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Jehovah's Witnesses
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{{Use mdy dates|date=April 2019}}{{pp-protected|small=yes}}{{short description|Christian denomination}}







factoids
Millenarianism>Millenarian, Restorationist| founder = Charles Taze Russell| founded_date = 1870s| founded_place = Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.Warwick, New York>Warwick, New York, U.S.Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses>Governing Body| branched_from = Bible Student movement| separations = Jehovah's Witnesses splinter groups| area = Worldwide| congregations = 119,954| members = 8,579,909| footnotes = Statistics from 2018 Grand Totalsweblink}}}}Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity.Sources for descriptors:
  • Millenarian: BOOK, Beckford, James A., James A. Beckford, The Trumpet of Prophecy: A Sociological Study of Jehovah's Witnesses, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1975, 978-0-631-16310-7, harv, 118–119, 151, 200–201,
  • Restorationist: JOURNAL, Stark, Rodney, Iannaccone, Laurence R., Rodney Stark, Laurence Iannaccone, Why the Jehovah's Witnesses Grow so Rapidly: A Theoretical Application, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 1997, 12, 2, 133–157, 10.1080/13537909708580796,weblink December 27, 2017,
  • Christian: WEB, Who is a Christian?,weblink www.religioustolerance.org, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, December 27, 2017, WEB, Religious Landscape Study,weblink Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project, Pew Research Center, December 27, 2017, May 11, 2015, BOOK, World Almanac and Book of Facts, Infobase Learning, New York, NY, 2011, 978-1-60057-133-6, 704–705,weblink
  • Denomination: NEWS, Jehovah's Witnesses at a glance,weblink December 27, 2017, BBC, September 29, 2009, WEB, Jehovah's Witness,weblink's+Witness, TheFreeDictionary.com, The American Heritage Dictionary, December 27, 2017, WEB, Imprisoned for Their Faith: Jehovah's Witnesses in Auschwitz,weblink auschwitz.org, Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, December 27, 2017, February 5, 2004, The group reports a worldwide membership of approximately 8.58 million adherents involved in evangelism and an annual Memorial attendance of over 20 million.WEB, 2018 Grand Totals, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 2018,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses are directed by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, a group of elders in Warwick, New York, United States, which establishes all doctrinesBOOK, Beckford, James A., James A. Beckford, The Trumpet of Prophecy: A Sociological Study of Jehovah's Witnesses, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1975, 978-0-631-16310-7, harv, 221, Doctrine has always emanated from the Society's elite in Brooklyn and has never emerged from discussion among, or suggestion from, rank-and-file Witnesses., based on its interpretations of the Bible.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Paul Lagasse, Jehovah's Witnesses, The Columbia Encyclopedia,weblink 6th, 2000, Columbia University Press, New York, 978-0-7876-5015-5, The Witnesses base their teaching on the Bible, They believe that the destruction of the present world system at Armageddon is imminent, and that the establishment of God's kingdom over the earth is the only solution for all problems faced by humanity.BOOK, Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2007, Jehovah's Witness, 978-1-59339-293-2,
The group emerged from the Bible Student movement founded in the late 1870s by Charles Taze Russell, who also co-founded Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society in 1881 to organize and print the movement's publications.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Stanley I. Kutler, Stanley Kutler, Jehovah's Witnesses, Dictionary of American History,weblink 3rd, 2003, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 978-0-684-80533-7, A leadership dispute after Russell's death resulted in several groups breaking away, with Joseph Franklin Rutherford retaining control of the Watch Tower Society and its properties.JOURNAL, The Embryonic State of a Religious Sect's Development: The Jehovah's Witnesses, Sociological Yearbook of Religion in Britain, Michael Hill, 1972, 5, 11–12, Joseph Franklin Rutherford succeeded to Russell's position as President of Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society, but only at the expense of antagonizing a large proportion of the Watch Towers subscribers. Nevertheless, he persisted in moulding the Society to suit his own programme of activist evangelism under systematic central control, and he succeeded in creating the administrative structure of the present-day sect of Jehovah's Witnesses., Rutherford made significant organizational and doctrinal changes, including adoption of the name Jehovah's witnesses
Based on Isaiah 43:10-12. The name was later (1970s) restyled as Jehovah's Witnesses (with capital W).
in 1931 to distinguish them from other Bible Student groups and symbolize a break with the legacy of Russell's traditions.JOURNAL, Leo P. Chall, Sociological Abstracts, 26, 1–3, Sociology of Religion, 1978, 193, Rutherford, through the Watch Tower Society, succeeded in changing all aspects of the sect from 1919 to 1932 and created Jehovah's Witnesses—a charismatic offshoot of the Bible student community.,
Jehovah's Witnesses are best known for their door-to-door preaching, distributing literature such as The Watchtower and Awake!, and for refusing military service and blood transfusions. They consider the use of God's name vital for proper worship. They reject Trinitarianism, inherent immortality of the soul, and hellfire, which they consider to be unscriptural doctrines. They do not observe Christmas, Easter, birthdays or other holidays and customs they consider to have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity.BOOK, Franz, Raymond, In Search of Christian Freedom, Commentary Press, 2007, 274–5, 978-0-914675-16-7, They prefer to use their own Bible translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures,BOOK, Edwards, Linda, A Brief Guide to Beliefs, Westminster John Knox Press, 2001, Louisville, Kentucky, 438, 978-0-664-22259-8, The Jehovah's Witnesses' interpretation of Christianity and their rejection of orthodoxy influenced them to produce their own translation of the Bible, The New World Translation.,weblink although their literature occasionally quotes and cites other Bible translations.MAGAZINE, When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed?—Part One, The Watchtower, October 1, 2011, 26,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses produce a reliable Bible translation known as the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. However, if you are not one of Jehovah's Witnesses, you may prefer to use other translations when considering Bible subjects. This article quotes from a number of widely accepted Bible translations., Chryssides, George D. Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses, pg. 100 "Although it is the preferred translation by the Witnesses, they remain willing to use other translations in house-to-house ministry and in countries where a NWT has not yet been published". Adherents commonly refer to their body of beliefs as "The Truth" and consider themselves to be "in the Truth".JOURNAL, Singelenberg, Richard, It Separated the Wheat From the Chaff: The 1975 Prophecy and its Impact Among Dutch Jehovah's Witnesses, Sociological Analysis, 50, Spring 1989, 23–40, 1989, 'The Truth' is Witnesses' jargon, meaning the Society's belief system., 10.2307/3710916, 3710916, They consider secular society to be morally corrupt and under the influence of Satan, and most limit their social interaction with non-Witnesses.BOOK, Penton, M.J., James Penton, Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses, University of Toronto Press, 1997, 978-0-8020-7973-2, harv, 280–283, Most Witnesses tend to think of society outside their own community as decadent and corrupt ... This in turn means to Jehovah's Witnesses that they must keep themselves apart from Satan's 'doomed system of things.' Thus most tend to socialize largely, although not totally, within the Witness community., Congregational disciplinary actions include disfellowshipping, their term for formal expulsion and shunning.BOOK, Chryssides, George D., George Chryssides, Exploring New Religions, Continuum, 1999, London, 5, 978-0-8264-5959-6, The Jehovah's Witnesses are well known for their practice of 'disfellowshipping' wayward members., Baptized individuals who formally leave are considered disassociated and are also shunned. Disfellowshipped and disassociated individuals may eventually be reinstated if deemed repentant.BOOK, Shepherd the Flock of God, 119, Watch Tower Society, The committee should be careful to allow sufficient time, perhaps many months, a year, or even longer, for the disfellowshipped person to prove that his profession of repentance is genuine., The group's position regarding conscientious objection to military service and refusal to salute state symbols (like national anthems and flags) has brought it into conflict with some governments.WEB, 17 June 2013,weblink Tanzania: Dons Fault Court Over Suspension of Students (Page 1 of 2), allAfrica.com, 2013-06-17, 2014-06-19, WEB,weblink How much of our religion must we bring to school?, The Citizen, Esther, Kibakaya, 18 August 2013, 2014-06-22, WEB,weblink Flag Salute, Voting, and Civilian Service, Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY, July 29, 2019, WEB,weblink Flag Salute, Anthems and Voting, Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY, July 29, 2019, BOOK, Those About to Die, 1958, Daniel P., Mannix, 135, BOOK, Render Unto Caesar, The Flag-Salute Controversy, 1962, 32, David R., Manwaring, Consequently, some Jehovah's Witnesses have been persecuted and their activities are banned or restricted in some countries. Persistent legal challenges by Jehovah's Witnesses have influenced legislation related to civil rights in several countries.Gary Botting, Fundamental Freedoms and Jehovah's Witnesses (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1993), pg 1–13.The organization has received criticism regarding biblical translation, doctrines, and alleged coercion of its members. The Watch Tower Society has made various unfulfilled predictions about major biblical events such as Christ's Second Coming, the advent of God's Kingdom, and Armageddon. Their policies for handling cases of child sexual abuse have been the subject of various formal inquiries.

History

{{Christianity|expand-nontrinitarian=yes|portalicon=ichthys}}

Background (1870–1916)

{{See also|Bible Student movement}}File:C.T. Russell.gif|left|182px|thumb|Pastor Russell, founder of the Watch Tower Society ]]In 1870, Charles Taze Russell and others formed a group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to study the Bible.BOOK, Rogerson, Alan, Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses, Constable & Co, London, 1969, 6, 978-0094559400, During the course of his ministry, Russell disputed many beliefs of mainstream Christianity including immortality of the soul, hellfire, predestination, the fleshly return of Jesus Christ, the Trinity, and the burning up of the world.{{harvnb|Beckford|1975|page=2}} In 1876, Russell met Nelson H. Barbour; later that year they jointly produced the book Three Worlds, which combined restitutionist views with end time prophecy. The book taught that God's dealings with humanity were divided dispensationally, each ending with a "harvest," that Christ had returned as an invisible spirit being in 1874 inaugurating the "harvest of the Gospel age," and that 1914 would mark the end of a 2520-year period called "the Gentile Times,"BOOK, Crompton, Robert, Counting the Days to Armageddon, James Clarke & Co, 1996, Cambridge, 978-0-227-67939-5, 37–39, at which time world society would be replaced by the full establishment of God's kingdom on earth.MAGAZINE, Bible Examiner, October 1876, Gentile Times: When Do They End?, 27–28, The seven times will end in A.D. 1914; when Jerusalem shall be delivered forever ... when Gentile Governments shall have been dashed to pieces; when God shall have poured out of his fury upon the nations and they acknowledge him King of Kings and Lord of Lords., BOOK, Studies in the Scriptures, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1897, xii, IV The Battle of Armageddon, BOOK, The Time is at Hand, Russell, Charles, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1889, 101, Beginning in 1878 Russell and Barbour jointly edited a religious journal, Herald of the Morning.BOOK, The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, Botting, Heather, Botting, Gary, University of Toronto Press, 1884, 36, In June 1879 the two split over doctrinal differences, and in July, Russell began publishing the magazine Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence,{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|page=18}} stating that its purpose was to demonstrate that the world was in "the last days," and that a new age of earthly and human restitution under the reign of Christ was imminent.MAGAZINE, Zion's Watch Tower, July 1, 1879, 1, Prospectus, This is the first number of the first volume of "Zion's Watch Tower," and it may not be amiss to state the object of its publication. That we are living "in the last days"—"the day of the Lord"—"the end" of the Gospel age, and consequently, in the dawn of a "new" age., From 1879, Watch Tower supporters gathered as autonomous congregations to study the Bible topically. Thirty congregations were founded, and during 1879 and 1880, Russell visited each to provide the format he recommended for conducting meetings.BOOK, 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Part 1 — United States of America, 1975, 38,weblink MAGAZINE, Zion's Watch Tower, September 1884, 7–8, The Ecclesia., BOOK, Russell, Charles, Studies in the Scriptures, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1904, VI The New Creation, 195–272, In 1881, Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society was presided over by William Henry Conley, and in 1884, Russell incorporated the society as a non-profit business to distribute tracts and Bibles.MAGAZINE, Russell, Charles, Zion's Watch Tower, April 25, 1894, A Conspiracy Exposed, 55–60, This is a business association merely ... it has no creed or confession ... it is merely a business convenience in disseminating the truth., Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses by George D. Chryssides, Scarecrow Press, 2008, page xxxiv, "Russell wanted to consolidate the movement he had started. ...In 1880, Bible House, a four-story building in Allegheny, was completed, with printing facilities and meeting accommodation, and it became the organization's headquarters. The next stage of institutionalization was legal incorporation. In 1884, Russell formed the Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society, which was incorporated in Pennsylvania... Russell was concerned that his supporters should feel part of a unified movement."Religion in the Twentieth Century by Vergilius Ture Anselm Ferm, Philosophical Library, 1948, page 383, "As the [unincorporated Watch Tower] Society expanded, it became necessary to incorporate it and build a more definite organization. In 1884, a charter was granted recognizing the Society as a religious, non-profit corporation." By about 1900, Russell had organized thousands of part- and full-time colporteurs, and was appointing foreign missionaries and establishing branch offices. By the 1910s, Russell's organization maintained nearly a hundred "pilgrims," or traveling preachers.{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|page=19}} Russell engaged in significant global publishing efforts during his ministry,A Chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States Greenwood Press: 1996. pg. 35: "Russell is naturally media literate, and the amount of literature he circulates proves staggering. Books, booklets, and tracts are distributed by the hundreds of millions. This is supplemented by well-publicized speaking tours and a masterful press relations effort, which gives him widespread access to general audiences."{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=26–29}} and by 1912, he was the most distributed Christian author in the United States.The Overland Monthly, January 1910 pg. 130W.T. Ellis, The Continent, McCormick Publishing Company, vol. 43, no. 40, October 3, 1912 pg. 1354Russell moved the Watch Tower Society's headquarters to Brooklyn, New York, in 1909, combining printing and corporate offices with a house of worship; volunteers were housed in a nearby residence he named Bethel. He identified the religious movement as "Bible Students," and more formally as the International Bible Students Association.Religious Diversity and American Religious History by Walter H. Conser, Sumner B. Twiss, University of Georgia Press, 1997, page 136, "The Jehovah's Witnesses...has maintained a very different attitude toward history. Established initially in the 1870s by Charles Taze Russell under the title International Bible Students Association, this organization has proclaimed..." By 1910, about 50,000 people worldwide were associated with the movementThe New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1910, vol 7, pg 374 and congregations re-elected him annually as their "pastor."{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=26}} Russell died October 31, 1916, at the age of 64 while returning from a ministerial speaking tour.BOOK, Rogerson, Alan, Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses, Constable & Co, London, 1969, 31, 978-0094559400,

Reorganization (1917–1942)

File:J.F. Rutherford.gif|thumb|right|182px|Joseph F. Rutherford, founder of Jehovah's Witnesses]]In January 1917, the Watch Tower Society's legal representative, Joseph Franklin Rutherford, was elected as its next president. His election was disputed, and members of the Board of Directors accused him of acting in an autocratic and secretive manner.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=53}}A.N. Pierson et al, Light After Darkness, 1917, page 4. The divisions between his supporters and opponents triggered a major turnover of members over the next decade.BOOK, Crompton, Robert, Counting the Days to Armageddon, James Clarke & Co, 1996, Cambridge, 978-0-227-67939-5, 101, {{harvnb|Penton|1997|pages=58, 61–62}} In June 1917, he released The Finished Mystery as a seventh volume of Russell's Studies in the Scriptures series. The book, published as the posthumous work of Russell, was a compilation of his commentaries on the Bible books of Ezekiel and Revelation, plus numerous additions by Bible Students Clayton Woodworth and George Fisher.{{Citation|title = The Bible Students Monthly|volume = 9|issue = 9|pages = 1, 4| quote=The following article is extracted mainly from Pastor Russell's posthumous volume entitled "THE FINISHED MYSTERY," the 7th in the series of his STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and published subsequent to his death.}}Lawson, John D., American State Trials, vol 13, Thomas Law Book Company, 1921, pg viii: "After his death and after we were in the war they issued a seventh volume of this series, entitled "The Finished Mystery," which, under the guise of being a posthumous work of Pastor Russell, included an attack on the war and an attack on patriotism, which were not written by Pastor Russell and could not have possibly been written by him."BOOK, Crompton, Robert, Counting the Days to Armageddon, James Clarke & Co, 1996, Cambridge, 978-0-227-67939-5, 84–85, One of Rutherford's first actions as president ... was, without reference either to his fellow directors or to the editorial committee which Russell had nominated in his will, to commission a seventh volume of Studies in the Scriptures. Responsibility for preparing this volume was given to two of Russell's close associates, George H. Fisher and Clayton J. Woodworth. On the face of it, their brief was to edit for publication the notes left by Russell ... and to draw upon his published writings ... It is obvious ... that it was not in any straightforward sense the result of editing Russell's papers, rather it was in large measure the original work of Woodworth and Fisher at the behest of the new president., BOOK, The Finished Mystery, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1917,weblink Publisher's Preface, But the fact is, he did write it. This book may properly be said to be a posthumous publication of Pastor Russell. Why?... This book is chiefly a compilation of things which he wrote and which have been brought together in harmonious style by properly applying the symbols which he explained to the Church., It strongly criticized Catholic and Protestant clergy and Christian involvement in the Great War.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=55}} As a result, Watch Tower Society directors were jailed for sedition under the Espionage Act in 1918 and members were subjected to mob violence; the directors were released in March 1919 and charges against them were dropped in 1920.BOOK, Rogerson, Alan, Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses, Constable & Co, London, 1969, 44, 978-0094559400, Rutherford centralized organizational control of the Watch Tower Society. In 1919, he instituted the appointment of a director in each congregation, and a year later all members were instructed to report their weekly preaching activity to the Brooklyn headquarters.BOOK, Franz, Raymond, In Search of Christian Freedom, Commentary Press, 2007, Chapter 4, 978-0-914675-16-7, At an international convention held at Cedar Point, Ohio, in September 1922, a new emphasis was made on house-to-house preaching.BOOK, Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, 7. Advertise the King and the Kingdom! (1919-1941), Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1993, 72–77,weblink Significant changes in doctrine and administration were regularly introduced during Rutherford's twenty-five years as president, including the 1920 announcement that the Hebrew patriarchs (such as Abraham and Isaac) would be resurrected in 1925, marking the beginning of Christ's thousand-year earthly Kingdom.BOOK, Rutherford, Joseph F., Millions Now Living Will Never Die!,weblink 1920, International Bible Students Association, Brooklyn, New York, 978-1-4116-2898-4, 89–90, JOURNAL, Chryssides, George D., George Chryssides, How Prophecy Succeeds: The Jehovah's Witnesses and Prophetic Expectations, International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 1, 1, 27–48, 2010, 2041-952X, 10.1558/ijsnr.v1i1.27, BOOK, Franz, Raymond, In Search of Christian Freedom, 2007, 144, 978-0-914675-16-7, BOOK, Salvation, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1939, 76, as cited in Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Because of disappointment over the changes and (Watch Tower Society unfulfilled predictions#1925: Resurrection of the patriarchs|unfulfilled predictions), tens of thousands of defections occurred during the first half of Rutherford's tenure, leading to the formation of several Bible Student organizations independent of the Watch Tower Society,BOOK, Rogerson, Alan, Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses, Constable & Co, London, 1969, 39, 52, 978-0094559400, Herbert H. Stroup, The Jehovah's Witnesses, Columbia University Press, New York, 1945, pg 14,15: "Following his election the existence of the movement was threatened as never before. Many of those who remembered wistfully the halcyon days of Mr Russell's leadership found that the new incumbent did not fulfill their expectations of a saintly leader. Various elements split off from the parent body, and such fission continued throughout Rutherford's leadership."{{harvnb|Penton|1997|pages=58, 61}}BOOK, Gruss, Edmond C., Jehovah's Witnesses: Their Claims, Doctrinal Changes, and Prophetic Speculation. What Does the Record Show?,weblink 2001, Xulon Press, 978-1-931232-30-2, 218, most of which still exist.Reed, David, weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110909064529weblink">Whither the Watchtower? Christian Research Journal, Summer 1993, pg 27: "By gradually replacing locally elected elders with his own appointees, he managed to transform a loose collection of semi-autonomous, democratically run congregations into a tight-knit organizational machine controlled from his office. Some local congregations broke away, forming such groups as the Chicago Bible Students, the Dawn Bible Students, and the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement, all of which continue to this day." By mid-1919, as many as one in seven of Russell-era Bible Students had ceased their association with the Society, and as many as three-quarters by the end of the 1920s.Thirty Years a Watchtower Slave, William J. Schnell, Baker, Grand Rapids, 1956, as cited by Rogerson, page 52. Rogerson notes that it is not clear exactly how many Bible Students left, but quotes Rutherford (Jehovah, 1934, page 277) as saying "only a few" who left other religions were then "in God's organization".The Present Truth and Herald of Christ's Epiphany, P.S.L. Johnson (April 1927, pg 66). Johnson stated that between late 1923 and early 1927, "20,000 to 30,000 Truth people the world over have left the Society."Tony Wills (A People For His Name, pg. 167) cites The Watch Tower (December 1, 1927, pg 355) in which Rutherford states that "the larger percentage" of original Bible Students had by then departed.BOOK, Gruss, Edmond C., Apostles of Denial: An Examination and Exposé of the History, Doctrines and Claims of the Jehovah's Witnesses,weblink 1970, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 978-0-87552-305-7, 265, On July 26, 1931, at a convention in Columbus, Ohio, Rutherford introduced the new name – Jehovah's witnesses – based on Isaiah 43:10: "'You are my witnesses,' declares Jehovah, 'Yes, my servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and have faith in me And understand that I am the same One. Before me no God was formed, And after me there has been none.'" (New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures 2013 Edition) —which was adopted by resolution. The name was chosen to distinguish his group of Bible Students from other independent groups that had severed ties with the Society, as well as symbolize the instigation of new outlooks and the promotion of fresh evangelizing methods.BOOK, Rogerson, Alan, Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses, Constable, London, 1969, 55, In 1931, came an important milestone in the history of the organization. For many years Rutherford's followers had been called a variety of names: 'International Bible Students', 'Russellites', or 'Millennial Dawners'. In order to distinguish clearly his followers from the other groups who had separated in 1918 Rutherford proposed that they adopt an entirely new name—Jehovah's witnesses., James A. Beckford, The Trumpet of Prophecy, 1975, page 30, "The new title symbolized a break with the legacy of Russell's traditions, the instigation of new outlooks and the promotion of fresh methods of administering evangelism."MAGAZINE, The Watch Tower, A New Name, October 1, 1931, 291, Since the death of Charles T. Russell there have arisen numerous companies formed out of those who once walked with him, each of these companies claiming to teach the truth, and each calling themselves by some name, such as "Followers of Pastor Russell", "those who stand by the truth as expounded by Pastor Russell," "Associated Bible Students," and some by the names of their local leaders. All of this tends to confusion and hinders those of good will who are not better informed from obtaining a knowledge of the truth., In 1932, Rutherford eliminated the system of locally elected elders and in 1938, introduced what he called a "theocratic" (literally, God-ruled) organizational system, under which appointments in congregations worldwide were made from the Brooklyn headquarters.From 1932, it was taught that the "little flock" of 144,000 would not be the only people to survive Armageddon. Rutherford explained that in addition to the 144,000 "anointed" who would be resurrected—or transferred at death—to live in heaven to rule over earth with Christ, a separate class of members, the "great multitude," would live in a paradise restored on earth; from 1935, new converts to the movement were considered part of that class.{{harvnb|Beckford|1975|page=31}}{{harvnb|Penton|1997|pages=71–72}} By the mid-1930s, the timing of the beginning of Christ's presence (Greek: parousía), his enthronement as king, and the start of the "last days" were each moved to 1914.BOOK, Crompton, Robert, Counting the Days to Armageddon, James Clarke & Co, 1996, Cambridge, 978-0-227-67939-5, 109–110, File:NathanHomerKnorr-WTPres.png|thumb|right|182px|Nathan H. Knorr, the third president of the Watch Tower Society ]]As their interpretations of the Bible evolved, Witness publications decreed that saluting national flags is a form of idolatry, which led to a new outbreak of mob violence and government opposition in the United States, Canada, Germany, and other countries.{{harvnb|Beckford|1975|page=35}}BOOK, Garbe, Detlef, Between Resistance and Martyrdom: Jehovah's Witnesses in the Third Reich, University of Wisconsin Press, 2008, Madison, Wisconsin, 145, 978-0-299-20794-6, Worldwide membership of Jehovah's Witnesses reached 113,624 in 5,323 congregations by the time of Rutherford's death in January 1942.BOOK, 1943 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1942, 221–222, BOOK, Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1959, 312–313,

Continued development (1942–present)

{{See also|Development of Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine|Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses}}Nathan Knorr was appointed as third president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in 1942. Knorr commissioned a new translation of the Bible, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, the full version of which was released in 1961. He organized large international assemblies, instituted new training programs for members, and expanded missionary activity and branch offices throughout the world.{{harvnb|Beckford|1975|pages=47–52}} Knorr's presidency was also marked by an increasing use of explicit instructions guiding Witnesses in their lifestyle and conduct, and a greater use of congregational judicial procedures to enforce a strict moral code.{{harvnb|Beckford|1975|pages=52–55}}{{harvnb|Penton|1997|pages=89–90}}From 1966, Witness publications and convention talks built anticipation of the possibility that Christ's thousand-year reign might begin in late 1975WEB,weblink ‘They keep changing the dates’: Jehovah’s Witnesses Changing Chronology - Cryssides, www.cesnur.org, BOOK, George D., Chryssides, George Chryssides, Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses, Scarecrow Press, 2008, 978-0-8108-6074-2, {{harvid, Chryssides, Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses, |page=19}} or shortly thereafter.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=95}}BOOK, Botting, Heather, Gary Botting, The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, University of Toronto Press, 1984, 46, 978-0-8020-6545-2, MAGAZINE, Awake!, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 14, October 8, 1968, "Does this mean that the above evidence positively points to 1975 as the complete end of this system of things? Since the Bible does not specifically state this, no man can say... If the 1970s should see intervention by Jehovah God to bring an end to a corrupt world drifting toward ultimate disintegration, that should surely not surprise us.", harv, MAGAZINE, Our Kingdom Ministry, May 1974, How Are You Using Your Life?, 63,weblink Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly, this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world's end., harv, The number of baptisms increased significantly, from about 59,000 in 1966 to more than 297,000 in 1974. By 1975, the number of active members exceeded two million. Membership declined during the late 1970s after expectations for 1975 were proved wrong.BOOK, Crisis of Conscience, Franz, Raymond, 1975—The Appropriate Time for God to Act, 237–253,weblink July 27, 2006, PDF, 978-0-914675-23-5, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20031209184316weblink">weblink December 9, 2003, 2002, JOURNAL, Singelenberg, Richard,weblink The '1975'-prophecy and its impact among Dutch Jehovah's Witnesses, Sociological Analysis, 1, 1989, 23–40, 50, 10.2307/3710916, 3710916, harv, Notes a nine percent drop in total publishers (door-to-door preachers) and a 38 per cent drop in pioneers (full-time preachers) in the Netherlands.JOURNAL, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Why the Jehovah's Witnesses Grow So Rapidly: A Theoretical Application,weblink 1997, 142–143, PDF, July 16, 2013, Stark and Iannoccone, harv, NEWS, January 30, 1982, Los Angeles Times, Defectors Feel 'Witness' Wrath: Critics say Baptism Rise Gives False Picture of Growth, Dart, John, B4, Cited statistics showing a net increase of publishers worldwide from 1971 to 1981 of 737,241, while baptisms totaled 1.71 million for the same period. Watch Tower Society literature did not state dogmatically that 1975 would definitely mark the end, but in 1980 the Watch Tower Society admitted its responsibility in building up hope regarding that year.BOOK, Hesse, Hans, Persecution and Resistance of Jehovah's Witnesses During the Nazi-Regime, Edition Temmen c/o, 2001, Chicago, 296, 298, 978-3-861-08750-2, MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, March 15, 1980, 17–18,weblink With the appearance of the book Life Everlasting—in Freedom of the Sons of God, ... considerable expectation was aroused regarding the year 1975. ... there were other statements published that implied that such realization of hopes by that year was more of a probability than a mere possibility. It is to be regretted that these latter statements apparently overshadowed the cautionary ones and contributed to a buildup of the expectation already initiated. ... persons having to do with the publication of the information ... contributed to the buildup of hopes centered on that date., harv, The offices of elder and ministerial servant were restored to Witness congregations in 1972, with appointments made from headquarters{{harvnb|Chryssides|Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses|pages=32,112}} (and later, also by branch committees). It was announced that, starting in September 2014, appointments would be made by traveling overseers. In a major organizational overhaul in 1976, the power of the Watch Tower Society president was diminished, with authority for doctrinal and organizational decisions passed to the Governing Body.{{harvnb|Chryssides|Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses|page=64}} Since Knorr's death in 1977, the position of president has been occupied by Frederick Franz (1977–1992) and Milton Henschel (1992–2000), both members of the Governing Body, and since 2000 by others who are not Governing Body members. In 1995, Jehovah's Witnesses abandoned the idea that Armageddon must occur during the lives of the generation that was alive in 1914 and in 2010 changed their teaching on the "generation".{{Citation|journal=Newsweek|volume=236|issue=3146|pages=24|title=Apocalypse Later|date=December 18, 1995|url=http://www.newsweek.com/id/104359|author=Joel P. Engardio|bibcode=2017NewSc.236Q..24L|doi=10.1016/S0262-4079(17)31969-3}}{{harvnb|Penton|1997|p=317}}WEB,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses Abandon Key Tenet : Doctrine: Sect has quietly retreated from prediction that those alive in 1914 would see end of world., November 4, 1995, Los Angeles Times, WEB,weblink "Let Your Kingdom Come"—But When? - Study, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Official website of Jehovah's Witnesses,

Organization

{{Jehovah's Witnesses}}Jehovah's Witnesses are organized hierarchically, in what the leadership calls a "theocratic organization", reflecting their belief that it is God's "visible organization" on earth.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, January 15, 2001, 16,weblink Overseers and Ministerial Servants Theocratically Appointed, Theocratic appointments come from Jehovah through his Son and God's visible earthly channel, "the faithful and discreet slave" and its Governing Body., MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View, 591–92,weblink Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect. We cannot claim to love God, yet deny his Word and channel of communication. Therefore, in submitting to Jehovah's visible theocratic organization, we must be in full and complete agreement with every feature of its apostolic procedure and requirements., {{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=211}} The organization is led by the Governing Body—an all-male group that varies in size, but since January 2018 has comprised eight members,WEB,weblink What Is the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses?, Official website of Jehovah's Witnesses, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, all of whom profess to be of the "anointed" class with a hope of heavenly life—based in the Watch Tower Society's Warwick headquarters.BOOK, 2007 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 4, 6,weblink BOOK, Botting, Heather & Gary, The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, University of Toronto Press, 1984, 978-0-8020-6545-2, There is no election for membership; new members are selected by the existing body.BOOK, Franz, Raymond, In Search of Christian Freedom, Commentary Press, 2007, 123, 978-0-914675-17-4, Until late 2012, the Governing Body described itself as the representativeMAGAZINE, The Watchtower, May 15, 2008, How the Governing Body Is Organized, 29,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, April 15, 2008, Seek God's guidance in all things, 11,weblink and "spokesman" for God's "faithful and discreet slave class" (then approximately 10,000 self-professed "anointed" Jehovah's Witnesses).BOOK, Franz, Raymond, In Search of Christian Freedom, Commentary Press, 2007, 153, 978-0-914675-17-4, BOOK, 2010 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 2010, Preaching and Teaching Earth Wide — 2009 Grand Totals, 42,weblink At the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Watch Tower Society, the "faithful and discreet slave" was defined as referring to the Governing Body only.WEB,weblink Annual Meeting Report, Official website of Jehovah's Witnesses, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, The Governing Body directs several committees that are responsible for administrative functions, including publishing, assembly programs and evangelizing activities. It appoints all branch committee members and traveling overseers, after they have been recommended by local branches, with traveling overseers supervising circuits of congregations within their jurisdictions. Traveling overseers appoint local elders and ministerial servants, and while branch offices may appoint regional committees for matters such as Kingdom Hall construction or disaster relief.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=101, 233–235}} The leadership and supporting staff lives in properties owned by the organization worldwide referred to as "Bethel" where they operate as a religious community and administrative unit.{{harvnb|Chryssides|Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses|pages=17–18}} Their living expenses and those of other full-time volunteers are covered by the organization along with a basic monthly stipend.BOOK, Penton, M. James, 2015, Apocalypse delayed: the story of Jehovah's Witnesses,weblink 3rd, University of Toronto Press, 326, 460–461, 978-1442616059, harv, For many years they received only $14 per month, but that has been increased during the last several decades to $100 or more per month, and their clothing allowance has also been increased significantly. Barbara Anderson relates that she and her husband received $100 a month, were given board and room, and had a yearly clothing allowance of $250 during the years they were at Bethel until they left in 1997. Although Bethelites may receive somewhat more today, they are certainly not paid anything like 'real wages.', BOOK, Botting, Heather, Gary Botting, The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, University of Toronto Press, 1984, 32, 978-0-8020-6545-2, Missionaries, circuit overseers, district overseers, special pioneers, and branch-office workers receive small allowances each month., ENCYCLOPEDIA, Watchtower Society, Encyclopedia of American Religion and Politics, 466, The religious order of Jehovah's Witnesses caters to the needs of all volunteers who have taken a vow of poverty and obedience., Each congregation has a body of appointed unpaid male elders and ministerial servants. Elders maintain general responsibility for congregational governance, setting meeting times, selecting speakers and conducting meetings, directing the public preaching work, and creating "judicial committees" to investigate and decide disciplinary action for cases involving sexual misconduct or doctrinal breaches.{{Citation|last=Gallagher|first=Eugene V.|last2=Ashcraft|first2=W. Michael|title=Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America|place=Westport, Connecticut|publisher=Greenwood Press|volume=2|year=2006|page=69|isbn=978-0-275-98712-1}} New elders are appointed by a traveling overseer after recommendation by the existing body of elders. Ministerial servants—appointed in a similar manner to elders—fulfill clerical and attendant duties, but may also teach and conduct meetings. Witnesses do not use elder as a title to signify a formal clergy-laity division,BOOK, Taylor, Elizabeth J., Religion: A Clinical Guide for Nurses, Springer Publishing Company, 2012, 163, 978-0-8261-0860-9, though elders may employ ecclesiastical privilege regarding confession of sins.BOOK, Watch Tower Society, Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock, 1981, 147, WEB,weblink "Case Study 29: Transcript (day 147)", page 16, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, 27 July 2015., Baptism is a requirement for being considered a member of Jehovah's Witnesses. Jehovah's Witnesses do not practice infant baptism,BOOK, Hoekema, Anthony A., Anthony A. Hoekema, The Four Major Cults, William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1963, 978-0-8028-3117-0, harv, 291, and previous baptisms performed by other denominations are not considered valid.BOOK, Franz, Raymond, In Search of Christian Freedom, Commentary Press, 2007, 116–120, 978-0-914675-16-7, Individuals undergoing baptism must affirm publicly that dedication and baptism identify them "as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization," though Witness publications say baptism symbolizes personal dedication to God and not "to a man, work or organization."{{harvnb|Chryssides|Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses|page=14}}BOOK, What Does the Bible Really Teach, Baptism and Your Relationship With God, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 182,weblink Going beneath the water symbolizes that you have died to your former life course. Being raised up out of the water indicates that you are now alive to do the will of God. Remember, too, that you have made a dedication to Jehovah God himself, not to a work, a cause, other humans, or an organization., Their literature emphasizes the need for members to be obedient and loyal to Jehovah and to "his organization,"BOOK, Franz, Raymond, In Search of Christian Freedom, Commentary Press, 2007, 449–464, 978-0-914675-16-7, {{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|page=32}}, "The structure of the movement and the intense loyalty demanded of each individual at every level demonstrates the characteristics of totalitarianism."Raymond Franz (In Search of Christian Freedom, 2007, p.449) cites various Watch Tower Society publications that stress loyalty and obedience to the organization, including: MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View, 591,weblink Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect., MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, September 1, 2006, Jehovah's Word Is Alive - Highlights From Book Five of Psalms, 15,weblink Have we formed a loyal attachment to the organization that Jehovah is using today?, MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, June 15, 2006, Your Reminders Are What I Am Fond Of, 26,weblink We too should remain faithful to Jehovah and to his organization regardless of injustices we suffer and regardless of what others do., MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, May 15, 2006, Are You Prepared for Survival?, 22,weblink Just as Noah and his God-fearing family were preserved in the ark, survival of individuals today depends on their faith and their loyal association with the earthly part of Jehovah's universal organization., BOOK, Worship The Only True God, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 2002, 134,weblink Jehovah is guiding us today by means of his visible organization under Christ. Our attitude toward this arrangement demonstrates how we feel about the issue of sovereignty ... By being loyal to Jehovah's organization, we show that Jehovah is our God and that we are united in worship of him., stating that individuals must remain part of it to receive God's favor and to survive Armageddon.BOOK, You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, 30. What You Must Do to Live Forever, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1989, 255,weblink It is simply not true that all religions lead to the same goal. (Matthew 7:21–23; 24:21) You must be part of Jehovah's organization, doing God's will, in order to receive his blessing of everlasting life., MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, February 15, 1983, You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth—But How?, 12,weblink Jehovah is using only one organization today to accomplish his will. To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it., MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, November 15, 1992, Serving Jehovah Loyally, 21,weblink I determined to stay by the faithful organization. How else can one get Jehovah's favor and blessing?" There is nowhere else to go for divine favor and life eternal.,

Publishing

The organization produces a significant amount of literature as part of its evangelism activities.MAGAZINE, Meyers, Jim, October 2010, Jehovah's Witnesses — Publishing Titans,weblink PDF, Newsmax, West Palm Beach, FL, Newsmax Media, The Watch Tower Society has produced over 220 million copies of the New World Translation in whole or in part in over 160 languages.WEB,weblink Online Bible, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Official website of Jehovah's Witnesses, The Watchtower and Awake! are the most widely distributed magazines in the world.WEB,weblink Did You Know The Most Widely Circulated Magazine In The World Is The Monthly Publication Of Jehovah's Witnesses?, Joe Pompeo, September 30, 2010, Business Insider, Translation of Witness publications is done by over 2000 volunteers worldwide, producing literature in several hundred languages.BOOK, God's Kingdom Rules!, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 8. Tools for Preaching — Producing Literature for the Worldwide Field, 2014, 79,weblink Publications are also available online at the organization's official website.

Funding

Much of their funding is provided by donations, primarily from members. There is no tithing or collection. In 2001 Newsday listed the Watch Tower Society as one of New York's forty richest corporations, with revenues exceeding $950 million.WEB,weblink AT THE TOP / NYC COMPANY PROFILES / NYC 40, Newsday, The organization reported for the same year that it "spent over $70.9 million in caring for special pioneers, missionaries, and traveling overseers in their field service assignments."BOOK, 2002 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 2002, 31,weblink BOOK, 2013 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, 178,weblink During the 2012 service year, Jehovah's Witnesses spent over $184 million in caring for special pioneers, missionaries, and traveling overseers in their field service assignments.,

Beliefs

Sources of doctrine

Jehovah's Witnesses believe their denomination is a restoration of first-century Christianity.BOOK, Van Voorst, Robert E., RELG: World (with Religion CourseMate with eBook Printed Access Card), Cengage Learning, 288, 2012, 978-1-1117-2620-1,weblink Doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses are established by the Governing Body, which assumes responsibility for interpreting and applying scripture.BOOK, Organized to Do Jehovah's Will, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 2015, 17–19, Remember Those Who Are Taking the Lead Among You,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, March 15, 1990, Cooperating With the Governing Body Today, 19,weblink The Governing Body does not issue any single, comprehensive "statement of faith", but prefers to express its doctrinal position in a variety of ways through publications published by the Watch Tower Society.{{harvnb|Beckford|1975|page=119}} Their publications teach that doctrinal changes and refinements result from a process of progressive revelation, in which God gradually reveals his will and purpose,MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, Focus on the Goodness of Jehovah's Organization, 22, July 15, 2006,weblink harv, MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, March 1, 1965, Impart God's Progressive Revelation to Mankind, 158–159,weblink {{harvnb|Penton|1997|pages=165–171}}MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, May 15, 1995, Flashes of Light—Great and Small, 15,weblink and that such enlightenment or "new light"MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, December 1, 1981, The Path of the Righteous Does Keep Getting Brighter, 26–31,weblink results from the application of reason and study,{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=165}} the guidance of the holy spirit, and direction from Jesus Christ and angels.BOOK, Rutherford, Joseph, Preparation, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1933, 64, 67, Enlightenment proceeds from Jehovah by and through Christ Jesus and is given to the faithful anointed on earth at the temple, and brings great peace and consolation to them. Again Zechariah talked with the angel of the Lord, which shows that the remnant are instructed by the angels of the Lord. The remnant do not hear audible sounds, because such is not necessary. Jehovah has provided his own good way to convey thoughts to the minds of his anointed ones ... Those of the remnant, being honest and true, must say, We do not know; and the Lord enlightens them, sending his angels for that very purpose., The Society also teaches that members of the Governing Body are helped by the holy spirit to discern "deep truths", which are then considered by the entire Governing Body before it makes doctrinal decisions.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, July 15, 2010, The Spirit Searches into the Deep Things of God, 23,weblink When the time comes to clarify a spiritual matter in our day, holy spirit helps responsible representatives of 'the faithful and discreet slave' at world headquarters to discern deep truths that were not previously understood. The Governing Body as a whole considers adjusted explanations. What they learn, they publish for the benefit of all., The group's leadership, while disclaiming divine inspiration and infallibility,MAGAZINE, Do We Need Help to Understand the Bible?, The Watchtower, February 15, 1981, 19,weblink "True, the brothers preparing these publications are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired as are those of Paul and the other Bible writers. (2 Tim. 3:16) And so, at times, it has been necessary, as understanding became clearer, to correct views. (Prov. 4:18)", is said to provide "divine guidance"MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, April 15, 2011, Do You See the Evidence of God's Guidance?, 3–5,weblink How, then, do we react when we receive divine direction? Do we try to apply it "right afterward"? Or do we continue doing things just as we have been accustomed to doing them? Are we familiar with up-to-date directions, such as those regarding conducting home Bible studies, preaching to foreign speaking people, regularly sharing in family worship, cooperating with Hospital Liaison Committees, and conducting ourselves properly at conventions? ... Do you clearly discern the evidence of divine guidance? Jehovah uses his organization to guide us, his people, through "the wilderness" during these last days of Satan's wicked world., through its teachings described as "based on God's Word thus ... not from men, but from Jehovah."MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, September 15, 2010, Unity Identifies True Worship, 13,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, June 15, 1957, Overseers of Jehovah's People, 369–375,weblink Let us now unmistakably identify Jehovah's channel of communication for our day, that we may continue in his favor ... It is vital that we appreciate this fact and respond to the directions of the "slave" as we would to the voice of God, because it is His provision., The entire Protestant canon of scripture is considered the inspired, inerrant word of God.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=172}} Jehovah's Witnesses consider the Bible to be scientifically and historically accurate and reliableBOOK, All Scripture is Inspired of God, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1990, 336, Archaeology and the Inspired Record,weblink and interpret much of it literally, but accept parts of it as symbolic.BOOK, All Scripture is Inspired of God, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1990, 9, All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial,weblink They consider the Bible to be the final authority for all their beliefs,BOOK, Reasoning From The Scriptures, Jehovah's Witnesses, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1989, 199–208,weblink although sociologist Andrew Holden's ethnographic study of the group concluded that pronouncements of the Governing Body, through Watch Tower Society publications, carry almost as much weight as the Bible.{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|page=67}}, "Materials such as The Watchtower are almost as significant to the Witnesses as the Bible, since the information is presented as the inspired work of theologians, and they are, therefore, believed to contain as much truth as biblical texts." Regular personal Bible reading is frequently recommended; Witnesses are discouraged from formulating doctrines and "private ideas" reached through Bible research independent of Watch Tower Society publications, and are cautioned against reading other religious literature.James A. Beverley, Crisis of Allegiance, Welch Publishing Company, Burlington, Ontario, 1986, {{ISBN|0-920413-37-4}}, pages 25–26, 101, "For every passage in Society literature that urges members to be bold and courageous in critical pursuits, there are many others that warn about independent thinking and the peril of questioning the organization ... Fear of disobedience to the Governing Body keeps Jehovah's Witnesses from carefully checking into biblical doctrine or allegations concerning false prophecy, faulty scholarship, and injustice. Witnesses are told not to read books like this one."MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, March 15, 2006, Keep Clear of False Worship!, 27–31,weblink True Christians keep clear of false worship, rejecting false religious teachings. This means that we avoid exposure to religious programs on radio and television as well as religious literature that promotes lies about God and his Word., MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, May 1, 1984, 31,weblink Questions From Readers—Why do Jehovah's Witnesses decline to exchange their Bible study aids for the religious literature of people they meet, So it would be foolhardy, as well as a waste of valuable time, for Jehovah's Witnesses to accept and expose themselves to false religious literature that is designed to deceive., Adherents are told to have "complete confidence" in the leadership, avoid skepticism about what is taught in the Watch Tower Society's literature, and "not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding."MAGAZINE, Our Kingdom Ministry, September 2007, Question Box, 3,weblink Throughout the earth, Jehovah's people are receiving ample spiritual instruction and encouragement at congregation meetings, assemblies, and conventions, as well as through the publications of Jehovah's organization. Under the guidance of his holy spirit and on the basis of his Word of truth, Jehovah provides what is needed so that all of God's people may be fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought and remain stabilized in the faith. Surely we are grateful for Jehovah's spiritual provisions in these last days. Thus, the faithful and discreet slave does not endorse any literature, meetings, or Web sites that are not produced or organized under its oversight., MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, August 1, 2001, Make Your Advancement Manifest, 14,weblink Since oneness is to be observed, a mature Christian must be in unity and full harmony with fellow believers as far as faith and knowledge are concerned. He does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding. Rather, he has complete confidence in the truth as it is revealed by Jehovah God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and the faithful and discreet slave., Testimony by Fred Franz, Transcript, Lord Strachan vs. Douglas Walsh, 1954. page 123, Q: "Did you imply that the individual member has the right of reading the books and the Bible and forming his own view as to the proper interpretation of Holy Writ? A:" .... No....The Scripture is there given in support of the statement, and therefore the individual when he looks up the Scripture and thereby verifies the statement,...search[es] the Scripture to see whether these things were so."MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, February 15, 1981, Do We Need Help to Understand the Bible?, 19,weblink Jesus' disciples wrote many letters to Christian congregations, to persons who were already in the way of the truth. But nowhere do we read that those brothers first, in a skeptical frame of mind, checked the Scriptures to make certain that those letters had Scriptural backing, that the writers really knew what they were talking about. We can benefit from this consideration. If we have once established what instrument God is using as his 'slave' to dispense spiritual food to his people, surely Jehovah is not pleased if we receive that food as though it might contain something harmful. We should have confidence in the channel God is using., The organization makes no provision for members to criticize or contribute to official teachings{{harvnb|Beckford|1975|pages=84, 89, 92, 119–120}} and all Witnesses must abide by its doctrines and organizational requirements.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, April 1, 1986, Questions From Readers, 30–31,weblink

Jehovah and Jesus

File:YHWH.svg|thumb|left|142px|The TetragrammatonTetragrammatonJehovah's Witnesses emphasize the use of God's name, and they prefer the form Jehovah—a vocalization of God's name based on the Tetragrammaton.{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|page=24}}BOOK, Ringnes, Hege Kristin, Sødal, Helje Kringlebotn, Jehovas vitner: en flerfaglig studie, Norwegian, Universitetsforlaget, 2009, Oslo, 27, 978-82-15-01453-1, harv, BOOK, Holden, A., 2002, Cavorting With the Devil: Jehovah's Witnesses Who Abandon Their Faith, Endnote [i], Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YL, UK,weblink PDF, April 4, 2017, They believe that Jehovah is the only true God, the creator of all things, and the "Universal Sovereign". They believe that all worship should be directed toward him, and that he is not part of a Trinity;BOOK, Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, 87, consequently, the group places more emphasis on God than on Christ.{{harvnb|Beckford|1975|page=105}}BOOK, Revelation Its Grand Climax, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, 36,weblink In the songbook produced by Jehovah's people in 1905, there were twice as many songs praising Jesus as there were songs praising Jehovah God. In their 1928 songbook, the number of songs extolling Jesus was about the same as the number extolling Jehovah. But in the latest songbook of 1984, Jehovah is honored by four times as many songs as is Jesus. This is in harmony with Jesus' own words: 'The Father is greater than I am.' Love for Jehovah must be preeminent, accompanied by deep love for Jesus and appreciation of his precious sacrifice and office as God's High Priest and King., They believe that the Holy Spirit is God's applied power or "active force", rather than a person.BOOK, Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, 90, MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, October 1, 2009, 5, What is the Holy Spirit?,weblink There is a close connection between the holy spirit and the power of God. The holy spirit is the means by which Jehovah exerts his power. Put simply, the holy spirit is God's applied power, or his active force., Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus is God's only direct creation, that everything else was created through Christ by means of God's power, and that the initial unassisted act of creation uniquely identifies Jesus as God's "only-begotten Son".{{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|page=262}} Jesus served as a redeemer and a ransom sacrifice to pay for the sins of humanity.{{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|pages=276–277}} They believe Jesus died on a single upright post rather than the traditional cross.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=372}} Biblical references to the Archangel Michael, Abaddon (Apollyon), and the Word are interpreted as names for Jesus in various roles.{{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|page=270}} Jesus is considered to be the only intercessor and high priest between God and humanity, and appointed by God as the king and judge of his kingdom.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, November 15, 1995, Stay in the "City of Refuge" and Live!, 19,weblink His role as a mediator (referred to in 1 Timothy 2:5) is applied to the 'anointed' class, though the 'other sheep' are said to also benefit from the arrangement.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|pages=188–189}}

Satan

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Satan was originally a perfect angel who developed feelings of self-importance and craved worship. Satan influenced Adam and Eve to disobey God, and humanity subsequently became participants in a challenge involving the competing claims of Jehovah and Satan to universal sovereignty.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|pages=188–190}} Other angels who sided with Satan became demons.Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Satan and his demons were cast down to earth from heaven after October 1, 1914,{{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|pages=298–299}} at which point the end times began. They believe that Satan is the ruler of the current world order, that human society is influenced and misled by Satan and his demons, and that they are a cause of human suffering. They also believe that human governments are controlled by Satan,{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|page=25}} but that he does not directly control each human ruler.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, April 1, 2004, 5,weblink Identifying the Wild Beast and Its Mark, This does not mean, however, that every human ruler is a direct tool of Satan.,

Life after death

Jehovah's Witnesses believe death is a state of non-existence with no consciousness. There is no Hell of fiery torment; Hades and Sheol are understood to refer to the condition of death, termed the common grave.{{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|pages=322–324}} Jehovah's Witnesses consider the soul to be a life or a living body that can die.{{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|pages=265–269}} Jehovah's Witnesses believe that humanity is in a sinful state, from which release is only possible by means of Jesus' shed blood as a ransom, or atonement, for the sins of humankind.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=186}}Witnesses believe that a "little flock" of 144,000 selected humans go to heaven, but that the majority (the "other sheep") are to be resurrected by God to a cleansed earth after Armageddon. They interpret Revelation 14:1–5 to mean that the number of Christians going to heaven is limited to exactly 144,000, who will rule with Jesus as kings and priests over earth.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=193–194}} They believe that baptism as one of Jehovah's Witnesses is vital for salvationMAGAZINE, The Watchtower, study, March 2016, 4, Young Ones—Are You Ready to Get Baptized,weblink It is a great privilege to get baptized as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Moreover, baptism is a requirement for Christians, and it is a vital step toward gaining salvation., and that only they meet scriptural requirements for surviving Armageddon, but that God is the final judge.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, September 1, 1989, Remaining Organized for Survival Into the Millennium, 19,weblink Only Jehovah's Witnesses, those of the anointed remnant and the 'great crowd,'as a united organization under the protection of the Supreme Organizer, have any Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil., BOOK, You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1989, 255,weblink Do not conclude that there are different roads, or ways, that you can follow to gain life in God's new system. There is only one ... there will be only one organization—God's visible organization—that will survive the fast-approaching 'great tribulation.' It is simply not true that all religions lead to the same goal. You must be part of Jehovah's organization, doing God's will, in order to receive his blessing of everlasting life., MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, November 1, 2008, Our Readers Ask: Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe That They Are the Only Ones Who Will Be Saved?, 28,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses hope to be saved. However, they also believe that it is not their job to judge who will be saved. Ultimately, God is the Judge. He decides., During Christ's millennial reign, most people who died prior to Armageddon will be resurrected with the prospect of living forever; they will be taught the proper way to worship God to prepare them for their final test at the end of the millennium.{{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|pages=315–319}}BOOK, Insight on the Scriptures, 1, Declare Righteous, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, 606,weblink

God's Kingdom

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that God's Kingdom is a literal government in heaven, ruled by Jesus Christ and 144,000 "spirit-anointed" Christians drawn from the earth, which they associate with Jesus' reference to a "new covenant".MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, January 15, 2012, A Royal Priesthood to Benefit All Mankind, 26–30,weblink {{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|pages=295–296}} The kingdom is viewed as the means by which God will accomplish his original purpose for the earth, transforming it into a paradise without sickness or death.BOOK, Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, 106, It is said to have been the focal point of Jesus' ministry on earth.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, October 15, 2000, God's Kingdom—Earth's New Rulership, 10,weblink They believe the kingdom was established in heaven in 1914,{{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|page=298}} and that Jehovah's Witnesses serve as representatives of the kingdom on earth.BOOK, Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, 105, MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, November 1, 1993, Daniel's Prophetic Days and Our Faith, 8–9,weblink In 1914 the appointed times of the nations ended, and the time of the end for this world began. The Davidic Kingdom was restored, not in earthly Jerusalem, but invisibly in "the clouds of the heavens." ... Who would represent on earth the restored Davidic Kingdom? ... Without any doubt at all, it was the small body of anointed brothers of Jesus who in 1914 were known as the Bible Students but since 1931 have been identified as Jehovah's Witnesses.,

Eschatology

A central teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses is that the current world era, or "system of things", entered the "last days" in 1914 and faces imminent destruction through intervention by God and Jesus Christ, leading to deliverance for those who worship God acceptably.{{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|page=297}} They consider all other present-day religions to be false, identifying them with "Babylon the Great", or the "harlot", of Revelation 17,{{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|pages=286}} and believe that they will soon be destroyed by the United Nations, which they believe is represented in scripture by the scarlet-colored wild beast of Revelation chapter 17. This development will mark the beginning of the "great tribulation".MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, July 15, 2013, 4–5, Tell Us, When Will These Things Be?,weblink In the larger fulfillment, the "standing" will occur when the United Nations (the modern-day "disgusting thing") attacks Christendom (which is holy in the eyes of nominal Christians) and the rest of Babylon the Great. The same attack is described at Revelation 17:16-18. That event will be the beginning of the great tribulation., MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, Apocalypse—When?, February 15, 1986, 6, Satan will subsequently use world governments to attack Jehovah's Witnesses, an action that will prompt God to begin the war of Armageddon, during which all forms of government and all people not counted as Christ's "sheep" will be destroyed. After Armageddon, God will extend his heavenly kingdom to include earth, which will be transformed into a paradise similar to the Garden of Eden.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=180}} Most of those who had died before God's intervention will gradually be resurrected during the thousand year "judgment day". This judgment will be based on their actions after resurrection rather than past deeds. At the end of the thousand years, Christ will hand all authority back to God. Then a final test will take place when Satan is released to mislead perfect mankind. Those who fail will be destroyed, along with Satan and his demons. The end result will be a fully tested, glorified human race on earth.{{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|pages=307–321}}MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, November 1, 1952, 670, Questions From Readers,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus Christ began to rule in heaven as king of God's kingdom in October 1914, and that Satan was subsequently ousted from heaven to the earth, resulting in "woe" to humanity. They believe that Jesus rules invisibly, from heaven, perceived only as a series of "signs". They base this belief on a rendering of the Greek word parousia—usually translated as "coming" when referring to Christ—as "presence". They believe Jesus' presence includes an unknown period beginning with his inauguration as king in heaven in 1914, and ending when he comes to bring a final judgment against humans on earth. They thus depart from the mainstream Christian belief that the "second coming" of Matthew 24 refers to a single moment of arrival on earth to judge humans.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=17–19}}MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, October 1, 1992, 16, The Messiah's Presence and His Rule,weblink

Practices

Worship

File:Reunião em Salão do Reino.jpg|thumb|right|Worship at a Kingdom HallKingdom HallMeetings for worship and study are held at Kingdom Halls, which are typically functional in character, and do not contain religious symbols. Witnesses are assigned to a congregation in whose "territory" they usually reside and attend weekly services they refer to as "meetings" as scheduled by congregation elders. The meetings are largely devoted to study of Watch Tower Society literature and the Bible. The format of the meetings is established by the group's headquarters, and the subject matter for most meetings is the same worldwide.{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|pages=64–69}} Congregations meet for two sessions each week comprising four distinct meetings that total about three-and-a-half hours, typically gathering mid-week (two meetings) and on the weekend (two meetings). Prior to 2009, congregations met three times each week; these meetings were condensed, with the intention that members dedicate an evening for "family worship".BOOK, Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 2010, 6, Highlights of the Past Year,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, May 15, 2011, Christian Families—"Keep Ready", 14,weblink Gatherings are opened and closed with kingdom songs (hymns) and brief prayers. Twice each year, Witnesses from a number of congregations that form a "circuit" gather for a one-day assembly. Larger groups of congregations meet once a year for a three-day "regional convention", usually at rented stadiums or auditoriums.BOOK, Organized to Do Jehovah's Will, 2015, 63–64, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Their most important and solemn event is the commemoration of the "Lord's Evening Meal", or "Memorial of Christ's Death" on the date of the Jewish Passover.{{harvnb|Hoekema|1963|page=292}}

Evangelism

{{See also|Jehovah's Witnesses publications}}(File:Jehovah's Witnesses outside the British Museum 02.jpg|thumb|Jehovah's Witnesses outside the British Museum, 2017)Jehovah's Witnesses are perhaps best known for their efforts to spread their beliefs, most notably by visiting people from house to house,BOOK, Crompton, Robert, Counting the Days to Armageddon, James Clarke & Co, 1996, Cambridge, 5, 978-0-227-67939-5, BOOK, Rogerson, Alan, Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses, Constable & Co, London, 1969, 1, 978-0094559400, BOOK, Whalen, William J., Armageddon Around the Corner: A Report on Jehovah's Witnesses, John Day Company, 1962, New York, 15,18, distributing literature published by the Watch Tower Society in 700 languages.WEB,weblink Global Printing—Helping People to Learn About God, Watch Tower Society, The objective is to start a regular "Bible study" with any person who is not already a member,{{harvnb|Ringnes|Sødal|2009|p=43}} with the intention that the student be baptized as a member of the group;MAGAZINE, Be "Intensely Occupied" With Your Ministry, Your goal is to help the student achieve greater insight into the truth, qualify as an unbaptized publisher, and become a dedicated and baptized Witness of Jehovah, Our Kingdom Ministry, April 2001, 3,weblink BOOK, What Does the Bible Really Teach?, 18—Baptism and Your Relationship With God, 174–183,weblink Witnesses are advised to consider discontinuing Bible studies with students who show no interest in becoming members.MAGAZINE, Our Kingdom Ministry, October 1996, Question Box: How long should a formal Bible study be conducted with an individual in the Knowledge book?,weblink We want people to receive a basic knowledge of the truth. Yet it is expected that within a relatively short period of time, an effective teacher will be able to assist a sincere average student to acquire sufficient knowledge to make an intelligent decision to serve Jehovah... Appreciation for taking in even a basic knowledge of the truth should motivate the student to attend Christian meetings. This could lead the student to giving some clear evidence of his desire to serve Jehovah. If such spiritual appreciation is not evident after the study in the Knowledge book has been conducted for an extended period, it may be advisable to discontinue the study., BOOK, Botting, Heather, Gary Botting, The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, University of Toronto Press, 1984, 77, The society states explicitly that all Bible studies should quickly show signs of 'real progress' to be deemed worthy of pursuit ... unless the potential converts are willing to give clear indication that they accept both the doctrines and the consequent responsibilities of attending meetings and going from door to door themselves, the study should be discontinued., 978-0-8020-6545-2, Witnesses are taught they are under a biblical command to engage in public preaching.BOOK, Bearing Thorough Witness About God's Kingdom, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 2009, 63,weblink Do you obey the command to bear thorough witness, even if the assignment causes you some apprehension?, MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, December 15, 2008, Determined to bear thorough witness, 19,weblink When the resurrected Jesus spoke to disciples gathered in Galilee, likely 500 of them, he commanded: 'Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.' That command applies to all true Christians today., They are instructed to devote as much time as possible to their ministry and are required to submit an individual monthly "Field Service Report".BOOK, Botting, Heather, Gary Botting, The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, University of Toronto Press, 1984, 52, 978-0-8020-6545-2, MAGAZINE, Our Kingdom Ministry, December 2002, Do You Contribute to an Accurate Report?, 8,weblink Jehovah's organization today instructs us to report our field service activity each month ... At the end of the month, the book study overseer makes sure that all in the group have followed through on their responsibility to report their activity., Baptized members who fail to report a month of preaching are termed "irregular" and may be counseled by elders;MAGAZINE, Our Kingdom Ministry, May 1984, Regularity in Service Brings Blessings, 7,weblink MAGAZINE, Helping Irregular Publishers, Our Kingdom Ministry, December 1987, 7,weblink harv, those who do not submit reports for six consecutive months are termed "inactive".MAGAZINE, Our Kingdom Ministry, October 1982, 1, Keep the Word of Jehovah Moving Speedily,weblink harv,

Ethics and morality

{{See also|Jehovah's Witnesses and congregational discipline#Discipline involving "serious sin"|label 1= Jehovah's Witnesses list of "serious sins"}}All sexual relations outside of marriage are grounds for expulsion if the individual is not deemed repentant;BOOK, Chryssides, G.D., 1999, Exploring New Religions, 103, Continuum International Publishing Group, 978-0-304-33651-7, MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, August 1, 1998, Imitate Jehovah—Exercise Justice and Righteousness, 16,weblink homosexual activity is considered a serious sin, and same-sex marriages are forbidden. Abortion is considered murder.{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|pages=26–27, 173}} Suicide is considered to be "self-murder" and a sin against God.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, June 15, 2002, 30, 31, Questions From Readers,weblink Modesty in dress and grooming is frequently emphasized. Gambling, drunkenness, illegal drugs, and tobacco use are forbidden.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|pages=152, 180}} Drinking of alcoholic beverages is permitted in moderation.The family structure is patriarchal. The husband is considered to have authority on family decisions, but is encouraged to solicit his wife's thoughts and feelings, as well as those of his children. Marriages are required to be monogamous and legally registered.MAGAZINE, The Bible's Viewpoint What Does It Mean to Be the Head of the House?, Awake!, July 8, 2004, 26, harv,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, April 15, 1984, 11, Christian Weddings That Bring Joy, harv,weblink Marrying a non-believer, or endorsing such a union, is strongly discouraged and carries religious sanctions.BOOK, Shepherd the Flock of God, 37–38, 124–125, MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, March 15, 1982, 31, How should individual Christians and the congregation as a whole view the Bible advice to marry "only in the Lord"?, harv,weblink Divorce is discouraged, and remarriage is forbidden unless a divorce is obtained on the grounds of adultery, which they refer to as "a scriptural divorce".{{harvnb|Penton|1997|pages=110–112}} If a divorce is obtained for any other reason, remarriage is considered adulterous unless the prior spouse has died or is since considered to have committed sexual immorality.BOOK, Insight on the Scriptures, Adultery, 53, 1,weblink Extreme physical abuse, willful non-support of one's family, and what the denomination terms "absolute endangerment of spirituality" are considered grounds for legal separation.MAGAZINE, Awake, July 8, 1993, Marriage—Why Many Walk Out, 6,weblink A legal divorce or a legal separation may provide a measure of protection from extreme abuse or willful nonsupport., JOURNAL, The Watchtower, November 1, 1988, 22, When Marital Peace Is Threatened, harv,weblink

Disciplinary action

Formal discipline is administered by congregation elders. When a baptized member is accused of committing a serious sin—usually cases of sexual misconduct{{harvnb|Beckford|1975|pages=54–55}} or charges of apostasy for disputing Jehovah's Witness doctrines{{harvnb|Penton|1997|pages=106–108}}JOURNAL, Osamu Muramoto, Bioethics of the refusal of blood by Jehovah's Witnesses: Part 1. Should bioethical deliberation consider dissidents' views?, Journal of Medical Ethics, August 1998, 24, 4, 223–230, 1377670, 9752623, 10.1136/jme.24.4.223, —a judicial committee is formed to determine guilt, provide help and possibly administer discipline. Disfellowshipping, a form of shunning, is the strongest form of discipline, administered to an offender deemed unrepentant.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, April 15, 1988, Discipline That Can Yield Peaceable Fruit, 26–31,weblink Contact with disfellowshipped individuals is limited to direct family members living in the same home, and with congregation elders who may invite disfellowshipped persons to apply for reinstatement;MAGAZINE, Our Kingdom Ministry, Display Christian Loyalty When a Relative Is Disfellowshipped, 3–4, August 2002, harv,weblink formal business dealings may continue if contractually or financially obliged.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, Disfellowshipping-How to View It, September 15, 1981, 24, harv,weblink Witnesses are taught that avoiding social and spiritual interaction with disfellowshipped individuals keeps the congregation free from immoral influence and that "losing precious fellowship with loved ones may help [the shunned individual] to come 'to his senses,' see the seriousness of his wrong, and take steps to return to Jehovah."BOOK, Keep Yourselves in God's Love, Appendix: How to Treat a Disfellowshipped person, 207–209, 2008, Jehovah's Witnesses,weblink The practice of shunning may also serve to deter other members from dissident behavior.{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|page=163}} Members who disassociate (formally resign) are described in Watch Tower Society literature as wicked and are also shunned.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, September 15, 1981, Disfellowshiping—How to View It, 23,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, February 15, 2011, Do You Hate Lawlessness?, 31,weblink BOOK, Crisis of Conscience, Franz, Raymond, 358, Expelled individuals may eventually be reinstated to the congregation if deemed repentant by elders in the congregation in which the disfellowshipping was enforced. Reproof is a lesser form of discipline given formally by a judicial committee to a baptized Witness who is considered repentant of serious sin; the reproved person temporarily loses conspicuous privileges of service, but suffers no restriction of social or spiritual fellowship.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, January 1, 1983, Questions From Readers, 30–31,weblink Marking, a curtailing of social but not spiritual fellowship, is practiced if a baptized member persists in a course of action regarded as a violation of Bible principles but not a serious sin.A common example given is a baptized Witness who dates a non-Witness; see MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, July 15, 1999, Questions From Readers, 30,weblink

Separateness

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Bible condemns the mixing of religions, on the basis that there can only be one truth from God, and therefore reject interfaith and ecumenical movements.MAGAZINE, December 15, 1953, Should the Religions Unite?, The Watchtower, 741–742, harv,weblink MAGAZINE, February 1, 1952, Is Interfaith God's Way?, The Watchtower, 69, harv,weblink {{harvnb|Beckford|1975|page=202}}, "The ideological argument states that, since absolute truth is unitary and exclusive of all relativisation, there can only 'logically' be one human organization to represent it. Consequently, all other religious organizations are in error and are to be strictly avoided. The absolutist view of truth further implies that, since anything less than absolute truth can only corrupt and destroy it, there can be no justification for Jehovah's witnesses having any kind of association with other religionists, however sincere the motivation might be." They believe that only Jehovah's Witnesses represent true Christianity, and that other religions fail to meet all the requirements set by God and will soon be destroyed.BOOK, What Does The Bible Really Teach?, 145, Worship That God Approves,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses are taught that it is vital to remain "separate from the world." The Witnesses' literature defines the "world" as "the mass of mankind apart from Jehovah's approved servants" and teach that it is morally contaminated and ruled by Satan.BOOK, World, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1989,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, July 15, 1989, Live a Balanced, Simple Life, 11,weblink {{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|page=12}} Witnesses are taught that association with "worldly" people presents a "danger" to their faith,MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, February 15, 1994, 23, Keep Your Distance When Danger Threatens,weblink Steering Clear of Danger ... We must also be on guard against extended association with worldly people. Perhaps it is a neighbor, a school friend, a workmate, or a business associate. ... What are some of the dangers of such a friendship? We could begin to minimize the urgency of the times we live in or take a growing interest in material rather than spiritual things. Perhaps, because of a fear of displeasing our worldly friend, we would even desire to be accepted by the world., and are instructed to minimize social contact with non-members to better maintain their own standards of morality.{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|pages=109–112}}BOOK, Franz, Raymond, Raymond Franz, In Search of Christian Freedom, Commentary Press, 2007, 409, 978-0-914675-17-4, MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, March 15, 2006, Each One Will Carry His Own Load, 23,weblink Bryan R. Wilson, "The Persistence of Sects", Diskus, Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religions, Vol 1, No. 2, 1993, "They have extensive contact with the wider public, [in Britain in 1989, 108,000 publishers undertook 23 million hours of house-calls]. Yet, they remain little affected by that exposure—they confine their contacts to their single-minded purpose and avoid all other occasions for association." Attending university is discouraged and trade schools are suggested as an alternative.BOOK, George D., Chryssides, George Chryssides, Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses, Scarecrow Press, 2008, 978-0-8108-6074-2, 47, Most Witnesses do not pursue higher education. It is not forbidden but is a matter of conscience. Higher education creates the risk of detracting from one's spiritual work and can result in harmful associations with fellow students who may lack integrity. It is therefore recommended that, if possible, Witnesses who undergo should continue to live at home. Those who seek education beyond school level are urged to consider their motives for doing so: education should not be for personal status or for a high salary, MAGAZINE, Parents-What Future Do You Want for Your Children?, The Watchtower, October 1, 2005, 26–31,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses believe their highest allegiance belongs to God's kingdom, which is viewed as an actual government in heaven, with Christ as king. They remain politically neutral, do not seek public office, and are discouraged from voting, though individual members may participate in uncontroversial community improvement issues.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, November 1, 1999, Questions From Readers, 28,weblink As to whether they will personally vote for someone running in an election, each one of Jehovah's Witnesses makes a decision based on his Bible-trained conscience and an understanding of his responsibility to God and to the State., MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, March 1, 1983, Questions From Readers, 30,weblink Although they do not take part in politics, they respect the authority of the governments under which they live.WEB,weblink Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Maintain Political Neutrality?, Watch Tower Society, They do not celebrate religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter, nor do they observe birthdays, national holidays, or other celebrations they consider to honor people other than Jesus. They feel that these and many other customs have pagan origins or reflect a nationalistic or political spirit. Their position is that these traditional holidays reflect Satan's control over the world.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, Reasoning From The Scriptures, 178,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, August 15, 2009, Keep Yourselves in God's Love, 22,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, September 15, 1968, The Seriousness of It, 6,weblink Witnesses are told that spontaneous giving at other times can help their children to not feel deprived of birthdays or other celebrations.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, October 15, 1992, Work to Preserve Your Family Into God's New World, 21,weblink They do not work in industries associated with the military, do not serve in the armed services,BOOK, Worship the Only True God, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 2002, 159,weblink and refuse national military service, which in some countries may result in their arrest and imprisonment.WEB,weblink Korea government promises to adopt alternative service system for conscientious objectors, October 4, 2007, Jehovah's Witnesses Official Media Web Site, Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20091224152134weblink">weblink December 24, 2009, yes, They do not salute or pledge allegiance to flags or sing national anthems or patriotic songs.BOOK, Education, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 2002, 20–23,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses see themselves as a worldwide brotherhood that transcends national boundaries and ethnic loyalties.JOURNAL, Owens, Gene, Trials of a Jehovah's Witness.(The Faith of Journalists), Nieman Reports, September 1997, Sociologist Ronald Lawson has suggested the group's intellectual and organizational isolation, coupled with the intense indoctrination of adherents, rigid internal discipline and considerable persecution, has contributed to the consistency of its sense of urgency in its apocalyptic message.Ronald Lawson, "Sect-state relations: Accounting for the differing trajectories of Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses", Sociology of Religion, Winter 1995, "The urgency of the Witness's apocalyptic has changed very little over time. The intellectual isolation of the Witness leaders has allowed them to retain their traditional position, and it is they who continue to be the chief purveyors of the radical eschataology ....This commitment (to principle) was bolstered by their organizational isolation, intense indoctrination of adherents, rigid internal discipline, and considerable persecution."

Rejection of blood transfusions

Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions, which they consider a violation of God's law based on their interpretation of Acts 15:28, 29 and other scriptures.{{harvnb|Penton|1997|page=i}}BOOK, Reasoning From the Scriptures, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1989, 70–75,weblink {{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|page=91}} Since 1961 the willing acceptance of a blood transfusion by an unrepentant member has been grounds for expulsion from the group.JOURNAL, BMJ, Bioethical aspects of the recent changes in the policy of refusal of blood by Jehovah's Witnesses, January 6, 2001, 37–39, 11141155, 10.1136/bmj.322.7277.37, Muramoto, O., 322, 7277, 1119307, harv, BOOK, Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1993, 183,weblink Members are directed to refuse blood transfusions, even in "a life-or-death situation".BOOK, United in Worship of the Only True God, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1983, 156–160,weblink BOOK, Bowman, R. M., E. Calvin Beisner, Beisner, E. C., Ehrenborg, T., Jehovah's Witnesses, Zondervan, 1995, 13, 978-0-310-70411-9,weblink BOOK, Botting, Heather, Gary Botting, The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, University of Toronto Press, 1984, 29–30, 978-0-8020-6545-2, Jehovah's Witnesses accept non-blood alternatives and other medical procedures in lieu of blood transfusions, and their literature provides information about non-blood medical procedures.BOOK, How Blood Can Save Your Life, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1990, 13–17,weblink Though Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions of whole blood, they may accept some blood plasma fractions at their own discretion.MAGAZINE, June 15, 2000, Questions From Readers—Do Jehovah's Witnesses accept any medical products derived from blood?, The Watchtower, 30,weblink harv, JOURNAL, Sniesinski, Anesthesia & Analgesia, Coagulopathy After Cardiopulmonary Bypass in Jehovah's Witness Patients: Management of Two Cases Using Fractionated Components and Factor VIIa,weblink April 2007, 104, 10.1213/01.ane.0000250913.45299.f3, PDF, December 30, 2008, 17377078, Chen, EP, Levy, JH, Szlam, F, Tanaka, KA, 4, harv, 763–5, etal, MAGAZINE, August 2006, The Real Value of Blood, Awake!, 11,weblink harv, The Watch Tower Society provides pre-formatted durable power of attorney documents prohibiting major blood components, in which members can specify which allowable fractions and treatments they will personally accept.BOOK, Durable Power of Attorney form, Watch Tower Society, January 2001, 1, Examples of permitted fractions are: Interferon, Immune Serum Globulins {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20080106083752weblink |date=January 6, 2008 }} and Factor VIII; preparations made from Hemoglobin such as PolyHeme {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20080723234940weblink |date=July 23, 2008 }} and Hemopure. Examples of permitted procedures involving the medical use of one's own blood include: cell salvage {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20080706171315weblink |date=July 6, 2008 }}, hemodilution {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20080907143504weblink |date=September 7, 2008 }}, heart lung machine, dialysis, epidural blood patch {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20080905212647weblink |date=September 5, 2008 }}, plasmapheresis, blood labeling or tagging {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20080106084037weblink |date=January 6, 2008 }} and platelet gel {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20080106083757weblink |date=January 6, 2008 }} (autologous)MAGAZINE, November 2006, Our Kingdom Ministry, PDF, 5–6,weblink harv, Jehovah's Witnesses have established Hospital Liaison Committees as a cooperative arrangement between individual Jehovah's Witnesses and medical professionals and hospitals.MAGAZINE, Jehovah's Witnesses and Medical Profession Cooperate, Awake!, November 22, 1993, 24–27,weblink WEB,weblink Kim Archer, "Jehovah's Witness liaisons help surgeons adapt", Tulsa World, May 15, 2007.,

Demographics

(File:JWStats1931-2015.png|366px|right)Jehovah's Witnesses have an active presence in most countries, but do not form a large part of the population of any country.For 2018, Jehovah's Witnesses reported approximately 8.58 million publishers—the term they use for members actively involved in preaching—in about 120,000 congregations. For the same year, they reported over 2 billion hours spent in preaching activity, and conducted Bible studies with more than 10 million individuals (including those conducted by Witness parents with their childrenMAGAZINE, Our Kingdom Ministry, November 2003, Question Box–Should a family Bible study be reported to the congregation?, Watch Tower Society, 3,weblink MAGAZINE, Our Kingdom Ministry, September 2008, Question Box—May both parents report the time used for the regular family study?, 3,weblink ). Jehovah's Witnesses estimate their worldwide annual growth since 2016 to be 1.4%.The official published membership statistics, such as those mentioned above, include only those who submit reports for their personal ministry;WEB,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses Official Media Web Site: Our History and Organization: Membership, Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses, While other religious groups count their membership by occasional or annual attendance, this figure reflects only those who are actively involved in the public Bible educational work [of Jehovah's Witnesses]., yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20121204211516weblink">weblink December 4, 2012, official statistics do not include inactive and disfellowshipped individuals or others who might attend their meetings. As a result, only about half of those who self-identified as Jehovah's Witnesses in independent demographic studies are considered active by the faith itself.JOURNAL, U.S. Religious Landscape Survey Religious Affiliation: Diverse and Dynamic, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, February 2008, 9, 30, harv, WEB,weblink Advent Christian Church- Religious Groups - The Association of Religion Data Archives, The 2008 US Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey found a low retention rate among members of the denomination: about 37% of people raised in the group continued to identify themselves as Jehovah's Witnesses;WEB,weblink America's Unfaithful Faithful, David Van, Biema, February 25, 2008, content.time.com, WEB,weblink PEW Forum on Religion and Public Life. U.S. Religious Landscape Survey: Religious Affiliation: Diverse and Dynamic, June 20, 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170417032920weblink">weblink April 17, 2017, yes, the next lowest retention rates were for Buddhism at 50% and Catholicism at 68%. The study also found that 65% of adult Jehovah's Witnesses in the US are converts.WEB,weblink A closer look at Jehovah's Witnesses living in the U.S., Pew Research Center,

Sociological analysis

{{See also|Sociological classifications of religious movements}}Sociologist James A. Beckford, in his 1975 study of Jehovah's Witnesses, classified the group's organizational structure as Totalizing, characterized by an assertive leadership, specific and narrow objectives, control over competing demands on members' time and energy, and control over the quality of new members. Other characteristics of the classification include likelihood of friction with secular authorities, reluctance to co-operate with other religious organizations, a high rate of membership turnover, a low rate of doctrinal change, and strict uniformity of beliefs among members.{{harvnb|Beckford|1975|pages=92, 98–100}} Beckford identified the group's chief characteristics as historicism (identifying historical events as relating to the outworking of God's purpose), absolutism (conviction that Jehovah's Witness leaders dispense absolute truth), activism (capacity to motivate members to perform missionary tasks), rationalism (conviction that Witness doctrines have a rational basis devoid of mystery), authoritarianism (rigid presentation of regulations without the opportunity for criticism) and world indifference (rejection of certain secular requirements and medical treatments).{{harvnb|Beckford|1975|pages=196–207}}Sociologist Bryan R. Wilson, in his consideration of five religious groups including Jehovah's Witnesses, noted that each of the denominations:Bryan R. Wilson, "The Persistence of Sects", Diskus, Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religions, Vol 1, No. 2, 1993
  1. "exists in a state of tension with the wider society;"
  2. "imposes tests of merit on would-be members;"
  3. "exercises stern discipline, regulating the declared beliefs and the life habits of members and prescribing and operating sanctions for those who deviate, including the possibility of expulsion;"
  4. "demands sustained and total commitment from its members, and the subordination, and perhaps even the exclusion of all other interests."
A sociological comparative study by the Pew Research Center found that Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States ranked highest in statistics for getting no further than high school graduation, belief in God, importance of religion in one's life, frequency of religious attendance, frequency of prayers, frequency of Bible reading outside of religious services, belief their prayers are answered, belief that their religion can only be interpreted one way, belief that theirs is the only one true faith leading to eternal life, opposition to abortion, and opposition to homosexuality. In the study, Jehovah's Witnesses ranked lowest in statistics for having an interest in politics.WEB,weblink Religious Beliefs and Practices, U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Pew Research Center, December 14, 2017, June 2008, WEB,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses, U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Pew Research Center, December 14, 2017, It was also among the most ethnically diverse religious groups in the US.

Opposition

Controversy surrounding various beliefs, doctrines and practices of Jehovah's Witnesses has led to opposition from governments, communities, and religious groups. Religious commentator Ken Jubber wrote that "Viewed globally, this persecution has been so persistent and of such intensity that it would not be inaccurate to regard Jehovah's Witnesses as the most persecuted group of Christians of the twentieth century."JOURNAL, Jubber, Ken, The Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Southern Africa, Social Compass, 24, 1, 121–134, 1977, 10.1177/003776867702400108,

Persecution

{{See also|Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Nazi Germany}}File:Purple Triangle.JPG|thumb|right|Jehovah's Witness prisoners were identified by purple triangle badges in Nazi concentration camps.]]Political and religious animosity against Jehovah's Witnesses has at times led to mob action and government oppression in various countries.Their stance regarding political neutrality and their refusal to serve in the military has led to imprisonment of members who refused conscription during World War II and at other times where national service has been compulsory. Their religious activities are currently banned or restricted in some countries, including China, Vietnam and some Islamic states.BOOK, Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1993, 490,weblink BOOK, Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1991, 222,weblink
  • In 1933, there were approximately 20,000 Jehovah's Witnesses in Nazi Germany,BOOK, Penton, James, Jehovah's witnesses and the third reich, University of Toronto Press, 2004, 978-0802086785, 376, of whom about 10,000 were imprisoned. Of those, 2,000 were sent to Nazi concentration camps, where they were identified by purple triangles; as many as 1,200 died, including 250 who were executed.BOOK, Garbe, Detlef, Between Resistance and Martyrdom: Jehovah's Witnesses in the Third Reich, University of Wisconsin Press, 2008, Madison, Wisconsin, 484, 978-0-299-20794-6, Shulman, William L. A State of Terror: Germany 1933–1939. Bayside, New York: Holocaust Resource Center and Archives.Holocaust Education Foundation website.BOOK, Hesse, Hans, Persecution and Resistance of Jehovah's Witnesses During the Nazi Regime, Edition Temmen, 2001, 978-3-86108-750-2, 12,
  • In Canada during World War II, Jehovah's Witnesses were interned in campsBOOK, Kaplan, William, State and Salvation, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1989, along with political dissidents and people of Chinese and Japanese descent.NEWS, Yaffee, Barbara, Witnesses Seek Apology for Wartime Persecution, The Globe and Mail, September 9, 1984, 4, Jehovah's Witnesses faced discrimination in Quebec until the Quiet Revolution, including bans on distributing literature or holding meetings.WEB,weblink Saumur v Quebec (City of), Supreme Court of Canada, [1953] 2 SCR 299,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110706012152weblink">weblink July 6, 2011, yes, WEB,weblink Roncarelli v Duplessis, Supreme Court of Canada, [1959] SCR 121,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20130112043742weblink">weblink January 12, 2013, yes,
  • In 1951, about 9,300 Jehovah's Witnesses in the Soviet Union were deported to Siberia as part of Operation North in April 1951.Валерий Пасат ."Трудные страницы истории Молдовы (1940–1950)". Москва: Изд. Terra, 1994 {{ru icon}}
  • In April 2017, the Supreme Court of Russia labeled Jehovah's Witnesses an extremist organization, banned its activities in Russia and issued an order to confiscate the organization's assets.NEWS,weblink Russian court bans Jehovah's Witnesses as extremist, delfi.lt, April 20, 2017, Reuters, April 20, 2017,
Authors including William Whalen, Shawn Francis Peters and former Witnesses Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, Alan Rogerson and William Schnell have claimed the arrests and mob violence in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s were the consequence of what appeared to be a deliberate course of provocation of authorities and other religious groups by Jehovah's Witnesses. Whalen, Harrison and Schnell have suggested Rutherford invited and cultivated opposition for publicity purposes in a bid to attract dispossessed members of society, and to convince members that persecution from the outside world was evidence of the truth of their struggle to serve God.BOOK, Peters, Shawn Francis, Judging Jehovah's Witnesses: Religious Persecution and the Dawn of the Rights Revolution, University Press of Kansas, 2000, 82, 116–9, 978-0-7006-1008-2, Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, Visions of Glory, 1978, chapter 6.BOOK, Whalen, William J., Armageddon Around the Corner: A Report on Jehovah's Witnesses, John Day Company, 1962, New York, 190, BOOK, Schnell, William, 30 Years a Watchtower Slave, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1971, 104–106, 978-0-8010-6384-8, BOOK, Rogerson, Alan, Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses, Constable & Co, London, 1969, 59, 978-0094559400, Watch Tower Society literature of the period directed that Witnesses should "never seek a controversy" nor resist arrest, but also advised members not to co-operate with police officers or courts that ordered them to stop preaching, and to prefer jail rather than pay fines.BOOK, Advice for Kingdom Publishers, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1939, 5–6, 14,

Legal challenges

Several cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses have been heard by Supreme Courts throughout the world.Gary Botting, Fundamental Freedoms and Jehovah's Witnesses (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1993) The cases generally relate to their right to practice their religion, displays of patriotism and military service, and blood transfusions.BOOK, Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1993, 679–701,weblink In the United States, legal challenges by Jehovah's Witnesses prompted a series of state and federal court rulings that reinforced judicial protections for civil liberties.Botting, Fundamental Freedoms and Jehovah's Witnesses, pp. 1–14; Shawn Francis Peters, Judging Jehovah's Witnesses, University Press of Kansas: 2000, pages 12–16. Among the rights strengthened by Witness court victories in the United States are the protection of religious conduct from federal and state interference, the right to abstain from patriotic rituals and military service, the right of patients to refuse medical treatment, and the right to engage in public discourse.WEB,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses and civil rights, Knocking.org, August 16, 2012, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20120901075011weblink">weblink September 1, 2012, Similar cases in their favor have been heard in Canada.Botting, Fundamental Freedoms..., pp. 15–201

Criticism and controversy

Jehovah's Witnesses have received criticism from mainstream Christianity, members of the medical community, former members and commentators regarding their beliefs and practices. The movement has been accused of doctrinal inconsistency and reversals, failed predictions, mistranslation of the Bible, harsh treatment of former members and autocratic and coercive leadership. Criticism has also focused on their rejection of blood transfusions, particularly in life-threatening medical situations, and failing to report cases of sexual abuse to the authorities. Many of the claims are denied by Jehovah's Witnesses and some have also been disputed by courts and religious scholars.

Free speech and thought

Doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses are established by the Governing Body.{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|page=22}}WEB,weblink Case Study 29: Jehovah’s Witnesses, July 27, 2015, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, The denomination does not tolerate dissent over doctrines and practices;MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View, 591,weblink Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect ... in submitting to Jehovah's visible theocratic organization, we must be in full and complete agreement with every feature of its apostolic procedure and requirements., MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, April 1, 2007, Loyal to Christ and His Faithful Slave, 24,weblink When we loyally submit to the direction of the faithful slave and its Governing Body, we are submitting to Christ, the slave's Master., {{harvnb|Beckford|1975|pages=89, 95, 103, 120, 204, 221}} members who openly disagree with the group's teachings are expelled and shunned. Witness publications strongly discourage followers from questioning doctrine and counsel received from the Governing Body, reasoning that it is to be trusted as part of "God's organization".MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, January 15, 1983, 'Exposing the Devil's Subtle Designs' and 'Armed for the Fight Against Wicked Spirits', 18–27,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, August 15, 1981, Serving Jehovah Shoulder to Shoulder, 28,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, February 1, 1952, Jehovah's Theocratic Organization Today, 79–81,weblink It also warns members to "avoid independent thinking", claiming such thinking "was introduced by Satan the Devil"MAGAZINE, Exposing the Devil's Subtle Designs, The Watchtower, January 15, 1983, 27,weblink From the very outset of his rebellion Satan called into question God's way of doing things. He promoted independent thinking. ... How is such independent thinking manifested? A common way is by questioning the counsel that is provided by God's visible organization., MAGAZINE, Visits from Older Men Benefit God's People, The Watchtower, February 15, 1979, 20,weblink In a world where people are tossed about by confusing winds of religious doctrine, Jehovah's people need to be stable, full-grown Christians. (Eph. 4:13, 14) Their position must be steadfast, not shifting quickly because of independent thinking or emotional pressures., and would "cause division".MAGAZINE, Building a Firm Foundation in Christ, The Watchtower, May 1, 1964, 277–278,weblink It is through the columns of The Watchtower that Jehovah provides direction and constant Scriptural counsel to his people, and it requires careful study and attention to details in order to apply this information, to get a full understanding of the principles involved, and to assure ourselves of right thinking on these matters. It is in this way that we "are thoroughly able to grasp mentally with all the holy ones" the fullness of our commission and of the preaching responsibility that Jehovah has placed on all Christians as footstep followers of his Son. Any other course would produce independent thinking and cause division., Those who openly disagree with official teachings are condemned as "apostates" who are "mentally diseased".See also Raymond Franz, In Search of Christian Freedom, pg. 358.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, July 15, 2011, Will You Heed Jehovah's Clear Warnings?, 15,weblink Former members Heather and Gary Botting compare the cultural paradigms of the denomination to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four,The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984, passim. and Alan Rogerson describes the group's leadership as totalitarian.Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, page 50. Other critics charge that by disparaging individual decision-making, the group's leaders cultivate a system of unquestioning obedience{{harvnb|Beckford|1975|pages=204, 221}}, The habit of questioning or qualifying Watch Tower doctrine is not only under-developed among the Witnesses: it is strenuously combated at all organizational levels in which Witnesses abrogate all responsibility and rights over their personal lives.BOOK, Botting, Heather, Gary Botting, The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, University of Toronto Press, 1984, 90, 978-0-8020-6545-2, Most Witnesses, although capable of intelligent, reasonable thought, have as part of the payment for paradise delegated authority to the organization for directing their lives ... and finally abrogate all responsibility and rights over their personal lives—in effect, allowing the society to do their thinking for them., Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, page 178, "The newly converted Witness must conform immediately to the doctrines of the Watchtower Society, thus whatever individuality of mind he possessed before conversion is liable to be eradicated if he stays in the movement.". Critics also accuse the group's leaders of exercising "intellectual dominance" over Witnesses,James A. Beverley, Crisis of Allegiance, Welch Publishing Company, Burlington, Ontario, 1986, {{ISBN|0-920413-37-4}}, pages 25–26, 101. controlling information{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|page=153}}Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, page 2, "In addition to the prevalent ignorance outside the Witness movement, there is much ignorance within it. It will soon become obvious to the reader that the Witnesses are an indoctrinated people whose beliefs and thoughts are shaped by the Watchtower Society." and creating "mental isolation", which former Governing Body member Raymond Franz argued were all elements of mind control.R. Franz, "In Search of Christian Freedom", chapter 12Jehovah's Witness publications state that consensus of faith aids unity, and deny that unity restricts individuality or imagination.MAGAZINE, Maintaining our Christian Oneness, The Watchtower, August 15, 1988, 28–30,weblink Historian James Irvin Lichti has rejected the description of the denomination as "totalitarian".The Routledge History of the Holocaust, Routledge, 2010, "Labeling the Jehovah's Witnesses as totalitarian trivializes the term totalitarian and defames the Jehovah's Witnesses."Sociologist Rodney Stark states that Jehovah's Witness leaders are "not always very democratic" and that members "are expected to conform to rather strict standards," but adds that "enforcement tends to be very informal, sustained by the close bonds of friendship within the group", and that Jehovah's Witnesses see themselves as "part of the power structure rather than subject to it." Sociologist Andrew Holden states that most members who join millenarian movements such as Jehovah's Witnesses have made an informed choice.{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|pages=x, 7}} However, he also states that defectors "are seldom allowed a dignified exit", and describes the administration as autocratic.

New World Translation

Various Bible scholars, including Bruce M. MetzgerJOURNAL, Metzger, Bruce, July 1, 1964, Book Review: New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures,weblink The Bible Translator, 15, 3, 151, October 30, 2018, On the whole, one gains a tolerably good impression of the scholarly equipment of the translators (their names are not divulged.). They refer not only to modern translations, including various English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese translations, but to ancient versions as well, including the Old Latin, Old Syriac, Vulgate, Armenian and Ethiopoc versions. Frequently an intelligent use of critical information is apparent., and MacLean Gilmour,JOURNAL, Gilmour, MacLean, September 1966, The Use and Abuse of the Book of Revelation, Andover Newton Quarterly, 7, 1, 25–26, The New World translation was made by a committee whose membership has never been revealed-a committee that possessed an unusual competence in Greek ... It is clear that doctrinal considerations influenced many turns of phrase, but the work is no crack-pot or pseudo-historical fraud.* ... *See Robert M. McCoy 'Jehovah's Witnesses and Their New Testament', Andover Newton Quarterly, Jan., 1963, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 15–31, have said that while scholarship is evident in New World Translation, its rendering of certain texts are inaccurate and biased in favor of Witness practices and doctrines.JOURNAL, Metzger, Bruce M., April 1, 1953, The Jehovah's Witnesses and Jesus Christ, Theology Today, 10, 1, 74, 10.1177/004057365301000110, 1998ThT....55..305G, See also Metzger, "The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures," The Bible Translator (July 1964).JOURNAL, McCoy, Robert, January 1963, Jehovah's Witnesses and Their New Testament, Andover Newton Quarterly, 3, 3, 15–31, The translation of the New Testament is evidence of the presence in the movement of scholars qualified to deal intelligently with the many problems of Biblical translation. ... In not a few instances the New World Translation contains passages which must be considered as 'theological translations.', JOURNAL, Haas, Samuel S., December 1955, Book Review: New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Vol. I by New World Bible Translation Committee, Journal of Biblical Literature, 74, 4, 282–283, 10.2307/3261681, this work indicates a great deal of effort and thought as well as considerable scholarship, it is to be regretted that religious bias was allowed to colour many passages., 3261681, See also JOURNAL, Owens, John Joseph, April 1, 1956, Book Review: New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, Review & Expositor, 53, 2, 253–254, 10.1177/003463735605300239, BOOK, John Ankerberg, John Weldon, Dillon Burroughs, The Facts on Jehovah's Witnesses,weblink 2008, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR, 978-0-7369-3907-2, 43–45, See also John Ankerberg and John Weldon, 2003, The New World Translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses, accessible weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20121029043702weblink">online{{harvnb|Penton|1997|pages=174–176}} Critics of the group such as Edmund C. Gruss,Edmond C. Gruss, Apostles of Denial, p. 211: "the honest mind can only conclude that this work, although outwardly scholarly, is plainly in many places, just the opposite." and Christian writers such as Ray C. Stedman,Stedman, R.C., "The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures," Our Hope 50; 34, July 1953. 30 as quoted in Edmond C. Gruss, Apostles of Denial, p. 209: "A close examination, which gets beneath the outward veneer of scholarship, reveals a veritable shambles of bigotry, ignorance, prejudice, and biais which violates every rule of biblical criticism and every standard of scholarly integrity." Walter Martin, Norman KlannMartin, W., & Klann, N., Jehovah of the Watchtower, (Minneapolis: Bethany, 1974 161) and Anthony HoekemaHoekema, A., The Four Major Cults (Exeter: Paternoster, 1963) 208-9 state that the New World Translation exhibits scholastic dishonesty. Most criticism of the New World Translation relates to its rendering of the New Testament, particularly regarding the introduction of the name Jehovah and in passages related to the Trinity doctrine.G. HÉBERT/EDS, "Jehovah's Witnesses", The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Gale, 20052, Vol. 7, p. 751.Anthony A. Hoekema, The Four Major Cults, Christian Science, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, Seventh-day Adventism, William B. Eerdmans, 1963, {{ISBN|0802831176}}, pp. 208–209

Unfulfilled predictions

Watch Tower Society publications have claimed that God has used Jehovah's Witnesses (and formerly, the International Bible Students) to declare his willMAGAZINE, The Watchtower, May 1, 1997, Messengers of Godly Peace Pronounced Happy, 21,weblink BOOK, Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1993, 708,weblink and has provided advance knowledge about Armageddon and the establishment of God's kingdom.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, October 15, 1980, Execution of the 'Great Harlot' Nears, 17,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, July 15, 2010, What Jehovah's Day Will Reveal, 5,weblink MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, July 15, 1960, Staying Awake with the "Faithful and Discreet Slave", 444,weblink In 1942 the faithful and discreet slave guided by Jehovah's unerring spirit made known that the democracies would win World War II and that there would be a United Nations organization set up ... Once again the faithful and discreet slave has been tipped off ahead of time for the guidance of all lovers of God., (Footnote cites the booklet Peace—Can It Last, 1942, pages 21,22.) Some publications also claimed that God has used Jehovah's Witnesses and the International Bible Students as a modern-day prophet.Raymond Franz cites numerous examples. In Crisis of Conscience, 2002, pg. 173, he quotes from MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, April 1, 1972, They Shall Know That a Prophet Was Among Them, 197–200,weblink which states that God had raised Jehovah's Witnesses as a prophet "to warn (people) of dangers and declare things to come". He also cites MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, May 1, 1997, Identifying the Right Kind of Messenger, 8,weblink which identifies the Witnesses as his "true messengers ... by making the messages he delivers through them come true", in contrast to "false messengers", whose predictions fail. In In Search of Christian Freedom, 2007, he quotes BOOK, Commissioned to Speak in the Divine Name, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1971, 70, 292,weblink which describes Witnesses as the modern Ezekiel class, "a genuine prophet within our generation". The Watch Tower book noted: "Concerning the message faithfully delivered by the Ezekiel class, Jehovah positively states that it 'must come true' ... those who wait undecided until it does 'come true' will also have to know that a prophet himself had proved to be in the midst of them." He also cites MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, October 15, 1980, Execution of the Great Harlot Nears, 17,weblink which claims God gives the Witnesses "special knowledge that others do not have ... advance knowledge about this system's end". George D. Chryssides stated, "while prediction may be part of a biblical prophet's role, the root meaning of prophecy is that of proclaiming God's word." He went on to say that, "Jehovah's Witnesses ... are the recipients of prophecy, who regard themselves as invested with the interpretation of biblical writings."BOOK, Chryssides, George, Jehovah's Witnesses Continuity and Change, Ashgate, 2016, England, 224, 978-1-4094-5608-7, In Jehovah's Witnesses Continuity and Change Chryssides states, after discussing the April 1, 1972 Watchtower article, that, "It would be tedious to comment on each passage in which Watch Tower literature explains the Jehovah's Witnesses' position on prophecy. Some of it may lack the precision that its detractors appear to demand, but the Society's position is quite clear. Jehovah's Witnesses do not claim to have any new revelation or people who are designated as prophets. As cessationists, they identify the ability to prophesy as a gift that died out with the first generation of Christians, but prophetic utterances remain in the Bible, which serves as the key source of authority. ... since the Bible is held to contain predictive prophecy, Jehovah's Witnesses claim to see into the future through the Society's interpretation of scripture." pg 225. With these interpretations, Jehovah's Witnesses' publications have made various predictions about world events they believe were prophesied in the Bible.MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, January 15, 1959, Down with the Old-Up with the New!, 39–41,weblink BOOK, Crompton, Robert, Counting the Days to Armageddon, James Clarke & Co, 1996, Cambridge, 9, 115, 978-0-227-67939-5, Failed predictions have led to the alteration or abandonment of some doctrines.BOOK, Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1993, 78, 632,weblink {{harvnb|Beckford|1975|pages=219–221}} Some failed predictions had been presented as "beyond doubt" or "approved by God".James A. Beverley, Crisis of Allegiance, Welch Publishing Company, Burlington, Ontario, 1986, {{ISBN|0-920413-37-4}}, page 86–91.The Watch Tower Society rejects accusations that it is a false prophet,MAGAZINE, Awake!, March 22, 1993, Why So Many False Alarms?, 3–4,weblink footnote stating that its interpretations are not inspired or infallible,BOOK, Revelation—Its Grand Climax, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, 9,weblink BOOK, Reasoning From the Scriptures, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, False Prophets—Have not Jehovah's Witnesses made errors in their teachings?, 137,weblink MAGAZINE, To Whom Shall We Go but Jesus Christ?, Watchtower, March 1, 1979, 23,weblink the "faithful and discreet slave" has alerted all of God's people to the sign of the times indicating the nearness of God's Kingdom rule. In this regard, however, it must be observed that this "faithful and discreet slave" was never inspired, never perfect. Those writings by certain members of the "slave" class that came to form the Christian part of God's Word were inspired and infallible [the bible], but that is not true of other writings since., and that it has not claimed its predictions were "the words of Jehovah." Chryssides has suggested that with the exception of statements about 1914, 1925 and 1975, the changing views and dates of the Jehovah's Witnesses are largely attributable to changed understandings of biblical chronology rather than to failed predictions. Chryssides further states, "it is therefore simplistic and naïve to view the Witnesses as a group that continues to set a single end-date that fails and then devise a new one, as many counter-cultists do."BOOK, Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses, George D. Chryssides, 2008, xiv,weblink's+witnesses#v=onepage&q=simplistic, 9780810862692, However, sociologist Andrew Holden states that since the foundation of the movement around 140 years ago, "Witnesses have maintained that we are living on the precipice of the end of time."{{harvnb|Holden|2002|Portrait|page=7}}

Handling of sexual abuse cases

Jehovah's Witnesses have been accused of having policies and culture that help to conceal cases of sexual abuse within the organization.NEWS, Goodstein, Laurie, Ousted members say Jehovah's Witnesses' policy on abuse hides offenses, The New York Times, August 11, 2002,weblink October 1, 2015, The group has been criticized for its "two witness rule" for church discipline, based on its application of scriptures at Deuteronomy 19:15 and Matthew 18:15–17, which requires sexual abuse to be substantiated by secondary evidence if the accused person denies any wrongdoing.WEB,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses and Child Protection, Jehovah's Witnesses Official Media website,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20091123144858weblink">weblink November 23, 2009, REPORT,weblink Public Hearing - Case Study 29 (Day 152), 67,72, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Australia, in the absence of a confession or circumstantial evidence or other indicators, would we act judicially on one witness as the courts would do, the answer would be no, and I don't see that changing, in harmony with the scriptures. ... Q. Insofar as a second witness is concerned, is that requirement covered by, for example, scientific evidence? A. Certainly. Q. So if there was some external forensic scientific or direct evidence which is not of an observer to the incident, but someone who observes some corroborative aspect to the incident, that would be sufficient, would it? A. The answer is yes... we, as the case files will show, have disfellowshipped people for being in an inappropriate setting where there is some allegation., REPORT,weblink Public Hearing - Case Study 29 (Day 155), 44,45, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Australia, In cases where corroboration is lacking, the Watch Tower Society's instruction is that "the elders will leave the matter in Jehovah's hands".BOOK, Shepherd the Flock of God, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 2010, Brooklyn, New York, 72, A former member of the headquarters staff, Barbara Anderson, says the policy effectively requires that there be another witness to an act of molestation, "which is an impossibility". Anderson says the policies "protect pedophiles rather than protect the children."NEWS, Lisa Myers, Richard Greenberg, New evidence in Jehovah's Witness allegations,weblink NBC News, New York, NY, November 21, 2007, Jehovah's Witnesses maintain that they have a strong policy to protect children, adding that the best way to protect children is by educating parents; they also state that they do not sponsor activities that separate children from parents.WEB,weblink Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Scripturally Based Position on Child Protection, Official Website of Jehovah’s Witnesses., JOURNAL, Awake!, How to Protect Your Children, October 2007, 4–8,weblink REPORT,weblink Report of case study no.29, 9,28, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Australia, The group's failure to report abuse allegations to authorities has also been criticized.NEWS, Jones, Ciaran, June 29, 2014,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses destroyed documents showing child abuse allegations against church elder, Media Wales, Cardiff, UK, Wales Online, The Watch Tower Society's policy is that elders inform authorities when required by law to do so, but otherwise leave that action up to the victim and his or her family.REPORT,weblink Public Hearing - Case Study 29 (Day 152), 24–26, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Australia, BOOK, Shepherd the Flock of God, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 2010, Brooklyn, New York, 131–132, The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that of 1,006 alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse investigated by Jehovah's Witness elders since 1950, "not one was reported by the church to secular authorities." The Royal Commission also found that the Watch Tower Society legal department routinely provided incorrect information to elders based on an incorrect understanding about what constitutes a legal obligation to report crimes in Australia.REPORT, Report of Case Study No. 29, 62, The Royal Commission heard evidence that, before the public hearing of this case study, the Jehovah's Witness organisation did not consider that concealment offences were independent of obligations under mandatory reporting laws to report child sexual abuse., "Case Study 29", Day 153 p.16, 41—44, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, July 2015.] William Bowen, a former Jehovah's Witness elder who established the Silentlambs organization to assist sex abuse victims within the denomination, has claimed Witness leaders discourage followers from reporting incidents of sexual misconduct to authorities, and other critics claim the organization is reluctant to alert authorities in order to protect its "crime-free" reputation.JOURNAL, Cutrer, Corrie, Witness leaders accused of shielding molesters, Christianity Today, March 5, 2001,weblink Paul Carden, executive director for the Centers for Apologetics Research in San Juan Capistrano, California, says this protective attitude is prevalent in the WTBTS. "There is a fortress mentality," Carden says. "The Watchtower Society is loath to admit wrongdoing of any sort. Because they portray themselves as being Jehovah's sole mouthpiece to mankind, they have sought to present themselves as being above question.", In court cases in the United Kingdom and the United States the Watch Tower Society has been found to have been negligent in its failure to protect children from known sex offenders within the congregation,WEB,weblink Jane Doe (Candace Conti) v. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc. et al., California courts of appeal#First District, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Three, April 13, 2015, Court of Appeal Opinion (PDF).NEWS, Former Jehovah's Witness Takes on Church Over Sex Abuse Allegations,weblink VIDEO, ABC News, New York, NY, March 12, 2015, NEWS,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses to compensate woman over sex abuse, BBC News, London, UK, June 19, 2015, and the Society has settled other child abuse lawsuits out of court, reportedly paying as much as $780,000 to one plaintiff without admitting wrongdoing.In 2017, the Charity Commission for England and Wales began an inquiry into Jehovah's Witnesses' handling of allegations of child sexual abuse in the United Kingdom.WEB,weblink Jehovah's Witnesses let sex offender interrogate victims, BBC News, July 26, 2017, Michael Buchanan, November 20, 2017, One particular concern is the Church's policy of dismissing an allegation if it fails its two-witness policy, which states two people need to have seen the abuse for the Church to proceed with a full investigation. There are also calls for the independent child abuse inquiry to examine the Church's policy., WEB,weblink Decision: Manchester New Moston Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, Charity Commission for England and Wales, July 26, 2017, November 20, 2017,

Notes

{{Reflist|group=note}}

References

{{Reflist|30em}}

Further reading

{{details|Bibliography of Jehovah's Witnesses}}
  • BOOK


, Gary, Botting
, Gary Botting
, Fundamental Freedoms and Jehovah's Witnesses, University of Calgary Press, 1993
, 978-1-895176-06-3
,
  • BOOK


, Heather and Gary, Botting
, Gary Botting
, The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, University of Toronto Press, 1984
, 978-0-8020-6545-2
,
  • BOOK


, George D., Chryssides
, George Chryssides
, Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses, Scarecrow Press, 2008
, 978-0-8108-6074-2
, {hide}harvid, Chryssides, Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses,
{edih}
  • BOOK, George D., Chryssides, George Chryssides, Jehovah's Witnesses: Continuity and Change
year=2016, 9781409456087,
  • Crompton, Robert. Counting the Days to Armageddon. James Clarke & Co, Cambridge, 1996. {{ISBN|0-227-67939-3}}
    • A detailed examination of the development of Jehovah's Witnesses' eschatology.
  • BOOK


, Holden, Andrew
, Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement
, Routledge
, 2002
, 978-0-415-26610-9
, {hide}harvid, Holden, 2002, Portrait,
{edih}
    • An academic study on the sociological aspects of Jehovah's Witnesses phenomenon.
  • Kaplan, William. State and Salvation Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989. {{ISBN|0-8020-5842-6}}
    • Documents the Witnesses' fight for civil rights in Canada and the US amid political persecution during World War II.
  • BOOK, Knox, Zoe, Jehovah's Witnesses and the Secular World: From the 1870s to the Present
location=London, 2018, 9781137396044,
  • BOOK


, Penton, M. James
, James Penton
, Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses
, University of Toronto Press, 1997
, 978-0-8020-7973-2
, harv
,
    • Penton, professor emeritus of history at University of Lethbridge and a former member of the group, examines the history of Jehovah's Witnesses, and their doctrines.
  • Rogerson, Alan. Millions Now Living Will Never Die. London: Constable & Co, 1969. {{ISBN|978-0094559400}}
    • Detailed history of the Watch Tower movement, particularly its early years, a summary of Witness doctrines and the organizational and personal framework in which Witnesses conduct their lives
  • BOOK, Schulz, B. W., A Separate Identity: Organizational Identity Among Readers of Zion's Watch Tower: 1870-1887
year=2014, 978-1304969408,
    • Detailed history of the Watch Tower movement's earliest years written to an academic standard. Based on fresh research into original documents of the era. This is volume one of a planned two volume work.
  • Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom (1993)
    • Official history of Jehovah's Witnesses.
  • Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Faith In Action (2-DVD series), (2010–2011)
    • Official history of Jehovah's Witnesses.

External links

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