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Shunning, sinners and excommunication in JW congregations


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3 hours ago, Nana Fofana said:

He was a loyal and faithful Jewish proselyte,

Ok Nana, but Jesus introduced worship that is quite different of those kind of worshiping he had  learned as proselyte. So what happened? Do you have some story about him? Did he continue with worshiping God as Jewish  proselyte  or as Christian? And where is Bible verse to support this or that possibility?    

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We humans can only judge what we see or hear about. Jehovah judges the heart.

Yes to the video. The brother was recovered from an apostate course. I am just saying that while the "unforgivable sin" is necessarily accompanied by apostasy, however it is defined, it does not follow that all apostates have committed the "unforgivable sin". In other words, those who apostatize can repent and turn around and experience forgiveness from Jehovah. The record of the Kings demonstrates this. In fact, the return of Solomon (who, as far as the record indicates, died in apostasy)

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10 hours ago, Gone Fishing said:

In other words, those who apostatize can repent and turn around and experience forgiveness from Jehovah

But only if they have not committed the unforgivable sin. And we don't know who has a who hasn't. That's why I mentioned that if someone returns, that in itself an indication that they have NOT committed the unforgivable sin.

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12 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

Is it possible that reading the Bible alone can cause such damage??, Word of God would bring you or me to pagans beliefs???  

No, of course not, the Bible in itself does not do much unless the person reading it has the right motive. Atheists can read the Bible and still believe there is no God.  It has everything to do with the  attitude of the person. We know the Bible can say whatever a person wants it to say, especially when taken out of context. So someone who wants to believe the Trinity  will find support for it in the Bible as seen through their eyes. But we want the truth don't we? So we have to look at the Bible objectively and with that goal in mind, that we want the truth, no matter what it is. We need to have an open mind and hear someone out who is perhaps more knowledgeable about the Bible than we are, and then we can decide whether we will accept that persons reasoning and if it makes objective sense.

12 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

That reminds me on accusations by WT about Catholic church who do not want that laity reading the Bible and for that reason Bible was in Latin, to prevent "misunderstanding" of simple, plain, non literal people if they would read Bible alone and by that would saw how Church acting opposite to God's word. 

Very similar reasons to WT.  

Interesting thought, except Witnesses are constantly reminded to read their Bible. Plus, the simple plain people, whose mind is uncluttered by the world's philosophies and religious dogma usually grasp the plain truth of the Bible much better than those whose thoughts have been warped by those things. The truth from the Bible is very simple. What Jehovah's Witnesses teach at their core is based on that. 

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28 minutes ago, Anna said:

except Witnesses are constantly reminded to read their Bible.

Yes this is great. Truth is simple. But doctrines and instructions around the truth become problem. Because, they said, "We must explain you what is truth and how you need to understand this truth" :)))))))   

Catholic church in the past try to manipulate over people by not allowed or tried to disable reading of Bible. Because new age made things different than in past, new methods were introduced. Generating more and more materials, publishing plenty of books by all means. And today you can read own Bible, but there is plenty of interpretations about the meaning. Also you have problem with translations and modifications on some Bible texts, verse, lexical  problem and semantic meaning and even where must be point and comma. This and more of this are as some kind of tool how to direct people in particular direction and policy. 

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4 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

Because, they said, "We must explain you what is truth and how you need to understand this truth" :)))))))   

We have a choice whether we listen t them or not don't we?

4 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

This and more of this are as some kind of tool how to direct people in particular direction and policy. 

That is ok if we do not have a preconceived idea about which direction we want to go, but rather go the direction which we find is the most agreeable with the entire contents of the Bible, whether we like the direction or not.  What is the point of seeking truth if we are not willing to be objective?

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    • 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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    • 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 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 INTREPID TRAVELLER
      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:
       
    • 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.
    • By The Librarian
      Shun your inactive family members and report them if you suspect they are sinning 
       
       
       
    • By Jack Ryan
      I was reading this week's study article on remaining loyal to Jah. Found an interesting contradiction on shunning. They cite two experiences. In one a JW shuns her mom and her example is posted as a positive one of someone doing the right thing. The second example however of a JW being shunned by his non-JW family is labeled as an injustice. Here's first one:

      So, the example above demonstrates the supposed loyal faith of a daughter that refused to talk to the woman that gave birth to her, raised her and surely sacrificed so much for her. This, the Watchtower claims, is an example of love and loyalty. Now let's see the second example cited in the same article in a latter paragraph:

      In this example, the non-JW family members were cruel, because they "opposed his association" and "forbid him to visit them for years". Yet, isn't this exactly what the JW daughter from the first experience was doing to her mother? only in reverse?
      - Sanchy
    • By Jack Ryan
      -
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. When I compare that official quote with the following official headline:
      http://www.jw-archive.org/post/117601618528/disfellowshipping-arrangement-has-changed
       
      I get the idea that JW.org will soon stop the practice of shunning former believers into compliance.
      How much time until this new light comes out..... I'm not sure.
       
       
       
    • By Jack Ryan
      The following link is to a PDF file found on the Penn Law Legal Scholarship Repository website.
      " The Penn Law Legal Scholarship Repository is the institutional repository of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Its purpose is to collect and preserve the scholarly output of Penn Law. "

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Please share any thoughts you have on the reasoning used in this document.

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      If you don't trust my link, which would be fair enough, simply Google the following search term as I write it:
      'religious shunning tax exempt'
      It should be the very first page that comes up.
    • By Γιαννης Διαμαντιδης
      Because my question became argument for out of topic subjects I would like to refine this question: why someone who disfellowshipped for a reason that no longer exist must come back to the congregation ask for forgiveness and wait some time to be reinstated? I will give you the reason of the offense, because I am sure you will not understand me otherwise. There is this brother called Kotsos a Greek brother (and later immigrant in Germany because he lost his job here) who needed kidney transplant around 1975 and in 1978 had been disfellowshiped for making the kidney transplant. Around 1985 he came back to the congregation and the elders did not accept him without some kind of punishment ( by punishment I mean to come for some time in the congregation nobody to talk to him so he will show remorse for his action). There are also other examples too. In the Greek Watchtower of 1970 page 766 we read about a homosexual brother who disfellowshipped for 3 years in advance. So in that 3 years he had no right to repent !!!



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    • Eric Ouellet

      Qu’est-ce que le Jour du Jugement ?

      La Bible dit que Dieu “ a fixé un jour où il va juger la terre habitée ”. (Actes 17:31.) Pour beaucoup, l’idée d’être soumis à un jugement, quel qu’il soit, est désagréable. Voyez-vous les choses ainsi ?
      SI C’EST le cas, rassurez-vous : le Jour du Jugement est une disposition pleine d’amour qui apportera de grands bienfaits à la famille humaine, y compris aux morts (Matthieu 20:28 ; Jean 3:16). Mais pourquoi est-il nécessaire ? Et que se passera-t-il réellement pendant ce “ jour ” ?
      Pourquoi le Jour du Jugement est nécessaire
      Lorsque Dieu a placé les humains sur la terre, il ne la destinait pas à n’être qu’un lieu d’épreuve en vue d’une existence dans un autre monde. Il a créé les humains pour qu’ils y vivent éternellement. Bien que parfaits physiquement et mentalement, Adam et Ève, le premier couple, se sont rebellés contre Dieu. Ils ont alors perdu la perspective de la vie éternelle pour eux-mêmes, et ont transmis le péché et la mort à tous leurs descendants. — Genèse 2:15-17 ; Romains 5:12.
      Le Jour du Jugement sera une période de mille ans durant laquelle les hommes auront la possibilité de retrouver ce qu’Adam et Ève ont perdu*. Remarquez que, selon Actes 17:31, cité plus haut, ce “ jour ” concerne les personnes qui vivent sur “ la terre habitée ”. Celles qui recevront un jugement favorable vivront sur la terre, éternellement et dans des conditions parfaites (Révélation 21:3, 4). Le Jour du Jugement contribue donc à l’accomplissement du dessein originel de Dieu pour l’homme et pour la planète.
      Le Juge que Dieu a établi est Christ Jésus. La Bible révèle qu’il va “ juger les vivants et les morts ”. (2 Timothée 4:1.) Qui sont “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés ? Comment les morts vont-ils revenir à la vie sur “ la terre habitée ” ?
      Jésus juge “ les vivants ”
      Nous sommes maintenant proches de la fin annoncée du présent système de choses, où Dieu va détruire tous les éléments de la société humaine corrompue et supprimer les méchants. Les personnes qui réchapperont seront “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés. — Révélation 7:9-14 ; 19:11-16.
      Durant la période de jugement qui durera mille ans, Christ Jésus ainsi que 144 000 hommes et femmes ressuscités pour vivre dans les cieux dirigeront la terre. Exerçant les fonctions de rois et de prêtres, ils dispenseront les bienfaits du sacrifice rédempteur de Jésus et amèneront progressivement les humains fidèles à la perfection physique et mentale. — Révélation 5:10 ; 14:1-4 ; 20:4-6.
      Pendant le Jour du Jugement, Satan et ses démons ne seront plus libres d’influencer l’activité humaine (Révélation 20:1-3). Toutefois, à la fin de ce “ jour ”, Satan sera autorisé à éprouver la fidélité de tous les humains alors en vie. Ceux qui resteront fidèles à Dieu passeront avec succès l’épreuve à laquelle Adam et Ève ont échoué. Ils seront jugés dignes de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre redevenue un paradis. Ceux qui décideront de se rebeller contre Dieu seront détruits pour toujours, de même que Satan et ses démons. — Révélation 20:7-9.
      Le jugement des “ morts ”
      On lit dans la Bible qu’au Jour du Jugement les morts “ se lèveront ”. (Matthieu 12:41.) Jésus a dit : “ L’heure vient où tous ceux qui sont dans les tombes de souvenir entendront sa voix et sortiront, ceux qui ont fait des choses bonnes, pour une résurrection de vie, ceux qui ont pratiqué des choses viles, pour une résurrection de jugement. ” (Jean 5:28, 29). Il n’est pas question ici des âmes désincarnées des défunts. Ces derniers sont totalement inconscients et n’ont pas d’âme qui survive à la mort (Ecclésiaste 9:5 ; Jean 11:11-14, 23, 24). Jésus relèvera sur la terre tous ceux qui se sont endormis dans la mort.
      Seront-ils jugés sur la base de ce qu’ils ont fait avant leur mort ? Non. Les Écritures enseignent que “ celui qui est mort a été acquitté de son péché ”. (Romains 6:7.) Ainsi, tout comme les survivants de la fin du système actuel, les ressuscités pour la vie sur la terre seront jugés “ selon leurs actions ” au cours du Jour du Jugement (Révélation 20:12, 13). En fonction de l’issue de leurs actions, leur résurrection se révélera aboutir soit à l’éternité, soit à la destruction. Nombre de ces ressuscités découvriront Jéhovah Dieu et ses exigences pour obtenir la vie. Ils auront la possibilité de se conformer à la volonté de Dieu et de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre.
      Aucune raison d’avoir peur
      Le Jour du Jugement ne sera pas seulement un temps d’instruction divine, mais aussi un temps où tous les vivants appliqueront ce qu’ils apprendront et en verront les bienfaits. Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus et progresserez à leurs côtés vers la perfection !
      Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus.
      Au terme du Jour du Jugement, Dieu permettra à Satan d’éprouver la fidélité des êtres humains. Il n’y a cependant pas lieu d’être inquiet ou d’avoir peur. Tous seront alors solidement armés pour faire face à cette dernière épreuve. Ainsi, le Jour du Jugement est une étape dans l’accomplissement du dessein divin qui effacera toutes les conséquences de la rébellion originelle contre Dieu dans le jardin d’Éden.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Chantons avec coeur et allégresse 
      Psaumes
      146 Louez Jah!
      Que tout mon être loue Jéhovah !
       2 Je veux louer Jéhovah toute ma vie.
      Je veux chanter des louanges à mon Dieu aussi longtemps que je vivrai.
       3 Ne mettez pas votre confiance dans les princes,
      ni dans un fils d’homme, qui est incapable de sauver.
       4 L’esprit de l’homme sort, l’homme retourne au sol ;
      ce jour-là, ses pensées périssent.
       5 Heureux celui qui a pour secours le Dieu de Jacob
      et dont l’espoir est en Jéhovah son Dieu,
       6 Celui qui a fait le ciel et la terre,
      la mer, et tout ce qui s’y trouve,
      celui qui reste fidèle pour toujours,
       7 celui qui garantit la justice aux spoliés,
      celui qui donne du pain aux affamés.
      Jéhovah libère les prisonniers ;
       8 Jéhovah ouvre les yeux des aveugles ;
      Jéhovah relève ceux qui sont courbés ;
      Jéhovah aime les justes.
       9 Jéhovah protège les résidents étrangers ;
      il soutient l’orphelin de père et la veuve,
      mais il contrecarre les projets des méchants
      10 Jéhovah sera Roi pour toujours,
      ton Dieu, ô Sion, de génération en génération.
      Louez Jah !

      · 0 replies
    • REDROCHA  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you Sister !!!!
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      LES QUALITÉS D'UN BERGER ET LES ASSISTANTS DE L'ASSEMBLÉE 

      PREMIÈRE LETTRE DE TIMOTHÉE

      3 La parole suivante est digne de foi : Si un homme aspire à être un responsable, il désire une belle œuvre. 2 Il faut donc qu’un responsable soit irréprochable, mari d’une seule femme, modéré dans ses habitudes, réfléchi, ordonné, hospitalier, capable d’enseigner, 3 que ce ne soit pas un ivrogne ni un homme violent, mais un homme raisonnable, non querelleur, non ami de l’argent, 4 un homme qui dirige d’une belle façon sa propre famille, qui tienne ses enfants dans la soumission en toute dignité 5 (car si un homme ne sait pas diriger sa propre famille, comment prendra-t-il soin de l’assemblée de Dieu ?), 6 que ce ne soit pas un homme récemment converti, de peur qu’il se gonfle d’orgueil et tombe sous le coup de la condamnation portée contre le Diable. 7 D’autre part, il faut aussi qu’il reçoive un beau témoignage des gens extérieurs à l’assemblée, afin de ne pas tomber dans le déshonneur et dans un piège du Diable.
      8 De même, il faut que les assistants soient des hommes dignes, qu’ils n’aient pas un langage double, qu’ils soient modérés dans la consommation de vin, non avides d’un gain malhonnête, 9 attachés au saint secret de la foi avec une conscience pure.
      10 De plus, qu’ils soient d’abord mis à l’épreuve quant à leurs aptitudes ; puis, s’ils sont exempts d’accusation, qu’ils servent comme ministres.
      11 De même, il faut que les femmes soient dignes, non calomniatrices, modérées dans leurs habitudes, fidèles en toutes choses.
      12 Les assistants doivent être maris d’une seule femme et diriger d’une belle façon leurs enfants et leur propre famille. 13 Car les hommes qui servent d’une belle façon acquièrent une belle réputation et une grande confiancepour parler de la foi en Christ Jésus.
      14 Je t’écris ces choses, bien que j’espère venir bientôt chez toi, 15 pour que, au cas où je serais retardé, tu saches comment tu dois te conduire dans la maison de Dieu, qui est l’assemblée du Dieu vivant, colonne et soutien de la vérité. 16 Oui, il faut avouer qu’il est grand, le saint secret de l’attachement à Dieu : « Il a été manifesté dans la chair, a été déclaré juste dans l’esprit, est apparu aux anges, a été prêché parmi les nations, a été cru dans le monde, a été enlevé dans la gloire. »





      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Bergers, imitez les Grands Bergers
       
      Christ [...] a souffert pour vous, vous laissant un modèle pour que vous suiviez fidèlement ses traces » (1 PIERRE 2:21)

      QUAND un berger s’intéresse de près au bien-être de son troupeau, les moutons se portent bien. Selon un manuel sur l’élevage ovin, « l’homme qui se contente de mener le troupeau au pré puis n’y prête plus attention risque fort, en quelques années, d’avoir de nombreuses bêtes malades qui ne rapportent rien ». Par contre, quand les moutons reçoivent l’attention voulue, le troupeau prospère.
      La qualité des soins et de l’attention que les bergers du troupeau de Dieu prodiguent à chaque brebis dont ils sont responsables influera sur la santé spirituelle de toute la congrégation. Tu te souviens peut-être que Jésus a eu pitié des foules parce qu’« elles étaient dépouillées et éparpillées comme des brebis sans berger » (Mat. 9:36). Pourquoi se trouvaient-elles en si piteuse condition ? Parce que les hommes chargés d’enseigner la Loi de Dieu au peuple étaient durs, exigeants et hypocrites. Au lieu de soutenir et de nourrir les membres de leur troupeau, les guides spirituels d’Israël posaient sur leurs épaules de « lourdes charges » (Mat. 23:4).
      Les bergers chrétiens d’aujourd’hui, les anciens, ont donc une lourde responsabilité. Les brebis du troupeau sous leur garde appartiennent à Jéhovah ainsi qu’à Jésus, qui s’est présenté comme « l’excellent berger » (Jean 10:11). Les brebis ont été « acheté[e]s à un prix », que Jésus a payé avec son propre « sang précieux » (1 Cor. 6:20 ; 1 Pierre 1:18, 19). Jésus aime tellement les brebis qu’il a bien voulu sacrifier sa vie pour elles. Les anciens ne devraient jamais oublier qu’ils sont des sous-bergers sous la surveillance du Fils bienveillant de Dieu, Jésus Christ, « le grand berger des brebis » (Héb. 13:20).
      Comment les bergers chrétiens devraient-ils traiter les brebis ? Les membres de la congrégation sont exhortés à « obéi[r] à ceux qui [les] dirigent ». De leur côté, les anciens ne doivent pas « commande[r] en maîtres ceux qui sont l’héritage de Dieu » (Héb. 13:17 ; lire 1 Pierre 5:2, 3). Alors comment peuvent-ils diriger le troupeau sans le commander en maîtres ? Autrement dit, comment peuvent-ils répondre aux besoins des brebis sans abuser de l’autorité dont Dieu les a investis ?
      « IL LES PORTERA SUR SON SEIN »
      Parlant de Jéhovah, le prophète Isaïe a déclaré : « Comme un berger il fera paître son troupeau. De son bras il rassemblera les agneaux ; et sur son sein il les portera. Il conduira doucement celles qui allaitent » (Is. 40:11). Cette comparaison montre que Jéhovah se soucie des besoins des membres de la congrégation faibles et vulnérables. De même qu’un berger connaît les besoins particuliers de chaque brebis de son troupeau et se tient prêt à les combler, Jéhovah connaît les besoins des membres de la congrégation et est heureux de leur apporter le soutien voulu. À l’image d’un berger qui, si nécessaire, porte un agneau nouveau-né dans le pli de son vêtement, « le Père des tendres miséricordes » nous portera, ou nous consolera, quand nous serons durement éprouvés ou rencontrerons un besoin particulier (2 Cor. 1:3, 4).

      Quel exemple admirable pour un berger chrétien ! Comme son Père céleste, il lui faut être attentif aux besoins des brebis. S’il est au courant des difficultés qu’elles rencontrent et des besoins qui méritent une attention immédiate, il sera en mesure d’offrir l’encouragement et le soutien nécessaires (Prov. 27:23). Il doit donc bien communiquer avec ses compagnons chrétiens. Tout en respectant la vie privée de chacun, il s’intéresse à ce qu’il voit et entend dans la congrégation, avec amour, il se rend disponible pour « venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:35 ; 1 Thess. 4:11).
      Parlons de la mentalité de bergers que Jéhovah a désapprouvés. Aux jours d’Ézékiel et de Jérémie, Jéhovah a dénoncé ceux qui auraient dû s’occuper de ses brebis, mais ne le faisaient pas. Quand personne ne surveillait les brebis, le troupeau devenait la proie de bêtes sauvages et se dispersait. Ces bergers exploitaient les brebis et, plutôt que de les faire paître, « ils se paissaient eux-mêmes » (Ézék. 34:7-10 ; Jér. 23:1). Le reproche que Dieu leur a fait est tout aussi valable pour les chefs de la chrétienté. Mais il souligne également combien il est important qu’un ancien s’occupe avec sérieux et amour du troupeau de Jéhovah.
      « JE VOUS AI DONNÉ L’EXEMPLE »
      En raison de l’imperfection humaine, certaines brebis peuvent être lentes à comprendre ce que le Berger suprême attend d’elles. Elles ne se conforment pas toujours à un conseil biblique ou ont un comportement trahissant un manque de maturité spirituelle. Comment les anciens doivent-ils réagir ? Ils devraient imiter la patience qu’a eue Jésus envers ses disciples quand ils cherchaient à savoir qui parmi eux serait le plus grand dans le Royaume. Au lieu de perdre patience, Jésus a continué à les enseigner et à leur donner des conseils bienveillants sur la pratique de l’humilité (Luc 9:46-48 ; 22:24-27). En leur lavant les pieds, il leur a fait une démonstration d’humilité, qualité que les surveillants chrétiens sont tenus de manifester (lire Jean 13:12-15 ; 1 Pierre 2:21).
      Le point de vue de Jésus sur le rôle du berger n’était pas le même que celui que Jacques et Jean ont un jour manifesté. Ces deux apôtres cherchaient à s’assurer une place en vue dans le Royaume. Mais Jésus a rectifié cet état d’esprit ainsi : « Vous savez que les chefs des nations dominent sur elles, et que les grands usent d’autorité sur elles. Il n’en sera pas ainsi parmi vous ; mais quiconque voudra devenir grand parmi vous sera votre serviteur » (Mat. 20:25, 26, Bible de Darby). Les apôtres devaient résister à l’envie de « commander en maîtres » leurs compagnons ou de « dominer sur » eux.
      Jésus tient à ce que les bergers chrétiens traitent le troupeau comme lui le traitait. Ils doivent être disposés à servir leurs compagnons, pas les dominer. Paul a manifesté une telle humilité. Il a dit en effet aux anciens de la congrégation d’Éphèse : « Vous savez bien comment, depuis le premier jour où j’ai mis le pied dans le district d’Asie, j’ai été avec vous tout le temps, travaillant comme un esclave pour le Seigneur, avec la plus grande humilité. » L’apôtre souhaitait que ces anciens soutiennent les brebis avec dévouement et humilité. Il a ajouté : « Je vous ai montré en toutes choses que c’est en peinant ainsi que vous devez venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:18, 19, 35). Il a par ailleurs dit aux Corinthiens qu’il ne dominait pas sur leur foi. Il était plutôt leur humble compagnon de travail, pour leur joie (2 Cor. 1:24). C’est un bel exemple d’humilité et de courage pour les anciens de notre époque.
      « FERMEMENT ATTACHÉ À LA PAROLE FIDÈLE »
      Un ancien doit être « fermement attaché à la parole fidèle pour ce qui est de son art d’enseigner » (Tite 1:9). Mais il le sera « dans un esprit de douceur » (Gal. 6:1). Un bon berger chrétien ne force pas une brebis à agir de telle ou telle façon. Non, il réfléchit à la manière dont il stimulera son cœur. Il attirera peut-être son attention sur les principes bibliques à considérer avant de prendre une décision importante. Il reverra avec elle ce que les publications ont dit sur la question. Il l’exhortera à réfléchir aux conséquences de tel ou tel choix sur ses relations avec Jéhovah. Il pourra aussi insister sur l’importance de demander à Dieu sa direction avant de prendre une décision (Prov. 3:5, 6). Ensuite, il la laissera prendre elle-même sa décision (Rom. 14:1-4).
      La seule autorité que les surveillants chrétiens détiennent leur vient des Écritures. Alors ils doivent absolument se servir de la Bible avec habileté et adhérer à son contenu. Ils se garderont ainsi d’un éventuel abus de pouvoir. Car ils ne sont que sous-bergers ; chaque membre de la congrégation est responsable devant Jéhovah et Jésus de ses propres décisions (Gal. 6:5, 7, 8).
      « DES EXEMPLES POUR LE TROUPEAU »
      Après avoir déconseillé aux anciens ( prêtres )« commander en maîtres ceux qui [leur] sont échus en partage », l’apôtre Pierre les exhorte à « devenir des exemples pour le troupeau » (1 Pierre 5:3, note). De quelle façon sont-ils des exemples pour le troupeau ? Prenons deux des choses requises d’un frère qui « aspire à une fonction de surveillant ». Il lui faut être « sain d’esprit » et « présider de belle façon, sa propre maisonnée ». S’il a une famille, il doit la présider de manière exemplaire, car « si quelqu’un [...] ne sait pas présider sa propre maisonnée, comment prendra-t-il soin de la congrégation ( assemblée) de Dieu ? » (1 Tim. 3:1, 2, 4, 5). Il doit également être sain d’esprit, c’est-à-dire comprendre clairement les principes divins et savoir comment les appliquer dans sa propre vie. Il est calme et équilibré et se garde de porter des jugements hâtifs. Autant de qualités qui inspirent confiance aux membres de la congrégation.
      Les surveillants donnent également l’exemple en prenant la tête dans l’œuvre de prédication. Jésus lui-même leur a donné l’exemple à cet égard. La prédication de la bonne nouvelle du Royaume a occupé une grande partie de son activité terrestre. Il a montré à ses disciples comment il fallait l’accomplir (Marc 1:38 ; Luc 8:1). Qu’il est encourageant, de nos jours, de prêcher aux côtés des anciens, de constater leur zèle pour cette œuvre salvatrice et d’apprendre de leurs méthodes d’enseignement ! Leur détermination à consacrer du temps et de l’énergie à la prédication malgré un emploi du temps chargé insuffle du zèle à toute la congrégation. Enfin, les anciens donnent l’exemple en préparant les réunions de la congrégation et en y participant, mais aussi en prenant part à des activités comme le nettoyage et la maintenance de la Salle du Royaume (Éph. 5:15, 16 ; lire (Hébreux 13:7) 
      « SOUTENEZ LES FAIBLES »
      Quand une brebis se blesse ou tombe malade, un bon berger vole à son secours. Pareillement, quand un membre de la congrégation souffre ou a besoin d’une aide spirituelle, les anciens doivent réagir rapidement. Un chrétien âgé ou malade a sans doute besoin d’une aide pratique, mais il a surtout besoin d’un soutien spirituel et d’encouragements (1 Thess. 5:14). Les jeunes rencontrent peut-être des difficultés. Résister aux « désirs de la jeunesse » en est une (2 Tim. 2:22). Le berger doit donc rendre régulièrement visite aux membres de la congrégation dans le but de comprendre les épreuves qu’ils traversent et de les encourager par des conseils bibliques bien choisis. Quand ces visites pastorales sont faites au bon moment, beaucoup de problèmes peuvent être résolus avant qu’ils ne s’aggravent.
      Et si les difficultés d’un chrétien s’aggravent au point de menacer sa santé spirituelle ? « Quelqu’un parmi vous est-il malade ?, a demandé le rédacteur biblique Jacques. Qu’il appelle à lui les anciens de la congrégation, et qu’ils prient sur lui, l’enduisant d’huile au nom de Jéhovah. Et la prière de la foi rétablira celui qui est souffrant, et Jéhovah le relèvera. De plus, s’il a commis des péchés, il lui sera pardonné » (Jacq. 5:14, 15). Même quand un chrétien « souffrant » « appelle à lui les anciens », ces derniers doivent lui venir en aide dès qu’ils sont au courant de son état. Les anciens qui prient avec sont là pour le fortifier et aussi tout frères en difficulté, et ils les soutiennent, se révèlent une source de réconfort et d’encouragement (lire Isaïe 32:1, 2).
      Dans tout ce qu’ils font au sein de l’organisation de Jéhovah, les bergers s’efforcent d’imiter « le grand berger », Jésus Christ. Grâce à l’aide de ces hommes dignes de confiance, le troupeau se fortifie et prospère. Tout cela nous réjouit profondément et nous pousse à louer le plus Grand Berger sans pareil,  notre Dieu Jéhovah



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