A JW attending funerals at a church.

by garyneal 22 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • garyneal

    My mother-in-law attend the funeral of her father-in-law (my wife's grandfather on her father's side) at his church (a baptist church). Before we went in the church, she (mother-in-law) told me that she wanted to warn me that if they get into the singing and praising of God, don't be surprised if I see her not participating. I said, "Because of that whole, interfaith thing, right?" She said, "Yeah, I just want to make sure I don't stumble you." I replied, "I am more afraid of stumbling you."

    My mother and father in law got up and was about to leave in the middle of the funeral. They met me in the church's front lobby as my daughter was being her usual restless self. Since my in-laws offered to take my daughter to the store and get her something to eat and my daughter did not want to leave me, I offered to go with them out of respect. Bear in mind that the funeral is still in process (my father in law's own father).

    However, my mom in law, daughter and I went to her van and my daughter ate some of the goodies she had packed. Father-in-law stayed in the church and mother-in-law eventually went back and joined them. Funny how that worked out. The JW's stayed in the church (including my wife) and I was the one outside most of the time with my daughter.

    I've heard that JW's are not suppose to attend funerals at churches, is this true? What does the 'all-knowing' WT have to say on this? Can a witness be disfellowshipped for attending these funerals? Somehow I doubt it, but I did hear that attending these funerals is not encouraged?

    I guess I am just trying to understand my in-laws strange behavior.

  • asilentone

    Long time ago, my JW family went to the Church Funeral after my two worldly relatives were killed in motorcycle accident, we just sat at the back row. While rest of my worldly relatives sit on the front. We just thought it would offend them very much if we did not attend the services at all, so we went. We did the two bodies viewings.

  • yellow

    My mothers funeral was held at a cremotorium a local church minister took the service. A few of the witnesses came including an elder. They all sat at the back, whilst I sat at the front amongst my family, (it would have caused an upset to my family if I didn`t) I didn`t sing any of the hymns, my brother noticed this and asked why I wasn`t singing. I said I was a bit choked. I didn`t bow my head during the prayer. None of the witnesses took the order of service sheet away with them. Which was a bit hurtful. After the service the elder only remarked on the garbage that the church minister was talking about said nothing about the moving tribute the minister gave about my mum.

  • garyneal


    You know I watched my mother in law and notice that she too did not bow her head during the prayer. I take it you were still a witness during this funeral, did the elder's comments have any effect on your view of the witnesses? I am assuming you are out now?

  • GLTirebiter

    I know I had a copy of a "Questions from Readers" item that said in effect "NO, do not attend funerals in churches, not even for family members", but I dont' know where it is. The Ex did in fact attend funerals in churches, for family members on both sides (hers as well as mine). She was obviously not at ease being there, but she did come and support the families. For that I am proud of her, it was the right thing to do.

  • garyneal
    For that I am proud of her, it was the right thing to do.

    It is indeed the right thing to do. I find it difficult to believe that people will so stupidly and blindly follow WT teachings without asking themselves if what the WT is saying makes any sense. CULT MIND CONTROL at its finest.

  • jamiebowers

    I can't imagine a jw entering a church for fear of all the demons that inhabit it. I never would've when I was a jw.

  • garyneal

    Funny thing is, this church had the crown and cross symbol displayed prominantly inside the church. I told my wife that it was the symbol associated with freemasonry and was also found on the copies of the Zion's Watchtower as well as on Russell's pyramid memorial.

    One of the relatives of my father-in-law has ties to freemasonry.

  • tiffy0212

    My husband lost his mother ten years ago and walked out of the church and when his father died he didn't even go in the church. When his mom died I stayed in the church because I loved her very much and deeply respected her. When his dad died I asked if he was going in the church he said he didn't know, I took that for a no and didn't even attend that one. I never liked his father and he caused many problems. I did go to view the body, but left before the service began. He burned me once by walking out and I wasn't going to let him do it again. So sad to show disrespect for parents that he claims to have loved.

  • homejah

    I remember that info because my relatives who are JWs did not go to my cousin's funeral at a church. I wonder why JWs want to invite a person to a Kingdom Hall but ,not except a invitation of a church member to his/her services?

  • garyneal
    I wonder why JWs want to invite a person to a Kingdom Hall but ,not except a invitation of a church member to his/her services?

    Interfaith, that's why. They are against it and they are one of the most divisive religions I have ever encountered.

    So sad to show disrespect for parents that he claims to have loved.

    Well that was my thoughts too when I saw them getting up and leaving during the service. I think for my father-in-law, he was definitely torn between paying his respects to his dad and respecting his religious beliefs (even if they are wrong). I would imagine if my father-in-law had indeed left during the service, some of his family members would not have been pleased.

    BTW, my mother-in-law did a little 'informal witnessing' to the grave diggers after the funeral. Bet she managed to count an hour for FS.

  • Balsam

    Years ago my Father In Law passed away from Cancer. He was Catholic and his wife also Catholic had a Catholic funeral service for him. Two of their kids and I the daughter in law were JW's. We all attended the funeral service in the Catholic church and stood respectfully when they stood and sat when they sat. No Elders bothered us about this and it never occured to me that anyone would have a problem with it. I can't imagine a JW not attending the funeral of their parent who was of another faith.

    I heard of witness who didn't attend other churches for funerals but I always throught they were asses. LOL


  • garyneal
    I heard of witness who didn't attend other churches for funerals but I always throught they were asses.

    Agreed, either that or they are so deluded that they actually put the book publishing company's rules before people.

  • Titus

    I attended a funeral in RC church. Of course, I didn't celebrate a mass together with them (which includes repeating priest's words, saying "amen" and giving a hand to your neighbour...). But, after the Church Funeral, I had nice conversations with my non-JW relatives. I could talk about many Bible scriptures which priest mentioned and explain them.

    Finally, I was not "afraid of all the demons that inhabit church..."

    Was it www.rong? I believe, not.

  • nugget

    I have attended several non JW funerals from Catholic to Humanist. I always felt that this was the last thing you can do for anyone you loved and respected in life. Although I didn't participate in the religious elements I made an effort not to be conspicuous. After all whatever the service once they were dead they were in God's keeping .

  • blondie

    It is not forbidden but strongly discouraged.

    *** w02 5/15 p. 28 Questions From Readers ***

    Would it be advisable for a true Christian to attend a funeral or a wedding in a church?

    Our taking part in any form of false religion is displeasing to Jehovah and must be avoided. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17; Revelation 18:4) A church funeral is a religious service that likely involves a sermon advocating such unscriptural ideas as the immortality of the soul and a heavenly reward for all good people. It may also include such practices as making the sign of the cross and joining in prayer with the priest or minister. Prayers and other religious exercises contrary to Bible teaching may also be a part of a religious wedding ceremony held in a church or elsewhere. Being in a group where everyone else is engaging in a false religious act, a Christian may find it difficult to resist the pressure to join in. How unwise to expose oneself to such pressure!

    What if a Christian feels obligated to attend a funeral or a wedding held in a church?An unbelieving husband, for example, may urge his Christian wife to be with him on such an occasion. Could she join him as a quiet observer? Out of regard for her husband’s wishes, the wife may decide to go with him, being determined not to share in any religious ceremonies. On the other hand, she may decide not to go, reasoning that the emotional pressure of the circumstances could prove to be too much for her, perhaps causing her to compromise godly principles. The decision would be hers to make. She definitely would want to be settled in her heart, having a clean conscience.—1 Timothy 1:19.

    In any case, it would be to her advantage to explain to her husband that she could not conscientiously share in any religious ceremonies or join in the singing of hymns or bow her head when prayer is offered. On the basis of her explanation, he may conclude that his wife’s presence could give rise to a situation that might be unpleasant to him. He may choose to go alone out of love for his wife, respect for her beliefs, or a desire to avoid any embarrassment. But if he insists that she go with him, she might go as a mere observer.

    Not to be overlooked is the effect our attending a service in a religious building might have on fellow believers. Could it injure the conscience of some? Might their resistance to avoid engaging in idolatry be weakened? "Make sure of the more important things," admonishes the apostle Paul, "so that you may be flawless and not be stumbling others up to the day of Christ."—Philippians 1:10.

    If the occasion involves a close fleshly relative, there may be additional family pressures. In any case, a Christian must carefully weigh all the factors involved. Under certain circumstances he or she may conclude that no difficulties would arise from attending a church funeral or wedding as an observer. However, the circumstances may be such that by attending, the likely injury to one’s own conscience or to that of others would outweigh the possible benefits of being present. Whatever the situation, the Christian should make sure that the decision will not interfere with his preserving a good conscience before God and men.

  • undercover
    It is not forbidden but strongly discouraged.

    True, but as we know the local pharisees elders set their own rules. It can be decided on the congregation level that if a MS, pioneer or elder attends a funeral/wedding at a church, they can lose their position/privileges. I think it was minimus who had an experience of this in his family. This in effect helps convince the congregation that it is condemned.

    What gets me is that even though the Society, in writing, has not forbidden it, the dubs will get in their head that is forbidden because of the strict interpretation of a select few in the congregation. So you'll have a whole segment of the congregation deny themselves rights and privileges that weren't taken away and by peer pressure they impose these sanctions on the rest of the congregation. In time, it becomes an unwritten law and everyone just falls in line obeying something that was never proclaimed.

  • blondie

    I understand the blackmail pressures of the WTS...but in the end, a jw won't be df'd for attending. 2 elders attended the funerals of 2 of our non-jw relatives. They stayed elders. It is true that it depends on the conscience of the elder body. But I have never seen anyone df'd for attending.

  • undercover

    I agree Blondie, it is not a DFing offense and I've never heard of anyone being DFd for it as well.

    But due to the emotional blackmail practices, many dubs fear it as if it were a DFing offense...so the end effect is that another aspect of their freedom has been controlled, even if it was never official.

    These issues are tricky because you can't just go around saying, "The Society says you can't go to worldly funerals or funerals in a church" because technically it's not true. And if we make blanket statments like that to apologists or active JWs they can point out our error and then anything we say is suspect.

    That's why these subjects are best bitched about amongst ourselves. If you're trying to get a JW to see the controlling factor of the Society, it's better to go after something that they have actually put in print and can be verified.

  • troubled mind
    troubled mind

    True no one will be df'd for going to a Church funeral . From personal experience though I know if you are an Elder or MS you will be threatened with loss of position if you do .

    My Father in law and Brother in law are both Elders and refused to attend the Catholic Church service for my husbands Aunt because of this unwritten sanction . (it may be counsel in the Elders handbook though I 'm not sure )

    At my Grandparents funeral at a Funeral home with a minister giving the service ,my husband (not a MS or Elder ) was admonished NOT to be a pallbearer because that would be part of the service.....made me furious that they interfered and didn't just let him make up his own mind about this personal matter . Instead they threatened to take away any priviledges he did have .

    USA midwest is full of staunch meddle in your life type Elders ...

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