A Comprehensive Guide.
What are the basic beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses? Here is a simple but comprehensive guide.
1. The 144,000.
Jehovah Witnesses believe only 144000 people go to heaven to rule with Jesus over the earth. Their belief is that everyone else who is faithful to Jehovah and his organization (the Jehovah's Witnesses), will live on a paradise earth
A Jehovah Witness can drink alcohol, wine, beer, etc., ... but they believe all things must be in moderation.
Apostates are former Jehovah's Witnesses who have left or been excommunicated. The organization uses the terms 'disfellowshipped' or 'disassociated' instead of 'excommunicated'.
Apostates who do not leave quietly are believed to be enemies of Jehovah. Apostate Jehovah's Witnesses who have made themselves enemies by disagreeing with the organization's rules, are not loved by Jehovah's Witnesses. They are isolated and shunned. In fact their literature has encouraged Jehovah Witness members to hate apostates.
Even though Jehovah's Witnesses are afraid to challenge the authority of their leaders, most are loving, peaceful individuals who choose not to hate anyone.
Zealous Witnesses will not talk with apostates. They will not even make eye contact or say 'Hello'. Elders can talk with apostates.
4. Agreement. JW's Must Agree With Everything The Watchtower Says.
JW's avoid independent thinking because they believe it is a path that leads to apostasy and excommunication from their church.
JW's must be 'like-minded' and 'speak in agreement'. Unity of beliefs and agreeing with all Watchtower doctrines is required. It is not an option. If a JW has nagging doubts or disagrees, they must not talk with anyone about their beliefs, - even closest friends and family members. The punishment for challenging Watchtower teachings is disfellowshipping and shunning.
- Seven million minds thinking like one mind. See Mind Control
5. Attending Other Churches.
JW's are not allowed to attend other churches.
In the early history of Jehovah's Witnesses, they dedicated their life to Jehovah. They're dedication vows reflected baptism in the name of the Father (Jehovah), Son, and Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:18,19.
The Watchtower said, 'We do not dedicate ourselves to a religion, nor to a man, nor to an organization. No, we dedicate ourselves to the Supreme Sovereign of the Universe, our Creator, Jehovah God himself. This makes dedication a very personal relationship between us and Jehovah.' Watchtower Oct 1, 1966, Article: 'Serving with Everlasting Life in View' par 15
However in 1985 their baptismal vows changed. Jehovah's Witnesses must agree that their dedication to Jehovah to do his will, now identifies them as 'one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization'. See Baptism
A Jehovah Witness believes that the entire Bible is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching. They believe that the Bible cannot be understood without Watchtower publications. Since their church is thought to be God's channel of communication, only their interpretation of the Bible is believed to be 'the truth'.
8. Blood Transfusions.
Jehovah's Witnesses must not have a blood transfusion even if it might means death for them or a loved one. They say the Bible forbids eating blood and eating blood is the same as having a transfusion. They believe that a person who tries to save their life will lose it and those who lose their life because they were loyal to Jehovah God will gain everlasting life.
9. Channel of Communication.
A Jehovah Witness believes their organization is God's channel of communication to the world today. All other belief systems are thought to be false and dominated by Satan the Devil.
Jehovah Witnesses believe they are the only true Christians. While most Christians put Jesus first, the Jehovah's Witnesses worship Jehovah because they believe that Jesus came to do the will of his Father (Jehovah). Therefore a Jehovah Witness does not worship Jesus. They pray to God through Jesus and believe they should always put Jehovah first.
A Jehovah Witness cannot attend other churches. They believe that they have 'the truth' and it would anger their God Jehovah to worship with non believers in other churches.
A Jehovah Witness does not believe Jesus died on a cross. They believe he died on a torture stake. They believe that the cross is a pre-Christian and non-Christian symbol. Watchtower Mar 1, 2008, Article: Our Readers Ask.
Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Not Use the Cross in Worship?
A baptized Jehovah Witness knows they should date other baptized Witnesses of Jehovah or not date at all. They are not to date persons outside of their faith. However some fall to the 'weaknesses of the flesh' and get impatient about finding a mate. These 'spiritually weak' JW's will sometimes date outside of their religion in hopes they will attract a marriage partner.
Casual dating is not allowed. Jehovah's Witnesses who date are expected to be 'marriage minded'.
A Jehovah Witness believes that the dead are unconscious. We do not go to heaven or hell when we die. The Bible says the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23. Therefore we've paid the price for our sins.
Jehovah's Witnesses are comforted in knowing that God does not forget anyone. Even though we die, he will resurrect us back to life. - either to heaven as a spirit being (if we're part of the 144,000 anointed ones) or to life on a paradise earth (if we're part of the 'great crowd')
The only ones who will not be resurrected are those wicked ones who die at the hands of Jehovah at armageddon.
A Jehovah Witness believes that the Devil is a real angel who once served Jehovah and chose to rebel against him. The Devil, i.e. Satan, also persuaded other angels, i.e. demons, to rebel against God as well. Witnesses believe the Devil is testing God's people today to see if he can trick them into leaving Jehovah's organization, - the Watchtower.
JW's are taught that disagreement with the Watchtower organization is rebellion against God.
A disfellowshipped Jehovah Witness is someone who has been excommunicated from their religion. This can happen when someone breaks some of the rules, disagrees, or tests the organization's authority beyond reasonable limits. Sometimes Witnesses 'disassociate' themselves either by resigning, joining another religion, having a blood transfusion, etc. ... A disassociated Jehovah Witness is shunned and treated the same as a disfellowshipped Jehovah Witness.
18. Faithful and Discreet Slave.
The leaders of the organization believe they are God's faithful and discreet slave in these last days before armageddon. They believe they are God's channel of communication to the world today. Matthew 24:45-51 Faithful Jehovah's Witnesses believe this is 'the truth'. That's why disagreeing God's slave, the Watchtower, is thought to be the same as disagreeing with God.
JW's are politically neutral. They cannot salute the flag, sing the national anthem, or say the pledge of allegiance.
- See Watchtower quotes and discusssion. Flag
20. Friendship With Non Believers.
JW's are taught to be friendly and respectful towards non believers (except for JW's who leave their religion). The Watchtower teaches JW's not to have close friends outside the organization.
- See Watchtower quotes and discussion. Friends
21. Great Crowd.
The Great Crowd or 'other sheep' refers to people who will be resurrected to life on earth in God's kingdom. Only a little flock or 144000 humans go to heaven to rule with Jesus, according to the Witnesses. Everyone else believes they will live forever on a paradise earth. The vast majority of JW's believe they are part of the Great Crowd with a 'earthly hope'.
Although looked down upon, a Jehovah Witness can own guns as long as they are not used for killing humans. i.e. they can use a gun for killing animals or target practice. However they will not take any employment where there's a possibility that they might need to use a weapon to kill a human. For example if they need a gun as part of their duties, they can't be a police officer, security guard, ... etc.
A Jehovah Witness believes that only 144,000 anointed humans go to heaven to rule over the earth with Jesus Christ in God's kingdom. Everyone else has an 'earthly hope'. This means they believe one of two things will happen.
- They will survive armageddon and enter God's earthly kingdom without dying
- Or they will die before armageddon. If this happens they will be resurrected to life on a paradise earth after armageddon
A Jehovah Witness does not believe in hell or a place of eternal torment. They believe that hell refers to the common grave where the dead are conscious of nothing at all.
Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate religious and political holidays. The also don't celebrate Christmas, birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and other days that are special to most of us.
The only holiday they celebrate is the yearly anniversary of Christ's death, i.e. the memorial celebration
26. Immorality and Sex.
JW's are required to live a saintly life and 'deaden' all sexual desires they may have outside of marriage. They cannot have sex before marriage. They avoid flirting, pornography, sexual fantasies, suggestive lyrics in music, 'moral uncleanness', porneia, fornication, 'sexual appetite', 'hurtful desires', 'covetousness', 'immoral fleshly desires', oral sex and anal sex, masturbation, ... etc.
27. Isolation From The World.
JW's must be 'seperate from the world' because the world belongs to Satan. The Watchtower is thought to be the only path to God.
28. Leaving The Watchtower Religion.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe they are the only religion with 'the truth'. All others are 'false teachers' who are part of Satan's organization and will be destroyed by Jehovah with no hope of a resurection. Therefore if someone leaves the Watchtower religion it's thought to be a sin in itself. In fact they refer to leaving the Watchtower as 'leaving Jehovah'.
Thus it's much easier to join the JW's than it is to leave. At this point in time, there is no honorable dignified way to resign without being labeled as an evil, wicked person that must be shunned. The Society says that anyone who disagrees with them is 'mental diseased' and if Jehovah's Witnesses associate with JW's who leave, they could get mental disease too.
- Mentally Diseased Apostates
- Video: Anointed member of the 144,000 gets disfellowshipped and shunned when she notices a Watchtower during a Bible study she was conducting
A Jehovah Witness believes that Jehovah is God's name and they are his people or 'witnesses'. They believe that everyone should be witnesses of Jehovah because he is the only true God. What is the difference between Jehovah and Jesus?
30. Jehovah Witness Rules.
In the early days of the Bible Students and later, the Jehovah's Witnesses, there were few rules. They had a direct relationship with God symbolized by baptism. However over the years, in an effort to bring their doctrines more in line with what the Bible says, they added many rules. Some must not be broken. Other rules are not as serious.
Some of the more serious rules and consequences for breaking them are to be found in the secret publication for Elders only. Other rules and things Jehovah's Witnesses can't do have been discussed in older Watchtower publications.
A Jehovah Witness believes that Jesus is God's son, the first born of all God's creation. Through Jesus all things were created. They believe Jesus came to do his Father's will. Therefore Jesus worships his Father Jehovah and so do 'true Christians'. Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that Jesus should be worshipped even though the Bible says that all authority in heaven and earth was given unto him. Matthew 28:18
Jehovah's Witnesses believe they are saved through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus if they are part of the 144,000 with the heavenly hope.
The organization teaches that Jesus is the mediator between God and the 144,000 chosen ones who go to heaven to rule with Christ. All other Jehovah's Witnesses who are part of the 'Great Crowd' are told they are not in a 'covenant' or direct relationship with Jesus. They must affiliate or 'associate' themselves with the 'little flock', - i.e. the leadership of the organization in order to benefit from the ransom sacrifice of Jesus.
32. Little Flock.
Since the early history of Jehovah's Witnesses, it is believed that only a 'little flock' or 144000 humans are chosen by God to go to heaven. These 'anointed' ones' who go to heaven, believe they will rule over a paradise earth in God's Kingdom. Everyone else can expect to live on earth and never die if they have proven themselves worthy of everlasting life.
33. Memorial Celebration Of Christ's Death
This is a very important anual meeting for JW's. The 2012 Yearbook of JW's says that in 2011 19,374,737 people attended the Memorial Celebration but only 11,824 JW's partook of the bread and wine emblems. This is because only a few JW's believe they go to heaven and have a direct relationship with God.
Religious leaders and teachers are respected in most religions. Some are called reverend or father. However in Watchtower religion, Elders and the Governing Body of JW's must be respected and obeyed. Because of Watchtower interference, JW's can't put God first.
A Jehovah Witness believes that their religion is chosen by God to be his organization. They are no part of the world, but chosen out of the world to witness about Jehovah God and his purpose for mankind. Because of this belief, they say they are a 'theocratic organization', meaning that it is run by God through his representatives.
Since 1925 the Witnesses have been taught there are only two organizations. God's organization and Satan's organization. Leaving the Watchtower thought to be the same thing as rebelling against God like Satan did.
36. Paradise Earth.
A Jehovah Witness believes in two classes of people. 144000 have a 'heavenly hope'. These ones will be resurrected to rule the earth with Jesus in God's kingdom. All other Jehovah's Witnesses believe they will live on a paradise earth
37. Pledging Allegiance To The Flag.
Jehovah's Witnesses do not pledge allegiance to the flag.
A Jehovah Witness is in the world but separate from the world at the same time. In other words they are politically neutral. They don't vote, salute the flag, sing the national anthem, go to war to defend their country, ... etc.
In spite of their political neutrality they are known for being good citizens who respect authority and all the laws of their country as long as their country's laws don't conflict with God's laws as explained by the organization.
38. Political Neutrality.
Witnesses are no part of this world and it's politics. They do not vote, take part in political celebrations, run for office, or get involved with anything that would identify them with one country over another. Jehovah's Witnesses believe all people around the world, regardless of race, are given an equal opportunity to worship Jehovah if they choose to do so. They will not go to war to defend their country because this would mean killing their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.
A Jehovah Witness is saved by the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Even though they believe in God's 'undeserved kindness', everlasting life is not a free gift. They are not saved by the virtue of God's grace.
A Jehovah Witness believes they are saved based on their 'works'. This means they must do everything they can to support 'Jehovah's organization. They believe that faith in Jesus is not enough. Faith without works is dead. Attending several meetings a week, teaching, preaching door to door, distributing religious literature, and being completely loyal to their religious leaders is required.
Satan the Devil is thought to be the ruler of this world. This why Jehovah's Witnesses believe armageddon is necessary. It is the only way Jehovah can rid the world of wickedness and his enemies. Only then is world peace possible.
After armageddon it is believed that Satan will be restrained by Jehovah. He will no longer be able to influence the planet. In this way God can restore the earth to a paradise without any interference from his chief enemy and opposer Satan.
41. Satan's Organization.
Satan's organization refers to all religions and people who are not members in good standing with the Watchtower organization.
JW's are not allowed to smoke. The Watchtower says, 'As early as 1942, when smoking was still viewed as fashionable, this journal helped its readers to see that using tobacco violates Bible principles and should be shunned.' [WT, April 1, 2007, Article: 'Answers That Work', Subtitle: 'Avoid Habits That Contaminate', par 1]
Communication with spirits and predicting the future is condemned in the Watchtower religion because it is thought that spirit messages come from Satan and demons. JW's believe the dead are conscious of nothing. Ironically though, the Watchtower says they are God's 'spirit-directed organization' and 'channel of communication'.
44. The Truth.
A Jehovah Witness believes they have 'the truth'. Everyone else, - outsiders, non believers, ... and former Jehovah's Witnesses are referred to as being 'out of the truth'. This compels a Jehovah Witness to accept all interpretations of Bible as truthful if it comes from their organization. There is no disagreement because no can disagree with the truth.
On the other hand, a Jehovah Witness will not seriously consider the beliefs of outsiders as truthful because a Jehovah Witness believes everyone outside their organization is 'out of the truth'.
45. Theocratic Government.
The Watchtower says they are a 'theocratic' organization. This means it is run by Jehovah God through His representatives, - the leaders of the WT.
46. Theocratic Warfare.
This is a code word for withholding incriminating information from enemies outside the organization and those not entitled to know. They say that Bible characters and even Jesus withheld truthful information to protect God's interests. They believe that theocratic warfare is appropriate in certain situations. Here are some theocratic war quotes.
A Jehovah Witness does not believe in a Trinity. They believe that Jehovah is God, the Father of Jesus. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is not God. And the holy spirit is God's active force.
Unity is one of the most important beliefs in the Jehovah Witness religion. The fact that millions of Jehovah's Witnesses believe in the same things, convinces Jehovah's Witnesses that they have 'the truth'.
Even though Jehovah's Witnesses can face judicial committees, disfellowshipping, and shunning if they challenge doctrines or disagree, they don't believe they are not being controlled or manipulated. They believe that everything they do and say is a personal choice based their relationship with Jehovah.
JW's cannot vote or engage in politics. Even inside their organization voting is not allowed. All Watchtower officials, Ministerial Servants, Elders, Overseers, ... Governing Body members, etc. ... are appointed.
The Watchtower says yoga is not for Christians.
Wikipedia: Jehovah's Witnesses