Spiritual Restoration—Why It Matters. Consider the historical perspective. Christians back in the first century enjoyed many spiritual blessings. But Jesus and the apostles foretold that true worship would be corrupted and lost. After the apostolic age, Christendom arose. Her clergymen adopted pagan teachings and practices. They also made approach to God all but impossible, painting him as an incomprehensible Trinity and teaching people to confess to priests and to pray to Mary and various “saints” instead of to Jehovah. Now, after many centuries of such corruption, what has Jehovah done? In the midst of today’s world—a world that is choked with religious falsehood and befouled with ungodly practices—he has stepped in and restored pure worship! Without exaggerating, we can say that this restoration is one of the most important developments in modern times.
Bored yet? I’m in my 40s and I’m thinking of stabbing my hand with a fork just to make sure I’m still alive.
If you’re bored, can you imagine very young children having to sit through that information being given as a public discourse, and not just sit through it, but to be expected to pay rapt attention?
Can you imagine if they had to sit through a good 45 minutes of this type of dialogue?
If they couldn’t, if they showed any sign of boredom, what would you do? Smile at them understandingly? Take them out of the room and let them sleep or focus on something more age-appropriate?
How about threaten their life?
Good Old Caleb and Sophia…
Jehovah’s Witnesses produce a series of videos available on their website for use in teaching young children. They follow Caleb, probably around 5 or 6, along with his older sister Sophia, whom I’m guessing is younger than 10, and their parents. In the most recent video, “Pay Attention at the Meetings,” we see a cartoon illustration of poor Sophia nodding off, and her brother quietly playing with a toy while the information above is being read publicly. The mother gives Sophia a jab while the father swipes Caleb’s toy.
Later at home, the parents ask what they learned during the meeting and an obviously sheepish Sophia says that they need to pay attention. The father launches into a draconian lecture about how Noah and his family needed to pay attention when they received instructions on how to build the ark. The father then has the audacity to tell them, “[Noah] paid attention and it saved his life. Paying attention at the meetings can help save your life.”
That’s right, Jehovah’s Witnesses have no problem threatening their very young children with the loss of their own life for simply not paying attention at long, boring, drawn-out, dull, repetitive meetings that are obviously way over the heads of those same children.
I get it, children need to learn to sit still and shouldn’t be allowed to simply run freely wherever they are, and in school they need to sit and pay attention. However, how many elementary schools do you know that use the words “restoration,” “perspective,” “foretold,” “apostolic,” “clergymen,” “corruption,” “befouled,” and “ungodly”? Note, all those words were used in just one paragraph of the lesson featured in the video!
Teaching children is best when it is done according to their age and their limitations. Effective teaching for very young children, those of the same age as Caleb and Sophia, involves visual aids, songs, pictures, and colors. Lessons are also broken up into manageable segments, according to a child’s age.
This is true even for adults; try sitting through a long meeting about the benefits of accrual accounting versus cash accounting so that your income is counted during the sales process and not when invoices are actually paid since your gross receipts are over $1 million a year, or listening to your mechanic try to explain why cleaning the throttle box is necessary so you don’t put pressure on the head gaskets where the oil pressure … I can’t go on. Just balance my books and fix my stupid car.
Consider, too, that this example of Noah is inappropriate for children as young as Caleb and Sophia. Noah was an adult with daughters who were married, so certainly not school-age. Comparing the instructions given to him and his adult family to how such young children need to pay attention is grossly shortsighted and unfair.
The Most Frightening Lesson
The torture of little children needing to sit through long, dull lectures full of big, boring words that they cannot possibly understand is one matter, but what really frightens me about the video is how scared the children look in the car ride home:
What I find horrific about this picture is that Caleb and Sophia know they’re in big trouble. They look downright terrified of going home with their own mother and father. And for what, grand theft auto? Vandalizing a neighbor’s house? Kicking a puppy? Stealing a candy bar?
No, for nodding off and getting distracted with a small toy. For those heinous sins, they’re afraid of their own parents and for what is about to happen next.
I find it downright disturbing that anyone would create these videos and depict children being this terrified of their parents, and also disturbing that any one of Jehovah’s Witnesses would watch this video and not see a problem with children being this afraid, especially over something as minor and as natural as nodding off during a boring sermon or getting distracted with a toy. Anyone who grew up as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses can tell you that they probably had good reason to be afraid, as JWs often spank, slap, and physically beat their children, even young children, for the most minor of infractions and yes, for not being able to sit still during their meetings. (See this post.)
What is also disturbing is that the parents yet again find the problem or fault with their children, chastising them for not paying attention, threatening their very lives for this “failure” on their part, without thinking of how perhaps the problem is that their meetings are so boring and dull that they’re downright painful even for the adults, much less children. It’s always, always the fault of the congregants who are not enthralled and obsessed with every word dripping from their literature, and not those words themselves.
While the idea of adults threatening the lives of their own children for the mere sin of being bored at a meeting is repulsive, it’s also not surprising to me. Jehovah’s Witnesses have no clue how to make their stifling, controlling religion and resultant lifestyle appealing to young children and even to many of the adults inside, so rather than even trying to explain why people should be a part of it or trying to understand the mindset of those who are suffering under its weight, they simply bully and threaten lives and terrify them into staying.
It’s really not surprising to hear children’s lives being threatened for being bored, when you consider this is done by the same people who threaten women with shunning and ultimate destruction for the sin of being raped (this post), who actually chastise those who are suicidal for having the wrong thoughts (this post), and who counsel sexual harassment victims about their “moral standards” (this post). The religion seems to do nothing but make victims of their followers no matter what they do, and that includes the children. Who need to be threatened with their lives. For being tired. And bored.
I would write more but I need to get this fork out of my hand.
Click here for the video in full.
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