Jehovah`s Witness/jw brush offs
QUESTION: Hello, I have a concern that i am hoping you can clarify. I have a sister/brother in law that are jw's. They are the only witnesses in our family (marriage). They are nice enough people, but we rarely see them or hear from them. They live very close too. This is the concern.... they purposely avoid us. They seem to prefer to spend all their time with fellow witnesses. They have declined family vacations, dinners, picnics, etc. None of these events were religious events. It seems to be a pattern with them. They homeschool and do not allow their children any outside activities with kids their age (not even their cousins that are the same age)Those poor kids (teens) seem so miserable. They aren't permitted to drive either. The oldest girl is 18 and has never gone out to the movies, the mall, concerts, school sporting events, dances, sleepovers, NOTHING. They do not engage in any teen activities at all. The few witness kids they knew all moved. They spend their time with all adults. I feel so sorry for them. They mother is overprotective and isolates those kids. Its not healthy. I worry about them. They are socially awkward and just are so depressed. Is this normal behavior for witnesses? Thanks so much for your input.
ANSWER: Hi Carol,
Thank you for your question. This sound more like several personal preferences on their part. Maybe you should discuss this with them. To get more information on our organization and the type of association spoken of positively in the bible please visit www.jw.org.
With Warm Regards,
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QUESTION: So are you saying that they prefer to associate only with Jehovah Witnesses rather than someone who is not? We tried at one time to politely bring this to their attention,and they were not receptive and were downright defensive. Needless to say, we won't be doing that again. Your answer is somewhat gray, and only directs me to your website???? Sorry.
ANSWER: Hi Carol,
Please forgive me for my delayed response. I am in graduate school and I had to focus on my assignments in order to turn something in by the Sunday due date. I directed you to www.jw.org for more information on what the Bible says in regard to association. In the august 15th 2013 issue of the Watchtower there is a wonder article entitled "You Have Been Sanctified" on pp. 3-8.
Paragraph 8 states: Never forget that “bad associations spoil useful habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Even some of our relatives could be bad association, that is, they might influence us to do bad things. At one time, High Priest Eliashib was a good example and worked with Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. (Nehemiah 3:1) But Tobiah and others were bad association for Eliashib. They influenced him to do things that were wrong, and this made him unholy. We need to associate with people who encourage us to do good things, such as reading the Bible, attending the meetings, and going in field service (i.e., the door to door ministry). We can be especially grateful when our family members encourage us to do what is right.
As far as everything else that you've mention, it all seems like a personal preference (i.e., homeschooling, not allowing them to drive, avoid family vacations, teen activities). That is why I encouraged you to speak with your relative.
Personally, I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. I didn't lack anything. I went to private schools and public school, but I would have been completely open to home school, especially in this day and time. My siblings and I had little contact with most of our non witness relatives who did not encourage us in our endeavors to be faithful witnesses. We really had nothing in common with them. As kids we were allowed the opportunity to choose our associates and I am very happy with my decisions.
I hope this helps.
With warm Regards,
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QUESTION: Hi Pam. No problem with the delay. I understand. Congratulations on graduate school. Its nice to see that some Jehovah Witnesses value an education,and a better life for themselves. The relatives I previously mentioned to you, will not permit their kids to go to college. The part of your answer that concerned me was when you said "my siblings and I had little contact with most of our non witness relatives". Is this the "norm" for witnesses? If so, I find that really sad. May I ask why or how did they not encourage you to be faithful witnesses? Why would they care? I was always taught not to judge others...for any reason. I understand some folks may be "less than morally " desirable and you might not feel comfortable associating with them. I get that. It seems, however, that Jehovah Witnesses view EVERYBODY that is not a witness as such. This says a lot, and not in a good way. To be clear on my understanding, Jehovah Witnesses deem others not part of their religious group as "bad seeds", regardless of actual morality or kindness and feel shunning them is ok? You judge all others solely based on their religious choice? Please tell me that you do not believe this, or worse, teach this to innocent children? To me, this mimics a form of racism and/or bigotry. Its almost unimaginable to me that any follower of Jesus would think this is acceptable behavior. I am sure Jesus would be disappointed that anyone could or would turn their back on someone and make assumptions about them based merely on religious affiliation. I apologize if I am being disrespectful, I guess I am just a little shocked. It does,however,explain the odd behavior of our relatives. Thanks for your time. Good luck in grad school.
I think it depends on the family. You can choose not to associate with people without judging them. I cat speak for your relatives who are JWs but it's a choice that they decided to make. College is a personal choice. I went to college with a bunch of JWs. I also know plenty of people who are not JWs who choose not to go to college. Jesus always urged his followers to not only watch their association, but also to seek first God's kingdom and to always do Jehovah's will. The gospel accounts of Matthew Mark Luke and John have detailed accounts of what Jesus taught while he was on earth, and also how you. An identify his true followers today.
This would be the perfect conversation to have face to face with a witness. We always preach from door to door in hundreds of countries around the world. Next time a witness stops by your home please bring your concerns up with them also.