The birth of my baby boy changed my life and he taught me about real, unconditional love. He was a scrap of humanity but in just existing he took my heart, expanded it and helped me understand completely that there can ONLY be unconditional love for your children. From that point on I knew that no matter what happened I would ALWAYS love him and I could never ‘cut him off’ just because of not believing what I believed. The shunning of your own children in the Witnesses is shameful and needs to stop. When your child, no matter what age has done something wrong -surely that is when they need their parents the most, they do not need to be exiled and ignored!
In coming to my conclusion to leave the Witnesses for good, a great deal revolved around the love for my son, and wanting a different life for him. One part of that was his school career that I was already thinking about – I followed the no participation in extra murals at school – and I think now perhaps my confidence could have benefited from participating. I didn’t want him to feel that extreme isolation I felt while ‘enduring’ my school years.
So, where do Jehovah’s Witnesses get the no participation rule in extracurricular activities in school? The paragraphs below are from the “Organized to do Jehovah’s Will” book published by Jehovah’s Witnesses and only given to those who are unbaptized publishers and obviously baptized publishers. It is THE rule book on how to conduct yourself as a Jehovah’s Witness.
Children of Jehovah’s Witnesses benefit from getting a basic secular education. While attending school, they are interested in learning how to read and write well. Other subject’s taught in primary school as well as in high school can be of value to young people as they pursue spiritual goals. During their school years, they want to make a diligent effort to ‘remember their Creator’ by putting spiritual things first. – Eccl. 12:1
If you are a Christian youth attending school, you need to exercise special care. When worldly youths go unrestrained in their rebellious conduct, you must not side with them. (2 Tim. 3:1, 2) Under these circumstances, there is much you can do to ward off worldly influences. Jehovah has not left any of us exposed to dangers without providing the necessary protection. (Ps. 23:4; 91: 1, 2) So take advantage of Jehovah’s provisions; this will serve to safeguard you. – Ps. 23:5.
To keep separate from the world while in school, young Witnesses should consider the danger of becoming involved in extracurricular activities. Classmates and teachers ma not always understand your decision not to participate. However, pleasing God is what counts. This requires that you exercise your Bible-trained conscience and stand firm in the resolve not to become involved in worldly competition or nationalistic practices, which violate Bible principles. (Gal. 5:19, 26) By listening to the Scriptural counsel of godly parents and benefiting from the good association and instructions of the congregation, you young ones will be aided in holding to Jehovah’s righteous standards.
There you have it – no participation because you will be spending time with ‘worldly’ youths. The only ‘good association’ is to be found in the congregation. A very narrow, judgemental way to think isn’t it? Jesus himself spoke with everyone, he didn’t avoid people because they didn’t believe what he did. How is isolating yourself going to ‘let your light shine’? Instead the thinking behind this is to ensure that Witness youths stay indoctrinated, that the only friends they have is other Witnesses, tying them closer and closer to the Witnesses, so that they cannot leave without leaving all their friends and family.
I wanted my son to be able to participate in sports, cultural activities, everything he may want to. It would teach him a great many things, skills that he would need as an adult, it would teach him tolerance, compassion, understanding and the value of working hard to accomplish something. It will give him self confidence, widen out his social network, teach him how to be part of a team. I look forward to those sport’s day’s, seeing his shining happy face when he gets his first trophy – or whatever other reward it may be.
Along with this is the higher education. It is common knowledge that Witnesses are discouraged from attending university or other tertiary institutions that will take a few years to complete their studies. This is because the time is ‘too short’ to devote to studies you will not even need in the new system, but in reality getting a university education would teach you how to think critically and make you question certain things, which may lead directly to seeing the ‘religion’ of the Witnesses for what is actually is – a cult.
To ensure that my son will have the opportunity to study further if he so desires, we have begun a savings plan for his university education. I don’t know if the money will actually be enough to cover all of it, but it is an investment in his future.
A parents love should reflect how God loves us, not this conditional love that the Witnesses teach, but an all encompassing love and acceptance that cannot be denied.
Leaving has made it possible for our son to have a normal life. A life full of family, friends, joy, and new experiences, without the rules of the Witnesses isolating him from the world around him.
A & C