Jehovah's Witness hope, does it remove the sting of death?

by free2beme 21 Replies latest jw friends

  • free2beme

    Recently I was speaking to my Witness sister, and the topic of someone dying in her husband's family came up. She mentioned that her husband (a non-Witness) has a hard time with death and will not even go back to his grandparents property, 20 years after their death, as he does not do well with the memories and death itself. My sister made the statement, "I explained to him that I hoped one day I could help him come to terms with death, by learning what it really is and the hope in store." You know you have heard the same thing many times as a Witness, yet did your Witness life prove such a thing?

    I remember from my years as a Witness, that several people died and left behind loved ones. I would never even attempt to try and count how many times I heard at memorials, "you will see them again soon." Yet months, years and decades passed and those people set a lone in the Kingdom Hall, without the one they were told would come back soon in the ressurection. I remember seeing them sad, one sister even crying during a meeting years later when someone mentioned an event her husband was involved in. So did this hope help to take the sting out of those people's death?

    My mother in law lost both her mother and father in the same year, 25 years ago, and has several items of theirs. Some make sense; pictures, statues, etc. Others are junk; a chair that is in storage infested with spiders, boxes their VCR came in (without the VCR), mail from credit card companies addressed to them, etc. These items should have been trash ages ago, and not something kept. Yet when the family tried to throw these away, my wife's mother cried so hard that we feared she would need to go to the hospital for a nervous breakdown. A sight so terrible to watch, I wish I never saw it. From simple suggesting that the VCR box be thrown out, that small of an item. She is, and remains a strong attending Witness. Along with my wife's father and her sister. Did the Jehovah's Witness hope remove the sting of death from her?

    My point in all this. Is the simple faults statement of hope used by so many Witnesses to recruit, that the hope of knowing what they feel God's word says about the future, will make death seem simple and easy to handle. That her husband, who has a hard time with emotions (like most men) will suddenly find a positive viewpoint to go to his grandparents property to fish and play, like he did as a child, by simply hearing her Jehovah's Witness hope. My time as a Witness compelled me to tell her, "that is wrong, I know and knew plenty of Witnesses who felt the same as your husband and your hope of 'wiping tears from his eyes' is not something you can fulfill." I used the examples I mentioned above, and as you might imagine though... my faults Witness revaltation, did not remove the sting of ignorance!

  • Frog

    As a jw kid we were always taken to funerals of older ones that died in the congregation. Those funerals always seemed so strange to me. Funerals should be about a time of grieving, of letting go, of realising your own mortality and appreciating the life you have while you have it. Always seemed like a bunch of people who were just living in hope, those same people you saw 5-10years later still alone and not really having moved on with their lives. A sad and terrible deception of those in a vunerable state of mind. The WT doesn't give jw's hope and peace of mind, it just makes them hold on to a fantasy. frog

  • I quit!
    I quit!

    My point in all this. Is the simple faults statement of hope used by so many Witnesses to recruit, that the hope of knowing what they feel God's word says about the future, will make death seem simple and easy to handle.

    I think the Watchtower take a simplistic appoach to everything. They try to make all issues black and white. I have heard witness from the platform mock other religions for mourning the death of a loved one because "they don't have the hope we have". I have heard speakers talk about how David cried before his child died then once he was dead there was nothing else to do so he got over it. Witnesses are great at putting on a front. They can have the worst home life possible yet go out telling all their neigbors what a great family life they will have if they become witnesses. With a straight face they can make comment from the Watchtower at a meeting about how witness don't have all the moral problems seen in other religions even though they have seen it all if they have been witnesses for any length of time. So I think what they parrot and how they really fell about death and dying are two different things. Everyone reacts to the loss of a loved one in different ways and J-Dubs are no different no matter what they claim.

    How JWs handle funerals can be interesting. I once went to funeral where the person that died was an athiest but had JW and Mormon relatives. Both sides used it as an opportunity to pitch their religion. They seemed to be more concerned with how they presented their religion that with the death of the person. I know for a fact they were sad about the death but still the the most important thing was "putting on a good witness" to the non-believers.

  • DannyBloem

    I think that if someone you love dies it is always painfull. If you are a JW or not. And later when you miss someone you can feel very sad. I think it does not depend that much if you are a JW or not.

    I think the idea of the ressurection makes it easier for JW's to handle some things than maybe for non christians. Although I think it depends also much on personal strength how somebody handles it. To be part of a group it can also ease the pain. (there are a lot of JW's of course who really care about fellow believers and given them attention). That can help also.
    So I think it depends so much on the situation.

    p.s. what I hate hate hate is those funeral talks that are used as a convient time to give a preaching talk. Like she is dead, but if you want to have a bible study bla bla bla.
    Some brothers do it more respectfully, and I know a lot of dubs who have asked the one who will give there talk not to do this in advance


  • Frog
    p.s. what I hate hate hate is those funeral talks that are used as a convient time to give a preaching talk. Like she is dead, but if you want to have a bible study bla bla bla.

    oh yeah Db, I had almost forgotten about those highly inappropriate occassions that elders would used to give a plug to the org when people are feeling their most tacky.

  • Gordy

    Well death is death whether you believe in anything or not, its still a sad time.

    Having been a JW for many years, and attended a few funerals. I always wondered at how little was said about the person who had died. I've been to funerals of men who were Elders and JW's for 40, 50 60 years. Yet very little was said about what they had done in those years "serving the organisation" . It was on the lines of "Brother X was a JW for 50 years and served faithfully. But death has now taken him. Why did he die?" Cue talk about why we get old and die, that when your dead that sit you cease to exist, except inJehovahs memory. Then you get the "hope of the resurrection" into a paradise earth etc. Then at end of talk you get the "If anyone here wants to know more please feel free to speak to any JW here."

    Having been a Christian for the last 5 years now, attending a Pentecostal church. The funerals I've attended have been full of life and joy. One of them was absolutely hilarious, a real celebration of the mans life. Family and friends telling tales of his life etc. The Pastors sermon was short and about Christ and the hope Christians have. To the people there he was not dead but just moved on to another life.

  • I quit!
    I quit!

    Having been a JW for many years, and attended a few funerals. I always wondered at how little was said about the person who had died.

    Exactly. The deceased is just a stepping stone used to get to the sale pitch.

  • frankiespeakin

    I think if you fall for the belief of a resurection it may make one more able to accept the loss of someone close to them, but in the long run for many it increases the sting of death, because when a person is thinking they will never grow old in this system and they find themselves growing old it is a big disapointment, and it makes one more unwilling to accept the inevitable, the pain may be more acute than for someone who expects to die some day and has learned to live with the idea that life is not everlasing.

  • tetrapod.sapien

    it's not just the witnesses. all religion removes the sting of death for everyone involved, except for the one who died. if biogerontologists found a way to radically extend human life span, and cure the disease of death, how many people would remain religious?

    religions say that they know what happens to people after they die, and yet all we can say for certain is that our brain shuts off. we do not observe anything else. why is there a need to extrapolate on something that is so simple? why do we have to assume there is more to it? if we reduce death to what it really is biologically, then is there really any mystery about the situation?

    when i first became an atheist, i was comfortable with everything except death. it was the one thing that i just could not accept without feeling anxious and depressed. but i found that it was because my life as a religious person had not prepared me for my own mortality. but then i just started thinking of it in natural terms. i don't remember anything from before i was born of my non-existence. was it a bad thing? no, it was nothing! so will death be. it's a shut down of consciousness. i will decompose and the molecules and atoms that make me up will become part of nature again, and continue on like all other molecules and atoms. eventually this planet will eventually no longer exist, but my molecules and atoms will continue on into the cosmos.

    even with a completely natural view of the universe, i can say that i have been here for a long time, and will be here for much longer still. just not consciously. and that's why my 70 years of consciousness is a miracle.

  • VM44

    I don't even understand how the JW's concept of ressurrection gives anyone a sense of hope. Always the JW's say "Don't be too sad, there is the hope of the ressurrection, Jehovah will remember the one who died. You will see your loved ones again."

    All that means is that Jehovah will re-create a body and impart the memories of the deceased person into it.

    The JW's should really say this, "Do Not be sad, Jehovah will remember your loved one, and re-create an exact duplicate in the future and place all the memories of your loved one into it. You will see this exact duplicate in the future when the ressurrection takes place, so have hope"

    But what of the original? Gone forever?

    I do not believe the concept of the ressurrection as explained by the Witnesses provides much hope to anyone. It is "feel good" hope, but in reality, doen't really mean anything. Can anyone provide a better explaination?


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