Cass Lake Road, said they were enroute home from a trip to northern Michigan when they learned of the murder-suicide.
      “We have lived here since ’74 and nothing like this has ever happened in our neighborhood — not even close,” said Darlene Buck.
      Jackie Tristani said she found it all “scary” – not just the deaths but that something might have been going on in a neighbor’s home without her knowledge. She had tried to get Bethany a job at her workplace and her son knew both Bethany and Steven. There was never any mention or indication of trouble inside the home, she said.
      “I would hope that if there was a problem inside there someone would have reached out, we would have tried to help,” she said, her voice quaking. “Maybe we could have done something.
      “But you never really know everything there is about your neighbors, do you?”

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    • By Γιαννης Διαμαντιδης
      Hi I would like to disassociate my self from Jehovah witnesses but I would like also my brothers and sisters to know the reason why. Is it scriptural to hide this information from the congregation? I am certain that some sisters who dislike me will find opportunity to gossip with lies behind my back and my ex brothers will see me like a monster when in reality I make one step closer to my creator by establishing a new and direct connection to him like he wants ... without human mediators.
    • By Witness
      “JehovahÂ’s Witness kids grow up knowing that if they ever mess up, their parents will leave them — and thatÂ’s scary,” Sawyer, now 38, said in a recent interview from her home in Pascagoula, Miss. “The shunning is supposed to make us miss them so much that weÂ’ll come back. Â… It didnÂ’t work.”
      Sawyer and many others like her are now denouncing the church's shunning practices in the wake of a recent murder-suicide in Keego Harbor that killed a family of four ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses who were ostracized after leaving the faith. The deaths sparked outrage among scores of ex-JWs nationwide who took to Facebook, online forums, blogs and YouTube, arguing the tragedy highlights a pervasive yet rarely-publicized problem within the church: Shunning is pushing the most vulnerable people over the edge, they say, and tearing families apart.
      In the Michigan case, a distraught mother shot and killed her husband, her two grown children and herself in their Keego Harbor home, shocking the small and quiet Oakland County community.
      The shooter was Lauren Stuart, a part-time model and personal trainer who struggled with depression and spent much of her time working on her house, her friends say. She and her husband, Daniel Stuart, 47, left the JW faith more than a decade ago over doctrinal and social issues. Among them was their desire to send their kids to college, which many ex-JWs say is frowned upon by the church and viewed as spiritually dangerous.
      “University and college campuses are notorious for bad behavior — drug and alcohol abuse, immorality, cheating, hazing, and the list goes on,” a 2005 article in the Watchtower, the church's official publication, stated.
      But the Stuarts sent both their kids to college: Steven, 27, excelled in computers, just like his father, who was a data solutions architect for the University of Michigan Medical School. Bethany, 24, thrived in art and graphic design.  After the parents left the faith, the Stuarts were ostracized by the Kingdom Hall — the churches where Jehovah's Witnesses worship — community in Union Lake and their families, friends said.
      Lauren Stuart, whose mother died of cancer when she was 12, struggled with mental illness that went untreated; isolation and fears that the end was near, said friends and officials familiar with the case. One friend who requested anonymity said she believes the killing was the result of depression, not religion.
      "This is a tragedy that has to do with a disease. Depression is so prevalent, and when it goes untreated this is what happens," the friend said. "She needed medical help."
      Longtime family friend Joyce Taylor believes depression, shunning and religion-based doomsday fears all played a role. She said that about six weeks before the killings, Lauren started getting religiously preoccupied and telling her "'It's the end times, I know it is.'"

      Weeks later, Taylor saw her friend again. Lauren had a vacant look in her eyes. She was emotionally distressed.
      A week later, with her home decorated for Valentine's Day, Lauren Stuart killed her family. She left behind a suicide note.
      "She said in the suicide note that she felt that by killing them it was the only way to save them," recalled Taylor, who said police let her read the letter. "She said she's sorry that she has to do this, but it was the only way to save them all." 
      Taylor, a former Jehovah's Witness herself who left the faith in 1986, explained: "Jehovah's Witnesses believe that if you die on this side of Armageddon, you'll be resurrected in paradise."
      In Lauren Stuart's case, Taylor believes her friend never deprogrammed after leaving the church — a state she describes as  "physically out, but mentally in." She believes that Lauren's indoctrinated doomsday fears never left her, and that the shunning helped push her over the edge.
      Had she not been excommunicated by her tight-knit community that was once her entire support system — left with no one to share her fears with — Lauren Stuart may not have done what she did, Taylor believes.
      "People do things when they are desperate," Taylor said. "And that was an extreme, desperate act."
      Shunning "can lead to great trauma among people because the Jehovah's Witnesses are a very tight-knit community," said Mathew Schmalz, a religious studies associate professor at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
      "If you're separated out, you're really left to your own devices in ways that are very challenging and very painful," Schmalz said. "Once you leave a group that's been your whole life — letting that go is a kind of death."
      Police have not yet disclosed details about the death of the Stuart family besides calling it a murder-suicide.
      The tragedy has emboldened many once-quiet ex-JWs to speak up. Many say they suffered quietly on their own for years until they discovered an online community full of isolated, ostracized people like themselves — people who had lost someone to suicide or attempted suicide themselves because their families, friends and church community had written them off for making mistakes, for being human. 
      The church calls it being "disfellowshipped." Members can return if they repent, change the behavior and prove themselves worthy of being reinstated. But unless or until that happens, members are encouraged to avoid the sinners, especially those who leave the faith.
      Mothers go years, even decades, without talking to their children. Siblings write off siblings. Friends shun friends.
      An estimated 70,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses are disfellowshipped every year — roughly 1% of the church’s total population, according to data published by the Watchtower. Their names are published at local Kingdom Halls. Of those, two-thirds never return.
      Within a faith representing 8.4 million people worldwide, however, many members believe the religion is pure, good and loving. Those who are speaking against it, current members argue, are disgruntled and angry people who have an ax to grind because they were disfellowshipped. Or, they are lost souls who have misinterpreted the meaning and love behind the faith. Members say they believe the shunning accusations are exaggerated and that the suicides are often more about mental illness than ostracism.
      The departed disagree.  
      In the world of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, they maintain, the shunned are considered dead to their families, just like the suicide victims. 
      These are their stories:
      ‘A dangerous cult’
      It was a difficult conversation to wrap her 8-year-old brain around.
      “‘You know your sister was being bad, right?’“ Sawyer recalled her mother telling her after her sister's suicide.
      “ ‘And what she did was stupid, right?’ … To take your own life is very wrong,' " the mother continued.
      “I didn’t understand what was going on … and I said, ‘Oh. OK,,’ “ recalled Sawyer. “In my 8-year-old brain I was thinking, ‘When I mess up, my mom’s going to hate me.’ "
      And so began her painful journey with the Jehovah’s Witness faith, the religion she was born into and grew up in in Pascagoula, Miss., where her fears of abandonment took hold at the age of 8. 
      Sawyer believes the shunning drove her sister to suicide. After the church disfellowshipped her for getting engaged to a non-JW, the fiancé left her sister, who was thrown into depression. Her sister tried turning to her mother for consolation, but her mom would read scripture and tell her, "until you start acting right, you’re going to have these bad things happen to you.“
      Bad things happened to Sawyer, too. At 30, she sought a divorce from her husband because he was abusive and cheating on her, she said. But the church elders and family pressured her to save her marriage.
      “I showed them the holes in my walls,” Sawyer said, referring to the damage her ex-husband did to the home during fights. “They told me to pray more … and sent me back home to him.”
      Sawyer took up smoking to handle the stress, which got her disfellowshipped because smoking is not allowed. She also went through with the divorce. She ended up losing her home to foreclosure and turned to her mother for help as she had two children to raise.

        Her mother took her in temporarily, but when the church elders found out, they threatened to disfellowship Sawyer’s mother — who let the grandkids stay, but not the daughter. 
      Sawyer ended up homeless for six months, living out of her car in a community college parking lot. She landed on her feet with the help of a student loan. She got an apartment, a job as a hospice nurse and her children — now 10 and 18 — back. She found herself, but lost her family along the way.
      Her mother doesnÂ’t speak to her; she said she canÂ’t recall the last time they spoke.
      Her sister in Alabama hasnÂ’t spoken to her since Sawyer got divorced in 2010.
      “She was on my porch, with my parents … My sister looked at me and said, ‘You’re abandoning me just like Donna did’ And left. And that's the last thing she ever said to me."
      Sawyer has kept silent about her pain for decades.
      “This is a dangerous cult,” she said of her former religion. “It’s important for people to realize —  this is serious.” 
      Read the rest of the story here:

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    • By Srecko Sostar
      Quotations from JWorg. It can be on other issue also, but this is also interesting: my comments are in red color.
      "While the Bible disapproves of homosexual acts, it does not condone hatred of homosexuals or homophobia. Instead, Christians are directed to “respect everyone.”—Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Good News Translation.
      Question: How JW show respect to everyone if are not willing to say even hello on street to person who is: everyday sinner, in process of cleaning from sin, in the state of repentance and not doing sin, in a process of fighting against own bad desires with more or less success?  
      Can a person be born homosexual?
      The Bible doesn’t comment directly on the biology of homosexual desires, though it acknowledges that we are all born with a tendency to go against what God commands. (
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) Rather than focus on the cause of homosexual desires, however, the Bible prohibits homosexual acts. the Bible speaks of “those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts,” and then it adds: “That is what some of you were.”—
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . In saying “that is what some of you were,” does the Bible mean that those who stopped engaging in homosexual acts never again experienced any homosexual desires? That could hardly be the case, because the Bible also exhorts: “Keep walking by spirit and you will carry out no fleshly desire.”—Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
      As to my knowledge from JWorg publications, person who is homosexual is allowed to be baptized and to become member of JW cong as long as he/she not practicing such behavior. In other words, Bro John Doe is a gay, but because he is passive gay or pedophile or ...  (he can have desire, and he have desire) because he have good self control and not practicing sinful desire, he can be invite for lunch in some family with ...minor kids.!?   
      Note that the Bible does not say that a Christian will never experience an improper desire. Rather, it says that he or she will choose not to carry out that desire. Christians learn to bring such desires under control, not dwelling on them to the point of acting on them.—Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      The Bible thus makes a distinction between inclinations and practices. (
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) A person who has homosexual leanings can control what he allows his mind to dwell on, just as he would control any other wrong desire, including leanings toward anger, adultery, and greed.—Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . While Jehovah’s Witnesses uphold the moral code set forth in the Bible, they do not force their views on others. Nor do they try to reverse laws that protect the human rights of those whose lifestyle differs from theirs. The message that Jehovah’s Witnesses bear is a positive one, and they eagerly share it with all who will listen.—Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
      But Jesus said, someone who have sinful thoughts, desires he already made a sin. No matter did he engaging in act or not. So, this is somehow in opposition to explanation we read before in text by JWorg. So, did someone who have just desire and never done nothing to realized it (he is made sin in mind and heart, and by Jesus words, he is wrongdoer) braking the unwritten law said by Jesus.                 Mat 5:27,28  "You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. " 
      Does JW members take a stand about this (statement from Jesus) according to Bible or they need to reconsider rules about this matter? 
    • Guest Kurt
      By Guest Kurt
      Is Shunning a Violation of Human Rights?
      There is a quote routinely parroted by apostates accusing our organization of "violating" human rights when former members are shunned. Here is the quote they use from Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
      "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." - Emphasis Ours.
      Basically, they claim that somehow shunning violates their freedom of conscience, thought, and religion. Let us briefly examine why shunning in the way Jehovah's Witnesses practice it does not violate human rights, or Article 18.
      Understanding Article 18
      To understand if shunning is a violation of Article 18, ask yourself these questions if your association with Jehovah's Witnesses has ended:
      "How is shunning preventing me from exercising my freedom of thought and conscience?" 
      "How is shunning preventing me from joining another religion?" 
      "How is shunning preventing me from expressing or manifesting my beliefs, religious or otherwise, in public or in private"? 
      Answering these questions honestly should lead you to the proper conclusion.
      Diversionary Propaganda
      The only time shunning runs afoul of human rights is when a group uses it to have an effect outside of its own membership. For example, if a group uses it to inflict financial harm or harassment through isolation, calling their employer, blacklisting them with businesses, spreading false rumors, threatening lawsuits or calling the police on them with anonymous phone calls, then it can conflict with human rights. However, former Witnesses have the same freedoms and powers as non-members of civil society. They can join another religion, freely express their opposing views with the public at large, and retain or acquire employment. In fact, once they leave, we have no interest in or concern with them whatsoever. (Heb 6:4-6)
      Another factor to consider is that if a person makes it officially known verbally or in writing that he or she no longer wants to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses, they are shunning us, rather than us shunning them. We are obligated to honor this official declaration. Since we did not initiate such action, we cannot be accused of violating their human rights. 
      But opposers never present that side. Instead, they focus on the possible effects of shunning in an attempt to distract you from the facts and manipulate how others perceive us. They use emotive, non-neutral language such as: "it breaks up families", "separates children from parents", and "causes emotional torture". While that may happen on the rare, extreme end, those are unintended consequences. How does shunning one member break up an entire family? It does not unless that member is permitted to poison other members against each other. 
      Thus if they stick to shunning, it actually prevents family break-ups, as only an apostate's divisiveness and disregard of the shunning arrangement can cause friction in a family. How does it separate children from parents? Former members try to make it look like we kick under-aged children out of our homes, but that is a lie. Since the 1950's, we have made it clear that parents must take care of their children until they are adults by the law of the land, regardless of shunning. (De 6:6, 7; Pr 19:18; 22:6 ;Eph 6:4) Thus only adults are shunned by their parents. Inversely, children of disfellowshipped parents are expected to remain in subjection to their parents until they come of legal age to leave, so long as they are not asked to violate God's word or endanger their lives or their salvation. (Acts 5;29; Col 3:20)
      How does it cause emotional torture? It does not. "Torture" implies intent. The only intent to torture emotionally is by the shunned individual when they keep trying to contact their families, knowing the pain they are causing, not only to their families. but to themselves. If they left their families alone, there would be no torture.
      Our beliefs and practices Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. before they join. And just because one finds an experience traumatic, that is not necessarily a violation of human rights. For example, to some people, being kicked off a sports team is traumatic, but that does not mean their human rights have been violated. The team's coach has a right to choose who gets to be part of the team.
      If you breach company policy and are fired from your job as a result, and you are no longer allowed onto the property, is that a violation of your human rights? Are you somehow being tortured? Just because it is painful does not make it torture.
      A person can file a restraining order against a family member, does that mean the person is torturing the family member? Of course not. Just think about why the person needed to file the restraining order in the first place. It is because the family member was either physically dangerous or was harrassing them. We shun in order to keep ones from posing a spiritual danger and because those who leave often try to harass those who stay. It takes only a single internet search to verify this in the thousands of pages posted by our apostates.
      The Courts Have Spoken
      Though there is no clear violation of human rights, this did not stop Janice Paul from trying to sue us in the United States over the issue of shunning. In 1987, the US Court of Appeals for the 9th District upheld the Witnesses right to shun those who fail to live by the organization's standards and doctrines, upholding the ruling of the lower court. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
       "Shunning is a practice engaged in by Jehovah's Witnesses pursuant to their interpretation of canonical text, and we are not free to reinterpret that text. . . . We find the practice of shunning not to constitute a sufficient threat to the peace, safety, or morality of the community as to warrant state intervention. . . . the defendants are entitled to the free exercise of their religious beliefs. . . Although we recognize that the harms suffered by Janice Paul are real and not insubstantial, permitting her to recover for intangible or emotional injuries would unconstitutionally restrict the Jehovah's Witnesses free exercise of religion" - Emphasis Ours.
      We do not take the difficulties related to shunning lightly, and that is why we offer Witnesses who may be thinking of leaving, or those who break Bible principles, every opportunity to remain in the fold and offer them assistance in dealing with whatever issue they have. But at the end of the day, it is up to them to accept it.
      As to the general accusation that Witnesses "break up families", the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. :
      . . . that non-Witness family members often cause conflict by refusing “to accept and to respect their religious relative’s freedom to manifest and practise his or her religion.” - Emphasis ours.
      Shunning is a free practice of our religious beliefs as well. As the ECHR stated, it is not so much about the belief itself, its more about respecting our rights to practice them, whether you agree with them or not.
      Accept the Consequences
      What this really amounts to is the disfellowshipped person's refusal to accept the consequences of their actions. Since they cannot openly dissent against the leadership and live their lives apart from Bible principles while maintaining active membership, they claim that removing them to protect the congregation from their influence is violating their conscience and freedom. However, before becoming a Witness, they agreed to live by the tenets of our beliefs and they agreed to accept the consequences of not doing so. We have the right to decide who can or cannot remain members. Neither the public at large nor former members have the right to tell us who can be members or whether we must communicate with them. That is our choice, not theirs.
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Melody's Interview at 2017 "Don't Give Up" Regional Convention". 
      Last year my wife and I attended an Assembly in Orangeburg, SC, where a brother in an interview on stage was proud that he had not said a single word to his disfellowshipped father in over 20 years.   We were sitting up close and could see his face in person, and on the large monitors. His declaration of cruelty was followed by intense applause from the audience. 
      We were stunned and horrified.
      This video was originally posted on YOUTUBE by the mother of Melody, at a Regional 2017 Convention where she is proud of having shunned her sister, who is disfellowshipped, but many adverse comments on YOUTUBE made her ashamed .....  and she took the posting down.  
      I got this video copy from the  Russian equivalent of YOUTUBE web site,  RUTUBE.COM.
      After she details her cruelty to her sister, the audience reaction is vigorous applause.
      THIS IS WHY the Russian government and most of the people HATE Jehovah's Witnesses.
      Oblivious, clueless, extreme cruelty, in the name of righteousness.
      Melody's interview @ the Regional Convention 2017 _Don't Give Up_.mp4
      .
      .
       
    • By Outta Here
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Even the highly regarded BBC cannot resist the  temptation to indulge in gutter-press standard reporting when it comes to Jehovah's Witnesses.
      This report on the Jehovah's Witnesses disfellowshipping process is rather misleading. It associates the disfellowshipping action with totally unrelated experiences and leaves the impression that this action is taken: 
      1. when a person leaves an abusive relationship 
      2: when a person does not attend the annual memorial celebration of Christ's death.
      Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the most inexperienced researcher could easily find out the circumstances leading to this serious and scriptural measure by looking at
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      It is unlikely that the interviewees would reveal the real reason for their disfellowshipping which would probably cause personal embarrassment, and there is no way that the official organisation would comment or reveal the details of an individual case.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Did Christians in the 1st century disfellowship / shun wrongdoers?
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      What were Jesus’ instructions regarding shunning wrongdoers (disfellowshipping)?
    • By The Librarian
      Part of a series on:
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  employ various levels of congregational discipline as formal controls administered by congregation Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Guilt and repentance are determined by a tribunal of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , and hearings concerning what they term "serious sin" are performed by formal Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . A variety of controls can be enforced, from restriction of duties performed in the congregation to excommunication, known as disfellowshipping, and shunning by the congregation. Members who are disfellowshipped have an opportunity to regain membership. The practice of disfellowshipping has been criticized by many non-members and ex-members.
      Historical
      The first brother officially disfellowshipped publicly was Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  by public resolution in front of an entire "District assembly" .... and in an even older schism case Paul S.L. Johnson was also "excommunicated".
      It was in the year 1952 that the Watchtower introduced disfellowshipping as now practiced.

      Russell discussed disfellowshipping and avoiding wrongdoers as early as 1893. However, this was not applied to Watchtower followers, but rather that Christians in general should avoid those who show themselves to be untrue to God.
      "To be separate does not mean to be friends and companions, or to be in fellowship on any grounds. It means that we are to make a clean-cut division between ourselves and all the unclean, the impure in heart, as manifested by their disloyalty to the truth, and thereby to God, its great Author: and that this separation is to be so marked that the disfellowshipped one will be sure to know it. and that none can mistake our obedience and loyalty to the lord and his truth. There is to be no trifling or half-way obedience in this matter: for we are not only to be separate in spirit from the enemies of the Lord, but we are not to touch the unclean. As the Apostle elsewhere says we are to avoid them-to have no part or lot with them." Watchtower 1893 Oct 15 p.1588 "We are not of those who disfellowship Christian brethren on account of some differences of opinion; but when it comes to the point of denying the very foundation of all christianity we must speak out and withstand all such to the face, for they become the enemies of the cross of Christ." Watchtower 1882 Dec p.423 Later, a procedure was implemented where a congregation as a whole discussed an individual's wrongdoing and if they came to a near unanimous decision to disfellowship, the unrepentant sinner was not shunned but treated as a heathen. It was primarily for a person that rejected the value of Christ's Ransom.
      "The administration of discipline is not the function of the elders only, but of the entire Church. Thus it is evident that the Elders were in no sense to be judges of the members-hearing and judgment were left to the local body, or Church. Indeed, even if the transgressor refuse to hear (obey) the decision of the entire Church, no punishment is to be inflicted or even attempted. What then? Merely the Church is to withdraw from him its fellowship and any and all signs or manifestations of brotherhood. Thenceforth the offender is to be treated "as a heathen man and a publican." Matt. 18:17" Studies Series VI - The New Creation (1904) pp.289, 290 "The Scriptural basis of fellowship and disfellowship is both a much broader and a much more simple one. It is simply of two parts: (1) An acceptance of Christ as the Redeemer, and (2) A full consecration to him. Whoever complies with this scriptural formula is entitled to the love, respect, sympathy and care of every other such one; for such, and such only, constitute the church which God recognizes - the church whose names are written in heaven." Watchtower 1905 p.3673 "According to this Scripture the very most that the church could do would be that, after having vainly endeavored to get the brother to repent and reform, it should withdraw special brotherly fellowship from him until such time as he would express willingness thereafter to do right. Then he should be received again into full fellowship. In the meantime the brother may merely be treated in the kindly, courteous way in which it would be proper for us to treat any publican or Gentile, withholding the special rights or privileges or greetings or voting opportunities that belong to the church as a class separate from the world." Watchtower 1919 Mar 1 p.69
      Russell and Rutherford were lenient towards doctrinal disagreements, advising that making all followers think alike on doctrine is what originally caused the great apostasy, a tactic of Satan and a method of control.
      "Rather, like the church of Rome their ["Religious leaders of today"] influence is exerted to restrain investigation within the sectarian limits. With the implied threat of disfellowship, they urge their ministers and students not to search continually for truth, but to accept the voice of their sect as infallible."Watchtower 1887 Apr p.923 "The great adversary is wily, and at all times is quick to appeal to passion. He persuades some that they must take a radical stand against some secular work or activity, and to proceed at once to disfellowship others who cannot conscientiously take this same stand. Somehow they seem to think that their radical stand entitles them in a very special sense to divine favour and blessing. his attitude leads them to violate principle in various ways: (1) By judging and condemning others who do not see as they do; (2) By refusing to fellowship those who still believe in the ransom, the restitution, the high calling." Watchtower1919 Feb 1 p.6385 "Satan's organization sails under the high-sounding name of "Christendom". It boasts of a membership of over 500,000,000 persons. Its members are in bondage to creeds, customs, rites and ceremonies; they dare not disown these or criticize or expose them. To do so would bring down on their heads taunts, reproaches, disfellowship and persecution. Many thousands of the Lords people are held in these denominations as prisoners, afraid to express their disapproval of the creeds, methods and customs of the organization. Watchtower 1930 Oct 1 p.301
      As late as 1947, the Awake described the practice of excommunication as an unscriptural, pagan practice, using Hebrews 10: 26-31 to show it should be left to God to judge individuals.

      Quite remarkably, it was in the years surrounding the above article that Knorr was setting up the disfellowshipping arrangement followed to this day. In the Watchtower 1944 May 15 p.151, responsibility to judge an individual was moved from the congregation to judicial committees. The turning point came in 1952, where a Watchtower article dismissed Jesus remarks to refer a wrongdoer to the congregation, although with no explanation as why:
      "There is one more scripture quite pertinent here, at Matthew 18:15-17. ... This scripture here has nothing to do with disfellowshiping on a congregational basis. When it says go to the congregation, it means go to the elders or the mature ones in the congregation and discuss your own private difficulties. This scripture has to do with merely a personal disfellowshiping." Watchtower 1952 Mar. 1 p.147 This 1952 Watchtower was devoted to delivering clear guidelines on updated Watchtower disfellowship policy, clarifying what was to become an ever increasing list of offences. It denounced the disfellowshipped person in the strongest of terms.
      We might wonder, then, since this congregation which God is developing or bringing into existence is based on love, why anyone should ever want to talk about disfellowshipping or putting people out of this congregation. There certainly must be some reason. Well, the reason for disfellowshipping is that some persons get into this congregation of God that do not love Christ. Those who are acquainted with the situation in the congregation should never say Hello or Goodbye to him. He is not welcome in our midst, we avoid him. Such an individual has no place in the clean organization or congregation of God. He should go back to the wicked group that he once came from and die with that wicked group with Satans organization. Watchtower 1952 Mar 1 pp.131,134 This change was later justified as a result of worsening "moral corruption" following World War II.
      "Even as early as 1904, the first president of the Watch Tower Society, in his book The New Creation, outlined a Scriptural procedure for dealing with violators, even to the point of withdrawing from them the congregation’s “fellowship and any and all signs or manifestations of brotherhood.” But this extreme measure of excommunication or disfellowshiping was not widely practiced among the congregations and was not made a requirement on congregations until 1952. No longer could Christian conduct be viewed simply as a matter affecting only the individual or individuals involved." Watchtower 1967 Oct 1 p.596 "During the years following World War II the moral corruption of the world began to reach frightful proportions. The possibility existed that God’s clean organization could become contaminated by such corruptive influences. But Jehovah was interested in his people, just as in times past, so through his channel of communication he lovingly brought forward information to counteract the filth that could tarnish or cause his people to become unholy. (Matt. 24:45-47) Particularly from 1946, personal moral cleanness became a matter of much greater concern to the Lord’s people. (2 Cor. 7:1) Starting in 1952, the more formal Scriptural arrangement of disfellowshiping wrongdoers was instituted. Those who committed gross sins such as adultery and fornication were expelled from the congregation, if they did not repent. (1 Cor. 5:11-13) God’s organization would not tolerate persons who refused to keep unspotted, clean and pure in the sight of Jehovah." Watchtower 1976 Feb 15 p.122 In the Watchtower 1955 Oct 1 p.607, even to associate with a disfellowshipped person became a reason to be disfellowshipped:
      If a publisher refuses to do this and ignores the prohibition on associating with the disfellowshipped one, that publisher is rebelling against the congregation of Jehovah, and rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. If after sufficient warning the publisher persists in associating with the disfellowshipped person instead of aligning himself with Jehovah's organization he also should be disfellowshipped. Shepherd the Flock of God (2011) shows that associating with a disfellowshipped nonrelative continues as a disfellowshipping offence by including such association under the categorization of brazen conduct.
      Willful, continued, unnecessary association with disfellowshipped nonrelatives despite repeated counsel." p.60 Members of the congregation are instructed to watch each other and alert the elders to any noticed indiscretions. With a degree of persuasiveness members are told that the Highest Level of authority demands they even break their countries law to report on their brothers.
      "This command from the Highest Level of authority in the universe put the responsibility upon each Israelite to report to the judges any serious wrongdoing that he observed so that the matter might be handled. While Christians are not strictly under the Mosaic Law, its principles still apply in the Christian congregation. Hence, there may be times when a Christian is obligated to bring a matter to the attention of the elders. True, it is illegal in many countries to disclose to unauthorized ones what is found in private records. But if a Christian feels, after prayerful consideration, that he is facing a situation where the law of God required him to report what he knew despite the demands of lesser authorities, then that is a responsibility he accepts before Jehovah. There are times when a Christian must obey God as ruler rather than men. Acts 5:29"Watchtower 1987 Sep 1 p.13 Since the introduction of disfellowshipping, there have been a number of changes in Watchtower doctrine and hence the reasons for being disfellowshipped have also changed back and forth. How can this occur if Jehovah directs an organization's rules? When a situation arises in a congregation that is not clearly specified in the Bible or a Watchtower publication and the elders and branch feel unable to deal with it this is referred to the Governing Body. How does the Governing Body arrive at a new principle for being disfellowshipped? Does the Holy Spirit guide them to examine scripture and arrive at a uniform consensus on what God's standard is? No, the vote does not have to be unanimous. New laws can be introduced with only a two-thirds majority vote.(6) For this reason both the regulation on organ transplants and oral sex was able to be changed back and forth within the space of little over a decade, with huge affect on member's lives.
      For instance, the practice of smoking did not become a disfellowshipping offence until 1973. Having an organ transplant was an offence worthy of being disfellowshipped for over a decade, but is no longer viewed as wrong.
      Oral or anal sex between married couples was classified as;
      a disfellowshipping offence - Watchtower 1974 Nov 15 p.704 no longer an offence - Watchtower 1978 Feb 15 pp.30-32 once again an offence - Watchtower 1983 Mar 15 p.31 One may have hoped that the draconian system of disfellowshipping may have eased over the years, yet the opposite is true. In 1974 there was a softening of the 1952 stance, with release of the following article, but this was short lived;
      "Congregational elders, as well as individual members of a congregation, therefore, ought to guard against developing an attitude approaching that which some Jewish rabbinical writers fomented toward Gentiles in viewing them as virtual enemies. It is right to hate the wrong committed by the disfellowshiped one, but it is not right to hate the person nor is it right to treat such ones in an inhumane way. We may note, too, that at 1 Corinthians 5:11 the apostle warns against mixing in company with one who "is" a fornicator or practicer of some other kind of serious wrongdoing. What, however, of the one who has been disfellowshiped for being that kind of person but who thereafter, either at an early point or at a later point in time, gives consistent evidence of discontinuing such wrong practice, stopping it? Can it be said that he or she still "is" a fornicator or whatever type of wrongdoer such a one was that caused him or her to be as "leaven" toward the congregation? For example, a young person disfellowshiped for fornication may thereafter marry, raise a family and live a respectable life. Or one who was disfellowshiped for drunkenness may abandon such practice and, if drinking at all, may do so in moderation only. By such changes these individuals may now regain the respect of the community. Such ones may not yet have come and formally sought reinstatement by the congregation. Is there, however, not an evident difference between these and others who continue right on in the wrongdoing that brought their disfellowshiping? Those giving up the wrong practice may still manifest some appreciation for Christian truth, perhaps even defending the true Christian congregation when someone speaks evil against it. Should not such circumstances be given due weight and have an effect on our attitude as a congregation toward such ones? Surely if the prodigal son of the parable had returned home in a drunken state, perhaps dragging along one of his harlot companions, the father's reaction would not have been the same. But the father had reason to believe that the son was approaching with a right motive and, rather than suspect the worst, the father hoped the best and went out to meet his errant son." Watchtower 1974 Aug 1 pp.467-469 This more reasonable stance reverted back to strict shunning in 1981, with a comprehensive discussion in the Watchtower Sep 15. The 2008 book Keep Yourself in God's Lovecontinues to refer to the 1981 Watchtower as the standard to be followed.

       
      Correction
      Non-judicial situations involve actions that are considered sinful or simply regrettable but are not considered to be of sufficient gravity to necessitate a Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , and cannot result in disfellowshipping from the congregation; specific action by congregation Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. is not administered in such situations, but counsel (or correction) may be provided by a mature Witness in addition to self-discipline and family discipline.[1] Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. may also give recommendations or warnings to members in non-judicial situations.

      If an active baptized Witness is considered to have committed a "serious sin" for which the sinner must demonstrate formal repentance, correction (or, "discipline") is administered by the congregation’s body of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Such situations usually involve a "judicial committee" of three or more Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .[2]
       
      Discipline involving non-judicial situations
      At the Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ' discretion, "non-judicial" situations may involve discipline of one or more of several types, presented here in escalating seriousness.
       
      Local needs
      At conventions and assemblies, and about once each month at a local Service Meeting, a short talk regarding "local needs" is presented.[3] An Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. addresses matters that are relevant to the local congregation, with instructions outlining the course of action considered appropriate. No specific individuals are identified during the talk, but the talk may relate to a matter for which a member has recently been "reproved". At times, some temporary policy may be announced that might be seen as disciplinary; for example, it may be that an additional attendant is assigned outside a Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  to discourage children from running on the sidewalk.[4]
       
      Shepherding calls
      Personal "shepherding visits" are intended to encourage members of the congregation, though may also include counsel and correction, then or on a subsequent visit.[5][6] Two Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. (or an Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and a ministerial servant) may schedule and perform a particular shepherding visit on their own or at the direction of the body of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .[7]
       
      Withheld recommendations or assignments
      The body of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. may withhold its recommendation for a member to serve in a new position of responsibility, though still permitting existing responsibilities.[8]

      For example, a ministerial servant who consistently seems insufficiently prepared for his meeting parts may have such assignments withheld for a time, even though he may continue serving as a ministerial servant or in some other "special privilege of service".[9]
       
      Loss of "special privileges"
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , ministerial servants, pioneers, or other appointed Witnesses can lose their "special privileges of service".[10][11] For example, an Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. may be removed or choose to step aside voluntarily from his position if members of his household are not in "good standing".[12] After resignation or removal from an appointed position, an announcement is made during the congregation's Service Meeting indicating that the person is "no longer serving", without elaboration.[13]
       
      Limited "privileges of service"
      An active Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  may have their congregational "privileges of service" limited even without having committed a serious sin. For example, the body of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. may feel that a member wronged others by some investment scheme which was not necessarily fraudulent.[14] While Witnesses sometimes refer to field ministry, after-meeting cleanup, and other responsibilities as "privileges", the term "privileges of service" often implies a specific range of assignments assisting Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and ministerial servants with meeting demonstrations and other responsibilities.[15] Such limitations are usually temporary.[16]
       
      Marking
      Members who persist in a course considered scripturally wrong after repeated counsel by Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ,[17] but who are not guilty of something for which they could be disfellowshipped,[17] can be "marked", based on Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ' interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 3:14. Though not shunned, "marked" individuals are looked upon as bad association and social interaction outside of formal worship settings is generally curtailed. This action is intended to "shame" the person into following a particular course of action.[17] "Marking" is indicated by means of a talk given at the Service Meeting outlining the shameful course, but without explicitly naming any particular individual. Members who know whose actions are being discussed may then consider the individual "marked".
       
      Discipline involving "serious sin"
      List of "serious sins"
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  consider many actions to be "serious sins", for which baptized Witnesses are subject to disfellowshipping or formal reproof. Actions for which a member can be disfellowshipped include: abortion,[18] adultery, apostasy,[19] bestiality, blood transfusions,[20] "brazen conduct" or "loose conduct",[21][22] drug abuse,[23] drunkenness, extortion,[24] fornication, fraud,[25] gambling,[24] greed,[24] homosexual activity, idolatry, incest, interfaith activity,[26] lying,[27] manslaughter, murder, "perverted sex relations",[28] polygamy,[29] pornography,[30] reviling, sexual abuse,[31] slander,[25] spiritism, theft, and use of tobacco.[23][32][33]
       
      Procedures
      Evidence for actions that can result in congregational discipline is obtained by voluntary confession to the Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. or by witnesses of the violation. A minimum of two witnesses is required to establish guilt, based on their understanding of Deuteronomy 17:6 and Matthew 18:16, unless the person confesses voluntarily.[34] Members are instructed to report serious sins committed by others members.[35] Failure to report a serious sin of another member is viewed as sharing in the sins of others, a sin before God.[36] Witnesses are instructed that pledges of confidentiality may be broken to report what they believe to be transgressions.[37]

      A congregation's body of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. considers confessions or credible allegations of serious sin, and decides whether a judicial committee will be formed to address the matter.[38] A judicial committee, usually consisting of three Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , investigates the details of the alleged sin further. The committee arranges a formal judicial hearing to determine the circumstances of the sin, whether the accused is repentant, and whether disciplinary actions will be taken.[39][40][41]

      In certain situations, a body of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. may handle a situation involving "serious sin" by a baptized Witness without a judicial committee:
      Minor or newly baptized - A minor or newly baptized Witness might commit one or two acts of "serious sin" involving tobacco or overdrinking;[42][43] repercussions as for 'non-judicial' situations may still be imposed. Repentance - The body of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. may believe the sinner's repentance has been established and accepted. For example, if a member committed a "serious sin" several years ago, had formally repented in prayer, and the sin did not involve scheming.[44] Witnesses are strongly discouraged from waiting years to resolve such matters;[45] even if years have passed since the serious sin, it is typical for a judicial committee to be formed, and there may still be repercussions as for ‘non-judicial’ situations. Judicial abeyance - Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. may become aware of a "serious sin" committed by a baptized Witness who has been inactive for some time and is not perceived as a Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . If the alleged sinner is not associating with active Witnesses, the Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. may indefinitely postpone a judicial committee and formal hearing unless and until the individual renews their association with the congregation.[46] Judicial committee
      A person accused of a serious sin is informed of the allegations and invited to attend a judicial committee meeting. The individual is permitted to bring witnesses who can speak in their defense; observers are not allowed,[47] and the hearing is held privately even if the accused individual requests that it be heard openly so all may witness the evidence.[48][49] Recording devices are not permitted at the hearing.[47] If the accused repeatedly fails to attend an arranged hearing, the committee will proceed but will not make a decision until evidence and testimony by witnesses are considered.[47]

      The committee takes the role of prosecutor, judge and jury when handling its cases.[50] After the hearing is opened with a prayer, the accused is invited to make a personal statement. If there is no admission of guilt, the individual is informed of the source of the charges and witnesses are presented one at a time to give evidence. Witnesses do not remain present for the entire hearing. Once all the evidence is presented, the accused and all witnesses are dismissed and the committee reviews the evidence and the attitude of the accused.[47]

      The committee may determine that there was no "serious sin", or that mitigating circumstances absolve the accused individual. The committee may then proceed with discipline such as is described for 'non-judicial' situations.[51] Alternatively, the committee may decide that a serious sin was committed, in which case, the committee gives verbal admonitions and gauges the individual's attitude and repentance. The committee then decides whether discipline will involve formal reproof or disfellowshipping.
       
      Reproof
      Reproof involves actions for which a person could be disfellowshipped, and is said to be an effort to 'reach the heart' and convince a person of the need to hate the sanctioned actions[52][53] and repent.[54] Reproof is considered sufficient if the individual is deemed repentant.[55][56] Reproof is given before all who are aware of the transgression. If the conduct is known only to the individual and the judicial committee, reproof is given privately. If the sin is known by a small number, they would be invited by the Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , and reproof would be given before the sinner and those with knowledge of the sin. If the action is known generally by the entire congregation or the wider community, an announcement is made that the person "has been reproved".[57] A related local needs talk may be given, separately to the announcement, without naming anyone.[58]

      In all cases of reproof, restrictions are imposed,[59] typically prohibiting the individual from sharing in meeting parts, commenting during meetings, and giving group prayers. A reproved Witness cannot enroll as a pioneer or auxiliary pioneer for at least one year after reproof is given.[60][61]
       
      Disfellowshipping
      All members are expected to abide by the beliefs and moral standards of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , and serious violations of these requirements can result in disfellowshipping if not deemed repentant; the term is used in reference to both the act of congregational expulsion (similar to excommunication) and subsequent shunning.[62] When a judicial committee decides that a baptized Witness has committed a serious sin and is unrepentant, the person is disfellowshipped. A person can appeal if they believe that a serious error in judgment has been made. Requests for appeal must be made in writing and within seven days of the decision of the judicial committee. If the decision is not appealed, an announcement is made at the Service Meeting that the named individual "is no longer one of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ", without any further explanation. Shunning starts immediately after the announcement is made.[63]

      If a baptized Witness teaches contrary to Witness doctrines, it is considered apostasy and grounds for disfellowshipping. A 1981 letter to overseers—reproduced in a book by former Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  member Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. —directed that a member who "persists in believing other doctrine", even without promoting such beliefs, may also be subject to disfellowshipping.[64] Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. usually try to reason with the individual before such action is taken.[65] If a person believes that a teaching should be adjusted or changed, he is encouraged "to be patient and wait on Jehovah for change".[66]

      All members are encouraged to have a detailed understanding of what is expected and the consequences of wrongdoing.[67] The stated purpose of congregation discipline is to help erring ones be restored to spiritual health, to help uphold the organization's reputation, and to keep the congregation clean from wrong conduct.[68]
       
      Shunning
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  shun disfellowshipped individuals, a process Watch Tower Society publications describe as "withholding fellowship".[69] Their shunning policy is based on their interpretation of scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 5:11-13; Matthew 18:15-17; and 2 John 9-11.[70][71]

      Witnesses state that avoiding interaction with disfellowshipped former adherents helps to:
      avoid reproach on God's name and organization by indicating that violations of the Bible's standards in their ranks are not tolerated; keep the congregation free of possible corrosive influences;[72] and convince the disfellowshipped individual to re-evaluate their course of action, repent and rejoin the religion.[73]
      Shunning is also practiced when a member formally resigns membership or is deemed to indicate, by their actions, a statement, or their association with another religion, that they do not wish to be known as a Witness. Such individuals are said to have disassociated,[74][75] and are described by the Watch Tower Society as "lawless" in a spiritual sense.[76] In either case ("disfellowshipping" or "disassociating"), an announcement is made at the Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  that "[full name] is no longer one of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ." This announcement is made at the congregation the person attends.[77] Congregation members are not informed whether a person is being shunned due to "disfellowshipping" or "disassociation", nor on what grounds. The Watchtower states that "apostates are “mentally diseased,” and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings. (1 Timothy 6:3, 4 [NWT]).";[78][79] some have stated that this applies to all individuals who leave the organization.[80][81]

      Failure to adhere to the directions on shunning is itself considered a serious offense. Members who continue to speak to or associate with a disfellowshipped or disassociated person are said to be sharing in their "wicked works"[82] and may themselves be punished by disfellowshipping.[83] Exceptions are made in some cases such as business relations and immediate family household situations.[69] If a disfellowshipped person is living in the same home with other baptized family members, religious matters are not discussed, with the exception of minors, for whose training parents are still responsible.[84][85] Disfellowshipped family members outside the home are shunned.[86]

      The Watchtower 2013 Jan 1 p.16 even denies family communication by email, stating; "Do not look for excuses to associate with a disfellowshipped family member, for example, through e-mail." Interestingly, whilst the translation into most languages is the same, the Spanish edition extends this to "email, phone or text messaging."

      Disfellowshipped individuals can continue attending meetings held at the Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , though they are shunned by the congregation. Attending meetings while being shunned is a requirement for eventual reinstatement.[87]

      If a person dies in a disfellowshipped state they still are not to be associated with, so Witnesses are persuaded from attending their funeral.
      "In "Questions from Readers" (The Watchtower, 1961, p. 544) the position was taken that a funeral for a disfellowshiped person was improper. The comment was made: "We never want to give the impression to outsiders that a disfellowshiped person was acceptable in the congregation when in truth and in fact he was not acceptable but had been disfellowshiped from it." A Christian congregation would not want its good name besmirched by having it associated with any to whom 2 John 9, 10 applied, even in their death." Watchtower 1977 Jun 1 p.347
      Under certain circumstances even a parent can be disfellowshipped for associating with their own disfellowshipped children.
      "Normally, a close relative would not be disfellowshipped for associating with a disfellowshipped person unless there is spiritual association or an effort made to justify or excuse the wrongful course." Pay Attention to Yourselves and all the Flock p.103
      The latest elder's book, Shepherd the Flock of God (2010) reconfirms this, explaining that association with a relative can result in losing congregation privileges and even being disfellowshipped.
      Assist those having undue association with disfellowshipped or disassociated relatives. ... If members of the congregation are known to have undue association with disfellowshipped or disassociated relatives who are not in the household, elders should counsel and reason with those members of the congregation from the Scriptures. ... If it is clear that a Christian is violating the spirit of the disfellowshipping decree in this regard and does not respond to counsel, it may be that he would not qualify for congregation privileges, which require one to be exemplary. He would not be dealt with judicially unless there is persistent spiritual association or he openly criticizes the disfellowshipping decision. pp.114-116
      Watchtower has publicly announced to the authorities in Finland a change to the above instructions
       
      Reinstatement
      Disfellowshipped individuals may be reinstated into the congregation if they are considered repentant of their previous actions and attitude. When a disassociated or disfellowshipped individual requests reinstatement, a judicial committee, (the committee originally involved, if available) seeks to determine whether the person has repented.[88] Such individuals must demonstrate that they no longer practice the conduct for which they were expelled from the congregation, as well as submission to the religion's regulations.[89][90][91] Individuals disfellowshipped for actions no longer considered serious sins, such as organ transplants, are not automatically reinstated. Meeting attendance while being shunned is considered by the organization as an important step toward eventual reinstatement.[92] Once a decision is made to reinstate, a brief announcement is made to the congregation that the disfellowshipped member is once again one of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. are instructed to make an attempt each year to remind disfellowshipped ones of the steps they can take to qualify for reinstatement.[69][93] No specific period of time is prescribed before this can happen, however the Watch Tower Society suggests a period of "perhaps many months, a year, or longer."[94] In 1974, the Watch Tower Society stated that about one third of those disfellowshipped eventually return to the group, based on figures gathered from 1963 to 1973.[95]
       

      The following 17 minute recording was taken by a girl attempting to be reinstated, and highlights the procedure well. It starts slowly, but is quite heartbreaking at the end. You will probably agree with the girl's comment regarding the elders lack of heart.


       
       
      Legality
      In June 1987, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the Witnesses' right to shun those who fail to live by the group's standards and doctrines, upholding the ruling of a lower court, finding that "shunning is a practice engaged in by Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  pursuant to their interpretation of canonical text, and we are not free to reinterpret that text … The defendants are entitled to the free exercise of their religious beliefs … The members of the Church [she] decided to abandon have concluded that they no longer want to associate with her. We hold that they are free to make that choice."[96][97]
       
      Unbaptized publishers
      An unbaptized individual who has previously been approved to share in Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ' formal ministry or participate in their Theocratic Ministry School, but who subsequently behaves in a manner considered inappropriate may lose privileges, such as commenting at meetings, receiving assignments, or even accompanying the congregation in the public ministry.[98]

      If an unbaptized individual is deemed unrepentant of actions for which baptized members might be disfellowshipped, an announcement would be made that the person "is no longer a publisher of the good news."[99] Such individuals were previously shunned, but formal restrictions are no longer imposed on unbaptized individuals, though association is generally curtailed. The Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. might privately warn individuals in the congregation if the unbaptized person is considered to pose "an unusual threat".[100]
      Critical view
      The only way to officially leave Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  is to disassociate or be disfellowshipped, and both entail the same set of prohibitions and penalties, with no provision for continued normal association. Sociologist Andrew Holden has claimed that fear of family break-up or loss causes people who might otherwise freely leave the religion to remain members.[101] Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  state that disfellowshipping is a scripturally documented method to protect the congregation from the influence of those who practice serious wrongdoing.[102] Critics contend that the judicial process itself, due to its private and nearly autonomous nature, directly contradicts the precedent found in the Bible and the organization's own teachings and can be used in an arbitrary manner if there is consensus among just a few to abuse their authority.[103]

      According to Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , a letter dated September 1, 1980, from the Watch Tower Society to all circuit and district overseers advised that a member who "merely disagrees in thought with any of the Watch Tower Society's teachings is committing apostasy and is liable for disfellowshipping."[104] The letter states that one does not have to "promote" different doctrines to be an apostate, adding that Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. need to "discern between one who is a trouble-making apostate and a Christian who becomes weak in the faith and has doubts."[104] Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  indicate that some type of action is required for a member to be disfellowshipped, rather than a 'disagreement in thought'.[105]
       
      Scriptural basis 
      Though there is Scriptural precedence to limit association with brothers practicing wrongdoing, critics of the Watchtower application of disfellowshipping state that it seriously deviates from Bible guidelines in a number of ways;
      The word "disfellowship" does not appear in the Bible
      2 John 10 says not to greet the Antichrist. The Watchtower uses this single scripture to support not saying hello to a disfellowshipped person. At Scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 5, Paul outlined limiting association with Christians that practice wrongdoing, not strict shunning. The Watchtower disfellowships for practices never discussed in the Bible such as smoking, gambling and having a blood transfusion. Disfellowshipping is extended to prevent immediate family members associating with their disfellowshipped relatives. The punishment applies forever, or until the Watchtower Society formally reinstates the person. It is considered irrelevant whether the person no longer practices the wrongdoing they were disfellowshipped for.

      Bible discussion of shunning in 1 Corinthian's 15 and 2 John is limited to just the following areas; Fornication, Greed, idolatry, Revilers, Practicing Drunkenness, Extortion and One who does not remain in the teaching of the Christ.

      This list should be the full extent of reasons for which to be disfellowshipped. In fact, Diotrephes was reprimanded for attempting to throw people out of the congregation unnecessarily.
       
      3 John 9,10 "I wrote something to the congregation, but Diotrephes, who likes to have the first place among them, does not receive anything from us with respect. That is why, if I come, I will call to remembrance his works which he goes on doing, chattering about us with wicked words. Also, not being content with these things, neither does he himself receive the brothers with respect, and those who are wanting to receive them he tries to hinder and to throw out of the congregation."
      Following is the vast list of offences the Watchtower has created for which a Jehovah's Witness can be disfellowshipped or disassociated.

      Bible discussion of shunning in 1 Corinthian's 15 and 2 John is limited to just the following areas; Fornication, Greed, idolatry, Revilers, Practicing Drunkenness, Extortion and One who does not remain in the teaching of the Christ.
      This list should be the full extent of reasons for which to be disfellowshipped. In fact, Diotrephes was reprimanded for attempting to throw people out of the congregation unnecessarily.
      3 John 9,10 "I wrote something to the congregation, but Diotrephes, who likes to have the first place among them, does not receive anything from us with respect. That is why, if I come, I will call to remembrance his works which he goes on doing, chattering about us with wicked words. Also, not being content with these things, neither does he himself receive the brothers with respect, and those who are wanting to receive them he tries to hinder and to throw out of the congregation." Following is the vast list of offences the Watchtower has created for which a Jehovah's Witness can be disfellowshipped or disassociated.
      The abbreviations refer to the following publications: 

      Adultery (sexual intercourse with a person other than your marriage mate), includes; Abandoning wife and eloping with another woman - w79 11/15 31-2, w76 p.728 Planned adultery to break Scriptural marriage ties - w83 3/15 p.29 Remarriage without Scriptural permission - w56 10/1 p.597 Polygamy - jv 176 Dating a person not legally divorced - ks91-E p.135 Apostasy - w83 4/1 pp.22-4, km 8/80 pp.1, 4. includes; Rebellion against Jehovah's organization - w63 7/1 Promoting sects - it-2 886 Associating with disfellowshipped people including; Friends - ks91-E p.103, w81 9/15 pp.25-6, w55 10/1 p.607 Family - ks91-E p.103 Blood and blood transfusions - w61 1/15 ks91-E p.95, jv p.183-4 Drug use - ks91-E p.96 Drunkenness - ks91-E p.95, it-1 656 Dishonest business practices - w63 7/1, w86 11/15 14 Employment violating Christian principles - km 9/76 p.6, km 2/74 Working for any religious organization - ks91-E p.95 Working in a gambling institution - ks91-E p.136 Selling tobacco - ks91-E p.96 Contract work at a military establishment False worship. Includes; Attending another church ks91-E p.94 Following mourning customs that involve false worship - w85 4/15 p.25 Fornication it-1 863 Bestiality - w83 6/1 p.25 Incestuous marriage - w78 3/15 p.26 Artificial insemination and surrogate motherhood. "True Christians, therefore, avoid surrogate motherhood as well as any procedures that involve the use of donated sperm, eggs, or embryos" g04 9/22; "Artificial insemination of a married woman by a donor other than her husband makes her guilty of adultery" g74 8/8 p.28 sexual abuse of children - g93 10/8 p.10Reviling - ks91-E p.94, w96 7/15 pp.17-18; it-1 p.991; it-2 p.802 Fraud - ks91-E p.94, om pp.142-3 Gambling or related employment - w80 9/1, ks91-E p.136 Gluttony - w86 5/1 Greediness, this in used to include; gambling ks91-E p.95 extortion ks91-E p.95, w89 1/15 22, it-1 p.789 greed in relation to bride-price: w98 9/15 p.25 Homosexuality - w83 6/1 pp.24-6 Idolatry - w52 3/1 p.138 Loose conduct - ks91-E pp.93, 96, w83 3/15 p.31, w73 9/15 p.574, it-2 p.264, ks91-E p.93, w83 3/15 p.31, w73 9/15 pp.574-6, w97 9/1 p.14, it-2 p.246. Sexual perversion Disregard for Jehovah's moral standards Disrespect, disregard or even contempt for standards, laws and authority,
      Rather than restricted to the usual definition of sexual perversion, the Watchtower defines "loose conduct" as including "disrespect to elders". This enables this term to be used to disfellowship for a wide range of offences not elsewhere covered, and as such is used to cover all manner of sins, such as refusal to cease fellowship with disfellowshipped people, or even being contemptuous in a judicial meeting where no other sin can be proven.
      Lying - ks91-E p.94, g00 2/8 p.21 Non neutral activities (involvement in politics and the military) - ks91-E p.96 Military service and non military service including working casual work (certain civilian work has recently been made a conscience matter w96 5/1 p.20) - ks91-E p.96 Obscene speech - ks91-E p.95 Parents condoning immorality - w56 p.566 Political involvement, including voting or holding a political card in Malawi - ks91-E p.96 (w99 11/1 p.28 made voting a conscience matter) Porneia. Includes oral and anal sex between married couples, mutual masturbation between persons not married to each other, homosexuality, lesbianism, fornication, adultery, incest, and bestiality. - ks91-E p.93 Slander - ks91-E p.94, w63 7/1, w89 10/15 p.14, om p.142 Smoking or selling tobacco - km 2/74, ks91-E p.96 Spiritism (includes yoga w02 8/1 p.22) - w55 10/1 p.607 Stealing, thievery - om pp.142-5, ks91-E p.94 Subversive activity - w95 10/1 p.31 Uncleanness Sexually perverse practices within marriage, such as oral and anal sex - w83 3/15 p.31 Heavy petting and breast fondling - ks91-E p.92 Touching of sexual parts - ks91-E p.91 Practice of viewing abhorrent Pornography - w2012 3/15 p.31 Violation of secular law if flagrant attitude - w86 10/1 p.31 Violence, extreme physical abuse, fits of anger - ks91-E p.96, w75 p.287, g01 11/8 p.12 Includes Boxing w81 7/1 pp.30-1, ks91-E p.142 Wilful non support of family, endangerment of mates spirituality - w88 11/1 pp.22-3, km 9/73 p.8, ks91-E p.95 Worldly celebrations such as Christmas - ks91-E p.95 (It appears celebrating birthdays is not a reason to be disfellowshipped)
       
      Bible guidelines on disfellowshipping
      Examining the Scriptures used to justify disfellowshipping, it becomes apparent that Christian writers prescribed marking a Christian wrongdoer but did not provide for the Watchtower practice of disfellowshipping and strict shunning.
      Jesus Advice
      Jesus commanded that we not judge but love all, particularly those we consider our enemies.
      Luke 6:27-37 "But I say to YOU who are listening, Continue to love YOUR enemies, to do good to those hating YOU, to bless those cursing YOU, to pray for those who are insulting YOU. To him that strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also; and from him that takes away your outer garment, do not withhold even the undergarment.Give to everyone asking you, and from the one taking your things away do not ask [them] back. Also, just as YOU want men to do to YOU, do the same way to them. And if YOU love those loving YOU, of what credit is it to YOU? For even the sinners love those loving them.And if YOU do good to those doing good to YOU, really of what credit is it to YOU? Even the sinners do the same.Also, if YOU lend [without interest] to those from whom YOU hope to receive, of what credit is it to YOU? Even sinners lend [without interest] to sinners that they may get back as much. To the contrary, continue to love YOUR enemies and to do good and to lend [without interest], not hoping for anything back; and YOUR reward will be great, and YOU will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind toward the unthankful and wicked. Continue becoming merciful, just as YOUR Father is merciful. Moreover, stop judging, and YOU will by no means be judged; and stop condemning, and YOU will by no means be condemned." Jesus introduced the standard on how Christian wrongdoers should be treated, saying at Matthew 18:15-17:
      "Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, in order that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. If he does not listen to them, speak to the congregation. If he does not listen even to the congregation, let him be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector." Jesus did not say to never utter a word to an unrepentant wrong doer but to treat them as a tax collector. He himself spoke to and ate with tax collectors. (Matthew 9:11).
      1 Corinthians 5:11
      The majority of information on how to treat wrongdoers within the congregation comes from Paul and the main support the Watchtower uses to enforce shunning is from 1 Corinthians 5.
      Paul showed a balanced approach to wrongdoers, advising not to socialise with such ones, but to still admonish [them] as a brother. 2 Thessalonians is key to understanding that wrongdoers should be marked, not disfellowshipped.
      2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15 Now we are giving YOU orders, brothers, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to withdraw from every brother walking disorderly and not according to the tradition YOU received from us . 14 But if anyone is not obedient to our word through this letter, keep this one marked, stop associating with him, that he may become ashamed. 15 And yet do not be considering him as an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother. Paul did not indicate that marking was only for non-serious sin as the word through this letter at 2 Thessalonians included those not glorifying the name of our Lord Jesus, those refusing to work for a living, and any who had been seduced by apostasy. Paul did not say to disfellowship and shun such people, but rather instructed the congregation to mark or take note of such a person, yet continue admonishing him as a brother. In similar vein the following scriptures do not instruct complete shunning of the person, but rather to take note so as not to be influenced by their wrong ways.
      Romans 16:17 "Now I exhort YOU, brothers, to keep your eye on (the word 'mark' is used in many translations) those who cause divisions and occasions for stumbling contrary to the teaching that YOU have learned, and avoid them. " Titus 3:10 "As for a man that promotes a sect, reject him after a first and a second admonition; knowing that such a man has been turned out of the way and is sinning, he being self-condemned." At 1 Corinthians 5 Paul specifically outlined practices for which to cease mixing with a brother, yet this too is similar to the advice given when marking a brother.
      1 Corinthians 5:11 "But now I am writing YOU to quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man. For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Do YOU not judge those inside, while God judges those outside? Remove the wicked [man] from among yourselves." 1 Corinthians does not say to totally shun a brother who is a wrong doer, rather it says to quit mixing in company with such a person and not eat with such a man and hence refers to socialising. As the Watchtower has explained, this refers to socialising as friends.
      "God's Word states that we should 'not even eat with such a man.' (1 Cor. 5:11) Hence, we also avoid social fellowship with an expelled person. This would rule out joining him in a picnic, party, ball game, or trip to the mall or theater or sitting down to a meal with him either in the home or at a restaurant." Kingdom Ministry 2002 Aug p.3 This does not state that this type of person must never be spoken to. As Paul explained at 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 (quoted earlier), if they are at a meeting it would be reasonable to encourage them. Most certainly a polite greeting is acceptable.
      1 Corinthians is also specific as to who these words apply to. This advice is in regards to a person"called a brother" who "is" a wrongdoer. No indication is given that they should be avoided when they are no longer recognised as a Jehovah's Witness brother. Nor does it say to shun a person who has stopped their wrongdoing. It is regularly the case that a teenage Witness is disfellowshipped for smoking or fornication. Years later they no longer practice what they were disfellowshipped for and are no longer known in the community as a brother, and so their continued shunning is unjustified.
      It can also be noted that Paul did not insist that everyone participate in the shunning. Later he wrote that the "majority" participate in the rebuke, showing that some in the congregation may choose not to show rebuke to the person.
      2 Corinthians 2:5-6 "Now if anyone has caused sadnessM, he has saddened, not me, but all of YOU to an extent-not to be too harsh in what I say. This rebuke given by the majority is sufficient for such a man, …" The New World Translation reference M shows Paul was here referring to the situation discussed at 1 Corinthians 5, (as do Christian scholars).
      Paul gave similar advice on a number of occasions to 'mark' and 'avoid' wrongdoers. This does not mean that the person must be totally ignored, never uttered a greeting, avoiding eye contact, crossing the street to get away from, all common experiences of disfellowshipped Jehovah's Witnesses.
      2 John 10
      Watchtower extreme treatment of not even saying "hello" to a disfellowshipped Witnesses is not based on the above scriptures, but rather on a single statement at 2 John 7-11:
      For many deceivers have gone forth into the world, persons not confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Look out for yourselves, that YOU do not lose the things we have worked to produce, but that YOU may obtain a full reward. Everyone that pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. He that does remain in this teaching is the one that has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to YOU and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into YOUR homes or say a greeting to him. For he that says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works. 2 John is referring to the antichrist and should not be applied across the board to all forms of sin, as done by the Watchtower Society.
      In order to justify their stance, the Watchtower describes those that stop being Witnesses as apostate and of the Antichrist, saying that "the word apostasy comes from a Greek word that literally means a standing away from but has the sense of desertion, abandonment or rebellion ... [and included] abandonment of right moral standards ... willfully abandoning the Christian congregation thereby become part of the 'antichrist." Watchtower 1985 Jul 15 p.31 In reality, many who stop being Witnesses continue to follow Jesus and Bible morals, but have come to believe that the Watchtower Society is not directed by Jesus.
      Interestingly, Johns advice here was not limited to former Christians. It included anyone denying Christ. This included Jews that rejected Jesus and people of the nations worshipping other Gods. Yet the Watchtower stance is to apply this only to Jehovah's Witnesses.
      The meaning of the phrase never receive him into YOUR homes should be understood in the context of the hospitality of first century Jerusalem. Since Christians held congregation meetings in their homes John possibly felt that inviting a denier of Christ into a home could be viewed as sharing worship with non-Christians.
      Likewise the term to never "say a greeting" needs to be understood in light of first century practice. In the following article, the Watchtower incorrectly claims that John used the term "greeting" to indicate a simple hello.
      "John here used khairo, which was a greeting like good day or hello. (Acts 15:23; Matthew 28:9) He did not use aspazomai (as in verse 13), which means to enfold in the arms, thus to greet, to welcome and may have implied a very warm greeting, even with an embrace. (Luke 10:4; 11:43; Acts 20:1, 37; 1 Thessalonians 5:26) So the direction at 2 John 11 could well mean not to say even hello to such ones." Watchtower 1988 Apr 15 p.27 This article claims the word khairo is used to forbid a simple greeting, instead of aspazomai which means a more affectionate embrace, enfolding in the arms, kiss, greeting or welcome. This is incorrect, and the opposite is true. Strong's Concordance states;
      5463 chairo {khah'-ee-ro} 1) to rejoice, be glad 2) to rejoice exceedingly 3) to be well, thrive 4) in salutations, hail! 5) at the beginning of letters: to give one greeting, salute 783 aspasmos {as-pas-mos} 1) a salutation, either oral or written 2 John does not indicate a polite greeting is wrong. John here shows that a person is a sharer in the Antichrist's wicked works if he shows acceptance and agreement with the evildoers cause or teachings, or wishes them favour and success.
      The Watchtower Society uses this single Scripture in 2 John to dictate that every disfellowshipped or disassociated person should not even be politely greeted. This is applied regardless of what the person was disfellowshipped for, including a long list of Society originated rules such as gambling, smoking, or authorising a blood transfusion. Every single one of a disfellowshipped persons Witness friends is told to never greet them again, unless they repent and are formally reinstated by the Watchtower Society. I am aware of friends whose own mothers or their own children have not spoken to them for upwards of 20 years. Yet such shunning is only ever discussed once, was only to apply to the Antichrist, and as such is being misused to its extremity.

      When a Pharisee expressed surprise that Jesus did not do ritual washing before dinner, Jesus' rebuke was particularly harsh.
      Luke 11:42 "'But woe to YOU Pharisees, because YOU give the tenth of the mint and the rue and of every [other] vegetable, but YOU pass by the justice and the love of God!" (see also Matthew 12:1-10) Matthew 12:7 "However, if YOU had understood what this means, I want mercy, and not sacrifice, YOU would not have condemned the guiltless ones."   Behind Closed Doors
      In determining if a person should be disfellowshipped the elders form a "judicial committee" to meet with the wrongdoer. This is done in private, and the wrongdoer is not allowed an onlooker, lawyer or recording device.
      "Hear only those witnesses who have relevant testimony regarding the alleged wrongdoing. Those who intend to testify only about the character of the accused should not be allowed do so. The witnesses should not hear details and testimony of other witnesses. Observers should not present for moral support. Recording should not be allowed." Shepherd the Flock of God p.90 This star-chamber setting opens the procedure to abuse.
      "I cannot tell you how humiliating and degrading it is as a woman to sit before 3 men (1 that I had known my whole life) and have to describe in graphic detail what I had done sexually that was sinful." - Email from reader
      The word "judicial committee" does not appear in the Bible and goes against Bible guidelines. Both the Israelites and early Christian congregations kept matters open to ordinary persons. Rather than being done in private, in front of elders only, matters were held by Israelites at the city gates so a fair discussion with onlookers could be made, or in front of the Christian congregation. This prevented the injustice that can take place before small closed bodies of elders.
      "The Bible regulations and accounts indicate that cases of wrongdoing came before the city elders at the gates primarily when controversies were involved, as in cases where an offender would not acknowledge having wronged another, and also when the community as a whole was seriously affected or endangered by the wrongdoing." Watchtower 1976 Dec 1 p.732 "Since the local court was situated at the city gates, there was no question about the trial being public! (Deut. 16:18-20) No doubt the public trials helped influence the judges toward carefulness and justice, qualities that sometimes vanish in secret star-chamber hearings." Watchtower 1981 Jan 1 p.17 At Matthew 18:17, Jesus instructed that unresolved wrongdoing should be taken "to the congregation", not a select committee of congregation leaders. This is how misdemeanors were originally dealt with. As discussed above, the judicial committee arrangement was not inaugurated until 1944 by Knorr.
      Reasons hidden
      When the person was disfellowshipped or publicly reproved the congregation was to know why. Paul openly told the congregation of the wrong conduct of Peter, Hymenaeus, Alexander and Diotrephes. To avoid legal problems, the Society does not follow this Scriptural advice. The extent of both the disfellowshipping and disassociating announcement is restricted to:
      "[Name of person] is no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses." Organised to do Jehovah's Will (2005) p.154 Speed of process
      In the scriptures it makes no mention of a time limit over which the process must take place. It does indicate that quite some period of time may be involved;
      Galatians 6:1 Brothers, even though a man takes some false step before he is aware of it, YOU who have spiritual qualifications try to readjust such a man in a spirit of mildness, as you each keep an eye on yourself, for fear you also may be tempted. To readjust a brother could take considerable time. If a person is addicted to certain practices or if they are having doubts about doctrine it could take months of effort to overcome these.Yet in many cases when a Jehovah's Witness confesses or another person reports their activities to the elders they are disfellowshipped within a few weeks. Furthermore, if the process is to readjust someone, it implies the person would not be disfellowshipped in the event the offender is readjusted and quits his ways, such as after taking blood or stopping an adulterous affair. Yet the general practice in these cases is automatic disassociation or likely disfellowshipping.
      Punishment
      Shunning was to be used for readjustment or to protect the congregation. However it is regularly used as punishment. When a person confesses to a wrong practice committed and ceased many years ago they have often been disfellowshipped for a wrong attitude, which is clearly done for punishment.
      Overly Harsh
      A review of Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 1 p.788 Expelling shows that many scriptures that relate to disfellowshipping discuss assisting or reproving the person.
      2 Corinthians 2:5-8 "Now if anyone has caused sadness, he has saddened, not me, but all of YOU to an extentnot to be too harsh in what I say. This rebuke given by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary now, YOU should kindly forgive and comfort [him], that somehow such a man may not be swallowed up by his being overly sad. Therefore I exhort YOU to confirm YOUR love for him." Persons can be so traumatised by being disfellowshipped that many contemplate and carry out suicide. It is common to suffer Post Traumatic Shock Disorder. The harsh stance of the Watchtower has a counter productive affect. Being Disfellowshipped has been the catalyst to cause many to doubt whether the Watchtower is the true religion. The trauma and effort involved in being reinstated that caused them to begin researching outside Watchtower publications and to come to the conclusion that the Watchtower it is not Gods chosen way.
      With many religions when a person no longer believes or is practicing sin they will tend to drift away from Church and associate with like minded individuals outside the congregation. This is how it is with unbaptised Witness youths; they leave over time, generally in their teens. Most that do not follow Watchtower guidelines or that do not believe it is the Truth stop going to meetings. However disfellowshipping is a form of entrapment that forces baptised Witnesses, including myself to spend years going to meetings whilst not believing or adhering to Watchtower regulations. This is done to avoid being disfellowshipped, in order to prevent being shunned by family. By encouraging people to stay and lead double lives disfellowshipping possibly results in more people being influenced than if the wrongdoers are encouraged to drift away.
      Pharisaic
      Since the word disfellowship does not appear in the Scriptures, the New World Translation Reference Bible "Bible words indexed" directs the reader to the term "expelled".
      "DISFELLOWSHIP(PED). See EXPEL, EXPELLED" Rbi8 p.1507 Under Expelled the Scriptures are
      "EXPELLED,  Joh 9:22 e. from synagogue  Joh 12:42 not to be e. from synagogue" Rbi8 p.1510 Both references are regarding the Pharisees practice of expelling from the Synagogue.
      John 9:22 "His parents said these things because they were in fear of the Jews, for the Jews had already come to an agreement that, if anyone confessed him as Christ, he should get expelled from the synagogue." The closest Scriptural example the Watchtower can find for the term disfellowship is that of the Pharisees.
      Hatred
      The direction given in the Watchtower goes strongly against Christian examples when demanding members hate an apostate.
      "The obligation to hate lawlessness also applies to all activity by apostates. Our attitude toward apostates should be that of David, who declared: Do I not hate those who are intensely hating you" Watchtower 1992 Jul 15 pp.12-13 Christ Hated Lawlessness Do You? "Apostasy is, in reality, a rebellion against Jehovah. Some apostates profess to know and serve God, but they reject teachings or requirements set out in his Word. Others claim to believe the Bible, but they reject Jehovah's organization and actively try to hinder its work. When they deliberately choose such badness after knowing what is right, when the bad becomes so ingrained that it is an inseparable part of their makeup, then a Christian must hate (in the Biblical sense of the word) those who have inseparably attached themselves to the badness. True Christians share Jehovah's feelings toward such apostates; they are not curious about apostate ideas. On the contrary, they "feel a loathing" toward those who have made themselves God's enemies, but they leave it to Jehovah to execute vengeance."Watchtower 1993 Oct 1 p.19 "Haters of God and his people are to be hated, but this does not mean that we will take any opportunity of bringing physical hurt to them in a spirit of malice or spite, for both malice and spite belong to the Devil, whereas pure hatred does not. We must hate in the truest sense, which is to regard with extreme and active aversion, to consider as loathsome, odious, filthy, to detest. Surely any haters of God are not fit to live on his beautiful earth. The earth will be rid of the wicked and we shall not need to lift a finger to cause physical harm to come to them, for God will attend to that, but we must have a proper perspective of these enemies. His name signifies recompense to the enemies." Watchtower 1952 Oct 1 p.599 Jesus and Paul both said we should not hate but rather love our enemies. This was to apply even when someone is attacking our faith and practice.
      Matthew 5:44-45 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust," Romans 12:17-21 17 Return evil for evil to no one. Provide fine things in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, as far as it depends upon YOU, be peaceable with all men. 19 Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah. 20 But, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing this you will heap fiery coals upon his head. 21 Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good. When discussing a person seduced by apostasy Paul said at 2 Thessalonians 3:15 And yet do not be considering him as an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother.
      When discussing that for everlasting life it is necessary to love your neighbor as yourself, Jesus used the illustration of the Good Samaritan to explain who ones neighbour is. (Luke 10:25-37) The Jews regarded the Samaritans as apostates of the Jewish religion, yet Jesus says our love is to encompass these people as well.
      References
      "Speak What "Is Good for Building Up"", Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , page 142-143 "Maintaining the Peace and Cleanness of the Congregation", Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , page 151 Our Kingdom Ministry, Service meeting schedule, 1992-2009 "Question Box", Our Kingdom Ministry, March 1972, page 4 "Do You Accept Jehovah’s Help?", The Watchtower, December 15, 2004, page 21 "Charisma—Praise to Man or Glory to God?", The Watchtower, February 15, 1998, page 27 "How Christian Shepherds Serve You", The Watchtower, March 15, 1996, page 27 "Announcements", Our Kingdom Ministry, June 2005, page 3 "Guidelines for School Overseers", Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , ©2001 Watch Tower, page 284, subheading "Making Assignments" Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  use the term "special privileges of service" for positions requiring formal appointment or approval, such as Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , ministerial servant, pioneer, Bethel (branch) service, and schools such as Gilead and Ministerial Training School; "Make Room for It", Our Kingdom Ministry, April 2003, page 1 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  chap. 26 pp. 268-269 par. 22 The Watchtower 10/15/96 p. 21 par. 7 Father and Elder—Fulfilling Both Roles "Announcements", Our Kingdom Ministry, February 1991, page 7 "Let Discernment Safeguard You", The Watchtower, March 15, 1997, page 19 "Let Your Advancement Be Manifest", Theocratic Ministry School Guidebook, page 191 "Are You Reaching Out?", The Watchtower, September 1, 1990, page 23 The Watchtower 4/15/85 p. 31 Questions From Readers "Questions From Readers". The Watchtower: 12. 15 April 2009. "Understanding that timeless truth has helped millions of Christians to repudiate the practice of abortion, seeing it as a serious sin against God." "Apostasy" includes publicly challenging the religion's teachings Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . pp. 182–184. "Consistent with that understanding of matters, beginning in 1961 any who ignored the divine requirement, accepted blood transfusions, and manifested an unrepentant attitude were disfellowshipped from the congregations of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ." Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , pages 60, "Rather than relating to bad conduct of a somewhat petty or minor nature, "brazen conduct" describes acts that reflect an attitude that betrays disrespect, disregard, or even contempt for divine standards, laws, and authority." "Questions from Readers: What does the expression 'loose conduct' as found at Galatians 5:19 mean?". (September 15, 1973). The Watchtower, p. 574, "It is not limited to acts of sexual immorality. And, rather than relating to bad conduct of a somewhat petty or minor nature, it apparently describes acts that reflect a brazen attitude, one that betrays disrespect, disregard or even contempt for standards, laws and authority. The ‘looseness' of the conduct, therefore, is not due principally to weakness but results from an attitude of disrespect, insolence or shamelessness." "You Must Be Holy Because Jehovah Is Holy". The Watchtower: 123. 15 February 1976. "Jehovah has brought to the attention of his “holy” people the need to disfellowship those dedicated, baptized Christians who refuse to break and give up the drug and tobacco habits." Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , page 69 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , p. 67-68 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , page 65 The Watchtower, June 15, 2009, p. 18, "Speak Truth With Your Neighbor". "Honor Godly Marriage!", The Watchtower, March 15, 1983, p. 31 "Adjust the Bible to Polygamy?". The Watchtower: 10. 1 July 1985. "polygamy is not to be condoned for any Christian regardless of nationality or circumstance. ... This leaves no room for polygamy among true Christians." Watchtower 7/15/06 p. 31 Questions From Readers; "But not all viewing of pornography calls for a hearing before a judicial committee. … However, suppose a Christian has secretly viewed abhorrent, sexually degrading pornography for years and has done everything possible to conceal this sin. Such pornography might feature gang rape, bondage, sadistic torture, the brutalizing of women, or even child pornography. When others become aware of his conduct, he is deeply ashamed. He has not been brazen, but the elders may determine that he has ‘given himself over’ to this filthy habit and has practiced ‘uncleanness with greediness,’ that is, gross uncleanness. A judicial committee would be formed because gross uncleanness is involved. The wrongdoer would be disfellowshipped if he did not display godly repentance" "Prevention in the Home". Awake!: 10. 8 October 1993. "Similarly the Christian congregation today enforces strong laws against all forms of sexual abuse. Anyone who sexually abuses a child risks being disfellowshipped, put out of the congregation." "Personally Benefiting from the Bible’s Laws and Principles". The Watchtower: 404–405. 1 July 1970. "In the Christian congregation there are definite laws against adultery, incest, homosexuality, bestiality, murder, stealing and other things, any of which, when committed by a Christian, would bring reproach from the world against the congregation. These things the Bible has put under the authority of the congregation, that is, it is required to take some action." Insight on the Scriptures 1. p. 788. "Some of the offenses that could merit disfellowshipping from the Christian congregation are fornication, adultery, homosexuality, greed, extortion, thievery, lying, drunkenness, reviling, spiritism, murder, idolatry, apostasy, and the causing of divisions in the congregation." Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , p. 111 August 15, 1997 Watchtower, p. 27 Insight in the Scriptures, Volume 2, p. 969. "A Time to Speak--When?" Watchtower, September 1, 1987, pp. 12-15 "New Arrangements for Congregation Organization", Our Kingdom Ministry, September 1977, pages 5-6 ""Gifts in Men" to Care for Jehovah’s Sheep", The Watchtower, June 1, 1999, page 14 "Elders, Judge With Righteousness", The Watchtower, July 1, 1992, page 16 "Disfellowshipping—A Loving Provision?", The Watchtower, July 15, 1995, page 25 "Jehovah’s Sheep Need Tender Care", The Watchtower, January 15, 1996, page 18 "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, July 15, 2006, pages 30-31" "Question Box", Our Kingdom Ministry, October 1972, page 8 "Make Wise Use of Your Christian Freedom", June 1, 1992, page 19 ""A Time to Speak"—When?", The Watchtower, September 1, 1987, page 14 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1991, page 110-120. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , In Search of Christian Freedom, Commentary Press, 2007, page 321. It is unclear whether accused individuals have always had the option to call witnesses. The judicial committee hearing accusations that resulted in the disfellowshipping of Canadian Witness James Penton in February 1981 refused Penton's request to have a lawyer present and to call witnesses. See James A. Beverley, Crisis of Allegiance (Welch Publishing, 1986, page 71). M. James Penton, Apocalypse Delayed, University of Toronto Press, 1997, page 89. "New Arrangements for Congregation Organization", Our Kingdom Ministry, September 1977, page 6 The Watchtower 12/1/76 p. 723 par. 15 How Wise Reprovers Aid Erring Ones The Watchtower 9/1/81 p. 23 par. 9 Repentance Leading Back to God "Imitate Jehovah—Exercise Justice and Righteousness", The Watchtower, August 1, 1998, page 17 The Watchtower 9/15/87 p. 13 par. 13 The Watchtower 9/1/81 p. 26 par. 23 Repentance Leading Back to God The Watchtower 12/1/76 p. 733 par. 14 Giving Reproof "Before All Onlookers" '"Maintaining the Peace and Cleanness of the Congregation", Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , ©2005 Watch Tower, page 151, "Elders will use reasonableness and discernment in determining whether a particular situation is sufficiently serious and disturbing to require a warning talk. This talk will not name the disorderly one. However, those who are aware of the situation described in the talk will take heed" Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  2005, p. 152. Our Kingdom Ministry March 1983, p. 3. "Always Accept Jehovah’s Discipline", The Watchtower, November 15, 2006, page 30, "During the time that an individual who has been judicially reproved is healing spiritually, ...it would be beneficial for the repentant one to listen rather than comment at meetings. The elders may arrange for someone to have a Bible study with him to strengthen him where he is weak so that he may again become “healthy in faith.” (Titus 2:2) All of this is done in love and is not intended to punish the wrongdoer." "Disfellowshiping—How to View It", The Watchtower, September 15, 1981, page 22, "Thus "disfellowshiping" is what Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  appropriately call the expelling and subsequent shunning of such an unrepentant wrongdoer. [emphasis added]" Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . 1991. pp. 121–122. To All Circuit and District Overseers, September 1, 1980, "Keep in mind that to be disfellowshipped, an apostate does not have to be a promoter of apostate views. ... if a baptized Christian abandons the teachings of Jehovah, as presented by the faithful and discreet slave, and persists in believing other doctrine despite Scriptural reproof, then he is apostatizing. ... [If] he continues to believe the apostate ideas and rejects what he has been provided through the 'slave class,' then appropriate judicial action should be taken. ... [If] something reasonably substantial comes to the attention of the elders along this line, it would be appropriate to make a kindly, discreet inquiry so as to protect the flock." Letter reproduced in Crisis of Conscience, Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , 1983, chapter 11. The Watchtower 6/1/98 p. 19 par. 17 "Put Up a Hard Fight for the Faith"! "Show a Waiting Attitude!" The Watchtower September 1, 2000 page 11. Retrieved on 2013-02-02. How Baptism Can Save Us The Watchtower Jan 15, 1989, p. 17. The Watchtower 11/15/06 p. 27 par. 6 Always Accept Jehovah’s Discipline "Beliefs—Frequently Asked Questions", Authorized Site of the Office of Public Information of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , As Retrieved 2009-08-28, "Do you shun former members? ... If, however, someone unrepentantly practices serious sins, such as drunkenness, stealing or adultery, he will be disfellowshipped and such an individual is avoided by former fellow-worshipers. ... The marriage relationship and normal family affections and dealings can continue. ... Disfellowshipped individuals may continue to attend religious services and, if they wish, they may receive spiritual counsel from the elders with a view to their being restored. They are always welcome to return to the faith [emphasis retained from source]" Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , page 35. "You May Gain Your Brother", The Watchtower, October 15, 1999, page 22. Jealous for the Pure Worship of Jehovah, The Watchtower September 15, 1995, p. 11. The Bible's Viewpoint - Why Disfellowshipping Is a Loving Arrangement Awake! September 8, 1996, p. 26-27. Questions from readers, The Watchtower, October 15, 1986, page 31. "Disfellowshiping—How to View It", The Watchtower, September 15, 1981, page 23. "Do You Hate Lawlessness?", The Watchtower, February 15, 2011, page 31, "Do we share Jesus’ view of those who have become set in their lawless course? We need to give thought to these questions: ‘Would I choose to associate regularly with someone who has been disfellowshipped or who has disassociated himself from the Christian congregation? What if that one is a close relative who no longer lives at home?’ Such a situation can be a real test of our loyalty to God." Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , p. 104. "Will You Heed Jehovah's Clear Warnings?", The Watchtower, July 15, 2011, pages 15 and Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. p. 163. ISBN 0-415-26609-2. Taylor, Jerome (27 September 2011). "War of words breaks out among Jehovah's Witnesses". The Independent. "Jehovah's Witnesses church likens defectors to 'contagious, deadly disease'", Sunday Herald Sun, page 39, October 2, 2011. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Unit 5(a) p. 103. The section cites 2 John 11 ("For he that says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.") Botting, Heather; Gary Botting (1984), The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, University of Toronto Press, p. 91, ISBN 0-8020-6545-7 "How to Treat a Disfellowshipped Person", Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , ©2008 Watch Tower, page 207-208, "We do not have spiritual or social fellowship with disfellowshipped ones. ...In some instances, the disfellowshipped family member may still be living in the same home as part of the immediate household. Since his being disfellowshipped does not sever the family ties, normal day-to-day family activities and dealings may continue. Yet, by his course, the individual has chosen to break the spiritual bond between him and his believing family. So loyal family members can no longer have spiritual fellowship with him." "How Can You Help a 'Prodigal' Child?". Watchtower: 16–17. October 1, 2001. "Disfellowshiping—How to View It". Watchtower: 26. September 15, 1981. "It might be possible to have almost no contact at all with the relative. Even if there were some family matters requiring contact, this certainly would be kept to a minimum" "Safeguard Your Heart". Awake!: 28. 8 July 1970. "And if he seeks reinstatement, he must show his sincerity by attending congregation meetings with no one speaking to him, all the while giving evidence of repentance." The Watchtower 4/15/91 p. 21 par. 6 The Watchtower 8/1/98 p. 16 par. 16 Imitate Jehovah—Exercise Justice and Righteousness The Watchtower 5/1/98 p. 15 par. 10 " True repentance comes from the heart, from the depths of our being" The Watchtower 11/15/06 p. 27 par. 9 Always Accept Jehovah’s Discipline The Watchtower 8/15/92 p. 31 A Step on the Way Back The Watchtower 8/15/82 p. 31 A Step on the Way Back Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Watch Tower Society. p. 119. Divine Mercy Points the Way Back for Erring Ones The Watchtower Aug 1, 1974, p. 466 par. 24. "Discipline That Can Yield Peaceable Fruit", The Watchtower April 15, 1988, pages 26-30, Online "Religion: The Right To Shun", Time magazine, June 29, 1987, Online, "The Constitution's guarantee of "free exercise," said the appeals panel, applies even to unpopular groups and practices" The Watchtower 11/15/88 p. 18 par. 14 Helping Others to Worship God The Watchtower 11/15/88 p. 19 par. 17 Helping Others to Worship God The Watchtower 11/15/88 p. 19 par. 19 Helping Others to Worship God Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. pp. 150, 156–157. ISBN 0-415-26609-2. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  chap. 15 p. 232 "Development of the Organization Structure" Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , In Search Of Christian Freedom, pp.374–390. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  claims the Watch Tower organization ignores the "clear principle of openness in the conduct of judicial proceedings" and cites the Watch Tower Society publication, Insight on the Scriptures, Vol 1, p. 518, which states that "publicity that would be afforded any trial at the gate would tend to influence the judges toward care and justice in the trial proceedings and in their decisions". Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Crisis of Conscience. 4th ed. Atlanta: Commentary Press, 2004. pp. 341-2. ISBN 0-914675-24-9. The Watchtower March 15, 1986 p.15 paragraph 17 "Do Not Be Quickly Shaken From Your Reason"; The Watchtower October 15, 1986 p. 31 Questions From Readers; The Watchtower October 1, 1989 p. 19 paragraph 14 Maintain Your Faith and Spiritual Health; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  p. 94-95; The Watchtower May 1, 2000 p.12 par. 19 Firmly Uphold Godly Teaching; The Watchtower September 1, 2000 p. 13 par. 10 Show a Waiting Attitude!; The Watchtower April 1, 1986 pp. 30-31 Questions From Readers.  
    • By Jack Ryan
      "Why is it necessary, when someone feels that they can no longer abide the organisation and has to disassociate - why is it necessary to shun them? Why can't they keep having social contact
      with those people who happen to remain in the organisation?"
      - Australian Royal Commission to Jehovah's Witnesses 
    • By TrueTomHarley
      There are quite a few of them out there – some shunned, some not. Some go online. They’re not necessarily wrong as they relate their experiences and viewpoints. Some have had run-ins with Tom Pearlsnswine, who never met a fly he didn’t counsel. Some caught the consumer mentality of religion and could “no more imagine a church disciplining them than they could a store that sells goods disciplining them. It is not the place of the seller to discipline the consumer.” Others lost their balance as standards of child-rearing veered more sharply than ever before. ‘If you kids don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about!’ my non-Witness Dad would holler, a phrase that was no idle threat – every child knew that phrase, as they did “I’ll kill you for that!” It was a commonplace ‘threat’ bestowed almost lovingly on a mischievous child – I can’t tell you how many times my mother said it to me - but the deed itself was rare. Today the deed is commonplace but you’ll have to explain your words before the judge. Lightning-like shifts in morals and mores caught youngsters and parents alike flatfooted. Besides – let’s face it – a lot of Jehovah’s Witnesses are nuts. Probably in no greater proportion than the world in general and certainly without the baggage of violence that can so easily attach itself to non-Witness nuts, but that doesn’t mean they’re not nuts. Sometimes your best option is to hit the reset button.
      From:Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.




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    • My best guess is that Cesar really hates Jehovah's Witnesses, individually ... all of them, and is crude, rude, insulting and vulgar without letup to demonstrate to non-Witnesses that if they are considering the Jehovah's Witnesses religion, they will become like him .... thereby horrifying them, and scaring them away. I would also guess that this is caused by raging, massive and persistent neurotic insecurity, and is over-compensation due to unawareness. I don't expect perfection, or
    • Like I said, he's nothing but a troll...
    • @César Chávez You appear to have some special reason or need to respond to others with vulgarity. You've done this to several people in the past, too. If "Pudgy" had been vulgar first, perhaps I missed it. Still, considering your claims to moral superiority over everyone, it seems a bit unseemly. This wasn't a topic under any religious heading or club, so I won't spell out Ephesians 5:3-4.
    • When there is a good interlocutor, like you, it is so simple and easy to go from the topic of artificial satellites and torn parts flying in Earth orbit to the topic of the persecution of Christians. :))
    • Are Cats For Christians QUESTIONS FROM READERS "Is it appropriate for a Christian to own a cat in light of their past pagan religions affiliation and the new medical information that is now coming to light?" Many conscientious ones among Jehovah's people today have wondered if Christians should own cats in view of their sorted past and many health risks. What may be acceptable to one person may, although unintentionally, stumble another. This can become a life-or-death issue since
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    • Eric Ouellet

      CHANTONS À JÉHOVAH UN CHANT NOUVEAU
      Il est bon de rendre grâces à Jéhovah
      et d’exécuter des mélodies pour ton nom, ô Très-Haut !
      D’annoncer ta bonté de cœur le matin
      et ta fidélité pendant les nuits,
      sur un instrument à dix cordes et sur le luth,
      aux accords sonores de la harpe.
      Car tu m’as réjoui, ô Jéhovah, à cause de ton action ;
      à cause des œuvres de tes mains je pousse des cris de joie.
      Que tes œuvres sont grandes, ô Jéhovah !
      Tes pensées sont très profondes.
      L’homme dépourvu de raison ne peut les connaître,
      et le stupide ne peut comprendre cela.
      Quand les méchants germent comme la végétation
      et que fleurissent tous ceux qui 
      pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant,
      c’est pour être anéantis pour toujours.
      Mais toi, tu es là-haut pour des temps indéfinis, ô Jéhovah!
      Car voici que tes ennemis, ô Jéhovah,
      car voici que tes ennemis périront;
      tous ceux qui pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant seront séparés les uns des autres.
      Mais tu élèveras ma corne comme celle du taureau sauvage;
      je m’arroserai d’huile fraîche.
      Mon œil regardera mes ennemis;
      mes oreilles entendront parler de ceux
      qui se dressent contre moi, les malfaiteurs.
      Le juste fleurira comme un palmier ;
      il grandira comme un cèdre du Liban.
      Ceux qui sont plantés dans la maison de Jéhovah,
      dans les cours de notre Dieu — ils fleuriront.
      Ils prospéreront encore durant les cheveux gris,
      ils resteront gras et frais,
      pour annoncer que Jéhovah est droit.
      Il est mon Rocher, Celui en qui il n’y a pas d’injustice.
      Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi!
      De grandeur il est vêtu ;
      Jéhovah est vêtu de force Il s’est ceint.
      Le sol productif aussi s’établit solidement
      de sorte qu’il ne peut chanceler.
      Ton trône est solidement établi depuis les temps anciens ;
      tu es depuis des temps indéfinis.
      Les fleuves ont fait retentir, ô Jéhovah,
      les fleuves ont fait retentir leur bruit ;
      les fleuves sans arrêt font retentir leur fracas.
      Par-dessus les bruits des eaux immenses,
      des vagues majestueuses de la mer qui déferlent,
      Jéhovah est majestueux dans les hauteurs.
      Tes rappels se sont révélés très dignes de foi.
      La sainteté convient à ta maison, ô Jéhovah,
      pour la longueur des jours.
      Ô Dieu aux actes de vengeance
      Jéhovah , ô Dieu aux actes de vengeance, apparais.
      Lève-toi, ô Juge de la terre!
      Fais revenir la rétribution sur les orgueilleux.
      Jusqu’à quand les méchants, ô Jéhovah,
      jusqu’à quand les méchants vont-ils exulter ?
      Sans cesse ils font jaillir un flot de paroles,
      sans cesse ils parlent avec audace;
      sans cesse ils se vantent, 
      tous ceux qui pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant.
      Ton peuple, ô Jéhovah, ils continuent à l’écraser,
      et ton héritage, ils continuent à l’affliger.
      Ils tuent la veuve et le résident étranger,
      ils assassinent les orphelins de père.
      Et ils continuent à dire : “ Yah ne voit pas;
      le Dieu de Jacob ne le comprend pas. ”
      Comprenez donc, vous qui êtes dépourvus de raison parmi le peuple;
      et vous, stupides, quand serez-vous perspicaces ?
      Celui qui plante l’oreille, est-ce qu’il ne peut pas entendre ?
      Ou Celui qui forme l’œil, est-ce qu’il ne peut pas regarder ?
      Celui qui corrige les nations, 
      est-ce qu’il ne peut pas reprendre,
      oui Celui qui enseigne la connaissance aux hommes?
      Jéhovah connaît les pensées des hommes,
      il sait qu’elles sont comme une vapeur.
      Heureux l’homme robuste que tu corriges, ô Yah,
      et que tu enseignes par ta loi,
      pour lui donner le calme aux jours du malheur,
      jusqu’à ce qu’une fosse soit creusée pour le méchant.
      Car Jéhovah n’abandonnera pas son peuple,
      et il ne quittera pas son héritage.
      Car la décision judiciaire retournera à la justice,
      et tous ceux qui ont le cœur droit la suivront.
      Qui se dressera pour moi contre les malfaiteurs?
      Qui se postera pour moi contre ceux qui pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant ?
      Si Jéhovah ne m’était venu en aide,
      sous peu mon âme aurait résidé dans le silence.
      Lorsque j’ai dit : “ À coup sûr, mon pied chancellera ”,
      ta bonté de cœur, ô Jéhovah, m’a soutenu sans relâche.
      Quand mes pensées troublantes se multiplièrent au-dedans de moi,
      tes consolations se mirent à cajoler mon âme.
      Sera-t-il allié à toi, le trône qui cause des adversités,
      tandis qu’il façonne le malheur par décret ?
      Ils lancent de vives attaques contre l’âme du juste
      et déclarent coupable le sang de l’innocent.
      Mais Jéhovah deviendra pour moi une hauteur sûre,
      et mon Dieu, le rocher de mon refuge.
      Il ramènera sur eux leurs méfaits
      et les réduira au silence par leur malheur.
      Jéhovah notre Dieu les réduira au silence.
      Oh ! venez, poussons des cris de joie vers Jéhovah !
      Poussons des cris de triomphe vers notre Rocher de salut.
      Présentons-nous devant sa personne avec des actions de grâces;
      avec des mélodies poussons vers lui des cris de triomphe.
      Car Jéhovah est un grand Dieu
      et un grand Roi au-dessus de tous les autres dieux,
      lui en la main de qui sont les profondeurs 
      les plus secrètes de la terre
      et à qui appartiennent les cimes des montagnes;
      lui à qui appartient la mer qu’il a faite
      et dont les mains ont formé la terre ferme.
      Oh ! entrez, adorons et courbons-nous!
      Agenouillons nous devant Jéhovah notre Auteur.
      Car il est notre Dieu, et nous sommes le peuple
      de son pâturage et les brebis de sa main.
      Aujourd’hui, si vous écoutez sa voix,
      n’endurcissez pas votre cœur comme à Meriba,
      comme au jour de Massa dans le désert,
      quand vos ancêtres m’ont mis à l’épreuve ;
      ils m’ont examiné, ils ont aussi vu mon action.
      Pendant quarante ans j’ai éprouvé du dégoût pour cette génération,
      alors j’ai dit :
      “ C’est un peuple au cœur errant,
      et ils n’ont pas appris à connaître mes voies ” ;
      à propos de qui j’ai juré dans ma colère:
      “ Ils n’entreront pas dans mon lieu de repos
      Chantez pour Jéhovah un chant nouveau.
      Chantez pour Jéhovah, vous tous, gens de la terre !
      Chantez pour Jéhovah, bénissez son nom.
      De jour en jour annoncez la bonne nouvelle de son salut.
      Proclamez parmi les nations sa gloire,
      parmi tous les peuples ses œuvres prodigieuses."
      Car Jéhovah est grand et on doit le louer infiniment.
      Il est redoutable par-dessus tous les autres dieux.
      Car tous les dieux des peuples sont des dieux sans valeur ;
      mais Jéhovah, lui, a fait les cieux.
      Dignité et splendeur sont devant lui;
      force et beauté sont dans son sanctuaire.
      Attribuez à Jéhovah, ô familles des peuples,
      attribuez à Jéhovah gloire et force.
      Attribuez à Jéhovah la gloire qui appartient à son nom;
      portez un don et entrez dans ses cours.
      Prosternez-vous devant Jéhovah en ornements sacrés;
      soyez dans de violentes douleurs à cause de lui, 
      vous tous, gens de la terre !
      Dites parmi les nations :
       “ Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi."
      Le sol productif aussi s’établit solidement,
      de sorte qu’il ne peut chanceler.
      Il va plaider la cause des peuples avec droiture. 
      Que les cieux se réjouissent, et que la terre soit en joie.
      Que gronde la mer et ce qui la remplit.
      Qu’exulte la campagne et tout ce qui s’y trouve.
      Qu’en même temps tous les arbres de la forêt 
      poussent des cris de joie devant Jéhovah. 
      Car il est venu ;
      car il est venu pour juger la terre.
      Il jugera le sol productif avec justice
      et les peuples avec sa fidélité.
      Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi ! 
      Que la terre soit en joie.
      Que les îles nombreuses se réjouissent
      Des nuages et une obscurité épaisse sont tout autour de lui;
      justice et jugement sont le lieu fixe de son trône.
      Devant lui marche un feu,
      il consume ses adversaires tout autour.
      Ses éclairs ont illuminé le sol productif ;
      la terre a vu, elle a été prise de violentes douleur.
      Alors les montagnes ont fondu
      comme de la cire à cause de Jéhovah,
      à cause du Seigneur de toute la terre.
      Les cieux ont annoncé sa justice,
      et tous les peuples ont vu sa gloire.
      Qu’ils soient honteux,
      tous ceux qui servent quelque image sculptée,
      ceux qui se glorifient en des dieux sans valeur.
      Prosternez-vous devant lui, vous tous les dieux !
      Sion a entendu et s’est alors réjouie,
      et les localités qui dépendent de Juda sont devenues joyeuses
      à cause de tes décisions judiciaires, ô Jéhovah !
      Car toi, ô Jéhovah, tu es le Très-Haut sur toute la terre ;
      tu es très haut dans ta montée par-dessus tous les autres dieux.
      Ô vous qui aimez Jéhovah,
      haïssez ce qui est mauvais.
      Il garde les âmes de ses fidèles;
      de la main des méchants il les délivre.
      La lumière est apparue pour le juste,
      et la joie pour ceux qui ont le cœur droit.
      Réjouissez-vous en Jéhovah, ô vous les justes,
      et rendez grâces à son saint mémorial.
      Chantez pour Jéhovah un chant nouveau,
      car prodigieuses sont les choses qu’il a faites.
      Sa droite, oui son saint bras, lui a procuré le salut.
      Jéhovah a fait connaître son salut;
      aux yeux des nations il a révélé sa justice.
      Il s’est souvenu de sa bonté de cœur et de sa fidélité
      envers la maison d’Israël.
      Toutes les extrémités de la terre ont vu le salut de notre Dieu.
      Poussez des cris de triomphe vers Jéhovah, vous tous, gens de la terre !
      Égayez-vous et poussez des cris de joie et exécutez des mélodies.
      Exécutez des mélodies pour Jéhovah avec la harpe,
      avec la harpe et la voix de la mélodie.
      Avec les trompettes et au son du cor,
      poussez des cris de triomphe devant le Roi, 
      JÉHOVAH.
      Que gronde la mer et ce qui la remplit,
      le sol productif et ceux qui y habitent.
      Que les fleuves battent des mains ;
      que toutes ensemble les montagnes poussent
      des cris de joie devant Jéhovah
      car il est venu pour juger la terre.
      Il jugera le sol productif avec justice
      et les peuples avec droiture.
      Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi.
      Que les peuples s’agitent.
      Il siège sur les chérubins. 
      Que la terre frémisse.
      Jéhovah est grand dans Sion, et il est élevé
      par-dessus tous les peuples.
      Qu’ils louent ton nom.
      Grand et redoutable, celui-ci est saint.
      Avec une force de roi il a aimé le jugement.
      C’est toi qui as solidement établi la droiture.
      Le jugement et la justice en Jacob, c’est toi qui les as réalisés.
      Exaltez Jéhovah notre Dieu et prosternez-vous
      devant son marchepied ; Car Il est Saint.
      Moïse et Aaron étaient parmi ses prêtres,
      et Samuel parmi ceux qui invoquaient son nom.
      Ils appelaient Jéhovah, et lui leur répondait.
      Dans la colonne de nuage il leur parlait.
      Ils gardaient ses rappels et la prescription qu’il leur avait donnée.
      Ô Jéhovah notre Dieu, tu leur répondais toi-même.
      Tu as été pour eux un Dieu qui pardonne,
      mais qui exécutait la vengeance
      contre leurs actions scandaleuses.
      Exaltez Jéhovah notre Dieu
      et prosternez-vous à sa montagne saint.
      Car Jéhovah notre Dieu est saint.

      · 0 replies
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Hello Eric merci pour ce bon condensé sur les vœux. Bonne journée et à bientôt. Michel
      b-13-sculptures-de-givre-ggo-wp1.ppsx
      · 1 reply
    • Eric Ouellet

      « Le vœu que tu fais, acquitte toi de se voeux sans renoncer »
      « Tu dois t’acquitter envers Jéhovah de tes vœux » (MATTHIEU 5:33).
      YIPHTAH était un chef et un guerrier courageux. Hanna était une femme humble qui prenait soin de son mari et de sa famille. Tous les deux adoraient Jéhovah. Mais ils ont un autre point commun : ils ont fait un vœu à Jéhovah et ils l’ont respecté fidèlement. Ils sont d’excellents exemples pour les chrétiens qui décident de faire des vœux à Jéhovah. Répondons maintenant à ces trois questions : Qu’est-ce qu’un vœu ? Faire un vœu à Jéhovah, est-ce sérieux ? Quelles leçons tirer des histoires de Yiphtah et de Hanna ?
      Dans la Bible, un vœu est une promesse sérieuse faite à Jéhovah. Par exemple, la promesse de faire quelque chose, d’offrir quelque chose, de commencer un certain service, ou de ne pas faire certaines choses. On fait un vœu volontairement, en utilisant sa liberté de choix. Personne n’est obligé de faire un vœu. Mais si on décide d’en faire un, Jéhovah le considère comme une promesse dont on doit s’acquitter. D’après la Bible, un vœu est aussi important qu’un serment. Un serment, c’est quand une personne jure de faire ou de ne pas faire quelque chose (Genèse 14:22, 23 ; Hébreux 6:16, 17). Que dit la Bible à propos du sérieux des vœux faits à Jéhovah ?
      Dans la Loi de Moïse, on lit que si quelqu’un fait un vœu à Jéhovah, « il ne doit pas violer (trahir) sa parole. Il fera selon tout ce qui est sorti de sa bouche » (Nombres 30:2). Plus tard, Salomon a écrit : « Quand tu fais un vœu à Dieu, n’hésite pas à t’en acquitter, car il n’y a aucun plaisir dans les stupides. Le vœu que tu fais, acquitte-t’en » (Ecclésiaste 5:4). Plus tard encore, Jésus a enseigné qu’un vœu fait à Jéhovah est quelque chose de sérieux, en rappelant : « Il a été dit à ceux des temps anciens : “Tu ne dois pas jurer sans tenir [parole], mais tu dois t’acquitter envers Jéhovah de tes vœux” » (Matthieu 5:33).
      C’est donc clair qu’il faut prendre très au sérieux toute promesse qu’on fait à Jéhovah. Respecter ou non nos vœux a des conséquences sur notre relation avec lui. Un jour, David a demandé : « Qui pourra monter à la montagne de Jéhovah, et qui pourra se lever en son lieu saint », autrement dit être accepté par Jéhovah ? Il a répondu que c’est celui qui ne fait pas de « serment avec tromperie » (Psaume 24:3, 4). Mais quels vœux Yiphtah et Hanna ont-ils faits ? Cela a-t-il été facile pour eux de s’en acquitter ?
      ILS SE SONT ACQUITTÉS DE LEURS VŒUX
      Yiphtah a fait sa promesse à Jéhovah avant de combattre les Ammonites, des ennemis du peuple de Jéhovah (Juges 10:7-9). Il a fait ce vœu (en résumé) : « Si vraiment tu me donnes la victoire, voici ce qui devra arriver : quand je reviendrai en paix de chez les fils d’Ammôn, la personne qui sortira de ma maison à ma rencontre, celle-là devra alors t’appartenir. » Jéhovah a répondu à la prière de Yiphtah en l’aidant à gagner la guerre. Quand Yiphtah est rentré chez lui, sa fille chérie est sortie vers lui. Ce serait donc elle qui « appartiendrait à Jéhovah » (Juges 11:30-34). Qu’est-ce que cela allait changer pour elle ?
      Pour respecter le vœu de Yiphtah, sa fille devrait partir servir Jéhovah à plein temps au tabernacle. Yiphtah avait-il fait son vœu sans réfléchir ? Non. Il savait sans doute que sa fille pourrait être la première personne à sortir vers lui. Mais qu’il l’ait su ou pas, cela n’a pas été facile pour lui de respecter son vœu, et pour sa fille non plus. En effet, en la voyant sortir, il a dit que cela lui causait un grand chagrin. Et elle, elle est partie « pleurer sur sa virginité ». Pourquoi ont-ils pleuré ? Yiphtah n’avait pas de fils, et maintenant sa fille unique ne se marierait jamais et n’aurait pas d’enfant. Le nom de famille de Yiphtah disparaîtrait. Mais tous les deux comprenaient que le plus important, ce n’étaient pas leurs sentiments. Yiphtah a dit : « J’ai ouvert ma bouche pour Jéhovah ; je ne [peux pas] revenir en arrière. » Et sa fille a répondu : « Fais-moi selon ce qui est sorti de ta bouche » (Juges 11:35-39). Tous les deux étaient des personnes fidèles : ils n’auraient jamais eu l’idée de casser un vœu fait à Jéhovah, même si c’était difficile de le respecter (lire Deutéronome 23:21, 23 ; Psaume 15:4).
      Hanna aussi a fait un vœu à Jéhovah dans un moment difficile de sa vie. Elle était malheureuse parce qu’elle ne pouvait pas avoir d’enfants, et qu’à cause de cela elle subissait des remarques méchantes (1 Samuel 1:4-7, 10, 16). En exprimant ses sentiments à Jéhovah, elle lui a fait cette promesse : « Ô Jéhovah des armées, si tu ne manques pas de regarder l’affliction (le chagrin) de ton esclave et si vraiment tu te souviens de moi, si tu n’oublies pas ton esclave et si vraiment tu donnes à ton esclave un descendant mâle, oui je le donnerai à Jéhovah pour tous les jours de sa vie, et le rasoir ne viendra pas sur sa tête. » (1 Samuel 1:11). Jéhovah a répondu à sa prière : l’année suivante elle a eu un fils, Samuel. Elle était très heureuse ! Mais elle n’a pas oublié le vœu qu’elle avait fait à Jéhovah. Après la naissance de son fils, elle a dit : « C’est à Jéhovah que je l’ai demandé » (1 Samuel 1:20).
      Quand Samuel a eu environ trois ans, Hanna a tenu sa promesse. Elle a amené Samuel au grand prêtre Éli, en disant : « C’est à propos de ce garçon que je priais, pour que Jéhovah m’accorde [...] ce que je lui demandais. Et moi, à mon tour, je l’ai prêté à Jéhovah » (1 Samuel 1:24-28). À partir de ce jour-là, Samuel a habité au tabernacle. La Bible dit que « le garçon Samuel grandissait auprès de Jéhovah » (1 Samuel 2:21). Cela n’allait pas être facile pour Hanna de respecter son vœu. Elle ne pourrait plus passer du temps chaque jour avec son fils qu’elle aimait tendrement. Ce serait dur de ne pas le voir grandir. Mais elle a pris son vœu au sérieux. Pour tenir sa promesse, elle a accepté volontiers de sacrifier des choses qui étaient importantes pour elle (1 Samuel 2:1, 2 ; lire Psaume 61:1, 5, 8).
      Parmi les vœux faits à Jéhovah, il y a le vœu de l’offrande de soi, le vœu du mariage et le vœu des serviteurs spéciaux à plein temps
      T’acquittes-tu de tes vœux envers Jéhovah ?
      LE VŒU DE L’OFFRANDE DE SOI
      Le vœu le plus grand qu’un chrétien puisse faire, c’est celui de s’offrir à Jéhovah pour toute la vie. Dans une prière personnelle, ce chrétien promet à Jéhovah d’utiliser sa vie pour le servir pour toujours, quoi qu’il arrive. En faisant ce vœu, il « se renie lui-même » : il promet de donner la plus grande importance non pas à lui-même, mais à Jéhovah (Matthieu 16:24). À partir de ce moment, il appartient à Jéhovah (Romains 14:8). Il prend au sérieux son vœu d’offrande de soi. Il pense comme l’écrivain des Psaumes qui a dit : « Que rendrai-je à Jéhovah pour tous ses bienfaits envers moi ? Je m’acquitterai de mes vœux envers Jéhovah, oui devant tout son peuple » (Psaume 116:12, 14).
      As-tu fait le vœu d’offrir ta vie à Jéhovah, et l’as-tu montré en te faisant baptiser dans l’eau ? Si oui, félicitations ! Rappelle-toi le discours de ton baptême. Le frère t’a demandé si tu avais offert ta vie à Jéhovah, et si tu comprenais qu’en te faisant baptiser, tu montrais « que tu devenais Témoin de Jéhovah ». En entendant ton « oui », tous les assistants ont compris que tu avais offert ta vie à Jéhovah et que tu pouvais te faire baptiser ministre ordonné de Jéhovah. Tu as certainement fait très plaisir à Jéhovah !
      Quand tu t’es fait baptiser, tu as promis à Jéhovah d’utiliser ta vie pour le servir, et de tout faire pour obéir à ses normes. Mais le baptême n’est qu’un début. Le temps passant, on doit tous continuer à s’examiner. Alors, demande-toi : « Ma relation avec Jéhovah est-elle de plus en plus forte depuis mon baptême ? Est-ce que je le sers toujours de tout mon cœur ? (Colossiens 3:23). Est-ce que je prie souvent ? Est-ce que je lis la Bible tous les jours ? Est-ce que j’assiste régulièrement aux réunions de la congrégation ? Est-ce que je prêche aussi souvent que possible ? Ou, au contraire, est-ce que j’ai perdu un peu de mon envie de faire ces activités ? » D’après l’apôtre Pierre, pour ne pas devenir inactifs dans notre service pour Jéhovah, nous devons nous efforcer de faire grandir en nous la foi, la connaissance, l’endurance et l’attachement à Jéhovah (lire 2 Pierre 1:5-8).
      Une fois que quelqu’un a prononcé le vœu de servir Jéhovah, il ne peut pas reprendre sa parole. S’il en a assez de servir Jéhovah ou de vivre en chrétien, il ne peut pas dire : « Je n’ai jamais vraiment offert ma vie à Jéhovah ; mon baptême n’était pas valable* » (lire la note). Si un chrétien commet un péché grave alors qu’il s’est offert à Jéhovah, il est responsable de sa conduite devant Jéhovah et la congrégation (Romains 14:12). Nous ne voulons pas ressembler aux chrétiens à qui Jésus a dit : « Tu as laissé l’amour que tu avais au début. » Au contraire, nous voulons qu’il puisse nous dire : « Je connais tes actions, et ton amour, et ta foi, et ton ministère, et ton endurance, et je sais que tes actions récentes sont plus nombreuses que celles d’autrefois » (Révélation 2:4, 19). Nous voulons faire plaisir à Jéhovah en nous acquittant avec zèle de notre vœu.
      LE VŒU DU MARIAGE
      Des mariés échangent leurs vœux de mariage
      Le deuxième vœu le plus important qu’on puisse faire, c’est celui du mariage. Le mariage est sacré. Jéhovah considère ce vœu comme quelque chose de très sérieux. Quand des mariés prononcent leurs vœux, ils font une promesse devant Jéhovah et devant les personnes présentes. Ils se promettent de s’aimer, de se chérir et de se respecter l’un l’autre aussi longtemps qu’ils vivront ensemble sur la terre dans le cadre du mariage tel qu’il a été institué par Dieu. Quelles que soient les paroles exactes que les mariés se disent, dans tous les cas, ce sont des vœux faits devant Jéhovah. En les faisant, ils deviennent mari et femme. Le mariage doit être une union pour toute la vie (Genèse 2:24 ; 1 Corinthiens 7:39). Jésus a dit que personne ne doit séparer ce que Jéhovah a uni (Marc 10:9). Un homme et une femme qui se marient ne doivent pas se dire que, si leur union ne marche pas, ils pourront toujours divorcer.
      Bien sûr, il n’y a pas de mariage parfait puisqu’il n’y a pas d’humain parfait. C’est pourquoi la Bible dit que toute personne mariée aura parfois « des tribulations (des problèmes) » (1 Corinthiens 7:28). Dans le monde d’aujourd’hui, beaucoup ne prennent pas le mariage au sérieux. Ils pensent : « Si ça ne marche pas, on pourra toujours divorcer. » Mais les chrétiens ne considèrent pas le mariage de cette façon. Ils sont conscients qu’ils ont prononcé leur vœu de mariage devant Jéhovah. S’ils cassaient leur vœu, ce serait comme s’ils lui mentaient. Or Jéhovah déteste les menteurs ! (Lévitique 19:12 ; Proverbes 6:16-19). Les chrétiens mariés doivent se rappeler ces paroles de l’apôtre Paul : « Es-tu lié à une femme ? Cesse (arrête) de chercher à t’en détacher » (1 Corinthiens 7:27). Paul a pu dire cela parce qu’il savait que Jéhovah déteste aussi les divorces quand ils sont des trahisons (Malaki 2:13-16).
      Jésus a enseigné que la seule situation qui donne une raison de divorcer, c’est lorsqu’un mari ou une femme commet l’adultère (est infidèle à son conjoint) et que le conjoint innocent décide de ne pas lui pardonner (Matthieu 19:9 ; Hébreux 13:4). Par ailleurs, peut-on se séparer de son conjoint ? La Bible est claire à ce sujet aussi (lire 1 Corinthiens 7:10, 11). Il n’existe pas de raison biblique de se séparer de son conjoint. Mais parfois un chrétien (ou une chrétienne) pense que c’est absolument nécessaire. Par exemple, il est sûr que sa vie ou sa relation avec Jéhovah seront en très grand danger s’il reste avec un conjoint violent.
      Si des conjoints demandent conseil aux anciens de la congrégation pour rendre leur couple plus solide, les anciens pourraient leur demander s’ils ont regardé la vidéo Qu’est-ce que le vrai amour ? et s’ils ont étudié la brochure Le secret des familles heureuses. Ces documents montrent quels principes bibliques peuvent rendre un mariage plus solide. Des Témoins racontent : « Depuis que nous étudions cette brochure, notre couple est plus heureux que jamais. » Une sœur mariée depuis 22 ans pensait que son mariage allait bientôt se briser. Mais elle a regardé la vidéo. Elle raconte : « Nous sommes tous les deux baptisés, mais sur le plan affectif nous étions complètement différents. La vidéo est arrivée au bon moment ! Maintenant, notre couple va beaucoup mieux. » Vraiment, si un mari et une femme appliquent les conseils de Jéhovah, leur union devient plus heureuse et plus forte.
      LE VŒU DES SERVITEURS SPÉCIAUX À PLEIN TEMPS
      Au début de l’article, nous avons parlé des vœux de Yiphtah et de Hanna. Grâce à ces vœux, la fille de Yiphtah et le fils de Hanna ont passé leur vie à servir Jéhovah d’une façon spéciale. À notre époque, beaucoup de parents chrétiens ont encouragé leurs enfants à s’engager dans le ministère à plein temps et à concentrer leur vie sur le service pour Jéhovah. En fait, nous pouvons tous encourager ces jeunes frères et sœurs à tenir bon dans leur service (Juges 11:40 ; Psaume 110:3).
      Aujourd’hui, il y a des dizaines de milliers de membres de l’Ordre international des serviteurs spéciaux à plein temps des Témoins de Jéhovah. Certains servent au Béthel, ou dans l’activité de construction ou alors dans le service de la circonscription. D’autres sont formateurs aux écoles bibliques, pionniers spéciaux, missionnaires, ou serviteurs affectés à une Salle d’assemblées ou à un centre d’écoles bibliques. Ils ont tous fait un « Vœu d’obéissance et de pauvreté ». En le faisant, ils ont promis de concentrer leurs efforts sur toute activité qu’on leur donne au service de Jéhovah, d’avoir une vie simple, et de ne pas avoir un emploi payé s’ils n’en ont pas l’autorisation. Ce ne sont pas les personnes qui sont considérées comme spéciales, mais leurs activités. Ces chrétiens sont humbles, et ils sont décidés à s’acquitter de leur vœu tout le temps qu’ils resteront dans le service spécial à plein temps.
      Dans cet article, nous avons étudié trois vœux qu’un chrétien pourrait faire aujourd’hui à Jéhovah. Peut-être que tu en as fait un, ou deux, ou les trois. Nous savons que nous devons prendre nos vœux au sérieux et tout faire pour les respecter (Proverbes 20:25). Si nous ne respectons pas nos vœux faits à Jéhovah, les conséquences risquent d’être graves (Ecclésiaste 5:6). Faisons donc comme le psalmiste qui a dit à Jéhovah : « Je veux exécuter des mélodies pour ton nom à jamais (pour toujours), pour m’acquitter de mes vœux jour après jour » (Psaume 61:8).


      · 0 replies
    • K625XM

      Hello Twyla,
      I am not able to view the study materials.  Can you help me out pls ?  Thank you.
      · 0 replies
    • Claud's Lst  »  misette

      Bonjour ma sœur Misette. Comment vas-tu ? J'espère avec l'aide de Jéhovah toute la communauté et especialement toi vont bien. 
      Je n'ai pas reçu la réunion de cette semaine, est-ce qu'il y a un problème pour cette semaine ? 
           Bonne journée ou soirée 
                                   Agape 
      · 3 replies
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