Why are 17-year-olds spending their time in Bible Study, instead of meeting with their friends?What impact does it have on young people, when they are not allowed to try anything, are never permitted to be unreasonable, and when they see homosexuality as an aberration that needs to be treated with therapy?Markus, a student who left the Jehovah's Witnesses, says: "You try finding someone willing to put up with all of this crap!" Since his birth, he had been dragged to meetings. And when he brought his first girlfriend home, his father promptly sent her packing.Dortmund is home to the largest district convention of Jehovah's Witnesses in the country.The majority of those following the faith in Germany hail from the Ruhr region, which is densely populated and has relatively high unemployment. The girls' skirts might be a little longer and the children might look a bit more nicely coiffed, but it would be difficult to assign this group of people to any particular faith community."This is our big family reunion," says Michael Krenzer, a spokesman for the Jehovah's Witnesses in Dortmund.And since the family must expand, "many Witnesses naturally meet their future spouses here," says Uwe Langhals, another spokesman, who has been a Jehovah's Witness since he was 15.
These are just some of the conditions those who fall for a Jehovah's Witness must adhere to. She has painted her fingernails, polished her patent leather shoes and donned a new dress from H&M.Every so often, there is an interview with a Jehovah's Witness.These always follow the same format: Asked to tell about his missionary work, the interviewee enthuses about the experience -- it's wonderful.No Masturbation, No Homosexuals Like many young Jehovah's Witnesses, Melanie has read a glossy pamphlet entitled "Questions Young People Ask: Answers That Work." It makes it clear that homosexuality is forbidden and masturbation demonized.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.