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Jehovah's Witnesses 
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We've had some different viewpoints on here in the past (for example, we'd had Mormons, Catholics, and IIRC there's a Luciferian who posts here on occasion), so I figured I'd come out and ask what y'all think about the Jehovah's Witnesses, and their beliefs. I'm not a Witness myself (and this is unlikely to change), but I've been spending a fair amount of time talking with members of the local congregation and I've attended a few of their services.

The biggest difference between them and most Christian denominations is that they are Unitarian -- ie, they only recognize God the Father as God. They do not recognize Jesus as God, and consider the Holy Spirit to be more of a force than an entity or being. This might be rather shocking considering that Trinitarianism is the bread and butter of most of Christianity, but Jehovah's Witnesses aren't the only Unitarian church out there; they are just the most well known example. Mormons are possibly a close second, but whether or not they are Unitarian seems to depend entirely on who you ask.

So, if you have questions about the Witnesses or their beliefs, I can probably answer them at this point. It's an interesting take on Christianity, to say the least.


Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:51 pm
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We could possibly know more about them, were it not that they seem to have a problem retaining the people they send out. We never get the same ones twice. (My wife one time even said she'd ask them in next time, she prepared a list of questions out of genuine curiosity, so that was pretty disappointing.)

Maybe our neighborhood is too disappointing?

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Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:32 pm
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Tayi wrote:
Maybe our neighborhood is too disappointing?


Interesting; in my case, it's always one specific Witness and another member of his congregation (seemingly randomly selected) who come for the Bible study. This is presented as the norm in their literature and broadcasts, so I dunno what's going on. Problems in the congregation maybe?

I've also heard that it's best to let them lead at first (this was also my approach); many younger Witnesses aren't used to people being willing to talk with them, and can get stage fright when they are approached by an over-eager person.


Also, feel free to share any of those questions in this thread; I may already know the answer or where to find it.


Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:35 pm
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Do JWs have any kind of quarrel with other denominations? It's just that I know they're quite persistent when they come to the door. I had one pair of them trying to make me watch a ten minute long video about the creation of the world on their iPad despite me showing them the cross around my neck, assuring them I was Christian and that I also believe in Genesis. I mean, if we're all Christian why are they trying to save the saved?

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Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:39 pm
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Furrhan Blackwood wrote:
Do JWs have any kind of quarrel with other denominations? It's just that I know they're quite persistent when they come to the door. I had one pair of them trying to make me watch a ten minute long video about the creation of the world on their iPad despite me showing them the cross around my neck, assuring them I was Christian and that I also believe in Genesis. I mean, if we're all Christian why are they trying to save the saved?


Because not all ideas of Christianity can be correct. It requires discussion.

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Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:28 am
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My family have had a few Jehova's Witnesses around our neighbourhood. They usually can be seen once a year, which would be weird if they're trying to get everyone to God. I don't really have any experiences with them ringing our doorbell either, only adding to my confusion.


Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:33 am
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So JWs occupy an interesting place in the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

So they have an exclusive idea of salvation: only JWs are getting into heaven, so it doesn't matter if you're another denomination or not, they see it as you are in need of conversion.

In terms of other denominations and their understanding, there is the problem that JWs deny the Holy Trinity, which is considered a heresy in all mainstream Eastern and Western Christian traditions (Except, I think Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints, but their understanding of revelation is very different).

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Mon Feb 06, 2017 6:34 am
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Furrhan Blackwood wrote:
Do JWs have any kind of quarrel with other denominations?


Catholicism. Hooo boy is there some conflict there. Much of it seems to have been earned by the Catholic church throughout its history, specifically during the Middle Ages. The most recent verifiable example I know of is from the mid-1700s. There may be more recent examples. Put simply, the Jehovah's Witnesses value the Bible very, very highly, and anyone that actively prevents its circulation or "contaminates" Christianity with teachings of men or other religions are going to be viewed as apostates at best.

Furrhan Blackwood wrote:
I mean, if we're all Christian why are they trying to save the saved?


Not exactly. They believe that over time, Christianity has been slowly corrupted in various ways. Thus, it's very important to ensure that your beliefs come from the Bible. People in general have very poor working knowledge of the Scriptures, and this means that they can be snared by all sorts of man-made traditions or even concepts from other religions. One example is that cross around your neck: to the Witnesses it's actually a giveaway that you are in spiritual danger. Aside from highlighting that you may worship Jesus as God (something they believe is a serious error), icons and other religious adornments are potentially idols in their own right and should be avoided. Put simply, you might be saved, but you still need to understand your faith, grow stronger in it, and learn to sin less. Hence, the constant Bible studies.

Besides, it's ridiculously easy to find people that identify as Christian yet neither know anything about their faith nor actually follow or believe any of the Bible's teachings. See also: Matthew 7:21 .

As for the video, I'm pretty sure I've seen it myself. If it's the one I'm thinking of, then they are basically looking to ground you a bit. A lot of people know that God created the world in seven days, that Adam and Eve eventually ended up eating from the one forbidden tree, and thus ended up getting ejected from the Garden. The problem is, most people don't go any further.

By choosing to follow Satan's advice regarding the apple, Adam and Eve basically sold their birthright (the Earth) over to the Devil, putting him in charge of our world. This isn't just one of the Jehovah's Witness' teachings -- a good portion of mainstream Christianity shares this viewpoint. So do I, and it's probably worth mentioning that I held this belief prior to meeting any Jehovah's Witness. The problem is that your average person doesn't acknowledge (or even know) that we're in a spiritual war against an entrenched enemy. To the Jehovah's Witnesses, this is extremely important, as the war between God and Satan is practically the cornerstone of their entire philosophy.

CofEFur wrote:
So they have an exclusive idea of salvation: only JWs are getting into heaven, so it doesn't matter if you're another denomination or not, they see it as you are in need of conversion.


There are two small problems with this sentence.

The first being that I would better phrase it that you are in need of correction rather than conversion. Amusingly, the way they understand Judgement Day and salvation in general, "close enough" does actually seem to count. Pretty much the only way to ensure your damnation right now is to be utterly and completely opposed to having anything to do with God. You'll get a chance to learn pure, uncontaminated Christianity later on. THEN you'll either pass or fail the ultimate test. That's right: they believe that most people are going to get a second chance to get this correct.

The second problem with your statement is that they believe only a very few humans will go to Heaven. To them, "being saved" and "going to Heaven" are not the same thing. This can be quite confusing (and has led to many false rumors and accusations over the years), so to make a long story short, they believe that there will be two groups of saved people. One group has been selected by God to serve Him as judges and lesser rulers. This group will go to Heaven, and only God knows who will be included. Everyone else will form a "great multitude", which is a group that is too large to ever number. The great multitude won't be going to Heaven, but will instead spend eternity living on a renewed and sinless Earth. This new Earth is where God's Kingdom will be, and it's usually referred to as the "Paradise Earth". This is also why they frequently mention God's Kingdom rather than Heaven.

Also, it's worth reiterating that the identities of the Heaven-bound elite are known only to God Himself. Contrary to some claims and rumors, the people in the upper ranks of the Jehovah's Witness do not know if they are among this selected group, nor do they act like they are. Effectively, all Witnesses, including the Overseers and the members of the Governing Body, expect to live on Paradise Earth, not in Heaven. Authority doesn't equal special treatment.


Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:05 pm
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UGuardian wrote:
Catholicism. Hooo boy is there some conflict there. Much of it seems to have been earned by the Catholic church throughout its history, specifically during the Middle Ages. The most recent verifiable example I know of is from the mid-1700s.


That doesn't make sense. Jehovah's Witnesses didn't exist under that name until 1931, and the genesis of their movement was with the Bible Student movement in the 1870s. If they weren't around yet, how could they be quarreling with Catholics in the 1700s?


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One example is that cross around your neck: to the Witnesses it's actually a giveaway that you are in spiritual danger. [...] icons and other religious adornments are potentially idols in their own right and should be avoided.


Interestingly enough, they object to the cross for another reason: they believe Christ was crucified on a stake, not a cross, so not only is a cross idolatrous, it's also historically inaccurate.

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Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:56 am
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Why... I don't see the difference too much. Why would it even matter whether Jesus died on a cross or on a stake? I mean, He took our sin by dying on a torture machine, and on what object would be in that account irrelevant.

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Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:16 pm
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Tica wrote:
That doesn't make sense. Jehovah's Witnesses didn't exist under that name until 1931, and the genesis of their movement was with the Bible Student movement in the 1870s. If they weren't around yet, how could they be quarreling with Catholics in the 1700s?


Either I wasn't clear enough, or you misread. Probably the former, as that post got edited to there and back again a bunch of times before I hit submit. Long story short, the Jehovah's Witness have major issues with anybody who has tried to prevent people from studying the Bible in the past or in the present. The Catholic Church has a bad history of doing this, and so gets a LOT of negative press in the Watchtower and other JW literature. For example, it wasn't that long ago that the Catholic Church viewed producing Bibles in a language everyone could read as grounds for automatic excommunication. The most recent quote I have from a Catholic priest on the subject is from the late 1700s, in which he stated in no uncertain terms that if you weren't an ordained clergyman yourself, then you could not benefit from studying the Scripture (a statement that directly contradicts Biblical teachings on the matter).

Tica wrote:
Interestingly enough, they object to the cross for another reason: they believe Christ was crucified on a stake, not a cross, so not only is a cross idolatrous, it's also historically inaccurate.


Yep; I debated on mentioning that, but opted not to since my post was already becoming a huge infodump. Honestly, I'm not terribly sure what the point of that debate would be, as it doesn't seem to impact anything. Maybe there's a prophecy I'm not aware of that states it must be a cross. Either way, the Romans were known to be rather creative with execution methods, so they did use a wide range of crosses and stakes over time. St. Peter and St. Andrew can provide examples there.


Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:49 pm
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D_Rainbow12346 wrote:
Why... I don't see the difference too much. Why would it even matter whether Jesus died on a cross or on a stake?

Why would it matter whether the universe was created 13.8 billion years ago, 6000 years ago, just before you were born or even yesterday? Yet an insane amount of effort is put into that instead of focusing on the things that we are called to do here and now.

As to JWs: they believe that only very few will go to heaven (only 144 if I'm not mistaken?), but I seem to have heard that only those 144 are allowed to partake in the Eucharist? That seems to indicate that not just God knows who will eventually go to heaven, they themselves apparently also know.

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Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:53 am
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Tayi wrote:
As to JWs: they believe that only very few will go to heaven (only 144 if I'm not mistaken?), but I seem to have heard that only those 144 are allowed to partake in the Eucharist? That seems to indicate that not just God knows who will eventually go to heaven, they themselves apparently also know.


I have heard the figure of 144,000 quoted for this - it's something to do with the number of Israelites during the Exodus, I think.

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Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:35 am
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CofEFur wrote:
Tayi wrote:
As to JWs: they believe that only very few will go to heaven (only 144 if I'm not mistaken?), but I seem to have heard that only those 144 are allowed to partake in the Eucharist? That seems to indicate that not just God knows who will eventually go to heaven, they themselves apparently also know.


I have heard the figure of 144,000 quoted for this - it's something to do with the number of Israelites during the Exodus, I think.


It's 144,000. The number is from Revelation 7:4 .

As for the Eucharist, the most I know ATM is that they celebrate it once a year, usually in summer. I'll have to dig around for more information and get back to you on that.


Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:29 am
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Thanks for the clarification, U Guardian. I think I misunderstood due to a grammatical ambiguity.

Of course JWs are not unique in their particular quarrels with Catholics :P

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Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:51 pm
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Tayi wrote:
D_Rainbow12346 wrote:
Why... I don't see the difference too much. Why would it even matter whether Jesus died on a cross or on a stake?

Why would it matter whether the universe was created 13.8 billion years ago, 6000 years ago, just before you were born or even yesterday? Yet an insane amount of effort is put into that instead of focusing on the things that we are called to do here and now.

As to JWs: they believe that only very few will go to heaven (only 144 if I'm not mistaken?), but I seem to have heard that only those 144 are allowed to partake in the Eucharist? That seems to indicate that not just God knows who will eventually go to heaven, they themselves apparently also know.


It would matter because it brings into question the legitimacy of the Bible itself, at least Genisis.

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Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:54 pm
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It's already agreed upon that not every part is intended as literal history. Look at Song of Solomon and the parables for instance.

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Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:14 pm
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Sleet wrote:
It's already agreed upon that not every part is intended as literal history. Look at Song of Solomon and the parables for instance.


That was a song and those were parables.

There is nothing to suggest that the Bible intended for Genesis to be metaphorical. At least nothing to say it's a parable or poetic.

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Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:28 pm
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I would say the fact that the story is told differently more than one time and the fact that observing creation suggests differently is plenty to suggest it.

This is a topic that should be continued in Serious Discussion if people want to, however. Not in this thread.

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