Another Blog from UK Partnerships for Christ (www.upfc.org.uk)

What if I want to leave the Jehovah’s Witnesses?

For whatever the reason you have decided to leave a particular faith/religion, is it that simple that you can just leave and carry on with your life without any consequences? For a current Jehovah’s Witness this is a particularly interesting question, and we are going to explore why.

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To answer this question, let’s firstly look at what the leaders “The Governing Body” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses have to say on the subject.

Herewith are a number of their quotes

Where could we turn if we would leave God’s organization today? There is nowhere else! (John 6:66-69)” Watchtower 1975 Sep 1 p.531

“You can freely leave the Jehovah’s Witnesses freely, without any consequences. You will not be shunned and can still have the same relationship with your friends and family. Quote from one of the Governing Body” (Paraphrased)

“A heartrending experience for Aar- on’s family is recorded at Leviticus 10: 1-11. They must have been devastated when fire from heaven consumed Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu at the tabernacle. What a test of faith it was for Aaron and his family not to mourn their dead relatives! Are you personally proving yourself holy with regard to not associating with family members or others who have been disfellowshipped?” Watchtower 2014 Nov 15 p.14

The interesting point here is, on one side the Watchtower Organisation say it is completely fine to leave, but on the other side ones that are “Disfelloeshipped” should be completely shunned.

Is this is a contradiction? The WT org would say NO, but the truth is, sadly this could not be further from the truth. Basically anyone that leaves, the congregation is at some point instructed to STOP associating with this one. In fact in the 2013 international convention, it basically outlined that there are only 2 types of individuals. Ones that feed from Gods table IE genuine Jehovah’s Witnesses and wait for this, absolutely everybody else is by default feeding from Satan’s table. The speaker then goes on to explain why it is wise to stand firm to Jehovah, by having no contact with these ones. Not having them in your house, even saying “hello” to them in the street.

So, if you want to leave the Jehovah’s Witnesses it is clearly not that simple, and most likely you will lose contact/relationship with anyone you know that is a JW, irrespective whether they are family, and this could even include your Partner and children.

With this in mind, is there anything a person can do to help, if they decide to leave? Absolutely, and here we would like to offer some sound advice.

Do personal research.  You want to be sure you are making the correct decision. Allow yourself the opportunity to research the faith from both Watchtower provided materials as well as reliable third party sources.

Decide how you feel about shunning and the announcement: “So-and-so is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

If you want to avoid being shunned, continue to live as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses while slowly fading.  Fading involves slowly reducing your involvement over many months.  Start by making fewer comments, going out in field service less often, declining parts on the theocratic ministry school, then finally reducing the number of meetings you attend.  Be prepared to explain your reduced involvement to any Witnesses who inquire only in vague terms.  As long as you avoid doing things that would qualify you for disfellowshipping or disassociation by action, many have found they can avoid being subject of a disfellowshipping announcement.

If you are not concerned about shunning, simply stop attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall and carry on your life in the manner that reflects your true beliefs.  You are also welcome to write a brief letter of disassociation.  Send the letter to the “Body of Elders” of the congregation you associated with, using the address of the Kingdom Hall.  Once the letter has been received the elders may contact you to confirm your intention.  Once confirmed an announcement will be made, “So-and-so is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”  This announcement carries an implied command to faithful members to begin shunning you, not even saying “hello” if they see you.

Tips

  • If you are not baptized, under current policy, you can leave without being subject of disfellowshipping action.
  • Some have viewed the disfellowshipping announcement as either slander or invasion of privacy.  If you want to pursue the issue in civil court, contact a lawyer.  Keep in mind Jehovah’s Witnesses are protected by freedom of speech and freedom of religion laws in most areas.
  • Some have found joining face-to-face or online ex-JW meet up groups to be helpful.
  • The shunning policy is not as strictly applied within a household.  Thus if a disfellowshipped member lives with their family some communication will continue.  Likewise Jehovah’s Witnesses are instructed to provide needed help to family members, even if they are disfellowshipped.

Warnings

  • Some attempts at fading fail. If two witnesses testify that you no longer believe the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses are used by Jehovah you can be disfellowshipped for apostasy. Likewise any thing you do that is against the faith, such as celebrating a birthday or Christmas, voting or joining the military or another church can result in disfellowshipping action. This is true even if you have had no contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses for many months or even years.
  • If you want to rejoin after being disfellowshipped a reinstatement process is available.  However this process can take many months to over a year.  During this time you will be expected to be a regular meeting attender while continuing to be shunned.
  • Family and friends who see you leave will often have very negative reactions, even if you are not disfellowshipped or disassociated.
  • Adjusting to living outside the organization can take time.  If you have trouble coping you may need to seek the assistance of a mental health professional.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses view their faith as the only true Christian faith and the only means of salvation through the impending Armageddon event believed to be in our near future.  Members are taught there is no legitimate reason to leave the faith.  No dignified resignation has been provided that does not imply one who leaves is making a grave mistake and is wicked (1 Cor 5:13).

As a ministry here at UK Partnerships for Christ, we offer help & support to anyone that is considering leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses, therefore please do contact us and we will more than happy to be of assistance, and will of course treat the matter completely confidential, Bless

Sources and Citations

  • [1] Monticello Times – April 9, 2009 – Faith divides former Monti/Big Lake family
  • [2] Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Website – Do You Shun Former Members of Your Religion?
  • [3] Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Website – The End of False Religion Is Near!
  • [4] Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses on meetup.com
  • [5] jwFacts – Facts about Jehovah’s Witnesses

Article Info

Categories: Religion

Today is a very special day if you are a Jehovah’s Witness in Cyprus. It’s the annual ‘district convention’! That’s right, three long days of being bored to death listening to drivel about how you aren’t good enough and should be doing more for the organization. Thank goodness I am no longer in the cult and have to subject myself to such torture.

And that’s what I want to talk about – life after leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses. When I was a JW, I heard so many stories about how lucky we were to be in god’s organization. It offered protection from the evils of the world, a moral barrier that stopped you getting in debt at christmas or getting some sort of sexually transmitted disease from going on an unchaperoned date. To leave the Jehovah’s Witnesses was to will unhappiness, stress and problems upon yourself.

What I am about to say may sound over the top, as if I am exaggerating, but believe me, I am not at all. I can not state this clearly enough – since I left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I have never been so happy. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. No more constant stress worrying to make sure you’re still thinking so that the demons don’t possess you, no more sleepless nights apologising in prayer for being human. I was a slave to religion and false ideas, and now I am free. To be in service to god is to wish to be an abject slave.

I imagine some Jehovah’s Witnesses will be saying, “Yes, but your happiness is only temporary,” or that I am only happy because I am part of the materialistic and evil world. My happiness is only temporary in that one day I will die. The whole idea of god allowing this ‘system of things’ to carry on as it is, is just wrong. Immoral even. I know… I know… Jehovah’s Witnesses are convinced that everyone suffering is all part of a master plan to clear god’s name because god just loves us all to little pieces. Just think about that for a minute and you see how abstract and vile the whole idea is.

I have also heard it said that people who don’t believe in god have no purpose in life or do not feel fulfilled. That simply isn’t true. My own mother in law, a Jehovah’s Witness, once told me that there has to be a god, otherwise there’d be no purpose in life. She gets irritated whenever something anti-god or anti-JW comes up, but thinks I am unreasonable if I do the same when I hear something pro-god or pro-JW – but I digress and that story is for another blog post.

The simple fact is that life without god is good, but I realise not all of you dear readers are atheists like I am. Life without the Jehovah’s Witnesses, though, is fantastic. I get to re-explore the universe as if for the first time, free from the shackles of the cult. I get to re-evaluate my life goals and priorities, and I tell you – without the promise of everlasting life and the excuse to fall back on that god will fix things, I have found myself much more pro-human. Where before I would hear things from my father-in-law like, “Doctors shouldn’t bother trying to cure cancer – they should spread gods news because he will heal cancer in the new system,” I now realise how precious human life is and that we should do everything in our power to alleviate the pain and suffering that others are in. I realise what an amazing species we are, with our ups and downs. I realise, much to the chagrin of Jehovah’s Witnesses, that life is valuable, not mere dust, and that something real has to be done to help people rather than just knocking on doors and leaving tracts. My purpose in life, then, is clear.

Guess what? The world outside the JWs isn’t all doom and gloom, wars, murders and greed. In fact, humans are doing quite well for themselves – we are living in a time with less violence than any other time, people live longer thanks to medical advances, and we’re in a golden age of scientific research where we are gaining the same amount of knowledge every single day that we have ever learned in all the years of our past. I’ll blog about that in a future article – the fact that things are getting better, not worse as the Jehovah’s Witnesses would have you believe with their ‘last days’ nonsense.

How about you? Are you happier since leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses? How have you changed?

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Categorised in: Apostates, Leaving the Witnesses

21 Responses »

  1. Brilliant article,these are the steps that I took,so much happier now,getting to know the real Jesus…! 🙂

  2. I was a slave to this Organisation for 30 years till I got my eyes opened…!

  3. There are two different cincumstances. If you just leave, that is your business. If you rebel against Jehovah’s standards then you will be disfellowshipped. 1 Cor 5 speaks about a man who was living with his stepmother. Well you can’t have that in the brothers. Accepting this gives credence to this of kind of conduct. If a person does not want to follow the Bible’s standards, then he does not belong among us.

    If a person leaves, Jehovah;s Witnesses are the only religion that really believs the Jesus after his resurrection went to his Father and God. JWs are the only ones who do not pass a collection plate. It is such a pleasure at attend a meeting and not have a collection plate shoved under our nose. We use boxes at the back of the Kingdom Hall for contributions. This the Bible’s way, Mathew 10:8

    • Jerome, it really is not that simple…You can adhere to all biblical principles, but if you have doubts about the Watchtower Org. You will be ” marked ” I had 30 years experience with the Org. and started to have the feeling that I really didn’t belong…The reason I developed free thinking…..My wife started to attend a local church about a year ago, initially I was sceptical, but I must say the people there have been nothing but kind and absolutely no commitment or pressure, such a difference as to when I was having a Bible Study with the Witnesses.Each to their own but no pressure, just like this website, It’s here if you want it…..Peace to all

    • The Nicene creed states “He rose again on the third day in accordance with the scriptures and is seated at the right hand of his father” As a catholic, I find your lack of knowledge breath takingly naive.

  4. Hi Jerome thanks for your comment.

    In terms of leaving, it is not that simple. Let me explain, the WT Org claim you can leave if you wish to, with no repercussions, and you will not be shunned etc. However it is not even if you “rebel”, if you simply decide that what the WT teach is not in line with God’s word, this is still seen as “wrong in WT theology. Can an elder truly understand why a person leaves, if he cannot read the heart of that person? I accept if a person commits serious wrongdoing, then the congregation needs protecting, but the scriptures talk about not associating with these ones in terms of close friendship, but nowhere does it say you should completely shun them.

    Regarding your other points
    1 JW are the only ones that believe Jesus after his resurrection, went to his Father???? Absolutely not true
    2 Yes JWs do not pass a collection plate, but the JW’s do heavily push for donations, in fact every congregation is under a mandatory fixed monthly contribution !!
    Christians when they pass the plate round, explain in advance this is not mandatory, and only contribute if you are happy to, very much a freely act of giving

    I really think you should do your homework, and you will discover many truths about the WT that are not in line with God’s word, I am always happy to discuss any biblical point to show what the Bible really says, and to do so in love & respect.

  5. Jerome, it’s hard to believe that you could be so blind . But that’s what the Gov. Body does to sincere people like yourself who have been fooled into thinking they’ve found ” Jehovah’s prophet ” .

    You said , ” “….Jehovah’s witnesses are the only religion that really believes that Jesus after his resurrection ,went to his Father and God.”

    That’s a silly statement . In looking at it further I have to say the Watchtower has actually taught that Jesus is dead forever dead , and that right now in heaven there is actually no Jesus but instead there’s an angel named Michael . But this is not the Bible’s testimony at all . The early followers of Jesus after His death and resurrection were witnessing what name ? They called upon what name ? Answer : not Michael , but rather JESUS ! see Acts 1:8 ; 9:21, 34, ; 10:43

    You said , ” Jehovah’s witnesses are the only ones who do not pass a collection plate .”

    Wrong again . My wife and I for years attended a small congregation of believers in Jesus where there was no collection plate passed . No doubt there are other churches /religions that do also . These types of silly statements of yours are similar to how Jw’s like people to think that they are the only ones who call God “Jehovah” . This rational tends to reinforce that the Watchtower is unique and therefore must be the only true group of true believers .However , my wife and I use the name ” Jehovah” , no problem . ( that said I would direct your attention to what this ministry has said about the name “Jehovah” , you might check that out ) .

    Jerome , you’ve not found this ministry by accident ,there’s a reason you’re on here . I will pray Jehovah’s guidance upon your heart to ponder the information that those in this ministry have to share with you . Take care

  6. I was in love with a man when I was in college. I truly believed the next step for us was down the altar. . .but on a Saturday night he told me he was going to church on Sunday. i had no idea of what church he was going to attend. . But really had no worries until he returned home and told me he had gone to the Kingdom Hall. . . Now.. .i had no true intelligence on them at the time but every bone I. My body was screaming. , . , cult. . . . On Monday he went to a meeting with the brothers. . . .on Wednesday he went to a meeting with the brothers. , came home to,d me it was a sin to be living together.. .thursday found a new place to live. . Friday signed the lease and Saturday was GONE! i had been raised Catholic and had fallen away from the church. . .but I can honestly say it took 6 days to completely change this man. , , EVERYTHING he believed in when we were involved CHANGED. . , EVERYTHING. . .it took 6 days.
    Fast forward 35 years. . ,we re-connect on FB . . . . Only to learn he dropped out of school and waited 15 years to have children because of the JW doctrine.???” I am now a Christian Woman who loves Jesus and attend a non-denominational church. . . . But am still STUNNED by the crap they throw down their followers throats. . .he even admits today …what they did to him was physiologically damaging. . . Can someone please shed some light on this for me.. .his mother once told me she was unable to attend his wedding because she was not a JW??? Anyway I look at it. . . This still screams CULT to me. . . Thoughts welcome. .

    • I don’t think we would disagree with you Cindy, if there is anything specific we can help with please let us know, otherwise please just have a browse around the site as there is plenty of material here challenging the Watchtower movement from a Christian perspective, thanks for dropping in!

    • Hi Cindy S.
      I know exactly what you are going through by not understanding the doctrine of not having children whilst a member of the JW org. They believe that the world is going to end soon,(making up God’s mind for Him) and so you should not have children in this ‘wicked world system of things’ but instead, wait for the new world order to come. Just a bit more nonsense to control all the underlings.
      Question. I wonder how many of the men in the governing body have children/grandchildren of their own Hmmm???

  7. Brilliant article and bang on the money. I went down the fade out route until after much mental turmoil and soul searching, I ceased practicing this religion altogether. Being indoctrinated for so long does mean that adjusting to life outside the org can be daunting, doubts often creep into my mind even now like ‘what if they’re right’ etc. In the end I asked myself ‘do I want to live in a paradise full of only JW’s’? I know several JW’s who use the religion as some sort of insurance policy, I couldn’t be a hypocrite any longer. If Armageddon comes I will die with everyone else, end of.

  8. Linda, thanks for sharing your story . What you are experiencing now is the emotional carnage that the Watchtower can cause to people who end finding out that it is’nt what it has claimed to be and end up leaving . Fear , anger , depression , these can end up controlling an ex – Watchtower member for a long , long time .

    I would just like to point you to Jesus , not a church organization , or some prophet , just Jesus
    He can heal the broken , the hurting . He can give peace and an inner fulfillment that is like a healing balm . Come to Him just as you are , doubts and all . He stands ready to listen . In His arms there is no controlling fear of Armageddon , or dying in any manner . He is the life giver — eternal life with Him forever .

    I will be praying for you .

  9. I was with the witnesses fromv1976 to 1987. I left them. I always heard about the evil slave class but never met them. Now i meet with them and they are wonderful people. Here is a link to the 2016 convention if anyone is interested.www.orlandobible.org/gc2016

  10. JWs can and do, destroy families through their shunning practice. I also was a JW until I woke up. Done the ‘fading away’ bit but always had the “big brother is watching” nonsense. I didn’t join another church, commit adultery, or any of the other big “no-no s”. Had a visit from the elders after separating from the woman I was married to, (she wanted a divorce so I moved out). No compassion or understanding from them. They had not visited me for over two years to find out why I had removed myself from the clutches of the JW organisation. (I think I would have got more compassion from a junk yard dog at midnight) I have not had any contact with my kids for almost 15 years and I miss them and love them so very much. Thank you Jehovah’s Witnesses. May they all rot in Hades.
    JWs do NOT believe in the Golden Rule (Matthew ch7 v12), they are VERY selective in their use of Bible verses and the ones they like to use are almost always used out of context.
    When JWs use a Bible verse, always, ALWAYS check the two or three preceding verses to get the true meaning of their quote.
    It has taken me years to be able to think logically again after being ‘brain washed’ by the teachings of the watch tower. However I am well and truly over them now and could not be happier. Don’t forget that God has given us all a brain and the gift of “free will” which is something that JWs want to crush. DON’T LET THEIR NONSENSE CRUSH IT.
    May God bless all who read this missive and let the Bible be your guide throughout your life.
    Frank Majors

    • Thanks for sharing something of your story Frank. I am looking to develop a section where ex-JWs can share their stories. If you are interested in having your story on our site, please email me. Blessings <

  11. The bible gives a vast of knowledge. Let Almighty God guide you in Jesus name. I don’t except any religion because of my once upon a time with the watchtower. Please don’t fault the people (jws) as Jesus said they know not what they do.

    • Hi Deshawn, thanks for leaving a comment. Our intention is not to find fault with individual JWs, but rather to find fault with the organisation that is leading them away from Jesus. We long for current and ex-JWs, to know the peace that comes from a relationship with Jesus. To know that their sins are forgiven and to have the assurance of eternal life through Jesus alone, not the Watchtower organisation. It would be good to hear your story. If you want to share it email me: newlight1914@gmail.com Bless you Deshawn.

  12. I am an ex Jehovah Witness, surrounded by practising Witness’s; do they shun me? Refuse to speak to me? Ignore me? If only!
    I do not want anything to do with Jehovah Witness, a claim indubitably confirmed by my long absence. Despite my absence, Witnesses still greet me warmly.

  13. I am so much happier niw that I have left the organization that has made me an emotional reck. Good riddance to that rubbish.

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