Everything seems to be changing... why not birthdays?

by StarTrekAngel 22 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • StarTrekAngel
    If we look at all doctrines, we see an overall effort to conserve unity and control. There is no easy way to imagine the day they would finally admit about 1914, the generations, the F&D slave. Changing that would loosen the tight grip too much and they would loose too much control. However, on of the topics that is most interesting to me is celebrations. The reason being is that, while they are willing to let loose on subjects like blood, they are not budging, not even a bit, on the celebration thing. As far as I know, there has not been any well documented changes to the issues of celebrations for a very long time. Blood, among others, have undergone a certain degree of reform. Certainly, is not as much as we would wish, but for sure changes have happened. Many of us, if not all, would attribute such change to financial issues. The same goes for other changes, like the donation arrangements for the magazines (instead of selling them). So what can be said about other doctrines that are not so unscriptural (like Bdays)? Why have not those changed if other more spiritually critical issues have (like blood)

    Regarding the celebrations, I had once to wonder, why would they be so dead serious on banning them. I mean, I don't think the GB is unaware of the possible flaws on this doctrine. The only reason I can find for them to be so serious about it, is money. In your experience in relating to other ExJW, has anyone ever noticed or mentioned how JW are allowed to celebrate every feast that only happens once in a lifetime (even if they are pagan) but not yearly? Weddings, graduations, baby showers, etc. But none of the yearly celebrations are allowed. Birthdays, mother and father day, etc etc. Wedding anniversaries are a yearly celebration by definition but very few people actually carry them out, as they are, usually, an intimate thing for the couple. Only marriage milestones are celebrated consistently (like every 10 years).

    As much as I thought about it, I could not separate my mind from the fact that there is a very clear line dividing the do's and dont's when it comes to most celebrations. All allowed celebrations only happen once in a lifetime for every person. We, however, do make it a point to make sure everyone and their mother attends all four of the yearly WTBTS celebrations (3 assemblies and the memorial) and we make sure to take gifts to almost all of them.

    So with that in mind, I decided to run the numbers. Just to give them the benefit of the doubt, I decided to keep it conservative...

    -Based on the 2014 Year Book, there is 13,714 congregations in the US main territory. Also, there is a total of 1,167,723 publishers. This shields an average of about 85 publishers per congregation.

    - Based on this numbers I looked at my own congregation and behold... we actually have 85 publishers exactly. So, I will not be too far off assuming our congregation is a good sample to depart from.

    - Assuming an average witness family of 4 (parents and two children), this give you an average of 20 families per congregation

    - Assuming most birthdays, if allowed, would probably be oriented to children, then that means 40 celebrations per year. 20 families x 2 children per family

    - While we do have 85 publishers in our cong, the actual attendance numbers are anywhere from 120 to 140 (watchtower study days). Most of whom are associated members of the congregation. Where we stand today we have no one who is DF. So all in all, this give a total potential attendance to a birthday of 30 families (120 attendance / 4 family members)

    - Again, in an effort to be conservative, consider that may be not every single individual in attendance will present a gift to the host, but lets assume one gift per family. It will be safe to assume every family can spare $20 dollars for a gift. At 30 families this means a potential $600 in gifts alone. If we consider the number of celebrations per year, the total is $24,000 per year.

    - This don't seem like a number the WTBTS would be willing to consider in light of the controversy that could surround the doctrine, until you consider the entire US JW population. At 13,714 congregations, this would amount to $329,136,000 per year.

    I understand the variables are many and so are the assumptions I am making. Many families could choose not to attend if they have no children or if they could not afford the gift. Other wealthier families may choose to make more expensive gifts. I am also leaving out JW relatives from other congregations that may attend, the many adults that may choose to celebrate their own birthdays and the other congregations world wide.

    The point being is that, all things considered, there is a millionaire sum to be accounted for when it would come to celebrations within such a tight knitted community. Another thing to notice is that we are looking at birthdays and the gifts only. If you account for the actual cost of the party (food, decorations, games, music, etc) or you begin to consider other celebrations like mothers day, etc, then the numbers would quickly skyrocket. And lets not forget that we, JW, have more than just our fleshy parents, we also have spiritual parents (those who brought us in). Would you not make a mother's day gift for your spiritual mother? after all, she gave you the life that really is life.

    Could it be said that I am implying that the WTBTS did this in an attempt to have us donate the money that would otherwise have gone as a gift to a person? Not at all. For once it would have made it too obvious and, second, history most likely shows that, if the earlier was true, the strategy did not work (or did it? I could not say for sure so I will not make such statement officially)

    With all of these in mind I can only conclude this is an attempt to "keep life simple". An attempt to make sure people have no other reason to spend money beyond their basic life necessities. This can be done while allowing the others, relatively cheaper celebrations, go on as normal so that no one feels we are being deprived of fun things to do.

    Have you ever pondered about this? I really need to have this analysis "peer reviewed" or, if someone already came to this conclusion before, if you could point me out to some good reading

    I appreciate your comments. Thanks
  • Crazyguy
    Your reasons are good, I would also add that by not celebrating holidays the JWs become separated from their worldly family members and this is by design. If one is not associating with worldly family members then they are reduced to hanging out with only members in the congregation. This is what cults do they segregate their members to only be with their own.
  • done4good

    The reason celebrations are banned is simple - control.

    It prevents a person from having normal endearing social involvement with family and other non-JWs.

    Typical cult behavior.


  • Mephis
    Yeah, I'm on the this is 'control' view of it too. As Crazyguy says, it forces a split from normal society. It becomes a distinguishing feature which acts as a bond between them all. A loyalty test in its own way. It also helps to reduce any sense of value in oneself - there isn't a day in the year where you are celebrated. Which is the brass tacks behind a lot of Rutherford's fulminations about eg Mother's Day taking away from worship of the great bearded sky daddy. You are worthless. Remember it. Work harder, pray harder, do more. Think you have a good point that the spending of money on a person does feed into that too - life without any luxuries is set as the standard. If one takes something like the principles behind eg Maslow's hierarchy of needs, JWs rarely meet all of them - their doctrines actively operate to prevent it. That's not an accident.
  • done4good

    Mephis - If one takes something like the principles behind eg Maslow's hierarchy of needs, JWs rarely meet all of them

    They are lucky to get "safety", barely get "love", almost never "esteem", and I doubt they know what "actualization" is.


  • Sofia Lose
    Sofia Lose

    News flash: Plenty of JWs do in fact celebrate their birthday. Grant it, not in the lavish fashion as most others, but rather in private/family-only gatherings. Yes indeed it happens, and more so since the WBTS lost its credibility when it changed the 'generation' doctrine.

    Not celebrating one's birthday is bs!


  • redvip2000

    It's not only about the control, I think it has a lot to do with setting themselves apart from other religious groups and from the world at large.

    Yes there is no harm in celebrating Bdays, or Thanksgiving and other celebrations, but it's essential that JWs feel that they are more pure than others, that they alone conform to Jehoobers's laws, while everybody else does whatever they want.

  • TheListener
    I also think that it's about making them different. Lots of dubs thrive on feeling better than other christian religions because they don't do holidays and celebrations. It makes them feel special and I think that is what a lot of dubs thrive on. They may lose their family members or that great job but the whole time they are feeling superior and smug because they are different and better.
  • flipper
    The reason the GB won't let JW's celebrate Birthdays - don't ya know - is because it would take away " glory " and attention away from Governing Body members and put the attention on individual rank & file JW's- and the GB just can't have that now can they ? Wink, wink
  • fukitol

    There is scriptural evidence to indicate that Job commemorated his sons birthdays.

    The ancient Israelite's held a feast on the third birthday of a child, to celebrate the child's weaning.

    A birthday is a wonderful way to let the child know how much it is loved, and to commemorate the gift of life.

    Children are a gift from God, the Society says, and a birthday dinner (without all the pagan stuff associated) would be a wonderful way to make the children feel loved and to say thanks to Jehovah for the gift of children.

    The JW stance on birthdays is just another fanatical, contrarian position that is so hurtful to children that was developed by single, childless, life-long chronic masturbators like Fred Franz to create a sense of being somehow different and special, set-apart from "Babylon the Great" and the world.

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