Jehovah's Witnesses have come under fire after the sect's official magazine referred to people who left the religion as "mentally diseased."
Former members have expressed their concerns after The Watchtower magazine told Witnesses to avoid those who have left the religion as if "a doctor told you to avoid someone who is infected with a contagious, deadly disease."
The Independent reports it was given the magazine by a current member who has become disillusioned with Jehovah's Witness life, but is too frightened to leave for fear of losing his family.
The official stance of the Witnesses is that people who leave the religion are "false teachers."
Current members of the church are starting to believe the term "mentally diseased" could be in breach of British hatred laws; multiple groups of former Witnesses have made an official complaint to the police, who are now investigating the matter.
A spokesman for the Watchtower Society - the main legal body used by Jehovah's Witnesses - stressed that the offending article was "a personal matter for each individual to decide for himself" and maintained that "If a person changes their mind about Bible-based teachings they once held dear, we recognise their right to leave."
The investigation continues and ex-members are considering making a complaint to the Charity Commission, as the company that prints the monthly magazine is a registered charity.
Taken from 'Will you heed Jehovah's warnings?' The Watchtower, 15 July 2011
"Jehovah, the Great Physician, tells us to avoid contact with them. We know what he means, but are we determined to heed his warning in all respects? What is involved in avoiding false teachers? We do not receive them into our homes or greet them. We also refuse to read their literature, watch television programmes that feature them, examine their websites, or add our comments to their blogs. Why do we take such a firm stand?
"Because of love. We love 'the God of truth', so we are not interested in twisted teachings that contradict his Word of truth."
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