Jehovah's Witnesses Explained

Jehovah's Witnesses
Main Classification:Restorationist
(Christian primitivism)
Polity:Modified presbyterian polity
Structure:Hierarchical
Founder:Charles Taze Russell
Founded Date:1870s: Bible Student movement
1931: Jehovah's witnesses
Founded Place:Pennsylvania and New York, USA
Parent:Bible Student movement
Separations:See Jehovah's Witnesses
splinter groups
Area:Worldwide
Congregations:109,403
Members:7.65 million
Footnotes:Statistics from 2012 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity.[1] The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7.65 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual Memorial attendance of over 19.3 million.[2] [3] They are directed by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, a group of elders in Brooklyn, New York, that establishes and controls all doctrines.[4] Jehovah's Witnesses' beliefs are based on their interpretations of the Bible, with a preference for their own translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.[5] They believe that the destruction of the present world system at Armageddon is imminent, and that the establishment of God's kingdom on earth is the only solution for all problems faced by humankind.

The group emerged from the Bible Student movement—founded in the late 1870s by Charles Taze Russell with the formation of Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society—with significant organizational and doctrinal changes under the leadership of Joseph Franklin Rutherford.[6] [7] The name Jehovah's witnesses, based on Isaiah 43:10–12,[8] was adopted in 1931 to clearly distinguish themselves from other Bible Student groups.[9] [10]

Jehovah's Witnesses are best known for their door-to-door preaching, distributing literature such as The Watchtower and Awake!, and refusing military service and blood transfusions. They consider use of the name Jehovah vital for proper worship. They reject Trinitarianism, inherent immortality of the soul, and hellfire, which they consider to be unscriptural doctrines. They do not observe Christmas, Easter, birthdays, or other holidays and customs they consider to have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity. Adherents commonly refer to their body of beliefs as "the truth" and consider themselves to be "in the truth". Jehovah's Witnesses consider secular society to be morally corrupt and under the influence of Satan, and limit their social interaction with non-Witnesses.

Congregational disciplinary actions include disfellowshipping, their term for formal expulsion and shunning. Members who formally leave are considered disassociated and are also shunned. Disfellowshipped and disassociated members may eventually be reinstated if they request it.

The religion's position regarding conscientious objection to military service and refusal to salute national flags has brought it into conflict with some governments. Consequently, Jehovah's Witnesses have been persecuted and their activities are banned or restricted in some countries. Persistent legal challenges by Jehovah's Witnesses have influenced legislation related to civil rights in various countries.

History

See main article: History of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Background (1870–1916)

In 1870, Charles Taze Russell and others formed an independent group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to study the Bible.[11] [12] During the course of his ministry Russell disputed many of the creeds, doctrines, and traditions of mainstream Christianity including immortality of the soul, hellfire, predestination, the fleshly return of Jesus Christ, the Trinity, and the burning up of the world.[13] In 1876 Russell met Nelson H. Barbour and later that year they jointly produced the book Three Worlds, which combined restitutionist views with time prophecy. In the book they taught that God's dealings with mankind were divided dispensationally, each ending with a "harvest", that Christ had returned as an invisible spirit being in 1874[14] inaugurating the "harvest of the Gospel age", and that 1914 would mark the end of a 2520-year period called "the Gentile Times".[15] Beginning in 1878 they jointly edited a religious journal, 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, stating that its purpose was to demonstrate the world was in "the last days" and that a new age of earthly and human restitution under the invisible reign of Christ was imminent.[16] As early as 1876, Russell taught that "the Gentile Times" would end in October 1914, at which time world society would be replaced by the full establishment of God's kingdom on earth.[17] [18] [19]

From 1879 Watch Tower supporters gathered as autonomous congregations to study the Bible topically. Thirty congregations had been founded, and during 1879 and 1880 Russell visited each to teach the pattern of meetings he recommended.[20] As congregations continued to form during Russell's ministry they each remained self-administrative, functioning under the congregationalist style of church governance.[21] [22] In 1881 he founded Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society and in 1884 incorporated it as a non-profit business to distribute tracts and Bibles.[23] [24] [25] 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 was maintaining nearly a hundred "pilgrims", or traveling preachers. Russell engaged in significant global publishing efforts during his ministry[26] [27] [28] and had become the most distributed Christian author in America by 1912.[28] [29]

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.[30] He identified the religious movement as "Bible Students", and more formally as the International Bible Students Association.[31] The approximately 50,000 members in 500 congregations worldwide [32] annually re-elected him as their pastor.[33] Russell died October 31, 1916 at the age of 64 while returning from a ministerial speaking tour.[34]

Reorganization (1917–1942)

In January 1917, the Watch Tower Society's legal representative, Joseph Franklin Rutherford, was elected as its next president. His election was disputed, and soon after members of the Board of Directors accused him of acting in an autocratic and secretive manner.[35] 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 without prior approval of the board of directors. The book, largely written by two Bible Students, was claimed to be the "posthumous work" of Russell.[36] [37] 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; charges against the directors were dropped in 1920.[38]

Rutherford centralized organizational control of the Watch Tower Society. In 1919 he instituted the practice of appointing 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 September 1922, a new emphasis was made on house-to-house preaching. Significant changes in doctrine and administration were regularly introduced during Rutherford's twenty-five years as president, including the 1918 announcement reversing Russell's rejection of the belief that the Jewish patriarchs (such as Abraham and Isaac) would be resurrected in 1925, marking the beginning of Christ's thousand-year Kingdom.[39] [40] Disappointed by the changes, 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,[41] most of which still exist.[42] By mid-1919 about one in seven of Russell-era Bible Students had ceased their association with the Society,[43] [44] and approximately three-quarters by 1931.[45] [46] [47] [48] Nevertheless, due to increased emphasis on evangelization combined with the use of new forms of media, including radio, the overall annual Memorial attendance figures rose more than six-fold by the end of Rutherford's presidency to 140,450 in 1942.

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 Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen"—which was adopted by resolution.[49] The name was chosen to distinguish his group of Bible Students from other independent groups that had severed ties with the Society.[50] [51] In 1932, Rutherford eliminated the system of locally elected elders and in 1938 introduced what he called a "theocratic" (literally, God-ruled) organizational system, under which appointments in congregations worldwide were made from the Brooklyn headquarters. Rutherford later claimed that this and other changes he had instituted fulfilled Bible prophecies in the book of Daniel.[52] [53] [54]

From 1932 it was taught that a separate class of members would live in a paradise restored on earth; from 1935, new converts to the movement were considered part of that class. Previously, membership was generally composed of those who believed they would be resurrected to live in heaven to rule over earth with Christ. By 1933, the timing of the beginning of Christ's presence (Greek: parousía), his enthronement as king, and the start of the "last days" were each moved to 1914.[55] [56]

As their interpretations of scripture developed, Witness publications taught that saluting national flags and singing the national anthem are forms of idolatry,[57] which led to a new outbreak of mob violence and government opposition in the United States, Canada, Germany, and other countries.

Continued development (1942–present)

See also: Development of Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine and Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. Active membership of Jehovah's Witnesses had reached 115,000[58] by the time of Rutherford's death in January 1942, when Nathan Knorr was appointed as third president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Knorr 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. By 1975 the number of active members had exceeded two million. Knorr's presidency was also marked by an increasing use of explicit instructions guiding Witnesses in their lifestyle and conduct, and a greater use of congregational judicial procedures to enforce strict moral codes.

From 1966, Witness publications and convention talks built anticipation of the possibility that Christ's thousand-year reign might begin in late 1975 or shortly thereafter. The number of baptisms increased significantly, from about 59,000 in 1966 to more than 297,000 in 1974, but membership declined after expectations for the year were proved wrong.[59] [60] Watch Tower Society literature did not state dogmatically that 1975 would definitely mark the end, but in 1980 the Watch Tower Society admitted its responsibility in building up hope regarding that year.

The offices of elder and ministerial servant were restored to Witness congregations in 1972, with appointments made from headquarters (and later, also by branch committees). 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. Reflecting these organizational changes, publications of Jehovah's Witnesses began using the capitalized name, Jehovah's Witnesses.[61] Since Knorr's death in 1977, the position of president has been occupied by Frederick Franz (1977–1992) and Milton Henschel (1992–2000), both members of the Governing Body, and since 2000 by Don A. Adams, not a member of the Governing Body.

Organization

See main article: Organizational structure of Jehovah's Witnesses. Jehovah's Witnesses are organized under a hierarchical arrangement, which their leadership calls a "theocratic government", reflecting their belief that it is God's "visible organization" on earth.[62] The organization is headed by the Governing Body—an all-male group that varies in size, but since December 2010 has comprised seven members,[63] all of whom profess to be of the "anointed" class with a hope of heavenly life—based in the Watch Tower Society's Brooklyn headquarters. There is no election for membership; new members are selected by the existing body. The Governing Body is described as the "spokesman" for God's "faithful and discreet slave class" (approximately 10,000 self-professed "anointed" Jehovah's Witnesses).[64] It directs several committees that are responsible for administrative functions, including publishing, assembly programs and evangelizing activities. It directly appoints all branch committee members and traveling overseers,[65] after they have been recommended by local branches, with traveling overseers supervising districts or circuits of congregations within their jurisdictions. Branch offices appoint local elders and ministerial servants, and may appoint regional committees for matters such as Kingdom Hall construction or disaster relief.[66]

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 that are seen as breaching their doctrines. New elders are appointed by branch offices after recommendation by the existing body of elders. Ministerial servants—appointed in a similar manner to 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.[67]

Individuals 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,"[68] though Witness publications say baptism symbolizes personal dedication to God and not "to a man, work or organization."[69] Watch Tower Society publications emphasize the need for members to be obedient and loyal to Jehovah and to "his organization",[70] stating that individuals must remain part of it to receive God's favor and to survive Armageddon.[71] [72] [73] Witness publications state that acceptable service to God can be rendered only through that organization[74] and that members should remain submissive to the religion's leaders and to local congregational elders.[75] [76] There is no tithing or collection; funding for all activities of the organization is provided by voluntary contributions, primarily from members.[77] [78]

Beliefs

See main article: Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs.

Sources of doctrine

Doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses are established by the Governing Body, which assumes responsibility for interpreting and applying scripture.[79] [80] Watch Tower Society publications teach that doctrinal changes and refinements result from a process of progressive revelation, in which God gradually reveals his will and purpose,[81] [82] and that such enlightenment results from the application of reason and study, the guidance of the holy spirit, and direction from Jesus Christ and angels.[83] The Society also teaches that "responsible representatives" of the "faithful and discreet slave class" at the religion's headquarters are helped by the holy spirit to discern "deep truths", which are then considered by the entire Governing Body before it makes doctrinal decisions.[84] The religion's leadership, while disclaiming divine inspiration and infallibility, is said to provide "divine guidance"[85] through its teachings described as "based on God's Word thus...not from men, but from Jehovah."[86] [87]

The entire Protestant canon of scripture is considered the inspired, inerrant word of God. Jehovah's Witnesses consider the Bible to be scientifically and historically accurate and reliable[88] and interpret much of it literally, but accept parts of it as symbolic.[89] They consider the Bible to be the final authority for all their beliefs,[90] although sociologist Andrew Holden's ethnographic study of the religion concluded that pronouncements of the Governing Body, through Watch Tower Society publications, carry almost as much weight as the Bible. Jehovah's Witnesses believe their religion restores the doctrines of "true" Christianity.[91] The religion makes no provision for members to criticize or contribute to official teachings and all Witnesses must abide by its doctrines and organizational requirements.[92] Regular personal Bible reading is frequently recommended; Witnesses are strongly 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.[93] [94] [95] Adherents are told to have "complete confidence" in the leadership, avoid skepticism over Watchtower teachings and "not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding".[96] [97] [98] [99]

Jehovah and Jesus Christ

Jehovah's Witnesses emphasize use of God's biblical name, represented in the original texts by the Tetragrammaton, and in English they prefer to use the name, Jehovah. 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;[100] consequently, the religion places more emphasis on God than on Christ.[101] They believe that the holy spirit is God's power or "active force" rather than a person.[102]

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus was God's only direct creation, that everything else was created by means of Christ, 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 humankind. They believe Jesus died on a single upright torture stake rather than the traditional cross. They believe that references in the Bible to the Archangel Michael, Abaddon (Apollyon), and the Word all refer to Jesus. Jesus is considered to be the only intercessor and high priest between God and humankind, and appointed by God as the king and judge of his kingdom.[103] His role as a mediator (referred to in 1 Timothy 2:5) is restricted to anointed Christians.

Satan

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Satan was originally a perfect angel who developed feelings of self-importance and craved worship. Satan caused 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. Witnesses believe that Satan is the ruler of the current world order, that human society is influenced and misled by Satan and his demons, and that they are a cause of human suffering. However, they do not believe that individual rulers or governments are under Satan's direct control.[104] [105]

Life after death

See main article: Jehovah's Witnesses and salvation. Jehovah's Witnesses believe death is a state of non-existence with no consciousness. There is no Hell of fiery torment; Hades and Sheol are understood to refer to the condition of death, termed the common grave. Jehovah's Witnesses consider the soul to be a life or a living body that can die. Watch Tower Society publications teach that humanity is in a sinful state, from which release is only possible by means of Jesus' shed blood as a payment, or atonement, for the sins of humankind.

Witnesses believe that a "little flock" go to heaven, but that the hope for life after death for the majority of "other sheep" involves being resurrected by God 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. Jehovah's Witnesses teach that only they meet scriptural requirements for surviving Armageddon, but that God is the final judge.[106] [107] [108] During Christ's millennial reign, most people who died prior to 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 before the end of the millennium.

God's kingdom

Witness publications teach that God's kingdom is a literal government in heaven, ruled by Jesus Christ and 144,000 Christians drawn from the earth. The kingdom is viewed as the means by which God will accomplish his original purpose for the earth, transforming it into a paradise without sickness or death.[109] It is said to have been the focal point of Jesus' ministry on earth.[110] They believe the kingdom was established in heaven in 1914, and that Jehovah's Witnesses serve as representatives of the kingdom on earth.[111] [112]

Eschatology

See main article: Eschatology of Jehovah's Witnesses. A central teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses is that the current world era, or "system of things", entered the "last days"[113] 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 to be false, identifying them with "Babylon the Great", or the "harlot", of Revelation 17, and believe that they will soon be destroyed by the United Nations, which they believe is represented in scripture by the scarlet-colored wild beast of Revelation chapter 17. This development will mark the beginning of the "great tribulation".[114] Satan will subsequently attack Jehovah's Witnesses, an action that will prompt God to begin the war of Armageddon, during which all forms of government and all people not counted as Christ's "sheep", or true followers, will be destroyed. After Armageddon, God will extend his heavenly kingdom to include Earth, which will be transformed into a paradise similar to the Garden of Eden. After Armageddon, most of those who had died before God's intervention will gradually be resurrected during "judgment day" lasting for a thousand years. This judgment will be based on their actions after resurrection, not on past deeds. At the end of the thousand years, a final test will take place when Satan is released to mislead perfect mankind. The end result will be a fully tested, glorified human race. Christ will then hand all authority back to God.

Watch Tower Society publications teach that Jesus Christ 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 mankind. They believe that Jesus rules invisibly, 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 refers to a period of unknown duration rather than a moment of arrival.

Practices

See main article: Jehovah's Witnesses practices.

Worship

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 reside and attend weekly services they refer to as "meetings" as scheduled by congregation elders. The meetings are largely devoted to study of Watch Tower Society literature and the Bible. The format of the meetings is established by the religion'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 mid-week (three meetings) and on the weekend (two meetings). Gatherings are opened and closed with kingdom songs and brief prayers. Each year, Witnesses from a number of congregations that form a "circuit" gather for one-day, and two-day assemblies. Several circuits meet once a year for a three-day "district convention", usually at rented stadiums or auditoriums. Their most important and solemn event is the commemoration of the "Lord's Evening Meal", or "Memorial of Christ's Death", which generally falls on the same date as the Jewish Passover.

Evangelism

See also: Jehovah's Witnesses publications. Jehovah's Witnesses are perhaps best known for their efforts to spread their beliefs, most notably by visiting people from house to house. Free home Bible studies are offered to people who show interest in their beliefs, which they present with the aid of books, brochures and magazines, including The Watchtower. Some literature is available in 500 languages.[115] Witnesses are told they are under a biblical command to engage in public preaching.[116] [117] They are instructed to devote as much time as possible to their ministry and are required to submit an individual monthly "Field Service Report".[118] Baptized members who fail to submit a report every month are termed "irregular" and may be counseled by elders;[119] those who do not submit a report for six consecutive months are termed "inactive".

Ethics and morality

Their views of morality reflect conservative Christian values. All sexual relations outside of marriage are grounds for expulsion if the individual is not deemed repentant;[120] homosexual activity is considered a serious sin, and same-sex marriages are forbidden. Abortion is considered murder. 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 those of his children. 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.[121] Divorce is discouraged, and remarriage is forbidden unless a divorce is obtained on the grounds of adultery, termed "a scriptural divorce". If a divorce is obtained for any other reason, remarriage is considered adultery while the prior spouse is still alive and has not begun another sexual relationship. Extreme physical abuse, willful non-support of one's family, and what the religion terms "absolute endangerment of spirituality" are considered grounds for legal separation.[122]

Disciplinary action

See main article: Jehovah's Witnesses and congregational discipline. Formal discipline is administered by congregation elders. When a baptized member is accused of committing a serious sin—usually involving offenses against the religion's code of personal morality or charges of apostasy for disputing the Watch Tower Society's doctrines[123] —a judicial committee is formed to determine guilt, provide help and possibly administer discipline. Disfellowshipping, a form of shunning, is the strongest form of discipline administered.[124] Contact with disfellowshipped individuals is limited to direct family members living in the same home, and with congregation elders who may invite disfellowshipped persons to apply for reinstatement;[125] formal business dealings may continue if contractually or financially obliged. Witnesses are taught that avoiding social and spiritual interaction with disfellowshipped individuals keeps the congregation free from immoral influence and that "losing precious fellowship with loved ones may help [the shunned individual] 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 lawless and wicked and are also shunned.[126] [127] Expelled individuals may eventually be reinstated to the congregation if deemed repentant by elders in the congregation in which the disfellowshipping was enforced.[128] Reproof is 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.[129] 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.[130]

Separateness

See main article: Jehovah's Witnesses and governments.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Bible condemns the mixing of religions, on the basis that there can only be one truth from God, and therefore reject interfaith and ecumenical movements. They believe that only their religion represents 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." Watch Tower Society publications define the "world" as "the mass of mankind apart from Jehovah's approved servants" and teach that it is ruled by Satan and a place of danger and moral contamination.[131] [132] Because of perceived dangers from "worldly" association,[133] Witnesses are advised to minimize social contact with non-members to better maintain their own standards of morality.[134]

Jehovah's Witnesses believe their highest 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.[135] [136] They abstain from celebrating religious holidays and birthdays and reject many customs they believe have pagan origins. They do not work in industries associated with the military, do not serve in the armed services,[137] and refuse national military service, which in some countries may result in their arrest and imprisonment.[138] They do not salute or pledge allegiance to flags or sing national anthems or patriotic songs.[139] Jehovah's Witnesses see themselves as a worldwide brotherhood that transcends national boundaries and ethnic loyalties.[140] [141] Sociologist Ronald Lawson has suggested the religion'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.[142]

Rejection of blood transfusions

See main article: Jehovah's Witnesses and 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.[143] Since 1961 the willing acceptance of a blood transfusion by an unrepentant member has been grounds for expulsion from the religion.[144] Watch Tower Society literature directs Witnesses to refuse blood transfusions, even in "a life-or-death situation".[145] Jehovah's Witnesses accept non-blood alternatives and other medical procedures in lieu of blood transfusions, and the Watch Tower Society provides information about current non-blood medical procedures.[146]

Though Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions of whole blood, they may accept some blood plasma fractions at their own discretion. The Watch Tower Society provides pre-formatted Power of Attorney documents prohibiting major blood components, in which members can specify which allowable fractions and treatments they will personally accept.[147] Jehovah's Witnesses have established Hospital Liaison Committees as a cooperative arrangement between individual Jehovah's Witnesses and medical professionals and hospitals.[148]

Demographics

See main article: Demographics of Jehovah's Witnesses. Jehovah's Witnesses have an active presence in most countries, but do not form a large part of the population of any country.

As of August 2011, Jehovah's Witnesses report an average of 7.39 million publishers—the term they use for members actively involved in preaching—in 109,403 congregations. In 2011, these reports indicated over 1.7 billion hours spent in preaching and Bible study activity. Since the mid-1990s, the number of peak publishers has increased from 4.5 million to 7.65 million. Jehovah's Witnesses estimate their current worldwide growth rate to be 2.4% per year.

The official published membership statistics, such as those mentioned above, include only those who submit reports for their personal ministry; official statistics do not include inactive and disfellowshipped individuals or others who might attend their meetings. As a result, only about half of those who self-identified as Jehovah's Witnesses in independent demographic studies are considered active by the faith itself.[149] The 2008 US Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey found a low retention rate among members of the religion: about 37% of people raised in the religion continued to identify themselves as Jehovah's Witnesses.[150] [151] Despite this, the National Council of Churches concluded that Jehovah's Witnesses "had the largest growth of any single denomination [in America]" with a 4.7% increase in 2009.[152]

Sociological analysis

See also: Sociological classifications of religious movements. Sociologist James A. Beckford has classified the organizational structure of Jehovah's Witnesses 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 co-operate 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 religion's chief characteristics as historicism (identifying historical events as relating to the outworking of God's purpose), absolutism (conviction that the Watch Tower Society dispenses 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).

Sociologist Bryan R. Wilson, in his consideration of five religions including Jehovah's Witnesses, noted that each of the religions:[153]

  1. "exists in a state of tension with the wider society;"
  2. "imposes tests of merit on would-be members;"
  3. "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;"
  4. "demands sustained and total commitment from its members, and the subordination, and perhaps even the exclusion of all other interests."

Opposition

Controversy surrounding various beliefs, doctrines and practices of Jehovah's Witnesses has led to opposition from local governments, communities, and religious groups. Religious commentator Ken Jubber wrote that "Viewed globally, this persecution has been so persistent and of such an intensity that it would not be inaccurate to regard Jehovah's witnesses as the most persecuted religion of the twentieth century."

Persecution

See main article: Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses.

See also: Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Nazi Germany. Political and religious animosity against Jehovah's Witnesses has at times led to mob action and government oppression in various countries. Their doctrine of political neutrality and their 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. In Germany, as many as 12,000 Witnesses were sent to concentration camps,[154] and were identified by purple triangles; as many as 5000 died.[155] More than 200 men were executed at the orders of German war courts.[156] In Canada, Jehovah's Witnesses were interned in camps[157] along with political dissidents and people of Chinese and Japanese descent.[158] In the former Soviet Union, about 9300 Jehovah's Witness families were deported to Siberia as part of Operation North in April 1951.[159] [160] Their religious activities are currently banned or restricted in some countries, including China, Vietnam and some Islamic states.[161] [162] Writers including Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, William Whalen, Alan Rogerson and William Schnell have claimed the religion often incited opposition to pursue a course of martyrdom in a bid to attract dispossessed members of society and also reassure members of the "truth" of the Watchtower cause as evidenced by the level of persecution from the outside world as they struggled to serve God.[163]

Legal challenges

See main article: Supreme Court cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses by country. Several cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses have been heard by Supreme Courts throughout the world. Their persistent legal challenges have broadened the definition of civil liberties in various countries.[164] The cases generally relate to the right to practice their religion, displays of patriotism and military service, and blood transfusions.[165]

Criticism

See main article: Criticism of Jehovah's Witnesses. Jehovah's Witnesses have attracted criticism over issues surrounding their Bible translation, doctrines, their handling of sexual abuse cases, and what is claimed to be coercion of members. Many of the claims are denied by Jehovah's Witnesses and some have also been disputed by courts and religious scholars.

Suppression of free speech and thought

Critics have described the religion's leadership as autocratic and totalitarian because of Watch Tower Society requirements for loyalty and obedience by Witnesses,[87] [166] [167] intolerance of dissent about doctrines and practices, and the practice of expelling and shunning members who cannot conscientiously agree with all the religion's teachings.[123] [168] Sociologist Andrew Holden says those who choose to leave the religion "are seldom allowed a dignified exit. Not only is their disfellowshipping announced from the platform, they are also condemned as ‘mentally diseased’ or ‘apostates’." Historian James Irvin Lichti has rejected the description of the religion as "totalitarian".[169] Sociologist Rodney Stark states that while Jehovah's Witness leaders are "not always very democratic" and members are expected to conform to "rather strict standards," enforcement tends to be informal, sustained by close bonds of friendship and that Jehovah's Witnesses see themselves as "part of the power structure rather than subject to it."

The Watch Tower Society's publications strongly discourage followers from questioning its doctrines and counsel, reasoning that the Society is to be trusted as "God's organization".[170] [171] [172] It warns members to "avoid independent thinking", claiming such thinking "was introduced by Satan the Devil"[173] [174] and would "cause division".[175] Critics charge that by disparaging individual decision-making, the Watch Tower Society cultivates a system of unquestioning obedience[93] in which Witnesses abrogate all responsibility and rights over their personal lives.[176] Critics have accused the Watch Tower Society of exercising "intellectual dominance" over Witnesses,[177] controlling information[123] [178] and creating "mental isolation",[179] which former Governing Body member Raymond Franz argued were all elements of mind control.[179] Holden, however, says the tabloid depiction of members as "brainwashed" is inaccurate, and that most members who join millenarian movements such as Jehovah's Witnesses have made an informed choice.

Watch Tower Society publications state that consensus of faith aids unity.[180] They deny that unity restricts individuality or imagination.[180] In a case involving Jehovah's Witnesses' activities in Russia, the European Court of Human Rights stated that the religion's requirements "are not fundamentally different from similar limitations that other religions impose on their followers' private lives" and that charges of "mind control" in the case were "based on conjecture and uncorroborated by fact."[181]

New World Translation

Some Bible scholars including Bruce M. Metzger, former Professor and Bible editor at Princeton Theological Seminary, have claimed that the translation of certain texts in its New World Translation of the Bible is biased in favor of Witness practices and doctrines.[182] [183] [184] [185] English Bible editor Dr. Harold H. Rowley criticized the pre-release edition of the first volume (Genesis to Ruth) published in 1953 as "a shining example of how the Bible should not be translated."[186] On the other hand, in his study on nine of "the Bibles most widely in use in the English-speaking world" Bible scholar Jason BeDuhn, Professor of Religious Studies from Northern Arizona University, claimed that the New World Translation was not bias free, but that he considered it to be "the most accurate of the translations compared," and "a remarkably good translation." Professor Benjamin Kedar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem described the translation as "an honest endeavor to achieve an understanding of the text that is as accurate as possible."

Bruce M. Metzger after stating, "on the whole, one gains a tolerably good impression of the scholarly equipment of the translators", goes on to criticize their insertion of the name Jehovah in the New Testament since it does not appear in the extant Greek manuscripts.[187] [188] Watch Tower Society publications have said the name was "restored" on a sound basis, particularly when New Testament writers used the Greek Kyrios (Lord) when quoting Old Testament scriptures that contained the Tetragrammaton.[189] That view is endorsed by Bible scholar George Howard and R. B. Girdlestone, late principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.

Failed predictions

Watch Tower Society publications have claimed that God has used Jehovah's Witnesses (and formerly, the International Bible Students) to declare his will[190] [191] and has provided advance knowledge about Armageddon and the establishment of God's kingdom.[192] [193] [194] Raymond Franz, who became a critic of the religion, has cited publications that claimed that God has used Jehovah's Witnesses and the International Bible Students as a modern-day prophet.[195] Jehovah's Witnesses' publications have made various predictions about world events they believe were prophesied in the Bible.[196] Failed predictions have led to the alteration or abandonment of some doctrines.[197] Critics highlight failed predictions that the Watch Tower Society had claimed were "beyond doubt" or "approved by God".[198] The Watch Tower Society rejects accusations that it is a false prophet.[199] It says that unlike Old Testament prophets, its interpretations of the Bible are not inspired or infallible,[200] and that its predictions were not claimed as "the words of Jehovah."[199] It states that some of its expectations have needed adjustment as a part of progressive revelation and of its eagerness for God's kingdom, adding that Witnesses are always ready to accept such adjustments and that it would be "foolish to take the view that expectations needing some adjustment should call into question the whole body of truth."[201] [202] George D. 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 than to failed predictions.[203]

Handling of sexual abuse cases

See main article: Jehovah's Witnesses and child sex abuse.

Critics have accused Jehovah's Witnesses of employing organizational policies that make the reporting of sexual abuse difficult for members. Some victims of sexual abuse have asserted that they were ordered by certain local elders to maintain silence so as to avoid embarrassment to both the accused and the organization.[204] [205] [206] [207] Jehovah's Witnesses maintain that they have no policy of silence, and that elders are directed to report abuse to authorities when there is evidence of abuse, and when required to by law. In 1997, Jehovah's Witnesses' Office of Public Information published their policy[208] for elders to report allegations of child abuse to the authorities where required by law to do so, even if there was only one witness. Any person known to have sexually abused a child is prohibited from holding any responsibility inside the organization. Unless considered by the congregation elders to demonstrate repentance, such a person is typically disfellowshipped.[120]

Notes

  1. Sources for descriptors:
    • Millenarian:
    • Restorationist: Stark et al.. Iannaccone. 1997. Laurence. Why Jehovah's Witnesses Grow So Rapidly: A Theoretical Application. Journal of Contemporary Religion. 12. 2. 133–157. 10.1080/13537909708580796.
    • Christian:
    • Denomination:
  2. Guided by God's Spirit. Awake!. June 2008. 32.
  3. Web site: Statistics at Jehovah's Witnesses official website, 2010.
  4. The Watchtower. Focus on the Goodness of Jehovah's Organization. July 15, 2006. 20.
  5. Book: Alan Rogerson. Millions Now Living Will Never Die. Constable. 1969. 123.
  6. The Embryonic State of a Religious Sect's Development: The Jehovah's Witnesses. Sociological Yearbook of Religion in Britain. Michael Hill. 1972. 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..
  7. Leo P. Chall. Sociological Abstracts. 26. 1–3. Sociology of Religion. 1978. 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..
  8. Isaiah 43:10–12
  9. Book: Rogerson, Alan. Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses. Constable. London. 1969. 55–. In 1931 came an important milestone in the history of the organisation. 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..
  10. The Watch Tower. A New Name. October 1, 1931. 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..
  11. "Working in the "Field"—Before the Harvest", The Watchtower, October 15, 2000, page 28
  12. "Proclaiming the Lord's Return (1870–1914)", Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, pp. 44–46
  13. Book: Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watchtower. 42.
  14. N.H. Barbour, C. T. Russell, Three Worlds and the Harvest of This World, 1877, page 104.
  15. N.H. Barbour & C. T. Russell, Three Worlds, 1877, page 67.
  16. Zion's Watch Tower, July 1, 1879, pg 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."
  17. Bible Examiner October, 1876 "Gentile Times: When Do They End?" pp 27–8: "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."
  18. Studies in the Scriptures volume 4, "The Battle of Armageddon", 1897, pg xii
  19. C. T. Russell, The Time is at Hand, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1889, page 101.
  20. 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Watch Tower, pages 38–39
  21. Zion's Watch Tower, September 1884, pp. 7-8
  22. Studies in the Scriptures volume 6 "The New Creation" pp. 195-272
  23. C.T. Russell, "A Conspiracy Exposed", Zion's Watch Tower Extra edition, April 25, 1894, page 55–60, "This is a business association merely ... it has no creed or confession ... it is merely a business convenience in disseminating the truth."
  24. Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses by George D. Chryssides, Scarecrow Press, 2008, page 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."
  25. Religion in the Twentieth Century by Vergilius Ture Anselm Ferm, Philosophical Library, 1948, page 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."
  26. A Chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States Greenwood Press: 1996. pg. 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."
  27. Zion's Watch Tower, Oct./Nov. 1882, pg. 5: "From an apparently small beginning, the tract work has spread to the immense proportions of 1,200,000 copies, or about 200,000,000 pages in four months, or about eight times as much (in number) as were distributed by the American Tract Society in the last year."
  28. The Overland Monthly, January 1910 pg. 130
  29. W.T. Ellis, The Continent, McCormick Publishing Company, vol. 43, no. 40, October 3, 1912 pg. 1354
  30. Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, ©1993 Watch Tower, page 59
  31. Religious Diversity and American Religious History by Walter H. Conser, Sumner B. Twiss, University of Georgia Press, 1997, page 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..."
  32. http://books.google.com/books?id=LPUtAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA374&dq=%22Millennial+Dawn%22+%22about+50,000+persons%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=bzt7T_uTAsf40gGvh-W8Bg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Millennial%20Dawn%22%20%22about%2050%2C000%20persons%22&f=false The New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1910, vol 7, pg 374
  33. Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, ©1993 Watch Tower, page 560
  34. Watch Tower November 15, 1916 pg 1
  35. A.N. Pierson et al, Light After Darkness, 1917, page 4.
  36. 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."
  37. Lawson, John D., American State Trials, vol 13, Thomas Law Book Company, 1921, pg 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."
  38. Book: Rogerson, Alan. Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses. Constable & Co, London. 1969. 44. 094559406.
  39. The Watch Tower April 15, 1916 pg 127: "We cannot help it that many of the dear friends continue to tell what THE WATCH TOWER believes, and to misrepresent its teachings. Our kindest thought must be that they are not giving much heed to its teachings. Otherwise they would know from its columns that we are not looking forward to 1925, nor to any other date. As expressly stated in THE WATCH TOWER, we are simply going on, our last date or appointment having been passed more than a year ago...we have no different time in mind from the Scriptures on the subject and do not expect to have any."
  40. Salvation, Watch Tower Society, 1939, as cited in Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, page 76
  41. Book: Rogerson, Alan. Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses. Constable & Co, London. 1969. 39, 52. 094559406.
  42. Reed, David, Whither the Watchtower? Christian Research Journal, Summer 1993, pg 27: "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."
  43. Yearbook 1975, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, pages 93–94, "How many forsook true Christianity during the critical years of 1917 and 1918? An incomplete earthwide report shows that the Memorial of Jesus Christ’s death on April 5, 1917, was attended by 21,274 ... At the Memorial celebration on April 13, 1919, a partial report gave an attendance of 17,961. Though incomplete, these figures make it clear that far less than 4,000 had ceased walking with their former associates in God’s service."
  44. P.S.L. Johnson, in The Present Truth and Herald of Christ's Epiphany (April 1927, pg 66) claimed that between late 1923 and early 1927, "20,000 to 30,000 Truth people the world over have left the Society."
  45. Thirty Years a Watchtower Slave, William J. Schnell, Baker, Grand Rapids, 1956, as cited by Rogerson, page 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".
  46. Annual Memorial attendance figures in 1925 (90,434) with 1928 (17,380) as detailed in Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose (Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1959, pages 110, 312–313)
  47. Tony Wills (A People For His Name, pg. 167) cites The Watch Tower December 1, 1927 (pg 355) in which Rutherford states, "the larger percentage" of original Bible Students had by then departed.
  48. Rutherford himself stated in 1930 that the number of those who had withdrawn from the Society was "comparatively large". See The Watchtower November 15, 1930 pg 342: "The total number of those who have withdrawn from the Society and now oppose its work is comparatively large, when such are taken all together. These are now divided into many companies, all claiming to be followers of Christ and claiming to be God's little flock"
  49. The Watch Tower September 15, 1931 pg 279 col 2: "Without a dissenting voice the resolution was adopted amidst great enthusiasm and rejoicing."
  50. The Watch Tower October 1, 1931 pp 291
  51. "A New Name", The Watch Tower, October 1, 1931, pages 296–297.
  52. The Watch Tower July 15, 1933 pg 214–15: "Beginning to count from the transgression resulting by reason of the League of Nations, and the giving of notice, which must begin May 25, 1926, the twenty-three hundred days, or six years, four months, and twenty days, would end October 15, 1932 ... What, then, took place at the end of the twenty-three-hundred-day period? The Watchtower, issues of August 15 and September 1, 1932, brought before God's people the Scriptural proof that the office of "elective elder", chosen or selected by vote of creatures, does not Scripturally exist, and that therefore the selection of elders by such means should end."
  53. The Watch Tower July 15, 1933 pg 214 col 2
  54. The Watch Tower "The Days of Daniel", December 15, 1929 pp 375–76: "The period of 1290 days, according to the undisputed facts, had its beginning with the end of January, 1919. Three years and seven months thereafter must of necessity end with the beginning of September, 1922. What immediately followed that time that was of aid, encouragement, and comfort to the church of God? At the beginning of September, 1922, there assembled at Cedar Point, Ohio a convention of the consecrated people of God ... From September 1, 1922, a period of three years eight and one-half months (1335 days) brings us to the middle of May, 1926... On the twenty-fifth day of May, 1926, a great convention of God's anointed people assembled."
  55. states that "the Lord's second presence dates from 1874."
  56. and supported 1874.
  57. "Salvation Belongs to Jehovah", The Watchtower, September 15, 2002, page 24, "Rather than 'fleeing from idolatry,' as commanded in the Scriptures, [holding the flag] would actually mean being at the very center of the ceremony. ...When national anthems are played, ...there is no need for [Jehovah's Witnesses] to take the special action of sitting down. It is not as though they had specifically chosen to stand for the anthem. On the other hand, if a group are expected to stand and sing, then merely standing up out of respect but not singing would not constitute sharing in the sentiments of the song."
  58. "Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1959, pg 312-313.
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
  61. First occurrence:
  62. The Watchtower, October 1, 1967 pg 591–92: "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."
  63. Twelve members as of September 2005 (See The Watchtower, March 15, 2006, page 26)
    Schroeder died March 8, 2006. (See The Watchtower, September 15, 2006, page 31)
    Sydlik died April 18, 2006. (See The Watchtower, January 1, 2007, page 8)
    Barber died April 8, 2007. (See The Watchtower, October 15, 2007, page 31)
    Jaracz died June 9, 2010. (See The Watchtower, November 15, 2010, page 23)
    Barr died December 4, 2010. (See The Watchtower, May 15, 2011, page 6)
  64. Yearbook, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 2010.
  65. The Watchtower, January 15, 2001, pages 14–15
  66. "Building for an Eternal Future", The Watchtower, January 1, 1986, page 24
  67. To all Bodies of Elders in the United States, August 1, 1995
  68. "Go and Make Disciples, Baptizing Them", The Watchtower, April 1, 2006, page 22.
  69. From 1956, baptism candidates were asked to acknowledge they were sinners needing salvation and confirm that they had dedicated themselves unreservedly to God and to do his will as revealed through Jesus Christ and the Bible. In the June 1, 1985 Watchtower, it was announced that the questions had changed, with candidates from that point asked to confirm they had repented of their sins and dedicated themselves to do Jehovah's will, and to acknowledge that their baptism identified themselves as one of Jehovah's Witnesses "in association with God's spirit-directed organization". Critic Raymond Franz (Crisis of Conscience, page 118) states that the change in the questions requires baptism candidates to declare their submission and obligation to an earthly organization, or human authority structure. He contends: "The Watch Tower Society's second baptismal question effectively replaces God's holy Spirit with the "spirit-directed organization".
  70. For examples of what Franz (p.449) says is a concept "stressed with mesmerizing frequency", see the following: "Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View", The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, page 591, "Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect."; The Watchtower, September 1, 2006, pg 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, pg 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, pg 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 (Watch Tower Society, 2002), pg 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."
  71. You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1989, page 255, "It is simply not true that all religions lead to the same goal. (Matthew 7:21–23; 24:21) You must be part of Jehovah's organization, doing God's will, in order to receive his blessing of everlasting life."
  72. "You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth—But How?", The Watchtower, February 15, 1983, page 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."
  73. "Serving Jehovah Loyally", The Watchtower, November 15, 1992, page 21, "I determined to stay by the faithful organization. How else can one get Jehovah's favor and blessing?" There is nowhere else to go for divine favor and life eternal."
  74. "Greater Blessings Through the New Covenant", The Watchtower, February 1, 1998, page 17, "Those of spiritual Israel still remaining on earth make up 'the faithful and discreet slave.' ... Only in association with them can acceptable sacred service be rendered to God."
  75. "Be Aglow With the Spirit", The Watchtower, October 15, 2009, "Those with an earthly hope should therefore recognize Christ as their head and be submissive to the Faithful and Discreet Slave and its Governing Body and to the men appointed as overseers in the congregation."
  76. "Move Ahead with Jehovah's Organization", The Watchtower, June 1, 1967, page 337, "What, can we say, is the basic principle underlying the movement of Jehovah's living organization? It can be expressed in one word: OBEDIENCE. Loving obedience from the heart is all. This is the basic formula upon which the organization rests and operates." (Emphasis in original.)
  77. "How Jehovah Prospers His Work", The Watchtower,page.22 December 1, 1990
  78. http://www.jw-media.org/aboutjw/article41.htm#funded How are you funded?
  79. Organized to Do Jehovah's Will, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2005, pages 17–18.
  80. "Cooperating With the Governing Body Today,", The Watchtower, March 15, 1990, page 19.
  81. "Impart God's Progressive Revelation to Mankind", The Watchtower, March 1, 1965, pp. 158–159
  82. "Flashes of Light—Great and Small", The Watchtower, May 15, 1995, page 15.
  83. J. F. Rutherford, Preparation, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1933, page 64, 67, "Enlightenment proceeds from Jehovah by and through Christ Jesus and is given to the faithful anointed on earth at the temple, and brings great peace and consolation to them. Again Zechariah talked with the angel of the Lord, which shows that the remnant are instructed by the angels of the Lord. The remnant do not hear audible sounds, because such is not necessary. Jehovah has provided his own good way to convey thoughts to the minds of his anointed ones ... Those of the remnant, being honest and true, must say, We do not know; and the Lord enlightens them, sending his angels for that very purpose."
  84. "The Spirit Searches into the Deep Things of God", The Watchtower, July 15, 2010, page 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."
  85. "Do You See the Evidence of God's Guidance?", The Watchtower, April 15, 2011, pages 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."
  86. "Unity Identifies True Worship", The Watchtower, September 15, 2010, page 13 par.8 "This spiritual food is based on God’s Word. Thus, what is taught is not from men but from Jehovah.—Isa. 54:13."
  87. "Overseers of Jehovah’s People", The Watchtower, June 15, 1957, "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."
  88. All Scripture is Inspired of God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1990, page 336.
  89. All Scripture is Inspired of God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1990, page 9.
  90. Reasoning From The Scriptures | pp. 199–208 Jehovah's Witnesses
  91. Is Religious Truth Attainable?. The Watchtower. April 15, 1995. 6. By comparing the Witnesses’ beliefs, standards of conduct, and organization with the Bible, unbiased people can clearly see that these harmonize with those of the first-century Christian congregation..
  92. "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower April 1, 1986 pp. 30–31.
  93. 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."
  94. "Keep Clear of False Worship!", The Watchtower, 15 March 2006, "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."
  95. Question box, Our Kingdom Ministry, September 2007, "The faithful and discreet slave does not endorse any literature, meetings, or Web sites that are not produced or organized under its oversight."
  96. Question Box, Our Kingdom Ministry, September 2007, "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."
  97. "Make Your Advancement Manifest", The Watchtower, August 1, 2001, page 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."
  98. 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."
  99. "Do We Need Help to Understand the Bible?", The Watchtower, February 15, 1981, page 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."
  100. Book: Alan Rogerson. Millions Now Living Will Never Die. Constable. 1969. 87.
  101. Revelation Its Grand Climax, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1988, pg 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."
  102. Book: Alan Rogerson. Millions Now Living Will Never Die. Constable. 1969. 90.
  103. "Stay in the “City of Refuge” and Live!", The Watchtower, November 15, 1995, page 19
  104. Watchtower, April 1, 2004.
  105. "The Christian's View of the Superior Authorities", The Watchtower, November 1, 1990, page 14.
  106. "Remaining Organized for Survival Into the Millennium", The Watchtower, September 1, 1989, page 19, "Only Jehovah's Witnesses, those of the anointed remnant and the 'great crowd,'as a united organization under the protection of the Supreme Organizer, have any Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil."
  107. You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth,, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, pg 255, "Do not conclude that there are different roads, or ways, that you can follow to gain life in God's new system. There is only one ... there 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."
  108. "Our Readers Ask: Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe That They Are the Only Ones Who Will Be Saved?", The Watchtower, November 1, 2008, page 28, "Jehovah's Witnesses hope to be saved. However, they also believe that it is not their job to judge who will be saved. Ultimately, God is the Judge. He decides."
  109. Book: Alan Rogerson. Millions Now Living Will Never Die. Constable. 1969. 106.
  110. "God's Kingdom—Earth's New Rulership", The Watchtower, October 15, 2000, page 10.
  111. Book: Alan Rogerson. Millions Now Living Will Never Die. Constable. 1969. 105.
  112. The Watchtower, November 1, 1993, pages 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."
  113. Book: Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 23, 2 Timothy 3:1–5. The Bible.
  114. "Apocalypse—When?", The Watchtower, February 15, 1986, page 6.
  115. "Good News in 500 Languages", The Watchtower, November 1, 2009, page 24, Press release adaptation online, "These translators are part of an army of some 2,300 volunteers who work in over 190 locations around the world. They range in age from 20 to nearly 90 and expend themselves [translating] the Bible's message in 500 languages."
  116. Bearing Thorough Witness About God's Kingdom, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2009, page 63, "Do you obey the command to bear thorough witness, even if the assignment causes you some apprehension?"
  117. "Determined to bear thorough witness," The Watchtower, December 15, 2008, page 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."
  118. "Do You Contribute to an Accurate Report?", Our Kingdom Ministry, December 2002, page 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."
  119. "Regularity in Service Brings Blessings", Our Kingdom Ministry, May 1984, page 7.
  120. "Imitate Jehovah—Exercise Justice and Righteousness", The Watchtower, August 1, 1998, page 16.
  121. Book: Shepherd the Flock of God. 37–38, 124–125.
  122. "Marriage—Why Many Walk Out", Awake!, July 8, 1993, page 6, "A legal divorce or a legal separation may provide a measure of protection from extreme abuse or willful nonsupport."
  123. Osamu Muramoto. Bioethics of the refusal of blood by Jehovah's Witnesses: Part 1. Should bioethical deliberation consider dissidents' views?. Journal of Medical Ethics. August 1998. 24. 4. 223–230.. 1377670. 9752623. 10.1136/jme.24.4.223.
  124. The Watchtower April 15, 1988.
  125. http://www.jw-media.org/aboutjw/article41.htm#shun Jehovah's Witnesses Official Media Web Site: Our History and Organization
  126. "Disfellowshiping—How to View It", The Watchtower, September 15, 1981, page 23.
  127. "Do You Hate Lawlessness?", The Watchtower, February 15, 2011, page 31.
  128. Book: Shepherd the Flock of God. 119. Watch Tower Society.
  129. "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, January 1, 1983 pp. 30–31.
  130. A common example given is a baptized Witness who dates a non-Witness; see The Watchtower, July 15, 1999, p. 30.
  131. Reasoning From the Scriptures, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, pages 435–436.
  132. "Live a Balanced, Simple Life", The Watchtower, July 15, 1989, page 11.
  133. Make Sure of All Things, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1953, page 279, "Association in a social way with those outside the truth is dangerous."
  134. ""Each One Will Carry His Own Load", The Watchtower, March 15, 2006, page 23.
  135. 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."
  136. Questions From Readers, The Watchtower, March 1, 1983, p. 30
  137. Worship the Only True God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2002, p. 159.
  138. http://www.jw-media.org/kor/20071004.htm Korea government promises to adopt alternative service system for conscientious objectors
  139. Education, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2002, pp. 20–23
  140. Owens. Gene. Trials of a Jehovah's Witness.(The Faith of Journalists). Nieman Reports. 1997. September.
  141. http://www.jw-media.org/aboutjw/article41.htm#unity Racial and ethnic unity
  142. Ronald Lawson, "Sect-state relations: Accounting for the differing trajectories of Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses", Sociology of Religion, Winter 1995, "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."
  143. Reasoning From the Scriptures, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, pages 70–75.
  144. Jehovah's Witnesses – Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1993, page 183.
  145. United in Worship of the Only True God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1983, pages 156–160.
  146. http://www.watchtower.org/e/hb/article_03.htm "How Blood Can Save Your Life," Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, pages 13–17
  147. Examples of permitted fractions are: Interferon, Immune Serum Globulins and Factor VIII; preparations made from Hemoglobin such as PolyHeme and Hemopure. Examples of permitted procedures involving the medical use of one's own blood include: Cell Salvage, Hemodilution, Heart–Lung Machine, Dialysis, Epidural Blood Patch, Plasmapheresis, Labeling or Tagging of Blood and Platelet Gel (Autologous)
  148. http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?articleID=070515_1_A9_hThef38217 Kim Archer, "Jehovah's Witness liaisons help surgeons adapt", Tulsa World, May 15, 2007.
  149. http://www.thearda.com/Denoms/D_1101.asp The Association of Religion Data Archives
  150. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1716987,00.html David Van Biema, "America's Unfaithful Faithful," Time magazine, February 25, 2008.
  151. http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report-religious-landscape-study-full.pdf PEW Forum on Religion and Public Life. U.S. Religious Landscape Survey: Religious Affiliation: Diverse and Dynamic
  152. Web site: Membership of Pentecostal Church, Jehovah's Witnesses Up, Protestant Down. Harris. Dan. Patrick. Maggy. ABC News. 16 February 2011. 13 March 2011.
  153. Bryan R. Wilson, "The Persistence of Sects", Diskus, Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religions, Vol 1, No. 2, 1993
  154. "What Does the Purple Triangle Mean?", The Watchtower, February 15, 2006, p32.
  155. Shulman, William L. A State of Terror: Germany 1933–1939. Bayside, New York: Holocaust Resource Center and Archives.
  156. http://www.holocaust-trc.org/Jehovah.htm
  157. Book: Kaplan, William. State and Salvation. Toronto. Univ. of Toronto Press. 1989.
  158. Yaffee. Barbara. Witnesses Seek Apology for Wartime Persecution. The Globe in Mail. 1984-09-09. 4.
  159. http://www.kipiani.org/gulag/index.cgi?c=47 "Operation North"
  160. Валерий Пасат ."Трудные страницы истории Молдовы (1940–1950)". Москва: Изд. Terra, 1994
  161. "Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom",chapter 22,page.490
  162. "Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses 1991",page.221
  163. Claims that Jehovah's Witnesses chose a deliberate course of martyrdom are contained in:
    Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, Visions of Glory, 1978, chapter 6.

    Book: Rogerson, Alan. Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses. Constable & Co, London. 1969. 59, 61. 09-455940-6.
    Book: Schnell, William. 30 Years a Watchtower Slave. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids. 1971. 104–106. 0-8010-6384-1.
  164. Judging Jehovah's Witnesses, Shawn Francis Peters, University Press of Kansas: 2000
  165. Jehovah’s Witnesses – Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 1993, pp. 679–701.
  166. "Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View", The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, page 591, "Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect ... in submitting to Jehovah's visible theocratic organization, we must be in full and complete agreement with every feature of its apostolic procedure and requirements."
  167. "Loyal to Christ and His Faithful Slave", The Watchtower, April 1, 2007, page 24, "When we loyally submit to the direction of the faithful slave and its Governing Body, we are submitting to Christ, the slave's Master."
  168. Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, page 50.
  169. http://books.google.com/books?id=vsrJLASVC3QC&pg=359&Ipg=PA359#v=onepage&q&f=false The Routledge History of the Holocaust, Routledge, 2010, "Labeling the Jehovah's Witnesses as totalitarian trivializes the term totalitarian and defames the Jehovah's Witnesses."
  170. "Exposing the Devil's Subtle Designs" and "Armed for the Fight Against Wicked Spirits", The Watchtower, January 15, 1983
  171. "Serving Jehovah Shoulder to Shoulder", The Watchtower, August 15, 1981, page 28.
  172. "Jehovah's Theocratic Organization Today",The Watchtower, February 1, 1952, pages 79–81.
  173. Avoid Independent Thinking. The Watchtower. 15 January 1983. 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..
  174. Avoid Independent Thinking. The Watchtower. February 15, 1979. 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..
  175. The Watchtower. May 1, 1964. 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..
  176. Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, page 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.".
  177. James A. Beverley, Crisis of Allegiance, Welch Publishing Company, Burlington, Ontario, 1986, ISBN 0-920413-37-4, pages 25–26, 101.
  178. Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, page 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."
  179. R. Franz, "In Search of Christian Freedom", chapter 12
  180. The Watchtower. 1988. August. 8/15.
  181. http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/view.asp?action=html&documentId=869647&portal=hbkm&source=externalbydocnumber&table=F69A27FD8FB86142BF01C1166DEA398649 ECHR Point 130, 118
  182. Haas. Samuel. December 1955. Escorial Bible I.j.4: Vol. I; the Pentateuch. Journal of Biblical Literature. 74. 4. 283. Society of Biblical Literature. 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. 10.2307/3261682. Hauptmann. O. H..
  183. See Ankerberg, John and John Weldon, 2003, The New World Translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses, accessible online
  184. Rhodes R, The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions, The Essential Guide to Their History, Their Doctrine, and Our Response, Zondervan, 2001, p. 94
  185. Bruce M Metzger, "Jehovah's Witnesses and Jesus Christ," Theology Today, (April 1953 p. 74); see also Metzger, "The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures," The Bible Translator (July 1964)
  186. H.H. Rowley, How Not To Translate the Bible, The Expository Times, 1953; 65; 41
  187. G. Hébert/eds., "Jehovah's Witnesses", The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Gale, 20052, Vol. 7, p. 751.
  188. Metzger, Bruce M., The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, The Bible Translator 15/3 (July 1964), pp. 150–153. UBS
  189. "God's Name and the New Testament", The Divine Name That Will Endure Forever, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1984, pages 23, 27.
  190. "Messengers of Godly Peace Pronounced Happy", The Watchtower, May 1, 1997, page 21
  191. Jehovah's Witnesses – Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watch Tower Society, 1993, page 708.
  192. "Execution of the "Great Harlot" Nears", The Watchtower, October 15, 1980, page 17.
  193. "What Jehovah’s Day Will Reveal", The Watchtower, July 15, 2010, page 5.
  194. The Watchtower, July 15, 1960, page 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." (Footnote cites the booklet Peace–Can It Last, 1942, pages 21,22.)
  195. 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,) 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, page 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 The Nations Shall Know That I Am Jehovah – How? (1971, pg 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, pg 17) which claims God gives the Witnesses "special knowledge that others do not have ... advance knowledge about this system's end".
  196. The Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1959, pp. 39–41
  197. Jehovah's Witnesses – Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1993, pages 78, 632.
  198. James A. Beverley, Crisis of Allegiance, Welch Publishing Company, Burlington, Ontario, 1986, ISBN 0-920413-37-4, page 86–91.
  199. "Why So Many False Alarms?", Awake!, March 22, 1993, pages 3–4, footnote.
  200. Revelation – It's Grand Climax, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1988, page 9.
  201. "Allow No Place for the Devil!", The Watchtower, March 15, 1986, page 19
  202. Why have there been changes over the years in the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses?,"Jehovah's Witnesses", Reasoning From the Scriptures,Watchtower Bible and Tract Society,page 205
  203. http://www.cesnur.org/2010/to-chryssides.htm George Chryssides, They Keep Changing the Dates, A paper presented at the CESNUR 2010 conference in Torino.
  204. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/04/29/eveningnews/main551557.shtml "Another Church Sex Scandal"
  205. Cutrer, Corrie (March 5, 2001). "Witness Leaders Accused of Shielding Molesters", Christianity Today.
  206. http://sgp1.paddington.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/cover_stories/article_1920.asp?s=1 Channel 9 Sunday, November 2005.
  207. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/panorama/2119903.stm "Secret database protects paedophiles", BBC Panorama, 2003.
  208. See to confirm date.

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