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Religion Library: Jehovah's Witnesses

Quick Facts

Formed1931 CE
OriginUnited States
DeityJehovah God (non- Trinitarian)
Sacred TextsNew World Translation of the Scriptures
HeadquartersBrooklyn, NY USA

The Jehovah's Witnesses tradition is a religion founded in the late 19th century C.E. in the United States. Founded by Charles Taze Russell, Jehovah's Witnesses grew out of the Christian Millerite movement and has since spread worldwide. Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine is grounded in Russell's teaching that the Second Coming of Christ has already occurred (in a spiritual, invisible form) and the visible form that will follow will include the establishment of Christ's millennial kingdom here on earth. The group took on the name "Jehovah's Witnesses" in 1931 under the leadership of Joseph Franklin Rutherford. Besides changing the name, Rutherford also created internal structure for the followers and it became a highly functioning organization. Jehovah's Witnesses adhere to the Bible as their sacred text, though only the New World Translation is approved for use. The movement departs from traditional Christian teaching in several key points, including a rejection of the Trinity and a belief that Jesus is a created being. Jehovah's Witnesses have continued to engage in strong evangelistic and missions programs as well as lifestyles based on a strict moral code of conduct. Members of local Jehovah's Witnesses congregations are expected to participate in door-to-door evangelism (including distributing books and the Watch Tower magazine) and attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall (church building).


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