Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Conclusion About Jehovah’s Witnesses

I feel like I have learned a lot during the almost year we have been visited by Jehovah’s Witnesses. For one thing they are nice people, two I like all the ones I have met, three there is no way I would want to be a Jehovah’s Witness. They are not that weird, the way they present the faith is actually incredibly simplistic feeling. I can’t stand reading the Watchtower and other ones of their publications because I feel like I am reading a children’s publication for adults.

I would like to present to you a few things I think are really great about the faith and the things that keep me from wanting to be a part of it.

The Good:

1. They take the sixth commandment seriously. Thou shalt not kill. Pretty basic but they really honor it which is something mainstream Christianity weasels itself out of. They won’t kill even in wars at great peril to themselves. It is a principle I can agree with.

2. When you walk into a Kingdom Hall you feel welcome, they really make an effort and everyone makes you feel like you are a smart and interesting person. I don’t know if it is sincere but I liked it and my church does not exude that level of niceness, not that they are unfriendly, they just don’t make as much of an effort. This, however, is only based on two experiences one at a kingdom hall the other at a conference type of an event I went to one Saturday.

3. They take turns preaching and teaching. I believe there is no pastor and any qualified man gets a turn at the pulpit to deliver the message. I do not know if this is open to women too.

4. There is a discussion of the material that everyone has been studying after the message and anyone; man, woman or child who has read the material and has an answer, example or opinion is called on.

5. Everyone is involved in the ministry regardless of gender or race. They have no history of racial discrimination.

6. Our Jehovah’s witnesses are very knowledgeable about their faith, I assume others are too.

7. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have done a lot for free speech in the US. Their fight for their own religious freedoms gave the rest of us more and better freedoms. Not that it was intentional but they do not grudge others the same freedoms that they have. Thanks to them I was not suspended or disciplined for not pledging allegiance to an indifferent piece of cloth in middle school. I can appreciate that.

Well, on to the bad, or at least the things that do not appeal to me:

1. If I were to sum up the basic message I have heard, so far, the important bit is: Jehovah’s name! I mean, I am starting out with a nitpicky thing I know but it was the first thing that jumped out at me. If the emphasis was: Jehovah! Fine, but his name? I was sure I was merely arguing over semantics but after bringing up the subject I realized there is something incredibly confusing and of putting in this little hair splitty issue here. Not that I care, but they do so that is why I bring it up. I think I mentioned this before but let me do it again. Here I repackage Mrs. JW’s metaphor. If there are a group of men outside and I shout out “husband!” instead of my spouse’s name maybe half of them turn around, assuming they are all married thinking my voice sounds like their wives’ but they quickly turn back around after realizing I am not her. They rest never turned around because my voice was too different. Only my husband will come over and be like “What’s up wifey? May I make you a sandwich?” The Skeptiboy is a sweetheart, isn’t he? After rewriting the metaphor calling him by name no longer seems important because he knows me, just like God, or Jehovah, knows me. Let’s look at it closely and I will now show you why this metaphor is entirely inappropriate and not apt for the situation. The real situation is that my husband, representing God here once again, is alone outside. There is no one else there. No other married men and I can call him whatever the sap I want to because there can be no one else to answer and just like God he will say “Yes?” and ask me what I want. The part that disturbs me is that having to use God’s name assumes that there are other gods that could mistake me calling for them or that God won’t know that I am talking to Him. I am monotheistic, I know the JWs are too but this just makes no sense to me.

2. Everyone is involved in the ministry. I know I listed this as a good thing, it is, but there is really only one ministry that truly counts, the one where you are evangelizing. I do not believe that everyone has that gift. If someone does not the JW’s shove square pegs into round holes. I am not gifted in that area. I am gifted in the start internet fights area. Just kidding about the fights but really, not one of my gifts. Sure you are allowed to use your other God given gifts for His glory as long as you also do this one activity that you may not be gifted at. We cannot all be eyes, some of us are big toes, often over looked and not nearly as important as other parts put still having a function and most importantly being a part of the body. I maybe a big toe; I mean I think serving may be my gift. No glamour in that but I sure feel rewarded helping out and working behind the scenes at my church. Then again, anyone can do that, see what I mean.

3. Jehovah’s Witnesses are discouraged from socializing with non-Witnesses except to convert them. I mean they are allowed to talk to outsiders, no one is an island and they bank and grocery shop and work and have to converse and get acquainted with people but if they start getting to be too friendly the witnessing always has to come in. They only want one thing from you, me, anyone on the outside, but at least they are open about it.

4. They strongly discourage, so strongly that I think I will say that they forbid, reading any criticism of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This, at least in Mr. JW comes out in a way that almost seems like strong paranoia. So strong that after reading some humorous stories by Tom Sheepandgoats I had to spend several minutes explaining that he really is a JW, not a fake one, not an ex-one and not pretending in anyway and says good things and really is a good JW. The Skeptigirl is skeptical and just could not live not listening to all sides in such subjective matters. I read criticisms of my own faith and it does not shake it, it makes me understand it better. Sometimes people hurt by the system of beliefs that brings so much light and goodness to your life are the ones that can teach you the most about it. A faith unquestioned is not a faith worth having. If it is so fragile that you dare not even entertain thoughts that it may not be true it is not very strong at all. You haven’t even faith the size of a mustard seed. I am not saying Mr. JW’s faith is weak, I am merely saying I cannot live like that.

5. Blood transfusions. I mean I am glad bloodless surgeries and other alternative bloodless therapies are being developed, there is a lot of good in that and the push by JWs in that fields is awesome. I just do not believe that there is anything against the teachings of Jesus Christ in that. This is 100% a matter of interpretation and I really do not see it the way they arrive at this conclusion. I want to not have a moral dilemma when I, or someone I love, is in danger and needs blood.

6. The afterlife not so tempting. Pushing aside that my interpretation of the scriptures makes me arrive at a different sort of an afterlife than they do I want to just talk about the thoughts that I have about theirs. What the Witnesses told me was that all of them would, after Jesus’s dominion was returned to Earth, live in a paradise here. It would be just like now except we would be immortal and all disease and sorrow would be gone. Together with our families and friends forever on a perfect harmonious Earth. What is unattractive about that? Well nothing really except the time spans involved. I mean it would be lovely to live a few thousand years in full health, bloom of my youth, which is starting to fade, exploring this Earth having experiences, not having to worry about money, pollution, sickness or anything. Trying out a few extreme sports. Visiting everywhere beautiful and exotic on this perfect Earth. The only problem is that after a few thousand years I would think it would get a little boring. I think a more infinite existence, nothing like this, full of unimaginable sensations and experiences would be more to my taste as far as heaven or afterlife goes. Unless the Witnesses expect to do space travel. I really must ask them. That would be neat. Maybe they could find other species to evangelize and strange new doors to knock on. Then I may recant my verdict of boring.

7. The Witnesses are not exactly egalitarian when it comes to the sexes. I have made my views clear about the subject on this blog before. I mean the church I go to now is not exactly egalitarian either but showing me into the mold of a normal woman is a little ridiculous. So in light of my current church situation, let’s call it a neither good nor bad point but my heart is Evangelical Quaker. I still am a member of a Quaker congregation in the United States and feel like that is my true spiritual home.

So, there are my thoughts and what I feel like I learned about these warm, friendly, normal people. I am sure I can learn a few more things and I will boldly go and learn about other religions too but I feel like I know enough to form an informed opinion instead of one that is based on hearsay. I will report back to you about the possibility of Jehovah’s Witness space travel as soon as I know anything.


  1. The biggie with Jehovah's Witnesses is that their entire doctrinal superstructure rest squarely on the 'invisible' second coming of Jesus October 1914.There is no way they can evade this patently false dogma.
    Jesus specifically forewarned about false prophets who would say,"look he is here in the wilderness,or see he is here in the Temple".Jesus further warned to "not go after them".
    (Matthew 7:15)
    Danny Haszard FMI dannyhaszard(dot)com

    1. the Jw s acquire most persons that are bible illiterate, they don't know the bible , then they visit homes of welfare people and start to buy their souls or trade them ofr goods, most the witnesses i have meant all pile up in a persons real nice van to make it look like they re all dressed so nice, they wear these long dress cloths fromt he 60s and make you think they have it all right, but it is proven more suicides come from thier religion, on did i tell you they shun you for being human and making a mistake, i do not think Jesus our savoir who they do not worship would do that , and ps most welare like ti so they do not have to buy birthday and chrsitmas gifts for thier children or anyone else, a lazy way out and not so loving

  2. I've heard many a "Do you know the name of God?"


  3. AFAIK, the word "kill" in the sixth commandment specifically does not refer to killing in a war. So, in Finland, they have weaseled themselves out of the conscription - even the civilian version..

    1. Well, I still don't beleave in depriving others of life. I am a Quaker. Better to weasel out of sin than into it, if that is the way you want to look at it. On the other hand sin is the heart giving up God. It really is you motivation and state of heart that makes it a sin. Being presumably female I can't say the conscription really concerns me.

    2. Another way to look at it is.....

      If we're to be ushered in to a peaceful new earth, would you really trust a neighbor who has demonstrated in this life that he is quite ready to blow your head off if some important enough person tells him to?

    3. You assume all wars are unwarranted. Or perhaps I should talk about warring instead of wars. Most nations don't go around the globe looking for fights. Their justification is self-defense i.e. protecting their friends and neighbours from people possibly looking to harm them in their own country or take away their right of self-determination.
      Love thy enemy - but surely not at the expense of your loved ones?

      Quite frankly I want a neighbour who is willing to blow my head off should I become too dangerous for the others. Anything less than that would be self-serving of me.

    4. Just once I would like to see a war in which one side or the other says "we are the bad guys." It is never that way. Each side is in the right. Each side is the victim. Each is acting in self-defence, even when their actions manifests themselves in "pre-emptive strikes." We allow ourselves to be manuevered by whatever government we live under, based on local interests, and only decades later does consensus emerge as to who was in the right, if anyone. Or that may never happen definitively since it is the victor who writes history.

      Still, that view does not completely hold water in itself, I admit. I'd not argue that some fights do not appear more just than others. Our stand is part and parcel of a world view that maintains God will bring his kingdom to reign over the earth in peace. Those who believe in that kingdom are to serve as ambassadors for it, publicizing it, and like ambassadors, they stay neutral as to the political affairs of their host countries. It is how Jehovah's Witnesses view their role in the world today. (2 Cor 5:20)

    5. No one will say "we are the bad guys" even if they would privately admit to having unethical reasons for the war. That would be stupid of them - for troop morale and international opinion if nothing else.
      However, sometimes (often?) one can find a party that attacks first or over-generalizes the actions of the "unrepresenting" few militants/criminals as actions of the whole nation and proceeds to "defend" themselves on that basis. After that, the other side doesn't really have a choice in the matter.

      And yes, I see "pre-emptive strikes" as starting it. AFAIK, international law clearly defines them as acts of war. A police action would be a completely different thing even though certain spheres would like to see that line disappear.
      That's the problem with due process: sometimes the bad guys get away with it.

  4. Thank you very much for this post! I found it via a recent web search for "criticism of Jehovah's Witnesses". I too have been going through a semi-regular weekly visit with Jehovah's Witnesses over the last year plus, going through their "What Does the Bible Really Teach" publication and a couple others. Your conclusions resonate with me quite a lot. I feel the same way about much of what I've encountered in my discussions with them, especially about their unnecessary emphasis on God's name, blood transfusions, and refusal of allowing women the same leadership roles as men. All the rest too, much of it just feels rather off to me, another person who lives with a healthy amount of skepticism and the hope I can rest my faith in evidence in the here and now, not just a particular biblical interpretation.

    In the end though, I feel I've made some friends and I do have at least a better understanding of Jehovah's Witnesses as an organization and their stance on everything. Of course, as you observed, those friendships probably won't last if I don't commit to their particular path.

    So again, thank you!

  5. All females are second class to men in that religion. They rely heavily on the scriptures indicating females are lesser and shall submit to men as the head.