What Watchtower Wrote—Disfellowshipping & Shunning


“This is ‘canon law’ which the Roman Catholic Hierarchy seeks to enforce on the pretext that it is God’s law. The authority for excommunication, they claim, is based on the teaching of Christ and the apostles as found in the following scriptures… But the Hierarchy’s excommunication and ‘medicinal remedy’… find no support in these scriptures. In fact, it is altogether foreign to Bible teachings… Where, then, did this practice originate? The Encyclopaedia Britannica says that papal excommunication is not without pagan influence… Thereafter, as the pretensions of the Hierarchy increased, the weapon of excommunication became the instrument by which the clergy attained a combination of ecclesiastical power and secular tyranny that finds no parallel in history.” — Golden Age January 8, 1947 p. 27

Q. And [the disfellowshipped person…] would be worthy of death?
A. I will answer yes, unhesitatingly. — Watchtower lawyer HC Covington, Douglas Walsh trial transcript, 1954

“As to disfellowshiped family members (not minor sons or daughters) living outside the home, each family must decide to what extent they will have association with such ones. This is not something that the congregational elders can decide for them. What the elders are concerned with is that “leaven” is not reintroduced into the congregation through spiritual fellowshiping with those who had to be removed as such “leaven.” Thus, if a disfellowshiped parent goes to visit a son or daughter or to see grandchildren and is allowed to enter the Christian home, this is not the concern of the elders. Such a one has a natural right to visit his blood relatives and his offspring. Similarly, when sons or daughters render honor to a parent, though disfellowshiped, by calling to see how such a one’s physical health is or what needs he or she may have, this act in itself is not a spiritual fellowshiping.” — Watchtower August 1, 1974 p. 471

“Neither divorce nor expulsion from the Christian congregation ends a parent-child relationship; children continue to need both parents.” — Awake! September 22, 1991

“What if we have a relative or a close friend who is disfellowshipped? Now our loyalty is on the line, not to that person, but to God. Jehovah is watching us to see whether we will abide by his command not to have contact with anyone who is disfellowshipped.” — Watchtower April 15, 2012 p. 12

“What your beloved family member needs to see is your resolute stance to put Jehovah above everything else — including the family bond.” — Watchtower January 15, 2013 p. 16

“Do not look for excuses to associate with a disfellowshipped family member, for example, through e-mail.” — Watchtower January 15, 2013 p. 16

“If a publisher in the congregation is known to have unnecessary association with disfellowshipped or disassociated relatives who are not in the household, elders should use the Scriptures to counsel and reason with him… If it is clear that a Christian is violating the spirit of the disfellowshipping decree in this regard and does not respond to counsel, he would not qualify for congregation privileges, which require one to be exemplary. He would not be dealt with judicially unless there is persistent spiritual association or he persists in openly criticizing the disfellowshipping action.” — Shepherd the Flock of God chapter 12 

“Witnesses don’t use the word shun or shunning… They refer to it as disfellowship, disfellowshipping, disfellowshipped… Disfellowship literally means no further spiritual fellowship with the individual. As far as their family members are concerned, normal family relations continue with the exception of spiritual fellowship.” — David Gnam, Watch Tower Lawyer