For The Disfellowshipped, The Bad Associates, And The Disowned: You Really Do Have A Choice

Whether you’re a former Jehovah’s Witness who has been disfellowshipped1 or an atheist who has been disowned from a deeply religious family, take heart. This doesn’t have to be a soul tearing rejection from the only family you will ever get. Far from it.

Here’s what you need to know: no matter what you’ve been told, you can choose your family. Only your relatives are determined by genes and blood. Family is different. Because family is about relationships. If your relatives are bad news…or reject you because they think you’re bad news…you can choose another family based on any criteria you like. Realizing this can put you back in charge of your own life. Even if that means striking out on your own and leaving your old, dysfunctional family behind.

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  1. Disfellowshipping is like being excommunicated with a huge dose of shunning iced on top. None of your Witness relatives or friends will even speak to you once you’ve been disfellowshipped. Of course, many ex-Witnesses are shunned just because they’re seen as a bad associate. But that’s another story.

When Jehovah’s Witnesses Try Reasoning With Us To Get Us Back In The Kingdom Hall

The great crowdWhat do Jehovah’s Witnesses have over most ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses? A written narrative for almost any question you can think of, that’s what. Thanks to the Society’s narrative, Witnesses don’t have to think about their answers when a mean old apostate raises objections about the Society’s teachings. They can just quote the Watchtower’s narrative without using their own reasoning skills. That’s fine for them, but it’s a real problem when Jehovah’s Witnesses turn that narrative on the rest of us–especially if they’re trying to pressure us back into “The Truth” with pseudo reasoning. Not because they’re right, but because they can use that narrative as a hammer to shame former believers into submission. As always, the rest of us have to answer their rapid fire challenges the hard way: by reasoning on the spot for ourselves. Aggressive Witnesses probably won’t turn you back into a blood-card carrying member anytime soon, but it can sure leave you feeling like a dope. Or even ashamed.

So how can an ex-Witness deal with those Watchtower interrogation lights without feeling like a total chump? Here are some easy tips that even the most timid exxer can handle.

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Humanize Yourself In Four Steps When Evangelists Objectify You

PerishWant to know one thing that many atheists and ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses have in common? Dealing with aggressive evangelists who objectify us (or who want us to play our assigned role in their idealized conversion scenario). Whether they realize it or not, many evangelists tend to pigeonhole others into categories that are easy for them to handle. To them, we cease to be Jim, Rob, or Cindy. We become the generic angry atheist, the generic Witness who was hurt by the Elders, or whatever. And they’ll deal with everyone they’ve lumped in those categories in exactly the same way–even many people they’ve known all their life. This is one of the most annoying and even offensive aspects of aggressive evangelism. It insulates the proselytizer from the convert’s point of view, but makes it impossible for you to have a real conversation with them because they aren’t actually hearing you any more. No one likes to be objectified. How can you turn things around when your closest evangelist starts to objectify you?

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Why Jehovah’s Witnesses Think They Have More Freedom Than You Do

smug cat
If only this cat knew that rats are WAY cooler pets.
Smug little bastard…

People who are not Jehovah's Witnesses are free to make choices. We can go to church, become atheists (like yours truly), or celebrate any holiday we choose. We can read whatever we like, listen to any music we like, or watch any movie we like. All without fear that an Elder will tap us on the shoulder and haul us before a judicial committee. We can even use our own judgment without consulting a Watchtower Magazine for the Governing Body's take on every major decision we make. Jehovah's Witnesses can't claim any of that with a straight face. Not that it matters. Because they think they have more freedom than you do. Seriously. And they think they're the only ones capable of exercising that freedom fully. How can that be?

It's simple. To Jehovah's Witnesses, the rest of us have made the only choice can make: death. Most of us don't even know we've made that choice. But it's the only option we'll allow ourselves to have. Meanwhile, the Witnesses–bless their little hearts–keep knocking on our doors in an attempt to keep us informed about the alternative. Very few of us are willing to listen, so our choices remain limited to just one: death.

Well, that's how they see it at least. But I digress…

Witnesses have two choices because they're better informed than we are. (At least they think so.) They can choose 1) death, or 2) life everlasting in paradise. In their minds, that's twice as many choices as everyone else. So while pitiful old "worldly people" like you and I can do whatever we'd like with our brief lives, those choices are meaningless because they're only short term. Our lives are finite. Their lives will go on forever and they'll be in paradise too! They've chosen to make that happen by going to meetings, knocking on doors, and obeying the Governing Body. They reaffirm this decision every time they do any of these things instead of something they'd rather do. These are all daily sacrifices, and every sacrifice only increases a Witness's commitment to the Watchtower Society. Every sacrifice is an investment.

So when worldly people accuse them of being a cult or complain that the Watchtower Society is doing all their thinking for them, most Jehovah's Witnesses are happy to just chuckle and deflect our comments with something like: "We can do anything you can do…so long as it isn't wrong." You know the drill. That's the part where they elbow the Witness next to them in the ribs and wink knowingly.

"Man," they say with that wink, "being right sure is awesome. Glad I'm not this poor dope. Aren't you?"

Of course, I can't agree with their view. Anyone else have an opinion worth sharing?

Let's hear it.