When one of Jehovah’s Witnesses does something that his local elders deem a serious offense against God and Watchtower, he will probably be disfellowshipped by a closed-door tribunal. From that point forward, he is basically dead to all Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide. It’s a bit like that one episode from the Twilight Zone, actually. If he tries to communicate with them in any way, he will either be ignored or angrily told the error of his ways.
They call it “congregation discipline” and make it sound like it’s a punishment from Jehovah God himself. As if Jehovah floats down from Heaven and plays judge and jury instead of congregation elders. If those elders were truly being influenced by Jehovah or Jesus in any way, then why is it that some disfellowshippings get annulled? As in, oops, the elders made a mistake!
But you don’t hear about those very often, do you? (They do happen, though.) Never mind. Keep reading to learn more about disfellowshipping.
When one of Jehovah’s Witnesses decides to “come out” as a nonbeliever to members of his family, he knows that they will cut him off for good. Yet many ex-Witnesses come out anyway because they can’t stand living a lie. (For the record, I really do think that coming out is almost always better than fading in the long run.) Some ex-Witnesses make serious mistakes when revealing their lack of faith in the Society to their families, mistakes that create needless complications for everyone involved. I have some tips on how these can be avoided below.
Note, in this case, I’m referring to Jehovah’s Witnesses who are “nonbelievers” because they don’t believe in the Society’s truth anymore. Nonbelieving ex-Witnesses may still believe in God or favor another religion, so they aren’t necessarily atheists as I’m using the word here.
So what’s the best way to come out as a nonbeliever to your relatives? And why should you consider coming out instead of fading?
Only by becoming an atheist was I able to fully realize that we personally have a responsibility to be kind to each other – because there is no god, there is no prayer, there is only ourselves. It’s the reason I’m not “agnostic.” I am proud to be an atheist.