Watchtower’s influence comes under scrutiny in family court

A judge at Leicester law courts (pictured) has concluded Watchtower beliefs were causing one boy "emotional harm"

A judge at Leicester law courts (pictured) has concluded Watchtower beliefs were causing one boy “emotional harm”

A family judge in Leicester, England has determined that the seven-year-old son of a Jehovah’s Witness mother should be removed from her care due to “emotional harm” being caused at home, so reports the Daily Mail.

School officials testified that the boy (who cannot be named) had been disruptive in class multiple times whenever bible-related topics are discussed. During one lesson discussing the crucifixion story, he destroyed materials with scissors and was quoted as saying, “nobody’s telling true stories about Jehovah.”

The boy is also reported as having told school staff that he “could not be with people who didn’t believe in Jehovah,” and has spoken “contemptuously” about a non-Jehovah’s Witness bible.

It also appears his father was deemed as unfit. The boy is quoted as saying “I don’t love daddy at all,” describing him as “really mean.” Whether these claims are true, or a result of the mother’s conditioning, is unclear. Testimony heard by the judge seems to suggest the parents were involved in a feud, and the boy found himself in the middle of it.

After hearing all sides of the matter, Judge Clifford Bellamy ruled the boy would be better off in the care of foster parents. In his ruling he is quoted as saying: “I am satisfied that (the boy) has suffered emotional harm… I am satisfied that the fact that (the boy) has been immersed by his mother in her religious beliefs and practices has been a significant factor in causing that emotional harm.”

Though a case of this notoriety is rare, negative results stemming from Watchtower’s undue influence upon children are not uncommon. Being highly impressionable and trusting, most children do not see a need to question what their parents teach them. Many children brought up as Jehovah’s Witnesses are easily molded by the “us vs. them” attitude that is inherent to Witness beliefs.

I personally can recall having a feeling of superiority over non-Witness children as a young child. Growing up, I was trained by my own mother, congregation elders, and Watchtower’s publications to believe that everyone who was not a Witness (including my then non-believing father) would be destroyed at Armageddon—and their carcasses eaten by birds. My young life was filled with images of the terror and destruction that awaited all those who rejected the “Truth.”

This indoctrination by Watchtower has led to the break up of countless families such as mine, as Witnesses follow counsel to shun those who leave the organization for fear of being destroyed themselves.

Fear learned at a young age is often difficult to unlearn. Even those of us who wake up and leave the organization will often encounter the thoughts of devastation we were conditioned with. Tragically, the resulting fear and guilt can lead some down destructive paths, even to suicide.

It isn’t hard to see how this boy, caught between quarreling parents, and being fed Watchtower doomsday stories, might have acted out in school. In his young mind, he is a crusader for truth. One can only hope that being away from family and Watchtower pressures will help him see the beauty of the world and how to peacefully exist in it.

The family’s case will be revisited again this summer by the Judge.

 

 

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25 Responses to Watchtower’s influence comes under scrutiny in family court

  1. anonymous says:

    When my son was six years old, I was working full time and forgot about the pledge of allegiance and on the first day of school, the teacher called me at home to tell me what happened when the pledge came up. He closed his eyes real tight, plugged his ears with his fingers and turned around so he couldn’t see the flag. The teacher wasn’t mad about it or anything and only called me to tell me what happened so I could explain to him what he could do during the pledge and it wasn’t a problem from then on. I remember being really proud of him at the time because being only six years old, he had gotten the idea from meetings that somehow the pledge of allegiance was really “evil” and that was his little six year old way of dealing with a situation that to him seemed really “evil” and he hadn’t been told how to handle it.

    When later, I related the story to some “friends” at the hall, they thought how terrible of my little boy to have acted so “disrespectfully of the flag”. Here I was proud of him and they were ashamed of him. I will never forget that as long as I live.

    In kids’ minds, they have no idea what it’s all about and they think they are doing the right thing and they are too little to comprehend very much about life at all at that age. That little boy was made to feel about a different Bible than the New World Translation as “evil”. That is brainwashing at it’s best.

    I can’t see that the government is going to take this little boy out of his family for that because I think if they take this little boy from the family, he is going to feel like it’s all his fault for doing what he did in school. It seems extreme to me unless the father is really abusive.

    This is a case where I could see the Society sending in their lawyers to fight it to make a name for themselves and claim “persecution”.

  2. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    Good article and news after I divorced a Jehovah’s Witness wife in October 2014. I feel better away this woman who unfortunately has with help of Elders and “other sheep” under undue influence from stupid interpretation of the Bible by “The Slave” (JW’s Governing Body)! I feel pity of my son who will be forced to follow her mother’s cognitive dissonance.

    This religion stands for a purpose I really fail to understand as a human. It wilds mankind. Consider the following:

    *** fy chap. 8 pp. 96-97 pars. 17-18 Protect Your Family From Destructive Influences ***
    Yet it is not enough simply to teach your children to avoid bad associates. Help them to find good ones. One father says: “We would always try to substitute. So when the school wanted our son on the football team, my wife and I sat down with him and discussed why that wouldn’t be a good idea—because of the new companions that would be involved. But then we suggested getting some of the other children in the congregation and taking all of them to the park to play ball. And that worked out fine.”
    18 Wise parents help their children to find good friends and then to enjoy wholesome recreation with them. For many parents, though, this matter of recreation presents challenges of its own.

  3. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    I wanted to mean …. “I feel better away from this woman who unfortunately has taken captive my cute son with help of Elders and “other sheep”…”

  4. Mama Joy says:

    The notoriety of this case my be unusual, but the crime isn’t.

  5. Darlene Alexander says:

    So true, Jeni! JWs in general are taught to hate, but it’s a very insidious type disguised as “love.” Though the child may be acting out because of his feuding parents (and we all know what that’s about….), this little boy is a poster child for how JWs teach their children to view anyone that does not belong to their ‘religion.’ If that doesn’t say ‘cult’ I don’t know what does. Thanks for the overview of the news item!

    • Grace says:

      @Darlene A.

      I totally agree with your comment. It’s one of the passive aggressive religions I have ever come across. Hate disguised as love is a really appropriate description. Their true colours often come out when you least expect it.

  6. Kat says:

    Good article, and not at all UNCOMMON to be sure. The us vs. them, we’ll live in their fine home after they are killed, destroyed at Armageddon is a theme often repeated at in the door to door work. And years of mum’s comments that “worldly” people will die because of celebrating holidays, being patriotic or any number of infractions wears on their wee minds. No wonder this poor child lashed out at what he viewed at pure Satanic ways of life, that’s all he heard for 7 years.

  7. 7 year old …. Damaged already… PROBABLY BAPTISED at 6 years of age …. !!!!

    • @Darlene & @Grace …. ‘Hate Disguised as Love’ Very Aptly Put !! The Love is Conditional as I found out when I make comments in the Watchtower study like ‘ I hope the F&D Slave get it right this time on the Generation Interpetation ‘ After a comment like that I have been Cold Shouldered, Blanked, ignored,etc By friends??? I have known for 30 years BECAUSE of a Personal ,BUT VERY HONEST Observation!!! Now that is FRIGHTENING CULT BEHAVIOUR!!!

      • Peter green says:

        The number of brothers I have spoken to that don’t have a clue where the ‘gb’ have come up with this latest generation nonsense is beyond belief…. But no one dare dare speak out..I have dipped my toe in the water a couple of times and got odd looks….my id on jwrecovery is ‘onmywayout’….I am now fully awake.
        And scared to death of the up and coming ‘train crash’ (still an elder)

        • Average Joe says:

          Peter, think twice about your decision please. You can do a lot of good as an elder who does things right. The organisation needs people who genuinely try to stick to Bible teachings, especially showing love & mercy as opposed to being judgemental. I don’t know how old you are but you can encourage others by your example and bit by bit try to enlighten people.
          I was chatting the other day with an MS who had no idea about the JW child abuse cases nor the WTS policy for elders on how to handle it. It was an eye opener for him. We just have to make sure that WE do what’s morally right and more importantly expose the elders, servants, and others with responsibilities who are in the organisation to play gods amongst men.
          If you are in an insufferable situation or unhappy then by all means do what’s best for you and leave but if, like me, you are happy being with your friends in the KH and your social life, then why give it up? Hope I’ve explained myself ok.

        • anonymous says:

          I think being an elder and calling it quits, has to be earth shattering for your congregation. It would be so nice to be able to talk freely why you are leaving but of course if you write a letter of disassociation, the elders will just say that you are no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the congregation is left to wonder just what you “did wrong”. They won’t know it’s because you woke up to all the lies.

          The Society’s motives are so evil when it comes to disfellowshipping and those still left in the cult who are wasting their lives away on a fantasy are the most to be pitied. Once we take the step and stop going and stop donating, we finally feel free for once in our lives and can step out of the dark cloud and be happy.

          I have to disagree with Average Joe. Once I woke up, I could no longer stomach showing any support at all by going to meetings or service or assemblies.

          If we show up, the rest of the congregation doesn’t realize just how many of us keep going just because we are afraid to be shunned.

          The more of us that quit, the more the Society is going to be forced to change it’s ways. If we go to the meetings and raise our hands and answer at meetings, we could be giving off the impression that we still think it’s the “truth” and those with real doubts (could be sitting right next to us at the meetings) won’t realize that their doubts are legitimate and won’t have the courage to step out of the prison, aka Watchtower.

          That is why it is so evil that the Society shuns for quitting. The Organization would crumble and fall tomorrow if the Witnesses were free to express any of their doubts to each other without the threat of being shunned.

          What I have heard for people who have an almost impossible way to quit, is to turn in fake hours. It’s a fake organization, so why feel guilty about turning in “fake” hours? It wouldn’t bother me in the least.

  8. Jerry O Connor says:

    Hello to all
    Seven year`s old and brainwashed. I empathize with the child but not with the parents. The only positive that I see in this sad case is that watchtower is stymied. The behavior of the child is so extreme that he can`t be another watchtower “poster boy”. Then there is the parents. They turned their son into a watchtower extremist. Another family destroyed by this obscene cult.

  9. dontknowwheretogo says:

    Bet the kid never gets ice cream now…

  10. Rowland Nelken says:

    Will any of the practising JWs who clearly follow this blog come to the defence of the Watchtower cult and blame the ‘worldly’ judge?

    Maybe they have learned their lesson and realise that their grubby little corner of Christendom is utterly indefensible.

  11. Excelsior! says:

    Folks,

    This is another tragic case. A child should be able to rely on the unconditional love of its parents.

    The WTBTS actually have a packet that they give to Witness parents when custody is being challenged in court.

    It says to coach the child into looking and sounding more like a normal child! It councels not to speak of pioneering etc etc!!

    I shall await with interest the eventual outcome of this case.

    What a poor little boy! I hope that he is given the help he needs to find some stability and peace.

    Peace be with you, Excelsior!

  12. minion says:

    Great commentary Jeni,

    Family members are not the same when they get exposed with indoctrination of JW beliefs.

    Your comments are supported by a you tube video that was released 3 days ago by a young girl explaining in her school classroom, the troubles and challenges elders impose on familys when issues arise at home.

    Your comments and this video are one. The URL:

    https://youtu.be/RDvT_gYq-ls

    Keep up the good work!

  13. Andrew says:

    Drama drama drama, boy do we apostates love drama

    • yawn says:

      @andrew

      Or maybe we are happy for one kid who may have a chance at a somewhat normal childhood, but still worry for others who have no way out of this cult (yet). Yes, we do like to see the hypocrisy, inhumanity and ruthlessness of the WT organization exposed, despite their best efforts to hide it, because we want the world to see the true face behind the JW.org mask.

      • Andrew says:

        well, i don’t like the fact we are making it look as if every jw kids are dammaged like this child, say what you want, we all know this aint the case. I have 4 kids, they had many friends in the JW. Some still in, others not, none of them are this troubled, quite the contrary. The poor kid probably has unfitting parents, he would act strangely even if they were atheist. Just sayin

        • Excelsior! says:

          Andrew,

          Thank you for your comment. I am glad that, in your opinion, your 4 children were not harmed by thr WTBTS cult.

          I would respectfully disagree.

          All JWs are abused. This is a cult, and NOONE is unaffected by it.

          Yes, we can sometimes have reasonably “normal” relationships, but the underlying superstructure is damaging.

          Children are abused in numerous ways in this cult.

          Their lives are controlled, to greater or lesser degrees, by cult techniques.

          This case was a fitting subject for an article. The problems this child is dealing with are a direct result of the WTBTS’ teachings.

          Peace be with you, Excelsior!

        • Excelsior! says:

          Andrew,

          Can you direct me to any articles from atheists that encourage children to destroy RE resources or encourages children not to talk to their parent?

          Peace be with you, Excelsior!

  14. Kat says:

    Well said yawn!

  15. @Andrew . You & your family might have had positive experiences but I have seen for every good experience 8 BAD ONES mainly Elders Children!! Some have had MENTAL BREAKDOWNS, SOME HAVE COMMITTED SUICIDE!! These were Friends of mine !Many Have DEPRESSION & are on Medication!
    Believe Me GIVE IT 15 MORE YEARS,Andrew & When ARMAGEDDON hasn’t come & there is MORE NEW LIGHT on ‘The GENERATION Doctrine’ ,then the ‘1914 Date’ & as there is NOWHERE in the Bible that supports 1914,1919,1935 etc as there was nowhere in the past that supported 1874,1878, 1925,1975 !!! ERRORS after ERRORS !!!
    So Andrew come Back to me in 15 years & tell us all here how your children are WHEN THEY ARE DISAPPOINTED at the LOST OPPORTUNITIES at not Fulfilling their POTENTIAL whether a Good Career,Better Education & MORE IMPORTANTLY FRIENDS??! That are PROPER Friends who won’t DROP YOU LIKE A STONE when you Voice a Difference of OPINION to 7 FALLIBLE AMERICAN MEN Who CHANGE INTERPRETATION of Scriptures over the Last 25 years Since Fred Franz died & Even have ADJUSTED??? The Supposedly BEST TRANSLATION of the BIBLE EVER SEEN back in 1960!!!

  16. James Broughton says:

    Jeni’s article and comments are once again superb. To be fair, Christian families sometimes have to make hard choices over their children’s education. For example, hallowe’en has posed problems in the UK. Whilst not supporting ‘brainwashing’ I believe education is about opening the mind not closing it.

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