The rules surrounding dissfellowshipment or shunning a former member of the faith are complicated, there are many of them and it is important to note many are not directly mentioned in the good book itself! So I will try to keep this as brief as possible and endeavour to put it across in a manner that is easy to grasp…
The organisation use disfellowshipping as a form discipline for wrongdoers or people who have wantonly gone against the bibles teachings.
It was around 1952 that the organisation introduced disfellowshipping. It then became practiced throughout the faith. The following is a look at the Scriptural principles they base it on. I believe it shows that there is no genuine Biblical justification for the extent to which the organisation practices this possibly unchristian form of manipulation. There is Scriptural guidence to limit association with brothers practicing wrongdoing, however, the accepted application of disfellowshipping does deviate from Bible guidelines in a number of ways.
Once again this is wholly my opinion, and whilst it may be shared by many all I can do is put forward my feelings on the matter based on my own personal experience. 2 John 10 says: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him.” The organisation uses this scripture and a few others to support not saying hello or acknowledging a disfellowshipped person and the subsequent shunning of them. 1 Corinthians 5:13 talks about removing the wicked man from your midst, in fact from verse 9 onwards the whole thing seems quite confused and perhaps contradictory: “ 9 In my letter I wrote YOU to quit mixing in company with fornicators, 10 not [meaning] entirely with the fornicators of this world or the greedy persons and extortioners or idolaters. Otherwise, YOU would actually have to get out of the world. 11 But now I am writing YOU to quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man. 12 For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Do YOU not judge those inside, 13 while God judges those outside? “Remove the wicked [man] from among yourselves.”
None of the above makes a huge amount of sense, in my mind it effectively says that you are able to mix with the world’s wrongdoers, however those in the congregation who break the rules are somehow deemed to be worse than those of the world. It yet again fails to legislate for someone who stops believing by realising that the faith is in effect unbelievable to them and tries to just leave quietly. It only has application to those who commit sins whilst remaining in the congregation. In my case I had not committed any sins or wrong doing and was not planning to continue on in the congregation. To me this passage also at the latter part surely advocates judging your fellow man, something the bible in other places states is wrong!
As I have previously stated, I had at this time stopped calling myself a brother and had effectively removed myself from their midst, so according to this scripture would it not be logical to put me in the category of those of the world, and treat me as the passage directs?
At no point does it give any advice or legislation regarding family members having to cut you off and terminate relationships. Rather I feel that this was a safeguard put in place to protect members of the Christian congregation from the wrongdoers amongst them. So just what is it that justifies the sunning of a member of the Christian congregation and more importantly what is it that justifies a mother making the heartbreaking decision to cut off her own child…?