Non-JW teacher needing advice

by Teacher 31 Replies latest watchtower beliefs


    Wow...what a great teacher! I wish I'd had someone like you when I was growing up...being sent to the Principals office for not saluting the flag...sitting in the hallway reading my assignments by myself during holiday activities...and on and on. You're in a unique position to show compassion to kids who are put into situations they should not have to deal with. How many times did I hear the story of Daniel in the lions den?!

    As others have pointed out, there are many double standards in this cult. No birthday celebrations because two people were beaded in Biblical times at birthday celebrations...however they do now allow Pinatas at generic parties even though they had ties with the Church in the past...even tell their followers to ignore past uses of Pinatas...but not birthdays...go figure.

    Your compassion will allow this young person to realize that not all "worldly people" (their code word for non-JW folks) are bad and should be destroyed at Armageddon...and maybe help him break away at a later time. Thank you for teachers like you.


  • Jahna

    I found as a Witness the best teacher was someone who approached me and asked questions. In our school board many different religious groups are represented in the schools. One school right now does not have any Christmas pageant ect, they have a ?Winter pageant? thus taking into account the various belief systems out there. Even today while talking with my daughter?s teacher from high school, the teacher mentioned different belief systems as she related a story about two ?religious young girls? in her class, half expecting to hear Jehovah?s Witnesses I was very surprised to hear, Mormon. See these two Mormon students found something offensive about what was going on in class.

    Depending where you live, you will find that people believe different things and want different things taught, finding the happy medium that respects all belief systems is impossible. The best parents and teachers can do is have open communication with each other. Raised as a Witness myself, and from a Jewish back ground, I can tell you, I never felt that out of place when I couldn?t draw lights on my pine tree, it was just part of my life, and it was what I was raised to believe, just like a Catholic believes differently then a Muslim. You either teach your children and class to respect those unique differences in belief structures that are not your own, or your just as bad as the those that want us all to be the same. Children that are different do not need pity, they need acceptance that their values have merit and worth, and respect as a person, doesn?t matter Witness, Mormon, Catholic or Hindu, they should not feel shame for what they believe because it?s not ?mainstream? or deemed right.

    Personally as a parent now I am very happy to see that my youngster is learning about all types of religious holidays and broadening his horizons and acceptance of difference between cultures and peoples. Even if those differences are not represented in his current class, they should know at the very least they can and do exist. Let us teach children to embrace differences, not condemn them.


  • Teacher


    Thanks everyone for the info, it has been helpful. In all honesty I had not read many of the messages on the board and had not noticed that this was mainly ex-JW's. I have read more now and have found it all very interesting.

    Just for ino, I am in the UK and as such do not have the thanksgiving issue etc. However, I was slightly appalled (that sounds terrible, but is true) when the child could not participate in rememberance day for war veterans, although I can now see where the thinking for that came from.

    I have decided to set up my quiet ares (small area of my classroom) as a 'refuge' for the JW children during activities they cannot take part in. I have invested in some fund educational games and am getting some activities from the internet so that they can have some fun. I have also bought a CD player and some 'acceptable' (I think anyway) music that they can play while they are in there. I have bought christmas cards which have pictures of Winnie the Pooh throwing snowballs on and no mention of Christmas. On must pupils I will write happy Christmas, but on this pupils it will be 'have a great break' or something. I hope that would be acceptable. I cant stand the thought of leaving him out.

    Still working on the ideas, again, thanks for all the input.

  • one


    i can put you in contact with a exjw teacher...

  • shamus

    Yes, this is only ex-jw's here. You have enough information but I just wanted to show you a picture from one of they're kids books. Disturbing considering it's meant for kids.

  • formerout


    It's great to see you taking that much interest in your students. I applaud you.

    You've received some great advice already. What Abaddon said hit home for me. His advice, (on just presenting thoughts to the child in a genearl way, since, despite JW's being the most active preachers in the world, they won't listen to anybody else preaching to them), was great.

    One or two things that came to mind was the fact that as recently as twenty years ago JW's preached that the universe was created in 42,000 years. I know because in '78, (grade 4) I did an in-front-of-the-class essay boldly refuting all the scientific evidence otherwise and based my entire thesis on the JWs' own, (NOW tossed aside, but current at the time), Bible.

    If you see any JW children saying really stupid things like I was back then, it's not their fault. Be patient and politely expose it as POSSIBLY not being true. Believe it or not this memory (and I am over the embarrassment.. ) and how my teacher dealt with it was one of the things that started me to doubt that cult.

    I know the word cult may seem strong form myself and others here, but it is a fair assessment of it. You'll find that almost all X-JW's are very loving and have no animosity to the people in that religion. It is kind of like mob mentality.... otherwise good people can get caught up in bad things and lose their usual good judgement...... that's what the people are like in that religion, IMO.


  • Sirona

    Welcome Teacher,

    You will find some information on the JW official website

    That website does show some of the ways they control people including children, however be aware that this site is softened for the non-jw reader.

    However check out this article about after school sports entitled "Childrens Sports - The New Epidemic of Violence" which takes some facts and scrare mongers so that JW children are "advised" not to participate.

    Some parents have thus concluded that organized children's sports tend to fuel an unhealthy spirit of competition. This does not mean, however, that their children do not get to enjoy playing with others. Many Christian parents, for example, have found that their children enjoy playing with fellow believers in a backyard or at a local park. This way the parents have more control over their children's association. Family outings may provide further opportunities for wholesome play. Granted, a backyard game will probably not give the same thrill as being on a winning team. Never forget, though, that at best "bodily training is beneficial [only] for a little; but godly devotion is beneficial for all things." (1 Timothy 4:8) By maintaining this balanced view of sports, you can prevent your child from being a victim of the new epidemic of violence.

    Also as far as your idea for computer games, you'll need to be aware of this article "Electronic Games - Is there a Dark Side?"

    Be aware also that JWs instill a deep fear on demons into their children. With regard to games (computer games) note what is said in this article:

    One Christian woman named Jean % purchased a computer game that seemed harmless at first. As she worked her way through the game's levels, she discovered aspects of the game that had spiritistic overtones. Before long she began having violent nightmares! "I got up in the middle of the night," says Jean, "and destroyed the game CDs." The result? "I haven't had any trouble since."

    Someone else hinted at how JWs are taught to be "separate from the world". Basically JWs have the mentality that the whole world is going to die at armageddon and only JWs will survive. They'll deny this when asked, but over and over again they're told that the world "outside of JWs" is in the power of the devil. See this article:

    How widespread is the Devil's influence? "The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one," says the apostle John. (1 John 5:19) Of course, we do not want to become obsessed with the Devil or allow superstitious fear of him to paralyze us. We are wise, though, to stay alert to his efforts to blind us to the truth and to break our integrity to God. ?Job 2:3-5; 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4.
    The Devil does not always use brutal means to attack those who want to do God's will. At times, he makes himself seem like "an angel of light." The apostle Paul warned Christians of this danger when he wrote: "I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, your minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ."?2 Corinthians 11:3, 14.
    We therefore need to 'keep our senses, be watchful, and take our stand against him, solid in the faith.' (1 Peter 5:8, 9; 2 Corinthians 2:11) Avoid playing into Satan's hands by dabbling in anything that is connected with the occult. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) Be a good student of God's Word, remembering that Jesus Christ repeatedly referred to God's Word when he was tempted by the Devil. (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10) Pray for God's spirit. Its fruitage can help you to avoid the works of the flesh, which Satan promotes so effectively. (Galatians 5:16-24) Also, pray earnestly to Jehovah when you feel under pressure in some way from the Devil and his demons.?Philippians 4:6, 7.

    Please also be aware of the very real problem of Child Abuse that currently exists in JWs. Please look at

    JWs are, as I stated above, told to be "no part of the World" - "The World" being anything outside of the JW organisation. JWs have their own "Judicial system", so if someone sins, they are expected to confess it to men (elders) who will then judge what should be done. The problem is that there have been cases of child abuse and the Elders have simply inflicted some minor punishment upon the offender (such as restrictions in "spiritual duties") and they've left the child without counselling or help. They have not reported the abuse to the police, because the police are part of the "world" and they are protecting "Jehovahs Organisation" from getting a bad name in the public eye.

    This results in a suspected 127000 covered-up abuse cases. Panorama did a program about this in 2002 see the transcript here

    So if you notice any signs of abuse in any of the children who are JWs, please be aware that they're not always taught to tell teachers or police, they're told to tell Elders, who may cover up the abuse.

    The Watchtower organisation has tried to correct the problem somewhat by issuing letters to congregations, however they have never retracted the main teaching which causes much of the problem: they teach that only when there are 2 witnesses to a sin can the person be punished. Therefore, when there is child abuse and only the child knows about it, and the offender lies and says they're innocent, the elders will often not act upon it at all! They'll tell the child that there should be 2 witnesses to the act and since there isn't, the child needs to shut up about it.

    As you can imagine, this means that children may think that telling an adult about the abuse wouldn't help them anyway. They may have even told the elders and been told that they're lying. This is something that teachers of JW children should be aware of.

    It is great that you're showing this level of interest I hope that this information helps.

    Good luck!


  • jgnat

    Wow, you are a Teacher, capitalized! I love your ideas, and it will go a long ways to help your JW child feel better about excluding himself. Bravo!

    By the way, though there are many articles warning about the dangers of computer games/internet/organized sports, etc. as Sirona has pointed out, I have noticed in practice that many JW parents allow it. Within reason. And quietly.

    In other words, they can enjoy themselves sometimes, as long as they feel guilty about it, and don't tell any of their JW friends.

  • BluesBrother

    Three cheers for an enlightened teacher

    I wonder if the more experienced of your colleagues have become weary of well-doing and now just leave the kids to get on with it.

    J W's do produce a special brochure for parents to give to the school teacher . affectionately known as the 'School Brochure' , I beleive the correct title is something like ""J W's and education" That will set out their basic stands, but as you have found already, a lot of issues come down to individual conscience, and decisions vary from parent to parent and are not always consistant. The lad's parents would be no-doubt delighted to give you the brochure . Come to that I could probably get one if you wished to PM me.. ( Here I am offering to place dub literature! I hope the mods dont close my board ID)

    Your ideas to help the kids sound fine but do not expect all J W parents to welcome it. There is an almost "persecution complex" and they think that you are trying to compromise their little ones....But give it a go and see

    There is also of course the official J W website

  • Jahna

    Cult or not, until the time comes that ALL religion forever forbidden in the house, ALL religion is banned world wide, ALL cultural differences are done away with globally, you will have people that just don?t believe, practice or otherwise, think like you do.

    Children of JW?s, Jews, Muslims, Atheists ect are different, they may or may not celebrate Christmas or any other holiday, and we certainly don?t allow for other religious holidays. (Ever have Kwanza a pubic day off like Easter?) These children are not to blame, they are learning from their parents who are only trying to do what they feel is in their children?s best interest. While JW?s may have hurt us personally, they are no worse then any other group out there. Muslims do not celebrate Christmas they are not traumatized for life by it. Amish children never play with X Box, they live through it. It?s when the child gets to be of age that they will make their choice about what to practice as a faith. By respecting all diversity found globally in the class room and elsewhere your giving them the ability to judge what they believe without prejudice and pre conceived notions of hatred.

    Bigotry starts by stirring up negative emotions about something different. For example all Islam is bad because of terrorist? True or false? All JW?s are not bad because of a few bad apples, they exist everywhere. Cult is a bad word, it may or may not fit in this case and it?s only stirring up negative emotions towards the innocent children that our teachers must teach.

    Let?s teach children to have respect for themselves, and others, by showing them respect despite their differences.


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