A Guide to Religions, Religious Information and Help in Search for God

Jehovah's Witnesses (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania)

The Christian Protestant religion of Jehovah's Witnesses has an estimated 700,000 to 6,400,000 followers or Jehovah's Witnesses. The Jehovah's Witnesses organization was founded by Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) in the United States, when he organized a Bible study group (that rejected several significant traditional Christian teachings) in Pennsylvania circa 1870-1872. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was incorporated in 1884.

The name Jehovah's Witnesses, derived from the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, was adopted in 1931. "Jehovah" is an English translation for the name of God ("YHWH") in the Hebrew Scriptures. "Witnesses" is from passages like Isaiah 43:10 ("Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord..."). The name Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was reserved for use as publisher only.

In 1961, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania published their own English version called "New World Translation" of the Holy Bible. Biblical scholars claim that this translation distorts the original Hebrew and Greek texts to support the viewpoint and teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Jehovah's Witnesses use both the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible. Jesus Christ is regarded to have been an incarnation of Michael the Archangel, the Messiah and a man without sin. For this reason, we classify it under Christianity. Furthermore, Jehovah's Witnesses recognizes and respects Christianity in the way it was started by Jesus Christ's Apostles and existed in the Early Church (that lasted until the 3rd or 4th centuries A.D.), before church officials began to alter and corrupt the teachings. (NOTE: the famous psychic Edgar Cayce held this same belief.)

However, be aware that Jehovah's Witnesses is a strict monotheistic religion worshiping only one God named Jehovah (the Father or Supreme Being). Jehovah's Witnesses outright reject the idea of the Trinity of the Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. In other words, Jehovah's Witnesses do not revere or worship Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as deities or Gods. (In this respect, Jehovah's Witnesses is similar to the religions of Islam and Judaism.) Another important difference is that Jehovah's Witnesses (like its founder) do not believe in Hell and eternal punishment in Hell, as it is literally stated in most other versions of the Holy Bible.

The Jehovah's Witnesses organization is governed by a small group of volunteer directors at the international headquarters located in Brooklyn, New York. Many of the titles used by members are unique, in regards to other Christian denominations and major religions.

A congregation hold its meetings in a "Kingdom Hall" that are lead by "Overseer", supposedly translated from the Greek word "episkopos" to mean "one who visits and inspects". (NOTE: the title "bishop", used by several other Christian denominations, was also supposedly derived from "episkopos".) Groups of congregations are overseen by a "Circuit Overseer". Groups of circuits are overseen by a "District Overseer" A group of districts form a "Branch". A group of branches form a "Zone".

"Publishers" and "Pioneers" go door to door proselytizing by recruiting for their Bible study classes and selling the "Watchtower" magazine, "Awake!" magazines and various books and booklets. All publications are anonymously-written, copyrighted by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania and published by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.. Members are urged to be active (Witnesses) in these activities and later, baptized.

Throughout its existence, Jehovah's Witnesses has stirred commotion in its objection to mainstream practices (like saluting the flag, going to war and to vote). Currently, Jehovah's Witnesses are opposed to blood transfusions. Members are taught to sign medical forms to deny or reject blood transfusions, even if needed to save their lives.


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