I suspect that when I share this section with my writers group some heads will explode. I'll pass along any good comments, probably next week.
Sex, Demons and other oddities
We’ll start with the oddities first, and I don’t need to beat these up too much, we’ll come back for that.
It is well known that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas, Easter, birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day etc. They believe that all of these are contaminated by pagan origins, and there for must be avoided by Christians.
However, they acknowledge that wedding rings are also pagan in origin, but all (or nearly all) married Witnesses wear rings.
Most people seem to be aware of JW’s pacifist stance and refusal to vote or participate in politics.
Jehovah’s Witnesses will also insist that Jesus died on an upright stake, not a cross. They are so dogmatic about this that it has been elevated to a major item in their belief system.
Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions, citing Levitical prohibitions on blood, and a verse from the Book of Acts. In fact many Witnesses prefer death to blood transfusion. The May 1994 issue of the Awake Magazine carried an article “Youths Who put God First.” The cover of the magazine featured pictures of children who died because their parents would not allow transfusion.
The Watchtower has long opposed education past High School. This policy is the subject of
Watchtower 1969 March 15 p.171 What Influences Decisions in Your Life?
12 The influence and spirit of this world is to get ahead, to make a name for oneself. Many schools now have student counselors who encourage one to pursue higher education after high school, to pursue a career with a future in this system of things. Do not be influenced by them. Do not let them "brainwash" you with the Devil's propaganda to get ahead, to make something of yourself in this world. This world has very little time left! Any "future" this world offers is no future! Wisely, then, let God's Word influence you in selecting a course that will result in your protection and blessing. Make pioneer service, the full-time ministry, with the possibility of Bethel or missionary service your goal. This is a life that offers an everlasting future!
Awake! 1969 May 22 p.15
If you are a young person, you also need toface the fact that you will never grow oldin this present system of things. Why not? Because all the evidence in fulfillment of Bible prophecy indicates that this corrupt system is due to end in a few years. Of the generation that observed the beginning of the 'last days' in 1914, Jesus foretold: 'This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.' Therefore, as a young person, you will never fulfill any career that this system offers. If you are in high school and thinking about a college education, it means at least four, perhaps even six or eight more years to graduate into a specialized career. But where will this system of things be by that time? It will be well on the way towards its finish, if not actually gone! This is why parents who base their lives on God's prophetic Word find it much more practical to direct their young ones into trades that do not require such long periods of additional schooling… True, those who do not understand where we are in the stream of time from God's viewpoint will call this impractical. But which is really practical: preparing yourself for a position in this world that soon will pass away? or working toward surviving this system's end and enjoying eternal life in God's righteous new order?
Although the Watchtower Society is fighting an uphill battle in this regard, advanced education is still strongly discouraged. I believe that an elder can be removed if his children attend college.
Over the years, the Watchtower Society has established regulations on sexual matters and relationships between the sexes that make Puritans look liberal. Many of the rules regarding sexual matters are unofficial, driven by the peer pressure mentioned above. However, the Watchtower itself has promoted a number of these ideas to one degree or another.
Masturbation is wrong, a violation of God’s laws. The Watchtower has published articles detailing how to “break free of the habit” and claiming that masturbation leads to homosexuality. (Watchtower Sept 15, 1973)
Only couples that intend to get married should date. I’m sure there is an official quote regarding this, but I can’t locate it at the moment. And no, I don’t know how you are supposed to decide who you want to marry when you have no opportunity to get to know anybody. As a consequence of this policy many young witnesses get married at the first opportunity. Combined with prohibitions on higher education, this is a recipe for disaster.
Teenagers are encouraged to go out in groups (if the must go out). If a couple is dating they must have a chaperone. No matter how old they are. In fact a man and a woman should not be alone together at all. The elders may use this as a reason to disfellowship a couple even if they say nothing happened.
Perhaps it was a foretaste of our future relationship with the Watchtower that Debbie and I ignored all of this. By the time we met I was 22 she was 21 and both of us had been out of the house since age 18. We both felt we did not need Big Brother watching us in order to behave. On at least one occasion, I was counseled that we were spending too much time alone.
Even marriage does not free a couple from the long arm of the Watchtower’s rules. The society has made a number of public statements regarding the inappropriateness of some sexual acts, even between marriage mates. At one time, a married couple could be disfellowshipped for engaging in oral or anal sex with each other. This stance has softened, but not by much. An elder can still be removed from authority for engaging in such conduct. http://www.quotes-watchtower.co.uk/oral_sex.html
The Watchtower also has strict rules regarding divorce. Specifically, unless the matter involves adultery, the marriage bond is not severed and the parties are not free to remarry, even if they have obtained a civil divorce. This also applies in cases of spousal abuse.
In a bit of absurdity Watchtower publications have insisted that a woman who has been raped committed fornication if she did not scream (see http://www.quotes-watchtower.co.uk/rape_is_fornication.html). During much of the same time Watchtower publications taught the exact opposite (see http://www.quotes-watchtower.co.uk/rape_is_not_fornication.html). These flip-flops mean that a Witness woman caught in this horrific situation is also subject to the whims of the elders who hear her case. I knew at least one young woman who was removed from the full time missionary work because she did not offer sufficient resistance to a rapist.
And one final note, Witness are terrified of demons. The following is typical of official comment: Knowledge that leads to everlasting Life - 1995 p114
Recall our earlier consideration of Satan’s attack on God’s servant Job. The Devil caused the loss of his livestock and the death of most of his servants. Satan even killed Job’s children. Next he struck Job himself with a painful disease. But Job kept kept his his integrity to God and was greatly blesses. (Job 1:7-19; 2:7, 8: 42:12) Since then demons have made some people speechless or blind and have continued to revel in the suffering of humans. (Matthew 9:32, 33; 12:22; Mark 5:2-5) Today, reports show that demons sexually harass some and drive others to insanity. They incite still others to murder and suicide, which are sins against God. (emphasis added)
Demons are fallen angels. Before the Flood, they took human form in order to have sex with women. The flood forced them to give up their bodies and they’ve been causing trouble ever since. Witnesses believe they can attach themselves to objects, and the only way to combat their influence is get avoid the object. They routinely talk about avoiding yard sales as they are frequently the source of demonized objects. I have seen witness throw away family heirlooms in order to get rid of a demon.