I just finished reading “The Reluctant Apostate: Leaving Jehovah’s Witnesses Comes at a Price” by Lloyd Evans. It provides a detailed look at the history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and how Evans’ mother ended up joining the faith after a series of failed relationships. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) are born into the faith and find it very difficult to leave the faith even if they want to.
Why? Lloyd Evans explains his reluctance to leave the JWs in his book and much of it is due to the JW policy of “shunning.” Once a member of JWs are disfellowshipped or disassociated, no one within JW is allowed to speak to the former member, not even immediate family members. In the case of Lloyd Evans, once Lloyd left the JWs and was disassociated, his father disowned him immediately and, thus, never met Lloyd’s newborn daughter.
Many ex-JWs describe intense feelings of guilt once they leave JWs for having shunned family members who left before they did. For example, one ex-JW mentions that even though he now has a good relationship with his brother, who is also an ex-JW, he feels awful for having shunned his brother for the ten years prior to when he left the faith and had a chance to restart his relationship with his brother.
Here is another ex-JW explaining why she left the faith.
She never felt as though she fit in with the rigid doctrines of JW. She always felt more artistic and creative than JW would allow and eventually left. She also criticizes the policy of shunning, believing this causes tremendous psychological damage that can last a lifetime.
ADDED: Here is Lloyd Evans (formerly known as John Cedars when he was trying to keep his identity secret from Jehovah’s Witnesses) interviewing Imtiaz Shams. Imtiaz Shams is an ex-Muslim who runs a group that assists ex-Muslims and exiles from other religions. Lloyd Evans is an ex-Jehovah Witness activist.
I think you’ll enjoy this interview.Published in