Hi all, I'm currently doing a major work for my final year of high school on funeral music and how religion impacts upon it. Specifically, in one part of the work I intended to focus on those religions who have guidelines about what should and should not be played at funerals. When I was reading through surveys I handed out, one young girl who is a Jehovah's Witness mentioned that there are certain guidelines for the music played at funerals, but she didn't expand on what. I was wondering if anyone could explain to me what the practices of Jehovah's Witnesses' are at funerals? It would be of great help to me. (PS. all of this is done in a totally objective way, to compare the trends that arise in both religious and secular societies)
I'm currently doing a major work for my final year of high school on funeral music and how religion impacts upon it. Specifically, in one part of the work I intended to focus on those religions who have guidelines about what should and should not be played at funerals. When I was reading through surveys I handed out, one young girl who is a Jehovah's Witness mentioned that there are certain guidelines for the music played at funerals, but she didn't expand on what. I was wondering if anyone could explain to me what the practices of Jehovah's Witnesses' are at funerals? It would be of great help to me.
Hi bally; Welcome to the board. Witness funerals generally do not have music played at all. You can do it two ways: either have it at a regular funeral home where an elder gives a 30 minute talk, followed by a get-together at someone's home after for refreshments. Or, the deceased's family will have a private burial and a Memorial Service at the local Kingdom Hall, where an elder gives a 30 minute talk. The difference between Witness funerals and that of other religions, is that very little is actually said about the deceased. Instead, they use the opportunity to promote the religion itself and to assure the family that the dearly departed have not gone to 'be with the Lord' but are dead in the ground until a future physical resurrection here on earth. Below is the outline that the Jehovah's Witnesses are to follow for giving funeral talks. It's actually quite pathetic as the deceased are not to be 'eulogized' in any way, shape or form. All emphasis is on the religion as a whole. I truly do not recall any music ever being played at a Witness funeral but if there was, the only songs that would be allowed would be taped music of their "Kingdom Melodies".
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)
THE HOPE THE DECEASED ENTERTAINED
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)
WHY IT IS GOOD TO GO TO HOUSE OF MOURNING
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
HOW WE CAN BENEFIT FROM BEING HERE
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(l Cor. 15:58)
(Note: 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 regard. 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. 102 (53) or 187 (93) 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 15:5413-57. 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.)
A lot of witness funerals have music, mainly favorites of the deceased, ones they loved from the Sings Praises to Jehovah song book. Usually these songs are sung by all attending.
I have been to a few witness funerals and always they have chosen the songs.
At my mothers funeral (she wasn't a witness, but was studying before she died) we played Kingdom songs in the background.
I had to attend one of their funerals just this past weekend. I am ALWAYS steamed at the lack of personal touch to the talks and the promotion of the religion. The time of rememberance of someone's life is NOT the time for that. Your outline is spot on. EVERY witness funeral talk is exactly the same thing except for the very beginning where they mention 4-5 points about the deceased. This funeral this last weekend was down to the tee on everything including the exact reading of Job and Corinthians at the grave site afterwards. And the whole talk they constantly say Brother So-and-So believed this or that I guess trying to make it seem personal while really saying nothing specific about the person.
I always feel like apologing to the non Witness attendees.
And to answer your question kingdom melodies were played before and after the funeral.
Morph - 'not wanting to die until i'm out'