Jehovah`s Witness/Marriage, Medical, Sex

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Question
Hello Mr Hepburn


I have read your reviews on the site and find you quite informative and unbias as a JW. Which is why I feel comfortable asking you questions. Some questions maybe a bit harder for me to ask.

1. Is it true that JW married couples do not have sex? And if so are they "allowed" to have sex in different positions. (I've seen somewhere that elders do not like this and the watchtower also had an article out years ago about rules for sex between married couples.

2. If a JW couple is getting married in a Kingdom Hall can her Non-JW father walk her down the aisle or is that forbidden?


3. Are JW's allowed to have surgery's that do not need require a blood transfusions?

4. Are JW allowed to have babyshowers?


Thank you so much

Answer
Hello Melissa,
Thank you for those interesting questions and for those kind words.  This is a reasonably long reply so I hope you do not mind. I will break all your questions down.

1a) You ask  ”Is it true that JW married couples do not have sex?”    The answer to that is NO.  The very purpose of marriage is to create families just as is recorded in the very beginning. (All texts from the NWT) as per Genesis 1:26-28 ” 27  And God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. 28  Further, God blessed them and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.”

Sexual relations between a husband and wife is viewed as a gift from our creator.  Some of the words of the following from King Solomon may seem strange to our ears but remember they were written in a completely different time Proverbs 5:17-19  18  Let your water source prove to be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth, 19  a lovable hind and a charming mountain goat. Let her own breasts intoxicate you at all times. With her love may you be in an ecstasy constantly .”  From that we learn that the it is quite proper for a married  couple to engage in “sex” besides just wanting to  procreate.

In the time of the first century Christians the apostle Paul gave this advise  Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, continue loving YOUR wives”  One aspect of a husband loving his wife is to give his wife the “marital due”  1 Corinthians 7:2-5  “ 3  Let the husband render to [his] wife her due; but let the wife also do likewise to [her] husband. 4  The wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but her husband does; likewise, also, the husband does not exercise authority over his own body, but his wife does. 5 Do not be depriving each other [of it], except by mutual consent for an appointed time.”

So yes it is a natural part of married life and a Christian obligation (unless there is some special circumstances “ except by mutual consent for an appointed time”)

1b) Next you ask “And if so are they "allowed" to have sex in different positions.?”  I have seen many  accusations made about what is allowed in the  marriage bed, including this quote  from an anti JW website that relates directly to your question

Quote
“The Watchtower magazine of December 1, 1972, pages 734-735 says when married JWs have non-missionary style sex it is lewd, so Watchtower Elders must remove them from the congregation.  “
end quote

This person presents what looks like a factual piece of information by supplying a reference source.  Moe on that particular Watchtower in a moment. In brief there are no rules about sexual positions.  

1c) This next part of your question needs to be answered in concert with this “I've seen somewhere that elders do not like this and the watchtower also had an article out years ago about rules for sex between married couples.”

I will provide a quote from our teaching magazine, the Watchtower - March 13 1983 form an article called Honor Godly Marriage!  Please take the time to look up the cited texts in order to understand the Bible principles involved.   There are no rules being set, but Bible principles are being highlighted, and as JWs strive to live by Bible principles it is up to each one to decide for himself how to apply such principles. (Bold Underlining and italics mine)

Quote
How about sexual activity between married couples within the marriage bond? It is not for the elders to pry into the intimate lives of married Christians. However, the Bible certainly enters into their lives . Those who would “keep walking by spirit” should not ignore the Scriptural indications of God’s thinking. And they will do well to cultivate a hatred for everything that is unclean before Jehovah, including what are clearly perverted sexual practices. Married couples should act in a way that will leave them with a clean conscience, as they give unimpeded attention to developing “the fruitage of the spirit.”—Galatians 5:16, 22, 23; Ephesians 5:3-5.

What, though, if one mate wants or even demands to share with his or her partner in what is clearly a perverted sex practice? The above-presented facts show that porneia involves unlawful sexual conduct outside the marital arrangement. Thus, a mate’s enforcing perverted acts, such as oral or anal sex, within the marriage would not constitute a Scriptural basis for a divorce that would free either for remarriage. Even though a believing mate is distressed by the situation, yet that one’s endeavor to hold to Scriptural principles will result in a blessing from Jehovah. In such cases it may be helpful for the couple to discuss the problem frankly, bearing in mind especially that sexual relations should be honorable, wholesome, an expression of tender love. This certainly should exclude anything that might distress or harm one’s mate.—Ephesians 5:28-30; 1  Peter 3:1, 7.

As already stated, it is not for elders to “police” the private marital matters of couples in the congregation. However , <u>if it becomes known that a member of the congregation is practicing or openly advocating perverted sex relations within the marriage bond
, that one certainly would not be irreprehensible, and so would not be acceptable for special privileges, such as serving as an elder, a ministerial servant or a pioneer. Such practice and advocacy could even lead to expulsion from the congregation. Why?

Galatians 5:19-21 lists many vices that are not classed as porneia, and which could lead to one’s being disqualified from God’s Kingdom. Among them are “uncleanness” (Greek, akatharsia, signifying filthiness, depravity, lewdness) and “loose conduct” (Greek, aselgeia, signifying licentiousness, wantonness, shameless conduct). Like porneia, these vices, when they become gross, can be grounds for disfellowshipping from the Christian congregation, but not for obtaining a Scriptural divorce. A person who brazenly advocates shocking and repulsive sexual activities would be guilty of loose conduct. Of course, a person with that attitude might even sink to committing porneia; then there would be a basis for a Scriptural divorce. How concerned all devoted Christians should be to avoid and war against all such “works of the flesh”!—Galatians 5:24, 25.

All of Jehovah’s people, whether married or single, should shun every kind of immorality. They should give loyal support to all of Jehovah’s arrangements, including the institution of marriage. (Psalm 18:21-25) Those who are married should, as “one flesh,” endeavor to honor Jehovah, cultivating true love and respect in their marriage. (Genesis 2:23, 24; Ephesians 5:33; Colossians 3:18, 19) In this way, as in other ways, they can show that they are “no part of the world”—a world that Satan has dragged into a mire of immorality and corruption and that is about to ‘pass away with its desire.’ Remembering that “he that does the will of God remains forever,” all should strive to do God’s “will” in relation to His precious arrangement of marriage.—John 17:16; 1  John 2:17.

end quote

Elders do not POLICE what happens in a bedroom between a married couple.  However if, say the husband demanded that his wife engage in  a sexual practice that here conscience would not allow may disqualify that man from holding any privileges in the congregation

Now to be fair I also  seen places where  opponents of JWs have suggested that Elders have gone as far as spying on couples to check up on their bedroom activities. I will  quote in full from the earlier mentioned article of December 1 1972 that has been very selectively quoted from used.  This isalso  the oldest quote I could find on this subject.  It was a question from readers.  I have seen opponents of JWs selectively quote from this article to say that  .  Now we need to set the setting of the prevailing, and changing attitudes and laws of the land of the time . This article was more frank about some practices. I will present portions of that article, again  Bold Underlining and italics mine.

Quote
Recently in the news was a court decision ruling that oral copulation by adults is no longer punishable by law in a certain state. Would such practice therefore be solely a matter for individual conscience if engaged in by a Christian couple within the marriage arrangement?—U.S.A.

It is not the purpose of this magazine to discuss all the intimate aspects of marital relations . Nonetheless, practices like those involved in this court case have become quite common and have received considerable publicity. Even young children in certain schools are being informed of these things in sex education courses. We would therefore be remiss as regards our responsibility if we held back Scriptural counsel that could aid sincere Christians in their efforts to follow a course of purity calling forth the Creator’s blessing . Unusual sexual practices were being carried on in the apostle Paul’s day and he did not remain silent about them, as can be seen in reading Romans 1:18-27. We are therefore only following his good example in considering this question here . [ PLEASE NOTE : I have included that text because it is the scriptural basses for this discution in this article  “18 For God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who are suppressing the truth in an unrighteous way, 19 because what may be known about God is manifest among them, for God made it manifest to them. 20 For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable; 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God nor did they thank him, but they became empty-headed in their reasonings and their unintelligent heart became darkened. 22 Although asserting they were wise, they became foolish 23 and turned the glory of the incorruptible God into something like the image of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed creatures and creeping things. 24 Therefore God, in keeping with the desires of their hearts, gave them up to uncleanness, that their bodies might be dishonored among them, 25 even those who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and venerated and rendered sacred service to the creation rather than the One who created, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 That is why God gave them up to disgraceful sexual appetites, for both their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; 27 and likewise even the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full recompense, which was due for their error.”]

In discussing sexual practices, the apostle provides us a principle that helps us to reach a right conclusion. He refers to “the natural use of the female,” which some were abandoning in favor of what is “contrary to nature,” thus satisfying “disgraceful sexual appetites” and “working what is obscene.” The apostle specifically deals with homosexual practices , condemning such. But the principle stated —that the satisfying of sexual desires can be “natural” or can be “contrary to nature” —applies just as well to the question under consideration.—See also Leviticus 18:22,  23.

The natural way for a married couple to have sexual relations is quite apparent from the very design given their respective organs by the Creator, and it should not be necessary to describe here how these organs complement each other in normal sexual copulation. We believe that, aside from those who have been indoctrinated with the view that ‘in marriage anything goes,’ the vast majority of persons would normally reject as repugnant the practice of oral copulation, as also anal copulation. If these forms of intercourse are not “contrary to nature,” then what is? That those practicing such acts do so by mutual consent as married persons would not thereby make these acts natural or not “obscene.” Are we being ‘narrow’ or ‘extreme’ in taking such position?

No , as seen by the fact that several states of the United States have for long had laws against precisely such practices, classifying them as forms of “sodomy”—even though those engaging in them are married. <b>Because of this legal usage , Webster’s Third New International Dictionary includes in its definition of “sodomy” this: “carnal copulation with a member of the same sex or with an animal or unnatural carnal copulation with a member of the opposite sex; specif: the penetration of the male organ into the mouth or anus of another.”</u> Of course, dictionaries and state laws differ but our position is based primarily upon God’s Word the Bible. Yet such worldly evidence serves a certain purpose, one corresponding in principle to what the apostle said at 1  Corinthians 5:1. There he showed that the sexual relations of one member in the Corinthian congregation were of a kind condemned even by people of the pagan nations. So, the application of the term “sodomy” in modern times to the mentioned forms of copulation shows that we are not unreasonable in saying they are not only “unnatural” but grossly so.

However, since marriage is of divine origin, our conscientious stand on marital relations is not founded on or ruled by worldly views. Therefore the overruling of some state law and the declaring of oral copulation (or similar unnatural copulation) as ‘legal’ does not alter our Bible-based position. In a world of decaying morals we can expect that some law courts may succumb in varying degrees to the growing trend toward sexual perversion, just as some of the clergy and doctors have done.

It is not our purpose to attempt to draw a precise line as to where what is “natural” ends and what is “unnatural” begins . But we believe that, by meditating on Bible principles, a Christian should at least be able to discern what is grossly unnatural. In other areas, the Christian’s individual conscience will have to guide , and this includes questions regarding caresses and ‘love play’ prior to intercourse. (Compare Proverbs 5:18, 19.) But even here the Christian who wants to produce the fruits of God’s holy spirit will wisely avoid practices that approach, or could easily lead one to fall into, unnatural forms of copulation.

What if certain married couples in the congregation in the past or even in recent times have engaged in practices such as those just described, not appreciating till now the gravity of the wrong? Then they can seek God’s forgiveness in prayer and prove their sincere repentance by desisting from such gross unnatural acts.

It is certainly not the responsibility of elders or any others in a Christian congregation to search into the private lives of married couples . Nevertheless, if future cases of gross unnatural conduct, such as the practice of oral or anal copulation, are brought to their attention, the elders should act to try to correct the situation before further harm results, as they would do with any other serious wrong. Their concern is, of course, to try to help those who go astray and are ‘caught in the snare of the Devil.’ (2  Tim. 2:26) But if persons willfully show disrespect for Jehovah God’s marital arrangements, then it becomes necessary to remove them from the congregation as dangerous “leaven” that could contaminate others.—1  Cor. 5:6, 11-13.

What of Christian women married to unbelievers and whose mates insist on their sharing in such grossly unnatural acts? Does the apostle’s statement that “the wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but her husband does” give a wife the basis for submitting to these demands? (1  Cor. 7:4) No, for such husbandly authority is only relative. God’s authority remains always supreme. (1  Cor. 11:3; Acts 5:29) The apostle, furthermore, was speaking of normal sexual relations, as the context indicates. True, refusal to engage in unholy acts may bring hardship or even persecution on a wife, but the situation is the same as if her husband demanded that she engage in some form of idolatry, in misuse of blood, dishonesty or other such wrong.

Millions of married couples throughout the earth, both in the past and in the present, have found that unselfish love brings joy and full satisfaction, for both partners, in marital relations, without resorting to perverted methods. Realizing that a corrupt world is soon to be wiped away, we can think on the words of the apostle Peter, who wrote: “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah.” Yes, this is not the time to be slipping into, or letting others beguile or pressure us into, unholy practices just to satisfy selfish passion. Not if we truly cherish our hope of living in the fresh, clean new order now so near. (2  Pet. 3:11, 12; Jude 7) So, Christian married couples can keep ‘the marriage bed without defilement,’ not only by refraining from fornication and adultery, but also by avoiding defiling, unnatural practices.—Heb. 13:4.

end quote

There is nothing in there that I could see that says that a married couple having  “non-missionary style sex it is lewd”.  Remember, the article said “It is not the purpose of this magazine to discuss all the intimate aspects of marital relations .”  There are other positions of enjoying  the “natural” (according to our body design) ways of sexual relations.  There is nothing scripturally wrong with other “positions” beside the missionary style, especially if there are physical limitations of one partner where the missionary style is uncomfortable.  The article was showing Bible principles (not rules) that cover anal and oral copulation for a married couple.

2) Your next question was ”If a JW couple is getting married in a Kingdom Hall can her Non-JW father walk her down the aisle or is that forbidden?”  No it would not necessarily be forbidden, so Yes it would normally be OK for a non JW father to walk her daughter down the aisle.  The only time it might be a concern is if the father was once a JW and had been disfellowshipped - ex communicated. (this is not refering to one that just stopped attending JW meetings)  The only reference I could find on that was this from  April 15 1984 watchtower that had the subject of .Christian Weddings That Bring Joy

quote
It would be unfitting to have in the wedding party people who are or whose scandalous life-style grossly conflicts with Bible principles.
End quote

In quoting the above form 1984 a 97 Watchtower  with the title  "Weddings That Honor Jehovah"  said

quote
While a disfellowshipped person could be allowed to attend the talk at the Kingdom Hall, The Watchtower of April  15, 1984, said: “It would be unfitting to have in the wedding party people who are disfellowshipped or whose scandalous life-style grossly conflicts with Bible principles.”

end quote

3) Your next question was “Are JW's allowed to have surgery's that do not need require a blood transfusions?”

We want the best medical treatment that is available to modern man no matter where we live.  That includes having operations to save life.  Bellow are just  a few web sites that deal specially with operations with out blood. The first one, I believe, is from New Jersey your home state. I hope you find these of interest and enlightening.

Englewood Hospital   http://www.englewoodhospital.com/ms_bloodless_home.asp

Jehovah's Witnesses No Blood Transfusions Bloodless Surgery  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0p9BE_i_34

The Centre for Bloodless Medicine http://www.pennmedicine.org/bloodless/

Bloodless Pressure: More Surgery Without Transfusions http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323494504578340962879110432.html

Washington DC http://www.georgetownuniversityhospital.org/body_dept_home.cfm?id=557914

U.S Military Doctors Learn Bloodless Surgery Methods    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAWhRqCjT9w


4) Your last question ”Are JW allowed to have babyshowers?”  The brief answer is Absolutely.  There is nothing wrong with gift giving.  It is encouraged.  But again we try to keep Bible principles in mind.  Bellow is from the companion magazine to the Watchtower.  This is not our teaching magazine, but it   


*** g77 4/8 pp. 27-28 ‘Showering’ with Gifts? ***

Wise Counsel from God

The Bible contains much encouragement toward generosity . We read: “The generous soul will itself be made fat, and the one freely watering others will himself also be freely watered .” “He that is kindly in eye will be blessed, for he has given of his food to the lowly one.” (Prov. 11:25; 22:9) John the Baptist advised: “Let the man that has two undergarments share with the man that has none.” And Jesus urged: “Practice giving, and people will give to you. .  .  . For with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you in return.”—Luke 3:11; 6:38.

It is not Scripturally wrong modestly to identify oneself as the giver of a present, if one chooses to do so, perhaps in an accompanying note. (Compare James 1:17.) But with regard to gift-giving Jehovah gives counsel that takes into account human imperfection. For instance, there is the danger of giving a present so as to bring glory to the giver. Jesus thus advised: “When you go making gifts of mercy, do not blow a trumpet ahead of you, .  .  . do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, that your gifts of mercy may be in secret; then your Father who is looking on in secret will repay you.” (Matt. 6:2-4) How wise and kind! If the identity of the giver is to be announced publicly, one may be tempted to give beyond one’s means, perhaps in order to match the value of the gifts of others. How true is the proverb: “There exists the one that is pretending to be rich and yet he has nothing at all.”—Prov. 13:7.
Also, the Bible does not recommend generosity or gift-giving that would encourage laziness. It says: “Make it your aim to .  .  . work with your hands,” for “if anyone does not want to work, neither let him eat.” The apostle Paul explained that he personally labored ‘so as to avoid putting an expensive burden on others.’—1  Thess. 4:11; 2  Thess. 3:8-12; Eph. 4:28.
“Showers” and Other Gift-giving

If an expectant mother or soon-to-be-married couple definitely is in need, you can appreciate how it might be kind and thoughtful to give gifts that will make the adjustment easier. Sad to say, sometimes persons stage “showers” for quite a different reason. For example, one woman wrote to a newspaper columnist concerning a “shower” that had been held for her fleshly sister. Regarding one of the twenty guests who attended, she said:

“We checked and double-checked each gift and card and couldn’t find a thing from this woman. She deliberately came empty-handed, .  .  . We were all shocked.” The newspaper columnist replied in part:

“I’ve received hundreds of letters from women who say they have been invited to as many as four or five showers for the same bride. They view the whole shower scene as a gigantic ripoff, and I must say, your letter lends a great deal of validity to their complaints.”

Yes, though a “shower” can be a nice opportunity for association, refreshments and gift-giving, it can also become a mockery of the Christian spirit of generous giving. What a pity it would be if persons concluded that their presents were more important than their presence! The error of putting all the emphasis on gifts can be appreciated when we realize that someone who is invited might not be able to afford a gift or might plan to give something at the wedding or after the child is born.

At some “showers” the giver of each present is identified before the others present. This can embarrass anyone who has not brought a gift. And it can lead to comparisons of presents from those of little means and those who are rich (or pretending to be so). (Jas. 2:1-9) How much better is it not to identify the givers by name! Following Jesus’ counsel against publicizing the giver kindly avoids embarrassment or comparisons and so promotes a happier, more Christian spirit. Concerning giving to needy Christians in the first century, Paul wrote: “Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”—2  Cor. 9:7.

Keeping that divine advice in mind will help to prevent any ill feeling toward someone who does not bring a gift—be it to a “shower,” when visiting patients in the hospital, when coming for a meal or at any other time when local custom may involve a gift. How much better it is to let a present be an expression of ‘love without hypocrisy’ rather than a mere formalism because of some local custom!—Rom. 12:9, 13.

Nor, when our motives are guided by God’s Word, need there be any sense of competition. If you were in the hospital, would you not appreciate a single daisy or an orange brought by someone lovingly interested in you more than a bouquet of orchids or a case of fancy fruit given by someone out of “duty”?—Prov. 15:17; 28:6.

Similarly, there is no need for anyone to feel that he must give an “equal” gift in return for something received. One woman explained that when a friend came to her home for a meal and brought ‘a bracelet and earring set, a box of chocolates and a bottle of champagne,’ she felt that she would have to equal that in going to that person’s home for a meal. But why should she? Individuals’ circumstances differ. Even if they did not, is it not the sentiment that is truly important? We see this in Jesus’ commending the poor woman whose gift to God was only two small coins.—Luke 21:1-4.

<b>When our gift-giving and our thinking are in harmony with such perfect counsel of God></b, truly it is a basis for happiness—for both the giver and the recipient.

End quote

I hope my reply has  been informative and unbiased as I have tried to show that Bible principles are what we strive to let guide us and not a lot of arbitrary rules  

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Brenton Hepburn

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I AM one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I am always learning. I am NOT an expert in the full sense of the word but I can answer questions on the reliability of the NWT - the so called mind control problems-so called prophecies - how being a JW affects the individual and relatives and general practices and history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. >>WARNING<< Please be aware that there are people here who ARE NOT practicing JWs. By all means ask these ones questions. Depending on the question you will get an honest answer, but, generally the answer you get, will mislead you as to what we believe, often because, they do not give ALL the relevant details. These ones will, have an agenda against JWs., and will at times give answers that are not correct in regard to JW teachings and practices. If you are after a answer from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please read some of the answers that the various experts have published before choosing someone. If you want to ask one of the NON JWs a question, that is fine, BUT if you want a balancing view after asking one of the NON JWs, ask a JW the same question. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: There(have been)and are, some "experts" here who are NOT always the most courteous and polite, at times are actually quite rude, that applies to both JW's and non JW's and their answers may offend, especially when they get personal and attack the character of the person and not the message. Unfortunately some here that have done that. So it IS IMPORTANT to chose an "expert" that YOU feel will best suit YOU by reading some of their past answers . . . . .

Experience

I have been a publisher since 1964. When I first went on the internet I found a lot of negative information dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses covering prophecy, mind control and what many said was a very bad translation of the Bible known as the NWT. It shook my faith. After may hours researching these topics I could see why some felt that way, but, I was also able to explain why there were these misleading views. I can now set matters straight for anyone that has negative information about Jehovah’s Witness to show them that such information is at best misleading and at worst dangerous lies.

Education/Credentials
I have been a student of the Bible for many years, am trying to teach myself Biblical Greek. Was a public tax accountant for many years untill SEP 2009 when I gave it up due to health problems.

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