Jehovah's Witnesses - Questions about them?

(14 Posts)
darlingdaffodils Fri 30-Aug-13 12:39:07

Are there any Jehovah's Witnesses on here? I am curious about them and went to a meeting this week to see what it was like. I have some pretty random questions though!

Are there rules on hair / clothes and stuff like that?

Are there any Witnesses that DON'T get married? At the meeting I went to everyone was either young or married. There didn't seem to be anyone over 23/24 who wasn't married.

Are they allowed to be friends with people who aren't Witnesses? From what I gathered the young / teen members had pretty active social lives and met up in big groups for meals / cinema / parties.

Why are some called Brother / Sister first name and others Brother / Sister last name?

Are they allowed to read / watch things not created by their organisation? Are there rules about what they can / can't do?

Are they allowed to date? Is divorce allowed?

Is someone who joins as an adult viewed as damaged in a way? I mean it is more likely that you will have broken some of their rules. Like if you had sex before marriage but then joined up would you be seen as lacking or (I don't know) un-marriageable?

Overall they were very friendly but a lot of the meeting was a bit complicated for me (about a book I hadn't read) but it was quite intense for someone as shy as me. I felt out of place being older and single - like there were teens and married couples but those were the only categories.

KayHarker Fri 30-Aug-13 12:44:41

Their website is quite user friendly and would answer a lot of your questions. It's www.jw.org

KayHarker Fri 30-Aug-13 16:46:53

To be clear, I'm not one of Jehovah's Witnesses, but I have had them visiting me on and off for around 20 years. I think there were some Witnesses on MN, but I think they might have been scared off by the negativity on here and the fact that the Watchtower organization doesn't recommend the online world very much. Personally I think the online world is a bit like the Wild West so I don't really blame them.

Ahem, all of which to say I hope the website answers some of your questions, and I might be able to answer some myself if it comes up empty.

stressedHEmum Fri 30-Aug-13 19:29:32

Not one anymore, but was one for a long time.

Yes, there are rules on hair/clothes etc. men have to have short hair, no beard. No extreme haircuts allowed. Women used to be forbidden from having a bob hair cut or short hair, but that's not the case anymore. Clothes must always be modest, you are expected to be smart especially when in the Kingdom Hall etc. or out on the preaching work. Women have to wear skirts for this, men and boys, suits and ties. If women are doing the teaching when their is a qualified brother around, they have to cover their hair.

Most witnesses get married because any kind of sexual contact outside of marriage would lead to disciplining and then disfellowshipping. JW's don't date as such; they socialise in groups and only start dating if they have the intention of marrying. Unmarried couples have to be chaperoned, they shouldn't spend time alone in a private place. Also, they shouldn't date/fellowship with people outside the Witnesses.

You're not really allowed to be friends with people who aren't witnesses. Bad associations spoil useful habits and socialising with "worldly" people is a bad thing because it can lead you away from The Truth and towards the world which is ruled by Satan.

In my day, the men were called Brother Surname and the women were called Sister 1st name unless they were older women who got last names as a mark of respect.

No, they are not allowed to read/listen to religious material of any kind not produced by their organisation. The WBTS also advises very strongly on the types of material that are suitable for reading or listening to - so most modern music is unsuitable, tv/film media that contains sex, violence, swearing, blasphemy, magic etc. is unsuitable, same with books and the like - so no Harry Potter or Belgariad or similar. Also anything that has an even slightly religious stance that is part of false religion (anyone except JWs.) You most certainly can't listen to/sing hymns or sacred music - the Devil has the best hymns.

Divorce is frowned on, except in the case of adultery. If you divorce without adultery,you are not free to remarry.

No, you wouldn't be seen as "damaged" because you would have repented and turned your back on your former life. You would have brought your life into line with Jehovah's will. BUT, it would be some time before you had proven that you were strong enough in the truth before you would be considered a suitable partner,

Interestingly, something like 63% of people born into JWs, leave the religion when they are old enough to make their own minds up.

Hope this helps a bit.

darlingdaffodils Sun 01-Sep-13 16:05:01

That does help - thank you!

I find all the little rules interesting ... I have been reading about on the internet so what I am reading may not be true but wind chimes, smurfs and yoga seem to be on the bad list.

That is a BIG percentage that leaves then!!

It all sounds very controlled and a bit old fashioned (especially the chaperone thing!) and very detail focussed. Are the roles in marriage old fashioned too? Like husband in charge.

KayHarker Sun 01-Sep-13 19:08:16

Yes, traditional marriage roles are taught. And women don't teach and preach in the congregation meetings, though obviously they can do when out and about doing bible studies and door to door work.

stressedHEmum Sun 01-Sep-13 22:45:36

Yes, v. traditional marriage roles. Also no women allowed in positions of authority with congregations or the supervisory structure.

Don't know about smurfs but no yoga, no wind chimes, no clinking of glasses in a toast, no saying "bless you" when someone sneezes... All these things have a connection to spiritism and false religion. Also no crosses, fish symbols, religious type pictures or anything like that, for the same reason (false religion attached to Satan.)

It is a very controlling faith - even down to how you can have sex with your husband.

prettyanddainty Mon 02-Sep-13 15:52:57

stressed you don't have to answer this but why did you leave the religion? ignore this if you feel you don't want to answer.
My friend was a JW but isn't anymore due to the very high standards and intense rules, her mum is still a JW though, so therefore she has been disowned by her mum.

darlingdaffodils Mon 02-Sep-13 17:55:29

smile I am sat watching 10th Kingdom so the now magic stuff is not very me!

They control sex within marriage too?!

stressedHEmum Mon 02-Sep-13 22:43:22

I left because they controlled everything and because I found there to be very little mercy or grace. I could tell stories that would curl your hair about the way people were treated and, tbh, I was appalled and couldn't come to grips with a religion that supported an alcoholic paedophile who abused his wife and spent time in prison bt shunned the wife who left him when she couldn't take anymore. Or a religion that required a women to shun her pregnant, teenage sister. or a religion that drove another woman to a nervous breakdown because the elders didn't think that her fiancé was strong enough in the truth, so they pressured her into leaving him when she didn't want to. And that's only a small bit of why I left.

darling, definitely no magic and yes to what sexual positions and what kind of sex is permissible within marriage, (Oral sex is a no-no for instance.)

specialsubject Tue 03-Sep-13 09:08:56

what, does someone come round to check?

why is religion always about things you can't do? Where is the faith that talks about respecting ALL others and doesn't ban anything except the things that all civilised people know are bad?

stressedHEmum Tue 03-Sep-13 10:44:53

Special, no-one comes round to check, but if other witnesses find out, they have a duty to report you to the elders and then they will deal with it. Also, you know that you will have to justify everything you have ever done to Jehovah on the day of judgement and you believe that the Governing Body are His mouthpiece, so everything they tell you to do or not do is straight from the mouth of God. If you disobey, it's like disobeying God himself.

It's all about surviving Armageddon. You don't know whether you will or not until you do, but the way to give yourself a better chance is to follow the rules. I think that perhaps you have to experience it to understand it, tbh.

prettyanddainty Tue 03-Sep-13 15:02:01

Thanks stressed for sharing that.x

darlingdaffodils Mon 09-Sep-13 17:17:06

Thank you for sharing - it is interesting to get the perspective of someone who was a Witness and who now is not. If you ask someone who has always been a Witness you get one answer and if you ask someone who has never been in you get a totally different answer so it is good to hear from someone who has seen both sides.

It sounds scary to not know if you would survive Armageddon or not - it doesn't sound like a very comforting faith.

So while I like the Witnesses I have met and enjoyed the meetings I don't know if it is for me. It feels like there is a middle man between you and God and I don't know that there ought to be.

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