There is more to Jehovah’s Witnesses than we may believe. When we think of them as people who go door to door ringing doorbells and talking about religion. This particular faith is a separate part of the religion related to Christianity. They have their own thoughts about life and after life. They also have their own views on issues dealing on a “worldly” basis.
The founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses is Charles Taze Russell. The faith is simple and is derived from Orthodox Christianity. This faith is led by the Watchtower Society, whose headquarter is in Brooklyn, New York. They believe in Almighty God, whom they refer to as Jehovah. They believe that Christ is God’s son and is inferior to him. There will be a kingdom under Christ, and he will rule it in peace. They believe that the Earth as we know it today will be changed after the battle of Armageddon. At the end of everything, the wicked people will be destroyed, the good people will live on Earth, and 144,000 people will go to heaven (Fama 1).
In 1884, Russell founded the Watchtower Society. This was the early name for Jehovah’s Witnesses. This society is what leads and governs the religion. The Society believes that they are the sole channel between God and humanity (Campbell 1). The headquarter for the Witnesses is located in Brooklyn, New York. Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to go to meetings at local Society meetings within their own local community at least three times a week. The Society is what the followers are a part of. Going to meetings held by the Society is a big part of their faith. It makes up and determines many laws for the followers. One major issue that the Watchtower Society is to make predictions. They had many predictions in the past. A few are as follows: In 1874, they believed that Jesus had come back to Earth to set up his invisible kingdom. In 1914, Jesus would judge the Earth and its good and bad people; they then looked forward to momentous events in 1918 (Campbell1). By the time it hit 1925, and nothing supernatural happened, the Watchtower Society had lost three-fourths of its members (Campbell 1).
The Society makes predictions for the battle of Armageddon and the ending of the world. They believe that a generation lasts eighty years. After each marking point of a generation something can happen. The ending of the last generation was in 1994, 1914 plus 1998 equals eighty, eighty years after the prediction was expected. They say this because they believe that the average lifespan of a human in eighty years according to the psalms. The Society does a lot of ruling and regulates the religion (Campbell 2).
The followers are expected to abide by the laws of the Watchtower Society, and there are no exceptions for this. They are to do what they are advised and told to do so. Any member not obeying can be reported to by another member and later be shunned or get a punishment set by the Watchtower Society (Shaun 1).
The role of Christ in this religion is quite large. They believe that Christ is the Son of God and inferior to him, and that Christ was first of God’s creations. They also believe that Christ’s human life was paid as ransom for obedient humans. They say that Jesus inspected their organization in 1919 and found a “faithful and discreet slave class, dispensing fine spiritual food to true believers” (Fama 1). Right now they believe that Christ is present, but in the form of a spirit. According to the witnesses Christ’s kingdom is here but invisible to all. A lot of what they believe about life after death has to do with him. They believe that his death, being sacrificed, saved humanity and this sacrifice is what is letting humanity survive today (Fama 1). Although they do not believe that Jesus has died on a cross, but rather he died on a stake. This is why it is prohibited for them to wear or own a cross because it goes against what they believe about Jesus dying on a stake.
One aspect important to this faith is that the followers are expected to preach other about their religion. They do this by going door to door, and talking about their beliefs and want others to join in with the “right religion”. They are expected to do this weekly and it is a requirement set forth by the society. They must go out and recruit new members and then report their activities to the congregation each month.
Their lifestyle is led to be simple. They cannot have “worldly association,” in other words do anything that is not a part of their religion. They can not attend class reunions, become cheerleaders, girl scouts, public officers, go to war all this and more deal with “worldly association.” The followers cannot even go to college because, according to them, there is no need for it. People only go to get a degree to make more money and that reflects back upon a simple life and not needing money. One thing in particular that they are very strong about is talking to ex-members. Ex-members are to be shunned and not spoken to even family members. If someone’s daughter leaves the society, her siblings, parents, and everyone else that is a Jehovah’s Witness would shun her (Shaun 1). They also are against donating and receiving blood:
Ricarda Bradford was seriously injured in an automobile accident. She was in desperate need of a blood transfusion. Her father, a devout Jehovah’s Witness, refused to allow it, as Witnesses believe that the Bible prohibits blood transfusions. As a result, Ricarda died on her sixth birthday. (Fama 1)
The followers must stick with their own, the Watchtower Society. They cannot marry another who is not from their faith, otherwise they will be judged hard by the society.
Their goal is to live a good life; once they die they will be placed on the New Earth or heaven. The earth will never be destroyed. It will one day become a paradise is what the Witnesses believe. They believe that only 144,000 people will go to heaven, and the rest of the humanity who are considered good by God will live a peaceful life here on Earth. Their goal in life is to be good and honest people and follow the laws of the Bible.
Their views on the Bible are that it is God’s Word and is truth (What 2). The Bible is more reliable than tradition (What 2). Everything that society follows comes directly out of the Bible.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses is a faith, which is practiced widely right now. Their beliefs are different from that of Orthodox Christianity but still have many of its traits. The religion is strict and has rules that all Witnesses must abide by. They have prophecies and many predictions as well, and believe that they are “God’s Visible Organization” (Fama 1). The followers believe in a simple life. They say that in order to live peacefully they must abide by all that the Watchtower Society teaches them and once they are judged they may land a place on the new Earth (Fama 1).
Campbell, Timothy. “Tacking Into the Wind With No Destination,” Copyright 1995.
Fama, Sebastian R. “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” http://member.aol.com/stacath/jehovahs.htm.
Shaun. “Become a JW and You Can’t,” http://www.jwfiles.com/jw-cant.htm
“What Do They Believe?,”