Greetings, John Doe!
You have been given quite an assignment. The religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, is a sect of Christianity, but the more you learn about it, the more you will see how it diverts from traditional Christian beliefs. The well-dressed people who come to your door, are operating under the false assumption that they have the exclusive truth about the bible's message. They are nice people, and believe they are doing the right thing, when they offer you that magazine from the Watchtower Society's massive printing facility. They are following the directions of Jehovah's organization.
They will proudly tell you that there are over 8 million JW's around the globe today. The Watchtower Society keeps track of every hour and piece of literature distributed, and their statistics are published in a yearbook each year, as well as being available on their website. They love numbers and statistics.
If you want an in-person interview with a believing, you might try going to jw.org, and requesting a visit from your local Kingdom Hall. As long as you realize they are not peddling the truth, but working for a group of men in New York, you are not in danger of believing any of their twists on the truth.
A devout Witness of Jehovah will proclaim that they are the happiest people on earth. They can't wait for the end of this system, so they can live forever in paradise. They will deny their prideful ways, but they are often boastful in their own claims to have this exclusive channel to Jehovah. Their kingdom songs are not about Jesus, grace or forgiveness... they sing songs that celebrate vindication of their organization.
Like other high-control religions, sometimes called cults, they have their own jargon and catch phrases. They use repetition of catch phrases and trigger words, to control the followers of their organization. I'm going to use red text, to help you recognize their lingo in my answers.
Some of their unique teachings include:
- Jesus Christ is NOT divine. He is the son of God, but he is NOT God. (Jesus is "A god.") The Trinity concept is a pagan doctrine of false religion.
- Jesus was crucified on a tree, or a torture stake. The cross is a pagan symbol of false religion.
- Christmas and Easter are false religious holidays, both with pagan origins.
- Celebrating a person's birthday, or participating (voting) in any election, is a form of idol worship, or idolatry. The same principle applies to anything patriotic. Veterans are mocked to their face.
- Jehovah is the one true God, and He wants us to call him by his first name.
- There is no hell. The dead are asleep. You can't suffer after death.
- After Armageddon, one of 3 things will happen to you:
- Not a JW: You are cut off and destroyed permanently. Permanent sleep.
- If you are a JW: You get to live forever in paradise on Earth.
- Exception to above: exactly 144,000 anointed Christians will go to heaven, to serve as kings over the great flock on Earth.
- If you died before Armageddon, you will be resurrected and given a chance to become a JW (or go back to sleep forever).
- How can you become a Witness of Jehovah? There is a rigorous qualification process, including a written or verbal test, consisting of approximately 80 questions. You must agree to every belief and statement made by Jehovah's organization. When you are baptized, you agree that you are being baptized into Jehovah's organization.
- Their Governing Body speaks for Jehovah. No questions allowed from followers. The leaders of the Jehovah's Witness religion, also known as the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (or corporation), is called the Governing Body. The Governing Body is a group of 7 men, who have been appointed by Christ, to provide all spiritual food to the great flock during this time of the end.
- The Governing Body is the "faithful and discreet slave," described in Matthew 24:45-47 “Who really is the faithful and discreet* slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?+
46 Happy is that slave if his master on coming finds him doing so!+
47 Truly I say to you, he will appoint him over all his belongings.
- The Faithful and Discreet Slave (FDS) sends letters to the flock, through the ranks of their organization. These letters contain directions that are not to be questioned.
- The FDS makes adjustments to their understanding and beliefs about what the Bible actually teaches. Changes in doctrine are called "new light."
- The light gets brighter in the time of the end. JW's receive this new light joyfully, as proof that they are in Jehovah's chosen organization.
- Every JW, is expected to work and preach, spreading the kingdom message. Their work is easily recognized: they go out in car groups, going from house to house. They are called Publishers.
- They believe it is their responsibility to preach to every corner of the earth .
- They keep track of every hour they spend working for the organization. This includes the door-to-door work, bible studies and any outreach they do that promotes the Watchtower.
- Each Publisher is expected to turn in a Field Service Report each month, detailing their work efforts.
- They keep track of every piece of literature they place (in someone's hand, on a table or magazine rack at the doctor's office, in your door)
- They recently added the ability to keep track of every time they get someone to watch a video on the jw.org website. (save printing costs)
- They have different levels of publishers: Pioneers work 70 hours per month.
- They do not accept blood transfusions.
What do you enjoy about being Jehovah's witness and what do you enjoy the least?
After several years of research, I decided not to continue associating with the nice people who thought they were teaching me the "Truth."
Pro: When I was studying with them, I enjoyed the fellowship and the illusion of an association of brotherhood. The friends. The way they came to my house every week... it really felt like they loved me. (This is a technique called "love bombing." It works great on lonely people and idealists.) I wanted to be a good person, and the people that I met in the JW religion were really some of the nicest people I've known and loved.
Con: They did not want to examine their own teachings or origins (not allowed). They would not answer my critical questions, but instead told me I should set my objections and questions aside. When confronted with facts from their organization's own origins, and doctrines previously published by the Watchtower, I was accused of listening to apostates. In the end, I was labeled as unwilling to submit to authority, and my husband was accused of chasing riches. They gave up on trying to get us to make progress.
What is communion like for Jehovah's witnesses? (not called communion)
JW's celebrate only one "holiday" each year, which they call "The Memorial." This is the one time each year that communion is performed for the members to "observe." A serving tray is passed through the congregation, but no one touches "the emblems." No one partakes of the wine or the bread, unless they have been "anointed," and believe they are part of the "heavenly class."
The JW's have a special "campaign," for the few weeks prior to Easter weekend, when they go and "invite" everyone in the community to attend. The invitation is usually in the form of a little pamphlet, left in your doorjam. If you happen to be home, you are likely to be quickly handed a pamphlet, so they can get to the next house... unless you show interest.
I have attended 2 of these Memorial services. It includes a long talk, explaining why they are remembering the night Christ died. It is a strange ritual, in which no one touches the symbols that represent blood or the body of Christ. They reject it, and do so joyfully. There were no anointed ones at the Kingdom Hall we attended, so all 100+ people rejected the symbols of Jesus's sacrifice.
What is your important belief as a Jehovah's witness?
You'll get a lot of answers for this question. My observation, after watching the way they worship and work for their kingdom message:
Christianity is a false religion.
Very soon, Jehovah will put an end to "this system of things."
It is important to keep working until the very end. ("faith without works is dead.")
How has being a Jehovah's witness affected your life?
Thankfully, I was never baptized as a JW. They continue to affect my life, because my parents and my sister (and her family) made the opposite decision. My sister now has decided to shun me. She told me that she has to "protect her children" from me, my apostasy and idolatry. (We are idolators, because we have attended churches that display the cross).
I have been labeled as an "apostate," because I learned all about the JW religion, but have "turned my back on Jehovah" and "the Truth."
What are your stances on homosexuality, abortion, and divorce?
Wrong, wrong, and wrong. JW religion is black and white. There is no grey area.