If shunning loved ones is scriptural, why does Watchtower publicly deny the practice?
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Shunning deniers: Veikko Leinonen (center) is the latest Watchtower representative to downplay the shunning policy in front of the media

Shunning deniers: Veikko Leinonen (center) is the latest Watchtower representative to downplay the shunning policy in front of the media

Watchtower representative Veikko Leinonen recently made an appearance on Finnish television in which he essentially denied that Jehovah’s Witness parents shun children who leave.

Asked whether a young Jehovah’s Witness can leave freely and start his own life, Leinonen replied “Absolutely, absolutely freely and we hope they will return freely and there will be no obstacles.”

Further pressed by the journalist to clarify whether such a person would be shunned, Leinonen emphatically replied “no” several times – perhaps wary that Jehovah’s Witnesses have recently been under fire in Finland for their judicial policies.

In dismissing the issue of shunning, Leinonen followed in the footsteps of other Watchtower representatives from various countries who have similarly found it necessary to misrepresent Witness beliefs to the media.

Regardless of his motives, those who are familiar with Watchtower doctrine will recognize Leinonen’s denial as a total contradiction of the way Witnesses are instructed. The July 15, 2011 Watchtower (to cite just one example) went so far as to liken disfellowshipped teenagers to Nadab and Abihu, the errant priests who were struck down by God for offering illegitimate fire.

“Today, Jehovah does not immediately execute those who violate his laws,” the article observed. “He lovingly gives them an opportunity to repent from their unrighteous works. How would Jehovah feel, though, if the parents of an unrepentant wrongdoer kept putting Him to the test by having unnecessary association with their disfellowshipped son or daughter?” (see w11 7/15 p.32)

It is this and other coercion from Watchtower that has a tangible impact on countless families, which are needlessly ripped apart whenever a family member decides to no longer subject himself or herself to the Governing Body’s self-proclaimed authority.

But Witnesses would do well to consider why it should be necessary for their representatives to employ evasion and deception when confronted on this issue. After all, is not the disfellowshipping arrangement supposedly a commandment from Jehovah? Should it not, on that basis, be something Watchtower representatives should be eager to explain fully and transparently, regardless of the PR ramifications?

Consider the following passage from a 2008 Watchtower…

“For more than 40 years, Jeremiah contended with apathy, rejection, ridicule, and even physical violence. (Jer. 20:1, 2) At times, he felt like giving up. Yet, he persevered in declaring an unpopular message to a largely unreceptive people. In God’s strength, Jeremiah accomplished what he could never have done on his own.—Read Jeremiah 20:7-9.” – w08 7/15 p.7

If Jeremiah supposedly persevered with an “unpopular message” under threat of physical violence, should this not serve as an example to Watchtower and its PR personnel? If a Jehovah’s Witness fails to expound on a commandment of Jehovah when directly questioned on the subject simply because this command is “unpopular,” is he not yielding to fear of man and revealing a shame of God himself?

There can be no doubt that Watchtower’s policy of shunning family members is “unpopular” with the public, and with good reason. It is a sadistic means of utilizing a person’s family as a weapon of punishment for leaving his or her religion, and as such represents a breach of basic human rights.

But rather than face the music and extoll the perceived virtues of their cruel practice whatever the backlash, Watchtower buckles under the slightest media scrutiny. Its devious denials and attempts at evasion are both cowardly and vulgar.

Though their crude tactics may throw the occasional journalist off the scent in the short term, there are some of us who are taking careful note and will continue to hold this organization to account.

 

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103 Responses to If shunning loved ones is scriptural, why does Watchtower publicly deny the practice?

  1. jbrown123 says:

    Great article and great job Cedars.
    My guess is you have more than a handfull of readers from JW headquarters’ Writing and Service departments secretively studying your material. If anything it gives those SOBs something to think about.
    I wonder how many COs, Congregation Elders, Ministerial Servants, wives and Pioneers hang out here.
    Visits to your website can only go one way…up and up!

  2. rob says:

    Very interesting that witnesses expect tolerance from others when it comes to calling on their homes at inopportune times, or with respect to children not participating in holiday celebrations at school, or medical treatments, or for every other man made pharisaical rule that governs their lives. However, they are completely intolerant of others and will shun their own families if they detect any sign of disloyalty to the “organization”. I guess Brooklyn trumps everything and everyone.

  3. jbrown123 says:

    Not to go off topic.
    Cedars will you be commenting on the new JW video…’These Words Must Be On Your Heart’?

  4. Jobass24us says:

    Rob, you didn’t get the memo? You are absolutely right, they are the only ones that entitled to this sort of treatment. They are also entitled to argue and vilify your beliefs but don’t you dare try and question theirs. They are absolutely the only ones entitled to fight for their rights all the way up tot eh supreme court but don’t you dare try to fight for your own.

    LOL!

  5. Rudeawake says; says:

    Hey,tracy;pickup on this!!you don’t even have to be DF to get shunned!!let me tell you this for a fact,i am being shunned over and over again and i am not DF.IF YOU ARE NOT COUNTED AMOUNGTH THE ELITE CLASS NOW OF BEING AN ELDER,A MINISTERIAL,A CLASS A/B PIONEER WORKING WITH THE DISPLAYS YOU ARE SHUNNED PERIOD.WHAT A SHAME AND A DOWNRIGHT SHAM!!! Shunning is more wide spread than they are going to admit.The truth is it’s there but they just don’t care.

  6. SunshineBlueSkies18 says:

    Someone can just mail the media a few WT mags to show that shunning is a practice observed my members. Doesn’t the person who made the statement realize that?

  7. Dean says:

    Jworg..FAQ do Jw shun…i copied this part from it and it says it on there site…………….We do not automatically disfellowship someone who commits a serious sin. If, however, a baptized Witness makes a practice of breaking the Bible’s moral code and does not repent, he or she will be SHUNNED or disfellowshipped. The Bible clearly states: “”Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.””—1 Corinthians 5:13…………..Does that say Shunned?yes and that’s why i changed it to Capitals and this is on there site Jworg..under FAQ do Jehovah,s witnesses shun ..END OF..!!!!

  8. tiger123 says:

    Here is a sad reality, JW’s are literally afraid to use their brains to think. For most, the reason they do not leave being a JW is the fear of what will they do with their life if they do not have someone telling them what to do. Sound strange? Take a look at the evidence.

    The vast majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses are codependents. The earmarks of codependency are, self denial, excessive compliance and low self esteem. Several articles written on codependency clearly state that Narcissists are magnets for Codependents.

    Consider these facts:

    Self denial:
    Jehovah’s Witnesses are told to be “self sacrificing”

    Low self esteem:
    Jehovah’s Witnesses are reminded repeatedly to not think too much of themselves. They are told that they are “slaves” of the master. When following the instructions of the Narcissistic GB they are told they are ‘doing what they should have done’ and are a “good for nothing slave” TRULY SICK!

    Excessive compliance:
    Jehovah’s Witnesses are repeatedly told to not question the direction of the Narcissist GB even in the smallest detail. In everything they are to be compliant and take it as coming from the “Almighty God” himself.

    Magnetism to narcissists:
    Codependents by virtue of these traits seek the approval of the Narcissist and feel the need to follow the direction of the Narcissist for that approval. This codependency only exaggerates the Narcissist selfish controlling ways, empowering the Narcissist to feel strong in his/her conviction that he/she is right and does not need to change their extremely selfish ways. Describes the GB perfectly

    Folks, whether we like it or not, the biggest challenge we face is not our families religious views, but their codependency with the GB/Watchtower. The facts that we have acquired are obvious to everyone that the GB and its Watchtower mouthpiece are liars and total frauds. We were the only ones surprised by the facts as we ended our codependency. No one outside the JW religion is surprised at all. Just as the abusive, selfish husband harms not only his codependent wife and therefore enables him to harm his children, or the alcoholic whose wife/husband does not leave and who is a codependent causes the children to suffer. Our families are just as responsible as the GB, is the sad truth. When we bring to light the facts they seek to protect the GB, their abuser, enabling the GB to abuse us.

    Consider one more fact. Ask local law enforcement why they hate domestic dispute cases. It is because when they go to arrest the abuser, very often the codependent seeks to protect the abuser and at the very least is almost always the one bailing them out. (I work with attorneys and know this to be a fact) Essentially they show up and risk their lives and often the victim never presses any charges. Many officers lament that they would not even go if were not for the children.

    What I am talking about is called cognitive dissonance, that is when a person holds to two very different and conflicting ideas. More specifically cognitive dissonance refers to the emotional stress caused by holding to two different ideas. To illustrate, have you ever noticed that when you try to reason with a loved one who is a JW on the facts, they get really stressed out. How about this, think back to when you left, how surprised you were that you could reason on the facts and it no longer bothered you, but it bothered them, get my point?

    Here is the rub. We must hold our families accountable if there ever is to be change. By holding them accountable we may awaken their powers of reason and alert them to their need for help and therapy. Otherwise, just like the abuser who is bailed out of jail, by his/her victim. If our loved ones continue to bail out the GB, the GB will be viewed as harmless and will continue to evade trouble.

  9. tiger123 says:

    Here is a sad reality, for most, the reason they do not leave being a JW is the fear of what will they do with their life if they do not have someone telling them what to do. Sound strange? Take a look at the evidence.

    The vast majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses are codependents. Bold statement I know, but consider the three earmarks of codependency, self denial, excessive compliance and low self esteem. Several articles written on codependency clearly state that Narcissists are magnets for Codependents.

    Consider these facts:

    Self denial:
    Jehovah’s Witnesses are told to be “self sacrificing”

    Low self esteem:
    Jehovah’s Witnesses are reminded repeatedly to not think too much of themselves. They are told that they are “slaves” of the master. When following the instructions of the Narcissistic GB they are told they are ‘doing what they should have done’ and are a “good for nothing slave” TRULY SICK!

    Excessive compliance:
    Jehovah’s Witnesses are repeatedly told to not question the direction of the Narcissist GB even in the smallest detail. In everything they are to be compliant and take it as coming from the “Almighty God” himself.

    Magnetism to narcissists:
    Codependents by virtue of these traits seek the approval of the Narcissist and feel the need to follow the direction of the Narcissist for that approval. This codependency only exaggerates the Narcissist selfish controlling ways, empowering the Narcissist to feel strong in his/her conviction that he/she is right and does not need to change their extremely selfish ways. Describes the GB perfectly

    Folks, whether we like it or not, the biggest challenge we face is not our families religious views, but their codependency with the GB/Watchtower. The facts that we have acquired are obvious to everyone that the GB and its Watchtower mouthpiece are liars and total frauds. We were the only ones surprised by the facts as we ended our codependency. No one outside the JW religion is surprised at all. Just as the abusive, selfish husband harms not only his codependent wife and therefore enables him to harm his children, or the alcoholic whose wife/husband does not leave and who is a codependent causes the children to suffer. Our families are just as responsible as the GB, is the sad truth. When we bring to light the facts they seek to protect the GB, their abuser, enabling the GB to abuse us.

    Consider one more fact. Ask local law enforcement why they hate domestic dispute cases. It is because when they go to arrest the abuser, very often the codependent seeks to protect the abuser and at the very least is almost always the one bailing them out. (I work with attorneys and know this to be a fact) Essentially they show up and risk their lives and often the victim never presses any charges. Many officers lament that they would not even go if were not for the children.

    What I am talking about is called cognitive dissonance, that is when a person holds to two very different and conflicting ideas. More specifically cognitive dissonance refers to the emotional stress caused by holding to two different ideas. To illustrate, have you ever noticed that when you try to reason with a loved one who is a JW on the facts, they get really stressed out. How about this, think back to when you left, how surprised you were that you could reason on the facts and it no longer bothered you, but it bothered them, get my point?

    Here is the rub. We must hold our families accountable if there ever is to be change. By holding them accountable we may awaken their powers of reason and alert them to their need for help and therapy. Otherwise, just like the abuser who is bailed out of jail, by his/her victim. If our loved ones continue to bail out the GB, the GB will be viewed as harmless and will continue to evade trouble.

  10. tiger123 says:

    I choose to hold my family accountable for their support of this heinous viper of an organization and all of its lies. I choose to withhold my approval of them and their beliefs that harm my family and others. Change must start with us not being codependents of our families and making excuses for their abuse! Shunning is evil, who cares what lies the WT tells. I don’t care what some tribal leader tells his people to do. I only care about the evil choice my family has made to please their narcissistic leaders. They are guilty and should be held accountable! I do not feel sorry for their mentally sickened state any more than I do an alcoholic. Both need to change and neither should get our concern, love or support until they acknowledge what they are doing is wrong. The first step in any recovery program is admitting they have a problem, without admitting they will never seek help nor change. Not holding them accountable is like trying to put all the makers of whiskey out of business because our parents are alcoholics, when the vast majority of people who drink are not alcoholics. The solution also is not to support their bad behavior and hold them accountable until they get help.

    To be clear, I am not challenging anyone who exposes the GB or its agencies and agents. In fact I applaud you for providing the facts, as it helps others to stay away. However, what consistently seems to be missing from our discussions regarding shunning is the fact that our families are guilty and need to be held accountable and made to see they have a serious problem or things will never change. Even if the WT dissapears they will find another narcissist to control them leaving us bewildered until we admit that they have a problem and stop being their codependents.

    Yes everyone here deserves to be loved, but not a lie of love by an abuser, even if it is our own family.

    PS sorry for the duplicate comment. I would delete it, but do not know how to.

  11. Rosie says:

    Tiger

    Thank you for your comment, which I concur with wholeheartedly. I actually believe that Narcissism is a common thread throughout Watchtower.

    I have witnessed this personality trait in many who hold positions of power within the Watchtower, such as Elders, COs, and of course (thanks to Cedars website) especially so to the GB.

    On the other hand I have seen first-hand too how many in the congregation (more specifically the women) are the co-dependents; totally unable to think for themselves, subservient and controlled.

    Research about NPD shows that this disorder can develop in some people due to problems at an early age and who underneath their Narcissistic exterior have fragile self-esteem.

    Both are the very types that Watchtower preys upon – those who are damaged and vulnerable and those who are emotionally needy and who are afraid to think for themselves; and so they get drawn into Watchtower’s web, which then only fuels and exacerbates these personality weaknesses at either end of the spectrum.

    This is a very harmful Cult, it has caused endless emotional damage and will continue to do so until the real Truth about it is exposed to such an extent that our JW families and those under it’s control are forced to face up to the facts and can no longer remain blinkered.

  12. Rosie says:

    Tigers
    Thank you, I concur wholeheartedly with your comment. I actually believe that Narcissism is a common thread throughout Watchtower.

    I have witnessed first-hand Narcissism throughout the organisation, especially those in positions of power – Elders, COs and (through Cedars Blog) the GB.

    At the other end of the spectrum are those who cannot think for themselves (most specifically the women within the Org) and so they are controlled by the Narcissists.

    Watchtower fuels and exacerbates these personality traits.

    I am quoting an article that I found written about JWs and Narcissism; -

    “JWs can be classified as two types of people:
    1. Walking talking narcissists
    2. Inverted mirrors of the narcissists that provide narcissistic supply; co-dependents.
    Everybody else gets cut off and thrown away by the JW narcissists because they don’t provide narcissistic supply.

    All of the JW behavior is determined by narcissistic supply and the availability of narcissistic supply.
    Spouses of JW narcissists develop Stockholm syndrome and sympathize with their captors.

    If you are a victim of the JW narcissist the only thing you can control is the narcissistic supply that you provide to the narcissist.

    If you leave the JW narcissist it will not matter. They are no longer receiving the narcissistic supply and they will turn instantly devaluing whatever they previously held to be of value. They will devalue what they previously valued to the same degree that they previously held it to be esteemed.”

  13. anonymous says:

    I watched a youtube video entitled Jehovah’s Witnesses Elder lying in court parts 1 and part 2 dealing with shunning and now I am wondering if they are all lying sacks of s***t?

  14. enough already jws says:

    they have been lying since the beginning of their time…whether it was to save their own hide’s, or to attract members. and please believe they didn’t let just any ol’ elder speak in their behalf…it was one that has been groomed to calmly represent satan.

  15. Thomas Harper says:

    Very well written. The watchtower leadership are cowards. If they truly believed in their message and truly trusted in the power of their God to save them and protect his message, they wouldn’t shrink back from fear whenever someone shines a spotlight upon them.

    It’s not bad enough that many of their policies are hurtful and hateful but that they can’t even muster the courage and integrity to live what they preach. Truly shameful.

  16. nofearinlove says:

    I left almost 30 years ago. I was never df’ed I just ran away from home basically. I have not had any contact with any JW since except my mom. Recently she told me I am to be viewed as someone who is df’ed and I will be shunned although she didn’t like that word. She told me Jehovah disciplines those he loves and that is what this is “discipline”. So apparently at least this case the purpose is only to sever family ties and/or coerce me to return.
    My offense: celebrating holidays

  17. Ted says:

    Shunning an act of love,- I think George Orwell, must at some time have read W,T, articles, in his book 1984, the,Big
    Brother organisation has a department for “Persecution, and
    Execution, of all dissenter’s, And what is it called?,
    “The Ministry of Love”.

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