Talking about a person, at their funeral, "how taboo!"

by free2beme 11 Replies latest jw friends

  • free2beme

    I went to a funeral yesterday and they did something you never saw at a Witness memorial, and it is so refreshing to me when this is done. What did they do? Well they actually mentioned the person who died. They talked about their life, their family and even some fun stories about what they did in this life. I was thinking about all the Witness memorials I went to, while I was in the religion, and remembered how often I wanted to stand and say, "enough with trying to convert people here, please just talk about the person who died." We knew that did not happen though, and to do so was taboo, as it would take away from Jehovah's glory and people did not want that to happen. I even remember a few memorials that had relatives that were non-Witnesses, standing and leaving in disgust at the attempt to convert them during what is considered an emotional event.

    Did this bother others, and if it did, have you attended any non-Witness funerals since leaving to see the other side?

  • gaybeat

    Ya whats up with that, at my Grandma's funeral which had a lot of people who weren't JW, it was as if the speaker made it feel like everyone should feel bad because they didn't dedicate their lives to Jehovah, so you should do it now for everlasting life.

  • serendipity

    I've only been to two JW funerals in the last 10 years and they were nicely done. There was a board with photos of the deceased ones in candid shots. The speaker talked about the deceased and the family in both cases. In once case, the woman who died had asked the speaker to read a letter about her family members and friends. When he was done, there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

    In the same period of time I went to two non-JW funerals, one Catholic and one where two preachers of different denominations spoke. The Catholic priest just said the same thing in five different ways, but I could see where it could be comforting. The other funeral I don't remember much.

    The JW funerals were better. (Now I'm going to hide.)

  • Balsam

    When my 15 year old son was killed in an auto accident, we had a JW funeral 2001. As I sat there surrounded by all the young people at his high school I thought how much more I would like to hear from them. To hear from his friends, to not use his funeral as a witnessing forum like it was. Dak's memory became as nothing and the religion of the JW's was everything, and they kicked his memory aside to preach to those who came. I was in such grief and pain I could not protest. How I wished I had. JW memorials for people is just so empty and bland without comfort at all. We want to hear about the person who passed not some stupid useless God who couldn't even keep them alive.


  • Seeker4

    I've seen both sides of this. I've attended some horrible Witness funerals (at one, a very faithful Witness, appalled by the lack of personal content in the service, asked sarcastically, "Was there actually someone in that casket?" At another, the brother, giving the talk of a close friend of a lifetime, said nothing about his friend, but instead read 25 scriptures in 22 minutes. It was terrible.), and some equally bad non-Witness ones.

    One of the best I ever attended was a non-Witness one. A 15 year old had died in a car accident, and his school mates got up and talked about him, sang songs for him and his family, and essentially gave the best tribute you can imagine, all in front of a crowd of hundreds from the community who filled, and surrounded outside of, the church.

    With the Witnesses, I think it all depended on how courageous the brother giving the funeral was, in ignoring the WTS's direction that they witness and not eulogize the dead one. I did lots of funerals, and always ignored most of the Society's outline, and instead told stories about the deceased, made people laugh and remember and cry if they wanted. I had lots of old time Witnesses tell me that they wanted me to do their funerals.

    Not anymore, of course.


  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    I remember being told that one of the reasons we didn't celebrate birthdays was becaseu "the day of one's death was more important than the day of one's birth. But they don't celebrate that either

    The problem is that the JWs have been spoonfed this nonsense about never dying in this system of things. The don't plan on growing old. They certainly don't plan on dying. Due to the teachings I think they are mostly in denial about the reality of death.

  • free2beme

    The JW funerals were better. ; (Now I'm going to hide.)

    No need to hide. Like everything, there are exceptions. I will give you an example of one I went to that was terrible and one that was wonderful (only one I could think of in the Witness religion). There terrible one first. A elder was visiting our congregation with his wife and family. During the visit, a local elder in our congregation offered to take him up on a flight in his plane and see Oregon from the air. I went to lunch with him that Sunday, as it was our book-studies turn to do the lunch thing for the speaker and off they went to the flight. That night on the news they mentioned that the plane crashed and all on board died (two people). Because of the plane crash, the local media covered the memorial a bit. By chance, the reporter was someone I knew from another work connection. The media covered our local elders memorial, as the other man was from California. The news did not show much more then the parking lot and the people before the memorial. When I left the religion, I was drinking a beer with the reporter and I decided to ask why they showed so little, wondering if my suspistions were true. He stated, "it was not a funeral, it was an attempt to convert!" He was right, at that funeral, I don't honestly remember anything being said about that elder, other then he had a loving family that was going to miss him. The elder giving the talk was "grand-standing" to take advantage of the media.

    Now a child died in our congregation, murdered at his day-care. At his memorial, the elder had a family member read childrens poems and thought from the family. It was very touching and I felt comforted more. They did preach to a lesser extent, but kept it more low key and realized the loss of a child needed to be handled more gently. Thinking about that one, it still hurts and I hope that family ended up moving on, which is hard to do in a situation like that.

  • daniel-p

    "The speaker talked about the deceased and the family in both cases. In once case, the woman who died had asked the speaker to read a letter about her family members and friends. When he was done, there wasn't a dry eye in the place."

    Then this speaker was blatantly disregarding the Society's direction for memorial talks. The outline specifically states that comments about the person should be kept at a minimum and the Bible-based hope of ressurection be forefront.

  • serendipity

    HI DanielP,

    This funeral was probably about 5 years ago, and the PO (recently stepped down) was the speaker! Were the society's guidelines recently given?

  • free2beme

    I have been out over a decade and the guidelines were the same back then, as mentioned, and they had been around along time.

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