Ray Franz Showed Empathy at JW Nephew's Funeral - Unlike his Uncle

by flipper 13 Replies latest jw friends

  • flipper

    This was a new piece of information for me reading Franz's 2nd book " In Search of Christian Freedom " . It's been mentioned here on the board that Jehovah's Witnesses use the occasion of a funeral to promote WT society ideas and thinking . You will notice this in this experience. Also notice how CALLOUSED the WT society thinking made the speaker Fred Franz in this talk.

    Ray Franz on pg. 249, 250 in the " Christian Freedom " book mentioned his 34 year old nephew died of a pancreas infection leaving behind a wife and 2 small daughters. Fred Franz, Ray's uncle was the one to give the Memorial service talk. Ray states in his book, " As the invited speaker ( Fred Franz then WT vice president ) walked up to the podium, paused, and then in a very loud voice said, " Isn't it grand to be alive ! " Ray mentions in his footnote : " I still vividly recall the sinking sensation I felt in my heart at this. " He continues, " Fred Franz read Ecclesiastes 7 : 1-4 talking about better to be at the house of mourning , and the reason why is that sooner or later we're all going to end up like THIS ! " and without turning, he threw his hand backward in the direction of the coffin where my nephew's body lay. The talk went on with further commentary on the Biblical section but with NO other reference to the dead man until the close when standard statements of the reason for the occasion and the names of the deceased's survivors were given. " Ray continues, " As yet my nephew had not been mentioned in any way. "

    Ray continues, " I felt a burning sense of anger - not at my uncle, for I sincerely and honestly believe he thought this was the best way to deal with the situation , the best way to combat the natural sensations of grief and loss. What I felt incensed at was the ORGANIZATIONAL ATTITUDE that allowed a person to feel fully justified to speak in a way which essentially transformed the dead person's body into a vehicle or platform on which to base a talk , a talk that expounded organizational doctrine, but which throughout simply made no mention of sadness at the loss of the PERSON whose life had ended , as though by ignoring this the hurt would be lessened. I kept saying to myself , " James deserves something better than this - surely the text about a "name being better than good oil " calls for talking about the name HE MADE FOR HIMSELF IN LIFE . Surely there is SOMETHING that can be learned from his life, something about him that can be said to encourage us, the living. "

    In his footnote Ray continues, " I had been asked to give a prayer following the talk and I remember feeling somewhat choked and I began saying, " An enemy has come into our midst and has robbed us of a loved one. A wife has lost her husband. Little children have lost their father. A father and mother have lost a son. And we all have lost a friend. " Then for the FIRST time , I could hear expressions of sorrow among those attending and I frankly found it a welcome sound. I tried to include some of the good things about the man, things worth our imitating, for I thought, " Surely now if ever is the time to express appreciation for whatever worthwhile qualities he had. We owe it to him , to his memory."

    So I admired the courage and Empathy of Ray Franz in standing up for what was right at his nephew's funeral - making his points in his prayer in order to remember and honor the deceased . Why couldn't Fred Franz have done the same thing during his talk ? Organizational cult mind control in my opinion to de-senitize JW members towards the realities of death and humr them with a false sense of security through an alleged " resurrection " hope. This causes a lack of real, true grieving in emotion to be displayed - as it wasn't until Ray Franz prayer dealing with the emotional loss of his nephew- that the audience properly grieved !

    The more I read about Ray Franz- the more deeply I respect the man and what he stood for. Treating others with human dignity. So- What do you think of this experience. Have you had similar experiences at JW funerals where lack of empathy occurs ? I'd like to hear of YOUR experiences also. People need to be informed that these types of Memorial services go on constantly- dishonoring the dead. Thanks for your comments. Sorry it's a little long, but wanted to include the important parts. Peace out to all, Mr. Flipper

  • sherah

    Thanks for sharing this about Ray. Many lurkers and others fear reading his books because Ray was painted as an evil apostate.
    These excerpts from his writings dispel that lie.

  • flipper

    SHERAH- Very true. Ray Franz was a man of dignity, grace, and principle. He showed that definitely in this instance at his nephew's funeral

  • flipper

    BTTT, So what do you think ? Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • Wasanelder Once
    Wasanelder Once

    We wouldn't let this happen to my mother. We asked a friend, not an elder to give the memorial talk. As he was not a black and white coporation representative he listened to our expressions that this not simply be an recruiting speech. He did one hell of a job of making her real. He spoke of her as his friend, and she was. He spoke of her personality, accomplishments and how she was not always easy to understand. He kicked ass. Everyone felt as if they had been to an event of rememberance and celebration as well as mourning. Not perfect, but not WT partyline. All other memorials I've seen have been the Fred Franz whack jobs.

  • flipper

    WASANELDERONCE- That is fantastic what you did on behalf of your mother's memory ! Right on . Good for you. I intend to do the same when my 80 something yr.old JW parents die. I'll have to battle my older brother an elder to get my 2 cents in though. It's so much more of a deep sentimental meaning when the person that dies is emphasized and their qualities and things they stood for and enjoyed are expounded on. Not just a JW marketing tool

  • OnTheWayOut

    In examination of my past, I have come to many discoveries. One of them is that I didn't let WTS change who I essentially was. Apparently, that is the case with Ray Franz.

    I remember my grandmother asking me to do the eulogy for my grandfather. I had been asked while he was still alive and I had his story on paper. When he passed, I did a serious eulogy of the man, not of his "hopes" for the afterlife. Grandma loved it so much that she asked me to start working on her eulogy. She was quite a different person and it was quite a different assignment. Stranger yet, she wanted to approve it when I finished. I honored her strange request. Neither of my grandparents were JW, but Grandma studied and basically introduced the family to the JW's. These eulogies were conducted in a funeral home.

    Mom being a JW, many JW's were in attendance to support her in each case. They all appreciated a real story, a real accounting of the person.

    When my mother dies, unless her non-JW husband insists upon it, I don't even plan to attend the JW "memorial" as family can remember her better outside of that talk.

  • not a captive
    not a captive

    Thanks for bringing this up. If even the hairs of our head are known, and even a sparrow's fall is marked by God, it seems callous for us to make so little of the lives of our loved ones who die.

    I think all the better of Ray Franz, hearing his kindness in this. And I thought well of him before.

  • flipper

    OTWO- That is so commendable that you gave a loving eulogy at your granfather & grandmother's funeral's. Awesome ! Good job. I'm sure you made many of the JW's attending think- even though they wouldn't TELL you that- still you followed your heart on behalf of your grandma's request. I also, like you wonder if I will be listened to in wanting to speak a word or two at MY JW parents funerals in a few years.

    NOTACAPTIVE- I figured since Ray just died - it would be good to reveal what qualities he showed in a positive way towards his fellow humans . It IS calloused of Jehovah's Witnesses to minimize the importance of deceased relatives lives by ignoring personal tributes to them in funeral's. I hope Ray's example opens some eyes

  • flipper

    Wanted to bump this thread up to show what a positive influence Ray Franz was even while bein INSIDE the witnesses - trying to correct the boorish mistakes his uncle Fred Franz made. All comments welcome

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