In what should surely rank among some of the most grotesque propaganda ever to be churned out by Watchtower’s writing department, Jehovah’s Witnesses are being asked to think of their disfellowshipped family members, not just as being dead, but as having been killed by Jehovah. As such they are not to be mourned.
“What a test of faith it was for Aaron and his family not to mourn their dead relatives!” says the latest November 15th Watchtower magazine on page 14, describing the slaughter of Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu through fire from heaven. “Are you personally proving yourself holy with regard to not associating with family members or others who have been disfellowshipped?”
The bizarre connection with Nadab and Abihu follows on from a similar article in 2011 in which the biblical account was invoked to guilt-trip Witness parents into avoiding “unnecessary association” with any disfellowshipped son or daughter.
“Think of how [Aaron] must have felt when his sons Nadab and Abihu offered illegitimate fire to Jehovah and He struck them dead. Of course, that ended any association those men could have had with their parents… The message is clear. Our love for Jehovah must be stronger than our love for unfaithful family members.” (w11 7/15 p.32)
It should go without saying that in order to invoke the direct slaughter of miscreants by God in justifying the total shunning of any who leave a religion, you first need to provide unequivocal proof that the religion in question is solely endorsed by God – a claim that virtually all religions make.
Watchtower has yet to write anything that comes close to offering tangible evidence of divine backing. It merely asks Witnesses to believe that Jesus made an invisible sojourn to Earth between 1914 and 1919, and used this period to ‘cleanse’ and select an organization he is apparently still ‘cleansing’ to this day – the Watch Tower Society.
The total vacuum of evidence to support Watchtower’s claims of divine direction make any attempted parallels with bible accounts of divine execution and excommunication both absurd and obscene.
If only Watchtower could rediscover some of the logic and reasonableness that led it to conclude in a 1947 Awake! article that the practice of disfellowshipping (or “excommunication”) is an instrument of “ecclesiastical power and secular tyranny” that is “altogether foreign to biblical teachings.”
Instead, Witnesses are bombarded with manipulative dogma (centered around a flawed understanding of 1 Cor. 5:11) aimed at dismantling families for the sake of Watchtower’s interests. Even the sending of emails to disfellowshipped ones is prohibited according to another recent magazine.
“Do not look for excuses to associate with a disfellowshipped family member, for example, through e-mail.” (w13 1/15 p.16 par. 19)
Though it may be easy for Watchtower’s cloistered Governing Body and its army of writers to spew forth this outrageous material, the effects on ordinary people who simply want to leave a religion they have discovered to be false are all too tangible, as this question in our latest 2014 Global Survey shows.
As reassuring as it is that 23% of disfellowshipped/disassociated ones answering the above question say they are NOT shunned by family members, that number is not likely to rise given the steady stream of coercion flowing from Brooklyn.
I personally believe there will come a time when all religious organizations who seek tax exempt or charitable status will be answerable to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes an individual’s innate right to “change his religion or belief.”
But as Watchtower presses forward with its efforts to deprive people of this basic right through its immoral shunning policies with an almost sadistic fervor, such a time cannot come soon enough.
- Patheos.com: “Jehovah’s Witness Publication Urges Faithful to Treat Disfellowshipped Loved Ones as if God Killed Them“
- If shunning loved ones is scriptural, why does Watchtower publicly deny the practice?
- “Shun your disfellowshipped loved ones!”: Shocking district convention talk hits YouTube
- JWsurvey articles on shunning