Jehovah’s Witnesses will tell you they do not believe in superstitions. They will cheerfully walk under a ladder, break mirrors unconcernedly, and allow a Friday the 13th to pass without a mention. However, try to hand them a Ouija board and they’ll scream and run away from you. This is because they are terrified of The Demons.
JWs believe that demons originated back at the time before the great flood when angels decided they wanted in on all the sexual fringe benefits that the humans were enjoying. They materialized bodies and started living it up with women, spawning a race of superhumans known as the Nephilim. These shenanigans have a lot to do with why God decided to drown everyone in one fell swoop.
When the flood destroyed the angels’ materialized bodies they returned to the spirit world in heaven, but not to God’s presence, kind of like a bunch of 30-year-old guys living in their Mom’s basement. Mom rolls her eyes but lets them stay. In time, somewhere around 1919, Jesus started ruling in heaven and decided to remodel the “basement.” He kicked out the freeloaders and confined them to the “vicinity of the earth.” Ever since then they’ve been taking out their frustrations on God’s people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and stirring up mischief generally.
JWs have it pounded into their heads that they are engaged in spiritual warfare with an actual army of wicked spirits. Some JWs will be cautious to the point of superstition to avoid saying anything out loud that the demons could use against them. Some will even try reverse psychology on these invisible bullies. “I can take any form of torture except chocolate. If someone forced me to eat chocolate I’d crack.”
Watchtower literature has published article after article, even whole brochures and books, about wicked spirits and their activities. Many incidents of demon possession of people and objects have been reported (interestingly, most of these incidents seem to occur in third-world countries). In addition, every JW has at least one urban legend story to tell about the demons. Sometimes a dinner party will devolve into the equivalent of ghost stories around the campfire as everyone relates their story, each one more terrifying than the last.
They will be very cautious about bringing anything into their house that was given to them by a non-JW, knowing that if the giver had been involved in any sort of occult activity the gift could provide an invitation to the demons to enter their house. Some JWs believe that there are rules of war involved, such as, if money exchanges hands then ownership of the object is transferred and it cannot provide a demon portal into the home. Others don’t trust the demons to follow rules and will only buy new.
This sort of belief system causes many JWs to live in fear of demon attack, and to recognize demon attack in ordinary events. Illnesses, misfortunes, accidents, arguments, financial troubles, bumps in the night – you name it – will be taken as evidence enough to look at all of their possessions with suspicion. They may even go through a process of elimination to find the offending object.
The best way to eliminate demon activity from your home is to take the suspected article outside of the roofline of your house and leave it there for a day or two. If the “demon activity” stops, then you have your culprit. You should throw away the object or, even better, burn it.
As an example, my ex-husband’s family were very strong believers in the demons-are-out-to-get-us doctrine. They were virtually paranoid about demon attack and suspected it frequently. At one point in time they had filled an entire unused van that was parked in the yard with suspect possessions.
Even worse than that, on two different occasions my ex and I threw away nearly all of our furniture because we were experiencing some sort of trouble and presumed it was because we had inadvertently brought a demon portal into our home.
Worse than losing possessions is the exaggerated fear that JWs live with. Children, especially, are affected by fear of the demons, which goes way beyond a fear of the dark. Even as an adult, I found it terrifying to spend a night alone when my husband was away. I would have all the lights on and TV playing while I lay in bed straining to hear any inexplicable noises. This is not a healthy way to live.
However, they also know how to fend off a demon attack. All they have to do is shout something along the lines of, “In the name of Jehovah I order you to leave!” Or maybe just cry out, “Jehovah save me!”
Although the Watchtower Society isn’t into merchandising (other than printed materials) they could make a fortune selling some sort of amulet that would protect the wearer from demon attack. Every JW would have to have one, plus another to hang from the rear-view-mirror, and another to clip onto the dog’s collar. I’m sure they could come up with endless applications.
JWs also have it impressed upon them that if they leave the cult they will be unprotected from the demons and can expect to be the victims of unceasing hostility from these invisible thugs.
Laughably, the opposite is true. Since walking away from the cult and slamming the door behind me I have had not even one uncanny encounter, not even a bump in the night. I sleep soundly without a particle of fear. I accept gifts and used items with impunity. I have even purchased some items which no JW would dare to have in their house, such as a chakra bracelet and books about contacting the spirit world. None of these actions has resulted in even a slightly eerie experience.
All that fear for nothing.