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Cult Watch: Jehovah’s Witnesses

New York headquarters of Watch Tower Bible and...

The Blight Of Brooklyn's Skyline

Jehovah’s Witnesses are a particularly insidious cult which claim to be a Reconstructionist and millenarian denomination of Christianity [Christianity being a cult is not the topic of discussion]. The  Jehovah’s Witnesses were founded by Charles Taze Russell starting out as a rather small bible study group in Pennsylvania in 1870. 9 years later Russell started publishing a magazine called Zion’s Watchtower and he formed Zion’s Watchtower and Tract Society a few years later [Tract: so JWs are to blame for the blight on society called Chick Tracts!!!] in 1884 he legally incorporated the Society that we now know and ‘love’ as those who come knocking on our door at usually inopportune moments.Why do I call the Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult? Well at first look they seem like a rather nice bunch of people and quite a few of them are. The ones I have met, in particular those locally in Michigan and those living near the Watchtower Society in Brooklyn NY, have been nice [I have actually dated one back in NYC] but generally change their attitude when you are not receptive to their belief system or you actually have the audacity to refute it. There you have one reason but there are more, too many to list but I will bring up a few.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been known to break up lifelong friendships, families and even marriages when one person no longer believes as JWs do. Additionally the Watchtower Society has been widely known for it’s glaring mistakes such as the construction in 1929 of the 10 bedroom mansion in San Diego they named Beth Sarim with the intention of housing the resurrected Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah and Samuel which was taught in 1918 by their then president Joseph Rutherford that those Old testament prophets would be resurrected in 1925 and would need to be housed. Guess the JWs thought that ‘prophets’ wouldn’t mind being homeless since they could camp out on the lawn until construction began and ended in 1929. The property was purchased in 1926 so it is a question as to why there was a 3 year delay before construction began considering this was such an important task. As could be guessed, the ‘prophets’ were not resurrected and the teaching is now that their resurrection is going to take place after Armageddon. Since Beth Sarim wasn’t needed, it became the home of Joseph Rutherford until his death in 1942. Yes, the same Joseph Rutherford that taught it was needed in the first place.

One may think that was an isolated instance and one from the ‘distant past’. How about another example from the myriads of Watchtower embarrassments? From 1966 up until 1975 the Watchtower implied that Armageddon would come sometime in 1975. Since 1975 whenever asked by a non-member they hid behind the weasel word implied and denied ever making such a claim. They did however admit it once in their publication

“With the appearance of the book Life Everlasting-in Freedom of the Sons of God, and its comments as to how appropriate it would be for the millennial reign of Christ to parallel the seventh millennium of man’s existence, considerable expectation was aroused regarding the year 1975. … Unfortunately, however, along with such cautionary information, there were other statements published that implied that such realization of hopes by that year was more of a probability than a mere possibility. Watchtower 1980 March 15 p.17

Bit obvious considering we are here reading this that neither Christ returned nor did Armageddon happen. These implications were so strongly taught by the Watchtower that many members prior to 1975 sold their possessions, including their homes, and donated the money to the Watchtower. Is it any surprise the membership in 1976 dropped by over 30%?

Those are two examples of the many cultish phenomena in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Still one may say that none of those are particularly dangerous. Once again in Watchtower land they teach members to reject blood transfusions. As a matter of fact since 1961 receiving a blood transfusion was grounds for being thrown out of the cult, which means a rejection by family and friends.

A Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses

Typical Kingdom Hall

I am going to end this with a discussion of one aspect I find quite comical in the Watchtower. Lots of Christians, and some secularists, call god Jehovah. Essentially the name is an English ‘translation’ of the transliteration of the tetragrammaton YHVH although it should be noted that J is nowhere present in the Hebrew language which is another question when applied to that Jesus guy. Others say Yahweh which is more accurate, unless of course god actually has an English name, but there is one notable absence in YHVH which eliminates a correct pronunciation. YHVH are 4 consonants and there are no vowels. For example in a word written as CT is the correct pronunciation cat or cot or something else? The above is one reason, but do not mistake me for saying the only reason, Judaism replaces YHVH with Adonai (YY). In Hebrew vowels are called nikkudim and they are a fairly recent addition, 6th Century or so, that appear underneath constants to aid in pronunciation. The Watchtower claims to have the worlds best Hebrew and Greek scholars on their staff [not true at all but not the point I am raising] and they claim the name Jehovah appears in the Hebrew bible. I was told this by an elder at a local Kingdom Hall so I asked him if he could show me the word in the Hebrew text. He said yes but he didn’t have a Hebrew bible. As luck would have it, I did my JW cult homework prior to the meeting so I had a copy of the Hebrew bible on me at the time. Found the verse he said and asked him where it said Jehovah. He pointed to YHVH. When asked how he knows the pronunciation he said because that is how we are taught by the Watchtower. Circular reasoning at its best. Now I explained to him the derivation of Jehovah and I will repeat it here. It was easier then because the Hebrew text I had in front of me had the nikkudim I had mentioned earlier. Previously I said Judaism replaces YHVH with Adonai (YY) which of course has nikkudim underneath. If you retain the nikkudim of Adonai and replace the YY with YHVH you now have a word pronounced as Yahovah. Transliterated into English the pronunciation Jehovah can be understood but it is apparent from the derivation that it is not the name nor does Jehovah appear in the Hebrew text. Why I find this particularly annoying when the JWs teach this is that they go so far as to teach all other Christians and Jews are wrong  as they are the only holders of the truth. That is the arrogance of the JWs in a nutshell.

Some related reading you might enjoy

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5 Responses

  1. An important point to bring up any time you discuss JW’s is their stance on blood transfusions. They believe that the soul is housed in the blood, and that receiving another person’s blood will also open you up to any demons or sins in that person’s life (we weren’t JW but we kept this fun idea.) From the time they are children, JW members carry “no transfusion” cards on them at all times. Many JW members would let their child die before allowing that child to receive a life-saving blood transfusion.

    • “They believe that the soul is housed in the blood, ”

      Wrong…

      The body is the soul….

      “and that receiving another person’s blood will also open you up to any demons or sins in that person’s life”

      WRONG! Thats the daftest thing I’ve ever heard and completely wrong…

      ” (we weren’t JW but we kept this fun idea.) ”

      Has it morphed over time or something?

      “Many JW members would let their child die before allowing that child to receive a life-saving blood transfusion.”

      If you mean we ask for safer alternatives and seek the best possible treatment for our children…Then yes….

  2. They believe that ….receiving another person’s blood will also open you up to any demons or sins in that person’s life

    They do not. …where did you get this from? Opposition to transfusion stems from other reasons.

  3. “Jehovah’s Witnesses are a particularly insidious cult”

    Not a great start is it?

    The only people who refused enmasse to support hitler in world war 2…

    Pacifists who refuse to take up arms against their fellow man for any reason,even on pain of death they will not compromise their christian principles.

    Yes really nasty pieces of work….;-)

    “but generally change their attitude when you are not receptive to their belief system or you actually have the audacity to refute it.”

    Like evolutionists you mean?

    “The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been known to break up lifelong friendships,”

    I have had the same non believing friends for 30 years…..

    My personal experience is that when Jehovahs witnesses spend “too much time” at church or in the ministery its the non believers who walk away. So whos fault is that?

    Its like anything else when you dont have the same interests you drift apart but thats a natural result of you devoting time to other things but them..

    “families and even marriages when one person no longer believes as JWs do.”

    Thats just not true….

    Jehovahs witness dont believe in divorce so they have the lowest divorce rate of any church and are well below the national divorce rate…

    “Beth sarim”

    Beth sarim was a mistake but it was constructed with the best of intentions I guess Rutherford realised afterwards that another use was needed for it.

    “From 1966 up until 1975 the Watchtower implied that Armageddon would come sometime in 1975. ”

    Lets see that then….

    Funny how you only post the “retraction” but not the original implication….

    “These implications were so strongly taught by the Watchtower that many members prior to 1975 sold their possessions, including their homes, and donated the money to the Watchtower. ”

    I repeat lets see these implications…..

    And lets see some proof for your assertions about people selling their possessions and donating to the watchtower and what happened to them afterwards..

    “Once again in Watchtower land they teach members to reject blood transfusions. ”

    Yes its Gods law….

    Gods law cannot be compromised for popularity reasons….

    “As a matter of fact since 1961 receiving a blood transfusion was grounds for being thrown out of the cult, which means a rejection by family and friends.”

    Only when there is no repentance…I refer you to my previous answer…

    “Jehovah”

    Jehohvah is the name that has been used in Gods word since the earliest English translation of the bible…The original King James version contains it in 4 places..EXO6:3/PSA83:18/ISA12:2+26:4

    If God had wanted to be known to us by any other name then he has not made it known to us….

    The lords prayer say “Let your name be sanctified.” If not Jehohvah then what name because God is a title…

  4. I’m not here to convert anyone, I’m just here (HeeHee)

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