Jehovah’s Witness elders and ministerial servants (deacons) are the only ones approved to give Sunday “talks” (sermons). There is a plethora of leadership approved talk outlines, ranging from topics like “How Should You Serve God?” to “A Godly View of Sex and Marriage”. (Yes, I am serious about that one. It’s a wonderful topic for 5 year olds to ponder on.) Each “qualified” elder or minsterial servant in the congregation will choose a few outlines and practice them. Then each Sunday, local congregation leaders will trade and exchange speakers…..sending Brother Bob from congregation Y to congregation X to give his sermon there, while inviting Brother George from congregation X to congregation Y to give HIS sermon there. In this way, each congregation hears a wide arrange of topics without repeats each week.
Quite honestly, I have no problem with their setup. It makes sense actually. But what most people are unaware of is that each and every talk outline that exists is a JW infomercial. Yes, different topics are discussed, but make no mistake. The purpose of each outline is to make sure that leadership is glorified and obeyed and that the JW organization and their beliefs is promoted. This is even true regarding funerals.
One would think that a funeral talk might be a little more from the heart. Less structure and more feeling. Extemporaneous. Stories told. Good times remembered. Etc. And in most cases……one would be right. But……not at a Jehovah’s Witness funeral. Below is a copy of the “Funeral Discourse”. This is a sermon outline that…..like all other sermons given…..must be followed. It is a requirement of leadership.
Each funeral talk is typically 30 minutes long. Now take a look at all of the points in the outline. There are a total of 30 points that leadership says should be discussed. Exactly 4 of those points have anything to do with the deceased, with one of those four being tied right back in to the organization. The speaker may talk about the age of the person when he/she died…..when married etc. He may discuss by whom the deceased is survived. He may discuss exemplary qualities displayed by the deceased. And he may talk about the “dedication record including privileges of service”. This last point is the one that ties the JW organization in. Yes, the deceased is being remembered, but only in relation to what he/she accomplished as a JW.
The rest of the 26 points are nothing more than a line by line Jehovah’s Witness infomercial for recruitment purposes. With the entire talk being about 30 minutes long….. with 30 points to be discussed…….and with 27 of those points being utilized to promote the belief system of the organization……that leaves approximately 3 minutes of eulogizing the deceased. And if you didn’t think this was an intentionally disrespectful, glory grabbing effort by the organization to recruit others, please direct your attention to the note at the bottom of the talk outline. It says “Instead of eulogizing the deceased, use the material in this outline to give a fine witness concerning the truth. Good balance should be observed in this respect. Doctrinal points can be presented as beliefs of the deceased, which served as motivation for him. Purpose of talk is to uphold Jehovah God as a God of love and mercy and at the same time bring comfort to the bereaved.”
(It should be noted that “the truth” is a cult-like catch phrase used by JWs to describe their belief system as opposed to others)
I don’t even know where to start with this! I happen to recall the last JW funeral I attended. It was in 2011. I had stopped attending any and all JW services but was not yet excommunicated. A man that I liked had died, so I thought it would have been proper to show my respect by attending his funeral. Being fully awake to the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses were a cult, the experience was eye-opening to say the least. The talk went just as you see in the outline. One……MAYBE two minutes were spent talking about the life of the man that died. The entire rest of the time was spent listening to the speaker pitch the belief system of JWs.
And why not? A funeral is the perfect time to strike for a cold and heartless cult. Unbelieving family members…….unbelieving friends and acquaintences…..workmates etc will all be there. And what do all of the aforementioned have in common? Bereavement. They are seeking comfort and hope because they miss their loved one. And THIS is why it is so insidious for the funeral outline to instruct the speaker NOT to eulogize tbe deceased, but rather, use this time to preach and spread their beliefs.
First and foremost, how disrespectful! The person that died was a born-in. His childhood was taken from him. He never went to college because college is all but prohibited. He spent his entire life with friends and family that loved him because he was a Jehovah’s Witness……not because of who he was as a person. He spent his entire life in hopeless and eager expectation of a paradise that was promised to him from his childhood on up. He didn’t challenge beliefs…..even when they would change. He spent his own time, money and resources every single week trying to recuit others. He was an obedient foot soldier. Wouldn’t you think that just once…..now that he was dead……it would be appropriate to celebrate his life and have the day be about HIM? But no. JW leadership cannot allow that.
Secondly, as I previously mentioned…….how insidious! Leadership knows that the JW process of door knocking for recruitment is fruitless. They know that non-believers randomly showing up for a Sunday service is a rarity at best. They know that the internet is their worst nightmare because they can no longer hider all of their lies, child abuse cover-ups and false prophesies. So they take advantage of funeral services to the best of their ability…..knowing that this is the ONLY time there will be a conglomeration of emotionally weak non-believers to attempt to indoctrinate.
The Jehovah’s Witness organization uses and abuses its own members for their entire lives. Each member spends hundreds of hours each year attending indoctrination services. Each member spends hundreds more hours in their door knocking work. Each member spends countless more hours preparing for the aforementioned and reading church approved materials. Each member spends his/her own money getting to and from church and getting to and from door knocking territories. Each member spends his/her own money traveling to JW conventions and assemblies……paying for food……lodging…….gas etc. Each member donates monthly to the local kingdom hall and to the JW headquarters. It is an entire lifetime of sacrifice and service with guilt and intimidation the penalty for failure.
And sadly, as you can see, even at death, the abuse does not stop. You are taken advantage of one last time. One final plug for the organization. Simply put, as a JW, when you die, you are NOT celebrated. And you aren’t celebrated because quite frankly, you just aren’t that important. They have millions more just like you that they will do the same exact thing to. You are a programmed machine. You are treated as one for your entire life and then when your life ends, and you can no longer carry out the programmed demands of leadership, you are discarded without fanfare.
Welcome to the life…..and death of a Jehovah’s Witness.