Talk:Jehovah's Witnesses and congregational discipline

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Is a neutral site?[edit]

They're used as a source for "Disfellowshipping". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:41, 18 February 2009 (UTC) seem to be a personal web-site which status is analogous to the self-published books, so I think it cannot be used as a source.--Vassilis78 (talk) 08:34, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

The issue is really whether JWfacts is a reliable source. It fails that test by being a self-published source. The article in question at [1] does provide its sources, so those sources, mainly WT publications, are better transferred to the article itself rather than using JWFacts as the source. I have deleted the citation. LTSally (talk) 09:57, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

List of serious sins[edit]

Come on. This tight section was a simple, succinct LIST of serious sins for the sake of convenience. It seems like elaborations should be somewhere other than the paragraph body of a "list" section of an article about discipline (rather than about "sin"). Where does it end? Does the next person add an aside that fornication includes anal sex and mutual masturbation? Does someone else add that bestiality does not include semen retrieval for animal husbandry? That stuff dilutes the main subject. If you editors feel the information needs to get out there, create an article "Jehovah's Witnesses and serious sin" and link to it.--AuthorityTam (talk) 11:45, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree. Please note that the parenthetical statement I added was a concession after User:Stingraywiki reverted my initial removal of their repetetive and wordy elaborations.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:27, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Actions for which a member can be disfellowshipped include: Abortion, adultery, apostasy,[18] bestiality, blood transfusions, drug abuse, drunkenness, extortion, fornication, fraud, gambling, heresy, homosexual activity, idolatry, incest, interfaith activity, "loose conduct",[19] lying, [20] manslaughter, murder, "perverted sex relations",[21] polygamy, pornography,[22] reviling, sexual abuse, slander, spiritism, theft, and use of tobacco.
Most of these "serious sins" lack sources, should they not be removed? Or must one simply trust the information to be factual, without being able to verify any of it?
ViezeRick (talk) 13:27, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't have time at the moment, though adding sources for each of the elements listed will not be especially difficult, and I'm not aware that anything in the list is contested. Is there any item in particular you're disputing?--Jeffro77 (talk) 14:13, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I can not dispute what I can't verify, wich is why I question that list. The sources need to be straight from the Watchtower organisation since it's their opinion, and they're not keen on having this out in the open, if you ask me. Printed publications are hard to get my hands on, they tend to be absent in public libraries, and Google is not my friend when it comes to Watchtower publications. I have just spent hours, searching in German, Dutch and English. If you could provide me with the required information, you'd make me a very happy person. Thanks in advance. Regards, ViezeRick (talk) 16:43, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
P.S. This article doesn't mention voting or any other kind of political activity. Political activity and voting are debated on the Dutch Wikipedia at the moment, but I can't verify the sources. Most of it seems interpretation. Do you have any idea why it's not mentioned on the English Wiki? Any sources perhaps? ViezeRick (talk) 17:06, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Years ago, JWs were more strict about voting but now operate a kind of 'don't ask - don't tell' policy. They're 'allowed' to go to the polling booth, where "What he does in the polling booth is between him and his Creator". (This policy seems to be to absolve JW corporations from legal responsibility to members who are prosecuted by governments for failing to vote.) However, if a JW were to publically announce voting in connection with political views, they would still be subjected to disciplinary measures (specifically, they would be 'counselled' and if they 'rejected counsel', the elders would say they had 'disassociated' resulting in shunning). (The Watchtower 1 November 1999 page 28-29; Shepherd the Flock of God, page 112).--Jeffro77 (talk) 00:58, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
I have supplied sources as requested. I have removed 'heresy' from the list because JWs use the term 'apostasy', which is already listed.--Jeffro77 (talk) 02:49, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Hi, thanks for your response.
So, if JW's talk about their political views, do they risk excommunication? And if a JW is seen entering a voting booth by a fellow member or an Elder, would that JW be 'counselled'? Won't the Elder ask what the JW was doing in there? Regards ViezeRick (talk) 09:39, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
According to the Watchtower I cited previously, a JW wouldn't be 'counselled' for attending a polling booth. However, they would likely be 'counselled' and possibly face 'excommunication' if they were to espouse political views.--Jeffro77 (talk) 10:41, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

External link[edit]

Are you serious?

  1. A link to a blog?
  2. With an illegal recording?

--Scientia est opulentia (talk) 07:10, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Whether it's illegal rather than just disapproved by JW judicial committees is highly dubious. The blog is indeed not a suitable external link for this article.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:33, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I am serious. The style guideline at Wikipedia:External links#Links normally to be avoided does indeed suggest that links to blogs be avoided. This is a guideline only, and exceptions are allowed. I believe that this blog is such an exception. The opinions expressed on the blog are of secondary importance only. The critical content of the blog is the audio recording of a judicial committee hearing of an individual who has himself uploaded the content to the internet with the intention of it being heard. The subject of the article is disciplinary procedures of Jehovah's Witnesses, including juducial committees. The inclusion of a recording of a complete judicial committee hearing is a valuable addition to the written material in the article. It is informative, instructive and quite rare. You claim the recording is illegal. It is certainly contrary to the policies of Jehovah's Witness judicial committee hearings, but that's not a crime. But you may have additional information that would support your claim that the recording is contrary to law.
Thank you for finally raising this issue on the talk page. Just weeks ago you made a complaint to administrators that I had made a personal attack against you, so I find it strange that you removed the link to the blog with the comment "You are just adding evidence for your destructive presence in Wikipedia." You have previously accused me of making destructive edits, and I am still waiting for any evidence to support this serious claim, which is tantamount to accusing me of vandalism. In most cases I am simply adding well-sourced factual material you don't like to see because it portrays your religion in a less than flattering light. LTSally (talk) 08:37, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Jeffro, please elaborate further on why you think it is "not suitable." I've explained my rationale for including it, I want to hear some better reasons than that for deleting it. LTSally (talk) 08:44, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
"Exceptions" to guidelines are allowed when there is consensus for them. In this case, there clearly isn't. Please desist. --LjL (talk) 12:16, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Actually, I won't desist. The link was placed there only a matter of hours ago. So far three editors have made a comment opposing its conclusion. This is too soon to claim any consensus, and too soon for you to order me to stop arguing in favor of its inclusion. LTSally (talk) 12:29, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Jeffro77 you said, "Whether it's illegal rather than just disapproved by JW judicial committees is highly dubious." This is not the case; it is a matter of privacy violation. An encyclopedia -at least- cannot contain unofficially publicized material relating to private conversations. Also, is this a reportage page? -- pvasiliadis  09:50, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Whose privacy is being violated? The individual on trial from this church court has clearly approved of his case being made public at his Death or Obedience blogsite. Those who made the allegations should have no shame about, or objection to, their accusations being made public, since the accused has no objection. Their evidence consisted of the viewpoints of the accused expressed – at their invitation – at a prior shepherding call. They accused him of "spreading" apostate views ... in this case, sharing his views with them in a pastoral visit in response to their questions. The accused has no objection about that being publicised either. Jehovah's Witnesses' judicial committees are held as a secretive court session with no observers and no subsequent report of evidence or defence. This recording is a valuable record of such proceedings and a link to it on an article dealing with disciplinary procedures is entirely appropriate. LTSally (talk) 10:31, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
In most Western countries, and I believe this is the case with USA as well, illegal is the recording which is done without the permission of the people involved. Beyond that fact, Wikipedia is not a place of experiment for people who want to make "investigations" or any sort of original reseach.--Scientia est opulentia (talk) 11:15, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
"Illegal is the recording which is done"... Thanks for that, Yoda. Additionally, wherever is allowed by law, the Watch Tower Society asserts that their records are not subject to applicable privacy laws, particularly when such laws require divulging information normally entitled to individuals held about them by corporations. Either they are subject to privacy laws, or they're not, not both. In any case, the blog is not a suitable source for reference on Wikipedia.--Jeffro77 (talk) 11:34, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Jeffro, you are simply repeating your phrase without substantiating the claim. The blog itself is unimportant: whether that individual is a reliable source or not is irrelevant in this case. The blog is simply a host of the recording, which is a factual and informative resource in itself. As noted above, Wikipedia's policies and guidelines do not prohibit the use of blogs as external links. LTSally (talk) 11:42, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The matter may be discussed here: [2].--Scientia est opulentia (talk) 12:15, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I've posted comment over there (See diff).
Incidents like this create an interesting window into the thought process of certain editors, so personally I don't mind them. Editorially, however, the primary regrettable thing is that, now, that (likely illegal recording) link is parked in the history of the page. --AuthorityTam (talk) 17:25, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

As I stated at the RS noticeboard, Jehovah's Witnesses are avid contributors to this article, so I'm baffled at why they shy from adding a link to a recording that cuts out the middle man, allowing the public to hear for themselves JW disciplinary procedures in action. I'll point out a couple of things at WP:EL no one seems to have bothered to read:

  • Introduction: Such (linked) pages could contain further research that is accurate and on-topic, information that could not be added to the article for reasons such as copyright or amount of detail, or other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article for reasons unrelated to its accuracy.
  • What should be linked: Sites that contain neutral and accurate material that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to copyright issues ... interview transcripts, or online textbooks) or other reasons.
  • What to link: Consider: Is the site content proper in the context of the article (useful, tasteful, informative, factual, etc.)?

It is entirely appropriate and informative to provide a link to a recording of a judicial committee in session as a research aid. Arguments involving original research are entirely spurious. Now someone is suggesting they could all be actors. The one valid argument against its inclusion thus far expressed deals with the fact that it was surreptiously recorded. I have yet to be convinced it is a strong argument. The other figures in the recording are not on trial themselves and speak only about the accused person's actions, so it is hardly going to embarrass them. Claims that it is illegal to record the meeting or host it on a website have not yet been proven. How many times have media organizations secretly recorded meetings or conversations and broadcast them? It's a nightly event on public affairs TV shows.

Finally, AuthorityTam, just deal with the issue, rather than making sarcastic, derogatory comments about "the thought process of certain editors". LTSally (talk) 21:37, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

It seems sad (and revealing) when an editor believes the term "interesting" constitutes a "derogatory comment" (compare diff).
As I implied over there, the legal issues are now superfluous but still serious. Anyone can opine about what they may feel the law should be, but the law is the law. For example, California's Invasion of Privacy Act (see Online) requires the consent of all parties to an in-person conversation prior to recording, and considers violators punishable by criminal and civil action. Of course, this thread discusses a source which has been rejected for other reasons, so it's unproductive to have a lengthy legal discussion here.
--AuthorityTam (talk) 14:28, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia should not be seen to promote information that has been obtained unethically (unless that information has thereafter gained notoriety in reliable sources), as is a surreptitiously recorded conversation without the consent of its participants. Whether the recording is legal or not, the article should not link to it, and it is better to err on the side of caution. The recording is not a published source and fails WP:reliable, regardless of how desirable it might be to present an 'inside view'.--Jeffro77 (talk) 02:14, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

If it's legal, it's legal, if not not, let's not bring idle and vague questions of "ethics" into Wikipedia, whose purpose is to be an Encyclopedia period. As for not being reliable and published, that's a requirement for sources, not for external links. --LjL (talk) 12:05, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
So you maintain that it's fine to link to a recording that was obtained without the knowledge or permission of the subjects? Would your lack of concern for ethics be the same if it were you who were recorded without your consent.--Jeffro77 (talk) 12:31, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
It may or may not be fine, depending on whether or not it falls into WP:BLP. Your second question is irrelevant, because there is not a glimpse of an encyclopedic reason why I, personally, would be in any way included into Wikipedia. I've done nothing notable. --LjL (talk) 12:48, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
You've (deliberately?) missed the point. The recording is not appropriate for linking from Wikipedia for the same reason that it wouldn't be admissible in a court of law. Indeed, the individual who made the recording, like you, has done nothing notable.--Jeffro77 (talk) 14:34, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for the (gratuitous?) assumption of bad faith, and nice non-sequitur. --LjL (talk) 17:39, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
The arguments against its inclusion are becoming increasingly bizarre. The farcical suggestion has already been made that the whole thing could be a fabrication involving actors, now there is the objection that it's unusable because it would inadmissable in a court of law and that the individual who made the recordings is himself not notable. Were all those whose conversations recorded on the Watergate tapes aware they were being taped? Should reference to those tapes now be deleted from Wikipedia? The notability or otherwise of the Witness who recorded his church trial is irrelevant, because he is not the subject of an article, and I wouldn't consider adding him to the article. The audio recording, an extraordinary document, simply supplements information within the article, which delves into the minutia of how the religion exercises control over its followers with a highly-developed system of judgment and punishment. An external link is just that: a link to something outside the confines of Wikipedia that provides additional information pertinent to the subject. LTSally (talk) 23:01, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
It's a matter of principle, which sometimes people do not understand when they feel they have to 'bring down the Watch Tower' at all costs. There is no similarity in this situation to Watergate. If the linked recording had already become notable in mainstream media, then it would be suitable for Wikipedia to link to it. Such is simply not the case with this recording.--Jeffro77 (talk) 02:27, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
LTSally, what you are suggesting is that it is fine to link to any piece of original research that support any particular view, irrespective of how the information was collected. A slippery slope indeed. The fact that it might be unique or rare does not change the fact that it is not notable (by Wikipedia definition) and original research.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:10, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
I do hope the comment "The farcical suggestion has already been made that the whole thing could be a fabrication involving actors", wasn't directed at my comments below. I think I made it very clear that I was not suggesting the video is fake. (In fact, my personal opinion is that the video should be linked to, but personal opinions are not how to decide issues like this). There is one specific test for including an external link (since relevancy, etc., are not an issue), and this whether it comes from a knowledgable source. I think all I suggested was due to the problems these days with internet videos, it would be helpful if there was some confirmation regarding the video. The "legal" issue is not for this group to decide. The privacy issue is a red herring - that's part of the legality, and that's for the Wikipedia administration to decide, not us editors. Singularity42 (talk) 23:14, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, no, that suggestion was first made here by someone else. Oh, and to clarify: it's actually audio, not video. But the issues stand. LTSally (talk) 23:28, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
It is evident that a few people simply do not understand why it isn't appropriate. I will therefore put it before the admin noticeboard to decide whether endorsing a recording made surreptitiously without the participants' permission or knowledge is appropriate, under the principle of bringing the Wikipedia project into disrepute.--Jeffro77 (talk) 02:22, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

<outdent> I would ask editors commenting on this issue to consider adding their comments to the breakdown posted below the RfC for ease of following the debates on the various seperate issues regarding posting the external link. Thanks! Singularity42 (talk) 04:49, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Request for comment on link to blog containing surreptitious audio recording[edit]

I'd appreciate some outside comment on my wish to add an external link to a blog that contains a recording of a Jehovah's Witness judicial committee in session to hear charges against a Witness charged with apostasy. I added the link, it was removed and another editor began the discussion in the section directly above (External link). A discussion was also attempted at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard#An external link to an illegal recording, although that noticeboard is probably not the place to debate the issue, because it's only obliquely connected with a question of reliable sources.

As a quick summary of what is spelt out above, I believe the link is a suitable and appropriate link to additional outside material that pertains directly to the subject under discussion, viz disciplinary procedures of Jehovah's Witnesses. The article itself already delves into great detail of disciplinary procedures. The audio recording, hosted at the blog, supplements this: it is valuable, useful and informative. I concede that the link is to a blog, which WP:EL says should generally be avoided, although this is not a prohibition, and exceptions are allowed. I also concede the recording was made surreptitiously and contrary to the policies surrounding JW judicial committee hearings. Both these factors clearly make the issue contentious.

So far the arguments stated against its inclusion are that (1) It is illegal. (There is so far no proof that is the case). (2) It is not suitable. (3) It violates privacy (of whom or what has not been stated. Please note that the recording has been added to a blog by the individual who went on trial at this church court. He has therefore deliberately abandoned any claim to privacy). (4) The recording constitutes original research. Only a small group of editors has so far commented, and most of these are Jehovah's Witnesses, which may affect their strong view against it. I'll add that there's been an element of personal abuse directed at me for pursuing this. I'd like to hear the views of a wider group of editors. LTSally (talk) 13:47, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

The link is here. Because there were objections to an EL to a blog, there is the option of providing a link to the recording as a podcast on iTunes here. LTSally (talk) 01:53, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

I commented, and my objections to the source certainly aren't religiously motivated.
The link is most obviously disallowed because it is to a contested controversial primary source from a personal blog, a source without any secondary support. There is no way to verify that it is what it purports to be, or that it has not been edited to remove important context. --AuthorityTam (talk) 14:34, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
The first two checkpoints for the inclusion of any material into the encyclopedia are neutrality and source reliability. If this audio recording had been acquired and distributed by The New York Times or BBC News, then we could get into the privacy and illegality concerns. But this recording comes from a personal blog (by definition a primary source, and possibly the worst type of source other than "I heard it through the grapevine") and was posted by an individual with a specific position or intent (however justifiable or non-justifiable that may be).
This source has failed the first two checkpoints. Unless it gains significant attention in news sources, we cannot justify its inclusion in the encyclopedia. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 18:01, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I think it's being proposed as an external link, though, not as a source. --LjL (talk) 18:18, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
And we don't care that it is confirmed as being illegal under Florida law?--Jeffro77 (talk) 10:50, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

The primary source vs. secondary source argument for reliable sources is a bit irrelevant here. From WP:ELMAYBE, types of external links that could be considered are: Sites which fail to meet criteria for reliable sources yet still contain information about the subject of the article from knowledgeable sources.

The bigger question is this: it is a knowledgeable source? It could be faked, etc. Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable having an external link such as this without some confirmation the video is what it claims to be. Singularity42 (talk) 18:42, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

"It could be faked". Highly doubtful, considering the hours of other audio recordings taken at the shepherding visits that preceded it and the recording of a discussion with another elder at a Kingdom Hall. If it's a fake, then so if Michael Jackson's death. Both are possible, but the evidence strongly suggests otherwise. A "knowledgeable" source? It is simply a recording of something that took place. How much knowledge is required? The writing and other content at the blog are unimportant and irrelevant. The blog is simply the host site of the recording. LTSally (talk) 20:54, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Don't get me wrong. I agree the issue is over the video, not the fact that it is hosted on a blog - therefore, the blog aspect is irrelevant. Nor am I saying the video is fake. I'm just saying generally speaking I tend to be more comfortable with internet videos when there is some secondary source confirming the content is what it is claimed to be. Singularity42 (talk) 21:56, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Since a) the comments on this issue are spread all over this talk page, and b) I expect we'll be seeing more comments now that this is posted at WP:CNB, I thought it might make sense to concentrate the comments regarding the proposed external link in one place, broken down by concerns. Hopefully this will help us follow the various debates. Also, feel free to add additional concerns if I missed one... Singularity42 (talk) 04:41, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Doesn't meet WP:RS?[edit]

  • Comment - WP:RS doesn't apply as this is an external link. WP:EL specifically allows as a possibility links to content that wouldn't otherwise be a reliable source. Therefore, primary vs. secondary sources shouldn't apply. Singularity42 (talk)
  • Comment - The principle of reliable sources still applies. Otherwise, anyone could add any source they like on any article under the guise of an 'external link' in order promote content that would otherwise be considered unnotable or unreliable.--Jeffro77 (talk) 05:09, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment - As per Singularity. WP:EL allows links to sites that fail to meet criteria for reliable sources yet still contain information about the subject of the article from knowledgeable sources. I'd say an individual who has been tried by a judicial committee is very knowledgeable about the procedure, especially his own hearing, which is the subject of the audio. And if WP:EL sets aside requirements for RS on a qualified basis, it is unsound reasoning to appeal to the "principle of reliable sources" to then insist that those same requirements be applied. LTSally (talk) 10:14, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Knowledgeable applies to someone who is an expert on a subject, not merely someone who has experienced something. If I survive a cyclone, it doesn't necessarily make me "knowledgeable" about cyclones. Additionally, the recording doesn't contain any information (knowledgeable or otherwise) about JC meetings.--Jeffro77 (talk) 11:01, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Reply: The link doesn't purport to, nor need it, contain information about judicial committee hearings. It is an example of one, and informative simply on that basis. Why? The elderrs explain repeatedly they are following procedure to the letter. An elder explains the procedure, explains how witnesses will be called, refuses to answer questions by the accused and explains they can also make judgment on matters for which they have called no witnesses. Anyone who would find the breathless detail within the article on JW disciplinary procedures interesting would also find this recording interesting, informative and instructive. It's on that basis alone that I think it is a valuable and worthy external link. LTSally (talk) 11:38, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment - As an external link it doesn't have to meet WP: Reliable sourse but still, how can this be verified? It just seems ripe for abuse. Elmmapleoakpine (talk) 01:06, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

The link is to a blog[edit]

  • Comment - the link is to a recording that happens to be hosted by a blog site; the blog's content itself isn't what the link is relied on for. Singularity42 (talk) 04:41, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment - the link in question is actually to the blog.[3]--Jeffro77 (talk) 05:16, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Solution: The link is also available as a podcast on iTunes here. This obviates the need for a link to a blog. LTSally (talk) 10:01, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
How exactly is iTunes different from a blog? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 11:13, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
A blog contains argumentation and a point of view. It is also mentioned explicitly in WP:EL as a link that is normally avoided. The iTunes audio contains just the audio and a short introductory explanation. LTSally (talk) 11:41, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Then there's a different point: when I click on the link, it tells me that I need to log in as an administrator. Just like wikipedia discourages "members-only"-links (such as NYT restricted access), this cannot be included, either. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 12:01, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

"Knowledgable source" (as required by WP:EL)[edit]

  • Comment - I'm not sure about this. Because of the lack of reliability with a lot of internet media content, I tend to like a secondary source that can at least confirm that the recording is what it claims to be. Singularity42 (talk) 04:41, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment - It is not possible from the content to establish whether the statements therein are typical of judicial committees (though they may be).--Jeffro77 (talk) 05:09, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment - An individual who has been tried by a judicial committee is very knowledgeable about the procedure, especially his own hearing, which is the subject of the audio. If, theoretically, the Witnesses allowed a hearing to be recorded and the accused posted the audio on the internet, would the issue of "knowledgeable source" be raised? I doubt it would be an issue, and the recording would be accepted at face value. There is no claim that this audio is typical of anything; it is simply an example of a hearing, which is a valuable document worthy of inclusion in an encylopedia because of the information it can impart on process. LTSally (talk) 10:19, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
If it's not typical of anything, it has little encyclopaedic value for the subject.--Jeffro77 (talk) 11:01, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • I am very skeptical. As noted somewhere above, I could go into some basement, take a tape-recorder, and create a "knowledgable source". Throw in a few extra-bucks, and I'll give you a video within 2 days. Until someone gives me evidence that that is not the case with this link, I would side with non-inclusion. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 11:20, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
  • We can't judge whether the source is knowledgeable, but we do know it's not a reported by a source with a reputation for reliability. We can't use these sort of blog-posted claims as sources or ELs. Cool Hand Luke 18:57, 23 September 2009 (UTC)


  • Comment - this is not the forum to decide whether we are linking to illegal content. So far, no authority has stated the content is illegal, or more specifically, has stated that it violates U.S. or Florida state law (as per WP:NOTCENSORED. Therefore, I believe this is something left to the higher-ups to figure out, not us lowly editors. Singularity42 (talk) 04:41, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment - It has been stated that it is a violation of California law, and it has not been stated that it is not a violation of Florida law. Something of questionable legality that has no other existing notability in reliable sources should not be endorsed by Wikipedia.--Jeffro77 (talk) 05:09, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment I wouldn't worry about legality at all. Any court can only establish that a) recording something is illegal and b)posting it is illegal. No court can (in this case at least) establish that it is illegal to look at a webpage once it's posted - and that's exactly what an external link is. (By this, I do not mean to imply that there aren't other reasons why the link shouldn't be posted. Reliable source is of a much greater concern when it comes to blogs and such. I would seriously focus on that argument.) Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 11:11, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
It's not about whether it's illegal to use the illegal recording, but whether doing so would be seen as bringing Wikipedia into disrepute by endorsing an illegal recording.--Jeffro77 (talk) 11:34, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
That indeed is a point. I understood this as fearing legal repercussions. Reputation could indeed be an issue, but tat applies to all the points in question. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 11:58, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Privacy and other ethical concerns[edit]

  • Comment - I think this is really connected to the legality issue. If it's not illegal, and it's not a shock site, then as per WP:NOTCENSORED, the link should stay. Singularity42 (talk) 04:41, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment - As above (under Legality).--Jeffro77 (talk) 05:09, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment - As per Singularity. Concerns over protection of privacy would presumably be applied to protect the accused. The hearing is solely concerned with his actions. By posting the audio on the blog and iTunes he has demonstrated he has no objections to his privacy being lost. LTSally (talk) 10:23, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Permission for a recorded conversation should be given by all participants, not just the accused.--Jeffro77 (talk) 11:01, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Says who? As far as I've read, US laws very often state permission from one partecipant is required. --LjL (talk) 11:41, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Says the state of Florida.[4]--Jeffro77 (talk) 12:10, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
That's generally true. Just like no-one can use a picture where happen to be in the background w/o my permission. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 12:04, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
This just seems inappropriate and an invaision of someone's privacy on some level. What if it were you.? Elmmapleoakpine (talk) 01:03, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Original Research?[edit]

  • Comment - see my comment for the reliable source issue. WP:EL is seperate from WP:OR. Singularity42 (talk) 04:41, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment - An audio of a court hearing is no more original research than a video of a car crash. It is simply a document of the event with no interpretation. LTSally (talk) 10:24, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment - An audio of a court hearing has a different kind of verifiability and is part of the civic/public record. A private recording on a blog could be anything and is suspect. Elmmapleoakpine (talk) 00:06, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment. Seems like more of a reliability issue. Cool Hand Luke 18:52, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
The mood is clearly against including the link. I'm not pursuing it further, but thanks for your comment. LTSally (talk) 00:26, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Redirect from Disfellowshipped[edit]

"Disfellowshipped" and a few variants redirect to this article. However, considering that LDS, 7DA, Christadelphians, some Pentecostals and Churches of God and a variety of minority religions also use the term "disfellowship", is it really appropriate for it to redirect to an article specifically about Jehovah's Witnesses? I suggest a Disambiguation Page. Downstrike (talk) 20:04, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Where the context refers to shunning, disfellowshipped should redirect here as it is the most common use of the term in that context. Where the context refers to congregational restrictions that do not include shunning, for example as used by LDS, it should redirect to the other appropriate article. If the context is indeterminate, there is a disambiguation page, Disfellowship.--Jeffro77 (talk) 00:02, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Who is mentally diseased?[edit]

"Members are told that individuals who leave the organization are "mentally diseased" and are directed not to "receive them into our homes or greet them.""

Yes, I am aware that 2 newspaper articles are cited. But the actual Watchtower magazine shows that it refers to apostates. Not all who leave the organization are apostates. Further, the context shows that "mentally diseased" is a quote from the Bible (1 Timothy 6:3, 4) and is not meant as an insult with no context. The existing sentence advances the POV that all who leave are described as mentally diseased which the Watchtower invented out of thin air. Thoughts? StandFirm-JW (talk) 20:33, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

The New World Translation does indeed use the term "mentally diseased", and is in fact the only English Bible translation to use that term. The Watchtower (July 15, 2011) defined apostasy as "a standing away from true worship, a falling away, defection, rebellion, abandonment" (footnote, page 15); by that reasoning, those who fall away from, or choose to defect from, that religion are apostates. The magazine then links that term with the highly offensive phrase "mentally diseased" found at 1 Tim 6, despite the fact that that passage of scripture does not explicitly refer to "apostates". In other words, the Bible doesn't make that link; the WTS creates it. Having described those who defect from the religion as apostates who are mentally diseased, the Watchtower then directs JWs to shun such individuals.
The WTS would probably refer to me as an apostate. I chose to leave the religion because I disagree with it and still believe it deceives followers and has many characteristics of a high-control religious cult. In voicing my distaste for the religion that stole some of the best years of my life, I am assumed to be "seeking to infect others with my disloyal teachings." Oddly, a Catholic or Baptist or Muslim who accepted JW teachings and abandoned (defected from) that religion to join the JWs would also, by definition, be an apostate, and thus mentally diseased!
Those who disassociate (formally resign) are certainly regarded as apostates. Since 1981 JWs have been directed to treat disassociated people as if they were disfellowshipped (ie, shun them). I'm wondering if it might then be more accurate to change the wording to say that "members are told that individuals who formally resign from the organization are "mentally diseased" .... but the problem is, the July 15 WT doesn't make that distinction. It just refers to those who abandon, fall away from, or defect from, the JW religion. So perhaps it's best left the way it is. BlackCab (talk) 10:00, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
It is interesting that JWs cannot see the dichotomy in that JWs are required to preach to others about what they believe to be true, but that former JWs who do not wish to be shunned and labelled 'mentally diseased' are required not to tell anyone what they believe to be true. Whatever happened to, "No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family."?? Awake!, July 2009, page 29.--Jeffro77 (talk) 10:05, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
The context shows that mentally diseased is applied to apostate false teachers who attempt to spread their teachings which is a small minority of those who leave JWs. Regardless, the sentence is POV charged and needs changing. I propose something more neutral like, "The Watchtower states that "false teachers" who "seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings" are "mentally diseased (1 Timothy 6:3, 4);" [ref WT] some have stated that this applies to all individuals who leave the organization [ref newspapers]." StandFirm (talk) 17:35, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
In fact the article doesn't limit the use of the term "mentally diseased" to apostates who seek to dupe others. It says, without qualification, that apostates are "mentally diseased," and that they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings. The article has already identified apostates as those who defect from a religion; nowhere in the article is there a "context" that refers to a small minority of defectors. Your latest edit has altered the statement so much it now has no connection with the Shunning section it's in. The point of the statement there was that the WTS directs members to shun apostates. The newspapers have correctly identified those to whom the Watchtower was referring. BlackCab (talk) 20:25, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
I think what the Watchtower itself said is more important than some media outlet's interpretation. Regardless you seem to have let my edit stand so I'll let this discussion go. StandFirm (talk) 22:53, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
It's a question of time. The wording certainly needs to change. I'll point out that your wording that "members ... are said to be violating 2 John 11" makes no sense, so you may like to alter that and save others the trouble. BlackCab (talk) 23:45, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
The wording on 2 John 11 is necessary to maintain NPOV showing the Watchtower's reasoning for making such a statement. I am open to suggestions on wording though. StandFirm (talk) 05:06, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Andrew Holden (page 163) discusses the terms applied to defectors, or those "who do eventually break free", thus: "Not only is their disfellowshipping announced from the platform, they are also condemned as 'mentally diseased' or 'apostates'." Holden's claim is based on his own observations of congregational activity and interviews with members (in other words, separate to what the WTS says in its publications); one of those he interviewed acknowledges that once he left, he left, "his friendships would be severed and he would be regarded as an apostate." With that statement, and the observations of journalists, the "apostate" and "mentally diseased" statements clearly have a wider application than are now in the article. BlackCab (talk) 10:10, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Insight book reference[edit]

WP:OR says clearly: "This includes any analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not advanced by the sources. To demonstrate that you are not adding OR, you must be able to cite reliable, published sources that are directly related to the topic of the article, and directly support the material as presented. The prohibition against OR means that all material added to articles must be attributable to a reliable published source..."

This means you can cite Ray Franz as claiming such and such. You cannot cite the Insight book to advance your preferred conclusion even if Ray Franz reached it too. That is OR. StandFirm (talk) 19:46, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Wrong. Franz, who is a reliable source, uses the quote from the book to support his own argument. It is an entirely valid use of the source. The section you quote from refers to editors who themselves select sections of a source to synthesize an argument. BlackCab (talk) 20:31, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
It is not for Wikipedia to draw conclusions not meant by the source. It can only report others' conclusions and their reasons. But it cannot argue itself. StandFirm (talk) 00:04, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
And nor does it. Franz himself makes the point and cites that passage from the Insight book to back it up. BlackCab (talk) 04:22, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Franz cites it, not Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not the place to prove something. WP:SYNTH. If Franz claims it then cite him only. StandFirm (talk) 05:09, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
The more verifiability an encyclopedia can offer, the better. Franz makes a statement that the WTS is hypocritical, then supports that statement by quoting from a Watch Tower source, highlighting the contrast between what the WTS says and what it does. As a point of criticism contained in the article, it is helpful and valuable to include both his claim and the WTS statement (which he cites) that is at the core of his criticism. There is nothing inappropriate about its use here. BlackCab (talk) 05:23, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
My bad - I just noticed you moved the Insight book reference from the main body to the reference itself. This makes more sense as it show Franz is arguing such and such, not the article. I didn't notice this until just now. StandFirm (talk) 22:29, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Glad we cleared that up. Now I think you have some work to do at the Eschatology article. BlackCab (talk) 11:20, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Who is mentally diseased? Redux[edit]

The version I preferred read: The Watchtower states that "false teachers" who "seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings" are "mentally diseased (1 Timothy 6:3, 4 [NWT])"; some have stated that this applies to all individuals who leave the organization.

BlackCab changed this to: Those who choose to defect are commonly labelled as "mentally diseased" apostates for what The Watchtower says are their efforts to "infect others with their disloyal teachings".

His edit summary said: Rewrite to harmonise WT statements with newspaper interpretation of treatment of defectors

The problem here is that WP:JW clearly says (emphasis added): Contradictions - Editors should not attempt to reconcile contradictory statements in JW publications, as this is original research. Simply state both statements, and allow the reader to determine how to reconcile them.

If an editor should not attempt to harmonize or reconcile 'contradictions' within Watchtower publications then how much more so they shouldn't try to do so between a Watchtower publication and a newspaper! This is why I believe the former version is better overall. Further the newspaper is clearly relying mainly on what ex-JWs say (i.e. biased) so they can't expect to have the same weight as what the Watchtower clearly says. See WP:RS about what self-published sources say about themselves. StandFirm (talk) 23:52, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

My edit is accurate; yours attempts to skirt around the issue and avoid stating the obvious. Your edit also wrongly claims that the news reports says all those who "leave" the organization are called false teachers. Who are the "false teachers" your edit refer to? The answer, as stated in the WT article, is "apostates". "False teachers" are not those of other denominations teaching doctrines that conflict with the WTS doctrines. What, then, is an apostate? The WT article says they are those who defect from "true worship", which is code wording for "the JW religion". The word "defect" used in my edit unmistakably refers to those who make a definite decision to leave the religion. My edit covers what the newspapers (a secondary source) say, and also encompasses what the Watchtower (a primary source) says about the mental condition of those who are accused of trying to influence existing members with "disloyal teachings". BlackCab (talk) 06:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Standfirm's chosen wording uses selective quoting to suggest a subset of 'apostates', which is not what the article says. I have therefore restored the actual quote from the source: apostates are “mentally diseased,” and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:03, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Citation needed?[edit]

Where is the source for these sentences?

"Jehovah's Witnesses have no provision for normal association with conscientious objectors who choose to leave. The only way to officially leave the religion is to disassociate or be disfellowshipped, and both entail the same set of prohibitions and penalties." StandFirm (talk) 02:46, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Additionally, the article needs to make clear whom shunning may apply to by stating something to the effect that judicial sanctions may not be applied if the person has been inactive. I had a sentence like that but it was removed. However, most people would consider someone to have left a religion if they are not active in it at all (say the Catholic Church) even if they are on the official rolls somewhere. Where do you think this sentence should be placed if not under 'criticism'? StandFirm (talk) 06:02, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

WP:V requires that a source be cited for "anything challenged or likely to be challenged". What part of those two sentences are you challenging? Are you suggesting there is another method of "officially leaving" the religion that does not entail shunning? The claim that sanctions "may not" or "need not" be applied to someone who has not associated for some time is something that has already been discussed. There is no support for the inclusion of such a statement. BlackCab (talk) 06:59, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
The relevant source (viz, the elders' manual) does not say that sanctions do not apply to inactive members. It says that matters may be 'held in abeyance' (i.e. sanctions might not applied immediately) if the person is not associating with JWs (though the source adds that in such circumstances, the person's JW family members would still "curtail family association severely"). It is therefore redundant to assert that individuals who have no contact with JWs are not shunned by JWs. If an 'inactive' JW who associates with other JWs were to do something the Watch Tower Society considers to be a 'serious sin', then that person would then be shunned, regardless of their period of 'inactivity' as a JW.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:01, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Are you denying that it falsely implies that you cannot cease activity in JWs without DF or DA? StandFirm (talk) 22:27, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
"denying that it falsely implies"?
Your antagonistic phrasing aside, I am stating that the article quite clearly indicates that those who "formally leave" and "officially resign" are shunned. Further, I am stating that inactive members may be subjected to sanctions if they are considered to have committed as 'serious sin'. Additionally, I am stating that inactive members who are not associating might not be officially shunned immediately (because there is no contact anyway), but that their family might still "curtail family association severely".
Why are you so intent on removing a secondary source? Have you even read it??--Jeffro77 (talk) 22:48, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
StandFirm, a few points: the source you cite makes no mention of "counseling" JWs who ignore the injunction to shun disfellowshipped individuals. Shunning is a direction, not a "guideline". There is no such thing as violating a Bible scripture. It is also obstructive editing to delete a source (a book published by the University of Toronto Press) on the basis that you think it is "biased".
In answer to your question about the implications of the article: te section now clearly refers to sanctions applied against those who officially leave the religion. There is no mention of sanctions against those who fade away, but nor is that notable: I know of no religions that apply sanctions against people that fade away, though this is common in religious cults. BlackCab (talk) 22:38, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
BlackCab, you are right, "there is no mention of sanctions against those who fade away." But readers not familiar with this subject will not realize that one can fade away without DF or DA sanctions and can thus have contact with JW family and so on. Thus the article needs to mention that possibility by saying something like, "Elders are instructed that baptized persons who have ceased activity in the congregation for some time need not be disfellowshipped or considered disassociated." No matter what form the sentence takes the article needs to mention the 'fade away' option in some way. StandFirm (talk) 03:44, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
What source do you propose, or is that based on personal knowledge? In any case, it is not entirely accurate, because as Jeffro has pointed out, a person who tiptoed out of the religion to avoid being shunned could in a year or two or five be summoned before a judicial committee for some perceived breach: displaying Christmas decorations, for example, or displaying photos of their child's birthday party on a Facebook page. You claim elders may choose to ignore such a person, but I know of cases where exactly that has happened. The threat of being shunned is something that keeps many ex-JWs quiet, which is exactly what the organisation wants. So even if was true that elders are "instructed" to let people go if they want to go quietly, writing a sentence such as you propose would be telling only half the story. BlackCab (talk) 03:59, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
The source for StandFirm's claim that "Elders are instructed that baptized persons who have ceased activity in the congregation for some time need not be disfellowshipped or considered disassociated" is being taken out of context. Specifically, the information on page 73 of Shepherd the Flock of God, in the chapter "Determining Whether a Judicial Committee Should Be Formed", isn't about the treatment of 'inactive' JWs in general. It is about deciding whether to form a judicial committee in the event that a JW who has "Not Associated for Many Years" is considered to have committed a 'serious sin'. The article quite clearly indicates that shunning applies to those who have 1) been disfellowshipped, or 2) disassociated (which includes the elders deciding a person has disassociated by their actions, such as by celebrating Christmas or accepting a blood transfusion). Just as there is little chance that readers would assume lay members of any other religion would be shunned by other members of that religion, it is unlikely readers would conclude that 'inactive' but believing JWs (that is, lay members) would be shunned (though in practice association with inactive JWs is often limited).--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:35, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
(In essence, JWs have a tertiary clergy/laity class system, with only semantic differences from other churches. 1) elders and ministerial servants ('clergy', i.e. bishops and deacons) can and do claim ecclesiastical privilege; 2) publishers ('lay ministers') cannot claim ecclesiastical privilege, but maintain a ministry; 3) inactive ('laity') do not maintain a ministry but hold to JW belief. Beyond that are non-JWs [including unbaptized family members and bible students] and people who are shunned.)--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:42, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
BlackCab says: "You claim elders may choose to ignore such a person, but I know of cases where exactly that has happened....So even if was true that elders are "instructed" to let people go if they want to go quietly, writing a sentence such as you propose would be telling only half the story."
The difference is that I have a reliable source for my statement.
Jeffro77 says: "The article quite clearly indicates that shunning applies to those who have 1) been disfellowshipped, or 2) is unlikely readers would conclude that 'inactive' but believing JWs (that is, lay members) would be shunned"
On the contrary, the article nowhere mentions the possibility of a JW being neither DFed nor DAed but inactive and not shunned. Since that possibility is nowhere mentioned readers are very likely to conclude that all JWs who cease activity are shunned, especially since the criticism section includes that very claim. StandFirm (talk) 00:38, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Individuals who identify as JWs, and have not disassociated or been disfellowshipped, are simply lay members. Do articles about other religions need to specify that lay members are not shunned? JWs, whether 'active' or 'inactive' are shunned if they are considered to have done something the Watch Tower Society considers a 'serious sin', and the article accurately conveys that.--Jeffro77 (talk) 00:54, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
The Criticisms section clearly, unambiguously, states that "The only way to officially leave Jehovah's Witnesses is to disassociate or be disfellowshipped, and both entail the same set of prohibitions and penalties, with no provision for continued normal association." It makes no reference to sanctions against a member who becomes inactive. Seriously, the amount of detail this article already contains about the disciplinary processes of a religion, spelling out the minutiae of discipline and corrections, suggests a weird fascination for control and punishment. Anyone would think it's a military organisation. BlackCab (talk) 00:52, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Jeffro77, this is the very first time that I have seen that 'inactive as lay members' theory, so I doubt that any reader would reach that conclusion. But even if it were true, the article still does not make clear that such persons, whatever you call them, are not the same as DFed or DAed.
BlackCab, yes, no reference is made to a lack of sanctions against the inactive, and therefore readers will have no knowledge of it. Why not? StandFirm (talk) 03:42, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
It's not a 'theory'. It's basic semantics. 'Inactive' is merely JW jargon for JWs who haven't reported preaching activity (specifically, for more than 6 months). There is nothing in the article to suggest that 'inactive' JWs are shunned, and there is no reason to conclude from the article, or any of the JW Project articles, that they would be.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:47, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm not aware of any notable claims that 'inactive' JWs are shunned. Nor are there any JW sources defending such a claim (the 'elders' manual' was misused as source, but it actually discusses judicial action that might be taken against long-time inactive members who later do something considered to be a 'serious sin'). It is unnecessary to state that 'inactive' JWs are not shunned, because it is a strawman argument.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:55, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
The article leaves the impression that one cannot cease activity in JWs without being shunned.
You admit that one can.
Therefore, it should be made clear as it is verifiable. StandFirm (talk) 05:27, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Which part of the article leaves that impression? The statements about shunning are quite clear.--Jeffro77 (talk) 05:40, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
The article provides information about JW shunning in a section called Discipline involving "serious sin", which first lists the things that are considered serious sins, which does not include being inactive. There is no ambiguity.--Jeffro77 (talk) 05:46, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Most readers will not know about the state we call 'inactive'. Therefore they will not know that that option exists for JWs. Thus the article misrepresents the options open to JWs. StandFirm (talk) 00:01, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
Readers will also know that religions generally have many non-practising members who still believe the religion to be true and consider themselves to be members. The specific semantics are irrelevant.--Jeffro77 (talk) 01:57, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
But do JWs shun those ones? The article makes it seem all non-practicing members are shunned. StandFirm (talk) 04:15, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
The article does not state or imply that that is the case, even though in practice it often happens to varying degrees.--Jeffro77 (talk) 06:37, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Comment: There is no reliable source offered in support of the statement "Elders are instructed that baptized persons who have ceased activity in the congregation for some time need not be disfellowshipped or considered disassociated." See diff: --Marvin Shilmer (talk) 23:55, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

The source is the elders' book. Shepherd the Flock of God, page 73 and Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock, pages 99-100. Also see WP:ABOUTSELF.
Jeffro77, the article does imply that is the case. The article states "The only way to officially leave Jehovah's Witnesses is to disassociate or be disfellowshipped, and both entail the same set of prohibitions and penalties, with no provision for continued normal association. Sociologist Andrew Holden has claimed that fear of family break-up or loss causes people who might otherwise freely leave the religion to remain members."
This criticism implies that people are forced to stay Jehovah's Witnesses (which implies activity in the religion) to avoid being shunned. To keep NPOV the article needs to state that inactivity does not mean automatic shunning. StandFirm (talk) 02:43, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Your arguments are becoming tedious. The sources you cite make no such claim, and this has been pointed out to you several times. You have made your point repeatedly about what you claim the article implies, but no one has agreed with you. There seems little point in repeating the statement when the consensus is clearly against you. BlackCab (talk) 06:39, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: The criticism at issue is unrelated to inactivity. The criticism at issue is related to officially leaving. This particular criticism arises because individuals find themselves unable to openly remove themselves from the religion’s structure without facing harsh communal shunning that goes so far to defy natural affection between family members to associate openly, unreservedly and spontaneously. The fact that it may be possible to avoid this communal shunning by “fading” only underscores the point of criticism. In effect, those who “fade” in an attempt to avoid this organized communal shunning are engaging a tactic to avoid the very point of criticism: the religion’s structured response to officially leaving.---Marvin Shilmer (talk) 13:39, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
RfC is below. StandFirm (talk) 23:54, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Does article need to mention inactive JWs?[edit]

This RfC: Must article mention inactive JWs. Results:
  • 5 WP:!VOTE for No need.
  • 1 seeming Yes from nominator.
  • 1 ambivalent Why not.
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

All here agree that Jehovah's Witnesses are not shunned just for becoming inactive in the religion. The issue is, Does the article leave a previously unfamiliar reader with the impression that JWs cannot cease activity in the religion without shunning, so that therefore the position of the 'inactive' needs to be mentioned? 23:58, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Example - the article states "The only way to officially leave Jehovah's Witnesses is to disassociate or be disfellowshipped, and both entail the same set of prohibitions and penalties, with no provision for continued normal association. Sociologist Andrew Holden has claimed that fear of family break-up or loss causes people who might otherwise freely leave the religion to remain members."

This criticism implies that people are forced to stay Jehovah's Witnesses (which implies activity in the religion) to avoid being shunned. To keep NPOV the article needs to state that inactivity does not mean automatic shunning. StandFirm (talk) 02:12, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

  • No need: I've read the article carefully and have concluded that it does not leave the reader with the impression that JWs cannot cease activity in the religion without shunning. The conditions for shunning are well spelt out. There is no need to clarify what "inactive" means in the context of shunning. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 00:48, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Why not: I haven't read the article carefully, but I've skimmed it. It seems the word "inactive" only appears once, under Judicial abeyance. I don't see any particular reason not to clarify that people can "unofficially" leave as well in the paragraph StandFirm mentioned above. – Adjwilley (talk) 03:35, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Inactivity in churches in general (i.e. failing to attend services) does not usually involve shunning. The fact that inactive JWs are not shunned is therefore not notable. What is notable is the shunning of those who officially leave, and this is quite clearly stated in the article.--Jeffro77 (talk) 10:47, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
  • No need: StandFirm-JW seems to be motivated by a desire to somehow cast doubt on the words of the study by Holden, the sociologist. Holden was clearly indicating that some members of the religion who in any other circumstance would simply leave a religion they have grown to dislike are compelled to remain out of fear of being shunned as an ex-member. StandFirm has repeatedly misused a source from a JW elders' handbook to wrongly claim that elders are told they "need not" direct that a member who is no longer active (but who has not formally left, through written or verbal announcement) be shunned. He wishes to state that anyone who ceases active membership but has declined to formally diassociate need not be shunned. Is it notable that a religion does not take punitive action against someone who ceases active membership? I'd say no. Is it notable that a religion reserves the perpetual right to take punitive action against such a person? I'd say so. That is what the existing statement, appropriately contained n the Criticisms section, states. BlackCab (talk) 11:36, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: BlackCab says: "StandFirm has repeatedly misused a source" Just to clarify I have not engaged in any edit warring. "Holden was clearly indicating that some members of the religion who in any other circumstance would simply leave a religion they have grown to dislike are compelled to remain out of fear of being shunned as an ex-member....Is it notable that a religion does not take punitive action against someone who ceases active membership? I'd say no." I argue the opposite: It is noteworthy and necessary for NPOV that the religion does not take punitive action against someone who ceases activity because a critical study claims they are compelled to remain out of fear of being shunned. StandFirm (talk) 17:40, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
  • No need: The article does not leave unfamiliar readers with an impression that JWs cannot cease activity in the religion without shunning. The article leads unfamiliar readers to the well supported conclusion that JWs find themselves unable to openly remove themselves from the religion’s structure without facing harsh communal shunning that goes so far to defy natural affection between family members to associate openly, unreservedly and spontaneously. The fact that it may be possible to avoid this communal shunning by tactically ceasing attendance and reporting ministerial time (known colloquially as “fading”) only underscores the particular point of criticism at issue. In effect, those who “fade” in an attempt to avoid this organized communal shunning are engaging a tactic to avoid the very point of criticism: the religion’s structured response to officially leaving. Those who “officially leave” find themselves subject to the religion’s organized communal shunning program that enforces even close adult family members to stop association with the individual except for absolutely necessary family business. This reaction by the religion is what readers are unfamiliar with, and is why it is part of the article. On the other hand, no reader is surprised to learn that a person of any religion can choose to simply stay at home and cease attending meetings at some church.--Marvin Shilmer (talk) 13:25, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: Marvin Shilmer admits that "fading" (i.e. becoming inactive) is a way used to de facto cease being a JW that does not involve shunning like other methods; yet for some reason he opposes mentioning this particular method in the article. Why? I argue that mentioning only the other methods creates an admittedly false POV that you cannot cease being a JW without shunning.
Additionally, I would just like to add that BlackCab and Marvin Shilmer have been previously involved in this discussion so theses responses need not discourage more RfC commenters. StandFirm (talk) 17:40, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
  • No need: I've never been a JW, and therefore have no dog in this fight; however, as no stranger to a restrictive organized religion I agree with BlackCab and Marvin Shilmer that it is notable for even the possibility of shunning to exist for people leaving a religious group. For StandFirm to assert that leaving does not automatically trigger shunning (apparently, if the leaving is done very cautiously) underscores—as it should—the fact that a policy of shunning exists.Miniapolis (talk) 03:34, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
  • No need - There is no clear statement which would lead those not familiar with the subject to automatically assume inactivity would lead to shunning. The response regarding "fading" above might be relevant, but it would need to be sourced and even then there is, so far as I can see, no clear indication how long one would have to be inactive to qualify under such. If there is some sort of sourced statement to the effect that "being inactive for (x specific time) is counted in at least some cases as being 'leaving' the JWs," such a statement could certainly be included. However, that is another matter entirely. John Carter (talk) 00:13, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

I closed this seemingly-resolved RfC today. --AuthorityTamtalk…contrib 18:46, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


I have read this article, and I think that it's nicely formatted and written, as well as faithful to my knowledge of the WT. I thank those who contributed to it. There are three points which I noticed which could perhaps be improved or researched. I will not personally alter the article about these unless requested to, as I think it's already in a very good state, but these may be considered suggestions for possible minor changes:

  • The article states that when a member is announced as no longer being a JW, the policy is that no detail is given (reguarding dissassociation or disfellowshipping). This may possibly reflect current policy, but I personally witnessed cases where disassociation was specifically mentioned during some announcements.
  • Another similar irregularity has to do with the announcements for reproof, where apparently a public announcement should only be made when most of the congregation is already aware of the member's "serious sin". I have witnessed reproof announcements which surprised most of the audience.

It's however possible that in the case of both types of above-mentioned announcements these irregularities could have been the result of misjudgement on the part of an elder.

  • On the previous talk page section about mentioning inactive members: I think that the "Critical view" section properly notes the issue about the only two ways to leave the organization resulting in shunning. Because of that very problem, however, there also exist a number of "inactive" members who neither were disfellowshipped nor will disassociate officially, but will remain inactive in the long term, to avoid the serious repercusions of shunning. These remain friendly to their active family members and friends as possible, but no longer regularily attend meetings or preaching, and at their discretion live their lives as they can. They therefore might warrant a mention here. Oh, and perhaps that the "Critical views" section could link to the main "Criticism of the Jehovah's Witnesses" article.

Thank you very much, (talk) 02:11, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Something like twenty or thirty years ago, JW 'elders' previously used to make slightly different announcing about individuals as either 'disfellowshipped' or 'disassociated'. The procedure changed such that they simply state that "[name] is no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses" in either situation. There are two likely reasons for the change: 1) legal reasons relating to potential defamation suits; 2) obscuring the number who leave due to doctrinal disputes ('disassociating') as opposed to 'immorality'. I don't think the former practice is of sufficient notability to mention in the article. If such announcements have been made much more recently, they aren't consistent with official procedure, and so would not be worthy of mention in the article. The same would apply to the point about 'reproof'.
It is unremarkable that some JWs are merely 'lay members' ('inactive') but have not formally left the religion. This is analogous to non-practicing members of any other religion, even though they are still nominally members of the religion. It therefore is not notable that such individuals are not shunned (though in practice, 'inactive' JWs are often not included in social activities by other JWs anyway).--Jeffro77 (talk) 06:53, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Shunning section[edit]

I have refactored the Shunning section (previously Disfellowshipping) to remove redundant material that applies to both disfellowshipping and disassociation. I have also moved statements about apostasy to the section about so-called 'serious sins'.

There is currently a statement about reinstatement rates that should be updated if possible. The reinstatement rate from forty years is almost certainly no longer relevant and is of limited value. If there isn't a more recent source providing more current rates for reinstatement, the statement can probably be deleted.--Jeffro77 (talk) 05:35, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

This addition[edit]

Like at the Shunning page, this seems to me to be too POV'y. Thoughts? Vyselink (talk) 17:53, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

'Disagreement of thought'[edit]

I have removed the final sentence of the critical view section as it is essentially meaningless. The fact that Watch Tower Society publications indicate that a thought on its own isn't grounds for 'disfellowshipping' is unhelpful and misleading, since it is obvious that one would need to express that thought to someone else for others to know about it, and that expression may constitute the 'action' which could be grounds for disfellowshipping. The sentence should not be restored to the article unless it is qualified with the fact that expressing the thought to others would be considered such an 'action'.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:53, 28 January 2017 (UTC)


User:Jeffro77 [5] wikt:reproof (wikt:reprove #2) and Rebuke And Reproof seems to fit the context to me. I will leave for others. There is a related discussion on the recreation of a dab which relies on this term as a WP:DABMENTION at Wikipedia:Redirects_for_discussion/Log/2018_March_19#Reproof. Widefox; talk 21:36, 19 March 2018 (UTC)

It fits the general definition in the sense that any word fits the definition of how a word is generally used when it is used in that way. A link to Wiktionary is unnecessary as the more specific usage by JWs is already provided in the sentence, and the JW usage is more specific than the 'dictionary definition'. If you are not aware of how this term is used with a specific meaning among Jehovah's Witnesses, you should probably leave it alone.--Jeffro77 (talk) 21:42, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
If you're not aware even after I've pointed out that Rebuke And Reproof is Church of England, so clearly not specific to Jehovah's Witnesses, then maybe both of us should?! Widefox; talk 21:54, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
See also Talk:Reproof#Unsuitable material Rebuke and reproof (Judaism), and reprimand.
Logically, if Rebuke is a notable CofE topic, then "reproof" (Jehovah's Witnesses) may be a valid encyclopaedic subtopic too (I don't know). Rebuke is a weak stub. It could be argued that they could/should be combined into a WP:DABCONCEPT. Either way I suppose as long as there's different content in different places a dab should assist readers in navigation. Widefox; talk 21:58, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
Your edit at this article to which I objected was the redundant wiktionary link. Anything related to the Church of England is out of scope of discussion about your changes to this article. JW usage of reproof is discipline applied to non-clergy 'rank-and-file' members and is not at all analogous to usage by the Church of England; the (former) Church of Scotland usage is roughly analogous. However, you seem to have misconstrued my point that the JW usage of the term is more specific than the dictionary definition as a separate claim that the practice is unique to Jehovah's Witnesses. It is indeed suitable for a dab page for reproof to include a link to this article.--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:59, 20 March 2018 (UTC)
Maybe. My point being that reproof isn't specific to JW, which is pertinent here and the dab. I have no opinion or knowledge of these specialties and specifics, but we shouldn't give the false impression it is specific or solely JW when it has a long history in Christianity aligned with general use of the word. I'm not convinced this is anything more than usage of the word in many religions. As for location of discussion, quite correct - this was the safe location for discussing while the dab was being considered for deletion, and testing out the definition here. Now the dab's existence is not in question, the correct location is of course Talk:Reproof where the wikt links make wikt linking in these articles less useful, and correctly linking to other uses of the ambiguous term is improved. Regards Widefox; talk 15:00, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
The JW application of reproof is not the same as in the CoE, and the CoE uses the term rebuke. Your inclusion of the redirect of rebuke and reproof at the dab page is also incorrect. That redirect points to rebuke, which is the broader church usage. It has (again) been moved to the See also section of the dab, as neither the actual article title nor the article use the term reproof.--Jeffro77 (talk) 21:30, 21 March 2018 (UTC)