Comments You Will Not Hear at the 11-26-06 WT Study (October 15, 2006, pages 18-23)(HONORABLE WEDDINGS)
Review comments will be in red
WT material from today's WT will be in black
Quotes from other sources will be in quotes boxes
w = Watchtower
g = Awake
jv = Proclaimers book
www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible (various Bible translations online)
www.reexamine.org (WT publications online)
www.silentlambs.org (child abuse)
www.ajwrb.org (blood issue)
http://www.randytv.com/secret/unitednations.htm (United Nations issue)
WEDDINGS THAT ARE HONORABLE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD AND MAN
'A marriage feast took place in Cana ... Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the marriage feast."-JOHN 2:1, 2.
How many rules did you encounter when you tried to get married in a Kingdom Hall or even have a male JW give your talk elsewhere?
Looking at the picture of a Jewish wedding as depicted by the WTS what do you see that would not be allowed at a JW wedding?
- Wreaths on both the man’s and woman’s heads.
- 2 necklaces on the man
- The men have beards
- People dancing behind them, one with a tambourine
- Dancing through the streets at night
At the end I will try and list all the rules in this article and the next and add any others that got overlooked.
START OF ARTICLE
Q1) The account about Jesus in Cana draws attention to what?
1) Jesus, his mother, and some of his disciples ples knew the joy that an honorable wedding among God's people can bring. Christ even made one wedding outstanding by performing his first recorded miracle there, adding to the pleasure of that event. (John 2:111) You may have attended and enjoyed weddings of Christians who want to serve Jehovah as happily married people. Or you may look forward to having such a wedding yourself or to helping a friend to make his or her wedding a success. What can contribute to that outcome?
Serve Jehovah—where’s Jesus?
Q2) What information does the Bible contain about weddings?
2) Christians have found that the advice in God's inspired Word is very helpful when a man and a woman plan to get married. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) Granted, the Bible does not outline exact procedures for a Christian wedding. That is understandable because customs and even legal requirements vary according to location and era. For example, in ancient Israel there was no formal wedding ceremony. On the wedding day, the bridegroom brought his bride to his own home or to his father's. (Genesis 24:67;. Isaiah 61:10; Matthew 1:24) This public step constituted the wedding, without the formal ceremony common in many weddings today.
[Picture on page 18] In an ancient Israelite wedding, the groom brought the bride to his own home or to his father's
Advice in God’s inspired Word—becomes rules from God and interpreted by God’s representative on earth at this time, the "faithful and discreet slave," anointed members in the WT organization.
Bible does not outline exact procedures for a Christian wedding
But the WTS will proceed to outline some in the following 2 articles that if they are not followed means that a JW cannot have their wedding in a KH or given by an adult JW male.
because customs and even legal requirements vary according to location and era
What local customs are allowed in some JW weddings that are not allowed in others in other locations or eras?
Q3) To what event in Cana did Jesus contribute?
3) The Israelites recognized that step as constituting the marriage or wedding. Thereafter, they might share in a celebratory feast, such as that mentioned at John 2:1. Many Bible versions render that verse something like this: "There was a wedding in Cana." But the original-language word is well rendered "marriage feast" or "wedding banquet."* (Footnote: * The same word might be used for a feast that was not connected to a marriage. -Esther 9:22, Septuagint.) (Matthew 22:2-10; 25:10; Luke 14:8) The account makes it clear that Jesus was present at and contributed to a feast linked to a Jewish wedding. A key point, however, is that what constituted such a wedding back then differs from what is common now.
The Israelites recognized that step
Notice that it was not a religious ceremony; that it was not held at the temple or synagogue.
Jesus was present at and contributed to a feast linked to a Jewish wedding.
So weddings and wedding feasts were not wrong and were attended by Jesus and his disciples. BUT
A key point, however, is that what constituted such a wedding back then differs from what is common now.
And the WTS will "lovingly" tell JWs what is allowed in a "Christian" wedding today.
Q4) What type of wedding do some Christians choose, and why?
4) In many countries today, Christians who want to marry must meet certain legal requirements. Once they do so, they may wed in any legally accepted manner. That could be in a small, simple ceremony that is conducted by a judge, mayor, or minister authorized by the State. Some choose to marry in such a way, possibly asking a few relatives or Christian friends to be present as legal witnesses or just to share in the joy of this important occasion. (Jeremiah 33:11; John 3: 29) Similarly, other Christians may choose not to hold a sizable wedding feast or reception that would require considerable planning and cost. They may arrange, instead, for a quiet meal with some close friends. Whatever our personal preferences in this regard may be, we should recognize that other mature Christians may have viewpoints different from our own.-Romans 14:3, 4.
Christians—means only JWs
Legal requirements…legally accepted manner
Small, simple…a few..choose not to hold a sizable…require considerable planning and cost…quiet meal…some close friends
Message: Big, expensive weddings are that what spiritually mature JWs would choose.
Personal preferences—really the personal preferences of the elders where the wedding is being held as they will insist on knowing what your arrangements are and approving of them or else your wedding will have to be held elsewhere and any brother giving the talk without their permission risks having his "privileges" taken away.
Q5) Why do many Christians want to have a wedding talk when they marry, and what does it feature?
5) Most Christian coupleschoose to have a Bible-based talk at their wedding.# (# An outline for a 30-minute marriage discourse entitled "Honorable Marriage in God's Sight" is used by Jehovah's Witnesses. This draws on fine Scriptural advice found in the bookThe Secret of Family Happiness and other publications of Jehovah's Witnesses. The discussion is helpful for the couple getting married and for all attending the wedding.) They recognize that Jehovah originated marriage and provides in his Word wise advice on how marriage can succeed and bring happiness. (Genesis 2:22-24; Mark 10:6-9; Ephesians 5: 22-33) And most couples want Christian friends and relatives to share in the happy occasion. Yet, how are we to view the great variety of legal requirements, procedures, and even prevailing local practices? This article will consider situations in various regions. Some may differ considerably from what you know of or from what is done in your area. Nevertheless, you can note certain common principles or aspects that are important to God's servants.
Can JWs "choose"what talk is given at their wedding? No, only the outline that the WTS has approved and it must be closely followed.
In other articles, the WTS has counseled brothers for adding material that was "unseemly" or too "funny."
Scriptural advice found in the book……….the Bible?……..No, other publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
And most couples want Christian friends and relatives
Meaning that only JW friends and relatives and preferred attendees.
What are theprevailing local practicesin your area?
God’s servants—only JWs
Honorable Marriage-Legal Marriage
Q6, 7) Why should we be interested in the legal aspects of getting married, and how might we manifest this?
6) While Jehovah originated marriage, human governments have some control over the actions of those getting married. This is appropriate. Jesus said: "Pay back Caesar's things to Caesar, but God's things to God." (Mark 12:17) Similarly, the apostle Paul directed: "Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God." -Romans 13:1; Titus 3:1.
Human governments have some control—will the decide what dress the bride wears, how many attendants she can have, what decorations are allowed, who the attendees are allowed to talk to,
SUPERIOR AUTHORITIES—WTS FLIPFLOP
From 1879 to 1929, the WTS taught that the superior authorities were the secular governments. From 1929 to 1962, the WTS taught that the superior authorities were God and Jesus. From 1962 to 2006 the WTS has taught that the superior authorities are the secular governments.
Between 1929 and 1962 based on Romans 13:1, would it have been "appropriate" for human governments to control the actions of those JWs getting married?
7) In most lands Caesar, or the civil authority, determines who is eligible to marry. Thus, when two Christians who are Scripturally free choose to get married, they conscientiously comply with local law. This may involve obtaining a license, using a State authorized marrying agent, and perhaps registering the completed marriage. When Caesar Augustus required a "registration," Mary and Joseph complied, traveling to Bethlehem "to get registered."-Luke 2:1-5.
Scripturally free—fit the convoluted rules of the WTS of when a marriage ends.
conscientiously comply with local law…registering the completed marriage
I’m willing to bet that too many JWs are not complying with the law thinking that the marriage at the KH is more valid.
Q8) How binding is marriage, and what policy of Jehovah’s Witnesses reflects that understanding?
8) When two Christians marry in a way that is legal and recognized, that union is binding in God's eyes. Hence, Jehovah's Witnesses do not repeat a marriage by having multiple legal ceremonies, nor do they renew marriage vows, such as on a couple's 25th or 50th wedding anniversary. (Matthew 5:37) (Some churches ignore a legally approved civil marriage ceremony, claiming that it is not really a proper marriage unless a priest or a clergyman performs a ritual or declares the couple man and wife.) In many lands, the government authorizes a minister of Jehovah's Witnesses to solemnize marriages. If that is possible, he would likely want to do so along with a wedding talk at the Kingdom Hall. That is the local place of true worship and an appropriate location for a talk about this arrangement, which Jehovah God instituted.
Two Christians—only JWs
Have you heard of JWs having multiple legal ceremonies? Would that be because not all family members could be at one?
Renew marriage vows—why not, it is not a legal ceremony?
Minister of Jehovah’s Witnesses—who is authorized by the WTS to give wedding talks?
Likely…with a wedding talk at the Kingdom Hall—some ceremonies are at the government building and are brief.
Appropriate location for a talk—does that mean if a person has a wedding in a larger building or outdoor location that it is not "appropriate" or signifies that the couple involved are guilty of sexual wrongdoing?
Q9) (a) In the case of a civil marriage, what might a Christian couple choose to do? (b) How might the elders be involved in the wedding plans?
9) In other countries, the law requires that a couple marry at a government office, such as city hall, or before a designated civil agent. Christians often choose to follow up that legal step with a wedding talk at the Kingdom Hall on the same day or the next. (They would not want many days to pass between the civil ceremony and the Bible talk, for they are married before God and man, including the Christian congregation.) If a couple who will have a civil marriage desire to have a talk at a certain Kingdom Hall, they should beforehand seek the permission of the elders forming the Congregation Service Committee. In addition to confirming that the couple have a good reputation, these overseers will make sure that the timing of the wedding will not interfere with the regular meetings and scheduled programs at the hall. (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40) They will also review any preparations of the hall that the couple may request and decide whether there will be an announcement made about its use.
Is a marriage valid if there is only the civil ceremony and no ceremony at the KH? Legally, but do JWs view the situation with suspicion wondering why the couple did not have a KH ceremony?
So far the elders decide if you have can have your marriage at the KH, what kind of "preparations" including what you wear, who will be in the bridal/groom party, what music, what decorations, when, any df’d family members coming.
*** km 11/73 p. 8 Question Box ***
Who may perform weddings and funerals?
Weddings and funerals may be conducted by any dedicated, baptized brother as permitted by law.If there are any restrictions or requirements according to the local law, these should be carefully observed. When it comes to the selection of someone to conduct a wedding or a funeral, this is a personal matter for the individuals or the family involved to determine. Since weddings and funerals are not viewed as public talks, appointment as an elder or ministerial servant is not a requirement for one to perform such services . If it is to be in the Kingdom Hall, then, of course, permission must be obtained from the congregation service committee . A dedicated brother from a different congregation could be allowed to give a wedding or funeral talk in another congregation’s Kingdom Hall with the approval of the committee and in accord with the local laws.
(This is no longer accurate and has been replaced by a BOE letter. Even if a dedicated, baptized brother authorized by the law gives a wedding talk now he would find his privileges removed)
Q10) If there must be a civil marriage, how would this affect the wedding talk?
10) The elder giving the wedding talk will strive to make the discussion warm, spiritually upbuilding, and dignified. If the couple were first joined in a civil marriage, he will make it clear that they were married according to Caesar's law. If marriage vows were not exchanged in the civil ceremony, the couple may want to do so during the talk.* (Footnote: * Unless local law requires something else, these vows that honor God are used. For the groom: "I [name of groom] take you [name of bride] 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 [name of bride] take you [name of groom] 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.") If that civil ceremony included vows but the newly married couple want to say vows before Jehovah and the congregation, they would do so in the past tense, showing that they were already "yoked together."-Matthew 19:6; 22:21.
Dignified—no embarassing jokes or stories, with sexual innuendos.
Choice?—these vows that honor God are used—not from the Bible but the only ones sanctioned by the WTS.
for as long as we both shall live together on earth according to God's marital arrangement.
When I was in my 20’s, many JWs interpreted this to mean that at some point in the "new system" marriage would end. Since this was shortly before 1975, many JWs rushed to get married worried that they would never have the chance (and never have the chance to have sex.)
Q11) In certain places, how does a couple get married, and with what impact on the wedding talk?
11) In certain places, the law may not require a couple to get married in any ceremony, even before a government agent. The marriage occurs when they present a signed marriage registration form to an official. Thereupon, a marriage certificate is registered. In this way the couple are looked upon as husband and wife, this being the date of their marriage. As noted above, the couple who are thus married may want to follow that registration right away with a Bible-based talk at the Kingdom Hall. The spiritually mature brother selected to give the talk will inform all attending that the couple are married by reason of the registration that just took place. Any vows would be handled in accord with what is outlined in paragraph 10 and its footnote. Those in attendance at the Kingdom Hall will rejoice with the couple and benefit from the counsel given from God's Word.-Song of Solomon 3:11.
It sounds to me that too many JWs have not been following the government’s rules regarding legal marriages. I wonder how much it costs to have a certificate registered?
Customary and Civil Marriages
Q12) What is a customary marriage, and what is advisable after such a marriage?
12) In some countries, couples enter into what may be called a customary (or, tribal) marriage. This does not refer to two individuals just living together, nor does it refer to a common-law situation that may have a degree of status in some locales but is not a full legal marriage.* (Footnote * The Watchtower of May 1, 1962, page 287, offers comments about common-law marriage.) We are speaking of a marriage entered into according to the publicly recognized custom of the tribe or area. This may involve the full payment and acceptance of a bride-price, by which the couple are legally and Scripturally married. The government views such customary marriage as valid, legal, and binding. Thereafter, it is usually possible to record or register the customary marriage that occurred, and upon doing so, the couple may receive an official certificate. Registration can offer protection for the couple or for the wife if she becomes a widow and for any future children. The congregation would urge any who enter such a customary marriage to register it as soon as possible. Interestingly, it seems that under the Mosaic Law, marriages and births were officially recorded.-Matthew 1 1-16.
[Picture on page 21] After a customary marriage, Christians may wish to have a talk at the Kingdom Hall
Are JWs required scripturally to pay a bride-price?
This may involve the full payment and acceptance of a bride-price, by which the couple are legally and Scripturally married.
Does the "congregation" urge or do the elders and the WTS?
Q13) After a customary marriage, what is appropriate as to a wedding talk?
13) The couple legally united in such a customary process become husband and wife when that marriage occurs. As noted above, Christians entering such a legal marriage may desire to have a marriage talk, with wedding vows, at the Kingdom Hall. If that is done, the speaker would acknowledge that the couple were already married in harmony with the laws of Caesar. There would be only one such talk. There is one marriage, in this case the legally valid customary (tribal) marriage, and one Scriptural talk. Keeping the two aspects as close together timewise as possible, preferably on the same day, contributes to honoring Christian marriage in the community.
Somehow I do believe that marriages in other areas are the root of this paragraph.
I wonder what the problem is if they have 2 talks. The talk is not what makes the marriage valid/legal.
Q14) What might a Christian do if both a customary and a civil marriage are possible?
14) In some lands where customary marriage is recognized as legal, there are also provisions for civil (or, statutory) marriage. A civil marriage is usually carried out before a government agent, and. it may include both taking marriage vows and signing a registrySome Christian couples prefer this civil marriage to a customary one. There is no legal need for both; each procedure is legally valid. What is said in paragraphs 9 and 10 about a wedding talk and vows applies here too. The main thing is that the couple are married in a way that is honorable before God and man. -Luke 20:25; 1 Peter 2:13, 14.
Is it illegal to have both? What’s the problem?
Maintain Honor in Marriage
Q15, 16) How should honor be involved in a marriage?
15) When a problem arose in the marriage of a Persian king, a chief adviser named Memucan gave advice that could have a positive effect-'that all the wives give honor to their husbands.' (Esther 1:20) In Christian marriages, that does not need to be decreed by any human king; wives want to honor their husbands. Comparably, Christian husbands assign their mates honor and praise them. (Proverbs 31:11, 30; 1 Peter 3:7) Linking honor to our marriage should not come only after many years. It should be manifest right from the outset, yes, from the wedding day on.
Give honor—what does that mean?
Not need to be decreed by any human king—but by the WTS princes, the elders?
16) The man and the woman-the husband and the wife-are not the only ones who ought to show honor on the wedding day. If a Christian elder will deliver a wedding talk, that too should be marked by honor.The talk should be addressed to the couple.As part of honoring them, the speaker will not feature humor or folk sayings. He should not include overly personal observations that might embarrass the couple and the listeners. Rather, he will strive to be warm and upbuilding, highlighting the Originator of marriage and His outstanding advice. Yes, the elder's dignified wedding discourse will contribute to a marriage that brings honor to Jehovah God.
Will not feature humor or folk sayings…overly personal observations that might embarrass
Yes, there will be no laughing at the wedding talk!
Q17) Why is there a legal aspect to Christian weddings?
17) You likely noted in this article many points about the legal details of marriage. Certain aspects may not directly apply in your locality. Yet, all of us ought to be aware of how important it is that wedding arrangements among Jehovah's Witnesses manifest respect for local laws, for the requirements of Caesar. (Luke 20:25) Paul urged us: "Render to all their dues, to him who calls for the tax, the tax; to him who calls for the tribute, the tribute; ... to him who calls for honor, such honor." (Romans 13:7) Yes, it is fitting that Christians, right from the wedding day, honor the arrangement that God has in place for the present.
So why have JWs been ignoring the legal details of marriage and not manifesting respect for local laws?
Feeling the governments deserve no honor since they will be destroyed soon
Not wanting to pay any fees connected with the legal requirements
Feeling that only weddings at the KH are valid
Q18) What optional feature of a wedding merits attention, and where can we find information on this matter?
18) Many a Christian wedding is followed by a social gathering-a wedding feast, a meal, or a reception. Recall that Jesus chose to be present at one such feast. If there is such a gathering, how can counsel from the Bible help us to ensure that it too will bring honor to God and reflect well on the newlyweds and on the Christian congregation? The following article will consider that very matter.* (Footnote * See also the article "Increase the Joy and Dignity of Your Wedding Day," on page 28.)
Social gathering—a wedding feast, a meal, or a reception.
Counsel from the Bible(or from the elders/WTS?)
Do You Recall?
- Why should we be interested in both the legal and the spiritual aspects of weddings?
- If two Christians marry in a civil ceremony, what might they decide to have soon afterward?
- Why are wedding talks given at the Kingdom Hall?
Some rules I found in doing this review:
*** w97 4/15 p. 24 Weddings That Honor Jehovah ***
When a wedding talk is arranged after the necessary civil ceremony, it would be wise not to have a time gap of many days between the two events. If the couple would like to have a wedding talk in the Kingdom Hall, they should approach the congregation elders well ahead of time to request the use of the hall. The local elders will confirm that the arrangements for the ceremony would leave them with clean consciences. The time should be set so that there will be no conflict with any congregational activity. The brother chosen to give the wedding talkwill meet beforehand with the prospective bridegroom and bride to offer helpful advice and to be sure that there are no moral or legal impediments to the marriage and that he is in accord with the plans for any social gathering to follow. The wedding talk should be about half an hour in length and given in a dignified manner, emphasizing the spiritual aspect. The wedding talk is definitely more important than any reception that may follow.
A reception is not a requirementfor a successful wedding, but there is no Scriptural objection to such a happy occasion. However, such a gathering for true Christians should be different from worldly receptions marked by extravagance, heavy drinking, overeating, wild music, suggestive dancing, and even fights. The Bible categorizes "revelries" with the works of the flesh. (Galatians 5:21) It is easier to have proper control when it is not a very large gathering. There is no need to erect a tent to satisfy popular customs. Should some decide to use a tent for reasons of space or weather, this is a personal matter.
Experience has shown that a good way to limit the number of guests is by using specificinvitations in writing. It is wiser to invite individuals instead of whole congregations, and as orderly Christians, we should respect such limitations. Written invitations also help us to avoid the embarrassment of having a disfellowshipped person show up at the reception, for if that happened, many brothers and sisters might choose to leave. (1 Corinthians 5:9-11) If a couple invite unbelieving relatives or acquaintances, these will no doubt be limited in number, giving more importance to those "related to us in the faith." (Galatians 6:10) Some have chosen to invite worldly acquaintances or unbelieving relatives to the wedding talk rather than to the reception. Why? Well, there have been cases when worldly relatives created such an embarrassing situation at a wedding reception that many brothers and sisters felt that they could not remain. Some couples have arranged to have only a small dinner with close family members and Christian friends.
Many have found it best to have an elder listen in advance to the music to be played. Dancing may bring pitfalls, as many traditional dances are derived from fertility dancing and feature inappropriate sensuality. The "cake and champagne moment" has sometimes been a signal for worldly people to cut loose. In fact, many Christian couples have decided not to have any alcohol at wedding receptions, thus avoiding problems.
How unwise it would be for a couple to go into debt because of a fancy wedding and then suffer deprivations for years in order to pay for the expenses of that one day! Of course, any dress worn on the occasion should be modest and well-arranged, befitting a person professing to reverence God.
(and so on…many "rules" in this article)
Did those who celebrate have a good Thanksgiving? I have been suffering with a huge ear infection. I won’t die, but I have wished it the last 24 hours…
Did anyone of you get married at a KH? What were your experiences like? No KH for me…I love an outdoor wedding. The JWs in this area assume you must have sinned sexually and couldn’t have it at the KH.
Can you believe it, it’s only 5 weeks until the end of the year.