- Religion and Philosophy
Fat People, Mickey Mouse and Birthdays - The Musings of Jehovah's Witnesses
The Ongoing Journey Into the "Inspirations" of the Watchtower Society
There is a good reason that the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society is going through a major 'rebranding' effort. They are moving away from their 100+ years of 'inspired writings' into an Internet friendly presence; highlighted at the 2014 conventions as JW.org.
It's not a coincidence that Jehovah's Witnesses can no longer order older publications; that the CDROM library is oddly 'limited' to certain books, Watchtower and Awake articles and revisionist history. The new version of the 'faithful & discreet slave', aka seven guys in Brooklyn, is putting forth their best effort to bury the past as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately for them, their 'inspired' publications still exist in many long time Witness libraries. For those that are desperate to get their hands on what they have been preaching to billions of people for over one hundred years, you need look no further than the Internet, eBay or often times, a Kingdom Hall library.
Hungry? God's Going to Kill the Fat People
"Glutton...fails to show love for Jehovah. Is food a big thing in his life? If in the presence of others, does he selfishly ignore their needs and take more than his fair share? Is he grossly overweight but shows no restraint over food, habitually gorging himself? Does he feel uncomfortable, perhaps even getting sick because of eating too much?...he has no place in the Congregation of Gods people...he will not inherit God's kingdom..." -- Watchtower 1974 p.167
Last time I checked, food was a big thing in everyone's life. As I read this quote, I couldn't help but think some poor "Bethelite" got stiffed at the breakfast table... and had an ax to grind. Nothing incurs God's wrath like taking the last piece of bacon!!
But four years later, the campaign against fatties continued:
"At a meal the gluttonous person may make it impossible for other diners to eat to satisfaction. For this reason the glutton may even be despised...he actually isolates himself from others...they may shun him...he may incur God's displeasure and lose his life...In the near future God's kingdom through Jesus Christ will bring law defying gluttons to an end...then persons will "hunger no more." -- Watchtower, December 15, 1978 pg.9
"Praise Jah, no more hunger; I knew he had a plan for all those famine stricken lands... kill the fatties!!"
If you're going for 'seconds,' you better think again. Don't you dare let anyone see you undo that top button on your pants! They have the green light to shun your fat ass; requiring you to invest in Weight Watchers to demonstrate your repentance. Jehovah will 'inspire' that judicial committee to make sure you agree to carrots, spinach and a treadmill... or they will keep shunning you.
Imagine a 'sister' at a judicial committee as one of the elders ask her..."now tell us about your dress size, has it dropped a couple sizes? Sister, there are reports that you have been wearing Spanks to the Kingdom Hall to hide your stomach."
Aside from the absurdity...and incredible humor... in these 'inspirations,' the true irony lies in the fact that many... and I mean MANY Jehovah's Witnesses are overweight!
Oddly enough, the Bible makes no comments on things such as smoking...but openly warns against overeating and over drinking. But attend any event, dinner, baby shower, picnic of Jehovah's Witnesses and prepare yourself to see several overweight people over indulging. Not only is their an abundance of food, but an overabundance of alcohol.
I served as an elder for over eleven years. The majority of men that I served with as 'shepherds of the flock' were very overweight. A couple of them were obese. Even worse, not only were they infamous for over-drinking, but their wives were notorious drunks. One bottle of wine leads to ten bottles of wine. Keep in mind the elders and their wives are required to be 'examples to the flock'... and in my experience here in the U.S., there couldn't be anything further from the truth.
Nonetheless, the 'inspired counsel' offered from the Watchtower above never comes into play. The rub comes when a baptized youth is caught trying a cigarette or wanting to play school sports. At that time he or she is hauled to the B School to be counseled by..... you guessed it..... none other then Brother Top Button Popped.
Young people begin to see the hypocrisy at a young age. They wonder "how is this man counseling me when he is doomed to a fireball shower for being ......fat?"
That never gets answered. But we are assured by the 'faithful slave' that Jehovah will take care of these people.....so famine can be abolished.
Sparlock: Poster Child for Evil!
Sparlock vs. Mickey Mouse: Apparently Satan vs. Jehovah?
The 2012 District Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses featured the release "Becoming Jehovah's Friend," a DVD, not coincidentally, made in striking similarity to today's popular Pixar movies for children. One viewing of the introduction, hosted by Governing Body member Anthony Morris, and you will see he admits that the 'cartoon' is designed to get into the minds and hearts of children.
The DVD has caused quite a stir. At the time, eight members of the Governing Body approved the release of this 'study aid.'... as they would tell you, with Jehovah God's blessing. However, one viewing and anyone with a brain is left to wonder "did the Governing Body have a bad cell connection the day they got this from Jehovah?"
This writer grew up sitting at meetings looking at the Paradise Lost, Paradise Restored book. Then, in what was one exciting move in 1978, the Bible Stories book. Both were perfect for the overactive mind of a boy who just wanted to be outside playing. They featured amazing 'kid friendly' illustrations like the examples you see here to the right: threatening to cut babies in half, tent pins through skulls, babies drowning because they didn't listen to Noah (never mind that they couldn't even walk or talk). I was always upset they didn't illustrate Jezebel after her window flight' getting eaten by the dogs like some good Puppy Chow. Bummer.
Both of those books kept me awake during meetings; but even more importantly, it instilled a subconscious fear in me towards God.
However, nothing made me laugh, cry and throw an adult temper tantrum like this DVD. If you haven't had the pleasure of watching this full length masterpiece, I encourage you to do so. A person can still find it on YouTube and other online pages. When first released at the District Convention, the Legal Department of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society went into overdrive to remove any showing of a DVD they claimed you could get for free at a Kingdom Hall. Ironic? Not when you consider the contents and the blatant efforts to instill fear in small children!
Seeing is believing. My favorite scene is the young boy, Caleb, imagining his toy in the clutches of Satan, who is by the way, still a snake as he was in the Garden of Eden. But Caleb has been taught to punch him in the face.
The implication, or should I say, the moral behind "Lesson 2" of the DVD, is that playing with toys or enjoying anything associated with the word 'magic' means "Jehovah is sad with you"...and by extension, you cannot be "Jehovah's friend." Caleb's mother shows him a picture of Adam & Eve old and dying. Then they both go out to the garbage can and throw away the evil, wizard Sparlock.
While some may think 'big deal' ... my mind went immediately to something else: This clearly means Jehovah's Witnesses cannot be Jehovah's friend if they go to Disneyland or watch Disney movies. Any association with the "Magic Kingdom", filled with sorcerers, talking animals, wizards, witches, spells, flying fairies, boys that fly and never age, haunted houses... would clearly mark someone as an 'enemy of God'... Caleb was saved from one evil toy... but watching Aladdin or Snow White would be a clear affront to God! Fantasia? Mary Poppins? Pinocchio? Rafiki in Lion King? All in the clutches of Satan, the serpent seen holding Sparlock in the DVD.
... the vast majority of Jehovah's Witnesses in the U.S. and Europe love and buy Disney movies! They take week long trips to Disneyland. Their kids have Disney figures and princess parties. They wear shirts with Disney characters on them. I know of some families that have annual passes to the Disney parks! Many of those going to Disneyland and watching the movies are elders, ministerial servants and pioneers!
Oh the irony.
Those that have this DVD from the District Convention literally have it on their entertainment centers... sitting right next to Frozen... the story of a girl with magical powers to turn everything into ice. Meanwhile, Sparlock has become a celebrity for the 'apostate' community.
No confusion there if you're the child in a Witness family. Lesson 2 should actually be entitled "Hypocrisy 101: Lessons from the Faithful Slave."
The theme of the DVD sums it up best: "listen, obey and blessed"......it sounds an awful lot like 'shut up, do what your told...and you won't get hurt"
Birthday Party's, Wedding Rings..and Christianity ala Carte
Jehovah's Witnesses are not allowed to celebrate birthdays or holidays. Witness children are taught at a young age that any mention of a birthday while at school and they are to ask the teacher to be excused. They aren't to touch any of the elements of a birthday, including singing, giving gifts or......GASP.....eating a piece of cake!
As one might imagine, this is very damaging to a child and has resulted in a lot of embarrassment for many a school age Witness. But it doesn't stop there: a Jehovah's Witness that is caught celebrating a birthday or recognizing their child ... or ANYONE as special on their day of birth can be disfellowshipped (shunned) from the congregation and labeled as someone doomed to destruction.
This only becomes funny when you ask a Jehovah's Witness, often times baptized for decades and out claiming they can help YOU learn the Bible, WHY they don't celebrate birthdays...and you find they have absolutely NO idea why.
Birthday's are the perfect subject to study if you want to see how the 'faithful and discreet slave' (read Governing Body) come up with their doctrines and beliefs.
For those that actually can answer the question, they usually reply with the following:
- The only birthday's mentioned in the Bible had bad endings
- They are pagan!
Let's take the first one. Note how the Watchtower leadership shares what they call "inspired" information from God:
“The Bible reports only two birthday celebrations, both of persons who were not servants of the true God. The first was that of Pharaoh of Egypt. It was marked by the hanging of Pharaoh’s baker, who had been in prison with Joseph. … The second, some 1,800 years later, was the birthday of Herod Antipas [during which the daughter of Herodias asked for] ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ … Is it just coincidental that they are mentioned and that both were for persons not having God’s approval? Or could it be that Jehovah deliberately had these details recorded in his Word, which he says is “beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight”?” Watchtower July 15th, 1980 page 30-31
It's an excellent example of how the Governing Body comes up with a 'doctrine' that is not condemned, nor commented on by God or the Bible. Neither of these events were featured in the Bible as a warning against birthday parties. Never do we find God, his Son or anyone else saying "don't celebrate your birthday!"
Isn't that "going beyond the things written"...something the Apostle Paul condemned? (see 1 Corinthians 4:6)
Bad things happen in automobiles too, should driving them be condemned? You can burn your hand on a stove, should you stop cooking?
Furthermore, the example of Joseph validated he walked with the true God and had the power of prophecy. He was then moved into a position of power in Egypt! As for John the Baptist,he was a key component in the early formation of Christianity... the party.. that he wasn't even at, had nothing to do with overall conclusion. The story featured people who were power hungry and sought revenge. Not a condemnation of birthdays.
And now for the second claim: The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses has pummeled the average Witness with how "pagan" birthday parties are; that they are pagan and part of false religion.
However, nothing is more bizarre and grossly hypocritical than the fact that, while the Watchtower condemns birthdays based on pagan roots, they allow and encourage other 'pagan' practices as normal and having God's blessing. Consider a few:
- Shaving your face - despite openly pagan by the Bible's standards, men are actually REQUIRED to shave as a Jehovah's Witness
- Calendar -- openly pagan, with each month named after a God or Roman emperor. Believe it or not, they actually tried to create their own calendar. You can see it, complete with new monthly names in all their glory, in the 1935 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. They gave up on that one quickly.
- Days of the Week - All pagan gods, but they still use them
- Eye makeup - It was used by pagan's and used to ward off evil spirits. You never saw a Jew or Christian in eye make up. (need I mention Jezebel again?) I'm thankful Witness women practice this pagan no-no.
- Lipstick - pagan, prostitutes used lipstick to indicate they would perform oral sex. Yes, the 'sisters' in any western congregation can be seen wearing lipstick... but trust me, none of them are having oral sex.
- Circumcision - It was used long before the Jew's claimed it, having it's roots in snake worship in ancient Egypt
These are but a few examples of 'pagan' practices Jehovah's Witnesses recognize and practice on a daily basis, But my personal favorite is their view on all things marriage or weddings. While they are vehemently condemning birthdays, they have no problem participating in openly pagan practices in their weddings. Consider a few examples:
- Wedding ring - pagan symbol
- Wedding dress - pagan
- Bridal veil - used to ward off evil spirits
- Bouquet - originally created and carried to ward off demons from the bride
- Tossing the bouquet - the opportunity for guests to get a 'piece' of the lucky bride
- Bridesmaids - similar dresses to confuse evil spirits away from the bride
- Wedding cake - cutting it, feeding it to each other and saving the top layer: all pagan
You will see most, if not ALL of these elements at a Witness wedding. However, the birthday party is pagan.... and this is blessed.
But...to be honest... I've always compared the bizarre obedience to everything anti-birthday to the Bible's open condemnation of getting drunk (or 'buzzed as many call it now). Trust me, Jehovah's Witnesses love to drink. Many drink daily and even more get drunk whenever they may feel like it.
The Bible, CONDEMNS drunkenness. God hates over drinking. Consider just one of the SEVENTY FIVE verses the Bible contains condemning getting drunk:
"Now the works of the flesh are plainly seen, and they are sexual immorality,*uncleanness, brazen conduct, idolatry, spiritism, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, dissensions, divisions, sects, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and things like these. I am forewarning you about these things, the same way I already warned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom." Galatians 5:19-21, NWT
Now, let's compare that to the Bible's 'warnings' on birthdays.
You guessed it. Not one verse. Nothing.
In fact, the Bible outright COMMANDS people to not judge others who choose to observe special days!! Romans 14:1-8 is a direct comment from the Apostle Paul to NOT get be concerned whether others observe special days or take part in special practices!
Nonetheless, every Jehovah's Witness will cling to this man made 'doctrine' to stay away from birthdays.... all the while, getting hammered on weekends.
It's a classic example of how this 'religion' has turned it's people's brains into mush. Hypocrisy personified. And God's view of a hypocrite?
'They publicly declare that they know God, but they disown him by their works, because they are detestable and disobedient and not approved for good work of any sort.' - Titus 1:16, NWT
Many year's ago I coined the phrase "Christianity ala Carte" .....they pick and choose what they bless and condemn, without any input from God or the Bible. The Bible simply doesn't comment on such matters. Jesus encouraged people to use their conscience. The Governing Body wants to take that away.
What Say You?
Why is gross hypocrisy okay with Jehovah's Witnesses
Suspend Your Brain and Follow the Governing Body
The tragedy in all of this is that people you love and respect fall prey to these mind control techniques.
The Bible itself openly warns mankind from EVER following another man; even one with a high and mighty title!
"Do not put your trust in princes; Nor in a son of man, who cannot bring salvation." - Psalms 146:3, NWT
If people would obey that simple warning, they would take the time to examine the absurdity of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. Instead, you will find over 7 million claimed 'publishers' all living a life of hypocrisy. They not only deprive themselves of the gift of free will, but they teach their children, their neighbors and anyone that will listen, to do the same thing. They have trapped themselves in a self imposed prison of laziness and chosen ignorance.
One is left to wonder what a fat, Disney loving, Jehovah's Witness makes of all of this inspired 'light' from the 'faithful & discreet slave.'
I find myself wondering over a good steak while watching Frozen with my girlfriend's kids. You see...... I'm a ridiculously happy, free wielding pagan. ... And I hate weddings.
About the Author
Darrin Hart was a Jehovah's Witness for over 40 years, 16 of them as an appointed elder and ministerial servant. He is the author of Leaving Jehovah's Witnesses - Practical Thoughts To Help You Survive and Thrive. For more information, visit: