Are Jehovah's Witnesses a Cult?

Do All Jehovah’s Witness Parents Demand Their Children Earn Their Love?

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:

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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, not just by behaving a certain way, but by 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, Jehovah’s Witnesses 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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19 replies »

  1. It’s comforting to see other people have had a hard time because of cultist Jehovah’s wittness parents also. I don’t talk about it, it’s like telling people your parents were hooked on crack when you were born. I left home early, and my dad wouldnt let me come home unless I attended all the services with him. Thankfully he left the cult after 20 years, and we rekindled. But I will always be scarred. Jehovah’s witnesses have no love for others, only themselves and thier god.

    • True. I have similar experiences and can relate. Tears from a daughter of these people who basically hate you even if you are family.

  2. Oh my goodness. Reading this letter has just made me realize that at 46 years old I am not crazy. My mother has gone back to becoming a witness in the last 1 1/2 year. What really got me about this letter is when the mother said that her life is private, now my whole life living with this woman makes sense.

  3. I wonder what drew my Grandma to this religion. It does not fit the grandma I knew. I understand why my mom embraced it. But I’m a lot like my Grandma. Smh. I stopped running the race and making muself miserable six years ago.

  4. This rings so true to what I went through as a child. Now in my adult years I am still bearing the mental scars and still have a complicated relationship with my mother. I really wish something could be done about this cult and that they could be exposed for what they truly do. I fear for any children who are going through this.

    • My 17 year old granddaughter left her home Friday due to her mother n stepdad becoming JW’s she’s at her dads, my sons, but her mother is trying to put her in a hospital saying she’s “crazy”. I will not let that happen-THEY are the crazy ones! I’m so glad I found this site!

  5. I had this type of thing drummed in by my parents from day one – it was always Jehovah comes first, kids are below that and parents are more important than children. It made me feel inferior and not worthy of anything. I felt guilty having to ask for anything. my dad would say to us from the youngest ages that we better believe or else we would be out on the street he would go on regular crazy rantings about it and end up screaming at us kids and working himself up into a rage. Ive always known love is earned and is conditional with them and now my mum tells me she loves me but I know she feels hopeful that one day I’ll come back. If I told her what I really felt then I worry they wouldnt be interested in seeing my kids anymore. The day when I left my dad said to my brother its Jehovahs way or you can get out now what are you going to choose? and my brother said he was staying in the house he turned to me what are you doing here? You dont live here anymore. He expected me to say please please! no!!! But I said Ok thats fine I’ll go get my stuff and in that moment it was a big F U for all the years Id been threatened since a young child with being made homeless and kicked out of the home and finally in the end I didnt capitulate I faced that fear and walked out and never went back.

  6. The letter here was written to my cousin her mother and father were divorced and she was living with her father. Since this letter was written her mother was not at her wedding was not at her fathers funeral was not there for the birth of her grandson she missed out on everything because of this cult

  7. I am on the opposite side of the spectrum. I am a mother whose 50 & 45 year old sons won’t associate with me. My husband died at age 48 and I was disfellowshipped at age 51 after serving 26 years faithfully. No compassion or genuine love. So glad to be out but love my sons unconditionally. Just a cult.

  8. Yes, this is all too familiar to me. I was born into the JW and was disfellowshipped at 17… my parents both went to their graves telling me I would never be happy until I returned to it… I’m now nearly 50 and still cannot believe the brainwashing that went on… it’s a big fat CULT and it destroys famililes, disgusting GRRRRR!!!

    • Same here Josie. Except I was baptized at 17 (a late bloomer according to them) and was disf at 20….best thing I ever did was read Crisis of Conscience to realize they were a cult. Never been happier and never looked back.

      • I read this book and the other one that Franz wrote – my blood boiled!!! I felt so sorry for him but he was completely right in pointing out the error the wts made. This guy knew his stuff – they just used any excuse to get rid of him for starting to expose them. Btw I thought that we all have free will to live our lives – this woman has gone against the scripture in Ephesians about not exasperating your children has she not even the bible says she should be looking after her daughter as she is her responsibility believing in jw teaching or not. Where is the love??? Would Jesus have spoken to this girl the way her mother did – I think not!!!

  9. I hate to say it, but much of what this “mother” has written sounds like a broken record from my own family. This poor girl received this message at a time when teens desperately need positive reinforcement, support from their mothers and most importantly, unconditional love, which is being shamefully withheld. I hope her mother loses a lot of sleep over her own behavior, and that the girl has a loving support system from her dad’s side of the family.
    I really wish the JWs could really and truly hear themselves when they speak.

  10. Author, thank you so much for posting this story. I hope that those who read this that are curious of joining this cult and or curious about leaving, may find their affirming answers from reading this article. It makes me so sad to learn of the countless children that endured and are still endring such horrific abuse from their own parents and were not able do speak out. At least now those children can have a loud voice. Well done.

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