This is How Jehovah’s Witness Elders Are Taught to Minister to People with Suicidal Thoughts

Suppose you’re religious and your husband dies. And you’re depressed, even a year later. The depression is so bad, in fact, that you’re thinking about committing suicide (by “turning the car on in the garage and just going to sleep inside”) so you can be reunited with him in the afterlife.

So you ask some elders at your church for guidance.

They don’t suggest seeking out professional help.

Instead, they first meet in private to find just the right Bible verses to preach at you. Then they visit your home to tell you how you’re just like Job and how you ought to be an “integrity keeper.” Then they tell you to treat your thoughts of suicide much like you treat thoughts of immorality: by rejecting them entirely (as if it’s just that easy). Then they tell you to repeat the words, “I am an integrity keeper” and memorize some Bible verses to cope with your grief. (“Please find Jeremiah Chapter 29, Verses 11 and 12… will you agree to memorize those two verses?”)

Two Jehovah’s Witness elders tell Mary (in red skirt) how to cope with her husband’s death

This is what Jehovah’s Witness elders are actually taught to do according to a just-leaked video from the “Watchtower-approved” Kingdom Ministry School. It was sent to blogger John Cedars at JWsurvey, who has posted the video (and a couple of other ones) online:

Even after watching that emotionless, almost cruel exchange, it’s the last few seconds that may be the most disturbing:

Armed with this outrageous pseudo-psychiatry, Mary excuses herself from the conversation to get some cookies for the elders. The older elder seemingly takes this as a sign that they have done their jobs well and mouths “thank you Jehovah” heavenward as the other elder looks on.

Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t get as bad a rap as other Christian denominations, but these videos, including one about how to properly disfellowship a church member, show just how harmful and petty JW leaders can be.

If you’re not outraged after watching those videos, there’s something wrong with you.

(Thanks to Robert for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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