I consider myself a humanist and am open to the acceptance of most legitimate religions...except Jehovah's Wittnesses. A couple years ago my mother died. One of my in-laws, who is a Jehovah's Witness, insisted that she loved my mother so much that nothing could keep her from the memorial service. She lied and did not show simply because the service was held in a Christian church other than Jehovah's Witness. Her, and/or the church's, hypocrisy is amazing. The church apparently condones that behavior, even when it eventually breaks up a marriage. I guess my question is really quite general, almost rhetorical. I can't help but wonder how, like ISIS (without the killing), Jehovah's Witnesses can even think they might be on the right path. It astounds me.
I do not know who you sent this to, but I found it in a "Question Pool", so I will answer you
I do not know all circumstances behind this but I thought I would give you some details.
As to if a JW attends a funeral service or a wedding service in a church it is up to that JW to actually decide for themselves. So in reality it is a conscience matter
. Here is a portion of an article
"If the occasion involves a close fleshly relative, there may be additional family pressures. In any case, a Christian must carefully weigh all the factors involved. Under certain circumstances he or she may conclude that no difficulties would arise from attending a church funeral or wedding as an observer. However, the circumstances may be such that by attending, the likely injury to one’s own conscience or to that of others would outweigh the possible benefits of being present. Whatever the situation, the Christian should make sure that the decision will not interfere with his preserving a good conscience before God and men."
You see, we can attend funerals and weddings conducted in a church, but we would not participate in anything that that was happening. We would be silent observers only.
Why did I use the word "circumstances"? Because practices between different religions vary. Your in-law, that did not attend the service, may well have thought, depending on the practices of that "church", that by not participation in any of the rituals, they may have been an embarrassment to the other members of the family. Or if that individual had once belonged to that church they may have found it very hard not to participate if they were there.
Last November I attended a wedding in a church of a very close relative. We sat at the back of the auditorium so as not to be an embarrassment to my relative that was getting married. When songs of praise were sung we did not join in. It was a church where people were very enthusiastic about their singing, waving their hands about. When a pray were said, we did not bow our heads. WHY?
The teachings of other churches are quite different from ours. In the case of a funeral, we do not believe the Bible teaches that there is a soul that goes of to heaven, or that God wanted that person, as it was their time, so God took them. We do not believe in a trinity godhead so when they prayed, their payers were not to our God.
To join in with any of those activities is, for us, equal to the Israelites when they started worshiping other Gods. God was displeased with them. We do not want to displease our God.
Your 'in-law' may well have felt that the particular church service where the funeral was held that the service had too much for them to handle.
Here is some more information from an other article with a couple of different examples
There are many families in which one mate has become a Christian but the other mate has not. (1 Peter 3:1; 4:3) This may present various challenges, such as when there is a wedding or a funeral of a relative. Imagine the case of a Christian wife whose husband does not yet share her faith. One of his relatives is getting married, and the ceremony will be in a church of Christendom. (Or a relative, maybe a parent, has died, and the funeral will be in a church.) The couple are invited, and he wants his wife to accompany him. What does her conscience say about attending? What will she do? Imagine these two possibilities.
Lois reflects on the serious Bible command, ‘Get out of Babylon the Great,’ the world empire of false religion. (Revelation 18:2, 4) She once belonged to the church where the wedding is to take place and knows that during the ceremony all present will be asked to share in religious acts, such as prayer, singing, or religious gestures. She is determined to have no part in that and does not want even to be there and be under pressure to break her integrity. Lois respects her husband and wants to cooperate with him, her Scriptural head; yet, she does not want to compromise her Scriptural principles. (Acts 5:29) Hence, she tactfully explains to her mate that even if he chooses to be there, she personally cannot. She may mention that if she attended and refused to share in some act, it might cause him embarrassment, so in that sense her not attending might be best for him. Her decision leaves her with a clear conscience.
Ruth faces virtually the same dilemma. She respects her husband, is resolved to be loyal to God, and is responsive to her Bible-trained conscience. After thinking about points such as the ones Lois considered, Ruth prayerfully consults “Questions From Readers” in The Watchtower of May 15, 2002. She remembers that the three Hebrews complied with a command to be where idolatry would occur, yet they kept their integrity by not sharing in an idolatrous act. (Daniel 3:15-18) She decides to accompany her husband but not to share in any religious deeds, and she is acting in harmony with her conscience. She tactfully but clearly explains to her husband what her conscience will permit her to do and what she cannot do. Ruth hopes that he will see the difference between true worship and false.—Acts 24:16.
Does the fact that two Christians might reach different conclusions suggest that it makes no difference what a person does or that one of these two must have a weak conscience? No. In view of her past experience with the music and trappings of church ceremonies, Lois may sense that being present would be particularly dangerous for her. And her past interactions with her husband on religious issues may affect her conscience. So she is convinced that her decision is best for her.
But would Ruth’s decision be bad? That is not for others to say. They should not judge or criticize her for choosing to attend the event but not perform any religious act. Bear in mind Paul’s counsel on personal decisions about eating or not eating certain foods: “Let the one eating not look down on the one not eating, and let the one not eating not judge the one eating . . . To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for Jehovah can make him stand.” (Romans 14:3, 4) Certainly no genuine Christian would want to urge anyone to ignore the guidance of a trained conscience, for to do that would be like tuning out a voice that may well convey a lifesaving message.
Continuing this scenario, both Christians should consider additional factors, one being the impact on others. Paul counseled us: “Make this your decision, not to put before a brother a stumbling block or a cause for tripping.” (Romans 14:13) Lois may know that similar situations have caused much upset in the congregation or in her family, and what she does may significantly impact her children. In contrast, Ruth may be aware that similar choices have not caused disturbance in the congregation or in the community. Both women—and all of us—should recognize that a properly trained conscience is sensitive to the impact on others. Jesus said: “Whoever stumbles one of these little ones who put faith in me, it is more beneficial for him to have hung around his neck a millstone such as is turned by an ass and to be sunk in the wide, open sea.” (Matthew 18:6) If a person ignores the issue of stumbling others, he might come to have a defiled conscience, as did some Christians on Crete.
I hope that has helped in some way