The phrase "one of Jehovah's Witnesses"

by Ding 32 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Ding

    JWs don't say, "I am a Jehovah's Witness."

    Instead, they say, "I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses."

    What does the second way of saying it convey that the first does not?

    In other words, why does the organization prefer the second formulation?

    This isn't a teaser.

    I really don't know the answer.

  • carla

    I think the first "I am a..." makes them sound like a denomination where as the second "One of...." makes them a witness to their god, one of many.

    In the real world they don't realize that the general public makes no distinction between the two. Just makes them sound a bit odd.

  • blondie

    Carla, that is what I heard over the 50 years I have been around the WTS. That is one of the reasons given why Rutherford changed it from Bible Students to jws, supposedly. The WTS has a habit of straining out the gnat and gulping down the camel.

  • Pete Zahut
    Pete Zahut

    Other religions can say I’m a Catholic, I’m at Presbyterian, I’m a Mormon because they are part of a religious denomination that has a name derived from its origin. To follow that pattern JWs would have to call themselves Jehovites or Russellites or something similar. It would make no sense for a Catholic to say “ I’m one of Catholics”.

    The apostrophe after Jehovah in Jehovah’s Witnesses indicates belonging to Jehovah and who they are witnessing for and witnessing for him was their primary function back when the name was first introduced.

  • blondie

    Pete, I noticed that recently the leaders of the Latter Day Saints, has requested that the term Mormon not be used.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement from President Russell M. Nelson on August 16 regarding the name of the Church:

    “The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so. Additional information about this important matter will be made available in the coming months.”

    The Church has released an updated style guide, which provides direction on how to properly refer to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the coming months, Church websites and materials will be updated to reflect this direction from President Nelson.

    Following is the text from updated style guide:

    The official name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The full name was given by revelation from God to Joseph Smith in 1838.

    • In the first reference, the full name of the Church is preferred: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
    • When a shortened reference is needed, the terms “the Church” or the “Church of Jesus Christ” are encouraged. The “restored Church of Jesus Christ” is also accurate and encouraged.
    • While the term “Mormon Church” has long been publicly applied to the Church as a nickname, it is not an authorized title, and the Church discourages its use. Thus, please avoid using the abbreviation “LDS” or the nickname “Mormon” as substitutes for the name of the Church, as in “Mormon Church,” “LDS Church,” or “Church of the Latter-day Saints.” (continued)
  • days of future passed
    days of future passed

    I am one of them.. I am one of a multitude. To me it makes it a defined group.

  • Xanthippe
    Instead, they say, "I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses."

    Yes of course just as you would say "I am one of Peter's friends"

    You wouldn't say "I am a Peter's friend", that sounds ridiculous. For once I don't think they're being devious, they're just being grammatical.

  • tiki

    It's an awkward moniker...."a Jehovah's witness" sounds odd..."one of" sounds more of a group. Of it were "I am a witness of Jehovah" it would roll off the lips easier. Blame Rutherford for adopting a difficult name..

  • careful

    In Witness theology it has to do with the notion of answering the devil's challenge seen in the beginning of the book of Job. Everyone can stand up in "the universal court of divine sovereignty" (organizational phrase), that of answering the accusation which Satan made that all intelligent beings only serve God for the personal benefit gained. Each one then has the opportunity to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses, not a Jehovah's Witness.

    As a parallel you might consider a real court case: you have a friend named Sally who has been unjustly accused of something. You appear on behalf of your friend as a character witness. Would you be a Sally's witness or one of Sally's witnesses? Like it or not, that's the thinking behind the term "one of Jehovah's Witnesses."

    It's also why they say that Abel, Abraham, David, and Jesus were individually one of Jehovah's Witnesses, not a Jehovah's Witness.

    Of course, there is the secondary reason mentioned above, that the Witnesses want so greatly to separate themselves from other professed Christian religions. The primary reason, however, is theological.

    I've got to include this funny story. I was once on a shepherding call with the CO, a call on an inactive brother. The CO asked him, "Do you consider yourself a Jehovah's Witness?" The inactive brother said, "I'm surprised to hear you use such a term that does not agree with the slave's publications. No one can be 'a Jehovah's Witness.' Isn't that the term used by those who don't understand the issue raised by the devil?" The CO was really embarrassed and about crapped his pants. I loved the turning of the tables on that one! I had to restrain myself from laughing.

  • stillin

    The apostrophe in "Jehovah's" denotes possession, ownership. They are possessed by Jehovah.

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