Help in Answering a Letter from a JW


#1

We recently had a death in the family, and the other day a received a letter from a JW saying that she had read the obits and saw our name listed as survivors. The letter includes "the scripture at John 11:11 which tells us that ‘he said to them: Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep,’ and ‘for this reason I look forward to being reunited with my loved one, and you can too.’

It also included the leaflet, “What Hope for Dead Loved Ones” that states, “Nowhere does the Bible teach that man has an immortal soul that survives the death of the body.” It goes on to say, “What was Lazarus’ condition during those four days he was dead? Lazarus did not say anything about being in a heaven of bliss or a hell of torment, which sureley he would have done if he had been there. No, Lazarus was completely unconcious in death and would have remained so until ‘the resurrection on the last day’ if Jesus had not then restored him to life.’”

I want to reply to this letter with thanks for thinking of my family during this time. I also feel some sense of responsibility to reply in a “Catholic” manner to let them know what we believe. What would y’all recommend here? Carol Marie? Anyone else?


#2

Personally, I would not bother to respond. There was a JW family about five or six doors down whom I had never met. After my wife died unexpectedly about 10 years ago, the wife called to express her condolences and asked if she could come visit. At the appointed time, she, her husband, and four kids showed up and proceded to try to convert me. They, likewise, had gotten my name from the newspaper and tried to hit on me when they thought I was most vulnerable. I told them as politely as I could that I did not appreciate their using a death as an excuse to come knocking for that purpose. I have resented that ever since. Since their “condolences” are just a ruse to get a foot in the door, I would just ignore it.


#3

I’d agree with the last post that it’s pretty bold to use the death of a loved one as an opportunity to tell you that the soul does not live on. I’m not suprised though since JW’s MUST preach & keep track of the time spent “in service” and scanning the obits & writting some letters is an easy way to make time. If you wanted to respond, I’d kindly reply that your Catholic Faith has taught you that the soul most certainly lives on after death and just because we don’t have a recording in scripture of Lazarus talking about the afterlife, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. The main point of that story was not Lazarus, it was the power of Jesus. He was able to raise Lazarus from the dead because he is God and as our Redeemer & Savior, we too have the hope of eternal life with Him. Remind her that in scripture Jesus himself said he was going to prepare a place for us so that we might be with him someday. Tell her that you are able to better cope with the death of your loved one knowing that God is merciful and loving and that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23) When you mail the letter, say a prayer to the Holy Spirit that their eyes may be opened to the truth… but don’t be surpised if you hear a knock on your door in a few days.
God Bless you & I’m truly sorry for your loss.
CM
P.S. Do you have the Pillar of Truth booklet? I’d stick that in there as well even though she probably won’t read it - but you never know.


#4

Come to think of it…this happened to me too when my daughter died - and they received the info from the obit in the newspaper.
Is this some type of official tactic they are taught to use?

How awful!


#5

My, my. Wasn’t Lazarus the same one that Jesus told of between the rich man in his story? I mean, the one where the rich man went to the netherworld and Lazarus was with Abraham? You can point that out to him and let him think about it.


#6

[quote=Milliardo]My, my. Wasn’t Lazarus the same one that Jesus told of between the rich man in his story? I mean, the one where the rich man went to the netherworld and Lazarus was with Abraham? You can point that out to him and let him think about it.
[/quote]

I think that was a differnt Lazarus.


#7

I think there are differing opinions of whether or not it’s the same Lazarus. Trying to prove it’s the same Lazarus may be as unfruitful as trying to prove what Lazarus didn’t say when he was ressurected.

Regardless, the account of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16 raises the question - would Jesus have used an illustration that would have been so misleading, if the basic ideas behind it weren’t true?


#8

They visited my father when my mother died.

I didn’t realize it was one of their tactics. They left him with a pamphlet that somewhat stated that he can be reunited with her in the flesh. I was shocked at the thought of preying on people in mourning.

Wow! It appears this is a common practice.

.


#9

They visited my father shortly after my mother’s death too. He had a nervous breakdown when she died and wasn’t very capable of dealing with them. The way I understand it is for them to become part of the Kingdom, they have to evangelise as many people as possible (works based salvation) and this helps them “climb the rankings.” They fail to see that people learn they have been brought into a faith that cannot save them (so I have been told) and so ex JW’s are often very bitter about the deception.

As people are more vulnerable at the time of a loved one’s death (I for one started to question life and death more deeply when my mum died aged 52) they are easier to reach out to. If you had no religion, they would seem wonderfully caring and you may want to sign up. Personally, I think it is a distasteful tactic and we should pray for the conversion of these and other “false” christians in particular. They often help the secualr world to see the bad in Christianity and other faiths by behaving in such a manipulative manner.


#10

[quote=carol marie]I think that was a differnt Lazarus.
[/quote]

Scott Hahn has good argument to say otherwise though.


#11

I see why you (plural) would consider their tactics distasteful. And maybe they are, if their intention is truly selfish. But perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt, that they really want to help the person in mourning? Perhaps we as Catholics could learn from this, and share the message of truth with people dealing with death. I’m not saying start writing letters, but someone in such sorrow could undoubtedly use the peace of Christ’s Church.


#12

“Scott Hahn has good argument to say otherwise though.”

Milliardo - Can you say where you saw/heard that argument from Scott Hahn? Thanks, netmender


#13

[quote=netmender]Milliardo - Can you say where you saw/heard that argument from Scott Hahn? Thanks, netmender

[/quote]

star.ucl.ac.uk/~vgg/rc/aplgtc/hahn/m4/sts.html

To quote Scott:
Here (Luke 16) He names the man and He happens to give him the name of one of His very best friends, His only best friend that he raised from the dead (cf. John 11). A man who had been afflicted long and sore, what a coincidence. Maybe, maybe not. But I would suggest this, that if a man in torment can communicate according to his own felt needs, how much more can Lazarus help? In other words, here we have a situation where the man can communicate and intercede on behalf of those that he wants to help.

Scroll down to “Scriptural Support for the Fact that God Hears the Cries of the Saints” to find his argument first about Luke 16, then a little bit later he says that. I also have the audio tape on this talk, so yes he did say it (website’s not mine though, just fyi).


#14

Hi:

Yes the JWs are encouraged to look through the obits to find people to visit.

My mother became a JW after her mother (my grandmother) died. So it is common for JWs to arrive at these moments and to use the obits to find perspective converts.

I would encourage you to respond back to the people who sent you the letter.

If you need help you can contact me at jschwehm@catholicxjw.com

Jeff Schwehm

www.catholicxjw.com


#15

****Please tell me…What, or who, is JW? I feel as I’ve been living in a cave…


#16

Now I DO feel dumb…I suddenly realized that you are talking about Jehova’s Witnesses…

Sorry…


#17

JW= Jehovah’s Witness

I disagree it would be a good thing for catholics to imitate this practice.
It is distasteful.


#18

[quote=Catholic Heart]Please tell me…What, or who, is JW? I feel as I’ve been living in a cave…
[/quote]

Jehovah Witnesses.


#19

Just a question. Do JW’s not believe in life after death? If so, I don’t see how their religion offers much consulation for the bereaved.


#20

[quote=deb1]Just a question. Do JW’s not believe in life after death? If so, I don’t see how their religion offers much consulation for the bereaved.
[/quote]

The good news: They believe that there are 144,000 available seats in heaven. The bad news: Those spots are already taken by JW’s. The rest of us die and remain dead in the graves (they say it’s like being asleep) until Armegeddon (the end of the world) which will take place probably this Thursday, certainly by next Tuesday. After Armegeddon, all those who were dead will be ressurected and taught by JW’s. Those willing to accept the “truth” get to live - those unwilling to become JW’s get the 2nd death, at which time they ceast to exist.

And you are right, it’s of no comfort to the bereaved.


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