Could the Watch Tower Society's out-dated approach to domestic violence be putting thousands of women in harm's way?

“In like manner, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands, in order that, if any are not obedient to the word, they may be won without a word through the conduct of their wives, because of having been eyewitnesses of your chaste conduct together with deep respect.” – 1 Peter 3:1-2, New World Translation

The above scripture is used repeatedly in Watchtower publications to define the role of a Christian wife who finds herself married to a husband who does not share her faith. The scripture advises women in such a situation that they can win over their husbands “without a word”, or by letting their actions rather than their words give evidence that faith can make one a better person. In no way does it command any wife who faces abuse from her non-believing husband to remain with him regardless, and endure a violent relationship in the blind hope that he will eventually embrace her faith and stop abusing her. And yet, this is precisely how this scripture has repeatedly been applied, albeit mostly through insinuation, over many decades.

Before proceeding further, we may ask ourselves: “Is it right to question or scrutinize the way scriptural counsel is applied by the Governing Body through their publications on these matters?” Please consider the following words of Jesus:

“Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him; and the one whom people put in charge of much, they will demand more than usual of him.” – Luke 12:48, New World Translation

The above words of Jesus remind us of the grave responsibility that members of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses have assumed for themselves in issuing ‘spiritual food’ on behalf of the ‘slave class’ to the global brotherhood. Whether they are self-appointed, or have been granted their lofty roles invisibly by God’s holy spirit, is a matter for each of us to decide individually. However they attained their position, they are certainly accountable for the way they exercise it, which would include the material they print in their publications – particularly if any printed advice leads to harm being inflicted on any of their readers. Remember that more than seven million Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world will make important life-altering decisions based on the publications of the Governing Body, which are promoted as containing guidance from God.

With all of the above in mind, please consider the experience quoted in the February 15th, 2012 Study Edition of the Watchtower on page 29, paragraph 12:

“Selma recalls a lesson she learned from the Witness who studied with her. ‘On one particular day,’ says Selma, ‘I didn’t want to have a Bible study. The night before, Steve had hit me as I had tried to prove a point, and I was feeling sad and sorry for myself.[i] After I told the sister what had happened and how I felt, she asked me to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. As I did, I began to reason, ‘Steve never does any of these loving things for me.’ But the sister made me think differently by asking, ‘How many of those acts of love do you show toward your husband?’ My answer was, ‘None, for he is so difficult to live with.’ The sister softly said, ‘Selma, who is trying to be a Christian here? You or Steve?’ Realizing that I needed to adjust my thinking, I prayed to Jehovah to help me be more loving toward Steve. Slowly, things started to change.’ After 17 years, Steve accepted the truth.”

The above experience may be real, or it may be fictitious, but regardless, many who have read this account (both inside and outside of the Witness faith) have been saddened and worried by the course of action and attitudes that it seems to either promote or condone, depending on how you read it.

If one were to draw the worst possible conclusions from the experience, one might arrive at the following understanding:

  1.  A wife trying to ‘prove her point’ with her husband might be demonstrating a lack of Christian qualities (particularly those described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7), and if the husband were to then hit his wife, this may therefore be understandable.
  2. Feeling sad and sorry for oneself is not a proper way to respond to being beaten by your husband. Instead, you should think about what you can do to show love to him.
  3. A husband who receives “acts of love” from his wife is less likely to hit her, and it is therefore incumbent upon wives to show more love to their husbands if they do not want to be beaten.
  4. Any wives who consider it unacceptable for their husbands to beat them for ANY reason need to have their thinking ‘readjusted’.
  5. Leaving a husband who is violent is not advisable, and wives are expected to show more love to violent husbands in the hope that they will then change their behavior.

The wholly untrue assertions listed above may be the worst possible conclusions that one could conceivably draw from the ‘Selma and Steve’ experience, but nonetheless, they can still be drawn. Some have defended the use of the experience, pointing out that it does not promote spousal abuse but simply comments on what a certain individual experienced. Certainly, nowhere in the above text is Steve commended for hitting his wife; neither does Selma’s mentor directly tell her that Steve is justified in hitting her.

This does not mean, however, that quoting such an experience in the absence of any condemnation of domestic violence was wise or appropriate on the part of the Writing Department of the Governing Body, who will have prepared this material. Many feel that what is NOT said when dealing with such sensitive matters is often as important as what IS. By failing to denounce Steve’s behavior, either directly in the paragraph or through the use of a footnote, the Society have left their words wide open to be interpreted by some as excusing domestic violence. In many cases, this is precisely the conclusion that is being drawn.

A Disturbing Track Record

One of the most disturbing aspects of the use of this experience is that it seems to perpetuate the myth that any abusive husband will change his habits if exposed to the “miraculous effect” of Bible teachings. Some may not see it that way, and think that reacting so strongly to this experience in isolation is an exaggeration. However, many are perhaps unaware that this experience is just one in a long line of similar experiences that have been used by the Society to drill home their interpretation of 1 Peter 3:1-2 over many years. In fact (to my knowledge), the February 15th, 2012 Watchtower magazine features the nineteenth[ii] such experience in 54 years[iii] – namely that of a husband beating his wife; then studying the bible before finally relenting from his violent behavior with all concerned living ‘happily ever after’.

I do not attempt to convey the thought that Watchtower publications consistently give incorrect or outdated advice on this issue. It is noteworthy that one 1994 Awake article urged victims to “seek emotional and physical protection from a competent third party”.[iv] However, it seems that for every article that correctly advises on the subject, there are several that entirely miss the mark and give deeply damaging advice. Take as an example the following 1979 Awake article, which implied that family disputes involving domestic violence are a waste of police time:

“Also, what is home violence doing to the quality of police and hospital emergency-room service that we get? Did you know that in some places more police die in the course of handling domestic violence than in any other avenue of their duty? Responding to family-fight calls eats up a major share of the policeman’s time, time that otherwise could be used protecting the rest of us from public crime and violence.” –May 8th, 1979 Awake

Though printed more than 32 years ago, the above statement is still deeply offensive to many. It has never been retracted, so I can only assume that it still represents the Watch Tower Society’s viewpoint today – despite its absurd implications. One can hardly imagine a battered wife turning up at her local ER, her face black and blue, and being turned away by doctors because the circumstances of her injuries are not considered serious enough (i.e. “Come back when a burglar does that to you, and not your own husband!”).

It would seem that the same hopeless naivety and insensitivity to the plight of abused women has never really departed the Watchtower publications. As the world in general grows increasingly intolerant of such outdated views, the rhetoric of the Governing Body through the Watch Tower Society’s publications grows more and more notably detached from reality. But why is this the case?

A Doctrinal Handicap

To a large extent, the writers of Watchtower publications have their hands tied doctrinally when approaching these issues. That is because Jehovah’s Witnesses do not currently accept domestic abuse as legitimate grounds for a ‘scriptural’ divorce, no matter HOW extreme the abuse may be.[v] True, Witnesses impose no sanctions against a battered wife who succeeds in obtaining a legal separation or divorce from her violent husband. However, she would not be allowed to subsequently remarry without being disfellowshipped from the organization as an adulteress.

Put simply, if a battered Witness wife takes her faith seriously, or wishes to maintain full contact with her believing family (or any children that may have been yielded from the abusive relationship), she is forbidden from having a relationship that is both loving AND intimate with any other man for the rest of her life. She must live out her days as a spinster for no other reason than because she didn’t know that her husband was a wife-beater before she married him.

I personally find it difficult to believe that Jesus had this exact scenario in mind when he said: “if ever a woman, after divorcing her husband, marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:11-12) Nonetheless, the Society takes the view that Jesus meant that a wife should remain married to her husband even if she receives violent treatment regularly– and it is this understanding of this key principle that flavors their approach to 1 Peter 3:1-2. This, in turn, leads to highly impractical and damaging advice being given whenever the issue of domestic violence is touched upon, because the emphasis is placed on protecting the marital bond even at the expense of preserving human life.

If the Governing Body have doctrinally bound themselves to this narrow understanding of Jesus’ words, then that is one thing. Obviously, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion – and it is ultimately for the Christian wife to decide whether the Society’s view of divorce and separation in the context of domestic violence is valid and binding on her personally. What I find totally unacceptable is that the Governing Body should then take things further – making implications through the Society’s publications that might directly lead to abused women being exposed to dangerous or even life-threatening situations.

Certainly, when it comes to applying 1 Peter 3:1-2, the implication is consistently given that by persevering in a violent relationship, a battered wife will somehow succeed in ‘winning over’ her abusive husband, thereby bringing a swift and lasting end to the violence. The answer, it would seem, always lies within. Although this has doubtless been the case in certain instances, it is inconceivable that studying the Bible is a blanket panacea against the scourge of domestic violence that will effectively remedy ANY situation whatsoever. In short, there will always be casualties, and the Society completely fails to consider this when publishing experiences such as the one being discussed.

The Outside Perspective

It was with these thoughts in mind that I recently contacted Refuge, a prominent domestic abuse charity based in the UK. I was particularly interested in their opinion of the ‘Selma and Steve’ experience, because they are extremely active in campaigning against domestic violence, and providing protection and support for victims. I sent them a copy of the article, and this was their response:

“Despite Refuge’s tireless work in the last 40 years to change negative attitudes about domestic violence, some people still excuse domestic violence by perpetuating the myth that an abused woman is somehow to blame for the violence of her partner. No one can be blamed for another person’s violence or behaviour – he alone is responsible.  Domestic violence is rarely a one off incident and it’s not the result of a row going “out of control” – in fact it’s all about power and control, which one person chooses to exercise over another. The only person who can be blamed for the abuse is the perpetrator.  Violence and abuse, no matter what form it takes, is unacceptable and is against the law.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you’re not alone and there is support out there. In the UK, call the Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Refuge and Women’s Aid, on 0808 2000 247, or go online to www.refuge.org.uk for more information. If you’re worried about a friend or family member who may be suffering in silence, go to www.1in4women.com for expert information on how to spot the signs and support someone who’s going through domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a crime.  Don’t ignore it.”

It is noteworthy that Refuge, who were consulted prior to publishing this article, have placed great emphasis on urging readers of this website to contact them if they are undergoing domestic abuse – and I would echo such sound advice if you are in this situation. Bear in mind that the Governing Body’s approach seems to be that if Bible principles are applied, there will be no problems whatsoever requiring external support or intervention of any kind from “the world”. In fact, the Governing Body has used the pages of its literature to try and dissuade victims of domestic violence from availing themselves of, for example, the emergency services. It is little wonder that a religious body that issues such ludicrous advice would be the focus of concern from a domestic abuse charity. Unquestionably, it is the over-reliance of the Governing Body on Bible counsel coupled with its narrow-minded interpretation of scripture that is placing married female Jehovah’s Witnesses in peril – thereby making the above appeal all the more warranted.

Moreover, bear in mind that it is incumbent on the Governing Body to exercise their role as shepherds of the flock of God in a way that furnishes “a fine testimony from people on the outside.” (1 Peter 5:2; 1 Tim 3:7) If a prominent charity specializing in combating domestic abuse sees fit to issue the above response to the negative and out-dated approach that is perpetuated by this Watchtower article and others (without having any religious bias to influence their opinion in this matter), how does this reflect on the Governing Body’s claim to such worldwide ministerial prominence, serving as a mouthpiece to God’s spirit-directed organization? How does it reflect on Jehovah’s name?

But there is more to this than simply bruised egos, damaged reputations, and the stumbling of people beyond the Witness faith. There is the very real harm that can be inflicted upon those who passively subject themselves to innumerable beatings and vicious attacks, simply because they feel compelled by the Society’s publications to endure these in the false hope of ‘winning over’ their mate. By insinuating that an abusive husband may embrace the faith of his wife provided she ‘sticks it out’, the Society are putting countless women in harm’s way – in direct breach of their ‘duty of care’ as Christian shepherds. –1 Peter 5:2

The Wives Who Didn’t Win

Do you feel that it is irresponsible on the part of the Governing Body to persist in perpetuating this myth?  Is the advice given in the February  15th, 2011 Watchtower a one-size-fits-all antidote to any and all cases of domestic violence?  It would seem to indicate as much. We have no way of knowing the true scope of the collateral damage that this approach has inflicted over the years, or the number of women who have been seriously harmed (or worse) by applying such ill-considered advice. All I know is, it must end now before there are any further casualties.

Whilst preparing this article I was contacted by a woman in New England who wishes to remain nameless. She told me that she has been a victim, not only of an abusive husband, but of a mindset within the Witness fraternity that increasingly favors the plight of the violent husband over that of his beaten wife. She had this to say:

“Very soon after our wedding the abuse started. It was a lot of mental, emotional abuse, as well as physical abuse. The typical hair pulling, face punching, body kicking, strangling, etc. He never beat me bad enough to put me in hospital, and I honestly think he and others justified the abuse as ‘not that bad’ as a result.”

What was the reaction of responsible shepherds within her congregation?

“Whenever I reached out for help in this organization, I was told to be a better wife. I was told to apply Christian principles. So I tried. The more I tried to be a submissive Christian wife as suggested, the more of a victim I became. Early in our marriage I had tried to leave him. I was told by my family, who were influenced by those in charge, that it was the wife’s duty to stop the abuse. The elders, who are trained on how to protect the congregation, told me that it was my duty to stop the abuse. There was no scriptural reason for divorce, therefore I had to stay and make it work.”

The woman could finally no longer tolerate the situation, and found the courage to leave the abusive relationship. Though not baptized (or liable for disfellowshipping), she was shunned by all of her former friends and family members. She summarizes her experience in this way:

“This advice, this ‘loving counsel’ that comes from the men in charge, not only created a domestic violence victim, it kept the abuse going. It blamed me, the victim, for it happening in the first place. It punished me for escaping and surviving.”

I would like to think that this woman, whom I greatly admire for coming forward, is the only one to have experienced such an ordeal. However, the more I look into this troubling subject, the more I am astonished by how much damage is being done by the Watch Tower Society’s stance on (what I believe should be) such a straightforward issue.

Indeed, on the website www.silentlambs.org there is a page under the heading “Battered Lambs” containing firsthand experiences from both women and children who have been abused by those within the Witness faith. At least 12 of the experiences related are of women whose husbands beat or otherwise abused them with little or no support or intervention from their local elders. I am sure there are many, many more of our sisters who are currently in abusive relationships but do not have the courage or opportunity to come forward without risking further harm.

If the Governing Body has any regard for the welfare of the many married sisters within the organization (or those married women who are studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses), not to mention its external reputation with domestic abuse charities such as Refuge, it will abandon its practice of using these ‘experiences’ to encourage women to remain in abusive relationships for the sole purpose of potentially converting their husbands, or observing the organization’s doctrinal standpoint on divorce.

It is not my intention to unfairly criticize the Governing Body or the Watch Tower Society over this issue. I have done my utmost to write fairly (and not unduly hindered by emotion) on what is an extremely sensitive subject, in a way that reflects both sides of the argument. I do not pretend to have all the answers as to how the Society can balance its views on the sanctity of marriage with the need to protect vulnerable women. However, I do know that to encourage women to remain in a situation that could result in them being beaten or worse is profoundly irresponsible, and in breach of the Governing Body’s duty of care as shepherds.

I would therefore urge the Writing Department of the Governing Body to (1) publish a full retraction concerning the offensive experience contained in the February 15th, 2012 Watchtower, including a full apology for any offence caused to victims of domestic abuse, (2) remind all publishers that domestic abuse of any kind is wrong and that abused wives should not have to endure violence for any reason, and (3) undertake never to publish any similar experiences or material giving advice of this nature in the future – either directly or by insinuation.

If the Governing Body is truly humble, discreet and sincere regarding its responsibilities, it must ensure that the measures proposed above are implemented – not just to preserve its own ‘image’, but also to protect the lives of the many vulnerable women towards whom it owes a duty of care.

Your brother,

 

Cedars

 

 


[i] It has been noted that translations of this Watchtower article into other languages have lessened the severity of the account by avoiding words that directly convey ‘hitting’, or an act of violence on the part of Steve. It is not clear why this is the case. It may be that some of the Society’s translators were acting under their own initiative to make the paragraph more acceptable. Whilst it is pleasing to know that individuals reading the article in those languages may therefore be slower to connect the experience with the issues of domestic abuse, this does not excuse the way the experience was related in the original English source material.

[ii] The nineteen articles referred to are: w58 7/1 p. 400; w69 12/15 p. 740; g70 12/8 p. 10; g74 1/8 p. 11; w76 5/15 pp. 292-293; w82 7/15 p. 7; w86 8/1 p. 21; w90 8/15 p. 21; yb90 p. 64; yb93 pp. 179-180; w94 4/15 pp. 27-29; yb94 p. 145; w96 5/1 pp. 22-23; g97 4/22 p. 31; w99 1/1 p. 3; yb99 p. 60; w04 8/15 p. 10; w07 4/15 p. 6; w12 2/15 p. 29 – although there may conceivably be more that describe similar scenarios. In each of the foregoing references, an initially violent husband improves his behaviour thanks to his wife’s example and/or the husband eventually embraces the wife’s faith to varying degrees. Key: w = The Watchtower, g = Awake!, yb = Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

[iii] Watchtower publications older than 1950 were not available to the author at the time of writing this article, although the Watchtower magazine has been in print in some form or other since 1879.

[iv] See the February 8th, 1993 edition of the Awake, page 12 – in the article entitled “An End to Domestic Violence”.

[v] See w75 5/1 pp. 286-288, a Questions From Readers article relating to the question: “My husband sometimes beats me. Should I get a legal separation or divorce because of it?”

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60 Comments on “Won Without a Word” – At What Cost?

  1. Jim says:

    You article is one-sided and deceptive. Many of the references you cite are nothing to do with “being won over without a word”. In several of them, the wife wasn’t even a Witness at the time of the abuse!

    Furthermore, your reply from “Shelter” is generic and non-committal. It says nothing about the article. In fact, it agrees with what Jehovah’s Witnesses’ publications have said:

    • Battered wives are responsible for their husband’s actions.
    Many batterers deny responsibility for their actions, claiming that their wives provoke them. Even some friends of the family may buy into the idea that the wife is difficult to deal with, so no wonder that her husband loses control now and then. But this amounts to blaming the victim and justifying the aggressor. Really, battered wives often make extraordinary efforts to pacify their husbands. Besides, beating one’s partner is never justified under any circumstances.
    (Awake, November 8, 2001, p. 8)

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    • Cedars says:

      Hello Jim. You have my sympathy for being so consumed with awe for the individuals who serve on the Governing Body that you feel the need to leap to their defence even when they are endangering the lives of countless women in the organization. The article is not one-sided. It acknowledges that positive statements regarding domestic abuse have been made sporadically through the years. However, the advice on this topic is inconsistent at best, and usually the Society (as in the latest article) tend to encourage women to stay with abusive husbands come what may in the hope that they will convert.

      You say “in several of them, the wife wasn’t even a Witness at the time of the abuse”. I am sorry that you have adopted such an unmerciful attitude towards those who aren’t yet baptized but who are associated with the organization. I wonder whether, if you were in the parable of the “good samaritan”, you would have walked past your beaten-up neighbour in need, simply because he isn’t baptized yet?

      As for the Refuge response, I understand their reasons for not specifically singling out the Watch Tower Society for criticism – even if I am admittedly disappointed that they felt unable to go on record. However, as stated in the article, they DO condemn just the sort of attitude that the Society promotes in their publications.

      Cedars

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      • Anonymous says:

        Cedars, in my case they suggested I allow conjugal visits with my violent brother husband and he maintain separate residence away from my children. I retorted okay, $5000.00 dollars everytime he enters the door! They gasped. I informed them in their wickedness to protect the abuser they suggested prostitution, all I did was put a price. The presiding overseer admitted that was a bad suggestion. I told him it was disrespect for me as a woman!They were on the phone with New York during this meeting called by them. Rather than sully the rep. of the org. they wanted a patch up arrangement for outward appearances.

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    • ShadesofGrey says:

      Jim, one way that the JW organization gets away with their mind control is by double talking everything. We noticed that one article said “No one has the right to influence your decision to get married or have kids”, then in the next 4 paragraphs the article went on to say 15 negative and only one positive comments on marriage and family life.

      They will say “salvation by grace” and then say that we must do these 5 things to survive Armageddon. Double talk.

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  2. SIAM says:

    Bravo Brother Cedars! This is really a very well written and researched article. I appreciate how you were balanced in your approach. Still the Governing Body’s position is inexcusable in encouraging any who suffer domestic abuse to endure with the hope of winning their mate over.

    Selma, listed in the article had to endure this type of treatment for 17 years while at the same time receiving counsel to apply scriptures slanted to make her feel that the violence was a result of her not applying Bible principles. Steve physically abused her, but the Governing Body’s policies and interpretation of scripture spiritually abused her.

    Sisters, there is never an excuse for you to endure physical, verbal or spiritual abuse. Thank you again Cedars for this wonderful article.

    SIAM

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    • Cedars says:

      SIAM – thank you for your kind comments. It was the most challenging article I have so far written for this website, and not an easy subject to approach. However, I genuinely feel that many sisters are being put in harm’s way through the Society’s out-dated advice, and it is therefore incumbent upon me to say something about it. Cedars

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  3. confused says:

    My x jw husband, I thought was the most sincere, kindest brother in the hall before I married him.
    For several years, he denied medical care when I needed it, cut me off financially, hit me, shoved me, bruised me, locked the fridge so my children and I could not eat. Killed our animals. Yet, I was told by elders things were not severe enough to leave. Funny thing is, the brothers tried to encourage him to get out in service more. My children and I were ignored. My children nor I ever deserved the hell on earth we lived in with him.
    I finally escaped from him with my children, but I lost my precious baby girl that I was carrying.

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    • Janet says:

      I’m so sorry Confused. How very sad and tragic.

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      • Cedars says:

        Confused – your story is very upsetting. I wasn’t expecting to hear similar experiences from readers of this blog so soon after its being published. Women like you, who have endured so much unwarranted violence due to the negligence of the organization, are a living testimony to the fact that things need to change. Cedars

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    • jacqueline says:

      Confused, I am so glad you escaped. I won’t tell my story but I will say this. I WILL NOT TOLERATE ABUSE IN ANY FORM (mental, emotional and no one dare lay a hand on me or my children). It has been tried and I acted swiftly in 2 days and in 60 days I was free. I never asked the brothers anything. Abuse is not to be tolerated by a wife. It will escalate and continue normally. Sometimes you have to cut your loss and get out. Sorry to sound so rough but this is an emotional subject for me. I guess I don’t understand a woman consulting elders about something so personal. Abuse is a crime, elders are ministers not police. That has always been my position for over fifty years after I became an adult. Hurray for you!!

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      • Amos says:

        Jacqueline, I absolutely agree with you.
        There is no room for any sort of abuse in the family, & that the elders have no rite to become involved, other than to help the victim(s).
        It may surprise some, but men also get abused by their wives. I was both mentally & verbally abused by my ex wife for many years. She would follow me around the house hurling ridicule & abuse of the worst kind, yet in front of others would appear to be a model wife.

        BTW Confused, congratulations on having the strength to break free.

        Amos

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        • Anonymous says:

          Amos, I know a sister that abuses her husband and all of us know it. She hollers loudly, hits and runs up finances. We have helped the brother in this instance. I have counselled the sister and she is on medication now. She was out of control. The point is tho, everyone believed the husband even her own mother and father. So it swings both ways. Her hitting was less however than if he had hit her. But not always. Abuse should not be tolerated in a marriage and not on children. They suffer even if they are not touched, they are fearful and the pattern is in motion.

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  4. Ruth says:

    My dearest sister.
    My heart as I read your story just aches.
    What you have endured no woman on earth should ever go through.
    Your children should have never suffered so, seeing and feeling all this pain. Men and woman in many ways will answer for all the pain that has been caused to there families.

    You know the father does now really have you in the palm of his hand.
    He! From know on if you trust and let him, will start to heal your heart soul and mind.
    Sometimes even though it is so hard to let go, we have to try to move on. I myself suffer in my heart and try to put this into practice.
    Well that may sound good. But how can we let go of the pain.
    Well remember Matthew 11: 28:29.

    Come to me all you who are toiling and loaded down and l will refresh you. 29 take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for l am mild tempered and lowly in heart, you will find refreshment for your souls. 30. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.

    Confused the way I do this is when l read my bible at the beginning of each day before the birds start to sing. Before noise around the area starts.
    I tell my father by prayer what is hurting me or who has hurt me. Or what ever problem l have been facing and ask him for his peace for the day. For him to handle my problems when they are out of my control.
    Now the secret to getting that peace is really leaving it in Jesus hands so to speak. Not thinking about it that day.
    Of cause each day has its own anxieties so each day we do the same thing. Even with health issues. We must make the best of each day.
    Anyway.
    It actually helps your body to heal. helps the nervous system to operate correctly. Why not give it ago.
    Hand all your problems to Jesus . He would love to help you.
    Actually he is waiting for you to take action so he can help you.
    May our Wonderful father have mercy on you and bring you into
    a safe spiritual place. Also to bring in your life kind hearted and understanding friends of Christ. Wonderful friends to support you.
    All my love Sister Ruth.

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  5. FutureMan says:

    I have read your post and I must say that you have in overall been very balanced in the way that you have approached this sensitive subject of abuse that often exists within the family unit.

    And does exist sometimes among those who are baptized Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    I know of one sister in my own area who was both verbally and physically battered by her baptized JW husband.

    So it certainly does go on within the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, more times than the hierarchy of JWs would care to admit and not just from non-baptized husbands or wives.

    Unfortunately from my perspective the Watchtower Society was not sensitive enough to the feelings of those wives who have being both verbally and physically abused.

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  6. Jamie Bowers says:

    I was beaten, kicked, and strangled by my jw husband. When his threats on my life were witnessed by one of my co-workers, my husband was forcibly committed to a mental institution by his psychiatrist and a judge. Despite the fact that professionals deemed my situation to be dangerously abusive, the elders tried to bully me into either remaining in the marriage or stalking the man who was threatening to kill me in order to prove adultery on his part.

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    • Cedars says:

      Hello Jamie. As with Confused, I am shocked to hear of experiences like yours coming in so quickly right after this blog has been posted. It is shocking negligence on the part of your local elders to encourage you to stay in harm’s way so as to preserve a violent marriage and honour their twisted theology. Unfortunately, it seems that your situation is being repeated many, many times over due to the advice that is filtering down from the top. My heart goes out to you, and I do thank you for sharing your experience. We really do need to end this awful policy of putting sisters in life-threatening situations. Cedars

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  7. Ruth says:

    Jamie.
    I am so sad to hear another cruel tale. If it is not physical abuse it is mental abuse or sexual abuse on woman and children. We are very much in need of the real Kingdom of God. Where there will be no more tears. No more crying.
    No more anything! unpleasant things will never happen again.
    Jamie I do not know your situation right now. I hope you can see our father hates all this.

    What supposedly Christians do to hurt there families. They in fact are hurting our father as well. It would be better for them to put a large stone around there necks and throw themselves in the ocean than to hurt one of his little children.

    lets all pray for Gods Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. So many of Gods children are suffering so much.
    Please father in heaven bring in your Kingdom and its righteousness.
    Sister Ruth.

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  8. Anon says:

    Both sides need to be told of sisters that nipped abuse in the bud. In my case my JW husband (former elder) decided to kill the whole family one night. He reasoned we would get a resurrection and he was to commit suicide. Let’s skip the police and all and his being admitted to a pysch ward. I was called in by a three man committee, husband present. They pointed their finger in my face and told me your husband said he is sorry and we know he didn’t mean it. I asked how do you know. The presiding overseer said because you and you children are still alive. That proves he was just kidding as he said. I retorted, so you have to see our bodies to believe his threat. There was a silence felt physically, but they never backed down. Needless to say, I walked out and straight to the prosecuter and explained my predicament and they couldn’t believe our religious response. I changed my name. The brothers refused to call me by my maiden name and called the society who informed them they had to address me by the name I gave them. This involved 2 congregation committees. Abuse is a crime not a religious matter. The government has been put in place to deal with that, not a religious organization. Sisters have to forget the feminine side when faced with violence to them and their children. Do not fear any body of religious men. Remember, we ALL have to answer to Jehovah and Jesus individually. BTW one husband (brother) killed his whole family shortly after that. They did nothing to me nor to my husband. I divorced him and we didn’t have to appear before a judge as we made our agreement on support. He tells everyone he is glad I acted quickly and didn’t let him kill his family. I am not putting any blame on sisters but hormones aside, protect your children please and yourselves. It is being done by female witnesses. This is to awaken your conciousness and thinking abilities.

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    • Tammi says:

      I feel your pain sisters, as I have been abused by my husband for ten years! The police were called by our neighbors 8 times, also by someone passing by (he attacked me while i was driving), and at once at hotel in Bellevue, he attacked me in the shower, the manager called the police! Every time elders hid his wrongdoing and blamed me! The last time (WA,July 2006) many neighbors saw him abusing me and called police and he went to jail! A “no contact” restraining order was issued.(2 years) We then had separate living, separate congregations but same kingdom hall. (Kirkland,WA) My husband repeatedly violated order. The elders threatened to discipline me if i called police! So, my husband got away with doing whatever he wanted to do and they gave him privledges in congregation! He also, committed adultery during courtship, right after we were married, a month later, and dated sisters in his congregation while we were married but, separated, and yes, elders knew everything! When i found out, they let him say closing prayer Ministry School night! The elders even told him he didn’t have to support me and so he didn’t. (the whole ten years)I had to file twice for spousal support. The elders hid all his wrongdoings, turned whole congregations against me by lying about me and saying i beat my husband up!(im 5’3″ and he is 6’1″ and 250lbs) They marked and shunned me without even talking to me! The elders in NV, CA, and WA have treated me so bad for 25 years, I finally left! Unfortunately, (2012) the elders are still after me, still searching me out to DF me because they don’t want me exposing the truth about what they have been doing!
      By-the-way, my EX-husband (divorced now), is probably an elder by now! It seemed the more he lied, was violent, committed adultery, etc., the more priveleges he got!
      I’m not saying i’m a saint because im not. And I did try and fight back to defend myself which this is what the elders said i was wrong that i should have just laid there and let him kill me! I moved away to leave the past behind but, you know how wherever you go your publisher card goes with you! The last elder in Silverdale, WA congregation i talked to… I told him no one really cares about the truth, its just brother telling brother whatever! RE: Him sending letter, i asked him how could he send this knowing these were all lies about me? I got a blank stare and no reply. I moved to CA, and then now here to Gardnerville, NV. The WT Org. is just wrong!

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  9. Anony Mous says:

    I remember when I was a child, my mother and both of us children got frequently abused by our stepfather even before the wedding, after all an engagement is a promise and as Christians we have to keep our promises (which is published in the WT and was also affirmed later in life by congregation elders when I wanted to break off an engagement).

    We moved from congregation to congregation, trying to “do more” in the work and thus we had some ‘prominence’ within the congregation as a family but time and again, my mother would go to the elders and she would get the reply that she had to be ‘more loving’ and even us children got admonished to be ‘obedient to our parents’.

    This went on for about 14 years in over 7 different congregations with even Circuit Overseers and District Overseers getting involved.

    Eventually it got so bad, my mother frequently feared for my life (I was the oldest) and I frequently ran away from home whenever I felt I was in danger. Eventually she admitted to school officials and a doctor there were ‘problems at home’. She later left him but he stalked her, she went and lived with a friend and got a restraining order but according to WT doctrine, being overnight with a male person who is not your husband is adultery and she got promptly disfellowshipped.

    Trust me, this had an effect on my life, I reflected some of the attitudes in my first marriage (including a physical response when she got physical) and second marriage (verbal) and this behavior was again ignored (and in my mind reaffirmed) by elders as if this was somehow my right when I was the head of the household. One elder even implied that sometimes a women deserves to be slapped and (privately) bragged he had done so in the past too.

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  10. AGAPE says:

    He said to them: “Who will be the man among YOU that has one sheep and, if this falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not get hold of it and lift it out? 12 All considered, of how much more worth is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do a fine thing on the sabbath (MATT 12: 11,12).
    So he went on to say to them: “The sabbath came into existence for the sake of man, and not man for the sake of the sabbath; 28 hence the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath.”
    Mark 2:27,28
    marriage is certianly not somthing to be taken lightly. But shouldn’t these same principles apply when examining actions to be taken towards ending a marriage.

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  11. jacqueline says:

    Agape, I think what is being discussed here is not adultery or someone wanting out of a marriage. I would agree marriage is sacred.
    However, a policy has developed that is known and one new single brother said brothers told him how sisters are submissive etc. He said it influenced his getting baptized. 2 sisters divorced him for cruelty.
    A a young ministerial training school brother told my son not to marry his fiance. He said I just play with them and when we move I have a new girlfriend. He encouraged loose conduct. The society has to know if you send men out in their prime unmarried this would happen.
    So I hope you see what I am saying some of the abuse is so prevalent because of a mindset of mistreatment of women and children.
    Here is just a snippet. http://www.watchtowernews.org/familymurders.htm
    Also, I can tell you of a horror story that plague the whole northwest In. area one summer. Women were afraid to go outside alone. A maried sister was considered crazy by elders because of the things she said her husband did to her. This man was a highly esteemed angelic helpful, powerful brother. They did not believe her mother even when she said she untied her hog tied daughter from a beam in a ceiling after going to look for her.
    Long story short in every newspaper, this brother left the KH to rape and torture more women on Sunday, sat behind me . commented 4 or 5 times. He was caught after his second rape victim fought and the first had called police. If you knew the story you would conclude some elders had to suspect this man because of what the wife said he does. He repeated these acts on 17yr old to 45 year old women. He was so clean cut you would have let him in your house.
    So marriage is sacred, but the discussion is abuse of sisters in the org. 7 million is nothing to brag about when many know it is a predator’s paradise to abuse women and children, with the watchtower as their helper. Probably only 3 million are true christians. Sorry to be so long but I have a dog in this fight.

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    • AGAPE says:

      My point exactly it is the spirit of the law rather then the letter of the law. Althought the law says no work on the sabbath there are exceptions ie; a sheep falling in a pit.Likewise the law says divorce acceptable due to adultry the wife being in danger would be the so called sheep in the pit in this case thus allowing for divorce for her protection. Sorry if it came off sounding like I was definding physical abuse. with love

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    • jacqueline says:

      Agape, you were understood. You opened the way to throw in that we are not here disrespecting Marriage. Also I never looked at the scripture that way about sheep but it certainly applies here.

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  12. Ruth says:

    Dear brother Amos.
    Know in your heart you are now free from that kind of bad behaviour and abuse. You and all who love the Lord will have a wonderful future. If not now, certainly in the ever after.
    Sister Ruth

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  13. David says:

    Cedars – whoever you are this was an excellent well written article. Unfortunately having read this and the messages that accompanied it – I am left with the feeling that nothing has really changed with regards to WT advice about domestic abuse despite the sporadic articles which you claim gives differing advice to the Feb 15 Article. My now ex-wife was the victim of domestic abuse (physically and emotionally) as a child and when she and her brother approached the then presiding overseer about her situation (with the physical bruises as proof) they were told that he could not interefe with what ‘went on under their father’s roof’ and that she had to return or be summoned before the elders for disrespectful behaviour toward her step-father (reporting him to the elder).

    Years later when we were still both JWs, my wife and I had to accommodate several girls from the same family who had run away from their grandmother following one of them having their wrist broken after a domestic altercation – the latest episode in years of abuse. Because we had already warned the elders that abuse was going on (nothing was done about it) we contacted the local Department of Social Work and the police about the abuse and after several months of living with us the children were placed with other family members. The presiding overseer was extremely unhappy with what we had done and told me so for the reason that – and I quote “Jehovah’s name would be dragged down in court” (referring to the Case Tribunal). I replied to him that the repercussions on him and the congregation would be worse if one of the children was severely battered and hospitalised, at which point he walked away. Unfortunately, as a direct consequence of WT policy on domestic abuse, as you are no doubt aware several ex-witnesses including some members of the websites you visited are now pursuing the WT in the courts for compensation for the years of abuse they suffered as a direct reult of both WT policy and WT advice about not reporting such abuse to the relevant police/social welfare authorities. It is regretful that little if anything has changed.

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  14. Chris says:

    Its disgusting how they can stress “obedience to the superior authorities” when it suits them, and they are so willing to engage their team of lawyers to defend their rights, and are prepared to pay out millions of dollars of contributed funds in settlement hush money, yet when the little ones of the flock are threatened they look away. One word says it all – PHARISEES!

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  15. greybeard says:

    Thank you Cedars for another fine article! Great job! I like how you handled the subject. I would love to see the WT make adjustments but I will not hold my breath. At least this might give the sisters something to consider. I agree with your viewpoint on Jesus words. Surly he was not advising women to endure such behavior. I don’t believe Christ was encouraging the tolerance of domestic violence when he said to turn the other cheek at Matthew 5:39. However, some like the WT/GB/JWorg have taken it upon themselves to play the role of Gods Holy Spirit and interpret scripture for us.

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  16. jacqueline says:

    I am sure a comment on our site this morning is a spinoff from this site’s article. I am going to try and tackle it and would like help also. I will definitely use Agape comment about the sheep on sabbath. http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com.

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    • jacqueline says:

      Oh, BTW it is the Anonymous and jacqueline comments on Dec. 10th discussions on Christmas. I did the best I could. I just believe since we are not talking about marriage on our site it is a bleed over, because we are sister sites so to speak.

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  17. Daniel Metz says:

    “Take as an example the following 1979 Awake article, which implied that family disputes involving domestic violence are a waste of police time:”

    This is completely dishonest distortion of the article in the May 8 (not August 5th) Awake! The series of articles in that Awake! was clearly against domestic violence. The point of that paragraph was simply that no one should think that if they don’t have domestic violence in their home that it does not affect them. It affects them indirectly because it takes up a lot of policemen’s time, which gives them less time to take care of public violence and crime which affects “the rest of us”. What Cedars dishonestly did is omit the beginning of the paragraph:

    *** g79 5/8 p. 4 What Is Going On at Home Today? ***
    Can any of us say that we are entirely untouched by the tentacles of this “cancer,” home violence? Certainly the millions of families where wife-beating, child abuse or husband-battering occurs know that they are affected. So are we, if some dear friend or relative of ours is battered at home. What if we employ or work with someone who comes to the job bruised and distraught? Does it not affect us, perhaps even economically? Also, what is home violence doing to the quality of police and hospital emergency-room service that we get? Did you know that in some places more police die in the course of handling domestic violence than in any other avenue of their duty? Responding to family-fight calls eats up a major share of the policeman’s time, time that otherwise could be used protecting the rest of us from public crime and violence.

    Cedars is also dishonest in not mentioning the footnote in the Watchtower of February 15, 2012, on page 28:

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    • Cedars says:

      Hello Daniel

      First off, I would like to thank you for three things – (1) for having the courage to venture onto a website that dares to contradict the Society’s teachings (in flagrant disregard of the Watchtower’s counsel to avoid “false teachers” in the 7/15 2011 issue), (2) for taking the time to check some of the material referenced in my post, and (3) for correcting my error concerning the date. As you may be aware, we Brits list our dates slightly differently, and it can sometimes get a little confusing. However, I appreciate you flagging up the incorrect date, and I have amended the post accordinly. Thank you.

      As regards your accusation that I have “misquoted” the May 8th article, I have taken your objections under consideration. I can see how you feel the article was misquoted because the mention of police and emergency services is decrying the drain on these resources by domestic violence rather than specifically urging beaten wives not to call on these same services. I acknowledge this.

      However, what you need to understand is that much of what is said in Watchtower magazines is said through implication. It is for this reason that I used the word “implied” before the quote was given. A beaten wife reading the article in question may be forgiven for reaching the conclusion that it would be a mistake to call the police to report an incident of domestic violence, because domestic violence isn’t conveyed here as being necessarily a “real crime”. You must admit that the general tone of the discussion relegates domestic violence to being of lesser significance than other crimes by insinuating that cases of domestic disturbance are a drain on police and emergency room resources. It is this detachment from the reality of the situation that I was highlighting in the above post, and I stand by the way the quote was used.

      I would say this – it would be wonderful if you could hold the Society themselves to such high standards when it comes to the misquoting of sources. You will find with a little research on the subject that the Society’s publications are strewn with misquotes that are taken entirely out of context, much to the consternation (in many instances) of the original authors themselves.

      I hope you will continue to frequent this and other similar sites in search of the REAL truth, even if you are warned not to do so by the Governing Body.

      Cedars

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  18. Daniel Metz says:

    “Paul’s counsel does not rule out legal separation in extreme situations. That is a serious personal decision. See “Keep Yourselves in God’s Love”, pages 220-221.

    *** lv pp. 220-221 The Bible’s View on Divorce and Separation ***
    In certain extreme situations, some Christians have decided to separate from or divorce a marriage mate even though that one has not committed fornication. In such a case, the Bible stipulates that the departing one “remain unmarried or else make up again.” (1 Corinthians 7:11) Such a Christian is not free to pursue a third party with a view to remarriage. (Matthew 5:32) Consider here a few exceptional situations that some have viewed as a basis for separation.

    Willful nonsupport.

    A family may become destitute, lacking the basic essentials of life, because the husband fails to provide for them, although being able to do so. The Bible states: “If anyone does not provide for . . . members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith.” (1 Timothy 5:8) If such a man refuses to change his ways, the wife would have to decide whether she needs to protect her welfare and that of her children by obtaining a legal separation. Of course, Christian elders should give careful consideration to an accusation that a Christian refuses to support his family. Refusal to care for one’s family may result in disfellowshipping.

    Extreme physical abuse.
    An abusive spouse may act so violently that the abused mate’s health and even life are in danger. If the abusive spouse is a Christian, congregation elders should investigate the charges. Fits of anger and a practice of violent behavior are grounds for disfellowshipping.—Galatians 5:19-21.

    Some elders in the past may have given bad counsel to sisters. At a Kingdom Ministry School that I attended in the early 2000s it was clearly told to us elders that we must not counsel a sister to separate or not to separate. It is her decision.

    So many writers on this site claim that the faithful slave is dishonest, but I see distortion and dishonesty in the articles on this site.

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    • Cedars says:

      Hello Daniel

      I thought I would handle this comment separately, because I’m afraid it betrays a little more ignorance on your part.

      At no point in my post do I give the impression that battered wives CANNOT avail themselves of a legal and scriptural separation. However, as is very clearly expressed above, it is shockingly unfair that a battered wife is penalized for NOT knowing before she married her husband that he was a wife-beater.

      All that a separation does for a woman is to give her the right to live apart from her violent spouse and not suffer the physical abuse. She is still banned from ever remarrying to a man who will not hit her or otherwise endanger her life. This is grossly unfair, and I personally believe that Christ’s words at Mark 10:11-12 did NOT have this scenario in mind. Perhaps he didn’t allow for this scenario because it was so painfully obvious that a wife whose life is endangered by her husband shouldn’t be expected to remain married to him, because in Jewish tradition the need to preserve life superceded the law covenant – a tradition that Jesus often appealed to when remonstrating with the Pharisees.

      It is painfully obvious from your remarks that you lack any empathy with battered women or any knowledge of what it means to be tied to an abusive partner for life. I pray that you can have deeper empathy for the plight of these ones at some stage in your life, even if you can’t empathize now.

      Cedars

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  19. Bro. Ed says:

    Daniel, you may or may not have witnessed first hand the trials of sisters in many congregations around the globe. I am aware of several (in the past) in at least half a dozen congregations where the abusive husband (both a witness and non-witness) was treated as the victim instead of the abuser. My own sister suffered 3 years of violence from her husband (she married at 17 to a so-called brother of 28). On no less than 3 occasions that I personally am aware of the elders told her to endure. When she finally left him she was put on “trial” and made to go through a humiliating and faith destroying ordeal. All of this was done under the guidance of the Governing Body’s representatives. When she finally rebelled against the incredible process she took it on herself to reject everything!! She lost her faith and in her youth rejected God. While I can never condone her actions thereafter, I hold the organisation accountable for destroying what little faith she had. Her story is common…more common than you could ever imagine.

    Bro Ed

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    • Anonymous says:

      To sum up in a nutshell-am a brother-in org for 24 yrs. Victim of severe mental abuse in two marraiges-am sold down the river for life in this org. My only social contact is meetings and service-commenting is restricted to one or two per meeting-cannot ever pioneer again-been this way for seven straight years and will likely go on for a long time to come-can never remarry and experience a loving relationship with someone. Can only give limited comments and bible readings in school and am restricted on everything else-and thse restrictions are permanant. If it wasnt for meetings or service would be a true hermit.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    To sum up in a nut shell a very long story-was in two abusive marraiges-was a victim of severe mental abuse-have been in the org for 24 yrs.-though a victim of abusive treatment, because I filed for a legal divorce was punished by the congregation for it by being marked as a bad associate-have spent the last seven years in isolation-other than meetings or field service. Cannot ever pioneer or ever hold any privilage ever again unless I go back to my abusive mate and somehow make it all better. Am stuck alone for the rest of my life, though I was a victim of abusive treatment-unless I leave the org. My ex is still in the org and did not receive any punishment for her abusive behavior-she denied me access to my child whom Ive had little or no contact with for nearly seven years-do not desire to have any contact with tis person at all as she has lied about me so much to this child and others around her. I am abrother-abuse doesnt just happen to women-but its worse when it happens to a brother, because there are usually no physical bruises to show for it-thus the current guidlines on separation dont usually apply to brothers in such a situation-so a brother like me who opts for a legal divorce usually suffers a life of further humiliation-by the congregation.

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  21. DanielB says:

    Dear Annonymous . I can sympathise with you on this . I have been through physical abuse a few times myself under similar conditions . My first wife , a “witness” would make life difficult , being angry toward me in private , clearly 1/2 of the entire 22 years . There was never an openness allowing us to talk and resolve whatever her problem was . She would on occasion come at me with both fists , to which I was able to grab and contain . It works both ways , though the WTS doesn’t seem to address that much , if any . It is difficult for a man being disfellowshipped (so-to-speak) from his own homelife . Eventually I gave in to her self-fullfilling prophesy and left her rejected . Witness family said , “I don’t know how you can endure it ! I could never live so long with this .”

    Sister Jaqueline’s comment (above) is sensible .

    Be in good peace . Your brother . . .

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  22. Anonymous says:

    To sum up in a nutshell-am a brother who in past legally divorced a spouse who was mentally abusive-my former spouse left me and moved far away with our child-prarfully believe she was a closet lesbian who wanted me for the child and thats it. My only social life since then has been at meetings and field service-am otherwise avoided. When ive tried talking about my feelings was told that it was my fault for making a bad decision. My parents and siblings not in org. and they wonder how I remain in org. after being blamed for two marraige failures where I was a victim of abuse. Second wife in org and remains unpunished as mental abuse is very hard to prove. And it is not a grounds for divorce per the org. So I am basically sold down the river for life as I would never in a million years go back.

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    • DanielB says:

      Dear Anonymous ,

      Well you came to the right place .
      I believe you , and am certain that so many others here do as well . And we have also experienced dampening of the spirit around us through trial inside the organization . Some undergo experience where good consolation through hardship is seldom coming our way . My heatr goes out to you . Keep praying and our Father and His Son will provide comfort for you , and things will change for the better as your conditioning results . They will provide well if your heart is toward them ; we have such guarantees . Sometimes a brother or a sister needs to remember , ” I must be doing something right . ”

      Glad you came here . – A brother . . .

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  23. steamrolled says:

    Sorry I posted so many times over the same issue-was not sure if my comments posted.

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  24. DanielB says:

    Dear Steamrolled , Hello ! Nice having you drop in . It doesn’t appear your posts have shown up here on this subject , unless you had another name for them . We would like hearing about your concerns . Sincerely , danielb . .

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  25. steamrolled says:

    My screenname did not show up-made the anonymous comments above-but its only the tip of the iceberg-can probably fill a book with my concerns. According to org, am not supposed to be on this site-but when there are no humans left to share your concerns with that will not judge you, talking to god everyday is great, but it gets old after a while. For example dream of being in a loving relationship someday-have prayed repeatedly for it-was told it was wrong for me to pray for that if I am still married in Gods sight-though there is evidence Jehovah tried to answer such prayers through at least two different individuals in the last seven years . Why am I still alone-blame the org-they say I have to go back to a person who is abusiveto me or be alone. The second person became a mother to my daughter as her mother (my ex) had deceased-I allowed it because I really felt it was an answer for a mate, because I prayed specifically for god to find me a person to share my life with by allowing her to draw close to my daughter, so that I could see how the person really is by how she dealt with my child. When the elders found out, she was told to just withdraw from my daughter and was tod to hate me. After 3 years of being my daughters closest friend, she just stopped dead cold associating with her-my daughter was devastated. So was I. I told her mother about the prayer and her motheeven admitted it was an answer at least in relation to her being a mother figure for my daughter but had nothing to do with me-was told the prayer was invalid and not in line with will of Jehovah by elders. If it was answered, my conclusion is that the prayer was valid, or it would not have at all been answered in the affirmative by a person who was single and eligable for marraige and also looking to be such herself. I told her mother to her face that her daughter was the answer to this prayer and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her-she of course said its not happening. Ended up in the back room and was told how wrong I was to have this desire to be with this person. she was ordered to have absolutely no contact with me-she has since moved away-3 hrs. why-likely because she couldnt be arounnd me. My heart is still broken and I carry this experience with me day after day-can only talk to God and noone else-believe that its not the fault of god but of this org. with its shortsighted view of marraige and grounds for divorce. In Duet 24. 1 it says that if indecency is found in a mate divorce is allowable-the principle still stands just like thou shall not kill does. In esther-the king dismissed Vashti because she did not accord him honor-why was this recorded if it was not for our instruction. I really honestly believe that it was a true answer and at least in the sight of the almighty, the marraige would have had his blessing and would have been a happy one-and my daughter would have gained a real mother in the process. I believe that god was acting in my behalf with the principles listed above out of his word and actually wanted us together in matrimony-but fear of what this org would do is what stopped this woman from telling me her real feelings-fear of disapproval by org and her mother because it would be labeled adultery. I really believe to this day that she wanted in the worst way to answer this prayer and be used to do such by God.

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  26. DanielB says:

    Dear Bro Steamrolled , I would like to mention a few thoughts over what you have been experiencing . I am a little unclear though on your situation . I think you referred to an X who is deceased , and one who you are separated from ? Would you clarify first ?

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  27. steamrolled says:

    Im sorry for not being more clear-first ex deceased-back over 7 yrs. ago-second wife left me 7 yrs. ago-divorce finalized over 6 yrs. ago. First wife got cancer a year after the divorce and died six years later-assumed care of two children after her death-third child from second marraige is the one I have not seen in a long time. If you agree with the general consensus that the situation described in my last post was all wrong thats ok-pretty well written it off as another notch on the pole of heartbreaking experiences. Am wondering if I should just leave the org. and hope my life gets better or try to hang on-my two kids who were with me( whom I raised as a single parent are both moved out and I live alone now). They are both in org. and my daughter is very happily married to a brother and my son has been doing well. But am very concerned for my own emotional welfare-as the Bible says it is not good for a man to continue alone-been alone for seven years, but figuratively much longer as I had no real connection in my prior relationships. If I left org. would not lose much as I have no close friends and my family does not belong to org. and they do not understand how I remain in it after what Ive experienced-they do not live in my vicinity, but going to live where they are is out of the question, as Id never be able to afford it. Im afraid to move because I am earning pittance as a dishwasher and they are taking 20-25 percent of what little I earn fo child support and that is going to continue for 8 more years. I live in a very small community and it would be extremely difficult to fade out of th picture if I stay. I doubt very highly that I would meet any woman locally that would appeal to me-its pretty hopeless that anyone in the org would marry me under the circumstances as Ive already related by my experiences. And of course, there is always the fear of ending up in yet another bad relatinship. Am pretty well stuck between a rock and a hard place right now in a lot of ways. My property is paid off, so if I sold it, id have some money to work with, but could end up having to carry a mortgage again and with 8 years ofpaying out child support still ahead of me, would like to keep things as simple as possible for my own sake. All I can say is its quite a dilemma to be faced with.

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  28. steamrolled says:

    I can go on with additional concerns-next month is the 30-hr. pioneer month-am the only one who cannot submit an application-it will be rejected and would have to endure another trip to back room and told how wrong I was for renouncing my marraige vows. For much of the last seven years have been putting pioneer hours in-but can never be recognized as such. Am not allowed to be in rbc. I have dispelled the myth of getting 10 hrs a month and being used in cong. For most of the 23 years in this org. have gotten 10 hrs. or at times much more-have never been a MS or elder. For perhaps 25 percent of he 23 years, I got as far as being on mikes and thats pretty much it-so for 75 percent of the time had absolutely no priv. in cong. At a meeting for field service, if there is a qualified sister and I am the only brother, the sister conducts and offers the prayer. When they had the bookstudy, if I was the only brother present a sister was assigned to read-and it has been that way for years with no end in sight. Can you understand the humiliation I feel every time I go to a meeting? I wrote 2 letters to the headquarters asking to be put on the pioneer list and explaining what has happened. It totalled 40 pages-never got a response. Talked to two different COs over the seven year perid and my complaints fell on deaf ears-have given up on trying to voice my concerns, because I get shot down whenever I do. Till very recently have never missed meetings. Lately have missed a number of them and feel happier and in a better frame of mind already-because the view of this org. is so your marraige and how it goes-so goes your relationship with god-if they are right, I am doomed to evelasting death, because all these horrible experiences I describe revolve around having theextreme mifortune of two failed marraiges.

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  29. steamrolled says:

    But if I leave, their conclusion will be-see Jehovah rejected him and handed him over to satan; if I dont go to metings anymore or in service, Ill be told that I am losing th holy spirit.

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  30. DanielB says:

    “Steamrolled” is right ! Never lose hope though dear brother . Sometimes we go through extended periods of difficulty , and then through our faith and prayer our Father brings relief . There are lessons along the way , it is true , and then we can look back when relief comes and God’s Son takes us by the hand in forward momentum .

    I have some things to say about your circumstances and for consideration regarding your outlook for the future .

    First , I would like knowing about your hope . Are you looking forward to being with Christ in his Kingdom of kings and priests , or as living upon the earth as Jehovah’s Witnesses teach for humankind ‘in general’ ? What is your hope ?

    This way I will know better how to answer . . .

    Brotherly love , danielb

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  31. steamrolled says:

    DanialB-appreciate your replies-never have given serious thought to the question you posed-for the last 23 yrs. have been taught that only 144,000 would go to heaven, so Ive never given serious consideration to what my real hope or yearning is. Ive had the urge to partake but have swept it under the rug and put out of my mind such things, because Ive been taught-no way. Yet I feel no deep emotional attachment to any human or to material things-my children are out of my life now, and I have no mate nor do I have any deep friendships. I read the accounts about Jesus in the Bible and like him, I feel like ive been in a figurative sense put on the stake by others who are supposed to be my closest associates. Like Jesus, do not have any close emotional ties and live in a very humble abode. Have very little in a material sense-but do love my fellow humans and lately realize that most of my fellow humans are good people trying to do their best-why should they be destroyed forever if they are not really what would be described as wicked? Ive always wanted to help others which is why ive spent so much time in the ministry-at one time a few years ago was conducting studies with over 20 different people. I am very open-minded about the question you pose-in all honesty am not entirely sure, but as I prayerfully reflect on what I just wrote-wonder if I am destined for the heavens-the evidence seems to support it, but I would never be open about it-not in this org. probably would be viewed as mentally disturbed. Jesus did say the last would be first-I definately seem to be the last of the last.

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  32. steamrolled says:

    As I prayerfully reflect on the question you posed it makes sense that I may have a future assignment in the heavens-I know its been said that those who have a true hope in theheavens do not feel an attachment to things of this earth-it seems to make sense out of all the things that have happened to me-why would th creator allow me to have an emotional attachment if he had other things in mind. Say hypothetically I married that person and then had to leave her to fulfill that assignment-that woman would likely have been devastated to lose me. But am not 100 percent certain as this is a very foreign concept to me.

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  33. steamrolled says:

    my thoughts on the matter continue-to argue against a heavenly calling would be-why was I so heartbroken over the experience described and why do I still wish to share my life with someone-why is that so strong if I really was destined or called to be in heaven. An arguement for a heavenly calling would be that for some reason, none of the close relationships in my life have worked out and I am not overly attached to any human at this time.

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  34. DanielB says:

    Ah , but the idea that those called to heaven do not have earthly desires in them is not accurate . Just recall what Paul had said about the warring that he had within his members . We all have that to contend with . Jesus knew that too , though he was able to make it through the human experience successfully , and aren’t we glad for that ! He is the direction to help us all through .

    Any of us here long to see the earth restored . We have thoughts over this , and it’s a very good thing , since we look forward to sharing in this restoration . We all appreciate the value of a good relationship within the marriage between a brother and a sister .

    This is a subject that I would like to discuss with you at some length . I see that it is one of your main concerns . If you would like to send an email to me it is dansgarden@tymewyse.com . I am not incognito here , and would welcome an email from you or anyone else struggling here . Or , if you prefer , I will go ahead with discussion on the subject by commenting as we are doing .

    To me , to greater subject that we are discussing is the upward call . I feel that there are probably many in the organization who would resist God’s call to heaven because of the social stigma that the WTS is guilty of imposing upon the “rank & file” or parish . They are standing in the way . But one with the heart for it needs to be sensitive to the leading of God’s Clean ( “Holy” ) Spirit .

    Now on the subject of choosing a mate , when it is said to marry “only in the Lord” , just remember that this means in it’s context to marry only another spirit-begotten Christian .

    There are many things that I would like to discuss with you . You can be sure that you came to the right place to make your concerns known .

    May God bless you dear brother .

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  35. DanielB says:

    There it happened again . . .

    My picture keeps going away , and that angry-looking icon thing comes back in it’s place . JJ and I are working on that . . .

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  36. steamrolled says:

    Finding a mate is one of my main concerns-but if I stay in org., its not happening-I have to hope for the death of another. I was actually told that I would be forced to go back to my ex in the new system-there are just no allowances given for a marraige that does not work out due to abuse or perhaps other reasons-that a person did not see prior to the marraige. I think(at least myself) that one of the worst thing for a person is to be forced against their will to be by themselves. That if a person acts on their desire to be with someone, they are dfd for it. I really believe that Jesus called remarraige adultery not to make a rule out of it, but bcause te people of his day were carrying on like that throughout their lives and making a practice of it and really had no good reason to obtain a divorce other than to be with a different person. But for people who have posted on this thread, most of thm have been the victim of abusive treatment-really feel prayerfully that Jesus never erased te principle in Duet 24;1 and it still stands-abuse would definately fall within the parameters of that verse. Really feel it would be very unreasonable to requre a person in this situatin to spend the rest of their life or even a significant portion of their remaining life alone. I actually mentioned this to the elders, and was told that Jehovah is never unreasonable. Well, he isnt but te org is. I have witnesses person after person in this situation get dfd, because most people cant tolerate being single for long-that is why singleness is mentioned as a gift. Ive been single for seven yrs. and have had 3 different opportunities for remarraige-the first two would have been very suitable. The third actually dated me for several months, but after finding out I had little in common, decided to go no further-also her witness family of course was another factor. The fear of what would happen kept her from wanting marraige-she offered to continue being friends as if to hold me in front of her at arms length-I declined the offer. Where do I go from here, believe my best bet would be to marry a person who shares my level of appreciation for spiritual things who has been through perhaps a similar experience. And also is a compliment to me in other things as well. Will I fade or even go as far as dss myself-am not sure, but realize the org. has some serious problems and came to that realization long before coming to this site.

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    • JJ says:

      Steamrolled

      Many of us here have been deeply impacted by your recent posts. I certainly have. You are a precious sheep in the Father’s eyes, as we all are. My prayer is that you will be able to get on with your life and your Christian walk and be called to peace, separated from man-made creeds.

      These rules have bound up heavy loads upon so many people’s backs. You are in my prayers brother.

      With you in Christ,
      JJ

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    • DanielB says:

      Sometimes , we go away from a marriage because we are pushed away .By the mate . And then later on we begin putting it all together , Like , realizing that she actually was ‘bi’ , or sometimes a lesbian . And then we know that it was insight that the Holy Spirit brought to us , and we don’t want to deny the Holy Spirit . Maybe that is what really came to light . And what is lesbianism of a wife but ADULTERY ? Or maybe she did that with another man or even before you married (or became “significant others” . I am going to return your email with a reply . Hang in . . . . .

      We need some man-to-man time .

      dan

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  37. steamrolled says:

    I agree-was definately shoved out of that marraige-then once she realized that I would never go bck, turned the tables and said it was all me-because she had moved away, they all believed her in her new locall. I knew it was over the day she left-how determined she was to find an apart.-how quickly she wanted it all done-she was gone a mere 3 weeks after she announced to me she was leaving. Yet lyingly told others I was the one who told her to leave. The elders urged me to meet with them and her-was very reluctant, but agreed-knew she would likely use it as another opportunity to bash me in front of them like she had done so many times prior t that. Thankfully the brother handling it did a very thorough investigation-he was a former police officer and knew when people were trying to fool him-he caught on to what she was doing to me and let her have it on the third meeting-she announced that she was moving-5 hrs. away-that did it-knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that it was over. However this brother was not considered by the rest of the body of elders, as I was eventually blamed for the break-up-as she requested a further meeting several months later which I flatly refused-was accused of not wanting to work things out. The divorce was finalized several months later-I initiated the legal action. At the hearing she tried to get the judge to strip me of all my legal rights to my child-he practically laughed in her face-she walked away from her half of the estate in spite of the judge trying top convince her otherwise. She tried to get me to sign a statement forfeiting all rights to my child. At the end of the hearing, th judge reminded all that 30 days of waiting were required before the divorce is considered binding-but a waver could be signed which could immediatly make the divorce final when we walked out of there-she insisted on signing the waver-I agreed and signed it. What really hurts is being blamed for that divorce-that she lyingly tells people that it was all me-all my fault. I cant prove that my ex was a closet lesbian, but believe she was-and used me in a most horrible way to fulfill her wish of having a child-the poor child was not even 2 yrs. old. I really believe that she did not want me to be a part of that childs life and still does not-will likely not ever go near this womn ever again at least as long as I am living. This org claims that god drew her-saw something extraordinary in this person. She told me that if it wernt for the possibility of having child, she would have nothing to do with me physically. That clinched it with me. I believe she would hve left me even sooner, but never had the money to actually leave-till we sold the house and relocated here-her spending habits drove me into bankruptcy. To sum it up, she married me for a baby and that was it-when she got what she wanted she dumped me in the gutter-but the org requires marraige for a child to be born-when she found out that she was pregnant, she asked me if I wanted a divorce-thought at the time she was joking. To make matters worse, she twisted the story so that I would be blamed for the breakup. Had it not been for the org. she would have left and I would have been able to move on with my life-this org. stands in the way of that and encourages me to be held hostage to the past-by handling things as if I am still married to this person in gods sight-it is horrible and sickens me. Seven years of waiting and hoping a fellow human dies so I can genuinly move on with my life.

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  38. skyrainbow says:

    Good news for those who hope for a meltdown of Jehovah’s people!
    Last service year 7,782,346 publishers = 2% increase!!!
    I can hear ‘the gnashing of their teeth’of the desperate, rancorous, frustrated disloyal apostates and other ‘workers of unrighteousness’ Luke 13:17,28.

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    • Cedars says:

      Actually skyrainbow, if you crunch the numbers you will find that the number you’ve quoted represents a 1.9% increase, rounded up to make it appear less humiliating. The percentage increase for 2010 was 2.5%, and 2.4% in 2011 – so it looks like your beloved human organization is headed in the wrong direction!

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  39. danielB says:

    Nah . . No weeping , gnashing , etc.

    Oh. Has anybody here realized , as I have , that increase in number is no reassurance of Jehovah’s backing ? To assert such is only JW-speak .
    Nothing more .

    Increases in yearly partakers is not a reason for pride in the leaders , to my knowledge . Right ?

    Cults have a strong grip on their worshipers .

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