Opinion: Raising kids as Witnesses

I can speak from experience: being raised in a Jehovah’s Witness family can be tough for many children and downright disastrous for others.Normal kids playing ball at the park

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a JW family in the 1950s when many of the Watchtower’s restrictive rules had not yet been fine-tuned nor enforced the way they are today. I also had the good fortune to have a father who loved sports and wanted my brother and me to participate in organized athletics such as Little League and high school teams. Dad would often want to play catch and even join us when we’d play in pickup games with our neighborhood friends.

My father was an exception to the JW rule by letting us play on Little League and other sports teams. Even back in the 1950s and 1960s, most of the other JW kids were not allowed by their parents to participate in team sports or to join in on other school activities. JW children were supposed to be spending their spare time at home studying the Watchtower or out “in the field service,” knocking on doors trying to “place” the Watchtower Society’s magazines and books.

I have to admit that some of my JW friends were far more talented and athletic than I. Occasionally when JW families would get together for a picnic or other Witness gathering, some of us would bring a football or basketball along and play in a JW pickup game. Some JW kids were really good with a lot of natural talent. Their parents, however, would never allow them to use or develop those talents, thinking it would take their time away from doing “Jehovah’s work.”

Richard E. Kelly tells his personal story in his book Growing Up in Mama’s Club, a Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses. After his family moved to “where the need was greater” in a small town in central Nebraska, his high school’s football coach saw Dick playing quarterback during a physical education class practice football game. The coach was amazed as the young teenager kept throwing very long and extremely accurate passes. As a young teenager, Kelly was tall, rangy, strong and clearly a natural athlete. [See Sidebar]

Over the next few weeks, the coach continued to watch him play. He finally took Dick aside and told him that he had one of the strongest throwing arms that he had ever seen. If he tried out for the school’s varsity football team and did well during the season, the coach told Dick that the odds were great that he could earn a college scholarship at the University of Nebraska or for some other major college.

Dick was excited about the possibilities that his coach had shared with him. He saw this as his opportunity to not only play football, which he loved, but also to get an excellent education. As it turned out, in spite of his pleas, his mother would not allow it, insisting that he spend his spare time in field service and going to meetings at the Kingdom Hall. Her position was that Dick’s going to college was out of the question; he should plan on spending additional time in door to door witnessing and when he graduated he could go to work as a volunteer at the Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn, become a member of the “Bethel family” and work in the printing plants.

No one will ever know if Dick Kelly would have gone on to a great college athletic career. He honored his mother and gave in to her wishes, leaving behind  his hope of an advanced education. He actually did go on to serve at Bethel for a short time after graduation.

Eventually, Kelly left Bethel after he began to doubt the teachings of the Watchtower. Later, after he married and moved to Michigan, he went on to have a very successful business career.  He did get his college education and degree as many others have done by paying for it himself and attending classes during his off-work hours. Kelly is now retired and spends most of his time traveling and writing about his life experiences. In spite of his successes, Dick often wonders what his life might have been like if he had not been raised in such a restrictive family situation.

Raising your children as Jehovah’s Witnesses will often result in their growing up with a lack of good communication skills and without a broad understanding of world history and current events.  When their primary reading materials are Watchtower and Awake! magazines along with a few of the current Watchtower books (which are generally just rehashed versions of older publications), your children don’t have much of a chance to grow intellectually.

In most Witness families TV and movies are allowed in only very restricted amounts. That’s not to say that some JWs won’t sneak a look at almost anything when other family members are not at home, but for the most part Witnesses are warned against letting their children watch anything having to do with politics, religious debate, general history, and professional sports.

As a child, my parents did allow us to watch sports such as baseball and football games. My father and I would also watch Wednesday and Friday night boxing matches with athletes like Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Graziano. I saw some of the more famous fights of Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali). Most other JW families would not allow their kids to watch such sports events – considering them to be “violent, and too competitive” and a waste of time.

There are some notable exceptions to these general guidelines. Venus and Serena Williams were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses and are both considered to be among the top ten of world class female tennis champions of all time. The Wayans family members continue to have successful careers in movies and TV. There are a few notable musicians that grew up in Witness families.

Jehovah’s Witness children often suffer from mental stress, depression, and inferior personality complexes because of the way they are raised. They are not allowed to participate in most extracurricular activities at school, including sports and clubs. They are discouraged from going to college, so many students will avoid taking advanced high school courses in science, mathematics, and languages. All they want and get is a very basic education as required by local laws.

For many young Jehovah’s Witnesses “travel” means spending vacations going to Watchtower summer conventions. During the 1950s many young JWs traveled with their parents by car to New York to attend one or more of the International Conventions held at Yankee Stadium and in 1958, also at the Polo Grounds.

Divine Will International Convention - New York, 1958

Because my family’s vacation time and money were very limited, in 1953 and 1958 we were forced drive straight through from California to New York. We had no time or money to take side trips or to stop along the way to check out historical sites or scenic vistas. Our goal was to get to the convention, spend eight days sitting in the hot sun listening to dozens of speakers drone on, covering the same subjects we’ve heard again and again back at the local Kingdom Hall, and then turn around and get back home so that my father could get back to work.

These conventions spanned across eight consecutive days, with morning, afternoon, and evening sessions. Many families never got to really see New York City at all while they were there, even though they were right in the middle of one of the world’s largest and most exciting cities. There was no time to go to Times Square or to any of the city’s many amazing museums. If there was a family field trip planned, it was most often a short trip to Brooklyn to visit the Watchtower’s Bethel Headquarters.

My parents did take time to drive through Manhattan so that we kids could see some of the tall buildings. We were staying north of the city in Mt. Vernon, so we missed most of the best sites – with the exception of the bridges and tunnels – and of course the famous ballparks where the conventions were being held.

I eventually left the Witnesses and went on to get an education and to work as a manager for a major utility company. My brother took his stand and went against our parent’s wishes, earning his college scholarship by playing high school tennis. After he graduated from the University of Nebraska (where Dick Kelly could have gone) with an MBA, my brother went on to have a successful career in both the real estate and financial industries.

Is this going to be your child's future?
Is this going to be your child's future?

Everyone else that we knew that stayed within the Watchtower organization ended up spending their lives in honest, but menial, occupations. It seems that the favored occupations for Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to be in the construction and janitorial service trades.  The few that have had successful careers in the professions or have become famous entertainers or athletes are either worshipped by some Witnesses or called “weak and self-important” by others.

The facts are clear: Witness kids, especially now with the recent increased pressure on them not to go to college or to develop a career, grow up to be adults without goals. Most will admit privately that they do not really believe in what the Watchtower teaches, but in order to stay close to their families they have to go with the flow and follow the Watchtower’s mindless teachings and demands for more and more time spent in field service.

Bottom Line: If you want your kids to grow up working toward a broad education and a successful career with a minimum of psychological problems, do not raise them as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

On the other hand, if you want them to end up barely able to write a readable sentence, have little or no knowledge or understanding of history or current events, and doomed to spend their lives cleaning the rest rooms or polishing floors at the local Wal-Mart, then by all means force them to become slaves of the Watchtower Society.

31 thoughts on “Opinion: Raising kids as Witnesses

  1. My son is a very happy child, goes to Disney when we can afford it. Goes to the park and plays ball. Goes swimming. Sings, goes to the movies. But, yes he also goes to the Kingdom Hall, out in service and studies. But what a blessing my son is. His teachers also agree that he is such a well behaved child and does very well in school. Most parents I know have the same fun with their family but, yes Kingdom Hall comes first. Should it matter what my child does in life as long as it is honest and clean. In the END will his education, house, car or material wealth matter to my great God Jehovah? Will any of that give him everlasting life?

    30 years ago things were different with a lot of things. For almost twenty years I been in the truth and would trade it for all the wealth and positions or anything. That’s why its called the truth, because it is. I know why we should not read these postings, because the love is not there. The world’s thinking is. Paradise is just about here and what will be left of all these material things?

  2. Ruth,
    I am pleased to read that you are the type of parent that allows your child to experience some things that life has to offer. When I was growing up my parents also allowed us kids to go to Disneyland (we were there the month after it first opened up in the mid-1950s). Our family took vacations (mostly on those years when there were not big conventions in New York), and allowed to play seasonal sports with the kids in the neighborhood. It seemed like we were always in the midst of a game of baseball or football every day after school and during the summer. We were also allowed to go to the movies, and spent many Saturday afternoons at the matinees and special showing for kids. We too grew up in a loving family that let us balance the many hours we spent in service and at the Kingdom Hall meetings with some fun time playing and just being kids. My brother and I were both encouraged by our father to play on Little League and school sports teams.

    So I personally do not have any complaints about my childhood as a Jehovah’s Witness. But then, as now, our family was very much the exception. Most of the other kids at the Kingdom Hall were not allowed to play sports. They grew up as Dick Kelly did (Growing Up in Mama’s Club) and were denied the pleasures and thrills of playing in a competitive sport.

    I can remember going over to a JW kid’s house to play and asking if they wanted to play catch or throw the football. Most of them didn’t even have a baseball glove or a decent football. Many of them told me that they were not allowed to play with the kids in the neighborhood. Some of them would have never actually played in any organized team sport if they hadn’t been required to attend PE (physical education) classes at school – remember PE?

    There are clear reasons why so many Jehovah’s Witness kids leave the religion as soon as they are old enough to do so, in spite of possible future shunning by their families and friends. Time spent studying the boring Watchtower publications at home, going to numbing Kingdom Hall meetings, and knocking on strangers’ doors is all precious time lost for children to be children. Yes, they may grow up to be good people and faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses, but maybe they could have been so much more in life. They might also grow up as so many do, depressed, crippled socially, and undereducated.

    So Ruth – are you going to allow your son to play and have sleepovers with neighborhood kids? Are you going to allow him to play in Little League or on a high school sports team if he has the talent and desire? Are you going to let him join the school chess or science clubs? Are you going to let him go to college to earn a teaching, business, or science degree? Will your son ever have an education that will allow him to be more than a retail employee at Wal-Mart or some other menial job “working for the man?”

  3. Wow, this is so interesting to me. I knew the JWs didn’t like to mix with others not of the same faith, but I had no clue it was so extreme as to prohibit participation in sports, clubs, and the like. I believe in worshiping God, and I believe Christ needs to be the center of my life, affecting everything I do. But I believe there’s a balance to be achieved in life, and that academic, music, and even sport participation can make you a better, more whole person, more able to serve God and everyone else.

  4. Kristen -thank you for your honest and well written comment about this article. The following is an edited reprint of a comment that I made on another site that I edit, JustOneOpinion.com, in response to an article I wrote about the passing of Michael Jackson. I think it is also appropriate as a reply to your excellent commentary.

    I think you, and some others, have made a very valid point about the influence that the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ religion has on children. I can truthfully attest that my parents, who were both faithful Witnesses from the time I was 9 years old, were very loving and dedicated to the success of their children. As was very common for that generation (1950s-60s), they would often yell at us kids and even spank us whenever they felt we deserved it, but we never considered ourselves abused or mistreated. In my family, the Watchtower’s teaching that to “spare the rod” would “spoil the child” was very much in effect. But even when their discipline was very severe, we never doubted for a moment that our Mom and Dad loved us. Unfortunately, many of my other JW childhood friends did not fare so well, suffering a great deal of physical and verbal abuse, growing up with many social and mental handicaps.

    One reason that I look back on my childhood with some fondness is due to the fact that my father chose to ignore some of the more stringent rules of the Watchtower Society. He not only allowed my brother and I to play sports with our non-Witness neighborhood kids, he encouraged it and often joined in to play with us. He even allowed my brother and me to play in Little League and school sports teams. My brother went on to win a state high school championship, winning a college scholarship due to his talents as a tennis player. But we were the exception to the rule even fifty years ago. The Watchtower Society has never seen the benefits of competitive sports or socializing with non-Witness neighborhood kids – and has tightened those guidelines even more in recent years to the detriment of many young JWs.

    At the same time, we were expected to go to all three meetings, go out in field service at least twice a week, and to participate in Theocratic Ministry School. My parents even encouraged me to read the Bible and any other historical literature that I wished on my own. I actually owned my own copies of the works of Josephus and Alexander Hislop before I was fifteen, something that would be denied to most JW children under current Watchtower rules. Even then, I was very much the exception to the rule.

    Dick Kelly had a completely different experience growing up as a Witness kid during those same years. His parents were the JWs that studied with my mother and father, converting them into the JW faith. Dick’s childhood was so conflicted at times that he wrote Growing Up in Mama’s Club: A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses to share some of his painful experiences as a JW child. I can truthfully state that Dick was a far more talented athlete than either my brother or I, but his parents absolutely refused to allow him to participate in any organized sports or school activities because of their interpretation of JW rules.

    So yes, many Jehovah’s Witnesses (both past and present) can honestly report that they had wonderful childhoods with supportive and loving parents. I still have many fond memories of going to meetings, traveling to the 1953 and 1958 International Conventions, summer vacation pioneering, and giving public talks. I had many wonderful JW friends that I still miss to this day. But again, I can assure the readers of this article that my childhood was very much the exception to the rule – even then. Since then the Watchtower Society’s rules have become even more restrictive – and someone like my father, who chose to ignore the rules about our engaging in sports and school activities then, would probably be facing reproof and possible serious disciplinary action as a JW – now in spite of all of his years of faithful service.

    I’ll end this comment this way: I left the religion when I was in my twenties even though my parents and then spouse were still active JWs. When I left, I never considered going back and I was determined not to allow my children to be baptized as JWs – and they never were. Both of my parents remained active and faithful JWs until they passed; I was somewhat estranged from them after 1981. Only my sister remained a Jehovah’s Witness. Although we love her and her family very much, my brother and I would not trade our non-JW lives for hers for anything.

    My firm decision not to allow my children to be raised as JWs was the SINGLE BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE – for them and for my very happy, talented, involved, athletic, and amazingly intelligent grandchildren.

    For that reason, I cry for what Michael Jackson had to deal with in his later years. He had many religious friends of all faiths, but outside of his own family, hardly any active JWs would give him the time of day and were often very critical of almost everything he did or accomplished. I sincerely pray that his children are not allowed to be manipulated into becoming little JW clones. I love them too much to ever wish that curse upon them.

  5. @Ruth
    I feel such an immense pity for children that are raised as witnesses. I was raised from birth as a Jehovah’s Witness and finally made my stand at 18. Almost my entire extended family has now followed me, and my siblings, away from ‘the truth.’ The thing that always disturbed me the most about my time with the witnesses was their fanatical certainty they have that this world is temporary. When i was just becoming a teenager, armageddon was just around the corner. Here I am, twenty nine years old, and the world is still here. I pity anyone whose well intentioned hopes of having a better world to live in have been taken advantage of in such a way that they are willing to trade their individuality and personal freedom of thought to accomplish it and program their own children in the process. I love my family and I don’t regret a thing about my adolescence, but not a day goes by that I don’t feel hurt by it. It’s taken me years to repair the damage the experience caused. I’ve finally started college to gain employment that pays over $9 an hour, and started volunteering my time to causes that help others. To any witnesses on the fence about leaving I say follow your heart, trust your instincts, and be incredulous; use the mind your maker gave you.

  6. i believe the way of the truth is the best way of living…yes it might not be so very fun and thrilling like how you feel when playing sports, but there is a lot of joy in living in the truth and having a relationship with jehovah…if you truly love him you find much peace and happiness in serving him, young or old…its diffrent for those who dont love jehovah, you dont find peace in the truth becuase love for him has to be the foundation of your purpose and life— you can find your joy in these worldly things where true worshippers of jehovah find it in him…im sorry you never experience this…raising our kids to seek the kingdom first and stay close to jehovah is important…children who have no love for jehovah–thats a diffrent story, ofcourse they will be unhappy growing up as a witness…attending metting and trying to abide by such strict rules..witness parents just want to protect their kids and do what is best for them spiritually…im sorry you have bad experience and outcomes….may i ask please…if you ever truly had a relationship with jehovah?

  7. This is directed to Sol and other Jehovah-lovers: Witness or not. Do you actually love Jehovah as he is revealed in the Bible – or do you love your own personal ideas and imaginings of a kind, just God? Jehovah in the Bible is unkind and unfair. He has moods and is changeable…and his most common mood is anger. He experiences frustration and reacts with uncontrolled rages like a gigantic toddler. He does not show himself to be all-powerful and all-knowing. Do you realize that if God had to put us on this earth to “test” us – a common Judeo-Christian belief- that would mean that He doesn’t know every one of us or what we’ll do? So, he would lack some knowledge – knowledge of His own creations? In the Bible, Jehovah even admits to being the “creator of evil” as well as “good”. After all, who created Lucifer/Satan? (and for those who believe in eternal Hell – who created that horror?). I know JWs don’t believe in Hell, but they do believe in the Bible (well, sorta/kinda…) and it’s time people realized that the Biblical Jehovah is downright cruel, bloodthirsty, and also approves things like stonings, rape, keeping concubines (sex slaves, basically), keeping and BEATING slaves, women as second class citizens, genocide (mass exterminations of entire tribes or peoples, including pregnant women, babies, small children, frail elderly, and even animals) . I think that no one actually LOVES this picture of Jehovah, so they replace it with another picture….the picture in their hearts of Unconditional Love, the only “God” worthy of adoration.

  8. This is for Sol and other Jehovah-lovers, JW or not: do you truly love Jehovah as revealed in the Bible – or do you love your own ideas and imaginings about him? Jehovah in the Bible is cruel, bloodthirsty, moody ( favorite mood: anger) and he admits to being the”creator of evil or calamity” as well as “good”. Most Christians (also Jews and Muslims) believe God is “testing” us with this life on earth. Do you realize that this would mean that God is not all-knowing – he doesn’t know the hearts of his own creations, what we’ll do with our lives, whether we’re good, evil or in-between? The future would then be hidden from him. Jehovah experiences frustration and reacts with uncontrollable rage and frequent boasting about his powers and knowledge. Would an all-powerful, all-knowing, purely loving God act like this? Or does it sound not only human, but immature? In the Bible, Jehovah shows approval of stonings, keeping concubines (sex slaves), keeping and BEATING slaves of all kinds, rape, treating females as property, sacrificing harmless animals (he claims to enjoy the smoke and smell of burnt flesh!), and he really loves genocide ( mass extermination: killings of entire tribes and peoples: including babies, pregnant women, the elderly, children and even animals). And remember Jehovah’s shameful abuse of Job, his devoted follower? I don’t think anyone loves this Jehovah, so they make up another Jehovah, kind and just, in their own minds. I feel that everyone carries an image of Unconditional Love in their hearts and if there is a God, we all know that He/She must be none other That.

  9. Betty,
    These are very well considered comments, but I’m afraid that they will fall on the deaf ears of most JWs. When you try to reason with many “Bible-thumping” Christians, like Jehovah’s Witnesses, they do not want to recognize that the God of the Hebrew Scriptures is much different than the God of the Greek Scriptures. Your points about God’s treatment of Job is well-considered and supports your points very well. At some point, Christians will have to decide whether they will look up to an angry God who wants to wipe out everyone that does not spend their lives worshiping him, or if they want to worship a kind, forgiving and loving God who wants to include everyone amongst His children and make their lives wondrous and joyous experiences. In the late 19th Century, Robert Ingersoll described the Bible’s presentation of God as a dysfunctional parent with great passion and skill.

  10. to bettie: did you just said that it was Jehovah who did all the shameful things to job??? i doubt if you have really read the bible. Or shall i say did you really understand what you are reading. Or do you really know the situation of the story. Or you might just have heard it from other so-called religious groups too. Hey, check it out.;>
    and if you dont understand the meaning of the word “LAW” and “RULES”, the encarta is for you to surf.
    If lawlessness for you is just a big OK, then i wouldnt doubt if your comment is like that. It’s like saying, let the robbers, killers, terrorists and all live a peaceful life together with the law-abiders. dont punish them. RIGHT.

  11. sol, you’re definitely right and i agree with you. there is much peace in being with Jehovah’s family. And like you, i find joy in being balanced. our conscience will really tell if what we are doing had already lapsed the law of God. though Jehovah and Jesus did not gave a list of what to play, but everyone knows that THEY WOULD be against sports like boxing, wrestling, hitting your opponents bad, and the likes. thanks 4 being honest.

  12. to bettie: God created all the angels. and satan is one of them. that’s right. but satan was a good angel in the beggining. what made him satan was his own choice. this good angel decides to be bad.
    just like you, if you don’t believe in God’s righteousness, then it’s your choice. But let’s put it this way… you could choose for yourself to be good or bad. and if you choose yourself to be bad, and you go to jail…. *(NOW THINK OF THIS), would you blame your mother or father for bringing you here on earth and now that your in jail and accuse them that they’re BAD? God gave us the freewill. Science says, that in every action there is a reaction. so do good and earn goodness too. you will all be answerable for what you choose. ignore gravity, jump on a building… who will you blame if you survive half-alive? GOD.. again??? :>

  13. to Kristen: i’d just like to inform you more that JWs do not mean to SHUN others. they’re even glad to know people who have interest in God’s kingdom. What they avoid is having INTIMATE (thats the word) relationships with those that does not have a deep spiritual inclination. especially those people with selfish material interests in life ONLY. and with regards to sports, JWs dont prohibit their kids to enjoy any, for as long as it is SAFE. what they avoid are the EXTREME and possibly DANGEROUS sports or those of the kind that may enforce hard, strong body contacts. I hope this make the story clear and realistic. And being a superstar in any sports would really leave a person unbalanced with spiritual matters. You could not serve 2 masters at a time. You know what i mean. Get more interested. :>

  14. @Bettie Weinberg@Bettie Weinberg

    you dont know jehovah. if you studied god word the bible maybe you will understand. you have to be meek, if you really have no interest in drawing close to jah then you wont know him or his love and you wont know the kind of god he is.

  15. My husand’s ex-wife is a Jehovah Witness. She has custody of their daughter who she is raising one as well. It enrages me some of the things that these people believe, but I have to just keep my mouth shut. I believe in God and Christ, but I will also proudly wear my crucifix around my neck too. I read an entire 2 pages the other day in her information on how ridiculous it is for people to wear one and basically how “unreasonable” they are for doing so. She was to act out this whole thing at her “meeting” that night. I was disguisted. I continually pray that she will see that this controlling religion is not the answer. She is so afraid to disappoint her mother, as her older brother has already figured out how insane it is to believe something that continually has changed their doctrine so that they dont look foolish. I also see the social awkwardness she has displayed in social settings. I just try to leaf by example….you can love God, and not fear that the end is around the corner, you can make something out of this life so you can be successful, have tons of friends, have birthdays, celebrate Christmas….its OK! youre not going to hell for any of it. I hope she sees the “light” and steps away from the “truth” or whatever they call it today.

  16. @Sunshine – I’ve checked out your link and can recommend it to anyone who wants to actually get a literate description of a semi-official Watchtower point of view. Over all, it’s very well written and presents its arguments well. I’m sorry that you’ve decided to post it on a rather difficult to find website location. I suggest that you create your own website and post those articles there.

    You seem to have the opinion that the readers of Ex-JW.com are not interested in hearing from current Jehovah’s Witnesses or their supporters. That is incorrect. While I think your articles present a rather Utopian and unrealistic view of what it’s like to be a Jehovah’s Witness, you articulate your views well. Your points about the treatment of JW children are well reasoned, but they tend to ignore reality. As you point out, children of JWs can choose to leave or believe what they want when they become adults. You ignore the facts, however, that they (and their families to some extent) will still suffer from the treatment accorded to them by their extended families and former friends for making those choices.

    If those young people decided to become baptized at an early age, not really understanding the commitment they were making, then THEY WILL be disfellowshipped and shunned by their families. That is expected, and to some extent, heavily enforced by the leaders of their congregation.

    While you state that JW youth can decide to go to college or university, you fail to mention that doing so will cause them and even their fathers to lose any privileges they might have within the congregation. There was even a relatively recent KM article about this situation, indicating that elders and ministerial servants could, and in some cases should lose privileges if they supported their child’s desire to get a higher education.

    There is a reason for the large exodus of JW children from the organization (recently estimated at 76%), especially in North American and Western European countries. It’s not just because they want to go out and become sinners, evil-doers, or atheists. It’s because many of them have come to the realization that making a choice to remain a Jehovah’s Witness leads to a waste of their lives – chasing myths promoted by a cultish organization.

    I’ve left your posting, with its link, untouched. I invite our readers to go check it out – it’s safe (but beware – only click on the spammy advertising links at your own risk!).

    I invite you to comment on any of our other articles as well.

  17. and the paedophile register the governing body keep in Brooklyn of known molesters within their religion but none of whom they will reveal to the authorities but, would rather, shield them….no one going to mention that?

  18. I just can’t stand when some says, “that’s why it’s called the truth, because it is” that is an opinion. Opinions aren’t the truth. The truth is when you see something with your own eyes and then say, it’s the truth. Otherwise, opinion. Your opinion is based off writings from thousands of years ago, and as with all history, the truth in the writings is often lost or changed. I am not against most things JW’s stand for. I just don’t like “Truth” or the racist ways they are against “worldly people”

  19. Ella
    I’m married to a JW who raises our children as JW’s. I refuse to call it the truth. I never bring up her faith because everything I say falls on deaf ears. However, when she brings it up, she knows it won’t end very well.
    I found this page after the elders started giving my wife a hard for allowing me coach 2 of my son’s soccer teams. I talked to this elder and told him to drop it. 2 days later, she is called to have a meeting with him and his wife about soccer and being around worldly children. Now I monarchs mission to make him regret ignoring my wishes to drop the soccer garbage.
    I would love for you (Ella) or anyone to elaborate on your post. Just facts would be appreciated.

  20. RIch, how do you feel about being married to a JW? looking back on the whole thing (i know that the kids are most likely great and a huge part of your life that you would not take back) but putting that aside. If you did it all over again would you marry a JW again, or would you let that one go?

  21. Child abuse at it’s best. These poor children are taught to contirbute nothing to society, hang out in starbucks and be nothings. What a sad story, all in the name of 8 idiots who think their interpetitation is correct. Smh….sad!

  22. I am 60 years old and raised as a JW. I Listened to doomsday talks 3 times a week. I was frightened about demons and nervous to spend a night alone until I was over 30. I spent my formative years looking at pictures of death and destruction in the society’s literature. I was the only kid in my class that didn’t celebrate Christmas or birthdays or get to go out trick or treating. I was discouraged from critical thinking and getting an education. I had good parents but even good parents don’t make up for missing out on the childhood my school pals had. I don’t think growing up in a doomsday culture is an appropriate childhood for bringing out the best in anyone.

  23. Hi, I’m 12 and and my parents are Jehovah witnesses. I cant do school clubs, but I am in the science fair club, but only because there is only like 5 people in it. My parents, no actually my family, are all very verbally abusive, and my dad has left bruises on me. I don’t take it personally, but I do cry from it often, it makes me fells better. My mom tells me to shut up and acts like me speaking to her is like the worst thing ever. And the meetings and service, oh boy, I don’t even….anyway.. any help or advice would be great, thx. And btw, I want to go to college and pursue a career in medicine.

  24. Hi Samantha, I’m so sorry for what is happening to you. I was also raised as a JW, and I had a very similar experience when I was 12. I know this may be very hard, but what is happening to you is abuse, and you don’t deserve to be treated this way. NO one does! And it’s not your fault. Is there a trusted teacher or adult at school you could talk to? There are really good people out there in the ‘world,’ so don’t be afraid to reach out. I really encourage you to talk to a teacher or a school counselor, even the teacher that leads the science fair club. And hold on to those dreams! You can be a Dr. I am in my 40’s. I have two Masters Degrees, and a great career. You can get through this, and you can go to college! That helped me a lot when I was your age – remember it is not permanent. I’m pulling for you – stay safe.

  25. EVERY SINGLE STORY that iv’e read about children who grew up as JW’s has been one of hardship, loneliness and isolation. Every one of them. A childhood completely devoid of any kind of fun or happiness. Most describe being able to go to the park, get an ice cream sundae, have a sleepover or watch cartoons for an hour as something that made them absolutely ecstatic as it was so rare. Most also talk of feeling ostrasized or like an outsider, as they could not play with other children in the neighborhood or participate in ANYTHING in school. Their life consisted of learning Jehovah’s Witness literature by heart, listening to false prophecy after false prophecy about the Armageddon that is supposed to happen EVERY YEAR, and knocking on doors “preaching the good word” by the time they were like, 5. Every person that tells their story is now, thankfully, out of this child molesting mind control cult, but are still very, very bitter, depressed and sad over a wasted childhood.

  26. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not perfect. There are imperfect people in all organisations/faiths/beliefs worldwide. That is why we need to listen to Jehovah’s Word, the Bible. Yes many people did have strict upbringings in the Witness faith-I was one of them too. But I don’t blame my Mum-(who sadly passed away in January, robbed of her life by Alzheimers)-for bringing me up to know the Truth-it IS the Truth, and Bible phrophecy is being fulfilled all of the time. Mankind is the one doing inhuman things to fellow mankind. Jehovah has given us all freedom of choice, freedom of will, just as he gave Adam and Eve the same all those years ago-and look at the mess the world is in now, because they wanted their own free will! Look at the bigger picture-Jehovah’s Witnesses are politically neutral, so we don’t have blood on our hands because we don’t vote in the worldly governments that go to war or drop bombs on innocent people. We don’t go to war against our fellow man, we respect the laws of our respective countries of residence, we work(whether that is in a high powered job or more menial-everyone has their own level of ability, some are content with less paid jobs, some want more) and yes in the past sometimes we have been encouraged NOT to partake of higher education etc because it can interfere in our worship etc but ultimately at the end of the day you are all able to demonstrate your own free will and not be part of the faith if you choose not to be. However the only thing that I find is that often when people have left the faith, instead of just getting on with their own lives and letting those that still want to be Jehovah’s Witnesses get on with theirs, no, the ones who have left just want to say disparaging things about Jehovah and the ones who still worship Him. Sour grapes? Yes, it does seem like that to me!

  27. Hi Samantha! I’m so sorry to hear about what you’ve been going through. What you’re experiencing is abuse if it makes you cry that often or if you’re being physically hurt. And it’s not your fault, as someone has said.
    As someone has already said, there are good people who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses who care about you. Is there a trusted teacher or counselor at school you can talk to?
    They’ll listen to you without judgment. And yes, you can go to college and get a medical degree if you want! That’s one way to help others in the world. Remember, you can always reach out to trusted adults at your school whenever you’re feeling sad or overwhelmed by problems caused at home. Take care!

  28. I’ve watched YouTube videos of X-JW’s talking about their experience totally immersed within this restrictive, authoritarian, mind-controlling and fear-mongering cultish group. I think it’s really sad to hear that some parents have convinced themselves (as a result of conformity and heavy indoctrination into a false organization) that it’s “Jehovah’s” will and a salvific life-or-death issue that their kids not be allowed to celebrate their own or others’ birthday, or Chistmas, Halloween or Mother/Father’s Day, or other holidays, not be allowed to associate with descent non-JW’s, not be allowed to have opinions, views or conclusions outside of the Governing Body’s, have free time, energy, and childhood wasted thanks to pointless restrictions and weekly meetings, and live in fear of what will happen if they step out of line from the leadership’s tight control (e.g. marking, reproof, disfellowship/shunning). I think that some beliefs are Biblical truth from a fundamentalist, literliast, evangelical perspective. However, all of the above mentioned are reasons why people leave this organization once they grow up, as kids and teens, suffering from a sense of social isolation, lack of fulfillment, happiness, and resulting mental health conditions. It’s individuality, personal happiness, travel, adventure, intellectual activity, and frredom that matter to a lot of people in this life, as well as making it to God’s kingdom in the next. This organization is gulity of spiritual and psychological abuse of people. People want to really live and that’s why they leave.

  29. I can honestly say that being raised as a JW is not something I would wish on anyone. I was born and raised as a JW and even learned to walk in a kingdom hall. I was an extremely intelligent child and learned to read (both English and spanish) at the age of 3. My childhood was overprotected and predetermined to say the least. I never celebrated any of my birthdays or any holidays. I wasn’t allowed to have play dates with school friends or even partake in any school holiday events. My parents would let the teachers know not to let me watch any holiday movies that were being presented in class. They would put me in a separate room to read silently. But soon I would realize that it wasn’t the things I couldn’t do that were so terrible, it was the things I was forced to do.
    My parents made me to go to meetings 3 times a week and go door to door preaching every Saturday. I hated it because I didn’t believe in any of it. Id beg them to stop making me do it but they still forced me to. If I didn’t adhere to their wishes, corporal punishment would get involved. There was no sense of privacy (my mom read my journals) or freedom. No sense of control on my part. I felt extremely trapped and smothered and at times felt like I would suffocate. All I could think of was the fact that I was stuck in this desolate prison until I was old enough to leave. The thought ate me up inside. I began to injure myself when I was 11 years old.
    It was also then that i began losing the will to live. I would self injure often and my parents finally had to take me to a psychologist. I went to therapy sessions at least once a week until I was about 19 or 20. I felt trapped and alone because my mother would force me to go to meetings and go door to door preaching(all for something I did not believe). I was put on antidepressants at about 12 years of age after my parents found out that I wanted to kill myself and had to hospitalize me. I remember butchering my body just to release the desperation hidden underneath. Every aspect of my life was over examined and controlled. I was a porcelain doll for them to dress up and parade around. Pinching my arms to remind me to smile and be polite. For my mom, if her kids weren’t doing well in “the truth” it was a bad reflection on her as a parent. My life was a living hell and she knew why. But she didn’t stop forcing religion down my throat until I finally left her house.
    The scars that this “religion” has left on me as well as my siblings is something not even my wildest nightmares could conjure as a child.
    I wish there were laws to protect children against religious abuse. I almost died because this religion made life seem like it wasn’t worth living. I remember as soon as I was out of my mothers controlling grasp I felt a weight lift off my chest like I could finally breathe. Like an elephant had been sitting on me since infancy and had finally decided to leave me in peace.

  30. When asked which is the greatest commandment, the Christian New Testament depicts Jesus paraphrasing the Torah: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,”[2] before also paraphrasing a second passage; “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”[3] Most Christian denominations view these two commandments as, together, forming the core of the Christian religion.[4] The second passage is considered to be a form of the Golden Rule (circa 1300 BCE),.[11]

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