Questions From Readers
● In the answer on page 95 of the February 1 Watchtower it seems to some to imply that sex relations without having children is wrong. Is that the impression this answer means to give?—H. M., New Jersey.
No, that is not the point being made, as shown by the setting. The question involved the practice in Scandinavia of engaged couples’ having relations before marriage, and with that in mind the answer stated: “The purpose of sex relations could not be for the purpose of true marriage, namely, to bring forth children, for otherwise we should witness children’s being born to such couples during their engagement, especially in the case of long engagements, and before the legal act takes place.” Such persons could not possibly have children in mind when having relations, as a married couple might. The engaged couple would fear conception because it would bring disgrace upon them and the label of illegitimacy upon their offspring. Their fear springs from a feeling of guilt, indicating that they know they do not actually have the right to sex relations, since they are not married. A child born to them would make this transgression publicly known.
Properly married persons would not fear to have children for such reasons, though they might refrain from having them for other reasons, and do this with a clear conscience. They might refrain out of regard for the frailty of a wife whose life might be endangered by childbirth. Economic reasons might deter them. Some couples might refrain from having children now so that they can remain in a position or privilege of service that makes heavy demands on their time. As to the validity of these or other reasons in the case of individual couples we do not attempt to decide; it is for each couple to know their reasons, to know whether they are of such validity as to leave them with a clear conscience, and to bear the responsibility for their decision before Jehovah God. In brief, the Watch Tower Society’s position remains the same as when it was expressed more than two years ago. For the benefit of those not informed on that answer, we quote the first paragraph of it:
“We are not authorized either by the law of the land or by God’s Word to advise on contraceptives. The responsibility for their use must rest with those who decide that they can conscientiously use them, and their just judgment must rest with the God whom they serve, and not with us. Whether married couples in the truth want to have children or not is for them to decide, not us. Each couple must consider its own circumstances and its own purposes in view, and decide the matter and adopt a course and then take the responsibility before God for such course and its consequences. But we do unequivocally maintain that the purpose of marriage before God is the production of children, and hence if any married couples want children now, before Armageddon, that is perfectly proper and no one should criticize them for so doing, thereby meddling in their business. Neither should any be criticized for not having children, nor should we meddle in as to their reason why not. Private marital affairs are not the business of outsiders.”—The Watchtower, March 1, 1951, page 159.
● In this section of the November 15, 1952, Watchtower it was stated: “The faithful marriage partner would not discuss religion with the apostate or disfellowshiped and would not accompany that one to his (or her) place of religious association and participate in the meetings with that one.” Does this mean that if the man of the house is disfellowshiped, but attends the meetings at the Kingdom Hall, the faithful members of the family may not ride with him in the family car when he drives there?—O. G., Kansas.
No, that is not the point The Watchtower was making. It said faithful members of the family “would not accompany that one to his (or her) place of religious association and participate in the meetings with that one”. Since the disfellowshiped one is no longer a participant in the meetings at the Kingdom Hall, and since it is no longer his rightful place of religious association, he having been disconnected from that association by disfellowshiping, and in attendance at Kingdom Hall now, not by invitation or welcome but by his unwanted intrusion, The Watchtower was not referring to his coming to Kingdom Hall meetings when it spoke of not accompanying him to his place of religious association. It meant that the faithful one would not accompany the disfellowshiped one to another religious group with which the disfellowshiped one might associate and in whose meetings he might participate. It is all right for the faithful members of the family to ride with the disfellowshiped one in a car bound for the Kingdom Hall, but upon arrival the faithful ones should not sit with or associate with the disfellowshiped one at the hall, but rejoin him only when departing for home.