The first number I want you to write is 1-800-273-8255. It is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I tend to focus on history and I’d like to look at suicide and the organization.
With that in mind, today, I want to focus on suicide.
This is something that the society in its history has had interesting views. To start, let’s go back to the days of Russell. This is from the “Interesting Questions Answered” section which seems to be a prelude to the “Questions from Readers” section. It has the following:
HOW SHALL WE VIEW SUICIDE?
Question.–How shall we view suicide? How serious is this matter? Should it be considered a crime?
Answer.–Suicide should be considered a very serious crime, unless it be the act of a deranged mind whose responsibility in the sight of God and men would, thereby, be considerably lessened.
Since the greatest gift of God is eternal life, through Christ, we may reason that life in any measure is an inestimable boon, privilege. For any sane mind, enlightened by present truth, to contemplate suicide would be unthinkable.
Zion’s Watchtower and Heard of Christ’s Presence. April 1, 1903 Reprints p. 3176
Hence, aside from any future existence, we are to consider that his life was a useless, wasted one, and that its joys did not overbalance its sorrows and anguish when to the latter were added his despair and suicide. Judas’ end was a sad one. Every suicide, by his act, confesses his wish that he had never been born.
The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. November 1, 1911 Reprints p. 4906
Then would come suggestions of evil deeds or of suicide, the endeavor being made to drive the individual to a full surrender of his mind, his will, in order to full possession and mental unbalance.
The only remedy for persons in such a deplorable condition is that they exert their will power to oppose all such false suggestions. Nothing is so helpful under such circumstances as correct knowledge of the Divine teaching respecting God’s Love and the abundance of His merciful provision in Christ.
The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. December 15, 1912 Reprints p. 5144
With those things in mind, let’s take a look at something said within the pages of the Golden Age on page 438 of the April 7, 1926 issue:
Tonsillectomy is called a minor operation. Fi so, getting well is a double major. If any overzealous doctor condemns your tonsils go and commit suicide with a case-knife. It’s cheaper and far less painful.
Contrasting this for a moment with one person who could have committed suicide but didn’t is the account of Job. Without reading the verses:
Job 1:14-His oxen and donkeys were stolen.
1:15-servants are killed
1:16-Sheep and servants consumed in fire
1:18, 19-Children died from house collapse
Later on, he is covered in painful boils. His wife and friends abandon him. He laments his very birth yet remains faithful. He receives more at the end due to his faithfulness.
With that in mind, the organization did the exact opposite with the following quote from The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, February 1, 1952 p. 95, 96: We are not professionally trained doctors, and do not advise on health matters except as they may involve Scriptural issues, such as in the case of blood transfusions.
From time to time we do publish articles on such subjects as surgery, chiropractic, zone therapy, etc. Such articles constitute no endorsement of these practices by us. They are offered in Awake! on the same basis that articles on other subjects are offered, namely, as general information and not as a recommendation.
The August 1, 1983 Watchtower has an article devoted to suicide. Sections include:
- Deadly Emotions
- Hopelessness, Guilt and Depression
- Other Reasons for Suicide
The organization doesn’t print something unless there’s an agenda. Was it possible that the organization was having an uptick in those taking their own life?
Since the internet has given a voice to those who once had none, I looked on Youtube with the following search, “Jehovah’s Witness suicide.” Just one video is one too many. However, there are a number of videos devoted to the subject.
Just a few moments ago, I read a quote by the society that said in 1952 that they are NOT medical professionals. I have a link to a leaked elder’s video as to how the Society trains elders to help those considering suicide. Here’s the Youtube link and you’ll need to look in the description for the actual video that’s hosted outside of Youtube:
Ironically, the organization that doesn’t offer medical advice is training elders to give mental health advice using nothing but the bible in and of itself. Although the bible is to be used, there are things that a trained professional would be best to assist when addressing the non biblical ramifications in a person’s life.
Personally, I believe the organization is shifting this responsibility to elders since there is a need due to the pressures of being a Witness. Counsel being provided by local kingdom hall elders may possibly shield the organization from any legal action. If something happens, if this is a tactic, this may backfire. This has been evidenced by the Candace Conti case regarding child sexual abuse.
With this in mind, there is one man who has done a scientific study on those within the Watchtower pertaining to mental illness. He is a former member and a trained professional. Dr. Jerry Bergman concluded that those within the organization have higher incidents of mental illness when compared to the general population. The video is dated but here:
Not to make light of anything, but if this was truly a spiritual paradise, would these incidents occur? Here is a link for one tragic end for a devout Witness family: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/family-found-dead-apparent-murder-suicide-article-1.1582545
For what it’s worth, if you are contemplating any self harm, reach out to this number for immediate assistance: 1-800-273-8255. It is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Once you take care of yourself and receive assistance, leave this organization.
To give the other side of the argument, I will link in a Watchtower apologist website that defends the organization regarding suicide and I’ll allow you to decide after you use this as a starting point for further research on suicide: