The act of shunning is part of the mind control of religion. Sometimes, just the fear of being shunned prevents a person from making needed changes in their lives. Why? As humans in a group, we may feel afraid of displeasing our fellow members or religious leaders. It’s a type of herd mentality.
Shunning was used by our family religion to control the entire religious community. Our church elders used one so-called “scripturally-based” public announcement to enact the punishment, which is disfellowshipping. It’s an effective tool used to instantly discredit any member who dares to disobey the strict rules which members are expected to follow. Members are forbidden to speak to — or have anything to do — with a disfellowshipped person. The entire religious community is required to engage in the shunning behavior — lest they be shunned.
Most unfortunately, sometimes the act of shunning results in an ex-member committing suicide. I write in Phoenix of Faith about several people I knew personally, while I was still involved in the religion who killed themselves. Directly or indirectly, suicide becomes the consequence of harmful religious beliefs ending badly.
Mind Control of Jehovah’s Witnesses
In a cloistered religious community such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, when I got disfellowshipped, I initially believed I failed God. Momentarily, became self-condemning. The subsequent act of disfellowshipping discredited me and destroyed my name and good character. My religious network of support was ripped away, including my own immediate believing family members. Fortunately, I had a longstanding relationship with my therapist. I was also involved with “non-believing” friends in my dance community. I didn’t succumb to an act of suicide. Instead, I lived to talk about what it feels like to be shunned.
The worst thing about the heinous act of shunning is that when ex-members have lost their entire network of support, in desperation they may become suicidal. Sadly, they receive no support from the congregation. Ex-members are further condemned by the belief they are not entitled to a resurrection if they succeed in self-destructive behavior. In other words, eternal damnation awaits, according to their belief system. Again, I emphasize how fortunate I was to have an external support system in place.
Disfellowshipping is a fear-based teaching which paralyzes all members into submission, lest others receive the same harsh treatment. Tremendous pressure to conform to the herd mentality is brought to bear on erring ones and members-in-good-standing, alike. Disfellowshipping is the tool used by the few to control the many in the religious arena.
Victim-Blaming as Mind Control of Religion
I don’t believe in blaming people simply for choosing a path different from mine. It is unfortunate that people react from their belief system — and some religions believe in harsh rules where members are all clones of one another. No, I would never turn the consequences back on the disfellowshipped ones. That disrespectful action adds insult to injury. Kicking someone who is down only makes the matter of abandonment worse. The moment of being disfellowshippped often wakes the ex-member up to the realization, that those whom they thought were their friends, were all “false friends” to abandon them so quickly and with such finality. Let me explain.
In my case, I was fortunate. I believe my soul led me out of the religion according to my soul’s own right timing. How do I know? When I heard the news about my disfellowshipping, the most peaceful feeling swept over me. All I can say, it was a feeling of sheer grace that I will never forget. I knew I would be okay by purging the old beliefs. I knew it would be healthy to let go of the mind control of religion.
Dichotomy of Being Shunned
Anytime I feel lonely for my family members who shun me, I recall that immense feeling of peacefulness and calmness. I am immediately reminded that my soul did the job it was called to do. That incident helps me remember who I am. Perhaps I was meant to experience what it was like to be shunned, so I could be in a position to reach out to others who suffer from being shunned. Having gone through the process of being shunned, I might be able to soothe a newly-shunned person.
Another important factor is that suffering only continues unabated if people attempt to stay with the beliefs that got them into their shunned state. For me, getting disfellowshipped was the key to leaving successfully.
One of the first things I would advise a disfellowshipped person is to seek out a therapist who understands how mind-control cults work, because they will assist in unraveling the dysfunctional belief system.
As I have related on several occasions, the only way to survive shunning is to purge the harmful belief system, break the mind control of religion, and replace it with something more functional. In the metaphysical sense, when ones become affected by religious shunning, it is important to heal feelings of inadequacy, undeservability, low self-esteem, and herd mentality. It’s a long road, but my outer world appeared much friendlier when such therapy was initiated. Happily, the mind-control of religion can be healed.
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