Jehovah's Witnesses and Divorce

by Eustace 28 Replies latest jw friends

  • Eustace

    I really hate divorce. It was my parents getting divorced that helped messed up my childhood.

    Part of why I came to conclude the Jehovah's Witnesses don't have the "spiritual paradise" they claim to is how many of their marriages end up in divorce.My parents I could dismiss as an exception to a general rule, but I could never understand how often it seemed to keep happening to lots of different people when the Watchtower Society teaches that divorce is wrong except in case of adultery.

    But what really brought things home for me was this study by the PewForum on Religion Survey showing that even though Jehovah's Witness are less likely to be married than the general population, they're MORE likely to be divorced or separated.

    They really have a nerve telling people in the Jehovah's Witnesses religion that they shouldn't have sex outside of marriage when they've done so little to protect JWs who get married, and their children, from the extreme stress and conflict of divorce.

    It's really messed up.

    Heck, even the Catholics they're are always dumping on have a lower divorce/separation rate than the JWs.

    JW Divorced/Separated = 14%

    General American Population = 12%

    Catholics Divorced/Separated = 10%

    Mormons, Orthodox, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Evangelicals, Buddhists, Mainline Protestants, and the Unaffliated all have lower Divorce/Separation rates than the Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Of those surveyed only the Other Christians, Other Faiths (probably Wiccans and such), and Historically Black Churches have Divorce/Separation rates worse than the Jehovah's Witnesses.

    I feel sorry for Jehovah's Witnesses, you can either be celibate your entire life or you can put yourself at an even higher risk of divorce than the divorce happy general American population.

  • BlindersOff1

    Many marriages are broken up when one mate learns the "truth about the truth" TTATT .

    The JW loyalist then uses the excuse their spirituallity is at risk to either separate or divorce.

    The elders will in many cases support this.

    This has happened to many on this board .

    Other religions have people that counsel marriages in danger . No such thing in the witnesses , elders are worse than

    worthless .

    Witnesses are the worst hypocrites when it comes to divorce.

  • jgnat

    I think it is the rush to stay ahead of passion that does in JW marriages. The couple hardly have time to come to know each other. Compound this with marry "only in the Lord" which is interpreted as "another Witness" and you've drastically reduced the pool from which to choose a compatible mate.

    Canadian divorce rates have been falling for years and the statisticians speculate that this is because couples are staying together longer before committing, marrying when they are mature and sure.

  • DesirousOfChange

    Nearly every couple we were friends with in our original congregation from 30 years ago, are all divorced. A quick count is at least 10 out of 12 couples. Most JW born-ins.


  • MsD

    A friend I made within the org just told me that her and husband separated due to her "making some bad choices". I truly found it hard to believe since they seemed like "the perfect couple". She never talked about any issues they had. Married close to a decade, didn't have kids. I know he wanted kids but she was always saying how she wasn't ready to be a mom. Really at 30 yrs old, ok?! And it's not like her husband is her age... He is a decade older than her!

    It seems to me they didn't discuss important things like children and goals for the future. I remember when I got pregnant with my first she would always say oh the paradise may be here in a few yrs so we'll have kids at that time. This was back in 2004! To me, it seemed they woud stay married forever so it's sad to see they are getting divorced but it goes to show the statistics are right.

  • Socrateswannabe

    I just looked through a list of publishers (including elders, etc.) for our congregation and, exluding minors, here's how it shakes out for us:

    Observably stable marriage: 31%

    Separated/Divorced (at least once but not necessarily at present time): 21.7%

    Not separated or divorced but with HUGE problems in the marriage: 33.3%

    Single: 14%

    Knowing some of the couples in the "huge problems" category, separation or divorce would lead to a much higher quality of life for all involved.

  • scotoma

    Jgnat hit the nail squarely. It's not rocket science.

    I performed 3 marriages. All three are divorced. I once made a tally in the margins of my Watchtower (study on Marriage) of all the weddings I could think of attending. As a witness you go to a lot of them. Half were divorced.

    Once when Karl Klein was visiting my parents we were discussing the problems with the failed 1975 date. I mentioned how so many of my peers got married because they were afraid that if they died during the great tribulation they would never experience sexual intercourse. The result was a sunami of broken marriages. Klein said he would have to add that to the list of causalties of 1975.

    The big mistake is that the Watchtower teaches you that prayer, study, and communication will solve all your problems. They pay little attention to temperaments that just don't get along. They should at least allow couples to divorce without consequences if they are mutually agreeable to that solution.

    A lot of times the problems begin right after engagement. The mask comes off and people start showing their real personality instead of their courtship facade. So what clever rule does the society come up with? They declare you imature if you break an engagement and even take away congregational positions. Losing your responsibilities is viewed as a loss of Jehovah's confidence so you go against your intuition and marry setting the stage for a miserable life.

  • daringhart13

    You need look no further that JW's are a cult than their marriages.

    Don't forget, the elders are given authority to insert themselves in your marriage. I will never forget one of my polarizing moments. I believe it was 2008, at Kingdom Ministry School with the elders........sitting in the audience with elders that had gotten involved in my marriage, (including meeting with my wife alone in his bedroom), ......they then began to explain their new 'porn doctrine'.......if a servant was caught watching it....the elders were to meet with him AND his wife in the B school and see how the wife felt about him watching porn. They would then decide whether to delete him or not.

    I couldn't believe my ears.

    I closed my Flock Book and decided it was over.

    When I look back, its a minor miracle that I didn't drag a few of my fellow elders outside the KH and beat the living s**t out of them.

  • cobaltcupcake

    Other religions have people that counsel marriages in danger . No such thing in the witnesses , elders are worse than

    worthless .

    That's fer darn sure! My ex-FIL counseled a couple who had conflicting sex drives (he wanted it all the time and she didn't) by telling the husband, "That's what she's there for - use her!"

  • jwfacts

    I wrote an article about Jehovah's witnesses and divorce that looks at the statistics from some other sources as well, and they all tend to show that JWs have a similar divorce rate the to general population.

    What was shocking to me was that the Watchtower dishonestly quotes statistics to make it appear they have a substantially lower divorce rate than "worldly people."

  • cult classic
    cult classic

    A major source of disillusionment for me was my parents divorce. I spent all of my life praying to Jehovah to keep my parents and family together. When they were separated, NOT 1 elder attempted to meet with them to help them work things out.

    Many JWs divorce for "unscriptural reasons" also. If you lie on your mate and the story is dramatic enough, then the divorce is ok with the org.

  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    we had 9 divorces in our congregation in a few years

  • jam

    My brother (an elder) told me when he was talking to me,

    trying to get me to come back, there was a problem with

    brothers getting divorces, getting DF, getting reinstated

    and remarrying sisters that cause them to be DF. I knew of

    three such cases. two of the brothers were elders. Over

    40% of the brothers that I knew that came in around the same

    time I did are divorced today.

  • blondie

    I'm part of that 1975 generation but I did not rush to marriage. From 1973 to 1975 there were 2 to 4 marriages each month in our circuit. Sometimes 2 weddings on one weekend so that there were weddings after the meeting on Sunday. Of the weddings 1 out of 20 survive today. I never knew where the idea came from that there would not be marriage among the survivors of the GT since I can't find that in the pubs. I remember the wild idea that was passed around that at some point marriage itself would be done away with in the new system. This vow seemed to indicate that the arrangement might end.

    *** w74 5/1 p. 275 What Kind of a Wedding? ***

    In refreshing contrast to such trends, which dishonor the God-given state of marriage, Jehovah’s witnesses use the following vow, as was recommended in The Watchtower of March 15, 1969:

    For the groom: “I ————— take you ————— to be my wedded wife, to love and to cherish in accordance with the divine law as set forth in the Holy Scriptures for Christian husbands, for as long as we both shall live together on earth according to God’s marital arrangement.”

    For the bride: “I ————— take you ————— to be my wedded husband, to love and to cherish and deeply respect, in accordance with the divine law as set forth in the Holy Scriptures for Christian wives, for as long as we both shall live together on earth according to God’s marital arrangement.”

    *** w60 11/1 p. 657 par. 34 Marriage in Paradise ***

    Single survivors will enjoy the privilege of entering into married life with theocratic partners and will have the happiness of raising children under Paradise conditions, with Satan the Devil bound.

  • mamochan13

    I think you have hit it, Blondie. There may not have been specific stuff in the publications, but I know there was thinking that if you died during the great tribulation, then you would be resurrected and could not marry. Hence the "as long as you both live on earth" part in the vows.

    I know I always had the thought in my mind that I was going to be raped (as per the horror stories we were fed), so I hoped I'd at least get to enjoy my first sexual experience with someone I loved.

    Of course, then I rebelled and married a non-JW. Twice. Both ended in divorce, though, and my religion played a big part.

    I wonder whether these statistics are looking at current JWs who get divorced while JWs, or if they include divorced people (mostly women) who join the religion?

  • punkofnice

    In my own case, once I left the WBT$ things went downhill over about 2 years.

    It started with my JW wife adopting a religiously superior stance. I was comitting no ''sin'' I simply wouldn't have any truck with WBT$ propaganda.

    After she failed to turn the children against me she left.

    Then she secretly planned to leave me over a period of..??? long I don't know.

    After she left she rang me out of the blue one day to say: 'I didn't leave you because of the watchtower!'

    I took it from this that she is so frightened of 'the tower' that she felt compelled to say this so Jehovah(TM) doesn't kill her.

    She is now trying to get back at me by continually badgering my JW mother and reporting her to the elders for talking to me.

  • l p
    l p

    Unky Punky get a avo against her...

    the courts wont allow her to do is a form of domestic violence


  • punkofnice

    l p - That'd be great but it would get a lot more complicated if I did

  • l p
  • Reality79

    They're a crazy and f*cked up organisation and that's the bottom line. I won't mince my words because they ruin people's lives and get away with it.

    My wife and I have been separated for a year and a half. The decision to separate was a mutual agreement and we agreed it was only temporary, but her JW parents got in her ear once she went back home to where she's originally from and she then decided we had no chance of reconciliation and that the marriage was over for good. Now looking back, it's obvious she had planned this from way before. But the point is, I spoke to a JW aunt at the time (whom I now totally DESPISE) trying to get comfort (which is a mistake for anyone to do - trying to get sympathy from a witness is a bad move) and all this witch could tell me is that if we had followed bible principles, we'd still be together and that I shouldn't initiate divorce proceedings as long as she hasn't committed adultery. She's telling me that if no adultery has been committed then I should just remain celibate for the rest of my life and come back to the organisation where I will supposedly have "mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters etc" whatever that stupid scripture know, the very same people that caused me to leave in the first place. She's telling me that there are "brothers" in the org that have chosen to remain single and they are being "blessed".

    So that's supposed to be of comfort to someone whose marriage has been destroyed?! I'm 33, I was 32 at the time when I spoke to her and you're telling me as a healthy, fairly young male who has needs like anyone else, I'm just supposed to throw away any possibility of settling down and starting a family just to go back to knocking on doors and handling a microphone amongst of group of people who wouldn't even give a shit about me any old damn way?

    It's times like this when you see the difference between the dubs and most other religions....and not in a good way. I have another aunt who actually calls me to find out how I am and invites me over to dinner (unlike that dub aunt). Now this aunt is a REAL christian....she attends a Baptist church. Now I consider myself a spiritual person and don't subscribe to any religions including christianity, however what she told me is this: If you and your marriage partner have separated and one is adamant that the marriage is over and doesn't wish to reconcile but you did everything in your power to make things work, then God knows you made and effort but also recognises that you are a human with needs, therefore it isn't wrong to initiate a divorce and remarry.

    You see the difference? Dubs have this black and white, one size fits all hardline approach to things and if you don't like it, tough shit. Irrespective of the lives ruined, Jehovah (more like the GB) says this and you just have to fall in line. Don't they see that there are so many unscriptural divorces taking place for a reason??? I mean, for goodness sake, you can't even court the person for more than a year or really get to know them on a private level without people looking at you funny, then when things don't work out, everybody's surprised.

    I just know that I'll hopefully start divorce proceedings sometime this year so that I can truly move on with my life and eventually meet someone else. The dubs and their beloved GB can shove their doctrine.

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