Are Jehovah's Witnesses a Cult?

Women, Do You Really Know What It Means to Become One of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

If you’re a woman and one Saturday morning you hear a knock on your door, do me a huge favor and don’t answer it. I mean, if it’s the cops or one of your kids then by all means find out what they need, but if it’s obviously Jehovah’s Witnesses, please don’t open that door.

When JWs visit you, it’s easy to be impressed by their simple manner and friendly demeanor. They may show you a nice scripture and talk about god’s purpose for the earth, and leave you with a book that’s full of colorful pictures of people who are all smiles and happy. They’ll talk about how very soon the dead will come back to life, about how governments in this world have been a failure for a reason, and about how everything will be a paradise right here on earth, any day now. You may be tempted to visit their local Kingdom Hall to find out more.

Like I said, please don’t open that door.

1653985_427786484020992_869552229_nIn the Congregation

When you visit a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you may immediately notice that all the women are in skirts and dresses. This isn’t an accident; female members in good standing are not allowed to wear pants to their meetings and in their preaching work. See this post for more. You may not own a skirt or think your legs are anyone’s business, but if you want to be a member in good standing, you’re going to need to go along with this rule. Period.

You might also notice that women do not address the audience from the stage of their Kingdom Halls, walk up and down the aisles with the microphones during audience participation parts, or hand out literature from a back counter. When an elder’s meeting is called for, no women will attend. This is because women are not allowed to teach or have any position of authority in the congregation, and are also not allowed to handle any official tasks, no matter how menial. This is true of the work done behind the scenes; at their world headquarters, women are not allowed on any of their committees that write literature or to make decisions regarding the religion overall, or serve in any other official capacity. Of course, when it comes time to clean that literature counter or podium in the Kingdom Hall, women can certainly do that.

This submissive position for women applies in any situation when a male member of the congregation is baptized, no matter his age. As an example, if you were to show up at the brief meeting they have before going out in their preaching work, you may notice a teenage boy is the one leading that meeting while older women, even those of retirement age, sit in the audience. If that teenage boy tells you what to do, you’ll be expected to fall in line. In some cases, the boy may even be a preteen. Your illustrious and successful career, years of being a mother, advanced educational degree, and overall maturity won’t matter one bit; he’s the male and you’re the female, so he’ll be in charge.

In the Home

Do you and your husband have a respectful relationship where you share the decision-making process, and you’re in charge of certain areas of the home and family? When you disagree, do you have just as much right to the “last word” as he does? Can you, at times, give him direction about how things will be done around the house, and can you make your own choices about what you wear and other such matters?

If so, be prepared to give that up if you become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. As I bring out in this post, husbands have the authority to “correct” their wives where they see fit, even in how she dresses and wears her hair and makeup, and to do so with “firmness.” In other words, if your husband decides that you’re wrong about something, then you’re wrong. Period. He is also outright encouraged by Jehovah’s Witnesses to be “firm” when he “corrects” you. If you try to have equal footing with your husband in order to have some say about how the household is run, you will be accused of “competing” with him; note this post. The husband has the final say in all decisions, and you as the wife will be expected to be submissive and supportive of him.

Do you personally think a woman who is being abused by her husband should leave, not just for herself but for the children also? That’s another idea you need to give up as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. While their official writings say that they cannot tell a woman to stay with an abusive man, those official writings are confidential from women. Their public literature consistently encourages women to stay with abusive men, even if they’re physically abusive to them and the children; see this post. Elders often blame women for this abuse, as I bring out in this post, telling her that she obviously has not been submissive enough and must have provoked her husband.

Lest you think I’m exaggerating this attitude Jehovah’s Witnesses have toward women, note the words of Samuel Herd, who is now one of their “governing body,” or their ultimate leadership. As I bring out in this post, he has said that women’s brains are too small for leadership roles and counsels them to act dumb with their husbands.

You might also consider that if you’re accused of committing adultery, your husband is allowed to sit in on all your meetings with the elders; however, if your husband is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and outright confesses adultery, you are not only barred from his meetings with elders, but the details of those meetings are considered “confidential” from you. See this post.

Note, too, that Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that the only grounds for divorce and remarrying is adultery on the part of the other spouse, so unless your husband cheats on you, you’ll be expected to stay with him no matter how poorly he treats you, and even if he’s outright abusive. Even if he does commit adultery, don’t expect a lot of sympathy and support. The November 1, 1981, Watchtower, had the experience of a 9-year-old boy who “tackled” his own mother after his father had an affair, telling her about forgiveness and daddy being the “head of house” so she should listen to him and take him back; you can read more about that at this post. That’s right, ladies, if your husband is unfaithful then your very own prepubescent child, whose diapers you used to change and who probably still isn’t allowed to cross the street by himself, is going to give you a lecture about marriage, commitment, sexual intimacy, and how daddy somehow deserves extra forgiveness because he is your “head.” If you don’t think that type of thing would ever happen in your house, remember that you need to sit in the audience at the meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses and listen to this type of counsel being given to women.

images

From the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, JW.org.

Dust Off the Hats

Own a hat? I don’t mean a ball cap, I mean a nice Easter Sunday hat like your grandma used to wear. No? You’ll need to run out and buy a few. This is because Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that women must wear a “head covering” of some sort when doing any type of work that would otherwise be handled by a man, or when doing this work in front of their non-JW husbands. This is to show her submissiveness and subjection to men.

Let me explain. A man is supposed to organize the car groups of local JWs before they go out in their preaching work, but if there are no men available, a woman may do this. However, she must wear a hat. Women who interpret public sermons for the deaf must also wear a hat. (November 15, 2009, Watchtower) If you study the bible with your own son and your non-JW husband is present, you must wear a hat. Married or not, if your son decides to get baptized as a JW and you study the bible with him, you must wear a hat. To show your submissiveness. To your own son.

Sexy Details, Please

Jehovah’s Witnesses have very stringent rules about behavior between the opposite sex when dating, and when these rules are broken, you can be “reproved,” either publicly or privately, or outright disfellowshipped (excommunicated). In order to determine if you should be simply reproved or disfellowshipped, and to ensure you’re nice and repentant of any sexual contact, three elders will meet with you privately and ask you details about the encounter. They might ask if the man fondled your breasts or your vagina, if you fondled his penis, if you had oral sex or anal sex, if you changed positions during sex, if you were penetrated with the man’s fingers, if you had an orgasm and how many, and anything else they might think of. You’ll be expected to answer these questions in detail and if not, it will be assumed that you’re hiding something or not repentant of your sexual conduct, and you’ll be disfellowshipped.

Don’t Be Raped, You Fornicator!

If you were viciously, brutally raped, what would you expect the response to be from your “spiritual shepherds” in the congregation? Would you expect help, support, comfort, loving words, or at the very least, assistance with getting to the police and a crisis center? How about those “shepherds” demanding you tell your story again and again to a group of three men, alone, who need to “discern” if you actually were raped or are lying about the incident, and who will excommunicate you from the congregation if you didn’t scream and fight and resist enough to satisfy them?

If the last option doesn’t sound very good to you, be prepared for it when you’re one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. As I bring out in the Rape category, JWs have equated raped with fornication, tell women to treat rapists “respectfully,” and will disfellowship female members who have been raped if they don’t resist enough to satisfy this three-man committee. If the idea of being grilled this way is unappealing enough, remember that this disfellowshipping means being cut off from every singe person in your life, as Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to associate only with other Jehovah’s Witnesses. This includes curtailing time with your own family and dropping your current friends in favor of other JWs.

I Could Go On, But…

Remember that all these rules apply to you and to your daughters as well. If you raise a girl as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and she’s reported to have gotten a little frisky with her boyfriend as a teenager, three elders will expect to be able to question her, privately, about the graphic details of her sexual experience. If she marries an abusive man, you’ll be expected to stand by silently, and even encourage her to stay with him and take that abuse in hopes of converting him. Your daughter’s and your grandchildren’s physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual welfare will be of little consequence or concern.

As a JW, there are no social groups for women, no special responsibilities to make women feel needed and appreciated. Instead, women are not allowed to teach, don’t have any say in anything that goes on in the congregations, and may have little to no say in their own home. Women do the bulk of their preaching work but are not supposed to even organize the car groups for that preaching. Women get no sympathy or support from elders and others in the congregation, even when abused, suicidal, or struggling alone. You’re expected to give up your friends, your family, your standing with your own husband, and your right to teach your own son as his head rather than having him as your head. You’re expected to do all this with a smile, even in the face of outright violence and abuse.

And for what? Some vague promise about a paradise earth, which JWs have been predicting for over 100 years now.

Oh, and don’t forget, during that “paradise,” none of this will change. You’ll still be expected to be silent, second class, subservient, and submissive.

I beg you, please don’t open that door.

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15 replies »

  1. Despite living deep on a dead end road in the country side, they manage to visit us. To be honest I was actually considering checking them out. Thank you for this website! I won’t be opening the door for them any longer.

  2. This is true. Lets not forget also that brothers outnumber the sisters. What is it 1 brother for 5 sisters? So you get these arrogant brothers playing the field, and dont let them be an elder or ministerial servant. They think they are the cream of the crop. Often dating, and engaged to several sisters at one time.
    One brother, i briefly dated was so adament about submission. Not love, not personal interests, but me allowing him to be a dictator over me.
    Sisters are encouraged to marry only in the lord and its a situation of the good ones are already married, or you end up with someone fresh out of a divorce with 4 kids, or brother super elderly. Sisters are encouraged to find someone active in the “truth,” well many of those brothers are wolves in sheeps clothing. Fronting like they are good god fearing men, while being dictators, and/or abusers at home.
    I have been married to a worldly man, and to a baptized witness and I must say being married to a JW was horrible.
    Sisters think they have the congregation and the elders to help in bad marriages, yet they are quick to tell the woman, she needs to be more submissive, she isnt loving enough, give him more sex. Always the womans fault, no matter what her husband does.
    I have seen so many elders in the ministry treat their wives like dirt, and these are the most humble women i have ever seen.
    Not saying all brothers are bad, just saying slim pickings and you dont know what you have till you are stuck in a horrible marriage.

  3. Dumb and blind , what you wrote is a lie your blog is disgraceful. That’s your pathetic opinion. The worst sin that anyone could ever do is go against the spirit. Bunch of apostates.

    • If being an “apostate” is clearly telling the truth, than that’s a compliment & thank you for it on behalf of all of those who actually have had the COURAGE to speak out & fight such abuse & injustice. If all that’s meant to be SUFFERED in the name of “God,” than that God’s a monster of the highest order & needs to be taken down. We don’t condone human beings to commit such heinous acts & “God” is supposedly suppose to be “Better” than us & yet they do & Condone such? “God” & they’re followers should be held to a higher standard than that. They clearly don’t measure up. So, if “the spirit” is guilty of encouraging & committing crimes against humanity, than isn’t it a “sin” to go along with it? The leader should practice what they preach. Lead by example. If they’re found to be a million times WORSE than the worst that humanity has to offer, humanity that’s supposedly so sin ridden & all, than what does that say about those that follow them? Just some food for thought for your conscience.

    • If you were a real Jehovah’s Witness, you wouldn’t be on this site or you are policing the site to spy to see who is that you know and need to “dicipline,” or you have doubts. None of the above statements (the hat can also be substituted for a scarf or shawl…..anything really, just as long the head is “covered in submission” for any duties a woman might be unworthy of if a man’s available. Everything else is pretty much spot-on. I’ve known lots of raped children (not adults, but elementary-aged children), cheating spouses, beaten wives (the most memorable was one being repeatedly hit in the face with her husband’s closed fist at a fast-food drive through….he didn’t know I was behind him). All swept under the rug if they were women victims. Men’s issues were addressed in a heartbeat. If I were you, I’d get on my knees and approach your Heavenly Father with a sincere, heartfelt prayer for guidance and truth and the strength to handle it when you get it. The experience will be enlightening, and you’ll feel closer to Jehovah than ever before and actually see Him acting and guiding you in your life. But, you have to get there first……….and remember “to examine ALL THESE THINGS” because if you don’t, that’s on you, not Him.

    • This article is true. My husband was abusive and I got the blame from the elders who came to “help”. Cook him more tasty meals and have the house more in order when he comes home. I was 22 years old.

      • Disgusting religion. Whether or not your cooking skills were in question, how does that somehow justify his abuse? Shouldn’t he just not abuse you, period? You need to somehow earn the right to not be abused? They are insane, shame on them.

  4. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR.
    If they CONTINUE to come, or leave tracts in your door, simply open the door, politely inquire of their name and state: “Put my address on the DO NOT CALL LIST” and close the door.
    If they return, you can tell them who you spoke to about the list AND you can call your local Kingdom Hall, leave a message, because no one ever answers the phone, and repeat who you spoke with about adding your address to the DO NOT CALL LIST, you do not need to leave your name. Since you are calling the Hall you can also tell them to add your phone number to the DO NOT CALL LIST as well, witnessing by phone is done as well.
    If they continue, you can call the police, let them know you are being harassed even after requesting via person and phone to be put on their DO NOT CALL LIST, be sure to give the police the names and dates of who/when you spoke to.
    One time should do it..but sometimes one can forget to add your address on the back of the ‘Territory Card’

    • You can also file a police report for trespassing after you’ve warned them once. Registered letters (get a return receipt) work well. You’ll probably continue to be stalked for awhile. A letter to the editor of your local paper asking them to stop helps too (brings it into the public and they like to operate in the shadows). Don’t be scared. They can’t “hurt” you. Physical harm is not allowed. Just a rumor mill within the existing congregation. If you ever decide to “repent and go back,” whatever you did (or didn’t do) will be recorded as a permanent part of your record where ever you go, even if you move to a different congregation for a “fresh start.” There is NO FRESH START. It ALWAYS FOLLOWS YOU AND THE NEXT CONGREGATION WILL BE NOTIFIED. If they ever say it isn’t done, that’s simply not true. Remember, many of these going door-to-door really don’t realize what’s going to happen to them in certain situations……..and it will come as a shock. Hopefully before they’re brainwashed into thinking they are evil and the walking dead “unless they comply.” When you get into the entire situation, it is a religion void of love for fellow man and pretty much everyone is condemned except a handful of men and a very few women. It’s not easily identified at first, and sometimes not until it’s too late because sometimes the biggest prosecutors don’t realize they are not really promoting what God has truly laid out, just afraid they will die condemned if they don’t jump into the religion before the end of the world (that generation that’s not going to pass must be super-human because this message of certain destruction before this generation is over has been going on since the 1800’s)……some because they enjoy being in control. What the JWs are now I don’t think was what Charles Taze Russell had in mind when he created the religion.

  5. Ironically, there seem to be more JW women than men…. makes your post even more relevant I guess! I love your blog, keep it coming.

  6. 100% accurate. I was born into this cult and disfellowshipped at 17 for having sex with my boyfriend. I was grilled by 3 elders and amongst other incredibly personal questions was asked “did he put his penis into your vagina?” I was 17! I am now 50 and look back with utmost disgust… what perverted dirty old men! Revolting. Thank god i had the guts to know i would be better off out of it. I lost everyone and started anew and it wasn’t easy but i did it. I bring my children up to be FREEEEEEEE

    • When I was 15, I was molested by elder’s, son-in-law, who was a neighbor. When I finally told my mom, she told the wife. She was the elder’s daughter. Well, after my mom
      told her, he committed suicide. My mother blamed me. The elders blamed me. I was very naive. I didn’t know what was being done to me. I know this was not my fault. I still have pain from this. I didn’t think I was allowed to say no. I really it happened because of the wts’s undue coursion methods.

      • I’m horrified and very sorry this happened to you and the complete lack of support from your family and congregation. THAT is NOT what God truly intended. In Jesus day, a man would have been put to death for such a thing as the elder’s son-in-law did. Ironic how that isn’t brought out in the JWs congregation, but the victim is blamed for just simply being a victim. Please do not judge God by this perversion of His Word and guidelines. YOU were a victim and I hope you recover mentally, physically and emotionally so that you can recover spiritually. It was sinful for you to be treated as such and it will be addressed, at some point, by your Heavenly Father. They won’t be able to cover that up.

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