Friends, statistics show that our children are very likely to leave the healthful teachings of Jehovah. Parents do what they can: discourage higher education; separate them from worldly influences; monitor their internet, music, reading material and television programs; forbid them from becoming involved in sports or other school clubs; arrange with teachers to have them sent to the detention room during parties, celebrations, and school assemblies; always making sure they understand their hearts are wicked; spank fidgeting toddlers who refuse to sit still during two hour meetings or all day assemblies; forbid them to date or go to dances; insist they shun their best friends or dear family members; take them out in the ministry on Saturdays and the meetings on Sundays; strongly encourage them to get baptized before they accumulate too much experience and knowledge; and direct them to reach for the one career that is appropriate for everyone, pioneering. Tragically, in spite of all of this tender care, the majority of young ones turn away from the Truth.
Jehovah’s Trumpet interviewed three families that have experienced the heartbreak of ungrateful children and the pain these children inflict when the parents were forced to shun them.
Brother and Sister Campbell are shunning their son Daniel. They did everything right while raising Daniel. He was an exceptionally smart child and early on showed a deep interest in the wonders of creation. Brother Campbell says, “He could stare at ants for hours. He would take notes and draw pictures. We encouraged this at first and taught him to marvel at Jehovah’s wisdom in creating these amazing little creatures.”
But Daniel’s interests soon turned to the science of Biology. “We caught him reading a book on Evolution!” says Sister Campbell. They immediately adjusted his personal study and spent the time teaching him the fallacies of the theory of Evolution. “He was often argumentative during his study,” Brother Campbell recalls, “He thought he was smarter than Jehovah.”
Daniel continued to put his faith in the wisdom of men and was a straight A student through twelve years of school. “We increased his time in field service and pushed him to pioneer during school breaks. We had many heartfelt discussions assuring him that getting less than A’s was enough and excelling in the area of academics was striving after wind,” says Sister Campbell.
Despite their best efforts, Daniel graduated at the top of his class and was awarded a full paid scholarship to a prestigious university.
“We tried to reason with him. We examined the many stories of faithful young ones that had turned down such scholarships and chose to wash windows and pioneer instead,” says Brother Campbell.
Unfortunately, Daniel did not heed this advice and went on to college.
“We were devastated,” says Sister Campbell.
But Daniel didn’t stop there, he went on to earn a doctorate and entered into cancer research. He was part of a worldly team involved in genetic research that eventually yielded more targeted cancer treatments.
“It’s hard to put to words how disappointed we were. He had such a bright future in Jehovah’s organization, but he squandered it to treat disease,” says Brother Campbell.
Let’s move on to the MacArthur’s and how their daughter Jessica ripped apart their family.
Jessica was a good hearted child: generous, compassionate, loving, and always eager to help others.
“The problem was that she could not contain this misdirected good will. She often had a difficult time shunning people she loved, and she was overly concerned with the welfare of worldly people. While we would tell her the best way to help others was to respect Jehovah’s arrangement and preach the Truth, we often caught her passing notes to a disfellowshiped child or helping a worldly associate with homework,” says her mother.
“I remember when she tried to collect for UNICEF at the Hall. It was embarrassing,” says Brother MacArthur.
When she was seventeen, she told her parents of her plans to travel to a developing nation after she graduated high school.
“We were ecstatic. Our daughter wanted to be a missionary!” says Sister MacArthur.
But the MacArthur’s joy was short lived. Jessica informed them that she intended to help vaccinate children and build sewage systems.
“It was like our world dropped. How could she be so ungrateful? When they are babies, you just have so much hope for them,” says Sister MacArthur.
Jessica spent five years abroad wasting her time helping people slated for slaughter to empower themselves. When she returned home, she became deeply involved in Habitat for Humanity.
“She builds houses for the homeless when her skills could be used to build Kingdom Halls. Instead of teaching people that Jehovah’s day is coming when the homeless will be able to occupy the homes of those Jehovah slaughters, she provides them with a temporary solution,” says Brother MacArthur.
Our hearts go out to the MacArthurs. No parents should have to suffer so.
We also talked to the Mendoza family. Their daughter Amelia is a world famous artist.
“She was a bit of a prodigy,” Says Sister Mendoza. “From a very young age she was quite the little artist. By the time she started school, she was drawing as well as the Society artists. We were thrilled and thought this would be her ticket to Bethel.”
Brother Mendoza tells us, “We encouraged her in that direction. We would sit and look at the beautiful artwork the brothers had provided for us. But she didn’t seem interested in it. She preferred to take art books out of the library. This was a concern, but we thought it was a phase.”
When Amelia entered kindergarten and the other children were finger painting dogs and trees, Amelia painted scenes of people walking on the streets. Her teacher showed Amelia’s artwork to an art teacher who then showed it to an art critic.
“They came to us and told us there was something special about Amelia’s talent; that at her young age, it was significant that she was conveying so much emotion in her work. They felt that we should encourage her to develop her artistic interests,” says Brother Mendoza.
The teachers and art critic recommended they do even more and perhaps introduce Amelia to the art world so she could learn from more mature artists.
“We told them that would take unnecessary time from meetings and service, but we thanked them for their interest.”
Amelia’s art continued to attract attention, and by the time she was twelve, her work was regularly being sought and bought. Local galleries would showcase her inventory.
“We told them that as long as it didn’t interfere with Amelia’s spiritual routine, we would accommodate them. Eventually, Amelia was bringing in so much income, that my wife and I were able to quit our jobs and pioneer! So we really viewed it as a blessing from Jehovah,” says Brother Mendoza.
The Mendoza’s entertained high hopes that Amelia would one day go to Bethel and paint for the Society. But the world wanted Amelia too, and, for now, it has won.
“We were devastated. When Amelia turned eighteen, she went to Europe to continue studying art. She’s made a name, drawing unwarranted attention to herself. She sends us photos of her with world leaders and celebrities that have bought her work. These always make us so sad. She still sends us money, but we don’t speak to her or acknowledge it. She must understand she cannot buy her way into the Kingdom of Heaven . . . on earth . . .” Sister Mendoza says.
While these faithful parents suffer the pain and disappointment of ungrateful children, they have not lost their zeal. We asked them to share with us how they endure.
The Campbell’s have a daughter who they now focus on.
“It was a bit shaky at first,” says Brother Campbell. “She didn’t take to the Truth right away and unfortunately had a child out of wedlock. We thought we had lost both of our children, but Heather came to her senses and made things right with Jehovah. Now she and our grandchild live in our basement. Heather cleans some houses, and she is regular at the meetings. Recently she met a young brother who gave up his career to allow more time for Jehovah. He’s a telemarketer and a pioneer. They plan to marry, and if Heather picks up a couple more houses, and they live here and save for a while, they will be able to afford a two bedroom apartment. They both make us so proud. They have their priorities straight.
“We hope that Heather will be a strong example to her brother,” says Sister Campbell.
The MacArthurs put their effort into building good relationships with other faithful young ones.
“Jehovah promises that he will give us children, brothers and parents when our fleshly relatives prove unworthy. He has done that,” says Brother MacArthur. “We find time for the young ones in the congregation and offer them guidance and support. But we have learned our lesson and guard our hearts. We understand that as much as we come to love these ones, we must be ready to shun them and turn away from them. So we always keep that in our thoughts.”
Sister MacArthur adds, “I often meditate on Job. Satan killed all of his children, but that didn’t really matter since Jehovah gave him more children. We are being tested as Job was tested, and that means that Satan sees us as faithful, and Jehovah trusts us to prove that we will serve him, even in adversity.”
“We know that champagne parties and notoriety can’t last forever. Satan’s world will cast Amelia aside, and when that happens, she will see the error of her ways,” says Brother Mendoza.
“Yes, how many times have we seen children broken and discarded by the world just to return to the congregation? It gives us so much hope, and we pray it happens soon,” finishes Sister Mendoza.
Friends, these families should encourage us all and make us ever committed to submitting to Jehovah’s arrangement. When our children deeply disappoint us, the best thing we can do is display our loyalty to Jehovah and shun them. Never give up hope. The gifts the world can give them will pass, and when they fail, they will run back to the love and protection of God’s congregation.