I recently heard a portion of a talk being given at the God's Word is Truth District Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses, entitled: The Truth brings "Not Peace, but a Sword given by Steven Bell of the Watch Tower Corporation, Walkill, NY.
Here are some jewels from that talk:
"What does Jehovah want from us when our family member is disfellowshipped? What does Jehovah expect out of us even if the situation is so painful that we have a family member who is disfellowshipped? What does he want? Loyalty. That's what Jehovah wants.
Disloyalty to Jehovah's arrangement is not going to work. For example, when someone is disfellowshipped, one of the reasons they want to come back to Jehovah's organization is to associate with the brothers and sisters in their congregation, and likely to associate with their family. So, if we associate with them when they're disfellowshipped, we could actually be taking away from them a motivating factor for wanting to be reinstated.
Regarding family members who oppose us, or family members who are disfellowshipped, the vital question is: To whom am I going to be loyal? To whom do I have greater affection? If we have more affection for anybody on this earth, whether it's a father, a mother, a son or a daughter, than we do for Christ Jesus, we are not worthy of him."
So let's face it: The shunning is NOT going stop. Our families are being taught that it comes down to loyalty. Literally it is between us and their Almighty deity--Jehovah. However sad, unfair, and just plain wrong this might be, the fact is--we cannot compete with their God. Even though their god is truly the Governing Body of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, our family members believe they are the vehicle the Almighty is using as their mouthpiece and mandate giver. It's time to face the music. That's a battle we just cannot win. Logic does not prevail in this case. Neither does emotional appeal. So what are we to do?
Being cast out and shunned by your family members is like enduring a death. A death of not just one individual, but everyone you know and love. And even a death of the person you used to be. It really is a grieving process like no other, because the ones you are grieving are still alive. How ridiculous is that?
A picture is being painted of us--the disfellowshipped, or disassociated family members. It is so funny when I see the illustrations in the Watchtower literature
depicting the "faithful Jehovah's Witnesses" painfully watching their
child walk out of the door, or staring at a photograph of the object of their shunning
with a grief-ridden expression on their faces. You never see the pain and agony the shunned one has gone through. The focus is on the fact that our Jehovah's Witness counterparts are the loyal ones and the life that we have chosen on the "outside" is worthy of excommunication, shunning, and even death.
Because many of us have been raised in, or at least exposed to these teachings for majority of our lives, our first instinct is to believe that, on some level, they're right. We are not worthy. We did something wrong by not choosing to continue to have our minds controlled by men, and therefore we deserve to be exiled, and ostracized by the very people who birthed us and have even claimed to love us without conditions.
The majority of negative comments on my YouTube channel are from disfellowshipped ex-Jehovah's
Witnesses who are actively being shunned! They are angry at me for
speaking out against it, because--they truly believe they deserve this
abuse. It's all they know. And in essence, although they are
technically out of the organization, they are still bound by its chains. But is that the case? Are we bound, and even getting what we deserve?
Not at all. Think about your family. These are adults we are talking about. Yes they're being controlled by a government of eight men in Brooklyn, but they are adults, and as such, they choose to shun us. They choose the Watch Tower corporation over their children, brothers, sisters, etc. Why in the world should they be pitied? They chose to shun you because they don't like the decision you made. Just as you chose to leave the cult.
So let me get this straight: you chose to leave, they don't like it--and they feel the best and only option they have is to ostracize you from the family. Where does that leave you? Do you like their decision to shun you? Do you not have a say in what happens in your life, and who gets to control it?
Let me give you a quick example. My mother has been actively shunning me for nearly 3 years. She doesn't speak to me, doesn't call me, doesn't answer my cards, emails, or messages. At the same time, though, she routinely attempts to contact my daughter, send her emails, messages, or comments on her photos.
At first I was so hurt by the shunning, and the suddenness with which my family disowned me, that I allowed her to do this. But then I realized something... my mom's life hasn't changed. She gets to shun her daughter, treat her like she's dead...and still have a relationship with her grand-kids. Meanwhile confirming her smug sense of "rightness" in following the Society's commands. Works out great for her! And every time my daughter got contacted by the woman that treats me as if I do not exist, I would feel worse and worse. More and more slighted, and it fed even more into the feeling that maybe I deserved this treatment--and worse yet, that my mom deserved to still be in my children's lives all because she was still in the cult. But that's not how I truly felt. That's what the Watch Tower Society propagates. They want you to be unhappy. They want you to come crawling back so that you can finally associate with your family again.
The last thing they want is for you to move on. And even worse than that would be to--shun the shunners. Yes, that's right. Shun the shunners. In the case with my mom--as I said before, she treats me like I'm dead. So be it. I'll be dead. But guess what? She's dead too. She doesn't get to be among the living in my family. It's only right. She doesn't agree with my disassociation from her cult, so she shuns me for it. I don't agree with her decision to let some guys in Brooklyn tell her that she can't speak to her daughter, so I'm shunning her for it. And with that--comes restrictions.
She can't speak to my children. My father (who has never been a JW, but is still married to my mom) can come down and visit, stay with us, play and take pictures with my kids. She is not welcome in our home. She is blocked on my daughter's social media, and unless my father shares photos with her, she doesn't see them. She doesn't get to disown and ostracize me, and go on with the same privileges she had before making that asinine decision. If I am dead, then the only way I can move on is if she is dead too. In a figurative sense, of course.
I always have heard that just because someone shares your DNA, doesn't make them family. It doesn't make it okay for them to hurt you, or destroy your soul. They can only hurt you if you let them continue to do so. They're just people. People who can be removed from your existence.
Once I came to that conclusion, I started feeling better. Immensely. I started truly sensing the power that I had given away, returning to me. Because really, who has any power over any of us? No one but US. I started living on my own terms and realized that just because the Watch Tower society deems me inappropriate for association with my own family, it doesn't mean they are right. They are nothing to me. Their thoughts, controlling words, articles, and talks mean absolutely nothing in my existence. They can only affect you if you let them. And that is what they want. It's the result for which they're waiting.
And just think about it. If you did return to the cult solely for the purposes of associating with your family, is that really right? I mean, why in the world would they even include that in the talk? If you're not returning for "Jehovah", then are you really authentic in your faith? I think not. Shame on them. Emotional blackmail at its worst.
So my advice is to get your power back. Don't wither away, and wallow in this pain, guilt, and feelings of unworthiness. Do something about it. You don't deserve this treatment. You don't deserve to be told that you're only worthy of love as long as you are doing what others want you to do. Do you really want that energy in your life? If not, let it go! Shun the shunners. Don't go crawling back and succumb to their ultimatum. Live your life. You only get one! Think about how you want to spend it. Trust me, I know it's hard. I still have my tough moments, but it's getting better every day. The sun has risen again, and it will do the same for you! But only you can decide whether you want to go out and see it.