Expressing love in a positive way compared to JW "TRUTH"

by Terry 22 Replies latest jw friends

  • Terry

    September 21, 1897 edition of the New York SUN carried a famous letter to the editor written by a little 8 year old girl, Virginia O'Hanlon.

    The little girl had been told by her friends that Santa Claus was a myth and she wanted to know the truth of the matter.

    At first Virginia went directly to her father who she trusted to give her honest answers. After all, he was a respected doctor!

    Her father sidestepped adroitly by telling her to write her letter asking the editor of the newspaper, THE SUN, because of his reputation

    as printing what was true.

    One of the newspaper's editors was a war correspondent during the Civil War named Francis Church.

    The letter was printed in THE SUN and remain after a century the most reprinted editorial in the history of newspapers!

    The actual written response was sent as a letter from Church to O'Hanlon and has been estimated (on Antiques Roadshow) as worth $20-30 thousand dollars as a collector's item.

    Virginia died on May 13, 1971 in a nursing home. She had a Master's degree and Doctorate as an educator.

    The famous Macy's department store partnered with the Make-A-Wish-Foundation to raise money for terminally ill children to grant their dying wishes based, as they have stated, "on positive beliefs articulated in the September 21,1897 editorial "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

    Over a million letters (mailed by dying children to Santa) were collected and forwarded to the foundation along with a matching $1 million dollars to the Make-a-Wish-Foundation.

    ____As a sidebar: There was a real Nicholas who lived in the late 200s and early 300s in what is now Turkey. While Nicholas was young, his wealthy parents, who were devout Christians, died in an epidemic. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his considerable inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering -- especially the children. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Compare the above positive affirmations written to an 8 year old child and the subsequent charitable works in granting children their dying requests to the handling of the whole issue of Christmas, Santa Claus and attitude of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Appeared in The Watchtower December 15, 2000

    In Latin America, the three wise men replace the idea of Santa Claus. Still, as is done in other lands, many parents hide toys in the home. Then on the morning of January 6, the children look for them, as if the three wise men brought them. This is a money-making time for toy sellers, and some have made a fortune on what many honest-hearted people recognize is just a fantasy. The myth of the three wise men is losing credibility among a goodly number, even among little children. Though some are displeased that this myth is losing believers, what can anyone expect of a fantasy maintained only for the sake of tradition and for commercial convenience?

    Watchtower December 15, 2000.

    Pope Paul VI “began the tradition of setting up [in St. Peter’s Square, Rome] a massive Christmas tree” near the Nativity scene.

    Do you find it acceptable that a religious leader would give a seemingly Christian meaning to events and symbols whose roots go back to ancient paganism? As to the proper course, the Scriptures admonish true Christians: “What fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness?”— 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 .

    Watchtower December 15, 2007

    The above Watchtower "truth" results in what positivegood to anybody as compared to the efforts of non-JW's?

    Which attitude and believe contains love and charity?


    John 13:35 (The Message)

    34-35 "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other."

  • sabastious

    That was a cool editorial! I feel much the same way as the writer of it. If we kill imagination off then new ideas will go with it.


  • Terry

    The writer of the response, Frank Church, had seen the grave disillusionment which followed the death and destruction of our Civil War.

    Despair had settled in throughout America. 56,000 soldiers died in prison. In four years there were 365,000 total dead 275,200 wounded, 72,524 killed in action.

    Editor Church clearly answered in the way he did to a child who lived among peers who had lost the ability to believe in fantasy, myth and wonder.

    It is clear from his language that he framed his answer in terms of conceptual "truth" rather than literal truth.

    The public's response to his reply to the small child was a tidal wave of support, affirmation and positive goodwill.

    The purpose of my posting this topic is, basically, to ask the question: WHAT IF THE WATCHTOWER of today were publicly answering Virginia in the same conditions as post Civil War?

    Does giving the factual answer to a child result in the same outpouring of goodwill?

    There is no way we can say for sure, is there?

    But, my heart is with the brightness of the result as as sure indication it was the right way to go.

  • designs

    Mr. Church clearly trusted in children, something we never got from the GB or the Magazines.

  • Terry

    Mr. Church clearly trusted in children, something we never got from the GB or the Magazines.

    The Watchtower doesn't believe in or promote "human goodness and decency".

    We can see the result in the children they raise and all the negative and cynical tensions between parents and their kids.

    My best friend for 50 years (former best friend) had 5 children and all of them have been disfellowshipped more than once!

    He reared them very strictly in "The Truth."

    The cynical truth, it should be called. Just look at the fruits it bears.

  • TotallyADD

    To tell you the truth. Growing up in the JW cult I saw how loving and positive Xmas was on the kids in school around me. They were all happy and looking forward to being with their family and having fun. Were in the cult all they talk about was hating everybody and waiting for God to kill everbody. Oh yeah go out in field service on Xmas day to give them real good news. SICK! SICK! SICK! At almost 57 my wife keeps telling me I have to learn to be a child again because it was stolen from me as a child. The WT answer to Virginia would scared her to death leaving her crying and shaking. You will never see that kind of kindness in the JW cult. Totally ADD

  • Elgiard

    So he lied to the little girl. Not cool.

  • designs

    The point is he knew kids grow up and sort life out, kids have imaginary friends, kids are kids. Now when super negative surroundings accompany our young lives then we need help to kick start and recover lost years.

    I say fly a kite this weekend, summersalt down a grassy hill, or run on the beach.

  • thetrueone

    The cynical truth, it should be called. Just look at the fruits it bears.

    Were in the cult all they talk about was hating everybody and waiting for God to kill everybody.

    Yes what a sick way to bring up a child, tell them all the ones they know and meet at school are all going to die soon

    and that should hate and disrespect those ones also. I felt that sickness myself growing up as JW child.

  • dgp

    The little girl eventually knew the truth, when she was old enough to understand there was no Santa, but, also -and this is crucial- why she had been lied to. She understood her parents didn't want to break her hear when she was not capable of facing reality. They didn't prevent her from finding out what the truth was later.

    There is one song in Spanish and it tells the story of a girl who asks her father to swear he will never die. The man says, "I'll be with you toda la vida". "Toda la vida", literally, means "my entire life"; but it is often used to mean "forever". The father did mislead the girl, but, was he a bad man?

    One time, I read a book by a great Latin American thinker whose name is execrated now. The man was a strong, bitter atheist, yet he said that religion prospered under Communism because there were some aspects of human life whose voids mere thought just would never fill. For example, he said, what can Communism, with all its rationality (and evil) offer to the man whose dear son just died? Plainly put, nothing.

    When my grandfather, a lifelong Communist, was dying, a liberation theologian friend of his asked him to confess and gave him communion. Probably the first time the man had done that in many decades. He said he had done it so that his wife and daughters wouldn't think that he'd be sent to hell. I had the feeling that he was weak at that particular moment, and that he did it "just in case". I think it would have been extremely wrong of me to point this out.

    The lie this girl was told, and the false belief she was made to believe, didn't prevent her from growing up as a full human being and from discovering the truth. Is that what the Watchtower does?

    I think everyone should know the truth, but, wouldn't you understand if someone refused to give up false beliefs because that's how life becomes bearable? It is different if you prevent someone else from seeing the truth, just so you can control them.

    Thanks for the post, Terry.

  • Satanus

    So, this is where the saying originated. Thanks for putting it here.

    ' So he lied to the little girl. Not cool.'

    Kids need some protection from cold hard facts of life. They will learn them soon enough. Truth about the wt is it has a LONG history of lying to kids AND adults.

    'Do you find it acceptable that a religious leader would give a seemingly Christian meaning to events and symbols whose roots go back to ancient paganism? '

    There is a long tradition among the human species of festivals celebrating different aspects of life, festivals to brighten up the day and night. These kinds of things are needed by humanity to cheer us along. Today, we see them as well in the many sporting events, rock concerts etc. I find it, not just acceptable, but, entirely appropriate that the spiritual father of millions would rise to the occasion an carry the spark of the human spirit. Most people know and understand it's a symbolic ritual.

    It would be interesting to learn more about verginia as her life related to this letter, her beliefs, etc.


  • clarity

    Fascinating ... fairies dancing on the lawn, santa claus bringing presents, sleigh rides, jack frost ... these are the stuff of whimsy. Without this gentle comfort, this cushioning of the psyche, we lose our natural childlike belief and hope that things will be ok.

    ("Unless you turn around and become as young children, you will by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens" matt18:3)

    I for one loved xmas and miss the wonderful aura surrounding it, we've become so cynical by hearing all the jw bad news and the only answer according to the watchtower is to wait......... for xmas armagddon and watch 6 billion people get exterminated!


  • MrFreeze

    Is Santa Claus real? Does it matter if you tell your child he does? Which response brings more joy to children? I say, the best things about kids is their imagination. Let kids be kids. The watchtower insists on taking the innocence out of children.

  • thetrueone

    Do you find it acceptable that a religious leader would give a seemingly Christian meaning to events and symbols

    whose roots go back to ancient paganism? '

    Do you find it acceptable that a religious leader would make up a fictitious lie regarding the return of Christ Jesus

    just so to help him sell magazines and books, since the originator of the lie itself comes from Satan the Devil ?

    Most seemingly intelligent people have come to realize now that the JW TRUTH is a prospering lie.

  • Terry

    It is clear that Watchtower "Truth" is clinical, detached and irrelevent to human needs and this is good enough for them.

    Moreover, if you feel something unapproved you are dehumanized.

    I was taught to view life with clinical detachment and it removed a lot of enjoyment from breathing out and in.

    Being a "good" JW is like being in a comatose state hooked up to a respirator.

  • What Now?
    What Now?

    Thanks Terry, this was such a nice post. Childhood SHOULD be full of magic and make-believe. I don't think there are many adults that are permanently scarred because their parents LIED to them about Santa Claus!

  • applehippie

    I was raised as JW and I never knew anything else. We 'celebrated' our parents anniversary in January with dinner and gifts for whole family. I think it helped a lot. My Mom and Pop were very reasonable with us as children within the organization. After I was married, my husband did not follow this practice and I kind of missed it. After my second daughter was born I guess I was sort of looking for something special and magical to share with her- but not really break rules with. (more like bend I guess...) I started playing the Tooth fairy....she loved it. I made a special frilly pillow with gold lace and a pocket for the tooth ( I still have all my kids baby teeth) and traded money for it. You know. Well, this went on for a while until she spilled the beans at Book study. The kids really razzed her and told her "no such thing". I had some explaining to do- but I think she really wanted it to be sort of, kind of, true so we still pretended for a while. I think a little bit of fantasy and magic is kind of nice. So much ugly and plain mundane boring stuff in life. The tooth fairy pillow is still somewhere in her treasures even tho she's 20 now and it's a little special thing we have between us.

  • Satanus

    The question of whether the santa lie hurts kids or not is answered by virginia, as well:

    '“Even when I knew that he wasn’t a person, there wasn’t any loss, because of growing up with this wonderful letter and beautiful response,” Mrs. Hromalik said. “When my two children got to the age where they knew there wasn’t Santa the person, they got worried about telling me that. They knew that Mom believed in Santa Claus.”

    Still, even the relatives of little Virginia have just as much trouble as any other adults when it comes to navigating the Santa-belief dilemma.

    Mr. Temple, a retired manager with the New York State Department of Transportation, gets choked up recalling the November afternoon when Maggie was questioning if Santa was real. Here he was, driving his grandchildren to the movies, when Maggie and James began pondering Santa’s existence, as their great-great-grandmother had famously done 113 years earlier.

    “What’s going through my mind?” Mr. Temple said. “Don’t do anything that’s going to make her not believe.”'

    ' Miss O’Hanlon, who had one child and never remarried, received a doctorate in education from Fordham University. In her 1930 doctoral dissertation, “The Importance of Play,” which examines the history and meaning of childhood play, she described the lack of playthings in many homes and neighborhoods.

    “The pushcart displays an occasional doll or tea set for sale but not such as make glad the heart of childhood,” she wrote. In that last phrase she was quoting, nearly 33 years later, Mr. Church’s editorial, which refers to Santa continuing to “make glad the heart of childhood.”'


  • poppers

    My mother used to answer the question this way: Santa Claus is as real as you want him to be.

  • satinka

    Thanks for sharing that news clipping, Terry. That is a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l answer to a child filled with wonder.

    Fairies are real


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