I had a wonderful morning today. My wife and children prepared a healthy, scrumptious breakfast of french toast, fruit and coffee. I’m grateful. My own father and I have not spoken with each other for over three years. He isn’t allowed to talk to me if he wanted to. He shouldn’t answer the phone if I call. He shouldn’t acknowledge my presence. This man, who had a hand in bringing me to life, must now act as if I’m unborn, not alive, nonexistent. Most people I share this with say this is his choice. In his world, it’s not a choice, it’s a command. An order from the literature published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, where content is devised and directed by a small group of mostly older men known as the Governing Body. They say there is biblical guidance to be followed. I’ve seen the infamous “shunning” video making the rounds on the Internet over the past month, where parents are shown refusing to even answer their cell phone when their disfellowshipped daughter calls. There is no freedom of choice for a loyal member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. One must think and act like the rest of the flock at all times, with blind and unquestioning obedience to the shepherd. Those sheep separated from the flock cannot be associated with for they have made their bed. The harder it is for the separated, or lost sheep, the more they will desire to return, or so the thinking goes.
If you, like me, find yourself among the great crowd of sheep separated from the flock, know we are not alone, and quite possibly our collective flock may be greater than the one that continues to mindlessly follow the shepherd. You may, as I have at times, looked upon that flock, longing for the ease of following the shepherd without critical thinking, without individuality and without free will. The desire to belong, to feel loved and accepted is strong. I understand.