You need to hear both sides give their case
and weigh evidence against gossip
before rendering judgment
You need to hear both sides give their case and weigh evidence against gossip
before rendering judgment
If some JWs may seem closed-minded about non-JWs leaders ways of interpreting
some things, unwilling to look at evidence against the JWs leaders' stances, or
even cut someone off for trying to get such ideas through to them, it may be
that they're worried about being shunned by their friends and family if they do
any differently. This can put a crimp in the usual process of hearing both
sides before rendering judgment.
JWs can also be motivated by their Governing Body's decision that JWs who
accept a blood or banned blood product transfusion, or who even just persist in
disagreeing with the doctrine that bans them, will be disfellowshipped from
the JWs leaders' organization, which they claim to be God's only religious or-
ganization on Earth.
(So if God needs to tell us anything important, He better not pick someone
from Nebraska. The Governing Body in Brooklyn claims to be his His sole channel
on Earth. He used to think He could talk to whoever He wanted to, but not any-
more. I'm not sure what the penalty for God is if He breaks the rule. I think
they ask Him to relinquish one of His divine attributes.)
The JWs leaders teach that non-JWs religious groups, with special mention
often made of "Christendom" meant in a derogatory way, are part of Babylon the
Great, depicted as a whore riding a wild beast in Revelation 17-18. The JWs
leaders teach that non-JWs religions were judged and condemned in 1919 by Jesus,
who began invisibly ruling over affairs on Earth from heaven in 1914 and picked
the Watch Tower Bible Students, later JWs, leaders as his sole channel of com-
munication in 1919 (p.1a). This view sometimes influences the language used in
JWs leaders' literature when comparing distinctive JWs leaders' teachings with
non-JWs disagreements to them.
JWs must agree with all of the JWs leaders' distinctive rules, and not persist
in openly disagreeing with them, to be members of the group.
Being disfellowshipped means about what it sounds like--not having fellowship
with the person. It can mean being shunned by all JWs, including a JWs rela-
tives. Family members can maintain relationships as they need to in living to-
gether, but aren't to talk about religious matters. The family member who is
disfellowshipped and doesn't live with their JWs family members is to be disfel-
lowshipped in the more general way. Possible exceptions include a disfellow-
shipped minor getting spiritual instruction from their parents, that an older
disfellowshipped relative can be present when JWs family members living in their
home go over spiritual material, and visits--no more than two a year--from JWs
elders to see if they're repentant.
JWs leaders teach that continued unrepentance, therefore failure to be rein-
stated, will cause the disfellowshipped JW to be thrown into the lake of fire
(Rev.20:14,15) to receive eternal death (the JWs leaders' interpretation of
This disfellowshipping is not just brought about in regard to what they or
other Christians would both consider serious ethical wrongs like murder or being
a professional thief, but in regard to persistent disagreement with, or viola-
tion of, minority view distinctive or relatively distinctive stances required of
JWs by the Governing Body and spread by JWs leaders' literature.
Persistent unrepentant disagreement with, and knowing disobedience to, the JWs
leaders' rules, including ones that just seem meant to affect exclusiveness,
like those about blood transfusions, 1914, the banning of holiday celebration,
etc., makes the person an apostate, even someone that hates God, in the JWs
leaders' view, and an apostate is to be handled with congregational discipline
that can lead to disfellowshipping.
"Apostasy is, in reality, a rebellion against Jehovah. Some apostates profess
to know and serve God, but they reject teachings or requirements set out in his
Word. Others claim to believe the Bible, but they reject Jehovah’s organization
and actively try to hinder its work. When they deliberately choose such badness
after knowing what is right, when the bad becomes so ingrained that it is an in-
separable part of their makeup, then a Christian must hate (in the Biblical
sense of the word) those who have inseparably attached themselves to the bad-
ness. True Christians share Jehovah’s feelings toward such apostates; they are
not curious about apostate ideas. On the contrary, they ‘feel a loathing’ to-
ward those who have made themselves God’s enemies...." ("The Watchtower," Oct.1,
A heresy is a false teaching, and an apostate is someone who has fallen away
from true teachings to teach false ones as Christian (2 Thes.2:1-4).
The JWs leaders teach their followers that literature that's critical of the
leaders is by people who hate God and should be avoided:
"We have been forewarned that there will be apostates and people who just like
to have their ears tickled. Counsel such as at 2 John 9-11, 1 Corinthians 5:11-
13 and 2 Timothy 3:5 allows no room for associating with those who turn away
from the truth. Nor do we purchase or read their writings." ("The Watchtower,"
Dec.15, 1984, p.19)
"Apostates often appeal to the ego, claiming that we have been deprived of our
freedoms, including the freedom to interpret the Bible for ourselves. (Compare
Genesis 3:15.) In reality, these would-be defilers offer nothing more than a
return to the nauseating teachings of 'Babylon the Great.' (Revelation 17:5; 2
Peter 2:19-22) Others appeal to the flesh, urging former associates to 'take it
easy' because the humble work of witnessing from house to house is 'unnecessary'
or 'unscriptural.' (Compare Matthew 16:22,23.) True, such smooth talkers may
look outwardly clean in a physical and moral way. But inside they are spirit-
ually unclean, having given in to prideful, independent thinking. They have
forgotten all that they learned about Jehovah, his holy name and attributes.
They no longer acknowledge that all they learned about Bible truth--the glorious
hope of the kingdom and a paradise earth and the overturning of false doctrines,
such as the Trinity, the immortal human soul, eternal torment, and purgatory--
yes, all of this came to them through 'the faithful and discreet slave.' Matt-
"Interestingly, a circuit overseer in France observes: 'Some brothers are de-
ceived because they lack accurate knowledge.' That is why Proverbs 11:9 states:
'By knowledge are the righteous rescued.' This does not mean giving apostates a
hearing ear or delving into their writings. Rather, it means coming to 'an ac-
curate knowledge of the sacred secret of God' through diligent personal study of
the Bible and the Society's Bible-based publications. Having this accurate
knowledge, who would become so curious as to pay any attention to apostate
mouthings? May no man 'delude you with persuasive arguments'! (Colossians 2:
24) False religious propaganda from any source should be avoided like poison!
Really, since our Lord has used 'the faithful and discreet slave' to convey to
us 'sayings of everlasting life,' why should we ever want to look anywhere else?
John 6:68. ("The Watchtower," Nov.1, 1987, pp.19,20)
Some excerpts from the Feb.1, 1996 "Watchtower":
"Fight the tendency to doubt" "If some some tinge of doubt about Jehovah, his
Word, or his organization has begun to linger in your heart, take quick steps to
eliminate it before it festers into something that could destroy your faith"
"do not hesitate to ask for help from loving overseers in the congregation.
They will help you race the source of your doubts, which may be due to pride or
some wrong thinking. Has the reading or listening to apostate ideas or worldly
philosophy introduced poisonous doubts?" "act quickly to rout out of the mind
any tendency to complain, to be dissatisfied with the way things are done in the
congregation. Cut off anything that feeds such doubts."
Some pages from the 1991 JWs book to instruct elders, "Pay Attention to Your-
selves and to All the Flock," are given at the next link:
"When making decisions or answering questions about judicial reproof, disfel-
lowshipping, disassociation, or reinstatement, elders should be certain that
their decisions and answers are based solidly on the Bible and are in harmony
with the most recent statements by the Society. (Compare 1 Corinthians 4:6.)"
("Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock," 1991, pp.100,101)
Page 17 gives 1 Cor.5:11 as the pertinent verse for "Members of your own fam-
ily who have engaged in serious wrongdoing and are not repentant. (I Cor.5:11)"
1 Cor.5:11 "But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears
the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater,
reviler, drunkard, or robber--not even to eat with such a one."
Verbal addendum to "Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock" accord-
ing to the Watchtower Information Service web site:
Six Expressions That Should Not Be Used on S77 and S79 Forms
1. Anything alluding to or naming one of the Society’s attorneys
2. Any mention of the Legal Department
3. Any comments referring to direction from the Society
4. Any comments mentioning anyone other than the committee itself as a possi-
ble influence in the decision reached
5. Any comments that might suggest to someone with a critical eye that the
committee did not reach its decision on its own but, instead, somehow yielded to
the influence of an outside party
6. Any comments indicating that the elders mishandled the case or committed
any error in the investigation or the judicial committee process.
A recent change in procedure, but with the same results and concerns other-
wise, has it that the JW who persists in disagreeing with the JWs leaders'
stance on those issues should leave the group of their own accord.
"The Watchtower," April 1, 1986, p.31; Sept. 1, 1989, p.19; Nov.15, 1988,
pp.19,20; April 15, 1991, pp.22,23
"In Search of Christian Freedom," Raymond Franz, 1991, pp.18-20,25,26,283,334-
336,349,350, and 417
"The Watchtower," Jan. 15, 1983, pp.22 and 27
"Blood, Medicine, and the Law of God," 1961, p.55
"Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses," Ron Rhodes,
1993, chap.1, pp.378 and 379
"Awake!" May 22, 1951, p.5
"The Watchtower," July 1, 1951, p.415
"Witnesses of Jehovah," Leonard and Marjorie Chretien, 1988, pp.185 and 186
"Refuting Jehovah's Witnesses," Randall Watters, 1987--revised 1990, p.18
"Revelation--Its Grand Climax At Hand!" 1988, pp.224 and 225
"The Watchtower," June 15, 1991, pp.14 and 15
A Watchtower elder since the 1970's is in the YouTube video clip at the next
link (thanks to the Freeminds site). When asked in a court room to explain
something about disfellowshipping from JWs leaders' literature of the 1950's, he
immediately and repeatedly wants to know if the earlier JWs leaders' quote is
from an "apostate" source. A person on either side of a controversial JWs lead-
ers' issue might want to be sure about a source, but it seems, in a dispute con-
testing JWs leaders' issues, the very reference to older JWs leaders' literature
that shows a different JWs leaders' stance (a minus in looking for consistency
as a trait of a prophet) can be a touchier issue than just correcting a date for
The court case involved JWs leaders' disfellowshipping rules, the elder per-
suaded for a softened view of it, and the harsher 1950's JWs leaders' outlook on
it was brought up in the case. The elder says the JWs leaders' stance has
changed since then, which is true in some ways. See the 4th entry for 1952 on
The elder says JWs don't use the word "shun" and that disfellowshipping is a
congregational, not a family, matter.
Certain Bible verses on shunning refer to more persistent extreme sinning
examples and reactions to it, yet JWs are to do that over matters not referred
to in those verses--persistent disagreement with JWs leaders' specialties like
not allowing birthday parties or such. The elder compares such a thing to
adultery, though, which is covered in those verses. The regular disfellowship-
ping rules apply to how a JW is to regard a family member who isn't living in
the same house. Yet the elder's emphasis is that the alleged transgressor would
be "loved and helped." That's only true from a point of view that's led by a
JWs leaders'-centric outlook.
The elder is asked if there a custody packet/book that explains what elders
are to do in parent/child custody cases ("Pay Attention To Yourselves and to All
the Flock"). Someone says they had one a half a year ago. The elder says he
never heard of one. See the book given to JWs elders at the site at the next
link, and in an edited version of the same YouTube video I gave a link to a few
The elder says "Doctrine" (generally just meant as a rule of a religion) is a
term used for "Trinity" he doesn't use. (Actually, the word "doctrine" just
refers to a religious rule and doesn't decide the issue of Jesus' nature or
such. JWs leaders have JWs avoid such things, though.) He says disfellowship-
ping is instead a matter of behavior and personal conscience. (True to a de-
gree. But in JWs language generally, mere "personal conscience" matters distin-
guish ones that aren't ruled on--they're left to the choice of the individual,
like the current JWs leaders' outlook on the medical use of a blood fraction,
and aren't matters of disfellowshipping. JWs are to abide by certain rules
about disfellowshipping which are organization matters and not matters left en-
tirely to the preference of individual followers).
The elder is told to read from a 1981 JWs article on disfellowshipping: a
"disfellowshipped" person isn't to be greeted with "Hello." (That's scriptural
for extreme cases.) The elder tries to soften it and says it's out of context--
it leaves off the end of the message. The elder says the article doesn't say
whether you're to say "Hello" to the disfellowshipped person or not. (Hah?)
But all he adds to the context of the quote is that it also says a "hello" could
be the beginning of fellowshipping. (That doesn't change the meaning of it,
just elaborates on what you're not to do when disfellowshipping, yet he says
the partial quote is obviously from an apostate source. Did I mention "Hah?"?)