Non-JWs in a JW Family

Non-JWs in a JW Family

From the “Ask a Former JW” mailbag…

I’ve been reading your dialogue with JWs. I have no advice, though I have experience being married to a JW.

I have been told I have a distorted view of the Bible, that I am part of the great (?) Babylon. My parents haven’t seen my son in 1 year – they also are part of Babylon – and they live only 1 hour away.

I’ve been told that God doesn’t hear my prayers because I don’t use his real name, not to have a cross in the house as it may be a roost for some sort of demon. When she and my son are reading their watchtower stuff, she closes the door so I can’t hear the discussion ( we just don’t want to bother you.).

I have been screamed at when my mother sent my son a Christmas card with a cardinal in the snow, and only the words ‘happy holidays’ on the inside (don’t you know he may not survive Armageddon if he celebrates Christmas?). My mother walked through many aisles looking for a non offending Christmas card. I could go on and on.

Am I being critical ? Of course ….but this is just an “eye of the camera” report. I’m afraid to go where my real feelings have been shoved down for some 12 years….

So – that’s your ‘eye witness’ on JWs in the household —–I guess the love comes out at the Kingdom Hall.

Speaking of being visited in prison …..I’d like one of those loving and concerned JWs to come visit me in this one.

– Juree

Hi Juree!

“Babylon the Great” or “the Whore of Babylon” is based on the book of Revelation (esp. ch. 17-18). It is usually identified with whatever (corrupt) superpower reigns at the time (biblically, it’s probably Rome), but JWs see it as representing the worldwide empire of false religion (and most especially Christendom). They are, of course, interpreting themselves as being the only true religion. Many groups have interpretations of the Whore of Babylon and Babylon the Great – but JWs seem to refer to it more than other groups do.

On the issue of the Christmas card, they believe that the holiday is too pagan-affiliated in its customs and history to be celebrated, even if Jesus has not said to celebrate his death rather than his birth. I’ve not heard of any but the most fanatical JW invoke Armageddon at the sight of a holiday card, but it doesn’t surprise me either. Their sense of priorities is seriously skewed at times, and some are incapable of receiving the good wishes in the spirit in which they were meant. They might at least have explained their reasons – they will normally take any opportunity to do so.

On the cross issue, I have to say I haven’t heard the “demon roost” theory before (grin). Sounds like your family took some messages and cross-wired them in their fear. They do believe in demon attacks, and there is a lot of urban lore about smurfs and such, but that’s not the problem with the cross. JWs believe that Jesus was tortured on a stake, not a cross, so they don’t even use the word “crucifixion.” The other thing is that the symbol links the household, however distantly, to the above-mentioned “Babylon the Great.” One thing that we were told to explain out in service is that to wear a cross would be like wearing a gun when the person you loved most in the world had been shot with one. It has a certain appeal as an argument, but there are problems with the analogy.

Love and kindness are often reserved for members, as you have experienced. Family, especially non-JW family, are often treated worse than strangers (i.e., potential converts).

If there is a God, he/she/they/it hears your prayers. God is there for all, according to the central message of Christianity. I don’t know why you are in prison, but I do feel – always – that while there is life, there is hope. Find your freedom within, with curiosity and humor and forgiveness of yourself and others. Face your anger and hurt, talk with others, accept what you can accept, and move on to the next stage for you.

Don’t wait around for JWs to come and visit (lol), but do talk to the spiritual and psychological counselors that might be available to you. You can write to me privately too, if you need to rant someplace safe.


2 thoughts on “Non-JWs in a JW Family

  1. I’m deeply offended and astonished by the lack of Christian care and kindness displayed by the Jehovah Witnesses in relation to this person.

    Yes I believe there is a God, nevertheless, I believe none of us is capable of comprehending The Divine. Heck we have problems understanding each other! The value & capacity of the soul can not be defined, limited, or assessed by anyone other than its maker. The idea that a religion (which is founded by, organised, and run by humans) can determine the eventual destination or fate of a soul is arrogance mixed with ignorance.

    My faith teaches that religion is to be a source of harmony, love and unity between diverse peoples and if it spreads discord & conflict it would be better not to have religion at all!

  2. I can sympathize greatly! I too come from a home where I am about the only non-jw. My husband and I when we first married did not attend church and that seemed okay and much more respected by my jw parent’s. Since my husband and I began to attend church and both got baptized in a seventh day adventist church my family continued to verbally attack us. My Grandmother told me that she would rather we be athiest than join THAT church. My father and stepmother live 20 minutes away and very rarely see my children. My son has autism so I could greatly use the help but they often use their meetings as excuses why they can’t help and then I am told that “if you would let us take your kids to the kingdom hall we could watch them” I countered that argument with asking my father if he would have let me as a child be taken to another church. Of course his answer was NO but he fails to see the double standard. I would not allow my children to be indoctrinated by jw grandparent’s at all even if they are just reading “My book of bible stories” as it just allows the grandparent to push boundaries even further. My mother is my biggest support regarding my son but she lives 5 hrs away and as long as we stay off of the topic of religion or holidays our conversations are wonderful which in all honesty is about the best you can hope for when dealing with jw’s. My husband and I recently left the seventh day adventist fold also as we saw some similar cultish behaviours to the jw’s. We currently attend an Anglican church but I found it pointless to even mention this to my parents as it would just lead to more arguments. In my opinion the key to having a relationship with a jw when you aren’t one is to keep things on a very surface level and to mainly discuss common interests that have nothing to do with religion and can’t be pushed in that direction. Which is exactly what I do with my Mom in regards to my son and this has given us a relationship that would not have been there at all otherwise. I wish you the best of luck and know that I do feel your pain.

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