The opening sentence of this chapter says: ‘Jehovah God wants your family life to be happy’.
Of course this is true. I offer this link below, which shares the story of a former witness and her experience of family life in the JWs.
I am not saying that Mary’s story is the norm amongst the Witnesses, or that we outside the organisation have perfect family lives, but rather I offer this as an example of how, despite what they say, family life is not always perfect for those caught in the Watchtower net.
Having said this, this chapter recommends that the key to a happy family is observance of familial roles as set out in Scripture. I heartily agree. The God who created us knows what is best for us and we are wise to heed His Word.
The chapter reminds its readers that Jesus called Jehovah ‘Our Father’ (Matthew 6:9) and that every family on earth exists because of our ‘heavenly Father’. I mention this because the Jehovah’s Witnesses relationship with God is definitely not Father/child like.
Whilst Jesus teaches available intimacy with the Father, The Watchtower keeps Jehovah distant from its adherents. Satan is the ‘god of this world’ and Jehovah can only be reached/pleased by obedience to the ‘faithful and discreet slave’. This is a far cry from the Father that Jesus revealed.
Much of this chapter deals with the roles of husband, wife and children and follows biblical (NWT) advice. The Watchtower sets out that following biblical advice will create a happy family life. This to be commended.
The family is an organisation, and to operate smoothly it needs a head. Even Jesus has One he submits to as his Head. “The head of the Christ is God”, just as the “head of woman is a man” (1 Cor.11:3 NWT) p.137
The Jehovah’s Witness will often use 1 Corinthians 11 verse 3 as a proof text that the Father is superior (different) to the Son. They fail to understand that Jesus submitted Himself to the Father. The principle of headship and submission is shown in both marriage and the Trinity.
A question for Jehovah’s Witnesses would be if the head of the woman is man, does this mean that the husband is a superior being to his wife? They should answer ‘No’. You can then point out that the husband is head (superior) to his wife by way of position but not by nature. The same applies to the Father and the Son. The Father is greater by position, but not better by nature.
Speaking about a wife with an unbelieving husband, The Watchtower advice is she should support her husband as long as a decision made by him ‘does not conflict with God’s law’ p.138
This sounds good, but for ‘God’s law’ we read Watchtower theology. The Jehovah’s Witnesses may appear to be students of Gods’ Word, but in reality they are slaves to Watchtower doctrine. The wife will feel under immense pressure to please Jehovah (through her association with the organisation) rather than her husband. This can put unbearable stress upon the relationship and ultimately lead to marriage breakdown rather than the ‘happy family’ that The Watchtower claim Jehovah wants.
The chapter moves from advice to husbands and wives and their relationship with each other, to advice about parenting. It says:
“As the world becomes ever more wicked, children need parents who will protect them from people who seek to harm them, such as sexual predators… As a parent you need to be alert to the Devil’s attempt to harm your little ones.” p.140
Parents do need to protect their children, but what do you do when the sexual predator is in the Kingdom Hall? Jehovah Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation. This has meant that abusers have remained in the congregation sometimes they have held positions of responsibility.
In recent years, a number of cases have come to light showing how Watchtower policy has protected paedophiles, perhaps the Candace Conti case receiving the most media attention. How does this Watchtower policy support the view that Jehovah wants you to have a happy family life?
The chapter concludes by saying that the Bible offers valuable counsel and instruction for family life, and reinforcing the doctrine of the earthly paradise to come, which will be filled with ‘happy’ people who worship Jehovah.
Unfortunately for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the only happy people upon Jesus’ return will be those who have had their sins forgiven by One nailed to the cross of Calvary, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (John 3:36; John 14:6; 1 John 5:12)