Dare to Ask: No windows for Jehovah's Witnesses?
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
Why do Jehovah's Witnesses churches have no windows?
Jimmy, 32, Catholic, Edinburg, Texas
Depending on the area, it may be safer to do without windows. I grew up in
Chicago, and in the dangerous neighborhoods, the halls were either windowless or
Lina, 20, Jehovah's Witness, Bradenton
Not having windows is also a cost-saving measure, as it is cheaper to heat
and cool a building without windows.
Johnna, 27, Montgomery, Ala.
Rocks through the window can be a pretty expensive replacement.
Jim, 18, Grafton, W.Va.
I've heard it's so that they don't see the rest of the world burning during
the Second Coming. Vandalism and lack of funds are a pretty weak answer.
Joe, Reno, Nev.
I have never seen a window in a Kingdom Hall. There is a more in-depth reason
than vandalism. That explanation doesn't hold water. Their churches are not the
only ones susceptible to that.
Joseph F., 42, Texas
Can people who live in glass-free houses throw stones?
Gaze out your portal and ponder that while we chat with ex-Jehovah's Witness
Paul Blizard, now a Southern Baptist pastor in West Virginia and prominent
critic of his former faith, which he likens to a cult.
"They put no windows in because people have a tendency to look out the window
rather than focus on the platform in front," he said. "It's just part of the
mind control of The Watchtower [headquarters]: having members riveted toward the
platform rather than having any distractions."
Not true, says J.R. Brown, national spokesman for Jehovah's Witnesses.
"Our halls vary with the climate and security concerns of a region. For
example in the Caribbean they are open-air . . . but in the United States we
have given quite a bit of attention to security and vandalism, so we will build
halls without windows. And air-conditioning is expensive [with more windows]."
Headquarters in New York usually offers a half dozen designs to a
congregation looking to build a hall because it's cost-effective, he added.
But . . . what . . . about . . . the . . . . mind . . . control?
"We do feel that if you are going to benefit from a session going on, you
should look at the speaker and focus on him. . . . Jesus said to pay attention
to how you listen," Brown said. "But these are practical suggestions; as far as
using a windowless structure to force that point of view, that's a figment of
"We honestly feel we are not a cult. Our membership is based on people who
voluntarily want to learn and dedicate their lives to God."
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers, or mail to
Phillip Milano, c/o The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL
32231. Include contact information. For Dare to Ask podcasts, go to
Jacksonville.com keyword: milano.