Following the publication of my free e-Book: Jehovah's Witnesses - Reasons for Leaving (and for not joining), I received word on the grape-vine yesterday that an announcement was made at the Peterborough Paston Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses on Thursday evening (23rd April 2015), to the effect that I was no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses.
To those not in the know, that might sound like a reasonable thing for them to do. However, to Jehovah's Witnesses hearing that announcement, it would carry the connotation that I have in some way broken "the Bible's moral code", and that I am a "wicked" person. In fact, unless the JW listening has knowledge of the reasons behind the announcement (reasons are never officially given), most would assume that I have had an affair (as they are told that this is the most common cause of disfellowshipping). For the record, I have not had an affair, and I am still happily married to my JW wife. I also have not stolen anything, commited fraud, abused anyone, or become a drunkard.
All baptised JWs are now obliged to shun me - they are expected to avoid all contact with me, not even saying a greeting. This includes members of my family who do not live in the same house, albeit I don't yet know whether or to what extent they will comply with the shunning rule. Family members who associate with disfellowshipped relatives may be subject to some sanctions (such as not being allowed to hold the position of elder), but they are not themselves disfellowshipped. Non-family members who persist in associating with a disfellowshipped person are themselves subject to disfellowshipping.
Technically, I have not been disfellowshipped - because there was no judicial committee, and no opportunity to appeal the decision. I also have not written a letter of disassociation. The announcement that was made must therefore represent 'disassociation by action' - in other words, the elders have decided that I disassociated myself by publishing a book that is critical of the Watchtower organisation. No distinction is made between any of those states (disfellowshipping, disassociation, and disassociation by action [or forced disassociation]) when the announcement is made, so the consequences are generally the same.
I have been inundated with messages of support from friends and extended family, for which I am very grateful. I was lucky to have been able to build up a support network of friends after leaving the faith - some who leave are shunned by everyone they have ever known without any support.