Help...my friend just called and told me that she lost a co-worker. She%26#039;s obviously very upset and was trying to think of what to do for the family, who are Jehovah%26#039;s Witnesses. Sad to say, neither of us knows much about the religion, so we are not sure if there are any rituals (or taboos) she should know of. (We are both Protestants.) The last thing she wants to do is be inappropriate or insulting.
Aside from visiting the family (or calling to check in on them), what should she do, i.e, food, flowers, relgious card, etc. Aside from the usual, is there anything in particular she should know about ettiquette at the funeral?
Jehovah%26#039;s Witnesses death/funeral?
Jehovah%26#039;s Witnesses have no particular rituals associated with funerals or burials. Relatively few funeral customs common in the United States are rejected by Jehovah%26#039;s Witnesses.
Flowers, food, practical assistance, and expressions of sympathy by Witness and non-Witness family, friends, and acquaintances are all welcomed by Jehovah%26#039;s Witnesses.
Any comforting passage from the bible is entirely appropriate. It is perfectly acceptable to remark or write that the deceased will %26#039;rest in peace%26#039; or %26#039;find peace in the hereafter%26#039; or be %26#039;remembered by God%26#039;.
Religious cards sometimes reflect ideas which Jehovah%26#039;s Witnesses believe conflict with the bible. For example, avoid ideas which imply that death is %26quot;natural%26quot; or that the deceased is in heaven. Witnesses believe that the vast majority of deceased persons are metaphorically %26quot;asleep%26quot; in God%26#039;s memory and will be resurrected sometime after Armageddon. Terms such as %26quot;hereafter%26quot; and %26quot;paradise%26quot; and %26quot;afterlife%26quot; are not in themselves disagreeable to Jehovah%26#039;s Witnesses (even if they do view such terms differently than a non-Witness may have intended).
They do not display crosses or other icons (but understand that those who attend a wake or funeral may choose to wear these on their persons). Witnesses do not connect angels with death. Witnesses will not agree with those who suggest that the deceased was %26quot;taken%26quot; or %26quot;called%26quot; by God, or that his death was God%26#039;s will or part of God%26#039;s plan.
Witness funerals do not generally eulogize the deceased, but a few families may do so. If you plan to attend, the funeral talk is generally only ten minutes or so, and it is a great sign of respect to bring a bible and follow along with the handful of Scriptures the speaker reads. The funeral speaker tries to include the favorite Scriptures of the deceased. Attire and accessories should be subdued, but black is not required.
Reply:It is very thoughtful of you to ask a question such as this. Report It
Reply:Jehovah%26#039;s Witnesses believe that when someone dies, they are asleep in death awaiting the resurrection. There are no rituals, no taboos. Just be honest and be yourself.
Food and flowers or card would be nice, just show that you care and are sorry for their loss. I haven%26#039;t been to to many funerals, but because of our hope of the resurrection, even though we grief the loss of a loved one, we know that we have the hope of seeing them again in the future. So usually, it%26#039;s very dignified and respectful. Many do a memorial service without having the body.
Reply:--IT IS INDEED kind of you to have such concern!
--ANY CONCERNED though %26amp; deed as to comfort should not offend any of us, of course we are all individuals and might react differently!
--HERE IS SOME info that you might find helpful in one of our articles in part:
*** w77 6/1 pp. 346-347 Mourning and Funerals—For Whom? ***
***WHY A FUNERAL OR MEMORIAL SERVICE?
.........Some have thought that a funeral is for the purpose of eulogizing the deceased, for the purpose of speaking well of such a one and giving him what is known as a “good death.” But is this correct? Remember that Jehovah God permitted the nation of Israel to weep over Nadab and Abihu, the two sons of Aaron who perished because they offered illegitimate fire—although their immediate family was forbidden to mourn them.—Lev. 10:1-7.
--Nor can it be said that a funeral service is somewhat like a sacrament that bestows virtue upon the deceased. True, most church members of Christendom would view with horror the prospect of a burial without a church service. Thus the Roman Catholic Church has various kinds of Masses for this very purpose. These may contain blessings for the deceased and are claimed to help a soul in purgatory. However, all such practices have no Scriptural backing, for God’s Word makes clear that the dead are unconscious and remain so until the resurrection.—Eccl. 9:5, 10.
--Then why should a funeral or memorial service be held for a deceased person? There are a number of good reasons. To begin with, there is the matter of comforting the bereaved. Christians are commanded to comfort all that mourn, including those among themselves who may mourn. (Isa. 61:1, 2; 2 Cor. 1:3-5) As a rule death causes mourning. In particular, it is comforting to hear a discussion on Jehovah’s marvelous attributes, especially his great love in providing his Son as a ransom so that mankind can have the hope of everlasting life. Aside from personal expressions that they may feel impelled to make, those in attendance bring comfort to the bereaved by their very presence.
--There is also the matter of giving a witness to Bible truths. Usually a funeral is attended by neighbors, acquaintances, business associates and relatives, who may not be believers. All these stand to benefit from a funeral or memorial service at which a discourse is given presenting the Bible view as to the condition of the dead, why men die and the hope of a resurrection. Because of such fine purposes being served, it seems that a Christian minister could see his way clear to conduct the funeral of a Witness’ unbelieving relative—or even of one who, in a condition of extreme despondency or mental derangement, had taken his own life. And fellow Christians could extend comfort to the bereaved Witness by attending.
--Another good purpose that a funeral service can fulfill is that called to our attention by Solomon. Remember, he said: “Better is it to go to the house of mourning than to go to the banquet house, because that is the end of all mankind; and the one alive should take it to his heart.” (Eccl. 7:2) The fact of death gives us cause for reflection on the transitoriness of life. It should also help us to appreciate what a blessing life is. In death there is no consciousness, no feeling, no communication, no joy, no accomplishment.
--Among some ancient peoples a funeral was an exceedingly sad affair, symbolizing defeat. It was therefore held at night. While it is true that Christians do not sorrow as do others who have no hope, nevertheless it would seem that at a funeral or memorial service, or in the presence of the deceased at home or at a funeral parlor, there should not be any hilarity or jocularity, as though one were at a picnic or a feast. There is a time for every affair, and the time of death is not the time for noisy laughter.—Eccl. 3:1, 4.
--And further, when a service is held for a deceased faithful servant of Jehovah God, the occasion could well be used to note that one’s integrity-keeping course in spite of all manner of obstacles. (2 Sam. 1:26) True, as Mark Anthony said in his famed funeral oration: “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” So our purpose is not to eulogize or extol creatures, but to consider their example as one to be imitated. As the apostle Paul put it: “[Do] not become sluggish, but be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”—Heb. 6:12............
Reply:yes when it comes that time you can also do some reading about the hopes of death the future they have... start bye reading Revelation 21:3,4 and be there with the family in times like this Ecclesiastes 7:1-2 %26quot;1 A name is better than good oil, and the day of death than the day of one’s being born. 2 Better is it to go to the house of mourning than to go to the banquet house, because that is the end of all mankind; and the one alive should take [it] to his heart.%26quot;
Reply:you can be there for her co-worker. a call on the phone or bring a dish of food. saying I am sorry to hear about the death of someone is ok to say. learn about Jehovah Witnesses at www.watchtower.org. I lost my husband of 35 years, three and half years ago. I still cry missing him
Reply:This is a very kind, fine thing that you are asking before attending.
And, appreciated as well.
In less than a yr., and 1/2 I%26#039;ve had 3 family funerals to attend, 2 I had to help plan. All funerals are dependent upon the family. As to music, ceremony, prayers etc...
The usual condolences are fine, flowers, a food dish is o.k. also.
Just you even being there is good, for support.
Please, dress appropriately; this is important.
That you aren%26#039;t hanging out @ the top or bottom.
Zip up; button up, nothing see-thru etc...
For some families, all blk; for some it%26#039;s blk %26amp; wht.
This again, depends on the family.
A dress or skirt %26amp; nylons .
These are women%26#039;s clothes, and it shows deep respect for the family. Men--a suit.
Make-up is optional. Be moderate.
You can bring your own Bible, if u like.
PLEASE do not say;
That he/she is in a better place;
that he/she is w/ Jesus in heaven;
that the angels took him/ her;
PLEASE DO NOT WEAR A CROSS,
or ANY other religious icons.
If you give a card or flowers, same thing; NO religious icons.
We Throughly Believe in the Resurrection, so if u%26#039;d like to say something to bring comfort....speak of the resurrection hope, that they will see the loved 1 again.
Jehovah does not forget a single 1 of us.
1 Thess. 4:13,14 brings comfort,also,
1 Cor. 15---yes, the entire chapter.
Again, thank you for asking.
Jehovah knows this fine deed you have done / are doing.
Reply:There are no rituals. But be aware that usually at Witness funerals, the brothers and sisters don%26#039;t wear black. Just smart.
You won%26#039;t get a boring sermon from a vicar but what will happen is a song will be sung at the beginning (not hymns) this is chosen by the family. Then a prayer. There maybe a short history of that persons life. It will not be a long service. Flowers and cards are appreciated but be aware that crossess or religious coniations (like angels) are not appropriate. I hope this helps. I lost my father (a witness) in December and many non-witnessess were very impressed by the way it was handled in a positive not unhappy way.