Avoid Disfellowshipping by Fading

Avoid Disfellowshipping by Fading

Isaac J. Harris has written two great articles for About.com on the topic of “fading.” One is descriptive, and the other has some strategies for you. They are located in the atheism/agnosticism section, but of course not everyone leaves the Watchtower Society for those reasons.

Here are a couple of snippets for you:

From Jehovah’s Witness to Atheist: How & Why Witnesses Fade from Congregations

For Jehovah’s Witnesses, the potential problems associated with being disfellowshipped and shunned lead to many choosing instead to just fade away. Disfellowshipping, in Jehovah’s Witness parlance, means they will be excommunicated and shunned by all other Jehovah’s Witnesses in good standing. It is the highest penalty the Watchtower Society can bestow. This is why, when a believer becomes disillusioned with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, they do not feel free to speak out about their doubts — not even to their closest friends and family members. Many are afraid to just get up and walk away like any normal person would because they’re afraid of being disfellowshipped and what this will do to their various relationships. …

Imagine you were raised in a religion where the members are strongly discouraged from associating with any non-believers, or even from associating with members known to be “unevenly yoked” with “worldly” friendships and ways? What if that religion saw the outside world as a place under Satanic control and labeled so-called worldly members as “bad associates” to be avoided? It is likely that you would be reluctant to make friends with anyone who didn’t believe as you do. You wouldn’t have many friends who weren’t part of that religion.

So what would happen if you were suddenly cut off from fellow believers? What if your own mother wouldn’t speak to you, or even acknowledge your existence if you should bump into her in a public place? What if you had to start over, without the support of friends, family, or the religious institution you’ve been a part of your entire life? It would be an extremely lonely and difficult time to get through.

Jehovah’s Witness To Atheist: How Doubting Witnesses Can Fade, Avoid Shunning

Be wary of persistent Witnesses. Sadly, some may try to trick you into confessing your disbelief. Some Witnesses have even gone to faders and expressed false doubts about the Society, thus inviting the fader to do the same. Then, within weeks or days, the fader gets a call from their Elders. Relatives have even pulled this one on faders, so be careful.

Make new friends. You’ll need new friends for emotional support once you’ve left. Why go it alone?

You can read my own tips for recovering JWs, see a list of all my Jehovah’s Witness related posts, get some book recommendations, read some jokes, and look at other ex-JW related resources.

(Thanks to Danny for sending me the links to the About.com articles)

4 thoughts on “Avoid Disfellowshipping by Fading

  1. I’m not absolutely 100% positive however I believe I could be classified as a “fader”. I’ve never been notified about disfellowshipping or anything so who knows. I look forward to reading those articles.

  2. I’m the author of those articles. I’m not really a fader myself either, but I know some who are. Many of them don’t believe in the Society’s teachings any more, but they’re still afraid to leave their friends and family behind. Especially the ones who raised to be Witnesses. They find life outside the organization scarier than the controlled life within it and don’t know how to move on.

    Personally, I think it’s better to start over. But then, I wasn’t raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. For some, this is the best they can do.

  3. I think it’s better to start over, too – but I think this is an important resource for JWs who aren’t ready to face the consequences of losing all their family and friends.

  4. The best way to get out of the borg is to skip town. Move away, have your card sent to a cong in your new area and the fade from there. If you can’t move then maybe you can switch congs locally. Either way the elders at the new cong won’t know you very well and hopefully they won’t spend much time on you.

    Personally, I exploited the racist nature of the WTBS. I’m white and I had my publisher’s card sent to a predominantly black cong. They didn’t want anything to do with me so when I stopped going they didn’t bother me at all.

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