Information and articles that relate to Jehovah's witnesses, Watchtower and/or its many corporations, history,
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Jehovah's Witnesses is a
millenarian restorationist Christian
denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from
mainstream Christianity. The group reports a worldwide
membership of 8.45 million adherents involved in evangelism and an annual Memorial attendance of around
20 million. Jehovah's Witnesses are directed by
the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, a group
of elders in Warwick, New York, which establishes all
doctrines based on its interpretations of
the Bible. They believe that the destruction of
the present world system at Armageddon is imminent, and that the
establishment of God's
kingdom over the earth is the only solution for all problems faced
The group emerged from the Bible Student
movement founded in the late 1870s by Charles Taze
Russell, who also co-founded Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society in 1881 to
organize and print the movement's publications. A leadership dispute after Russell's death
resulted in several groups breaking away, with Joseph Franklin
Rutherford retaining control of the Watch Tower Society and its
properties. Rutherford made significant
organizational and doctrinal changes, including adoption of the name Jehovah's witnesses[note 1] in 1931 to distinguish them
from other Bible Student groups and symbolize a break with the legacy of Russell's traditions.
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 the use of God's
name 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. They prefer to use their own Bible
translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, although their literature
occasionally quotes and cites other Bible translations. Adherents commonly refer to their
body of beliefs as "The Truth" and consider themselves to be "in the Truth". They consider secular
society to be morally corrupt and under the influence of Satan, and most limit their social interaction with non-Witnesses. Congregational disciplinary
disfellowshipping, their term for formal expulsion and
shunning. Baptized individuals who formally
leave are considered disassociated and are also shunned. Disfellowshipped and disassociated individuals may eventually be
reinstated if deemed repentant.
The group's position regarding conscientious
objection to military service and refusal to salute national flags has brought it into conflict with some governments. Consequently, some Jehovah's
Witnesses have been persecuted and their activities are banned or restricted in some countries.
legal challenges by Jehovah's Witnesses have influenced legislation
related to civil
rights in several countries.
The organization has received
criticism regarding biblical translation, doctrines, and alleged
coercion of its members. The Watch Tower Society has made various unfulfilled predictions about major
biblical events such as Christ's Second
Coming, the advent of God's
Kingdom, and Armageddon.
Their policies for handling cases of child sexual abuse have been
the subject of various formal inquiries.
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