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Jehovah’s Witnesses Decry Marriage Restriction  print

Published on April 14, 2014 by   ·   90 Comments

Cyriacus Izuekwe

Some Jehovah’s Witnesses have decried the restriction on them not to marry Christians of other denominations. Members of the church are barred from marrying Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists and members of all Pentecostal churches, among others.

According to the Witnesses, marrying non-members is seen as immoral and contrary to the teaching of their church. Thus, such union is strongly discouraged and attract religious sanctions. Any defaulting member who marries outside the congregation is excommunicated and treated as a non member.

Some of the members, especially the unmarried ones, who spoke with P.M.NEWS but did not want their names mentioned, expressed concerns that they have limited choices to make as they cannot marry outside their church.

They said as a result of the marriage restriction, many of them could not marry on time or are forced to marry spouses they are not compartible with in the church.

Confirming the marriage restriction, a senior teacher of the church, Elder James Etop, told our reporter on Sunday that the decision was taken in line with Biblical injunction and members of the church have obligation to comply with it or not.

He said the church cannot compel its member to obey the directive but would not attend such wedding or honour the union.

Etop explained that Jehovah’s Witnesses and members of other churches do not share many fundamental beliefs and if members are allowed to marry outside the church, their faith would be affected.

He said there are many contradictions between the teachings of Jehovah’s Witness and other churches, including issues about heaven and hell fire.

Etop said other churches believe that when they die, they would go to heaven contrary to the teaching of Witness, who believes that Earth is the paradise they would inherit when they die.

“For instance, there is nothing like hell fire as propagated in many churches. Hell fire was mentioned just as an illustration by Jesus Christ when He was saying the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in the Bible. If a member marries such a person who believes in such doctrines which is against the teaching of the Witness, it will definitely affect his or her faith.”

Meanwhile, there were reactions from some leaders of other churches on the marriage restriction.

They said such teaching by the church was like turning the Bible upside down.

Pastor Frank Osemele of God’s Hand Delivery Ministry and Prophecy said such teachings are strange and contrary to the Biblical teaching.

He said once one believes in Jesus Christ and the Bible, such a person is a Christian and therefore segregation among Christians is not what Jesus taught His followers. He also said there is Hell Fire and quoted the Bible in Revelation Chapter 19 verse 20 and Revelation chapter 20 verse 10 to support his claims.

Osemele urged that such teaching should be disregarded by members because it was only meant to cause confusion among Christians. Prophet Jide Ogunshola of the Celestial Church of Christ also advised members of the church to disregard such teaching because it did not come from God.

Posted by on April 14, 2014, 1:27 pm. Filed under Lifestyle, Metro, News, Religion, Today's Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

90 Comments for “Jehovah’s Witnesses Decry Marriage Restriction”

  1. Ben

    This article is about marriage.
    The Israelites were forbidden to have relationships with the surrounding nations because it would contaminate their faith.
    God has not changed – Malachai
    Marriage with non-witnesses would result in one becoming “unevenly yoked with unbelievers”. (2 Corinthians 6:14).
    We are told to “Marry only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39).
    As has been so painstakenly pointed out by most people on this forum, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not share the same beliefs as other “christian” religions. It is not appropriate to then say that marriage with another “christian” is permissable.
    Everyone must carry their own load when it comes to serving God. If people are feel that they must go outside of the JW organisation to find a suitable marriage mate then they must also be willing to accept any negative consequences associated with that choice. If I choose to break the speed limit and get punished for it, does this make the law not fair and harsh, or is it my own actions that are at fault?
    God’s commands are not burdensome and most JW’s will tell you that they are not.

    • The Bible says to marry “only in the Lord” – this Lord is referring to Christ Jesus. JW’s do not consider themselves disciples of Christ, but rather, Witnesses of Jehovah. Accordingly, this scripture does not apply to them, because they are not by their own definition, Christian anyway.

  2. Isabella Botticelli

    @Ron. So, you have personally spoken to many exJW? No, you haven’t. You are not allowed to speak to ex-members. What ‘ax to grind,” what bitterness? Yes, some are angry, especially those who have been victims of child abuse or other abuses. Why wouldn’t they be angry when their pain is swept under the rug, while the pedophiles are protected? And have you polled the millions of exJWs and asked them what their life is like now, away from JW? What personal experience are you referring to? And what lies do they tell? Your comment is word-for-word from the Watchtower, they tell what you must say to anyone who does not agree with your religion.

    Perhaps you should take a course in critical thinking, Ron, it will teach you to avoid making such Ad hominem statements – attacking the person rather than dealing with the facts, by resorting to name-calling and bad motives of all people who have ever left your organization.

  3. ess-ay

    Two things,I suppose, worry PM News: Dearth of investigative stories from correspondents and an editor or editors who have an ax to grind with the witnesses.In the year 2009, the paper went to town with an headline:”Jehovah’s witness man kills neighbor,”only to have it in the body that the said ‘Jehovah’s witness man’ was a Russian (in Russia).
    Now, the paper says it spoke with witnesses who’re not satisfied with marriage restriction imposed by the organisation. One wonders if such members ever exist and if they are leashed in the kingdom Halls like some dog.

    To be sure, witnesses realise that Jehovah views them as free moral agents who will personally be held accountable for his actions and inactions before the true God.Also the Bible is an open book to them and they are admonished to prayerfully read and meditate on at least a page of the Bible daily.
    Even if they are disfellowshipped, they are eager to change from taking a false step as stipulated in the Bible.
    On the issue of Hellfire, picture a man who sinned for his entire 70 or even 100 years of existence,only to be tormented in fire by the God of love, with his one finger burning for a thousand year! Can a reasonable person do that to his bad dog??? The wages sin pays is death,says the Bible.Perfect human pairs,Adam and Eve, committed the most grievous sin and their penalty was death,the Bible never says otherwise.
    Kingdom Halls are open to all and diligent study of God’s word is the creed.

  4. Dalek

    Biblically, a Christian is free to marry any other Christian.  The problem arises because JWs think they are the only true Christians. Their elitist-separatist attitudes were condemned by Jesus in Mark 9, Matthew 7, and John 4 and many other texts.  Yes, Christians differ over interpretation of doctrines, but all are still Christians and express the Christian ideal in various forms–philanthrophy, morality, healing ministries, creation ministries, pacifism, evangelism, spirituality, orphanages, disaster relief, drug-recovery, and so forth. This is all important work. No one has the absolute “truth;” no one is “all bad.” There is no such thing as defiling oneself with Babylon the Great through inter-marriage.  Early Christians understood the great harlot to be the Roman Empire. In the fourth century Bishop Athanaseus changed the meaning of the great harlot to mean all heretics against the church. The JWs have adopted this religious meaning for Babylon to suit their agenda.

    Marriage, besides being a human right is above all a God-given right and no man should trample on these rights and deprive others of them through the misapplication of scripture.  JWs are fond of using Jewish texts to support their marriage taboos. But did not Solomon have God’s blessings for over forty years while being married to two pagan wives?  It wasn’t until he began to multiply wives (against the code) that he incurred disfavor. Furthermore, there is no proof that JWs are a special nation for God as Israel was. It’s a fairy-tale.

    Truth be told, not all JW marriages result in bliss; there are many firsthand accounts of JW marriage fiascos on the internet. Read them for yourselves. Contrastingly, not all JW/non-JW unions end in bitterness and disappointment. That totally depends on the individuals involved. But it will be extra challenging for anyone who is in a high-control group like JWs to be able to interact normally with another Christian. 

  5. Dalek

    “But it will be extra challenging for anyone who is in a high-control group like JWs to be able to interact normally with another Christian.”

    The amount of time spent in meetings, field service, and meeting preparation alone will be tantamount to spousal neglect or abandonment.  I have seen this happen more than once and it is a hurtful thing to watch.

  6. Beautycherry

    @Cryriacus Izukwe,,,,,deep down in heart,u know that u are writing lies against JWs..u can lie to anyone but u cannot lie to urself. Come to think of this,why JWs?-why dont u write about other denominations because i know they are not better,,we all have heard bad if not worse stories of other denominations,including their false teachings,but we act like we dont see them or know about them, because all display the spirit of the world governed by satan the devil- 1john 5:19.
    the world hates JWs,just as Jesus told them, because they have refused to be a part of the world just like Jesus Christ their Leader-john 17:16
    Do u know that Jesus is the first witness?-rev 1:5,,,do u know that they are a cloud of witnesses,both in the heavens and on earth?-heb 12:1-wouldnt u like to know the list of them?-if u are not a witness of Jehovah God,whose witness are you?-Satan?-
    Please give us some space and think about your relationship with God and how u can maintain it because that is what you need,we all need,to get eternal life,,
    Now coming to what you posted;

    • Jesus said that people would be hated on account of HIS name, not the name of Jehovah. So, this being considered, perhaps the world hates you because of your elitist attitude toward those who have a faith outside of the walls of your Kingdom Hall. Jesus did not describe his disciples to be Witnesses of Jehovah, he said “you will be witnesses of ME” – “Feed MY sheep” etc. I cannot see where the JW’s even fit into the picture here. Unless you taste of my flesh and drink of my blood, you have no life in you…” Jesus said that as well. Have you done this lately?

  7. Beautycherry

    JWs do not restrict her members from marrying outside the organization,,,they simply,willingly and lovingly obey Jehovah’s command at 1cor 7:19, Deu 7:3,4 and Neh 13:26…Do u see God’s loving directions as restrictions?-could u please truthfully tell us why Jehovah specifically warned the israelites against marrying from other nations?-can you tell at Neh 13:26,what made solomon leave worshipping the true God?-
    No witness is forced to obey because we possess the gift of free will,free to choose right or wrong, but we choose to obey because we love and appreciate Jehovah’s loving direction knowing that He’s the Only One who’s got the right to guide us,we know that it is the right and modest thing to do to save oneself from experiencing the ugly side of marriage,,,That is not attracts no discipline from the congregation,although the individual will lose whatever priviledge he’s got in d congregation,,the individual’s reminded of the consequence of marrying outside and the blessings of marrying in the lord,,,the individual’s to make his choice,,
    I have friends who didnt marry witnesses but with the help of the congregation and God’s word,they are able to manage their marriages,,,,,those that u interviewed are not true JWs,just like their Father,the Devil,they didnt stand firm in the truth because they never loved the truth- John 8:44

  8. Beautycherry

    Thats a wrong sentence, James Ethop didnt confirm your false story,he simply told you what really the witnesses do; no one’s forced to obey,,
    Since Frank Osemele of God’s hand delivery ministry and prophecy calls himself a pastor,he should make out time to ‘study’ not to ‘read’ his bible because i know that just confessing ‘i accept Jesus as my lord and personal saviour’ is not enough to make one a christain,a true christain for that matter,,proving in deeds is what makes one a true christain- james 2:14,17,18,20,21-26
    Probably i should go marry a thief or a drunk or a politician because he says i love God and Christ or im a christain

  9. Beautycherry

    @Dalek,,,,,,we do not think Dalek,we know that we are the only true christains,,as an organization,by their fruits,it isnt hard to recognize them for individually,we are imperfect just like every other person in other denomination,prone to make mistakes- matt 7:16-20,,rom 5:12
    I dont see any point in your cited scriptures,, Dalek,just as we have fake money and real money,there are fake christains and true christains and i’m certain that you wouldnt want me to be unevenly yoked with a fake christain,even if we are not friends…so ‘marry only in the lord’ make a whole of sense and safeguard us from heartaches
    If we fond of using Jewish texts to support our marriage taboos,what about 1cor 7:39?-what do you have to say about rom 15:4?-
    Our all-wise God wrote that because He wants us to learn from the experiences of His servants of Old,,
    To u,its fairytale but we got proofs- Isa 43:10,12,,44:8, john 15:27, acts 1:8,,,Dalek and to everyone here,iam proud to be a Jehovah’s Witness,,witnssing about Jehovah gives me true joy,true satisfaction and true peace of mind, do u find real joy,satisfaction and peace of mind in what u do?
    No Dalek,truth be told,not all marriages result in bliss because all marriages are imperfect but heeding God’s counsel makes it enjoying,,,from your writings,God’s commandments are burdemsome to u,,christain activities do not stop on from taking care of his marriage,its all about been balanced,,

    • John 6:44 states that God would draw people TO His Son, and not to himself. This being considered, do you feel drawn to Jesus, or the organization that you belong to? What you are doing is idolatrous, in attaching yourself to the importance of religious affiliation, and not to the relationship that true Christianity is founded on – a personal relationship with God starts at Jesus, not your religion.

  10. Delilah

    I was a JW for many years, and I dated some really great guys, but the pickins were slim and I wasn’t going to sit around and be like some of the women who cleaned houses and waited on Jehovah for a mate. I fell in love with a really great guy, wanted to marry him but his domineering got in the way. I was much more “worldly” than she liked. She didn’t like me phoning him, etc. I finally left him because of his weird mother. I fell in love with a guy who wasn’t a Witness and we married years ago. Still married, and I’m no a longer a Jehovah’s Witness, THANK GOD!

  11. meme

    This article is not true… It does not follow that marrying non-members is seen as immoral and Any defaulting member who marries outside the congregation is excommunicated and treated as a non member. IF you have sex outside marriage then that is immoral and if you marry a non believer you will get counsel but you will not be excommunicated and treated as a non member unless there are other factors involved such as immorality.

  12. Anonymous

    @Dennis,,,,u dont even know what you are saying,,God will draw people to HIS son,,Who made His son?-who gave Christ that authority?-Why was he given that position?-John 17,,,who did Jesus witness about?-what made Jesus position relevant?-why would Jesus reply Satan using the words matt 4:4,10,,Why was Jesus called the Faithful witness?-what do you think the name Jehovah’s Witnesses mean?- Pls read Jesus words at John 17:3,,matt 22:37,,Rev 4:11,,
    Truth: Worship Jehovah God through Jesus Christ because he died for our sins opening the way for us to have a good relationship with God,,,simple,,pls try to think before you write,,its not compulsory to comment

  13. Anonymous

    You write out of hate,,,Jesus was able to say that because Jehovah God made him the head of the Congregation-1cor 11:3
    Could u pls explain rev 14:6,7,,why was the angel witnessing about God and not Christ or did he forget about Christ?-
    What does it mean to witness about Christ?-could u pls read 1pet 2:21,,being Christ-like still means you worshipping Jehovah because all his life on earth including now he is in the heavens,it is still Jehovah’s will he is doing not his own will,,
    One of the things Christ did was Witnessing about Jehovah
    Come to think of this; If Jehovah God did Create Christ,would you have known Christ?-if Adam did not sin and if Jehovah did not place Christ name above all except himself,would u have known him?-
    As our Creator,it is right & modest to be His witnesses just as Christ was and still is and just as Jehovah has said at Isa 43:10,12,,u cant change that
    Also take the time to read the preface in to your bible so as to know why people desist from using the name Jehovah or you could make reseaches on it,,
    Psalm 83:18- how else would people know about Him if they are not witnessed to about Him,,,
    If i may ask; how many of christ’s way of life do you imitate or do you just profess to be christain?-
    Im so happy to know that Jesus is called the faithfu witness, not of himself but of Jehovah God,,,,this you CANNOT CHANGE

  14. Beautycherry

    @Dennis,,,,u dont even know what you are saying,,God will draw people to HIS son,,Who made His son?-who gave Christ that authority?-Why was he given that position?-John 17,,,who did Jesus witness about?-what made Jesus position relevant?-why would Jesus reply Satan using the words matt 4:4,10,,Why was Jesus called the Faithful witness?-what do you think the name Jehovah’s Witnesses mean?- Pls read Jesus words at John 17:3,,matt 22:37,,Rev 4:11,,
    Truth: Worship Jehovah God through Jesus Christ because he died for our sins opening the way for us to have a good relationship with God,,,simple,,pls try to think before you write,,its not compulsory to comment

  15. Beautycherry

    At rev 14:6,7,,,why did the angel forget to add Christ?-without the creation of christ by God,without adam’s sin,without Jehovah’s reward of placing his name above all names except his,you would not have known Christ, you would’ve still worshipped God without christ,,we recognize him because of the role he played,,imitating christ’s equal to worshipping God because throught his life on earth, he worshipped,witnessed about and prayed to his father,Jehovah,for assistance,, since you are a christain,which of his way of life are you imitating?-truth u cant change,Jesus is a Witness,and Jehovah has called us that too- rev 1:5,Isa 43:10,12,,
    Psalm 83:18, john 17:6,7-if we dont witness about Jehovah and if Jesus didnt witness about God, how will people know and Worship Him?-

  16. Beautycherry

    Christ has been living his life to please Someone but who is Jehovah God living to please??

  17. Dork in the Dark

    How can the Watchtower group of Jehovah’s Witnesses take a strong moral position on wedding within their own group – the JW meeting halls – regarding wedding only another JW, when they are morally repugnant on other, far more serious themes.? (Also, the bible verse ‘marry in the lord’ or another Christian, not ‘get married to a JW’).

    That cult, which it is, has a less than anaemic position on their inordinate child abuse & grossly ineffective handling of the pedophilia within their organisation.?
    They also joined the U.N. the United Nations, got caught 6 weeks after New York got attacked by passenger planes, & they tried to get out of it by saying that “they applied in an NGO capacity”.
    Which is like saying ‘I burgled a house, broke the law outright, but I was going to give some of the proceeds to a good cause, some needy person or family short of cash’. Breaking the law is the main integer, any excuse is lame & is an insult to the intelligence.

    The JWs is a nepotistic, power-play soap opera in many parts of the world, and any positive reputation they may have enjoyed went decades ago. Promoting marriage internally is to up their numbers not support biblical scripture.

    They are a child abuse group that has predicted the end of the world umpteen times. It is full of a users, both female & male.

    They have no right to be a vanguard for a verse in the bible.
    Watchtower or Jehovah’s Witnesses is a cult. Relocating their offices & business premises. Hardly a priority in timeline or as regards helping others. The orphan & the widow.

    Wholly, Exposed as fakes, and very much in denial. I know them, it’s a club of charades. They are not interested in each flock member or their welfare. People defend them, but people defend all sorts of heinous & strange things & causes. That doesn’t make it valid and true. Or worthwhile. The ‘governing body’ are in Africa a lot are they.?

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