Critical Review of

Preparing For Child Custody Cases

by Randall Watters

This section of the Watchtower's booklet is the "Sample Cross-Examination Questions For Non-Witness Parent" and a list of questions that a Witness' attorney may use in cross-examining the non-Witness parent, in order to demonstrate that the parent is biased in his/her understanding of the Watchtower's position, and that they may not be fit parents for custody of the children. The text of the booklet is always represented in black type font, and my comments are made in red. Quotations from Watchtower publications will appear in green text. Most of my comments are contained in the sections designated as "sample responses" by the Watchtower.

Certain words throughout the booklet will be highlighted in blue and underlined, and is my way of conveying to you some counter points regarding what the Watchtower is saying. Just click once on the blue text, and you can read my comments on their statement.

Since almost all my references in challenging their stated position are taken out of recent Watchtowers from the last 15 years or so, and since every Jehovah's Witness can obtain the entire text of the Watchtower and Awake! magazines for the last 20 years or so, there is no need to photodocument their statements, for they can be verified by any Jehovah's Witness who has a library or their 1993 or 1995 CD-ROM of Watchtower publications. Quotes are reproduced for the benefit of the reader in order to see what they have said on the issue. Page numbers are indicated in green, after each page, for the sake of reference. If a paragraph is split by a page break, the page number indicator falls after the end of said paragraph, rather than in the midst of it, to facilitate reading.

Randall Watters






Jehovah's Witnesses' role as parents and spouse...

A) Parent: 


If non-Witness alleges Witness spouse has made church more important than family:

This is where the JW will attempt to show his/her religion to be reasonable and having reasonable demands, while possibly claiming the non-JW spouse's response to his/her religion as unreasonable and bigoted. My comments in red and the quotations from the Watchtower publications in green text will help demonstrate that if anything, the Witnesses are taught to be unreasonable, constrictive and often unfair.

The court wants to see that the child's welfare is not put in jeapardy by one of the parents neglecting their responsibilities to the children by spending such time in religious pursuits. In the case of the Witnesses, attendance is expected at 5 meetings per week, plus studying Watchtower publications and going out in their door-to-door work. This adds up to 12 hours or more per week expected of a good Witness. In conclusion: If the Witness lives up to the expectations of his/her religion, he/she will most likely be neglecting some vital aspect of training or nurturing the children.

More often than not, the issue is what church the children go to, not the parent(s).

B) Spouse: 

The Governing Body has attempted on occasion to dictate what is and is not acceptable in the marriage bed. Many Witness women divorced their non-JW husbands or were divorced because they would not participate in oral sex or some other variant on "missionary sex." Below is reproduced some of the critical text from two major articles on the issue of "oral sex," etc.:

Questions from Readers

... Some have contended, however, that absolutely anything done between husband and wife is permissible. However, that view is not supported in the Bible. In Romans 1:24-32, where it speaks of both men and women who participated in immoral sex practices, including lesbian and sodomite acts, the Bible mentions a "natural use of the female." Thus it shows that to indulge in such perverted use of the reproductive organs so as to satisfy a covetous desire for sexual excitement is not approved by God. This would also be true in connection with married couples; they should not pervert this "natural use of the female." In many places even the law of the land backs this up, making certain acts between husband and wife illegal. For example, speaking about the United States, Time of August 8, 1969, observed: "Sodomy is illegal in nearly every state, even between spouses." (Those who have not learned how such perversions are practiced ought to be grateful for that, for Jehovah God urges Christians to "be babes as to badness."—1 Cor. 14:20.)

In view of their mutual needs marital relations are a way for husband and wife to express tender love and deep affection for each other. Would it be consistent with that selfishly to ask one’s mate to share in a degradation of the reproductive organs, acting in a way that the mate found to be repulsive, just so as to gratify one’s own senses? Would that be the tender, loving course? No sane person would abuse his or her own human body, or force upon it a practice that was revolting. The Scriptures speak of husband and wife as one flesh. (Eph. 5:28-31) So would a sane and loving husband or wife request sex acts that the other mate rightly regarded as unnatural and disgusting? Obviously authority over the body of one’s mate is not unlimited or unaffected by Bible principles.—1 Cor. 7:1-5; Prov. 5:15-19.

Sometimes individuals feel that self-control as to sex is necessary for a single person but that once one is married it is not needed. This view, however, is not correct. Self-control is a fruit of the spirit and it should be manifested in all of one’s dealings. (Gal. 5:22, 23) The fact that usually the male has the greater sexual desire suggests that he display a greater measure of self-control, even though his wife lovingly wants to satisfy him. He should assign her "honor as to a weaker vessel, the feminine one." (1 Pet. 3:7) And in part he can do this by recognizing that her sexual nature is different from his. Dwelling with her "according to knowledge," he ought not think only of quickly satisfying himself however and whenever he wants, but he should be considerate of her both physically and emotionally. - WT 12/15/69, p. 765-766

and also the following in full:

Questions from Readers

• Recently in the news was a court decision ruling that oral copulation by adults is no longer punishable by law in a certain state. Would such practice therefore be solely a matter for individual conscience if engaged in by a Christian couple within the marriage arrangement?—U.S.A.

It is not the purpose of this magazine to discuss all the intimate aspects of marital relations. Nonetheless, practices like those involved in this court case have become quite common and have received considerable publicity. Even young children in certain schools are being informed of these things in sex education courses. We would therefore be remiss as regards our responsibility if we held back Scriptural counsel that could aid sincere Christians in their efforts to follow a course of purity calling forth the Creator’s blessing. Unusual sexual practices were being carried on in the apostle Paul’s day and he did not remain silent about them, as can be seen in reading Romans 1:18-27. We are therefore only following his good example in considering this question here.

In discussing sexual practices, the apostle provides us a principle that helps us to reach a right conclusion. He refers to "the natural use of the female," which some were abandoning in favor of what is "contrary to nature," thus satisfying "disgraceful sexual appetites" and "working what is obscene." The apostle specifically deals with homosexual practices, condemning such. But the principle stated—that the satisfying of sexual desires can be "natural" or can be "contrary to nature"—applies just as well to the question under consideration.—See also Leviticus 18:22, 23.

The natural way for a married couple to have sexual relations is quite apparent from the very design given their respective organs by the Creator, and it should not be necessary to describe here how these organs complement each other in normal sexual copulation. We believe that, aside from those who have been indoctrinated with the view that ‘in marriage anything goes,’ the vast majority of persons would normally reject as repugnant the practice of oral copulation, as also anal copulation. If these forms of intercourse are not "contrary to nature," then what is? That those practicing such acts do so by mutual consent as married persons would not thereby make these acts natural or not "obscene." Are we being ‘narrow’ or ‘extreme’ in taking such position?

No, as seen by the fact that several states of the United States have for long had laws against precisely such practices, classifying them as forms of "sodomy"—even though those engaging in them are married. Because of this legal usage, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary includes in its definition of "sodomy" this: "carnal copulation with a member of the same sex or with an animal or unnatural carnal copulation with a member of the opposite sex; specif: the penetration of the male organ into the mouth or anus of another." Of course, dictionaries and state laws differ but our position is based primarily upon God’s Word the Bible. Yet such worldly evidence serves a certain purpose, one corresponding in principle to what the apostle said at 1 Corinthians 5:1. There he showed that the sexual relations of one member in the Corinthian congregation were of a kind condemned even by people of the pagan nations. So, the application of the term "sodomy" in modern times to the mentioned forms of copulation shows that we are not unreasonable in saying they are not only "unnatural" but grossly so.

However, since marriage is of divine origin, our conscientious stand on marital relations is not founded on or ruled by worldly views. Therefore the overruling of some state law and the declaring of oral copulation (or similar unnatural copulation) as ‘legal’ does not alter our Bible-based position. In a world of decaying morals we can expect that some law courts may succumb in varying degrees to the growing trend toward sexual perversion, just as some of the clergy and doctors have done.

It is not our purpose to attempt to draw a precise line as to where what is "natural" ends and what is "unnatural" begins. But we believe that, by meditating on Bible principles, a Christian should at least be able to discern what is grossly unnatural. In other areas, the Christian’s individual conscience will have to guide, and this includes questions regarding caresses and ‘love play’ prior to intercourse. (Compare Proverbs 5:18, 19.) But even here the Christian who wants to produce the fruits of God’s holy spirit will wisely avoid practices that approach, or could easily lead one to fall into, unnatural forms of copulation.

What if certain married couples in the congregation in the past or even in recent times have engaged in practices such as those just described, not appreciating till now the gravity of the wrong? Then they can seek God’s forgiveness in prayer and prove their sincere repentance by desisting from such gross unnatural acts.

It is certainly not the responsibility of elders or any others in a Christian congregation to search into the private lives of married couples. Nevertheless, if future cases of gross unnatural conduct, such as the practice of oral or anal copulation, are brought to their attention, the elders should act to try to correct the situation before further harm results, as they would do with any other serious wrong. Their concern is, of course, to try to help those who go astray and are ‘caught in the snare of the Devil.’ (2 Tim. 2:26) But if persons willfully show disrespect for Jehovah God’s marital arrangements, then it becomes necessary to remove them from the congregation as dangerous "leaven" that could contaminate others.—1 Cor. 5:6, 11-13.

What of Christian women married to unbelievers and whose mates insist on their sharing in such grossly unnatural acts? Does the apostle’s statement that "the wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but her husband does" give a wife the basis for submitting to these demands? (1 Cor. 7:4) No, for such husbandly authority is only relative. God’s authority remains always supreme. (1 Cor. 11:3; Acts 5:29) The apostle, furthermore, was speaking of normal sexual relations, as the context indicates. True, refusal to engage in unholy acts may bring hardship or even persecution on a wife, but the situation is the same as if her husband demanded that she engage in some form of idolatry, in misuse of blood, dishonesty or other such wrong.

Millions of married couples throughout the earth, both in the past and in the present, have found that unselfish love brings joy and full satisfaction, for both partners, in marital relations, without resorting to perverted methods. Realizing that a corrupt world is soon to be wiped away, we can think on the words of the apostle Peter, who wrote: "Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah." Yes, this is not the time to be slipping into, or letting others beguile or pressure us into, unholy practices just to satisfy selfish passion. Not if we truly cherish our hope of living in the fresh, clean new order now so near. (2 Pet. 3:11, 12; Jude 7) So, Christian married couples can keep ‘the marriage bed without defilement,’ not only by refraining from fornication and adultery, but also by avoiding defiling, unnatural practices.—Heb. 13:4. - WT 12/1/72, p. 734-736

see above


Witnesses will try to characterize their opponents as "angry" with them, in order to make it appear that they have a personal problem. While this is possible, it is even more likely that this is a Witness' attempt to steer the conversation away from the issue of corrupted institutions.

Sure, if that is really the case. If you have conceded to being "angry" with her and the organization, then it is obvious that such would affect the mate adversely. If it isn't the case, make your point clear!

If you have already conceded to being angry with your mate and the Watchtower, then you have now been upgraded to an "intolerant" person with a lot of "animosity!" If not, this point is irrelevant.

Corporal punishment:


The Watchtower actively discourages children from having anything to do with Christmas or other "worldy" holidays. Good Witness mothers always pass on that attitude to their children.

It is clear, therefore, that Jesus was not born on December 25. Rather, the available evidence points to about October 1 of 2 B.C.E. Hence, celebrating his birthday through Christmas observance on December 25 is totally inappropriate for those guided by the Holy Scriptures. - WT, 12/15/79, p. 5

We all need to face up to the fact that Christmas and its music are not from Jehovah, the God of truth. Then what is their source? Reason should suggest that they are from someone whose sole aim now is to mislead as many people as possible. The Bible tells us that this is the goal of Satan the Devil. So you can appreciate why Christmas and its trappings can be perfect tools for his efforts. They tickle the senses while blinding the mind to Bible-based truth. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Satan knows the powerful effect music has on humans. In diverse churches and temples around the earth he cunningly camouflages his God-dishonoring teachings and customs with sweet melodies and lovely lyrics. So why should it be different with Christmas music? - WT 12/15/83, p. 7


The main point to note is that they are not allowed to participate with other non-Witness children in any of their Christmas or holiday-related activities. So while the parents may or may not give gifts equivalent to the Christmas spirit during other times of the year, the child is being deprived of learning social and mechanical skills among his peers. It is one thing to dislike or make light of a holiday; it is quite another to ban it's observance in any form under pain of shunning, which is spiritual death.

Ironically, although Witnesses will not give gifts at Christmastime, they will usually accept them from others, especially their employers.

Often the JW mate demands that no holidays be observed, as they are viewed as "satanic." Again quoted:

We all need to face up to the fact that Christmas and its music are not from Jehovah, the God of truth. Then what is their source? Reason should suggest that they are from someone whose sole aim now is to mislead as many people as possible. The Bible tells us that this is the goal of Satan the Devil. So you can appreciate why Christmas and its trappings can be perfect tools for his efforts. They tickle the senses while blinding the mind to Bible-based truth. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Satan knows the powerful effect music has on humans. In diverse churches and temples around the earth he cunningly camouflages his God-dishonoring teachings and customs with sweet melodies and lovely lyrics. So why should it be different with Christmas music? - WT 12/15/83, p. 7



As a preface, I will cite David Reed's comments regarding his book, Blood On The Altar:

My book BLOOD ON THE ALTAR references an article in the October 15, 1993 WATCHTOWER (page 32) where the Watchtower Society admits that 16 studies involving 1,404 operations on Jehovah's Witnesses reveal a mortality rate between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent attributed to refusing blood. The WT scoffs at that number as insignificantly small. But if you multiply a small percentage by millions of people, or the fraction of those millions who undergo operations, you still end up with a LOT of people dead. Here is how you can explain it:

(1) The October 15, 1993 WATCHTOWER (page 32) admits a mortality rate between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent attributed to refusing blood in major surgery.

(2) That averages out to a 1 percent death rate for refusing blood.

(3) So, for every 100 JWs undergoing routine major surgery, one dies as a direct result of refusing blood.

(4) Out of the 13,000,000 attending Kingdom Halls, how many JWs have such routine major surgery?

(5) Multiply that number by 1/100 and it will give some idea of the number of JWs dying for refusing blood.

(6) Did 50,000 JWs undergo major surgery last year and refuse blood? Then THE WATCHTOWER's figures point to 500 blood-refusal deaths last year. Did 90,000 have operations?--then 900 deaths.

And the percentage for routine major surgery is low compared with trauma from accidents, hemorrhaging during childbirth complications, etc., where there is a lot of sudden uncontrolled blood loss.

One doctor alone, quoted in BLOOD ON THE ALTAR, saw a number of JW patients die in the emergency room -- who he indicated would have lived if they had been given blood products. If one doctor saw several JWs die, then how many have all the doctors seen?

I wish we had more solid numbers. While writing the book I contacted both American and international health organizations, and found that NO ONE has accurate figures -- except perhaps the Society, which I show in the book to be falsifying the picture intentionally.

So, in the book I combine actual deaths reported in the media with the limited statistics that are available, and extrapolate to the JW population. My arguments there are generally conservative, and the book received a favorable review by the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.

The Society apparently felt comfortable providing that 1/100 death rate figure in the October 15, 1993 WATCHTOWER because the doctor quoted also gave his opinion that the deaths due to complications in taking blood "probably" exceeded this. However, another source the Society uses in the Nov. 22, 1993 AWAKE! reports in a portion not quoted in AWAKE! that complications cause "one death for every 13,000 bottles of blood transfused." (The paper "Blood, Sin, and Death: Jehovah's Witnesses and the American Patients' Rights Movement," by Dr. Charles H. Baron, professor of law at the Boston College Law School, presented at the Colloquium "Sang et Droit" at the University of Paris)

So, sources cited as authoritative by the Watchtower Society give these odds:

1 out of 100 JWs refusing blood dies in routine major surgery.

1 out of 13,000 units of blood transfused causes death.

If those are really the odds, which is the wiser course from a medical standpoint?

David A. Reed


There is always a balance of risk in medical procedure. Doctors gamble that the odds of surviving healthy are better if they perform one action over another, and their job is to weigh those risks carefully. This is not the priority of the Witnesses, however, as obedience to the Watchtower is of primary importance. Don't forget to make this point clear.

This reveals how well-programmed the JW spouse may be--if they have learned to couch their response in non-committal terms. If you push JWs on the issue, they will have to answer, "yes."


Non-Witness spouse's religious activities

Usually the JW parent will not allow a child to be taken to another church if it is in their power to say so.

Perhaps, if that somehow includes something other than just the Bible! (Like their books.)

Same as above. Would you tolerate your children reading books by Charles Manson? What if they were called, "Bible Study Aids?"

Some of the above questions might be viewed as attempts to reveal the non-JW spouse's potential hypocrisy, if they claim to be religious and yet do not fully believe or participate in their faith.

Status of children:

Keep in mind that scholastic achievement is the main interest of teachers and the reason for report cards. Factors such as peer involvement, social skills and the pursuit of individual talents (things that JW children would most likely suffer from) would not appear on a report card, and might not be addressed or reported on by teachers.


Religious activities of Witness spouse:

Yes. He or she is an adult and can choose a religion.

As long as it does not utilize techniques of deception, falsehood and mind control to advance its agenda.

No, he/she is an adult and that is his/her choice.

Not if the result would be for the children to view their non-JW father or mother as controlled by Satan the devil, no!

No, he/she is an adult and that is his/her choice.

Yes, because they will be taught that all other religious people, including their non-JW father/mother, will be soon destroyed in a coming war between good and evil. I am seen as being on the side of evil and the devil.

The Watchtower teaches the children that they will die unless they become Jehovah's Witnesses. Note some more recent comments in this regard:

God's Anger Brought to a Finish
It is the satanic "air" breathed by the world today, the spirit, or general mental inclination, that characterizes his whole wicked system of things, the satanic thinking that permeates every aspect of life outside Jehovah’s organization. So in pouring out his bowl upon the air, the seventh angel expresses God’s wrath against Satan, his organization, and everything that motivates mankind to support Satan in defying Jehovah’s sovereignty. - Revelation--Its Grand Climax At Hand! 1988, p. 234

Judging the Infamous Harlot
We recognize Babylon the Great as being all of false religion. She is "the mother of the harlots" because all the individual false religions in the world, including the many sects in Christendom, are like her daughters, imitating her in committing spiritual harlotry. She is also the mother of "disgusting things" in that she has given birth to such revolting offspring as idolatry, spiritism, fortune-telling, astrology, palmistry, human sacrifice, temple prostitution, drunkenness in honor of false gods, and other obscene practices. - Revelation--Its Grand Climax At Hand! 1988, p. 244

Mourning and Rejoicing at Babylon's End

19 Jehovah lays the blame for all this bloodshed at the feet of Babylon the Great. Had the religious leaders, and particularly those in Christendom, taught their people Bible truth, such massive bloodshed would not have occurred. Truly, then, directly or indirectly, Babylon the Great—the great harlot and world empire of false religion—must answer to Jehovah not only for "the blood of prophets and of holy ones" whom she has persecuted and killed but for the blood "of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth." Babylon the Great does indeed carry an appalling bloodguilt. Good riddance when her final destruction takes place! - Revelation--Its Grand Climax At Hand! 1988, p. 271


If non-Witness spouse alleges that beliefs of Jehovah's Witness spouse will harm children:

If it is done as a study of the Bible, yes, one can be indoctrinated with the teachings of the Bible. Just as reading the "Bible Study Aids" of Jehovah's Witnesses will indoctrinate them with Watchtower thinking.


Keep in mind that scholastic achievement is the main interest of teachers and the reason for report cards. Factors such as peer involvement, social skills and the pursuit of individual talents (things that JW children would most likely suffer from) would not appear on a report card, and might not be addressed or reported on by teachers.

Non-Witness spouse's attitude to Witness spouse:

If Jehovah's Witnesses believed this were necessary, they would be allowed to attend churches to find out what others teach. They are not allowed to set foot in another church. Yet they will ask people if they have ever been to the Kingdom Hall, in order to imply that such is necessary to really see what they really teach.

For a discussion of the form of lying by Jehovah's Witnesses known as "theocratic warfare" and Ray Franz' comments on the use of it during court sessions, go to Why Witnesses Lie In Court.


The issue is not whether they "recognize" the government, it is that they beleive the government is under the control of Satan the devil.

They do not "recognize" the need to pledge their allegiance to any country, to vote in its elections, to run for office or salute the flag of the country.

Note: Fit the following questions to the facts of individual case:

Jehovah's Witnesses are the ones who are told to "rip up" books! For an example with a picture demonstrating how, see the Watchtower of March 15, 1986, p. 12.

Witnesses are taught not to think for themselves; to avoid independent thinking contrary to Watchtower doctrine. Links to photodocumentation:

Independent thinking is a form of pride.

Don't question the organization.

No, I am not intolerant of my spouse practicing her religion. I object to her indoctrinating my children into the religion, thereby pitting us parents against each other, since I would be viewed as being under the control of Satan.

The welfare of my children comes first, and helping them integrate into society. I do not want them indoctrinated against me.


Neither, the problem is the insistence on being indoctrinated with beliefs that will break up our family.

If non-Witness spouse alleges Witness spouse made an agreement as to the religion of the children:

Child's freedom of choice:

I welcome their education about all religions, but not desire their INDOCTRINATION into a religion that will undermine my credibility by saying I am led by the devil.

same as above.

same as above.

same as above.

When they are at a reasonable age, yes. In the meantime, it is my responsibility to teach them in the religion I believe is right.

My fear is that if my children are indoctrinated into this religion, they may be shunned by my spouse if they later chose to leave. See Simon Says... and also Disfellowshipping.



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