My First Kingdom Hall Wedding

by garyneal 13 Replies latest jw experiences

  • garyneal

    During our last "Bible Study" session with the elder and his wife, we were invited to attend a wedding of a dear and close 'brother' and 'sister' of thiers at their hall. My wife made me where a suit to that wedding and of course I had lots of questions. For most Jehovah's Witnesses (current or former) this is all old hat but it was a new experience for me as I have only been to church weddings and justice of the peace weddings (which by the way was the type of wedding she and I had).

    The wedding overall was nice. People marched down the ailse two bytwo, finally the groom march down the ailse with his best man, followed by the bride with her father. I did note that they did not play "Here comes the bride" as she walked down the ailse but no biggie. The bride, groom, best man, and maid (matron) of honor all sat down in front of someone (elder or ministerial servant perhaps) who gave a talk. I found it peculiar that they all sat down but about half way during the talk, I began to understand why (boy that was long). Finally, the ordained minister came up, asked them to stand and recited the wedding vows for them to answer and repeat. The marraige vows were a little different but not much (they mostly inserted Jehovah where they could and reworded the questions a little bit).

    Afterwards, we talked about the wedding and my impressions of it. I just said that the wedding did not seem too unusual, different, but not unusual to the point of being strange. I doubt very seriously people who are as conservative as the witnesses would every agree to bongo drums playing and people dancing with masks on or anything (that would be unusual for me).

    We did however, discuss other things. She somehow has it in her head that I am learning so much about the witnesses because I want to become one (albeit secretly). After trying to contain my laughter, I told her that as a Christian I would become a witness right after I become a freemason. (We passed by a masonic lodge on the way to the wedding and I told her about the freemasons, apparently she never heard of them before.) Just in case you're wondering, yes I did tell her that Charles Russell was a freemason.

    Then I relented and said that I may become a witness if the following occurred:

    Drop the teaching of 1914 (bonus if they admitted that it was an erroroneous teaching).
    Drop the extreme shunning policies of the Watchtower concerning disfellowshipped members.
    Drop the murderous blood doctrine.

    There's more but that was enough for her and I to have another discussion concerning their practices. We spent about ten minutes on 1914 and how she insists that the society is right on this teaching.

    Then she told me that the extreme shunning practices are not supported by the Watchtower. She even gave me some examples of people she knew. One of them was a woman disfellowshipped for sexual immorality. When she became pregnant, her JW mom took her in her home so she could help take care of the unborn child. All with the support of her congregation. I was surprised to hear this when it seems so much I hear about how they should treat disfellowshipped ones would talk about how people just shun. Is this a normal experience for most witnesses or is this an exception to the rule?

    The last one concerning blood was talked about but her final response was for her to give me a Watchtower brochure concerning blood and asked me to read it. I told her I would because it seems like she does not know all of the doctrine concerning blood herself.

    In fact, she tells me that I seem to know more about their doctrines than she does. Personally, I think if she had her choice, she would not be a JW but she feels that there is no better place for her. Honestly, when she and I talked about God and the Bible last night, she sounded a lot like some of the people on this message board who have left the 'truth' and become atheists. I think she feels like she is 'going through the motions' attending meetings, going out in field service, and studying with the elder. She told me that she wanted to have a Christmas celebration this year at our house and invite my family and put presents under the tree for my daughter. Then she said, "Knowing my luck, Armegeddon will happen on the 26th and I will be destroyed." Then I said, you mean when Jesus executes judgement from heaven and sends meteorites to destroy the world, bridges will collapse, and people will be killed? She and I laughed about it but she said, yeah even though we laugh I can see that happening to me. I told her about the following cartoon.

  • yknot


    PS ..... There is no direct verification of Russell ever being a mason though he clearly did incorporate some masonic stuff. I forget which poster said it but I think he/she summed it up pretty well when they said Russell's mix-matching of beliefs from other souces made him the Raelians of his time.

  • garyneal


    Yeah, my research never uncovered whether or not Russell was actually a freemason but like you said he clearly used masonic stuff. His pyramid memorial is the most visible example of this.

  • freedomisntfree

    I remember when i saw that cartoon for the first time i could barely contain myself from showing evreyone i knew.

  • OnTheWayOut

    That poor Statue of Liberty gets abused in so many films, even a JW doctrine cartoon now.

    She sites good people overlooking the terrible shunning that is supported by the organization. Many family members overlook it for a disfellowshipped one, but put themselves in trouble if the elders are not so kind as to ignore it when it becomes widely known. If she knows of a congregation that generally turns their heads to the terrible organizational policy, that doesn't mean it isn't there.

    I suggest you go ahead and plan for that Christmas. You can tell her that you are doing it no matter what. I mean, you can't wait for her to go back and forth on this until the last minute. You have to plan.

    "Knowing my luck, Armegeddon will happen on the 26th and I will be destroyed."

    Ask her if that's the kind of God she wants to serve. He waits for us to trip up so he can DESTROY US.

  • garyneal

    Ask her if that's the kind of God she wants to serve. He waits for us to trip up so he can DESTROY US.

    I'll ask her the next time the subject comes up. I can see the conflict in her though. She wants to please her mom, the elder, and his wife and at the same time she wants to do what she wants to do. I remember we took our daughter to a birthday party of one of her friends and she again said that she believes she is going to die because of it. I think she really wants to give our daughter things she was denied as a child but feels that she cannot do it with a clear concious. I asked her about an Awake magazine published in 2000 concerning things with pagan origins (like Christmas).

    January 8, 2000 Awake and the article in it entitled "A Balanced View of Popular Customs." It says (according to this link), "Customs have been profoundly influenced by religion. Many, in fact, arose from old superstitions and non-Biblical religious ideas.…But what about customs that may once have been linked to questionable practices but that today are primarily viewed as social etiquette?" Later on it says, “…Does this mean that Christians are forbidden to observe such customs? …Although there may be reason to examine the origin of a particular custom, in some cases it is more important to consider what the custom means to people at the time and in the place where one now lives.”

    Sounds like good advice to me. I wonder why they can say this and turn around and say no to Christmas because of its origins that are all but forgotten to most people today?

  • Farkel

    :Just in case you're wondering, yes I did tell her that Charles Russell was a freemason.

    Given the context of the time Russell mentioned his affinity with freemasonry, it meant about as much as John F. Kennedy meant when he famously said, "ich bin ein Berliner."

    Russell was no more a real freemason than Kennedy was a real Berliner, only that they empathized with or understood those groups and what they stood for.


  • wantstoleave

    If the Df person is living under your roof, then yes, they are not to be shunned as typically normal. That is the only instance where you do not have to shun someone. You still wouldn't talk about spiritual matters with them, but you can treat them as normal. If they do not live under your roof, then the shunning takes place.

    Btw, not all witnesses have long, drawn out wedding talks. Some are so quick you could blink an eye and they'd be It depends on who you get to do your talk, and what you'd like to include.

  • garyneal

    Btw, not all witnesses have long, drawn out wedding talks. Some are so quick you could blink an eye and they'd be It depends on who you get to do your talk, and what you'd like to include.


    Well, I will say this for the experience. They only invited a select few to the reception and we were invited to that so we got to leave early. :)

  • wantstoleave

    Lol....Ive learnt, only go to weddings that invite you to the reception...hehe

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