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I was one of Jehovah's witnesses and would still be one of them, but a question always disturbs me.

Sometimes I think about how life and all the pain and suffering we pass through from childbirth down the time of death, and the question I ask myself is: Why is it that when we are about to be conceived we do not have the option to choose to come into this world or not? If I were given that option I would not choose to come into this world that is filled with all of these problems, even with Jehovah's promise of a new world to come.

(Note: I would love a strong brother in the Jehovah's Witness faith to answer this question.)

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview of what this site is about, please take the Site Tour. Your question is an interesting one. I've edited it a bit to clarify that you're looking for a Jehovah's Witness perspective, which ensures that it will be on-topic for this site. See: What topics can I ask about here? I hope you'll get some satisfying answers, and that you'll stick around and browse some of the other questions and answers here. – Lee Woofenden Dec 12 '15 at 17:32
  • I would like to know who is "I", before you were conceived. I lack of knowledge in Jehovah's Witness worldview and this is why i don't provide an answer, but there is a strong philosophical issue in your question's ontology: before you are conceived, there is no active "i" who would chose to come or not to come to life. – Filipe Merker Dec 13 '15 at 2:56
  • @FilipeMerker "I" is me the person asking the question. – udeme samuel Dec 13 '15 at 11:15
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    No. You came into existance right when you were conceived. Before that you didn't exist, and non-existant people can't make choices. Ontology is the philosophy of "being", and just beings have facculties, like the facculty of choice. – Filipe Merker Dec 13 '15 at 13:01
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    The choice rested with your mother as to wether she would engage in activities that could result in pregnancy, and again when she chose to carry you to term and give birth. your soul did not exist before the conception and the ability to choose any thing that effects your living or not living can only occur after a significant amount of brain development occurs – Kris Dec 18 '15 at 15:01
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Jehovah’s Witnesses, like most Christians, teach that we come into existence some time around conception. (I’m not sure that they ever pin it down exactly, and while they oppose abortion, I don’t think I’ve heard them complain about methods which prevent implantation. Let’s just say that, by Witness teaching, you become a human some time between conception and birth.)

Given that, by Witness teaching, you didn’t exist before your conception, you weren’t around to be asked. Once you did exist, it was too late to ask you: you’re already here. As such, the question does not arise.

The Witnesses do not teach ensoulment, the belief that the soul is “infused” into the body at some point during pregnancy. In fact, for most purposes, they make no distinction between soul, body, and spirit.* You are your soul. And that soul is mortal. It exists here because it does exist here: you weren’t brought into this world, as if you’d come from elsewhere — you came into existence right here: you are of this world.


* They do, actually, distinguish these terms, but none of the distinctions seem relevant for this answer; they would be very relevant if you’d asked for a Catholic perspective.

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In order to be given an “option to choose whether or not to come into this world”, the individual concerned would necessarily have to be alive and have a fully functioning brain or some form of consciousness prior to being conceived as a human. That may be the view of Hindus, Buddhists and Latter Day Saints (Mormons), but it is not the view of Jehovah’s Witnesses or of any Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant denomination. Christians do not believe that people have a pre-human existence. Therefore it would be impossible to choose whether or not to come into this world.

Latter Day Saints believe that before a person is born, they pre-existed in spirit form as the offspring of a heavenly father and a heavenly mother. They must receive a human body in order to progress to godhood. Here is a partial quote from LDS representative James E. Talmage:

“There is in man an immortal spirit that lived as an intelligent being before the body was formed, and that shall continue to exist as the same immortal individual after the body has gone to decay.”

No Christian denomination subscribes to that idea. The official Jehovah’s Witness view can be summed up from the conclusion drawn in this 1962 Watchtower article:

Jesus himself indicated that men do not come from the spirit realms above as he had. To the Jews he said: “You are from the realms below; I am from the realms above. You are from this world; I am not from this world.”—John 8:23. Source: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1962248?q=prehuman+existence&p=par

That is why we are not given an option to choose whether or not to be born – we do not exist prior to conception.

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I am not a strong brother in the JW church. However, I doubt anyone would opt for a world full of pain and suffering if given the choice before birth. Jehovah's Witnesses teach the responsibility is that of both parents. It should be a very serious and weighty decision to bring a life into this evil world, which is under the influence of Satan. Unfortunately people are imperfect, and mistakes happen. And the institution of marriage and child-rearing is constantly undermined by this world, making it hard to stick to God's advice and instructions on marriage and bringing a child into this world—which is clearly promoted from the word of God: the Bible. This may be more of a comment then an answer but your question suggests that we would have adult knowledge it right when we were conceived which makes no sense since maturity comes with age and what our parents teach us you would not have the mental capacity to use your God-given free will choice

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    Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview of what this site is about, please take the Site Tour. Thanks for offering an answer. Can you provide some references to JW materials supporting your explanation? That would make it a much better answer. See: What makes a good supported answer? Meanwhile, I do hope you'll stick around. – Lee Woofenden Dec 29 '15 at 14:52
  • Ok thank you for the input and advice I am new to this. Most research on Jehovah's Witness can be done at jw. Org careful there are many false sites that are notactually jehovah witness doctrine. A few bible scriptures of the top of my head regarding family life and I repeat this is by far not all are eph. 5:28,29,33 eph 6:4 eph5:33 col 3:18 eph6:1-3 col 3:20. jw. org is very informative and easily navigated a great website! – Pj Sparkles Dec 29 '15 at 19:29
  • @PjSparkles Lee is not asking how one could research the topic. He is asking you to provide references to show you have done the research. Please read the link on writing good answers that he provides and edit your post to supply the references. In general, we are need just interested in what you know but also how you know it. – ThaddeusB Dec 29 '15 at 20:17

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