A Buddhist That Was Raised As A Jehovah’s Witness…

A Buddhist That Was Raised As A Jehovah’s Witness

To many, the Jehovah’s Witness religion is somewhat of a mystery – best known for the members going door-to-door to share their faith. I was raised in this religion until I was sixteen. It took a long time for me to articulate the questions I had about the beliefs and an even longer search for a truth that resonated with me. There are some core beliefs and ways of seeing things that are very different than the Buddhist belief system, which I find to be just so natural and accepting as well as universal.

When investigating other faiths, I had some heartfelt questions.

SEE ALSO: 4 Daily Mantras For Avoiding Negativity

Has this Religion or Way of Study Been Around for a Long Time?

I found Buddhism to certainly have its roots solidly in the history of our world. Catholicism was interesting to me for the same reason, actually, having such a long record of establishment. The Jehovah’s Witnesses were formed in 1870 by a publishing company, thus the magazines.

Does this Religion Practice Compassion?

When I was 16, my parents got divorced and my mother and I were left homeless. It was hard and confusing for me. The Witnesses were concerned about my following a set of rules. They excommunicated me without asking how I felt; was I afraid of life; hurt; was I questioning the very existence of a God. Conversely, the Buddhist way of thinking emphasizes compassion. There is a real belief in self-compassion and, in fact, the mainstay of Buddhist philosophy, Siddhārtha Gautama, left his royal established life to see people and how they lived in suffering, devoting his life to end suffering.

Does this Faith Emphasize Well-Being Now?

The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe strongly in well-being. The congregations are close, even like a family. But, true happiness is sought after, in the resurrection to come.

I like how Buddhism suggests being present, having a global view, being able to bring a sense of calm over yourself with breath, meditation and even enlightenment in the present, not down the road. The Jehovah’s Witnesses do not emphasize the individual and that’s not a bad thing, necessarily. They are members of a whole. They are a family that serves. They do serve peacefully. Spreading the word door-to-door is the hallmark of their religion. They honestly believe they are sharing the answers to people. They have the best intentions when they knock on your door.

I have to remember that when my mother preaches to me now. She’s just trying to save me. And, it’s my Buddhist faith that allows me to step back and see that, taking a deep breath. I read recently in a Buddhist text that we are all one. You can’t look at a leaf without looking at the earth, the sun, the rain and everything that brought the leaf into being. The same is true of mothers and daughters, the book went on to say. That even a corn plant holds onto the kernel that created it. We are all part of a whole.

I encourage readers to investigate the Jehovah’s Witness faith. It’s a great fit for some. But this girl found the Buddhist way of life to be even better. 


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Sonia McSweeney

Sonia Delano McSweeney studies Buddhism and attends regular meditation groups as well as having a daily practice. She lives in…

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