Recently a woman posted a letter on Facebook that her Jehovah’s Witness mother sent to her back when the daughter was only 13 years old. From what I can gather, the daughter was living with her non-JW father at the time. The letter is a stellar example of how emotionally and mentally abusive Jehovah’s Witness parents are to their children, demanding that they actually earn a parent’s love by believing in their god and their religion.
I have permission from the letter’s owner to post it here so you can read it for yourself, in its entirety:
Let’s First Establish…
I don’t know why the mother was chastising the daughter about rudeness; in all fairness, children do need discipline and reprimanding, and I wouldn’t tolerate certain disrespectful behaviors from a child either.
That being said, let’s note that mom uses about a paragraph or two to chastise the child, and then spends about three and a half pages railing at her about who she is as a person, going on about Jehovah and the threat of dying and not having friends and not being “pretty.” This doesn’t sound like a rational, mature response from a parent whose goal is to encourage her daughter to make good choices in life.
Let’s also remember that the daughter was 13 at the time. Thirteen. The age when children do nothing but act up and act out, and the age when they’re most vulnerable about who they are as a person. Rather than understanding that her daughter was an emotional teen, and adjusting her expectations of her daughter accordingly, the mother flies into an uncontrolled rage over her daughter’s “pride” and religious beliefs. I can’t imagine the mother sending this type of letter to an adult under any circumstances, and yet she sends it to a vulnerable, sensitive child?
If Love Isn’t Unconditional, Then It’s Earned?
What I find most interesting, however, is the statement the mother makes on the first page, where she says, “If you think love should be unconditional, you are wrong.”
Let’s pick apart her statement for a moment, to explore what she was really saying about love. If love isn’t unconditional, then it has conditions. If love has conditions, then it’s earned. “You must do these things for me to love you, and not do these other things if you want my love.” That’s called earning something. In this case, the daughter must earn her mother’s love; the mother doesn’t just love her daughter because she’s her daughter, her own flesh and blood, but love is doled out like an allowance. “Did you make your bed? Yes? Then I love you. Do you worship the same god as I do? No? Then I don’t love you.”
Note, too, that the daughter needed to earn love by not just behaving a certain way, but believing a certain way. The mother talks endlessly about Jehovah and his standards and what he demands and a human’s role in serving him. That’s great, but what if the daughter doesn’t believe in Jehovah in the first place? What if the daughter doesn’t believe in Christianity or religion at all? In those cases it’s perfectly justified for a mother to stop loving her child, and make angry demands in order for the child to be loved again?
If the situation was reversed and someone did this to one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they would cry “persecution” so loud it would hurt your ears. If a Catholic parent wrote a letter to a JW child and berated them for leaving the Catholic Church and implied they don’t love them anymore, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was printed on the pages of the Watchtower under the heading “Persecuted for Standing Firm,” or some other nonsense. However, JWs see nothing wrong with expecting their children to earn their love, and angrily withholding it when that child disagrees with their religion.
You might also consider how this would sound if the letter was written in the context of something other than religion, for example, political beliefs. Imagine a parent writing a long, hateful letter to a 13-year-old and telling her that the Republican or Democratic party was the greatest thing on earth, it’s our purpose on earth to get this party into office, and you’re just an ugly child with too much pride and no friends and I don’t love you for thinking differently. The parent would be labeled abusive and even borderline senile, and rightly so.
Did Mom Actually Threaten the Daughter’s Life?
Notice how mom even points out how her god has killed people in the past and will kill again. She outright says on the last page that the daughter’s pride will kill her. The mother here openly admits that she thinks her daughter being killed is perfectly justified!
Let me repeat one thing. The daughter was 13. Thirteen. A child that age doing something horrific like killing someone else or beating up another child should be held accountable for their actions, but mom here believes the daughter’s “pride” is reason enough for the daughter to be killed. This is just one step away from those parents who do kill their children because they think they’re “possessed by the devil,” or it’s the only way the child will get to heaven, or some other religious rambling. The mother may not be threatening the daughter’s life herself, but she has no problem with the fact that her god may very well take the life of her 13-year-old.
Unfortunately this letter is not as rare as you would think from Jehovah’s Witness parents, and my mother has said very similar things to me. I’ve heard things like this said to other JW children, many even younger than 13. Note that Jehovah’s Witnesses do this with the same mouths used to declare how they build strong families and are the happiest, most loving people on earth.
Perhaps Jehovah’s Witnesses need to look up the definition of the word “family,” “happy,” and most importantly, “love,” as they fail miserably to understand all these concepts, as this mother so aptly demonstrates.
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