Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Force Their Children to Adopt Their Faith?

What JW.ORG Says:

“No, because worshipping God is a personal decision. (Romans 14:12) Jehovah’s Witnesses teach their children Bible principles, but when the children grow older, each one must decide for himself whether he will become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.—Romans 12:2; Galatians 6:5.


“Like most parents, Jehovah’s Witnesses want the best for their children. They teach their children what they think will benefit them: practical skills, as well as moral principles and religious beliefs. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Bible promotes the best way of life, so they try to instill its values in their children by studying the Bible with them and attending Christian meetings together. (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7) Each child, when he grows older, can then make an informed decision about whether to adopt his parents’ faith.”

The Truth

Consider a few passages from the March 2018 Watchtower study article entitled Baptism—A Requirement for Christians and ask yourself whether children of Jehovah’s Witnesses are to view adopting their parents’ faith as optional:

  • “Clearly, it is very important to dedicate our life to Jehovah and get baptized. In fact, if someone delays getting baptized, he could lose the opportunity to live forever.”
  • “Do not delay in getting baptized.”
  • “When we help our children and other Bible students to do these necessary things, we must remember that those who want to be true followers of Jesus have to get baptized. Then we will not be afraid to tell them at appropriate times how important dedication and baptism are. We want our children and other Bible students to keep making progress and get baptized!”
  •  “Of course, parents do not want their child to get baptized before he is ready to dedicate his life to Jehovah. But it would be a mistake to think that a child is not accountable to Jehovah until he is baptized. A child becomes accountable to God when he knows what Jehovah says is right and wrong. (Read James 4:17.)Wise parents do not discourage their child from getting baptized. Even when the child is young, they teach him to love what Jehovah says is right and hate what He says is wrong, just as they do.”

When a child is told by his parents that getting baptized is “the only way to survive Jehovah’s day,” that he will “lose [his]opportunity for everlasting life” if he does not get baptized, that if he wants to be a true follower of Jesus “[he] must get baptized,” is that really a choice? Would a child view it as a choice?  

Governing Body member Anthony Morris III even encouraged parents to withhold a driver’s learning permit from their child until they agree to get baptized:

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