Originally published on vl.no on January 27, 2022 and translated using Google.
Jehovah’s Witnesses: On Thursday, it became clear that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not receive state support, in part because of their exclusionary practice.This whole case affects me personally, says ex-member.
It was absolutely shocking. I sit and read through the decision. It is touching and shocking, Jan Frode Nilsen, who is himself an excluded member. The decision to deny the religious community Jehovah’s Witnesses (JV) state subsidies for 2021 is based on society’s exclusionary practice, according to the State Administrator’s website.
He is clearly moved when Vårt Land calls him. Two years ago, Jan Frode Nilsen appeared in Vårt Land and said that he believed that Jehovah’s witnesses were lying about the practice of exclusion.
The leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses openly lies and tramples on thousands of ex-witnesses who have actually lost their families. They write that family ties continue as normal, but they know it’s a lie. Then I feel in my whole body that I can not pretend to be nothing, Nilsen said at the time.
Until then, Nilsen had been anonymous and “operated in secret as an ex-witness in order to maintain a certain contact with the family”. But when Jehovah’s Witnesses in their first letter to the Attorney General stated that family ties continued as normal after an expulsion, it became too much for him. I came forward with my full name and picture, and after that I completely lost contact with my family. Therefore, this whole case affects me personally.
Calls from home and abroad
He says that friends and acquaintances from home and abroad send messages and ask how he should celebrate the decision and assume that he is very happy. But that’s not how he feels.
But the whole thing is really just sad. Why is it sad? This is about lost family relationships. There are children who are not allowed to meet their parents. Parents who are not allowed to see children. I, and many others, have lost touch with our immediate family. This decision does not change this.
Do not think it changes much
He says that the religious community’s magazine, Vakttårnet, has a turnover of about NOK 110 million and that NOK 80 million is sent out of Norway as “gift costs.” – There is no one in JV in Norway who has seen a penny of state support anyway. The only difference is the big black hole that disappears into the United States. 17 million are “peanuts” for them.
A terrible thing
I think it’s a shame that it has gone that way. But at the same time I understand well that they deserve it, says Rolf Furuli, he is also an excluded member. For almost 60 years, Furuli has been a central figure in Jehovah’s Witnesses nationally and internationally. He and his wife give money every year to JV and Furuli still feels a sense of belonging to the faith community, even though he is excluded.
It is a terrible thing that you lose your entire network overnight. Those who are excluded are considered non-existent. You do not greet them, do not want to receive them in your home, even internally in your own family. This also applies to children. The only family left who are excluded are those who live in the same household.
What are the consequences for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Norway?
It probably does not have immediate consequences, other than that you have to pull in the belt buckle. Today, society sends contributions to the branch office in Denmark. The purpose is to build meeting rooms in other countries, especially in Africa. When you lose 16-17 million, there will necessarily be fewer projects.
Basic human rights
Furthermore, the State Administrator states that the exclusionary practice means that members are denied contact with unsubscribed members. “This will also apply to members who have voluntarily left the faith community. In practice, this means that those who sign up can not have contact with family and friends in the congregation.
In our opinion, this hinders the right to free withdrawal, and is in violation of the Religious Communities Act § 2. », it is further stated in the justification. – I’m not very surprised by the decision. There is something about being a part of this scheme, one must recognize basic human rights, says Secretary General of the Co-operation Council for Religious and Philosophical Societies, Ingrid Rosendorf Joys.