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JWs For Dummies!


Jehovah's Witnesses


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Have you ever been disturbed on a relaxed Saturday morning by unexpected strangers knocking on your front door? Out front are two well-dressed people, holding briefcases, who are offering free magazines and eager to talk to you about God’s Kingdom. They say they’re from the local Kingdom Hall and seem to know the bible well. In fact, they can quote scripture from memory and appear to have answers for all your questions. Did you ever wonder who these people are, where they come from and what they believe?

Who Are They? 

The religious group known as Jehovah's Witnesses originated in Pennsylvania in the 1870's as a small group of followers of Charles Taze Russell. Today they have branched out into more than 200 countries with over 6 million members zealously spreading their gospel. These faithful men and women, known for their refusal to vote, salute the flag, celebrate holidays and receive blood transfusions, are led by a large organization, headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, called the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Members of this religion freely spend hours per month - some as many as 90 hours or more - going door-to-door, handing out religious literature and conducting free in-home bible studies with prospective converts. As dedicated and sincere as they are, unfortunately, many of their teachings are sharply opposed to the teachings of biblical Christianity. Let’s quickly review several teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses by quoting Watchtower magazines and contrasting them with the Bible:


Jesus Christ

The Watchtower says: “The foremost angel, both in power and authority, is the archangel, Jesus Christ, also called Michael.”[i]

The Bible says: Jesus is “ much better than the angels....Let all God’s angels worship Him”.[ii]  

The Soul of Man

The Watchtower says: “The soul dies; it does not live on after death.”[iii]

Jesus says: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”[iv]  


The Watchtower says: “....come to Jehovah’s organization for salvation....”[v]

Jesus says: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”[vi]  


The Watchtower says: “Jesus died and was resurrected by God as a spirit creature....”[vii]

Jesus says: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up....He was speaking of the temple of His body.”[viii]  


The Watchtower says: “To get one’s name written in that Book of Life will depend upon one’s works.”[ix]

The Bible says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through is the gift of God, not by works.”[x]  


The Watchtower says: “God’s Word says nothing about eternal torment of lost souls in a fiery hell as being the punishment for wickedness.”[xi]

Jesus says: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”[xii]  


The Watchtower says: “Put faith in a victorious organization!”[xiii]

The Bible says: “The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God.”[xiv] 

Second Coming of Christ

The Watchtower says: “So it was in 1914 that Jesus returned invisibly, without public fanfare and with only his faithful servants being aware of his return.”[xv]

The Bible says: “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him.”[xvi] 

A Tainted Bible 

To help justify the Jehovah’s Witnesses unbiblical teachings, the Watchtower Society began publishing its own version of the bible in 1950. This unique rendering, called The New World Translation, is hailed by Jehovah’s Witnesses as the most accurate translation available today. What Witnesses don’t know is that many key verses in The New World Translation have been altered, mistranslated and deliberately changed to support the Society’s biased teachings. In particular, the identity of Jesus Christ as God has been severely manipulated, in order to reduce Him to a created being, inferior to the Father.  

For example, instead of rendering Jesus (the Word) as God in John 1:1, as all accurate bible translations do, The New World Translation renders it: “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god” (emphasis added). Reducing Jesus to “a god” is a heretical distortion of the Greek text and has been sharply criticized by prominent New Testament Greek scholars. In fact, none of the men on the New World Translation Committee had any working knowledge of the ancient biblical languages. One man on the committee, Frederick Franz, was acclaimed by the Watchtower as having an “outstanding reputation as an eminent Bible scholar”.[xvii] However, in a public court trial in Scotland, he admitted that he couldn’t speak Hebrew nor translate a simple verse from the book of Genesis into the ancient language.[xviii]  

A Non-Prophet Organization 

The Watchtower Society boldly makes the exclusive claim to be God’s prophet on earth,[xix] the only organization that God uses to communicate to mankind today. The fact is, however, the Watchtower Society has made numerous false predictions regarding the beginning of the battle of Armageddon, the end of the world and the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth. The end was first predicted in 1914[xx] by the Watchtower’s founder, C.T. Russell. When it didn’t occur the date was changed to 1915,[xxi] and later to 1918.[xxii] Under the leadership of the second president, Judge Rutherford, an aggressive campaign called Millions Now Living Will Never Die was launched. In this campaign it was predicted that in 1925, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and many other Old Testament prophets, would rise from the dead and appear as perfected humans on the earth.[xxiii] After this embarrassing failure the Watchtower carried on, still continuing to set dates for the end. Other prophetic years, ending in disappointment, were 1941,[xxiv] 1975[xxv] and 2000.[xxvi]  

Knowing that exposure of its flawed past would be enough to convince truth-seeking Jehovah’s Witnesses to jump ship, the Watchtower conceals much of this information from its members. In addition, it cleverly trains them to view the more well-known prophetic disasters only as mistakes made by fallible men. However, the bible is clear and very direct on the matter. Deuteronomy 18:20-22 plainly warns us that those who claim to be prophets of God, yet make incorrect predictions, are false prophets that should be avoided. Although the Watchtower continues to make light of the adverse repercussions of its erroneous past, sadly, many loyal Jehovah's Witnesses were so convinced of these prophecies that they sold houses and businesses, putting off marriage, children and schooling to serve the Watchtower Society in the final days before Armageddon. 

Winds of Change 

Further proof that the Watchtower Society is not God’s channel of communication to man can be demonstrated by reviewing some of the doctrinal changes it has made throughout its history. A Jehovah’s Witness who was in good standing with the organization 70 years ago would be promptly expelled today if he still believed the same doctrines as once taught to him. Even a Witness currently going door-to-door has no assurance that his present beliefs won’t change in the future, making what is being taught as today’s truth, tomorrow’s error. Some changes made over the years are as follows:[xxvii]


Early Years


Christ's Invisible Presence Began in 1874 Christ's Invisible Presence Began in 1914
Jesus Should be Worshipped Jesus Should not be Worshipped
Smoking Permitted Smoking Forbidden
Saluting the Flag and
Voting Permitted
Saluting the Flag and
Voting Forbidden
Jesus Died on a Cross Jesus Died on a Stake
Jesus is not the
Archangel Michael
Jesus is the
Archangel Michael
All Witnesses will go to
Most Witnesses will Live
Forever on Earth
Blood transfusions Allowed Blood transfusions Forbidden
Called God, Lord Call God, Jehovah
Celebrated Holidays Holidays not Celebrated
Could go to War Can not go to War
Vaccination Forbidden Vaccination Allowed


Although these changes and reversals are alarming to the average person, to a Jehovah’s Witness this is one of the proofs that the Watchtower Society is God’s visible organization on earth. The Society instructs them that truth is revealed in installments and that the above changes are actually just minor adjustments progressing towards further light. To support this, one will frequently hear a Witness quote Proverbs 4:18: “But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established” (NWT). In reality, however, the Watchtower is pulling Proverbs 4:18 completely out of its proper context in order to excuse and explain away over 120 years of contradictions, errors and false teachings.


The Watchtower’s use of Proverbs 4:18 becomes ineffective when pointing out that the Society has flip-flopped back and forth on a number of doctrinal issues. That is, it has reverted backwards to a teaching that it once taught as truth, abandoned as incorrect, and adopted as truth again. For example, the Society taught in 1916 that the superior authorities in Romans 13 were earthly governments.[xxviii] In 1953 it taught that they were Jehovah God and Jesus Christ,[xxix] and in 1980 the superior authorities became the earthly governments once again.[xxx] The Watchtower has also flip-flopped trying to answer the question of whether the men of Sodom will be resurrected to face judgment. It has gone back and forth so many times on this issue that even the most studious Jehovah’s Witness would have a hard time remembering which view is the current teaching. 

Because Watchtower teachings, like old milk, are subject to expiration dates, a Jehovah’s Witness must constantly continue reading the Society’s publications to keep up with the “new light” presented in them. In fact, the average Jehovah’s Witness is relentlessly inundated with extra-biblical literature by the Watchtower. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses spend so much time reading the current week’s requirements that it is difficult for them to simply read the bible by itself and thus benefit directly from the truth of God’s Word. Many ex-Witnesses testify that once they put down Watchtower publications and began reading the bible by itself, they began to seriously doubt and question the Watchtower’s distorted teachings.  

Today, thanks to the Lord and Christians who care, many Jehovah’s Witnesses are being freed from the gripping control of the Watchtower Society and are experiencing a loving and personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. They are learning that going door-to-door, studying Watchtower publications and going to weekly meetings will never save them, but that salvation is a free gift through faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. Be aware, however, that leaving their religion is a frightening and difficult decision. Due to harsh Watchtower rules, Jehovah’s Witnesses who move on are required to be callously shunned by their friends and families who are still attending the Kingdom Hall. How wonderful it would be if the next Saturday morning, when we are visited by two strangers knocking on our door, we shared the true gospel of Jesus Christ with them and told them about God’s amazing grace and unending love! 


[i] The Watchtower, Nov. 1, 1995, p.8 [box]   

[ii] Hebrews 1:4,6 (see also John 1:1, 5:18; Titus 2:13)  

[iii] What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, p.23 

[iv] Matthew 10:28 (see also Revelation 6:9,10; 2 Corinthians 5:8) 

[v] The Watchtower, Nov. 15, 1981, p.21  

[vi] John 14:6 (see also Acts 4:12) 

[vii] What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, p.7  

[viii] John 2:19-21 (see also Luke 24:36-39) 

[ix] The Watchtower, July 1, 1947, p.204  

[x] Ephesians 2:8,9 (see also Titus 3:5) 

[xi] The Watchtower, March 1, 1960, p.134 

[xii] Matthew 25:41 (see also Mark 9:42-48) 

[xiii] The Watchtower, March 1, 1979, p.1  

[xiv] Galatians 2:20 (see also Mark 11:22) 

[xv] The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, 1991, section 132 

[xvi] Revelation 1:7 (see also Matthew 24:27-30) 

[xvii] The Watchtower, August 1, 1977, p.463 

[xviii] Taken from Why the Name Jehovah’s Witnesses?, Personal Freedom Outreach, St. Louis, Missouri 

[xix] The Watchtower, April 1, 1972, p.197; All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial, 1990 ed., p.9 

[xx] The Time is at Hand, Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, 1907 ed., p.101 

[xxi] The Time is at Hand, Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, 1927 ed, p.101 

[xxii] The Finished Mystery, Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 7, 1917, p.485 

[xxiii] Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920, pp.89,90 

[xxiv] The Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1941, p.288 

[xxv] The Watchtower, March 15, 1980, p.17 

[xxvi] The Watchtower (original magazine), Jan. 1, 1989, p.12 [Note: bound volume and CD changed the words “20th century” to “day”]  

[xxvii] References for doctrinal changes are available by contacting  

[xxviii] The Divine Plan of the Ages, Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 1, 1916, p.266  

[xxix] Make Sure of All Things, 1953, p.369 

[xxx] The Watchtower, May 15, 1980, p.4 


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