It was the stuff of nightmares for many Witness children over the decades – the Genesis account of Lot’s wife. In the story, related in Genesis chapter 19, Lot and his family flee the doomed city of Sodom and Gomorrah under strict instructions from their angelic messengers to not “look behind” while escaping to the mountains.
As the fireballs of sulphur begin to rain down on the stricken city, Lot’s wife glances back to view the destruction and is turned into a pillar of salt. – Genesis 19:26
It seems an astonishingly heavy-handed punishment by anyone’s standards, but evidently the intended message from the passage is that absolute obedience must be observed when one is given instructions from God or his messengers.
A morbid task
Few would blame the Society for wanting to gloss over this story, particularly given other extremely unsavory details contained in the biblical account. At one point in the narrative, Lot shows an apparent willingness to allow the men of Sodom to gang rape his two daughters if they agree to leave his angelic messengers alone. (Genesis 19:6-11) Later on in the account, after fleeing Sodom, Lot’s daughters have incestuous relations with their father while he is drunk. (Genesis 19:32-36) This is clearly not a Bible account deserving of close scrutiny as far as morals are concerned. Even so, JW.org has astonishingly challenged young visitors to its official website to help recreate the moment of Lot’s wife’s demise in this story. (To see this for yourself, please click here.)
In a downloadable PDF, Witness youngsters are given the morbid task of joining the dots to finish a depiction of Lot’s wife with a look of anguish on her face as her body turns to salt. Apparently the Society feels there is nothing inappropriate in revelling in the death of a person who has been killed by God by making her agonizing execution the subject of a coloring-in exercise.
Witness parents should be seriously concerned about material such as this, which carries the potential to desensitize children to cruel violence and retribution.
As another example, on the same page on JW.org a comic-book version of the story of Lot’s family is published. The turning of Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt is portrayed in a shockingly graphic way, with her leg first becoming trapped, and then her arm becoming encrusted with salt. All the while there is an expression of horror on her face, and a tear rolls down her cheek as the salt consumes her body. The clear impression is that, rather than dying instantly, Lot’s wife is dying in great pain and trauma – and that this pain is deserved.
All of the above only serves to stigmatize disobedient people as being worthy of a cruel and painful death in the minds of loyal worshippers. No mercy should be shown toward those who dare to “disobey.” Witness parents need to ask, do they want their children to grow up as cruel and vindictive people who revel in the suffering of others?
The Society has already ramped up its hate speech towards so-called “apostates” in recent magazine articles, labelling such ones “mentally diseased” (w11 7/15 p.16) and “gangrenous” (w13 4/15 p.11). It would not be a huge stretch to suggest that this new material on JW.org is aimed at portraying precisely the sort of fate it has in mind for those who dare to challenge the directives of the Governing Body, or fail to render it unquestioned obedience.
Out of touch
Amazingly, this is not the only questionable material for children to be found on the new JW.org. Elsewhere on the website, there is another gruesome “connect the dots” challenge featuring the Bible account where King Solomon demonstrates his “wisdom” by ordering a baby to be cut in two to resolve an argument between two women both claiming to be the baby’s mother. Here is the image (to download the PDF, click here)…
Supporters of the Society would argue that the baby wasn’t actually cut in two in this account, because the whole thing was a test to prove the identity of the baby’s true mother. Nonetheless, it was an extremely reckless way to resolve a custody dispute, showing a shocking disregard for human life. Few would disagree that the graphic portrayal of a baby about to be butchered with a knife by a soldier is wholly inappropriate imagery for young children to be exposed to.
Just because an account is mentioned in the Bible, does not necessarily make it appropriate educational material for children. For example, the Bible also mentions David’s adulterous sexual relations with Bathsheba, but this is not depicted in “connect the dot” exercises for children to recreate with their crayons. Despite this, the Society evidently feels there is nothing wrong with graphically exposing young minds to the agonizing death of a women simply for looking in the wrong direction, or the violent threats made toward a defenceless infant.
The portrayal of sex is rightly deemed off limits, but it seems violence is perfectly fine if a point needs to be made. It is almost as though the brothers responsible for producing this material are completely out of touch, or have no parental experience or instincts to tell them what is appropriate for children and what isn’t.
Indoctrinating a new generation
All of this comes less than nine months after the Society released its notorious children’s DVD “Become Jehovah’s Friend: Listen, Obey and Be Blessed,” which featured the exploits of young Caleb and his ill-fated Sparlock wizard toy. The DVD met with widespread condemnation towards the Society’s blatant attempt at controlling the minds of young ones by compromising their logical reasoning ability and stigmatizing such harmless items as magical toys.
These latest apparent attempts at moulding young minds by desensitizing Witness children to brutal justice and the death of disobedient people are just as appalling. It all represents further evidence that there are no depths the Society will not sink to in their efforts to draw total obedience from future generations.
A related Youtube video…