Can you convince your parents their religion is wrong?
2 Min Read Time

It is frustrating to be raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses when you know it is not the truth. If you could prove that to your parents, they would leave and life would be better for everyone. Not so fast. Sure it would be great if the whole family stopped going to meetings, but the chances of you convincing your parents what they believe is wrong is very low.  

Something convinced you that Watchtower does not teach the truth, and you may feel that if your parents were aware of that information they would come to the same conclusion. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to change what someone believes, no matter how much proof you show them. 

“A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.” [1] 

This is due to cognitive dissonance, a term that describes how people will hold to a belief despite evidence to the contrary in order to avoid the discomfort of admitting what they believe is wrong. Jehovah’s Witness parents are more likely to shun their own children, than seriously consider their child’s point of view if it is deemed “apostate.” 

To accept Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have the truth would mean your parents accepting they devoted their life to something wrong, and then face the fear of change and loss if they were to leave the religion. It is far easier to make justifications for any information you share with they, particularly since the Watchtower provides these. Researchers of high control religious groups refer to these justifications as thought stopping techniques.

You will recognise the following concepts from the Watchtower and conversations with family.

  • Show a teaching has changed – “the light gets brighter”
  • List failed Armageddon predictions for 1914, 1925 or 1975 – “they were eager”
  • Discuss child abuse scandals – the news is filled with “apostate lies”

Even if they admit doubts, your parents will proclaim, “where else could we go, there is no better religion.” 

Unless your parents already have strong doubts, you will not change their mind. What will happen is you will be labelled as an apostate, which will have a severe effect on your life. They will react in panic, wishing to convince you it is the truth, insisting you study more and talk with the elders. They will attempt to remove access to who or what has taken away your faith, such as friends, your phone and the internet. Some Jehovah’s Witness students have been removed from school and home schooled, and when all else failed, some have been kicked out of home.

Whilst it would be nice to have your parents come to the same understanding as you, the risk is far greater than the reward. It is usually not worth taking until you are old enough, fully prepared to move out of home, and willing to accept you will likely be shunned by your parents as a result. 

Further Reading

Cognitive Dissonance


[1] Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken, and Stanley Schachter, When Prophecy Fails, (New York: Harper and Row, 1956) p.3