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.