A few days ago, Jehovah’s Witness watchdog Lloyd Evans noted a pair of remarkable videos had been leaked. They featured JW leaders urging people not to masturbate. One was for men, the other for women, and both videos were aimed at JW staffers around the world (and at the headquarters in New York) who have a higher bar of self-imposed morality to live up to.
The trailer for the videos — because you need some buildup for something like this — was everything you could have hoped for.
Imagine two older men telling you what’s wrong with fantasizing — and what’s wrong with gay people — in more depth than you’d expect from a religious leader, and you get a sense of what these videos were attempting to do. (Though you have to wonder what the hell was going on in JW circles that they felt these videos were necessary…)
Those men, by the way, are Governing Body helpers Ralph Walls and Gary Breaux. Evans said “the videos perfectly illustrate the extent to which Witness sex lives are policed, and give a glimpse of the religion’s growing paranoia about homosexuality.”
The full uncut videos are not yet available, but Evans’ rebuttal to them is now online and it includes longer clips than we saw in the trailer. (Update: The originals are now available. I’ve placed them right below this, with Evans’ rebuttal afterwards.)
If that’s too lengthy for your tastes, I urge you to read this post by “Covert Fade” at JWSurvey which includes excerpts and commentary. Like this bit from the male video in which Breaux suggests a little bit of alcohol is all that’s needed for straight men to form desires for other men.
Consider a situation. A group of single brothers has a meal together and after most leave two of them remain behind in the room drinking alcohol. At one point the one asked the other if he has ever woken up with an erection. Their conversation starts to touch on sexual matters. Are they flirting?
Their conversation can arouse sexual desires in them even though they are the same sex. This could easily lead to comments or curiosity about each other’s bodies.
Don’t deceive yourself thinking this could never happen. Keep in mind that alcohol tends to lower your inhibitions and can make thoughts that you’d normally suppress or view as repulsive seem acceptable; even inviting.
Says Covert Fade: “Is it just me or does that sound a bit too specific to be a purely theoretical scenario?”
As for the masturbation bits, Covert Fade also points to another eerily specific bit from Breaux in which he explains that it’s not your fault, men, if you have a wet dream. However…
… it would be good to examine whether you were dwelling on sexual thoughts before going to sleep. Could you have been sleeping in a position that stimulated you, such as with a blanket or pillow held tightly between your legs? If you’re honest with yourself about these matters it will help you to avoid falling into unclean practices.
There you go. If you fantasize in your sleep, you may want to check if your pillow is positioned in a way that’s turning you on.
Suppression is always the solution with these people.
The video for women is no better, with Walls slut-shaming them (of course) over their clothing. Here’s Covert Fade (emphasis his):
In the video for “sisters” there is a much heavier emphasis on dress and grooming. Women are banned from wearing short skirts or dresses that come above the knee, low cuts tops, or anything deemed “tight” or “revealing.”
Walls repeatedly makes statements that amount to the same thing; that women are basically objects of temptation to men and so carry an obligation to cover up.
That’s not the worst part. If women want to repent of anything they’ve done sexually, Walls urges them to speak to the men in charge. Here’s Covert Fade again (emphasis his):
Here is where the rigid patriarchal nature of Watchtower’s sexual regulations becomes even more troubling; women young and old are required by Watchtower to approach a male elder if they have violated of any of the rules and regulations set down, and then give that elder detailed intimate sexual information so that the elder can “counsel” them. This will almost always be done in a closed setting with at least two elders.
That’s… a problem waiting to happen. Even if a woman confesses to a “mature sister,” which Walls says is allowed, that person will eventually have to report problems to the men in charge. There’s no way around it.
We know religious leaders love telling people how, when, and with whom to have sex. But rarely do they state their absurd rules so explicitly, only to have those videos go public. If you have some time, watch Evans’ video to get the complete commentary.
And then avoid all pillows.