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I grew up in a mennonite sect that practices a form of "shunning" to members that have left the group. One of the practices is to eat at a separate table from those who have left. Even in my parents house, when I am invited home for dinner, I am set at a separate table beside the main table. How would you react to this?

OrangeJuice 6 Mar 26

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I'd stop accepting dinner invitations.
Just thinking about people doing that really pisses me off.


If it were me, I'd be clear with them that if they're to have me for dinner then they're going to have me fully as a member of the family or not at all. To treat me as an outcast or as second class because I don't believe what they believe is a hurtful disrespect that I would never show them. They would need to make a decision: do they want me in their lives or do they want to shun me? It can't be both.


I've heard of the same for Jehova Witnesses. I've always felt that it is sad.

My family grew up in the Caribbean. A lot of families are mixed. Christians, Hindus, and Muslims intermingle a lot in the West Indies. This system would never work.

My reaction would be devestation. I am not use to that.

It's true. My mother and grandmother were born jehovah witnesses and are shunned. They were raised that way by my great great grandmother who escaped mitt Romneys grandpa's polygamous Mormon camp in mexico. My ancestor was 16 and set to marry her sisters husband so she ran away in the night to Utah of all places and joined a jehovahs witness church. Then in the 80s mom and grandma became unreligious

@LadyAlyxandrea wow, truly fascinating! thanks for sharing


I'd stop associating with them (which I know may be easier said than done, especially if you're close with your family), but I don't mess around with being treated as less than human. If my beliefs were that big of an issue to someone else, then I'd gladly do them and myself a favor and stay away.

Mea Level 7 Mar 27, 2018

I wouldn’t go home for dinner.


I wouldn't enjoy it but on the upside you are still getting invited. I'd possibly take along a colouring book and crayons or something else equally ridiculous to occupy me at my special table. Enough to get the message across that this is silly without getting confrontational, after all family is still family and refusing to go is in a way making as big a deal of religion as they are.

Kimba Level 7 Mar 27, 2018

I like that


I don't get it.
Why would anyone visit relatives who would ask them to sit at a separate table?

I say ignore them as though they don't exist. Only pay attention to them, or respond if they are treating you as an equal.


Do they otherwise treat you normally? I think I would skip the dinners if you are treated like a second class citizen. Maybe there are other ways to interact if they are willing?

Remi Level 7 Mar 27, 2018

Yes, they treat me normally otherwise. I think they do it because they would get in trouble with their church leaders if it was found out that they did not do it. The table is set right beside and the food is passed across from table to table. They practice the letter if not the spirit of the law.


It’s psycho cruelty. Fux sake. They are too far gone. I feel for you man. Just pity them and love them anyway to show they don’t have a monopoly on morality.


I have seen that reported in documentaries! I think it is beyond sad, when people place their religion above their own blood (kind). There is no freedom to 'be' any of that behavior! In essence they say...'if you follow my rules and laws, then you will be ACCEPTABLE! This is not a one time error, that a person might make...they throw (shun) you out forever! There is something just plain inhumane in that practice and sooner than later, I would be staying away from them! Every human being has the right to live with acceptance and support out in the open...for all to see! Not accepted part ways...that is crazy making!


I'd say, "Thanks, but no thanks" and walk away without a backwards glance.

I'm sorry you have lousy parents. Go out and meet people who will love and like the person you are.


A former friend of mine became JW and suddenly every time I call to get together to hang out, he was always in meetings at work. (He was a mechanic). I gave up and let him choose his religion over his closest friends.


Sounds really childish


I also grew up in a mennonite group but there was no policy of shunning. I suppose there was less social contact if one left but you weren't cut off and certainly no eating at separate tables.


I would ask if they thought they werde being Kind.
I would tell they that it dient make me feel loved.

(Honestly I don’t think I would keep going after maybe a couple (2) rounds of trying)

You could also only eat dinner at restaurants where they can’t do that, since it’s a public place and they would have to embarrass themselves

Myah Level 6 Mar 27, 2018

That is true. You have to pick the best option for your situation. I am capable of shaming my religious family. But they are nice people.


It’s toxic behavior. Period. And highly abusive.

You need to figure out if it is still beneficial for you to have relationships with people who make you endure this stuff. I personally do not have relationships with toxic people although I have to work with them. But in our personal lives we get to make these decisions, it’s one of the few things that we have control over.


It is a form of coercive punishment designed to try to force doubtrs back into the fold.


Shunning is an old and effective practice to maintain control within a religion/cult, community, or group. The deeper the ties the tighter the hold. It is very difficult for family members who question or leave the religion and painful for the family to be forced to shun or be shunned. How to react depends on how important it is to maintain a relationship with your family.

For myself, I would walk away just to maintain my own sanity but I can’t speak for anyone else nor could I judge.

Betty Level 7 Mar 27, 2018

I would feel that much more confident in my decision to self ex-communicate from a religion that believes that behavior is appropriate.


It's childish. Ask 'em if it makes them feel better.


I’ve experienced ostracism, you get used to it. It helps to have a people suck attitude. Probably amplifies the act, though. Ha! Oh well

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