I love watching tennis, especially Wimbledon, and I prefer men’s tennis to women’s…well, most of the time anyway, but I watched the women’s final all the same and after Serena Williams’ recent 2010 Wimbledon victory I was compelled to write something that’s been annoying me for some time.
I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, so I know in no small detail the tenets of the faith, the beliefs, and what it requires of its members. Now I am as strong an atheist as you could find, so I am careless for anyone bringing any religion into disrepute, and Williams’ achievements on the tennis court are nothing short of magnificent, but her behaviour and lifestyle are totally inconsistent with anybody professing belief in the Christian God, the teachings of Jesus, and most importantly, the behaviour demanded of members of the Jehovah’s Witness sect.
From as early as I can remember watching Williams, this didn’t sit right with me. After all, any Jehovah’s Witness can testify how strongly the need to witness is stressed. When does Serena Williams witness? When was the last time she went door to door? Who was the last person Serena had a bible study with? How many people has Serena converted to the faith? (This article states that Serena does go door to door, “when she has time.” Bear that in mind as we continue…)
From this official JW article:
“This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) Jehovah’s Witnesses take those words very seriously.
Serena Williams obviously doesn’t.
More from that:
“In short, this world, like a foundering ship, is about to sink! In view of those facts, would it make sense for God to bless each of his servants with material riches, or would God have other priorities for us?” … “At this critical time in human history, God’s people have an urgent work to do”
Urgent work indeed! Like, say…buying into the Miama Dolphins group.
“The sisters saw a marketing opportunity, Kantarian said, but also a chance to extend their reach in the community.”
Which I guess is what Jesus intended when he said in John 18:36: “My kingdom is no part of this world.”
(As a devout Jehovah’s Witness, Serena will of course be familiar with the New World Translation, so I will use that for quoting purposes.)
Not content being the highest earning female athlete of all time, Serena actively looks for way to increase her brand and venture in other avenues of business, such as fashion, commercials, appearing in and writing her own TV shows, and massive sponsorship deals.
But didn’t Jesus say something like: “Stop storing up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal.” – Matt 6:19. Jesus was right about one thing: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. Matt 5:21. And: “No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. YOU cannot slave for God and for Riches.” – Matt 6:24
Serena’s actions speak to themselves; she slaves for riches. Perhaps in all her years of worshipping her God Jehovah (her words) at the kingdom hall, she didn’t hear the story of the young man who kept asking Jesus what he needed to do to be saved: “If you want to be perfect, go sell your belongings and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, and come be my follower. When the young man heard this saying, he went away grieved, for he was holding many possessions. But Jesus said to his disciples: “Truly I say to YOU that it will be a difficult thing for a rich man to get into the kingdom of the heavens.” – Matt 19:21-23
Just how difficult is that, Jesus?
“Again I say to YOU, It is easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of God.” – Matt 19:24
Thanks for clearing that up. The point is not that she’s rich and therefore incredibly unlikely to be saved (albeit a damn good point), but that being more and more successful in her career and accumulating more and more material wealth and persistently looking for ways to market herself and increase her revenue is obviously her primary concern, and not the actions of someone who wants “to get into the kingdom of God”.
But doesn’t she, like every other Jehovah’s Witness, believe she is living in the last days of this world? Instead of hanging onto that World Number 1 rank, or writing her own TV Show, or bringing out her own brand of lip balm, or encouraging people to join her fan club, couldn’t she use her remarkable wealth and position to further the preaching work that JWs are famous for? Perhaps an announcement on her website, or some links to Witness eschatology material? I guess that wouldn’t sit right with her sponsors though…
I mean, if I really believed that very soon “…there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short”, (Matt 24: 21-22)… I would be doing my best to avoid it, and make sure other people knew about it too! Perhaps she just doesn’t “have the time”.
Perhaps Serena thinks it’s enough to just pay lip service to her faith, by throwing in her God amongst the list of supporting people at every tournament win; “I want to thank my god Jehovah” for example.
I guess her God might have a reaction similar to this: “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will.” – Matt 7:21. It’s fortunate for Serena that her God is a figment of her imagination, albeit a very flimsy figment; perhaps the equivalent of a mental lucky charm. Except of course that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in superstition nonsense like lucky charms. Or do they…
“For the 27-year-old, these quirks include bringing her shower sandals to the court, tying her shoelaces a specific way and bouncing the ball five times before her first serve and twice before her second. The three-time Wimbledon champ will even wear the same pair of socks during a tournament run. Williams is so set in her superstitions, she has chalked up major losses to not following her own routine correctly.”
Men’s Fitness ranked her the 7th most superstitious athlete of all time. Yet the Jehovah’s Witness official stance is that superstition comes from Satan. No practicing Witness would ever wear any “lucky” object, let alone ascribe any benefit to it.
One of the most un-JW things she’s ever done is tell a lineswoman: “I swear to God I’ll fucking take the ball and shove it down your fucking throat.” Anyone who knows anything about Witnesses knows that profanities are pretty much outlawed. When I watched the video of her outburst I couldn’t help but remember “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” – Matt 5:5.
But every time I watch Serena at tennis finals, played on weekends, I’m wondering why she isn’t at the nearest kingdom hall for the public talk and Watchtower study? Well it’s only a meeting every now and then you might say. Except I’ve been at meetings and huge conventions where Witnesses have been actively encouraged to forgo work and career for the sake of attending even one event.
I can’t comment on Williams’ personal life, since she refuses to be drawn on this issue as well. All we know is that she dates. Yet she is curiously silent on the issue of pre-marital sex. An interview from the article above:
“I ask her if she still subscribes to the idea of not having sex before marriage.
‘I’d definitely take the fifth!’ she says, laughing uncomfortably as she asserts her right to silence.
I ask her if she’s single.
‘I don’t know. I don’t think I’m single.’
You don’t think so?
You’re not sure?
‘I’m sure, but … I don’t like to talk about that.’ She smiles shyly, and looks away.
And then, a little later, she bursts into a fit of laughter she immediately regrets.”
Now, a little earlier in that interview it’s claimed that both Williams’ sisters remain “devoted to their faith.” So why is Serena skirting the issue and “taking the fifth” and giggling like a naughty girl who doesn’t want to be caught out? I’ll tell you why:
Because the official position of JWs is that pre-marital sex or any kind of fornication is strictly forbidden. The Oxford dictionary defines Fornication as ‘voluntary sexual intercourse between an unmarried couple.’
“Flee from fornication. Every other sin that a man may commit is outside his body, but he that practices fornication is sinning against his own body” – 1 Cor 6:18
“For this is what God wills, the sanctifying of YOU, that YOU abstain from fornication!” – 1 Thes 4:3
This is how Serena’s god sees people who engage in pre-marital sex:
“Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom.” – 1 Cor 6:9-10
Although not a JW source, this page has an exhaustive list of bible quotes regarding pre-marital sex.
So…why isn’t Serena proudly declaring her devotion to these beliefs and stating in no uncertain terms that she is staying a virgin until she gets married, since that is what her faith demands? What does she have to hide?
Serena Williams’ speech, actions, and lifestyle speak for themselves. To be a successful athlete and business person requires that one pursue one’s happiness and rational selfish values. In other words, if she wasn’t so blatantly two-faced, I would really respect and admire her. You see, everything about Serena just smacks of an ordinary person trying to make a good life for themselves; enjoying their talent; chasing glory and success. Which I think is admirable, and moral. Except it’s diametrically opposed to everything being a preaching self-effacing meek “poor” Jehovah’s Witness is all about. And that is why she is a hypocrite. She should do the honourable thing and reject all affiliation with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, since she is the worst living example of one. But then, she might be disfellowshipped and lose her Witness friends and family. So, like all hypocrites, Serena wants to have her cake and eat it.
10 July, 2010 at 1:47 pm
This was a very fascinating read. Thanks for putting it together so neatly.
Back when I still watched the Grammys, I was always listening to the speeches and probably did note in the back of my (not quite admitted atheist) mind that a lot of stars would give god credit for getting them there, regardless of what kind of lives they might have been leading off the stage.
This one time, Michael English got an award for some song or album. I knew he was a Christian musician as I had one of his albums, but there was some contemporary crossover in his music and I think a few of those tracks got secular radio play. Anyway, all he said when he accepted his award was “Thank you,” and then got off the stage. I was surprised by that. If anyone was going to be thanking a god for good fortune, I was sure it’d be him. And yet he didn’t.
I don’t have anything else to add about that, really. Well, maybe I do – maybe some stars just cling to a “faith” because their fans do and have grown to expect it of those people they’d feel guilty about admiring otherwise.
11 July, 2010 at 1:52 pm
You make some very good points- and you do it like one of Jehovah’s Witnesses would (your experience with Witnesses shows)
I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I too have rolled my eyes as she makes her claims of devotion. But, how she handles all of these things is between her and God- and he is not fooled by her words.
I am glad to know that others are not fooled by it.
It seems that most people in positions of fame have a really difficult time separating themselves from the world and focusing on what the bible says God requires- Serena is not the only one.
The only famous people who became Witnesses that seemed to do what the bible required of them were those who walked away from the fame. And there have been many- it is a choice they themselves have to make though. When they don’t walk away, although they may seem to do well for a time, they always seem to get sucked back into the fame, wealth vortex.
It is true- you can not slave for two masters.
13 July, 2010 at 1:43 am
Thank you and others for your thoughts about the Williams Sisters! It would be nice if they didn’t use Jehovah’s Name in what they do! it doesn’t help with the young people who need to make the “Truth” their own! and it definitely gives the World the wrong impression! True Witnesses don’t Date nor do they look to have Companionship with outsiders! Dating is not a Sport, it’s to be taken serious and it also says the couple who is Dating has a certain Date set aside to Marry! and their Dating Activity is Chaperone! no going out by themselves! these things are very important with Jehovah’s Witnesses. So often I’ve heard that these Sisters have so-called Boyfriends that spend the night with them!! Shame, Shame on you!
23 July, 2010 at 8:03 am
No matter what the Williams girls say they CAN NOT FOOL JEHOVAH!! THE JOKE IS ON THEM!!!
24 July, 2010 at 10:26 am
i have been inactive for many years now.but one thing i know is once you have been taught the truth you never forget it.is serena abaptized sister and if she is jehovah will do whats appropriate to the situation.i feel based on the bible its obvious shes 2faced.but let jehovah handle it.hes a forgiving god and lets pray that serena reads this and lives her life honorably to,jehovah.my dad was an elder.my mom was a devout follower till her demise.she was a pioneer and encouraged me. thats what serena needs from us while theres still time. my brothers stepdaughter has been to their home in florida and says shes the sweetest. i met venus at lga and shes the same.the great tribulation im told is around the corner being the chosen are at least 80 SO LETS make sure were right before judging.hollar back serena. love you
4 August, 2010 at 2:12 pm
If the age of the remaining 144,000 left on Earth is indeed at least 80, one would estimate no longer than 5-10 years remaining (on average) before they all pass away. Since the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses have CONSISTENTLY for decades declared that the Great Tribulation culminating in Armageddon would come before the last of these Chosen dies, we should expect the End to come within the next decade or so…
16 December, 2011 at 3:47 pm
Excellent point. I’m sure Common is really interested in dating someone who doesn’t put out. Rappers are, after all, known for their chaste lifestyles and respect for women. Maybe he settles for the BJs or handjos that Serena throws down and can justify to herself (although that’s still a great sin), but I’m betting she’s a spraddle-legged milk cow with him and whomever else (as is her right; it’s the naked hypocrisy (excuse the pun) that bothers me, like it bothers me about any religionists who claim to be one way and act another.) I’m also a strong atheist ex-JW raised in the faith and have long wondered about these famous JWs and their questionable lifestyles. Again, not like I actually care since it’s all B.S. anyway and news flash for all the JWs and quasi-JWs posting here: THERE IS NO JEHOVAH AND NO SUCH THING AS ARMAGEDDON. What are you going to do when the last person who saw 1914 passes away and we’re all still here? (OK, enough of that. Sorry, just couldn’t help myself. ;0)
However, like many ex JWs, I’m still interested to a certain extent in my former faith and its famous adherents. I don’t know much about Venus, but Serena seems to be the perfect example of what we used to call living a double life–acting holy at the hall and then turning around and being ‘goat-like’ when you are hanging with your ‘worldly’ friends. I know, I used to do it all the time before I got DF’d for smoking pot, throwing a kegger at my house and fooling around with women at the hall who most certainly weren’t my wife. Of course us regular poor folks had to keep our double lives on the down-low if we wanted to stay in the faith–but apparently being rich and famous buys you certain concessions (big surprise), like being able to live your double life right out in the open. Like it did with Michael Jackson when he was in the faith, like it does with Prince, and with Venus when she stood on the podium at the Olympics and accepted a medal in honor of her country with the national anthem playing.
Why should JWs be any different than other religions who turn a blind eye to people who can write them million-dollar checks? I’m sure that’s what Serena does, and what MJ did, etc. etc. Drop the Society a 6- or 7-figure check every year and you can live your life however you want; I’m sure there’s an unspoken agreement to that effect with the elders of her local congregation, and tacitly backed by the Society itself since something this big (having the best female athlete of all time being a member of your crazy little religion) is something that goes all the way to the top.
I’ve also always wondered this, if it’s politically correct to ask: why are all the famous JWs black? I’ve never heard of a famous Asian,white or Latino JW, for instance. Could be I’m just not up on my famous JWs. NIce blog, btw evanescent. Good topic. and way to quote Scripture!
11 September, 2012 at 9:16 pm
You know your bible pretty well what made you an atheist.? I am an a practicing witness and cringe at Serena and Venus and Sherry shepard at least she admitts to sour grapes her farther was df ,d when they say that their God Jehovah is responsible for making them win or their sussess . as though Jehovah didnt have other things more important to do.Maybe you should visist a Kingdom Hall not where you attened so you can get an unbiased view. I hope it wasn,t a elder or a ongregation member who discouraged you. Remember Jehovah knows we are dust and make many mistakes I hope you give it a try. He is a fair God .I wish you well.
12 September, 2012 at 9:42 am
Hi Rosie. I used to be a JW when I was younger but I deconverted. You’re welcome to read that story here: http://angel14.com/2007/06/20/my-fall-from-grace-wed-20th-jun-07/
It was nothing to do with other people but problems with faith and religion themselves, including that of JW’s. I won’t go into detail because you can read my deconversion story for that, but unfortunately given how JWs are trained to avoid anything contrary to their beliefs, I doubt you will read it.
12 September, 2012 at 5:48 pm
I became an atheist after becoming disgusted with the rank hypocrisy I saw in all religions around me, and when I started to examine what science and a naturalistic, rational view of the universe could offer, and discovered that while science doesn’t have all the answers, it has the tools and methods to empirically back up its claims, unlike religion, which offers only superstition and factless, faith-based answers to any question. Religion exists primarily to control people; it’s a useless vestige, a holdover from a time when we didn’t have science to tell us what makes lightning or why people die or where babies come from. But, like Evanescent, I’m sure you won’t even bother to read this reply, so I’m really writing it for myself.
13 October, 2013 at 9:00 pm
Nice one sister,u neatly brought out useful points,I even got to learn from them. Serena,turn to Jehovah, please Let ur daily life Glorify His name. For some1 to take it upon her self to point out all these facts,pls adjust ur ways and turn 2 Jehovah so that u may gain life. Jesus ecourage us to seek God’s kingdon 1st. The world is passing away and so is it desires,but he dat does the will of God remains 4ever. If one dies and goes to d grave, all his riches will be left for some1 else to enjoy
26 December, 2014 at 5:17 pm
First of all, the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses is not a SECT ! This is a disgusting speculation of an idiot. Second of all, everybody preaches in their own time, when they can. There is no set amount of hours You have to do unless You are a pioneer. You go door to door whenever You can. If Serena has two hours to spare every month, and uses them to go door to door, then Fine, it is not us humans who are there to judge her, but Jehovah, and he will appreciate every single minute of our time spent in ministry, he will also judge the rest of her actions and what she does in private, including; dating, the language she uses and her sex life. Remember guys that what they write in newspapers and comment on Youtube is not always true. Just like this blog.
5 February, 2015 at 2:11 am
The really ‘ sick ‘ part is the willingness of her Cult to ‘ turn a blind-eye ‘ towards her promiscuity & other carnal lusts!
I wonder how much she ‘ donates ‘ to keep their silence?
18 August, 2016 at 10:57 am
I agree with your biblical quotes and you delievered them very well. I don’t know anything about Serena’s personal life; but, I know Jehovah God’s people is not concerned worldly’s wealth. They are concerned about Jehovah’s kingdom and living on paradise here on earth.
18 February, 2018 at 6:37 am
That’s rich Alina.
Look up the “Remember The Wife Of Lot” on youtube.
This is a Jehovah Witness word that turns her own words against her.
The video blatantly discourages against missing meets for things like school and work.
The wife is made to look like the bad guy because she doesn’t want her kids to struggle like she did. Where she is brushed off because the struggles she witnessed were due to not having Jehovah in her life.