The people behind JWAlumni.org asked readers of their website (and other ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses groups) some basic questions about how their decision to leave the faith has affected their lives.
Almost universally, and not surprisingly, the religion’s policy of “Disfellowshipping” (shunning) former members of the faith has affected them profoundly.
98% of their respondents said leaving the faith impaired or destroyed their relationship with their family. Most of them added that the reason for that had to do with what JW leadership commanded them to do. (You may recall the JW audience that applauded a couple that talked about how they cut off all ties with their son after he left the faith.)This is not a scientific survey by any means — obviously, the kind of people who read ex-JW websites or belong to ex-JW groups are more likely to have been affected by their change of mind — but even within that group, it’s fascinating to see how many people basically lost their family when they gave up their faith.
75% of respondents said they either rarely or never have contact with their family anymore. 59% said that their families keep in contact with them only out of hope that they’ll return to the faith.
It’s truly despicable how any religious leaders could advocate any of this, but that’s what God-belief can do to you: It makes you do irrational things under the umbrella of faith.