Last Tuesday a video was posted on Facebook with the caption: “We must praise Jehovah and this child did it.”
The child in question was aged only three-and-a-half when he was filmed giving a bible reading back in March 2011. The assigned reading was Esther 7:1-10.
The video begins with the microphone being adjusted as the boy, perched precariously on a stool and apparently unsupported, prepares to speak.
The boy then goes on to deliver an impassioned and well-rehearsed reading in which Jewish enslavement and genocide is casually mentioned (verse 4), a king alleges that an attempted rape has been made on his queen (verse 8), and the alleged rapist is hung on a 22-meter-high stake (verses 9 and 10).
The video ends with the boy climbing down from the stool to the rapturous applause of his audience before scampering to the side of his parents on the front row.
With the stool removed a beaming School Overseer takes the stage – the same man who will doubtless have assigned the boy this portion of scripture without finding it in any way inappropriate for a small child to examine and repeatedly rehearse.
The elder then commends the boy for his accurate reading and “sense stress” to the delight of the chuckling audience, before telling him that he looks forward to his next assignment.
If you are not seriously repulsed at the thought of a child of pre-school age being coaxed into reading material describing an alleged rape attempt and the killing of the suspected rapist by hanging, then likely you will be heartened by some of the comments left on the video by Witness Facebook users.
Even so, I was still repulsed by the idea that a child so small was being trotted out like a show pony by its Witness parents as an apparent attempt to score brownie points over other parents in their congregation. It occurred to me – if the boy was being goaded onto the stage at such a young age, how much longer before he would be baptized?
Eager to bring some balance to the discussion, I made the following comment…
You can imagine my horror when I later looked up the passage in my own bible and followed along more closely – seeing the references to rape and hanging being casually enunciated from the mouth of a toddler.
My blood boiled at the stupidity of the School Overseer who had assigned the child this reading without thinking for a moment that it was completely improper – not to mention the parents who would have spent hours helping their boy master these passages in rehearsals.
But I soon found my comment had been deleted by the thread owner, along with others that attempted to highlight the gross impropriety of what was being shown.
And so for registering my disapproval at the way in which a boy of three was being exploited and cajoled into behaving like an adult minister (without even getting started on the desensitization to rape and hanging as well as the casual references to enslavement and genocide), I along with others found myself censored and denounced as “harsh” and even exploitative. The fact that the boy made a good job of the reading and was “praising his creator” was apparently the only thing I should have been concerning myself with.
No reason for pride
Any Witness parents reading this article or watching this video must take a long hard look at themselves and ask whether they would behave similarly towards their own children.
I have already discussed at some length the increasing problem of child baptism among Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Governing Body’s seeming preoccupation with getting children dunked at the earliest available opportunity regardless of the far-reaching consequences.
Children are born neither religious nor political. For parents to successfully coerce their young into mindlessly mimicking their own indoctrination like some kind of crude ventriloquist act is nothing for them to be proud of, just as it was no great effort for the leaders of the Hitler Youth movement to make young mouths parrot their twisted ideology.
This video was apparently filmed nearly three years ago, so the boy in question should be six by now. At this rate, you have to wonder whether he is already among the youngest to have been processed through Watchtower’s vulgar cattle dip of child baptism and branded for life.
Sadly the only thing we can be sure of is that, if he was, he won’t be the last.
- Why it is morally wrong for Watchtower to push baptism on children
- JWsurvey articles on child indoctrination