|Headquarters||Warwick, New York, U.S.|
|Founder||Charles Taze Russell|
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Branched from||Bible Student movement, Adventism|
|Separations||Jehovah's Witnesses splinter groups|
|Statistics from 2022 Grand Totals|
|Part of a series on|
As of 2022, the group reported approximately 8.5 million members involved in evangelism, with 19.7 million attending the annual Memorial of Christ's death.[en 1] The denomination is directed by a group of elders in Warwick, New York, United States, known as the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, which establishes all doctrines based on its interpretations of the Bible. It teaches that the destruction of the present world system at Armageddon is imminent, and the establishment of God's kingdom over earth is the only solution to all of humanity's problems. 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. 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. Rutherford made significant organizational and doctrinal changes, including adoption of the name Jehovah's witnesses[en 2] in 1931 to distinguish the group from other Bible Student groups and symbolize a break with the legacy of Russell's traditions.
Jehovah's Witnesses are 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 unscriptural doctrines. They do not observe Christmas, Easter, birthdays, or other holidays and customs they consider to have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity. They prefer to use their own Bible translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, although their literature occasionally quotes and cites other Bible translations. Witnesses commonly call their body of beliefs "The Truth" and consider themselves "in the Truth". They consider human society morally corrupt and under the influence of Satan, and most limit their social interaction with non-Witnesses.
Congregational disciplinary actions include disfellowshipping, their term for formal expulsion and shunning, a last resort for what they consider serious offenses. Baptized people who formally leave are considered disassociated and are also shunned. Jehovah's Witnesses can be disfellowshipped for having contact with former disfellowshipped members of their community, or for having contact with information contrary to their doctrines. Disfellowshipped and disassociated people may eventually be reinstated if deemed repentant.
The group's position on conscientious objection to military service and refusal to salute state symbols (like national anthems and flags) has brought it into conflict with some governments. Some Jehovah's Witnesses have been persecuted, and their activities banned or restricted in some countries. Persistent legal challenges by Jehovah's Witnesses have influenced legislation related to civil rights in several countries.
The organization has been criticized 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.
In 1870, Charles Taze Russell and others formed a group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to study the Bible. During his ministry, Russell disputed many of mainstream Christianity's tenets, including immortality of the soul, hellfire, predestination, the fleshly return of Jesus Christ, the Trinity, and the burning up of the world. In 1876, he 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 2,520-year period called "the Gentile Times", at which time world society would be replaced by the full establishment of God's kingdom on earth. Beginning in 1878, Russell and Barbour jointly edited a religious magazine, Herald of the Morning. 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, saying its purpose was to demonstrate that the world was in "the last days" and that a new age of earthly and human restitution under Christ's reign was imminent.
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. In 1881, Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society was presided over by William Henry Conley, and in 1884, Russell incorporated the society as a nonprofit business to distribute tracts and Bibles. 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. Russell engaged in significant global publishing efforts during his ministry, and by 1912, he was the most distributed Christian author in the United States.
Russell 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. By 1910, about 50,000 people worldwide were associated with the movement and congregations reelected him annually as their pastor. Russell died on October 31, 1916, at the age of 64 while returning from a ministerial speaking tour.
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. The divisions between his supporters and opponents triggered a major turnover of members over the next decade. In June 1917, he released The Finished Mystery as a seventh volume of Russell's Studies in the Scriptures series. The book, published as Russell's posthumous work, was a compilation of his commentaries on the Bible books of Ezekiel and Revelation with numerous additions by Bible Students Clayton Woodworth and George Fisher. It strongly criticized Catholic and Protestant clergy and Christian involvement in the Great War. 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.
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. At an international convention held at Cedar Point, Ohio, in 1922, a new emphasis was made on house-to-house preaching. Significant changes in doctrine and administration were regularly introduced during Rutherford's 25 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.
Because of disappointment over the changes and 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, most of which still exist. 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.
On July 26, 1931, at a convention in Columbus, Ohio, Rutherford introduced the new name Jehovah's witnesses, based on Isaiah 43:10: "'Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me'" (King James Version). It 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 to symbolize the instigation of new outlooks and the promotion of fresh evangelizing methods. In 1932, Rutherford eliminated the system of locally elected elders and in 1938, he 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. 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.
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 U.S., Canada, Germany, and other countries.
Continued development (1942–present)
Nathan Knorr was appointed as third president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in 1942. He 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. Knorr's presidency was also marked by increased use of explicit instructions guiding Witnesses' lifestyle and conduct and a greater use of congregational judicial procedures to enforce a strict moral code.
From 1966, Witness publications and convention talks built anticipation of the possibility that Christ's thousand-year reign might begin in 1975 or shortly thereafter. 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 unfulfilled. Watch Tower Society literature did not say that 1975 would definitely mark the end, but in 1980 the Watch Tower Society admitted its responsibility in building up hope for that year.
The offices of elder and ministerial servant were restored to Witness congregations in 1972, with appointments made from headquarters (and later by branch committees too). It was announced that, as of 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. Since Knorr's death in 1977, the presidency has been held 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.
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. The organization is led by the Governing Body—an all-male group that varies in size. Since February 2023, it has comprised nine members, 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. There is no election for membership; the existing body selects new members. Until late 2012, the Governing Body described itself as the representative and "spokesman" for God's "faithful and discreet slave class" (then approximately 10,000 self-professed "anointed" Jehovah's Witnesses).
At the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Watch Tower Society, the "faithful and discreet slave" was defined as the Governing Body only. 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, while branch offices may appoint regional committees for matters such as Kingdom Hall construction or disaster relief. The leadership and supporting staff lives in properties owned by the organization worldwide, called "Bethel", where they operate as a religious community and administrative unit. Their living expenses and those of other full-time volunteers are covered by the organization along with a basic monthly stipend.
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. New elders are appointed by a traveling overseer after recommendation by the existing body of elders. Ministerial servants—appointed in a similar manner as 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, though elders may employ ecclesiastical privilege regarding confession of sins.
Baptism is a requirement for membership in the Jehovah's Witnesses. Witnesses do not practice infant baptism, and baptisms performed by other denominations are not considered valid. People 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." Their literature emphasizes that members must be obedient and loyal to Jehovah and "his organization,"[en 3] and that people must remain part of it to receive God's favor and survive Armageddon.
The organization produces a significant amount of literature as part of its evangelism activities. The Watch Tower Society has produced over 227 million copies of the New World Translation in whole or in part in over 185 languages. In 2010, The Watchtower and Awake! were the world's most widely distributed magazines. Over 2,000 volunteers worldwide translate Witness publications, producing literature in 1,000 languages. Publications are also available on the organization's website.
Much of the Witnesses' funding is donated, primarily by members. There is no tithing or collection. In 2001 Newsday listed the Watch Tower Society as one of New York's 40 richest corporations, with revenues exceeding $950 million. 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."[en 4]
Sources of doctrine
Jehovah's Witnesses believe their denomination is a restoration of first-century Christianity. Doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses are established by the Governing Body, which assumes responsibility for interpreting and applying scripture. The Governing Body does not issue a single, comprehensive statement of faith, but expresses its doctrinal positions in a variety of ways through publications published by the Watch Tower Society. The publications teach that doctrinal changes and refinements result from a process of progressive revelation, in which God gradually reveals his will and purpose, and that such enlightenment or "new light" results from the application of reason and study, the guidance of the holy spirit, and direction from Jesus Christ and angels. The Society also teaches that the holy spirit helps the Governing Body discern "deep truths", which the Governing Body considers before making doctrinal decisions. The group's leadership, while disclaiming divine inspiration and infallibility, is said to provide "divine guidance" through its teachings described as "based on God's Word thus ... not from men, but from Jehovah."
The entire Protestant canon of scripture is considered the inspired, inerrant word of God. Jehovah's Witnesses consider the Bible scientifically and historically accurate and reliable and interpret much of it literally, but accept parts of it as symbolic. They consider the Bible the final authority for their beliefs. 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.
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. Adherents are told to have "complete confidence" in the leadership, to avoid skepticism about what is taught in the Watch Tower Society's literature, and to "not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding." The organization makes no provision for members to criticize or contribute to its teachings. Witnesses must abide by its doctrines and organizational requirements.
Jehovah'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. 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; consequently, the group places more emphasis on God than on Christ. They believe that the Holy Spirit is God's applied power or "active force", rather than a person.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus is God's only direct creation, that everything else was created through him by means of God's power, and that the initial unassisted act of creation uniquely identifies Jesus as God's "only-begotten Son". Jesus served as a redeemer and a ransom sacrifice to pay for the sins of humanity. They believe Jesus died on a single upright post rather than the traditional cross. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus was resurrected with a "spirit body", and that he assumed human form only temporarily after his resurrection.
Biblical references to the Archangel Michael, Abaddon (Apollyon), and the Word are interpreted as names for Jesus in various roles. Jesus is considered the only intercessor and high priest between God and humanity, appointed by God as the king and judge of his kingdom. 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.
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. 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. They believe that Satan rules the current world order, that human society is influenced and misled by him and his demons, and that they are a cause of human suffering. They also believe that Satan controls human governments, but that he does not directly control every human ruler.
Life after death
Jehovah's Witnesses believe death is a state of nonexistence 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. Witnesses consider the soul a life or a living body that can die. They believe that humanity is in a sinful state, from which release is possible only by means of Jesus' shed blood as a ransom, or atonement, for humankind's sins.
Witnesses believe that a "little flock" of 144,000 selected humans go to heaven, but that God will resurrect the majority (the "other sheep") 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. They believe that baptism as a Jehovah's Witness is vital for salvation and that only they meet scriptural requirements for surviving Armageddon, but that God is the final judge. During Christ's millennial reign, most people who died before 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.
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". 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. It is said to have been the focal point of Jesus' ministry on earth. They believe the kingdom was established in heaven in 1914, and that Jehovah's Witnesses serve as the kingdom's representatives on earth.
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. They consider all other present-day religions false, identifying them with Babylon the Great, the "harlot" of Revelation 17. They believe they will soon be destroyed by the United Nations, which they believe is represented in scripture by the scarlet-colored wild beast, and that this development will mark the beginning of the "great tribulation".
Satan will subsequently use world governments to attack Jehovah's Witnesses, which 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 die. After Armageddon, God will extend his heavenly kingdom to include earth, which will be transformed into a paradise like the Garden of Eden. Most of those who died before God's intervention will 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 humankind. Those who fail will die, along with Satan and his demons. The result will be a fully tested, glorified human race on earth.
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 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.
Jehovah's Witnesses have a complementarian view of women. Only men may hold positions of authority, such as ministerial servant or elder. Women may actively participate in the public preaching work, serve at Bethel, and profess to be members of the 144,000. They are not typically allowed to address the congregation directly. In rare circumstances, women can substitute in certain capacities if there are no eligible men. In these situations, women must wear a head covering if they are performing a teaching role.
Meetings 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 call "meetings", scheduled by congregation elders. The meetings are largely devoted to study of Watch Tower Society literature and the Bible. The meetings' format is established by the group's headquarters, and the subject matter for most meetings is the same worldwide.
Congregations meet for two sessions each week, comprising five distinct meetings that total about three-and-a-half hours, typically gathering midweek (three meetings) and on the weekend (two meetings). Until 2009, congregations met three times each week; these meetings were condensed, with the intention that members dedicate an evening for family worship. Gatherings are opened and closed with hymns called Kingdom songs 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 annually for a three-day "regional convention", usually at rented stadiums or auditoriums. 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.
Jehovah's Witnesses are known for their efforts to spread their beliefs, most notably by visiting people's homes, distributing Watch Tower Society literature. The objective is to start a regular "Bible study" with anyone who is not already a member, with the intention that the student be baptized as a member of the group; Witnesses are advised to consider discontinuing Bible study with students who show no interest in becoming members.
Witnesses are taught they are under a biblical command to engage in public preaching. They are instructed to devote as much time as possible to their ministry and required to submit an individual monthly "Field Service Report". Baptized members who fail to report a month of preaching are termed irregular and may be counseled by elders; those who do not submit reports for six consecutive months are termed "inactive".
Ethics and morality
All sexual relations outside marriage are grounds for expulsion if the person is not deemed repentant; homosexual activity is considered a serious sin, and same-sex marriage is forbidden. Abortion is considered murder. Suicide is considered "self-murder" and a sin against God. Modesty in dress and grooming is frequently emphasized. 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 to have authority on family decisions, but is encouraged to solicit his wife's thoughts and feelings, as well as his children's. Marriages are required to be monogamous and legally registered. Marrying a non-believer, or endorsing such a union, is strongly discouraged and carries religious sanctions.
Divorce is discouraged, and remarriage is forbidden unless a divorce is obtained on the grounds of adultery, which is called a "scriptural divorce". If a divorce is obtained for any other reason, remarriage is considered adulterous unless the ex-spouse has died or is considered to have committed sexual immorality. Extreme physical abuse, willful non-support of one's family, and what the denomination terms "absolute endangerment of spirituality" are accepted as grounds for legal separation.
Formal discipline is administered by congregation elders when a baptized member is accused of committing a serious sin—usually cases of sexual misconduct or apostasy for disputing Jehovah's Witness doctrines. A judicial committee is formed to provide spiritual guidance and determine guilt. This can lead to the subject being disfellowshipped. Disfellowshipping, a form of shunning, is the strongest form of discipline, administered to an offender deemed unrepentant. Contact with disfellowshipped people is limited to direct family members living in the same home, and with congregation elders who may invite disfellowshipped people to apply for reinstatement. Formal business dealings may continue if contractually or financially obliged. Members are told that shunning expelled individuals may encourage them to return. Procedures related to congregational discipline are primarily described in the book, Shepherd the Flock of God, provided only to elders.
Witnesses are taught that avoiding social and spiritual interaction with disfellowshipped people keeps the congregation free from immoral influence and that "losing precious fellowship with loved ones may help [the shunned person] to come 'to his senses,' see the seriousness of his wrong, and take steps to return to Jehovah." The practice of shunning may also serve to deter other members from dissident behavior. Members who disassociate (formally resign) are described in Watch Tower Society literature as wicked and are also shunned.
Expelled people 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. 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.[en 5]
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Bible condemns mixing religions, on the basis that there can only be one truth from God, and therefore reject interfaith and ecumenical movements. 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. 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.
Witnesses are taught that association with "worldly" people presents a "danger" to their faith and are instructed to minimize social contact with non-members to better maintain their moral standards. Attending university is discouraged and trade schools are suggested as an alternative. Post-secondary education is considered "spiritually dangerous". Anthony Morris III, a member of the Governing Body, has said, "the most intelligent and eloquent professors will be trying to reshape the thinking of your child, and their influence can be tremendous."
Jehovah's Witnesses believe their 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. Although they do not take part in politics, they respect the authority of the governments under which they live. 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 nationalistic or political spirit. Their position is that these traditional holidays reflect Satan's control over the world. Witnesses are told that spontaneous giving at other times can help their children to not feel deprived of birthdays or other celebrations.
Witnesses 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. Witnesses see themselves as a worldwide brotherhood that transcends national boundaries and ethnic loyalties. Sociologist Ronald Lawson has suggested that 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.
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 willing acceptance of a blood transfusion by an unrepentant member has been grounds for expulsion from the group. Members are directed to refuse blood transfusions, even in "a life-or-death situation". 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.
Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept the transfusion of "whole blood, packed red cells, platelets, white cells or plasma". Autologous blood donation, where one's blood is stored for later use, is also considered unacceptable. Members may accept some blood plasma fractions at their own discretion. 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 accept. Witnesses have established Hospital Liaison Committees as a cooperative arrangement between individual Witnesses and medical professionals and hospitals to provide information about bloodless treatment options. Patients who accept certain blood products in the committee's presence are disassociated from the religion and shunned.
Jehovah's Witnesses have an active presence in most countries, but do not form a large part of the population of any country. For 2022, Jehovah's Witnesses reported approximately 8.5 million publishers—the term they use for members actively involved in preaching—in about 118,000 congregations. For the same year, they reported over 1.5 billion hours spent in preaching activity, and conducted Bible studies with more than 5.7 million individuals (including those conducted by Witness parents with their children).
In 2022, Jehovah's Witnesses reported a worldwide annual increase of 0.4%. Over 19.7 million people attended the annual memorial of Christ's death. According to the Watch Tower Society, more than 25,600 members have died of COVID-19.
The official published membership statistics, such as those above, include only those who submit reports for their personal ministry; official statistics do not include inactive and disfellowshipped people or others who attend their meetings. As a result, only about half of those who self-identify as Jehovah's Witnesses in independent demographic studies are considered active by the faith itself.
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 as Jehovah's Witnesses. The next lowest retention rates were for Buddhism at 50% and Catholicism at 68%. The study also found that 65% of adult U.S. Jehovah's Witnesses are converts.
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 cooperate with other religious organizations, a high rate of membership turnover, a low rate of doctrinal change, and strict uniformity of beliefs among members.
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).
- "exists in a state of tension with the wider society;"
- "imposes tests of merit on would-be members;"
- "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;"
- "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 U.S. Jehovah's Witnesses ranked highest in 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 interest in politics. It was also among the most ethnically diverse U.S. religious groups.
Controversy about various beliefs, doctrines and practices of Jehovah's Witnesses has led to opposition from governments, communities, and religious groups. Religious commentator Ken Jubber wrote, "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."
Political and religious animosity toward Jehovah's Witnesses has at times led to mob action and government oppression in various countries. Their political neutrality and 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 banned or restricted in some countries, including China, Russia, Vietnam, and many Muslim-majority countries.
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 U.S. 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. Harrison, Schnell, and Whalen 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 by the outside world was evidence of the truth of their struggle to serve God. Watch Tower Society literature of the period directed that Witnesses "never seek a controversy" nor resist arrest, but also advised members not to cooperate with police officers or courts that ordered them to stop preaching, and to go to jail rather than pay fines.
In 1940, a year after Canada entered World War II, the denomination was banned under the War Measures Act. This ban continued until 1943. Hundreds of members were prosecuted for being members of an illegal organization. Jehovah's Witnesses were interned in camps along with political dissidents and people of Chinese and Japanese descent. Jehovah's Witnesses faced discrimination in Quebec until the Quiet Revolution, including bans on distributing literature or holding meetings. Roncarelli v Duplessis was a legal case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. The court held that in 1946 Maurice Duplessis, Premier and Attorney General of Quebec, had overstepped his authority by ordering the manager of the Liquor Commission to revoke the liquor licence of Frank Roncarelli, a Montreal restaurant owner and Jehovah's Witness who was an outspoken critic of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec. Roncarelli provided bail for Jehovah's Witnesses arrested for distributing pamphlets attacking the Roman Catholic Church. The Supreme Court found Duplessis liable for $33,123.56 in damages plus Roncarelli's court costs.
In 1933, there were approximately 20,000 Jehovah's Witnesses in Nazi Germany, of whom about 10,000 were imprisoned. Jehovah's Witnesses suffered religious persecution by the Nazis because they refused military service and allegiance to Hitler's National Socialist Party. 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. Unlike Jews and Romani, who were persecuted on the basis of their ethnicity, Jehovah's Witnesses could escape persecution and personal harm by renouncing their religious beliefs by signing a document indicating renunciation of their faith, submission to state authority, and support of the German military. Historian Sybil Milton writes, "their courage and defiance in the face of torture and death punctures the myth of a monolithic Nazi state ruling over docile and submissive subjects."
In East Germany, from the 1950s to the 1980s, Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted extensively by the State Security Service (the Stasi), which frequently used decomposition methods against them. Jehovah's Witnesses were considered a threat because their beliefs did not conform to socialist standards and their members sometimes had contact with the West.
Several cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses have been heard by Supreme Courts worldwide. They generally relate to the right to practice their religion, displays of patriotism and military service, and blood transfusions.
In the U.S., legal challenges by Jehovah's Witnesses prompted a series of state and federal court rulings that reinforced judicial protections for civil liberties. Among the rights strengthened by Witness court victories in the U.S. 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. Similar cases in their favor have been heard in Canada.
Criticism and controversy
Jehovah's Witnesses have been criticized by mainstream Christians, members of the medical community, and former members and commentators for their beliefs and practices. The movement has been accused of doctrinal inconsistency and reversals, failed predictions, mistranslation of the Bible, harsh treatment and shunning of former members, and autocratic and coercive leadership. Criticism has also focused on the rejection of blood transfusions, particularly in life-threatening medical situations, and failing to report cases of sexual abuse to the authorities.
Free speech and thought
Jehovah's Witnesses' doctrines are established by the Governing Body. The denomination does not tolerate dissent over doctrines and practices; 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". It also warns members to "avoid independent thinking", claiming such thinking "was introduced by Satan the Devil" and would "cause division". Those who openly disagree with official teachings are condemned as "apostates" who are "mentally diseased".
Former members Heather and Gary Botting compare the cultural paradigms of the denomination to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Alan Rogerson describes the group's leadership as totalitarian. Other critics say that by disparaging individual decision-making, the group's leaders cultivate a system of unquestioning obedience in which Witnesses abrogate all responsibility and rights over their personal lives. Critics also accuse the group's leaders of exercising "intellectual dominance" over Witnesses, controlling information and creating "mental isolation", which former Governing Body member Raymond Franz argued were all elements of mind control.
Jehovah's Witness publications state that consensus of faith aids unity, and deny that it restricts individuality or imagination. Historian James Irvin Lichti has rejected the description of the denomination as "totalitarian". 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 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, but that defectors "are seldom allowed a dignified exit", and describes the administration as autocratic.
New World Translation
Various Bible scholars, including Bruce M. Metzger and MacLean Gilmour, have said that while scholarship is evident in New World Translation, its rendering of certain texts is inaccurate and biased in favor of Witness practices and doctrines. Critics of the group such as Edmund C. Gruss, and Christian writers such as Ray C. Stedman, Walter Martin, Norman Klann, and Anthony Hoekema state that the New World Translation is scholastically dishonest. 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.
Watch Tower Society publications have claimed that God has used Jehovah's Witnesses (and formerly, the International Bible Students) to declare his will and provided advance knowledge of Armageddon and the establishment of God's kingdom. Some publications also claimed that God has used Jehovah's Witnesses and the International Bible Students as a modern-day prophet.[en 6] 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, "Jehovah's Witnesses ... are the recipients of prophecy, who regard themselves as invested with the interpretation of biblical writings."[en 7] With these interpretations, Jehovah's Witnesses' publications have made various predictions about world events they believe were prophesied in the Bible. Failed predictions have led to the alteration or abandonment of some doctrines. Some failed predictions had been presented as "beyond doubt" or "approved by God".
The Watch Tower Society rejects accusations that it is a false prophet, saying that its interpretations are not inspired or infallible, 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 adds, "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." Sociologist Andrew Holden wrote 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."
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. The group has been criticized for its "two witness rule" for church discipline, based on its application of scriptures in 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. In cases where corroboration is lacking, the Watch Tower Society's instruction is that "the elders will leave the matter in Jehovah's hands".
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." 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 say they do not sponsor activities that separate children from parents.
The group's failure to report abuse allegations to authorities has also been criticized. The Watch Tower Society's policy is that elders inform authorities when required by law to do so, but otherwise leave that up to the victim and their family. William Bowen, a former Jehovah's Witness elder who established the Silentlambs organization to assist sex abuse victims in 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 to protect its "crime-free" reputation.
In court cases in the United Kingdom and the U.S., the Watch Tower Society has been found negligent in failing to protect children from known sex offenders within the congregation. 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.
The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that "there was no evidence before the Royal Commission of the Jehovah's Witness organisation having or not having reported to police any of the 1,006 alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse identified by the organisation since 1950." The Royal Commission also found that the Watch Tower Society legal department routinely provided incorrect information to elders based on an incorrect understanding of what constitutes a legal obligation to report crimes in Australia. In 2021, Jehovah's Witnesses in Australia agreed to join the nation's redress scheme for sexual assault survivors to maintain its charity status there.
- The Watch Tower Society provides 'average' and 'peak' figures. Regarding the 'peak' figures, The Watchtower, August 15, 2011, states, "'Peak publishers' is the highest number reporting for any one month of the service year and may include late reports that were not added to the preceding month’s report. In this way some publishers may be counted twice." For this reason, the 'average' figure is used here.
- Based on Isaiah 43:10–12, the name was restyled as Jehovah's Witnesses (with capital W) in the 1970s.
- 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:
"Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View". The Watchtower. October 1, 1967. p. 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.
"Jehovah's Word Is Alive - Highlights From Book Five of Psalms". The Watchtower. September 1, 2006. p. 15.
Have we formed a loyal attachment to the organization that Jehovah is using today?
"Your Reminders Are What I Am Fond Of". The Watchtower. June 15, 2006. p. 26.
We too should remain faithful to Jehovah and to his organization regardless of injustices we suffer and regardless of what others do.
"Are You Prepared for Survival?". The Watchtower. May 15, 2006. p. 22.
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.
Worship The Only True God. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. 2002. p. 134.
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.
- 2013 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. p. 178.
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.
- A common example given is a baptized Witness who dates a non-Witness; see "Questions From Readers". The Watchtower. July 15, 1999. p. 30.
- Raymond Franz cites numerous examples. In Crisis of Conscience, 2002, pg. 173, he quotes from "They Shall Know That a Prophet Was Among Them". The Watchtower. April 1, 1972. pp. 197–200. 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 "Identifying the Right Kind of Messenger". The Watchtower. May 1, 1997. p. 8. 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 Commissioned to Speak in the Divine Name. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. 1971. pp. 70, 292. 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 "Execution of the Great Harlot Nears". The Watchtower. October 15, 1980. p. 17. which claims God gives the Witnesses "special knowledge that others do not have ... advance knowledge about this system's end".
- 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.
- Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses. Rowman & Littlefield. 2019. p. 164. ISBN 9781538119525.
Jehovah's Witnesses are pre-millennialist
- Cobb v. Brede (California Superior Court, San Mateo County February 22, 2012) ("I am general counsel for the National Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses out of Brooklyn, New York. ... We are a hierarchical religion structured just like the Catholic Church.").
- Stanley I. Kutler, ed. (2003). "Jehovah's Witnesses". Dictionary of American History (3rd ed.). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 978-0-684-80533-7.
- Bergman 1995, p. 33.
- "2022 Grand Totals". Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. 2022. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
- Sources for descriptors:
- Millenarian: Beckford 1975, pp. 118–119, 151, 200–201
- Restorationist: Stark, Rodney; Iannaccone, Laurence R. (1997). "Why the Jehovah's Witnesses Grow so Rapidly: A Theoretical Application" (PDF). Journal of Contemporary Religion. 12 (2): 133–157. doi:10.1080/13537909708580796. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 28, 2017. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- Protestant: Bergman 1995, pp. 33–46
- Christian: "Who is a Christian?". www.religioustolerance.org. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Archived from the original on May 11, 2000. Retrieved December 27, 2017. "Religious Landscape Study". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. Pew Research Center. May 11, 2015. Retrieved December 27, 2017.World Almanac and Book of Facts. New York, NY: Infobase Learning. 2011. pp. 704–705. ISBN 978-1-60057-133-6.
- Denomination: "Jehovah's Witnesses at a glance". BBC. September 29, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2017."Jehovah's Witness". TheFreeDictionary.com. The American Heritage Dictionary. Retrieved December 27, 2017."Imprisoned for Their Faith: Jehovah's Witnesses in Auschwitz". auschwitz.org. Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. February 5, 2004. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- Beckford 1975, p. 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."
- Penton 1997, pp. 58, 61–62.
- Paul Lagasse, ed. (2000). "Jehovah's Witnesses". The Columbia Encyclopedia (6th ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-7876-5015-5.
The Witnesses base their teaching on the Bible
- "Jehovah's Witness". Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2007. ISBN 978-1-59339-293-2.
- Michael Hill, ed. (1972). "The Embryonic State of a Religious Sect's Development: The Jehovah's Witnesses". Sociological Yearbook of Religion in Britain (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.
- Leo P. Chall (1978). "Sociological Abstracts". Sociology of Religion. 26 (1–3): 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.
- "Bearers of the Fear-inspiring Name". The Watchtower. Watch Tower Society. November 1, 1961. p. 654.
in 1931, ... embracing the name ... Jehovah's witnesses
- Rogerson 1969, p. 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."
- Beckford 1975, p. 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."
- "A New Name". The Watch Tower. October 1, 1931. p. 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.
- Franz 2007, pp. 274–275.
- Edwards, Linda (2001). A Brief Guide to Beliefs. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 438. ISBN 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.
- "When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed?—Part One". The Watchtower. October 1, 2011. p. 26.
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 2008, p. 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."
- Singelenberg, Richard (1989). "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. doi:10.2307/3710916. JSTOR 3710916.
'The Truth' is Witnesses' jargon, meaning the Society's belief system.
- Penton 1997, p. 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."
- "God's Kingdom—A Government With No Corruption". The Watchtower. January 1, 2015. p. 4.
Would you not agree that if human society is corrupt, then any government that is a part of it will inevitably be corrupt? If that is the case, then a government free of corruption must come from outside human society.
- Chryssides, George D. (1999). Exploring New Religions. London: Continuum. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-8264-5959-6.
The Jehovah's Witnesses are well known for their practice of 'disfellowshipping' wayward members.
- Chryssides 2016, pp. 139–140: "The transgressor is invariably given the opportunity to repent and to be counselled for his or her weaknesses: disfellowshipping is a last resort, and is effectively a formal recognition that a Witness has placed himself or herself beyond the pale, and does not accept the fundamental teachings and practices of the organisation."
- "Chapter Five - Determining Whether a Judicial Committee Should Be Formed". Shepherd the Flock of God (PDF). Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, INC. Brooklyn, New York, USA. 2010.
Though this is not an exhaustive list, brazen conduct may be involved in the following if the wrongdoer has an insolent, contemptuous attitude made evident by a practice of these things: - Willful, continued, unnecessary association with disfellowshipped nonrelatives despite repeated counsel.—Matt. 18:17b; 1 Cor. 5:11, 13; 2 John 10, 11; w81 9/15 pp. 25-26 [...]
- "How to Keep Separate From the World". Keep Yourselves in God's Love. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, INC. Brooklyn, New York, USA. Archived from the original on August 13, 2023.
Can the spirit of the world take root in your mind and heart? Yes, but only if you let it do so by lowering your guard. (Read Proverbs 4:23.) Its influence often begins subtly, perhaps by way of associates who may appear to be good people but, in fact, have no love for Jehovah. (Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33) You can also absorb that evil spirit through objectionable literature, pornographic or apostate Internet sites, unwholesome entertainment, and highly competitive sports—really, through anyone or anything that conveys the thinking of Satan or his system.
- Shepherd the Flock of God (PDF). Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, INC. Brooklyn, New York, USA. 2010. p. 119.
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.
- "Loyally Uphold Jehovah's Judgments—Be Forgiving". JW.org. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on September 13, 2023.
- "Tanzania: Dons Fault Court Over Suspension of Students (Page 1 of 2)". allAfrica.com. June 17, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- Kibakaya, Esther (August 18, 2013). "How much of our religion must we bring to school?". The Citizen. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
- Keep Yourselves in God's Love. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. pp. 212–215. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
- Manwaring, David R. (1962). Render Unto Caesar, The Flag-Salute Controversy. p. 32.
- Botting 1993, pp. 1–13.
- Rogerson 1969, p. 6.
- Beckford 1975, p. 2.
- Crompton 1996, pp. 37–39.
- "Gentile Times: When Do They End?". Bible Examiner. October 1, 1876. pp. 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.
- Studies in the Scriptures. Vol. IV. Watch Tower Society. 1897. p. xii.
- Russell, Charles (1889). The Time is at Hand. Watch Tower Society. p. 101.
... the 'battle of the great day of God Almighty' (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A. D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of Earth's present rulership, is already commenced.
- Botting & Botting 1984, p. 36.
- Holden 2002, p. 18.
- "Prospectus". Zion's Watch Tower. July 1, 1879. p. 1.
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.
- "Part 1 - United States of America". 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society. 1975. p. 38.
- "The Ecclesia". Zion's Watch Tower. September 1, 1884. pp. 7–8.
- Russell, Charles (1904). Studies in the Scriptures. Vol. VI. Watch Tower Society. pp. 195–272.
- Chryssides 2008, p. 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.
- Vergilius Ture Anselm Ferm (1948). Religion in the Twentieth Century. Philosophical Library. p. 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.
- Holden 2002, p. 19.
- A Chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States. Greenwood Press. 1996. p. 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.
- Penton 1997, pp. 26–29.
- W.T. Ellis (October 3, 1912). "(Title unknown)". The Continent. Vol. 43, no. 40. McCormick Publishing Company. p. 1354.
- by Walter H. Conser; Sumner B. Twiss (1997). Religious Diversity and American Religious History. University of Georgia Press. p. 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...
- The New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Vol. 7. 1910. p. 374.
- Penton 1997, p. 26.
- Rogerson 1969, p. 31.
- Penton 1997, p. 53.
- A.N. Pierson (1917). Light After Darkness. p. 4.
- Crompton 1996, p. 101.
- "The Fall of Babylon" (PDF). The Bible Students Monthly. Vol. 9, no. 9. pp. 1–4.
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. (1921). American State Trials. Vol. 13. Thomas Law Book Company. p. 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.
- Crompton 1996, pp. 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."
- Penton 1997, p. 55.
- Rogerson 1969, p. 44.
- Franz 2007, "Chapter 4".
- "7. Advertise the King and the Kingdom! (1919-1941)". Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Society. 1993. pp. 72–77.
- Franz 2007, p. 144.
- Rutherford, Joseph F. (1920). Millions Now Living Will Never Die!. Brooklyn, New York: International Bible Students Association. pp. 89–90. ISBN 978-1-4116-2898-4.
- Chryssides, George D. (2010). "How Prophecy Succeeds: The Jehovah's Witnesses and Prophetic Expectations". International Journal for the Study of New Religions. 1 (1): 27–48. doi:10.1558/ijsnr.v1i1.27. ISSN 2041-952X.
- Rogerson 1969, pp. 39, 52.
- Herbert H. Stroup (1945). The Jehovah's Witnesses. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 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.
- Penton 1997, pp. 58, 61
- Gruss, Edmond C. (2001). Jehovah's Witnesses: Their Claims, Doctrinal Changes, and Prophetic Speculation. What Does the Record Show?. Xulon Press. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-931232-30-2.
- Reed, David (1993). "Whither the Watchtower?". Christian Research Journal: 27. Archived from the original on September 9, 2011.
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.
- Thirty Years a Watchtower Slave, William J. Schnell, Baker, Grand Rapids, 1956, as cited by Rogerson 1969, p. 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."
- Gruss, Edmond C. (1970). Apostles of Denial: An Examination and Exposé of the History, Doctrines and Claims of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-87552-305-7.
- Beckford 1975, p. 31
- Penton 1997, pp. 71–72.
- Crompton 1996, pp. 109–110.
- Beckford 1975, p. 35
- Garbe, Detlef (2008). Between Resistance and Martyrdom: Jehovah's Witnesses in the Third Reich. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-299-20794-6.
- 1943 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society. 1942. pp. 221–222.
- Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose. Watch Tower Society. 1959. pp. 312–313.
- Beckford 1975, pp. 47–52
- Beckford 1975, pp. 52–55
- Penton 1997, pp. 89–90.
- Chryssides 2008, p. 19
- "What will the 1970's Bring?". Awake!. Watch Tower Society. October 8, 1968. p. 14.
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.
- "How Are You Using Your Life?". Our Kingdom Ministry. May 1, 1974. p. 63.
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.
- Penton 1997, p. 95
- Botting & Botting 1984, p. 46.
- Franz, Raymond (2002). "1975—The Appropriate Time for God to Act" (PDF). Crisis of Conscience. Commentary Press. pp. 237–253. ISBN 978-0-914675-23-5. Retrieved July 27, 2006.
- Singelenberg, Richard (1989). "The '1975'-Prophecy and Its Impact Among Dutch Jehovah's Witnesses". Sociological Analysis. 50 (1): 23–40. doi:10.2307/3710916. JSTOR 3710916. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2006. 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.
- Stark and Iannoccone (1997). "Why the Jehovah's Witnesses Grow So Rapidly: A Theoretical Application" (PDF). Journal of Contemporary Religion: 142–143. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 12, 2019. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Dart, John (January 30, 1982). "Defectors Feel 'Witness' Wrath: Critics say Baptism Rise Gives False Picture of Growth". Los Angeles Times. p. 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.
- Hesse, Hans (2001). Persecution and Resistance of Jehovah's Witnesses During the Nazi-Regime. Chicago: Edition Temmen c/o. pp. 296, 298. ISBN 978-3-861-08750-2.
- "Choosing the Best Way of Life". The Watchtower. March 15, 1980. pp. 17–18.
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.
- Chryssides 2008, pp. 32, 112
- Chryssides 2008, p. 64
- Penton 1997, p. 317.
- Joel P. Engardio (December 18, 1995). "Apocalypse Later". Newsweek. Vol. 236, no. 3146. pp. 24–25. Bibcode:2017NewSc.236Q..24L. doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(17)31969-3.
- "Jehovah's Witnesses Abandon Key Tenet: Doctrine: Sect has quietly retreated from prediction that those alive in 1914 would see end of world". Los Angeles Times. November 4, 1995.
- "Overseers and Ministerial Servants Theocratically Appointed". The Watchtower. January 15, 2001. p. 16.
Theocratic appointments come from Jehovah through his Son and God's visible earthly channel, "the faithful and discreet slave" and its Governing Body.
- "Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View". The Watchtower. October 1, 1967. pp. 591–592.
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.
- Penton 1997, p. 211.
- "What Is the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses?". Official website of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society.
- 2007 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society. pp. 4, 6.
- Botting & Botting 1984, p. [page needed].
- Franz 2007, p. 123.
- "How the Governing Body Is Organized". The Watchtower. May 15, 2008. p. 29.
- "Seek God's Guidance in All Things". The Watchtower. April 15, 2008. p. 11.
- Franz 2007, p. 153.
- "Preaching and Teaching Earth Wide - 2009 Grand Totals". 2010 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society. 2010. p. 42.
- "Annual Meeting Report". Official website of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society.
- Penton 1997, pp. 174–176
- Penton 1997, p. 101, 233–235.
- Chryssides 2008, pp. 17–18
- Penton, M. James (2015). Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses (3rd ed.). University of Toronto Press. pp. 326, 460–461. ISBN 978-1442616059.
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.'
- Botting & Botting 1984, p. 32: "Missionaries, circuit overseers, district overseers, special pioneers, and branch-office workers receive small allowances each month."
- "Watchtower Society". Encyclopedia of American Religion and Politics. p. 466.
The religious order of Jehovah's Witnesses caters to the needs of all volunteers who have taken a vow of poverty and obedience.
- Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael (2006), Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America, vol. 2, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, p. 69, ISBN 978-0-275-98712-1
- Taylor, Elizabeth J. (2012). Religion: A Clinical Guide for Nurses. Springer Publishing Company. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-8261-0860-9.
- Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock. Watch Tower Society. 1981. p. 147.
- "Case Study 29: Transcript (day 147)" (PDF). Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. July 27, 2015. p. 16.
- Hoekema 1963, p. 291
- Franz 2007, pp. 116–120.
- Chryssides 2008, p. 14
- "Baptism and Your Relationship With God". What Does the Bible Really Teach. Watch Tower Society. p. 182.
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.
- Franz 2007, pp. 449–464.
- Holden 2002, p. 32: "The structure of the movement and the intense loyalty demanded of each individual at every level demonstrates the characteristics of totalitarianism."
- "30. What You Must Do to Live Forever". You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth. Watch Tower Society. 1989. p. 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.
- "You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth—But How?". The Watchtower. February 15, 1983. p. 12.
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.
- Meyers, Jim (October 2010). "Jehovah's Witnesses — Publishing Titans" (PDF). Newsmax. West Palm Beach, FL: Newsmax Media.
- "Online Bible". Official website of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society.
- Joe Pompeo (September 30, 2010). "Did You Know The Most Widely Circulated Magazine In The World Is The Monthly Publication Of Jehovah's Witnesses?". Business Insider.
- "Jehovah's Witnesses Reach New Preaching Milestone—JW.ORG Now Features Content in 1,000 Languages". Official website of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society.
- "8. Tools for Preaching—Producing Literature for the Worldwide Field". God's Kingdom Rules!. Watch Tower Society. 2014. p. 79.
- "At the Top / NYC Company Profiles / NYC 40". Newsday. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
- 2002 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society. 2002. p. 31.
- Van Voorst, Robert E. (2012). RELG: World. Cengage Learning. p. 288. ISBN 978-1-1117-2620-1.
- "Remember Those Who Are Taking the Lead Among You". Organized to Do Jehovah's Will. Watch Tower Society. 2015. pp. 17–19.
- "Cooperating With the Governing Body Today". The Watchtower. March 15, 1990. p. 19.
- Beckford 1975, p. 119
- "Focus on the Goodness of Jehovah's Organization". The Watchtower. July 15, 2006. p. 22.
- "Impart God's Progressive Revelation to Mankind". The Watchtower. March 1, 1965. pp. 158–159.
- Penton 1997, pp. 165–171.
- "Flashes of Light—Great and Small". The Watchtower. May 15, 1995. p. 15.
- "The Path of the Righteous Does Keep Getting Brighter". The Watchtower. December 1, 1981. pp. 26–31.
- Penton 1997, p. 165.
- Rutherford, Joseph (1933). Preparation. Watch Tower Society. pp. 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 Spirit Searches into the Deep Things of God". The Watchtower. July 15, 2010. p. 23.
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.
- "Do We Need Help to Understand the Bible?". The Watchtower. February 15, 1981. p. 19.
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)
- "Do You See the Evidence of God's Guidance?". The Watchtower. April 15, 2011. pp. 3–5.
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.
- "Unity Identifies True Worship". The Watchtower. September 15, 2010. p. 13.
- "Overseers of Jehovah's People". The Watchtower. June 15, 1957. pp. 369–375.
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.
- Penton 1997, p. 172.
- "Archaeology and the Inspired Record". All Scripture is Inspired of God. Watch Tower Society. 1990. p. 336.
- "All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial". All Scripture is Inspired of God. Watch Tower Society. 1990. p. 9.
- "Jehovah's Witnesses". Reasoning From The Scriptures. Watch Tower Society. 1989. pp. 199–208.
- Holden 2002, p. 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."
- 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."
- "Keep Clear of False Worship!". The Watchtower. March 15, 2006. pp. 27–31.
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.
- "Questions From Readers". The Watchtower. May 1, 1984. p. 31.
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.
- "Question Box". Our Kingdom Ministry. September 1, 2007. p. 3.
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.
- "Make Your Advancement Manifest". The Watchtower. August 1, 2001. p. 14.
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."
- "Do We Need Help to Understand the Bible?". The Watchtower. February 15, 1981. p. 19.
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.
- Beckford 1975, pp. 84, 89, 92, 119–120
- "Questions From Readers". The Watchtower. April 1, 1986. pp. 30–31.
- Holden 2002, p. 24
- Ringnes, Hege Kristin; Sødal, Helje Kringlebotn, eds. (2009). Jehovas vitner: en flerfaglig studie (in Norwegian). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. p. 27. ISBN 978-82-15-01453-1.
- Holden, A. (2002). Cavorting With the Devil: Jehovah's Witnesses Who Abandon Their Faith (PDF). Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YL, UK. p. Endnote [i]. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
- Rogerson 1969, p. 87.
- Beckford 1975, p. 105
- Revelation Its Grand Climax. Watch Tower Society. 1988. p. 36.
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.
- Rogerson 1969, p. 90.
- "What is the Holy Spirit?". The Watchtower. October 1, 2009. p. 5.
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.
- Hoekema 1963, p. 262
- Hoekema 1963, pp. 276–277
- Penton 1997, p. 372.
- "After Jesus' Resurrection, Was His Body Flesh or Spirit?". Jehovah's Witnesses—Official Website: jw.org. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
- Hoekema 1963, p. 270
- "Stay in the "City of Refuge" and Live!". The Watchtower. November 15, 1995. p. 19.
- Penton 1997, pp. 188–189.
- Penton 1997, pp. 188–190
- Hoekema 1963, pp. 298–299
- Holden 2002, p. 25
- "Identifying the Wild Beast and Its Mark". The Watchtower. April 1, 2004. p. 5.
This does not mean, however, that every human ruler is a direct tool of Satan.
- Hoekema 1963, pp. 322–324
- Hoekema 1963, pp. 265–269
- Penton 1997, p. 186.
- Penton 1997, pp. 193–194.
- "Young Ones—Are You Ready to Get Baptized". The Watchtower (study ed.). March 1, 2016. p. 4.
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.
- "Remaining Organized for Survival Into the Millennium". The Watchtower. September 1, 1989. p. 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.
- You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth. Watch Tower Society. 1989. p. 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 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.
- Hoekema 1963, pp. 315–319
- "Declare Righteous". Insight on the Scriptures. Vol. 1. Watch Tower Society. 1988. p. 606.
- "A Royal Priesthood to Benefit All Mankind". The Watchtower. January 15, 2012. pp. 26–30.
- Hoekema 1963, pp. 295–296.
- Rogerson 1969, p. 106.
- "God's Kingdom—Earth's New Rulership". The Watchtower. October 15, 2000. p. 10.
- Hoekema 1963, p. 298
- Rogerson 1969, p. 105.
- "Daniel's Prophetic Days and Our Faith". The Watchtower. November 1, 1993. pp. 8–9.
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.
- Hoekema 1963, p. 297
- Hoekema 1963, pp. 286
- "Tell Us, When Will These Things Be?". The Watchtower. July 15, 2013. pp. 4–5.
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.
- "Apocalypse—When?". The Watchtower. February 15, 1986. p. 6.
- Penton 1997, p. 180.
- Hoekema 1963, pp. 307–321
- "Questions From Readers". The Watchtower. November 1, 1952. p. 670.
- Penton 1997, pp. 17–19.
- "The Messiah's Presence and His Rule". The Watchtower. October 1, 1992. p. 16.
- "What Is the Role of Women in Jehovah's Purpose?". The Watchtower. Watch Tower Society. August 15, 2014. pp. 6–10.
- Chryssides 2008, p. 67.
- Chryssides 2008, p. 68.
- Chryssides 2008, p. 13.
- Holden 2002, pp. 64–69
- "Highlights of the Past Year". Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society. 2010. p. 6.
- "Christian Families—"Keep Ready"". The Watchtower. May 15, 2011. p. 14.
- Torres-Pruñonosa, Jose; Plaza-Navas, Miquel-Angel; Brown, Silas (2022). "Jehovah's Witnesses' adoption of digitally-mediated services during Covid-19 pandemic". Cogent Social Sciences. 8 (1). doi:10.1080/23311886.2022.2071034. S2CID 248581687.
- Organized to Do Jehovah's Will. Watch Tower Society. 2015. pp. 63–64.
- Hoekema 1963, p. 292
- Crompton 1996, p. 5.
- Rogerson 1969, p. 1.
- Whalen, William J. (1962). Armageddon Around the Corner: A Report on Jehovah's Witnesses. New York: John Day Company. pp. 15, 18.
- "Global Printing—Helping People to Learn About God". Watch Tower Society.
- Ringnes & Sødal 2009, p. 43
- "Be "Intensely Occupied" With Your Ministry". Our Kingdom Ministry. April 1, 2001. p. 3.
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
- "18-Baptism and Your Relationship With God". What Does the Bible Really Teach?. pp. 174–183.
- "Question Box: How long should a formal Bible study be conducted with an individual in the Knowledge book?". Our Kingdom Ministry. October 1, 1996.
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.
- Botting & Botting 1984, p. 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."
- Bearing Thorough Witness About God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Society. 2009. p. 63.
Do you obey the command to bear thorough witness, even if the assignment causes you some apprehension?
- "Determined to Bear Thorough Witness". The Watchtower. December 15, 2008. p. 19.
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.
- Botting & Botting 1984, p. 52.
- "Do You Contribute to an Accurate Report?". Our Kingdom Ministry. December 1, 2002. p. 8.
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.
- "Regularity in Service Brings Blessings". Our Kingdom Ministry. May 1, 1984. p. 7.
- "Helping Irregular Publishers". Our Kingdom Ministry. December 1, 1987. p. 7.
- "Keep the Word of Jehovah Moving Speedily". Our Kingdom Ministry. October 1, 1982. p. 1.
- Chryssides, G.D. (1999). Exploring New Religions. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-304-33651-7.
- "Imitate Jehovah—Exercise Justice and Righteousness". The Watchtower. August 1, 1998. p. 16.
- Holden 2002, pp. 26–27, 173
- "Questions From Readers". The Watchtower. June 15, 2002. pp. 30, 31.
- Penton 1997, pp. 152, 180.
- "The Bible's Viewpoint—What Does It Mean to Be the Head of the House?". Awake!. July 8, 2004. p. 26.
- "Christian Weddings That Bring Joy". The Watchtower. April 15, 1984. p. 11.
- Shepherd the Flock of God. Watch Tower Society. pp. 37–38, 124–125.
- "Questions From Readers". The Watchtower. March 15, 1982. p. 31.
How should individual Christians and the congregation as a whole view the Bible advice to marry "only in the Lord"?
- Penton 1997, pp. 110–112.
- "Adultery". Insight on the Scriptures. Vol. 1. p. 53.
- "Marriage—Why Many Walk Out". Awake!. July 8, 1993. p. 6.
A legal divorce or a legal separation may provide a measure of protection from extreme abuse or willful nonsupport.
- "When Marital Peace Is Threatened". The Watchtower. November 1, 1988. p. 22.
- Beckford 1975, pp. 54–55.
- Penton 1997, pp. 106–108.
- Muramoto, O. (August 1998). "Bioethics of the refusal of blood by Jehovah's Witnesses: Part 1. Should bioethical deliberation consider dissidents' views?". Journal of Medical Ethics. 24 (4): 223–230. doi:10.1136/jme.24.4.223. PMC 1377670. PMID 9752623.
- McIlveney, Fiona; Pace, Nick (2004). "Jehovah's Witnesses". Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine. 5 (2): 57–59. doi:10.1383/anes.188.8.131.52690.
- "Discipline That Can Yield Peaceable Fruit". The Watchtower. April 15, 1988. pp. 26–31.
- "Display Christian Loyalty When a Relative Is Disfellowshipped". Our Kingdom Ministry. August 1, 2002. pp. 3–4.
- "Disfellowshipping—How to View It". The Watchtower. September 15, 1981. p. 24.
- "When a Loved One Leaves Jehovah". The Watchtower. No. September 2021. pp. 26–31. Archived from the original on August 13, 2023.
By supporting the elders' decision to disfellowship your loved one, you may actually help him to return to Jehovah. 'Severing family association with our adult son was extremely difficult,' admits Elizabeth, quoted earlier. 'But after he returned to Jehovah, he admitted that he deserved to be disfellowshipped. In time, he expressed appreciation for the lessons he learned. I came to value Jehovah's discipline,' she says. Her husband, Mark, adds: 'Much later, our son told me that he wanted to come back in part because we did exactly what we had to do. I'm so glad Jehovah helped us to be obedient.'
- Shepherd the Flock of God (PDF). Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, INC. Brooklyn, New York, USA. 2010.
- "Appendix: How to Treat a Disfellowshipped person". Keep Yourselves in God's Love. Jehovah's Witnesses. 2008. pp. 207–209.
- Holden 2002, p. 163
- "Disfellowshiping—How to View It". The Watchtower. September 15, 1981. p. 23.
- "Do You Hate Lawlessness?". The Watchtower. February 15, 2011. p. 31.
- Franz, Raymond. Crisis of Conscience. p. 358.
- "Questions From Readers". The Watchtower. January 1, 1983. pp. 30–31.
- "Should the Religions Unite?". The Watchtower. December 15, 1953. pp. 741–742.
- "Is Interfaith God's Way?". The Watchtower. February 1, 1952. p. 69.
- Beckford 1975, p. 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."
- "Worship That God Approves". What Does The Bible Really Teach?. p. 145.
- "World". Reasoning From the Scriptures. Watch Tower Society. 1989. pp. 435–438.
- "Live a Balanced, Simple Life". The Watchtower. July 15, 1989. p. 11.
- Holden 2002, p. 12
- "Keep Your Distance When Danger Threatens". The Watchtower. February 15, 1994. p. 23.
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.
- Holden 2002, pp. 109–112.
- Franz 2007, p. 409.
- "Each One Will Carry His Own Load". The Watchtower. March 15, 2006. p. 23.
- Bryan R. Wilson (1993). "The Persistence of Sects". Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religions. 1 (2).
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.
- Chryssides 2008, p. 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."
- Ingersoll-Wood, Carrie S. (2022). "The Educational Identity Formation of Jehovah's Witnesses, Religion & Education". Religion & Education. 49 (3): 310–338. doi:10.1080/15507394.2022.2102875. S2CID 251542550.
- "Parents-What Future Do You Want for Your Children?". The Watchtower. October 1, 2005. pp. 26–31.
- Ploeg, Luke. "Lack Of Education Leads To Lost Dreams And Low Income For Many Jehovah's Witnesses". NPR. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
- "What Should Christians Do Today?". The Watchtower. Watch Tower Society. May 1, 2012. p. 7.
True Christians give allegiance only to God's Kingdom
- "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.
- "Questions From Readers". The Watchtower. March 1, 1983. p. 30.
- "Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Maintain Political Neutrality?". Watch Tower Society.
- Reasoning From The Scriptures. Watch Tower Society. p. 178.
- "Keep Yourselves in God's Love". The Watchtower. August 15, 2009. p. 22.
- "The Seriousness of It". The Watchtower. September 15, 1968. p. 6.
- "Work to Preserve Your Family Into God's New World". The Watchtower. October 15, 1992. p. 21.
- Worship the Only True God. Watch Tower Society. 2002. p. 159.
- "Korea government promises to adopt alternative service system for conscientious objectors". Jehovah's Witnesses Official Media Web Site. Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses. October 4, 2007. Archived from the original on December 24, 2009.
- Education. Watch Tower Society. 2002. pp. 20–23.
- Owens, Gene (September 1, 1997). "Trials of a Jehovah's Witness. (The Faith of Journalists)". Nieman Reports.
- Ronald Lawson (1995). "Sect-state relations: Accounting for the differing trajectories of Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses". Sociology of Religion. 56 (4): 351–377. doi:10.2307/3712195. JSTOR 3712195.
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.
- Penton 1997, p. i.
- Reasoning From the Scriptures. Watch Tower Society. 1989. pp. 70–75.
- Holden 2002, p. 91.
- Muramoto, O. (January 6, 2001). "Bioethical aspects of the recent changes in the policy of refusal of blood by Jehovah's Witnesses". BMJ. 322 (7277): 37–39. doi:10.1136/bmj.322.7277.37. PMC 1119307. PMID 11141155.
- Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Society. 1993. p. 183.
- United in Worship of the Only True God. Watch Tower Society. 1983. pp. 156–160.
- Bowman, R. M.; Beisner, E. C.; Ehrenborg, T. (1995). Jehovah's Witnesses. Zondervan. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-310-70411-9.
- Botting & Botting 1984, pp. 29–30.
- How Blood Can Save Your Life. Watch Tower Society. 1990. pp. 13–17.
- Gohel, MS; Bulbaria, RA; Slim, FJ; Poskitt, KR; Whyman, MR (2005). "How to approach major surgery where patients refuse blood transfusion (including Jehovah's Witnesses)". Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 87 (1): 3–14. doi:10.1308/1478708051414. PMC 1963852. PMID 15720900.
- "Questions From Readers". The Watchtower. June 15, 2000. p. 30.
Do Jehovah's Witnesses accept any medical products derived from blood?
- Sniesinski; Chen, EP; Levy, JH; Szlam, F; Tanaka, KA; et al. (April 1, 2007). "Coagulopathy After Cardiopulmonary Bypass in Jehovah's Witness Patients: Management of Two Cases Using Fractionated Components and Factor VIIa" (PDF). Anesthesia & Analgesia. 104 (4): 763–5. doi:10.1213/01.ane.0000250913.45299.f3. PMID 17377078. S2CID 45882634. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
- "The Real Value of Blood". Awake!. August 1, 2006. p. 11.
- Durable Power of Attorney form. Watch Tower Society. January 2001. p. 1. Examples of permitted fractions are: Interferon, Immune Serum Globulins Archived January 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine and Factor VIII; preparations made from Hemoglobin such as PolyHeme Archived July 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine and Hemopure. Examples of permitted procedures involving the medical use of one's own blood include: cell salvage Archived July 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, hemodilution Archived September 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, heart lung machine, dialysis, epidural blood patch Archived September 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, plasmapheresis, blood labeling or tagging Archived January 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine and platelet gel Archived January 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine (autologous)
- "How Do I View Blood Fractions and Medical Procedures Involving My Own Blood?" (PDF). Our Kingdom Ministry. November 1, 2006. pp. 5–6.
- "Jehovah's Witnesses and Medical Profession Cooperate". Awake!. November 22, 1993. pp. 24–27.
- Kim Archer (May 15, 2007). "Jehovah's Witness liaisons help surgeons adapt". Tulsa World.
- Smith, Stephen. "Jehovah's Witnesses defend hospital visits that push for bloodless treatment". CBC News. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
- "Question Box". Our Kingdom Ministry. Watch Tower Society. November 1, 2003. p. 3.
Should a family Bible study be reported to the congregation?
- "Question Box-May both parents report the time used for the regular family study?". Our Kingdom Ministry. September 1, 2008. p. 3.
- "2021 Governing Body Update #10". Watch Tower Society.
- "Jehovah's Witnesses Official Media Web Site: Our History and Organization: Membership". Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses. Archived from the original on December 4, 2012.
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].
- U.S. Religious Landscape Survey Religious Affiliation: Diverse and Dynamic (Report). Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. February 1, 2008. pp. 9, 30.
- "Groups - Religious Profiles | US Religion". www.thearda.com.
- Van Biema, David (February 25, 2008). "America's Unfaithful Faithful" – via content.time.com.
- "PEW Forum on Religion and Public Life. U.S. Religious Landscape Survey: Religious Affiliation: Diverse and Dynamic" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 17, 2017. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
- "A closer look at Jehovah's Witnesses living in the U.S." Pew Research Center.
- Beckford 1975, pp. 92, 98–100
- Beckford 1975, pp. 196–207
- Bryan R. Wilson (1993). "The Persistence of Sects". Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religions. 1 (2).
- "Religious Beliefs and Practices". U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. Pew Research Center. June 1, 2008. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
- "Jehovah's Witnesses". U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. Pew Research Center. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
- Jubber, Ken (1977). "The Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Southern Africa". Social Compass. 24 (1): 121–134. doi:10.1177/003776867702400108. S2CID 143997010.
- "UN investigator: Rights of minorities to worship undermined". Associated Press. November 4, 2020.
- Morton, Jason; Bakken, Keely; Omer, Mohy; Greenwalt, Patrick (2020). "The Global Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses" (PDF). United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
- Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Society. 1993. p. 490.
- Peters, Shawn Francis (2000). Judging Jehovah's Witnesses: Religious Persecution and the Dawn of the Rights Revolution. University Press of Kansas. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-7006-1008-2.
- Rogerson 1969, p. 59.
- Barbara Grizzuti Harrison (1978). "6". Visions of Glory.
- Schnell, William (1971). 30 Years a Watchtower Slave. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids. pp. 104–106. ISBN 978-0-8010-6384-8.
- Whalen, William J. (1962). Armageddon Around the Corner: A Report on Jehovah's Witnesses. New York: John Day Company. p. 190.
- Advice for Kingdom Publishers. Watch Tower Society. 1939. pp. 5–6, 14.
- "CANADIAN WRONGS: QUEBEC'S ATTACK ON JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES". University of Toronto Libraries. University of Toronto. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
- Kaplan 1989.
- Yaffee, Barbara (September 9, 1984). "Witnesses Seek Apology for Wartime Persecution". The Globe and Mail. p. 4.
- Supreme Court of Canada. "Saumur v Quebec (City of)".  2 SCR 299. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011.
- Supreme Court of Canada. "Roncarelli v Duplessis".  SCR 121. Archived from the original on January 12, 2013.
- Scott, Stephen A. (February 7, 2006). "Roncarelli v Duplessis". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
- Penton, James (2004). Jehovah's Witnesses and the Third Reich. University of Toronto Press. p. 376. ISBN 978-0802086785.
- Chu, Jolene (September 1, 2004). "God's things and Caesar's: Jehovah's Witnesses and political neutrality". Journal of Genocide Research. Taylor & Francis. 6 (3): 319–342. doi:10.1080/1462352042000265837. S2CID 71908533.
- Wrobel, Johannes S. (August 2006). "Jehovah's Witnesses in National Socialist concentration camps, 1933–45" (PDF). Religion, State & Society. Taylor & Francis. 34 (2): 89–125. doi:10.1080/09637490600624691. S2CID 145110013. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 21, 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
- Garbe, Detlef (2008). Between Resistance and Martyrdom: Jehovah's Witnesses in the Third Reich. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 484. ISBN 978-0-299-20794-6.
- "Jehovah's Witnesses". Holocaust Education Foundation.
- Berenbaum, Michael. "Persecution and Resistance of Jehovah's Witnesses During the Nazi-Regime".
- Laqueur, Walter; Baumel, Judith Tydor (2001). The Holocaust encyclopedia. Yale University Press. pp. 346–50. ISBN 978-0-300-08432-0. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
- Mike Dennis &, Norman LaPorte (2011). "Jehovah's Witnesses: From Persecution to Survival". State and Minorities in Communist East Germany. Berghahn Books. pp. 61–86. ISBN 978-0-85745-196-5.
- Валерий Пасат ."Трудные страницы истории Молдовы (1940–1950)". Москва: Изд. Terra, 1994 (in Russian)
- "Russian court bans Jehovah's Witnesses as extremist". Reuters. April 20, 2017. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
- Botting 1993, p. [page needed].
- Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Society. 1993. pp. 679–701.
- Botting 1993, pp. 1–14.
- Shawn Francis Peters (2000). Judging Jehovah's Witnesses. University Press of Kansas. pp. 12–16.
- "Jehovah's Witnesses and civil rights". Knocking.org. Archived from the original on September 1, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
- Botting 1993, pp. 15–201.
- Holden 2002, p. 22.
- "Case Study 29: Jehovah's Witnesses". Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. July 27, 2015.
- "Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View". The Watchtower. October 1, 1967. p. 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.
- Beckford 1975, pp. 89, 95, 103, 120, 204, 221.
- "Exposing the Devil's Subtle Designs/Armed for the Fight Against Wicked Spirits". The Watchtower. January 15, 1983. pp. 18–27.
- "Serving Jehovah Shoulder to Shoulder". The Watchtower. August 15, 1981. p. 28.
- "Jehovah's Theocratic Organization Today". The Watchtower. February 1, 1952. pp. 79–81.
- "Exposing the Devil's Subtle Designs". The Watchtower. January 15, 1983. p. 27.
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.
- "Visits from Older Men Benefit God's People". The Watchtower. February 15, 1979. p. 20.
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.
- "Building a Firm Foundation in Christ". The Watchtower. May 1, 1964. pp. 277–278.
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.
- Franz 2007, p. 358.
- "Will You Heed Jehovah's Clear Warnings?". The Watchtower. July 15, 2011. p. 15.
- Rogerson 1969, p. 50.
- Beckford 1975, pp. 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"
- Botting & Botting 1984, p. 90: "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."
- Rogerson 1969, p. 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."
- James A. Beverley (1986). Crisis of Allegiance. Burlington, Ontario: Welch Publishing Company. pp. 25–26, 101. ISBN 0-920413-37-4.
- Holden 2002, p. 153.
- Rogerson 1969, p. 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.
- Franz 2007, "Chapter 12".
- "Maintaining our Christian Oneness". The Watchtower. August 15, 1988. pp. 28–30.
- The Routledge History of the Holocaust. Routledge. 2010. ISBN 9781136870606.
Labeling the Jehovah's Witnesses as totalitarian trivializes the term totalitarian and defames the Jehovah's Witnesses.
- Holden 2002, pp. x, 7.
- Metzger, Bruce (July 1, 1964). "Book Review: New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures". The Bible Translator. 15 (3): 151. doi:10.1177/000608446401500311. S2CID 220318160. Retrieved 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 Ethiopic versions. Frequently an intelligent use of critical information is apparent.
- Gilmour, MacLean (September 1, 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
- Metzger, Bruce M. (April 1, 1953). "The Jehovah's Witnesses and Jesus Christ". Theology Today. 10 (1): 74. Bibcode:1998ThT....55..305G. doi:10.1177/004057365301000110. S2CID 170358762.
- Bruce Metzger (July 1, 1964). "The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures". The Bible Translator.
- McCoy, Robert (January 1, 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.'
- 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. doi:10.2307/3261681. JSTOR 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.See also Owens, John Joseph (April 1, 1956). "Book Review: New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures". Review & Expositor. 53 (2): 253–254. doi:10.1177/003463735605300239. S2CID 147233464.
- John Ankerberg; John Weldon; Dillon Burroughs (2008). The Facts on Jehovah's Witnesses. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. pp. 43–45. ISBN 978-0-7369-3907-2. See also John Ankerberg and John Weldon, 2003, The New World Translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses, accessible online
- 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.
- 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 bias which violates every rule of biblical criticism and every standard of scholarly integrity."
- Martin, W.; Klann, N. (1974). Jehovah of the Watchtower. Minneapolis: Bethany. p. 161.
- Hoekema 1963, p. 208–209.
- G. Hébert, ed. (2005). "Jehovah's Witnesses". The New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. Gale. p. 751.
- Anthony A. Hoekema (1963). The Four Major Cults: Christian Science, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, Seventh-day Adventism. William B. Eerdmans. pp. 208–209. ISBN 0802831176.
- "Messengers of Godly Peace Pronounced Happy". The Watchtower. May 1, 1997. p. 21.
- Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Society. 1993. p. 708.
- "Execution of the 'Great Harlot' Nears". The Watchtower. October 15, 1980. p. 17.
- "What Jehovah's Day Will Reveal". The Watchtower. July 15, 2010. p. 5.
- "Staying Awake with the "Faithful and Discreet Slave"". The Watchtower. July 15, 1960. p. 444.
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.
- Chryssides 2016, p. 224.
- "Down with the Old-Up with the New!". The Watchtower. January 15, 1959. pp. 39–41.
- Crompton 1996, pp. 9, 115.
- Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Society. 1993. pp. 78, 632.
- Beckford 1975, pp. 219–221.
- James A. Beverley (1986). Crisis of Allegiance. Burlington, Ontario: Welch Publishing Company. pp. 86–91. ISBN 0-920413-37-4.
- "Why So Many False Alarms?". Awake!. March 22, 1993. pp. 3–4. footnote
- Revelation—Its Grand Climax. Watch Tower Society. 1988. p. 9.
- "False Prophets". Reasoning From the Scriptures. Watch Tower Society. p. 137.
- "To Whom Shall We Go but Jesus Christ?". The Watchtower. March 1, 1979. p. 23.
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.
- Chryssides 2008, p. xiv.
- Holden 2002, p. 7.
- Goodstein, Laurie (August 11, 2002). "Ousted members say Jehovah's Witnesses' policy on abuse hides offenses". The New York Times. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
- "Jehovah's Witnesses and Child Protection". Jehovah's Witnesses Official Media website. Archived from the original on November 23, 2009.
- Public Hearing - Case Study 29 (Day 152) (PDF). Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Australia (Report). pp. 67, 72.
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.
- Public Hearing - Case Study 29 (Day 155) (PDF). Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Australia (Report). pp. 44, 45.
- Shepherd the Flock of God. Brooklyn, New York: Watch Tower Society. 2010. p. 72.
- Lisa Myers; Richard Greenberg (November 21, 2007). "New evidence in Jehovah's Witness allegations". NBC News. New York, NY.
- "Jehovah's Witnesses' Scripturally Based Position on Child Protection". Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses.
- "How to Protect Your Children". Awake!. October 1, 2007. pp. 4–8.
- Report of case study no.29 (PDF). Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Australia (Report). pp. 9, 28.
- Jones, Ciaran (June 29, 2014). "Jehovah's Witnesses destroyed documents showing child abuse allegations against church elder". Wales Online. Cardiff, UK: Media Wales.
- Public Hearing - Case Study 29 (Day 152) (PDF). Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Australia (Report). pp. 24–26.
- Shepherd the Flock of God. Brooklyn, New York: Watch Tower Society. 2010. pp. 131–132.
- Cutrer, Corrie (March 5, 2001). "Witness leaders accused of shielding molesters". Christianity Today.
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."
- Jane Doe (Candace Conti) v. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc. et al. (California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Three April 13, 2015).Text
- "Former Jehovah's Witness Takes on Church Over Sex Abuse Allegations" (VIDEO). New York, NY: ABC News. March 12, 2015.
- Michael Buchanan (July 26, 2017). "Jehovah's Witnesses let sex offender interrogate victims". BBC News. Retrieved 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.
- "Decision: Manchester New Moston Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses". Charity Commission for England and Wales. July 26, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
- Report of Case Study No. 29 (Report). p. 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.]
- Gredley, Rebecca. "Jehovah's Witnesses to join redress scheme". 7News. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
- Beckford, James A. (1975). The Trumpet of Prophecy: A Sociological Study of Jehovah's Witnesses. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-16310-7.
- Bergman, Jerry (1995). "The Adventist and Jehovah's Witness Branch of Protestantism". In Miller, Timothy (ed.). America's Alternative Religions. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. pp. 33–46. ISBN 978-0-7914-2397-4. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020.
- Botting, Gary (1993). Fundamental Freedoms and Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Calgary Press. ISBN 978-1-895176-06-3.
- Botting, Heather; Botting, Gary (1984). The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-6545-2.
- Chryssides, George D. (2008). Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-6074-2.
- Chryssides, George D. (2016). Jehovah's Witnesses: Continuity and Change. Ashgate new religions. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 9781409456087.
- Chryssides, George (2022). Jehovah's Witnesses: A New Introduction. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-1-3501-9089-4.
- Crompton, Robert (1996). Counting the Days to Armageddon. Cambridge: James Clarke & Co. ISBN 0-227-67939-3.
- A detailed examination of the development of Jehovah's Witnesses' eschatology.
- Franz, Raymond (2007). In Search of Christian Freedom. Commentary Press. ISBN 978-0-914675-16-7. ISBN 978-0-914675-17-4
- Hoekema, Anthony A. (1963). The Four Major Cults. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-3117-0.
- Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-26610-9.
- An academic study on the sociological aspects of Jehovah's Witnesses phenomenon.
- Kaplan, William (1989). State and Salvation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-5842-6.
- Documents the Witnesses' fight for civil rights in Canada and the US amid political persecution during World War II.
- Knox, Zoe (2018). Jehovah's Witnesses and the Secular World: From the 1870s to the Present. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137396044.
- Penton, M. James (1997). Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-7973-2.
- 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 (1969). Millions Now Living Will Never Die. London: Constable & Co. 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
- Schulz, B. W. (2014). A Separate Identity: Organizational Identity Among Readers of Zion's Watch Tower: 1870–1887. Fluttering Wings Press. ISBN 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 (two-DVD series; 2010–2011)
- Official history of Jehovah's Witnesses.