Thanks for the replies. I can readily understand the doctrine of Jesus returning in 1914, but how does anyone know that he looked over the religions of the Earth? How do they know unless someone told someone?
I've spoken to some of them as they've come by, but never had the time to engage them in much of a conversation. In fact, there was a time they would have tried to come in. They don't seem to want to do that anymore. They just hand me a Watchtower and go on to the next door. I enjoy studying religions and the psychology behind them, and I find them to be decent people; but they're living in a dreamworld they've allowed others to fabricate. I'd be more apt to understand them if the Watchtower group claimed to be new apostles, or if they received divine guidance. There was a fellow years ago by the name of Herbert W. Armstrong (I'm sure many of you old people remember him). He claimed in no uncertain terms to be God's spokesman, and I always wondered what would happen when he died. Well, he did die and now his Worldwide Church of God has fragmented and there's now Ronald Weinland, who claims to be one of the two witnesses called to minister to Israel in the last days. Each time someone dies, there's more fragmentation, but at least these men claimed to be God's spokesmen and to have communed with God. It's entirely different for someone to just claim to represent God without having heard from God.
William Miller never claimed to represent God, but used the Bible as a guide to figure out what God was going to do. People can point to 1912 and say Jesus entered the holy of holies and did this or that, but then, I guess others could argue he was in Cleveland working at a homeless shelter!
Regarding salvation, the JWs beleive there will be an earthly class and a heavenly class (or at least they did back in the 70s). All people not alive would be brought back to life at some future time and that those who sided with Jehovah and his armies will find salvation while those who do not will be eternally destroyed.
I realize there's a lot of criticism of JW beliefs here as well as a lot of former members. As for the Witnesses themselves, do they still meet with people and give Bible lessons like they did years ago? I recall there being a small blue book (I think it was called "The Truth That Leads to Everlasting Light" and then a green one. The Bible was hard covered and of a more vivid green in color.)