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Chapter Six

The fact that Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate
any holidays, other than wedding anniversaries,
caused our family a great many problems all through
the years. Even though we tried our best to explain
to our small children the reasons for not celebrating
the holidays, they were just too young to fully com
prehend. Of course, what made it especially difficult
for our boys was observing all the other children
doing things that they weren't permitted to do.
Christmas, New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving, birth
days, Halloween, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valen
tines Day and St. Patrick's Day were all holidays that
were either "of pagan origin" according to research
published by the Watchtower, or shouldn't be cele
brated simply because "worldly people" celebrated

For our sons Daniel and Scott, who were both
attending public school now, it meant being excluded
from many activities and functions and made them
feel very conspicuous and alone. For example,
whenever Valentines Day was close at hand and the
children at school would make Valentines and give
cards to their classmates, my wife would have to talk
to the boys' teachers to make sure they didn't have to
participate. The teachers were usually very under
standing and would excuse the boys, sending them
to the office, and then my wife would have to pick
them up from school. This procedure took place
anytime there were holiday related activities.

In addition, our sons were taught that it was
wrong to salute the American flag or sing the
national anthem, as this was considered an act of
idolatry by Jehovah God. While everyone else in
their class would stand with their hand over their
heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag,
the boys would simply sit quietly in their seat. Our
sons were also instructed that it wasn't really accept
able for them to play with children who were not
Jehovah's Witnesses. They were taught that all the
other boys and girls were bad associates because
they were "worldly" and part of Satan's organization.
If there were no other Witness children in the boys'
classes, which was usually the case, they were
instructed to play by themselves. This applied to
recess, lunch period or any other social occasions.
However, my wife sometimes made exceptions to this
rule at home, to allow the boys to play with neigh
borhood children under her watchful eye and close

Our second oldest son Scott recently revealed to
me that, because of his refusal to recite the Pledge of
Allegiance to the flag in grade school, some of his
classmates called him a "Communist." Scott jokingly
related that, even though he wasn't sure what a
Communist was at that young age and he doubted
that the children calling him the name did either, it
still hurt his feelings. Of course, just by virtue of
being "different," the boys were ridiculed and ostra-
cized by their classmates, being made fun of and
called names on occasion. Even though it saddened
us to see our sons mistreated, we tried to make it
clear to them that we were true Christians who had
to endure persecution for our beliefs, and someday
soon we would receive our just reward for being
faithful and obedient to Jehovah and the Watchtower
organization. In addition, we continually explained
to our sons at our family Bible study and on other
occasions, how all those people outside God's organi
zation -- some of whom were making fun of them now
-- would be destroyed at Armageddon, and we would
be saved.

As our sons became older, they were not allowed to
participate in extracurricular activities at school.
Sports, Scouting, hobbies, etc., according to the
Society, were all a waste of valuable time. Our
children's energies, we were told by the organization,
would be better spent in going from door to door,
warning persons about Jehovah's impending judg
ment at Armageddon. The Society sternly warned us
constantly that this lifesaving work was more
important than anything else we could spend our
time on. When Armageddon occurred and someone
was destroyed because they didn't have the oppor-
tunity to learn "the Truth" due to our being neglectful
of going out in service, Jehovah would hold us
accountable, and that person's blood would be on
our hands.

In addition, if it were perceived that the total
number of hours spent in service for the month for
the entire congregation was less than what the elders
thought it should be, we were always reminded that
"those who don't use their time wisely now won't
have any time in the New System." The obvious
implication was that if you didn't put in sufficient
hours in service to Jehovah's organization now, you
wouldn't live to spend and enjoy time in the New
System of things after Armageddon. You would be
destroyed along with the rest of the wicked.

Abstinence from celebrating the holidays was
especially difficult for the boys at Christmas time and
on their birthdays. Our boys would hear their class
mates at school talking about the presents they had
received at Christmas or on their birthday. In an
effort to lessen our children's disappointment of not
receiving Christmas gifts, we would take advantage of
the after Christmas sales, buying our children toys
and gifts at reduced prices. These presents would be
given to our boys, not as part of the worldly holiday
celebration, but rather just because we loved them.
When it came to birthdays, we basically used the
same scheme, presenting the boys with gifts after
their birth date, not in celebration of the occasion,
but simply out of our love for them. Linnie and I
both sometimes felt that we were being dishonest by
this subterfuge. However, it appeared that all the
other Witnesses we knew did the same thing, so we
continued the practice.

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