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FINLAND DENIES ASYLUM TO MANY JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES FROM RUSSIA


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HELSINKI, April 17. /TASS/. Finland’s migration service has turned down the vast majority of asylum requests filed by Russian members of Jehovah’s Witnesses (outlawed in Russia), because it sees no real threat for the group’s members in their home country, the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper reported on Wednesday.

According to the paper’s sources, in 2017-2019 the Finnish authorities have received about 250 asylum requests from members of the religious organization, which Russia outlawed in 2017. To date, 90 of those requests have already been considered and only 10% received a positive response.

The requests were rejected, because the Finnish authorities “believe that Russia is a safe country” for Jehovah’s Witnesses, Helsingin Sanomat said.

Jehovah’s Witnesses is an international religious organization that supports offbeat views on the essence of the Christian faith and provides special interpretations of many commonly accepted notions.

In August 2017, the Russian Justice Ministry included the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization and its 395 local religious branches to the list of organizations that are outlawed nationwide. The Russian Supreme Court satisfied the claim of the Justice Ministry to shut down the organization on April 20, 2017.

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5 hours ago, Indiana said:

TASS

TASS report saying "the Finnish authorities "believe that Russia is a safe country" for Jehovah’s Witnesses"??

Sounds  like propaganda from a propaganda machine:

"Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS)

On July 10, 1925 the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) was founded and took over the main functions of the Russian Telegraph Agency as the central information agency of the country. TASS enjoyed "exclusive right to gather and distribute information outside the Soviet Union, as well as the right to distribute foreign and domestic information within the Soviet Union, and manage the news agencies of the Soviet republics".

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Men are granted waivers from conscription if they can show they are active members of the denomination. All other men must carry out either military or non-military service.
      The Finnish Defence Ministry has set up a panel to reconsider the exemption from conscription granted to members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The non-mainstream Christian denomination urges its members not to participate in military service, even in unarmed roles.
      The ministry said on Friday that it has established a working group to consider revising the legislation that waives Jehovah’s Witnesses’ obligation to perform military service.
      All Finnish men aged 18 to 60 must carry out either military or non-military service. Under current law, a man can be granted a deferment of service for three years at a time as long as he can certify that he is an active member of a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation.
      "Problematic" from equality standpoint
      The Defence Ministry says that previous studies of the issue have found the current practice to be problematic, particularly from the standpoint of equality.
      The legislation on Jehovah’s Witnesses’ conscription was originally passed as a special act before the present constitution came into force.
      The committee is to complete its work by late June.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Last April, a ruling by Russia’s Supreme Court banned all Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations throughout the country, arguing the religious group to be extremist.
      On Friday, Murmansk regional authorities’ newspaper Murmanski Vestnik reports about raids made by FSB and the National Guard of Russia (Rosgvardia) in Polyarny on the Kola Peninsula.
      Two local residents were detained under suspicions of being members of the administrative centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, organizing teaching and meetings where reading of banned religious literature took place. Searches were carried out at six addresses in Polyarny.    
      The town is home to a naval yard and several of the diesel-powered submarines and other warships of the Northern Fleet have Polyarny as homeport.
      The extremist law banning Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia provides for a maximum sentences of 6 to 10 years in jail.
      Meanwhile, a wave of practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses are fleeing Russia. More than a thousand people are now seeking asylum in several European countries, including Finland, the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported earlier this winter.
      «It all started last summer, and that’s when the first Witnesses sought asylum in Finland, spokesperson Veikko Leininen with the organization’s Finnish branch told the newspaper.
      «Many dozens at least are still to come,» he said.
      Press adviser Therese Bergwitz-Larsen with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) can’t go into details about particular reasons for asylum seekers coming to Norway.
      «Unfortunately, we can’t say anything in general on the background for reasons to apply for asylum, since the number [from Russia] is so small.»
      Statistics from UDI show that 15 persons came from Russia the first three months this year. In 2017, 58 Russian asylum seekers came to Norway.
      In Russia, the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses are estimated to about 175,000. That be, before the organization was declared extremist. Viewed with skepticism for denying military service, voting and refusal to take blood, the members are seen as both a threat to themselves, their children and public safety.
      Also during Soviet times, the Witnesses were persecuted.   
      Human Right Watch recently called on Russian authorities to drop charges against Danish citizen Dennis Christensen adherent for practicing his faith. Christensen has been in pretrial custody for 11 months in the town of Orel. Human Right Watch argues that Russia is a member of Council of Europe and  a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, and therefor is obligated to protect the rights to freedom of religion and association.

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    • By The Librarian
      One of them was a 23 year old sister at her witnessing cart, she was stabbed in the throat and died very soon thereafter :
       
      Read more:
       
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      FSB starts detaining Jehovah’s Witnesses on Kola, dozens flee to Finland
      Criminal cases are initiated after FSB and Rosgvardia raided six addresses in the closed navy town of Polyarny.
      ByHello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      April 20, 2018
      Last April, a ruling by Russia’s Supreme Court banned all Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations throughout the country, arguing the religious group to be extremist.
      On Friday, Murmansk regional authorities’ newspaper Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. reports about raids made by FSB and the National Guard of Russia (Rosgvardia) in Polyarny on the Kola Peninsula.
       
      Two local residents were detained under suspicions of being members of the administrative centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, organizing teaching and meetings where reading of banned religious literature took place. Searches were carried out at six addresses in Polyarny.  
       
      The town is home to a naval yard and several of the diesel-powered submarines and other warships of the Northern Fleet have Polyarny as homeport.
       
      The extremist law banning Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia provides for a maximum sentences of 6 to 10 years in jail.
      Meanwhile, a wave of practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses are fleeing Russia. More than a thousand people are now seeking asylum in several European countries, including Finland, the newspaper Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. reported earlier this winter.
       
      It all started last summer, and that’s when the first Witnesses sought asylum in Finland, spokesperson Veikko Leininen with the organization’s Finnish branch told the newspaper.  Many dozens at least are still to come, he said.
      Press adviser Therese Bergwitz-Larsen with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) can’t go into details about particular reasons for asylum seekers coming to Norway.
      Unfortunately, we can’t say anything in general on the background for reasons to apply for asylum, since the number [from Russia] is so small, Bergwitz-Larsen tells the Barents Observer.
      Statistics from UDI show that 15 persons came from Russia the Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. this year. In Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , 58 Russian asylum seekers came to Norway.
      In Russia, the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses are estimated to about 175,000. That be, before the organization was declared extremist. Viewed with skepticism for denying military service, voting and refusal to take blood, the members are seen as both a threat to themselves, their children and public safety.
      Also during Soviet times, the Witnesses were persecuted.   
      Human Right Watch recently called on Russian authorities to drop charges against Danish citizen Dennis Christensen adherent for practicing his faith. Christensen has been in pretrial custody for 11 months in the town of Orel. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. argues that Russia is a member of Council of Europe and  a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, and therefore is obligated to protect the rights to freedom of religion and association.
      My note: Russia passed a law in 2015 that basically stated that any CE or ECHR resolution or ruling they disagreed with could be ignored. I think it is a very good idea when governments start rounding up people for gas chambers, concentration or slave labor camps, or prison ... just be somewhere else.
      You may have to abandon everything you and your family ever worked for, with the clothes on your back, but at least when they upholster the living room furniture you left behind ... it won't be with YOUR SKIN.
       
       
       
    • By Bible Speaks
      Russian "Jehovah's Witnesses" seek refuge in Finland
      In 2017, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation recognized the Jehovah's Witnesses as an extremist organization and banned their activities in Russia. Many members of the organization left Russia after this and are trying to obtain asylum abroad. In Finland, "Witnesses" is now one of the largest asylum seekers in the Russian Federation

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    • By The Librarian
      Via Festus...
      The attached picture is historical. The man on left is Ari Hakkarainen, representative of JW in Finland. The woman in middle is reporter Susanna Päivärinta and the lady at right is Josefina Pakomaa who was abused by family friend - a JW - when she was 11. A vicious apostate today. So we have a representative from Branch and an apostate in same picture. Apparently they even shook hands before program. Josefiina and Ari that is. Nevertheless in past "brothers" came to conclusion that she was the guilty one for her own abuse. She had seduced the poor man. So he had to apologise the man and afterwards serve coffee and cookies to him.
      As a responsible journalist Päivärinta gave JW possibility to give their view of what has happened. Ari's interview starts around 18.45 and is full of surprises. In the very beginning Ari says that term "judicial committee is bit misleading" because the purpose of it is to give spiritual support and help. Well why is it called judicial committee then? 
      At 23.45 min Päivärinta asks a question about Josefinas case. Ari says "we are truly sorry that she has had to go through this ordeal..." that is not an official apology but probably a close as society can go. Further he mentions that he has familiarised himself with the case and contra what Josefiina says there was no judicial committee but two elders who had interviewed her. With other words he admits that society keeps files of cases like this.
      But further Ari acknowledges that she is a victim and victims are never requested to be in judicial committee. Somehow I have difficulties to believe in this. Background for this comment might be that few weeks before this program the national broadcasting company in Finland made a big story where several women claimed that JW had required them to be quite what it comes to cases such as Josefiina's.
      Then Päivärinta grills him further and refers to tv-program and asks about other women and their stories. Ari says that "he would like to say that it is not true" but points out that it might have happened in past with individual cases. Right after that he says that reason why society requests to contact juridical department first is that then juridical department can tell parents that "now your first thing to do is to go directly to authorities". But journalist Päivärinta continues and says "Ari I checked the instructions and it does not say go to authorities it says contact branch" Ari then replies "yes but in our publications there has been instructions to contact authorities during a longer period of time", "in what publications?" asks the journalist. "Watchtower" says Ari.
      Please give me that Watchtower's year and date since haven't seen a single WT magazine with that information!
      Then Päivärinta asks "what about these other women should they report these abuse cases to police" and looks like Ari is forced to say "Absolutely. We don't have any interests in covering up these kinds of activities".
      Päivärinta then asks about two witness policy and Ari replies that he would "separate child abuse cases from this since there might not be a single witness". Is that now against what GB recently said in one of the broadcasting? What it comes to two witness rule and rape cases Ari instructs the victim to contact police and if there is a doom from court JWs can rely to that and take it into consideration if the case is to be taken up in congregation.
      "We don't deal with crimes in congregation we deal with sins, police is there for crime investigations" well good if that is the case now but what comes to past I might have a different view. Further Ari denies that there would have ever been a culture of silencing victims but on the contrary a culture of "encouraging the victims to approach authorities" he also ducks Päivarinta's question of giving possible documents to police by referring to confidential information of individuals but he admits that there is a chance that some documents must be given to authorities someday in future.
      Päivärinta further asks if society is going to apologise possible victims "That is a good idea" says Ari but even thought he is more bombarded with the question the best he manages to say is "if there is a convenient opportunity to apologise well why not and if we have ever done something wrong of course we will apologise.." guess there is still no reason to expect JWs of Finland to officially apologise anything. 
      Ari is further asked about shunning and he mentions that if some one just stops attending meetings and going to field service - aka inactive - nothing changes. But with that "little percentage that is either disfellowshipped or has disassociated them selves" according to Ari there are no strict guidelines but it depends of a conscience of an individual meaning some people do shun strictly and some less strictly. "There is now one way" he says. Ari please. That is not true.
      Päivärinta grills him further and quotes WT and refers to Elders Manual and Ari is forced to say "well if you look up this from bible you will see that these guidelines are from bible". Shuure. He then softens the case by claiming that 50% will return. Ari, the figure might be smaller nowadays.
      Päivärinta then suggest that maybe they come back because they miss their family so much and says "Ari do you understand that it is a tough punishment, psychological violence if community rejects you?" Ari compares the situation with someone quitting a job if he/she has become unhappy with it and afterwards talks bad things about it. "Relations do easily become infected in situations like this" is Ari's comment. Ari. Job and family are not comparable. Ari then tells us that he does not shun anybody. He has in previous interviews said that he knows around 20 000 witnesses so somehow I don't buy this.
      Last few minutes Ari and Päivärinta do talk about the wonderful hope of Jehovah's Witnesses. "What happens to me and the other people when badness is wiped away?" asks Päivärinta. "God will determine that. We of course hope that everyone will live in paradise" replies Ari. Wrong answer. You will all die would have been more truthful.
      It is note worthy that Ari Hakkarainen was in this program. Usually society - in Finland - has used Veikko Leinonen but maybe his face has become "burnt" in media. Or maybe it is just too tough nowadays to be in lime light in connection with society since media is starting to ask tough questions. Or maybe Veikko was on vacation.
      Even if you don't understand Finnish you can see that Ari's body language is disturbing. Just take a look at at 25.00 minute when he is asked if society covers up abuse cases.
      Here is the link:

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    • By The Librarian
      A working group from the Ministry of Defence said that Finland's laws exempting Jehovah's Witnesses from military conscription should be abolished.

      The working group presented their report - which proposes that Finland repeal the exemption law - to Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö on Monday.
      Every year in Finland some 20,000 young men take part in the country's mandatory military conscription programme. Instead of serving in the military, young men have the option of carrying out their national service in civilian settings.
      But young Jehovah's Witnesses have had the right to refuse to serve the country - militarily or even in a civilian capacity - since 1987.
      The topic of whether followers of the Christian denomination should be compelled to serve in Finland's military has been debated for years.
      Teemu Penttilä, leader of the defence ministry working group behind the report, said the time to change the law has arrived.
      "The civil service [system] has changed significantly in recent years. For example, religious communities now offer places of employment [in civil service]. There has been a clear societal change," Penttilä said.
      Long history
      Finland has been dealing with this issue for more than a decade. In 2006 a Defence Ministry working group examined the topic but did not reach any conclusions. A similar effort - this time consulting foreign experts - was carried out in 2009 but had similar results.
      Efforts by defence ministers in 2011 and 2013 also failed to reach a solution. The subject re-emerged this year. 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , the Helsinki Court of Appeal found that permitting male Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid conscription was discriminatory. The implementation of the law protecting Jehovah's Witnesses from conscription more than three decades ago came as a response to criticism Finland received from the UN Human Rights Committee. The committee said it viewed conscientious objectors as prisoners of conscience and accused Finland of not fulfilling its international obligations.
      Before the law changed in the late 1980s, every year dozens of Jehovah's Witnesses were jailed for not complying with conscription laws.
      Increase in total objectors possible
      Jehovah's Witness' spokesperson Veikko Leinonen has previously said Finland's laws on mandatory civil service violate the religious group's authority.
      Leinonen warned that abolishing the exemption would result in a return to the situation before the law was instated, and that members of the church would rather choose to serve jail sentences than serve.
      But the Defence Ministry's Penttilä disagreed, saying that the working group consulted several Jehovah's Witnesses representatives who vowed that no one would be excluded from the church for carrying out civil service duties.
      "We're aware there's a risk the number of 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  may rise. But the working group found that it will not be a significant increase," Penttilä said.
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      More than 200 Jehovah's Witnesses - a religious organization banned in Russia - have applied for asylum in Finland. More than 100 members of this organization have arrived in the European country only so far in 2018. According to Juha Simila, representative of the Finnish migration service, about 10 cases have been analyzed so far and, in most of them, Finland rejected the asylum application. Simila explained to the Finnish newspaper Aamulehti that some denials have been appealed to the court and that in one of the cases the negative decision of the migration service has already been confirmed.
      Read more: 
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    • By The Librarian
      The Finnish government has ruled that the current law allowing Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid military service, in place for several decades, is discriminatory and contradicts the constitution.
      In the future, Finnish Jehovah's Witnesses* will be obliged to either serve in the nation's military or perform civil service on the same terms as everyone else, the government ruled, submitting a corresponding proposal to parliament, national broadcaster Yle reported.
      According to the 1987 law, Jehovah's Witnesses were not only freed from the military draft, they were freed of any obligation to perform community service as a pacifist alternative, a common option among other young people in Finland. The Finnish government has decided that this preferential treatment is discriminatory and contradicts the constitution. Repealing the law will allow all religious groups to get equal treatment in terms of conscription, the government's press release said.
      The government proposed a three-month transition period. Those applying for suspension within the three-month period before the new law enters into force shall be allowed to skip military service. After the transition period, exemptions will be no longer granted.
      Abolishing the Jehovah's Witnesses' draft exemption has been considered several times before, in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013, but nothing came of the discussions. However, the debate was re-kindled this year, when the Helsinki Supreme Court overruled a prison sentence against a conscientious objector who refused to perform community service. The court found it discriminatory to sentence a conscientious objector, when Jehovah's Witnesses don't need to do any military or community service whatsoever.
      "Today we have a kind of two-storied definition of personal convictions. Jehovah's Witnesses enjoy statutory liberation from military service, while others with pacifist convictions don't," former Defense Minister Stefan Wallin, who has long pushed for the abolition of differential treatment, explained.
      Veikko Leinonen, a Jehovah's Witnesses information officer in Finland, said this isn't a "working solution."
      "It's problematic. The belief the Jehovah's Witnesses follow opposes all forms of war and killing," Leinonen stressed. "Ideally, we should keep the system that exists today. It has worked well and does not violate anyone's rights," he added.
      This move is expected to cover some 130 people annually. According to Teemu Penttilä, the leader of the task force behind the investigation, the number of "total objectors" refusing both military service and community service won't rise significantly. In 2017, 33 conscientious objectors were sentenced in Finland.
      The Finnish Defense Forces operate on the principle of universal male conscription, although women are allowed to volunteer and have been availing themselves of this opportunity increasingly. With a peacetime strength of about 16,000 troops, Finland is capable of mobilizing up to 230,000 troops and service personnel within four weeks, making it the largest force in Scandinavia.
      The total number of Jehovah's Witnesses is estimated at about 20,000 in Finland.
      * Jehovah's Witnesses are banned in Russia

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A Finnish court has ruled that the exemption from military service currently enjoyed by Jehovah's Witnesses is discriminatory.
       
      News 23.2.2018 14:34 | updated 24.2.2018 10:53
      Jehovah's Witness exemption from conscription deemed prejudicial in "pivotal" ruling
      A Finnish court has ruled that the exemption from military service currently enjoyed by Jehovah's Witnesses is discriminatory.
      A new court ruled on Friday that the Finnish practice of allowing male Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid conscription is discriminatory.
      The Helsinki Court of Appeal on Friday voted 4-3 for naming the policy discriminatory against other conscientious objectors. The ruling came in a discrimination case brought by a man who was imprisoned in 2016 for refusing conscripted service the year before.
      The decision is the first court verdict that directly denounces the decades-old exception (instated in 1987), which says that men belonging to the Jehovah's Witness denomination will uniquely not be sent to prison if they refuse both military and civilian service.
      The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee and the Defense Ministry have long held that the law contradicts the constitution's principle of equality as well as its prohibition on discrimination.
      Basis in faith
      The majority of the court held that Finland has taken significant measures to improve equality since the exemption became law more than 30 years ago, such as signing the European Convention on Human Rights.
      Under current legislation Jehovah's Witnesses may postpone their entry into service for three years at a time (starting at age 18), until their obligation officially ceases at age 29.
      Proponents of the Christian faction cite their pacifist reading of the Bible as the basis of their objection, for which they receive no punishment. No other groups in Finland have the same right, except women, who have never been legally bound to enter conscripted service.
      "Pivotal" step follows international condemnation
      The Union of Conscientious Objectors (Finnish acronym AKL) tweeted about the news on Friday, calling the court's decision "pivotal" in the process towards banning conscription altogether.
      Robin Harms, a senior advisor to the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, has acted as legal counsel to the imprisoned man who originally brought the case to the Eastern Uusimaa District Court in 2015.
      "Favouring Jehovah's Witnesses in this way is an embarrassment for Finland," Harms says.
      More than that, human rights organisations including Amnesty International and the UN Human Rights Committee have long chastised the Finnish government for its ongoing practice of forced conscription. Only male (non-Witness) Finns are obliged to choose between military service, a longer civilian service term and a six-month prison (or remote monitoring) sentence.
      AKL reports that an average of some 40 objectors have annually refused both military and civilian service since the beginning of the 21st century. Some 100 Jehovah's Witnesses plead the law of exception to avoid conscription each year. While 72 percent of young men enter military service (minimum 6 months) when called, some 2,000 men opt for a civilian service period (minimum 347 days).
      All men who are jailed for objecting to conscription are considered by Amnesty International to be prisoners of conscience.
      Justice Minister: Consider exemption anew
      Justice Minister Antti Häkkänen said after the verdict that the current exemptions from military service should be evaluated in the light of the verdict.
      "If some group or other has exemptions based on their beliefs, then in this day and age they should always be evaluated to make sure different groups are treated equally," said Häkkänen.
      Häkkänen added that participation in national defence is mandated in the Finnish constitution, and that exceptions to that are based on religious convictions.
      "How are those interests weighed against each other in different situations, especially in a changing world, then that's a big constitutional law question as well," said Häkkänen. "This is an interesting issue that must now be resolved fairly."
      EDIT: This story was edited on 23 February to add comments from the Justice Minister.

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    • By Queen Esther
      REFUGEES,  WITNESSES  IN  FINLAND
      Russian Jehovah's Witnesses who have come to Finland in search of asylum. Also a Finnish presidential candidate mentioned that the highest percentage of asylum seekers in a particular Finnish refugee center at this time are the Russian Jehovah's Witnesses. The immigration office states that 1,000 Russian Witnesses have sought asylum last year and even earlier.
      Apparently, there was systematic harassment of Witnesses in Russia and a law was passed that the Witnesses can lose custody of their children, if it is proved that the children are indoctrinated by their parents.
                         ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
    • By The Librarian
      The immediate response from the branch office after the tragedy provided comfort and reassurance to both Witnesses and non-Witnesses shaken by the event.

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Original news report:
       
    • Guest Kurt
      By Guest Kurt
      The daughter Laila Johansson greets her at least twice a week. Then she often read a piece from the Bible
      Biography
      Helfrid Eriksson was born on 23 June 1908 in Pernå, Southern Finland, Finland. Her father was a bricklayer and her mother a housewife. Helfrid and her sister studied at a girls' school in Helsinki. She married taxi driver Paul Eriksson and they had a daughter and two sons. Her mother and father lived to be 95 years old.

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      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  
       
    • By Bible Speaks
      In the ministry in Finland. Photo shared by @vera_laaksonen
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Made these as gifts to give to the brothers and sisters in the special convention in Helsinki, Finland.

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A state agency has determined that the Montana Women's Prison discriminated against an inmate on the basis of religion.
      The Billings Gazette reports that the Montana Human Rights Bureau found in February there was "reasonable cause" to believe there was discrimination against Mayson Simmons.
      Simmons' complaint filed in August says the Department of Corrections and the prison in Billings violated the law by allowing inmates of other religious faiths to use a prison chapel for services while denying access to Jehovah's Witnesses.
      The bureau says it did not find sufficient evidence to back up Simmons' claims she was denied a Jehovah's Witness bible or that she was discriminated against based on her gender and a disability.
      Prison officials deny any discrimination occurred.
      The case will proceed to a formal hearing.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      In a very sad case, a seven-year-old boy from Bulawayo is reported to have lost his leg because his parents are refusing to allow him to have a blood transfusion because of their religious beliefs.
      According to the Sunday News, the 7-year-old (name withheld for ethical reasons) suffered a cancerous tumour on his left leg which saw him being admitted at United Bulawayo Hospitals. Doctors initially prescribed a blood transfusion as part of his treatment but his parents who are staunch Jehovah’s Witnesses refused the transfusion arguing that it was against their religious beliefs.
      Sources from the hospital who spoke to Sunday News said,
      The boy is not producing blood and the wound is not healing. A few weeks ago his leg fell off on its own, as it was rotting and was dry. Right now he is only receiving medicine to assist him to generate blood but it appears to be futile. His parents refused him to undergo a blood transfusion, saying it was against their church doctrine.
      We are not God and neither do we have the ability to see into the future but the boy doesn’t have much time to live.
      The minor’s mother is reported to have mounted guard at his bedside to ensure that the hospital does not go against their wishes.  UBH clinical director Dr Narcisius Dzvanga confirmed the issue telling the Sunday News,
      It is their religion and as a hospital, we respect their wishes. The boy is getting injections to help generate blood but his parents are adamant about getting a blood transfusion. As doctors, we cannot determine much on the boy’s life.
      Update
      An earlier version of this article erroneously said that the parents are staunch Seventh Day Adventists.  We apologise sincerely for this error because the parents are actually members of Jehovah’s Witness.  Again, we would like to unreservedly apologise for the earlier error.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      The FC Cincinnati stadium site in the West End is growing to the north, increasing its footprint to approximately 16 acres, new plans show.
      The team is in the process of working with the Port Authority, who will own the stadium, to acquire John Street land where the Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall now sits. The new area also includes two properties on the south side of Wade Street, all of which is just north of the currently-approved stadium site.
      The Wade Street properties were thrust into the spotlight last week when residents in one of the buildings complained about being pushed out, including 99-year-old Mary Page. The team has agreed to help Page relocate. 
      Read more: 
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      Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall in the West End on Monday, April 15, 2019. FC Cincinnati is in the process of buying it, which will allow them to expand the stadium site to the north. (Photo: Albert Cesare / The Enquirer)
    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Estonia has banned two “Russia 1” journalists, Elena Erofeeva and Pavel Kostrikov, from entering the Schengen zone for the next five years because of a film about the religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, reported the Estonian Public Broadcasting Corporation, referencing the annual report of the country's security police.
      The report states that the journalists had obtained their visas at the Italian and French embassies. They first went to Finland and then took a ferry to Estonia to begin preparing an item for the program “Vesti” that “mocks and incites hostility towards the activities of this religious organization”.
      According to the Estonian special services division, the journalists had used hidden cameras to videotape the Jehovah's Witnesses community in Kesklinn, Tallinn. The clip was used in a report that included shots of “a similar nature” taken in Finland.
      The Estonian police claimed that Erofeeva and Kostrikov’s activities could be interpreted as discrimination on the basis of religion and could lead to the incitement of hostilities
       

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      More than 70 victims of sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses have come forward with their stories since the public network aired a documentory about it last week, reports the nonprofit organisation Reclaimed Voices Belgium.
      The documentary brought to light that the organisation had been covering up sexual abuse of minors via an internal 'disciplinary' system for years, concluded Pano. That way, none of the claims were reported to the police. One of the witnesses in the documentary was very straightforward in calling it "a paradise for paedophiles".

      According to CIAOSN, an independent centre set up by Belgium's Department of Justice to study sectarian organisations, there are similar findings in 12 other countries. The report concludes that the issues in all other countries are the same. Due to the strict hierarchy of the organisation, it's very difficult to come forward, reports CIAOSN.

      The elders of the organisation usually don't listen to the victims, or don't help them. They usually tell them to keep their mouths shut, said one of the witnesses. "I was told to keep the abuse to myself. 'We don't want to slander God's name.' I had to trust them to take care of it. They told me to pray some more and everything would be fine."

      Jehovah's Witnesses disapprove of sexual abuse, but they don't have any policies to prevent it or report it to the police. Victims that quit the organisation are ignored completely and lose all social contact. Another issue that returns frequently in CIAOSN's report is that victims have to give their statements about the abuse in the presence of their abusers. If the accused denies involvement, they'll only further the investigation after two other witness statements. In all these 13 countries, there is not one woman involved in the internal disciplinary system.

      "Noteworthy is the number of people that talk about the severe psychological damage that the exclusion by the community brings with it," the statement of Reclaimed Voices Belgium said. "In conversations we've had with victims so far, it seems that the trauma caused by the exclusion that follows when a victim speaks up about the abuse has an even bigger impact than the abuse itself."

      Maïthé Chini
      The Brussels Times

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      On March 26, 2019, FSB investigator Sergey Bosiev charged Artem Gerasimov, who had been previously detained for interrogation during a search of eight houses in Alupka, Gurzuf and Yalta (Crimea), with organizing extremist activities (Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Russian Criminal Code). Another one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Taras Kuzyo, is also a suspect in this case. Both men were released after being interrogated.
      Read full text in Russian
      Case of Gerasimov and Others in Yalta
      Region: 
      Crimea
      Locality: Yalta
      Case number: 11907350001000041
      Current stage: preliminary investigation (pre-trial proceedings)
      Suspected of: according to the investigation, together with others he conducted religious services, which is interpreted as organising the activity of an extremist organisation (with reference to the decision of the Russian Supreme Court on the liquidation of all 396 registered organisations of Jehovah’s Witnesses)
      Article of the Russian Criminal Code: 282.2(1)
      Case initiated: 23 May 2017
      Investigating: Investigative Department of the Directorate of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia for the Republic of Crimea

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      In February, a Russian court sentenced a Danish citizen who was a legal resident of Russia to six years in prison for such an extremist offence as organizing other Witnesses to shovel snow from their church’s property.
      A month later, Sergei Skrynnikov, a Russian and allegedly a Jehovah’s Witness, was charged with “participating in an extremist organization,” an offence under Russian law that could earn him up to six years in prison. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been fleeing Russia and seeking asylum in Germany and Finland to escape such harsh sentences.
      In China, state authorities harass Jehovah’s Witnesses and raid their meetings. Authorities also deport foreign Witness missionaries from countries such as South Korea.
      South Korea has only recently dropped a 2003 law prohibiting conscientious objection to fighting in its armed forces, a law that confined young Witness men — as well as other men — to jail.
      All these states violate international laws that protect religious freedom, including the freedoms of unpopular minorities. Article 18, 1 of the 1976 United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights protects everyone’s freedom to “have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice” and “to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.”
      A long history of persecution
      Jehovah’s Witnesses were among the first groups the Nazis persecuted. There were about 25,000 to 30,000 Witnesses in Germany in 1933. About half of those who did not flee were convicted of various crimes and between 2,000 and 2,500 were sent to concentration camps, where about 1,000 died. About 250 were also executed.
      Some years ago I met a Jehovah’s Witness in the city where I live who told me the Nazis had beheaded his grandfather. Germany’s Jehovah’s Witnesses were not merely passive religious group that refused to adopt the Nazi ideology: they also actively tried to expose Nazi atrocities.
      In the 1960s and ‘70s in Malawi, entire villages of Jehovah’s Witnesses were burned, and many villagers were raped, tortured or murdered as they tried to flee. Their crime was refusal to participate in rituals of loyalty to the newly independent Malawian state and its president, Hastings Banda.
      The Malawi government denied me a visa in the early 1980s when I told its High Commission in Ottawa that I wanted to know what had happened to these Witnesses for research for my book, Human Rights in Commonwealth Africa.
      Many Witnesses in Rwanda, both Tutsi and Hutu, lost their lives during the 1994 genocide, many trying to hide people at risk of being murdered.Even now, Rwandan authorities expel some Witness children from school and have fired some Witness teachers because they refuse to sing the national anthem or participate in religious training.
      Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Canada
      Here in Canada, Jehovah’s Witnesses have not always enjoyed their rights to freedom of religion and expression.
      During the Second World War, Witness children were banned from schools in several locations because they would not salute the flag, sing the national anthem or repeat the pledge of allegiance. A Witness father sued the Hamilton Board of Education on behalf of his two sons, who had been expelled from school in 1940. In 1945, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, saying the Board was required to excuse students from participating in religious exercises to which their parents objected.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Local and federal authorities are investigating a string of acts of violence against Jehovah’s Witness houses of worship in Washington state ― including multiple suspected arsons.
      The latest attack gutted a Jehovah’s Witness building in the city of Lacey, near Olympia. The fire reportedly broke out . No injuries were reported, but the building was deemed a total loss, .
      The Seattle division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has . 
      BREAKING: A fire has destroyed the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey. This is the SIXTH attack on Kingdom Hall’s in Thurston County since March. Five fires, one shooting.
      — Alex Rozier ()
      The fire in Lacey brings the total number of attacks in Thurston County against Jehovah’s Witness centers, called kingdom halls, to six this year, . In March, arson caused minor damage at kingdom halls in Tumwater and Olympia. Four months later, a blaze worship space. In August investigators discovered a fake bomb at a kingdom hall in Yelm, . The incident was determined to be an attempted arson.
      In May someone shot about 35 rifle rounds into the Yelm center, causing more than $10,000 in property damage, .
      Jason Chudy, a spokesperson for the ATF’s Seattle field division, told HuffPost that the organization believes all the incidents could be related. The attacks were probably “meant to send a message,” he said. 
      “We believe that the suspect or suspects has or have a grievance related to the Jehovah’s Witness community, or about another issue they think is important,” he wrote in an email. “Before these fires, the person or persons involved are likely to have shared these strong feelings with others through comments and conversation.”
      Chudy said the ATF also believes that the suspect or suspects may have exhibited changes in behavior in the hours, days, weeks or months since the fires, including unexplained injuries, changes in normal routines and dramatic and unexplained altering of physical appearance.
      The ATF is investigating the incidents, along with Thurston County police. Investigators are offering $36,000 in combined rewards for information that leads to a suspect’s capture. 
      During a press conference on Friday, Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza urged the public to call in with tips.
      “It makes you feel really ill,” . “How frustrating is it that people who find a solemn place of worship, and now it’s being destroyed?”
      Dan Woollett, a member of the kingdom hall in Lacey,  that the important thing is that congregants are safe.
      “It’s just a building ― buildings can be replaced,” he said. “Things can be redone. So we just move ahead with the ministry that we have that we’re involved with.” 

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      A young Jehovah's Witness in her twenties remains in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of San Jorge Hospital in Huesca, without the specialists being able to carry out a blood transfusion to try to save her life due to the instructions that the patient left before being intervened. The facts, released by the Heraldo de Aragón, were put this week in the knowledge of the court of guard of the capital of Aragon by one of the doctors of the UCI hospital HOSPITAL before the impossibility of consulting directly with the patient.
      After being operated on a few days ago, the girl suffered acute peritonitis that led doctors to induce a coma and to consider the need to carry out a blood transfusion. However, the patient left written in her living will and, according to her beliefs, her position of absolute rejection of blood transfusions, which Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept for religious reasons.
      Sources of the Superior Court of Justice of Aragon (TSJA) reported on Thursday that the holder of the Court of Instruction No. 1 of Huesca received the medical report while he was on duty and was warned of the refusal of the young woman to a transfusion, under of the Patient Autonomy Law. According to these sources, the magistrate, in view of the documentation provided, resolved to dismiss the claim on the understanding that there was no legal problem in relation to the patient's situation.
      These sources, in addition, do not make any reference to the position of the family of the young woman regarding the situation in which her daughter is currently. On the other hand, the Prosecutor's Office of Huesca, after receiving the report from the specialists of the ICU, decided not to intervene after assessing that the patient is of legal age and is entitled to make a decision regarding the medical treatments to be received.
      According to other judicial sources informed to Efe, the court of guard today in Huesca would not have received any other written referred to the case, reason why the specialists lack of options to be able to carry out the advised transfusion. These sources have pointed out that this case is not the only one that has been registered in the Aragonese Community over the last few years in relation to Jehovah's Witness patients, whose beliefs lead them to reject the mixture or intake of blood.
      This case occurs 25 years after the death of 13-year-old Marcos Alegre, deceased after his parents, residents in the Huesca town of Ballobar, did not accept that his son received a transfusion that specialists considered necessary to save his life. In the context of a debate that leaped into the media, the parents were acquitted of the crime of imprudent homicide that the prosecution charged them with, but were sentenced two years later, at the request of the public prosecutor's office, with a penalty of 2 years and 6 months. prison for these facts.
      Finally, the parents accepted a government pardon, before being definitively acquitted by the Constitutional Court, which based its decision on the right to religious freedom. This situation, previously assessed by the Board of Prosecutors before filing their appeal before the Supreme Court, motivated Circular 1/2012 of the State Attorney General's Office, referring only to the cases of minor Jehovah's Witnesses who reject blood transfusions. This circular urges prosecutors to explore all legal avenues at their disposal to try to save the lives of these minors whenever there is a medical possibility that allows it.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Una Riley, 67, of Akron, passed away on March 20, 2019. Una was a member of Akron Central Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. She retired from FirstMerit Bank after 15 years of service.

      Una is survived by her loving husband, Tyrone; siblings, James (Connie) Mathews, Otha Loftin,David (Candace) Mathews, Marilyn Oliver, Walter Mathews, and Harold Garrett; honorary son and daughter, Daniel and Lenora Lewis; and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

      Una was preceded in death by her infant daughter, Francine; parents, Howard and Otha Garrett; and siblings, Gloria Johnson, Harry Mathews, and Barbara Gibbons.

      The family would like to thank everyone who supported them during this time of sorrow. A special thank you to the Cleveland Clinic Hospice, and Una's caretaker, Tammy, and special friends, Charlotte Holling and Alesia Stevens.

      A memorial service for Una will take place on Sunday March 31, 2019 at 2pm at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses at 1170 Eastwood Ave, Akron, OH 44305.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      On Tuesday, we asked ex-JW activist Lloyd Evans about the Jehovah’s Witness view on climate change, since it’s an organization so centered around the idea of global catastrophe. Lloyd explained that because the planet was in Jehovah’s hands, Witnesses tended not to be concerned about environmental issues. We then received a rebuttal from Rob, a Witness who disagreed, and we’re very happy to publish his message to us, with his permission…
      The main point I am rebutting is this quote from Lloyd: “Jehovah’s Witnesses mostly have a very laid back approach to environmental concerns. They point to issues like global warming and damage to the environment as evidence that humans are incapable of ruling themselves….”
      Jehovah’s Witnesses, in fact, do have an active interest in environment, and encourage members to take action to reduce the negative affects we have on the environment. Consider one of our journals, the Awake! magazine, from 2007:
      The Bible assures us that every trace of the damage caused by man will be undone when God ‘makes all things new.’ (Revelation 21:5) However, we should not conclude that since God will in time restore the earth, our actions now do not matter. They do!
      That article further states that we are not indifferent to the earth’s plight:
      Jehovah God made the earth to be a gardenlike home for mankind. He pronounced all of his work to be “very good” and assigned man “to cultivate [the earth] and to take care of it.” (Genesis 1:28, 31; 2:15) How does God feel about earth’s present condition? Clearly, he is deeply offended by man’s mismanagement, for Revelation 11:18 foretells that he will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” So we should not be indifferent to the earth’s plight.
      Lastly, steps are given in this same article that we can or should take, to reduce the negative impact on our environment.
      It is proper, though, for us to consider the environmental impact of our choices in such areas as household purchases, transportation, and recreation. For example, some choose to purchase products that have been produced or that operate in ways that minimize damage to the environment. Others strive to reduce their share in activities that create pollution or unduly consume natural resources.
      This does not represent disinterest in climate change, or feigning interest in it. This is actively discussing ways to minimize our own environmental impact.
      So yes, Jehovah’s Witnesses do in fact believe that God will undo climate change once and for all, but this does not mean we are indifferent or apathetic, as the article above shows.
      Lastly, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ buildings received the highest possible rating of Four Green Globes for all seven of their buildings, for environmental efficiency.
      Really, the best way to show concern for our planet is to reduce the impact we have. Jehovah’s Witnesses build so to have the least negative impact as they possibly can.
      So whoever is suggesting that Jehovah’s Witnesses are apathetic to our environmental concerns is ignoring what’s in print, and how we construct our buildings, and the recognition we receive from authoritative environmental agencies.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      EATONVILLE, WA - Pierce County firefighters battled a 15-acre brush fire near Eatonville on Wednesday night, one of dozens of fires that have broken out across Western Washington amid record-breaking March heat.
      Wednesday's fire near Eatonville burned near the intersection of SR 702 and Jackson Road, which is just west of SR 7 near the Jehovah's Witnesses temple.
      "Firefighters urge residents on Jackson Road to evacuate as this fire continues to grow," the Pierce County Firefighters union wrote on Twitter.
      Washington State Patrol officers were heading to the scene to assist with traffic control.
      On top warm temperatures, strong breezes have blown steadily since Monday, feeding and spreading fires.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Name: Yuriy Belosludtsev
      Born: [to be determined]
      Current status: [to be determined]
      Detained since: 18 March 2019 
      Current restrictions: pre-trial detention
      Currently held in: [to be determined

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Despite recent surgery, retired widower, Jehovah's Witness Shamil Khakimov, is in pre-trial detention in Khujand under criminal investigation for "inciting religious hatred". If tried and convicted he faces five to ten years' imprisonment. His arrest followed widespread raids, interrogations and torture of local Jehovah's Witnesses.
      On 28 February, two days after his arrest, a court in the northern city of Khujand ordered that 68-year old Jehovah's Witness Shamil Khakimov be held in pre-trial detention for up to two months. Prosecutors are preparing a criminal case against him on charges of "inciting religious hatred", charges he rejects. Khakimov, who suffers from high blood pressure and recently underwent a leg operation, faces between five and ten years' imprisonment if eventually tried and convicted.
      Khakimov is currently held at Khujand's Investigation Prison.

      Khujand Investigation Prison
      Google/DigitalGlobe
      Judge Abruniso Mirasilzoda, who acceded to the Prosecutor's Office request to put Khakimov in pre-trial detention despite his medical condition, refused to explain her decision to Forum 18 (see below).
      A panel of three judges at Sogd Regional Court upheld Khakimov's pre-trial detention on 12 March. None of the judges were prepared to discuss with Forum 18 why they approved the detention of the 68-year-old, given his serious state of health (see below).
      Forum 18 was unable to reach Nosirkhuja Dodokhonzoda, Investigator of serious crimes at Sogd Regional Prosecutor's Office, who is leading the criminal case against Khakimov (see below).
      Police opened the case against Khakimov after widespread raids in January and February on homes and police interrogations of Jehovah's Witnesses across the northern Sogd Region. Some of the interrogations involved torture.
      Organised Crime Police seized Khakimov's Bible and other religious literature during a raid on his home after they interrogated him (see below).
      After the raids and interrogations, so far none of the Jehovah's Witnesses were given any punishments or faced any charges except for Khakimov. "The authorities probably want to punish a Jehovah's Witness more seriously in order for this to be a show case, a lesson for the rest of the Jehovah's Witnesses," Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18 on 19 March. "This may be why Khakimov was singled out."
      Jehovah's Witnesses in Khujand are still being regularly summoned and questioned by the Organised Crime Police, Jehovah's Witnesses complained to Forum 18. The Police summon individuals for interrogation "without written notifications".
      Organised Crime Police prepare Khakimov's arrest
      Trouble began for Jehovah's Witness Shamil Rasulovich Khakimov (born 30 August 1950), a retired widower, after police stopped two Jehovah's Witnesses on the street in Khujand in early January for sharing their beliefs with a passer-by.
      "The Police seized the phones of the two women and called the numbers in the phone, and this is how they found Khakimov," Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18. "The authorities allege that he is the leader of Jehovah's Witnesses in Khujand."
      On the evening of 28 January, Khakimov received a call from an unknown person. "The caller requested him to leave his flat and come out onto the street. It was dark so he hesitated, but the calls kept coming," Jehovah's Witnesses said. "When he decided to come outside, there was no one on the street."
      Later the caller identified himself as Nekruz Ibrokhimzoda from the Organised Crime Police of Sogd Region.
      The next day, 29 January, Organised Crime Police officers summoned some of Khakimov's friends (who are not Jehovah's Witnesses) and fellow believers, and questioned them about him.
      At lunch time on 1 February, three days after this, the Organised Crime Police's Khujand office summoned Khakimov, where officers searched him on arrival. Lieutenant Colonel Sukhrob Rustamzoda then interrogated him, including about his personal history, how he became a Jehovah's Witness, and the structure of the organisation.
      "During the interrogation, officers refused to allow Khakimov to use the services of a defence lawyer," Jehovah's Witnesses complained.
      Investigator Rustamzoda refused to comment on the case. "I cannot discuss it with you over the phone," he told Forum 18 on 19 March. "You need to talk to Sogd Regional Prosecutor's Office. They are investigating the case now." When Forum 18 insisted, asking why Police opened a case against Khakimov and why he was refused a defence lawyer to participate during his interrogation, Rustamzoda put the phone down.
      Officers seize Khakimov's property
      After the interrogation, the Organised Crime Police brought Khakimov to his flat in Khujand. Officers seized his tablet device, laptop computer, his Bible and several religious books and brochures, as well as his passport. Officers did not give him a copy of the seizure record, Jehovah's Witnesses said.
      The Police "detained him overall for eight hours the same day," Jehovah's Witnesses complained to Forum 18. "He had not fully recovered after the thrombophlebitis surgery on his legs and his bandages needed to be changed."
      Moreover, Khakimov "could not receive money transfers to continue his necessary medical treatment, since officers seized his passport".
      Prosecutor's Office ignores complaints, opens case
      On 3 February, Khakimov filed a complaint with the Regional Prosecutor's Office against the actions of the Organised Crime Police officers. "No answer has been received to this day," Jehovah's Witnesses complained to Forum 18.
      "Instead at around 9 am on 7 February, four days after his complaint, the Organised Crime Police officers once again arrived at Khakimov's home. They threatened him to open the door," Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18. "As the Police officers refused to provide the official summons, he decided not to open the door." 
      During the same day, the Police "repeatedly called Khakimov demanding him to come to the police station."
      Khakimov filed another complaint to the Regional Prosecutor's Office on 7 February against the actions of the Organised Crime Police. "At the Prosecutor's Office he was asked to write an additional statement on his faith and religious activity." The Prosecutor's Office, however, "refused to give him a note that he was asked to write a statement and that it had received his complaint."
      The Prosecutor's Office has "not responded to this complaint to this day either".
      Arrest, pre-trial detention
      On 26 February, 19 days after his second complaint, Police arrested Khakimov and put him in custody "despite his advanced age and poor health".
      The following day, on 27 February, the Organised Crime Police went to Khakimov's flat again. "Without showing identification documents - in the absence of Khakimov and the presence of his roommate - seized Khakimov's international passport without drawing up a record of it," Jehovah's Witnesses said.
      On 28 February, at the request of the Sogd Regional Prosecutor's Office, Judge Abruniso Mirasilzoda of Khujand City Court ordered that Khakimov be held in pre-trial detention. He is being held in the Investigation Prison in Khujand.
      Judge Mirasilzoda told Forum 18 from the court on 19 March that "his custody may last up two months while the investigation proceeds, and if need be his arrest can be prolonged." She refused to explain why Khakimov needs to be held in custody. Asked why he cannot be at home while his case is being investigated, she told Forum 18: "I gave my decision, and it entered into force."
      Asked why she did not take into account that Khakimov is an old man who recently underwent an operation on his leg, Judge Mirasilzoda replied: "His lawyer informed us about this orally, but did not present documents." Asked whether had Khakimov had the documents, she would not have ordered the pre-trial detention, she responded: "I do not want to discuss my decision further."
      Jehovah's Witnesses say the court was fully aware of Khakimov's medical condition. "On 28 February our lawyer did not yet have the documents from the doctors on Khakimov's operation, so they told Judge Mirasilzoda that Khakimov can open the bandage on his leg and show the wound, as well as producing the documents later. But she went ahead with her decision."
      Khakimov's address in Investigation Prison:
      Ya/S 9/2 Investigation Prison
      Khujand
      Sogd Region
      Tajikistan
      Why pre-trial detention?
      Jehovah's Witnesses appealed against the 28 February decision to place Khakimov in pre-trial detention. They presented in court documentation on his operation and health condition. But on 12 March, a panel of three judges at Sogd Regional Court, Ismoil Rakhmatzoda, Maftuna Rakhmatillozoda and Khotamsho Sattorzoda, upheld Khakimov's pre-trial detention.
      Asked on 20 March why the Court upheld the pre-trial detention of Khakimov, an ailing old man, Makhrambek Jumazoda, Secretary of Judge Rakhmatzoda, took down the question and Forum 18's name. Then, after consulting with an official in Judge Rakhmatzoda's office, claimed to Forum 18 that the Judge is "busy in a meeting". He then refused to talk further.
      Judge Rakhmatillozoda on 20 March also refused to explain their decision. Asked why the Court did not take into account the official records of Khakimov's condition and upheld his pre-trial detention, she responded: "I just came into my office. Can you call back in 15 minutes?" Called back later, she told Forum 18 "I cannot talk to you," and put the phone down.
      Judge Sattorzoda was adamant that the Court "correctly took the decision to put Khakimov in custody". Reminded that Khakimov presented to the Court the documents confirming his medical condition and that he is an old man, Sattorzoda repeated his previous response: "We took the decision correctly." He refused to explain the decision to Forum 18 and to answer further questions.
      Inciting hatred?
      Nosirkhuja Dodokhonzoda, Investigator of serious crimes at Sogd Regional Prosecutor's Office, is leading the case against Khakimov. On 7 March, one week after Khakimov's arrest, Dodokhonzoda officially informed him of the charges against him.
      Dodokhonzoda is investigating Khakimov under Criminal Code Article 189, Part 2 ("Inciting national, racial, local or religious hatred or dissension, humiliation of national dignity, as well as propaganda of the superiority of citizens based on their religion, national, racial, or local origin, if committed in public or using the mass media" when performed repeatedly, by a group or by an individual using their official position). Punishment is imprisonment of between five and ten years, with the possibility also of a five-year ban on specified activity.
      Prisoner of conscience Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov, who led a Protestant Church in Khujand, was punished under Criminal Code Article 189, Part 1 for allegedly "singing extremist songs in church and so inciting 'religious hatred'". Khujand City Court sentenced him to three years' imprisonment in July 2017.
      Asked why the Prosecutor's Office asked for Khakimov's pre-trial detention, and why it did not respond to Khakimov complaints on the Police illegal actions, the official (who did not give his name) who on 19 March answered the phone of Khobibullo Vokhidov, Prosecutor of Sogd Region, took down Forum 18's name and asked it to wait on the line. Moments later, he told Forum 18 that "Prosecutor Vokhidov is busy; call back in an hour or so."
      Called back later, the Prosecutor's phone numbers were all switched to a fax machine.
      Prosecutor's Office Investigator Dodokhonzoda did not answer his phones on 20 March.
      Health concerns
      Jehovah's Witnesses express concern over Khakimov's health. "He recently had an operation on the veins in his legs and suffers from high blood pressure," they told Forum 18 on 19 March. "At the moment he is still suffering from high blood pressure, and the doctors have told him not to stand for too long because of the operation."
      Jehovah's Witnesses added that although Khakimov is "doing well", he still feels pain in his leg after the surgery. "Our lawyer talked to the prison doctor and he said that he will make sure that Shamil Khakimov would not have to stand up every time officers enter the cell for checking."
      Earlier raids, interrogations
      The Organised Crime Police Department of Sogd Region interrogated about 17 Jehovah's Witnesses for periods of up to 14 hours in January and February across the northern Sogd Region, including in Khujand and Konibodom. Police also confiscated mobile phones, personal computers or tablets, and internal passports from those they interrogated.
      One female Jehovah's Witness was interrogated two days running for 14 hours. Because of the extreme stress imposed on her, she suffered a stroke, leaving her unable to walk or speak. She was then taken to hospital.
      Jehovah's Witnesses lodged a formal complaint about the police actions and torture to Sogd Regional Prosecutor's Office. "But it has taken no action and given no response to this day," Jehovah's Witnesses complained to Forum 18.
      "After the female Witness complained to President Emomali Rahmon, the General Prosecutor's Office informed her in early February in writing that it is investigating the complaint," Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18. "However, she has not been informed on the course or the results of the investigation to this day."
      Asked on 20 March about the investigation of this case and Khakimov's case, officials at the General Prosecutor's Office reception (who did not give their names) referred Forum 18 to its international relations section's Makhmudzoda and Karimzoda (first names were not given). The officials' phones went unanswered the same day. Called back, the reception officials refused to put Forum 18 through to any other officials to discuss the cases. (END)

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    • My best guess is that Cesar really hates Jehovah's Witnesses, individually ... all of them, and is crude, rude, insulting and vulgar without letup to demonstrate to non-Witnesses that if they are considering the Jehovah's Witnesses religion, they will become like him .... thereby horrifying them, and scaring them away. I would also guess that this is caused by raging, massive and persistent neurotic insecurity, and is over-compensation due to unawareness. I don't expect perfection, or
    • Like I said, he's nothing but a troll...
    • @César Chávez You appear to have some special reason or need to respond to others with vulgarity. You've done this to several people in the past, too. If "Pudgy" had been vulgar first, perhaps I missed it. Still, considering your claims to moral superiority over everyone, it seems a bit unseemly. This wasn't a topic under any religious heading or club, so I won't spell out Ephesians 5:3-4.
    • When there is a good interlocutor, like you, it is so simple and easy to go from the topic of artificial satellites and torn parts flying in Earth orbit to the topic of the persecution of Christians. :))
    • Are Cats For Christians QUESTIONS FROM READERS "Is it appropriate for a Christian to own a cat in light of their past pagan religions affiliation and the new medical information that is now coming to light?" Many conscientious ones among Jehovah's people today have wondered if Christians should own cats in view of their sorted past and many health risks. What may be acceptable to one person may, although unintentionally, stumble another. This can become a life-or-death issue since
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    • Eric Ouellet

      CHANTONS À JÉHOVAH UN CHANT NOUVEAU
      Il est bon de rendre grâces à Jéhovah
      et d’exécuter des mélodies pour ton nom, ô Très-Haut !
      D’annoncer ta bonté de cœur le matin
      et ta fidélité pendant les nuits,
      sur un instrument à dix cordes et sur le luth,
      aux accords sonores de la harpe.
      Car tu m’as réjoui, ô Jéhovah, à cause de ton action ;
      à cause des œuvres de tes mains je pousse des cris de joie.
      Que tes œuvres sont grandes, ô Jéhovah !
      Tes pensées sont très profondes.
      L’homme dépourvu de raison ne peut les connaître,
      et le stupide ne peut comprendre cela.
      Quand les méchants germent comme la végétation
      et que fleurissent tous ceux qui 
      pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant,
      c’est pour être anéantis pour toujours.
      Mais toi, tu es là-haut pour des temps indéfinis, ô Jéhovah!
      Car voici que tes ennemis, ô Jéhovah,
      car voici que tes ennemis périront;
      tous ceux qui pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant seront séparés les uns des autres.
      Mais tu élèveras ma corne comme celle du taureau sauvage;
      je m’arroserai d’huile fraîche.
      Mon œil regardera mes ennemis;
      mes oreilles entendront parler de ceux
      qui se dressent contre moi, les malfaiteurs.
      Le juste fleurira comme un palmier ;
      il grandira comme un cèdre du Liban.
      Ceux qui sont plantés dans la maison de Jéhovah,
      dans les cours de notre Dieu — ils fleuriront.
      Ils prospéreront encore durant les cheveux gris,
      ils resteront gras et frais,
      pour annoncer que Jéhovah est droit.
      Il est mon Rocher, Celui en qui il n’y a pas d’injustice.
      Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi!
      De grandeur il est vêtu ;
      Jéhovah est vêtu de force Il s’est ceint.
      Le sol productif aussi s’établit solidement
      de sorte qu’il ne peut chanceler.
      Ton trône est solidement établi depuis les temps anciens ;
      tu es depuis des temps indéfinis.
      Les fleuves ont fait retentir, ô Jéhovah,
      les fleuves ont fait retentir leur bruit ;
      les fleuves sans arrêt font retentir leur fracas.
      Par-dessus les bruits des eaux immenses,
      des vagues majestueuses de la mer qui déferlent,
      Jéhovah est majestueux dans les hauteurs.
      Tes rappels se sont révélés très dignes de foi.
      La sainteté convient à ta maison, ô Jéhovah,
      pour la longueur des jours.
      Ô Dieu aux actes de vengeance
      Jéhovah , ô Dieu aux actes de vengeance, apparais.
      Lève-toi, ô Juge de la terre!
      Fais revenir la rétribution sur les orgueilleux.
      Jusqu’à quand les méchants, ô Jéhovah,
      jusqu’à quand les méchants vont-ils exulter ?
      Sans cesse ils font jaillir un flot de paroles,
      sans cesse ils parlent avec audace;
      sans cesse ils se vantent, 
      tous ceux qui pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant.
      Ton peuple, ô Jéhovah, ils continuent à l’écraser,
      et ton héritage, ils continuent à l’affliger.
      Ils tuent la veuve et le résident étranger,
      ils assassinent les orphelins de père.
      Et ils continuent à dire : “ Yah ne voit pas;
      le Dieu de Jacob ne le comprend pas. ”
      Comprenez donc, vous qui êtes dépourvus de raison parmi le peuple;
      et vous, stupides, quand serez-vous perspicaces ?
      Celui qui plante l’oreille, est-ce qu’il ne peut pas entendre ?
      Ou Celui qui forme l’œil, est-ce qu’il ne peut pas regarder ?
      Celui qui corrige les nations, 
      est-ce qu’il ne peut pas reprendre,
      oui Celui qui enseigne la connaissance aux hommes?
      Jéhovah connaît les pensées des hommes,
      il sait qu’elles sont comme une vapeur.
      Heureux l’homme robuste que tu corriges, ô Yah,
      et que tu enseignes par ta loi,
      pour lui donner le calme aux jours du malheur,
      jusqu’à ce qu’une fosse soit creusée pour le méchant.
      Car Jéhovah n’abandonnera pas son peuple,
      et il ne quittera pas son héritage.
      Car la décision judiciaire retournera à la justice,
      et tous ceux qui ont le cœur droit la suivront.
      Qui se dressera pour moi contre les malfaiteurs?
      Qui se postera pour moi contre ceux qui pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant ?
      Si Jéhovah ne m’était venu en aide,
      sous peu mon âme aurait résidé dans le silence.
      Lorsque j’ai dit : “ À coup sûr, mon pied chancellera ”,
      ta bonté de cœur, ô Jéhovah, m’a soutenu sans relâche.
      Quand mes pensées troublantes se multiplièrent au-dedans de moi,
      tes consolations se mirent à cajoler mon âme.
      Sera-t-il allié à toi, le trône qui cause des adversités,
      tandis qu’il façonne le malheur par décret ?
      Ils lancent de vives attaques contre l’âme du juste
      et déclarent coupable le sang de l’innocent.
      Mais Jéhovah deviendra pour moi une hauteur sûre,
      et mon Dieu, le rocher de mon refuge.
      Il ramènera sur eux leurs méfaits
      et les réduira au silence par leur malheur.
      Jéhovah notre Dieu les réduira au silence.
      Oh ! venez, poussons des cris de joie vers Jéhovah !
      Poussons des cris de triomphe vers notre Rocher de salut.
      Présentons-nous devant sa personne avec des actions de grâces;
      avec des mélodies poussons vers lui des cris de triomphe.
      Car Jéhovah est un grand Dieu
      et un grand Roi au-dessus de tous les autres dieux,
      lui en la main de qui sont les profondeurs 
      les plus secrètes de la terre
      et à qui appartiennent les cimes des montagnes;
      lui à qui appartient la mer qu’il a faite
      et dont les mains ont formé la terre ferme.
      Oh ! entrez, adorons et courbons-nous!
      Agenouillons nous devant Jéhovah notre Auteur.
      Car il est notre Dieu, et nous sommes le peuple
      de son pâturage et les brebis de sa main.
      Aujourd’hui, si vous écoutez sa voix,
      n’endurcissez pas votre cœur comme à Meriba,
      comme au jour de Massa dans le désert,
      quand vos ancêtres m’ont mis à l’épreuve ;
      ils m’ont examiné, ils ont aussi vu mon action.
      Pendant quarante ans j’ai éprouvé du dégoût pour cette génération,
      alors j’ai dit :
      “ C’est un peuple au cœur errant,
      et ils n’ont pas appris à connaître mes voies ” ;
      à propos de qui j’ai juré dans ma colère:
      “ Ils n’entreront pas dans mon lieu de repos
      Chantez pour Jéhovah un chant nouveau.
      Chantez pour Jéhovah, vous tous, gens de la terre !
      Chantez pour Jéhovah, bénissez son nom.
      De jour en jour annoncez la bonne nouvelle de son salut.
      Proclamez parmi les nations sa gloire,
      parmi tous les peuples ses œuvres prodigieuses."
      Car Jéhovah est grand et on doit le louer infiniment.
      Il est redoutable par-dessus tous les autres dieux.
      Car tous les dieux des peuples sont des dieux sans valeur ;
      mais Jéhovah, lui, a fait les cieux.
      Dignité et splendeur sont devant lui;
      force et beauté sont dans son sanctuaire.
      Attribuez à Jéhovah, ô familles des peuples,
      attribuez à Jéhovah gloire et force.
      Attribuez à Jéhovah la gloire qui appartient à son nom;
      portez un don et entrez dans ses cours.
      Prosternez-vous devant Jéhovah en ornements sacrés;
      soyez dans de violentes douleurs à cause de lui, 
      vous tous, gens de la terre !
      Dites parmi les nations :
       “ Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi."
      Le sol productif aussi s’établit solidement,
      de sorte qu’il ne peut chanceler.
      Il va plaider la cause des peuples avec droiture. 
      Que les cieux se réjouissent, et que la terre soit en joie.
      Que gronde la mer et ce qui la remplit.
      Qu’exulte la campagne et tout ce qui s’y trouve.
      Qu’en même temps tous les arbres de la forêt 
      poussent des cris de joie devant Jéhovah. 
      Car il est venu ;
      car il est venu pour juger la terre.
      Il jugera le sol productif avec justice
      et les peuples avec sa fidélité.
      Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi ! 
      Que la terre soit en joie.
      Que les îles nombreuses se réjouissent
      Des nuages et une obscurité épaisse sont tout autour de lui;
      justice et jugement sont le lieu fixe de son trône.
      Devant lui marche un feu,
      il consume ses adversaires tout autour.
      Ses éclairs ont illuminé le sol productif ;
      la terre a vu, elle a été prise de violentes douleur.
      Alors les montagnes ont fondu
      comme de la cire à cause de Jéhovah,
      à cause du Seigneur de toute la terre.
      Les cieux ont annoncé sa justice,
      et tous les peuples ont vu sa gloire.
      Qu’ils soient honteux,
      tous ceux qui servent quelque image sculptée,
      ceux qui se glorifient en des dieux sans valeur.
      Prosternez-vous devant lui, vous tous les dieux !
      Sion a entendu et s’est alors réjouie,
      et les localités qui dépendent de Juda sont devenues joyeuses
      à cause de tes décisions judiciaires, ô Jéhovah !
      Car toi, ô Jéhovah, tu es le Très-Haut sur toute la terre ;
      tu es très haut dans ta montée par-dessus tous les autres dieux.
      Ô vous qui aimez Jéhovah,
      haïssez ce qui est mauvais.
      Il garde les âmes de ses fidèles;
      de la main des méchants il les délivre.
      La lumière est apparue pour le juste,
      et la joie pour ceux qui ont le cœur droit.
      Réjouissez-vous en Jéhovah, ô vous les justes,
      et rendez grâces à son saint mémorial.
      Chantez pour Jéhovah un chant nouveau,
      car prodigieuses sont les choses qu’il a faites.
      Sa droite, oui son saint bras, lui a procuré le salut.
      Jéhovah a fait connaître son salut;
      aux yeux des nations il a révélé sa justice.
      Il s’est souvenu de sa bonté de cœur et de sa fidélité
      envers la maison d’Israël.
      Toutes les extrémités de la terre ont vu le salut de notre Dieu.
      Poussez des cris de triomphe vers Jéhovah, vous tous, gens de la terre !
      Égayez-vous et poussez des cris de joie et exécutez des mélodies.
      Exécutez des mélodies pour Jéhovah avec la harpe,
      avec la harpe et la voix de la mélodie.
      Avec les trompettes et au son du cor,
      poussez des cris de triomphe devant le Roi, 
      JÉHOVAH.
      Que gronde la mer et ce qui la remplit,
      le sol productif et ceux qui y habitent.
      Que les fleuves battent des mains ;
      que toutes ensemble les montagnes poussent
      des cris de joie devant Jéhovah
      car il est venu pour juger la terre.
      Il jugera le sol productif avec justice
      et les peuples avec droiture.
      Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi.
      Que les peuples s’agitent.
      Il siège sur les chérubins. 
      Que la terre frémisse.
      Jéhovah est grand dans Sion, et il est élevé
      par-dessus tous les peuples.
      Qu’ils louent ton nom.
      Grand et redoutable, celui-ci est saint.
      Avec une force de roi il a aimé le jugement.
      C’est toi qui as solidement établi la droiture.
      Le jugement et la justice en Jacob, c’est toi qui les as réalisés.
      Exaltez Jéhovah notre Dieu et prosternez-vous
      devant son marchepied ; Car Il est Saint.
      Moïse et Aaron étaient parmi ses prêtres,
      et Samuel parmi ceux qui invoquaient son nom.
      Ils appelaient Jéhovah, et lui leur répondait.
      Dans la colonne de nuage il leur parlait.
      Ils gardaient ses rappels et la prescription qu’il leur avait donnée.
      Ô Jéhovah notre Dieu, tu leur répondais toi-même.
      Tu as été pour eux un Dieu qui pardonne,
      mais qui exécutait la vengeance
      contre leurs actions scandaleuses.
      Exaltez Jéhovah notre Dieu
      et prosternez-vous à sa montagne saint.
      Car Jéhovah notre Dieu est saint.

      · 0 replies
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Hello Eric merci pour ce bon condensé sur les vœux. Bonne journée et à bientôt. Michel
      b-13-sculptures-de-givre-ggo-wp1.ppsx
      · 1 reply
    • Eric Ouellet

      « Le vœu que tu fais, acquitte toi de se voeux sans renoncer »
      « Tu dois t’acquitter envers Jéhovah de tes vœux » (MATTHIEU 5:33).
      YIPHTAH était un chef et un guerrier courageux. Hanna était une femme humble qui prenait soin de son mari et de sa famille. Tous les deux adoraient Jéhovah. Mais ils ont un autre point commun : ils ont fait un vœu à Jéhovah et ils l’ont respecté fidèlement. Ils sont d’excellents exemples pour les chrétiens qui décident de faire des vœux à Jéhovah. Répondons maintenant à ces trois questions : Qu’est-ce qu’un vœu ? Faire un vœu à Jéhovah, est-ce sérieux ? Quelles leçons tirer des histoires de Yiphtah et de Hanna ?
      Dans la Bible, un vœu est une promesse sérieuse faite à Jéhovah. Par exemple, la promesse de faire quelque chose, d’offrir quelque chose, de commencer un certain service, ou de ne pas faire certaines choses. On fait un vœu volontairement, en utilisant sa liberté de choix. Personne n’est obligé de faire un vœu. Mais si on décide d’en faire un, Jéhovah le considère comme une promesse dont on doit s’acquitter. D’après la Bible, un vœu est aussi important qu’un serment. Un serment, c’est quand une personne jure de faire ou de ne pas faire quelque chose (Genèse 14:22, 23 ; Hébreux 6:16, 17). Que dit la Bible à propos du sérieux des vœux faits à Jéhovah ?
      Dans la Loi de Moïse, on lit que si quelqu’un fait un vœu à Jéhovah, « il ne doit pas violer (trahir) sa parole. Il fera selon tout ce qui est sorti de sa bouche » (Nombres 30:2). Plus tard, Salomon a écrit : « Quand tu fais un vœu à Dieu, n’hésite pas à t’en acquitter, car il n’y a aucun plaisir dans les stupides. Le vœu que tu fais, acquitte-t’en » (Ecclésiaste 5:4). Plus tard encore, Jésus a enseigné qu’un vœu fait à Jéhovah est quelque chose de sérieux, en rappelant : « Il a été dit à ceux des temps anciens : “Tu ne dois pas jurer sans tenir [parole], mais tu dois t’acquitter envers Jéhovah de tes vœux” » (Matthieu 5:33).
      C’est donc clair qu’il faut prendre très au sérieux toute promesse qu’on fait à Jéhovah. Respecter ou non nos vœux a des conséquences sur notre relation avec lui. Un jour, David a demandé : « Qui pourra monter à la montagne de Jéhovah, et qui pourra se lever en son lieu saint », autrement dit être accepté par Jéhovah ? Il a répondu que c’est celui qui ne fait pas de « serment avec tromperie » (Psaume 24:3, 4). Mais quels vœux Yiphtah et Hanna ont-ils faits ? Cela a-t-il été facile pour eux de s’en acquitter ?
      ILS SE SONT ACQUITTÉS DE LEURS VŒUX
      Yiphtah a fait sa promesse à Jéhovah avant de combattre les Ammonites, des ennemis du peuple de Jéhovah (Juges 10:7-9). Il a fait ce vœu (en résumé) : « Si vraiment tu me donnes la victoire, voici ce qui devra arriver : quand je reviendrai en paix de chez les fils d’Ammôn, la personne qui sortira de ma maison à ma rencontre, celle-là devra alors t’appartenir. » Jéhovah a répondu à la prière de Yiphtah en l’aidant à gagner la guerre. Quand Yiphtah est rentré chez lui, sa fille chérie est sortie vers lui. Ce serait donc elle qui « appartiendrait à Jéhovah » (Juges 11:30-34). Qu’est-ce que cela allait changer pour elle ?
      Pour respecter le vœu de Yiphtah, sa fille devrait partir servir Jéhovah à plein temps au tabernacle. Yiphtah avait-il fait son vœu sans réfléchir ? Non. Il savait sans doute que sa fille pourrait être la première personne à sortir vers lui. Mais qu’il l’ait su ou pas, cela n’a pas été facile pour lui de respecter son vœu, et pour sa fille non plus. En effet, en la voyant sortir, il a dit que cela lui causait un grand chagrin. Et elle, elle est partie « pleurer sur sa virginité ». Pourquoi ont-ils pleuré ? Yiphtah n’avait pas de fils, et maintenant sa fille unique ne se marierait jamais et n’aurait pas d’enfant. Le nom de famille de Yiphtah disparaîtrait. Mais tous les deux comprenaient que le plus important, ce n’étaient pas leurs sentiments. Yiphtah a dit : « J’ai ouvert ma bouche pour Jéhovah ; je ne [peux pas] revenir en arrière. » Et sa fille a répondu : « Fais-moi selon ce qui est sorti de ta bouche » (Juges 11:35-39). Tous les deux étaient des personnes fidèles : ils n’auraient jamais eu l’idée de casser un vœu fait à Jéhovah, même si c’était difficile de le respecter (lire Deutéronome 23:21, 23 ; Psaume 15:4).
      Hanna aussi a fait un vœu à Jéhovah dans un moment difficile de sa vie. Elle était malheureuse parce qu’elle ne pouvait pas avoir d’enfants, et qu’à cause de cela elle subissait des remarques méchantes (1 Samuel 1:4-7, 10, 16). En exprimant ses sentiments à Jéhovah, elle lui a fait cette promesse : « Ô Jéhovah des armées, si tu ne manques pas de regarder l’affliction (le chagrin) de ton esclave et si vraiment tu te souviens de moi, si tu n’oublies pas ton esclave et si vraiment tu donnes à ton esclave un descendant mâle, oui je le donnerai à Jéhovah pour tous les jours de sa vie, et le rasoir ne viendra pas sur sa tête. » (1 Samuel 1:11). Jéhovah a répondu à sa prière : l’année suivante elle a eu un fils, Samuel. Elle était très heureuse ! Mais elle n’a pas oublié le vœu qu’elle avait fait à Jéhovah. Après la naissance de son fils, elle a dit : « C’est à Jéhovah que je l’ai demandé » (1 Samuel 1:20).
      Quand Samuel a eu environ trois ans, Hanna a tenu sa promesse. Elle a amené Samuel au grand prêtre Éli, en disant : « C’est à propos de ce garçon que je priais, pour que Jéhovah m’accorde [...] ce que je lui demandais. Et moi, à mon tour, je l’ai prêté à Jéhovah » (1 Samuel 1:24-28). À partir de ce jour-là, Samuel a habité au tabernacle. La Bible dit que « le garçon Samuel grandissait auprès de Jéhovah » (1 Samuel 2:21). Cela n’allait pas être facile pour Hanna de respecter son vœu. Elle ne pourrait plus passer du temps chaque jour avec son fils qu’elle aimait tendrement. Ce serait dur de ne pas le voir grandir. Mais elle a pris son vœu au sérieux. Pour tenir sa promesse, elle a accepté volontiers de sacrifier des choses qui étaient importantes pour elle (1 Samuel 2:1, 2 ; lire Psaume 61:1, 5, 8).
      Parmi les vœux faits à Jéhovah, il y a le vœu de l’offrande de soi, le vœu du mariage et le vœu des serviteurs spéciaux à plein temps
      T’acquittes-tu de tes vœux envers Jéhovah ?
      LE VŒU DE L’OFFRANDE DE SOI
      Le vœu le plus grand qu’un chrétien puisse faire, c’est celui de s’offrir à Jéhovah pour toute la vie. Dans une prière personnelle, ce chrétien promet à Jéhovah d’utiliser sa vie pour le servir pour toujours, quoi qu’il arrive. En faisant ce vœu, il « se renie lui-même » : il promet de donner la plus grande importance non pas à lui-même, mais à Jéhovah (Matthieu 16:24). À partir de ce moment, il appartient à Jéhovah (Romains 14:8). Il prend au sérieux son vœu d’offrande de soi. Il pense comme l’écrivain des Psaumes qui a dit : « Que rendrai-je à Jéhovah pour tous ses bienfaits envers moi ? Je m’acquitterai de mes vœux envers Jéhovah, oui devant tout son peuple » (Psaume 116:12, 14).
      As-tu fait le vœu d’offrir ta vie à Jéhovah, et l’as-tu montré en te faisant baptiser dans l’eau ? Si oui, félicitations ! Rappelle-toi le discours de ton baptême. Le frère t’a demandé si tu avais offert ta vie à Jéhovah, et si tu comprenais qu’en te faisant baptiser, tu montrais « que tu devenais Témoin de Jéhovah ». En entendant ton « oui », tous les assistants ont compris que tu avais offert ta vie à Jéhovah et que tu pouvais te faire baptiser ministre ordonné de Jéhovah. Tu as certainement fait très plaisir à Jéhovah !
      Quand tu t’es fait baptiser, tu as promis à Jéhovah d’utiliser ta vie pour le servir, et de tout faire pour obéir à ses normes. Mais le baptême n’est qu’un début. Le temps passant, on doit tous continuer à s’examiner. Alors, demande-toi : « Ma relation avec Jéhovah est-elle de plus en plus forte depuis mon baptême ? Est-ce que je le sers toujours de tout mon cœur ? (Colossiens 3:23). Est-ce que je prie souvent ? Est-ce que je lis la Bible tous les jours ? Est-ce que j’assiste régulièrement aux réunions de la congrégation ? Est-ce que je prêche aussi souvent que possible ? Ou, au contraire, est-ce que j’ai perdu un peu de mon envie de faire ces activités ? » D’après l’apôtre Pierre, pour ne pas devenir inactifs dans notre service pour Jéhovah, nous devons nous efforcer de faire grandir en nous la foi, la connaissance, l’endurance et l’attachement à Jéhovah (lire 2 Pierre 1:5-8).
      Une fois que quelqu’un a prononcé le vœu de servir Jéhovah, il ne peut pas reprendre sa parole. S’il en a assez de servir Jéhovah ou de vivre en chrétien, il ne peut pas dire : « Je n’ai jamais vraiment offert ma vie à Jéhovah ; mon baptême n’était pas valable* » (lire la note). Si un chrétien commet un péché grave alors qu’il s’est offert à Jéhovah, il est responsable de sa conduite devant Jéhovah et la congrégation (Romains 14:12). Nous ne voulons pas ressembler aux chrétiens à qui Jésus a dit : « Tu as laissé l’amour que tu avais au début. » Au contraire, nous voulons qu’il puisse nous dire : « Je connais tes actions, et ton amour, et ta foi, et ton ministère, et ton endurance, et je sais que tes actions récentes sont plus nombreuses que celles d’autrefois » (Révélation 2:4, 19). Nous voulons faire plaisir à Jéhovah en nous acquittant avec zèle de notre vœu.
      LE VŒU DU MARIAGE
      Des mariés échangent leurs vœux de mariage
      Le deuxième vœu le plus important qu’on puisse faire, c’est celui du mariage. Le mariage est sacré. Jéhovah considère ce vœu comme quelque chose de très sérieux. Quand des mariés prononcent leurs vœux, ils font une promesse devant Jéhovah et devant les personnes présentes. Ils se promettent de s’aimer, de se chérir et de se respecter l’un l’autre aussi longtemps qu’ils vivront ensemble sur la terre dans le cadre du mariage tel qu’il a été institué par Dieu. Quelles que soient les paroles exactes que les mariés se disent, dans tous les cas, ce sont des vœux faits devant Jéhovah. En les faisant, ils deviennent mari et femme. Le mariage doit être une union pour toute la vie (Genèse 2:24 ; 1 Corinthiens 7:39). Jésus a dit que personne ne doit séparer ce que Jéhovah a uni (Marc 10:9). Un homme et une femme qui se marient ne doivent pas se dire que, si leur union ne marche pas, ils pourront toujours divorcer.
      Bien sûr, il n’y a pas de mariage parfait puisqu’il n’y a pas d’humain parfait. C’est pourquoi la Bible dit que toute personne mariée aura parfois « des tribulations (des problèmes) » (1 Corinthiens 7:28). Dans le monde d’aujourd’hui, beaucoup ne prennent pas le mariage au sérieux. Ils pensent : « Si ça ne marche pas, on pourra toujours divorcer. » Mais les chrétiens ne considèrent pas le mariage de cette façon. Ils sont conscients qu’ils ont prononcé leur vœu de mariage devant Jéhovah. S’ils cassaient leur vœu, ce serait comme s’ils lui mentaient. Or Jéhovah déteste les menteurs ! (Lévitique 19:12 ; Proverbes 6:16-19). Les chrétiens mariés doivent se rappeler ces paroles de l’apôtre Paul : « Es-tu lié à une femme ? Cesse (arrête) de chercher à t’en détacher » (1 Corinthiens 7:27). Paul a pu dire cela parce qu’il savait que Jéhovah déteste aussi les divorces quand ils sont des trahisons (Malaki 2:13-16).
      Jésus a enseigné que la seule situation qui donne une raison de divorcer, c’est lorsqu’un mari ou une femme commet l’adultère (est infidèle à son conjoint) et que le conjoint innocent décide de ne pas lui pardonner (Matthieu 19:9 ; Hébreux 13:4). Par ailleurs, peut-on se séparer de son conjoint ? La Bible est claire à ce sujet aussi (lire 1 Corinthiens 7:10, 11). Il n’existe pas de raison biblique de se séparer de son conjoint. Mais parfois un chrétien (ou une chrétienne) pense que c’est absolument nécessaire. Par exemple, il est sûr que sa vie ou sa relation avec Jéhovah seront en très grand danger s’il reste avec un conjoint violent.
      Si des conjoints demandent conseil aux anciens de la congrégation pour rendre leur couple plus solide, les anciens pourraient leur demander s’ils ont regardé la vidéo Qu’est-ce que le vrai amour ? et s’ils ont étudié la brochure Le secret des familles heureuses. Ces documents montrent quels principes bibliques peuvent rendre un mariage plus solide. Des Témoins racontent : « Depuis que nous étudions cette brochure, notre couple est plus heureux que jamais. » Une sœur mariée depuis 22 ans pensait que son mariage allait bientôt se briser. Mais elle a regardé la vidéo. Elle raconte : « Nous sommes tous les deux baptisés, mais sur le plan affectif nous étions complètement différents. La vidéo est arrivée au bon moment ! Maintenant, notre couple va beaucoup mieux. » Vraiment, si un mari et une femme appliquent les conseils de Jéhovah, leur union devient plus heureuse et plus forte.
      LE VŒU DES SERVITEURS SPÉCIAUX À PLEIN TEMPS
      Au début de l’article, nous avons parlé des vœux de Yiphtah et de Hanna. Grâce à ces vœux, la fille de Yiphtah et le fils de Hanna ont passé leur vie à servir Jéhovah d’une façon spéciale. À notre époque, beaucoup de parents chrétiens ont encouragé leurs enfants à s’engager dans le ministère à plein temps et à concentrer leur vie sur le service pour Jéhovah. En fait, nous pouvons tous encourager ces jeunes frères et sœurs à tenir bon dans leur service (Juges 11:40 ; Psaume 110:3).
      Aujourd’hui, il y a des dizaines de milliers de membres de l’Ordre international des serviteurs spéciaux à plein temps des Témoins de Jéhovah. Certains servent au Béthel, ou dans l’activité de construction ou alors dans le service de la circonscription. D’autres sont formateurs aux écoles bibliques, pionniers spéciaux, missionnaires, ou serviteurs affectés à une Salle d’assemblées ou à un centre d’écoles bibliques. Ils ont tous fait un « Vœu d’obéissance et de pauvreté ». En le faisant, ils ont promis de concentrer leurs efforts sur toute activité qu’on leur donne au service de Jéhovah, d’avoir une vie simple, et de ne pas avoir un emploi payé s’ils n’en ont pas l’autorisation. Ce ne sont pas les personnes qui sont considérées comme spéciales, mais leurs activités. Ces chrétiens sont humbles, et ils sont décidés à s’acquitter de leur vœu tout le temps qu’ils resteront dans le service spécial à plein temps.
      Dans cet article, nous avons étudié trois vœux qu’un chrétien pourrait faire aujourd’hui à Jéhovah. Peut-être que tu en as fait un, ou deux, ou les trois. Nous savons que nous devons prendre nos vœux au sérieux et tout faire pour les respecter (Proverbes 20:25). Si nous ne respectons pas nos vœux faits à Jéhovah, les conséquences risquent d’être graves (Ecclésiaste 5:6). Faisons donc comme le psalmiste qui a dit à Jéhovah : « Je veux exécuter des mélodies pour ton nom à jamais (pour toujours), pour m’acquitter de mes vœux jour après jour » (Psaume 61:8).


      · 0 replies
    • K625XM

      Hello Twyla,
      I am not able to view the study materials.  Can you help me out pls ?  Thank you.
      · 0 replies
    • Claud's Lst  »  misette

      Bonjour ma sœur Misette. Comment vas-tu ? J'espère avec l'aide de Jéhovah toute la communauté et especialement toi vont bien. 
      Je n'ai pas reçu la réunion de cette semaine, est-ce qu'il y a un problème pour cette semaine ? 
           Bonne journée ou soirée 
                                   Agape 
      · 3 replies
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