A nonprofit of the Jehovah’s Witnesses released a video for children discussing the church’s stance against same-sex marriage and families, and encourages youngsters to talk to their friends about why it is wrong.
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society released the video on the church’s website under the children’s section earlier this month.
The animated two-minute short starts with a little girl looking at her teacher and her classmates drawings of their families, when she notices one picture of a family with two mothers. When she returns home and tells her mom that her teacher said, “All that matters is that people love each other and that they’re happy,” her mother corrects her.
“People have their own ideas about what is right and wrong, but what matters is how Jehovah feels,” the mother explains. “He wants us to be happy and he knows how we can be happiest. That’s why he invented marriage the way he did.”
She continues with Bible verses and likens getting to Paradise as going through an airport – if you have something bad in your baggage, you can’t get through. Luckily, “people can change,” and that’s why Jehovah’s Witnesses share their message.
The ad ends with the little girl and mother happily planning how to best explain to her classmate what Jehovah wants for her and her same-sex family.
The site gives viewers the option to translate the video into more than 40 languages.
Cesar Arguelles, who left the church six years ago, found out about the ad on an ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses Facebook group. As a gay man, he wasn’t so surprised or bothered by the anti-gay message, but that the ad was encouraging children to preach to others.
“It’s that they indoctrinate children to go out and to talk to this little girl about her having two mommies. It’s one thing is for you to say, well, this is my home and this is what we believe in,” he said. “Another thing is to tell my kids, now you have to go back to school [and say] that what she’s doing is against God’s will. It doesn't sit well with anyone in today's society.”
Arguelles said he was drawn to the church when he was struggling with his sexuality as a teenager. He was married for years, had triplet girls, but when the marriage failed, he came to terms with his homosexuality and came out of the closet. Per church rules, he had the choice to be kicked out or leave on his own accord. He chose the latter.
Since then, most of his friends and family have completely cut ties with him, to the point that some pretend they don’t see him when they are in the same room.
Jehovah’s Witness was founded in Pennsylvania in the late 1800s by a group of men who studied the Bible and promoted Christianity the way the Jesus intended. They consider Jesus to be the founder of the religion.
“Jehovah’s Witnesses come across as a very nice, loving, religious organization that knocks on people’s doors on Saturday morning giving people hope,” he said. “In reality it’s a very destructive cult that once people are in it, they can’t get out because they face the challenge of being ostracized and losing their whole social network.”
Luckily he is still able to see his children, but he fears when they get married their husbands may decide to cut him out of their lives.
“It says it in their literature that family members are not supposed to have any association with people who have decide to leave their faith,” he explained. “There’s lots of individuals who are still inside the religion because they don't want to get shunned, they don’t want to lose their families.”