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Hamburg Backlash : Watchrower PR Machine OUT OF CONTROL

Updated: Mar 19, 2023


According to SPIEGEL, Germany's leading newspaper the Churches want to commemorate the victims of the rampage among Jehovah's Witnesses with candles

To commemorate the victims of the Jehovah's Witnesses shooting, the Christian churches are planning a memorial service on Sunday. The religious community itself does not want to officially take part.

This is how the goal can be described, with which the Christian churches want to commemorate the victims of the rampage among Jehovah's Witnesses in Hamburg . At the heart of the planned ecumenical celebration will be intercessions and the lighting of four candles to symbolize specific groups, a spokesman for the North Church said - one each for victims and those affected, for the neighborhood, for helpers and responders, and for peace.

Clarifying conversation with Jehovah's Witnesses

Before the event in Hamburg's main church of St. Petri (Sunday, 5 p.m.), there had been unrest about the event. Michael Tsifidaris from Jehovah's Witnesses in Northern Germany was surprised and outraged: »In these discussions, these plans, not a single one of the victims or their relatives is involved, let alone the community of Jehovah's Witnesses, who certainly want to find a way, in their own way and wisdom to conduct a funeral service according to their Christian principles.«

There is now talk of a communication breakdown. The Jehovah's Witnesses support the ecumenical commemoration: "I think it's good if other faith communities also testify to their solidarity with us," Tsifidaris told the Hamburger Abendblatt. But he also said: »However, there will be no official participation by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

MEDIA REACTION

After the Hamburg shooting, in German-speaking media several “cult experts” claimed that “probably” the assassin acted because he had been traumatized when he left the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They noted that the Jehovah’s Witnesses suggest that members in good standing, including non-cohabiting relatives, cease to associate with those who have been disfellowshipped or have formally resigned from the organization (so-called “shunning” or “ostracism”).


In Germany, one particularly vocal proponent of this theory was veteran professor of psychology Michael Utsch, who has worked since 1997 as a “cult expert” for the federation of German Protestant churches. He explained that the crime was rhe result of the “emotional pressure” the Jehovah’s Witnesses may have exerted on the killer, a case of “how the cults isolate and control people.” “Perhaps the Hamburg crime is an opportunity to finally take note of what the cults are doing,” he said.


In another interview, Utsch added it was “a pity” that the misdeeds of the “cults” “only now are coming more into the public eye because of such a terrible event.” Utsch also argued that the conservative theology of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and their inability to reform themselves and “learn” how to adapt to the modern social context, may destabilize certain members and lead them to destructive acts.


He said that in the Hamburg case ostracism might have been the problem. “There are enough former members who are ostracized and who feel that this is a great deal of mental stress, and my first guess is of course that he was disappointed, that he was angry, and that such a terrible act then took place…”


In Switzerland, Georg Otto Schmidt, who heads a similar Protestant anti-cult center, made the case that “it could be an ex-member who was absolutely desperate due to the exclusion and therefore took this action in the form of an extended suicide out of revenge.”


Swiss anti-cult journalist Hugo Stamm, well-known for his vitriolic attacks against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, also conjectured that the Witnesses’ theology might have destabilized the assassin, who perhaps also suffered for having been ostracized. He even speculated that “it is quite conceivable that now the Jehovah’s Witnesses will interpret the killing spree as another signal for the end times.” Without clarifying whether she was still reporting Stamm’s opinion, the journalist who interviewed him added that the Jehovah’s Witnesses “may use the horrific event to close ranks internally with even more indoctrination and tightened rules.”

So as you can see this incedent has exposed the issue not only in Germany but also neighbouring Switcherland. How long before these countries start taking a stance against JWS similar to the one in Norway.

On the 16th of March the German Bethel issued the following letter to all body of elders in Germany:

The letter is as follows -

(Header) JEHOVAS ZEUGEN AM STEINFELS 1, 65618 SELTERS (TAUNUS) ∙ TELEFON +49 6483 4 1-0 POSTANSCHRIFT: 65617 SELTERS ∙ DEUTSCHLAND ZWEIGBÜRO ZENTRALEUROPA AI:SCUMarch 16, 2023TO ALL CONGREGATIONSRe: Update on the Situation in HamburgDear Brothers:The cruel act in Hamburg on March 9, 2023, has severely affected the whole brotherhood. We are all saddened and suffer along with them. (1 Cor. 12:26) It is all the more overwhelming what has and is being accomplished locally to support our dear brothers and sisters, starting with the first hours after the crime and continuing until now.Many relief efforts have been coordinated in close communication with World Headquarters to best assist all those who are suffering. Brothers of the Hospital Liaison Committee, circuit overseers, Branch Committee representatives and many others have been working tirelessly last week and this week to assist and to provide comfort or practical help to victims, relatives, and brothers and sisters of the congregation. These efforts demonstrate Jehovah’s compassion. The words of Psalm 34:18 really come true: “Jehovah is close to the broken hearted.”We are pleased to inform you that a funeral program is planned, which will certainly provide special comfort to all those affected. A member of the Governing Body, representatives of World Headquarters, and members of the Branch Committee will also be present at this occasion. The program will take place in Hamburg on the last weekend in March 2023.Please continue to pray incessantly for the brothers and sisters who went through this traumatic experience (2 Cor. 1:8-11), and for everything that is being done to help them. We are convinced that Jehovah is our secure refuge in times of distress. (Ps. 9:9) Please be assured of our love.Your brothers,c.: Circuit overseers ZW EIGBÜRO ZENTRALEUROPARe: Update on the Situation in Hamburg AI:SCU March 16, 2023Page 2 PS to coordinators of the bodies of elders: Please have this letter read at the next meeting

I guess it's a very good thing when they claim that the shooting has SEVERLY affected the WHOLE Brotherhood. Hopefully it will have many asking how a JW can become so mentally affected as to cause such an atrocity and what the organization can do to minimize mental damage to individuals rather than inflicting them with cruel and wicked punishments such as shunning.Oddly, the JW News on JW Org no longer carries their story announcing the tragedy. It's been removed and there is no mention whatsoever on JW Org.They mention overwhelming support for the Bros and Sis's in the hours after but nothing specifically about the immediate response from the police and other non JW support. No mention of the non JW individuals/family members who would have been severely affected by this also. A shooting such as this doesn't affect JWs only and apparently there has been a lot of community support which the JWs are rejecting.

Many relief efforts have been coordinated in close communication with World Headquarters to best assist all those who are suffering.

Is this really a time to use common JW phrasing, particularly when it just sounds cultish and impersonal? What are 'relief efforts' in a situation like this? Why would there need to be communication with 'World Headquarters' in order to determine what is the best way to assist those suffering? Surely the local Brothers and Sisters are more than capable of providing support and seeking/accepting professional help as needed.It would seem that the Watchtower is more interested in making JWs think that the WH are vital in tragedies like this. But it's interesting to note that the only real support they are giving is communication.

We are pleased to inform you that a funeral program is planned

They are please to inform this? It's not a Wedding or a Birthday, it's a funeral. Why would anyone be pleased to tell others that they a planning funeral program. The wording is very poor and indicates that they aren't really interested in sharing in to sorrow of all those personally affected or making this a sombre occasion. No, this is quite the opposite to a modest funeral, which is what they have instructed in the past for JW funerals. For this occasion, they are happy to advise that there will be a GB member, WH Bethelites and Branch office members all of which are unlikely to even know these individuals.The tragedy occurred on the 9th of March, the 'program' is being held in the last week of March. It's being called a program, not a funeral because undoubtedly, the funerals would have already taken place which as is the tradition in Germany.What's the purpose of holding a program? Maybe because there had been plans to hold a public funeral (or one may be already proposed). It's what often happens these days and it's odd to see the Watchtower doing the same.The saddened families will have to sit through two services, weeks apart, that's not comforting.JWs are asked to 'pray incessantly' for those suffering, I mean, for the Brothers and Sisters who went through the traumatic experience. Is this bad wording again or do they really mean to pray incessantly. Incessantly meaning to do something "in an unceasing manner : without interruption or relief : continually"I wonder if this will be the norm when tragedies strike on a smaller scale for HQ to send GB members and HQ assistants to.

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