It has emerged that residents in Leith and other areas of the city have been targeted by the group – notorious for door-stepping – by letters written in multiple languages.
A member of the I Love Leith Facebook page shared a photo of a letter he received from a ten-year-old that read “I love to read the bible”.
The man, who had also received a leaflet from the group, who claim to be the ‘one true faith’, said in his comments the move was “sick”. He added: “This is indoctrination of a 10-year-old child. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a dangerous cult.”
The letters have sparked fears the group is using children to exploit Covid-19 lockdowns, while spreading frightening “apocalyptic” messages. Articles on the Jehovah’s Witness website claim “Armageddon Is Good News!”
Since March last year, the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses said they have officially suspended their door-to-door and public preaching work across the UK, including hand-delivering items.
But a spokesperson said that members could write letters as part of the personal ministry to “remain active in trying to reach as many people as possible with the Bible’s message of hope and comfort in these challenging times”.
Other users of the I Love Leith group responded to the letter with shared photos of similar hand-written notes they had received from Jehovah’s Witness members with many saying they objected to being targeted.
One member said: “They used to come to your door with their kids. I suppose they aren’t allowed to do that just now but this is creepy.”
Another said: “This is the saddest thing I have ever read. It actually makes me feel a little sick.”
One man said: “Using children in this way cannot be acceptable. Using minors to promote faith just ins’t appropriate.”
A woman said: “Two JW started visiting my parents before lockdown and they are lovely people, they often took their kids with them. It still makes me uneasy that a ten-year-old would be involved to such an extent.”
Another added: “I keep getting these kind of letters but in Polish. I don’t understand how they know where I live and that I speak Polish.”
Neil Campbell, Local Spokesman for Jehovah's Witnesses in Scotland defended the letter writing.
He said: “Any letters sent are a result of personal convictions and are part of a personal ministry. However, all Witness parents are encouraged to ensure that no children or young people contact members of the public unsupervised, and that great care and discretion is taken with regard to passing on of any contact details.
"Within that careful parental supervision, it is worthy of note that there has been a very positive and mutually beneficial effect happening.
"For example one or two local Witnesses have chosen to write encouraging and positive letters to care homes and have included pictures from young children.”
"As well as providing an obvious lift to the recipient, it is very nice to see the positive effect on the children. It is helping the children to learn that one positive way to cope with your own anxiety is to do something helpful for someone else.”