The three-day regional conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses are given different themes from year to year.
This year’s theme of “Remain Loyal to Jehovah” offers a fascinating hint of the paranoia gripping the Governing Body leadership as the internet helps an increasing outflow shed their indoctrination.
But despite the changing themes, some things about the convention program remain constant year after year. All Jehovah’s Witness conventions conclude with a long rambling talk in which one of the most senior Watchtower officials in attendance relates a cascade of feel-good experiences intended to bolster the faithful.
Now it seems a convention held last Sunday in Knoxville Tennessee has set a new record for the most disturbing and distasteful Sunday-afternoon motivational experience. The high-ranking speaker who related the story? Who else but Governing Body member, and no stranger to controversy, Anthony Morris III.
A video posted to YouTube by “Cappytan” shows Morris conveying the heartbreaking tale of a young boy named Josh (age undisclosed) who pays the ultimate price for being brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness. Despite doctors quietly urging him to accept a blood transfusion while his parents’ backs are turned, Josh doesn’t flinch and ends up being praised by Morris for martyring himself despite “persecution” from the medical staff.
Morris concludes the experience by reassuring the crowd: “And when he’s resurrected you’ll hear more from him, because Jehovah loves that little fella.” The thousands in attendance then have little hesitation in applauding to signal their approval.
This despite the fact that a young boy, clearly a product of childhood religious indoctrination, is now dead because of the Governing Body’s stubborn prohibition of a medical procedure on which the bible, for all its prodigious rule-making, is silent. After all, how could bible writers ban something centuries before it is invented?
There is no way of knowing how many Jehovah’s Witnesses, like Josh, have had their lives tragically abbreviated by Watchtower’s blood stance, which only dates back as far as 1945. Though the likes of Morris show pride and enthusiasm in sharing these anecdotes before doting audiences, they are curiously less eager to release official statistics indicating the global yearly death-toll resulting from their teachings.
More protection needed
As easy as it is to point the finger squarely at a 21st Century Christian death cult for placing its own interests ahead of the welfare of its followers, I cannot help but feel aggrieved that Josh’s doctors were placed in a position where they were so powerless to keep him alive.
There have been repeated cases in many countries, including the UK, Australia and New Zealand, where judges have intervened to make sure no stricken minor has to pay the ultimate price for their parents’ fanaticism.
The children of Jehovah’s Witnesses NEED the protection of the State in these instances, no matter how convinced of their beliefs they may seem.
There have even been some indications that, faced with this scenario, Jehovah’s Witness parents are relieved that responsibility has been taken out of their hands, giving them plausible deniability when elders (the congregation enforcers) start asking questions. (Accepting blood is a disfellowshipping offense for a Jehovah’s Witness if he is not sorry for it.)
So, what was so different about Josh? Why was he allowed to lay his precious life on the Governing Body’s grotesque altar of loyalty without any State intervention when other minors in his predicament have been rescued?
Details in Morris’ gloating speech are predictably scarce, so perhaps we’ll never know the full story. What we do know, and have known for some time, is that for all its gleeful cries of persecution directed toward “Satan’s system,” the history book shows that nobody, not even Hitler,* is more prolific at killing Jehovah’s Witnesses than Watchtower itself.
*An estimated 1,200 Jehovah’s Witnesses died under Hitler’s regime.
If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, and you would like further information on why the ban on blood is immoral and unbiblical, please click here.
Editor’s note: Since this article was posted, it has become apparent that Tony Morris’ experience (which he related as though it were recent) is actually from a 1995 Awake! article. It seems that, when it comes to finding material to remind Witnesses of the need to sacrifice their children, no anecdote is too old. Scans of the magazine article in question are available here. We would like to thank our readers for bringing this to our attention.