Love and the Watchtower

Jehovah’s Witnesses completely fail to follow the instruction of Jesus Christ “to love your neighbor as yourself.” How they can claim to be God’s chosen people when they do not follow the most basic of His commandments?JW Rejection
Jehovah’s Witnesses have always tried to promote the idea that their organization is the earthly representation of God’s love through Jesus Christ. Beginning in the early days of the Bible Students under Charles Taze Russell, they have called each other “brother” and “sister” as a representation of their special relationship that is not unlike that of a large family.

When a potential new convert is studying with an active Witness, he or she is smothered with love from not only the person who comes to their home – but from all of the other members of the local Kingdom Hall whenever they start attending meetings.

After they accept “The Truth” and submit to baptism, they realize that Witness “love” comes with a lot of conditions. They will soon find that the relationships they had when they were in the conversion stage will change after they become regular JWs.

The most striking thing about “Witness” (or should we say “Watchtower”?) love, is that it typically does not extend outside of the Kingdom Hall and the local Witness congregation. Witnesses will tend to avoid relationships with their geographic neighbors, even when people who live next door to them or across the street hold out their hands in friendship. They act very much the same with non-Witness coworkers and fellow tradesmen.

If a neighbor or co-worker suffers a death in the family, Witnesses will rarely attend the funeral, even when it is held in a mortuary chapel and not a church. If a neighbor is throwing a block party or other affair and invites all of the residents of a community, Witnesses will typically not participate – especially if the event coincides with a national or religious holiday.

If a non-Witness neighbor or other acquaintance is celebrating a wedding or anniversary, most JWs will typically turn down an invitation or simply not attend. Some Witnesses will even avoid going to achievement or retirement parties for their co-workers, even though there is absolutely no religious significance to the event. These are people they sit right next to at work every  week day.

Witnesses look upon these actions on their part as avoiding anything “worldly.” They intentionally set themselves apart and reject any meaningful relationships with the rest of their local community. They explain that it is because the Watchtower teaches them to avoid “all worldly things.” For non-Witnesses, these JW actions and attitudes are often interpreted as being unfriendly, negative, and unloving. Let’s face it: they are absolutely right.

While most churches of almost every denomination, Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, all have active groups and functions that serve not only their own members but the community as a whole, Jehovah’s Witnesses have no functions that are close to being in the category of “charitable works.” When there is a disaster in their local community, they will get up and move out, sometimes taking care of their own, but leaving the responsibility for assistance to other members of the community – in the hands of the local authorities, the Red Cross, Salvation Army or other sponsored charities.

One of my favorite Bible verses, and one that Witnesses often quote, is 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” In this scripture, the word “charity” is rarely used in modern Bible versions and is replaced by the word “love.”  The fact that “charity” and “love” are often used interchangeably in English language biblical passages shows that they are related in our language – as they should be in our lifestyles. “Charity” was typically used to describe non-familial love – essentially “love” for ones neighbor or other non-related persons. The Watchtower and Jehovah’s Witnesses miss that connection completely.

The sad fact is that the Witness culture does not recognize the very truths found in the written words of Jesus and the Apostle Paul as summed up in Galatians 5:13-15 (New International Version):

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are not “called to be free,” but are trapped in a culture that follows unrealistic lifestyle rules not supported by the Bible or anything Jesus ever taught. They do not serve each other or anyone else with love, with the possible exception of their closest Witness friends.

Most importantly, they do not “love their neighbors as themselves,” but are instructed by the Watchtower to avoid mixing with their neighbors or anyone else that does not believe as they do.

They are also destroying their own fellow believers and close associates by “biting and devouring each other” through the use of arbitrary rules for publicly disassociating and disfellowshipping members who break the rules. They may deny it publicly, but they do shun their own family members, close friends and former fellow Witnesses who commit some offense, express honest doubts, or simply decide to move on with their lives and follow a different lifestyle.

The saddest part of this real truth is that most Jehovah’s Witnesses do not really know what “love” is.  Love goes well beyond kissing your wife, giving your kids a hug, and calling your mother once a week. Real love is much deeper and broader than that.

Most JWs do not offer “love” or friendship to their neighbors, their co-workers, or even to their own family members who are not Witnesses. Their “love” tends to be conditional, is usually unforgiving, and as a rule is only offered to others who share their slave-like devotion to the Watchtower Society.No Love

13 thoughts on “Love and the Watchtower

  1. I was a JW for ten years (active) ten years inactive and now ten years Born Again!! Truly now I know what it means to be saved! I have never met another ex-witness. So reading all this stuff is fascinating. It is also all true. They were a cult. My poor brother is still caught up in them and is atleast a MS if not elder by now. He will not even talk to me. Sad….

  2. Sandie,

    Although this site is brand new and only has a few pages, I can assure you that several dozens of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses are already checking in and have offered to help with article contributions of their own and some financial aid.

    Thank you for stopping by and taking time to comment. Please check back often and keep in touch.

    Many others have experienced exactly what you are going through and still have relatives trapped inside the WT Org.

    JWs are clearly a cult. That is the real truth about “The Truth.”

  3. Thank you so much for this site!

    I have been undergoing study for some time, and felt very torn between the presentation that this was the only way to draw closer to God, despite that all the teachings made me feel farther away from God. I was torn between the talk of it being “all about love”, and feeling that I always felt very negative after the teachings (the opposite of love).

    I’m not sure why I kept on with this, despite how I felt inside… I guess part of me listened to the words, and part of me “felt” otherwise. I felt doubt and confusion. This site helped me to understand why I was feeling conflicted, and to trust my instincts.

    All inclusive love is the most important thing in my life.

  4. Heidi,
    And thank you for your nice comment. I appreciate it very much when readers take the time to let me know what they are thinking as they read our various articles and pages.

    Your comment spurred me on to finish an article that I have been working on for some time, “JW ‘Bible Studies’.” Please feel free to read it and comment later, if you wish.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses promise new converts “true brotherly love.” The reality is that the Watchtower promotes exclusivity, not inclusion. They do not want Jehovah’s Witnesses showing love to their neighbors or even to family members that do not agree with them. Former JWs are to be ignored, shunned and only dealt with at the most minimal levels when either the law requires it (support for a child or disabled family member), or when absolutely necessary (funerals, settling family estates, etc.)

    Having been in and out of the Witness organization during my lifetime, I can assure you that the closest and best friends I’ve ever had were non-Witnesses. The best of the best didn’t care what religion or ethnicity I was – and they didn’t care what my politics or religion were. It wasn’t about what I believed, it was about who I was and how I treated other people, especially them.

    The sad thing is that my family means a lot to me and I am glad to say that I have many friends and in-laws who are close to their kids and parents. But none of my Witness friends, past or present, are close to theirs. They rarely get together except at meetings or conventions. Sending a greeting card to a friend or family member is almost unheard of amongst JWs. Why would they? They don’t celebrate birthdays, holidays, or national celebrations. They might send a condolence card to a Witness family who has lost someone, but they rarely, if ever, acknowledge non-Witness weddings, school graduations, or retirements. They don’t see the need to spend the money or the time expressing their goodwill and wishes to anyone, Witness or non-Witness over such trivial celebrations.

    In recent years, JWs have stopped attending weddings and funerals held in churches or conducted by religious ministers in mortuary chapels. I guess they are afraid that the Devil will be there and that their faith could be damaged. They can actually be disciplined for breaking this rule and attending a religiously themed funeral.

    Heidi: ask yourself if you want to live a life of bored submission to the sleep inducing meetings and magazine articles put out by the Watchtower Society. Do you want to live your life bound with all kinds of rules and restrictions as to who you can talk to, visit, and to eat with – or to help with your labor or money whenever you feel the need? Do you want to be told what you can do with your spouse or lover in the privacy of your own bedroom? Do you want to feel guilty and afraid that someone will find out everytime you want to chat briefly with a non-Witness or ex-Witness relative or friend?

    Recently I heard of a older JW lady who was disfellowshipped because she volunteered to work in a soup kitchen at a local “midnight mission” in a small town. The mission was sponsored by the Salvation Army or St. Vincent de Paul – so I guess they considered that to be “serving false religion.”

    I tell all my friends that whenever they are facing a major decision they should do two things: (1) Get all the background information that you can to help you make the right choice, (2) and then “go with your gut.” If you have a knawing feeling inside that something just isn’t right, that you aren’t getting the whole story, that the truth is being hidden from you – then go with your gut and just walk away.

    Heidi, may your life be filled with real love, both familial and otherwise. Don’t be afraid to hold out your hand in loving friendship and don’t be afraid to take someone else’s hand whenever it is offered with goodwill and sincerity.

  5. My name is Hannah and I was raised as a JW. Technically I still am one because I still go to meetings and will occassionally go out in service. However, I’ve never really felt right about this religion. I’ve always had major doubts, and these doubts have been magnified now that I’m married and live in my own home.

    I really enjoy this website. I don’t feel attacked when I read these articles. I enjoy finally learning our history. I’ve never known anything about this religion or how it was formed. At first I was offended when I read that article about the woman who went to a convention and then I suddenly realized that she was completely right. The same thing happened when I read the article that showed the signs of a cult. At first I was offended. Now I feel that my eyes have been opened….but I don’t know what to believe.

    I haven’t made a decision yet. I have to do a lot of research and thinking, and I will start my research with this website.

  6. I want to clarify one point. Nothing in this website offends me. This is the most tasteful and informative website on JWs.

  7. Hannah,
    Thank you for the nice compliments on this site. They are very welcome and much appreciated. I am so pleased that our readership is growing exponentially every day and I do hope you will return and visit us often.

    I hope I’ve made the point very clear that it is not our goal to attack any individuals who honestly believe as Jehovah’s Witnesses that they are doing God’s will. I’ve known many wonderful JWs in my lifetime and I would trust almost any of them with my car, my house keys, or wallet. I think that many are very sincere and have tried their best to be good Christians.

    On the other hand, the Watchtower Society and its leadership is another matter. I think they have been dishonest with their followers about how they get the “new light” that supposedly “updates the truth” every few years. I think that their policies of shunning, their clear objection to private reading and research of the Bible, their hiding or clearly misrepresenting the history of the organization and its leaders, and their total lack – in fact discouragement – of community service, shows that the Watchtower Society is not truly Christian in philospy or ethics.

    If you are trying to decide whether or not to become a Jehovah’s Witness is based on their teachings and dogma, then I would strongly urge you to keep doing independent research that includes non-Witness publications and websites. Remember, once you do commit and become a baptized JW, any independent research using materials other than Watchtower publications will be considered a sin and could subject you to being disciplined or disfellowshipped from your congregation.

    If you are trying to decide to become a Witness because you think that they seem to be really nice Christian people with a lot of love to share – then stop and take another very hard look at them and their actions. Yes, as I said before, I feel that many are sincere and honest and I would trust them not to steal from me or to ever physically harm me. But I feel the same way about the Lutheran couple that lives next door to me, the Mennonites that live across the street, and even my other neighbor who tells me that he “got no time to waste on sitting in church.”

    If you are looking for friends and good companions, I guarantee that you would do better in almost any other church. If you are looking for a way to spread the word and do good works, then I suggest that almost any community church or a group like the Unitarians would be a far better choice.

    As I’ve told anyone that is conflicted over whether they should continue to study and maybe get baptized because some of the teachings and actions of the Jehovah’s Witnesses bother them – GO WITH YOUR GUT!

    Think of joining the Witnesses like getting married. Once you make a commitment and get baptized, the only way out is death or divorce (disfellowshipping). Both of those choices are unpleasant and messy. So think it through very, very carefully.

    Take some long walks, clear your head, go read a good novel or memoir, go have a glass of beer with a friend. Think of the joys in life that are all around you that will disappear from your life forever. Realize that as a JW you will be giving up most of your personal freedoms. Then make your decision. Good luck and my best wishes to you when you do.

  8. I was raised for the first 5 years of my life as a JW. My father stopped attending, and therefore, so did we. I just wanted to say, after reading some of the articles I found here, I think it must be a bit exaggerated, no? I never knew Witnesses to be standoffish with non witnesses(who were never part of the organization) … And Didn’t Jesus say that he came to bring division in families? It makes sense to me that if one is living in a world where the vast majority of people adhere to practices that are not spiritually beneficial, one would be a bit careful about I suppose, I am unqualified howeveones influences. Like an athelete avoiding McDonalds. I suppose I am unqualified however to speak on shunning because of honest doubts. That, if true, would leave a big craw in my stomach. But when I was there, I never witnessed anyone expressing doubts.

    I do have a question, where can one get copies of old watchtowers? I want to see just what was said about 1915, 1925, and so on. That’s another thing I have a big problem with. If I called head quarters, would they tell me if submission to the earthly organization is required at baptism? my recent bible study teacher said he couldn’t remember the exact words.

    I never felt right about the organization, and always felt unworthy of them and of God. I still think that to this day, it has had an impact on my self esteem. But On somethings, they seem to have a logical, if not spiritual bean on things…

  9. Just a reminder as to what a cult consists of, “A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.” Now that we’ve cleared that up, you claim to have been in the truth for 10 years correct? Okay, having been a witness, do you recall ever having had such “leader”? Maybe, at one point in your life, you had God in your heart and some kind of way the devil slowly crept in and has separated you from the truth. You having been a witness, can you see where that can be very possible? My tone may come off a little rude but please don’t take it that way, it more of a curiosity…@Sandie

  10. Anybody who do not know the history of JW and is baptised or not is not serious , he or she is not fully ready to be one and as a result such ones can be tossed around as wave will do particles on the sea.
    A serious JW will know a little about it’s origin if not everything about it, we have a big book dedicated on the history of the witnesses.
    infact we have books dedicated to barely everything from Jehovah God, Jesus christ our redeemer to Adam our forefather, just think of it.
    if any do not know, then he is just a follow, follow and such one is not worthy of being a true witness.
    Also check the lives of people who no longer associate because they are reproved or disfellowshipped as the bible instructed (and tell me which religion will reprove or remove it’s member or erred seriously).
    The organization do not look at faces they deal with you accordingly if you like stick or stay.
    so most of the things on this site are not all true, am impresseed with some while am not happy with most of them.
    [Editor’s note: “peter” is writing from Nigeria.]

  11. I fail to understand what the Editor mean by his note..” “Peter” is writing from Nigeria”.
    The portrayal ostensibly is….he is one of those.One of those uneducated and unsophisticated minds that JWs can and cotinue to entrapped.If that is what the Editor is adverting to supra,then the object of your site is malicious,self patronising,one track,insultingly condescending and obnoxious.
    Whatever your views are about the level of sophistication of the African mind is totally erroneous,intolerant and smacks of medieval ignorance.
    Peter only expressed a sound view-point like a couple of others on this page and to have dismissed it all like that,is uncalled for.
    I am a muslim from Senegal and I seem to understand now(Peter’s view-point exactly)why you are now an ex-Jehovah’s Witness.

  12. Hamady,

    You failed to understand what I meant by my note because you were looking for some reason to create a controversy where one does not exist.

    I wasn’t portraying Peter’s comment as being “One of those uneducated and unsophisticated minds that JWs can and cotinue [sic] to entrapped.” I was not criticizing Peter or his point of view. I placed the footnote there not to belittle him, but as an explanation as to why his use of English phrasing and choice of words was somewhat confusing. English is obviously not Peter’s prime language.

    I was not being dismissive. If I wanted to be dismissive, I would have written a normal reply to his comment and pointed out where I thought he was in error. But I did not. That footnote was my way of saying, “Please forgive Peter’s writing because I can see from his IP address that he is from Nigeria, not Europe or North America.” does not attack individuals, nor do we attack the rank and file Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are not the ones making the rules, making prophecies that do not come true, or telling lies about their past failures. They are simply followers trying to serve God – unaware as to the facts about how they are being mislead. It is the false prophet known as the Watchtower Society and its “blind to logic” leaders known as the Governing Body that we criticize.

    Anyone is welcome to come on this site and comment on any of the articles and challenge our point of view. Why you would want to go out of your way to try and protect Peter and Jehovah’s Witnesses from anything written about them on this site is a mystery to me. Peter was not the subject to any attack from me or anyone else on this site.

    Then you end with this statement: “… I seem to understand now(Peter’s view-point exactly)why you are now an ex-Jehovah’s Witness.” Hamady, you haven’t a clue why I am an ex-Jehovah’s Witness. If you had grown up as a JW and lived to see the political infighting, the constantly changing teachings, the failed prophecies, personal and group abuse, and the boring and mind-numbing meetings and “Bible” studies that average Jehovah’s Witnesses have to live with – THEN you would understand why I am no longer a Witness.

    Bottom line: My footnote meant exactly one thing: Peter was writing from Nigeria.

  13. Guys – get over it..I studied for many years and am envious of my brother who made it to the truth. So even though I didn’t “convert”, I won’t salve my conscience to try and make myself feel better that all that was wrong. Obviously it’s quite easy once straying from accurate knowledge to fool oneself again.
    Wake up, B (either way, you’ll soon find out in the end)

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