Are Jehovah's Witnesses a Cult?

Jehovah’s Witnesses Don’t Celebrate Holidays, or Much of Anything

As many people know, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, or any national holiday (Independence Day, Thanksgiving), and they don’t celebrate birthdays.

Jehovah’s Witnesses can celebrate wedding anniversaries, they are allowed wedding showers and baby showers, and may have a well-managed reception after a wedding.  In the past few years, I’ve noticed that they also have graduation parties for the kids, but this was unheard of when I was growing up as a JW.  I personally have never celebrated a Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, or a birthday of any sort.

The reasoning for this on the part of Jehovah’s Witnesses is that many holidays have pagan and unchristian origins.  You can do a little research yourself and see that Christmas and Easter are both mixtures of paganism and some Christian beliefs; even secular historians will say that Jesus was probably not born on December 25.  Jehovah’s Witnesses also reason that Jesus did not tell them to celebrate his birthday, but to remember his death.

This post is not meant to argue with their beliefs or reasons for why they don’t celebrate these holidays, as I would never do that with any religion.  I would never tell a Jewish person that their kids are missing out because they don’t celebrate Christmas, or tell a Christian parent that they should observe Hanukkah.  I respect each religion for what they do and do not observe, and understand why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate many of these holidays.

The problem, however, is that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t really celebrate anything, and they have few, if any, festivities throughout the year.  Jews may not celebrate Christmas, but they have Hanukkah and they celebrate birthdays, Halloween, and so forth.  A staunch atheist may not celebrate Christmas or Easter, but will probably celebrate birthdays, Halloween, New Year’s Eve, and so on.

Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate any holidays of any type, anywhere, ever.

Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate any holidays of any type, anywhere, ever.

Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate any of these things, and they don’t have their own religious holidays either.  As a JW child, your only chance at any type of party is the occasional wedding, which means dressing up in your uncomfortable Sunday clothes, sitting through a long sermon about marriage, then some boring party with grownup dancing.  As an adult, once you have your small and cheap wedding reception and a baby shower or two, your days of fun are over!  For the women like me who didn’t get married or have children, there was no such thing as festivities in our honor, at all, ever.

If you think it’s difficult for children to give up holidays and birthdays, you would be absolutely right.  It’s even difficult for adults, as parties and festivities break up the monotony of everyday life and give you something to look forward to.  They also bring families together and build traditions.

“Set Free” From What?

Jehovah’s Witnesses have often said in their publications that not being obligated to observe holidays like Christmas can actually be very freeing.  Note these quotes, from the December 2010 Awake magazine:

“Our family has been set free from the problems associated with excess eating and drinking and the cost of gifts we could not afford,” says Oscar.

“I love giving and receiving gifts,” writes Elfie. “But I don’t like the kind of giving that is done under pressure. When our family stopped celebrating Christmas, it felt like a vacation!”

Peter writes: “When I was celebrating Christmas, I borrowed heavily in order to purchase gifts and pay for lavish meals. Of course, all this meant that I had to work overtime, which took me away from my family. How thrilled I was to be set free from all that!”

Let me first of all digress and simply ask if these quotes sound real to anyone. How many people would use the phrase, “problems associated with excess eating,” or, “how thrilled I was to be set free”?

That thought aside, not feeling obligated to give lavish gifts and overspend during the holidays can be very freeing, I wouldn’t disagree with that.  However, if someone is overspending and borrowing to “pay for lavish meals” and is indulging in “excess eating and drinking,” whose fault is that?  No one is forced to do anything they don’t want to do for the holidays; many people manage to observe them without going into debt or acting like pigs.

Jehovah’s Witnesses also claim in their magazines and publications that they don’t need holidays and birthdays, as they can give gifts out of love and “at any time of the year.”  Yes, they absolutely can do this, but in my experience, they absolutely do not do this, at all, ever.  Growing up, and as an adult, in the religion, I never once saw a parent give their child a gift for any reason or at any time, ever, other than for their wedding or new baby.  As said, some are now having small graduation parties for kids, but this is a relatively new occurrence.  Parties for kids were few and far between when I was in the religion, and at most, might have been a few hours doing crafts and then having a slice of cake. What fun!

While some might enjoy the idea of not being obligated to give gifts, rather than being “set free” from just overspending and giving gifts they couldn’t afford, the Jehovah’s Witnesses I know were “set free” from ever having to host parties, buy gifts, or make life fun for their children in any way.  Children have all these holidays and celebrations taken from them, but are never compensated with any type of festivity, or gift, or party, or fun of any sort.

Yes, but do you?

Yes you can, but do you?  Do you really?

Yes, It Does Damage

A JW parent might shrug off this information by reasoning that parties and holidays and gifts are not needed in a child’s life, but this overall lack of gift-giving and festivities can hurt children who are growing up as Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Children aren’t stupid; they see other children getting gifts and fun parties from their parents, and then see their own parents, who are all too happy to be stingy and miserly and who never give them anything other than their basic necessities.  What are children supposed to think about how their parents feel about them?

Children see fun holidays and celebrations and festivities enjoyed by other kids at school, and then see their own religion, which not only takes these things away, but which then involves constant dull meetings and assemblies, sermons, preaching work, dressing up, home bible studies on top of weekly meetings at the Kingdom Hall, and always being told what you’re doing wrong.  JW parents really think this isn’t damaging to children?  What impression does this leave on children as to what type of personality Jehovah has? What type of life does this give a child?

They, too, read the claims JWs make about giving gifts “at anytime of the year,” and can see that these are just hollow words.  Might they start to question the false front that JWs put on, when it comes to statements made in their publications versus the reality of their everyday life?

I’m not telling Jehovah’s Witnesses what they should and should not celebrate, but I would ask how they think their children feel when they take away so much from them, without giving anything in return.  You can say all the words you want; you can claim that Jehovah is a happy god and that you serve him with rejoicing and that you give gifts all the time, but what about your actions?  Yes, you can create happiness and fun and festivities for your children and give them gifts at anytime, but do you? Do you really make your children happy with gifts and fun times and festivities, or do you just make them victims of your religion by taking away anything and everything that might make their lives more enjoyable, as if the more miserable you are, the better Witness you are?

And are these too just more lies printed in your magazines to make outsiders think your families and your religion are much more loving than they really are? I would go with the latter choice myself.

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35 replies »

  1. So on Christmas day a friend of my fiance (I’ve only met them a couple of times) and his family came over to our house. We drank made and ate food and really just had a great night. Well at the end of the night I told them “thank you for a merry Christmas” with a smile. They left and then I received a lecture that I was very offensive to them by telling them that because they are JW. To which I responded then why did they come to our house to celebrate Christmas if they don’t observe Christmas? I admit that I don’t know that much about the faith being that I was raised in a very religious house and was not exposed to many other faiths but I find it troubling that I offended them so badly when they weren’t/dont fallow thier own religion. They have attended more than one parties at my home and always had a good time. The hypocrisy really is strong.

  2. My parents were poor so I was glad they did not have to pay for xmas, but you can have xmas without being lavish… also in our part of town there were a couple of families that would have the odd childrens party with party games and bags and party food I probably went to about 5 as a kid? If we ever needed anything necessity like clothes shoes etc then my parents would get it and we would be so happy we didnt have to wait until Xmas like all the worldly kids haha and my parents did get us little things throughout the year like toys but then worldly kids would get that too as well as their bdays and xmas. I personally have Xmas and Bdays for my kids now and presents in between just little things to say I was thinking of them and to surprise them. i am not well off either but i love to make them happy. when younger I did observe that some witness families would have a present day like a xmas not at xmas but my dad didnt agree with that – he didnt agree with a lot of things, that even witnesses did. It was embarassing at school when everyone laughed at me for not having bdays or xmas and just always having to be the different one, the odd one out I found that really tough. It was a constant battle – not nice for a child

    • Not a J W. But I have stopped celebrating holidays because of all the pretentious stuff associated them. I do not even celebrate birthdays anymore. And you know what, it is extremely freeing! I’m so much happier. This world has become so corrupt with money and greed that people don’t even realize it. Children nowadays think they are owed something and expect to get what they ask for. It’s appalling. And to the person who wrote this article….you totally missed the whole point. If you teach children the difference between love and material things, then not celebrating these events will not affect anyone in a negative way. What affects children is the media and the mindset of most of the people in this world being on the Almighty dollar, which In the long run can be detrimental. I wish I would not have celebrated these holidays. I’ve had to undo years of conforming to things that I felt like I had to do.

  3. BTW I used to know one JW family who actually did exchange gifts. Once or twice a year, they would organize what they called a “box day” in which the whole family gathered together and gave each other gifts. One year they invited me, a worldly person, to join. I was a Bible student of the mother at the time, and I think she felt sorry for me because I had recently lost my own mother at the age of 28. There were four generations, all born in, and they ALL had a gift for me. One of them even gave me two baby rats, knowing I had also recently lost my previous pet rats (they only live 2 years average) and was looking to get two new ones soon, as I have always had pet rats. The mother of the family claimed that several other families in her congregation had box days too.

  4. “Growing up and and as an adult in the religion, I never once saw a parent give their child a gift for any reason or at any time, ever, other than for their wedding.”

    So you’re saying you have never seen a JW parent give their child ANYTHING? Like, they never caved in to their kid begging for a particular toy and bought it for them? You’ve gone into JW homes and never saw a single stuffed animal, board game, or piece of sporting equipment? Because those all count as gifts. Nothing needs to be wrapped up with pretty paper and a bow to be considered a gift. And I highly doubt that all of a JW kid’s possessions were given to them by worldly relatives.

    • Toys and stuffed animals should be provided to children so they can play and grow and learn, as part of their development; they’re not “gifts” anymore than clothes are “gifts.” A gift makes someone feel special and no one should need to beg for it anymore than they should need to beg for shoes. Most JW parents I knew were the stingiest people on the planet and I remember hearing some lecture their children, sometimes even angrily, if they asked for anything, as they’re taught that parties and gifts and giving these special things is somehow wrong.

      • I did not grow up one of Jehovahs witnesses and my parents were stingy. We celebrated holidays and birthdays and I got two parties out of my 18 years and one of them was thrown by my friends in high school. It was considered a gift to just get lunch money. Just because there were witnesses that you knew that maybe didn’t give gifts or whatever you feel is necessary for a child to have a good life, doesn’t mean that every Jehovah’s Witness is like that. I am now one of Jehovah’s witnesses and I am a mother. The congregation had a get together when my husband made a job change, we had a get together every time a new family came into the congregation or if one got reassigned, we get the kids together from multiple congregations and have bbqs, we go bowling, we go out to eat, we go to the movies, etc. We have more fun than my family who are not Witnesses. I’m sorry that you had the experience you had but your clearly saying all of this because you are upset with your own parents. My child is laughing and smiling all the time and he does get toys and we do go out and do things and have fun. He doesn’t feel the need to be center of attention at a party or feel the need to have gifts given to him on a certain day every year. He knows that no one is better than anyone else- we are all imperfect humans. This helps him to be kind to anyone that he meets regardless of what they have or don’t have or what they look like. Or what they give him or don’t give him. It helps him to be appreciative and not feel entitled to something. He sees my nieces and siblings and their pictures of holidays and birthdays and he doesn’t ever question or feel that he is missing out. He knows exactly why we don’t celebrate those holidays or events. He has more than “the necessities” and he is never upset that someone has something he doesn’t because he was not raised to be selfish or jealous. He doesn’t have to beg for toys at a store because he knows that material things are not what makes a person happy. It’s experiences and moments. He is loved and therefore feels loved. People are very mistaken if they think that material things are what makes a child happy. Love and time make a child happy. Those things you cannot buy, or fake.

      • I’m sorry that you had the experience you had but your clearly saying all of this because you are upset with your own parents.

        Please don’t tell me why I say the things I say or my motivations for anything; you’ve never met me and don’t know a thing about me. My writing has nothing to do with my parents; don’t ever assume that or anything about me. I write what I do for all the victims of the Watchtower Society, including the children who are made to feel that anything fun is an imposition and somehow wrong. If you have parties and give gifts, you’re certainly in a minority and I speak from years of experience. I shouldn’t need to talk about this; JWs should all be generous enough with their children that no one should need to talk about the miserliness and disdain of parents, but these are my observations after decades in this religion. I’ll thank you not to cheapen them by making assumptions about a family you’ve never met.

      • Toys and stuffed animals are gifts. What are kids getting at Christmas…toys and stuffed animals. It’s funny how people want to force others to celebrate with their families in the same way they do. Each family has ways of celebrating being a family. Christmas isn’t the only way. I NEVER celebrated the holidays. But, I NEVER lacked anything that made me feel special, even though we were amongst the poorest in the congregation. The gifts I’ve received as a child over the years, to name a few: 1) For upwards to 1 years, the women in the congregation raised us when my mother couldn’t because of chronic serious illnesses and hospitalizations and surgeries; 2) My mother taught me piano; 3) My parents let me take violin and saxophone lessons; 4) We had 6 parakeets, 1 dog, 1 cat and a lizard; 5) My mother sewed us beautiful clothes once a year; 5) We had a ninentendo / x-box 6) We had a TV and radio; 7) We were part of and attended numerous anniversary, wedding, graduation and engagement dinners and parties. 8) We presented concerts and others presented concerts for us. 9) My mother beautifully combed my hair (it made all the girls jealous) numerous times throughout the year.

        That’s to name a few throughout the year. I knew a lot of children in the projects that didn’t have any of those things. Maybe, for you, material, tangible items are gifts. But, for us, it doesn’t have to be tangible nor material. It’s the spirit behind it. If you’re simply giving gifts because everyone expects you to, how is that giving freely and not under compulsion?

        I’ve always enjoyed my gifts as a child and never felt left out. No, they weren’t wrapped with a bow. But, there was no doubt in my mind my parents loved me.

        I’m sorry you only feel a connection of love through the physical. It means, you’ll never be happy. Because you’ll continue to accumulate the physical to fill a non-physical void. Be happy your parents loved and cared for you. You seemed like you didn’t turn out half bad. That’s the gift your parents gave you!

      • Actually, my parents didn’t love me at all. The only attention I ever got from either of them was negative and abusive, including my own JW mother, who did nothing but scream and tell me how horrible I was and turn my abusive stepfather on me. They also didn’t care for me in the least; I had no new clothes and wore junk all the time, didn’t have food all day until dinnertime, had to pay for my own school lunch, etc. It was pretty horrific.

      • You don’t have to be a physiologist to see you have issues Alexandra James. Just the fact that you write about it (preaching) you are trying to justify your actions by uncovering the actions of others, and you are seeking support or others that think the way you think. You know you WILL find those that think the way you are thinking (hopefully it is temporary) because broad and spacious is that road, isn’t it Alexandra. You are trying to get the nagging voices in your head to stop. They will stop soon and you know this is true. Return to that cramped and narrow road, please

      • I have no idea what “actions” you think I’m trying to justify, since I’m not the one raping children, beating children, beating wives, judging rape victims, demanding money for my “religion,” and etc. I also don’t seem to have any nagging voices in my head, although I will openly admit that sometimes I can’t get this one annoying England Dan and John Ford Coley out of my mind. “I’m not talking ’bout moving in… and I don’t want to change your life… but there’s a warm wind blowing the stars around… and I’d really love to see you tonight…” Now you’re stuck with it too, aren’t you?

  5. My extended family always seem to “celebrate” holidays without saying that’s what they were doing. For instance, going out to dinner on someone’s birthday and giving them gifts, but they just *happened* to be doing it on their birthday, they weren’t *actually* celebrating their birthday. Hypocrisy is strong there though isn’t it. They even came out with us around Thanksgiving one year, if I recall.

    My mom tells me about how her mother was really big into celebrations, especially Christmas, when she was growing up. Then she converted and that all stopped. And it was the one few good memories my mom had of that woman. And then there were those few stretches of time when my cousins were allowed to see us, but at Christmas time they weren’t able to come over to the house because they weren’t even allowed to SEE the Christmas tree we had up!

    All so incredibly dull. I know my one cousin had dealt with depression, not of course that anyone would recognize it. She drinks and shops with an addiction cause she has nothing else to look forward to in life – no holidays, no career prospects, no higher education, married to her stalker, can tell now she really wants kids but her mom is discouraging of it cause you don’t want to bring kids into this world, especially if it’s ending soon. She talked to my mom one day when they were all out shopping about how depressed she was feeling, about how she wondered if there was any more to life, and my mom was like YES there is, and my mom is always encouraging her to go to school, get or GED, or go beauty school cause she’s really interested in that, and those sorts of things. She even offers to pay for it sometimes.

    My aunt came back and asked what they were talking about, mentioned they were talking about her going to school, and immediately responds “you don’t want to do that. it’ll take time away from your service”. So she’ll just continue being a house cleaner with my aunt. Has been doing that since she was 13.

    It’s just so sad to watch. My cousins are both really smart but all intelligence and inspiration has been drained out of them by this religion.

  6. My congregation used to have a Congregation Picnic. It was organized by a kind sister every year.
    Everyone brought some food and drinks (and luckily, we had very good cooks.) Everyone would come and sit down at one point for the prayer, then we’d all eat and converse.
    There were also a whole bunch of games everyone played, such as frisbee, football, ring toss, and racing with an egg on a spoon. We even all got together and had a dodgeball or baseball game. (It’s been so long that I can’t remember.)
    Personally, I only ever got to go to it once (and I was very young at the time). It was the only fun I’d ever had in my entire life. Although, to be honest, there were a lot of people around who made me uncomfortable and didn’t treat me well. But hey, I was going to take whatever I could get.
    But then I remember that there was an article from the WTS shortly afterward that strongly counciled against such events (but I’ve unfortunately forgotten why). They even specifically mentioned “Congregation Picnics”. So, the sister was very strongly counciled and that was the end of the picnics. [Yogi would have been outraged.]
    I can also attest to the graduation parties. They are doing them now. But honestly, the ones I’ve been to are more like boring conversations and sitting around for hours trying to find something to than a party. I spent one playing with frogs. Seriously. FROGS. My hands were ridiculously slimey afterward.
    But personally, the part I found the worse was that I’ve never been able to actually PLAY. Just play. Sure, there would be rare occasions where they’d put on the sprinkler in our broken strip of a driveway or give me a small bouncing ball. But then I’d be left alone. [But not really alone because they watched me like a hawk. I was never allowed outside without supervision. I’m 15 now and it’s still a rule.] It’s not really fun to go back and forth around a sprinkler for several hours or just kick a ball around all by yourself. The thing I didn’t get was the fact that my family couldn’t see why that WASN’T fun.
    Later on, I was allowed to go to fellow JW homes to play with fellow JW children with supervision (but even that was rare). I soon chose to stop going because the children I played with were boys whose mother’s were basically promoting them to me. I was the only “fully available girl” at that congregation for the young guys. So, they would be very kind to the point of ludicrously and offer me things. They even made sure that whenever I went to the meetings, I’d always have to talk to each of the guys. If I had ignored my constant questioning of the religion and stayed, I think I would have been forced to go on dates without any say in the matter. It’s the ulterior motive that always scared me because I didn’t like ANY of the guys there. (One of them was in his early TWENTIES.)
    I am now so glad that I’m leaving because I recently found out that I’m a grayromantic asexual. That means I don’t experience sexual attraction and I rarely experience little to no romantic attraction. In short, that means no sex and no love. I’m afraid to consider what they would have done to me if they had found out.
    Overall, there is nothing fun in this religion and I couldn’t be happier that I’m leaving. I’ll be disassociating myself in a few weeks. It’ll be tough because I’m still a minor, but I have to do it. I’m removing myself from my abusive family as well. I may not be a JW, but I still trust in my REAL Father (God) to be by my side. Wish me luck. =)
    (I’m sorry. I got a bit sidetracked here, but I needed to vent.)

      • My son is gay and says it isn’t his fault because he was born gay. He is probably correct, it is not his fault, it is my fault because I allowed him to go live with his mother when he was 12 (as I promised, let your yes mean yes) and he became gay a few years after. Because his mother had no boundaries. Her idea of parenting was to be friends with your kids and get them to like you. Basically he had a sexual experience with another boy and with no parental guidance well! And you know the world will guide you wont it. The common lie now days is “its not my fault this gay life god handed me”. Okay so let me understand this, so god made you gay but on the other hand he is telling you “men who lay with men will not inherit Gods Kingdom”. So the wonderful God that made this gorgeous planet and all these beautiful creatures and humans also, this God, the God of love is going to make you gay and then punish you for being gay!? I was not sure how to combat that one. So here is how I dealt with it. I continue to love my son as much as I ever have (nothings changed) and I continue to be available if he EVER needs anything at all, because its not my job to judge him, its my job to love him. Just because he thinks he’s gay doesn’t mean he still doesn’t need help from time to time and believe me he does and I am always there for him, (excluding the ridiculous bow on a gift LOL). I can help him with answers whenever he asks, because the world actually is the insistent one not I. My consistency isn’t to tell him what he is, he is a man and he is meant to have sex with a woman and he either will earn this or he wont. I cant force god on him and I don’t try. Mine is to tell him where he is loved and to believe that God calls us to the truth, I cannot and don’t try to force it on him. Nightsky, your current grayromantic asexual logic is a lie. And it will change believe me. It is what you have been taught by Satan’s world and you know this is true. You know in your heart of hearts when you lay in the twighlight of sleep when truth comes and it does come doesn’t it. You can make all the retaliating remarks you want and if you live long enough, you will see another lie develop, and another. That’s the nature of Satan’s game.

    • I do wish you luck, please think seriously about disassociating yourself as the consequences can be severe. Many ex-JWs simply fade for awhile and then decide if they want to DA or not. Even though you’re a minor, parents may still shun you in your own home. Whatever your decision, I wish you a life free of WT indoctrination and rules, one where you can explore your own beliefs and feelings. Keep in touch and be sure you get some type of support when you need it, even with a counselor.

      • Thank you. =)
        I was always hiding my doubts about the WTS for as long as I can remember. I acted as a completely different person for my “friends” and “family”. I’ve been officially fading for 1 1/2 years now and I’ve thought about disassociating for a while. It’s something I really have to do. And as for my family and friends, I don’t mind the shunning. I always had to lie about who I was and still they were always so unkind, not just to me but other people as well. They were never really my family or friends. People don’t treat you like that, ESPECIALLY your own family & friends. I really don’t mind. It will be a relief to be free from their constant hate. (For a religion of love, they sure know a whole lot of hate.)
        I’m have a really good friend (outside the WTS) that I’ve known for about 7 years whose family is going to help me out. I couldn’t ask for a better BFF. And instead of finding another religion to latch onto, I’ve made my own. One that only depends on my personal relationship with God. There will be no middle man judging or separating me from Him ever again.
        I’ll give you updates if you want. I’m really happy about being able to make a new beginning while I’m still young.
        I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors to spread the real “truth” and I hope you’re met with success. You’re amazingly courageous for doing what you do. My thanks could never be enough. I wish you well.

      • The feeling of attraction towards same sex is the result of imperfection. It is not a sin.
        But, doing things that destroys self discipline and considered as sinful should be observed.
        Just like wishing to have a new gadget is not bad,but stealing it is another story.

    • My name is Cindy..53 y/o and grew up as a JW. My mom and GM also grew up as one. My mom and GM still are a JW. My childhood was purely hell. I couldn’t stand going to church 3 days a week. Listening to the elders talk …I had a very hard time comprehending everything they were saying about the Bible. I have 3 older sisters that are out of the religion as well. I hated my childhood..very much. I wish my parents encouraged collage which they never went. So I went to nursing school for LPN 25 yrs ago and glad I did. At least I make a decent living. I stopped going when I was around 17. My mom used to bribe me that I couldn’t go roller skating if I didn’t go to the meeting. I thought that was ok…I just won’t go skating. In elementary school during the holidays we had to sit by our selves in the office and talk to nobody while my peers were having fun during parties. I use to lie on the school bus at Christmas telling my friends what gifts I got because I was too embarrassed. My parents didn’t show much love at all. They never told us they loved us. Never bought any gifts, couldn’t go to dances at school, no sports, we had to go door to door and preach even though I was afraid of dogs if their were any at the house. I could go on and on with my experience but today I don’t feel like I fit in in a social group. I use to be very very shy. I thought something was wrong with me. I was afraid to talk to people. Now I’m social and I love people. I married at 21 because I needed to get out of my parents house. I survived 8 yrs with a pathological lier and left him when I was in nursing school along with my 3 yr old son..which I regret to this day. It was supposed to be a temporary situation but my son ended up staying with my ex and his GM. We don’t have a close relationship because of that. I feel I’m not normal and have phycological issues like anxiety and depression and wondering if going to a councilor would help even after all these yrs. Im not good with male relationships asI am still single raising my 15 yr old son. My mom and I get a long but not that close. Same with my sisters. Does any one know of a group therapy for ex JW? I live in Liverpool NY. I will try and Google it as well.. Thank you anyone that took the time to read my post. It is Holloween today and my son is going to be a Minion. I celebrate all the holidays as I have for yrs now. Take care
      Cindy

      • Hi Cindy, it’s always recommended you see a counselor of some sort if you’re dealing with any psychological issues. Even if you can’t find a therapist who specializes in ex-JW issues, it’s good to at least start seeing someone so you can get the help you need. Your medical doctor may also be able to give you a personal recommendation. Good luck to you.

      • 1st. JW’s rely heavily on the Bible for guidance. However, birthday references are scant in the Bible and no place does it give any indication that they are forbidden. If Jehovah did in fact abhor birthday celebrations so much, why not make some mention of it in the bible? There is certainly a long list of taboos mentioned, but not a peep about birthday celebrations. 2nd I have read where pagans used to sing at their ritual meetings. Could we not conclude that singing at church services has its “roots” in paganism? Using the same logic, it would seem we should ban singing at our services and meetings. 3rd Is it absolutely true that all cultures derived their birthday celebration customs from pagans? I believe that with or without the pagan customs from hundreds of years ago, we would still celebrate birthdays today and it would be for some very wholesome reasons. To me, it seems like a very natural human activity. 4th In my opinion, the fact that pagans had certain customs for birthday celebrations has no bearing on why I celebrate my son’s birthday today and God knows that. Are we not judged by what is in our heart rather than what is in the mind of another? And 5th It would seem to me that Jehovah would approve of a family gathering for a birthday celebration, especially in today’s hurried world of I-phones and television where families don’t get together enough.

  7. A couple of congregations I went to had Congregation Picnic Days in the summer. After a day of “service”, the whole cong would meet up at a local state park for cookout and wholesome association. As I got older, this would become a bookstudy event. I’ve been out of the cult for some years now so I don’t know if this practice is still going on.

    I also remember certain congs organizing ski trips or other vacation-like events. But someone did something “wrong” and got counselled on it – so much for that. Don’t forget that teens aren’t allowed to go to school events because a. most are holiday oriented and b. we can’t have our teens hanging around worldly teens, right? There was an idea of having a JW prom which of course would be heavily chaperoned. I supposed that got shot down too.

    Yeah, you’re right. JWs don’t celebrate anything except the death of Christ. We would get dressed in our “Easter” clothes and then go out to dinner. But wait, I seem to remember some counsel being given on treating this solemn occasion as a dinner party.

    • Your experiences are very common. A congregation picnic once a year might be seen in some areas, but that’s about it. As I said in the post, I would never tell a religion what to celebrate, but please celebrate or have fun with something, anything! Their only holiday is actually a funeral, if you think about it. No wonder so many children leave.

      Thanks for sharing all your thoughts.

    • The Jehovahs Witnesses aren’t against giving.. quite the contrary.. they themselves were given the biggest gift in the way of Jesus without it having to be anyone’s birthday.. I have studied with them and enjoyed their company .. What is sometimes difficult to understand is that people often turn to religion and God for getting something in return.. whether help with debts…health and all those things.. and this is a good thing… but. what we learn as time goes by and that needs to be remembered is that “God is love” and that it the relationship with him that is what it is about.. and not what we ourselves on an earthly plain get out of it.. in other words our answers or remedies to health, money etc…

      So, to conclude.. seek first the kingdom of God and not the politics of the everyday life and everyday things…then go give your child a gift .. maybe a kiss, a hug… some time ,, some love and yes,, even a nice present.. but the teachings of God should not be about for what is customary or what we get out of it.. but… that of drawing closer to God.

      • It is precisely the problem that, as you’ve aptly noted, so many seek out religion for the sole purpose of receiving something in return. No one (absolutely no one) would go through the mind-numbing agony of sitting through so much talk of regurgitated events that (supposedly) transpired in the depths of ancient history nor would they agree to have every arena of life that may hold some decorum of “fun” ripped away to be labeled as “inappropriate” and to be counseled against. Anyone who signs up for the bag that any religion offers believes that they will be rewarded with some nutty afterlife related prize, whether it involves heaven, eternal life or a plethora of virgins…everyone is in it for something. I was raised along with my two siblings as a JW for all of my childhood years and this article strikes an all too familiar chord. As we all matured and our common sense was developed and strengthened, we all turned very strongly against nearly all the beliefs that were drilled into us through our childhoods. I give a modicum of credit to the religions that are grounded firmly in tradition as these will logically serve the purpose of keeping families and their religious communities more tightly knit but the JW organization has no such endearing traditions and has very diligently stripped away anything that may be construed as such. Handing over the reigns of your mind and actions to an organization with an agenda is never advisable and is not for those of a strong mind. However, there are so many “sheep” that are only too happy to follow even if it is to a mindless destination. As for a freeing event…turning 18 and no longer being subjected to ultra-repetitive, backward focused drivel was the most freeing experience imaginable.

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