David Splane has advised JW parents in Sweden that it would be unwise to let their children decide for themselves whether they want to get baptized

David Splane, a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, has recently completed a Zone Visit to the Scandinavian Branch. As part of the visit, Splane addressed crowds at the Malmo Arena in Sweden on May 2nd with the aid of an interpreter.

Though not a parent himself, Splane issued pointed advice to parents in the audience about their attitudes towards raising their young ones as Witnesses.

Splane bemoaned the fact that so many children between the ages of 13 and 15 are not yet baptized. He then mocked the idea that youths should be given the freedom to choose their own religious views, using a curious illustration about McDonald’s to drive home his point.

The full talk can be viewed by visiting the YouTube channel frequifroy. However, for the sake of brevity, I have produced a video of the relevant part of the talk with the voice of the interpreter edited out and subtitles added. This is the only alteration of the original dialogue.

Many will be surprised at the inadequacy of Splane’s MacDonald’s illustration in reinforcing his views. A summer job at McDonald’s can in no way be compared to a lifelong commitment to a religion. Apart from anything else, a boss at McDonald’s has no power to separate his employees from their families if they later choose to leave their jobs and find employment elsewhere.

When Witnesses get baptized too young, before they can more fully understand the connotations of their decision, they expose themselves to the risk of disfellowshipping and shunning if they later step beyond the Witness moral code. Splane’s advice shows a reckless disregard for the pain and turmoil that can be experienced by a family that is forced to shun a delinquent teenager.

A 2011 Watchtower article even encouraged parents of disfellowshipped teenagers to view their children in the same light as Nadab and Abihu – the errant priests who were struck down by Jehovah for offering illegitimate fire.

But what will those dear parents do? Will they obey Jehovah’s clear direction? Or will they rationalize that they can have regular association with their disfellowshipped son and call it “necessary family business”? In making their decision, they must not fail to consider how Jehovah feels about what they are doing. His purpose is to keep the organization clean and, if possible, to incite wrongdoers to come to their senses. How can Christian parents support that purpose?”
“Moses’ brother, Aaron, faced a difficult situation with regard to two of his sons. Think of how he must have felt when his sons Nadab and Abihu offered illegitimate fire to Jehovah and He struck them dead. Of course, that ended any association those men could have had with their parents. But there is more. Jehovah instructed Aaron and his faithful sons: ‘Do not let your heads go ungroomed, and you must not tear your garments [in mourning], that you may not die and that [Jehovah] may not become indignant against all the assembly.’ (Lev. 10:1-6) The message is clear. Our love for Jehovah must be stronger than our love for unfaithful family members.” (w11 7/15 pp. 28-32)

With such disgrace and rejection awaiting any teenagers who get baptized too early, you would think that a Governing Body member (who should be aware of the disfellowshipping statistics) would advise caution in making the serious commitment of baptism – but not so.

Splane’s use of the story of Jonah is just as confounding as his McDonald’s illustration. Many scholars believe the story of Jonah to have been deliberately included in the Hebrew canon as a fictional allegory, not to be taken literally. However, even if Jonah’s story is a historical narrative, there is no correlation between a prophet of God refusing an assignment and a teenager’s reluctance to make a lifelong religious commitment for which he will face serious reprisals further down the road if he gets it wrong.

Though Splane’s words will come as a surprise to many Witness parents, they at least reflect a candor that is rarely seen in Watchtower literature. I for one appreciate the Governing Body coming out in public and saying what they really think rather than watering things down. It is just a shame they are still reluctant to clearly express such controversial views in their printed publications for all Witnesses to consider, and not just those who dare to search the internet.






For a discussion on other things Governing Body members have said from the platform, please click here.

51 thoughts on “Governing Body’s David Splane says forcing young ones to get baptized is “wise” thing to do

  • June 5, 2013 at 3:29 am

    As you say it is good they are saying what we all know they have been thinking. And indeed the illustrations are totally hopeless and nothing to do with getting baptised into an organisation for life. Why do they just gloss over the fact that Jesus himself waited until he was 30 before he got baptised. He is meant to be a Christian’s exemplar, and yet the society are clearly saying, don’t go by Jesus example, do what we tell you to do. Young ones are much wiser these days and question everything. They know that there are big question marks about joining this organisation. That is why so many do not get baptised and why in fact many leave.
    The internet has had a big part in their decision to not get baptised. It is awash with the societies past failings and wrong conclusions.
    This is another attempt at the gov body pushing a parent to do something that is totally wrong, making a child make a lifelong commitment to something at a very young and vulnerable age.

    • April 15, 2016 at 6:34 pm

      I’m sorry…but I just watched the video…and nowhere did I hear a mention of babtisim…especially of any young ones…maybe I am missing something…I get the idea that he says we should teach our children…but there is no mention of babtisim

  • June 5, 2013 at 5:04 am

    Since they have lost so many members, they use this tactic to be able to show that they are growing.

  • June 5, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Cedars come back to the organization. Shut down this website and we will take you in. You must be so tired out from all the pink slips and pot you surely have taken since coming out. Because if you don’t I will be knocking on your door to make sure of it.

    • June 5, 2013 at 6:52 am

      Thanks David for the encouragement! Why don’t you email me your telephone number and we can discuss your proposition man to man?! ;)

  • June 5, 2013 at 8:12 am

    If that comment is from the David Splane of the Governing Body, he is extremely rude to accuse you of pot smoking, and the threat to come to your home is questionable. What is he doing on the Internet? Surely that was an impostor, right?

    • June 5, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Hi Joanna! I’m pretty sure it was just a prankster – but this being the internet, you can never be too sure! Still no email from Splane…

  • June 5, 2013 at 8:43 am

    The Watchtower condemns organizations like the Catholic church for baptizing babies. They say that baptism should rightfully be done at an age of consent. Shockingly, they then go on to baptize children as little as 5 years of age. This hypocritical stance exposes their true methodology: child indoctrination.

    Instead of waiting until children have reached an age of maturity they wish for them to “tie the WT knot” as soon as possible. Their entire social environment is specially tailored to suggest youths into water baptism. Once baptized a child has a much higher chance at staying in the religion for a long time and possibly for life. Once baptized they are then subject to the Watchtower’s brutal shunning arrangement. The Governing Body are poisonous spiders with their organization their web and youths their prey.


    • April 15, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      I have never seen anyone babtized under the age of 12 at any jw meeting…I’m not sure where u have read this or seen this

  • June 5, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I think the MacDonalds parable is wrong from another reason, if it is only the boy’s Mom who wants that job at MacDonald’s, and the boy himself is reluctant to do it, it will not come to any good just like if it is only the parent who wants the child to be baptised. Of course, everyone should work but just like youths have the right to choose a suitable (and possible) job and carrier for themselves, they should be allowed not to be forced in such an important decision too like choosing what to believe in.

  • June 5, 2013 at 9:03 am

    David? What are you doing on this apostate website? Didn’t you listen to the talk about the dangers that lurk on the Internet?

    Wait a sec, what am I doing on the Internet? Tell no one of this or I will make sure that you are disfellowshipped and that your children are a blood sacrifice at the next District Convention.

    • June 5, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Anthony! If this is really you, I’m still waiting for my check to come through! All this publicity I’m giving you isn’t just for free you know!

  • June 5, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Okay I get it now. I’m just a “little” slow on the uptake here. When will Charles Taze Russell get in on this? Oh, I suppose they don’t have the Internet in heaven? Oh surely they do, it’s the Cloud, after all.

    • June 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

      lol Joanna. It would be great if Charles Taze could pay us a visit – especially since his likeness adorns the header to this website!

  • June 5, 2013 at 9:32 am

    I do find this inappropriate:

    I used to be a witness and I don’t see anything wrong in teaching one’s children what one believes to be right or the truth. But forcing them to make the sort of commitment baptism represents when they are really too young to do so is harmful in my opinion. I may have insisted my children attend meetings and join in study, one of my kids professes to hate me for it, but when it came to making that commitment I didn’t force it out of them since I also believed it to be a personal thing they had to do themselves. I is between them and God, and it has to be of their own volition.

    Although I’m no fan of the Amish, who are just like the Witnesses in the worse ways, I do like their custom of Rumspringr. When they reach the age where they are deemed able to make an informed choice Amish children in most groups are allowed to interact with the wider world with no restrictions or negative consequences within the Amish community and permitted to choose for themselves whether they want to remain in the Amish community or not. I don ‘t like it that the decision to join the “Anglo” community results in total banishment from the community, but they still get the opportunity to make their decision and most who choose to leave tend to do better than most anyway in spite of the loss of family. I think it’s a good custom on the whole.

    But we all know that’s not what the Witnesses are about. Christian liberty isn’t a concept they are familiar with because they are a high control group which demands conformity to all its demands by any touched by it. I guess it must be getting harder to find converts in the wider community given their stagnant growth. So they are now looking for growth from within to boost the numbers they love to keep bragging about. But here’s the problem, I watched it happen in a vibrant congregation taken over by a power-hungry elder who moved in. The more the grip is tightened, the more people will leave. This policy may see a short-term gain in membership, but in the long term folks will leave and those on the outside will hear about what’s going on and won’t listen to their message.

  • June 5, 2013 at 9:38 am

    This is nothing more than a tactic to control. If they can get your kids baptized at a young age, before the child can even grasp what they’re getting into, then they can use guilt and fear of being shunned by friends and FAMILY to KEEP them in line. It is so blatant, and so very abusive. This is exactly what happened to me and millions of other young people in that cult-like organization.

  • June 5, 2013 at 11:49 am

    What in damnation is going on in here!!! Cedars I’m about to go great tribulation style on you and your hords. And you need to leave my house alone. I’m about to hurl a ball of fire at the server hosting your site.

    • June 6, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      And, so are you! We need to be doing some forced baptisms!! Get some missionaries over to India, pronto!!

      And, what’s up with all these empty liquor bottles???

  • June 5, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Judge Rutherford June 5, 2013 at 11:52 am

    “David, Anthony stop acting like a bunch of jackasses or your out.”

    The irony is? If Russell or Rutherford were to be here today? Both of them would be DF’d in a heartbeat!
    Actually Jesus would be DF’d according to his very teachings that would/could not align themselves with Watchtower teachings!

  • June 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Well, I think Splane’s point was encouraging/forcing to attend meeting and to preach, not for getting baptized. In this reasoning, getting baptized would be a result of attending meetings and partizipating in the “field ministry”. If it was wise by Splane to mention specific ages… that’s up to you, I don’t think so.

  • June 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    I got baptized at 15. I consider it to be the worst decision in my life. My parents never, ever, ever pressured me into it. Had I not heard at a meeting that those who “know it’s the truth, and fail to get baptized, will die at Armageddon” I probably would have not done so… but with teachings like that, how could parental pressure even compare?

  • June 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    I know this young girl, “ONE LOST MEMBER”, Now DISFELLOWSHIPED and emotionally abused. Her story was published in the JW’s Yearbook 2008, her family and almost all Jehovah’s witnesses in her country were excited, bur WHERE IS SHE NOW? DISFELLOWSHIPED, no one, even her mother, is allowed to talk to her.

    This is the Girl I am talking about:
    A teenager named Gentille became famous because of her ability to score goals when playing soccer. People called her Manayibitego, which means in the local Kinyarwanda language “God of Goals.” Some Italians noticed her ability and gave her additional training. They then invited her to participate in soccer games in Italy. Moving to Europe and having the opportunity to become an internationally known footballer was an attractive prospect. However, Gentille knew that accepting the offer would involve leaving her family. Her mother is a Witness, and although Gentille had studied the Bible, she never took the study seriously. What came first in her life was soccer. Gentille discussed the matter with her mother and came to realize the spiritual dangers involved. She decided to decline the offer and to put Kingdom interests first in her life. She was baptized at a recent assembly.

    It is sad. I know this girl PERSONALLY. I attended PHYSICALLY the assembly where she was interviewed. I do not know whether this young lady will recover from emotional abuses she has suffered. Read for yourself her story at http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/302008004

  • June 6, 2013 at 2:28 am

    To push a child into an Organization is hardly the right thing to do.
    Then when the desires incidental to youth come and they are put out of the Organization. Cut off from parents and extended family.
    Is this man who gave this talk going to open up his home and look after this child? Hardly!

  • June 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    I’m watching you, bub. I’m watching.

  • June 6, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Note that this talk was delivered in Swedish territory. Again, the answer to all puzzled talks involving baptism and increasing publisher counts is: follow the money, or the numbers.

    pop. 9,522,998
    peak publisher count 2013—-22,380
    % growth increase ————————->>>>> 0%

    Of the 9.5 million people living in Sweden, 2 million are under the age of 18. [ website reference: http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Society/Child-care/Facts/Children-in-Sweden/%5D

    With this ratio – 21% of population is under age 18.
    The average Swedish home has 1-2 children per household

    A generous 11,190 households are JW — everyone has a partner and 1-2 children…. * 2 kids. well, I think we know where this is going—?

    Instant 100% growth rate! or 150%, because after 1990, Swedish homes appear to have 2-3 children per household.

  • June 6, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    This will go down in the annals as the “Come to McDonalds” sermon. But, Nestor nailed it–all about growth. And, another desperate measure and an indication of panic in the leadership because they don’t know how to cook-up another “semi-gelatinous” end-time date or drop their date-centered theology without bringing down the house Samson-style. In short, they are failing to live-up to the great speculations of their ancestral Adventists and Millennialists.

  • June 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    JBob June 6, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    “This will go down in the annals as the “Come to McDonalds” sermon. But, Nestor nailed it–all about growth. And, another desperate measure and an indication of panic in the leadership because they don’t know how to cook-up another “semi-gelatinous” end-time date or drop their date-centered theology without bringing down the house Samson-style. In short, they are failing to live-up to the great speculations of their ancestral Adventists and Millennialists.” ~ Very well put! “Desperate” describes it all!

  • June 7, 2013 at 4:53 am

    It’s McDonald’s, not MacDonald’s.

    • June 7, 2013 at 5:31 am

      So it is! Thanks Ronald, well spotted!

  • June 7, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Ronald June 7, 2013 at 4:53 am

    “It’s McDonald’s, not MacDonald’s.”

    awww come on! “We deserve a break today!”

    (- :

  • June 7, 2013 at 11:16 am

    CT Russel is busy in a judicial commitee session againt Ray Franz.

  • June 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    McDonald’s commercial jingle: You deserve a break today was written by Barry Manilow. True story. There’s your earworm.

  • June 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    That the organisation is desperate to use any ploy to have some growth figures to brag about, is, in a perverse way, encouraging. It means that the world is getting better informed, and fewer are thus susceptible to the crazy horrors of JWdom. To be a potential convert today requires an extraordinary degree of cultural isolation, unhappiness and ignorance.

  • June 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    This is so frightening to me because I could be sucked right in!! I am listening to this and thinking OMG I have failed as a mother because I didn’t do this or that- when in reality My son is a successful engineer with a beautiful family and both of my daughters are perfect with families of little girls.
    Why can I still feel these things (speakers talks)suck me in & I feel I have failed. This scares me@@

    • June 11, 2013 at 5:20 am

      He is a smooth speaker, just as many of them were at assemblies we attended together, Laura. It goes to show how easily it can be to be “sucked in” as you put it because we used to automatically dance to that music, and when we hear it again we feel we need to dance some more. It’s all about brainwashing and the illusion of serving the one and only true god, and living in paradise forever. These were all lies the Governing Body taught us so we’d follow them, kind of like that proverbial carrot they held in front of us. Your children are fantastic, all three of them, and it is because of the nurturing you gave them as their mother. You are happier than you ever were. I am in that same boat. I know the guilty feeling you have, though, but I hope it won’t last long. You were and are the perfect mother in my opinion. We both did our very best. We even made chipped beef on toast for heaven’s sakes! Fortunately we both saw the light, the REAL light, and chose for ourselves to live our lives the way we knew in our hearts was right for us and for our children.

  • June 12, 2013 at 12:35 am

    It’s like in African wars once all the adults are killed off and they recruit the children. They give the kids guns and keep them under control with addictive drugs. See the pattern? The GB must be seeing the adults leaving so they’re getting the kids to pick up guns.

  • June 12, 2013 at 2:29 am

    This whole article is so true! I literally had to tell my dad to stop using illustrations when we talked about things because they were so week and far from the point, in fact when you followed the illustrations through it usually could actually be used against the original point being made. Its creepy to see all the witnesses just smiling in the background as he talks such utter rubbish!

  • June 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    There is a great hypocrisy in all of this that seems to escape the notice of many Witnesses, and which exposes the organization’s self-serving motive in encouraging youth baptism:

    The organization tells young people who have already reached the age of consent – 18-21 years – that it is best to wait until they’re older and more mature before going into marriage. Why? Because, they say, marriage is an important life-long committment that calls for a certain level of maturity that most adolescents don’t have.

    But suddenly when it comes to becoming a baptized Jehovah’s Witness, it’s perfectly reasonable and credible that 12-year olds could be mature enough to make that life-long committment. What hypocrisy!

    Does dedicating your whole life to serve God as part of a “spirit directed organization” with all the sobering possibilities that go along with it – such as being shunned by your own family if you later change your mind, vowing to refuse life-saving blood transfusions even when no alternatives are available – require less maturity than the committment of marriage?

    It is obvious that the organization has an ulterior motive for discouraging marriage among adolescents – it wants young people to give it their undivided attention and labor. Marriage is a distraction that side-tracks many from full-time service and zealous service to the organization. But youth baptism is great. It increases the numbers and entraps the youth before he is smart enough to know better than to join.

  • June 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I have always been against young kids including teens getting baptized. I have always felt that if you believe in the Bible and Jesus was a perfect man and he was 30 when he was baptized then why in the world would you allow children to make such a life changing decision. I am so thankful my child never got baptized and my hubby and I got out! It shows you how desperate they are because at this point it is mostly children of JW’s coming in and not those they meet in the ministry.

  • June 14, 2013 at 4:16 am

    We are all thinking that we have found God’s people WTS. But what Jesus says by their fruits they are not.

  • June 14, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Well, we learned that the young are malleable and easy to control to our…needs and…wishes as well as our, shall we say? plans and objectives, if not desires? We were taught this by our mentors Ewart Chitty, aka “Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang” and Leo Greenlees, aka “Lees No Marks” who sadly had to make a hasty departure from the Governing Body for personal and undisclosed considerations!

    • June 23, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      Ah, Leo… ah, yes, I remember him well…

  • June 14, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    So, Tony, did you really enlist with the military at the young age of 17yo, or did you fabricate your time in Viet Nam? I mean, if you were smoking reefers in Canadian outback like many dodgers?

  • June 16, 2013 at 4:43 am

    I appreciate you videos, but I think they would be far more effective if you skipped the “funny” parts. I understand that you want to make them a bit enter sting, but honestly, it just make them appear less professional and it prevents me from showing them to any of my JW friends.

    • June 16, 2013 at 5:35 am

      Thanks for those observations JK. For the most part I agree, however, the purpose of the music etc is to make the videos more entertaining for a diverse YouTube audience, rather than just JWs, who would mostly shy away from watching them anyway. I certainly wouldn’t object to you downloading the videos, stripping them of the intro/outro, and re-uploading them on your channel for circulation to Witness friends. I’m sure I’m not the only one with video-editing software. ;)

  • June 16, 2013 at 5:06 am

    Hmm.. Enter sting = entertaining. My phone is wierd. Lol:D

  • June 22, 2013 at 10:15 am

    “did you really enlist with the military at the young age of 17yo”

    “I mean, if you were smoking reefers ?”

    a. It’s called “creative license” for dramatic effect and when you are on the Governing Body one has a margin of authority along the same lines of “spiritual warfare”.
    b. “Were?” Where do you think the “Creative” aspect of the “Creative License” comes from?
    (- :

  • June 23, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Don’t waste your time even replying to such major AH who can’t even control their own mind. I often think of a lyric in one of Billy Joels songs “My Silence is my self defense” They are worse then dealing with a immature out of control teenager who know’s everything and anything.

  • June 23, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Creative license—puh-leeze, call me when your visions have gotten your numbers up to 13million, pal.

  • June 26, 2014 at 8:39 am

    What’s the link between the WTS and McDo?

    Both serve ” food” – differently “packed”, yes, but of the same substance. The WTS “spiritual food”-version is through magazines and books, the McDo food style comes in the form of never-changing flattened meatballs. Content and substance in both cases: Same (void, cardboard, styrofoam). Effect: Same (fatty degeneration, dullness of mind). Variety: Apart from slightly changing addenda (salad, or tomato leafs, mayo or ketchup, …), the meatballs/WTS-doctrins always taste the same. Nevertheless: Severely addiction-causing, due to the comfort of basking in the bliss on an empty mind.

    Getting down to the basics: I bet both imperia (WTS & McDo) are franchises of the Freemasons, and/or Rothschilds. So, they are helping each other out – or, at least, the WTS does help McDo by providing for hordes of cheap mini-minimum-wage summer earners. Thank you, dear GB of the WTB&TS food imperium! Free burgers for y’all for live!

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