Do Jehovah’s Witnesses genuinely care about the general well-being of ordinary people beyond the confines of their religion? Such a question might sound strange to some, but after taking a closer look into their interaction with the public it becomes not only reasonable, but necessary.
If you posed the question to a Jehovah’s Witness at your doorstep you’d likely get a lengthy monologue describing his or her organization as the most “loving” on the earth.
But do Witnesses really care about people outside of their bubble? A recent troubling development in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, brings that question into sharp focus.
Jim Mura’s life plans were tragically altered when he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a freak ocean swimming accident. Suddenly, his lifestyle was one where simple communication and movement was extremely difficult. His wife, Janet, became his caretaker.
The two of them had reason for concern when their local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses decided to build a kingdom hall next door.
You see, one of the few joys in Jim’s life is gazing at the Sandia Mountains, a view of which is afforded to him by his dining room window. But having learned that the new kingdom hall would obstruct this view, the couple decided to confront the Jehovah’s Witnesses with their concerns.
They received verbal assurance that the hall would be built so that Jim’s view would not be blocked.
Once the concrete was poured, Jim and Janet were shocked to find out that the kingdom hall was being situated in a position that would indeed block his view of the mountains.
Again they confronted the Witnesses and discovered that the decision had been made in spite of their agreement.
If the Witnesses had upheld their agreement with the Mura’s and complied with their wishes, the parking lot for the kingdom hall would lose the space for three vehicles. These few parking spaces were thus deemed more important than the needs of a severely disabled neighbor.
As a group that professes to be the only true Christians, shouldn’t Watchtower’s love for their literal neighbors be of paramount concern? Should it not supersede any material or strategic gain?
I was a member for over two decades, and will always remember a common mantra: “let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no.” (James 5:12) I recall this concept being drilled into my mind from a young age. So, it’s astonishing for me to witness an entire congregation’s refusal to uphold such a simple agreement with a person in need, namely that he could continue to have access to an attribute that directly influenced the purchase of his property.
Tragically, the law sits on the sidelines on this one. Morally, what’s happening is loathsome, but the Watchtower is breaking no actual laws. All that can be done is to protest peacefully against this moral travesty as it unfolds, and raise awareness.
If you would care to show your support for Jim and his wife, please visit their official Facebook page: Save Jim’s View.
Even with the concrete poured, I imagine there are still creative ways to grant Mr Mura his wishes. Hopefully, Watchtower will have a change of heart and allow his current quality of life to be uninterrupted. Only time will tell.