Jehovah’s Witnesses and ‘Gay’ intolerance

Anthony Morris III

When Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, came out as gay in late October 2014, most reasonable people probably considered it a non event.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, no doubt, ignored his revelation.

They will not, this week, be ignoring their Faithful and Discreet Slave, Governing Body member, Anthony Morris III’s judgemental comments.

Neither did Pink News.

Jehovah’s Witnesses will bandy words about their stance on sexual identity. They have been called out a number of times for intolerance and ignorance.

In 2007, the nonpartisan fact tank, Pew Research reported:

Jehovah’s Witnesses are or have: – Most homophobic religion in the U.S.

The homophobic attitudes were crystallized in mid-November 2014, by a Tony Morris III performance to a captive audience. The audience can be heard laughing in a Youtube video that has been shared with Pink News. JWsurvey has also reviewed Tony’s “branch visit” speech

Some of the audience may have sniggered in uncomfortable embarrassment, that this guy is one of their top leaders. Others may have laughed in blind non reasoned agreement, as Tony spewed his disgust at a couple of things that bug him, namely tight pants and spanx, (AKA spandex).

Tony’s obsession with tight pants was recorded earlier in the year. Again this week, in a purportedly important speech, Tony decided that out of the numerous pressing matters that occupies his mind as a Governing Body member, he should let his followers know that tight pants are still a “NO NO.”

He said:

They are tight all the way down to the ankles. It’s not appropriate. It’s not sound of mind.

The homosexuals that are designing these clothes – they’d like you in tight pants.

On the same day Pink News picked up Tony’s obsession, the Huffington Post ran a blog story by . Her story is one of compassion and unconditional love for her gay non-biological mother. In beautiful prose, she shares the love she was shown by Millie, her non-biological lesbian mother in her blog post “My Lesbian mom, died terrified of going to hell“.

The kindness and love shown is contrasted with her biological Jehovah’s Witness mother’s behaviour, who values her religious beliefs more than a relationship with her daughter. This lack of consideration will no doubt resonate with many who have experienced the ‘shunning’ practices of their Jehovah’s Witness families. The damage such beliefs do to people can be sensed in Vanessa’s words. She writes:

My biological mother went back to being a Jehovah’s Witness and now says she regrets being with Millie for 20-some-odd years. “Les di un mal ejemplo,” she says. That’s bullshit. Millie is the reason I’m sane.

See, Millie is the one who loved me — tender, unconditional, I-believe-in-you love. My biological mother hasn’t spoken to me in months. She’s done that so many times throughout my life — almost 39 years. That’s how she punishes me. She denies me her love.”

You can read the full story of unnecessary guilt and pain caused by intolerant beliefs on  blog at the Huffington Post.

Gays raised in a JW family have always suffered disproportionately, because of the requirement not to be gay.

Former Jehovah’s Witness, Scott Terry, author of ‘Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth: How a Gay Child Was Saved from Religion‘ understands only too well, the bigotry and disrespect shown by this group. He said in his Huffington Post Blog,

Scott Terry Book Cover

Scott Terry Book Cover

I did not choose to be gay. I fought it. For years, I prayed to God and asked Him to cure me.

He recognized his own indoctrinated homophobia and denial of self and continued in his 2012 blog post:

Everything I believed about homosexuality had been learned from my father and my religious upbringing with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and none of it was nice.”

Scott actively challenged his indoctrination and has written and exposed the intolerance and homophobic language used by JW publications.

He does not pull any punches in stating “the beliefs are just plain wrong.

Religion has grappled with justifying intolerance and has generally chosen a very simplified outlook on homosexuality. Same-gender attraction was mostly deemed to be a perversion in judgment on the part of weak minded individuals.”

In quoting from a JW publication ‘Your Youth – Getting the Best Out of It,’ he shares how Jehovah’s Witness children are taught fear and guilt.

Weakly giving in to sexual desires by masturbation will certainly not give you strength when faced with a situation tempting you to commit fornication–or even homosexuality. Just the opposite, it cultivates wrong thinking and wrong desire. In fact, masturbation can lead into homosexuality. In such instances the person, not satisfied with his lonely sexual activity, seeks a partner for mutual sex play.

This happens much more frequently than you may realize. Contrary to what many persons think, homosexuals are not born that way, but their homosexual behavior is learned. And often a person gets started when very young by playing with another’s sexual parts, and then engaging in homosexual acts.” (Your Youth–Getting the Best out of It, 1976 p.35,36,39)

Is it any wonder that Jehovah’s Witnesses appear to be homophobic, when they produce publications that present unbelievable and non factual information?

Tim Cook’s “coming out” statement as head of Apple, shows a depth of tolerance and compassion for fellow human beings, absent in the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

He said, “I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. If hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

He added;

It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry.

Unlike the stance of Jehovah’s Witnesses, he said, he would “personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up.

So what could you say when someone shares the news that they are “coming out?”  has some suggestions in his article “The ‘Closet’ is okay.” Instead of criticism and judgement, he suggests saying one of the following;

  1. Thanks for sharing this with me. I feel honored that you’ve trusted me with this.
  2. Nothing you could ever tell me will make me think any less of you. You and I may not always agree on everything, but I’m proud of who you are and that will never change.
  3. What do you need from me, if anything? How can I support you?

More information

http://religions.pewforum.org/reports

http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report-religious-landscape-study-full.pdf

http://www.pewforum.org/2008/06/01/u-s-religious-landscape-survey-religious-beliefs-and-practices/

Pink News – Jehovah’s Witness boss says don’t wear tight trousers they are designed by homosexuals Link

Huffington Post Blogger  “My Lesbian mom, died terrified of going to hell” Link

Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth: How a Gay Child Was Saved from Religion – Amazon Link

Bloomberg Businessweek – Tim Cook – I’m proud to be Gay Link

The Independent – Tim Cook, Apple CEO comes out as Gay for the first time Link

Andrew Marin – Patheos – The ‘closet’ is okay Link

Susannah

About Susannah

"Susannah," JWReport's News and Opinion Editor, is very familiar with the Watchtower Society and its leaders past and present. An experienced editor and writer, she was born and raised in the UK where she was an active Jehovah's Witness until she was 28. She now lives and works in southern Europe.

Comments

Jehovah’s Witnesses and ‘Gay’ intolerance — 5 Comments

  1. This is really a very nicely written article. I’ve not seen other media reports like this one that put the effort into researching my writings and quoted it so well. Thank you for that.

  2. Why is it that Homosexuals think that everyone has to tolerate them or it turns into a hate thing? They need to tolerate people’s outlook on them.

    • People are entitled to opinions. But if you read the article, you will see that JW’s make people reject their own sexuality. This causes psychological damage and often suicide. Intolerance is not helpful in this context.

  3. The fact that you quote from JW own publications show that they are open, unashamed and not trying hide anything. Individuals who wish to practice homosexuality, immorality of any sort, religious intolerance, etc. etc. are free in this county to start any church of their own and write any so-called religious book they wish to further promote their causes. No matter how the behavior of this world degrades and how tolerant people become of all sorts of behavior Jehovah’s Witnesses will stick to God’s and his sons instructions on moral and ethical behavior. Our so called “shunning” keep us clean from the world around us mired in the muck. We won’t roll in the much to curry favor or regain family relationships just to be “one of you”. So you need to move on now.

    • Thanks Lisa for your comment. Hope you checked out the Pew statistics that display the level of ignorance within the JW community. Fortunately there are laws against homophobia, intolerance, but sadly not ignorance. Breaking up families is unkind and unloving. But arrogantly defending such behaviour is a JW trait taught by the leadership and followed by a few. Displaying unkindness and ignorance whilst parroting beliefs from a dying organization is the only thing you know as questioning is not allowed, so forgiveness and kindness towards you is is in order. Have a great day.

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