Launch an Investigation to Determine If Jehovah’s Witnesses Have A Right to Use Coercion—Forms of Mental Torture—To Force Its Members Not to Leave

Petition Closed

Launch an Investigation to Determine If Jehovah’s Witnesses Have A Right to Use Coercion—Forms of Mental Torture—To Force Its Members Not to Leave

This petition had 6,100 supporters
Petition to
Reporting of Violators of Religious Freedom Section USCIRF and

Why this petition matters



If a member converts to a new religion or belief, which does not conform to the Watchtower’s teachings, these non-believers are treated as unfit to freely associate with, share meals with and greet politely in public, and can be written out of estate inheritances to leverage them into re-joining the religion. What makes these practices and the underlying policy so unethical is that parents are obligated to act this way to children, children to parents, and siblings to siblings. If they don’t comply, they too will be "cut off from association" because they are "wicked" and "evil" if they convert.  This clearly violates a person's right to commune with their family under Article 12, under the Declaration of Human Rights, and punishes a person if they change their religious beliefs under their right to conversion under Article 18, severely hindering free association with their own family members, under the guise of religious power.

A Religious Policy That Is Deemed As “Psychological Torture” By Mental Health Experts: Ostracism

Well-trained and experienced mental health experts report that forced isolation from close family members is “psychological torture.”(1)  The extreme pain for some people who are not emotionally equipped to deal with this form of persecution - in the way it isolates a person away from the support of family members -- has resulted in countless documented cases of suicide.

This policy has to be investigated by independent psychological experts in the best interests of public safety, since this "shunning" policy has resulted in many deaths.  “Psychological torture is directed at the psyche with calculated violations of psychological needs,” (denying one’s enjoyment to commune in the family bond) “….along with deep damage to psychological structures and the breakage of beliefs underpinning normal sanity. Torturers often inflict both types of torture in combination to compound the associated effects.”(2)   See Also: ("Beware of Human Apostates" Speech by Jehovah's Witnesses, 2013)

"Psychological Torture", is defined under LEGAL STANDARDS APPLICABLE UNDER 18 U.S.C. §§ 2340-2340A, clearly is prohibited by definition under the U.S. law. 

Suddenly removing one's right to commune with their family is a form of "psychological torture".  Under Article 5 of the Declaration of Human Rights, it provides that no one has any right to hurt or to torture another human being.


The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights stated:  If individuals or organizations try to "convert people by resorting to coercion or by directly exploiting situations of particular vulnerability, protection by States against such practices may prove necessary.”(2)  ( See Statement by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, OHCHR on Freedom of Religion or Belief)

The Watchtower Corporation's dissasociation policy is coercive in that the ostracized members forcibly need to re-convert back to the religion in order to regain their right to associate with their family members, who are left inside the religion.   Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whereby it states: Article 18.2: “No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.”     See: Article 18, which provides for the freedom to change religious beliefs, under the Declaration of Human Rights.

Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance, Persecution and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, As Defined By The UN Convention on Religious Intolerance:

The Special Rapporteur, H. Bielefeldt, of the OCHR, General Assembly, 67th session stated: “Abuses in this area can be undertaken both by Government agencies and by non-State actors”

The Watchtower Corporation hatefully scorns and persecutes a convert and suppresses their entitlement to freely associate with family, in retaliation for exercising a personal “freedom of belief, or non-belief”.   This is defined by the UN Convention on Religious Intolerance as an act that “violates freedom of religion in the area of conversion”.  That action to remove the right to associate with family is a display of religious intolerance that violates human rights and civil rights.  The Court must consider whether a religion has unlimited power to abuse Religious Freedom, if the practices are found to be harmful or unethical, by applying the “balance” test for discrimination(3).


See Also:


Religious Liberty Is Not Just For The Religious!

The Human Rights Committee has emphasized that polices or practices having the intention or effect of compelling believers or non-believers to convert are inconsistent with Article 18.2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Ironically, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society which has fought for the right of “conscientious objector” status—the freedom to object based upon religious belief or conscience—yet does not permit, without serious consequences, the conscience-based objections for its own members who decide to exercise their right to leave the religion.  The internet has broadened the ability for one to research the history and doctrines of the religion, and for many - has opened the door to real truth.  For many people, after adequate research, their conscience would no longer permit them to adhere to a religion that had proven dates of failed prophecy and other fallacies within the Watchtower Corporation's historical literature.  It is coercive to hide such evidence from baptized members and shun those family members who disagree with "hidden" truths.  A person has the right to conversion and to change their beliefs or non-belief, under Article 18 of Human Rights.

The Corporation has fought in court to be excused from their members jury duty service - because they cannot "judge" another person, and has applied human rights for it's own matters of conscience, when convenient.  Yet, the Corporation punishes individuals and forcibly removes a person's human rights - which is completely contradictory, and is an abuse of power under religious freedom and the intolerance should be classified as religious discrimination.

Government officials must set the example that religious liberty isn’t just for the religious. As guaranteed by the First Amendment, religious liberty is built on a simple, but profound, principle: A right for one - is a right for all. 


The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s policy is also in violation of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12, which states that “a person has the right to protection” if someone tries to attack their honor or reputation.  See: Article 12.

USAGE OF HATE SPEECH TO ATTACK CONVERTS' HONOR AND REPUTATION:  Watchtower cites converts as “Mentally Diseased”; 2013 District Convention symposium speech entitled: “Beware of Human Apostates”.   Converts are publicly mocked and humiliated - labeled as, “Mentally Diseased” if one decides to leave the religion, in an attempt to demote the true value of a person, and muddy one’s reputation or character in retaliation for the conversion.  

In The Watchtower of July 15, 1992, page 12, such dissidents ("apostates") are described as “enemies of God” who are “intensely hating Jehovah.”  The Witnesses, therefore, are urged to “hate” them “with a complete hatred.” This exhortation was repeated in The Watchtower of October 1, 1993, page 19, where the “apostates” are stated to be so “rooted in evil” that “wickedness has become an inseparable part of their nature.” The Witnesses are even told to ask God to kill them, in imitation of the psalmist David, who prayed of his enemies: “O that you, O God, would slay the wicked one!” In this way the Witnesses “leave it to Jehovah to execute vengeance” Such rancorous attacks on former members of the organization reflect an attitude that is exactly the reverse of that recommended by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount.—Matthew 5:43–48.” 


(1) Ojeda, Almerindo (September 30, 2006). "What is Psychological Torture?” 

(2) A/67/303, UN General Assembly, Elimination of All Forms of Religious Intolerance.

See Also:  LEGAL STANDARDS APPLICABLE UNDER 18 U.S.C. §§ 2340-2340A (Regarding Mental Torture):

"Torture is abhorrent both to American law and values and to international norms. This universal repudiation of torture is reflected in our criminal law, for example, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2340-2340A."

Link to: U.N. Declaration of Human Rights:

Petition Closed

This petition had 6,100 supporters

Share this petition