What kind of relationship can you have with a Jehovah's Witness if you're not 'in the truth', i.e. a non believer or unbeliever?
Here's an email we received that asks this very question how Jehovah's Witnesses treat unbelievers.
"My sister is a Jehovah's Witness. I am not. I suspect that there's way more going on than I see. What is their position on relatives who are not 'in the truth'? I used to think we could be close without joining that faith (which I have absolutely no intention of doing). Now I suspect that is naive on my part. Any thoughts? I'd love to know just what is expected of members of this religion, ..."
Thank-you for asking this excellent question. It is interesting that very little is known about the Jehovah's Witnesses. Even members inside the religion are sometimes confused about what is right and wrong. Some people get disfellowshipped for the smallest infraction. Others get away with a lot and no one says anything. It all depends on how loyal you are to the organization.
If you're a 'spiritually mature' Jehovah's Witness, you will put your religion ahead of all unbelievers outside of the organization. Yes JW's can have relationships with non believers who are supportive. However 'brothers and sisters' inside the organization come first, ahead of blood relatives who are 'not in the truth'. See Mind Control.
As long as there's hope that a relative might join some day, JW's are typically friendly and supportive. However anyone who strongly disagrees with the faith and publicly hinders the work Jehovah's Witnesses are doing, is considered 'the enemy', controlled by the God of this world, Satan the Devil.
The rules about interactions with Apostate Jehovah's Witnesses (relatives or not), are written down in their Elder's Manual 2010. However there are no clear cut rules on how Jehovah's Witnesses are to interact with relatives who were never JW's before. Certainly a conscientious JW would never associate with a relative who is an 'enemy' of the organization. However not all Jehovah's Witnesses are zealous believers. Some disagree with almost everything, but don't say a word. Others blindly believe everything they're told. Most fall somewhere in between.
What's important to know is that JW's' must speak in agreement' and be 'like minded'. This means that JW's must accept all answers given to them by the leadership as 'the truth'. As long as you do this, you can secretly believe anything you want. Just keep your opinions to yourself and don't get caught doing something that violates 'God's law' as interpreted for you by the organization.
So if your sister has many nagging doubts or even if she's very active in the organization, you might be able to have a good relationship with her. If you don't want to join the religion, make it clear that you're willing to talk about anything, - except religion. If she brings it up, be loving but firm. NO religious discussions. Don't get angry. Just change the conversation fast.
Most JW's will honor your boundaries and respect you for being honest. However in the back of their minds they're always hoping that you'll sign up some day. They're concerned you will die at armageddon if you don't join. It is believed that only JW's have any scriptural hope of being saved. See the Watchtower Sept 1989