Jehovah's Witnesses Call Quitters 'Mentally Diseased'

Official magazine's statement prompts police inquiry
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2011 4:47 PM CDT
Jehovah's Witnesses Call Quitters 'Mentally Diseased'
People sing as they attend a Jehovah's Witnesses assembly.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Former Jehovah’s Witnesses—as well as some current ones—are protesting after the religion’s official magazine called those who quit the religion mentally ill. “Apostates are 'mentally diseased', and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings,” said an article in the July issue of Watchtower. Critics say the comment may break British laws on religious hatred, and police are investigating their complaints, the Independent reports.

The newspaper spoke to a member who fears retribution if his disillusionment with church doctrine is discovered. “Many like me remain associated with the Witnesses out of fear of being uncovered as an 'apostate' and ousted, not just from the organization, but from their own friends and families,” he says. A rep for the church says members are free to question the religion’s teachings. “If a person changes their mind about Bible-based teachings they once held dear, we recognize their right to leave." (Read more Jehovah's Witness stories.)

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