Jehovah’s Witnesses belong to an international religious organization that traces its roots back to the American Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916), said to have founded the movement in 1884.
Around 1918, a schism occurred reminiscent of the Orthodox and Catholic split. The upshot was that Russell’s successor, Joseph Franklin Rutherford, wasn’t universally accepted. This resulted in two different religious groups, each claiming lineage to Russell: The Bible Students and The Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses took their new name in 1931. Believers interpret the Bible according to certain core beliefs. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in the imminent second coming of Christ. They avoid worldly involvement and don’t abide by any law taken as a contradiction to God’s Law (e.g. taking oaths, entering military service and receiving blood transfusions).
The organization publishes the magazine The Watchtower, meets regularly and proselytizes through door-to-door preaching, called ‘witnessing.’
Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in the Christian idea of the Trinity. They deny the deity of Christ but see him as the messiah and God’s son. They also believe that before he was born, Jesus existed as the archangel Michael.
Jehovah’s Witnesses attest to a multitude of angels and also that 144,000 people will enter heaven and rule with Christ. The remaining virtuous people will apparently exist on a new, peaceful Earth.
Although Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in hell, they do accept the idea of eternal death.
Jehovah’s Witnesses meet regularly at a church called the Kingdom Hall and observe an annual Lord’s Evening Meal (Last Supper) at the first full moon in Spring.
They reject Halloween and Valentine’s Day as ‘pagan’ events. Also, Father’s and Mother’s day are seen as a type of unhealthy ancestor worship, and Birthdays are said to draw too much attention to the self
On the Web:
- “This trailer contains sample scenes from national broadcast on PBS series “Independent Lens” May 22, 2007. By Joel P. Engardio and Tom Shepard.
- Why enlighten rulers praise jehovah witnesses (wiki.answers.com)
- Russian Jehovah’s Witness Exonerated of Extremism Charges. (jwitness.wordpress.com)
- How do jehovah’s witnesses view having a rich internal life (wiki.answers.com)
- What happens when a Jehovah witness is married to a non christian (wiki.answers.com)
- Why won’t a jehovah witness go to a funeral at a methodist church (wiki.answers.com)
- Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Holocaust. (jwitness.wordpress.com)
- How many languages do Jehovah’s witnesses use is it 400 languages or less (wiki.answers.com)
- Portland hospital system finds a way to serve Jehovah’s Witnesses. (jwitness.wordpress.com)
- Ghana, memorial of Jesus Christ’s death. (jwitness.wordpress.com)