Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Really Masturbate Their Babies to Keep Them Quiet?

*** warning: graphic language ahead ***

In this post I talk about the view of Jehovah’s Witnesses when it comes to masturbation.  According to those who publish their literature, masturbation makes you so selfish that it actually ruins marriages, and keeps a person from developing any type of natural sexual relationship with another person.  It also makes you gay. (No, really.)

As if those statements weren’t confounding enough, Jehovah’s Witnesses also made the following statement about the practice, from the September 15, 1973, Watchtower:

If one understands the cause, it is easier to implement the prevention and cure of a bad habit. Did you know, for example, that mothers and fathers who stroke the genitals of their fretful babies to keep them quiet are unwittingly encouraging them to become masturbators later on?

When I first came across that quote, I remember quite clearly thinking, What the fuck did I just read?

I am in my mid-40s and I have never, ever, ever heard of a parent stroking the genitals of their babies to keep them quiet. Ever. As a matter of fact, I don’t know one parent that ever touches their baby’s genitals for anything other than hygiene and the application of diaper cream. A parent might rub a baby’s tummy or their back when they’re fussy, or even pat their bottoms when they’re holding the baby, but this is when they have a diaper the size of a mattress between them and that bottom.

How Common Is This

This statement is a bizarre, head-scratching bit of advice on its own, but consider what it takes for any statement to make it to the pages of the Watchtower. These magazines are composed by a writing committee; Jehovah’s Witnesses are very secretive as to who is on their committees and how they operate, but the point is, it’s not (or not supposed to be) just some random person rambling away. One person might compose certain articles, but a committee meets and determines if this article will be included in the magazine, and if it needs adjustments of any sort.

This means that, even if just one strange old man (and it’s only men on these committees) was familiar with this habit or had heard of this practice, he would need to present this to the committee.  They would all need to agree that this is such a common problem that it should be included in the Watchtower. Was this something that had come to their attention from local congregations? Was this a practice in some local areas? Or was this something they just assumed parents were doing and, if so, why and how would you ever get this thought in your head?

Downplaying the Criminality

Handcuffs01_2003-06-02The oddness of this supposed practice is one thing, but the Watchtower never mentioned that this practice, if it actually exists, is a crime.  A parent masturbating their child is sexual abuse.  It is not up to a parent to give their child sexual pleasure, whether they’re 6 months or 16 years.

It’s also incredibly disturbing that they talk about fathers who do this.  A mother stroking the genitals of her child is disgusting enough, and I’m sorry to be sexist but there is something especially creepy about a father rubbing his baby daughter’s genitals.  How far would this stroking go; would he penetrate his daughter’s vagina with his fingers if she’s especially fretful?  That’s called rape.

Really, either parent touching their child’s genitals for the sole purpose of giving them physical pleasure, whether it’s to calm them or under any other circumstance, is rape. Yet, the Watchtower didn’t mention that; their only purpose in bringing up this bizarre habit is their warning about masturbation later on. Apparently the idea of a person masturbating later in life is more frightful and of more concern to Jehovah’s Witnesses than the idea of a parent actually raping their own child.

Source, Please

I am very curious as to the source of this information and what caused the writers of the Watchtower to include this advice in the magazine. How common do they think this practice is, and why would they not talk about it in the context of child abuse, if they felt it needed addressing? Why would the writers be more concerned with the subject of sexual desire and expression when it comes to masturbation, than they are with protecting children from harmful sex abuse?

If you knew of parents who were masturbating their children for any reason, wouldn’t your first concern be to sound the alarm and chastise them for this abuse, and do everything you could to get the baby out of harm’s way?

I might also ask, at what age are they no longer considered a baby? Would parents continue to do this with a toddler? When the child is three or four? I’m sure we’ve all heard of mothers who continue to breastfeed until the child is that old; are the writers of the Watchtower imagining these same mothers stroking their child’s genitals during this time?  If so, the only thing that concerns them is whether or not the child grows up to masturbate?

And most importantly, What the fuck did I just read?

*** ***


Categories: Children, Rape, Sex

8 replies »

  1. To all those “Christian” religions out there who claim that spanking is God-mandated, and an act of love, I say this: I don’t know of one parent who could possibly be feeling the highest vibration on the planet, i.e. love, when in the act of inflicting pain, shame and fear onto their child. If it’s a crime for an adult to hit another adult, how much more so should it be for an adult to hit a child? Furthermore, as the Christian church claims to have Jesus as its leader and to follow the example that Christ set, do any of us actually believe that Christ would teach a child by striking the child? Could the scriptures about using the rod to not spoil a child be misinterpreted? I certainly believe so. Shepherds lovingly use their rod to steer and guide their flock of sheep in the right direction. Could it be that our loving Creator actually meant that the rod is a symbolic one, used to help people appreciate that children need guidance and direction? My Creator would never require a parent to hit a child.

  2. This is so false! Jw do not masturbate their children to keep them quiet, in fact they believe that masturbation is spiritually unhealthy, and unclean. They also don’t spank their children on their genitalia. Whoever does that is not a true jw. Where do you all come up with these ridiculous conspiracy theories?

  3. ‘Did you know, for example, that mothers and fathers who stroke the genitals of their fretful babies to keep them quiet are unwittingly encouraging them to become masturbators later on?’

    Unbelievable! It’s written as if such sexual assault is merely a poor parenting technique, similar to spoiling a child by letting her/him have whatever they want. Staggering ignorance! It never crossed their mind to say that these mothers and fathers are sexually assaulting their babies.What gave these men the belief that they could write this as part of their advice? A dangerous mix of arrogance and criminal stupidity, that’s what!

    Thanks Alex for this post. I remember clearly knowing of this practice when I was a JW but hadn’t realised/had forgotten where the idea had come from.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. I don’t know about fondling their kid’s genitals, but I do know a JW family that punished their kids by spanking them on the genitals. When I was 8 or 9 I had a friend who was JW. It seemed like he was always getting spanked for something. His mom always made him take off all his clothes and she spanked him naked with a belt. After whipping his butt 20 or more times, she would make him turn over and spread his legs apart, and she’s whip his bare penis just as hard.They had 4 kids and they all got spanked like that. I thought it was so perverted and wrong.

    • That is beyond disturbing. You can cause impotency in a male with that and internal bleeding for both boys and girls; the genitals are not meant to withstand that type of trauma. Not to mention the perverse aspect of spanking your child’s bare genitals. There is no special “holy spirit” making this organization loving, none at all.

  5. I’m a little surprised to see no other comments here yet.

    In answer to the question raised, “Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Really Masturbate Their Babies to Keep Them Quiet?” I would answer, “Yes! albeit unwittingly.” Perhaps you’ll permit me to explain.

    I remember reading that statement in the article mentioned. It was very disturbing to me. I had come across that article when I started to do my own research on things like corporal punishment, the supposition that spanking was a Godly and Biblical requirement, and child abuse. During my research, I discovered that other studies and researchers had made a horrifying link between spanking and stimulation of the genitalia. Spanking a child on their backside is now becoming recognized as yet another form of sexual abuse.

    I’ll only add to this by saying, “How sadistic is that?” Sadism is defined as pleasure (often sexual) derived from the inflicting of pain or humiliation on others. Closely linked with that is Masochism, defined as pleasure and gratification derived from the infliction of pain, deprivation, degradation, humiliation upon one’s self.

    By encouraging parents to spank their children at the Kingdom Halls, the messages being sent are clear: It’s pleasurable to hurt others. And even though pain from physical blows and sexual stimulation are clearly linked, the real impact to kids is unimportant. Only intention matters, no matter how incongruent the methods used. And that the victim is responsible for how another person feels, and even worse, responsible for what another person chooses to do.

    The lines between pain and pleasure, and between love and cruelty, are definitely distorted by physical abuse, and the damage done to developing brains, hearts, and whole psyches is real, significant, and frequently permanent. The level of impact cannot be exaggerated, yet it is typically considered uninteresting and irrelevant to JW’s who care more about how they appear to others than about the health, safety and well-being of their offspring.

    The scripture of 2 Timothy 3:2-7 comes to mind:

    For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
    heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,
    treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
    having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
    For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,
    always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

    It seems to me that JW’s focus in almost exclusively on the “Disobedient to parents” phrase as though that’s an evil they must stamp out, and then they are led to believe that they can “cure” this evil by doing almost everything else that passage lists as unhealthy and unpleasant. They just don’t seem to get that the underlying cause of that “disobedience” is their own heartlessness, abusiveness, treachery, and brutality.

    How disgusting it is to me to recall that I was once headed down that sickening direction by being encouraged, influenced, and pressured to spank my children in the name of Love, and in the name of a God of Love. I’m glad I was able to escape that dangerous path, and that my children are now giving their children a different kind of upbringing than I had.

    No, I don’t like the JW definition of love in the least. And the recent explosion of child sexual abuse issues that are only just now making the news only emphasize to me the sickness and perversion of the JW definition of love as it’s been (and is still being) taught and demanded by “God’s Loving Slave.”

    I have left so much unsaid here. Instead, I leave further exploration into the matter to you, dear reader.

    Now, if you’ll please excuse me while I go and vomit.

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