Jehovah's Witnesses participating in sports?

by garyneal 14 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • garyneal

    I understand one of their numerous "Thou Shalt Nots" concerns children participating in sporting activities. My daughter is on the soccer team and my wife (an unbaptized jw with a 'goal' of becoming baptized) was the one who signed her up. During the first season, my wife kept telling me that she felt torn because she wanted our daughter to participate in sports but she knew she was 'going against God.'

    On the first day of practice we met a JW couple from her congregation. Elated, my wife now feels that this thing is okay.

    Was this policy of the WT ever changed?

  • WTWizard

    This is what I have seen about witlesses and sports:

    First, they have risk of injury. This is supposed to disrespect the "gift" of life. What they don't tell you is that properly played sports are quite safe in school settings. Injuries do happen, but not all the time (professional sports are more dangerous, because they are paid to win at all costs). And, one can get injured while out in field circus--getting into accidents, slipping on ice, falling down stairs, and getting bit by dogs or pepper sprayed (or even shot, in some states) are risks of going out in field circus. They are willing to take those risks, but they will not allow children to take smaller risks in activities that could provide physical fitness.

    They are also prone to "bad associations" and take time from boasting sessions and field circus. This rule helps cut off the witlesses from outside sources, so they are prone to remain witlesses. Those children do not develop skills needed to function outside the cancer, so they are more likely to stay in.

    Sports are "win at all costs" propositions. This might be true in professional sports, where coaches' jobs depend on winning every game. But in high school, winning is not the whole thing. A person can play a clean game, do their best in the sport, and lose big time--and still have fun. It still benefits people by developing them physically, even if they lose. It might be a disappointment that they do not win the big trip to the finals or a trophy, but it does not threaten their livelihoods if they are playing a clean game and doing their reasonable best.

    They are mostly worried that sports will take the witlesses away from boasting sessions and field circus, and expose them to fornication (which rarely happens solely as a result of sports) and alternative ideas about religion.

  • yknot

    The JWs allowing their child to play soccer are 'WEAK'......

    If you downloaded the 2008 WTCD please reference the 2008 book release "Young People Ask, Volume 2" chapt. 32, pp 264-266 under the heading "How Can I Have a Good Time?" to confirm the below commentary:

    It’s always wrong to take part in sports.


    Does this mean that there’s no need for caution? Well, consider the context of the verse quoted above. When writing to the young man Timothy, the apostle Paul said: “Bodily training is beneficial for a little; but godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” Paul’s words remind us that our first priority should always be to please God. You can ensure that godly devotion is your top priority—even when choosing a sport—by asking yourself the following three questions:

    1.Whatdegreeofriskisinvolvedinthesport? Don’t simply rely on hearsay or on the enthusiastic reports of other youths. Get the facts. For example, find out the following: Just what is the accident rate for this particular sport? What safety precautions are taken? What training and equipment are needed to play this sport safely? While there are incidental risks in virtually any activity, is the primary objective of this sport to defy injury or death?

    Life is a gift from God, and God’s Law given to the Israelites imposed serious penalties if a life was taken accidentally. (Exodus 21:29; Numbers 35:22-25) God’s people were thereby encouraged to be safety conscious. (Deuteronomy 22:8) Christians today likewise have an obligation to show respect for life.

    2.Willthesportprovidegoodassociation? If you have some athletic ability, your peers and teachers might exert pressure on you to join a school team. You may feel a strong urge to accept the offer. A Christian youth named Mark says, “I feel it’s just not fair that my parents won’t let me join the school team.” But instead of attempting to coax your parents into accepting your viewpoint, consider the following facts: Practice sessions and games are usually scheduled outside of normal school hours. If you do well, you’ll be encouraged to devote more time to the sport. If you don’t do so well, you’ll feel pressure to spend more time in practice. In addition, teammates often form close bonds of friendship as they revel in the highs of victory and share the despair of defeat.

    Now ask yourself: ‘Will spending my personal time in an activity that could result in close bonds of friendship with youths who don’t share my spiritual standards be a good influence on me?’ (1 Corinthians 15:33) ‘What price am I willing to pay just to play on a particular team?’

    3.Howmuchtimeandmoneywillthesportconsume? The Bible instructs us to “make sure of the more important things.” (Philippians 1:10) To help you apply this advice, ask yourself: ‘Will playing this sport eat into time that I’ve allocated for schoolwork or spiritual activities? What is the total monetary cost of the sport? Does my budget allow for this expense?’ Answering these questions will help you to keep your priorities in order.

  • Chalam

    Hi Gary,

    Here you go-I had the same question-some answers here What no sports?!

    All the best,


  • dissed

    Hi Gary

    she felt torn because she wanted our daughter to participate in sports but she knew she was 'going against God.'

    This is the key point you and your wife are learning about JW's. The pressure to conform, even on matters of conscience.

    As my good friend Yknot shared with you the 'key JW reasons' to consider, did you notice the last sentence.

    "Answering these questions will help you to keep your priorties in order" It is implied rather strongly, what a 'good JW' should do. As you and your wife have already learned, there is similar pressure to conform in other areas in matters of conscience.

    Not conforming correctly will cause your family to be judged adversely, as your wife mentioned in her concern earlier.

    Making rules like, "good JW's should not play in sports" then enforcing them by peer pressure, is not the real Christian way of non-judgemental love taught in the Bible.

    There is value taught in team sports, they are not evil. Some of my coaches were very good teachers. Its been many years since I was in school, and I still have good memories of lessons learned.

    And briefly, my experience. I was active in sports in high school when I began to study with the Witnesses. I was strongly encouraged that if I wanted to progress in the Witness work, sports would hinder my progress, and possibly, could lead to me losing God's favor.

    I was being recruited by the University of Hawaii at the time. Coming from a very poor family, a college scholarship would have been very nice to have. A person would be 'nuts' to turn that down, no? Many examples were shown to me in the Awake of professional atheletes quiting their careers for the work. I quit the team and gave up my chance of college. True, it was my choice, but I can't tell you the amount of pressure that was put on me, to do the right thing.

    Which is the point I'm trying to get across with you. You and your wife live with the consequences of your decisions. No one else should pressure you to live your life for you.

  • Heaven

    The tennis pro Williams sisters are JWs. Go figure.

  • blondie

    Actually the Williams sisters are not baptized. Their mother is, but not their father.

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep
    Ynot ........ You and your wife live with the consequences of your decisions

    I am a child of Jehovah's Witnesses..... I live with the consequences of my parent's descisions.

  • Heaven

    Actually the Williams sisters are not baptized. Their mother is, but not their father.

    Aaaahh.... that's how they get away with it. So garyneal's daughter can play sports as long as she doesn't get baptized. Cool! Hope she never gets baptized.

  • carla

    It doesn't matter what is in the wt's or not, if the elders and cong believe it to be wrong your wife eventually will try some way to get her stop playing sports. Your wife will slowly assimilate into all things jw. For instance when my jw first started in with this cult he was not aware of all the jw written and unwritten rules and he went and borrowed a very popular pg movie for kids. Within a year or so the very same movie was being shown in our home and he objected to it! Kids of course (non of us are jw) pointed out that it was HIM that originally got the movie for them the first time around! My point is that what is ok today will change by next month or next year depending upon the millue (sp?) of the jw's in her cong.

    You as the 'head of the house' need to stand up for you child so she can have a somewhat normal life. Your life and that of your child will never be the same once your wife is completely assimilated into the org. Protect your child. Yes, you risk your wifes ire but better that than to destroy your daughters childhood.

    You also should educate your child about this cult and what cults are.

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