Story of the Lone Traveler
From my baptism in 1960, I was an actively associated with the organization known as Jehovah's Witnesses. From the age of 4 yrs old , my parents raised and strongly indoctrinated my brothers and sisters and I in Jehovah's Witnesses belief system. We attended 3 meetings per week, every week, attended assemblies and participated regularly in door-to-door preaching.
I was disfellowshiped by the Washington Terrace congregation Ogden Utah, in 1981 [est]. I was informed by the elders that this was for slander and obscene gestures. At the hearing, no proof of any kind or evidence, was presented to prove this charge. The charges leveled against myself were totally without basis and only used to create a platform to remove me. Ten members of my personal family were brought in to testify. In the end, nothing they said correlated to the charges against me. The facts support and substantiate that my family members were pressured by local elders to testify to anything that they thought was not quite in "sync" with their understanding of Jehovah's Witness mentality. If they did not comply, they would not be showing loyalty to the "organization". This was later substantiated when a member of my family who testified against me as a witness, apologized personally to me for what he and his wife at the time had done.
I had served as a Ministerial Servant for 10 years and as an Elder for 5 years. I had observed not only conflicting doctrinal issues, but became very upset over conduct of its local leaders using power control tactics upon their flock that caused great pain on individuals and their families. And there was very questionable conduct of its Elders for which they severely judged others, but they themselves were engaged in similar conduct, at a higher degree. I tried to point out this condition and make a change to help the people and their families that were being damaged by these individuals. [This brought a collective effort to quiet the whistle blower.]
Since this time, I have not had any relationship with any Jehovah's Witness or any of my 5 sisters and for a time my brothers, or my nephews or nieces. Neither have I had a meaningful, natural relationship with any of their children that are active in the group, because of the shunning policy.
My mother and father shunned me completely for many years. At my fathers viewing upon his death I was shunned and no condolences were given to me. The few gestures I did receive were shallow and not heart felt. I went out to the parking lot and sat in my car so to avoid the painful treatment of family and friends which I thought I had for all my life up till then.
Not wanting to go through this terrible ordeal again, I did not attend my father funeral, which was held in the local Kingdom Hall. This was repeated with my sister's death. I grieved alone. No family, No support that any other person would normally have. I have never been invited to any family function because of the bad association they feel I will present. And fear that they will be punished with disfellowshiping and be shunned themselves.
This organization has dismantled the family structure , not just for me and my children, but my siblings and their children. They have no extended family to enjoy. And this will be repeated for several generations yet to come if they continue following this family destructive cult.
The shunning policy of Jehovah's Witnesses has left the my family that's no longer connected with natural affections as other families. But instead with family members whose loyalty to each other is judged by if you are a member of Jehovah's Witnesses in "good standing" as they put it, or not. The sacred circle of the family unit has been replaced with an Authoritarian group mentality that has dissolved the very fundamentals of all families dating back to the beginning of time.
Jehovah's Witnesses will choose the side of their religion and their idea of God first, before standing next to the family unit if they had to choose.
The shunning policy has stretched its influence to the other side of a normal family support system. My wife's sister and husband, also active Jehovah's Witnesses, adhere strictly to the Jehovah's Witnesses shunning policy. They have not spoken to me for 22 yrs. Not even to give encouraging remarks when my son was thought to be brain dead. Or when I was in the hospital with a life threatening condition. [The same type of treatment was experienced at this very emotional time from my own JW family].
Absolutely no semblance of any natural affection for me has ever been shown. The fact that my wife is my sister in-laws only sister and sibling, has not been powerful enough to override the dominant policy of shunning. Resulting in deterioration of sibling closeness and love between these two sisters.
Shunning takes on another insidious face when the policy is expanded by individuals themselves to include spouses and children of the so-called wrong doer. Many who are active Jehovah's Witnesses; especially if these individuals no longer participate in the religious structure also shun these innocent victims. Therefore this constitutes a second level of victims that may be even more destructive in the long run than the first. Due to the fact that the only wrong they could be accused of is that they chose to stand next to and support their disfellowshiped family member. Which shows what happens when family loyalty is chosen over organizational loyalty.
It is my opinion the shunning policy of this authoritarian group is used to control the members so they will not leave or question its authority. It is not a tool, as they claim, to help its so-called wrongdoers.
Any parent or legal system that would force children into this structure either does not fully understand how damaging this belief system can be to the healthy development of a child or the family unit itself, or they truly do not have the child's best interest in mind. Also any family member who supports this shunning policy, are themselves guilty of the most cruelest forms of psychological abuse, they themselves are also being hurt in a way they do not recognize. They are damaging within themselves the sacred gift of ones natural affection toward family. This will only be passed on to the others in the family and will ultimately weaken their only family unit because of a perverted view of loyalty.
After being silent for over 20 years I appreciate the format that you have created and do hope this experience will help others if they have been shunned by JWs and family. Which is designed to try to beat them into guilt and submission, that they need not feel guilty or bend their backs to this treatment for we all stand on our own before God, who uses no tools such as shunning to make a judgment. And I hope all of this will let others know what they will be up against if they join this manipulative group of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Thank you, signed,
"Lone Tree" Standing tall though all alone
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