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Regularly people can find instead of the usual sports fans or concert goers, the Jehovah’s Witnesses descending on regional arenas in Sunday best.

The agenda for this year’s series of conventions focus on some of the more controversial aspects of the faith that bring sharply into focus some darker period of our guestwriter’s life when she/he (on the photo we see a she) faced the harsh reality of wanting to leave the religion in which she was never baptised as this would have meant that instead of just fading away, she would now be ‘disfellowshipped’. But her not being part any more of that religious group may perhaps brought her to use some words which should not be part of the language of a Christian. Therefore we apologise for those words which some youngsters also use like they have no meaning at all, or which they use simply to ad more strength to what they want to bring over, though it weakens their saying and shows more their frutstration.

The hyperbole rebel who last year decided to stop watching TV, particularly the news as she/he felt it just injected her with sludgy negativity. Not only are the only things that are reported hate-filled acts of violence or tragedy, but as a socially savvy gal, it was so clear that there was another agenda being fueled just by the way things were reported or certain people were interviewed or the way some people or groups were discussed. {Welcome y’all}

She/he writes

I would like, through this blog, to remind people that just as you do not know who is under that cat suit, you don’t know who is under that burka or under that Paul’s Boutique bomber jacket. We all have stories. We all have a context and there are many things that unite us all including inner strength, love of family and friends, loyalty and the sheer joy of a sugary donut first thing in the morning. {Welcome y’all}

The person who knows that the antithesis to fear and disgust is exactly that love  {#Prayforenlightenment} when she sits with her coffee and thinks about her parents who will be at that moment sitting in the morning session of the Jehovah’s Witness Convention ‘Remain Loyal to Jehovah’, she looks at that group of which her entire extended family on both sides are in that religion, save for the few who have been ‘led astray’ over the years and she has watched cousins who were baptised shunned by their own parents; an act of cruelty and emotional trauma that has no let-up – not even in times of great celebration, such as family weddings, or great sadness, like terminal illness and death, both of which she has witnessed.

She says she knows from her new found ex-JW friends that the title belies messages about shunning and she wonders what will go through their heads as they watch the videos and listen to the talks about what a worthy thing that is.

What a demonstration of your faith; to cause yourself the pain of separation. To voluntarily cut off your own loved ones. What martyrdom. Job-like. {Why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t get punk rock}

It was with a grimy horror that she learned about the topic of this year’s Regional Conventions, being held across the UK, which open with the importance of shunning non-believing family members as a means of ‘Staying Loyal to Jehovah’.

The act of shunning, which is to completely disconnect and reject all association, is upheld as a virtue.

She writes

My tragic observation and experience of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they close down this emotional listening and only channel into the Watchtower frequency. All explanation for why they feel pain is excused and placated by the meetings, the Watchtower, the assemblies and each other through their exclusivity. Otherwise, what possible explanation could there be for a reasonable person to voluntarily cut off contact with their own child? The pain has to go somewhere, and when stuck in a high control religion which discourages freedom of thought and experiential learning, the pain returns in a loop as misguided zeal. ‘Suffering for love’ the insightful Jamie Catto calls it. It’s present in the very make-up of Christianity; if you suffer, you are just like the Christ! Go you! {Why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t get punk rock}

For non-Jehovah’s Witnesses that shunning looks incredibly contradictory to the teachings they always get to hear at the door. It might be interesting to hear how those faithful to the organisation consider their attitude worthy of a Christian and how they are brought to accept such an attitude of excluding others, even own family of having contact or conversation.

Day 1 of the convention

video showing a young Jehovah’s Witness, ‘Sonja’, questioning her faith 1 (one of her inalienable human rights) +  she starting a sexual relationship with a non-Jehovah’s Witness.

all sex outside of marriage considered a grave sin = act results in her disfellowshipping from the congregation and shunning by all members, including her own parents > complete rejection lasts for 15 years

As an ex-Jehovah’s Witness herself, the writer can vouch for the pernicious and damaging effect shunning has on families.

shunning = emotional blackmail => psychologically damaging

shunned person = indoctrinated with idea = their choice to take path of sin + reap consequences of withdrawal of love + affection from those closest to them

Watchtower HQ showing Jehovah’s Witnesses holed up in an underground bunker whilst the ‘Great Tribulation’ (the pre-curser to Armageddon) rumbles away outside

When the Jehovah’s Witnesses descend in droves to gather at stadiums around the country, local press are typically supportive of the influx of well-mannered families who bring income to the local economy and clean up meticulously after themselves, but this is unhelpful surface observation of a religion with something altogether more sinister worth talking about.

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Preceding articles:

A Society pleading poverty

Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God

Belonging to or being judged by

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?

Oklahoma City Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

You Are The Truth

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

Jesus’ footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

The Picture of the Governing Body

The Truth About the Watchtower Judicial Committee Process, as Told By a Former Elder

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The Hyperbole Rebel

Jehovah’s Witnesses promote shunning of family members amidst child abuse crisis

If you happen to have been anywhere near any big stadia this summer, you may have noticed that instead of the usual sports fans or concert goers, the Jehovah’s Witnesses descending on regional arenas in Sunday best. You may not know much about the cloistered religion, but they hold to a brand of faith that contains ideas that may surprise you – in the same way stubbing your toe on a doorframe first thing in the morning might surprise you – and the agenda for this year’s series of conventions focus on some of the more controversial aspects of the faith that bring sharply into focus some darker period of my life when I faced the harsh reality of wanting to leave the religion.

It was with a grimy horror that I learned about the topic of this year’s…

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