1. Standard memberbeauroberts
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    13 Dec '14 11:02
    Having recently been disfellowshipped from the Jehovah Witness organization for partaking in a blood transfusion after several medically necessary surgeries and procedures, I am curious to know what everyones' opinion is on disfellowship as a whole. Is it necessary? Do you believe it is in accordance with Biblical teachings? How far should the disfellowship go? Should it separate husband from wife as was the case in my example? Should it separate "rule breaker" from congreagation but said "rule breaker" is still allowed to attend meetings and functions albeit without the desired social interactions? How long should a disfellowship last? How does one make amends in your particular faith if disfellowship is practiced?

    On a side note My wife and I have chosen not to renew our fellowship with the Jehovah Witnesses because of the way we were treated. I ask that you put the blood issue aside and refrain from bashing the organization as a whole and simply focus on the matter of disfellowship and whether or not it is physically necessary or spiritually necessary and whether or not it has worked or can work or if it can only have adverse effects.

    Beau
  2. SubscriberFMF
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    13 Dec '14 11:28
    Psychological abuse ~ ostracisation, vengeance, blackmail, vindictiveness, slander, etc. etc. ~ or the threat of it ~ is very often deemed necessary by those seeking to control the membership of a cult-like group of people and to accentuate the 'them v us' element that cultivates and perpetuates stuff like victimhood, exceptionalism, obedience and self-fulfilling self-definitions such as 'we are all in agreement and this being in agreement was prophesised'. The weapon of "Disfellowship" is an integral part of corporatism. You simply cannot discuss whether it is supposedly "Physically and Spiritually Necessary" without factoring in how "necessary" it is for the corporation that orchestrates it.
  3. Standard memberKellyJay
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    13 Dec '14 11:31
    Originally posted by beauroberts
    Having recently been disfellowshipped from the Jehovah Witness organization for partaking in a blood transfusion after several medically necessary surgeries and procedures, I am curious to know what everyones' opinion is on disfellowship as a whole. Is it necessary? Do you believe it is in accordance with Biblical teachings? How far should the disfellows ...[text shortened]... ary and whether or not it has worked or can work or if it can only have adverse effects.

    Beau
    To be up front with you I'm not a huge fan of Jehovah Witness organization.
    That said, shunning was meant to be a means to make someone see that
    their actions were not accepted and carried a cost. I don't believe in the
    views that the Jehovah Witness organization has on blood transfusions, and
    as a Christian I also don't buy into some people's views on faith healing, but
    I do believe God heals.

    I've seen people treated badly for a number of reasons, that happens mainly
    because people are by nature sinners, and act that way.

    I believe if you seek God through Jesus Christ, you'll see he will not forsake
    you or reject you. People will treat you like dirt as they do each other, just
    walk out your life in God's love and grace let Him worry about them, just
    forgive and move on.
  4. SubscriberFMF
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    13 Dec '14 11:34
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    ...shunning was meant to be a means to make someone see that
    their actions were not accepted and carried a cost.
    "Not accepted" by whom and who decides or ensures that the "cost" is appropriate?
  5. Standard memberCalJust
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    13 Dec '14 14:12
    Hi br,

    Biblically speaking, Jesus outlined a procedure fot the event when one brother (or sister, implied) has a problem with another brother.

    The first step is always a direct approach at reconciliation. If that does not work, take a elder with you. A final stage would be to be taken to the council, and if he rejects their collective wisdom, then he should be "treated like a publican and outsider".

    Firstly, this deals with matters between brethren, and not doctrinal issues per se, but I can see that it could be applied to people "brought before the elders".

    Secondly, this system also implies that the structures exist - such as elders, that are generally recognised for their wisdom.

    So yes, I would say that there is a scriptural basis for excommunication, or what you call disfellowshipment.

    However, in my experience, this practice has always, without exception, been used to invoke or enforce a practice or doctrine which is questionable at best.

    People or groups that practice this disfellowshipping (e.g. JWs, Scientologists, Closed Brethren) show that they have something to hide, that there are questionable practices which they are unwilling to debate, or whatever.

    For me the overriding implications of the First and Second Commandments (to love God and to love your neighbour) always trump doctrine.

    When my son became a Buddhist, the church where he was fellowshipping previously officially excommunicated him and sent over elders to drive out his demon. We as parents were not told in so many words, but expected to also distance ourselves from him. Although I was at first shocked at his choices (reading into it a failure on my part) I kept loving him as my son and we now have a wonderful relationship.

    Sorry, loooong answer. Quick answer would be: yes, there are possibly times when excommunication could be legitimately applied, but these are far, far, far, fewer than the times when it is actually currently being applied.
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    13 Dec '14 19:36
    Originally posted by beauroberts
    Having recently been disfellowshipped from the Jehovah Witness organization for partaking in a blood transfusion after several medically necessary surgeries and procedures, I am curious to know what everyones' opinion is on disfellowship as a whole. Is it necessary? Do you believe it is in accordance with Biblical teachings? How far should the disfellows ...[text shortened]... ary and whether or not it has worked or can work or if it can only have adverse effects.

    Beau
    I'm very pleased to hear that firstly you and your wife are united, secondly I'm delighted that together you have decided not to rejoin the JWs.

    It's not my business, but my advice would be to burn the bridge and write to each of the Kindom hall leadership telling them your intention and your reasons. I would also write to any close friends you have there giving them your reasons and telling them they are welcome to continue your relationship but understand if they choose not to.

    Then move on with gladness in the freedom god has given you to seek him in spirit and truth.
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    13 Dec '14 19:472 edits
    I know a Muslim family that is being threatened in s similar way. They are basically secular and westernized but belong to a local Muslim community for the fellowship and common interests. There is a power struggle going on and to summarize, one of the combatants, who has more followers, has commanded that no one is to associate with the other combatant, his family, and any of his followers, under risk of Al Wala' Wal Bara' (roughly like disfellowship, shunning). So wouldn't you know it, the other combatant has invited them to a wedding.

    I feel visceral disgust.

    Edit: I should add that disobedience would be viewed as a voluntary apostasy and the threat includes barring their devout, elderly grandfather from a muslim funeral and burial in the family plot.
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    13 Dec '14 20:08
    PS I wish robbie carrobie and Galveston75 were currently posting so they could witness how their pernicious religious organisation's revolting practices can be overcome when the laity stand up for their moral rights.
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    14 Dec '14 05:46
    "Disfellowshipping"

    "The judicial excommunication, or disfellowshipping, of delinquents from membership and association in a community or organization. With religious societies it is a principle and a right inherent in them and is analogous to the powers of capital punishment, banishment, and exclusion from membership that are exercised by political and municipal bodies."

    In the congregation of God it is exercised to maintain the purity of the organization doctrinally and morally. The exercise of this power is necessary to the continued existence of the organization and particularly so the Christian congregation. The congregation must remain clean and maintain God’s favor in order to be used by him and to represent him. Otherwise, God would expel or cut off the entire congregation".—Re 2:5; 1Co 5:5, 6.

    "Jehovah’s Action".
    Jehovah God took expelling, or disfellowshipping, action in numerous instances. He sentenced Adam to death and drove him and his wife Eve out of the garden of Eden. (Ge 3:19, 23, 24) Cain was banished and became a wanderer and a fugitive in the earth. (Ge 4:11, 14, 16) The angels that sinned were thrown into Tartarus, a condition of dense darkness in which they are reserved for judgment. (2Pe 2:4) Twenty-three thousand fornicators were cut off from Israel in one day. (1Co 10:8) Achan was put to death at Jehovah’s command for stealing that which was devoted to Jehovah. (Jos 7:15, 20, 21, 25) Korah the Levite along with Dathan and Abiram of the tribe of Reuben were cut off for rebellion, and Miriam was stricken with leprosy and eventually might have died in that condition if Moses had not pleaded for her. As it was, she was expelled from the camp of Israel under quarantine seven days".—Nu 16:27, 32, 33, 35; 12:10, 13-15.

    "Christian Congregation".

    Based on the principles of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Christian Greek Scriptures by command and precedent authorize expulsion, or disfellowshipping, from the Christian congregation. By exercising this God-given authority, the congregation keeps itself clean and in good standing before God. The apostle Paul, with the authority vested in him, ordered the expulsion of an incestuous fornicator who had taken his father’s wife. (1Co 5:5, 11, 13) He also exercised disfellowshipping authority against Hymenaeus and Alexander. (1Ti 1:19, 20) Diotrephes, however, was apparently trying to exercise disfellowshipping action wrongly.—3Jo 9, 10.
    Some of the offenses that could merit disfellowshipping from the Christian congregation are fornication, adultery, homosexuality, greed, extortion, thievery, lying, drunkenness, reviling, spiritism, murder, idolatry, apostasy, and the causing of divisions in the congregation. (1Co 5:9-13; 6:9, 10; Tit 3:10, 11; Re 21:8) Mercifully, one promoting a sect is warned a first and a second time before such disfellowshipping action is taken against him. In the Christian congregation, the principle enunciated in the Law applies, namely, that two or three witnesses must establish evidence against the accused one. (1Ti 5:19) Those who have been convicted of a practice of sin are reproved Scripturally before the “onlookers,” for example, those who testified concerning the sinful conduct, so that they too may all have a healthy fear of such sin.—1Ti 5:20.

    The Christian congregation is also admonished by Scripture to stop socializing with those who are disorderly and not walking correctly but who are not deemed deserving of complete expulsion. Paul wrote the Thessalonian congregation concerning such: “Stop associating with him, that he may become ashamed. And yet do not be considering him as an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother.”—2Th 3:6, 11, 13-15.
    However, regarding any who were Christians but later repudiated the Christian congregation or were expelled from it, the apostle Paul commanded: “Quit mixing in company with” such a one; and the apostle John wrote: “Never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him.”—1Co 5:11; 2Jo 9, 10.

    Those who have been expelled may be received back into the congregation if they manifest sincere repentance. (2Co 2:5-8) This also is a protection to the congregation, preventing it from being overreached by Satan in swinging from condoning wrongdoing to the other extreme, becoming harsh and unforgiving."—2Co 2:10, 11.
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    14 Dec '14 06:02
    Originally posted by galveston75
    "Disfellowshipping"

    "The judicial excommunication, or disfellowshipping, of delinquents from membership and association in a community or organization. With religious societies it is a principle and a right inherent in them and is analogous to the powers of capital punishment, banishment, and exclusion from membership that are exercised by political a ...[text shortened]... g from condoning wrongdoing to the other extreme, becoming harsh and unforgiving."—2Co 2:10, 11.
    It is easy to see how much this stands in contradiction to freedom of, and from, religion.
  11. SubscriberBigDoggProblemonline
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    14 Dec '14 06:13
    Originally posted by galveston75
    "Disfellowshipping"

    "The judicial excommunication, or disfellowshipping, of delinquents from membership and association in a community or organization. With religious societies it is a principle and a right inherent in them and is analogous to the powers of capital punishment, banishment, and exclusion from membership that are exercised by political a ...[text shortened]... g from condoning wrongdoing to the other extreme, becoming harsh and unforgiving."—2Co 2:10, 11.
    I am glad my family [most all of them are Christians] don't hew to this doctrine. I'm an atheist and the choice between lying about what I believe and never seeing any of them again would be a terrible one.
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    14 Dec '14 06:231 edit
    Originally posted by BigDoggProblem
    I am glad my family [most all of them are Christians] don't hew to this doctrine. I'm an atheist and the choice between lying about what I believe and never seeing any of them again would be a terrible one.
    It makes one wonder how many people of all such religions are lying about it now, because it is the less terrible option.
  13. SubscriberBigDoggProblemonline
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    14 Dec '14 06:27
    Originally posted by JS357
    It makes one wonder how many people of all such religions are lying about it now, because it is the less terrible option.
    There is probably some kind of mathematical relationship - the more controlling a religion becomes, the higher the percentage of phonies - people just playing along for conformity's sake.
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    14 Dec '14 06:411 edit
    Originally posted by BigDoggProblem
    There is probably some kind of mathematical relationship - the more controlling a religion becomes, the higher the percentage of phonies - people just playing along for conformity's sake.
    And the likelihood that there are phonies among the enforcers.

    It is sickening.
  15. SubscriberFMF
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    14 Dec '14 07:57
    Originally posted by BigDoggProblem
    There is probably some kind of mathematical relationship - the more controlling a religion becomes, the higher the percentage of phonies - people just playing along for conformity's sake.
    I am still held fast to my Christian family's ~ and extended family's ~ bosom despite my now non-Christian status. No one I know has tried any psychological abuse to try to force me to 'believe again' or to force me to feign belief for conformity's sake. I am fortunate in every way.
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