The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights preamble states; "Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people," "When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! The high control the Watchtower Society demands over the lives of members goes beyond the bounds of Christianity, the law and healthy development.
This section looks at how this control is manifest.
The concern with being a Jehovah's Witness is the damage caused to countless lives over the decades.
The fault lies not with the followers but with the system, particularly the manner in which Watchtower leaders force followers to think and behave.
"No more fiendish punishment could be devised, if such a thing were physically possible, than that one should be turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed by all the members thereof.
If no one turned around when we entered, answered when we spoke, or minded what we did, but if every person we met 'cut us dead' and acted as if we were nonexistent things, a kind of rage and impotent despair would before long well up in us, from which the cruellest bodily torture would be a relief; for these would make us feel that, however bad might be our plight, we had not sunk to such a depth as to be unworthy of attention at all." (The Principles of Psychology Volume 1 pp.293-4 William James Dover Publications) I know that feeling from personal experience, numerous times.
It is devastating to know or read experiences of those raised as Witnesses that have been abandoned by their parents in similar times of need.
Watchtower shunning is a destructive practice that has destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives and families.Family is the core of society and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12 states; "It might be possible to have almost no contact at all with the relative.Even if there were some family matters requiring contact, this certainly would be kept to a minimum" Watchtower 1988 Apr 15 p.27 Pay Attention to Yourselves and all the Flock p.103 shows that a person can be disfellowshipped for talking to their disfellowshipped family members.In Combating Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan advises that the first question a person should ask before joining any controversial group is; "Does your group impose restrictions on communicating with former members?This is one of the most revealing sets of questions you can ask any cult member.