Jehovah’s witnesses are people who are part of a religious movement and whose life is organized around the community and its principles. Today, the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses has more than 8 million active members worldwide and the movement is very controversial (and for good reason, they are not ultra funny people). Thanks to the testimonies of former Jehovah’s Witnesses, we now know a little more about this group with very strict rules and their vision of the world. We also answered questions about the Amish and even listed the communities that live in the past. Happy reading and don’t forget to think for yourself (it never hurts).
1. Are they Christians?
Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be Christians but they are not Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox. They have their own reading and interpretation of the Bible (the Old Testament) dictated by the members of the Governing Body, the leaders of the religious movement. Unlike other Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the dogma of the Trinity: the father, the son and the holy spirit. According to their doctrine, Jesus would have pre-existed before his birth by being the Archangel Michael (the “chief” of the angels) and that is why he is the son of God. Oh yeah, and also they don’t believe in evolution. Oh yeah and also they think the world was really made in 7 days. On the other hand, they don’t believe in Santa Claus and I really can’t explain that.
2. What does Jehovah mean?
Jehovah is the name given to the one God by the members of the movement. In the Hebrew Bible, the name of God is written as in the image below and can be translated into the Latin alphabet by the letters “YHWH”. The Jews translate it by the name “Yahweh”, the witnesses by “Jehovah”, the Protestants by “the Eternal” and the Catholics by “Lord”.
3. Is it a cult?
In France, the movement of Jehovah’s Witnesses is considered a movement with sectarian drift and is authorized but some countries of the world have prohibited the meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jehovah’s Witnesses are a sect because they meet all of its criteria. Indeed, it is a group with an ideology, which has a mental hold on the members of the group and which socially isolates its members from the rest of the world. Thus, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are stuck without realizing it in the movement. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses are benevolent because they think they have the truth, so they want to help others think like them. Unfortunately, these people are often brainwashed into not realizing that they are leaving new members with little choice. What makes Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult in public opinion is the fact of imposing (through mental control) rather than proposing. Not to mention that they really like denunciation. As soon as one of them doesn’t follow the rules to perfection, the others go to the elders. Really nice as a spirit.
4. Are they all going to knock on doors?
Preaching is the act of preaching and Jehovah’s Witnesses do it very often. This can be door-to-door, telephone canvassing, conferences, distribution of leaflets… Every month, Jehovah’s Witnesses must point out the number of hours of preaching they have done and the number tracts, books or magazines that they donated. The more hours the member works, the better he will be perceived in the community. And the more his knuckles are worn down from close contact with doors.
5. Why is it controversial?
The practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses are controversial, particularly because of the medical complications involved. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have the right to accept blood transfusions, which can cause their death in the event of a serious accident. They also refuse vaccines and treatments that contain blood or blood derivatives, which can also pose many health concerns. The controversy also relates to the policy of social isolation and the cases of pedophilia within the movement. What really cool stuff.
6. What is prohibited?
In addition to medical taboos, being a Jehovah’s Witness involves many social taboos. Already, Jehovah’s witnesses do not intervene in public affairs so as not to be in conflict with divine laws. They therefore refuse to vote, serve in the armed forces or sing a national anthem. Jehovah’s Witnesses must also remain among themselves as soon as they can, they must not have friends outside the movement.
In addition to this, all so-called “satanic” activities are prohibited and what is considered “satanic” is anything that does not correspond exactly to the mores of the community. Reading, music, films or series are therefore very limited, which contributes to the social isolation of the members of the movement. Recreational parties are also prohibited, so members do not celebrate Christmas or birthdays. Finally, any rapprochement between two people of the opposite sex is prohibited before marriage (and between people of the same sex, it is better not to broach the subject…).
7. How do the children live?
Children who live in a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses are admitted into the movement from an early age and at 16, they must be baptized if they want to officially become part of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Children raised within this movement are socially isolated. They go to school with the other children but it is preferable that they be friends only with schoolchildren who are also Jehovah’s Witnesses. Small and young girls wear very long skirts and must stay with other girls. Sports and activities deemed inappropriate are also prohibited, such as theater or the circus. Many films, cartoons, books, songs etc. are considered “satanic” and are therefore also prohibited: Harry Potter, The Simpsons, rap or rock and many Disney films are therefore prohibited. The goal is to keep separate from the outside world since, according to them, it is bad and is doomed to disappear.
8. Can we get out of this?
There are two ways to leave Jehovah’s Witnesses: withdraw or be expelled. Despite what you might think, being excluded is considered less serious because if you are excluded, you have made a mistake and to err is human. By being excluded, one can repent and return to Jehovah’s Witnesses a little later. If we decide to withdraw, it’s another story (I’m 70). This means that one has lost faith and consciously decides to leave the group, so it is much more difficult to return to the group if desired.
9. Who are the “leaders”?
Jehovah’s Witnesses live in a congregation. The congregation is the name given to the local grouping of Jehovah’s witnesses who live in the same city or part of a city. Jehovah’s Witnesses meet 5 times a week in a “kingdom hall” which is the place of worship of this movement. Religious ceremonies are orchestrated by the “elders” of the congregation. They are the leaders of the congregation who obey the principles dictated by the members of the Governing Body and who watch over the Jehovah’s Witnesses in their neighborhood. They are the ones who do the accounts of the sermons and who decide if a person should be excluded from the community.
10. Why do so few people leave Jehovah’s Witnesses?
If a person leaves the Jehovah’s Witnesses, he will be prohibited from coming into contact with the members of the group again and vice versa, no one will be able to come into contact with the member who has withdrawn or been expelled. As Jehovah’s Witnesses have been socially isolated and have no outside friends, leaving the group means starting from scratch and many people are unable to do so. Yes because my little ones, when you decide to leave the clique, you have to understand that no one wants to talk to you anymore (not even the family, not even your cat). It is also for this reason that those who dare to break down always end up coming back. A bit like McDo, we regret eating it but when we don’t want to go there anymore, we lose all our friends (yeah well I’m not 100% sure of the comparison but vouala koua).