I have come to this forum on the recommendation of an ex Jehovah's witness who has been very helpful. Although he has given me some useful information, he suggested I post my question on here too to see what others have to say. Being new, I am not sure if I have chosen the right topic heading but if not forgive me!
I have no involvement personally with JWs but have a young friend who is currently undergoing Watchtower Bible study sessions and working towards Baptism. Briefly she is 20 years old and a very nice person but has had difficult problems in her past which have left her vulnerable and desperately seeking for something to believe in.
I first met her when she was 10 and a Guide in our village (I should mention that I am a Guide Leader in the UK, and Guides is the equivalent of Girl Scouts for those of you in the USA. Brownies are young Guides aged 7 to 10).
When my friend was about 16, I arranged for her to come and help at a Brownie Pack and that has been mutually very helpful and she is currently going through the training to be a Brownie Leader herself. The Brownies love her and it has given her enormous self confidence.
She only relatively recently got involved with the JWs and does not have any family connections to them. She explained to the other Brownie Leaders that she would not be able to participate in helping with making Mother's Day cards, Easter crafts or attend any traditional ceremonies held in the local Churches such as Remembrance Service for soldiers who died in the Wars etc. But she believes that there is no problem with her being a member of both Guiding and the Watchtower Organisation.
Guiding is a multifaith organisation and the only requirement of membership is to make the Guide Promise. The words include promising to love MY god, which means more or less any other religion from Muslim to those who worship nature can say the words.
This is the Promise she has already made and as a member of GirlguidingUK will be expected to uphold and help the Brownies to understand:
I promise that I will do my best:
To love my God,
To serve the Queen and my country,
To help other people
To keep the Guide Law.
(The 6 Guide Laws are not controversial, just general requirements like being considerate etc )
She can change the word "God" to "Jehovah", but then I understand that she is not allowed to pledge to serve her country.
I don't think she has yet given serious consideration to this point, and it seems her teachers are being less than honest about what will be required of her. Am I right that they save the most difficult life-style changing requirements until after the Baptism?
From the perspective of the Guide Association, she could be a non-member Unit Helper, which would avoid her having to make the Promise, but still enable her to help with the Brownies. However the ex JW who I mentioned earlier tells me that the Elders of her congregation will not even allow this involvement once she is Baptised.
The only concern I would have if she does find a way around belonging to both organisations is whether some of the parents of the Brownies would have a problem with a leader being a JW. I am pretty sure that she would not try to convert the girls and anyway she is not the leader in charge, so there would be little opportunity for this as there would always be other leaders around.
I would be grateful to hear if anyone has any experience or knowledge on this subject. Has anyone heard of a JW being a Scout or member of a similar club?