This last weekend I attended the wedding of Aaron, one of my Jehovah’s Witness friends. He got married to Alicia, whom I hardly know because I met her just once and only briefly. She seems very nice though. She’s from one of the other congregations that (I think) meets in the same building. So Aaron recently became an elder, and has now married a fellow JW. He’s following all the proper procedure for a JW in good standing.
The wedding was nice enough, and with a few JW quirks, but nothing extreme. Anyone attending from any sort of Christian church would not have found it uncomfortable. The talk given by the officiant, one of the other local elders, was instructive to the couple regarding their proper roles of headship and submission. I imagine the message was meant for all who were listening as well, but it was less preachy than the funeral I attended in the past.
Things that struck me as strange were so subtle that they would likely not be noticed by anyone else. There were a number of traditions that come from “Christendom,” that conglomerate of worldly churches, controlled by Satan and considered to be the modern-day Babylon. The procession in and out of the sanctuary, bridesmaids and groomsmen, the giving of rings, and the wedding dress, all have origins in either apostate Christendom or paganism. All these things go unnoticed by both JW’s and visiting Christians; unnoticed by the JW’s because these things are not pointed out to them. They are only told about a selective list of pagan-originated things, such as holidays, birthdays, raising glasses in a toast, pews, and hymns. And the wedding customs are unnoticed by visitors, because they are unaware of the JW’s legalistic rules, and consider these things to be normal parts of a wedding service.
I brought a gift, and asked several people where gifts could be put, and they all told me that there would be a place for them at the reception. But did anyone invite me to the reception? No. Granted, I only had a last-minute, verbal invitation from Aaron to the wedding itself, so I didn’t feel like I could just show up at the reception without an invitation. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt, that they had a head count for food preparation and/or seating, so I was not hurt or offended that no one said “Y’all come.” And I wasn’t trying to hint or manipulate an invitation. It would have been nice, though, and if I were getting married, and a seeker came to my wedding, I would enthusiastically invite him to the reception. I would give up my plate of food to draw him closer to Jesus. Oh, well. Their missed opportunity.
I do think that they’re over the love-bombing stage with me. Some might be a little afraid of me, as in, “There’s that troublemaker. He asks too many questions.” I think I have healed that breach with several of them though, by just talking with them in a friendly way about life in general, refraining from “sharing my own opinions” about doctrinal issues. I’m hoping that the relationship building will result in a Bible study with one or more of the members of the congregation. And hopefully Aaron will be one of those. He left for his honeymoon, so I’ll try to catch him when he’s back, next time I’m at the Kingdom Hall. Until then, God bless the newly married couple!