Are former members “mentally diseased”?

Pick any religious organization and you will find that they have former members. Many likely have weighed such a decision with much prayer and have followed the dictates of their conscience. Many groups allow people to leave without repercussions, without demanding that members shun the leavetaker, or castigating them.

However, there are some groups where leaving has very serious consequences. Friends, even family, are instructed to have no dealings with former members. This is not only true of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but of the Latter Day Saints(Mormons), the Unification Church(Moonies), and Scientology, to name a few. In each case, former members are vilified and spoken of disparagingly.

One of the most disparaging remarks the Watchtower has made about former members is the label “mentally diseased”. Are former members of this group mentally diseased? Is “mental diseased” a fair translation of 1 Timothy 6:4? Who is this passage speaking of? What modern applications can be made?

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