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Passing bread around and not painting eggs: It’s Easter the Jehovah’s Witnesses way!

We noticed Jehovah’s Witnesses making preparations for this important week in the Christian world, and so we thought we’d ask ex-JW activist Lloyd Evans some stupid questions about what’s going on.

The Bunker: Can you give us a beginner’s guide to Holy Week for Jehovah’s Witnesses? They don’t celebrate Easter, right?

Lloyd: Correct. Rather than celebrating Easter, Jehovah’s Witnesses commemorate the Lord’s Evening Meal with a rather silly ceremony known as “the memorial.” It mostly involves 8.5 million Jehovah’s Witnesses not partaking of the “emblems” (the bread and the wine) but instead passing them to each other. Only those who consider themselves heaven-bound (part of the 144,000 “anointed”) are allowed to partake. These latter ones numbered 19,521 at the last count.

The Bunker: And how are these heaven-bound identified?

Lloyd: Conveniently, they identify themselves. The Governing Body are exclusively made up of self-certified “anointed” ones.

The Bunker: What keeps more people from claiming their spot in the 144,000 before it’s too late?

Lloyd: Because most JWs expect to live forever with their resurrected dead loved ones in paradise earth. Heaven may seem more appealing, but actually it would be more complicated — especially if you believe you’re going to heaven when you die but the rest of your family (perhaps including your spouse) isn’t.
Ruling over earth from heaven as part of a limited number with Christ has its drawbacks. Of course, mainstream Christianity doesn’t have this problem, because most other churches recognize that Jesus spoke of all his followers going to heaven. The JW concept of paradise earth is unsupported by the Scriptures — or at best, God didn’t have much to say about it. The word “paradise” is mentioned only five times in the Bible, and all but one of those times are interpreted as figurative by Watchtower.

The Bunker: So Sunday then is just a normal Sunday? Do JWs not recognize the resurrection like other Christians do?

Lloyd: Everything is tied up in that one event. Anything to do with Easter, including Easter Sunday, is considered a pagan perversion of the simple command by Jesus to “keep doing this in remembrance of me” (even though Jesus never asked anyone to pass food around without partaking).

The Bunker: Wait, you mean bunnies and painted eggs isn’t in the Bible?

Lloyd: Talking snakes and donkeys are, so I guess anything’s possible – but not to my knowledge! But yes, JWs tend to sneer at the usual trappings of Easter and Christmas as further evidence that it is all man-made, while not applying the same scrutiny and critical thinking to their own beliefs.

The Bunker: Do they refer to Friday as Good Friday? Or just The Memorial?

Lloyd: It’s only ever referred to as “the memorial of Christ’s death” or perhaps “the Lord’s Evening Meal.” And the date varies depending on when Nissan 14 on the Jewish lunar calendar falls. The commemoration begins at sundown on the night that the Passover begins.

The Bunker: And three days later, walking out of his tomb, is that part of the story commemorated in some way?

Lloyd: Jehovah’s Witnesses would say they’re not asked to commemorate the resurrection in the Bible, so they don’t. It’s literally just the “keep doing this in remembrance of me” part that they stick to from Luke 22:19. But they do very much believe in the resurrection of Christ.

The Bunker: So at The Memorial, they will literally be passing around bread and wine without partaking? Does Tony Morris know this? Is he panicking?

Lloyd: Ha! There has been some discussion on whether there will be “new light” that the memorial wine is to be replaced by scotch following Bottlegate! But yes, it’s a rather farcical affair of literally rows of JWs passing a plate of crackers (unleavened bread) and a glass of red wine to each other. There’s even a crazy part where the “servers” (who pass the emblems from one row to the next) have to sit down and themselves be served by the speaker, passing the emblems one to the other. It’s a bizarre spectacle to behold when you’re not under the indoctrination.


Posted by Tony Ortega on Apri1 17, 2019 at 13:50/span>

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Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He’s written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology’s harassment of Paulette Cooper titled ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,’ and more recently a compilation of his stories, ‘Battlefield Scientology.’ He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world, as well as other subjects such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. You can reach him by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT (Drop him a line if you’d like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.)


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