The official Jehovah’s Witness magazine, The Watchtower, recently published the following in an article titled ‘Will you heed Jehovah’s warnings?’:
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.
The offending article shamelessly condemns anyone who questions the official doctrine of the church, or decides to leave the church, and labels them “mentally diseased”. This has led to an outcry from former and present members of the church who are worried about people being shunned by friends and family as well as the church.
A man who didn’t want his identity to be known said that:
Many like me remain associated with the Witnesses out of fear of being uncovered as an ‘apostate’ and ousted, not just from the organisation, but from their own friends and families.
I find I am now branded as ‘mentally diseased’ – giving any who discover my true beliefs free licence to treat me with disdain.
There is also concern over such labelling of apostates effectively being a hate crime. Can you imagine if blacks, gays, or conflicting religions openly labelled one another ‘mentally diseased’. There’d be an absolute uproar from members of such groups as well as the general public.
So I definitely think it’s time we stop giving these religious groups the exorbitant privileges they’re currently granted, even apparently when it comes to vilifying their own. Everyone group and every person deserves equal treatment, as well as protection from those who would mistreat them.
More on the story here.
As a bit of a backstory, I’ve always had a bit of a hate on for the followers of Jehovah and the church itself. Growing up I was friends with three boys at my local primary school who were Jehovah’s Witnesses. I would hang out with them several times a week out the front of their house on my street, skate boarding, playing footy and having water fights in summer. They were good kids, their parents on the other hand…
I only learned that they were Jehovah’s Witnesses when one morning they rocked up on our doorstep all dressed in suits. My father opened the door and politely told them we weren’t interested (this didn’t deter them from showing up a few times every year).
The door knocking and the personal religious beliefs at the time didn’t bother me at all, I was probably 10-12 years old while friends with the boys. However, I soon started to hold a great deal of disdain for them because of their disapproval of their sons spending time with me. They began refusing to let me have a glass of water on hot days, or even enter their house to use the toilet. I think over the 3-4 years I was friends with them I was allowed to enter their house twice, once without the parent’s knowledge. Sometimes though they were nice enough to let one of their sons get me a cup from inside to use the outside tap for a drink of water. Eventually they stopped letting their boys play with us and that was that.
So that line from the article above “We do not receive them into our homes or greet them.” really reminded me of all this. What arseholes… You think if you were really comfortable with your belief in God and the teachings of the Bible you’d hardly be worried about speaking with apostates or unbelievers let alone denying them entry to your house. However, clearly such fraternisation with the enemy has lead to many a devout JW follower question the very core of their faith, and even leaving the church. Why else would they have such vicious tactics at retaining believers.
Anyway, one day many years later I met one of them out in the town. He’d subsequently moved out of home and left the church. His parents had turned their back on him, though he seemed to be fine and didn’t really care. Unfortunately, a few years later he showed up at my parents house in a suit, holding a bible…
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