Jehovah's Witnesses are a religion, founded in the late 1870s by Charles Taze Russell, whose members believe it to be the restoration of first-century Christianity. They are one of the fastest-growing churches in the US, with an
active membership of more than one million
, and extremely active in proselytizing, with established congregations in most parts of the world.
While Jehovah's Witnesses believe the Bible to be inspired, they accept only the greatly flawed New World Translation as authoritative, along with other publications from the Watchtower Tract & Bible Society, which claims to be the "one
and only channel"^
^ of truth from God, and that "it alone, in all the earth, is directed by God's holy spirit or force".^
Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus to be a created being, not God incarnate. Their early views had much in common with the
Adventists, rejecting orthodox doctrines of the trinity and hell, and focusing on the
Second Coming, initially believed to have occurred invisibly in 1874, but later revised to 1914. They believe salvation in heaven is limited to 144,000 "anointed ones", but that followers can can escape annihilation
on earth by good works, particularly evangelism.
Jehovah's Witnesses are also known for refusing to observe holidays or birthdays, voting, saluting the flag, working in the military, accepting blood transfusions, or becoming involved in social, religious, or political conflicts.
- ? Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1919; see also Watchtower, May 15, 1933, pp. 154–155; Jul. 15, 1960, pp. 438–439;
Our Kingdom Ministry, Sep. 2002, p. 8
- ? Watchtower, Jul. 1, 1973, p. 402