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Jehovah's Witnesses

and Child Custody Cases

It can be very agonizing for a person to watch their own minor child become involved with the Watchtower Society knowing the theological and social teachings of this organization. If you find yourself in a situation where your child is being involved with this organization by your spouse or former spouse, DO NOT HESITATE to take action. The longer you wait, the more indoctrinated your child will become and the harder it will be to get them out of this organization. Do not kid yourself into thinking that this is just some fad that will go away.

The longer your spouse or former spouse has been actively attending "bible studies" or going to meetings at the Kingdom Hall, the less likely it is that they will disassociate themselves from the Watchtower Society in the near future. Your spouse or former spouse needs to be firmly confronted about their involvement of your child with this organization and they need to be told that a legal remedy will be sought if they continue. Make sure there is no doubt in their mind about your absolute objection and about your resolve to take action if necessary. Again, do not hesitate. It is not an exaggeration to say that the mind and soul of your child is at stake. Hesitating for any reason, including not wanting to strain the relationship between yourself and your spouse or former spouse, is the biggest mistake a parent can make in this situation.

Since it is unlikely that your spouse or former spouse who has come to accept the teachings of the Watchtower Society will be deterred from trying to involve your child with this organization, a legal remedy will probably be necessary. If this situation leads to the end of your marriage or if you are already divorced, it is very important that you find a good attorney. Talk to friends, family members, and other attorneys for recommendations.

The attorney you select should be experienced, preferably one who has been in practice for more than 10 years. He should be practicing primarily or exclusively domestic law and he should have a reputation of being aggressive. It would be helpful if your attorney has had experience in custody litigation involving a Jehovah's Witness, but it is unlikely that you will find one that has. You may also contact Witness, Inc. (PO Box 597, Clayton, CA 94517, 1-925-672-5979), and they may be able to supply you with the name of an attorney who practices in your jurisdiction and who has this experience. You will need to explain to your attorney that this is not about freedom of religion, since you are not trying to stop your former spouse from being a Jehovah's Witness, but that this is about what is in the best interest of your child. You will also need to give him the material at your disposal (see below), and explain to him that in your opinion, many of the teachings of the Watchtower Society are not conducive to the normal psychosocial development of children.

From the very beginning, make your attorney aware of your resolve that you will not agree to any compromise in which your child would still be involved with this organization. Make sure that a mental health care professional, preferably a child psychologist, is appointed by the court to evaluate the situation and make a recommendation to the court. The court appointed mental health care professional also needs to know the teachings of the Watchtower Society that you are the most concerned about. If you are divorced and have joint custody, it will probably be necessary to seek sole custody. It is also a good idea to start documenting any changes in your child (behavioral, emotional, decrease in school performance, etc.) or anything your child says that would indicate that involvement with this organization is causing psychological trauma (ie. fear, anxiety, confusion, etc.). Also, if you are not regularly attending church, it is a good idea to start and to make sure that you bring your child and discuss with him the teachings of your faith.

Finally, before you see an attorney, it is essential that you obtain material which documents exactly what the Watchtower Society really teaches. Fortunately, this can very easily be done by contacting Duane Magnani at Witness, Inc.(see above). From him, you will be able to obtain a massive amount of material in the form of books, a video (Battling Over the Children), and loose sheet photocopies of original Watchtower Society literature that can be used to educate your attorney and the court appointed mental health care professional and can be used as exhibits during the trial.

Included in this material is documentation that the Watchtower Society teaches that Jehovah's Witnesses should shun and "hate" certain people, "avoid independent thinking", believe all things that the Watchtower Society teaches, that Armageddon is coming shortly and all people who are not Jehovah's Witnesses will be destroyed, that they should refuse a blood transfusion even if it was necessary to save their life, that birthdays and holidays are not to be celebrated, that Jehovah's Witness children should not participate in organized team sports, extracurricular activities at school, and school dances, that they should not date before they are ready to get married, and that association with non- Jehovah's Witness children is discouraged because they are considered "worldlings" and "bad associations". This along with many other documented teachings would make it very unlikely that the judge or mental health care professional would agree that involvement of your child with this organization is in your child's best interest.

In addition to the documented material available from Witness, Inc., which I consider to be essential to your case, try to obtain a copy of Revelation Its Grand Climax at Hand! and Jehovah's Witnesses Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. These Watchtower Society publications can be obtained from your spouse or former spouse (preferably before your relationship deteriorates), from other Jehovah's Witnesses, from a used bookstore, or possibly by contacting the Watchtower Society headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y. There are many quotes from these publications that could be very useful as evidence during the trial and will be referred to below.

From Revelation Its Grand Climax At Hand:

pg 244 - "It is a long name: 'Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth'" and "We recognize Babylon the Great as being all of false religion. She is 'the mother of the harlots' because all the individual false religions in the world, including the many sects in Christendom, are like her daughters, imitating her in committing spiritual harlotry." Comment: The Watchtower Society teaches that they are the only true religion and that all other religions are part of Babylon the Great (Rev 17:5, 18:2). In the book of Revelation, the term "Babylon the Great" was used to refer to Rome and the Roman empire, not the "world empire of false religion", because at the time Rome was persecuting the Christians.

pg 101 - "It is Satan's earthly organization, his earthly seed. Prominent therein is Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion." and "What a load of bloodguiltiness! As long as Babylon the Great exists, the blood of her victims will cry out for justice."

pg 126 - "In fulfillment of that prophecy, the angels will unleash the four winds of the earth to devastate Satan's world system. First to go will be Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion."

pg 205 - "Babylon the Great is the entire world empire of false religion" and "Babylon the Great is the religious part of Satan's organization."

pg 207 - "Babylon the Great has also made conquests, but for the most part, these have been more subtle. She has 'made all the nations drink' by using the wiles of a prostitute, committing religious fornication with them."

pg 208 - "A prominent part of Babylon the Great is the Roman Catholic Church." and "Since Babylon the Great is the religious part of Satan's seed, ..." and "Babylon the Great tried hard to conquer that chaste congregation by seducing it into committing religious fornication."

pg249 - "Obviously, God's scroll of life will never contain the names of die-hard adherents of Babylon the Great or of any who continued to worship the wild beast."

pg 256 - "Certainly the immense material wealth of Babylon the Great will not save her." and "They destroy her, 'eat up her fleshly parts,' reducing her to a lifeless skeleton. Finally, they 'completely burn her with fire.' She is burned up like a carrier of the plague, without even a decent burial."

pg 265 - "Is it really so urgent to flee out of Babylon the great, withdrawing from membership in the world's religions and making a complete separation? It is, for we need to take God's view of this age-old religious monstrosity, Babylon the Great. He did not mince words in calling her the great harlot. So now the voice out of heaven informs John further concerning this whore: ..." and "God's people need to separate themselves from false religion if they themselves do not want to suffer these plagues and ultimately die with her. Besides, remaining within that organization would make them share in her sins. They would be as guilty as she is of spiritual adultery and of shedding the blood 'of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.'"

pg 272 - "For thousands of years, Babylon the Great has been bloodguilty, and she is a gross fornicatrix." and "But her major sins, 'massing together clear up to heaven', are her shocking acts of spiritual fornication - this latter in teaching falsehoods and allying herself with corrupt politicians."

pg 149 - "First, a forceful resolution exposed Christendom as spiritually dead and extended the invitation: 'In this hour of perplexity Jehovah God bids the peoples to abandon and for ever forsake 'Christendom' or 'organized Christianity' and to turn completely away from it ..." Comment: The Watchtower Society teaches that "Christendom" refers to "organized Christianity", that is, all religions, other than themselves, which claim to be Christian. "Christendom" includes the Catholic Church and all Protestant denominations and is part of Babylon the Great.

pg 57 - "They were finally separated from spiritually dead Christendom and were gathered into a righteous congregation more like the congregation at Smyrna."

pg 63 - "As a result, some of the modern synagogue of Satan, Christendom, ..."

pg 102 - "By the fourth century C.E., that old Serpent, Satan the Devil, had brought forth his masterpiece of deception, the apostate religion of Christendom - a Babylonish system hidden under a 'Christian' veneer. It is the principal part of the seed of the serpent and has developed into a multitude of conflicting sects. Like unfaithful Judah of old, Christendom carries a heavy bloodguilt ..."

pg 133 - "Yes, the whole of mankind is in danger of receiving an adverse judgment. But one section thereof is particularly guilty. One part - 'a third' - should have known better! What is that 'third'? It is Christendom!" and "The powerful exposing of Christendom's wicked ways has been continuous, ongoing, as the Lord's day progresses." and "The plague scenario reveals that Christendom's third of the earth is scorched by the searing heat of Jehovah's disapproval." and "17. (a) What is represented by the word 'earth' at Revelation 8:7? (b) How is Christendom's third of the earth burned up?"

pg 134 - "All her hundreds of millions of church members, if they continue to support Christendom's religion, become like scorched blades of grass, spiritually wilted in God's eyes."

pg 136 - "Particularly Christendom's 'third of the sea' has become as of blood. All living things therein are dead in God's eyes."

pg 141 - "Today, Christendom's hypocrisy has become so evident that many in the world can see it for themselves. But Jehovah's people have not let up in exposing her for what she is: a kingdom of darkness." and "Christendom is truly the most reprehensible part of Satan's system of things."

pg 142 - "Four heavenly trumpets have already sounded, and four plagues have been directed to the third of the earth that Jehovah regards as most reprehensible - Christendom."

pg 145 - "This is an initial woe in the exposing of the lies of Christendom and her failures, but only later, as the Lord's day progresses, will her deathlike spiritual state be fully publicized."

pg 150-151 - "... that is, in making known that Christendom and its clergy are completely dead spiritually, cast off by Jehovah and ready for 'the fiery furnace' of everlasting destruction. Indeed, all of Babylon the Great must perish." and "Preliminary to her destruction, however, the John class uses 'the sword of the spirit, that is, God's word,' in exposing Christendom's deathlike condition."

pg 209 - "Their being used in this way proved that Jehovah had utterly rejected Christendom despite her claim to be his representative on earth."

pg 263 - "How disgusting that Christendom gets involved with such massive bloodshed! Her clergy have indeed failed utterly to 'beat their swords into plowshares'!"

pg 270 - "As the principal part of Babylon the Great, Christendom will become a lifeless ruin."

pg 276 - "As a counterfeit bride, she was truly a masterpiece of satanic deception. At last, she is gone forever!"

pg 305 - "Christendom, though she claims to be the bride of Christ, is characterized by the disgusting practices that John here describes. So she goes down to eternal destruction with the rest of Babylon the Great."

pg 138 - "Because of the preaching of Jehovah's Witnesses, great numbers of people have come to realize that many doctrines taught by the clergy are spiritual poison - 'wormwood.'" and, "In Catholic parts of Europe and in the Americas, the clergy's scandalous behavior in financial, political, and moral affairs has sullied their reputation. From now on, their position can only get worse, since they will soon suffer the same fate as all other false religionists."

pg 262 - "Who, really, was being barbarous? Did the Catholic Church condemn Mussolini's barbarity? While the pope issued ambiguous statements, his bishops were quite vocal in blessing the armed forces of their Italian 'fatherland.'" and, "Abyssinia was raped, with the blessing of the Roman Catholic clergy."

See also the pictures in Revelation Its Grand Climax At Hand!, pgs. 146, 182, 184, and 213.

From Jehovah's Witnesses Proclaimers of God's Kingdom:

pg 38 - "Thus began Christendom, #part of which (the Catholic religion) in time became the official State religion of Rome." and, as a footnote, " #As used in this publication, the term 'Christendom' refers to professed Christianity, in contrast with the true Christianity of the Bible."

pg 52 - "C.T. Russell and his associates also realized that this infamous harlot was not merely the Catholic Church. Thus, while The Watchtower of November 1879 identified Babylon the Great with the 'Papacy as a SYSTEM,' the article added: 'We must go further and implicate, (not the individual members, but the church systems) other churches united to the Empire of earth. Every church claiming to be a chaste virgin espoused to Christ, but in reality united to and supported by the world (beast) we must condemn as being in scripture language a harlot."

pg78 - "On the basis of this, something was clearly explained for the first time: There are two distinct and opposing organizations - Jehovah's and Satan's."

pg 79 - "It was now so clear to them: everyone belongs either to Jehovah's organization or to Satan's."

pg 84 - "It denounced false religion as 'a great enemy, always working injury to mankind.' False religionists were identified as 'agents of the Devil, whether they are aware of that fact or not.'" and, as a footnote, "A reference to 'the great harlot,' mentioned in Revelation chapter 17. The book Enemies stated: 'All organizations on the earth that are in opposition to God and his kingdom ... take the name of 'Babylon' and 'harlot', and those names specifically apply to the leading religious organization, the Roman Catholic church.' (Page 198) Years later it was seen that the harlot actually represents the world empire of false religion."

pg 157 - "'... and in obedience to the Lord's commandments we must now declare this good news as a testimony or witness to the nations and inform the rulers and the people of and concerning Satan's cruel and oppressive organization, and particularly with reference to 'Christendom', which is the most wicked part of that visible organization, and of and concerning God's purpose to shortly destroy Satan's organization, ...'"

pg 170 - "In a series of articles entitled "Gathering the Multitude," published in 1936, The Watchtower explained: "The Scriptures strongly support the conclusion that at Armageddon Jehovah will destroy the peoples of the earth, saving only those who obey his commandments to stand by his organization."

pg 676-677 - "Especially since 1925, The Watchtower has shown from the scriptures that there are just two principal organizations - Jehovah's and Satan's. And, as 1John 5:19 states, 'the whole world' - that is, all mankind outside of Jehovah's organization - 'is lying in the power of the wicked one.'"

Finally, the court should not be interested in the theological teachings of the WTS but they should be interested in any teachings that could affect the psychosocial development of a child, especially if those teachings could have a detrimental effect. If a child has been raised in a mainstream Christian religion, just the attempt to radically change that belief system could cause much confusion and anxiety for a child. In addition, there are hundreds of other legitimate questions that the JW parent should be asked.

In a courtroom setting, it would be difficult for a JW parent to give anything but the expected answer if he knows that evidence has been submitted which documents exactly what the WTS teaches and if there are other JW's in the courtroom listening very intently to their answers. When asking questions of the JW parent, do not start the question with "Do JW's believe ...". The form of this question will be objected to since your former spouse cannot answer for all JW's, but he/she can answer with certainty what the WTS teaches and what he/she personally believes. Therefore, where appropriate, start the question with "Does the WTS teach ...", or "Do you believe ...". Below is a sample of just some of the many questions that your former spouse should be asked at some point during the trial.

  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that you should tell the truth?
  • Are you presently teaching and/or plan to teach your child the teachings of the WTS?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that all other religions are false?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that practicing members of other religions are "false religionists"?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that "false religionists" are "agents of the devil"?.Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that practicing members of other religions are controlled by Satan?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that your former spouse is controlled by Satan?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that everyone is either part of their organization or Satan's organization?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that world governments are controlled by Satan?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that this government is controlled by Satan?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that this court, since it is part of this government, is controlled by Satan?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that this judge, as a representative of this court, is controlled by Satan?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that the world is wicked?.Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that Armageddon is coming very soon?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that at Armageddon, all people who are not JW's will be destroyed?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that your former spouse will be destroyed at Armageddon, which is coming very soon?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that a child should resist as much as they can a court ordered blood transfusion?
  • Do you believe that any of these teachings (as well as the many other teachings of the WTS that your former spouse should be asked about), could be psychologically or emotionally harmful to your child?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that you should refuse to give consent for a blood transfusion even if you were told by a competent physician that a blood transfusion was absolutely necessary in order to save your child's life?
  • If you were in an emergency situation where your child was bleeding to death, would you bring your child to a hospital for treatment if you were SURE that your child would receive an emergency or court ordered blood transfusion?
  • Are there any teachings of the WTS with which you disagree?
  • If yes, specifically what are they?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that the WTS is God's one and only channel of communication to the world?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that the WTS speaks for God?
  • Do you have any doubts about the authority of the WTS?
  • If the WTS teaches something, do you believe it to be true just because the WTS says that it is?
  • Does the WTS teach / Do you believe that it is okay to lie in order to protect the organization?

For more information about Jehovah's Witnesses and child custody, click:
Review of "Preparing for Child Custody Cases"
Child Custody and Expert Testimony
Dealing With Jehovah's Witnesses Custody Cases
Jehovah's Witness Youth and Testimony in Court
Jehovah's Witnesses and Child Custody Cases
Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses Tackle Custody Issue
Battling Over the Children
A Pro-Jehovah's Witness Custody Site

For general information about child custody, click:
Child Custody: An Overview
How to Win Child Custody
Custody 911
Father's Right to Custody Homepage
Child Custody Links

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