Attended a funeral this morning

by man in black 13 Replies latest jw friends

  • man in black
    man in black

    A lady I work with recently lost her husband to brain cancer, she is a very nice person so I made it a point to attend his memorial

    mass at the local Evangelical church.

    As the service went on, the pastor had asked the man's son, brother, and two sisters to give a little speech about their Father, and Brother.

    It was one of the most emotional things I ever witnessed at a funeral.

    Remember, most of these people are from a different religion, or don't have any belief at all.

    The brother gave a very nice talk about growing up together, one sister just stuck to her written script, it was very hard for her to speak in public.

    The other sister read a letter that she started when her brother discovered that he had cancer, so her letter covered events for two years.

    She started crying several times when something she was reading struck her, yet she was able to laugh, and get the entire church to laugh along with one of her personal observations regarding her brother as he grew up.

    The most emotional part was when his 23 year old son got up and read a tribute that he wrote to his Dad,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    there wasn't a dry eye in the entire church, plus he was crying as he read it.

    As I drove home I just reflected on what I had experienced.

    A witness for 35 years, only once did I see anyone really cry at a funeral. Never did I see a genuine outpouring of feeling, emotion, or anyone from a different religion actually sharing their feelings at the kh. Everything was always "scripted" and stayed within certain boundaries.

    Yet I felt that the emotion, shared feelings, and actual crying in public was more theraputic to the family than a canned "theocratic" talk could ever be.

    It's experiences like this that solidify the fact to me that the jw religion actually surpresses basic human feelings.

    I'm in a sort of contemplative mood, but has anyone else ever noticed how different and good it is to branch out and experience other spiritual beliefs outside of the wtbts control ?

  • zoiks

    I've noticed this at the few non-JW funerals that I have attended. They are actually about the person who died, and their family and friends, rather than being about 'being a better JW because that's what the deceased believed in' or about joining the org.

    They can be a beautiful outpouring of emotion.

  • AudeSapere

    Yet I felt that the emotion, shared feelings, and actual crying in public was more theraputic to the family than a canned "theocratic" talk could ever be.

    Could not agree more!

    has anyone else ever noticed how different and good it is to branch out and experience other spiritual beliefs outside of the wtbts control ?

    I noticed it BIG TIME! I consider myself Agnostic Christian (hehe) and sometimes just CRAVE the pagentry (?) of a church. Live music. Some basic rituals. Two years ago I flew to New York for the express purpose of attending Christmas Mass (catholic church) with my non-jw family. If I lived closer, I might consider going at Christmas and Easter every year, but it's too far to be practical for that.

    For funerals, though... OMG... Witness funerals are so unbelievable dry and scripted - as you said - especially when compared to how they are handled in any other religious or non-religious setting I've experienced. So *real* and so personal. Comforting for the family. Comforting for the friends. An opportunity to show support for the family and respect for the deceased.

    My grandma died last year. Grandma was a difficult person; contentious and mean spirited for pretty much the whole 50 years I've known her. How did the priest address this in his service? He acknowledged her 'more difficult' personal attributes right off the bat. Acknowledged that all 6 children, 18 grandchildren, and 23 great-grandchildren may be struggling to deal with some of the conflicting emotions. We had all known her as an imposing force for our entire lives and could each identify with the meanness and the stubborn tenacity that was characteristic of her. Take the good parts. Cherish the positve traits that she imparted to us. Let the rest stay behind.

    There was alot more and I have not posted about this particular service (which was almost 9 months ago) because the entire process was so unbelievably emotion. As my jw sister called it: "The good, the bad, and the ugly." (JW sister did not attend the church mass but was part of all other events including hosting 3 of us at her small apartment.)

    The point I'm trying to make is, absolutely, night and day difference between JW and virtually any other bereavement process. Next time I have to go to a JW service, I will absolutely make plans to privately or with a few friends go do something else personal to remember the deceased.

    Just remembered another, less dramatic example. We were staunch JWs when grandfather died 25 years ago. Just this past March I cooked my first boiled dinner on St Patrick's Day. Grandma and Grandpa were Irish Catholics and Grandpa loved to cook. I had a few close friends over, including (walk-away believing) brother and toasted Grandpa's memory. It was way more emotional than I expected.

    Just the simple toast (not allowed by JWs) was a way of showing respect and love for a departed family member.

    So much more real than anything I'd ever experienced in the org.

    Thanks for making me cry! (It's a good cry, though. Remembering people I've loved)


  • crapola

    Absolutely, I was just talking to my daughter this morning while listening to Christian music while we worked how upbuilding the music was and how it touched my heart in a way that K Melodies never could. But while a Witness I would have never even thought of listening to the other. How foolish! It's the same with funerals. The ones I've attended for non Witness people were much more comforting to me than Witness funerals ever were.

  • Scarred for life
    Scarred for life

    Absolutely!!!!!!!!! The JW cult works constantly to suppress all humanness in us. We become robots. It takes a lifetime to unwind especially if you are raised in it.

  • StAnn

    When my non-JW uncle died, my JW dad and mother took care of all of the arrangements. Of course, they had a "brother" from their KH perform the service. Some non-JW friends of mine attended and sat with me. At the end, they looked at me and said, "That's it?" I said yes and we couldn't help ourselves: we all started to laugh a little bit because it was just such an awful service. Poor Uncle Elmer, denied a Christian burial.

    When my very Baptist grandmother died, my JW mother was in charge. Fortunately, Granny had arranged for some things before the Alzheimer's completely took her mind, but my mother wouldn't allow any music because Granny liked gospel music. Heaven forbid the wishes of the deceased be honored. Against JW protocol, I did approach a non-JW relative and asked him to say a few words about Granny. Once he started, even my mother joined in with funny stories. For instance, when my grandfather bought his first Model A, my mother's uncle decided to teach Granny to drive. She knew how to drive a team of horses, not a car! When it was time to stop the car, she called out "Whoa!" and pulled back on the steering wheel. Almost ran over everybody who was gathered to watch her drive for the first time, including my mother! Lots of funny stories I'd never heard before. So Granny had a halfway decent funeral in spite of her JW daughter.

  • I quit!
    I quit!

    My experience has been that most non JW funerals are about the person where as a JW funeral is quite often a sale pitch and everyone there it trying to give "a good witness".

  • designs

    The beauty of a Eulogy is lost on the Witnesses.

  • GLTirebiter

    There were two funerals I attended this summer. The contrast in "people skills" was startling.

    The first was for the brother of a "Brother" I know through the Ex's congregation. The whole thing lasted but fourty-five minutes. The eulogy was the obituary from the local newespaper, verbatim. My impression was that the elder who performed the service either didn't know the deceased at all, or had nothing good to say about him (if he was at all like his surviving brother, that couldn't possibly be the case). It was dry, it was sad, it was not consoling, as short as it was the atmosphere was so depressing I couldn't wait for it to be over.

    The second was for the husband of an elderly lady I work with. This was at the biggest evangelical church in town. Despite having a congregation of thousands, the minister had many good, first-hand stories to tell about the man and his family. The service was supportive and respectful, including a Navy honor guard playing taps for this WWII veteran. This funeral was about honoring the deceased and supporting his survivors, not just giving another canned talk.

  • Leprechaun

    You say: “ It's experiences like this that solidify the fact to me that the JW religion actually suppresses basic human feelings.”

    I could not agree with you more conncerning your statement! It always felt like a plastic religion, apparently that is what it feels like to be in a cult where suppression is the name of the game. I read within the bible that Jesus said to console and greave with those bereaved or those who have lost loved ones in death. I was a raised a Witness, and stayed one for most of my life. I lost my twenty six year old daughter five years ago, I knew it would not be from the Witnesses that I would find emotional support of hope for a disfellowshiped daughter. I really did pray so hard that I thought I would die, I went to the mail box and found it crammed full of sympathy cards and hand written letters of condolences from the modern day Bible Students from everywhere; needless to say I am now a Bible Student. I was emailing a Bible Student concerning questions I had prior to her death, thus they became aware of my demise. I have never felt so much fellow feeling before. In Christ,

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