11 thoughts on “101 JW Beliefs and Practices

  1. This brings back memories.

    If I looked through the window and saw JWs at the door, I dressed in my cammies to answer it. Made for some gawks in the 30 seconds prior to me throwing them out.

  2. Some of those things on the list have since been modified with the ever useful tag of “if your conscience allows it.” My mother (an entrenched JW) made that comment toward voting recently. I’m sure, though, that the Brooklyn Brotherhood gets around that problem of “allowing it” with the other popular explanation of not doing something specifically because “it causes your brother to stumble.”

    I’ve noticed recently that JW doctrine is leaning toward the non-specific, probably so they can’t be pinpointed down to anything embarrassing.

  3. Ahh, yes. The “gray area.” I remember it being applied to celebrating birthdays, listening to rock and roll, etc. Sometimes people had “winter parties” where they exchanged presents… We had an family “unbirthday” celebration every once in a while – it just happened – so coincidentally – to have been on our birthdate too.

    But we didn’t tell anyone – it was great training in complicated kinds of deceit. Everyone knew that the less you wandered into “gray areas” then the better “Witness” you were. Careful cataloging and labelling took place – all fodder for the gossip chains.

    I was taught that voting, running for office, joining the boy scouts/girl scouts etc were all forbidden. But no-one made much of a fuss about my taking ballet lessons or being in drama club (well, until I was in “Fiddler on the Roof” in which there was a dream sequence that – doubly falsely – depicted the dead, but that’s a long story).

    I don’t remember being prohibited, exactly, from going to college. But there were many expressions of serious concerns (about “wasting time” on selfish educational goals when the end was so close, about being corrupted by worldly information, about the temptation to date outside the “truth” once out from under the eagle eyes of members, etc. And you know? They were right – because the more I read and the more I learned from more reputable sources, the less compelling their whole scene was for me.) My contemporaries didn’t go, although there was one that would have been a good writer and journalist…

    There was an awfully lot really going on with the teenagers in the congregation. They had no psychological or spiritual guidance that was worth anything at all, and they were very much discouraged from seeking any sort of help or friendship elsewhere. Some people would be singled out and scapegoated for very minor sorts of things – even at times things that hadn’t even happened. But others were more successful in underground activities of various sorts – they didn’t get caught.

    How things are judged also depends somewhat on the congregation. I’ve talked to people who were told that they would be attacked and possessed by demons if they left the “truth” – but that wasn’t part of the demonology lore at my congregation. So the “gray areas” – the “matters of conscience” – vary a little bit from place to place.

    Still, self-righteousness is very much encouraged, and everyone is always on the lookout for signs that someone might have “strayed from the truth.”

  4. unbirthdays? that sounds more like disney’s “alice in wonderland” (the unbirthday song) to me, not a custom by Jehovah’s witnesses.

    JW do not celebrate birthdays because the two reference to birthdays were celebrated by pagan leaders who murdered their innocent victims on both occasion and no worshipper of God, not even king solomon whose held numerous high profile events (that were recorded) was ever reported to have celebrated his birthday or received birthday gifts.

    however we derive joy, in serving God, in preaching the good news of God’s kingdom, showing love to our neighbors and we celebrate the memorial of Jesus’ death as mandated by Jesus Himself.

  5. to build on my previous comment, the second world war ended in 1945 but no reasonable person would carry a flag or anything with the swastika, even though it is a mere symbol. nor would any isreali in a 100yrs dress like a hamas militant during haloween and no american will wear a shirt that glorifies osama bin ladin.

    we JW have also decided to avoid such celebrations that pagan rulers in biblical times commemorated by slaughtering innocent individuals including a servant of God.

  6. Actually, the prohibitions for holidays were given a wide variety of arguments. In addition to what you say here, any holiday that put one nation above another or that was specific to only one nation’s history was banned – 4th of July, Thanksgiving, etc – because that makes the nation an idol, and loyalty should be given only to God.

    Then, anything that had any connection to larger themes, such as seasonal changes, was tied to lurking pagan elements in their histories. There were a lot of these, of course, since christians often absorbed other traditions or wrote over them with new interpretations. You will be assimilated, etc.

    Halloween was particularly despised – that’s an idea that has caught on again with the pseudochristian right wing fundamentalists. Also, Christmas, New Year’s etc.

    Birthdays were a gray area, since there was no prohibition, exactly. But Jesus said to celebrate his death, not his birth. Have you thought about why he might have said that? Anyway, then there was the birthday party where John the Baptist got his head cut off because of the machinations of a mom and her dancing daughter Salome.

    There was also the argument that birthday celebrations were corrosive to a proper christian attitude of selflessness and humility (the puritan argument) – that it wasn’t right to elevate yourself as the center of attention, as though you were royalty. Another argument against birthday celebrations was the materialism and sense of entitlement that comes with expecting presents. I don’t recall getting many presents, although the idea was that you could exchange presents any time you wanted to, instead of on specific days.

    Humans respond to ritual – it gives us a sense of connection to the seasons of our planet and our lives – but JWs are very very opposed to any ritual that they have not established. In some parts of the world, birthdays are associated with saints’ days – and JWs are against any notion of sainthood, not to mention Catholicism generally speaking. The “celebration” of Jesus’ death is a communion in which almost all JWs are forbidden to partake of the bread and wine, although they pass the emblems around the congregation to give the illusion that it operates as some sort of an anti-hierarchical group (it is a nod toward the early Christians, who they pretend to emulate).

    The arguments mentioned above (love the bin Laden update) are of the type that were used more often to protest the cross. Why would you wear a miniature gallows or a gun or an electric chair around your neck? Why would you glorify the torture and execution of the Christ?

    Could you specify the name of the celebration that “pagan rulers in biblical times commemorated by slaughtering innocent individuals including a servant of God”? I’m not sure I understand exactly what you are talking about here.

  7. jehovah witnesses are some of the coolest people on earth huh?the world is just jelous of them

  8. jw are the chosen ones.you are just mad because most of you have been shut out due to immoral acts.

  9. oh yeah I remember the matter of conscience thing. Although that doesn’t stop JW’s from trying to stop you from doing something even if it falls in the gray area.

    For example I remember mentioning that I was going to a disco type thing with my family at a sports club and the sister I was talking to didn’t like that so she tried to presuade me not to go. I think this was because 1. my family aren’t JWs and there wouldn’t be any JW’s there and 2. I think it might’ve been that there was alochol involved (which is an insane reason because I have never liked the taste of alochol)

    However what made angry was the fact that she had just told me that she had been with her family, most of them JW’s, to her non-JW grandma’s birthday party!

    I think that event may got the ball rolling to me leaving.

  10. @ dennis thurman: you say JW are the chosen ones? ok, i just wonder what your thoughts are on Rom10:11-13, Isa 59:2, Lk 13:3-5, Jhn 3:16-17,.there are many more however, im not going to quote all texts referring salvation here.

    it seems to me, a non JW, that God or Jehovah if you want does NOT discriminate WHO HE wants to receive salvation. it also appears the gift is free but only to those who really WANT it. if Jesus dies once for all 2Cor 5:15 the “all” seems to be limited by the thinking of the JW teaching! in my mind that is what the Bible says powerless to match the teaching of JW’s and not what was actually taught by Jesus.

    this is by no means a condemnation just an inquiry.

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