I was reading a book exploring he relationship between Geography and religion and found the following quote starting on page 121 of Chris Park's Sacred Worlds.
Park, C. C. (1994). Sacred worlds: an introduction to geography and religion. London: Routledge.
One of the most dynamic religious groups in terms of disseminating its beliefs is the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This unorthodox Christian group was founded as the People’s Pulpit Association in 1884 by Charles Taze Russell. Its legal name is the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, although since 1931 it has been unofficially known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The pacifist group claims to have up to 200 million followers world-wide. It propagates its own (allegedly infallible) version of the Bible, rejects all other religions as false or evil, and believes that a final battle (Armageddon) is imminent after which the Witnesses will rule the earth with Christ.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses was mainly an American
movement until 1911–12 when Russell made a world-wide evangelising tour.
Evangelism and conversion of non-believers are high on the Witnesses’ corporate
and personal agendas, and great time, energy and resources are invested in
house-calling and distribution of religious literature (including magazines,
books, tracts and bibles). Landing’s (1982) study of the diffusion of the
Jehovah’s Witnesses in Spain
between 1921 and 1946 offers little detail of how the process worked, but the
overview does highlight some important factors. The Jehovah’s Witness movement
by relocation diffusion. A native Spaniard Witness was sent from Brooklyn in
1921 to begin preaching among the Asturias
miners near the city of Oviedo.
Presumably this group of potential converts had been carefully identified and
deliberately targeted, but we are not told why. The pioneer missionary was
recalled to the United
States in 1924 and replaced by
Spanish-speaking English missionaries. The focus of evangelism was also
switched to the large cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. The missionaries’
messages were well received, and within two years (by 1926) Jehovah’s Witness
congregations had been founded in the major cities. The Witnesses denounced
both Communism and Fascism in their preaching, and met little opposition
amongst the largely illiterate population. Most converts were won in the
provinces with left-wing populations, and in the industrial and commercial
centres of Valencia, Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid. Given the
prominence which Jehovah’s Witnesses attach to disseminating their beliefs, and
the enthusiasm and commitment with which they do so in many countries, it is
perhaps surprising that more geographical studies have not focused on the
diffusion of this particular religious innovation.