Shunning as Control

The act of shunning is a mind control tactic used by some religious groups to control their entire organization, using one so-called “scripturally-based” announcement. 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. Sometimes the shunning as a form of control results in an ex-member committing suicide — because folks naturally desire the freedom to make up their own mind about life. I write in my book Phoenix of Faith about several people I knew personally, while I was still involved in the religion. Directly or indirectly, suicide becomes the consequence of harmful religious beliefs ending badly.

Disfellowshipping is the tool used by the few to control the many in the religious arena

Mind Control Tactics in Jehovah’s Witnesses

In a cloistered religious community such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, when people get disfellowshipped, they often believe they have failed God and become self-condemning. The act of disfellowshipping discredits the ex-members and destroys their character. Consequently, their entire network of support is ripped away, including one’s own immediate believing family members. The worst thing about the heinous act of shunning is that when ex-members in desperation become suicidal, they receive no support. 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.

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. Indeed, disfellowshipping is the tool used by the few to control the many in the religious arena.

I don’t believe in blaming people. It is true that people react from their belief system and some religions believe in harsh rules which require obedience. No, I would never turn the consequences back on the disfellowshipped ones. Here’s why. In my case, 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. It seemed my soul was reassuring me that all was well.

I hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection
Best saying about Grace. Courtesy of — and no, I'm not Catholic — but I've experienced grace.

Dichotomy of Being Shunned as Control

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 helped me do the job it called me 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. 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. I view it as my way of “getting out of Babylon”.

As I have related on several occasions, the only way to survive being shunned is to purge the harmful belief system 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.

Related Posts

(I’m in the process of moving my blogs from Blogspot onto a server because Google are restructuring their platform and no longer allow comments)

Read how I shunned my beloved mom

Read the personal account of my own disfellowshipping

Watchtower Uses Shunning to control the flock

Link to Watchtower article promoting shunning

Depression, Suicide, and Religion

Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir.
Follow on Twitter: @_phoenixoffaith
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