Attended a JW funeral the other day

by uk_ex_jw 19 Replies latest jw experiences

  • uk_ex_jw

    Hi all,

    I had an account on here sometime ago but forgot the login, but I often read the site.

    A long-term friend of mine, a JW, asked me to go to his Grandmothers JW funeral a few weeks ago.

    I was hesitant obviously. I haven't been to a KH in over 5 years.

    I am not DF/DA. I decided to quit in 2007 following my failed marriage to a JW.

    The person who died was a very well-respected JW Pioneer. She had been doing it for over 30+ years, all she spoke about was the 'truth' and what was in the latest magazines. She had no other conversation.

    Obviously, I didn't want to let my friend down. He had kept in touch with me since I left, never judged, and I was the first person he came to when he learned of his Grandmothers passing.

    He said that it would mean a lot to him if I came along, so I decided to make the effort.

    Imagine the scene.

    I haven't been in this KH for over 5 years. The 'attendant' didn't even recognised me when I entered the foyer with my current partner. He asked whether I was a friend of the family. Once I told him who I was, he looked shocked. He ushered me into the main hall and because there wasn't any seats, he gave his one up so I could sit down.

    The service was tedious at best. I would say 40% was spent talking about the deceased, 60% about the 'truth' and how we could take this opportunity to learn more about the 'truth' and that it was the only way to see our dead loved ones again. He babbled on about storing up treasures in heaven instead of on earth and the usual rhetoric about how the world is passing away, paradise earth, blah, blah, blah.

    The Elder doing the service - someone who took me under his own wing when I was young. On a personal level, he is a nice enough guy, but totally blinded by the cult and its teachings to the point where he would get aggressive with you if you ever dared to question anything.

    I remember talking to him once about his son and what he would do if there came a time where he didn't want to come to the meetings.

    His response: "He wouldn't have a choice - he'll be going whatever".

    I left it at that.

    I took the time to watch the congregation whilst the service was going on and there was no emotion whatsoever - instead lots of nodding heads and rustling through the Bible whilst I sat staring at the speaker. I think he noticed me and at one point was talking directly at me for a spell. I sat stern faced looking back.

    Why am I writing this?

    In a lot of ways, it gave me closure. I felt almost cleansed

    I saw my friend at the end of the service and shook his hand. A couple of other JW's spoke to me, asked how I was, I answered politely that I was fine, and walked away from them. Most of the rest saw me, but didn't come and speak which was good.

  • TOTH

    I think I can understand that CLEANSED feeling. Open eyes make all the difference I think.

    I have to wonder how long it will be before the visits take to start. Have you considered what to say if they start coming around?

  • outsmartthesystem

    There isn't a whole lot of emotion at JW funerals....especially if everyone knew that person was going to die. (it is a little different when someone dies suddenly......there is still the shock factor there) They all truly believe that this person is in now in a sleep like state and will be awakened in paradise very shortly. It makes perfect sense why so little emotion is shown.

  • biometrics

    I went to a funeral two days ago. Some things I didn't like, were the speaker said "Nowhere does the bible talk about soul surviving death" I thought of the Rich man and Lazarus "It happened that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom".

    They then went on to use the funeral speech as a tool to convert all her non-Witness relatives. And said her dying wish was that her family put "The Truth" first in their lives.

  • Morbidzbaby

    Wow, bio, talk about a guilt trip! Sheesh!

    I've been to quite a few JW funerals... Some were held in the KH, others were held in a funeral home because of the sheer number of worldly family that basically protested having it in the KH. Either way, an elder always got up and did his schpiel. I think what makes me the most angry about the whole thing is how it's nothing but a sales usually aren't allowed to get up and say a few words about the deceased, and the elder giving the "eulogy" barely says a thing about them either. It's more like "Hey, this person croaked, BUT if you act now....!" Makes me ill.

    uk, it was kind of you to be there for your friend. You're a better person than I...I don't think I'd set foot in a KH ever again, even for my own parents' funerals.

  • biometrics

    Yes, the speaker was less concerned with the person who died, and more concerned with preaching the Watchtower's message. But, I'm sure every devoted Watchtowerite wouldn't have it any other way.

  • blindcat

    When my grandmother died, she was quite elderly, I went to the funeral. While I was still associated with a hall in another state, I did not agree with the way the funeral was handled. It was the typical canned speaches. On top of the discourse from a can, the elders (2-3) talked about the warm, kind, loving, selfless, woman. She was just exactly the opposite. All of the non JW family in the front row, was asking if we were at the right funeral. They couldn't be talking about the woman we all knew. My aunt tapped me on the shoulder, and asked, "did they even know her?" The whole family was laughing by the end of the canned part of the discourse. When the funeral was over, and as I was leaving, a woman who used to be our neighbor come up and said, "I know you are going to miss her." At that point, I had enough, and told her straight up. "No, I'm not!" and went out with everyone for a beer. The funeral was total fiasco. Between the sales pitch, and inaccuracies I couldn't get out fast enough.

  • biometrics

    My grandmother (never a JW, or even interested), died a few months ago. Mum took her turn at the funeral to speak, she used that time to tell the audience what happens after death (according to Jehovah's Witness doctrine), rather than reflect on her mum's life. I don't blame my mum for that, rather it's a sad reflection on being a devout JW.

    It's kind of like using a recent natural disaster to open a "Witnessing" speech. For most people it doesn't go down very well, especially when the person may have lost loved ones.

  • Poztate

    I always like to post the funeral talk outline when I see threads like this

    As you can see it is all about THEM

    An Elder handles it.. No one else is allowed to speak from the platform (at KH)

    REMARKS REGARDING THE DECEASED (Use any that apply and are appropriate.)
    Details regarding age, birth, when married, and so forth
    By whom the deceased is survived
    Dedication record, including privileges of service
    Exemplary qualities displayed by the deceased (Eccl. 7:1)
    Worshiped Jehovah, the God of wisdom, justice, love, power
    Had faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12)
    Appreciated God’s purpose regarding earth (Gen. 1:28)
    Sure to be realized (Isa. 11:9; 55:10, 11; Rev. 21:4)
    Why good people die
    Disobedience of Adam (Gen. 3:19; contrast with Genesis 2:7.)
    Offspring inherited death (Rom. 5:12)
    Condition of the dead
    Soul is mortal (Ezek. 18:4, 20)
    Dead are unconscious (Ps. 146:4; Eccl. 3:19; 9:5, 10)
    The resurrection hope
    Made possible by sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Matt. 20:28)
    Christ’s resurrection a guarantee (1 Cor. 15:22, 23)
    God uses Jesus to raise the dead (John 5:28, 29)
    For the anointed, resurrection is to heavenly life (1 Cor. 15:51-54; Rev. 20:4, 6)
    “Other sheep” resurrected to life in earthly Paradise (Luke 23:43; John 10:16)
    Armageddon survivors can hope to see the deceased one again soon
    Others too are in line for resurrection (Acts 24:15)
    Can comfort the bereaved; loss is mutual
    Take to heart uncertainty of life (Ps. 90:12; Eccl. 7:2)
    Makes us think about how we are using our life
    While living, make good name with Jehovah God (Eccl. 7:1)
    Lay up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21)
    One way is to take zealous part in witness work, if qualified (Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20)
    In this way and by godly conduct, we contribute to sanctification of Jehovah’s name (Prov. 27:11)
    Resurrection hope an incentive to learn and do divine will (1 Cor. 15:58)
    (Note: Opening with prayer is optional. Instead of eulogizing the deceased, use the material in this
    outline to give a fine witness concerning the truth. Good balance should be observed in this respect.
    Doctrinal points can be presented as beliefs of the deceased, which served as motivation for him. Purpose
    of talk is to uphold Jehovah God as a God of love and mercy and at the same time bring comfort to the
    bereaved. Use of a song such as No. 111 is optional. A brief prayer at the close is fitting. When
    arrangement is made to go to the grave, it is well to consider quite briefly the hope through the Kingdom,
    reading one or two scriptures, such as Job 14:14, 15 and 1 Corinthians 15:54b-57. This service may also
    be closed with prayer, thanking Jehovah for the resurrection hope, which is of great comfort. The talk
    need not exceed 30 minutes.)
    Funeral Discourse
    S-32-E 2/11
    ? 2008Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania All Rights Reserved

  • simon17

    Yeah Poztate, its pretty incredible. No need to eulogize the individual at all. The original poster's estimation that it was 60% doctrinal, 40% about the individual would actually be quite a personalized talk for the witnesses.

    I went to a funeral a few months ago and it was probably 95% doctrinal. Besides "xxxxx believed..." the person was scarcely mentioned at all outside the first 5 minutes. Very sad.

  • lilbluekitty

    Reading about all these JW funerals lately, I just told my husband (never was a JW) that I DO NOT want one at a KH unless my mom does one for me up north, I want it at my church and if my mom/family asks my husband if she can come to one down here that he should say only if she/they go to my church because there will not be one at the KH here.

  • snare&racket

    UK_ex_Jw, sorry to hear your sad news.

    I wonder if it struck you how the JW's have been on pause for all the time you were away. Nothing has changed, same old talks, same old scriptures, same old fake smiles, same old pretend love and interest, same old people in the same old sitting arrangment ...same old.... same old...

  • uk_ex_jw

    Yes, nothing had changed. It was like a reunion. Since I had left, the congregation had been merged with another congregation and split in two.

    Someone else mentioned about the visits; I moved out of the area sometime ago so it is unlikely that they will travel down here.

    I can only refer to it as a cleansing. It made me realise how far I have come as a person since those days, listening to the same drab speakers, week in and week out, reading the same literature, being told what to do and with felt good that actually I was sat there, as a non-JW.

    With regard to the deceased, she always seemed a kind person, albeit a little gulliable and bemused by it all. I could well imagine that if the Hari Krisna had got there first she would have shaven her head and been banging a tambourine in the middle of the City centre.

    It must be hard for the JW's to see people, who they never thought would die, dropping one by one. No wonder they revert to type, a sales pitch to try and rally the troops and intensify their efforts.

    The alternative would be the horror of admitting that all of this has been a waste of time, some of them cutting their own children off because they left the cult, for nothing.

    All they are is a tiny minority spec of a cult peddling hate, like so many others.

  • AnnOMaly

    FYI, I know quite a few JWs who categorically DO NOT want a KH funeral when they 'shuffle off this mortal coil,' and would rather it be a short graveside or crematorium sermon. No standard outline; more about remembering the person; a couple of comforting Scriptures; short and sweet; done.

    Interesting, huh?

  • outsmartthesystem

    When my father died.....I was alllowed to speak from the platform at the KH about his life. But that was almost 10 years ago. I think this new funeral outline came out after that.

    "Instead of eulogizing the deceased, use the material in this
    outline to give a fine witness concerning the truth"

    That line makes me want to throw up. Paying your last respects to the person has been replaced by a 30 minute Watchtower infomercial.

  • WTWizard

    Isn't this the same rubbish that Christian missionaries do when going into war-torn areas to recruit Christians or kidnapping or raping children to get them in? Whatever the crisis, they exploit it to recruit members. The difference is, with the witlesses everyone is presumed to be an "ordained minister", and they try that rubbish even when the region is stable.

    If you are going to spread your religion, stick with presenting the facts and comparing it with endemic religions. This is as true when recruiting locally (or at funerals) as in foreign missionary work. You don't take advantage of the death to guilt people into "If you wish to see the deceased person again, you have to join our religion and stay faithful to it". That is as bad as taking advantage of war and suffering in foreign missionary work to recruit members--something the witlesses bash other religions for doing.

  • Jim_TX
    "It must be hard for the JW's to see people, who they never thought would die, dropping one by one. No wonder they revert to type, a sales pitch to try and rally the troops and intensify their efforts. "

    My condolences to the family who lost a member of their family. It was good of you to go and support your friend.

    Regarding your comment above, I remember going to my mother's funeral almost 10 years ago. I overheard my older sister telling a fellow jw, "Well, we all thought that the new system would be here by now..." in an almost pleading voice. They don't realize... it ain't coming.


    Jim TX

  • BluesBrother

    "Instead of eulogizing the deceased, use the material in this
    outline to give a fine witness concerning the truth"

    Yes, that does really sum up the importance, or lack thereof, of the individual to the Central Organization. They want the speaker to just talk about the "faith", in the hope that somebody might respond. In fact they are more likely to be impressed by a display of warmth and love to the deceased.

    I have been quite impressed by the funerals that I have seen on T V . They seem to capture the idea of a sense of loss , and loving support to the family.

    Incidentally I have been annoyed by a modern trend in J W funerals to slip in humourous anecdotes and jokes - in an attempt to lighten it up , I guess. That seems disrespectful.

    I am glad that U K Ex.....found closure from the service , that was something.

  • renderme

    I was raised a JW but left the religion when I moved out of my parent's house at age 19. I have 2 sisters who are devout JWs.

    My beautiful 13 year old son passed away in July 2011. He was very close to my sister. I raise my kids Christian but do not believe in any man made organized religions and had no intentions of having a religious service for my son, but my sister begged me to let an old friend of ours, who is an elder, say a few words at his wake, as it would give her some comfort. I agreed because I grew up with the guy and also he had gotten me a job at a company he worked for and was my boss for 5 guy, not too religious, I knew he wouldn't preach but would read a few scriptures and talk about my boy. That's all I wanted. Well, this elder/friend couldn't make it so my sister decided to ask another elder in her hall to speak...without my knowlege...someone I didn't know at all! When I found out, I wasn't really thinking clearly as I was overcome with grief for my son, but I DID tell her that if he does speak to keep it not too religious or preachy as none of my friends or my son's friends who would be attending are JWs. Simple request, right?

    Well, the brother called me the day before the wake and asked me questions about my son that he could use in the talk. I told him all about how amazing my son is and what he loved to do, etc. This brother's talk lasted waaaay longer than the 10-15 minutes he was supposed to speak, he mentioned my son's name only TWICE and only read maybe 3 descriptions of what I told him about my son personally! The rest was like a bible study...and a bunch of witnesses that my sister asked to come to the wake actually brought Bibles with them! During this elder's talk there was bible page shuffling the whole time! Who does that???? My husband was livid as he barely tolerates my sister's preaching.

    Needless to say it made a horrible day 10 times worse. Right after his talk my friend got up to speak and described in great detail how my son loved Halloween and my husband created a HUGE walk through graveyard in out yard for him every

    Since the wake my sister's JW friends keep coming over to my house to witness to me. Yes, I am searching for comfort and have turned to God and the Bible to find comfort, but no matter how many times I ask my sis to back off and stop sending people to my house, she is convinced that I am in need of the congregation to get me through my grief. She even tells me the only chance I have of seeing my son again is if I get baptized as a JW and turn to the organization.

    Sorry for the long read...just still a sore spot with me.


  • designs

    Something simple on a hilltop, a few Van Morrison songs, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Dylan's Desolation Row and a sweet dear friend reading some Keats, and off we go.

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