Would it be appropriate for Christian parents to sit with a disfellowshipped child at congregation meetings?
There is no reason to be unduly concerned about the seating location of a disfellowshipped person in the Kingdom Hall. This magazine has made every effort to encourage Christian parents to provide spiritual help to their disfellowshipped child who is still living at home if it seems fitting to do so. As indicated on pages 19 and 20 of the November 15, 1988, issue of The Watchtower, parents may even study the Bible with a disfellowshipped minor who continues to live with them. It is hoped that the child will thus receive the encouragement necessary to correct his course.*
When it comes to Kingdom Hall seating arrangements, it would seem reasonable that a disfellowshipped minor could also quietly sit with his parents. Since it is not required that a disfellowshipped person sit at the back of the hall, there should be no objection if a disfellowshipped child sits next to his parents, wherever they are sitting. As the parents care for their child spiritually, they certainly would want to make sure that he is getting the most from the meetings. Having the child sit with them rather than leaving the young person unattended elsewhere may be helpful in this regard.
What, though, if a disfellowshipped child no longer lives with his parents? Would this circumstance make a difference? In the past, this magazine has clearly stated the proper attitude that a Christian should strive to maintain when it comes to association with a disfellowshipped relative who is not living at home.* However, the situation in which a disfellowshipped person sits quietly in a seat next to his relatives for the duration of a meeting is far different from the situation in which the relatives needlessly seek out his company to associate with him. If the faithful members of the family have the proper attitude toward their disfellowshipped relative and they are endeavoring to honor the Scriptural counsel concerning association with him, there would seem to be no reason for concern.—1 Cor. 5:11, 13; 2 John 11.
Whether a disfellowshipped person sits next to a relative or next to any other member of the congregation should not be a cause for concern as long as he behaves properly. Restricting where a person sits could give rise to various problems, depending on the circumstances. If all present, including faithful relatives, are endeavoring to respect Bible principles relating to disfellowshipping, and it is not becoming a cause for stumbling to the brothers, there is no need to make an issue of the seating arrangements of those attending Christian meetings.*
Although this article refers to the disfellowshipped minor as a male, the points presented also apply to a female.
This updates what was published in The Watchtower of April 1, 1953, page 223.