The Top Five Basic Jehovah's Witness Rules.

Basic Things Jehovah's Witnesses Can't Do.

All five 'rules', if you want to call them that, are equally important and related to one another. Basically these five rules are all you need to understand what Jehovah's Witnesses are not allowed to do.

Compared to the lengthy 141 rules, this short list will quickly give you a good idea about the rules, religious principles, and beliefs JW's live by.

In this list we lump all 141+ 'rules' into five basic categories and attempt to show that the 'rules' are based on strict religious beliefs about how to worship their God Jehovah correctly.

Although love for one another and their neighbors is extremely important, they believe that much more is required. Their God Jehovah is a God of love. But he's also a God of righteousness and judgment.

Fear of Jehovah and his wrath permeates all aspects of the Watchtower religion. If you search their literature, you'll see that God's anger towards unrighteous ones is a huge concern. JW's live in fear that improper conduct, beliefs, and attitudes might displease Jehovah God and prevent them from inheriting eternal life.


Apostasy is failure to support the Watchtower (WT) 100%. e.g. disagreeing, not obeying Elders who enforce Watchtower rules, rebelling, attending another church, being employed by another church, supporting another church financially, supporting 'creed-bound' organizations such as the YMCA, celebrating 'false' religious holidays, yoga, idolatry, saying things contrary to what the Watchtower teaches, implying or stating that the Watchtower is not a 'theocratic' organization (i.e. run by Jehovah through his representatives), ...

JW's must be 100% devoted to their religion. They must have absolutely nothing to do with other religions or religious ideas that are not supported by the organization:

Blood Transfusions.

JW's cannot eat blood or have a blood transfusion under any circumstances. According to the 2010 Elder manual, anyone who does this and is not repentant automatically disassociates themselves from the organization. Disassociation carries the same punishment as disfellowshipping. Family members and friends who leave the religion are shunned forever unless they admit guilt and go through the process of reinstatement.

'Improper' Conduct.

Improper conduct is of course very subjective. Therefore enforcing 'the basic rules' is subjective as well. Every situation is different. Multiple factors are considered by Elders when deciding what to do with Witnesses who don't measure up to 'divine' standards of conduct.

Examples of improper conduct include but are not limited to murder, lying, stealing, cheating, child abuse, greed, dating someone who is not legally and 'scripturally' free to get married, dating or marriage to people who are not baptized JW's, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, celebrating 'false' religious holidays, celebrating holidays that honor humans to excess such as Mother's Day or Father's Day, supporting 'false' religions financially or attending services, disagreeing with Watchtower doctrines and beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses, spiritualism, drunkenness, gluttony, smoking tobacco, taking illegal drugs, making money working for another church, slander, obscene speech, wearing revealing clothing, flirting, gambling, extortion, not providing for one's family, anger, violence, professional boxing, any involvement in politics, 'shamelessness', insolence, outrageousness, unbridled lust, disrespect, contempt for 'divine standards', laws, and authority, etc. ...

Political Neutrality.

JW's must be politically neutral.

JW's are taught to obey the laws of their country as long as those laws don't conflict with Jehovah's laws as stated by the organization. Because they must be politically neutral, here are some things they can't do.

  1. Join the armed forces and defend their country
  2. Say the Pledge of Allegiance or Salute the flag
  3. Vote
  4. Run for office or hold political office
  5. Take a stand for any political issue inside their organization
  6. Take a stand on any political or 'worldly' issue outside of their organization
  7. Campaign for a political candidate
  8. Attend political events and celebrate political holidays
  9. Discuss political viewpoints or preferences
  10. Contribute to the Presidential Campaign Fund on their tax return

Unity, Harmony, & Protecting God's Organization From Harm.

Even though JW's may have a 'right' to do things doesn't mean that they can.

JW's can be disciplined and disfellowshipped if they become a bad influence or a threat to religious tradition, unity, and harmony.

If Elders receive complaints from individuals inside and/or outside of the organization about someone's conduct or statements, action might be necessary to protect God's organization. Elders are extremely concerned about what members say and do. The actions on an individual Witness might 'stumble' someone from joining the Watchtower or remaining in the faith.

Here's what the Watchtower says. It sums up nicely what the organization teaches. 'Paul also said: “Keep from becoming causes for stumbling.” (1 Cor. 10:23, 32) In matters involving personal preferences, then, it is the course of wisdom to ask ourselves: ‘Am I willing to forgo certain rights when the peace of the congregation is threatened? Am I prepared to conform to Bible principles, even when it is inconvenient to do so?’ Watchtower Magazine, Feb 15, 2009, Article: 'Should You Insist on Your Personal Preferences?' par 2

To protect God's organization from harm, JW's have been taught to go far beyond sacrificing their freedom in order not to stumble someone. The basic doctrine of theocratic war says that it's proper to withhold incriminating information and hide the truth from enemies and those not entitled to it.