Did you ever attend a NonJW Funeral?

by AuntieJane 15 Replies latest jw experiences

  • AuntieJane

    My brother died suddenly. His funeral was in the Catholic church. His 2 JW children and their offspring actually stood in the back of the church, behind a glass wall, and observed the service. Why? I wish I would have asked them but I was too shocked and didn't want my elderly mother to notice. It still hurts me to this day; do they have a clue as to how it looked/how it hurt us?

    What would your JW minds be thinking at a time like this...that you were safe from Satan by staying on the other side of the wall? That you were above the rest of us by being separated? What kind of so-called religion teaches this mindset?

  • Odrade

    Yeah, lmao! But it was so funny because the minister knew there were some JW relatives going to be present, so he made this big sermon all about heaven and hell. OMG! It was like a JW memorial service. 5 minutes for the person 25 minutes for indoctrination. But maybe that was because this particular preacher was a favored target of Dubs out to debate doctrine. He was THE Babylon the Great for our town. Poor guy.

    Then they played some def leppard tune or something because the deceased HATED "Wind beneath my wings" or maybe it was Aerosmith..


  • Panda

    I feel for you and your family. When my Mom died I didn't do all of the Catholic standing kneeling sign of the cross, but I did attend to be w/ my Dad who was truly devasted. Of course there were folks in the JW congregation who questioned my attending a RC funeral. They asked questions like "Didn't you feel out of place?" No I didn't feel out of place, I felt like my Mom was dead and I missed her." or my favorite, "Didn't you realise the danger you put yourself in being in the midst of Babylon the Great?" No my Mom was dead and I was miserable.

    So if you want to know what the people behind the glasswall were thinking? Only of themselves and how the congregation would view their attendence. JWs are like some nasty political backstabbing SOB's. It seemed at times like everyone was looking for non-JW behavior in others to pounce on and get you in trouble.

  • lisavegas420

    You didn't mention how old the JW brothers were. But, I will tell you my experience with being in a church while I was still a JW.

    The first time, I was in elementary school I think the 5th grade. Our music teacher was also the organist for the near by Catholic church. She walked the entire class about a block off of the school property to the church to see this hugh organ and and oldest organ in the town to here her play a little. I was so scared that the demons were going to attack me and even more scared that my parents would find out that I even went in the church. I never, ever told them or anyone. I was scared !!!

    The only funeral I remember being at as a child, in a church, was my grandmothers sister. It was in an old Baptist church. My sister and I got in trouble for laughing. We couldn't help it, we had never been exposed to people shouting out "AMEN" and "HALLELUJAH" during a service. We were about 8 and 10 at the time.


  • Country_Woman

    most of the time, my family are not JW's.

    Even the funeral of my (JW) mother, was a normal one.

  • teejay

    Sorry to hear about your brother, AuntieJane. And sorry you had to deal with the spirit of the JW religion at a difficult time.

    I've been to two or three non-JW funerals since leaving and I can say for certain that "worldly" funerals are a thousand times more humane than JW ones, no doubt about it. My JW wife's mother even asked me to speak at her husband's funeral a few years back. He was a good man and it was a high honor to say a few words about him that day.

    Please don't be too hard on your nephews. They are victims. Some say that your nephews did what they did because of trying to please their JW friends. I disagree. If they are anything like I was, they believed that being inside a church for any reason put them at great risk of making Jehovah displeased with them. They saw themselves as being in the heart of god's archenemy Bablylon The Great, and simply bowing their head during or saying "Amen" after a prayer would have been a sign of betrayal of their god. I remember thinking and believing that myself for many many years.

    Forgive them, even pray for them, for they know not what they do.

  • cat1759

    Yes I have. My gram and my father's uncle.

    Since they respected my father and his beliefs they had it in the Mosoleum at the cemetary.

    There was a Trinitarian priest. They were both Protestant.

    The rats were floating around in the rafters and my ex husband was with me pointing it out so I would laugh at it all. Of course I was laughing and the priest looked straight at me during the prayer. I was so ashamed.


  • blondie

    Over the years I have been at a Presbyterian, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentacostal, Jewish, Episcopalian, Anglican, Baptist, LDS, nondenominational funerals. They vary in content and length and I have been to some where the minister hardly knew the deceased (mostly because they had not been to church for years or the minister was new). The ministers have been black, Hispanic, white, male, female, smooth in their delivery and not so smooth, reading it out of a book like it was the first time they saw it or skillfully weaving the encouraging words of Jesus into their talk. It helps to grow up with a non-JW father; you have to "obey" your father.

    The WTS demonizes churches and many JWs are afraid that "the end" will come when they are under a church roof.

    What I did notice was how often the minister made it a point to come to talk to us, recognizing that we have differences in viewpoint but that our sorrow in loss unites us. I had a wonderful conversation with a priest who had come as a fellow relative to one Lutheran funeral. We had a wonderful conversation about the resurrection. Irrev and I still get together with him when we can.

    What is sad is so many JWs do not attend JW funerals. When I was a teenager, JW funerals were well-attended. Now if someone has to go on a weekday or drive any distance, they skip it. Especially, if the deceased is a non-JW although family members are JWs, few JWs attend, not even the visitation in a neutral funeral home.

    I also saw that people gave money in little envelopes. Sometimes only a dollar, sometimes two. It added up. I helped one family and they collected over $1,000 from such widow's mites. People brought food, cleaned the house, took the car out to be checked and washed, mowed the lawn. And all from "unloving worldly" people. It opened my eyes to another facet of Christian love that was lacking at the Kingdom. JWs can't even send a card. One non-JW family received over 300 cards from neighbors, church members, business colleagues, classmates, people from their lives over 30 years ago. I am trying to makeover that part of my JW personality.

    Blondie (still tainted but struggling)

  • Odrade

    Oh man, Auntie Jane, I just read this thread from the beginning. I answered only the title question without reading your story about your brother. I'm sorry. It was really insensitive of me to respond like that. I mean, my story is true, but I'm so sorry for your brother, and the way the JW family members behaved was disgraceful.

    We didn't go to the reception following because the JW power hitters in our family deemed it "unacceptable" because the reception was being held in the church rec. room. That has always bothered me that I went along with it, but that is what "good Witnesses" do. How disrespectful. I wish I had gotten out sooner. So many times that I left my commonsense at home...*sigh*


  • Skeptic

    I am amazed at some of the differences between my experience as a JW and others'. Perhaps Canada is a little more liberal than, say, America.

    Some older JWs will not attend a non-JW funeral for any reason...even the funeral of their parents.

    However, most JWs here have no problem attending non-JW funerals; the only restriction is that they don't participate in anything "religious". So basically, we just sit there....no praying, kneeling, etc.

    Some non-JW funerals are not much better than JW ones...the preachers basically reads from a book...including reading the prayer!

    In general, however, I have always preferred non-JW funerals as most are setup to honor, or remember, the deceased. They are not the "insert name here" format of the JWs.

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