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Jehovah's Witnesses is a restorationist, millenarian Christian denomination. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism; they report convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual Memorial attendance of over 17 million. They are directed by the Governing Body, a group of elders which exercises authority on all doctrinal matters, based on their interpretation of the Bible, with preference given to their own translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

The group emerged from the Bible Student movement, founded in the late 19th century by Charles Taze Russell, with the formation of Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society. Following a schism in the movement, the branch that maintained control of the Society underwent significant organizational changes, bringing its authority structure and methods of evangelism under centralized control. The name Jehovah's witnesses was adopted in 1931.

Since its inception, the Watch Tower Society has taught that humans are now living in the last days of the present world order. They believe that after the current world order is destroyed at Armageddon, survivors and resurrected individuals will have the opportunity to live forever in an earthly paradise, ruled by Christ and 144,000 humans raised to heaven. In the years leading up to 1914, 1925 and 1975, the Society's publications expressed strong expectations of Armageddon or the establishment of Christ's kingdom over the earth occurring in those years.

Jehovah's Witnesses are best known for their door-to-door preaching, distribution of literature such as The Watchtower and Awake!, and for their refusal of military service and blood transfusions even in life-threatening situations. They consider use of the name Jehovah—one of the common English-language pronunciations of the Tetragrammaton—vital to proper worship; they reject Trinitarianism, immortality of the soul, and hellfire, which they consider to be unscriptural doctrines. They do not observe celebrations such as Christmas, Easter or birthdays because of their perceived pagan origins. Members commonly refer to their body of beliefs as "the Truth", and adherents consider themselves to be "in the Truth". Jehovah's Witnesses regard secular society as a place of moral contamination under the control of Satan, and limit their social interaction with non-Witnesses. Baptized members who violate the organization's fundamental moral principles or who dispute doctrinal matters are subject to disciplinary action, the most severe being a form of shunning they call disfellowshipping.

The religion's position regarding conscientious objection to military service and refusal to salute national flags has brought it into conflict with governments, particularly those that conscript citizens for military service. Consequently, activities of Jehovah's Witnesses have been banned or restricted in some countries. Persistent legal challenges by Jehovah's Witnesses have had considerable influence on related legislation in the United Statesmarker and other countries.

History



1870-1916: Charles Taze Russell and the Bible Students

In 1870, Charles Taze Russell and others formed an independent group to study the Bible; in particular, Russell cited contributions by Advent Christian Church pastor George W. Stetson, and George Storrs, an Adventist preacher and former Millerite. In 1877 Russell jointly edited a religious journal, Herald of the Morning, with Nelson H. Barbour. In July 1879, after separating from Barbour, Russell began publishing the magazine Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, highlighting his interpretations of biblical chronology, with particular attention to his belief that the world was in "the last days". In 1881, Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society was formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker, to disseminate tracts, papers, doctrinal treatises and Bibles; three years later, on December 15, 1884, Russell became president of the Society when it was legally incorporated in Pennsylvaniamarker.

Watch Tower supporters gathered as autonomous congregations to study the Bible and Russell's writings. Russell firmly rejected as "wholly unnecessary" the concept of a formal organization for his followers, and declared that his group had no record of its members' names, no creeds, and no sectarian name. In 1910 he announced that the group would identify itself as the International Bible Students Association.<<EM>Watchtower, April 1910. Russell died on October 31, 1916, and control of the Watch Tower magazine was temporarily passed to an Editorial Committee as outlined in Russell's will, with an Executive Committee in control of the Society pending the election of a new president.

1917-1942: Joseph Rutherford

Organizational changes

In January 1917, the Watch Tower Society's legal representative, Joseph Franklin Rutherford, was elected as its next president. A power struggle developed between Rutherford and four of the Society's Board of Directors, who objected to his style of leadership. On July 17, 1917, Rutherford dismissed four of the directors, claiming they had not been legally elected.

On the same day, he also announced the release of The Finished Mystery as the seventh volume of Russell's Studies in the Scriptures series. The book was widely advertised to the public as "a posthumous publication ... of Charles Taze Russell", though much was actually written by two other Bible Students under the direction of Joseph Rutherford. The Finished Mystery strongly criticized Catholic and Protestant clergy and Christian involvement in war. Patriotic fervor during World War I and other animosities fueled persecution of the Bible Students in America and Europe, including mob violence and tarring and feathering.

Citing this book, the United States federal government indicted Rutherford and the new board of directors for violation of the Espionage Act on May 7, 1918. They were found guilty and sentenced concurrently to 20 years' imprisonment. During their imprisonment, elections for the Watch Tower directors took place again, and Rutherford was re-elected as president. In March 1919, the judgment against them was reversed and they were released from prison; the charges were later dropped.

Opposition to Rutherford among the Bible Students began to mount, prompting a significant number of members to cut ties with the Watch Tower Society and form new organizations. Rutherford continued to tighten and centralize organizational control of those who remained loyal to the Society, with the Brooklyn headquarters appointing a "director" in each congregation in 1919, and a year later instructing all congregation members who participated in the preaching work to report their preaching activity weekly.

In 1925, following a dispute over a proposed article, Rutherford dismissed the Watch Tower's Editorial Committee, giving him full control of the organization and of material published in the magazine. On July 26, 1931, the name Jehovah's witnesses was adopted by resolution at a convention in Columbus, Ohiomarker, based on the American Standard Version's rendering of Isaiah 43:10: "Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah". In 1932, Rutherford eliminated the system of selecting elders by congregational vote. In 1938, he introduced a "theocratic" or "God-ruled" organizational system, under which, all appointments in congregations worldwide are made from the Brooklyn headquarters.

Doctrinal changes

At an international convention held at Cedar Pointmarker, Ohio, in September 1922, a new emphasis was made on house-to-house preaching. Significant changes in doctrine were made under Rutherford's leadership, including the 1918 announcement that Jewish patriarchs (such as Abraham and Isaac) would be resurrected in 1925, marking the beginning of Christ's thousand-year reign. The failed expectations for 1925, coupled with other doctrinal changes, resulted in a dramatic reduction in attendance at their yearly Memorial, from 90,434 in 1925 to 17,380 in 1928. By 1933, 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.From 1935, it was considered that converts to the movement, if worthy, would survive Armageddon and live in a paradise on Earth. Previously, membership was generally composed of those who believed they would be resurrected to live in heaven to rule over the earth with Christ.

As their interpretations of Scripture continued to develop, Witness publications taught that saluting the flag and standing for the national anthem are forms of idolatry. They were also instructed to refuse alternative service provided for conscientious objectors. (Objection to alternative civilian service was maintained until 1996, when it was deemed a 'conscience matter'.) In Germany, Jehovah's Witnesses came under persecution, with as many as 5000 imprisoned in concentration camps. Witnesses also experienced mob violence in the United States, and their activities were banned in Canada and Australia because of their refusal to accept military service.

1942-present: Knorr, Franz, Henschel and Adams

Nathan Knorr was named the third president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society following Rutherford's death in January 1942. Knorr instituted major new training programs—the Theocratic Ministry School for all congregation members, and the Gilead School for missionaries. He also organized large-scale conventions, which attracted as many as 253,000 Witnesses to sports stadiums in the United States, Canada and Germany, and began a campaign of real estate acquisition in Brooklyn to expand the organization's world headquarters. He commissioned a new translation of the Bible, which was released progressively from 1950 before being published as the complete New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in 1961. Knorr's vice-president, Frederick William Franz, became the religion's leading theologian, and helped shape the further development of explicit rules of conduct among members, with a greater emphasis on disfellowshipping as a disciplinary measure.

Jehovah's Witnesses are known for their preaching from house to house.
1938 to 1955, the Witnesses launched a series of cases in the US Supreme Court to defend their right to worship and proselytize, winning 36 out of 45 cases.

From 1966, Witness publications began using their interpretations of biblical chronology to heighten anticipation of Christ's thousand-year millennial reign beginning in late 1975. Focus on 1975 was intensified with talks given at conventions; in 1974 a Watch Tower Society newsletter commended Witnesses who had sold homes and property to devote themselves to preaching in the "short time" remaining. The number of baptisms increased significantly, from about 59,000 in 1966 to more than 297,000 in 1974, but membership declined after expectations for the year were proved wrong. In 1980, the Watch Tower Society admitted its responsibility in building up hope regarding 1975.

The offices of elder and ministerial servant were restored to Witness congregations in 1972, with appointments being made from headquarters. 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 religion's Governing Body. Reflecting these organizational changes, publications of Jehovah's Witnesses began using the capitalized name, Jehovah's Witnesses. Prior to this, witnesses was consistently uncapitalized, except in headings and when quoting external sources. Since Knorr's death in 1977, the position of president has been occupied by Frederick Franz (1977-1992), Milton Henschel (1992-2000) and, when Milton Henschel resigned (the first resignation in the Society's history), Don A. Adams (2000-).

Organization

Jehovah's Witnesses are organized under a hierarchical arrangement, which their leadership calls a "theocratic government", reflecting their belief that it is God's organization on earth.

The organization is headed by the Governing Body – an all-male group that varies in size, but since 2007 has comprised nine members,Twelve members as of September 2005 (See The Watchtower, March 15, 2006, page 26)

Schroeder died March 8, 2006 (See The Watchtower, September 15, 2006, page 31)

Sydlik died April 18, 2006 (See The Watchtower, January 1, 2007, page 8)

Barber died April 8, 2007 (See The Watchtower, October 15, 2007, page 31) all of whom profess to be of the "anointed" class with a hope of heavenly life – based in the Watch Tower Society's Brooklyn, New Yorkmarker headquarters.
There is no election for membership, with new members selected by the existing body. The Governing Body is described as the "spokesman" for God's "faithful and discreet slave class" (the approximately 10,000 remaining "anointed" Jehovah's Witnesses), and is said to provide "spiritual food" for Witnesses worldwide on behalf of the "faithful and discreet slave". In practice it seeks neither advice nor approval from any "anointed" Witnesses other than high-ranking members at Brooklyn Bethel when formulating policy and doctrines or when producing material for publications and conventions.

The Governing Body directs several committees that are responsible for various administrative functions, including publishing, assembly programmes and evangelising activity. It directly appoints all branch committee members and District and Circuit Overseers, with travelling overseers supervising groups of congregations within their jurisdictions.

Witnesses have no formal clergy-laity division. Each congregation has a body of appointed 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 that are seen as breaching scriptural or organizational rules. New elders are appointed by branch offices after recommendation by the existing body of elders. Ministerial servants – appointed in a similar fashion to elders – fulfill clerical and attendant duties, but may also teach and conduct meetings.

Witness publications place strong emphasis on the need for members to be obedient and loyal to the Watch Tower organization, warning that individuals must remain part of it to receive God's favour and also to survive Armageddon. Publications state that acceptable service to God can be rendered only through that organization and that members should remain submissive to the religion's leaders and local congregational elders.

Beliefs

Sources of doctrine

Doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses are established by the Governing Body, which assumes responsibility for interpreting and applying scripture. Prior to the reorganization of the Governing Body in 1976, matters of doctrine were decided by the President of the Watch Tower Society. Watch Tower publications claim that doctrinal changes and refinements result from a process of progressive revelation, in which God gradually reveals his will and purpose. Watch Tower literature has suggested such enlightenment results from the application of reason and study, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and direction from Jesus Christ and angels. However, the Governing Body makes no claim of infallibility or divine inspiration.

The entire Protestant canon of scripture is considered the inspired, inerrant word of God. The Witnesses accept the Bible as scientifically and historically accurate and reliable and interpret much of it literally, while also accepting it is rich in symbolism. They consider the Bible to be the source of truth and the basis for all their beliefs. Sociologist Andrew Holden's ethnographic study of the religion concluded that pronouncements of the Governing Body, through Watch Tower publications, carry as much or more weight than the Bible. The leadership of Jehovah's Witnesses claims to be the sole visible channel of Jehovah and asserts that the Bible cannot be understood without associating with the Watch Tower organization.

Jehovah and Jesus Christ

Jehovah's Witnesses emphasize use of God's biblical name, the Tetragrammaton, and in English they prefer to use the name, Jehovah. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jehovah is the only true God, the creator of all things, and give him the title "Universal Sovereign". They believe that all worship should be directed toward him.



Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus was Jehovah's first creation, that Jehovah then created everything else by means of him, and that the initial unassisted act of creation uniquely identifies Jesus as God's 'only-begotten Son'. Jesus served as a ransom sacrifice to pay for the sins of humankind. They believe that Jesus died on a single upright torture stake rather than the traditional cross. They believe that references in the Bible to the Archangel Michael, Apollyon (a.k.a. Abaddon), and the Word all refer to Jesus.

Satan

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Satan is a spirit creature who is the ruler of the world, and that he was at one time a perfect angel who developed feelings of self-importance, and craved worship. Satan persuaded Adam and Eve to obey him rather than God, and humanity subsequently become participants in a challenge involving the competing claims of Jehovah and Satan to universal sovereignty. 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, at which point the end times began. Witnesses believe that the world is under the control of Satan and his demons, that they mislead people, and are the cause of much pain and suffering. However, they do not believe that individual rulers or governments are under Satan's direct control.

Life after death

For Jehovah's Witnesses, 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. Jehovah's Witnesses consider the body and the soul to be the same living being that expires. Their hope for life after death involves being resurrected by God, either with a new body on earth after Armageddon, or to heaven for the limited number of 144,000.

Witness publications teach that all humanity is in a sinful state. Release from this is possible because Jesus' shed blood provided a payment, or atonement, for the sins of humankind. Witnesses believe there are two destinations for those saved by God. They say the number of Christians going to heaven is limited to precisely 144,000, who will rule with Jesus as kings and priests over earth. The remainder have the hope of living forever in an earthly paradise. Jehovah's Witnesses teach that only they meet scriptural requirements for surviving Armageddon, although God is the final judge. During the millennium, most other people who died since the time of Abel will be resurrected with the prospect of living forever; they will be taught the proper way to worship God in order for them to be ready for their final test before the end of the millennium.

God's Messianic Kingdom

Witness publications teach that God's Kingdom is a government in heaven, ruled by Jesus Christ and 144,000 Christians drawn from the earth. The kingdom is viewed as the means by which God will accomplish his original purpose for the earth, bringing about a world free of crime, sickness, death and poverty, ultimately transforming earth into a paradise. The kingdom is said to have been the focal point of Jesus' ministry on earth and established in heaven in 1914.

Eschatology

A central teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses is that the current world era, or "system of things", entered its "last days" in 1914 and faces imminent destruction through intervention by God and Jesus Christ, leading to deliverance for those who worship God in truth. This judgment will begin with the destruction by the United Nations of false religion, which they identify as "Babylon the Great", or the "harlot", of Revelation 17. This development will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Satan will subsequently 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", or true followers, 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. After Armageddon, most of those who had died prior to God's intervention will gradually be resurrected to a "day of judgment" lasting for the thousand years referred to in Revelation 20. This judgment will be based on their actions after resurrection, not on past deeds. At the end of the thousand years a final test will take place when Satan is brought back to mislead perfect mankind. The end result will be a fully tested, glorified human race.Christ will then hand all authority back to God.

Watch Tower Society publications teach that Jesus Christ returned invisibly and began to rule in heaven as king in October 1914. The resulting ouster of Satan from heaven to the earth has brought a period of "woe" to mankind, as prophesied in Revelation 12. They assert that the Greek word parousia (translated in most English Bible translations as "coming" when referring to Christ) is more accurately rendered as "presence," with his return perceived only as a series of "signs". Thus this Second Coming would be an invisible presence, lasting for an extended time.

Practices

Worship

Meetings for worship and study are held at Kingdom Halls. Witnesses are assigned to a congregation in whose "territory" they reside and are expected to attend weekly services they refer to as "meetings" as scheduled by congregation elders. The meetings are largely devoted to study of the Bible and Watch Tower Society literature. The form and content of the meetings is established by the religion's Brooklyn headquarters, with the content of meetings in any week largely identical around the world. Congregations meet for two sessions each week comprising five distinct meetings that total about three-and-a-half hours, typically gathering mid-week (three meetings) and on the weekend (two meetings). Meetings are opened and closed with songs and brief prayers delivered from the platform. The Kingdom Halls are typically functional in character, and do not contain religious symbols. Each year, Witnesses from a number of congregations that form a "circuit" gather for one-day, two-day assemblies. Several circuits meet once a year for a three-day "district convention", usually at rented stadiums or auditoriums. Their most important and solemn event is the celebration of the "Lord's Evening Meal", or "Memorial of Christ's Death".

Evangelism

Jehovah's Witnesses are perhaps best known for their efforts to spread their beliefs, most notably by visiting people from house to house. They do this as they believe Jesus instructed and set the example to preach. Free home Bible studies are offered to people who show interest in their beliefs, which they present with the aid of their publications, such as The Watchtower. Literature is published in many languages through a wide variety of books, magazines and other publications, with a small selection available in over 440 languages. Witnesses are instructed to devote as much time as possible to preaching activities, and are required to provide a monthly report to their congregation on their 'witnessing' activity.

Ethics and morality

Their view of morality reflects conservative Christian values. All sexual relations outside of marriage are grounds for expulsion (disfellowshipping) if the accused is not deemed repentant. Abortion is considered murder. Modesty in dress and grooming is frequently emphasised. Gambling, drunkenness, illegal drugs, and tobacco use are forbidden. Drinking of alcoholic beverages is permitted in moderation.

The family structure is patriarchal. The husband is considered the final 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. Divorce is permissible only for adultery; such a divorce is referred to as "a Scriptural divorce". If a divorce is obtained for any other reason, remarriage is considered adultery while the previous spouse is still alive and has not begun another sexual relationship. Extreme physical abuse, willful non-support of one's family, and what the religion terms "absolute endangerment of spirituality" are considered grounds for legal separation.

Disciplinary action

Formal discipline is administered by congregation elders. When an accusation of what they term "serious sin" is made concerning a baptised member, a tribunal or judicial committee is formed to determine guilt, administer help and possibly apply sanctions. Disfellowshipping, a form of shunning, is the most severe form of discipline administered. Contact with disfellowshipped individuals is limited to direct family members living in the same home, and with congregation elders who annually invite disfellowshipped persons to apply for reinstatement; formal business dealings may continue if contractually or financially obliged. By avoiding most social and all spiritual interaction with a disfellowshipped former adherent, Witnesses state that the congregation is kept free from immoral influence and wrong-doers may be shamed into repentance, but the threat of shunning also serves to deter other members from dissident behaviour. Reproof is given formally by a judicial committee to a baptised Witness who is considered repentant for some act of “serious sin”; the reproved person temporarily loses conspicuous privileges of service, but suffers no restriction of social or spiritual fellowship. Marking is practiced if a baptised adherent persists in a course of action regarded as a violation of Bible principles but not a “serious sin”. Elders assign two elders to “correct” the person; if the person continues the same course, an elder delivers a congregation talk regarding “marking” (that is, their application of 2 Thessalonians 3:14) and the Bible principle being violated. Members familiar with the marked person’s course of action are expected to limit social fellowship (but continue spiritual fellowship) with that person; the stated purpose is to shame the person into correcting their actions.

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. They believe that only their religion represents true Christianity, and that all other religions fail to meet all the requirements set by God and will be destroyed, and therefore reject interfaith and ecumenical movements. Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught it is vital they remain "separate from the world." Watch Tower publications define the "world" as "the mass of mankind apart from Jehovah’s approved servants" and teach that it is ruled by Satan and a place of danger and moral contamination. Because of perceived dangers from "worldly" association, Witnesses are advised to minimise social contact with non-members to better maintain their own standards of morality.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe their highest allegiance belongs to God's Kingdom, which is viewed as an actual government in heaven, hence they remain politically neutral, do not seek public office and are discouraged from voting, though individual members may participate in uncontroversial community improvement issues. They abstain from celebrating religious holidays and birthdays and reject many customs they believe have pagan origins. They do not work in industries associated with the military, do not serve in the armed services and refuse national military service, which in some countries may result in their arrest and imprisonment. They do not salute or pledge allegiance to flags or sing national anthems or patriotic songs.

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. Since 1961 the acceptance of a blood transfusion has been grounds for expulsion from the religion. Watch Tower literature directs Witnesses to refuse transfusions in all cases even if death may result. Jehovah's Witnesses do accept non-blood alternatives, and other life-saving measures, in lieu of blood transfusions.

Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept red cells, white cells, platelets or plasma, though they may accept certain fractions made from these components at their own discretion. The Watch Tower Society provides members with Power of Attorney documents to indicate which optional fractions they accept, with preformatted wording prohibiting major components. If a fraction "makes up a significant portion of that component" or "carries out the key function of a primary component", it may be objectionable to some, but is permissible. Jehovah's Witnesses have established Hospital Liaison Committees as a cooperative arrangement between individual Jehovah's Witnesses and medical professionals and hospitals.

Demographics

Average Publishers, 1945–2005


Jehovah's Witnesses have an active presence in most countries, though they do not form a large part of the population of any country. As of February 2008, Jehovah's Witnesses have an average of 7.2 million "publishers", the term they use for members actively involved in preaching. In 2007, these reports indicated a total of over 1.3 billion hours spent in preaching and Bible study activity. Since the mid-1990s, the number of peak publishers has increased from 4.5 million to 7.2 million, though there has been a decline in growth rates, from over 8% per annum in the mid 1970s, to 5% per annum in the mid 1990s, to about 2%–3% per annum since 1999. The official published membership statistics only include those who have reported preaching activity, and do not include "inactive" and disfellowshipped members, and any who have either not been involved in preaching or have not submitted reports. Jehovah's Witnesses have the lowest retention rate of all religious traditions in the United States. A 2008 study in the United States reported that only about one-third who self-identified their upbringing as "Jehovah’s Witnesses" still identify themselves with the religion as adults. The convert retention rate among Jehovah's Witnesses however, is one of the highest, reaching into the 90th percentile, though only about half the number who self-identify as Jehovah's Witnesses in the study are actually considered "active" by the faith itself.

Main publications used

The publishing arm of Jehovah's Witnesses, known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, engages in extensive publishing work, with the production of books, brochures, and other media. The most widespread are:
  • New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, (1961, revised 1984) a translation of the Bible by the New World Bible Translation Committee. It extensively uses the name Jehovah, an English version of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, also replacing the Greek word for "Lord" 237 times in the New Testament. It is available in 72 languages.
  • The Watchtower, a 32-page magazine, published since 1879, for use in the public ministry; published twice per month, on the 1st and a 15th of each month. From 2008 onward, the issue published on the 15th of each month is a Study Edition for use at the Watchtower Study and not used in the public ministry. It is available in 171 languages.
  • Awake!, a 32-page general interest magazine, with a wider scope than The Watchtower, usually including articles on science, nature, and geography, usually with a religious slant. Earlier titles for this magazine were The Golden Age (1919–1937) and Consolation (1937–1946). Until 2005, Awake! was published on the 8th and 22nd of each month; from 2006 onwards, one issue is published each month. It is available in 81 languages.
  • What Does the Bible Really Teach?, (2005) the textbook used to conduct Bible studies. It is available in 176 languages.
  • Keep Yourselves in God's Love (2008), used for Bible studies with people who have completed What Does the Bible Really Teach?


Criticism and controversies

Jehovah's Witnesses have attracted criticism over issues surrounding their Bible translation, doctrines, their handling of sexual abuse cases and what is claimed to be coercion of members.

Biblical criticisms

The Watch Tower Society has been criticised for its refusal to reveal the names and academic credentials of the translators of its New World Translation of the Bible. The society has claimed members of the translation committee wished to remain anonymous in order to exalt only the name of God, whileThe Watchtower said the educational qualifications of the translators were unimportant and that "the translation itself testifies to their qualifications". However former Governing Body member Raymond Franz has claimed that only one member of the translation committee had sufficient qualifications for the task.

Some Bible scholars have noted that the translation of certain texts may be biased in favour of certain Witness practices and doctrines and theologians have also criticised the translators' insertion of the name Jehovah 237 times in the New Testament in places where the term is not used in the extant Greek manuscripts.G. HÉBERT/EDS, "Jehovah's Witnesses", The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Gale, 20052, Vol. 7, p. 751. Watch Tower publications have said the name was "restored" on a sound basis, particularly when New Testament writers used the Greek Kyrios (Lord) when quoting earlier Old Testament scriptures that contained the Tetragrammaton.The translation has also been criticised for favouring literalist interpretation over the poetic qualities of original texts.

Doctrinal criticisms

Jehovah's Witness publications have made many predictions about world events they believe were prophesied in the Bible. The failure of some of those events, particularly relating to 1914, 1925 and 1975, has led to the alteration or abandonment of some doctrines. Its publications have claimed that God has used Jehovah's Witnesses and the International Bible Students (the organisation's earlier name) as a prophet and is gradually leading his followers to a clearer understanding of his will. Some former Jehovah's Witnesses, however, have accused the religion of being a false prophet for making those predictions, particularly because of assertions in some cases that the predictions were beyond doubt or had been approved by God. Watch Tower publications have stated that Christians should not question what God tells them through his organization. Such statements have led to criticism that members of the religion are expected to place "unwavering trust" in Watch Tower predictions and face expulsion if they do not accept its teachings, even though many of its predictions have subsequently been set aside.

The Watch Tower Society rejects accusations that it is a false prophet. It says its explanations of Bible prophecy are not infallible and that its predictions were not claimed as "the words of Jehovah". It admits some of its expectations have needed adjustment because of its eagerness for God's Kingdom, but that those adjustments are no reason to "call into question the whole body of truth".

Social criticisms

Watch Tower publications emphasize the need for members to be fully obedient to the organization to demonstrate their loyalty to God, and promote the benefits of staying part of an organization that strengthens and protects members from Satan's temptations. Frequent calls for obedience and loyalty, and its judicial system that can expel and order the shunning of members, have led to criticism that the religion's leadership is autocratic and dictatorial. Critics quoted by Edmond Gruss claim the "veneration" and "adulation" accorded the Watch Tower organization by Jehovah's Witnesses, as well as the tendency for members to let Watch Tower leaders "do the absolute thinking for them in important fundamental matters of their lives" are sufficient to define the religion as a cult. Jehovah's Witnesses deny they are a cult and say that although individuals need proper guidance from God, they should do their own thinking.

Critics who say the organization dominates its members claim this power is gained by adherents' acceptance of the Watch Tower Society as "the voice of Jehovah" Raymond Franz claims the concept of loyalty to God's organization has no scriptural support and serves only to reinforce the religion's authority structure, with its strong emphasis on human authority. Watch Tower literature warns against the "dangers" and "infection" of "independent thinking", such as questioning the counsel it provides and warns Witnesses against studying the Bible, either alone or in small groups, without the Society's direction through its literature. Critics including Franz claim that the Watch Tower Society's firm discouragement of members to read criticism of the organization or scriptural material published by other religions creates a form of mental isolation that has been cited as an element of mind control.

Watch Tower publications say participation in the preaching work is a matter of loyalty to God and a fundamental requirement of faith, and that God appreciates the efforts of those who are limited by old age and poor health. But Raymond Franz and others have described the Watch Tower Society's continual admonitions to Witnesses that they devote increasing amounts of time to door-to-door preaching as coercive pressure under the false belief that it follows a pattern set by Jesus and the apostles.

Medical and legal commentators have also claimed Witness medical patients have been coerced to obey the religion's ban on blood transfusions.

Handling of sexual abuse allegations

Critics such as Silentlambs have accused Jehovah's Witnesses of employing organizational policies that make the reporting of sexual abuse difficult for members. Some victims of sexual abuse have asserted that they were ordered by local elders to maintain silence so as to avoid embarrassment to both the accused and the organization.

Since May 2002, the Watch Tower Society has instructed elders to report allegations of child abuse to the authorities where required by law to do so, even where there was only one witness and changed policy to ban any person guilty of sexual abuse from receiving any responsibility inside the organization. Unless considered by the congregation elders to demonstrate repentance, such a person is typically disfellowshipped. The Watch Tower Society describes child abuse as "abhorrent" and instructs elders to investigate all allegations of child abuse and take congregational action if there is sufficient evidence. If there is not sufficient evidence, elders are required to report the matter to authorities and to their local Watch Tower branch office. It says victims of abuse have the "absolute right" to report allegations to authorities.

References

  1. (Emphasis added)
  2. "“Guided by God’s Spirit”", Awake!, June 2008, page 32, "In 2007, more than 12 million people attended over 3,200 of such conventions!"
  3. "Preaching and Teaching Earth Wide—2007 Grand Totals", 2008 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 31, "2007 Grand Totals...Worldwide Memorial Attendance: 17,672,443"
  4. (Franz quoting Faith on the March, 1957, A. H. MacMillan)
  5. The Jehovah's Witnesses and Prophetic Speculation, Edmond C. Gruss, 1972, ISBN 0-87552-306-4, pages 11, 21.
  6. J. F. Rutherford, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920, page 88, as reproduced by Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, pages 212-214.
  7. , as cited by Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, pages 238-239.
  8. "Working in the “Field”—Before the Harvest", The Watchtower, October 15, 2000, page 28
  9. "Proclaiming the Lord’s Return (1870-1914)", Jehovah's Witnesses-Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, p. 44-46
  10. Proclaimers, p. 252.
  11. Proclaimers, p. 74.
  12. See also ,
  13. Rutherford gives his defense against the charges in the tract The Case of the IBSA
  14. Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, pages 38-44.
  15. states that "the Lord's second presence dates from 1874."
  16. and supported 1874.
  17. (PDF, 68MB)
  18. 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.
  19. Cited statistics showing a net increase of publishers worldwide from 1971–1981 of 737,241, while baptisms totaled 1.71 million for the same period.
  20. First occurrence:
  21. "The faithful slave and its governing body", The Watchtower, June 15, 2009, pages 23-24.
  22. The Watchtower, January 15, 2001, pages 14-15
  23. "Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View", The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, page 591, "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."
  24. You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1989, page 255, "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."
  25. "You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth—But How?", The Watchtower, February 15, 1983, page 12, "Jehovah is using only one organisation today to accomplish his will. To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organisation and serve God as part of it."
  26. "Serving Jehovah Loyally", The Watchtower, November 15, 1992, page 21, "I determined to stay by the faithful organisation. How else can one get Jehovah’s favour and blessing?” There is nowhere else to go for divine favour and life eternal."
  27. "Greater Blessings Through the New Covenant", The Watchtower, February 1, 1998, page 17, "Those of spiritual Israel still remaining on earth make up 'the faithful and discreet slave.' ... Only in association with them can acceptable sacred service be rendered to God."
  28. "Be Aglow With the Spirit", The Watchtower, October 15, 2009, "Those with an earthly hope should therefore recognise Christ as their head and be submissive to the Faithful and Discreet Slave and its Governing Body and to the men appointed as overseers in the congregation."
  29. "Move Ahead with Jehovah’s Organisation", The Watchtower, June 1, 1967, page 337, "What, can we say, is the basic principle underlying the movement of Jehovah’s living organisation? It can be expressed in one word: OBEDIENCE. Loving obedience from the heart is all. This is the basic formula upon which the organisation rests and operates." (Emphasis in original.)
  30. Organized to Do Jehovah's Will, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2005, pages 17-18.
  31. "Cooperating With the Governing Body Today,", The Watchtower, March 15, 1990, page 19.
  32. "Serving with the Faithful Slave", The Watchtower, January 1, 1977, pages 14-15.
  33. Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, page 46.
  34. Testimony by Fred Franz, Transcript, Lord Strachan vs. Douglas Walsh, 1954. page 100, "The President is the mouthpiece. He pronounces the speeches that show advancement of the understanding of the Scriptures ... Q: Tell me, are these advances, as you put it, voted upon by the Directors? A: No... they go through the Editorial Committee, and I give my OK after scriptural examination. Then I pass them on to President Knorr, and President Knorr has the final OK. Q: Does it go before the Board of Directors at all? A: No. "
  35. "Impart God’s Progressive Revelation to Mankind", The Watchtower, March 1, 1965, p. 158-159
  36. Flashes of Light—Great and Small", The Watchtower, May 15, 1995, page 15.
  37. Jehovah's Witnesses, Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1993, page 709.
  38. J. F. Rutherdford, Preparation, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1933, page 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."
  39. "To Whom Shall We Go but Jesus Christ?", The Watchtower, March 1, 1979, pages 23-24.
  40. "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, October 15, 1954, page 638.
  41. "Name and Purpose of The Watchtower", The Watchtower, August 15, 1950, page 263.
  42. All Scripture is Inspired of God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1990, page 336.
  43. All Scripture is Inspired of God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1990, page 9.
  44. "Seek God's Guidance in All Things", Watchtower, April 15, 2008,
  45. Reasoning From The Scriptures | p. 199 - p. 208 Jehovah’s Witnesses
  46. "Accept Jehovah's Authority", Watchtower, June 15, 2008.
  47. Insight on the Scriptures vol. 1 p. 612 Demon
  48. "What Has God’s Kingdom Been Doing Since 1914?", The Watchtower, October 15, 1966, pages 621-622
  49. "Living Now in That Last Day of Resurrection", The Watchtower, June 15, 1979, page 26.
  50. Watchtower, April 1, 2004, "In one sense, human governments serve as 'God’s minister,' giving structure to human society, without which chaos would rule. And some leaders have protected fundamental human rights, including the right to engage in true worship—something that Satan does not want. Still, because of the Devil’s influence, no human or human institution has ever been able to bring lasting peace and security to the people."
  51. "The Christian’s View of the Superior Authorities", The Watchtower, November 1, 1990, page 14.
  52. "Jehovah Cares For You," The Watchtower, October 15, 2002, p. 15.
  53. Insight On The Scriptures, Vol 2, p. 733.
  54. "Have No Fear, Little Flock", The Watchtower, February 15, 1995, p. 18-22.
  55. "A Great Crowd Rendering Sacred Service," The Watchtower February 1, 1995, p. 14-17.
  56. "Remaining Organized for Survival Into the Millennium", The Watchtower, September 1, 1989, page 19, "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."
  57. Worship the Only True God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2002, page 179.
  58. You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth,, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, pg 255, "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 was just the one ark that survived the Flood, not a number of boats. And 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."
  59. "Our Readers Ask: Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe That They Are the Only Ones Who Will Be Saved?", The Watchtower, November 1, 2008, page 28, "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."
  60. :Counted worthy to be guided to fountains of waters of life", The Watchtower, January 15, 2008, page 25, "...Since the growing great crowd of other sheep are viewed by God as righteous, they can hope to survive the destruction of this system of things at the great tribulation. (They can draw close to Jehovah, and as a group, they have the wonderful prospect of surviving Armageddon. They are not independent but willing to serve under the direction of the heavenly King and his anointed brothers on earth."
  61. The Watchtower July 1, 1995 p. 21 par 17,18.
  62. "The Only Remedy!", The Watchtower, March 15, 2006, p. 6.
  63. The Government That Will Bring Paradise, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1993, page 3.
  64. Insight on the Scriptures,, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, Vol 1, page 310.
  65. Worship the Only True God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2002, page 6.
  66. Reasoning from the Scriptures, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, pages 225-234.
  67. "God’s Kingdom—Earth’s New Rulership", The Watchtower, October 15, 2000, page 10.
  68. "What Has God’s Kingdom Been Doing Since 1914?", The Watchtower, October 15, 1966, page 617.
  69. "Deliverance by God’s Kingdom Is at Hand!", The Watchtower, May 15, 2008, page 15.
  70. Revelation – Its Grand Climax at Hand, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1988, pages 235-236.
  71. "Apocalypse—When?", The Watchtower, February 15, 1986, page 6.
  72. Revelation – Its Grand Climax at Hand, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1988, page 286.
  73. The Watchtower, September 1, 1959, pp. 530-531 par. 15.
  74. Armageddon—A Happy Beginning Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site
  75. .
  76. The Watchtower, May 15, 2006, p 6.
  77. Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1988,p. 788.
  78. The Watchtower, May 1, 2005, p. 20.
  79. The Watchtower, August 15, 2006, p. 31
  80. Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy!, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 2006, pp. 94,95.
  81. "Christ’s Presence—What Does It Mean to You?", The Watchtower, February 15, 2008, page 21.
  82. The Watchtower, February 1, 1996, p6.
  83. "Jesus’ Coming or Jesus’ Presence—Which?", The Watchtower, August 15, 1996, p. 12.
  84. "Imitate Jehovah—Exercise Justice and Righteousness", The Watchtower, August 1, 1998, page 16.
  85. "Is Divorce the Answer?", Awake!, September 8, 2004, page 26, "Jesus later stated that “the ground of fornication” is the only basis for Scriptural divorce with the possibility of entering a new marriage."
  86. "Marriage—Why Many Walk Out", Awake!, July 8, 1993, page 6, "A legal divorce or a legal separation may provide a measure of protection from extreme abuse or willful nonsupport."
  87. The Watchtower April 15, 1988.
  88. Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Media Web Site: Our History and Organization, "Do you shun former members? ... If, however, someone unrepentantly practices serious sins, such as drunkenness, stealing or adultery, he will be disfellowshipped and such an individual is avoided by former fellow-worshipers. ... The marriage relationship and normal family affections and dealings can continue. ... Disfellowshipped individuals may continue to attend religious services and, if they wish, they may receive spiritual counsel from the elders with a view to their being restored. They are always welcome to return to the faith [emphasis retained from source]"
  89. "Make Wise Use of Your Christian Freedom", The Watchtower, June 1, 1992, page 18.
  90. “Questions From Readers”, The Watchtower, January 1, 1983 pp. 30-31.
  91. The most common example given is a baptised Witness who dates a non-Witness; see The Watchtower, July 15, 1999, p. 30.
  92. "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, July 15, 1999, page 31, "The congregation elders take the lead in offering help and counsel if someone is walking disorderly. If he does not see the error of his way but continues to be an unwholesome influence, the elders may warn the congregation by means of a talk that makes clear the Biblical view—be it of dating unbelievers, or whatever the improper course is. (1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14) Christians in the congregation who are thus alerted can individually decide to limit any socialising"
  93. "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, April 15, 1985, page 31, "...marking involves serious violations of Bible principles. First the elders try repeatedly to help the violator by admonishing him. If the problem persists, they may, without naming the person, give a warning talk to the congregation concerning the disorderly conduct involved... After that, individual Christians would keep the erring person “marked.” Good judgment is needed rather than predetermined rules about every aspect of marking. ...[Elders] can use reasonableness and discernment in determining whether a particular situation is sufficiently serious and disturbing so as to require a warning talk to the congregation. ...For example, elders should exercise discernment in dealing with a Christian who is dating a person not “in the Lord.”"
  94. Questions From Readers, The Watchtower, April 15, 1985, p. 31.
  95. Reasoning From the Scriptures, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, pages 435-436.
  96. "Live a Balanced, Simple Life", The Watchtower, July 15, 1989, page 11.
  97. "Train With Godly Devotion as Your Aim", The Watchtower, August 15, 1985, page 19.
  98. Survival Into a New Earth, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1984, page 168.
  99. Questions From Readers, The Watchtower, November 1, 1999, p. 28,"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.
  100. Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock, page 140.
  101. What Does God Require?, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1996, page 13.
  102. Questions From Readers, The Watchtower, March 1, 1983, p. 30
  103. Worship the Only True God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2002, p. 159.
  104. Korea government promises to adopt alternative service system for conscientious objectors
  105. Education, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2002, pp. 20-23
  106. Reasoning From the Scriptures, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, pages 70-75.
  107. Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1993, page 183.
  108. United in Worship of the Only True God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1983, pages 158-160.
  109. Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, pages 186-187.
  110. "How Blood Can Save Your Life," Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, pages 13-17.
  111. Examples of permitted fractions are: Interferon, Immune Serum Globulins and Factor VIII; preparations made from Hemoglobin such as PolyHeme and Hemopure. Examples of permitted procedures involving the medical use of one's own blood include: Cell Salvage, Hemodilution, Heart-Lung Machine, Dialysis, Epidural Blood Patch, Plasmapheresis, Labeling or Tagging of Blood and Platelet Gel (Autologous)
  112. "New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures", The Watchtower, September 15, 1950, page 320.
  113. Questions from readers, The Watchtower, December 15, 1974, page 767.
  114. Samuel Haas,Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 74, No. 4, (Dec. 1955), p. 283, “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.”
  115. See Ankerberg, John and John Weldon, 2003, The New World Translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses, accessible online
  116. Rhodes R, The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions, The Essential Guide to Their History, Their Doctrine, and Our Response, Zondervan, 2001, p. 94
  117. Bruce M Metzger, "Jehovah's Witnesses and Jesus Christ," Theology Today, (April 1953 p. 74); see also Metzger, "The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures," The Bible Translator (July 1964)
  118. Metzger, Bruce M., The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, The Bible Translator 15/3 (July 1964), pp. 150-153.
  119. "God’s Name and the New Testament", The Divine Name That Will Endure Forever, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1984, pages 23, 27.
  120. Rowley, H.H., How Not To Translate the Bible, The Expository Times, 1953; 65; 41
  121. "They Shall Know That a Prophet Was Among Them", The Watchtower, April 1, 1972, as cited by Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, 2007.
  122. The Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1959, pp.39-41|"Whom has God actually used as his prophet? ... Jehovah's witnesses are deeply grateful today that the plain facts show that God has been pleased to use them. ... It has been because Jehovah thrust out his hand of power and touched their lips and put his words in their mouths..."
  123. "Identifying the Right Kind of Messenger", The Watchtower, May 1, 1997, as cited by Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, 2007.
  124. Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watch Tower Society, 1993, page 708.
  125. Criticisms of statements, such as those found below, are found in a number of books including Penton, M. James (1997) Apocalypse Delayed, University of Toronto Press; Franz, Raymond, In Search of Christian Freedom (2007) Commentary Press; Watters, Randall (2004) Thus Saith Jehovah's Witnesses, Common Sense Publications; Gruss, Edmond (2001) Jehovah's Witnesses: Their Claims, Doctrinal Changes, and Prophetic Speculation. What Does the Record Show?, Xulon Press; Reed, David A. (1990) Index of Watchtower Errors, 1879 to 1989, Baker Books and at websites including Watchtower Information Service; Quotes-Watchtower.co.uk; Reexamine.Quotes.
  126. Waldeck, Val Jehovah's Witnesses: What do they believe?. Pilgrim Publications SA. ISBN 1-920092-08-0.
  127. Buttrey, John M (2004). Let No One Mislead You. iUniverse. ISBN 0-595-30710-8.
  128. Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, 2007, page 174.
  129. "Why So Many False Alarms?", Awake!, March 22, 1993, pages 3-4, footnote.
  130. Revelation - It's Grand Climax, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1988, page 9.
  131. "Why So Many False Alarms?", Awake!, March 22, 1993, pages 3-4, footnote.
  132. "Allow No Place for the Devil!", The Watchtower, March 15, 1986, page 19, "Some opposers claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses are false prophets. These opponents say that dates have been set, but nothing has happened. ... Yes, Jehovah’s people have had to revise expectations from time to time. Because of our eagerness, we have hoped for the new system earlier than Jehovah’s timetable has called for it. But we display our faith in God’s Word and its sure promises by declaring its message to others. Moreover, the need to revise our understanding somewhat does not make us false prophets or change the fact that we are living in 'the last days,' ... How foolish to take the view that expectations needing some adjustment should call into question the whole body of truth! The evidence is clear that Jehovah has used and is continuing to use his one organization."
  133. "Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View", The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, page 591, "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."
  134. "Loyal to Christ and His Faithful Slave", The Watchtower, April 1, 2007, page 24, "When we loyally submit to the direction of the faithful slave and its Governing Body, we are submitting to Christ, the slave’s Master."
  135. "Keep Safe as Part of God’s Organization", The Watchtower, September 1, 1998, page 9.
  136. "What Influences Decisions in Your Life?", The Watchtower, March 15, 1969, pages 171, "Jehovah’s organization as directed by his “faithful and discreet slave” class should influence our every decision also."
  137. Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, page 50.
  138. "Are Jehovah’s Witnesses a Cult?", The Watchtower, February 15, 1994, pages 5-7
  139. "Do Others Do Your Thinking?", Awake!, August 22, 1978, page 4.
  140. "Who Molds Your Thinking?", The Watchtower, April 1, 1999, page 22, "You have free will. Exercising it, you can choose to respond to Jehovah’s molding influence or deliberately reject it. How much better to listen to Jehovah’s voice instead of arrogantly asserting, 'No one tells me what to do'!"
  141. , "Loyalty to the organization becomes the touchstone, the criterion, the "bottom line", when it comes to determining whether one is a faithful Christian or not ... to make any organizational loyalty the criterion for judging anyone's Christianity is, then, clearly a perversion of Scripture ... Read the whole of those Scriptures ... nowehere are we taught to put faith in men or in an earthly organization, unquestioningly following its lead ... the entire Bible record is a continual reminder of the danger inherent in that kind of trust."
  142. "Exposing the Devil’s Subtle Designs" and "Armed for the Fight Against Wicked Spirits", The Watchtower, January 15, 1983, as cited by Heather and Gary Botting, The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, 1984, page 92.
  143. "Serving Jehovah Shoulder to Shoulder", The Watchtower, August 15, 1981, page 28.
  144. "Jehovah’s Theocratic Organization Today", The Watchtower, February 1, 1952, pages 79-81.
  145. "Do not be quickly shaken from your reason", The Watchtower, March 15, 1986
  146. "At which table are you feeding?" The Watchtower, July 1, 1994
  147. The Watchtower, May 1, 1984, page 31, as cited by R. Franz, "In Search if Christian Freedom", chapter 12
  148. "Firmly uphold godly teaching," The Watchtower, May 1, 2000, page 9.
  149. R. Franz, "In Search if Christian Freedom", chapter 12
  150. James A. Beverley, Crisis of Allegiance, Welch Publishing Company, Burlington, Ontario, 1986, ISBN 0920413374, pages 25-26, 101.
  151. Edmond C. Gruss, editor, The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society, Xulon Press, 2003, ISBN 1594671311, page 111.
  152. "Keep Watching the Ministry Which You Accepted in the Lord", The Watchtower, January 15, 2008, page 5.
  153. R. Franz, In Search of Christian Freedom, chapter 6.
  154. Edmond C. Gruss, editor, The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society, Xulon Press, 2003, ISBN 1594671311, pages 68-72.
  155. Osamu Muramoto, "Bioethics of the refusal of blood by Jehovah's Witnesses, part 1", Journal of Medical Ethics, August 1998, Vol 24, Issue 4, page 223-230.
  156. "Another Church Sex Scandal" (April 29, 2003). CBS News.
  157. Cutrer, Corrie (March 5, 2001). "Witness Leaders Accused of Shielding Molesters", Christianity Today.
  158. "Jehovah's Witnesses and Child Protection" statement, Official Media Web Site.


Further reading

  • Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses by M. James Penton. Penton, professor emeritus of history at University of Lethbridge and a former member of the religion, examines the history of Jehovah's Witnesses, and their doctrines. Read selections from: Apocalypse Delayed: the Story of Jehovah's Witnesses University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3 (Canada, 1998) (Google book search)
  • Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement by Andrew Holden. An academic study on the sociological aspects of Jehovah's Witnesses phenomenon. Publisher: Routledge; 1st edition 2002, ISBN 978–0415266109. 224 pages.
  • Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom (1993) by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Official history of the development of the beliefs, practices, and organisational structure of Jehovah's Witnesses. 750 pages.
  • A People for His Name: A History of Jehovah's Witnesses and an Evaluation by Tony Wills, (2006) 2nd edition. (The first edition was published under the pseudonym Timothy White.) He explores the Witnesses' doctrinal growth and shifts and notes schisms from the main body. 300 pages. ISBN 978–1-4303–0100–4 Selections from Google Books


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