The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses released update #2 on It introduces some radical changes in the disfellowshipping and shunning policy of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is the latest in a number of what the Governing Body euphemistically calls “scriptural clarifications” that began in the October 2023 annual meeting.

It appears that the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses is going mainstream. For many Witnesses who, in obedience to the Governing Body, keep themselves insulated from any negative news reports concerning the Organization, these changes may seem to confirm that they were right to “wait on Jehovah” as they had been instructed to do when things didn’t quite seem right.

But are these changes really due to divine intervention, to the guiding of the Holy Spirit upon the Governing Body? Or does the timing of these changes reveal something else?

The Organization has just lost millions of dollars in Norway. They’ve lost their government subsidies in that nation and also their charitable status, meaning they’ll have to pay taxes like any other multinational corporation in that country. They’re being challenged in other countries as well, mainly because their shunning policies are seen as a violation of human rights.

How are they going to respond to these challenges?

Do they treasure their relationship with Jehovah God, or is their treasure their position of authority and their money?

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

“No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches.” (Matthew 6:24)

He referred to the human heart figuratively as the seat of desire and motivation. In that vein, he also said:

“Stop storing up for yourselves treasures on the earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal. Rather, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Let’s keep his inspired words in mind as we now listen to Governing Body member, Mark Sanderson, explain what changes they are making in their disfellowshipping and shunning policies, presumably so as to avoid further financial losses.

“Welcome to our update. How did the 2023 annual meeting affect you? Remember the information that highlighted Jehovah as the merciful judge of all the earth? We were thrilled to learn that individuals who died in the flood of Noah’s day in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and even some who might repent during the great tribulation could benefit from Jehovah’s mercy’. Since hearing that information have you found yourself thinking a lot about Jehovah’s mercy? Well, so has the governing body. In our prayerful study, meditation, and discussions, we focused our attention on how Jehovah has dealt with people who engage in serious sin. In this update, we’ll briefly consider the pattern Jehovah set in the Bible record. Then we’ll discuss some new information regarding the way we’ll handle cases of wrongdoing in the Christian congregation.”

So, the changes we are about to hear are either the result of divine revelation, or they are motivated by a desire to protect the assets of the Watch Tower Corporation. We know that governments are clamping down on religions which do not hold to international standards on human rights like the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

If you are inclined to think that this is divine revelation, the leading of the holy spirit, then consider this: Mark Sanderson and his fellow GB members claim to belong to a group of men who make up the faithful and discreet slave which they believe Jesus appointed in 1919. They also claim to be the channel by which Jehovah God communicates with his people today. That means for the past 105 years, again according to their claim, they have been directed by Holy Spirit from Jehovah God to feed the flock Bible truth. Got it!

And with all that study and all that time and all that guidance from God’s Holy Spirit, these men are only now figuring out some—how did he put it?—“new information” on handling wrongdoing in the Christian Congregation?

This information isn’t new. It was written down for the world to read some 2,000 years ago. Nor is it hidden, sealed away for only a few to decipher. I figured it out. No, I’m not bragging. That’s the point. I, and many others like me, were able to understand how to deal with wrongdoing in the congregation by simply reading the Bible free from any doctrinal or religious bias. Just pray for the holy spirit, clear your mind of preconceptions and the interpretations of men, and let the word of God speak for itself.

It doesn’t even take that long, certainly not 105 years!

I’m not going to subject you to the entirety of Mark Sanderson’s talk. He next goes on to give examples of God’s mercy toward those who are sinning. Mark makes it clear that our heavenly Father desires all to repent.

But what does the Bible mean when it speaks of repenting? It doesn’t mean only to stop sinning. Repenting means openly confessing one’s sins, making heartfelt acknowledgement that one has sinned, and part of that is apologizing and asking the one whom you’ve sinned against to forgive you.

Mark is about to confirm what we’ve all been saying for some time now: That they’ve been harming people, causing great psychological hurt, often suicide, by the implementation of a shunning policy that is unscriptural. It’s not enough to change that. They’ve sinned and need to apologize, to ask for forgiveness. If they do not, then they are not going to be forgiven, neither by men, nor by Jesus Christ, the judge of all humankind.

Spoiler alert: You’re not going to hear any apology, but then you knew that already, didn’t you? Be honest. You knew

“The governing body has prayerfully considered how Jehovah’s mercy could be better reflected when dealing with wrongdoers in the congregation. And that’s led to a clearer understanding of three Scriptures. Let’s consider the first.”

So, after getting it wrong for decades, the Governing Body has decided to pray for guidance and as a result they’ve come to see that three scriptures have been misapplied by them to the harm of thousands.

The first is 2 Timothy 2:25, 26 which reads:

“instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed. Perhaps God may give them repentance leading to an accurate knowledge of truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the Devil, seeing that they have been caught alive by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:25, 26)

Here’s how they are now going to apply that passage of Scripture.

“How does a clearer understanding of 2 Timothy 2:24, 25 adjust our current arrangement presently a committee of elders normally meets with the wrongdoer only one time; however, the governing body has decided that the committee may decide to meet with the person more than once. Why? At Revelation 2:21, regarding that woman Jezebel, Jesus said, I gave her time to repent.” We hope that through the loving efforts of the elders, Jehovah will help a wayward Christian to come back to his proper senses and repent.”

How nice! His words are dripping with honey. Loving elders working hard to restore the sinner to repentance. Before they only met with the sinner one time. Their goal was to establish two things: 1) had a sin been committed, and 2) was the sinner repentant? As an elder for forty years, I knew that we were discouraged from meeting with the sinner more than once. I remember doing so and being chastised by the Circuit Overseer for it because the goal was only to determine if they had sinned and were repentant all on their own.

If the sinner appealed, perhaps repenting for his sin after the committee decided to disfellowship, the appeal committee was not allowed to consider his repentance. The appeal committee had only two goals: 1) Determine that there was in fact a sin, and 2) determine whether or not the sinner was repentant at the time of the initial committee meeting.

It didn’t matter that the disfellowshipped person might be exhibiting heartfelt repentance at the time of the appeal hearing. All the appeal committee was allowed to go on was whether there was repentance at the initial hearing. And just how on God’s green earth were they going to determine that since they were not present at that hearing? They’d have to rely on the testimony of witnesses. Right, one against three.  Three elders saying the sinner wasn’t repentant; the sinner saying he was. It’s the very definition of a kangaroo court. A totally unscriptural way of dealing lovingly with a fellow Christian.

Now, suddenly, the Governing Body is talking about lovingly striving to restore the sinner to repentance. This they have realized through prayerful meditation. Give me a break. Where was their prayerful meditation for the last 60 years?

Oh, and they are only now realizing the significance of Jesus’ forbearance concerning the woman Jezebel in the congregation of Thyatira. Some Bible scholarship they are exhibiting!

“What about baptized minors, those under 18 years of age who engage in serious wrongdoing? Under our current arrangement, such a baptized miner along with his Christian parents must meet with the committee of elders. Under our new arrangement two elders will meet with the minor and his Christian parents.”

Reportedly, dealing with baptized minors is very troublesome for them. The problem they face is that a minor getting baptized is not informed of the ramifications of baptism. He or she does not realize that should they choose to leave the religion a few years later, they will be shunned by family and friends, even their parents. There is no informed consent. This is a serious legal matter and a violation of human rights.

These changes, I believe, are just the first steps the Organization must take to protect its assets from further losses. They cannot afford to lose their charitable status in one country after country.

So, there will likely be “new light” down the road further clarifying how minors are to be treated.

Also notably missing from this update is how people who are not engaged in sin, but who simply decide to resign from the religion, are to be treated.

The Governing Body has to slowly back away from very problematic policies that are causing them huge financial losses. They have to do this in such a way as to appear to be loving while not acknowledging any wrongdoing, and without appearing to compromise what they have always called “the truth”.

The Governing Body has also recognized that 2 John 11 does not apply to all those who have been disfellowshipped. That means it is now okay to talk to a disfellowshipped person, as long as you don’t have an extended conversation with them. But then how will they apply 2 John?  Correctly? Hardly. But let’s see what Mark has to say.

While we wouldn’t have an extended conversation or socialize with such person, we do not need to ignore him completely. That brings us to our third Scripture, it’s 2 John 9 – 11. There we read, “Everyone who pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. The one who does remain in this teaching is the one who has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him for the one who says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.” But doesn’t 2 John 9 -11 tell us not to say a greeting to anyone who’s been removed from the congregation? In examining the context of those verses, the governing body has concluded that the apostle John was really describing apostates and others who actively promote wrong conduct. For good reason, John strongly directed Christians, not even to greet such a person because of his contaminating influence.”

Really!? Seriously?! After examining the context, the Governing Body has concluded that John was actually describing “apostates”??

What?! Words like “deceiver,” and “antichrist,” and “pushes ahead,” and “does not remain in the teaching of the Christ,” none of that tipped you off Governing Body members off that John was talking about apostates? What have you guys been doing for the past fifty years at your Wednesday meetings? Playing  “Go Fish?”

Oh, but hold on just a minute. Hold on, hold on, hold on. Mark has just done something that can slip by us if we’re not careful. He has used a loaded word. A word that does not appear in the passage of Scripture he has just read. He says that John is referring to apostates. But the Governing Body has already defined “an apostate” as anyone who disagrees with them. So, by importing that word into this Bible context, Mark gets all of his followers to believe that they mustn’t talk with anyone, even to say “hello,” who happens to disagree with the teachings of the Governing Body.

But John doesn’t say that. He doesn’t say that the person who pushes ahead is one who doesn’t remain in the teachings of the Governing Body. He says it is someone who doesn’t remain in the teachings of the Christ. By that definition, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is the apostate, because they have perverted the good news of the Christ and obliged millions of their followers to publicly refuse to partake of the emblems which represent the life-saving body and blood of our Lord. Does Mark even refer to Christ once in his talk?  He refers to Jehovah many, many times, but where is the Christ in his dialogue?

It would appear that it is to Mark Sanderson and his cohorts that we should not say a greeting nor welcome them so as not to become a participant in their wicked works.

Mark ends his talk by reading a letter from the Governing Body that exhibits just how much control they have exercised over the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They now are permitting—permitting, mind you—that women can wear pants to the kingdom hall and in the preaching work, and glory be! Men don’t need to wear ties and suit jackets anymore if they don’t want to.

‘Nuf said.

Moving on.

Thank you for watching and for your support.



Meleti Vivlon

Articles by Meleti Vivlon.
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