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Some 40,000 Witnesses are expected to attend the event on each of the three days it will last. family has brought their two daughters to the event. It's only their purple plastic nametags that give them away: Written above the name is the phrase "Let God's Kingdom Come!Now they are standing in the Westfalen Stadium, embracing fellow brothers and sisters. There are many young people, among them young straight-backed men in suits. " 'It's Great' Andreas and Stefanie Georg, 33 and 34, are among those sitting on the rows of seats in the Westfalen Stadium. Both have been Jehovah's Witnesses since they were young. They offer strangers licorice and apple slices, spread out wool blankets against the cold and help old people up the stairs.Why are 17-year-olds spending their time in Bible Study, instead of meeting with their friends?
The pamphlet, Melanie says, contains a lot of information on topics she is familiar with: what it's like to feel like an outsider at school, or to have false desires "for sex or self-gratification." The pamphlet also includes a chapter on how a young Jehovah's Witness can determine if a potential partner is right for him or her.
They hold their Bible in front of them like a silver tray: the word of Jehovah. There are passages explaining why nicotine is forbidden but a glass of wine at the end of the day permitted, why blood transfusions are to be avoided and why non-believers must be converted. They don't mention that the Protestant church has described the translation of the Bible used by Jehovah's Witnesses as inaccurate and uncritical.
Throughout the meeting, Bible passages are discussed at length and hymns are sung.
Yet many of them are victims of this community, which promises paradise -- but for many, becomes a hell on earth.
It's a community that presumes to have a say in who its young people marry.