chapter  7
Honour thy father and thy mother
Pages 25

Some of the best examples of the Witnesses’ opposition to the modern world are those concerning the socialisation of second and subsequent generation members. Not surprisingly, most Witness couples introduce their children to Watch Tower principles very early on in life in the hope that this will result in baptism. Taking young children to Kingdom Hall meetings serves two essential purposes. First, it is an easy way of recruiting new members to the Society, thereby enhancing conversion statistics for the future and, second, it is a means of protecting what are arguably society’s most vulnerable people from the snares of the devil. Year on year, the Witnesses circulate millions of tracts containing information for young people about welfare, morality (that is, social and sexual conduct) and personal happiness. The organisation also publishes a large number of tracts advising parents how best to educate their children in a world that is largely unsympathetic to its doctrines. Perhaps more interestingly, there is a growing amount of material which aims to help parents deal with children who rebel against the Watch Tower regime. The movement’s teachings on both childhood and parenting provide the ethnographer with rich information for an analysis of millenarian religion.