The Jehovah’s Witnesses organization has often been prompted to go before the courts to defend the rights of its members to reunite, to preach door to door, to refuse certain medical treatments, to refuse to salute the flag, to refuse to sing the national anthem, to refuse to serve in the military etc. However, behind closed doors this cult is far from respecting fundamental human rights.
Here are a few of the prohibitions in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which are imposed on their members stripping them of their human rights. (Note : always use a condom to protect yourself against STIs.) :
- Forbidden to have premarital sex. 1
- Forbidden to participate in oral sex. 2
- Forbidden to participate in anal sex. 2 and 3
- Forbidden to participate in sexual activity with people of the same sex (homosexuality).4
- Forbidden to marry someone who is not Jehovah’s Witness. 5
- Forbidden to divorce and to remarry. (Can divorce and remarry only if the other spouse commits fornication).6
- Forbidden to have an abortion or to use the morning after pill. 7
- Forbidden to masturbate. 8
- Forbidden to become a transgender or transsexual. 9
- Forbidden to become a transgender or transsexual. 9
- Women must be in total submission towards their husbands. 10
- Forbidden to believe in evolution theory and to promote such ideas.11
- Forbidden to promote other beliefs that are not taught by the cult and forbidden to contest existing ideas (apostasy). 12
- Forbidden to go to another religion or cult.13
- Forbidden to oppose the law of the sect, organization or its representatives. 14
- Forbidden to listen to certain types of music, movies, television shows, read certain books, play certain games, video games or go on certain Web sites. 15
- Forbidden to acquaint oneself with non-believers on a regular basis. 16
- Forbidden to participate in sports competitions (not sports). 17
- Forbidden to vote independently at an election. 18
- Forbidden to involve oneself in politics. 18
- Forbidden to play the lottery. 19
- Forbidden to partake in any celebrations such as Halloween, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, national celebration days, Easter etc. 20
- Forbidden to receive blood transfusions even if life is compromised. Forbidden to eat blood or foods containing blood. 21
- Previously: Vaccines and organ transplants were strictly forbidden. 22
- Previously: higher education was almost forbidden. This is still strongly not advisable. The cult allows short technical education only. 23
- Forbidden for women to wear revealing shirts, tub tops skirts that are above the knee. 24
- Forbidden to wear extremely tight pants. 25
- Forbidden to wear baggy oversized clothing. 26
- Forbidden for women to have special privileges in the congregation such as elders or ministerial assistant or other. 10
- Forbidden for women to teach men the doctrine unless there are exceptional circumstances and in these cases they must wear a hat as a sign of subordination. 10
- Forbidden to participate in martial arts. 27
- Forbidden to drink a toast to somebody. 28
- Tattooing is strongly discouraged. 29
- Piercings are strongly discouraged. 30
- And more.
Many prohibitions are directly linked to disciplinary measures imposed by what they call an ‘elder’ or a committee of 3 elders forming a judicial committee (a religious court). They use a manual named “Shepherd the Flock of God - 1 Peter 5:2“. Only elders are permitted to use this manual. It indicates how to punish disobedience. The following are some examples of their coercive measures:
- Severe and humiliating verbal reprimands to break the individual.
- Temporary or permanent loss of privileges (they work on a privilege system).
- Inability to obtain privileges.
- Rejection, avoidance and shunning of a member once he has been deemed 'marked'.
- Unwanted disassociation.
- Disfellowshipping: no longer able to have access to other members. Shunning : forbidden to speak or to associate with the disfellowshipped. Except in limited circumstances. It is psychological harassment. 31
- Parents use corporal punishment to discipline their children.
*These prohibitions and disciplinary measures are violations of human rights. The prohibition of blood transfusion is a violation of the right to life in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Clarifications on disfellowshipping, dissociation and inactivity. 31
Until an individual is baptized Jehovah's Witness, he will suffer virtually no disciplinary action unless he is an unbaptized publisher and commits a "sin" then he will lose his publishing privileges and this loss will be publicly announced at the kingdom Hall. Children not yet baptized from Jehovah's Witnesses parents are often punished if they disobey to what the cult demands. There are some who will be beaten for example if they have not prepared their Watchtower before the meeting or if they are caught committing a "sin"
A baptized Jehovah’s Witness who stops publishing becomes “irregular” and eventually “inactive” and will lose privileges and responsibilities as disciplinary actions. The other Witnesses can talk to him and attend him but will avoid doing it because he has become spiritually weak and could have a bad influence on them.
A Jehovah’s Witness who commits a sin or disobeys, will be met by normally three elders from his congregation and will be severely reprimanded verbally. If he refuses to repent, he will be disfellowshipped and this expulsion will be publicly announced at the Kingdom Hall. He will lose all privileges and responsibilities. The other Witnesses will not be allowed to talk to him or to attend him; otherwise they will also be disfellowshipped. Except:
-If it's a co-worker, they can talk to him at work about the work only. Not outside of work place.
-If it's a family member living under the same roof, they can speak to him in connection with the activities of daily living only. But they will make him feel that he is a nobody and denigrate him. If it is a minor child, upon reaching majority, when his parents have kicked him out or if he leaves by himself, no more contacts. Except in certain limited circumstances, for example if there is a death in the family. Some Jehovah's Witnesses parents speak in secret with their child who has been disfellowshipped, but in doing so they disobey the instructions of the cult and could lose privileges as a disciplinary action. However, these parents will not be disfellowshipped themselves.
If a Jehovah’s Witness “disassociates himself”, the other Witnesses won’t be allowed to speak to him or attend him.
A baptized Jehovah's Witness who attends another religion or cult or decides to be part of it, will be met by the elders of his congregation. They will tell him that it is wrong and if he refuses to repent, they will announce that he has disassociated himself from the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization, which is not necessarily his will. The punishment is the same as for disfellowshipping. Only the term is changed.
References : Watchtower publications listed below.
Note : references were updated to match with the english versions that were published earlier than the french versions until 1986.
1 - Watchtower February 15th, 2004 p. 12 par. 9, You can live forever in paradise on earth, (1989), chap. 12 p. 110 par. 15
2 - Watchtower January 15th, 1975 p.48, Watchtower February 15, 1976 p. 122 par. 15, Watchtower March 15, 1977 p.176 par. 16-17, Watchtower September 15 1977 p.558 par. 14+16, Watchtower February 15, 1978 p.30-31
3 - Watchtower March 15, 1977 p.176 par. 16-17
4 - Watchtower February 1st, 2002 p. 5, Watchtower June 1st, 2000 p. 6
5 - Watchtower May 1st, 2002
p. 17, par. 13-15, Watchtower July 15th, 1999 p.31, Watchtower May 15th, 1990 p.17 par. 11
Watchtower May 15th, 1990 p.17 par. 11
6 - Awake ! May 8th, 2004 p. 20-21
7 - What does the Bible really teach? (2005) chap. 13 p.127 par. 5, The secret of family happiness (1996) Chap. 5 p. 53
8 - Questions Young People Ask-Answers That Work. (1989) Chapters 25 and 26. (Revised 2011, Vol. 1 Chapter 25), (Vol. 2 Chapter 29, 2008, 2012) ;Watchtower Sept. 15, 1973 p.564-569
9 - An article was written about it by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, but was never published. However, several Jehovah’s Witnesses in position of authority are aware of it. For example, an individual who has changed sex and wishes to become a Jehovah’s Witness will necessarily have to return to the sexual identity he or she had at birth, although he or she will not be asked to undergo surgery again. Regarding the intersex people (hermaphrodites), the Watchtower said that there is usually a dominant sex and it does not require that they undergo surgery.
10 - Insight on the Scriptures (1988) Vol. II p.1195-1197
11 - See the book : Life : How did it get here? By evolution or by creation? (1985) Chap. 20 p. 248 par. 6, Watchtower April 1st, 2005 p.5-6, Awake ! June 22nd, 1998 p. 8
12 - Our Kingdom Ministry, December 2003, Our Kingdom Ministry, May 1992, Watchtower May 15th, 2003 p.15 par. 24, Watchtower October 1st, 1989 p.18-19, par 13-14
13 - Watchtower October, 15th 1986, p. 31
14 - Watchtower August 15th, 2000 p. 28
15 - Worship the only true God, (2002) chap. 8 p. 75 par. 12, The secret of family happiness (1996) chap. 13 p. 156 par. 10, Watchtower November 15th, 1999 p. 22 par. 14, Awake ! November 8th, 1986 p.10, Awake ! March 22, 1973 p.12-14, Watchtower January 15th, 2006 p.23 par. 13.
16 - Worship the only true God (2002) chap. 5 p. 46. par. 10, Awake ! November 8th, 1986 p.10, Awake ! January 22nd, 1994 p.18, Awake ! December 22nd, 1993 p.26, Awake ! May 22nd, 2002 p.25
17 - Watchtower October 15th, 1976 p.622-623 par. 9-12, Watchtower June 15th, 1999 p.13
18 - In the past , it was forbidden for Jehovah's Witnesses to vote at the elections. In the past, many witnesses were imprisonned around the world for refusing to vote : Revelation : it's grand climax at hand! (1988) Chap. 28 p. 197 par. 36: But since 1999, the Watchtower took a softer line. If they are forced to vote, they can : Watchtower November 1st, 1999 p. 28-29
19 - Watchtower June 15th, 1993 p. 31
20 - Watchtower November 15th, 2003 p. 27, What does the Bible really teach? (2005) Chap. 16 p. 156-159, Watchtower December 1st, 1996 p.9
21 - Watchtower June 15th, 2004 p.29-31
22 - *Organ transplants were forbidden from 1967-1980. (Watchtower November 15th, 1967 p. 702-704, Watchtower March 15th, 1980 p.31)
*Vaccines were forbidden from 1931-1952. (The Golden Age of February 4th.1931 p.293 ; The Watchtower December 15th, 1952 p. 764)
23 - Questions Young People Ask-Answers That Work. (1989) chap.18 p.141,Watchtower August 1st, 1990 p.13 par. 15, Watchtower August 15th, 1992 p. 28, Watchtower November 1st, 1992 p. 20 par. 17-19, Watchtower June 15, 2012 p.23
24 - Watchtower February 1st, 2002 p.6, Watchtower March 1st, 1977 p.149 par. 6, Watchtower March 15, 1973 p.188, Watchtower August 15, 1970 p.500 par.21, Watchtower October 1st, 1970 p.600, Awake ! November 22nd, 1984 p.22
25 - According to a talk from Anthony Morris III, member of the governing body, in Italy on January 5, 2014.
26 - Kingdom ministry April 3, 2003 p. 5 par. 5
27 - Watchtower July, 15th 1983, p. 24-25 par. 13
28 - Keep Yourself in God's Love, 2008 p. 154
29 - Awake ! September 22nd, 2003 p.25
30 - Awake ! March 22nd, 2000 p. 11
31 - Keep Yourselves in God's Love, 2008 p.207-209. Watchtower October 1, 2001, pages 16-17, and November 15, 1988, page 20. Watchtower April 15, 1988, pages 26-31, Watchtower September 15, 1981, pages 26-31.