Our Christian daughter is dating a Jehovah’s Witness and converting to that religion. What advice can you give us?

Wedding DressOUR CHRISTIAN DAUGHTER IS DATING A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS AND IS IN THE PROCESS OF CONVERTING. WHAT CAN WE DO?

“We raised our daughter in a Christian home but now at 18 years old, she has begun to date a Jehovah’s Witness. He has impressed her with his ‘Bible knowledge’ and has convinced her to ‘study’ his religion with one of the ladies from his Kingdom Hall.

We asked her if she would be willing to check this religion out before she gets into it.  She claims that she has already checked it out because she is on chapter eight of the book they are “studying” with her.  When we tried to give her your website article: I’M STUDYING WITH JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES. WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE I GET BAPTIZED?, she threw it back in our face saying that she won’t read it because it is ‘apostate’ information. We don’t know what to do! It is like she already has her mind made up and doesn’t care what we present to her.  Right now, we feel it is all about the boy.  She is mad at us because she thinks we are trying to stand in the way of her ‘true love.’  She is doing whatever it takes to get this guy. He is almost 20 years old, not in school and doesn’t even have a job.  What a loser!  Here she is a senior in high school with straight A’s, in advanced placement classes, combined with community college classes, but none of that matters to her.  She is willing to throw all this away to be with this guy. What can we do?”

OUR RESPONSE:

Dear friend,

We feel for you in this situation with your daughter. Unfortunately, what happened to your daughter is not that uncommon.  The teenage daughter filled with unstable hormones and emotional insecurities meets a handsome, young Jehovah’s Witness man who is able to dazzle her with his confident persona and “Bible knowledge.”  Before you know it, your daughter is hooked!

Never mind the fact that her new boyfriend doesn’t have any plans for a career in this “worldly system.”  None of that matters to your daughter because her Jehovah’s Witness boyfriend has convinced her that God’s battle of Armageddon will soon end worldly governments and paradise on earth will quickly become a reality.  Since a worldly career wouldn’t be important in this future paradise, it is not uncommon to find young Jehovah’s Witnesses who feel that there is no need to pursue anything but spiritual interests connected with the Watchtower organization.  So, now that your daughter is hooked by her boyfriend’s religion, what can you do?

1. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR DAUGHTER.

The Jehovah’s Witness religion can be very divisive, not only because its beliefs are strongly opposed to Biblical Christianity, but because its requirement to avoid participation in certain family activities (such as birthday and holiday gatherings) and its tendency to discourage close contact with non-Jehovah’s Witness relatives can put a heavy strain upon your relationship. Thus, it is essential that you do whatever you can to maintain a close relationship with your daughter.

We have found that the strength of the emotional bond between a teenage/young adult daughter and her parents can have a significant bearing on how responsive she will be to your input.  If your daughter feels emotionally close to you and is confident that you respect her ability to make responsible decisions, it will be more difficult for her to discount your views in favor of what she is being told by her boyfriend and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  However, if your daughter feels that you do not trust her ability to run her own life and make responsible decisions, she will view your opposition to her dating relationship as a challenge to her autonomy and may rebel further by reacting negatively to everything you suggest.

We recommend that the best way to approach your daughter in this situation is to emphasize that while you have “concerns” about her choice to date this young Jehovah’s Witness man, you will always love her as your daughter, no matter what choice she makes in regard to this relationship.  Let her know that you recognize that she is “of age” to make her own decisions in life and that she is responsible to embrace the life-long consequences of her actions.  Then, explain that because you love her, you feel a responsibility as her parents to share the concerns you have about this relationship, but this in no way reflects a desire to “run” or “control” her life.

At this point, you can ask her if she would be willing to engage in an open and honest dialogue with you about her reasons for dating this young man and what appeals to her about his Jehovah’s Witness religion.  Ask her for a couple of hours of uninterrupted time where you and she can sit down and discuss these matters, apart from the presence of her Jehovah’s Witness boyfriend or his friends.  Let her know that at this meeting, you desire to hear her side of the issue, not what her boyfriend thinks, but what she thinks.  You can say that this is the reason you would prefer that her boyfriend not be present at this meeting.

Let her know that your hope is that this meeting would be a time for honest communication, where you and she can discuss the implications of her choices in an atmosphere of mutual respect.  If she agrees to this meeting, you are well on your way to being able to have a heart-to-heart discussion with her without the stigma of coming across as “controlling parents.”

2. DISCOVER WHAT ATTRACTS HER TO THIS BOYFRIEND AND HIS RELIGION.

A good way to start your meeting with your daughter is to ask her what she sees in this young man that has captured her interest in him and his religion.  Listen carefully for any doubts she may express about her own faith and why she feels that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have the answers that she is looking for.  You mentioned that she is on chapter eight of their “study” book so it sounds like she has been meeting with them for a couple of months already.

In this case, it is safe to assume that she is impressed with their claim to be able to answer any spiritual question from the Bible. They may have impressed her with their New World Translation’s use of God’s name “Jehovah” where most modern Bibles only use the terms “LORD” or “GOD” in reference to the Almighty God.  By this point, she has likely adopted their view of living eternally in a paradise earth instead of in heaven.  They may have also effectively challenged the views she has been raised with in regard to Jesus being God and God being a Trinity, so be prepared that she may share her doubts about this belief as well.

Since Jehovah’s Witnesses twist Biblical Scripture to make their false doctrines appear true, you will need to be prepared to defend your faith and accurately explain the Scripture verses that Jehovah’s Witness abuse to support their doctrines when these arguments come up in the conversation.  A few resources we recommend that you study in preparation for these issues are as follows:

bullets The “IF YOU WANT TO DIALOGUE EFFECTIVELY” Section of QUESTIONS TO ASK JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WHEN THEY KNOCK ON YOUR DOOR – This section of the article addresses the major doctrines Jehovah’s Witnesses discuss with potential converts and provides simple questions to counter their false beliefs.

3.  BE AWARE OF THE MIND CONTROL TECHNIQUES USED BY THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES

When you have your discussion with your daughter, consider how much mind control she may be under from her studies with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Since she is 18 years old, we do not recommend that you try to force her to stop studying with them because she could retaliate by moving out of your home into theirs.  It is not uncommon for Jehovah’s Witness parents to open their home to their son’s girlfriend if she shows a firm interest in their religion and is experiencing strong opposition from her parents.

You also need to realize that within the first few weeks of studying, a potential convert has been warned that her family and friends will come against her new faith, even calling it a “cult” and trying to get her to stop studying with them.  Since she has already been put on guard against any negative thoughts from you, they gained credibility in her mind when their prophecy about your initial reaction proved true.  So, realize that she has already come under their mindset and take the time to read the following article on our website so that you can avoid triggering other aspects of their control:

bullets WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO RESCUE YOUR LOVED ONE FROM JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES —How to Open the Closed Mind of a Jehovah’s Witness Friend or Relative

As you have already noticed, she refuses to read anything critical of the Watchtower organization—especially if it comes from what she calls an “apostate” (Ex-Jehovah’s Witness or Anti-Jehovah’s Witness) source.  This is the first layer of mind control that Jehovah’s Witnesses instill in potential converts.  Thus, you will want to be careful that she doesn’t see that you posses copies of the resources listed above, or she will tell the Jehovah’s Witnesses that you are reading “apostate” material and they will warn her not to talk to you about her new faith for fear that she will be exposed to this information.

Indeed, it is this mind control technique that caused your daughter to refuse to read our article entitled, “I’M STUDYING WITH JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES. WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE I GET BAPTIZED.”  Although your daughter would not look at it, you can still study it and present the concerns in it by asking her the following questions:

  • I’ve heard that Jehovah’s Witnesses will let their children die rather than take blood transfusions. How would you feel if you marry this guy and your child needs a blood transfusion?  Would you be OK with your husband letting your child die because he refused to let the hospital give a blood transfusion?
  • Did you know that once you get baptized into the Jehovah’s Witnesses, there is no honorable way out of the organization?  Did you know that if you try to leave this religion, your friends in the Jehovah’s Witnesses will be required to “shun” you?  Does this sound like a religion that emphasizes God’s love? How would you feel if you become a Jehovah’s Witness but something happens where your boyfriend ends up leaving or getting kicked out? How would you feel about being required to shun your best friend?
    • Your daughter probably has no idea about this policy because the Jehovah’s Witnesses sometimes lie to potential converts by denying this is taught by their religion.  Study the following article to present photocopied documentation from official Watchtower sources that proves the Watchtower requires shunning of former members: DO JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES SHUN FAMILY MEMBERS WHO LEAVE?
  • If you find something that disagrees with what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach, would you believe the Bible or the Jehovah’s Witnesses? 
    • This question is very important because it will demonstrate just how committed she is to the Jehovah’s Witness religion.  If your daughter cares about truth, she will likely tell you that if she sees something in the Bible that disagrees with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, she will follow the Bible over what they are telling her. However, if she claims that she doesn’t care if the Bible contradicts her new beliefs, you know that the real issue is NOT that she believes her new religion is true, but rather that she desires to win her boyfriend’s affection through her devotion to his religion.  If she says she doesn’t care about whether their doctrine is true, the next set of questions will have little to no effect upon her, but if she does have a heart for truth (as most will at least try to make it appear that they do), you may be able to raise doubt about her new religion with these questions.

MORE QUESTIONS FOR YOUR DAUGHTER TO THINK ABOUT:

At this point it would be important to bring up some of the most obvious false doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses that will be harder for your daughter and her Jehovah’s Witness friends to dispute. These focus on the Jehovah’s Witness concept of a two-class salvation, where only 144,000 people are in the New Covenant and have Jesus Christ as their Mediator while the rest of the believers who are relegated to the second class called “other sheep” are not allowed these privileges.  You can also present the following documentation to demonstrate how the Watchtower Society twists information in a deceptive way. This documentation will challenge the very heart and credibility of this organization’s claim to be God’s only “true” religion.

bullets IS THE NEW COVENANT ONLY FOR A GROUP OF 144,000 PEOPLE? —15 Questions to Ask Jehovah’s Witnesses on the 144,000 and the Great Crowd

bullets QUESTIONS FOR JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES ON LIES IN THE WATCHTOWER TRINITY BROCHURE – Should You Believe in the Trinity?

bullets DO THE BELIEFS OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES PROVE THEY ARE THE ONLY TRUE RELIGION? — 10 Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses on How to Determine the True Religion

4.  DISCUSS HOW HER INTEREST IN THIS BOYFRIEND MAY CHANGE HER LIFE.

We have discussed factors about the Jehovah’s Witness religion that you can present to your daughter if she has a heart for truth, but what if she doesn’t care about truth? What if her only attraction is based completely upon his physical appearance and stature? As you noticed, it appears that she is willing to throw away everything about her career just to gain this guy’s approval.  This brings the dating relationship to a new level where you will need to focus upon other aspects of his character that could have devastating effects upon her future.  Questions you can ask to help her evaluate the long-term effects she may be facing with this guy are as follows:

  • What impresses you the most about this guy’s character?  Is there anything about his personality that concerns you?  Why or Why not?
  • Since he doesn’t have a job or a college education, how does he plan to provide for you and your family if you marry him?
  • How does he feel about you having a college education when he doesn’t? Will he be supportive of you continuing your college classes if you get married?  How does he plan to bring in enough money to financially support your education?
    • NOTE: If he has successfully convinced her with the idea that he won’t need a career in this world’s system because he believes Armageddon and paradise will soon occur, remind her that even the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that it will take 1,000 years of cleaning up the earth from the destruction of Armageddon before paradise will be a reality. Ask her how he plans to help with the cleanup and feed his family if he has no skills or trades by which to build new homes or farm the land? Remind her that when everything is destroyed, there will be no grocery stores from which to buy food, so he will need some type of skill to feed his family.

By asking these types of questions, you may be able to empower your daughter to critically evaluate her relationship with this guy, but the choice is hers to make. She still may not listen to your advice, but at least it is worth a try.

If your daughter does have a heart for spiritual truth and you were successful in persuading her to see the falsehoods of the Jehovah’s Witness theology, you may want to ask her what she believes God’s Word has to say about dating/marrying a non-Christian.  To help, you can present the following Scriptures with their accompanying questions:

DEUTERONOMY 7:3-4: “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and He will quickly destroy you.” **

  • Why did God command the Israelites not to “intermarry” with the people of the nations around them?
  • How would marrying someone who has a different view of God affect your ability to worship and serve the true God?
  • How would it affect your ability to teach your children about God?

2 CORINTHIANS 6:14: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

  • Why does God warn against being “bound together” with an unbeliever?
  • In what way would intimacy and “fellowship” be compromised if your mate is unsaved?
  • Will God bless you if you place a person in front of your relationship with Him?

Once you’ve established the common ground of what God has to say about the Christian dating and marriage of an unbeliever, if she agrees that she should not put her Jehovah’s Witness boyfriend in front of her relationship with God, be prepared that she might raise the following objection:

OBJECTION: YOUR DAUGHTER IS MISSIONARY DATING:

Your daughter may say something like, “I know he doesn’t believe exactly like we do, but he’s open to discussing religion and I’m trying to help him see the truth of my faith.”  A few questions in response may help her put this idea in proper perspective.

  1. Does he realize that you view him as your “spiritual project”?  How do you think you would feel if your Jehovah’s Witness boyfriend told you that the only reason he is dating you is to try to convert you to his faith?  If this is what your relationship is based on, what kind of relationship do you think you would end up with?
  2. Would your boyfriend be willing to investigate your faith if he were not dating you and you decided not to attend Kingdom Hall anymore with him or study with his Jehovah’s Witness friends?  If so, would he be willing to meet with a pastor or some other “man” from your church who can reach out to him without the interference that his physical attraction to you plays in his interest?  If not, could it be that his true motive in showing interest is only to win your affection?   
  3. If his real motive is to win your affection and you are successful in getting him to make the decision to leave Jehovah’s Witnesses to embrace your faith, what assurance do you have that his commitment is real and not just a superficial attempt to impress you?  Keep in mind that if he leaves Jehovah’s Witnesses, his family will shun him by refusing to speak to him any longer.  Would he be willing to sacrifice his relationship with his family for a relationship with you and your God? 

In addition to asking her these questions, you might have her to read the following article to fully understand how missionary dating can affect her life:

bullets DATING AND MARRYING A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS: Should I convert to the Jehovah’s Witness religion to continue dating my Jehovah’s Witness girlfriend? What should we expect if I don’t convert and she leaves her religion for me? 

bullets I’M DATING A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS. HOW CAN I HELP HIM FIND THE TRUTH?

5. DISCUSS THE CONSEQUENCES OF COMPROMISE.

The Jehovah’s Witness faith is more than just a religion. It is a culture. When one marries a Jehovah’s Witness, one marries into a lifestyle that is geared around the strenuous requirements of service within the Watchtower organization.  Whether or not your daughter chooses to become a Jehovah’s Witness, if she decides to marry her boyfriend, her decision will affect not only her personal life, but the lives of all who are around her.  Is she prepared for the consequences of compromise?

Does your daughter realize the effects that her choice to marry this young man could have on her children?  If she decides not to become a Jehovah’s Witness, but marries this guy anyway, does she understand what this will mean for her children growing up with a father who is in this religion?  What faith will the children be raised under?  Will she be able to protect her children from being indoctrinated by the false beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses? How will she handle a husband who may insist on the children accompanying him to meetings at the Kingdom Hall?  Will he allow her to take the children to her church and talk to them about the differences between her Christian beliefs and Watchtower doctrine?  Will he allow her to have “anti-Jehovah’s Witness” or “apostate” literature in the home?  These are just some of the issues she needs to consider if she decides to compromise by marrying a Jehovah’s Witness. The following article provides more aspects to consider before marriage:

bullets I’M ENGAGED TO MARRY A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS. What are the pros and cons of a relationship with a Jehovah’s Witness?

Indeed, much prayer is needed when helping a daughter who is playing with spiritual fire in her dating relationships.

Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” —Proverbs 4:23, The New King James Version

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** Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New World Translation Bible

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