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Jehovah's Witnesses
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Watchtower Buildings in Brooklyn, New York
Classification Millenarian
Orientation Restorationist
Organizational structure Hierarchical
Geographical areas Worldwide
Founder Charles Taze Russell (founded Bible Student movement)
Origin 1876: Bible Students founded
1931: Named Jehovah's witnesses
Pennsylvania and New York, USA
Branched from Bible Student movement
Separations See Jehovah's Witnesses
splinter groups
Congregations 105,298
Members 7.3 million
Official Website http://www.watchtower.org
Statistics from 2010 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses is a restorationist,[1] millenarian[2] Christian denomination.[3][4][5] The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism;[6] they report convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual Memorial attendance of over 18 million.[7][8] They are directed by a Governing Body of elders which exercises authority on all doctrinal matters. Witnesses base their beliefs on the Bible, and prefer their own literal, conservative translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.[9][10]

The group emerged from the Bible Student movement,[11] founded in the late 19th century by Charles Taze Russell, with the formation of Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society. Following a schism in the movement, the branch that maintained control of the Society underwent significant organizational changes, bringing its authority structure and methods of evangelism under centralized control.[12][13] The name Jehovah's witnesses, based on Isaiah 43:10-12, was adopted in 1931.

Since its inception, the Watch Tower Society has taught that the present world order is in its last days.[14] Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the current world order will be destroyed at Armageddon. They have stated that only they “have any Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end of this doomed system",[15] but that God decides who will survive.[16]

Those whom God chooses to save—survivors and resurrected individuals—will have the opportunity to live forever in an earthly paradise, ruled by Christ and 144,000 humans raised to heaven. In the years leading up to 1914, 1925 and 1975, the Society's publications expressed strong expectations of Armageddon or the establishment of Christ's kingdom over the earth occurring in those years.[17][18][19][20]

Jehovah's Witnesses are best known for their door-to-door preaching, distribution of literature such as The Watchtower and Awake!, and for their refusal of military service and blood transfusions even in life-threatening situations.[21][22][23][24] They consider use of the name Jehovah—one of the common English-language pronunciations of the Tetragrammaton—vital to proper worship. They reject Trinitarianism, immortality of the soul, and hellfire, which they consider to be unscriptural doctrines. They do not observe celebrations such as Christmas,[25][26] Easter or birthdays[27] because of their perceived pagan origins. Members commonly refer to their body of beliefs as "the Truth", and adherents consider themselves to be "in the Truth".[28] Jehovah's Witnesses regard secular society as a place of moral contamination under the influence of Satan, and limit their social interaction with non-Witnesses.[29]

Baptized members who violate the organization's fundamental moral principles or who dispute doctrinal matters can be subject to disciplinary action. Members who are considered unrepentant after counselling may be subject to a form of shunning called disfellowshipping.[30][31][32] Members who formally announce their resignation from the religion are also shunned.[33]

The religion's position regarding conscientious objection to military service and refusal to salute national flags has brought it into conflict with governments, particularly those that conscript citizens for military service.[34][35] Consequently, activities of Jehovah's Witnesses have been banned or restricted in some countries.[36] Persistent legal challenges by Jehovah's Witnesses have had considerable influence on related legislation and civil rights in the United States and other countries.[37]

Contents

History

Charles Taze Russell (1852–1916)

1870-1916: Charles Taze Russell and the Bible Students

In 1870, Charles Taze Russell and others formed an independent group to study the Bible; in particular, Russell cited contributions by Advent Christian Church pastor George W. Stetson, and George Storrs, an Adventist preacher and former Millerite.[38][39] In 1877 Russell jointly edited a religious journal, Herald of the Morning, with Nelson H. Barbour. In July 1879, after separating from Barbour, Russell began publishing the magazine Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence,[40] highlighting his interpretations of biblical chronology, with particular attention to his belief that the world was in "the last days".[41] In 1881, Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society was formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,[42] to disseminate tracts, papers, doctrinal treatises and Bibles; three years later, on December 15, 1884, Russell became president of the Society when it was legally incorporated in Pennsylvania.[40]

Watch Tower supporters gathered as autonomous congregations to study the Bible and Russell's writings. Russell firmly rejected as "wholly unnecessary" the concept of a formal organization for his followers, and declared that his group had no record of its members' names, no creeds, and no sectarian name.[43] In 1910 he announced that the group would identify itself as the International Bible Students Association.[43][44] Russell died on October 31, 1916, and control of the Watch Tower magazine was temporarily passed to an Editorial Committee as outlined in Russell's will, with an Executive Committee in control of the Society pending the election of a new president.[45]

1917-1942: Joseph Rutherford

Organizational changes

In January 1917, the Watch Tower Society's legal representative, Joseph Franklin Rutherford, was elected as its next president. A power struggle developed between Rutherford and four of the Society's Board of Directors, who objected to his style of leadership.[46][47] On July 17, 1917, Rutherford replaced four of the directors, claiming they had not been legally elected.[48]

On the same day, he also announced the release of The Finished Mystery as the seventh volume of Russell's Studies in the Scriptures series. The book was widely advertised to the public as "a posthumous publication ... of Charles Taze Russell", though much was actually written by two other Bible Students under the direction of Joseph Rutherford.[49][50] The Finished Mystery strongly criticized Catholic and Protestant clergy and Christian involvement in war.[51] Patriotic fervor during World War I and other animosities fueled persecution of the Bible Students in America and Europe,[52] including mob violence and tarring and feathering.[46]

Citing this book, the United States federal government indicted Rutherford and the new board of directors for violation of the Espionage Act on May 7, 1918. They were found guilty and sentenced concurrently to 20 years' imprisonment.[53] During their imprisonment, elections for the Watch Tower directors took place again, and Rutherford was re-elected as president.[54] In March 1919, the judgment against them was reversed and they were released from prison;[55] the charges were later dropped.[56][57][58][59]

Opposition to Rutherford among the Bible Students began to mount, prompting a significant number of members to cut ties with the Watch Tower Society and form new organizations.[60] Rutherford continued to tighten and centralize organizational control of those who remained loyal to the Society, with the Brooklyn headquarters appointing a "director" in each congregation in 1919, and a year later instructing all congregation members who participated in the preaching work to report their preaching activity weekly.[43]

In 1925, following a dispute over a proposed article, Rutherford overruled the Watch Tower's Editorial Committee and took full control of the organization and of material published in the magazine.[47][61] On July 26, 1931, the name Jehovah's witnesses was adopted by resolution at a convention in Columbus, Ohio, based on the American Standard Version's rendering of Isaiah 43:10: "Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah". In 1932, Rutherford eliminated the system of selecting elders by congregational vote. In 1938, he introduced a "theocratic" or "God-ruled" organizational system, under which all appointments in congregations worldwide were made from the Brooklyn headquarters.[43]

Doctrinal changes

At an international convention held at Cedar Point, Ohio, in September 1922, a new emphasis was made on house-to-house preaching.[62] Significant changes in doctrine were made under Rutherford's leadership, including the 1918 announcement that Jewish patriarchs (such as Abraham and Isaac) would be resurrected in 1925, marking the beginning of Christ's thousand-year reign.[63][64][65] The failed expectations for 1925, coupled with other doctrinal changes, resulted in a dramatic reduction in attendance at their yearly Memorial, from 90,434 in 1925[66] to 17,380 in 1928.[67][68] In 1932 it was announced the Jews had no special role in God's earthly kingdom[69] and by 1933, the timing of the beginning of Christ's presence (Greek: parousía), his enthronement as king, and the start of the "last days", were each moved to 1914.[63][70][71][72][73] From 1935, it was considered that converts to the movement, if worthy, would survive Armageddon and live in a paradise restored on earth. Previously, membership was generally composed of those who believed they would be resurrected to live in heaven to rule over the earth with Christ.[74]

As their interpretations of Scripture continued to develop, Witness publications taught that saluting the flag and standing for the national anthem are forms of idolatry. They were also instructed to refuse alternative service provided for conscientious objectors. (Objection to alternative civilian service was maintained until 1996, when it was deemed a 'conscience matter'.)[75][76] In Germany, Jehovah's Witnesses came under persecution, with as many as 5000 imprisoned in concentration camps.[77][78] Witnesses also experienced mob violence in the United States, and their activities were banned in Canada and Australia because of their refusal to accept military service.[79][80][81]

1942-present: Knorr, Franz, Henschel and Adams

Nathan Knorr was named the third president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society following Rutherford's death in January 1942. Knorr instituted major new training programs—the Theocratic Ministry School for all congregation members, and the Gilead School for missionaries. He also organized large-scale conventions, which attracted as many as 253,000 Witnesses to sports stadiums in the United States, Canada and Germany,[82] and began a campaign of real estate acquisition in Brooklyn to expand the organization's world headquarters. He commissioned a new translation of the Bible, which was released progressively from 1950 before being published as the complete New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in 1961. Knorr's vice-president, Frederick William Franz, became the religion's leading theologian,[83] and helped shape the further development of explicit rules of conduct among members.

Jehovah's Witnesses are known for their preaching from house to house.

From 1938 to 1955, the Witnesses launched a series of cases in the US Supreme Court to defend their right to worship and proselytize, winning 36 out of 45 cases.[84] Cases were also fought successfully in Canada and Australia.[85]

From 1966, Witness publications began using their interpretations of biblical chronology to heighten anticipation of Christ's thousand-year millennial reign beginning in late 1975.[86][87][88] Focus on 1975 was intensified with talks given at conventions;[89][90][91] in 1974 a Watch Tower Society newsletter commended Witnesses who had sold homes and property to devote themselves to preaching in the "short time" remaining.[92] The number of baptisms increased significantly, from about 59,000 in 1966 to more than 297,000 in 1974, but membership declined after expectations for the year were proved wrong.[93][94][95][96] In 1980, the Watch Tower Society admitted its responsibility in building up hope regarding 1975.[97]

The offices of elder and ministerial servant were restored to Witness congregations in 1972, with appointments being made from headquarters.[98] In a major organizational overhaul in 1976, the power of the Watch Tower Society president was diminished, with authority for doctrinal and organizational decisions passed to the religion's Governing Body.[99] Reflecting these organizational changes, publications of Jehovah's Witnesses began using the capitalized name, Jehovah's Witnesses.[100] Prior to this, witnesses was consistently uncapitalized, except in headings and when quoting external sources. Following Knorr's death in 1977, the position of president has been occupied by Frederick Franz (1977–1992), Milton Henschel (1992–2000) and Don A. Adams (2000-). The office now moves on a rotational basis among members of the Governing Body.

Organization

Jehovah's Witnesses are organized under a hierarchical arrangement, which their leadership calls a "theocratic government", reflecting their belief that it is God's organization on earth.[101]

The organization is headed by the Governing Body – an all-male group that varies in size, but since 2007 has comprised nine members,[102] all of whom profess to be of the "anointed" class with a hope of heavenly life – based in the Watch Tower Society's Brooklyn, New York headquarters.[103][104] There is no election for membership, with new members selected by the existing body.[105] The Governing Body is described as the "spokesman" for God's "faithful and discreet slave class" (the approximately 10,800 remaining "anointed" Jehovah's Witnesses),[106][107] and is said to provide "spiritual food" for Witnesses worldwide on behalf of the "faithful and discreet slave". In practice it seeks neither advice nor approval from any "anointed" Witnesses other than high-ranking members at Brooklyn Bethel when formulating policy and doctrines or when producing material for publications and conventions.[108][109]

The Governing Body directs several committees that are responsible for various administrative functions, including publishing, assembly programmes and evangelising activity.[101] It directly appoints all branch committee members and District and Circuit Overseers,[110] with travelling overseers supervising groups of congregations within their jurisdictions.

Witnesses have no formal clergy-laity division. Each congregation has a body of appointed male elders and ministerial servants. Elders maintain general responsibility for congregational governance, setting meeting times, selecting speakers and conducting meetings, directing the public preaching work, and creating "judicial committees" to investigate and decide disciplinary action for cases that are seen as breaching scriptural or organizational rules. New elders are appointed by branch offices after recommendation by the existing body of elders. Ministerial servants – appointed in a similar fashion to elders – fulfill clerical and attendant duties, but may also teach and conduct meetings.[101]

Witness publications place strong emphasis on the need for members to be obedient and loyal to the Watch Tower organization,[111][112][113] warning that individuals must remain part of it to receive God's favour and also to survive Armageddon.[114][115][116] Publications state that acceptable service to God can be rendered only through that organization[117] and that members should remain submissive to the religion's leaders and local congregational elders.[118][119]

Beliefs

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Sources of doctrine

Doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses are established by the Governing Body, which assumes responsibility for interpreting and applying scripture.[68][120][121] Prior to the reorganization of the Governing Body in 1976,[122] matters of doctrine were decided by the President of the Watch Tower Society.[123][124] Watch Tower publications claim that doctrinal changes and refinements result from a process of progressive revelation, in which God gradually reveals his will and purpose.[125][126][127][128][129] Watch Tower literature has suggested such enlightenment results from the application of reason and study,[130] the guidance of the holy spirit, and direction from Jesus Christ and angels.[131] However, the Governing Body makes no claim of infallibility or divine inspiration.[132][133][134]

The entire Protestant canon of scripture is considered the inspired, inerrant word of God.[135] The Witnesses accept the Bible as scientifically and historically accurate and reliable[136] and interpret much of it literally, while also accepting it is rich in symbolism.[137] They consider the Bible to be the source of truth[138] and the basis for all their beliefs.[139] Sociologist Andrew Holden's ethnographic study of the religion concluded that pronouncements of the Governing Body, through Watch Tower publications, carry as much or more weight than the Bible.[140] The leadership of Jehovah's Witnesses claims to be the sole visible channel of Jehovah and asserts that the Bible cannot be understood without associating with the Watch Tower organization.[141][142][143]

Jehovah and Jesus Christ

Jehovah's Witnesses emphasize use of God's biblical name, the Tetragrammaton, and in English they prefer to use the name, Jehovah.[144] Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jehovah is the only true God, the creator of all things, and give him the title "Universal Sovereign". They believe that all worship should be directed toward him.[145]

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus was Jehovah's first and only direct creation,[146] that Jehovah then created everything else by means of Christ, and that the initial unassisted act of creation uniquely identifies Jesus as God's 'only-begotten Son'.[147][148] Jesus served as a redeemer and a ransom sacrifice to pay for the sins of humankind.[149] They believe that Jesus died on a single upright torture stake rather than the traditional cross.[150] They believe that references in the Bible to the Archangel Michael, Apollyon (a.k.a. Abaddon), and the Word all refer to Jesus.[151][152][153]

Satan

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Satan is a spirit creature who is the ruler of the world,[145][154][155][156] and that he was at one time a perfect angel who developed feelings of self-importance, and craved worship. Satan persuaded Adam and Eve to obey him rather than God, and humanity subsequently become participants in a challenge involving the competing claims of Jehovah and Satan to universal sovereignty.[145][157] Other angels who sided with Satan became demons.[158] Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Satan and his demons were cast down to earth from heaven after October 1, 1914,[159][160] at which point the end times began.[145][161] Witnesses believe that the world is under the control of Satan and his demons, that they mislead people, and are the cause of much pain and suffering. However, they do not believe that individual rulers or governments are under Satan's direct control.[162][163]

Life after death

Jehovah's Witnesses believe death is a state of non-existence with no consciousness. There is no Hell of fiery torment; Hades and Sheol are understood to refer to the condition of death, termed the common grave.[164][165][166] Jehovah's Witnesses consider the body and the soul to be the same living being that expires.[167] Their hope for life after death involves being resurrected by God to a cleansed earth after Armageddon, or to heaven for the limited number of 144,000. The ones remaining on earth are referred to as the "Great Crowd".

Witness publications teach that all humanity is in a sinful state.[168] Release from this is possible because Jesus' shed blood provided a payment, or atonement, for the sins of humankind.[169] Witnesses believe there are two destinations for those saved by God. They interpret Revelation 14 to mean that the number of Christians going to heaven is limited to precisely 144,000, who will rule with Jesus as kings and priests over earth.[170] The remainder have the hope of living forever in an earthly paradise.[171] Jehovah's Witnesses teach that only they meet scriptural requirements for surviving Armageddon, although God is the final judge.[15][172][173][174][175][176] During the millennium, most other people who died since the time of Abel will be resurrected with the prospect of living forever;[177][178] they will be taught the proper way to worship God in order for them to be ready for their final test before the end of the millennium.

God's Messianic Kingdom

Witness publications teach that God's Kingdom is a government in heaven, ruled by Jesus Christ and 144,000 Christians drawn from the earth.[179] The kingdom is viewed as the means by which God will accomplish his original purpose for the earth,[180][181] bringing about a world free of crime, sickness, death and poverty, ultimately transforming earth into a paradise.[182] The kingdom is said to have been the focal point of Jesus' ministry on earth[183] and established in heaven in 1914.[184]

Eschatology

A central teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses is that the current world era, or "system of things", entered its "last days" in 1914[185] and faces imminent destruction through intervention by God and Jesus Christ, leading to deliverance for those who worship God in truth. This judgment will begin with the destruction by the United Nations of false religion, which they identify as "Babylon the Great", or the "harlot", of Revelation 17.[186] This development will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation.[187] Satan will subsequently attack Jehovah's Witnesses, an action that will prompt God to begin the war of Armageddon, during which all forms of government and all people not counted as Christ's "sheep", or true followers, will be destroyed.[188] After Armageddon, God will extend his heavenly kingdom to include earth,[189][190] which will be transformed into a paradise similar to the Garden of Eden.[191] After Armageddon, most of those who had died prior to God's intervention will gradually be resurrected to a "day of judgment" lasting for the thousand years referred to in Revelation 20.[192] This judgment will be based on their actions after resurrection, not on past deeds.[193] At the end of the thousand years a final test will take place when Satan is brought back to mislead perfect mankind.[194] The end result will be a fully tested, glorified human race.[195] Christ will then hand all authority back to God.[196]

Watch Tower Society publications teach that Jesus Christ returned invisibly and began to rule in heaven as king in October 1914.[197] The resulting ouster of Satan from heaven to the earth has brought a period of "woe" to mankind, as prophesied in Revelation 12.[198] They assert that the Greek word parousia (translated in most English Bible translations as "coming" when referring to Christ) is more accurately rendered as "presence," with his return perceived only as a series of "signs". Thus this Second Coming would be an invisible presence, lasting for an extended time.[199]

Practices

Worship

Meetings for worship and study are held at Kingdom Halls. Witnesses are assigned to a congregation in whose "territory" they reside and are expected to attend weekly services they refer to as "meetings" as scheduled by congregation elders. The meetings are largely devoted to study of the Bible and Watch Tower Society literature. The form and content of the meetings is established by the religion's Brooklyn headquarters, with the content of meetings in any week largely identical around the world.[200] Congregations meet for two sessions each week comprising five distinct meetings that total about three-and-a-half hours, typically gathering mid-week (three meetings) and on the weekend (two meetings). Meetings are opened and closed with songs and brief prayers delivered from the platform. The Kingdom Halls are typically functional in character, and do not contain religious symbols.[200] Each year, Witnesses from a number of congregations that form a "circuit" gather for one-day, two-day assemblies. Several circuits meet once a year for a three-day "district convention", usually at rented stadiums or auditoriums. Their most important and solemn event is the celebration of the "Lord's Evening Meal", or "Memorial of Christ's Death", which falls on the same date as the Jewish Passover.

Evangelism

Jehovah's Witnesses are perhaps best known for their efforts to spread their beliefs, most notably by visiting people from house to house. They do this as they believe Jesus instructed and set the example to preach.[201][202] Free home Bible studies are offered to people who show interest in their beliefs, which they present with the aid of their publications, such as The Watchtower. Literature is published in many languages through a wide variety of books, magazines and other publications, with a small selection available in over 440 languages. Witnesses are instructed to devote as much time as possible to preaching activities, and are required to provide a monthly report to their congregation on their 'witnessing' activity.[203]

Ethics and morality

Jehovah's Witnesses meet in buildings called Kingdom Halls, like this one in Germany.

Their view of morality reflects conservative Christian values. All sexual relations outside of marriage are grounds for expulsion (disfellowshipping) if the accused is not deemed repentant.[204][205] Abortion is considered murder.[206] Modesty in dress and grooming is frequently emphasised. Gambling,[207] drunkenness, illegal drugs, and tobacco use are forbidden.[208] Drinking of alcoholic beverages is permitted in moderation.[209]

The family structure is patriarchal. The husband is considered the final authority on family decisions, but is encouraged to solicit his wife's thoughts and feelings, as well as those of his children. Marriages are required to be monogamous.[210] Divorce is permissible only for adultery; such a divorce is referred to as "a Scriptural divorce".[211][212] If a divorce is obtained for any other reason, remarriage is considered adultery while the previous spouse is still alive and has not begun another sexual relationship.[213] Extreme physical abuse, willful non-support of one's family, and what the religion terms "absolute endangerment of spirituality" are considered grounds for legal separation.[214][215]

Disciplinary action

Formal discipline is administered by congregation elders. When an accusation of what they term "serious sin" is made concerning a baptised member, a judicial committee is formed to determine guilt, administer help and possibly apply discipline. Disfellowshipping, a form of shunning, is the strongest form of discipline administered.[216] Contact with disfellowshipped individuals is limited to direct family members living in the same home, and with congregation elders who annually invite disfellowshipped persons to apply for reinstatement;[217][218] formal business dealings may continue if contractually or financially obliged.[219] By avoiding most social and all spiritual interaction with a disfellowshipped former adherent, Witnesses state that the congregation is kept free from immoral influence and wrong-doers may be shamed into repentance,[220] but the threat of shunning also serves to deter other members from dissident behaviour. Shunning is also applied to members who voluntarily leave the religion and formally disassociate themselves.[221][222][223] Reproof is given formally by a judicial committee to a baptised Witness who is considered repentant for some act of “serious sin”; the reproved person temporarily loses conspicuous privileges of service, but suffers no restriction of social or spiritual fellowship.[224] Marking is practiced if a baptised adherent persists in a course of action regarded as a violation of Bible principles but not a “serious sin”.[225] Elders assign two elders to “correct” the person; if the person continues the same course, an elder delivers a congregation talk regarding “marking” (that is, their application of 2 Thessalonians 3:14) and the Bible principle being violated.[226][227] Members familiar with the marked person’s course of action are expected to limit social fellowship (but continue spiritual fellowship) with that person; the stated purpose is to shame the person into correcting their actions.[228]

Separateness

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Bible condemns the mixing of religions on the basis that there can only be one truth from God.[229][230] They believe that only their religion represents true Christianity, and that all other religions fail to meet all the requirements set by God and will be destroyed,[231] and therefore reject interfaith and ecumenical movements.[232] Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught it is vital they remain "separate from the world." Watch Tower publications define the "world" as "the mass of mankind apart from Jehovah’s approved servants" and teach that it is ruled by Satan and a place of danger and moral contamination.[233][234][235] Because of perceived dangers from "worldly" association,[236] Witnesses are advised to minimise social contact with non-members to better maintain their own standards of morality.[237][238][239][240][241][242]

Jehovah's Witnesses believe their highest allegiance belongs to God's Kingdom, which is viewed as an actual government in heaven, with Christ as Governor, hence they remain politically neutral, do not seek public office and are discouraged from voting, though individual members may participate in uncontroversial community improvement issues.[243][244][245][246] They abstain from celebrating religious holidays and birthdays and reject many customs they believe have pagan origins. They do not work in industries associated with the military, do not serve in the armed services[247] and refuse national military service, which in some countries may result in their arrest and imprisonment.[248] They do not salute or pledge allegiance to flags or sing national anthems or patriotic songs.[249]

Rejection of blood transfusions

Jehovah's Witnesses officially reject transfusions of whole allogeneic blood and some of its fractionated components.

Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions, which they consider a violation of God's law based on their interpretation of Acts 15:28, 29 and other scriptures.[250][251][252] Since 1961 the acceptance of a blood transfusion has been grounds for expulsion from the religion.[253][254] Watch Tower literature directs Witnesses to refuse transfusions in all cases even if death may result.[255][256][257][258] Jehovah's Witnesses do accept non-blood alternatives,[259] and other life-saving measures, in lieu of blood transfusions.

Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept red cells, white cells, platelets or plasma, though they may accept certain fractions made from these components at their own discretion.[260][261] The Watch Tower Society provides members with Power of Attorney documents to indicate which optional fractions they accept, with preformatted wording prohibiting major components.[262][263] If a fraction "makes up a significant portion of that component" or "carries out the key function of a primary component", it may be objectionable to some, but is permissible.[264] Jehovah's Witnesses have established Hospital Liaison Committees as a cooperative arrangement between individual Jehovah's Witnesses and medical professionals and hospitals.[265][266] American medical ethicist Osamu Muramoto has claimed the committees can have the effect of putting pressure on Witness patients to refuse blood-based treatment, compromising patient-doctor confidentiality, and the right of patients to choose their own form of medical care.[267]

Demographics

Average Publishers, 1945–2005

Jehovah's Witnesses have an active presence in most countries, though they do not form a large part of the population of any country. As of August 2009, Jehovah's Witnesses have an average of 7.0 million "publishers", the term they use for members actively involved in preaching. In 2009, these reports indicated a total of over 1.5 billion hours spent in preaching and Bible study activity. Since the mid-1990s, the number of peak publishers has increased from 4.5 million to 7.3 million,[268] though there has been a decline in growth rates, from over 8% per annum in the mid 1970s, to 5% per annum in the mid 1990s, to about 2%–3% per annum since 1999.[269] The official published membership statistics only include those who have reported preaching activity, and do not include "inactive" and disfellowshipped members, and any who have either not been involved in preaching or have not submitted reports. Jehovah's Witnesses have the lowest retention rate of all religious traditions in the United States. A 2008 study in the United States reported that only about one-third who self-identified their upbringing as "Jehovah’s Witnesses" still identify themselves with the religion as adults. The convert retention rate among Jehovah's Witnesses however, is one of the highest, reaching into the 90th percentile, though only about half the number who self-identify as Jehovah's Witnesses in the study are actually considered "active" by the faith itself.[270][271].

Main publications used

The Watch Tower Society engages in extensive publishing work, producing books, brochures, and other media. Its most widely distributed publications are:

  • New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (1961, revised 1984), a translation of the Bible. It extensively uses the name Jehovah, an English version of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, also replacing the Greek word for "Lord" 237 times in the New Testament. It is available in 83 languages.
  • The Watchtower, a bi-monthly 32-page magazine containing articles on Bible topics. A Public Edition is distributed in their public ministry, and a Study Edition is published for the Watchtower Study. It is available in 180 languages.
  • Awake!, a monthly 32-page general-interest magazine, usually including articles on science, nature, and geography, with a religious slant.
  • What Does the Bible Really Teach?, (2005) the textbook used to conduct Bible studies.[272] It is available in 209 languages.
  • Keep Yourselves in God's Love (2008), used for Bible studies with people who have completed What Does the Bible Really Teach?

Criticisms

Jehovah's Witnesses have attracted criticism over issues surrounding their Bible translation, doctrines, their handling of sexual abuse cases and what is claimed to be coercion of members.

Biblical criticisms

The Watch Tower Society has been criticised for its refusal to reveal the names and academic credentials of the translators of its New World Translation of the Bible.[273] The society has claimed members of the translation committee wished to remain anonymous in order to exalt only the name of God,[274] while The Watchtower said the educational qualifications of the translators were unimportant and that "the translation itself testifies to their qualifications".[275] However former Governing Body member Raymond Franz has claimed that only one member of the translation committee had sufficient qualifications for the task.[276]

Some Bible scholars have noted that the translation of certain texts may be biased in favour of certain Witness practices and doctrines;[273][277][278][279][280] theologians have also criticised the translators' insertion of the name Jehovah 237 times in the New Testament in places where the term is not used in the extant Greek manuscripts.[281][282] Watch Tower publications, and a Bible scholar, have said the name was "restored" on a sound basis, particularly when New Testament writers used the Greek Kyrios (Lord) when quoting earlier Old Testament scriptures that contained the Tetragrammaton.[283][284]

The translation has also been criticised for favouring literalist interpretation over the poetic qualities of original texts.[285]

Doctrinal criticisms

Jehovah's Witness publications have made many predictions about world events they believe were prophesied in the Bible.[286] The failure of some of those events, particularly relating to 1914, 1925 and 1975, has led to the alteration or abandonment of some doctrines. Its publications have claimed that God has used Jehovah's Witnesses and the International Bible Students (the organisation's earlier name) as a prophet[287][288][289] and is gradually leading his followers to a clearer understanding of his will.[290] Some former Jehovah's Witnesses, however, have accused the religion of being a false prophet for making those predictions, particularly because of assertions in some cases that the predictions were beyond doubt or had been approved by God.[291][292][293] Watch Tower publications have stated that Christians should not question what God tells them through his organization.[294] Former Witness Raymond Franz stated that members of the religion are expected to place "unwavering trust" in Watch Tower predictions[295] and face expulsion if they do not accept its teachings, including predictions that have subsequently been set aside.[12][296]

The Watch Tower Society rejects accusations that it is a false prophet.[297] It says its explanations of Bible prophecy are not infallible[298] and that its predictions were not claimed as "the words of Jehovah".[297] It admits some of its expectations have needed adjustment because of its eagerness for God's Kingdom, but that those adjustments are no reason to "call into question the whole body of truth".[299]

Social criticisms

Watch Tower publications instruct members to demonstrate loyalty to God by being loyal and obedient to the organization,[300][301] promising the benefits of strength and protection from Satan's temptations.[302][303] Frequent calls for loyalty to the Watch Tower organization, and the practice of shunning dissident members, have led critics to refer to the religion's leadership as autocratic.[304][305] Former Witness Edmond Gruss and authors including Anthony A. Hoekema, Ron Rhodes[306] and Alan W. Gomes[307] call the Watch Tower organization a religious cult. Gruss bases his claim on the "adulation" of the organization, the "mindless acceptance" of directions by members and the Watch Tower Society's insistence that faith in the organization is necessary for salvation.[308] Hoekema has identified teachings he claims are characteristic of religious cults.[309] Jehovah's Witnesses deny they are a cult;[310] stating that individuals need guidance from God, but need to do their own thinking.[311][312] Cult deprogrammer John Bowen Brown II[313] and Joel P. Engardio, the producer of the documentary Knocking, also reject the claims.[314][315]

Watch Tower literature warns that "independent thinking", such as questioning the counsel it provides, is dangerous.[316][317][318] The Watch Tower Society instructs members to not read criticism of the organization by apostates, or former members,[319][320] or literature published by other religions.[321][322][323][324] This has led some critics to accuse the society of causing mental isolation with the intent of mind control.[325][326][327]

Watch Tower publications say that the preaching work is "a fundamental requirement of their faith", and an obligation for Jehovah's Witnesses.[328][329][330] Raymond Franz and others describe the Watch Tower Society's continual admonitions to preach door-to-door as coercive pressure.[331][332][333]

Critics claim that Witness medical patients have been coerced to obey the religion's ban on blood transfusions.[22][23][334] American neurologist and medical ethicist Osamu Muramoto has claimed that Watch Tower literature uses exaggeration and emotionalism to create paranoia and distort the facts about transfusions.[335]

Handling of sexual abuse allegations

Critics such as Silentlambs have accused Jehovah's Witnesses of employing organizational policies that make the reporting of sexual abuse difficult for members. Some victims of sexual abuse have asserted that they were ordered by local elders to maintain silence so as to avoid embarrassment to both the accused and the organization.[336][337]

By 1997, Jehovah's Witnesses' Office of Public Information publicized their policy[338] for elders to report allegations of child abuse to the authorities where required by law to do so, even if there was only one witness.[339][340] Any person known to have sexually abused a child is prohibited from holding any responsibility inside the organization.[341] Unless considered by the congregation elders to demonstrate repentance, such a person is typically disfellowshipped.[205] The Watch Tower Society describes child abuse as "abhorrent" and instructs elders to investigate all allegations of child abuse and take congregational action if there is sufficient evidence. If there is not sufficient evidence, elders are required to report the matter to authorities and to their local Watch Tower branch office. It says victims of abuse have the "absolute right" to report allegations to authorities.[342]

References

  1. ^ Stark et al. (1997). "Why Jehovah's Witnesses Grow So Rapidly: A Theoretical Application". Journal of Contemporary Religion 12 (2): 133–157. doi:10.1080/13537909708580796. 
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. "Jehovah's Witness: a member of a fundamentalist millenary sect"  (Emphasis added)
  3. ^ "Religion & Ethics Jehovah's Witnesses". http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/witnesses/ataglance/glance.shtml. 
  4. ^ "Major Christian Denominations". http://www.worldalmanacforkids.com/WAKI-ViewArticle.aspx?pin=w-rlg00700&article_id=512&chapter_id=11&chapter_title=Religion&article_title=Adherents_of_All_Religions. 
  5. ^ Organisational charter, Denomination of Jehovah's Witnesses in Bulgaria, as cited by Donald T. Ridley, Watch Tower Society, in "Jehovah’s Witnesses’ refusal of blood: obedience to scripture and religious conscience", Journal of Medical Ethics, December 1999, footnote 1.
  6. ^ "Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Media Web Site: Our History and Organization - Membership". Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses. http://jw-media.org/aboutjw/article41.htm#membership. "While other religious groups count their membership by occasional or annual attendance, this figure reflects only those who are actively involved in the public Bible educational work [of Jehovah's Witnesses]." 
  7. ^ "“Guided by God’s Spirit”", Awake!, June 2008, page 32, "In 2007, more than 12 million people attended over 3,200 of such conventions!"
  8. ^ Statistics at Jehovah's Witnesses official website, 2010.
  9. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. 1993. 
  10. ^ Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, page 123.
  11. ^ "Denominational profile". The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA). http://www.thearda.com/Denoms/D_1107.asp. 
  12. ^ a b Botting, Heather; Gary Botting (1984). The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. pp. 60–75. ISBN 0-8020-6545-7. 
  13. ^ Franz, Raymond (2007). In Search of Christian Freedom. Commentary Press. p. 190. "Rutherford wanted to unify the preaching work and, instead of having each individual give his own opinion ... gradually Rutherford himself began to be the main spokesman for the organization."  (Franz quoting Faith on the March, 1957, A. H. MacMillan)
  14. ^ Penton, M. J. (1997). Apocalypse Delayed (2nd ed.). University of Toronto Press. p. 1. 
  15. ^ a b "Remaining Organized for Survival Into the Millennium", The Watchtower, September 1, 1989, page 19, "Only Jehovah's Witnesses, those of the anointed remnant and the 'great crowd,' as a united organization under the protection of the Supreme Organizer, have any Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil."
  16. ^ "Watchtower 11/1 2008 Page 28 - Our Readers Ask; Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe That They Are the Only Ones Who Will Be Saved?". Quote:"Like adherents of many religious faiths, Jehovah’s Witnesses hope to be saved. However, they also believe that it is not their job to judge who will be saved. Ultimately, God is the Judge. He decides.—Isaiah 33:22."
  17. ^ The Jehovah's Witnesses and Prophetic Speculation, Edmond C. Gruss, 1972, ISBN 0-87552-306-4, pages 11, 21.
  18. ^ J. F. Rutherford, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920, page 88, as reproduced by Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, pages 212-214.
  19. ^ Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God. Watch Tower Society. 1966. pp. 29–35. http://www.strictlygenteel.co.uk/lifeeverlasting/1966_Life_Everlasting.pdf. 
  20. ^ Bryan R. Wilson, "The Persistence of Sects", Diskus religious studies journal web edition, Vol.1 No.2, 1993, pp.1-12.
  21. ^ Evans, Allan S.; Riley E. Moynes, Larry Martinello (1973). What man Believes: A study of the World’s Great Faiths. McGraw-Hill Ryerson. p. 424. ISBN 0-07-077440-4. 
  22. ^ a b "Jehovah's Witnesses case heads to B.C. court". Vancouver Sun. 1 April 1, 2007. http://www.rickross.com/reference/jw/jw289.html. 
  23. ^ a b J Guicho and, I Mitchell (December 2006). "Medical emergencies in children of orthodox Jehovah's Witness families: Three recent legal cases, ethical issues and proposals for management". Paediatrics & Child Health, Canadian Pediatric Society. http://www.pulsus.com/journals/abstract.jsp?HCtype=Consumer&sCurrPg=journal&jnlKy=5&atlKy=6964&isuKy=460&spage=1&isArt=t&. 
  24. ^ "Bloodless Medicine and Surgery, The Growing Demand". January 8, 2000. http://www.watchtower.org/e/20000108/article_01.htm. 
  25. ^ "Christmas Customs, Are They Christian?". Watchtower website. 2008. http://www.watchtower.org/e/20001215/article_01.htm. 
  26. ^ "For those who don’t celebrate Christmas, respect and good communication are key". Watchtower Public Information Site. December 14, 2000. http://www.jw-media.org/usa/20001214.htm. 
  27. ^ "Beliefs and Customs That Displease God". Watchtower. 2006. http://www.watchtower.org/e/rq/article_11.htm. 
  28. ^ Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. p. 64. ISBN 0415266092. 
  29. ^ Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. pp. 11–12, 109–112. ISBN 0415266092. 
  30. ^ Hodlen, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. p. 77. ISBN 0415266092. 
  31. ^ Franz, Raymond (2007). In Search of Christian Freedom. Atlanta: Commentary Press. p. 754. ISBN 0-914675-17-6. 
  32. ^ Botting, Heather; Gary Botting (1984). The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-6545-7. 
  33. ^ "Disfellowshiping—How to View It", The Watchtower, September 15, 1981, pages 23.
  34. ^ "Armenia violates Jehovah's Witnesses' rights-Amnesty". Reuters. 16 January 2008. http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSL15452518. 
  35. ^ "UNHCR report". 28 May 2008. http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,AMNESTY,,ERI,,483e27893c,0.html. 
  36. ^ "Tajikistan: Jehovah's Witnesses Banned". F18News. 18 October 2007. http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1036. 
  37. ^ Penton, M.J. (1997). Apocalypse Delayed. University of Toronto Press. p. 7. ISBN 0802079733, 9780802079732. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=38SYXalMLeQC. 
  38. ^ "Working in the “Field”—Before the Harvest", The Watchtower, October 15, 2000, page 28
  39. ^ "Proclaiming the Lord’s Return (1870-1914)", Jehovah's Witnesses-Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, p. 44-46
  40. ^ a b Holden, A. (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. p. 18. 
  41. ^ "Prospectus". Zion's Watch Tower. 1 July 1879. http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/Reprints/Z1879JUL.asp#R3:9. 
  42. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses: Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1993. p. 576. 
  43. ^ a b c d Franz, Raymond (2007). "Chapter 4". In Search of Christian Freedom. Commentary Press. 
  44. ^ Watchtower, April 1910.
  45. ^ "A Time of Testing (1914-1918)". Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. p. 64. 
  46. ^ a b Penton, M. J. (1997). Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802079733. 
  47. ^ a b Franz, Raymond (2002). "Chapter 3". Crisis of Conscience. Commentary Press. 
  48. ^ A.H. Macmillan (PDF). Faith on the March. p. 80. http://www.quotedstatements.com/FOTM.pdf. Retrieved 2007-10-25. 
  49. ^ The Finished Mystery at Google Books
  50. ^ The Finished MysteryPDF (19.0 MB)
  51. ^ "The Revelation". The Finished Mystery. pp. 247–253. http://www.strictlygenteel.co.uk/finishedmystery/fmr16.html. 
  52. ^ "Distress of Nations: Cause, Warning, Remedy" (PDF). The Golden Age: 712–718. September 29 1920. http://www.a2z.org/wtarchive/docs/1920_Golden_Age.pdf. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  53. ^ Proclaimers, p. 252.
  54. ^ Proclaimers, p. 74.
  55. ^ Rutherford et al. vs. the United States, . See also "Application for Executive Clemency". 1919. http://www.pastor-russell.com/misc/jfrdoc.html. , "Reversal by Appeals Court" (PDF). http://www.watchtowerdocuments.com/downloads/1919_May_14__Appeals_Court_reverses_conviction_of_WT_Directo.pdf. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  56. ^ M.J. Penton. Apocalypse Delayed. pp. 55–56. 
  57. ^ Apocalypse Delayed at Google Books
  58. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1993. pp. 647–654. 
  59. ^ Rutherford gives his defense against the charges in the tract The Case of the IBSA
  60. ^ Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, pages 38-44.
  61. ^ Wills, Tony (2006). A People For His Name. Lulu Enterprises. pp. 120–121. ISBN 9781430301004. 
  62. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1993. pp. 72–77. 
  63. ^ a b Franz, Raymond (2007). In Search of Christian Freedom. p. 144. 
  64. ^ Gruss, Edmond C. (2001). "Chapter 24". Jehovah's Witnesses: Their Claims, Doctrinal Changes, and Prophetic Speculation. What Does the Record Show?. Xulon Press. ISBN 193123230X. 
  65. ^ Salvation, Watch Tower Society, 1939, as cited in Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, page 76
  66. ^ Your Will Be Done on Earth. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1958. p. 337. 
  67. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1959. p. 313. 
  68. ^ a b Penton, M.J. (1997). Apocalypse Delayed. University of Toronto Press. p. 58, 61–62. ISBN 0802079733, 9780802079732. 
  69. ^ Penton, M. James (1997, 2nd ed.). Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. p. 65. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3. 
  70. ^ The Harp of God. 1921. pp. 231–236.  states that "the Lord's second presence dates from 1874."
  71. ^ The Harp of God at Google Books
  72. ^ Watchtower. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. March 1 1922. p. 71.  and Prophecy. 1930. pp. 65–66.  supported 1874.
  73. ^ Thomas Daniels (PDF). Historical Idealism and Jehovah's Witnesses. pp. 3–37. http://www.catholic-forum.com/members/popestleo/Historical%20Idealism%20and%20Jehovahs%20Witnesses.pdf. Retrieved 2006-02-01. 
  74. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1993. pp. 84–85. 
  75. ^ "Paying Back Caesar’s Things to Caesar". The Watchtower: 19. 1 May 1996. 
  76. ^ "Strengthening Our Confidence in God’s Righteousness". The Watchtower: 17. 15 August 1998. 
  77. ^ "United States Holocaust Memorial Museum". http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005394. Retrieved February 22, 2005. 
  78. ^ Hesse, Hans (2001). Persecution and Resistance of Jehovah's Witnesses During the Nazi Regime. p. 10. http://books.google.com/books?visbn=3861087502&id=mcxD0qxHMO0C&printsec=frontcover. 
  79. ^ American Civil Liberties Union (1941) (PDF). The Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses. pp. 1–24. http://www.theocraticlibrary.com/downloads/The_Persecution_of_Jehovah's_Witnesses_-_ACLU.pdf. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  80. ^ Harrison, Barbara (1978). Visions of Glory. pp. 185, 281. http://www.exjws.net/vg.htm. 
  81. ^ Adelaide Company of Jehovah's Witnesses, Inc. v. The Commonwealth of Australia, 67 116, 124 . (PDF, 68MB)
  82. ^ Penton, M. J. (1997). Apocalypse Delayed. University of Toronto Press. p. 86. 
  83. ^ Franz, Raymond (2007). Crisis of Conscience. Commentary Press. p. 72. 
  84. ^ Penton, M. J. (1997). Apocalypse Delayed. University of Toronto Press. p. 89. 
  85. ^ Kaplan, William (1989). State and Salvation" The Jehovah's Witnesses and their Fight for Civil Rights. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802058426. 
  86. ^ (PDF) Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1966. pp. 29–35. http://www.strictlygenteel.co.uk/lifeeverlasting/1966_Life_Everlasting.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  87. ^ "How Much Longer Will It Be?". Awake!: 17–20. October 8 1966. 
  88. ^ Awake!. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. October 8, 1968. p. 14. ""Does this mean that the above evidence positively points to 1975 as the complete end of this system of things? Since the Bible does not specifically state this, no man can say...If the 1970s should see intervention by Jehovah God to bring an end to a corrupt world drifting toward ultimate disintegration, that should surely not surprise us."". 
  89. ^ Franz, Raymond. "Chapter 9". Crisis of Conscience. 
  90. ^ Penton, M. J. (1997). Apocalypse Delayed. University of Toronto Press. p. 95. 
  91. ^ Botting, Heather; Gary Botting (1984). The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. p. 46. ISBN 0-8020-6545-7. 
  92. ^ "How Are You Using Your Life?". Our Kingdom Ministry: 63. May 1974. "Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.". 
  93. ^ Franz, Raymond. "1975—The Appropriate Time for God to Act" (PDF). Crisis of Conscience. pp. 237–253. http://web.archive.org/web/20031209184316/http://users.volja.net/izobcenec4/coc/9.pdf. Retrieved 2006-07-27. 
  94. ^ Singelenberg, Richard (1989). "The '1975'-prophecy and its impact among Dutch Jehovah's Witnesses". Sociological Analysis 50 (1): 23–40. doi:10.2307/3710916. http://www.watchtowerinformationservice.org/index.php/dates/the-1975-prophecy-and-its-impact-among-dutch-jehovahs-witnesses/.  Notes a nine percent drop in total publishers (door-to-door preachers) and a 38 per cent drop in pioneers (full-time preachers) in the Netherlands.
  95. ^ Stark and Iannoccone (1997) (PDF). The Journal of Contemporary Religion. pp. 142–143. http://www.geocities.com/rogueactivex/JWGrow-O.pdf. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  96. ^ Dart, John (January 30, 1982). "Defectors Feel 'Witness' Wrath: Critics say Baptism Rise Gives False Picture of Growth". Los Angeles Times: p. B4.  Cited statistics showing a net increase of publishers worldwide from 1971–1981 of 737,241, while baptisms totaled 1.71 million for the same period.
  97. ^ The Watchtower. March 15, 1980. p. 17. "With the appearance of the book Life Everlasting—in Freedom of the Sons of God, ... considerable expectation was aroused regarding the year 1975. ... there were other statements published that implied that such realisation of hopes by that year was more of a probability than a mere possibility. It is to be regretted that these latter statements apparently overshadowed the cautionary ones and contributed to a buildup of the expectation already initiated. ... persons having to do with the publication of the information ... contributed to the buildup of hopes centered on that date.". 
  98. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1993. p. 106. 
  99. ^ 1977 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. p. 258. 
  100. ^ First occurrence: "Cruelties Go Unchecked in Malawi". Awake!: 3. 22 March 1976. 
  101. ^ a b c Penton, M. James (1997). Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. pp. 211–252. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3. 
  102. ^ Twelve members as of September 2005 (See The Watchtower, March 15, 2006, page 26)
    Schroeder died March 8, 2006 (See The Watchtower, September 15, 2006, page 31)
    Sydlik died April 18, 2006 (See The Watchtower, January 1, 2007, page 8)
    Barber died April 8, 2007 (See The Watchtower, October 15, 2007, page 31)
  103. ^ Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. 2007 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. pp. 4, 6. 
  104. ^ Botting, Heather & Gary (1984). The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-6545-7. 
  105. ^ Franz, Raymond (2007). In Search of Christian Freedom. Commentary Press. p. 123. ISBN 0-914675-17-6. 
  106. ^ Franz, Raymond (2007). In Search of Christian Freedom. Commentary Press. p. 153. ISBN 0-914675-17-6. 
  107. ^ Yearbook, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 2010.
  108. ^ "The faithful slave and its governing body", The Watchtower, June 15, 2009, pages 23-24.
  109. ^ Franz, Raymond (2007). In Search of Christian Freedom. Commentary Press. pp. 154–164. ISBN 0-914675-17-6. 
  110. ^ The Watchtower, January 15, 2001, pages 14-15
  111. ^ Gruss, Edmond C. (2003). The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society. Xulon Press. pp. 56–63. ISBN 1594671313. 
  112. ^ Franz, Raymond (2007). In Search of Christian Freedom. Commentary Press. pp. 449–464.. 
  113. ^ "Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View", The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, page 591, "Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect."
  114. ^ You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1989, page 255, "It is simply not true that all religions lead to the same goal. (Matthew 7:21-23; 24:21) You must be part of Jehovah’s organization, doing God’s will, in order to receive his blessing of everlasting life."
  115. ^ "You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth—But How?", The Watchtower, February 15, 1983, page 12, "Jehovah is using only one organisation today to accomplish his will. To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organisation and serve God as part of it."
  116. ^ "Serving Jehovah Loyally", The Watchtower, November 15, 1992, page 21, "I determined to stay by the faithful organisation. How else can one get Jehovah’s favour and blessing?” There is nowhere else to go for divine favour and life eternal."
  117. ^ "Greater Blessings Through the New Covenant", The Watchtower, February 1, 1998, page 17, "Those of spiritual Israel still remaining on earth make up 'the faithful and discreet slave.' ... Only in association with them can acceptable sacred service be rendered to God."
  118. ^ "Be Aglow With the Spirit", The Watchtower, October 15, 2009, "Those with an earthly hope should therefore recognise Christ as their head and be submissive to the Faithful and Discreet Slave and its Governing Body and to the men appointed as overseers in the congregation."
  119. ^ "Move Ahead with Jehovah’s Organisation", The Watchtower, June 1, 1967, page 337, "What, can we say, is the basic principle underlying the movement of Jehovah’s living organisation? It can be expressed in one word: OBEDIENCE. Loving obedience from the heart is all. This is the basic formula upon which the organisation rests and operates." (Emphasis in original.)
  120. ^ Organized to Do Jehovah's Will, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2005, pages 17-18.
  121. ^ "Cooperating With the Governing Body Today,", The Watchtower, March 15, 1990, page 19.
  122. ^ "Serving with the Faithful Slave", The Watchtower, January 1, 1977, pages 14-15.
  123. ^ Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, page 46.
  124. ^ Testimony by Fred Franz, Transcript, Lord Strachan vs. Douglas Walsh, 1954. page 100, "The President is the mouthpiece. He pronounces the speeches that show advancement of the understanding of the Scriptures ... Q: Tell me, are these advances, as you put it, voted upon by the Directors? A: No... they go through the Editorial Committee, and I give my OK after scriptural examination. Then I pass them on to President Knorr, and President Knorr has the final OK. Q: Does it go before the Board of Directors at all? A: No. "
  125. ^ "Focus on the Goodness of Jehovah's Organisation". The Watchtower: 22. 15 July 2006. 
  126. ^ "Impart God’s Progressive Revelation to Mankind", The Watchtower, March 1, 1965, p. 158-159
  127. ^ Penton, M. J. Penton. Apocalypse Delayed. University of Toronto Press. pp. 165–171. 
  128. ^ Flashes of Light—Great and Small", The Watchtower, May 15, 1995, page 15.
  129. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses, Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1993, page 709.
  130. ^ Penton, M.J. (1997). Apocalypse Delayed. University of Toronto Press. p. 165. ISBN 0802079733, 9780802079732. 
  131. ^ J. F. Rutherdford, Preparation, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1933, page 64, 67, "Enlightenment proceeds from Jehovah by and through Christ Jesus and is given to the faithful anointed on earth at the temple, and brings great peace and consolation to them. Again Zechariah talked with the angel of the Lord, which shows that the remnant are instructed by the angels of the Lord. The remnant do not hear audible sounds, because such is not necessary. Jehovah has provided his own good way to convey thoughts to the minds of his anointed ones ... Those of the remnant, being honest and true, must say, We do not know; and the Lord enlightens them, sending his angels for that very purpose."
  132. ^ "To Whom Shall We Go but Jesus Christ?", The Watchtower, March 1, 1979, pages 23-24.
  133. ^ "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, October 15, 1954, page 638.
  134. ^ "Name and Purpose of The Watchtower", The Watchtower, August 15, 1950, page 263.
  135. ^ Penton, M. J. (1997). Apocalypse Delayed (2nd ed.). University of Toronto Press. p. 172. 
  136. ^ All Scripture is Inspired of God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1990, page 336.
  137. ^ All Scripture is Inspired of God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1990, page 9.
  138. ^ "Seek God's Guidance in All Things", Watchtower, April 15, 2008,
  139. ^ Reasoning From The Scriptures | p. 199 - p. 208 Jehovah’s Witnesses
  140. ^ Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. p. 67. ISBN 0415266092. 
  141. ^ The Watchtower (Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society): 587,590. 1 October 1967. 
  142. ^ The Watchtower (Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society): 668. 1 November 1961. 
  143. ^ "Accept Jehovah's Authority", Watchtower, June 15, 2008.
  144. ^ Holden, A. (2002) (PDF). Cavorting With the Devil: Jehovah’s Witnesses Who Abandon Their Faith. Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YL, UK. p. Endnote [i]. http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/sociology/papers/holden-cavorting-with-the-devil.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  145. ^ a b c d Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. 1993. pp. 144–145. 
  146. ^ Insight on the Scriptures. 2. 1988. p. 1019. 
  147. ^ "Jesus Christ—God’s Beloved Son". The Watchtower: 13. June 1, 1988. 
  148. ^ "Only-begotten". Insight on the Scriptures. 2. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1988. pp. 556–557. 
  149. ^ ""His Vital Place in God's Purpose" and "Chief Agent of life"". Insight on the Scriptures. 2. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. pp. 60–61. 
  150. ^ Reasoning From the Scriptures. 1989. pp. 89–90. 
  151. ^ "Angels: How They Affect Us". The Watchtower (Jehovah's Witnesses). 15 January 2006. 
  152. ^ Insight on the Scriptures. 2. 1988. pp. 393–394. 
  153. ^ Insight on the Scriptures. 1. 1988. pp. 12, 126. 
  154. ^ What Does the Bible Really Teach?. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 2005. p. 32. 
  155. ^ "Satan". Insight on the Scriptures. 2. 1988. p. 866. 
  156. ^ Reasoning From the Scriptures. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1989. p. 361. 
  157. ^ "The Bible Answers Vital Questions of Our Day". The Watchtower. November 15, 1999. 
  158. ^ Insight on the Scriptures vol. 1 p. 612 Demon
  159. ^ "What Has God’s Kingdom Been Doing Since 1914?", The Watchtower, October 15, 1966, pages 621-622
  160. ^ "Living Now in That Last Day of Resurrection", The Watchtower, June 15, 1979, page 26.
  161. ^ What Does the Bible Really Teach?. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 2005. pp. 87,216. 
  162. ^ Watchtower, April 1, 2004, "In one sense, human governments serve as 'God’s minister,' giving structure to human society, without which chaos would rule. And some leaders have protected fundamental human rights, including the right to engage in true worship—something that Satan does not want. Still, because of the Devil’s influence, no human or human institution has ever been able to bring lasting peace and security to the people."
  163. ^ "The Christian’s View of the Superior Authorities", The Watchtower, November 1, 1990, page 14.
  164. ^ "Is There LIFE After Death?". The Watchtower. July 15 2005. http://www.watchtower.org/e/20020715/article_02.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  165. ^ "Hell—Eternal Torture or Common Grave?". The Watchtower: 6. April 15 1993. 
  166. ^ "Death". Insight on the Scriptures. 2. 1988. p. 596. 
  167. ^ Insight on the Scriptures. 2. 1988. p. 1004. "The...Scriptures show 'soul' to be a person, an animal, or the life that a person or an animal enjoys." 
  168. ^ "Jehovah Cares For You," The Watchtower, October 15, 2002, p. 15.
  169. ^ Insight On The Scriptures, Vol 2, p. 733.
  170. ^ "Have No Fear, Little Flock", The Watchtower, February 15, 1995, p. 18-22.
  171. ^ "A Great Crowd Rendering Sacred Service," The Watchtower February 1, 1995, p. 14-17.
  172. ^ Worship the Only True God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2002, page 179.
  173. ^ You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth,, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, pg 255, "Do not conclude that there are different roads, or ways, that you can follow to gain life in God’s new system. There is only one. There was just the one ark that survived the Flood, not a number of boats. And there will be only one organization — God’s visible organization — that will survive the fast-approaching 'great tribulation.' It is simply not true that all religions lead to the same goal. You must be part of Jehovah’s organization, doing God’s will, in order to receive his blessing of everlasting life."
  174. ^ "Our Readers Ask: Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe That They Are the Only Ones Who Will Be Saved?", The Watchtower, November 1, 2008, page 28, "Jehovah’s Witnesses hope to be saved. However, they also believe that it is not their job to judge who will be saved. Ultimately, God is the Judge. He decides."
  175. ^ :Counted worthy to be guided to fountains of waters of life", The Watchtower, January 15, 2008, page 25, "...Since the growing great crowd of other sheep are viewed by God as righteous, they can hope to survive the destruction of this system of things at the great tribulation. (They can draw close to Jehovah, and as a group, they have the wonderful prospect of surviving Armageddon. They are not independent but willing to serve under the direction of the heavenly King and his anointed brothers on earth.)"
  176. ^ The Watchtower July 1, 1995 p. 21 par 17,18.
  177. ^ "The Only Remedy!", The Watchtower, March 15, 2006, p. 6.
  178. ^ "Who Will Be Resurrected?". The Watchtower: 17. 1 May 2005. 
  179. ^ The Government That Will Bring Paradise, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1993, page 3.
  180. ^ Insight on the Scriptures,, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, Vol 1, page 310.
  181. ^ Worship the Only True God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2002, page 6.
  182. ^ Reasoning from the Scriptures, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, pages 225-234.
  183. ^ "God’s Kingdom—Earth’s New Rulership", The Watchtower, October 15, 2000, page 10.
  184. ^ "What Has God’s Kingdom Been Doing Since 1914?", The Watchtower, October 15, 1966, page 617.
  185. ^ "Deliverance by God’s Kingdom Is at Hand!", The Watchtower, May 15, 2008, page 15.
  186. ^ Revelation – Its Grand Climax at Hand, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1988, pages 235-236.
  187. ^ "Apocalypse—When?", The Watchtower, February 15, 1986, page 6.
  188. ^ Revelation – Its Grand Climax at Hand, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1988, page 286.
  189. ^ The Watchtower, September 1, 1959, pp. 530-531 par. 15.
  190. ^ Armageddon—A Happy Beginning Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site
  191. ^ Penton 1997, p. 180.
  192. ^ The Watchtower, May 15, 2006, p 6.
  193. ^ Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1988,p. 788.
  194. ^ The Watchtower, May 1, 2005, p. 20.
  195. ^ The Watchtower, August 15, 2006, p. 31
  196. ^ Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy!, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 2006, pp. 94,95.
  197. ^ "Christ’s Presence—What Does It Mean to You?", The Watchtower, February 15, 2008, page 21.
  198. ^ The Watchtower, February 1, 1996, p6.
  199. ^ "Jesus’ Coming or Jesus’ Presence—Which?", The Watchtower, August 15, 1996, p. 12.
  200. ^ a b Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. pp. 64–69. ISBN 0-415-26610-6. 
  201. ^ "House-to-House Preaching —An Identifying Mark". Jehovah's Witnesses: Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. 1993. p. 570. 
  202. ^ "Showing Lifesaving Neighbor Love". The Watchtower: 17. May 15, 1981. 
  203. ^ Botting, Heather; Gary Botting (1984). The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-8029-2537-4. 
  204. ^ Chryssides, G.D. (1999). Exploring New Religions. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 103. 
  205. ^ a b "Imitate Jehovah—Exercise Justice and Righteousness", The Watchtower, August 1, 1998, page 16.
  206. ^ "Why Living a Godly Life Brings Happiness". Knowledge that Leads to Everlasting Life. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1995. p. 118. 
  207. ^ Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life. Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. 1995. p. 120. 
  208. ^ Penton, M. James (1997). Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. p. 280. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3. 
  209. ^ "Maintain a Balanced View of the Use of Alcohol". The Watchtower: 18. 1 December 2004. 
  210. ^ "The Bible's Viewpoint What Does It Mean to Be the Head of the House?". Awake!: 26. July 8, 2004. 
  211. ^ "Is Divorce the Answer?", Awake!, September 8, 2004, page 26, "Jesus later stated that “the ground of fornication” is the only basis for Scriptural divorce with the possibility of entering a new marriage."
  212. ^ Penton, M. James (1997). Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. p. 112. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3. 
  213. ^ "Adultery". Insight on the Scriptures. 1. p. 53. 
  214. ^ "Marriage—Why Many Walk Out", Awake!, July 8, 1993, page 6, "A legal divorce or a legal separation may provide a measure of protection from extreme abuse or willful nonsupport."
  215. ^ "When Marital Peace Is Threatened". The Watchtower: 22. 1 November 1988. 
  216. ^ The Watchtower April 15, 1988.
  217. ^ Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Media Web Site: Our History and Organization, "Do you shun former members? ... If, however, someone unrepentantly practices serious sins, such as drunkenness, stealing or adultery, he will be disfellowshipped and such an individual is avoided by former fellow-worshipers. ... The marriage relationship and normal family affections and dealings can continue. ... Disfellowshipped individuals may continue to attend religious services and, if they wish, they may receive spiritual counsel from the elders with a view to their being restored. They are always welcome to return to the faith [emphasis retained from source]"
  218. ^ "Display Christian Loyalty When a Relative Is Disfellowshipped". Our Kingdom Ministry: 3–4. August 2002. 
  219. ^ "Disfellowshipping-How to View It". The Watchtower: 24. 15 September 1981. 
  220. ^ "Appendix: How to Treat a Disfellowshipped person". Keep Yourselves in God's Love. Jehovah's Witnesses. 2008. pp. 198–202. 
  221. ^ Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses - Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. p. 163. ISBN 0-414-26610-6. 
  222. ^ "Make Wise Use of Your Christian Freedom", The Watchtower, June 1, 1992, page 18.
  223. ^ "Disfellowshiping—How to View It", The Watchtower, September 15, 1981, page 23.
  224. ^ “Questions From Readers”, The Watchtower, January 1, 1983 pp. 30-31.
  225. ^ The most common example given is a baptised Witness who dates a non-Witness; see The Watchtower, July 15, 1999, p. 30.
  226. ^ "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, July 15, 1999, page 31, "The congregation elders take the lead in offering help and counsel if someone is walking disorderly. If he does not see the error of his way but continues to be an unwholesome influence, the elders may warn the congregation by means of a talk that makes clear the Biblical view—be it of dating unbelievers, or whatever the improper course is. (1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14) Christians in the congregation who are thus alerted can individually decide to limit any socialising"
  227. ^ "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, April 15, 1985, page 31, "...marking involves serious violations of Bible principles. First the elders try repeatedly to help the violator by admonishing him. If the problem persists, they may, without naming the person, give a warning talk to the congregation concerning the disorderly conduct involved... After that, individual Christians would keep the erring person “marked.” Good judgment is needed rather than predetermined rules about every aspect of marking. ...[Elders] can use reasonableness and discernment in determining whether a particular situation is sufficiently serious and disturbing so as to require a warning talk to the congregation. ...For example, elders should exercise discernment in dealing with a Christian who is dating a person not “in the Lord.”"
  228. ^ Questions From Readers, The Watchtower, April 15, 1985, p. 31.
  229. ^ "Is Interfaith God's Way?". The Watchtower: 69. 1 February 1952. 
  230. ^ "Religion’s Future in View of Its Past Part 22—1900 onward—False Religion—Overtaken by Its Past!". Awake!: 22. 22 November 1989. 
  231. ^ "15 Worship That God Approves". What Does The Bible Really Teach?. p. 145. 
  232. ^ "Should the Religions Unite?". The Watchtower: 741–742. 15 December 1953. 
  233. ^ Reasoning From the Scriptures, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, pages 435-436.
  234. ^ "Live a Balanced, Simple Life", The Watchtower, July 15, 1989, page 11.
  235. ^ Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses - Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. p. 12. ISBN 0-414-26610-6. 
  236. ^ Make Sure of All Things, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1953, page 279, "Association in a social way with those outside the truth is dangerous."
  237. ^ Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. pp. 109–112. ISBN 0-415-26610-6. 
  238. ^ Franz, Raymond (2007). In Search of Christian Freedom. Commentary Press. p. 409. ISBN 0-914675-17-6. 
  239. ^ "Train With Godly Devotion as Your Aim", The Watchtower, August 15, 1985, page 19.
  240. ^ "Are You Pursuing Virtue?". The Watchtower (Jehovah's Witnesses): 19. 15 July 1997. 
  241. ^ Survival Into a New Earth, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1984, page 168.
  242. ^ "“Each One Will Carry His Own Load”, The Watchtower, March 15, 2006, page 23.
  243. ^ Questions From Readers, The Watchtower, November 1, 1999, p. 28,"As to whether they will personally vote for someone running in an election, each one of Jehovah’s Witnesses makes a decision based on his Bible-trained conscience and an understanding of his responsibility to God and to the State.
  244. ^ Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock, page 140.
  245. ^ What Does God Require?, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1996, page 13.
  246. ^ Questions From Readers, The Watchtower, March 1, 1983, p. 30
  247. ^ Worship the Only True God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2002, p. 159.
  248. ^ Korea government promises to adopt alternative service system for conscientious objectors
  249. ^ Education, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2002, pp. 20-23
  250. ^ Penton, M.J. (1997). Apocalypse Delayed. p. i. 
  251. ^ Reasoning From the Scriptures, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, pages 70-75.
  252. ^ Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. p. 91. ISBN 0415266092. 
  253. ^ Muramoto, O. (January 6, 2001). "Bioethical aspects of the recent changes in the policy of refusal of blood by Jehovah's Witnesses". BMJ 322: 37–39. doi:10.1136/bmj.322.7277.37. PMID 11141155. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1119307. 
  254. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1993, page 183.
  255. ^ United in Worship of the Only True God, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1983, pages 158-160.
  256. ^ Bowman, R. M.; Beisner, E. C. , Ehrenborg, T. (1995). Jehovah's Witnesses. Zondervan. p. 13. 
  257. ^ Botting, Heather; Gary Botting (1984). The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. pp. 29–30. ISBN 0-8020-6545-7. 
  258. ^ Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, pages 186-187.
  259. ^ "How Blood Can Save Your Life," Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, pages 13-17.
  260. ^ "Questions From Readers–Do Jehovah’s Witnesses accept any medical products derived from blood?". The Watchtower: 30. June 15, 2000. 
  261. ^ Sniesinski et al. (April 2007). "Coagulopathy After Cardiopulmonary Bypass in Jehovah's Witness Patients: Management of Two Cases Using Fractionated Components and Factor VIIa" (PDF). Anesthesia & Analgesia 104: 763. doi:10.1213/01.ane.0000250913.45299.f3+ (inactive 2009-07-27). http://www.freeminds.org/doctrine/sniecinski_analgesia2.pdf. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  262. ^ Durable Power of Attorney form. Watch Tower Society. January 2001. p. 1.  Examples of permitted fractions are: Interferon, Immune Serum Globulins and Factor VIII; preparations made from Hemoglobin such as PolyHeme and Hemopure. Examples of permitted procedures involving the medical use of one's own blood include: Cell Salvage, Hemodilution, Heart-Lung Machine, Dialysis, Epidural Blood Patch, Plasmapheresis, Labeling or Tagging of Blood and Platelet Gel (Autologous)
  263. ^ (PDF) Our Kingdom Ministry. November 2006. pp. 5–6. http://www.aggelia.be/km_nov2006.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  264. ^ "The Real Value of Blood". Awake!: 11. August 2006. 
  265. ^ "Jehovah's Witnesses and Medical Profession Cooperate". The Awake. November 22 2003. http://www.watchtower.org/e/19931122/article_01.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  266. ^ Kim Archer, "Jehovah's Witness liaisons help surgeons adapt", Tulsa World, May 15, 2007.
  267. ^ O. Muramoto, "Bioethics of the refusal of blood by Jehovah's Witnesses: Part 3. A proposal for a don't-ask-don't-tell policy", Journal of Medical Ethics, December 1999, pages 463-468.
  268. ^ Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society. 1996–2009. 
  269. ^ Grundy, Paul. "Facts about truth and Jehovah's Witnesses". http://jwfacts.com/index_files/statistics.htm. 
  270. ^ U.S. Religious Landscape Survey Religious Affiliation: Diverse and Dynamic. Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. February 2008. pp. 9, 30. 
  271. ^ [1] The Association of Religion Data Archives
  272. ^ "The Bible Teach Book—Our Primary Bible Study Aid". Our Kingdom Ministry: 1. January 2006. 
  273. ^ a b Penton, M. J. (1997). Apocalypse Delayed (2nd ed.). University of Toronto Press. pp. 174–176. 
  274. ^ "New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures", The Watchtower, September 15, 1950, page 320.
  275. ^ Questions from readers, The Watchtower, December 15, 1974, page 767.
  276. ^ Franz, Raymond (2007). Crisis of Conscience. Commentary Press. p. 56. ISBN 0-914675-23-0. 
  277. ^ Samuel Haas,Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 74, No. 4, (Dec. 1955), p. 283, “This work indicates a great deal of effort and thought as well as considerable scholarship, it is to be regretted that religious bias was allowed to colour many passages.”
  278. ^ See Ankerberg, John and John Weldon, 2003, The New World Translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses, accessible online
  279. ^ Rhodes R, The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions, The Essential Guide to Their History, Their Doctrine, and Our Response, Zondervan, 2001, p. 94
  280. ^ Bruce M Metzger, "Jehovah's Witnesses and Jesus Christ," Theology Today, (April 1953 p. 74); see also Metzger, "The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures," The Bible Translator (July 1964)
  281. ^ G. HÉBERT/EDS, "Jehovah's Witnesses", The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Gale, 20052, Vol. 7, p. 751.
  282. ^ Metzger, Bruce M., The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, The Bible Translator 15/3 (July 1964), pp. 150-153.
  283. ^ "God’s Name and the New Testament", The Divine Name That Will Endure Forever, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1984, pages 23, 27.
  284. ^ Journal of Biblical Literature (Vol.96) (University of Georgia): 63. 1977. "Recent discoveries in Egypt and the Judean Desert allow us to see first hand the use of God’s name in pre-Christian times. These discoveries are significant for N[ew] T[estament] studies in that they form a literary analogy with the earliest Christian documents and may explain how NT authors used the divine name. In the following pages we will set forth a theory that the divine name, הוהי (and possibly abbreviations of it), was originally written in the NT quotations of and allusions to the O[ld] T[estament] and that in the course of time it was replaced mainly with the surrogate [abbreviation for Ky′ri·os, “Lord”]. This removal of the Tetragram[maton], in our view, created a confusion in the minds of early Gentile Christians about the relationship between the ‘Lord God’ and the ‘Lord Christ’ which is reflected in the MS tradition of the NT text itself.". 
  285. ^ Rowley, H.H., How Not To Translate the Bible, The Expository Times, 1953; 65; 41
  286. ^ Crompton, Robert (1996). Counting the Days to Armageddon. Cambridge: James Clarke & Co. pp. 9, 115. ISBN 0227679393. 
  287. ^ "They Shall Know That a Prophet Was Among Them", The Watchtower, April 1, 1972, page 197-200.
  288. ^ The Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1959, pp.39-41|"Whom has God actually used as his prophet? ... Jehovah's witnesses are deeply grateful today that the plain facts show that God has been pleased to use them. ... It has been because Jehovah thrust out his hand of power and touched their lips and put his words in their mouths..."
  289. ^ "Identifying the Right Kind of Messenger", The Watchtower, May 1, 1997, page 8-12
  290. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watch Tower Society, 1993, page 708.
  291. ^ Criticisms of statements, such as those found below, are found in a number of books including Penton, M. James (1997) Apocalypse Delayed, University of Toronto Press; Franz, Raymond, In Search of Christian Freedom (2007) Commentary Press; Watters, Randall (2004) Thus Saith Jehovah's Witnesses, Common Sense Publications; Gruss, Edmond (2001) Jehovah's Witnesses: Their Claims, Doctrinal Changes, and Prophetic Speculation. What Does the Record Show?, Xulon Press; Reed, David A. (1990) Index of Watchtower Errors, 1879 to 1989, Baker Books and at websites including Watchtower Information Service; Quotes-Watchtower.co.uk; Reexamine.Quotes.
  292. ^ Waldeck, Val Jehovah's Witnesses: What do they believe?. Pilgrim Publications SA. ISBN 1-920092-08-0.
  293. ^ Buttrey, John M (2004). Let No One Mislead You. iUniverse. ISBN 0-595-30710-8.
  294. ^ "The Godly Qualities of Love and Hate". The Watchtower: 441. 15 July 1974. 
  295. ^ Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, 2007, page 174.
  296. ^ Franz, Raymond (2007). In Search of Christian Freedom. Atlanta: Commentary Press. pp. 18–28. ISBN 0-914675-17-6. 
  297. ^ a b "Why So Many False Alarms?", Awake!, March 22, 1993, pages 3-4, footnote.
  298. ^ Revelation - It's Grand Climax, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1988, page 9.
  299. ^ "Allow No Place for the Devil!", The Watchtower, March 15, 1986, page 19, "Some opposers claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses are false prophets. These opponents say that dates have been set, but nothing has happened. ... Yes, Jehovah’s people have had to revise expectations from time to time. Because of our eagerness, we have hoped for the new system earlier than Jehovah’s timetable has called for it. But we display our faith in God’s Word and its sure promises by declaring its message to others. Moreover, the need to revise our understanding somewhat does not make us false prophets or change the fact that we are living in 'the last days,' ... How foolish to take the view that expectations needing some adjustment should call into question the whole body of truth! The evidence is clear that Jehovah has used and is continuing to use his one organization."
  300. ^ "Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View", The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, page 591, "Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect ... in submitting to Jehovah’s visible theocratic organization, we must be in full and complete agreement with every feature of its apostolic procedure and requirements."
  301. ^ "Loyal to Christ and His Faithful Slave", The Watchtower, April 1, 2007, page 24, "When we loyally submit to the direction of the faithful slave and its Governing Body, we are submitting to Christ, the slave’s Master."
  302. ^ "Keep Safe as Part of God’s Organization", The Watchtower, September 1, 1998, page 9.
  303. ^ "What Influences Decisions in Your Life?", The Watchtower, March 15, 1969, pages 171, "Jehovah’s organization as directed by his “faithful and discreet slave” class should influence our every decision also."
  304. ^ Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. p. 22. ISBN 0415266092. 
  305. ^ Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, 1969, page 50.
  306. ^ Rhodes, Ron (2001). The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan. pp. 77-103. ISBN 0310232171. 
  307. ^ Gomes, Alan W. (1995). Unmasking the Cults. Zondervan. pp. 22, 23. ISBN 0310704413. 
  308. ^ Gruss, Edmond C. (2003). The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society. Xulon Press. pp. 49–66. ISBN 1594671313. 
  309. ^ Hoekema, Anthony A. (1963). The Four Major Cults. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans. pp. 1-8,223-371, 373-388. ISBN 0802831176. 
  310. ^ "Are Jehovah’s Witnesses a Cult?", The Watchtower, February 15, 1994, pages 5-7
  311. ^ "Do Others Do Your Thinking?", Awake!, August 22, 1978, page 4.
  312. ^ "Who Molds Your Thinking?", The Watchtower, April 1, 1999, page 22, "You have free will. Exercising it, you can choose to respond to Jehovah’s molding influence or deliberately reject it. How much better to listen to Jehovah’s voice instead of arrogantly asserting, 'No one tells me what to do'!"
  313. ^ Brown II, John Bowen (2008-04-16), "Cult Watchdog Organizations and Jehovah’s Witnesses", Twenty Years and More: Research into Minority Religions, New Religious Movements and 'the New Spirituality', London School of Economics, London, UK: Center for Studies on New Religions, http://www.cesnur.org/2008/london_brown.htm, retrieved 2010-03-03 
  314. ^ Engardio, Joel P. (2007-04-17). "Myths & Realities". PBS Independent Lens. Public Broadcasting Service. http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/knocking/myths.html. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  315. ^ Brown II, John B. (2005-06-02), "Jehovah's Witnesses and the Anti-cult Movement: A Human Rights Perspective", Religious Movements, Globalization and Conflict: Transnational Perspectives, Palermo, Sicily: Center for Studies on New Religions 
  316. ^ "Exposing the Devil’s Subtle Designs" and "Armed for the Fight Against Wicked Spirits", The Watchtower, January 15, 1983
  317. ^ "Serving Jehovah Shoulder to Shoulder", The Watchtower, August 15, 1981, page 28.
  318. ^ "Jehovah’s Theocratic Organization Today", The Watchtower, February 1, 1952, pages 79-81.
  319. ^ "Do not be quickly shaken from your reason", The Watchtower, March 15, 1986
  320. ^ "At which table are you feeding?" The Watchtower, July 1, 1994
  321. ^ The Watchtower, May 1, 1984, page 31, Questions from Readers
  322. ^ "Firmly uphold godly teaching," The Watchtower, May 1, 2000, page 9.
  323. ^ "Limping upon two opinions", The Watchtower, August 15, 1967, page 489.
  324. ^ "Should You Investigate Other Religions?", The Watchtower, October 15, 2000, page 9, "It is one thing to inform yourself about the origins and beliefs of false religions but quite another to feed on them ... Having found this knowledge of God through the Bible and the Christian congregation and having seen how Jehovah blesses those who are guided by that knowledge, true Christians do not continue listening to false religious teachings."
  325. ^ R. Franz, "In Search if Christian Freedom", chapter 12
  326. ^ James A. Beverley, Crisis of Allegiance, Welch Publishing Company, Burlington, Ontario, 1986, ISBN 0920413374, pages 25-26, 101.
  327. ^ Edmond C. Gruss, editor, The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society, Xulon Press, 2003, ISBN 1594671311, page 111.
  328. ^ "Keep Watching the Ministry Which You Accepted in the Lord", The Watchtower, January 15, 2008, page 5.
  329. ^ "Assume Your Christian Obligations", The Watchtower, March 1, 1966, page 139, "It is Scripturally established that Christians are under many obligations, which include preaching the good news. These are proper burdens that the Christian must bear."
  330. ^ "Live are at stake!", Our Kingdom Ministry, September 2000, "Additionally, The Watchtower often emphasizes our obligation to preach."
  331. ^ R. Franz, In Search of Christian Freedom, chapter 6.
  332. ^ Edmond C. Gruss, editor, The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society, Xulon Press, 2003, ISBN 1594671311, pages 68-72.
  333. ^ Penton, M. James (1997). Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. pp. 114–116. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3. 
  334. ^ "Bioethics of the refusal of blood by Jehovah's Witnesses, part 2." Journal of Medical Ethics, October 1998, pages 295-301.
  335. ^ Osamu Muramoto, "Bioethics of the refusal of blood by Jehovah's Witnesses, part 1", Journal of Medical Ethics, August 1998, Vol 24, Issue 4, page 223-230.
  336. ^ "Another Church Sex Scandal" (April 29, 2003). CBS News.
  337. ^ Cutrer, Corrie (March 5, 2001). "Witness Leaders Accused of Shielding Molesters", Christianity Today.
  338. ^ "Jehovah’s Witnesses and Child Protection". Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Media Web Site. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. 1997. http://www.jw-media.org/aboutjw/article23.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-13.  See to confirm date.
  339. ^ "To all Bodies of Elders in the United States". WTBS. 1995-08-01. http://www.unelueur.org/forthechildren-August-1-1995.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  340. ^ n/a (1977). Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock. Brooklyn, New York: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. pp. 138. 
  341. ^ "Let Us ABHOR What Is Wicked". The Watchtower: 27-29. 1997-01-01. http://www.watchtower.org/e/19970101/article_01.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  342. ^ "Jehovah's Witnesses and Child Protection" statement, Official Media Web Site.

Further reading

  • Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses by M. James Penton. Penton, professor emeritus of history at University of Lethbridge and a former member of the religion, examines the history of Jehovah's Witnesses, and their doctrines. Read selections from: Apocalypse Delayed: the Story of Jehovah's Witnesses University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3 (Canada, 1998) (Google book search)
  • Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement by Andrew Holden. An academic study on the sociological aspects of Jehovah's Witnesses phenomenon. Publisher: Routledge; 1st edition 2002, ISBN 978–0415266109. 224 pages.
  • Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom (1993) by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Official history of the development of the beliefs, practices, and organisational structure of Jehovah's Witnesses. 750 pages.
  • A People for His Name: A History of Jehovah's Witnesses and an Evaluation by Tony Wills, (2006) 2nd edition. (The first edition was published under the pseudonym Timothy White.) He explores the Witnesses' doctrinal growth and shifts and notes schisms from the main body. 300 pages. ISBN 978–1-4303–0100–4 Selections from Google Books

External links

Official sites

Other sites


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, headquartered in New York City, is the main legal entity used by the Jehovah's Witnesses religious faith. It is often referred to as The Watchtower, which is also the name of its best-known publication. This corporation usually holds copyrights to literature published by Jehovah's Witnesses.

Quotes

'The Watchtower' (1942) by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Monthly religiously themed magazine.

  • "It clearly appears that Jehovah by Christ Jesus is doing his work on earth among his people and hence is guiding his people in the right way according to his promise... Thus the Lord declares he has entrusted his people with the privilege and obligation of telling his message... Jehovah having thus favored his people, they must be true to him and speak his word to others... The Lord does not say to speak the words of wisdom of man, nor to be influenced or guided by the word of man. Those who are convinced that The Watchtower is publishing the opinion or expression of a man should not waste time in looking at it at all, because a man's opinion proves nothing except when that opinion is based wholly upon the Word of God. Those who believe that God uses The Watchtower as a means of communicating to his people, or of calling their attention to his prophecies, should study The Watchtower with thankfulness of heart and give Jehovah God and Christ Jesus all the honor and credit and give neither honor nor credit to any man. The prophecy of Obadiah shows clearly that the identity of the persons or individuals engaged in God's service is not now material.
    • Source: The Watchtower. WTBTS. 1942 January 1. p. 5.  
    • Notes:
  • Why have Jehovah's Witnesses disfellowshipped (excommunicated) for apostasy some who still profess belief in God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ? […] Approved association with Jehovah's Witnesses requires accepting the entire range of the true teachings of the Bible, including those Scriptural beliefs that are unique to Jehovah's Witnesses. What do such beliefs include? That the great issue before humankind is the rightfulness of Jehovah's sovereignty, which is why he has allowed wickedness so long. (Ezekiel 25:17) That Jesus Christ had a prehuman existence and is subordinate to his heavenly Father. (John 14:28) That there is a "faithful and discreet slave" upon earth today 'entrusted with all of Jesus' earthly interests,' which slave is associated with the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. (Matthew 24:45-47) That 1914 marked the end of the Gentile Times and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the heavens, as well as the time for Christ's foretold presence. (Luke 21:7-24; Revelation 11:15-12:10) That only 144,000 Christians will receive the heavenly reward. (Revelation 14:1, 3) That Armageddon, referring to the battle of the great day of God the Almighty, is near. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-21) That it will be followed by Christ's Millennial Reign, which will restore an earth-wide paradise. That the first to enjoy it will be the present "great crowd" of Jesus' "other sheep."-John 10:16; Revelation 7:9-17; 21:3, 4.
    • Q&A from The Watchtower. WTBTS. 1986 April. pp. 30-31.  
  • The first essential for study is the right condition of mind and heart, appreciating that Jehovah grants understanding only to the meek, and not to the stiff-necked. If we have love for Jehovah and for the organization of his people we shall not be suspicious, but shall, as the Bible says, 'believe all things,' all the things that The Watchtower brings out, inasmuch as it has been faithful in giving us a knowledge of God's purposes and guiding us in the way of peace, safety and truth from its inception to this present day.
    • Qualified to be Ministers. WTBTS. 1955. pp. 156.  

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:
www.watchtower.org

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Etymology

Jehovah + 's + witness + -es; name adopted in 1931 and inspired by the Bible verse of Isaiah 43:10 "You are my witnesses."

Noun

Jehovah's Witnesses

  1. A monotheistic and nontrinitarian Restoration Christian denomination founded by Charles Taze Russell in 1879 as a small Bible study group. Originally known as International Bible Students or Bible Students.
  2. Plural form of Jehovah's Witness.

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
  • Bulgarian: Свидетелите на Йехова (Svidetelite na Yekhova)
  • Swahili: Mashahidi wa Yehova

See also


Simple English

Jehovah's Witnesses
File:Watchtower
Watchtower Buildings in Brooklyn, New York
Classification Millenarian
Orientation Restorationist
Organizational structure Hierarchical
Geographical areas Worldwide
Founder Charles Taze Russell (founded Bible Student movement)
Origin 1876: Bible Students founded
1931: Named Jehovah's witnesses
Pennsylvania and New York, USA
Branched from Bible Student movement
Separations See Jehovah's Witnesses
splinter groups
Congregations 105,298
Members 7.3 million
Official Website http://www.watchtower.org
Statistics from 2010 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) is a Christian group who say that they have gone back to what early Christians did. Charles Taze Russell started the group in Pennsylvania, USA in 1876. Witnesses are known for preaching their beliefs from door-to-door and in other public places. They do not believe in the concept of the trinity, not having a priesthood, not allowing the use of idols or the cross, a belief that only 144,000 people will go to heaven and that the remaining people who serve God will live forever on a paradise Earth. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Hell just means being dead - like sleeping.
File:Evangelizaçã
Jehovah's Witnesses preaching house to house in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Contents

History

Jehovah's Witnesses say that Jesus Christ is the spiritual leader of their religion. The religion as it exists today was started in 1876 by Charles Taze Russell. Russell had been studying religion in order to find the one he would belong to. While walking along a street he reportedly heard a religious service being held and went in. This service was held by Second Adventists (Advent Christian Church). Russell would later be grateful to the Adventists and other Christian groups in the development of his beliefs that led to the beginnings of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Beliefs

Jehovah's Witnesses believe in a single god: The same God that Jews, other Christians and Muslims believe in. They believe that God's name is Jehovah. Jehovah is the English translation of the Hebrew word "YHWH", which is known as the Tetragramaton. They believe Jehovah is the most powerful being in existence and that he created the heavens and the Earth as written in Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" and in Psalms 83:18 "that people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth". They believe that Jehovah is God the Father, Jesus is God's son, and the Holy Spirit is God's power that he uses. They do not believe in the Trinity.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that only a small number of people (144,000, called the "little flock" taken from Revelation chapters 7 and 14) will go to heaven to be kings and priests with Jesus Christ. They believe that after Armageddon (the final battle of Jehovah against his enemies), God will give the Earth to the rest of the people who did what God wanted (the "great crowd"). They believe that God will make the Earth a paradise for them, and also bring back to life those who died in the past into that paradise. They also think that only their religion is true, and that good people willing to listen to God will survive Armageddon. They believe that all other religions (Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, etc.) are false.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that God made Adam and Eve, the first people, and put them in a paradise called Eden. They think that when Adam and Eve sinned, and God sent them away from Eden, and that people get sick and die because of that. They believe that the purpose of Jehovah sending his son Jesus Christ to die was to make a way for humans to get back the paradise that Adam and Eve lost and restore them to perfect health and life.

Practices

File:Reunião em Salão do
Christian Meeting in Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Jehovah's Witnesses are known for their door-to-door ministry. They believe God wants them to do it, so they can live on a peaceful Earth forever. Jehovah's Witnesses want to teach people about Jehovah and his will. They talk about the "signs of the times": when there are more natural disasters and wars, the time for God's last judgement, or Armageddon, is closer.

The Jehovah's Witnesses are a charity in some countries; their headquarters (main office) is in Brooklyn, New York. Members are not paid for their work; volunteers do everything.

Jehovah's Witnesses places of worship are called Kingdom Halls. These halls do not have altars, statues, or candles. They are built by volunteers, sometimes from far away. Some Kingdom Halls are in buildings that used to be houses, shops, or offices.

[[File:|thumb|250px|right|Personal Bible study.]]

Other websites

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