Jehovah’s Witnesses are a group claiming the Bible as the basis for their teachings, time to know Jehovah’s witnesses beliefs. Their origins can be traced to 1879 when their founder Charles Taze Russell began publishing the Watchtower magazine. Russell predicted that Armageddon would come by 1914 at the latest, and expressed this conviction in his book “The Time is at Hand” published in 1889. “The Battle of the great day of God Almighty, which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of Earth’s present ruler, is already commenced” Despite the failure of Russell’s prediction, the movement he spawned it has continued to grow.
After all, 1914 happened to coincide with the outbreak of World War One, so successive leaders were able to pin their theology in 1914 as a date of significance. In the century, since Russell’s death in 1916, more predictions for the end of the world as we know it has been offered with the dates 1925 and 1975 most notable for their failure to yield the promised apocalypse.
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When I was growing up as a Witness in the 80s, the teaching was that Armageddon would come before the generation of people who witnessed the events of 1914 died off. That teaching has since been scrapped and the current teaching is rather complicated and frankly makes very little sense! But suffice to say, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the end will come imminently. They also believe that when Armageddon strikes every man, woman, and child who is not a Jehovah’s Witness will be worthy of death.
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To stress this point, Governing Body member Anthony Morris recently told Witnesses in Trinidad that they are blood guilty and deserving of annihilation if they don’t sufficiently share in the life-saving preaching work. ”If your hands are not clean because you’ve been out warning, then they have blood on ‘elm, and you’re gonna lose your life” Death threats, fear-mongering, and failed predictions aside, the most disturbing elements of the Jehovah’s Witness religion involve the organization’s abusive policies and disregard for human rights.
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to leave their religion if they so choose (Is this part of Jehovah’s witnesses beliefs?). But when you are baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness, you pledge yourself to the organization for life. If you ever decide to leave, your close friends and family are ordered to shun you and treat you as though you don’t exist. The religion also has a growing reputation for covering up child abuse on an astonishing scale.
In 2015 when a Royal Commission in Australia ordered the local branch to turn over its records, it found that 1,006 JW child molesters in that country alone had their crimes carefully documented since 1950 with not a single one being reported to authorities. Multiple lawsuits in other countries indicate that something called the “two witness rule” combined with the witness culture of secrecy, trusting congregation elders and onus on forgiveness of sin have created an environment in which children are at risk from predators who can operate almost with impunity.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are also known for teaching that the Bible prohibits blood transfusions. The Bible is actually silent about the medical use of blood because people only started transfusing it in the 19th century, but that hasn’t stopped Witness leaders from teaching their followers since 1945 that death is preferable to receiving a blood transfusion. Witnesses who are hospitalized in a critical condition can even expect to have a team of elders visits them at their bedside to remind them of the need to stay loyal to this teaching.
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All things considered, you may be wondering why anyone would willingly become a Jehovah’s Witness. You might even think you’d have to be stupid to get involved with the group. But it really isn’t that simple. Many Witnesses are indoctrinated from when they are small children, and those who join as adults often do so because they are emotionally vulnerable and need the sense of community and absolute certainty that Witness beliefs offer.
Bottom line, if you happen to know a Jehovah’s Witness, please be kind to them and don’t assume you can snap them out of their beliefs easily. Witnesses tend to be extremely emotionally invested in what they believe and easing them toward the exit requires an abundance of kindness, patience and understanding. So don’t treat them badly if you don’t know what is backing their believes. If you believe your religion is the right one, just live in and don’t condemn others religion “Everyone’s mother soup is sweet to him or her”. My name is Bismarck and you’ve just learned everything you need to know about Jehovah’s Witnesses in five minutes.