Jehovah’s Witnesses Decry Marriage Restriction

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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.


90 comments

  1. TY Toronto

    Besides the marriage controversy, I still dont understand why JW shun ex-members. I was born as a witness and preached from house to house , engaged in auxiliary pioneering and other weekly activities for 25yrs I left voluntarily when I did a thorough spiritual research about life after death, 144,000 ppl going to heaven and other stuff. Things changed suddenly. My bothers and sisters started avoiding me and seeing me as an unbeliever. I wasnt comfortable anymore in my own family. I had to relocate from Africa. I now became persona-non-grata in my own family and dont know when I will go back to Africa.

  2. Fred

    @ Isabella Botticelli, I am not sure how you got your information about JW as a religion with regards to biblical doctrines. Kindly note that JW know and strongly uphold the basic truth of the bible and that JW.ORG IS NEVER A REPLACEMENT OR SUBSTITUTE TO THE BIBLE. The Bible warns God’s servants about false teachings -1John 4:1. JW is never a CULT. The doors to their KindomHalls are wide open and you’re very free and welcome to attend our meetings so as to be well informed.

    Discipline in the congregation is an expression of Love not hate. (Heb 12:7-11) Disfellowshipping is an extreme form of discipline and is meant for those who show signs that they are not remoseful and do not appreciate the damage their sinful course is leading them. Its like a patient who has a deadly and contagious disease. Medical expert would have to isolate such patient from the community, not becos they hate him. But as soon as he is well, he is returned back to the fold. Please, get accurate facts about JW.

  3. David

    Well Al, Jesus went to Hades (Greek), hell (English), Sheol (Hebrew)in other words the grave, before he was resurrected. Read Acts 2:31. Were do you think he was those three days before he was resurrected? Unfortunately most clergy men have been taught traditions that evolved from Greek philosophy rather than sticking strictly to what the original Christians believed during the time of the apostles. No wonder there is so much confusion.

  4. Robert

    This article is poorly written and inaccurate. If someone marries outside the congregation is not excommunicated like the writer claims. The person may loose special privileges if has but he/she still very much loved and cared, so quite the lies and get real facts before you critisize or write these very poor articles like this one. Do some research and be more accurate and not of part. Thanks!

  5. ogbor blessing

    What a Christian is all about

  6. Al

    Why is it that those who believe in hell, never go there. I never heard of a case where the Minister officiating at a funeral announces: ” Sorry to announce that So and So went to hell “, no matter how wicked the person was in his/her life.

    Hell must be empty.

    1. Al

      Sorry, I meant wicked not wicket

  7. David

    Don’t be like these snapping hyenas drooling over there dirty little scraps of misinformation go to jw.org and get the real truth.

    1. Isabella Botticelli

      @David. It always stuns me how every time a JW reads something they don’t like or don’t agree with, they immediately resort to rudeness and name calling. That’s not how Jesus treated people…..So, what does that say about you?

  8. David

    This article is typically bias to the point of being entirely misleading. Sure Witnesses are encouraged to marry only in the Lord, in other words like minded Christians, to quote the apostle Paul, 1Cor 7:39. This of course is a great protection. To marry an unbeliever is in itself not a dissfelowshiping offence. Something else must have been going on for that to be so. On the subject of Hell. Hell, Sheol and Hades are merely words from different languages referring to the grave. It is not a place of torment. Nor is the Lake of Fire (Rev 21:8) a place of torment. The expression lake of fire refers to the utter inhalation of the wicked, in other words the second death, from which there is no coming back from. This is not the same as(the grave, hell or hades)because those who will be resurrected rise from the grave. See Rev 20:13. Remember John 3:16 everlasting life is the reward not a punishment.

  9. Isabella Botticelli

    Also, I am curious, what does it mean when the JWs in Nigeria 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.” Can someone explain what “marry on time” means. Is it a custom to marry by a certain age? Thank you.

    1. Good Man

      Reason you should know the information is not true.

  10. Isabella Botticelli

    You all are forgetting something, Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) DO have a hell, it’s call Armageddon! They believe Armeg is “right around the corner” and everyone on earth will die except for them. And there are NO choices in that religion, to have their approval you must to everything they say, if you don’t, for instance, marry outside of JWs you will be ‘marked’ and shunned, or excommunicated (disfellowshipped) and shunned. Oh yes, you can leave the religion any time, but they use emotional blackmail and will hold your family hostage if you leave or go against them. They force child baptisms, then when the children get to be teens and if they don’t want to be JWs anymore, they are shunned, even minors! Their families will never speak to them again UNLESS they become JWs again. That is their rules. I was a JW for over 40 years, I know what they do. Talking to ex-members and doing research on this religion is the ONLY way you can find out what they are really like.

  11. Bob Lamb

    There are so many lies and half truths in the replies here. It does not take much intelligence to go to http://www.jw.org/en/ and find out what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe and what the Bible teaches.

    Most of the story here is wrong, or the writer is lying. A good editor will check sources and not let a story be published that has little truth in it. At least that’s what I was taught in journalism school in the USA.

    1. Isabella Botticelli

      @Bob Lamb. When you want to make a big purchase, like a car, a washing machine, or anything that is a necessity, do you go out and find the first one you see? No, smart people do their research, they not only look at what the manufacturer says, but they look at ratings and opposing viewpoints. We all know the manfct is NOT going to say anything bad or negative about their own product. Going to jw.org is the exact same thing, they are not going to tell you they are a high mind-controlled religion. When you go there it looks all innocent and sweet and fluffy. The best way then, to find out about ANY religion is to talk to former members, those who have spent decades in the religion and know exactly what they do.

      The problem is, JWs do NOT allow to research outside of their own publications. If you are caught readying anything negative about them, you will be punished or called an apostate. Seems to me, that if a person or organization truly believes they have the truth, then they are confidant in their beliefs and can look at other literature and talk to other people who are not of their religion, and not be dissuaded from their belief. So the question is, why do JWs forbid their members to research their religion?

      If you want to know the truth, search on the internet for sources OTHER than jw.org. And another thing you can do is Google “how to identify a cult.” There are several reputable organizations who do nothing but study what makes a religion a dangerous cult. Easy to find, and easy to make a comparison.

  12. Steven Lett

    Hell is for children. Pat Benatar 3:14

    1. Dave

      LOL. Haven’t heard that song in a long time.

  13. ivory

    @ Vik look at what you are implying..that God is using the fear of hellfire to draw pple to Him. Look God gave us the gift of free will he is not forcing anybody to serve him by force… He wants you to draw close to him because you love him and have deep trust in him and his promises. God is not a dictator who forces people to abide by his law and command rather he invites you advice you begs you as a loving father…e.g the prodigal son

  14. Ibadan Pickin

    Some christians will not marry because they cannot use their brain on marriage issues and allow their pastors to push them like babies. Someone booked for counselling, residing in Nigeria. They told him he will spend six month for counselling, it could only be faster if its someone from oversea, it could be reduced to 2 weeks on such conditions and they gave instances. Foolish. What is the difference between oversea counselling and Nigerian counselling. Infact, the oversea candidates should be counsell the more. Go to churches and see old women and old men not getting married because of unbiblical injuctions, man made rules and regulations, and so on. What difference does it make if your church members honour your marriage or not. You and the wife are the most important person on that date.

  15. Vik

    Hell or no Hell: Two friends (Ambrose and Edward) were discussing about hell. Ambrose who was yet to give his life to Jesus Christ said: “Edward, what if you were dead and later discovered that there’s nothing like after all these efforts to live the true christian life?” Edward replied, “I will have nothing to lose or regret about my way of life. Ambrose, what if you die today and later discovered there is hell fire?” “I just pray there is no such a place,” Ambrose thoughtfully and soberly responded. With this dialogue, Ambrose later surrendered to Christ. What is your position today?

  16. Vik

    Hell or no Hell: Two friends (Ambrose and Edward) were discussing about hell. Ambrose who was yet to give his life to Jesus Christ said: “Edward, what if you were dead and later discovered that there’s nothing like after all these efforts to live the true christian life?” Edward replied, “I will have nothing to lose or regret about my way of life. Ambrose, what if you die today and later discovered there is hell fire?” “I just pray there is no such a place,” Ambrose thoughtfully and soberly responded. With this dialogue, Ambrose later surrendered to Christ. What is your position today?

  17. OMO EKO

    I am not an apologist for the Witnesses but they just might be right. Revelation was written by John to 7 asia minor churches. John says he received the letter in a vision from jesus. we know how visions can be off target. The symbolic battles between good and bad are to be taken at face value. We know how problematic visions can be in the present. If I call myself a pastor and say I have a vision, you will listen but there is a thin line between sanity and madness.

  18. ivory

    On the issue of marriage which Jehovah God considers very sacred and honarable… In the old testament God told his servants not to marry unbelievers.. He told abraham,Isaac,Jacob,king David and king Solomon even down to d new testament he told christains through the apostles “marry only in the lord”. Esau, king solomon and many others who did not follow dat advice faired badly… You can read the accounts yourselves..if you marry someone of thesame faith with you… Your union will be more solid than otherwise! …… As for the issue of Hell fire, come to think of it how do u feel when an angry mob sets a theif on fire right in front of u do u join as a christain and pertake in burning the thief Alive or what … Now think deeply… God who the bible says is Love will never burn humans in fire for enternity forever come on guyz he said d wages of sin is death so if u die u are free from ur sins… But if u die as a righteuos person u get a second chance in life by being part of those who will join jesus christ in paradise on earth…. When the israelites were letting their firstborn pass through the fire to the god molek… Jehovah said “a thing that has never come to my heart is what you people are doing” Adam and Eve sinned and God said dey will die which dey did…and so their children… Jesus is the 2nd adam who has given us Life everlasting …. Come to our memorial celebration today and learn more abt this great gift

    1. J

      error and heresy

    2. Dave

      @ Ivory. Thanks for the Jeremiah 19:5 reference. I’ve never used that verse before in reasoning about the teaching of hellfire. Very logical.
      – Your brother in Oregon, U.S.

  19. Sean

    I personally know of two ladies who married outside of the cult. Both were excommunicated. One chose to plead and beg forgiveness for her sins and was re-acccepted back into the cult after a year of being shunned by her own mother. One chose not to go back and not be “sorry” and remains in the real world shunned by her family still in the cult and all the social circles she was raised with. A cruel cruel people.

    1. Good Man

      You are not having the full story, no one is excommunicated for marrying not in the lord, they must have committed fornication.

      Is anyone forced to remain a Jehovah’s Witness? NO!

      So why the noise?

      As for those who said hell is real, can you tell me where Adam and Eve are today? Where were the Angels that became rebels? May be if you read your bible well, you can get better answer.

  20. Hugh

    The first two paragraphs are false. I personally know two couples where a JW married a non-JW. While not marrying wisely such marriages are not “immoral”, rather once the marriage vow is made we view it as binding before God Jehovah and Man. We also certainly would never disfellowship (expel) anyone for such a marriage, but we wouldn’t view them as particularly wise either. No, this is just another false story spewed out by bitter ex-members, fortunately people who still read newspapers are able to examine and get to the truth of such matters for themselves.

  21. Hugh

    The first two paragraphs are just not true. I personally know two different couples where a Jehovah’s Witness married someone who wasn’t (and know of several other cases). While such a marriage is certainly not “in the Lord” as the beliefs are severly different there was never a suggestion that it was “immoral”, actually since Marriage is a gift from God such marriages are to be viewed as binding and holy in his eyes and ours, certainly noone was ever expelled from our organisation (disfellowshipped) over such a marriage. We can all marry who we want, but marrying foolishly is just going to cause misery and that’s true regardless of the religion.

    This sounds like another false story brought up by bitter ex-members seeking to spread lies about their former associates.

  22. daughterofzion

    it is so so amazing that we still have people who are being deceived. i pray they will not wake up in hell only to cry had i known i will have believed that hell is real. Believe it now!!! Hell Fire is Real

  23. Sunkanmi

    This doctrine I dont think is Christainity what type of scripture they are carrying. Thank God they even read Jesus illustration about Lazarus and rich man, is their scripture has book of Revelation and New testerment. Pls they are cult not christian. May God deliver them. Thanks

  24. mk

    Jesus said: If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:29

  25. Sean

    ” Any defaulting member who marries outside the congregation is excommunicated and treated as a non member.”

    It is actually worse than being treated as a non member, they will be shunned by even close familiy as the CULT ensures self preservation.

    This is a dangeous CULT wrapped in Christian Clothing.

  26. Gbola

    Religion….A modern day slavery ….Free yourself and Pray to God directly. I need no intermediary between me and my father…. Any thought on that ( I might be wrong)

  27. miss Jay

    But the witnesses are neither complaining nor bothered

  28. Anonymous

    Psaw! Rubbish!

  29. Daviddee

    I am very sorry for these teachers of heresis. If Heaven and Hell were just mere parables by the Lord Jesus Christ, can these fake teachers tell us why Jesus told the Thief on the Right hand of His Cross ” today you will meet with me in Paradise” shortly before they both died on the Cross?
    For the ones following them blindly, they need to know that it is their life that is involved here. So they should study John Chapter 3 verses One to the end. Pray for revelatoinary knowledge and then do as the spirit directs by running for their dear lives by fleeing the coming tribulation of the end of life.

  30. temey

    Lies n misconceptions. .. smh

  31. Folo

    Where is hell locates

    1. Vik

      Ur current lifestyle may be pointing you to the location of hell. If I may ask? Where is death? I believe u fear the thought you being dead. Repent and give ur life to Jesus Christ to escape hell before it is too late.

  32. clark

    The choice is yours,to marry from there or leave

  33. jethro

    The membership status of those respondents who alleged that they are barred from marrying outside Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation is questionable. As a witness, am aware that no witness is compelled either to marry anyone of hie or her choice or not. It is Jehovah God’s command, not man’s.
    Marrying outside the congregatuon is the same as not marrying in the Lord. It is like yoking a bull and a horse together.
    While I appreciate the challenges of not getting married on time, it is pertinent to say that the law is a loving arrangement made by Jehovah for the protection of his obedient worshipers. Examples abound to prove that those who disobeyed that command ended up in perpetual regret.
    I am also aware that no member is excommunicated because he married outside the congregation. But that person who has just disobeyed God’s command would not be qualified for certain privileges in the congregation, and I for one will not attend such weeding ceremony.

    1. Chelsey

      Well I certainly don’t consider handling a microphone or reciting lines from your watchtower to be a privilege. I’ve seen first-hand, people being disfellowshipped and shunned for marrying outside your cult. Deny it all you want but facts are facts and the shunning practices your watchtower leaders promote are the furthest thing from loving. I would NEVER serve a God like Jehovah.

    2. Anonymous

      @ jethro, you said, ” I for one will not attend such wedding ceremony.” You just demonstrated that yes, indeed, anyone who marries outside of JWs is shunned! Exactly what I said, and you sir, with all due respect, just contradicted yourself from your own mouth.

  34. paul zadok

    Na wa o!! guys no comments?????

  35. SAMSAM

    Hell is not a mere parable. It is real going by d book of Revelation 21:8

    1. Alexis Klatt

      The book of Revelation is written in signs & symbols. Hell is the common grave. Gehenna, on the other hand, means the 2nd death or everlasting cutting off or no resurrection. Go to jw.org

      1. Vik

        Alexis Klatt, pls quote the Bible and not website. Be not deceived. Hell is real.

      2. Bob Lamb

        You are right!!!!

    2. Ilaro

      I can’t believe that a supposedly christian body can come out boldly to say that there is no hell and that the story of Lazarus was only an illustration, full text is as below:
      Luke 16:19-31King James Version (KJV)
      19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
      20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
      21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
      22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
      23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
      24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
      25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
      26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
      27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
      28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
      29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
      30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
      31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

      Unless the Jehovah Witness have their own Bible, the story was never referred to as a parable in any of the popular versions of the Bible.

      The name Jehovah Witness itself is an abberation. It is not not christianly. God never dealt with any other nation apart from Israel as Jehovah. Even Abraham, the father of faith and a friend of God did not know God as Jehovah, a covenant name of God with the Jews. God did not create us Jews, why then should we relate with him as Jews.

      Can somebody show me where in the new testament God was referred to as Jehovah. We now have a superior name, Jesus. There is no name greater than Jesus. It’s only in this name that there can be miracles. It’s only in this name we are commanded to pray to God. As a proof; let anyone pray for a miracle in the name of Jehovah and let’s see whether there will be an answer.

      Please be established in the present truth.

      If there is no hell, what then is the point being godly? Why can’t we all live as devils?This is a teaching that encourages people to live badly, knowing that there is no recompense after death. It is the same thing that is taught in the occult. That’s why most of our leaders are wicked. They all belong in the occult; they don’t have to be good because there is no hell. One can kill, bomb, kidnap for rituals, rape etc.

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