Astorgos: Jehovah’s Witnesses Living Without Natural Affection
No true God would try to break up a family.
Throughout the Bible, there are many predictions and speculations of end-time scenarios. One prediction found at Romans 1:31 and 2 Timothy 3:3, was that people would be “without natural affection”. Keeping that in mind, it is hard to imagine an affection stronger than that felt by a mother for her child. It is, perhaps, an almost poetic irony that the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religion convinced they are living in “end times”, actively encourage familial shunning, which leads to the destruction of natural affection.
A friend recently made me aware of a facebook support group in which a young lady posted an email, received from her parents. With her permission granted, let’s look it over and break it down piece by piece.
This is hard for both your Mom & Dad. You know we love you very much as a daughter. You are disfellowshipped & left us. We never left you. You also left Jehovah. We ask that you don't call us anymore unless there is an emergency. We always want to help.
The very first paragraph is a contradiction, each sentence standing in alarming contrast with the next. “You were disfellowshipped and left us.” To be disfellowshipped requires the action of the religious body labelling the young lady as undesirable. This is an action made by the organisation, not by the young lady. You don’t get to say, ‘We kicked you out . . . and you left us. You can’t do both. The Jehovah’s Witness parents are taking no accountability. T---- didn’t leave them. They pushed her away. “We ask that you don’t call us anymore unless it is an emergency.” This sentence indicates that the young lady would indeed wish to contact her parents, but they are blocking her from doing so. “We always want to help.” Yes, but clearly you don’t, as you have just asked her not to contact you. You simply don't get to say, "you left us," and "please don't contact us". You just can't have it both ways. In their determination to be the victims, the Jehovah's Witness parents have somehow managed to bypass logic and reasoning, blaming their daughter for an action that they, themselves, have taken.
However, Mom and I have talked this over between us. No one else has or could tell us what to do. Our loyalty is to Jehovah. It comes first. It has for 44 years. I apologize for sending you the pictures. It probably sent a wrong message that we still have a relationship. That was entirely my fault & I am sorry. Mom pointed this out to me.
Sometimes the heart rules, & you know what Jeremiah says about the heart.
First, an observation. The second sentence is alarming, as it reveals that in their cult mindset, the parents are immediately defensive to the idea of being coerced. Without provocation the father includes, "No one else has, or could tell us what to do". To anyone uninvolved with high control religious groups, this sentence would seem absurd and unnecessary. As the poet said, "the lady doth protest too much, methinks".
The father sent photographs to his daughter, obviously desirous of a connection with her. Likewise, the daughter loves her father and wishes to communicate with him. Close the book. Shut the door. That's the end of the story. They should be a normal loving family. Instead, they cannot, as they are "loyal to Jehovah", a God who has never asked them to behave in such a way. So we must ask, who has?
Paragraph twelve in the Watchtower study article at jw.org for February 2017 states openly that, "The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible." The Governing Body are the ones through whom Jehovah is said to give direction to His one true religion. But they can be wrong. After all these years, astonishingly, they've admitted it. They're just fallible men. Now, why on Earth would you cut your own children out of your life based on the teachings of a bunch of guys who could be completely wrong in telling you to do so. Such control should never belong to men who are "neither inspired nor infallible". This daughter loves her parents. Her parents clearly feel the same way. Any barrier after that is a fiction, a shadow of a wall that isn't even there.
We do not approve of the way you are conducting yourself, and the same is with J----. What a mess he has made of his life, and you too. If you both only stayed with Jehovah, you would be happier and moral.
T----, we would be overjoyed to see you come back to Jehovah. That is the only way we could have a loving relationship with you.
No, no no! That is not the only way. You are creating barriers where none need exist. Cut it out with all the conditions, and just have the loving relationship. Truly, if you don’t approve of her lifestyle, wouldn’t that mean that as her parent, you need to be there for her, now more than ever? Please keep in mind that this young lady is not hooking on the streets to feed a drug addiction. She simply doesn’t believe in the interpretation of the Bible that her parents do. An interpretation they have adopted from a bunch of guys who by their own words are not inspired by Jehovah and not infallible. Something they're forgetting is that you can't demand loyalty. You have to earn it.
But, of course it's your choice.
No, it’s not.
It's all up to you.
No, it isn’t.
We are going to continue to be loyal to Jehovah. We love him, and he comes first. We want to follow his principles, even though we're very imperfect, and make mistakes. We don't break his laws like you did, but we do make mistakes. We are joyful to know that Jehovah is merciful with those who repent. J---- & you have not repented.
Who are you to judge whether someone has repented or not in their heart? Oh, right, repentance for you means a humiliating confessional before three old men and months of isolation and interrogation thereafter. And for what? Is that really the way repentance should be received? Is that how Jesus treated people? No, not really. So these parents are being loyal, not to God, but to the Governing Body who are, "neither inspired nor infallible." The Governing Body demands absolute adherence to everything they say while reserving the luxury of not being culpable. These parents aren't being "loyal to Jehovah". They are being loyal to an organisation, which by its own admittance, may in fact, not have any of God's approval whatsoever. He doesn't direct them. He doesn't guide them. He doesn't work through them. So, what now, is left after that? Just a bunch of people poking around in the dark like everyone else. Certainly, if your religious leaders are no more inspired or infallible than you, then really, what do you even need them for?
Again, Mom & I truly love you, but we hate what you're doing with your life.
And what is that exactly? She has refused to remain loyal to an organisation that is not inspired by God? In that case, she might just as well have left a golf club. Is that really worthy of shunning?
So, please do not call us again. If you want, you can e-mail us if something comes up, but we won't answer, unless it's an emergency. Mom & I are in complete agreement. In fact, Mom brought this to my attention, and I agree with her 100%.”
Congratulations. But don’t you dare accuse T---- of having left you. You have made it very clear where your loyalties lie. With a fallible, uninspired, man-made, bible club, whose leaders cannot even guarantee that God approves of anything they've ever done. It's just their "best guess" that God wants you to split up the family, destroy all natural affection, and instead remain loyal to them. Yeah . . . no thanks.
She wanted me to notify you, because she is too emotional with all the medicine she has to take. Her illness is very serious. But, she has stayed completely loyal to Jehovah. I'm very proud of her good example of faith. We are both very hurt by this, and we really feel for you, and know how this can make you feel. “
Translation: Even though your mother is sick, she is still doing “the right thing”, unlike you. You should be ashamed. This, even though, "the right thing" is not a sure thing.
But our loyalty is first to Jehovah. He gives us direction through his word, not any organization.”
Actually, He doesn’t give you direction through His Word, or at all, it would seem. Men direct you through an organisation. If that was not the case, you wouldn’t need the organisation to remain loyal to Jehovah, now would you? Further, if tomorrow the organisation said you no longer needed to shun your daughter, you would cease to do so immediately. Your choices are not being directed by Jehovah, but controlled by men at the top of an organisation you’d die for, men who have always been and will always be fallible. And while you’d die for them, they would throw you to the wolves as they did your daughter. And for what?
Please return to Jehovah, so we can be a joyful family again.
Mom and Dad
So we can be a joyful family again? Who even talks like that? Joyful or fitful or crazy or messy or troubled . . . family is family.
Jehovah’s Witnesses create a strange and mysterious wall where none exists. This family is not divided by walls or distance, just words. So much mourning and misery over nothing. It shouldn't have to be so hard. Nobody needs to return, join, leave or be with this concept of Jehovah. It’s a false boundary. It’s not real. It’s not that complicated. Just be a family. Mum and Dad can go ahead believing whatever they do. T---- and J---- can do the same. In the real world, in your day to day life, what difference does it make? Just have dinner together. Enjoy each other’s company. Laugh. Watch TV. Play golf together. Okay, so Christmas is out of the question? Fine. Have a few drinks together. Get the family together spontaneously. Just be a family.
I’m a writer and words are my life, but even I mustrecognisee that there comes a point where words are just so much noise. Words are not needed to feel the love within a family. In such a situation, they really only get in the way. So, T---- and J---- are not asking Mom and Dad to leave their faith. Go ahead and mark your Watchtower, go to the meetings and do whatever you have to do. Then, after that, be a family. T---- would be just fine with that. Her love isn’t conditional to her parents changing their faith. All that would be required is that they think for themselves and ignore the shunning policy, which, after all, could well be an uninspired rule, arrived at by the fallibility of men who admit to having no more clue of what Jehovah wants than you do or I do.