Why the Religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses is Unsafe for Children

Sylviane Nuccio
Sep 11, 2017 · 6 min read

The majority of the problems that my clients are faced with whether they consult me about their relationship issues or other issues come from their childhood, so I am well aware of how childhood affects adulthood.

The reason why is that the first decade of a child is crucial to the development of the subconscious mind programming of that child which is going to shape the rest of their life.

Sadly, most people experience the result of this fact without understanding its source.

Because of my expertise in the matter and because I am an ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses as well, I am going to explain to you why the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses is unsafe for children.

I became a Jehovah’s Witness as an adult and I was a member of this religion for a little over 10 years. No matter how huge a mistake it was on my part to get trapped into this so called religion, at least I had chosen to be a witness.

When it comes to a child born from devoted Jehovah’s Witnesses parents, however, they have not chosen to be in this religion, and the damages can go much deeper.

In this article, I wanted to discuss the emotional damages of being a child raised in the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion.

Nothing is Really as it Appears to be

Jehovah’s Witnesses are all about the facade. Everyone is usually smiling and seemingly in a good mood when they are in public. So, for the most part, what happens behind closed doors, no one knows about it.

I should know, I was deeply depressed for the better part of my 10 years in this so called religion, yet no one knew. I made sure I kept a smiling face in front of other witnesses as well.

So, yes, this is a fact among Jehovah’s Witnesses, nothing is really as it appears to be. And those little obedient children you see in kingdom halls could be in a great inner turmoil and, you, sitting just next to them, wouldn’t know a thing about it.

If you have any doubt about that, ask adult ex-Jehovah’s witnesses who have grown up in this religion and I can promise you that their stories will shock you.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Leaders Encourage Physical Discipline on Children

If you’ve watched the testimony of Jehovah’s Witnesses governing body member Geoffrey Jackson in the Australian Royal Commission court case against the handling of pedophilia cases in this organization, you might have been totally fooled by his answer to the question he was asked under oath, but yes, Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders (the Watchtower) do encourage physical discipline.

Any present or ex-Jehovah’s Witness knows that. Period. No argument needed.

However, since this looked pretty bad in 2015 when Jackson gave his testimony in court, he couldn’t resign himself to tell the truth about this fact. As for us, who’ve been inside, we know better.

I will never forget that day at an assembly in Salisbury, North Carolina where a mother was beating her daughter in the ladies bathroom. It sounded so bad that we had to call an elder (a church leader) to stop her.

Indeed, as ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, we all remember children taken to the bathroom to be spanked if they didn’t sit quietly for two hours, even if they were only two years old.

For some of those children, because of the encouragement from the religion leadership, the beatings went beyond kingdom halls bathrooms, and for some of them, it was downright physical abuse. Something I didn’t even suspect when I was in the cult.

However, just take a moment to read or listen to some ex witnesses’ testimonies who grew up in this cult and you will have a pretty good idea of what went on behind closed doors.

While I’m sure some Jehovah’s Witnesses have never touched their children, the truth is that a large majority of kids have been hit on a regular basis.

Some of those children, adults today, are still paying the price of indelible emotional scars for it.

Inadequate Literature for Children

Another thing that for some reason I didn’t realize when I was a Jehovah’s Witness, it’s the violent nature of many of the literature illustrations that the Watchtower is publishing and how disturbing it is to children.

Just by taking a look at the graphic images in a book that was specifically created for children titled “My Book of Bible Stories” published in 1978 you can observe a father getting ready to cut his son’s head, a man getting ready to cut a baby in two, a dead man lying on the ground killed by his own brother, a woman thrown by a window, and an Egyptian carrying his dead child who was killed by God, just to name of few.

As a matter of fact, the book is loaded with violent images of death and doom that little children as young as two or three years old are encouraged to look at before they can even read.

According to the numerous testimonies that I’ve heard from former Jehovah’s Witnesses who grew up in this cult those type images, not only from this book but also other pieces of literature that they were exposed to as a young child, gave them nightmare and chronic anxiety very uncommon in children that are not subject to this type of unhealthy material.

Imminent Doom and Destruction

If the spanking, the hitting, and the violent images weren’t enough, the Jehovah’s Witness child is also growing up with the fear of an imminent destruction that’s always promised to come “very soon” in the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith, better known as Armageddon.

While an adult Jehovah’s Witness may only have a moderate fear of that promised God’s day of doom and destruction, a child, by its very nature, is going to be much more disturbed by it.

Children by nature tend to make up monsters under the bed, but in the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses children that “monster” is actually real — they know that soon, God will provoke havoc on earth and it’s not going to be pretty.

Obviously, this is pretty unhealthy for children and will provoke anxiety, nightmares and even depression as they are on top of it all made aware very early on in their children’s life that Armageddon also means that their school mates and teachers will be among the people destroyed since they are not Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The Denying of the Self

A child who is fortunate enough to grow up in normal circumstances will be allowed and even encouraged to develop his own personality, his own likes and dislikes, and even pursue his passions.

In the world of a Jehovah’s Witness child, however, it’s completely different.

Very early on the child will learn that the self is unimportant. What you like, don’t like and even who you are as a person is secondary at best. The only important thing is Jehovah and what you can do to please HIM. No matter how great or small the sacrifices.

The denying of the self is bad enough for an adult that he’s taught such thing as an adult, but when this is embedded into a child’s brain it can be quite damaging and totally distort his life as an adult.

The first 7 years of a child are crucial and the first 16 years are critical in the mind programming of that child.

This means that whatever a child is taught during those early years is here to stay unless some actions are taken later on in life to remove the faulty programming, as it were, and replaced with a healthy one.

This is why, adult Jehovah’s Witnesses who have grown up in this religion come to me in a bad shape mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

There is hope, however. No one is beyond help.

If my clients are willing to do their part on the path to recovery, they can recover a healthy mental, emotional and spiritual state that all human beings need to have in order to be able to function properly in this life.

Watch my video about this topic here!

Sylviane Nuccio

Written by

Sylviane is a relationship coach for women and helps ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses who struggle after their exist of the cult. Blog: http://sylvianenuccio.com

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