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James Thomas Rook Jr.

Has anyone ever been disfellowshipped AFTER they died for taking an unapproved fraction blood transfusion ?

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If a Brother or Sister in good standing in the Congregation goes into the hospital, and agrees to a whole blood transfusion, and dies anyway, can they be disfellowshipped post mortem, and what about the funeral arrangements?  ( I have heard of this being done, but never explained....)

Can they have a funeral at the Kingdom Hall?

Let's say a Brother or Sister in good standing in the Congregation  goes berserk, and commits some crime, and either dies by misadventure, or gets shot by police ....

Can they have a funeral at the Kingdom Hall?

Considering such questions is like a submarine on the surface, at night, in the fog .... firing torpedoes randomly into the darkness, to see what lights up.

.... sometimes survival depends on having the right answer about "What is out there?".

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On 5/3/2018 at 2:28 PM, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

can they be disfellowshipped post mortem

Romans 6:7 "For the one who has died has been acquitted from his sin."

The use of a Kingdom Hall for a funeral would depend on circumstance so there isn't a blanket rule.

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5 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

How about if the circumstances were exactly as I outlined, above ..... ?

Doesn't appear to be anything in the "Shepherd the Flock of God".  Maybe a "seasoned" elder would know.

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5 hours ago, Gone Away said:

Romans 6:7 "For the one who has died has been acquitted from his sin."

If this was true in all cases, there wouldn’t be a “judgment day”. 

Paul is talking about becoming alive in Christ. 

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in itOr do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  Rom 6:1-4

 

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Himknowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Rom 6:8-11

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On 5/5/2018 at 9:56 PM, Gone Away said:

Romans 6:7 "For the one who has died has been acquitted from his sin."

A consideration of the context of this expression shows that the apostle Paul was discussing spirit-anointed Christians alive at that time. While still alive, they had been baptized into Christ Jesus and received the valid prospect of heavenly life. In order to be anointed with holy spirit and accepted as spiritual sons of God, they had to die to their former course in life as imperfect humans, have their sins forgiven by God and have human perfection imputed to them.

However, in view of the words at Romans 6:23 "For the wages sin pays is death", it is clear that Paul's use of a natural and actual illustration (in v7) in connection with the consequence of sin would enable it to correctly be said that "one who has died has been acquitted from his sin".

It may well be that some today still think that punishing someone twice for the same crime is an acceptable carriage of justice. They are in company with those who feel that God is justified in keeping alive and punishing forever in literal fire those who have sinned no more than a human lifetime (just a few minutes in Jehovah's timescale).

Such fleshly viewpoints confirm the apostle's words at 2 Cor.14-15.

On 5/5/2018 at 10:00 PM, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

How about if the circumstances were exactly as I outlined, above ..... ?

As for extreme case scenario funerals, these would have to be subject to the consideration of those locally in consultation with the relevant Branch office. The circumstances outlined would be have to be relevant to the locality at the time they occur, in respect of the individuals involved. Hence, the only ones who could realistically respond on that would be the local Service Committee, and in view of the hypothetical nature of the question, I would highly suspect the response would be......................................................Silence!!
 

 

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On 5/10/2018 at 12:17 AM, Gone Away said:

A consideration of the context of this expression shows that the apostle Paul was discussing spirit-anointed Christians alive at that time. While still alive, they had been baptized into Christ Jesus and received the valid prospect of heavenly life. In order to be anointed with holy spirit and accepted as spiritual sons of God, they had to die to their former course in life as imperfect humans, have their sins forgiven by God and have human perfection imputed to them.

However, in view of the words at Romans 6:23 "For the wages sin pays is death", it is clear that Paul's use of a natural and actual illustration (in v7) in connection with the consequence of sin would enable it to correctly be said that "one who has died has been acquitted from his sin".

If I am overstepping my comprehension of your words, correct me.  I am having trouble pinpointing your understanding of Rom 6:23 and 6:7

Rom.8:2 reads; "And because you belong to Christ, the power of the life-giving spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death."

Losing one’s physical life, whether anointed or not does not acquit us of our sins.  Jesus’ death abolishes our sins, but only if we submit to his “life-giving spirit”. 

It is true that anointed ones must present their bodies as a “living sacrifice of praise”, leaving everything to follow Christ, even one’s physical life; and becoming one with Christ through the anointing is the "valid prospect" of eternal life.  Yet, to God and Christ, all of us are determined as “dead” or “alive”, according to our actions in this life. 

“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom.  But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Rom 6:20-23

It isn’t often that the rest of verse 23 is associated with…”the wages of sin is death”…in the Watchtower. This death means no longer having the possibility of living, ever.   

“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.”  Eph 2:1,2

"For the living know that they will die, (lose their physical life)
 
  but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
    and even their name is forgotten.
  Their love, their hate
    and their jealousy have long since vanished;
never again will they have a part
    in anything that happens under the sun
."  Eccl 9:5,6

The spiritually “dead” will not be resurrected to eternal life. 

“But now, as to whether the dead (all who have lost their physical life) will be raised—haven’t you ever read about this in the writings of Moses, in the story of the burning bush? Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said to Moses,[

    Hello guest!
] ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’[
    Hello guest!
]
 27 So he is the God of the living, not the dead (unrepentant sinners). You have made a serious error.”  Mark 12:26-27

 

 

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En 3/5/2018 a las 7:28, James Thomas Rook Jr. dijo:

Can they have a funeral at the Kingdom Hall?

I can't provide an answer but I'd like to share a similar experience. 

I had an old JW aunt who was going to be at a Judicial Commitee for smoking. She got very sick for several diseases and had to be interned in the hospital out of our town. After being released from hospital, her daughter took her to a nursing home managed by Catholic nuns with no right to  visits, only the names on the daughter's list ?

The old woman never faced the judicial committee and when died her funeral  was not allowed at the Kingdom Hall as per elders instructions. 

 

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      a heartbreaking video has emerged online showing how far reaching and deeply ingrained this shunning policy is; a video showing JehovahÂ’s Witnesses clapping in applause as a little girl announces she is shunning her own sister.
      Little Melody, and the sister she doesnÂ’t have.
      The incident appears to take place at one of this years Watchtower conventions. The video was posted on youtube by the girls parents, apprently eager to share with the world how they had trained one of their children to pretend her sister didnÂ’t exist purely on the basis of religious dogma.
      The video was comment-protected once viewers began expressing concern and displeasure at what they saw, but at the time of writing the video itself is still live and can be viewed below on the family’s youtube page. (EDIT 11/09/2017 – The video has been removed, but we have linked to an alternate site which has a copy)

      t shows a little girl called Melody. She is ten years old, and was apparently baptised when she was 9. This means that Melody is now committed to the religion for life, and will be shunned if she ever leaves, or “unrepentantly” breaks any of its vast array of detailed rules.
      During the interview, Melody explains that she has a sister who was “disfellowshipped,” which is the Witness term for one who is excommunicated; someone who was thrown out of the faith rather than leaving of their own accord. We are not told the reason for the disfellowshipping, but one can be subjected to it for a wide range of reasons such as pre-marital sex, celebrating Christmas or birthdays, voting, taking a blood transfusion, joining the military, or simply questioning any of the doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      Melody states that her sister was trying to contact her, and asking her to stay in contact despite Watchtower decreeing that she be shunned. Remember, MelodyÂ’s sister has probably lost all her family and friends at this point; everyone she ever knew and loved.
      Melody admits that she misses and loves her sister, but states that she was afraid that if she didnÂ’t cut her sister off completely, she might be tempted to keep some form of relationship going. Thus, she has decided to shun her completely, as Watchtower demands. She claims that this was to protect her relationship with Jehovah.
      The audience of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses watching this announcement applaud.

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    • By Jack Ryan
      This comes from the final talk at the Birmingham, AL Convention. Herd talks kind of low and there is some background noise, so here is a transcript starting at about 1:25.
      I thought this was interesting because it doesn't appear to be in the talk outline. Admittedly, I just skimmed through the outline quickly, so it might be in there. Either way, there is something twisted about comparing the shunning of children to casting out demons from heaven.
      Edit: For those wondering, this talk is from August 5. The part before when the transcript starts is Herd talking about King Asa removing his grandmother from her position.
    • By Jesus.defender
      BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS
      Watchtower Teaching WT forbids blood transfusions because of Genesis 9:4 ‘But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat’.
      The WT teaches that a blood transfusion is the same as eating blood, because it resembles intravenous feeding. This doctrine was invented in 1944.
      Bible Teaching and Historical facts:
      1) Thousands of JWs and their children have died because they followed this WT error.
      QUESTION: Would you really allow your baby to die because of this WT instruction?
      2) Most JWs are unaware that their leaders have a history of making medical prohibitions,then later changing their minds to allow them. Examples include:
      (i) Vaccinations were forbidden by the WT from 1931 to 1952. JWs had to refuse vaccinations because the WT taught that ‘vaccination is a direct violation of the everlasting covenant that God made’ (Golden Age, 4 Feb 1931, p 293).
      Awake of 22 Aug 1965 admitted that vaccinations have caused a decrease in diseases(p.20)
      QUESTION: How did the parents of children who died from not being vaccinated, feel when the WT reversed its view in 1952? How many of these children died needlessly?
      (ii) Organ transplants were allowed by the WT up to 1967, but were forbidden in 1967 saying that ‘organ transplants amounted to cannibalism and are not appropriate for Christians’ (WT, 15 Nov 1967, p 702-4, and Awake 8 June 1968, p 21). Hence all organ
      transplants were forbidden for 13 years, during which time many JWs died needlessly.
      Then in 1980, the WT changed its mind to allow them saying that ‘organ transplants are not necessarily cannibalistic’ (WT, 15 March 1980, p 31).
      (iii) Blood plasma and blood particles were forbidden to be used by JW haemophiliacs (Awake, 22 Feb 1975, p 30). Shortly after, the WT changed its mind to permit certain blood particles to be used, but failed to put it into print for 3 years until 15 June 1978, p
      30 (WT). Only those haemophiliacs who phoned WT headquarters from 1975-78 discovered the change. Others were left to suffer and die.
      QUESTION: How long before the WT changes its view on blood transfusions?
      QUESTION: Why does the WT keep changing its mind on medical issues?
      QUESTION: Is it right for an infallible prophet of God organisation (such as the WT claims to be) to keep changing its mind.
      (iv) In 1984, they allowed for a bone-marrow transplant. Bone marrow is the very source of blood. However, they would disfellowship you for receiving a bloodtransfusion.
      3) In Genesis 9:4 the context is God forbidding the eating of animal blood (as pagans did), not the transfusion of human blood. A blood transfusion is not intravenous feeding, because the blood so given does not function as food. When one gives a transfusion, it is not a loss of life, but a transference of life from one person to another. It replenishes and saves a life.
      QUESTION: Since blood is not taken in as food to digest, but as life sustaining fluid, is it not clear that transfusion is different from eating?
      4) Leviticus 3:17 ‘You must not eat any fat or any blood at all.’ (NWT)
      QUESTION: Why do WT leaders forbid blood transfusions but allow the eating of fat? Why not forbid both? The WT is not consistently interpreting the Bible. Leviticus 17:11,12: ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood’. Blood transfusion does not function as food, but simply transfers life from one person to another as an act of mercy.
      Key: Leviticus 3:17 prohibits eating animal blood, not transfusing human blood.
      QUESTION: Where is loss of salvation mentioned in Acts 15:9,11 for receiving a blood transfusion?
      Key: Acts 15:28,29. A blood transfusion uses blood for the same purpose that God intended, (as a life-giving agent in the bloodstream). Drinking blood is not God’s intended purpose for
      blood
      Conclusion: Even though JWs try to support blood transfusions with Scripture, their real reason for believing it is blind obedience to the WT. If the WT organisation lifted its ban on blood transfusions, JWs would freely accept them if needed.
      For the WT to admit they were wrong would cause too great a stir in their ranks. Therefore any changes must be presented as ‘new light’ in order to make it appear that ‘Jehovah’ is making the changes, rather than a few men on the governing body.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The Supreme Court of Canada Thursday heard arguments in a fight over a church’s “shunning” practice, and said it would release a ruling later, but the congregation involved and several other groups argued that the justices had no right to even take part in the fight.
      The fight is between Randy Wall, a real estate agent, and the Highwood congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization in Calgary.
      Wall was expelled from the congregation for getting drunk and not be properly repentant, court records said. He pursued a church appeals process, unsuccessfully, then went to court because he said the church’s “shunning,” that is, practice of not associating with him in any way, hurt his business.
      He explained his two occasions of drunkenness related to “the previous expulsion by the congregation of his 15-year-old daughter.”
      A lower court opinion explained, “Even though the daughter was a dependent child living at home, it was a mandatory church edict that the entire family shun aspects of their relationship with her. The respondent said the edicts of the church pressured the family to evict their daughter from the family home. This led to … much distress in the family.”
      The “much distress” eventually resulted in his drunkenness, Wall said.
      See the WND Superstore’s collection of Bibles, including the stunning 1599 Geneva Bible.
      Wall submitted to the court arguments that about half his client base, members of various Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations, then refused to conduct business with him. He alleged the “disfellowship had an economic impact on the respondent.”
      During high court arguments Thursday, the congregation asked the justices to say that congregations are immune to such claims in the judicial system.
      The lower courts had ruled that the courts could play a role in determining if, and when, such circumstances rise to the level of violating civil rights or injuring a “disfellowshipped” party.
      The rulings from the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeals said Wall’s case was subject to secular court jurisdiction.
      A multitude of religious and political organizations joined with the congregation in arguing that the Canada’s courts should not be involved.
      The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms said in a filing, “The wish or desire of one person to associate with an unwilling person (or an unwilling group) is not a legal right of any kind. For a court, or the government, to support such a ‘right’ violates the right of self-determination of the unwilling parties.”
      Previous case law has confirmed the ability of religious or private voluntary groups to govern themselves and dictate who can be a member.
      But previously rulings also reveal there is room for the court system to intervene when the question is one of property or civil rights.
      The Association for Reformed Political Action, described the case as having “profound implications for the separation of church and state.”
      Its position is that the court should keep hands off the argument.
      “Secular judges have no authority and no expertise to review a church membership decision,” said a statement from Andre Schutten, a spokesman for the group. “Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere.”
      John Sikkema, staff lawyer for ARPA, said, “The issue in this appeal is jurisdiction. A state actor, including a court, must never go beyond its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court must consider what kind of authority the courts can or cannot legitimately claim. We argue that the civil government and churches each have limited and distinct spheres of authority. This basic distinction between civil and spiritual jurisdiction is a source of freedom and religious pluralism and a guard against civic totalism.”
      He continued, “Should the judiciary have the authority to decide who gets to become or remain a church member? Does the judiciary have the authority to decide who does or does not get to participate in the sacraments? Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere. Here we need separation of church and state.”
      The Alberta Court of Appeal, however, suggested the fight was about more than ecclesiastical rules.
      “Because Jehovah’s Witnesses shun disfellowshipped members, his wife, other children and other Jehovah’s Witnesses were compelled to shun him,” that lower court decision said. “The respondent asked the appeal committee to consider the mental and emotional distress he and his family were under as a result of his duaghter’s disfellowship.”
      The church committee concluded he was “not sufficiently repentant.”
      The ruling said “the only basis for establishing jurisdiction over a decision of the church is when the complaint involves property and civil rights,” and that is what Wall alleged.
      “Accordingly, a court has jurisdiction to review the decision of a religious organization when a breach of the rules of natural justice is alleged.”
       
       
    • By The Librarian
      OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada says a Jehovah's Witness who was expelled from his Calgary congregation cannot take his case to a judge.

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , the high court says the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench has no jurisdiction to review the congregation's decision to shun Randy Wall over alleged drunkenness and verbal abuse. Several religious organizations took an active interest in the case, given questions about the degree to which the courts can review such decisions by faith-based bodies.
      Wall, an independent realtor, was summoned in 2014 to appear before the judicial committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, a four-person panel of elders.
      He admitted to two episodes of drunkenness and, on one of those occasions, verbally abusing his wife -- wrongdoing he attributed to family stress over the earlier expulsion of his 15-year old daughter from the congregation.
      The judicial committee told Wall that he, too, would be expelled because he was not sufficiently repentant.

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    • By Jack Ryan
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Updated 6:11 p.m. ET Feb. 16, 2018 Keego Harbor Â— A quiet residential street became a horrific crime scene Friday with news that four people — a couple and their adult children — died in what police are describing as a triple murder-suicide.

      By late afternoon, some yellow police crime scene tape remained around the two-story wood frame bungalow in the 2300 block of Cass Lake Road where police were sent about 8:10 a.m. on a welfare check after a relative became worried about the family, Keego Harbor Police Chief John Fitzgerald said.
      One of four bodies is removed from the home of the 2300 block of Cass Lake Road. (Photo: Clarence Tabb Jr., The Detroit News)
      “A relative had concerns and asked us to look into it,” said Fitzgerald. “It’s tragic and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
      Inside the house officers found four bodies who neighbors identified as Daniel Stuart, 47, his wife, Lauren, 45, and their children, Bethany, 24, and Steven, 27.
      Fitzgerald said the “perpetrator” was among the dead but would not provide details other than to stress “we think we know what happened here and there is no danger to neighbors.”
      Fitzgerald said police have recovered what is believed to be the murder weapon but would not elaborate. He said all the deaths remain under investigation.
      Keego Harbor Police Chief John Fitzgerald briefs the media on the murder-suicide. (Photo: Clarence Tabb Jr., The Detroit News)
      Neighbors John and Jackie Tristani said they awoke Friday to learn police were outside the victimsÂ’ home.
      “My son said police were repeatedly calling out ‘Lauren, come outside,’ " said John Tristani. “When she didn’t respond they (police) went inside. A few minutes later, they came back outside, shaking their heads.”
      Tristani said he had been watching television late Thursday night and never heard anything from the Stuarts' home.
      Sources close to the investigation said the family pet, a dog, was also slain by the killer. Investigators also found a note which may help explain what led up to the deaths. They would not discuss its contents.
      The deaths puzzle the Tristanis, who knew Lauren Stuart as a “hard-working” neighbor who could often be seen working in her yard and remodeled the house largely on her own.
      “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 James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Which Pill Would We Take ..... The Red Pill? .... or the Blue Pill?
      In the political world, more and more people are rejecting "Fake News" as provided by CNN (Clinton News Network), ABC (All 'bout Clinton) and NBC (Nothin' but Clinton), etc., and are seeking the truth about what they are being told ..... wherever it may be found.
      Today John Stossel had an article about this on Foxnews which is incredibly important ... not only for the political ramifications ... but every manner of philosophical thought ....  and our very view of how the Universe works, and what "makes it tick".
      If you have seen the movie "The Matrix" .... a MUST SEE movie .... you already know the common expression "Red Pill? Blue Pill?".
      If you don't ... YOU SHOULD. 
      The concept behind the expression is incredibly important ... as to whether we live in and artificial fantasy construct world ... or a world of what is actually REAL.
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      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      Oh ... and if you have not seen it .... get a copy of the movie, so you will actually get a "feel" for the depth of the now commonly understood  idiomatic expression.
      (For those in Rio Linda, that has nothing to do with sex, it has to do with basic understanding .....)
      Grok?
       
       
       
       
       
    • 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 Jesus.defender
      BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS
      Watchtower Teaching WT forbids blood transfusions because of Genesis 9:4 ‘But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat’.
      The WT teaches that a blood transfusion is the same as eating blood, because it resembles intravenous feeding. This doctrine was invented in 1944.
      Bible Teaching and Historical facts:
      1) Thousands of JWs and their children have died because they followed this WT error.
      QUESTION: Would you really allow your baby to die because of this WT instruction?
      2) Most JWs are unaware that their leaders have a history of making medical prohibitions,then later changing their minds to allow them. Examples include:
      (i) Vaccinations were forbidden by the WT from 1931 to 1952. JWs had to refuse vaccinations because the WT taught that ‘vaccination is a direct violation of the everlasting covenant that God made’ (Golden Age, 4 Feb 1931, p 293).
      Awake of 22 Aug 1965 admitted that vaccinations have caused a decrease in diseases(p.20)
      QUESTION: How did the parents of children who died from not being vaccinated, feel when the WT reversed its view in 1952? How many of these children died needlessly?
      (ii) Organ transplants were allowed by the WT up to 1967, but were forbidden in 1967 saying that ‘organ transplants amounted to cannibalism and are not appropriate for Christians’ (WT, 15 Nov 1967, p 702-4, and Awake 8 June 1968, p 21). Hence all organ
      transplants were forbidden for 13 years, during which time many JWs died needlessly.
      Then in 1980, the WT changed its mind to allow them saying that ‘organ transplants are not necessarily cannibalistic’ (WT, 15 March 1980, p 31).
      (iii) Blood plasma and blood particles were forbidden to be used by JW haemophiliacs (Awake, 22 Feb 1975, p 30). Shortly after, the WT changed its mind to permit certain blood particles to be used, but failed to put it into print for 3 years until 15 June 1978, p
      30 (WT). Only those haemophiliacs who phoned WT headquarters from 1975-78 discovered the change. Others were left to suffer and die.
      QUESTION: How long before the WT changes its view on blood transfusions?
      QUESTION: Why does the WT keep changing its mind on medical issues?
      QUESTION: Is it right for an infallible prophet of God organisation (such as the WT claims to be) to keep changing its mind.
      (iv) In 1984, they allowed for a bone-marrow transplant. Bone marrow is the very source of blood. However, they would disfellowship you for receiving a bloodtransfusion.
      3) In Genesis 9:4 the context is God forbidding the eating of animal blood (as pagans did), not the transfusion of human blood. A blood transfusion is not intravenous feeding, because the blood so given does not function as food. When one gives a transfusion, it is not a loss of life, but a transference of life from one person to another. It replenishes and saves a life.
      QUESTION: Since blood is not taken in as food to digest, but as life sustaining fluid, is it not clear that transfusion is different from eating?
      4) Leviticus 3:17 ‘You must not eat any fat or any blood at all.’ (NWT)
      QUESTION: Why do WT leaders forbid blood transfusions but allow the eating of fat? Why not forbid both? The WT is not consistently interpreting the Bible. Leviticus 17:11,12: ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood’. Blood transfusion does not function as food, but simply transfers life from one person to another as an act of mercy.
      Key: Leviticus 3:17 prohibits eating animal blood, not transfusing human blood.
      QUESTION: Where is loss of salvation mentioned in Acts 15:9,11 for receiving a blood transfusion?
      Key: Acts 15:28,29. A blood transfusion uses blood for the same purpose that God intended, (as a life-giving agent in the bloodstream). Drinking blood is not God’s intended purpose for
      blood
      Conclusion: Even though JWs try to support blood transfusions with Scripture, their real reason for believing it is blind obedience to the WT. If the WT organisation lifted its ban on blood transfusions, JWs would freely accept them if needed.
      For the WT to admit they were wrong would cause too great a stir in their ranks. Therefore any changes must be presented as ‘new light’ in order to make it appear that ‘Jehovah’ is making the changes, rather than a few men on the governing body.
       
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