Reflections on the Funeral

by Oroborus21 6 Replies latest jw friends

  • Oroborus21


    So I just thought I would drop a few lines here that might be of interest.

    Just to recap, my father died suddenly two weekends ago while engaged in the field service. My mother has been a witness since 1946 and my father since a few years after. He especially was responsible for bringing into the (truth) countless persons and founding several congregations, most recently the spanish congregation in Guymon Oklahoma. As could be expected a lot of chatter was made about how he died and how this was "possibly the best way he could have gone" (I can easily think of many other better ways :-) but I have a dirty mind.) and how he was a fine example etc.

    I did not have to break or even twist any arms (too bad as I was kind of looking forward to getting into some elder's face) as before I even arrived to New Mexico I was already officially designated as a pall bearer. There was a service in the Kingdom Hall but the casket was not taken inside at any time. There was a dinner provided by the local congregation after the burial and I believe that my uncle (Elder) had it moved from his house to the county fairgrounds facility specifically so that I might attend.

    My immediate family as I expected displayed no shunning whatsoever and remarkably neither did many Witnesses, however, I am not certain how many of them were aware of my disfellowshipped status.

    In sorting through my father's files, I did not locate his Flock book but he may have returned that when he left Oklahoma a few months ago and moved back to New Mexico (and besides I already have electronic versions anyway). However, one interesting find is that I now have his talk outlines (all of them I believe). Unfortunately they are in Spanish so it will be a while before I have them translated. Still I am not sure if Elders and MS's only usually have a handful of talk outlines or if all of them have the entire set. I have never seen the entire set available on the Net or anywhere one may find the complete set of current talk outlines but they are in my possession now :-) If anyone knows of where these might be available on the Net please let me know as it would be helpful for comparison and in the translation. I am sure they will make for interesting reading once I have a chance to deal with them. They also include my father's notations.

    I also found an interesting link on my father's IE favorites to . I was unaware of that site and some of you may want to check it out as it has some interesting downloads available.

    that's it. Thanks to all who expressed their condolences.


    PS: I forgot to add the "Reflections" part and I will try to keep this brief. It is clear to the family that my father sensed the end of his life drawing near. Last year he experienced a mild heart attack while on a Kingdom Hall build and then in recent months he was in an auto accident that exacerbated his condition. He was winding things down and to an extent seeking to put things in order. He even seemed to soften his attitude towards me somewhat. I have maintained for sometime the posture that I have no business or interest in trying to influence older JWs like my father or mother. I realize that at this stage in their life. As I state on my website regarding such ones: "This is for your own good. I would rather you die with your belief and your faith and hope than to have a hand in taking these from you at the twilight of your life and just when you may need such comforts the most. In this, I differ from what Ray Franz says in his groundbreaking book, Crisis of Conscience, where he writes "there isn't any kindness in encouraging people to live in illusions." (p.337)

    I believe that for a few elderly Jehovah's Witnesses, the most loving thing to do is to permit them to live out their lives in quiet ignorance than in the heartbreaking realization that some or even much of what they have dedicated their life to and sacrificed for have been falsehoods. Yes, even lies, malicious or not, that is what they have been. Now, it is probably true that for many, reality must be faced sooner or later and if this occurs very late in life, just when the most comfort is needed, it can have devastating effects. But my weighing of the balances leads me to err on the side of caution when it comes to trying to expose elderly Jehovah's Witnesses to the "truth about the Truth." If such ones come to a point where they wish to leave the Organization, that may be inevitable and unavoidable, but I personally do not want to be responsible for it. In such situations I am guided by my own feelings toward my elderly parents who have spent their lives in dedicated service to Jehovah (the Organization). The fact is that I truly do not know what they would do if they were to realize at this point in their lives that they have been misguided in many of the things they have been taught by the Society. My mom and dad dream of Paradise and have been told all of their lives that it will definitely come in their lifetimes - and that they will never die. Indeed, they are the children of the generation of whom it was told "Millions Now Living Will Never Die."

    So, even if it was possible, who am I to rob them of that wonderful hope - or rather this illusion of paradise to be regained which has fueled and fed them so long?

    Their belief and faith in what they have learned and been taught has provided them with meaning and structure to their lives and keeps them going from day-to-day. I believe that true Christian kindness mandates that I take a hopeful but neutral stance towards their accepting the truth about the Truth. Of course, as a Christian, I have to make a "defense" of my own faith and understanding; but not to the detriment of others. The first commandment with a promise in the old law was "Honor thy Father and thy Mother, for it will go well with you" and this sometimes requires allowing such ones to continue in their blissful ignorance." Having now laid to rest one parent and facing the possibility of also seeing my elderly mother and even further siblings go before many of the changes that I anticipate taking place within the Organization, I am even more convinced of the rightness of this position. I fear that if my father were alive to Witness the Revolution that is coming, he might have been pained severely and died in doubt and dread as opposed to the hope and optimism with which he seemed to embrace the end.

  • prophecor

    Ed, it's wonderful to know that things went as well as could be, considering your situation and circumstances, as you are no longer in the truth. I was expecting to hear worse once you returned with info, but it appears that the best outcome is what has resulted, and for you I am glad. Thanks for the link to the website. I'll be checking it out immediately. Wish you the best as you recover from your losses.


  • gumby

    Sorry for your loss. It was nice you weren't shunned by the family also.

    I am not sure if Elders and MS's only usually have a handful of talk outlines or if all of them have the entire set.

    I was the talk coordinator at one time and had all the talks. There is a list of talks. When I was a dub, a brother could request an outline of a talk from the list. I can't remember if we copied it for him, or there were copies already available. Elders didn't have all the talks if I remember.

    Most elders only had a half dozen or less of outlines they gave...some only 2 or 3.


  • Oroborus21

    hah, thanks Gumby. Well I have them all now. the full outlines that is..but again in Spanish so I will need to translate them. I am actually not sure who cares but someone might be interested to see them so I might make them available online at some point. I will have to skirt around copyright laws just in case though for the life of me I can't see how the Society would assert copyright on the talk outlines. - ed

  • valkyrie

    Oroborus21 - My belated condolence for the loss of your father. I am pleased for you that the circumstances of taking leave went so well. I wish also to commend and agree with your reasonable and compassionate stance of non-interference with the faith - and, indeed, life-axis - of older, lifetime members of the organisation. I believe that there is little of personal value to be gained (to the benefit of most sincere lifetime JWs) in wrenching [or in attempting to wrench] from them a belief which has formed the essence of their life. In many cases, this would only be an act of selfish satisfaction for the 'liberator'. A high-watt, halogen-beam shone in the eyes of one who has spent decades drifting in the twilight and navigating by shadows is not a gift of compassion, but a blinding instrument. It can sear and necrotize the entire organism.... and who has the right to so rob another with so little hope of compensation/restoration? I believe that the primary guiding principles in conducting one's own affairs or in deciding whether to invoke a 'truth crusade' should be: 1) is an individual's pattern of life making one happy? and 2) is an individual's pattern of life actively instrumental in causing irrevocable harm to others? I believe that 'truth' is not only a [set of] facts; 'truth' is also consequences... it is an entire biosphere where balance must arbitrate.

    - Valkyrie

  • skeeter1

    All of our differences aside, I am very sorry to hear of your loss. It's very hard to lose a parent. My thoughts are with you.


  • serendipity

    Eduardo, I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

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