The Death of Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

Danny remembers - Michael Jackson was baptized as a Jehovah's Witness into the Watchtower organization circa 1972 about age 13 and then disfellowshipped/disassociated/excommunicated circa 1987

Michael Jackson the former Jehovah's Witnesses has died of cardiac arrest it has been reported in Los Angeles today, Thursday 25th June. The reclusive star was reported to have had issues with prescription drugs during the buildup to a 50 date London tour. Firefighters arrived to a 911 call to his Bel Air home after he had collapsed and took him to UCLA Medical Center.

Before his death at age 50, Michael Jackson was one of the most accomplished musicians in history.

Jackson, the seventh child in the famous Jackson family, first rose to fame at the age of 11 as a member of The Jackson 5, with hits like “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There.” The pop star went solo in 1971 and released some of the best-selling albums of all time, including 1979’s “Off The Wall,” 1982’s “Thriller” and 1987’s “Bad.”

Jackson’s “Thriller” holds the title of the best-selling album of all time and was the first album to spawn seven Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles, including the title track, “Billie Jean,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” and “Beat It.”

Jackson, who was often referred to as the “King of Pop,” redefined the art of music videos with groundbreaking offerings like “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” and “Thriller,” which became staples on MTV during the 1980s.

Jackson was also known for this amazing live performances and massively successful world tours, where fans could see his signature moonwalk live.
Some more newsworthy moments in Jackson’s life included:

- On January 27, 1984, Jackson suffered second-degree burns to his scalp while filming a Pepsi commercial in LA when pyrotechnics for commercial set his hair on fire.

- In 1985, Jackson co-wrote “We Are The World” with Lionel Richie and recorded the single with a slew of popular singers and recording artists, under the name USA for Africa, which became one the best-selling singles of all time with 20 millions copies sold and raised millions of dollars to help fight famine in Africa.

- In the 1990s, Jackson was accused of sexual abuse by a 13-year-old boy and investigated by police. On January 1, 1994, Jackson settled out of court with the boy’s family for $22 million.

- In 1994, Jackson wed Lisa Marie Presley. They divorced less than two years later.
- Jackson married again in 1996 to his nurse Deborah Rowe. They had a son together, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., also known as “Prince,” and a daughter, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. The couple divorced in 1999.

- Jackson had a third child in 2002, Prince Michael Jackson II, also known as “Blanket,” with an undisclosed surrogate. Jackson made headlines in November of 2002, when he dangled “Blanket” out of a window of a hotel room in Berlin.

During recent years, Jackson was forced to give up the title of his Neverland Ranch to the Sycamore Valley Ranch Co. LLC. He had gone into default on the $24.5 million he owed on the property.

The star had been slated to headline 50 sold-out shows at London’s O2 Arena beginning in July 2009, billed “This Is It” – his final London performances, which were being billed as the singer’s comeback.

In March, AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke, told Billboard that Michael was “very healthy. Despite everything you read about him, he was fine. The man took a physical for us to go do these concerts.”

In addition to his three children, Jackson is survived by siblings Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Randy and Janet – along with his parents Joseph Walter “Joe” and Katherine Esther.

During his decades spanning career, Jackson was honored with 13 Grammys, 13 number one singles and sold more than 750 million albums. He is also one of the few artists to have been honored with a double induction into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.

Question: Does any one remember what it was the Watchtower put out shortly after all the Michael Jackson eruption? I remember there were comments, but just shy of a name. We all knew who they were talking about. Any one remember?? It was a Watchtower article.

Answer #1: I can add to this the known fact that the WTS harassed Jackson about the Thriller video, causing him to add a disclaimer to the video that it did not represent his beliefs about the supernatural. He also gave an 'interview' in the Awake! magazine saying he was naughty and sorry and he would never do it again. Does anyone have that?

Answer #2: This might be the one.

Awake! May 22, 1984 p. 19-20 "What About Music Videos? ***Would Never Do It Again!"

In another popular video, Thriller, the performer is seen to transform first into a "cat person," then a dancing "monster." Evidently not wanting viewers to conclude that it promoted spiritism, the film begins with the disclaimer: "Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult.-Michael Jackson." Nevertheless, it was so realistic that some who saw it admitted that they were horrified at first. What was this short film intended to convey? And how does the performer, Michael Jackson, feel about it in looking back?
"I would never do it again!" says Jackson. "I just intended to do a good, fun short film, not to purposely bring to the screen something to scare people or to do anything bad. I want to do what's right. I would never do anything like that again." Why not? "Because a lot of people were offended by it," explains Jackson. "That makes me feel bad. I don't want them to feel that way. I realize now that it wasn't a good idea. I'll never do a video like that again!" He continues: "In fact, I have blocked further distribution of the film over which I have control, including its release in some other countries. There's all kinds of promotional stuff being proposed on Thriller. But I tell them, 'No, no, no. I don't want to do anything on Thriller. No more Thriller.'"
Also I got a book called Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness by J. Randy Taraborreli. This book goes into some interesting situations that the gloved one had with the elders in his congregation. I quote some things from the book:

"Despite the fact that Michael was a devote Jehovah's Witness-and no doubt had donated quite a bit of money to the religion-the church's elders were extremely upset with him, mostly because of the "Thriller" video. p.324
But before he had even finished work on the "Thriller" video it brought to a head the ongoing conflict between the church elders of the Encino Kingdom Hall and Michael regarding his fame and his career....In meetings between Michael and the elders...he was not receptive....He refused to make any kind of statement repudiating his work, and the church insisted he should .....Finally, when the elders threatened to force him to leave the religion Michael became extremely upset" p.326
This obviously had a serious effect on the gloved one so he decided to destroy the tapes. We're talking about a million dollars of work here. It was brought out to Michael that the church elders should not dictate Michael's "artistry." Michael's attention was brought to the fact that Bella Lugosi was a very religious man yet he played out his artistry as Dracula and Lugosi's religious beliefs had no bearing on his "art." So it was suggested that Michael put a disclaimer at the beginning of the video stating that the video in no way reflect Michael's religious convictions. Michael agreed to this. John Landis, the director, didn't want to do it but if he didn't agree then the whole thriller video was going to be scrapped.

The book continues:

How ironic that Michael's benevolent spirit wasn't enough to satisfy the elders of his Jehovah's Witness congregation. They expected him to restrict his entertainment practices as well. At this time, Michael was called into another meeting with the witness elders over the "Thriller" video. Again they told him that they were considering excluding Michael from the religion. Michael left the meeting particularly shaken. He did not want to be disfellowshipped. He decided he would disown "Thriller" if he had to....Furthermore Michael would make a public statement about his sin in an issue of the Witness periodical, Awake! ( May 22, 1984 ) p.359

Finally Michael became like the rest of us in this group.

"In the spring of 1987 Michael disassociated himself from the congregation and that he no longer wants to be known as a Jehovah's Witness."

Michael Jackson's birthday burial in Watchtower's long shadow

August 20, 7:21 AM  source: Albany Interfaith Spirituality Examiner

by Linda Van Slyke

Given Michael Jackson's long and troubled history with the Jehovah's Witnesses, it's more than a little ironic that he will be laid to rest on his birthday amidst great splendor and hoopla.

Michael will be interred in "a specially-built mausoleum" that is "fit for a king."  His Forest Lawn "neighbors" are Hollywood royalty.  A Las Vegas celebrity-filled tribute will be the follow-up event.

The January 1, 2005 Watchtower article, "Beware of Customs That Displease God," emphatically declares:

Throughout the years, Jehovah's Witnesses have thoroughly exposed unscriptural funeral customs.  Such customs include wakes, the pouring of libations, talking to and making requests of the dead, ceremonious observances of funeral anniversaries, and other customs based on the belief that something in a person survives death.  Such God-dishonoring customs are "unclean," an "empty deception" based on "the tradition of men" and not on God's Word of truth.

As for birthday celebrations, the Jehovah Witnesses are equally clear.  Lesson 11 from their official web site states:

The only two birthday celebrations spoken of in the Bible were held by persons who did not worship Jehovah.  (Genesis 40:20-22; Mark 6:21, 22, 24-27)  The early Christians did not celebrate birthdays.  The custom of celebrating birthdays comes from ancient false religions.  True Christians give gifts and have good times together at other times duing the year.

Much of what Michael practiced in life has also been condemned by the Witnesses.  Consider these Awake and Watchtower quotes:

For true Christians the subject of ambition does not present an ethical dilemma.  Their Bible-based consciences help them to shun ambition...

True, having money may give one a sense of freedom.  But as Paul explains, in the long run, pursuing money can actually make one a slave to "many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin."

God's people also refrain from idolizing the world's stars of entertainment and sports...  But some come to view the artist as their ideal, and by putting him on a pedestal, they make him into an idol...

When the elders insisted that Michael no longer speak to La Toya because she had stopped going to Kingdom Hall, Michael sought advice from his friend Marlon Brando.  According to La Toya, Marlon told him:

For heaven's sake, Michael, that's your sister.  If that's the way they're going to do things, you don't need to be part of that.  You can always get another religion, but you can never get another sister.

This excruciating dichotomy between Michael Jackson's lifestyle and belief system eventually led to his disassociation from the Watchtower Society in 1987.

However, neither disassociation nor death has completely dissolved the Jehovah Witness connection.

Michael's three children, now in Katherine Jackson's custody, have been recently seen attending the Kingdom Hall with their song books in hand...


More Michael Jackson stories:

Key Facts about Michael Jackson's Life

Michael Jackson Jehovah's Witness from childhood describes his faith and relationship with his own children

Michael Jackson and his sister La Toya Jackson both left the Jehovah's Witnesses whilst their sister Rebbie Jackson and mother Katharine Jackson are both still active Jehovah's Witnesses. Read about this and other famous African American Jehovah's Witnesses here.

Randall Watters, founder of Free minds, former high ranking Jehovah's Witness and Hollywood observer offers his thoughts. Read Randy Watters on Michael Jackson.

The Watchtower Society has had a troubled relationship with its African American members over the years - read more about Jehovah's Witnesses and African Americans

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