Can a child's religious devotion be truly genuine when it has been drummed into them from an early age?
Can a child’s religious devotion be truly genuine when it has been drummed into them from an early age?

Imagine a father who is intensely involved with a certain sports team. He’s been following the team since he was a child under his own father’s guidance.

After having a son of his own he makes it his personal mission to inculcate love for the team into him. Growing up, the son watches the team year after year, and under his father’s guidance he follows every game.

Throughout the son’s life he is surrounded by others who are crazy about the same team. No other teams, no matter how superior at the same sport they may be, get a look in.

In such a case, is it any coincidence that when this child grows up he harbors a special affinity for this particular team? Of course not! He has been conditioned to love the team by an environment that was imposed on him. His love for the sports team has been carefully manufactured by his father and peers since infancy.

Love indoctrination

Its a similar principle for parents who indoctrinate their children into the Jehovah’s Witness religion. The love Witness children have for their religion is manufactured by their environment. This phenomenon is aptly demonstrated in a September 15th 2014 Watchtower article entitled “Parents Shepherd Your Children.

The article is mainly directed to the heads of Witness households. Just as Christ acts as the shepherd for the Christian congregation, the head of a Witness household is to act as a shepherd for his immediate family. The responsibility for guiding children into “the truth” is mostly placed on the father’s shoulders.

The analogy that a father is a shepherd and his children the sheep is a curious one. While it’s true that parents must direct their children out of harm’s way, do they really need to direct what religion they believe or don’t believe?

That is the aim of this article, namely to instruct fathers (and parents in general) on how to manipulate their children into feeling love for one religion over the countless others that have been invented throughout man’s history.

The lead picture for the article on page 17
The lead picture for the article on page 17

 

A disingenuous approach

The article encourages parents to “guide” their children to develop a “genuine desire” to serve Jehovah, and make a “personal decision” to dedicate their lives to him. The question is, how can their desire be genuine and their decision personal when their entire childhood is fine-tuned for a certain outcome? Only one side of the story is ever given to them, and all critical information is regarded as dangerous and strictly prohibited.

Notice what the article has to say regarding parents whose children have doubts about their faith:

“…what if your children begin to express doubts? How can you shepherd them and help them to see that serving Jehovah really is the best way of life and will contribute to their lasting happiness? Try to determine the underlying cause of their doubts. For example, does your son really disagree with Bible teachings, or does he just lack the confidence needed to defend them in front of his peers? Does your daughter really have an issue with the wisdom of God’s standards, or does she just feel lonely or excluded by others? Regardless of the cause, you can help your child to come to grips with the root of any spiritual doubts.” – Watchtower Sep. 15, 2014, pages 20-21.

Can a child be sincere in its convictions if it has been molded to accept them from birth?
Can a child be sincere in its convictions if it has been molded to accept them from birth?

The writer portrays the religious doubts of children as merely emotional responses rather than genuine disagreement.

According to the above quote there is nothing on this planet that can top the lifestyle of a Jehovah’s Witness. They claim their level of happiness is unmatched and any idea contrary to that assertion is merely an obstacle to be overcome. Never does the article even hint that other systems of belief or non-belief have any comparable value.

This sounds very similar to someone asserting the dominance of one sports team over all others in a certain sport. It’s as though Witness parents all hold foam fingers with the words “we’re #1” printed on them. Never does it even cross their minds that they may not be the only team in town. Only total confidence is acceptable, anything else is seen as an error in need of correction.

When a child who has been conditioned to love a sports team grows up, he or she might sometimes grow to realize that they don’t truly love the team they were raised to support. Likewise, a child indoctrinated into a religion sometimes breaks through the conditioning and sees his or her situation for what it truly is. Tragically, a child who wakes up from Watchtower indoctrination faces dire circumstances due to the brutal shunning arrangement.

Baptism comes at a high cost

Baptism is the ultimate goal of the article, and Jehovah’s Witnesses are increasingly encouraged to ensure small children undergo the religious ritual. Sadly, those who go through with it are forever attached to a corporation that seeks to micromanage their lives and use them as a human resource. This particular article overtly urges parents to gain access to the minds of their children in order to influence their life decisions…

“Frequently talking with your children gives you greater access to their thoughts and feelings. That, in turn, will help you to have a greater influence on the decisions they make in life.” – Watchtower Sep. 15, 2014, page 19.

Naturally, parents want to help their children to make good life decisions, but the Watchtower is specifically talking about baptism, and devotion to their deity and organization…

“Young ones who develop such appreciation will dedicate their life to Jehovah and get baptized. Understandably, they should take such a step when they are mature enough to make that decision and have a genuine desire to serve Jehovah.” – Watchtower Sep. 15, 2014, page 20.

Child baptism is increasingly encouraged by Watchtower, but it has inherent dangers due to the shunning policy
Child baptism is increasingly encouraged by Watchtower, but it has inherent dangers due to the shunning policy

While the above quote may sound reasonable, what the Watchtower considers a mature age has been known to be as low as 8. As mentioned earlier, the “genuine desire” to serve Jehovah has been carefully nurtured by the parents from the moment the child could communicate. How, then, can it possibly be considered genuine?

Clearly, the organization has an ulterior motivation in herding children into their baptismal pools.

Once they are baptized, members are held accountable to the Watchtower’s standards, enforced by a strict disciplinary system. This creates the highest likelihood of locking people into a life-long career, including countless hours of volunteer labor, as well as considerable amounts of money donated over many years.

And of course, then you have the prospect of the child eventually having children of its own and starting the cycle all over again. A healthy increase in membership is thus guaranteed, even if the success of the preaching work is increasingly negligible.

Happiness is freedom

It is my hope that more Jehovah’s Witness parents will see through this coercive Watchtower article and offer their children true freedom of choice. As Richard Dawkins so eloquently put it, “There is no such thing as a Christian child: only a child of Christian parents.”

Fortunately, the Watchtower has a very low youth retention rate, which I can tell you from experience is largely thanks to the overtly pushy tactics articulated in articles such as this.

As a father I have observed that the more you push a child to do something, the more they want to run away. Offering children the mental freedom they deserve is the only true way of providing them the best chance of a happy life.

 

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Further reading…

52 thoughts on “Guidance or coercion? – New Watchtower article directs parents to “shepherd” their children

  • June 17, 2014 at 3:32 am
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    Great article. And which JW parent put that poor little baby up to posing with the Watchtower’s never-ending edited Bible? For shame!

  • June 17, 2014 at 3:48 am
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    Likely than not,most parents want their children to follow in they footsteps;which in itself is not unnatural…be that as it may it is entirely a different scenario to force that child to conform to a specific mold or mind set by using covert manipulations and indoctrinations…Children are not robots to be programed to perform just one specific function in life !! when you take a child and wrap them up in a cocoon ,you are taking away from then the ability to reason and to think in a comprehensive way…and so they just go through life like robotic mannequins ,just as many JW’S Have become just as i once was!!…From what i have observed during my many years with the org..these baptisms ends up as an emotional trip,most of which is done through cohesion and emotional love bombing without the ones being dunked being fully aware of the consequences of their actions…TOTS N TEENS SHOULD NOT GET MARRIED…BAPTISM IS OF A MORE SERIOUS NATURE AS IT INVOLVES A LIFE LONG RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!!!THE BLOOM OF YOUTH IS NOT THE RIGHT TIME OR SEASON;SEEMS LIKE THE GB HAS LOST IT’S POWER OF REASON.

  • June 17, 2014 at 3:53 am
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    Having been born into this religion I know all to well what you are explaining here and it can be an emotional and mental disaster for people, like myself, who are raised in this organization. I’m 34 years old, I was never baptized but I managed to completely leave this religion at the age of 30, that’s the kind of hold raising children in this manipulative religion has. I can honestly say that I have managed to get rid of most if not all of the mental walls I had due to being taught what my parents taught me. My family are still JW’s and as a result I do not have a very tight relationship with them, yup even if you are not baptize they will shun you to a certain degree. I remember my dad once said to me, ” I feel like I failed with you.” I asked him why he felt that way and he said, “Because you are not a Jehovah’s Witness. I feel like I should have been more strict with you.” When he said this my jaw just about hit the floor. I said to him, ” You need to understand that even though you taught me what you feel is the truth I’m not a robot, I will not automatically believe as you do just because that’s what you raised me to believe in. I have a mind of my own as well as the same God given rights as you do to examine things and make my own decisions regarding what I believe is truth and I simply do not believe the JW’s have the truth. I further explained that it is so sad that you have been trained to only view a person as a success if they are a JW. I said to him, why cant you see all the other sides of me, how happy I’ve been in a loving marriage for 15 years now and how I have 2 almost 3 beautiful children. I’ve been blessed and have lived the best life I could thus far. As I parent I would feel as a failure if my kids were druggies or gang bangers or even prostitutes. Or made other life choices that hurt them and those around them. Those are reasons to feel sad and disappointed.
    He still, to this day, looks at me with this genuine sadness. I feel so bad for him because I know what he thinks about constantly is that I will be destroyed. That is why many parents do it because they have been brainwashed into thinking unless you do it this way you will die. It’s so sad to me.

  • June 17, 2014 at 4:13 am
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    Very interesting and well written article. Thanks James Strait.

    I remember that, about thirty or forty years ago, it was even adviced to pregnant JW mothers to read the “My Bible Stories” book every single day to their child still in the womb, so that the child can be in the best spiritual condition before birth.

    If it was not manipulation, tell me what it was ! Thanks again and all the best.

  • June 17, 2014 at 4:23 am
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    In fact children getting baptized at the age of 6 and 7
    have been mentioned in the publications of this cult.

    “In the summer of 1946, I was baptized at the international convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Although I was only SIX years of age, I was determined to fulfill my dedication to Jehovah.”
    WATCHTOWER 1992 3/1 p.27

    “BAPTIZED AT SEVEN. Paola, who lives in western Mexico, is being raised by her grandparents.”
    Jehovahs Witnesses Year Book 2011 p.58

    How can this be defended honestly ?

  • June 17, 2014 at 4:35 am
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    this is disturbing to say the least.
    It amazes me that so many cant see whats happening.
    Jesus being knowlegeable [not mature] enough
    to be talking to temple pharasees at age 12, yet not baptized till he was 30, one has to wonder why anyone thinks baptism for children is practiced. they have the wrong application of what baptism is for. IF baptism by water even matters now!
    this indocrination is seen in many cultures of radical military or religious groups worldwide, this method here spoken of is no different. It is in fact brainwashing.
    I sit here thinking of all the unhappy witness children that I wish I could warn . I was unhappy and friendless, as were my kids, who I raised as jws ,[despite my herculean attempts to change that for them!] and to continue to see this pattern of emotional manipulation makes me sick,
    which may be why there are so many judgmental unhappy adults. my mother guilted me into everything and made all my choices for me. im 52. my whole life was wasted in my opinion.
    thing is, this life style seems to work out ok for wealthy jws who have the money to go on trips, and buy what they need and want. they can go to different congregations and meet many people. they have thier own click.
    yet the poor, who usually are ignored, get invited no place, have no funds for such ‘luxuries’ if you will, are the ones who fare badly.
    this lifestyle also works for those who dont care to have many freinds, like to be judgmental, are narcissists, like the idea of women being in submission to a man, controlling the family, and not having to do any research or think much.

  • June 17, 2014 at 5:33 am
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    I’m happy to have read your words Jobass! My son left the org when he was 12 years of age. I almost left with him but Fear of so many things controlled me. He told me the reason he left was because he saw the hypocrisy of so many his age and wanted nothing to do with a “truth” that left him feeling empty and with no friends. While my husband was very upset, I stood by him.
    I’m doing the ‘dance of joy’ knowing you are living a happy family life.

  • June 17, 2014 at 5:36 am
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    When I was a child JW, adult baptism was considered one of many features that made JWdom superior to ‘Christendom’. Maybe the diminishing returns from door knocking are forcing a rethink in order to maintain, or even increase, the size of the unpaid labour force.

  • June 17, 2014 at 5:41 am
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    I am attempting to raise my daughter to have a good relationship with Jehovah and Jesus and to be very wary of the Watchtower organization. While there are good people still in the org., they are sadly deluded into idolizing the organization and it’s leaders and titled ones, whether it’s the Governing Body, circuit overseers, Bethelites, missionaries, or even elders and pioneers. She agrees that baptism is for adults. If she reaches adulthood and wants to get baptized, I will encourage her to have a private baptism done 1st century style. The Watchtower org. does not own her faith.

  • June 17, 2014 at 6:17 am
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    The lead pic speaks volumes. What is sticking out of the girl’s purse? Of course – what else could it be? NOT a Bible, of course not, but the “golden calf”, the WTS’ “principle means of indoctrination”, its Talmud, the book of eternal rules, the wt. Then, note the girl’s “excited” look – oh no, sorry, I meant to say “annoyed.” She obviously doesn’t like what she sees and what she’s supposed to do. See her loving parents in the mirror, watching her from behind? Zoom in, and you’ll see that they are NOT smiling. It is obvious what’s going on here: The yound lady would like to do anything – ANYTHING ELSE BUT “advertise advertise advertise” bell-ringing & canvassing, but her “loving” parents are going to make sure she will. That’s what this article is about. Shepherd them with a rod of iron. Make sure they get in line. Disgusting.

  • June 17, 2014 at 6:23 am
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    @mom

    Or you could encourage your child to have a great relationship with the creator without the WTBTS. I only say this because if you go on the ministry, you could potentially bring someone into an organization you do not 100% follow yourself. This doesn’t seem right to me. I am not criticizing just asking.

  • June 17, 2014 at 6:46 am
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    Reply to ‘Mom’.
    Wow, what an interesting post! Yes, it’s vital to give your child the freedom to choose when (and if) she gets baptised. I just wonder from all your other comments whether you really want her to take that path. You say that ‘The org does not own her faith’ and ‘people are sadly deluded into idolising the organisation’. These comments make me think there is some wavering in respect to your own faith in the org.
    As we know, these days it is impossible to differentiate between the worship of Jehovah and the worship of the organisation. I share your views of being very wary of the WT organisation and the control they are attempting to have over the congregation members.
    Very interesting post, Mom. Am I wrong in reading too much into your comments?

  • June 17, 2014 at 7:31 am
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    Excellent article. I understand parents wanting to teach their kids what they think is best, but the problem with the Witnesses is that they are not allowed to read religious material other than the Watchtower’s, so they are brainwashed. Children are threatened with death at Armageddon if they do not follow the religion. Their publications are full of scary pictures that would given any child nightmares. If they use their God given powers and feel these beliefs are not right, they will be shunned by all friends and family had they gotten baptized as a child. They really can’t win. Poor kids.

  • June 17, 2014 at 7:41 am
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    Very nicely written and tastefully done article.
    I left this cult some 30 yrs ago and was put out by my then wife because of it. Now 30 yrs latter 2 of my 3 children have absolutely nothing to do with their mom a current psychopathic cult devote. She has put her devotion to her religion above that of her own family.
    And now Karma. Her own children refuse to allow her to see the grand children. Why? So she can’t attempt to coorcece them into this mindless cult.
    My children tell me if she is unwilling to have a relationship with them void of any conditions then why would I alow that for my own children?
    Nothing they do JW’S makes any normal psychological sense.
    I often wondered why my oldest son got his masters in Psycology.
    He needed it just to get back on track with a real life.
    None of it made sense to him especially after being forced to be baptized at 11.
    Their lives have been enriched a hundred fold in all ways since leaving the cult for good!!
    All I can say is what goes around comes around.
    I never wish bad on people but you reap what you sow.
    And here I am 30 yrs latter after their mom calling me satan because I left the religion and it is I not her enjoying my children and grand children.
    I am by no means a vindictive person and I always tell my children that I hope one day your mother awakens and see’s what she is truly missing out on and that is the TRUE RELIGION YOUR FAMILY!!

  • June 17, 2014 at 8:35 am
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    Training from infancy.True that we want the best for our children.We see J.W.s as a happy & joyful lot.And we want our family to be in.J.W.s are entitled to their love & joy – whether or not they agree or disagree with the Society.So what if they believe that the Society is God’s earthly org.”Happiness is the Truth” sung by the ex-J.W.s ,”apostates”,and J.W.s – just that each group has its own version.Most J.W.s are sincere,honest-hearted individuals.Should the Society cashes out I hope they would be adaptable & maybe join another church instead of losing faith in God & Christianity.

  • June 17, 2014 at 10:13 am
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    I know this is off topic but I have to share. I just listened to a new youtuber and they only have 4 videos. One is called Interview with an elder at U.K. H.Q. and in the interview, the question was raised about The Finished Mystery and of course it was brushed off as “old light” so the question was raised “so what would be the cut-off date for when it’s light that can now be trusted?” and the brother at the branch couldn’t answer that. Another new kid on the block is called on Youtube Watchtower Examination and he has 20 videos.

  • June 17, 2014 at 10:19 am
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    criticus, i noticed the same thing, her looking at her book bag like . ‘omg seriously so embarrassing, i hate this’. yea and literature, not a bible.
    and the helicopter parents hovering in the background.
    what happened to the advice on not holding your child down so tightly that when they grow up and move out its like you let a spring loose out of your hand? guess they forgot about letting a child have thier own personality?
    the whole article is probably as negative as all the articles that have been written in the past decade.
    they re all very negative and damning.

  • June 17, 2014 at 12:12 pm
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    Rudeawake makes a great point here regarding a Parent who wants their child to follow in their footsteps; there’s no question that, especially if the brother is an Elder or desires an appointment, he will push his child into Baptism because it reflects good on HIM, using his child to fulfill his own ambitions. They are NOT robots like he brings out, doing only what they are programmed to do–kind of reminds me of the Borg from Star Trek.

  • June 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm
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    James, what a great article!

    I am sure you are a loving, caring parent, not stifling your child’s ability to reason for themselves.

    I never pressured my son to get baptised….and so he never did. When he stopped attending the meetings, I felt like I had done something wrong as a parent, but I respected his decision and went to the KH without him.

    In my heart I was trying to reconcile how a loving God could destroy my son….just because he didn’t want to go to the KH. I decided that I really did not believe a loving Heavenly Father would destroy a kind, good-hearted person like my son was…simply because he was not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and that if he did, it would not be Paradise for me if my son wasn’t going to be there too.

    I chose to take my chances with my son, so he is the one who really started me on my spiritual quest.

    It’s interesting that the ones who made their children go in service and attend all the meetings, in several families, once the child graduated from high school, they left…the “truth” and their families. You simply cannot force a child to love God or to believe everything the parents believe.

    I always felt sorry for the kids, they lived under such strict parents, it’s no wonder they wanted their freedom as soon as they could. It must have hurt them to know that their happiness meant so little to their parents, who were willing to write them off just because they didn’t want to be a Jehovah’s Witness anymore.

    I wonder how those same parents, if they ever have their eyes opened, will regret all that they missed with their children because their lives were based on lies and deceit.

    What a disgrace that the Watchtower cares more about money and power than they do about the welfare of the members of the congregation.

  • June 17, 2014 at 10:52 pm
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    Another side to this is the children that come to a certain point in their lives that feel they cannot live up to the rules and the constant chant of doing more that leave and get into all sorts of trouble because they hate themselves, being programmed into believing that one that leaves is of Satan’s world, sadly I have seen four that have committed suicide due to the overwhelming mind control that they are rotten for leaving and their parents and congregation have shunned them.

    They never felt worthy or loved by God or their parents and congregation.

  • June 17, 2014 at 11:49 pm
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    If children don’t perform what the Watchtower prescribes they are labelled as weak/inactive & judged e.t.c. Their parents, if they are JW’S, are assessed spiritually by the actions of their children too. If the parent agrees with the child then the parents are labelled as weak e.t.c. No choice there then.

  • June 17, 2014 at 11:58 pm
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    If comes down to one thing, as can be seen from the way the article is written, they absolutely believe they represent God. That God and the Watchtower Society are synonymous/interchangeable. No need to explain and discuss doctrine with the little people. Do as you are told or die. . .lovely.

    • June 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm
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      That’s exactly it!
      Convert the masses with sweet sounding words; threaten the children with flesh eating birds.

  • June 18, 2014 at 12:00 am
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    Could you imagine what attitude you would have if you seriously believed you spoke for God?

  • June 18, 2014 at 12:18 am
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    Precisely, I just picked up Richard Dawkins book called, “The God Delusion.” What are the odds? I do not consider myself an atheist, I still believe in a divine creator, and I personally study and read on all religions. I hope one day I’ll be able to reach out for a close friend of mine. Hope she finds the truth about the her dogmatic religion.

  • June 18, 2014 at 5:06 am
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    Folks,

    I’m reminded of Princess Leia’s comment to Grand Moff Tarkin, “the more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip through your fingers”.

    These hysterical articles are yet another sign of the WTBTS’ desperate situation. I remember watching a video by that moron Anthony Morris III, implying that unbaptised children will be executed by a God that personifies love!

    There are NO child baptisms in the bible. Not one.

    Great article, James!

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • June 18, 2014 at 11:47 am
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    Firstly if they were good parents anyway why would you still need the guidance although i do no about this,i remember growing up in the org,and ther was always parenting talks,and to the point if your child was not doing as best as he could the elders would give spiritual bible backed council to the father how to do so!!looking back at that today how pathetic and controlling was this,i was 19 when i was baptized and remember very clearly from elders from the age of 15 up to 19 being ask have you thought about getting baptized as if it was a porthole to a some sort of magical kingdom,but now realize it was once you was baptized it was a contract for the org to control, as many things did not stand until you was baptized at the time or should i say have jurisdiction over your life,i feel that’s why many to day can not really get right involved with the org unless they are baptized,but sadly the Governing Body still doing what there good at manipulation of scriptures and emotional tactics to justify there reason to give advice on a family’s children and how to bring them up, when really its just to keep the statistics rolling,and nothing to do with care and
    compassion of ones family,all you have to do is look at the young people ask book it has in all the subjects addressed in it which is totally a youths experiences of growing up,this has nothing to do with guidelines and help but more of being in there life from an early age and controlling there everyday emotional journey of growing up or should i say conditioning from an early age so when they get to that point of being a young adult or teen there already conforming due to the early years of the YPA book,so really its not that you have choice or decision on your future but it was made up for you years before slowly with out you knowing,i sue to hear people say and parents saying the governing body really care about the young ones with the likes of the YPA and talks toi help those moev on in the truth my reaction to that would be so what are you doing as parental responsibility regardless of this,which shows how blind many are to realize how its all manipulated and then seen as helping the young ones….,

  • June 18, 2014 at 12:55 pm
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    Nice work James!

    When I read this, I was immediately struck by the Watchtower’s own counsel about dealing with doubt. Dismissing your children’s queries as the result of failure to stand up to peer pressure or poor self-esteem is an atrocious way to handle their questions!

    I personally had a similar experience with my own father. It’s a vivid memory that became a turning point for me. When I was about 14, I realized I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of god’s eternal existence. I had always been “taught” that everything needs a creator — the go-to watchmaker example drilled into my head whenever evolution was discussed. In reaction, I asked the age-old question, “If everything needs a creator, who created god?” Instead of taking my question as a sincere one, my father chastised me for questioning; he more or less accused me of being obstinate & committing borderline apostasy. (I share this experience neither to be witnessed to nor to incite debate with creationists, only to point out that I had a valid concern — one contemplated throughout the ages that deserved a proper conversation if nothing else.)

    Not only did this incident open my eyes to the fact that perhaps not all questions have answers & therefore staunch obedience to any set of beliefs may not be the wisest course in life, but it made me feel like my questions and opinions had no value to those who claimed to love me most. My doubts never stopped, I just stopped asking questions. I checked out of “the truth” long before I physically left.

    Looking back now, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. Perhaps I should thank my father — only he doesn’t speak to me.

  • June 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm
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    If your not open minded or encouraged to be open minded there’s something wrong.

  • June 18, 2014 at 7:54 pm
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    @patrice & @mom

    I think it is noble that someone can encourage a relationship with Jehovah & Jesus, but given my experience with Watchtower and knowing its history, I think it is a dream to believe this can get you through the maize of Watchtower’s “bow down to the GB and the golden calf of the Organization”. In most cases, you’ll be on the fringe or bottom rung of the Watchtower pecking order–not that you can’t be happy, but you’ll find yourself living an alternative “theocratic” lifestyle within an alternative lifestyle group. I think caught between Watchtower and being truly a “free-spirit”.

    Also, as James’ article highlights, any rational and constructive critique of the Watchtower’s methods of operations will be met with defensive counter statements and suspicion. My own case, I expressed some objective viewpoints regarding the appearance of impropriety and how secular establishments counter these behaviors [similar statements that this JW had expressed earlier about some perceived elders’ behaviors crossing a line], it became an immediate knee-jerk reaction that I was emotional and too focused on the negatives (not the reason I faded, which I had reiterated over time).

    The primary reason for fading would be this constant conflicting dichotomy (actually a polychotomy) where what is written is contradicted by current, or future, actions. When individuals find they staked their entire future and past decisions on a viewpoint that has now been recanted, the Watchtower will simply remind these that “it’s your fault for following the statements of men rather than God.” Yet, in the moment, those who raise objections (though conscientious, as Crisis of Conscience notes) are viewed as ungodly thugs.

    And, on the relationship thing, it’s written and talked about, but contradicted if someone says my relationship with Jehovah and Jesus does not permit me to follow what the Watchtower and elders are saying to do. Strict obedience. [shoves pill down little tyke’s throat] The majority of d/f’s lately are due to “failure to obey” elder counsel [avoids sticky legal issues of slander and libel].

    You can’t win! The only way to win–“War Games”–don’t play the game!

    Strict, unconditional obedience = death.

  • June 18, 2014 at 8:22 pm
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    My son wanted to get baptised at 14 but I would not let him until he was at least 16 and by chance it was the same date that his mother and I got married. :o) 3 years later he is having the time of his life pioneering in Asia with his best friend. Even worldly people who know him say it’s great experience what he is doing and say he is a”gold” teenager and yes they all know that he is a JW. But I agree that anything before the teens should not be allowed. I used to work I a juvenile prison and there are a lot more problems in the general population than in JW’s. At least many of the ex teenage witnesses developed good speaking skills and learned a few life lessons that have proved very useful later in life and at work. There is always the exception but I am talking about in general. Ciao koalaboy

    • June 19, 2014 at 1:25 pm
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      How are inmates in a juvenile prison considered “general population” in your mind? They are there in the first place because they are troubled & deemed unable to function in normal society; they do not represent the average citizen. Please don’t buy into Watchtower’s “every worldly person is an evil criminal” mindset. The majority of the non-JW world is populated by loving, caring, law-abiding individuals. Most “worldly” people have never been to jail. Many have never even committed a traffic offense!

      Speaking skills are actually taught in school believe it or not. In addition, students are also taught cognitive thinking & reasoning skills, which Watchtower dissuades from babyhood on. The only life lesson Watchtower teaches kids that isn’t readily available outside the kingdom hall is that shunning people (even family) is an appropriate way to deal with disagreements.

  • June 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm
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    @kat – I understand your grief and frustration, kat. This is another reason why the sphere of “undue influence” the Watchtower exercises needs to be highlighted and exposed. Not only does this “unworthy” and “self-loathing” attitude leading to self-destruction impact young children, but adults, even those who have “gross misconduct” label, or have sexuality that conflicts with Watchtower belief and control system.

    The terms “willful” and “unrepentant” are used to place label on individuals to strip away their humanity and load their minds with being “diseased” or “unfit” — even saying “unbecoming”.

    When I came out to self in accepting my total objection to Watchtower beliefs and governance, I had already started to see both sides of the theological coins. And, I immediately went to atheism (lately wafting around agnostic) which seemed to cancel any “destructive” thoughts. I also recommend to any one doubting or leaving, even if fading, take a thorough inventory of the Watchtower beliefs that are cluttering the mind and influencing how you think about yourself.

    One important aspect I learned after fading, I’d find my mood going through the ceiling with outrage when I’d read the latest Watchtower or Awake and find a sentence or whatever that was completely illogical or contrary to facts. I realized I was continuing in Watchtower’s ‘undue influence’ by reacting to its literature and statements. Later I learned to detach and dissect the statements while finding concrete references to refute the written statements, or find other books, magazines and papers to read for personal growth and entertainment instead of being stuck with stultifying book highlights and look-up of verses that were quoted verbatim in written paragraphs. Why?

  • June 19, 2014 at 10:04 am
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    @Koalaboy.
    There are so many odd things about your comment. Your son got baptized at 14 and at 17 is pioneering in Asia with his best friend and having the best time of his life, right? Do you live in Asia? Why would he move to a foreign country to serve and at such a young age? Do you know for sure that he’s being a good boy? Are you keeping tabs on him? Are you supporting him? Does he support himself? That makes a big difference whether or not he is having a “good time”. Do you know for sure that by the time he is 30, he will still be in the “truth?” Over the last 45 years that I have been in my congregation, I can say that out of the 30 or more children that I have seen reach the age of 30, only 4 are still in the “truth”. The rest have all been disfellowshipped for one reason or another and their families are devastated over not being able to talk to them or they hide their association but almost all those adult children were really zealous when they were as young as 17 and got baptized as teens. If any of these children had known that the Society had joined up with the U.N. before they got baptized, do you think they would still have gotten baptized? If they had known that it’s a proven fact that Jerusalem was destroyed in 586-587 B.C.E. and that the Society lies about it being 607, do they think these children would still have gotten baptized? Does your son know the true history of the organization? When a person signs a contract that will keep him tied to an organization till the day he dies, he needs to be fully informed of the real history of that organization and not be fed a bunch of lies, in other words, “bait and switch”. The fact that your son is happy pioneering at the age of 17 in Asia means nothing to me. Also, to compare juvenile prison children with witness children makes no sense to me either. And then you say that ex-teenage witnesses have the skill of being able to speak makes no sense to me either. Can you please clarify why all the things you say are pertinent to the conversation?

  • June 19, 2014 at 10:27 am
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    I think the Society pushes young children to get baptized so that their numbers look good so that they can send out letters to congregations to imply that they need to fund 13,000 more kingdom halls because of the huge “influx”.

  • June 20, 2014 at 2:51 am
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    Anonymous,

    Koala boy’s son is 19.

    I have a very simple question for JWs. Can you show me an example of Christian baptism in the bible where the one being baptised is not an adult?

    My attitude is this, one should only be baptised when one has reached the age of majority in one’s country. So, for the UK, it would be 18 as the minimum age. In other countries, it could be a little earlier or later.

    Of course, I would prefer that NO ONE gets baptised into the cult which is the WTBTS, but limiting baptism to those who have reached majority would be a good first step.

    This obsession with child baptism is yet another stark reminder that the WTBTS is dying. Artificially boosting its numbers by dictating that children should be getting baptised is the action of a moribund organisation that cannot retain its members.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • June 20, 2014 at 4:17 am
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    In some families, (Faith – divided) this will intensify division, igniting the war over children .

    My wife is a nurse. When I marry her, I thought it would be easy to work hand in hand with a nurse and care of our children in a sound manner according to WHO definition of Health: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (http://www.who.int/about/definition/en/print.html)

    I will never allow my child to follow Jehovah! I left the Watchtower after a serious scrutiny of the society and it would be cowardice to let my son be taught STUPIDITY.
    Why? Because when I was inside the Watchtower, I came to observe that (1 Corinthians 1:27-29) . . .God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put the wise men to shame; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put the strong things to shame; 28 and God chose the ignoble things of the world and the things looked down upon, the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are, 29 in order that no flesh might boast in the sight of God.

    I will not expose my child to SHAME!!!

  • June 20, 2014 at 10:40 am
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    Extremely well put, Jeni.

  • June 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm
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    koalaboy – you want to know something funny. The general population is good unless they would all be in jail. But another thing I love is hearing from the platform how some one who was raised a JW gave back a large sum of money or did a kind deed. I have seen homeless people return large sums of money. A homeless man returned a ladies wedding ring(keep sake). I have seen a youtube video where a homeless man was given about $1000 dollars and wanted to share some of it with a person in the video. Let me tell you this story one time I was stopped on the side of the road, two people, Elder and his wife, who knew I was a Witness very much in good standing called me when they got home to ask if it was me they saw on the side of the road. They never stop or turn around at the next exit to see if it was me and if I needed help(I was stand out side of my car on a major highway). I had several other non-JW stop and offer me help.

  • June 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm
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    How can you determine from a man’s many books, speeches and ideas, which is bad light or old light and which is divine and important to God? Of course Old Light, New Light, “we know longer follow that” are CYA phrases for the most foolish and unreasonable utterances. Added to the “Whoops we got it wrong AGAIN” should be all one needs to get out of this mess of lies.

  • June 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm
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    Is there anything a parent can do to destroy the independence of a growing child and warp their thinking than to say: “If you do _ _ _ _ you will break Mommy and Daddy’s hearts”?

    • June 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm
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      What about: “When you do ___ you make Jehovah sad.” Just paraphrasing Caleb’s mom there.

      Seriously though, teaching your kids that everything from magic toys to voting will make god so mad he will send birds to eat you at Armageddon is pretty awful. Guilt tripping is no way to raise a child.

  • June 21, 2014 at 4:08 am
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    @Scrubmaster,

    Steven Weinberg an American physicist said “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Steven_Weinberg)!

    Those are the TRUEST TRUTH I have learned from Jehovah’s Witnesses (“Other Sheep” in wolf skin)!

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