Rheinische Post – 30 June 2018/1 July 2018
Controversy over letter of condolence
Rheinische Post: Wesel Edition (Germany), Saturday, June 30, 2018 – front page A1 (via Google translate)
A Jehovah’s Witness from Wesel wrote a letter of condolence to a family whose father had died. The family had made the death public in an ad.
Controversy over letter of condolence from a Jehovah’s Witness
Rheinische Post: Wesel Edition (Germany), Saturday, June 30, 2018 – page C1 (via Google translate)
A Hünxe’s Bay family received a letter from a Jehovah’s Witness after the death of their father. It is unmistakably recruited for the sect-like grouping. The address had the sender from a death notice.
Looking at the envelope, the Bay family did not suspect anything. A strange woman had written. On the address was the phrase “mourning house”. When reading the letter, Claudia Bay reacted irritated at first, later upset. A woman from Wesel, who described herself as a member of the Jehovah’s Witness, expressed her condolences in the letter in an attempt to promote the sect-like grouping in the end: “If you want to know more, feel free to contact me otherwise you will not hear from me anymore,” the letter says. “I was appalled to take advantage of our grief,” says Claudia Bay, who lives with her husband in Hünxe-Gartrop.
Christoph Grotepass, employee at the counseling center of the association “Sekten-Info Nordrhein-Westfalen” knows this missionary strategy of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. “We always receive feedback of this kind,” says the expert. He recommends that you do not worry too much about it and do not get back. “It is a Christian special community with its own interpretation of the Bible. Jehovah’s Witnesses have a pronounced dualistic worldview that divides the world into good and evil. There is a clear end time attitude, high pressure on dropouts and willing to leave.” That would prove many conversations that he leads with former and willing to leave people. The pressure in the grouping in recent years, even bigger.
Thomas Brödenfeld, superintendent of the Protestant church in Wesel, also reacts with annoyance to the scam with the funeral letter. Anyone who receives this letter in such a difficult phase of grief should quickly dispose of it, recommends Brödenfeld. He had been addressed several times to such letters from his community. “They are ideologically blinded,” says Brödenfeld. He believes this scam has system with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Cults expert Grotepass observes that especially older Jehovah’s Witnesses are the authors of such letters. They are often no longer able to stand on the street and show the “watchtower” or go from door to door. They then felt obliged to contact other people in writing instead.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses in Wesel could not be reached for comment. The German section of the religious community is based in Selters im Taunus. The spokesman said that people are neither given recommendations for such writing, nor actively advised against it. That is a matter for everyone. Claudia Bay does not suspect any true sympathy behind it. She wants to sensitize others for this approach.
* Please note that I understand that the Rheinische Post prints ‘localized’ version of the newspaper – and this article may not of appeared in other editions of the same issue.
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