Jehovah's Witnesses are a Christian-based religious denomination that believes that most churches of Christianity have strayed. They consider themselves a brotherhood joined by religious belief. Jehovah's Witnesses are known for visiting neighborhoods and knocking on doors in order to inform people about their religion and attract converts. There are around 6.5 million members worldwide. Jehovah's Witnesses use the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, their own translation of the Bible which is available in around 70 languages.
History of Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses developed from a Bible Student movement, which was formed in the late 1800s in the United States by Charles Taze Russell. By the early 1900s, the movement was internationally recognized. They received criticism from others, but kept going. As time went by, missionary work was emphasized more and more. Door-to-door visits were encouraged and various texts were published. The name "Jehovah's Witnesses" was coined in 1931 during a Bible Student convention led by Joseph Franklin Rutherford. During the World Wars, Jehovah's Witnesses received unfair treatment from Nazis. Since they refused to fight in World War II, they were beaten and treated badly in the US, as well. The group still receives criticism.
Beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses believe in the literal meaning of the Bible, and not on speculations. They regard the Bible as historically sound and accurate in every way. Jehovah's Witnesses deny the concept of the Trinity; therefore many Christian Churches do not consider this denomination as mainstream Christianity. They also believe that Jesus died on a stake, not on a cross. They believe that their purpose in life is to serve God.Jehovah's Witnesses denounce worldly sins. They think that the final struggle between good and evil is not far off. They do not celebrate holidays like Christmas and Easter, which they say have pagan influences. They also reason that Jesus did not expect people to commemorate his birthday. Some Jehovah's Witnesses keep themselves rather separate from other groups, following the example of Christ who separated his kingdom from the world.
Jehovah's Witnesses' Customs
Jehovah's Witnesses dress modestly. They have a patriarchal family structure, in which the husband has final say but often consults his wife and children. Blood transfusions are not allowed, often causing medical complications. Gambling is also banned. When it comes to university education, Jehovah's Witnesses are not very interested in it because they prefer to stay away from competition and the rat race and focus on spirituality instead. They also shun military duty and do not vote. Missionary work is required of all Jehovah's Witnesses, as long as they are capable. Most of the work includes going door-to-door in neighborhoods and discussing their religion with people and spread their texts. Jehovah's Witnesses print Bible literature themselves and offer them free of charge. The ultimate goal is to get non-believers to convert. The process of converting, however, is gradual. Witnesses are not paid for their in door-to-door witnessing. Although Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate major Christian holidays or birthdays, they do commemorate the Memorial of Christ's Death, which marks the anniversary of the Last Supper.