We watched ‘Apostasy’, a film about devout Jehovah Witnesses. Sisters Alex and Luisa, and their mother Ivanna, attend all of the meetings at the local Kingdom Hall; they regularly go door-knocking to spread their faith.
Luisa falls pregnant to a man at the college she attends. She is ‘dis-fellowshipped’ by her church and moves out of her home. Her mother and sister follow their elders’ instructions and have little to do with her.
Alex has anaemia. At a social event she collapses. As her faith forbids her to have a potentially life saving blood transfusion she remains true to her faith and dies.
Ivanna tries to persuade Luisa to repent and return to church. She tries but cannot. Luisa has a healthy daughter, Leanne. Ivanna wants to bring Leanne up in ‘the faith’, but Luisa can’t accept that. The film ends with Ivanna alone but true to her faith.
Sensitivity: Faith and family crises were handled with sensitivity. There was not judgement or criticism, but acceptance of religion and its out-working life-style.
Simplicity: Their faith was simple, involving whole-life commitment to attending meetings, learning their scriptures and actively serving their god in the local community.
Security: Ivanna’s beliefs were clear and carefully set out; she knew that she was right and others were wrong. She was part of a strong, close community.
Sincerity: I was taught ‘you can be sincere, but sincerely wrong’. Here was a mum whose sincere faith led to the death of one daughter and alienation with the other.
Sadness: I finished feeling sad. Ivanna lost her family because she couldn’t choose a path of compromise, moderation and tolerance…
Sympathy: From my faith perspective I too believe in truth, and an extreme Jesus who challenged the local culture. I shared Ivanna’s dilemma: there was huge personal conflict, yet she was determined to be true to her faith.