February 1, 2011

Jehovah's Witness, Young Man, Cut-off from Family after Leaving Religion

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By Francis Nye

When Nathan Phillips decided he no longer wanted to be a Jehovah's Witness he got more than he bargained for. Nathan lost his family, his friends, and almost lost his job due to the trauma of this church’s actions toward him for simply wanting to go his own way.

Nathan having doubts about the faith expressed his feelings to the elders at his local congregation that may be he no longer wanted to be a Jehovah’s Witness. Phillips stated “My beliefs had changed; my views had changed – it just wasn’t me.” At that point the Jehovah's Witness’ elders, who are looked up to and considered to be responsible for leading the members of their congregation, told Nathan he would be immediately disfellowshipped, a Jehovah’s Witness term for excommunicating a member from the congregation.

At that point Nathan was called into a judicial committee of three elders. They sat in front of him and asked him questions to see if he had been smoking or drinking. This panel of elders then sent him out of the room so they could decide the matter.  When he came back they said they’d decided to disfellowship him.

Shocked and dismayed by what was transpiring Nathan added that their decision would impact his family and friends who were all Jehovah’s Witnesses.  He went on to explain that he did not want to be disfellowshiped.  He begged for leniency but none of that was to be taken into consideration.  Nathan was to feel the full wrath of this panel for wanting to leave his faith to explore what the world had to offer. So because of the decision of this group of elders not to give Nathan Phillips, who is only 24-years old, a clean break he lost his family and friends.
 
Because of the tenants of this faith his family and friends of the Jehovah’s Witness can no longer have any kind of relationship with Nathan. I imagine one has to ask themselves, what would Jesus have done in this situation?  It is obvious to me that this young man was confused and didn’t really know what he wanted. I think Jesus would have understood that Nathan needs guidance and support.  If Nathan didn’t really care what anyone truly thought he would have never came to these leaders in the first place. This is typical of his age, the confusion. Not really knowing what you want out of life and which way you should be going. So instead of helping him find himself these elders decided to impose the harshest punishment they could inflict.  No compassion.  No caring.  No understanding.

I think the elders forgot the message of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46.  However, verse 45 really sums it all up more concisely in my opinion.

45 “…whatever you did not do for one of the least of my brothers, you did not do for me.”
In other words what Jesus is saying is by turning your back on one of your brothers, you are turning your back on me.

I think church elders should be more like Christ, a servant and teacher to their flock. Jesus makes a great showing of this in John 13:12-17

 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

These sad pathetic little elders are so typical of some of today’s Christian leaders.  They forget that they are to be “Christ-like” Instead they focus on being “holier-than-thou” with all the arrogance and intolerance that their black diminutive hearts can muster.

What are your views on this situation?  Please let me known in the comment section below.

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