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By Special Request

April 25, 2011

So over at Small Blue Pearls, I started a joke I couldn’t finish.  A comment thread reminded me of a thing so great it shouldn’t even be spoken of if it cannot be properly shared.  Of course, there’s no filter between brain and mouth on me (or brain and keyboard, as the case may be), so speak of it I did, even though share it properly I cannot.

If you’d like to hop on over to SBP for a minute to get the context, please feel free.  I’ll wait.

Okay, so by now you know that once, several years ago, I was approached while at the gas pump by a Jehovah’s Witness.

Wait.  Let me back up.

I’m a good olden timey progressive.  My liberal heart bleeds blue.  I think it’s important to respect all the different peoples and their cultures and their religions (but mostly their foods). I do.  I swear this to you.  But sometimes things happen to you personally that challenge your ideals.  My grandmother converted to Jehovah’s Witness-ness after Grandpa passed away and with him, mandatory Catholicism in my family.  While Grandma, bless her enormous foolish heart, was kind of a sucker on her own, the JW’s really took advantage and cashed in on her, accepting the every donation of the housewife of a mid-level Army retiree without question as to whether she was seriously of sound enough mind to grant it.  I can forgive them for leeching away all the cousins’ college funds, even if two of them subsequently were unable to go.  But they left a senile woman penniless and damned near homeless, and that I cannot forgive.

So when a Witless shows up on my porch, small child in tow, I choke back all of that and calmly but firmly state “I have had an unfortunate experience with your church that I’d rather not describe in front of your son/daughter.  Let’s end this conversation.”  While I despise their organization, the people themselves tend to be quite respectful and leave me alone without question at that point.

But when they accost my while I’m pumping gas, I become flummoxed.  The only other people who’ve ever done that were asking for money,  but I’m aware that once in a while you can be approached at the pump by someone demanding money.  I won’t say “spray them in the eye with gasoline and run” is my first instinct, but it’s in the top three behind “get confused and look stupid for a minute” and “tell them you don’t have any money.”  Luckily, this particular JW was given only the Confusion Treatment, because Gas Station Religious Conversion really just did not compute.  She shoved a Watchtower “magazine” in my free hand quicker than I could scream “bad touch!” and was gone as mysteriously as she appeared (which might not have been that mysterious at all – I like to play number games with the price vs gallon counters to pass the time).

The fetching headline emblazoned on the cover was “Is Yoga Appropriate for Christians?”  At the risk of ruining the story for you, it is not. In fact, in my brief research on Watchtower publications this evening, I came to learn that absolutely nothing is appropriate for Christians according to the J-dubs.  The Watchtower apparently runs quite a number of articles investigating seemingly banal topics in a pseudo-objective manner before decreeing each and every one to be just a little too risky to be worth trying.

I present for your amusement, some Jehovah Gems on lurking threats you didn’t even realize were leading you to the hellfires:

On Yoga:

The image of a yogi sleeping on a bed of nails or walking on hot coals may appear to be a hoax to some and a joke to others. But these are common occurrences in India, as is the practice of standing on one leg while staring directly at the sun for hours and breath control that allows a person to be buried in sand for long periods of time.

The choice of what physical exercise to pursue is a personal one. Christians, however, would not allow anything—be it bodily training, eating, drinking, clothing, entertainment, or something else—to mar their relationship with Jehovah God. (1 Corinthians 10:31) For those exercising simply for the sake of their health, there are many avenues available that do not involve exposure to the dangers of spiritism and occultism. By keeping clear of practices and beliefs that are rooted in false religion, we may look forward to God’s blessing of a righteous new system of things in which we can enjoy perfect health in body and mind for an eternity.—2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:3, 4.

Even better:

Yes, the ultimate goal of yoga is moksha, explained as the merging with some impersonal great spirit. It is described as “the (intentional) stopping of the spontaneous activity of the mind stuff.” This is clearly contrary to the goal set out for Christians, who are given the admonition: “Present your bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason. And quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”—Romans 12:1, 2.

(Emphasis mine, because unwitting contradictions excite me).

On Incense (yes, incense):

Does the fact that incense is used in religious ceremonies and in spiritism mean that all incense-burning is wrong? Not necessarily. Perhaps a person wishes to burn incense as a fragrance in his home simply to enjoy its pleasant aroma. (Proverbs 27:9) Even so, in deciding whether to burn incense, a Christian should consider certain factors. Would others in the area where you live associate the use of incense with a false religious practice? In your community, is incense often associated with spiritistic rituals? Or is it commonly used for nonreligious purposes?

If an individual chooses to burn incense, his decision should take into consideration both his own conscience and the feelings of others. (1 Corinthians 10:29)

On Blood Donation:

Shortly after Christianity was founded some 2,000 years ago, believers were given the divine commandment to “abstain from . . . blood.” The prohibition was based, not on health concerns, but on the sacredness of blood. (Acts 15:19, 20, 29) Some argue that this God-given restriction applies only to the eating of blood, but the word “abstain” speaks for itself. If a doctor told us to abstain from alcohol, we would hardly feel at liberty to inject it into our veins.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are well known for taking these Bible commands to heart. They reject all transfusions involving whole blood or the four primary blood components—red cells, plasma, white cells, and platelets. As for the various fractions derived from those components—and products that contain such fractions—the Bible does not comment on these. Therefore, each Witness makes his own personal decision on such matters. Does this Bible-based stand mean that Witnesses reject medical treatment or view their health and life lightly? Not at all!

Well, not unless you’re losing a lot of blood.

* Note that I’m not linking these because I’m weirded out enough about the unwarranted hits their site got as I “researched” this.  If you’re really that into it, they’re at www dot watchtower dot org. “Org” as in “orgasmically laughable articles.”

So anyway, that as station thing happened to me once, and I was silly enough to mention it to the sort of people who might have follow-up questions, and now I have to disappoint them by not producing the magazine in question, which I’ve sadly purged at some point (though I did hold onto it for  long time…).  I hope that these lovely snippets of spiritual advice from our good friends all along the Watchtower were an acceptable consolation prize.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2011 12:16 am

    Well! I certainly think that this more than makes up for your purging of said pamphlet in an attempt to not develop any latent hoarder tendencies. Who knew that humans needed to be warned against eating/drinking blood at one point in our history and that now the careful Christian makes certain they don’t inadvertently become a vampire by using a transfusion to save their life. This is actual quite commendable since it was obviously God’s will that they bleed to death so why meddle with his handiwork? Incense is always wrong. I can see that now. And yoga? clearly Satan’s exercise.

    Meanwhile the story of your Grandmother is heartbreaking. Hers is sadly not the only story I’ve heard about being robbed by the JW Church.

    Thanks for being brave enough to do the research!

    • April 26, 2011 7:26 am

      Yes, the JW’s… robbing old women for Jesus. I like how the argument against incense is mainly that other people might think you’re a heathen; the Jesus I’ve read about was so concerned with the gossip columns and all.

      Well, time for my morning “exposure to the dangers of spiritism and occultism!”

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