Controversies regarding Jehovah's Witnesses

 

Jehovah's Witnesses have beliefs and practices that are commonly regarded as controversial by mainstream Christians for their doctrines that differ from mainstream Christianity, by governments for their refusal to participate in 'patriotic' activities and by the general public for their beliefs about blood transfusions and their treatment of members who "disassociate". The most prominent divergences from mainstream Christianity are in regards to their disputing the doctrines of the Trinity and hell. Many believe that their version of the Bible, the New World Translation, has several errors when compared to original Greek and Hebrew as well as other widely accepted translations.

Fast Facts on Jehovah's Witnesses
Date founded 1879

Place founded Pittsburgh

Founder Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916)

Adherents 6.4 million practicing members in 2003 {1}

Headquarters Brooklyn, New York

Main location USA

Major sects none

Sacred text New World Translation of the Scriptures

Other texts The Watchtower; Awake!

Original language English

Clergy/leaders Elders

Organization Body of elders supervises a congregation of up to 200 members. About 20 congregations form a circuit, 10 circuits form a district. Highest authority is governing body of elders at Brooklyn headquarters. {2}

Meeting place Kingdom Hall

Theism Strict monotheism

Jesus The Son of God, God's first creation

Ultimate reality Jehovah God

Human nature Sinful since Adam

Purpose of life Live forever after death instead of being annihilated

How to live Live morally and in accordance with Jehovah's commandments, spread the good news of the Kingdom to others.

Afterlife 144,000 elect will reign in heaven and have spirit bodies. Other Witnesses will live forever on a restore paradise on earth. All others will be annihilated. Hell does not exist. {3}

Symbols The watchtower. Cross rejected as a pagan symbol.

Major holidays Memorial of Christ's death, celebrated annually. All Christian or other religious-based holidays are rejected as unbiblical and pagan.

Ethics Divorce only in cases of adultery, no premarital sex, no homosexuality. {4} No gambling or drinking to excess. Against abortion. {5}

Practices No blood transfusions, no celebration of non-JW holidays, no use of crosses or other religious images. Baptism of initiation, worship once per week, strong focus on evangelism.

Doctrinal differences
Jehovah's Witnesses have a number of doctrines that differ from those of mainstream Christianity (Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism). Some of these doctrines differ on points which are considered to be of central importance; others are relatively minor. The table below shows a comparison of a number of doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses vis-à-vis those of mainstream Christianity which are considered to be controversial, and of major importance. These Witness beliefs are typically considered by mainstream Christians to be blasphemous or heretical in nature. For this reason, many Christian denominations consider these beliefs to place Jehovah's Witnesses outside of true Christianity, often labeling them as a cult in the sense of a non-Christian religion.

Mainstream Christian teaching (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches)[1]

Corresponding Jehovah's Witnesses teaching

Nature of God

God is a unity of three equal persons, the Father being God, the The Father of Jesus, Jehovah, is Son being God, the Holy Ghost the only true God.[2] being God, but there is only one God. (see Trinitarianism)

Jesus (the Son) is God in the flesh. During his life on earth he was both Jesus is God's Son, but not God fully God and fully human. He is the Almighty.[3] eternal and equal in power to God.

The Holy Spirit is a person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is eternal and equal in power to God.

The holy spirit[4] is God's impersonal, "active force", always subject to his will.[5]

Jesus

Jesus is God's Son. He is God in the flesh.

Jesus is God's firstborn Son; he has divine nature but he is not equal to God. Jesus was the "angel of Jehovah" in Exodus 23:20-22, archangel Michael[6], the Word, or Logos, as well as Apollyon/Abaddon, mentioned in Revelation 9:11.[7]

Jesus was crucified on a cross.

Jesus was nailed to a torture stake. The religious significance given to the instrument of Jesus' execution and torture is a heathen heritage.[8]

Jesus' fleshly body was resurrected.

Jesus' fleshly body was not resurrected; he was resurrected as a spirit.

The return of Christ to the earth will The presence of Christ began be physical, and has not yet invisibly in 1914, and has been occurred. ongoing since then.[9]

Death/Afterlife

Man is composed of a mortal body and an immaterial, immortal soul.

The soul is the person himself, composed of the "dust of the ground" plus the "breath of life"; the dead exist only in God's memory, their future lies in the resurrection," either to immortality in heaven, or to everlasting life on earth.;[10] only 144,000 Christians are bestowed immortality in heaven.

There is immediate afterlife for all mankind in heaven, hell or (for Roman Catholics) purgatory.

There is no spiritual afterlife immediately following death, except for the 144,000, who are immediately resurrected as spirit persons and taken to heaven; those who died before 1918[11] were not resurrected to heaven until that year. There is no purgatory.

There is no literal torment.[12] Those who have committed an The unrighteous (or those not "born unforgivable sin (such as Judas) again") will be tormented in hell for experience 'Gehenna' (eternal eternity. destruction or extinction) at death.[13]

Judgement and Salvation

Judgement for all of mankind occurs following the 2nd resurrection of Jesus (Judgement day), or each person is judged immediately following his or her

Those who are resurrected will be judged on the basis of the works done after their resurrection.[14]

death.

The original and unchangeable purpose of God for mankind is to live forever on a paradise earth. Only 144,000 Christians are born again and become priests and kings in heaven with Christ, in order All who are saved (born again) will to contribute to the fulfillment of spend eternity in heaven with God. God's purpose about earth.[15] With the exception of those in Gehenna (judgment of annihilation), all who have died (both righteous and unrighteous) will be resurrected with the potential to live forever on a paradise earth.[16]

Worship and Christian ethic

Icons or statues can be used as means of worship. (Catholic and Orthodox)

Use of icons or statues in worship is a kind of idolatry and contrary to Christian law.

Since God is the ruler of earth, Christians can use political and military means in order to make society better.

Jesus said his followers would not fight because his kingdom is "no part of this world". [17] Christians must be neutral in political and military strifes. Satan is the "ruler of the world." [18]

Forced celibacy is spoken against in the Bible, though voluntary celibacy can be rewarding. [19] [20] Celibacy, asceticism, scheduled fasting and monasticism result in a measure of holiness (Catholic and Orthodox) Fasting is a personal decision, not a requirement. [21] Monasticism is a pagan concept. [22] Jesus and his followers never deliberately afflicted themselves in an ascetic manner.
[23][24]

New World Translation
Translation Committee and Anonymity
The New World Translation Committee's refusal to reveal its members' identities or credentials has brought much criticism of the New World Translation.[25] It is not unusual for a Bible edition to refrain from listing translators. But the NWT is unique by its publisher agreeing not to verify translators or translators' credentials when requested privately.[26] Author Ron Rhodes recognizes the NWT Translation Committee's preference to remain anonymous, but he states the desire for anonymity is not surprising "in view of the broad censure this translation has received from renowned linguistic scholars". Commenting on those whom Raymond Franz named as NWT translators, Rhodes states "it quickly became apparent that the committee was completely unqualified for the task".[27] On the other hand, Bruce Metzger, reviewing the New World Translation of the Christian Scriptures, has said: "On the whole, one gains a tolerably good impression of the scholarly equipment of the translators."[28]. Of the NWT as a work of translation, Dr. James Penton writes of the translators request for anonymity, "this has very little to do with the quality of the translation itself which deserves to be examined on the basis of its own merits rather than on who and what its translators were or were not".[29]

Theological bias
The New World Translation has been criticized as either adding or selectively translating certain portions of the Bible to conform to Jehovah's Witness doctrine. The criticism of "theological bias" concerns mostly matters of the divinity of Christ (i.e., that Jesus was God), but also concerns other matters such as the eternity of the soul or the return of Jesus to the earth.[30] Some scholars have defended the translation, to some degree.[31]

The most frequently criticized rendering is that of the first verse of the Gospel of John:

John 1:1 (original Greek)
εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος en arche en ho logos, kai ho logos en pros ton theon, kai theos en ho logos in beginning was the word, and the word was with the god, and god was the word

John 1:1 (Most English translations - e.g., KJV, NIV, NASB)
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

John 1:1 (NWT, emphasis added)
"In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god."[32]

Jehovah's Witnesses insist that the latter rendering is the literal translation of the passage, and that the original language indicates not that Jesus ("the Word") is "God", but that he is "godlike" or "divine" or "a god".[33][34] Some scholars state that "a god" is a possible literal translation of the passage[35][36]. The Witnesses point out that similar uses of the indefinite article are accepted in the King James and other versions in places like Acts 20:28.[37][38][39] Some scholars also state that a literal translation does not equate persons, but assigns a quality (godlike nature or essence) to Jesus.[40] A larger number of scholars, however, have disagreed with the Witnesses' translation of this passage[41], describing the latter rendering as "a frightful mistranslation", "monstrous", "intellectually dishonest", "totally indefensible", and "evidence [of] an abysmal ignorance of the basic tenets of Greek grammar".[42] Other New World Translation renderings that form major points of contention include Jeremiah 29:10, Luke 23:43, John 8:58, Acts 20:28, Colossians 1:15-20, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8 and Revelation 3:14.

The New World Translation rendering of the Greek word proskuneo has also been a source of criticism. The word is rendered "worship" in almost all occurrences in the New World Translation. However, when the word is used in reference to Jesus, it is consistently translated "do obeisance".[43] However, Jehovah's Witnesses has explained that the Greek word proskuneo is NOT consistently translated "worship". They have insisted this word is used when someone pay obeisance to superior authorities, e.g. in Mat.18:26. They also insisted that the context must be considered to determine whether proskyneo refers to obeisance solely in the form of deep respect or obeisance in the form of religious worship.[44]

Use of the name "Jehovah"
The New World Translation contains the name "Jehovah" 237 times in the New Testament. The Greek manuscripts from which the New Testament is translated do not contain the name "Jhvh". (The NWT of the Old Testament also contains the name "Jehovah" 145 instances more than it is contained in the extant Hebrew manuscripts from which the Old Testament is translated.) Jehovah's Witnesses insist that using the name "Jehovah" in the New Testament is justified by its appearance in Hebrew in the original scripts, and the name "Jehovah" in the Old Testament is restored the original reading, but critics insist that it was subsequently replaced by the Greek words for "God" and "Lord" some time around or before the fourth century when translated into Greek. The evidence for this is the subject of debate (see Tetragrammaton in the New Testament).

Blood
Jehovah's Witnesses reject transfusions of whole allogeneic blood and its primary components (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma), and transfusions of stored autologous blood or its primary components. As a doctrine, Jehovah's Witnesses do not reject transfusion of whole

autologous blood so long as it is not stored prior to surgery. (E.g. perioperative extraction and transfusion of autologous blood.) This religious position is due to a belief that blood is sacred and represents life in God's eyes. Jehovah's Witnesses understand scriptures such as Leviticus 17:10-14 (which speaks of not partaking in any blood) to include taking blood into the body via a transfusion.[45] Controversy has stemmed, however, from what critics state are inconsistencies in Witness policies on blood.

Fractions and components
In the case of minor fractions derived from blood, each individual is directed to follow their own conscience on whether these are acceptable.[46][47] This is because it is difficult to define at what point blood is no longer blood. As a substance is broken down into smaller and smaller parts it may or may not be considered the original substance. Therefore some of Jehovah's Witnesses personally choose to accept the use of blood fractions and some do not. Such a stance of dividing blood into major components and minor fractions rather than either accepting all blood or requiring all blood components to be poured out onto the ground has led to criticism from organizations such as the Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood.[48] Witnesses respond that blood as the fluid per se is not the real issue. They say the real issue is respect and obedience for God's personal property- blood.[49][50] That the matter blood is not at stake, is seen in the fact that members are allowed to eat meat which will still have some blood left in it. As soon as blood is drained from an animal, the respect has been shown to God and then a person can eat the meat even though it will contain a small amount of blood. Jehovah's Witnesses view of meat and blood thus is different than the Jewish view that goes to great lengths to remove any little trace of blood.[51]

According to author Kerry Louderback-Wood, the Watchtower Society misrepresents the scope of allowed fractions. If taken together, they "total the entire volume of blood they came from".[52] An example of this can be seen in blood plasma, which consists of 90-96% water. The remaining amount consists mainly of albumin, globulins, fibrinogen and coagulation factors. These four fractions are allowable for use, but only if taken separately. Critics have likened this to banning the eating of a ham and cheese sandwich but allowing the eating of bread, ham and cheese separately.[53] When considering such an analogy it is important to keep in mind that Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept the whole blood or any of its major components. And if a fraction, "makes up a significant portion of that component" or "carries out the key function of a primary component" it may be objectionable to them.[54] The human body contains between 2-3 kg of leukocytes (white blood cells), but only about 3% of these are in the blood. White blood cells are considered a major component of blood and therefore forbidden. Human breast milk contains about 500,000 5 million white blood cells per millilitre,[55] however this is not forbidden.

Storing and donation
Jehovah's Witnesses strictly reject the storage of blood as being against the direction from the Bible to pour blood out onto the ground. It is due to this understanding that the use of stored autologous blood is prohibited – that is the storage of one's own blood before surgery in the case of an emergency. In a similar fashion Jehovah's Witnesses accept blood fractions from donated blood but view the donation of blood to be unbiblical. This has led to criticism of perceived contradictory and inconsistent policies.[56]

Legal considerations
Regardless of the medical considerations, Jehovah Witnesses advocate that physicians should uphold the right of a patient to choose what treatments they accept or do not accept (though a Witness is subject to religious sanctions if they exercise their right to choose a blood transfusion).[57] Accordingly, US courts tend not to hold physicians responsible for adverse health effects that a patient incurred out of his or her own requests.[58] However, the point of view that physicians must, in all circumstances, abide by the religious wishes of the patients is not acknowledged by all jurisdictions (for one example, see France). The situation has been controversial, particularly in the case of minor children. In the United States, many physicians will agree to explore and exhaust all non-blood alternatives in the treatment of children at the request of their legal guardians. However, some state laws require physicians to administer blood-based treatment to minors if it is their professional opinion that it is necessary to prevent immediate death or severe permanent damage. An essay entitled, "Jehovah's Witnesses, Blood Transfusions, and the Tort of Misrepresentation", found in the Autumn issue of Baylor University's Journal of Church and State, published December 13, 2005, discusses the potential vulnerability of Jehovah's Witnesses' legal corporations to significant claims for compensation because of the religion's possible misrepresentation of the medical risks of blood transfusions. According to the essay, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion do not remove the legal responsibility that every person or organization has regarding misrepresenting secular fact.

Animal blood
The Watchtower has stated that "Various medical products have been obtained from biological sources, either animal or human ...

Such commercialization of ... blood is hardly tempting for true Christians, who guide their thinking by God's perfect law. Our Creator views blood as sacred, representing God-given life ... blood removed from a creature was to be poured out on the ground, disposed of."[59]

Attitude towards other religions
It has been suggested that "one of the more common criticisms of Jehovah's Witnesses over the years has dealt with their outspoken denunciations of other faiths, religious leaders and clergymen."[60] In the 1930s and 1940s, the publications of Jehovah's Witnesses were described as "notoriously antiCatholic",[61] including such images as a semiclad harlot (the Roman Catholic Church) reeling drunkenly into fire and brimstone. Witnesses during the time were openly critical of churches and clergy who they deemed were coconspirators in the war effort. Many highly critical pamphlets were written at the time. The book entitled Enemies, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 1938, included some of the more direct denunciations of primarily the Catholic Church but also the Protestants and the Jews. It includes references to the Catholic Church as "the old harlot" who has a "bloody record… many crimes… a filthy record". The same book is quoted as saying, "Today the so-called 'Protestants' and the Yiddish clergy openly co-operate with and play into the hands of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy like foolish simpletons and thereby aid the Hierarchy to carry on her commercial, religious traffic and increase her revenue… the hierarchy takes the lead, and the simpletons follow… poor simpletons."[62] Since World War II, publications of Jehovah's Witnesses have not included the same level of attack against the churches of Christendom, but do continue to view all religions except

Jehovah's Witnesses as being included in "Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion", and are represented as the harlot riding the wild beast in Revelation 13. Jehovah's Witnesses continue to denounce other religions and refuse to participate in any interfaith relations. Publications continue to contain elements of what the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights consider to be anti-Catholic sentiments. An example cited by the 1998 Report on Anti-Catholicism included a publication depicting a person kneeling in prayer before a statue of the Virgin Mary, with the caption, "Some worship idols. God says you must not use idols or images in worship..."[63] The Watchtower organization teaches that "Only Jehovah's Witnesses… have any Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil."[64]

Race
The other side of the seeming racial harmony of the Watchtower can be traced back to their early history. Although the Watchtower claims to believe that all races are biological brothers, all descendants of Adam and Eve, they have for decades officially taught the doctrine of biological inferiority of the black race (Bergman, 1984). Formal segregation of blacks was once rigidly enforced in their organization, both during the rule of their first president, C.T. Russell (1852-1916) and their second, Joseph F. Rutherford (1869-1942) and even until the late 1950's:
Recognizing that it meant either the success or the failure of the...[Photo] Drama as respects the whites, we have been compelled to assign the colored friends to the gallery... Some were offended at this arrangement. We have received numerous letters from the colored friends, some claiming that it is not right to make a difference, others indignantly and bitterly denouncing [us] as enemies of the colored people. Some ... told us that they believe it

would be duty to stand up for equal rights and always to help the oppressed.... We again suggested that if a suitable place could be found in which the Drama could be presented for the benefit of the colored people alone, we would be glad to make such arrangements, or to cooperate with any others in doing so[65]

Being viewed as inferior supposedly made a person a better servant the Watchtower then taught, and consequently the official Watchtower publication The Golden Age magazine (now called Awake!) commented that:
..the curse which Noah pronounced upon Canaan was the origin of the black race. Certain it is that when Noah said, "Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren," he pictured the future of the Colored race. They have been and are a race of servants, but now in the dawn of the twentieth century, we are all coming to see this matter of service in its true light and to find that the only real joy in life is in serving others; not bossing them. There is no servant in the world as good as a good Colored servant, and the joy that he gets from rendering faithful service is one of the purest joys there is in the world[66]

Russell taught that those privileged to live in the "new world" which is just upon us would also be physically returned to humankind's original bodily state, including our "original" skin color and language, which the Watchtower taught was white and Hebrew:
A little while, and the Millennial kingdom will be inaugurated, which will bring restitution to all mankind--restitution to the perfection of mind and body, feature and color, to the grand original standard, which God declared "very good," and which was lost for a time through sin, but which is soon to be restored by the powerful kingdom of the Messiah[67]

This teaching is discussed in more detail in the Watchtower's answer to the question "Can The Ethiopian Change His skin

color?" The Watchtower Society's official response to this question is:
No. But... what the Ethiopian cannot do for himself God could readily do for him. The difference between the races of men... have long been arguments against the solidarity of the human family. The doctrine of restitution has also raised the question. How could all men be brought to perfection and which color of skin was the original? The answer is now provided. God can change the Ethiopian's skin in his own due time... Julius Jackson, of New Frankfort, Montana, a negro boy of nine years, began to grow white in September, 1901, and is now fully nine-tenths white. He assures us that this is no whitish skin disease; but that the new white skin is as healthy as that of any white boy, and that the changed boy has never been sick and never has taken medicines[68]

This case history, the Watchtower argues, demonstrates that God can and will change "Ethiopians" (blacks) into whites in the New World. The Watchtower taught that the black race needs to become white because blacks are descended from Ham, whose special "degradation" is mentioned in Gen. 9:22, 25. Actually, Mr. Julius Jackson was likely suffering from Vitiligo, a skin disease involving a loss of melanocytes which affects about one percent of all Americans. The Watchtower adds that Noah prophetically declared:[69]
...that Ham's characteristics which had led him to unseemly conduct ... would be ... inherited by his son,--and prophetically he foretold that this degeneracy would mark the posterity of Canaan, degrading him, making him servile. We are not able to determine to a certainty that the sons of Ham and Canaan are negroes; but we consider that general view as probable as any other

Statements by the Watchtower Society
The Watchtower Society has made a number of statements in its publications since its inception that have resulted in criticism, particularly from mainstream Christians and former Jehovah's Witnesses. These critics have highlighted a number of controversial statements, changes of doctrine, and failed predictions made by the Watchtower Society. Lists of controversial statements, such as those found below, are found in a number of books[70] and on numerous websites.[71]

Unfulfilled predictions
See also main article Eschatology of Jehovah's Witnesses Predictions such as the following have appeared in various Watchtower publications:[72] 1907: Armageddon will culminate in the year 1914.[73] 1917: In 1918, God would begin to destroy churches "wholesale" and church members by the millions.[74] 1922-1923: The resurrection of the dead would occur in 1925.[75] In preparation for the 1925 date, the Watchtower Society acquired a property in California and built a mansion on it. The property was to house people such as Abraham, Moses, David, and Samuel, whom they thought would be resurrected to life in 1925. 1938: In 1938, Armaggedon was too close for marriage or child bearing.[76] 1941: There were Armageddon.[77] only "months" remaining until

1942: Armageddon was "immediately before us."[78] 1969: Human existence would not last long enough for young people to grow old; the world system would end "in a few years". Young Witnesses were encouraged not to bother pursuing tertiary education for this reason.[79]

1969: Christ's thousand-year reign would begin in 1975.[80] There was a considerable amount of related speculation in Watchtower publications in the years leading up to 1975.[81] 1984: There were "many indications" that "the end" was closer than the end of the 20th century.[82] 1914 (generation): It was taught that Armageddon would take place before the death of those who were alive in 1914. This teaching was abandoned in 1996; Jehovah's Witnesses currently believe that no certain year can be established for Armageddon to occur.[83][84] A number of Christian apologists have argued that in making predictions about the future, the Watchtower Society have acted as a prophet,[85] often citing Watchtower Society publications that use the word "prophet" in referring to the organization.[86][87] The Watchtower Society itself has condemned others for making false predictions about the future, stating that such people were "guilty of false prophesying".[88] Apologists argue that the Watchtower Society does not represent God, based on Deuteronomy 18:22: "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him." (ESV) The Watchtower Society has stated as early as 1908, "We are not prophesying; we are merely giving our surmises....We do not even [assert] that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophesy and our calculations of chronology. We have merely laid these before you, leaving it for each to exercise his own faith or doubt in respect to them."[89] They have also stated that they do not have the gift of prophecy.[90] More recently they have defended themselves against claims of "false prophesying", by saying that they do not claim to be inspired prophets,[91] and that their predictions have never been made "in the name of Jehovah" but rather are given only as an interpretation of Scripture.[92]

However, the Watchtower Society has also made statements asserting their predictions to be definite. "The date of the close of that 'battle' is definitely marked in Scripture as October, 1914. It is already in progress, its beginning dating from October, 1874."[93]; "Surely there is not the slightest room for doubt in the mind of a truly consecrated child of God that the Lord Jesus is present and has been since 1874"[94] (notably, this was written in 1924, indicating that 1914 was not taught as the beginning of Christ's presence until a later period, despite contrary claims by Jehovah's Witnesses that "The Watchtower has consistently presented evidence to honesthearted students of Bible prophecy that Jesus' presence in heavenly Kingdom power began in 1914"[95]); "We see no reason for changing the figures — nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God's dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble. We see no reason for changing from our opinion expressed in the view presented [earlier]"[96] For more on the topic see Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses by M. James Penton, professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Lethbridge and former Jehovah's Witness ISBN 978-0802079732

Changes of doctrine
History of Eschatological Doctrine

Last Christ Judgment Christ's Resurrection Great Days as of Return of 144,000 Tribulation Begin King Religion

1879– 1799 1920

1874

1878

1914, 1915, 1918, 1920

1920– 1925

1925

1925– 1927

1878 1878

1927– 1930

1914 within a generation of 1914

1930– 1933

1933– 1966

1966– 1975

1918 1919

1975

1975– 1914 1995

within a generation of 1914

19952007

imminent

2008

indeterminate

The Watchtower Society has made a number of changes to its doctrines since its inception. The controversy surrounding this issue is that the Watchtower Society has said that: People can only fully and accurately understand the Bible and God's purposes through their association with the religion.[97]

Witnesses are encouraged to attain to "oneness"[98] and thus not to "harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding",[99] or be suspicious of their teachings, but rather to have confidence in what they print.[100] A number of changes in chronology have occurred, particularly in regards to dates for important events such as Armaggedon, and the return of Jesus to the Earth (see table, right). For example, prior to 1914, it was said that Armageddon would end in 1914. In a 1915 edition of the same book, it was said that Armaggedon would end that year. Today, Witnesses are taught to expect Armageddon imminently. Other changes in interpretation of the Bible have been noted by critics. These have included statements about the Bible itself;[101] identification of persons in the Bible;[102] whether or not people receive a second chance after death;[103] and perhaps most controversially, their standing on blood transfusions.[104] The standing of the Watchtower Society on other matters such as the acceptability of vaccinations[105] or tertiary education[106] has also changed over time.

Statements about itself
Critics of the Watchtower Society (or of Jehovah's Witnesses generally) often cite statements such as those listed above alongside other published statements that the Watchtower Society has made about itself; namely that: The Watchtower Society is the "one and only channel" used by God to continually to dispense truth[107] The Watchtower Society is "directed by Jehovah" and "under the direct supervision of Christ Jesus"[108]

and that it "alone, in all the earth, is directed by God's holy spirit or force"[109] Critics have used such statements to question the credibility of the Watchtower Society. The Watchtower has responded multiple times to issues regarding critics claims - mostly to the claim that the Watchtower presents itself as inspired. See one statement below: Jehovah's Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus' second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Because of this, some have called them false prophets. Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions 'in the name of Jehovah.' Never did they say, 'These are the words of Jehovah.' The Watchtower, the official journal of Jehovah's Witnesses, has said: "We have not the gift of prophecy." (January 1883, page 425) "Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible." (December 15, 1896, page 306) The Watchtower has also said that the fact that some have Jehovah's spirit "does not mean those now serving as Jehovah's witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine The Watchtower are inspired and infallible and without mistakes." (May 15, 1947, page 157) "The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic." (August 15, 1950, page 263) "The brothers preparing these publications are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired as are those of Paul and the other Bible writers. (2 Tim. 3:16) And so, at times, it has been necessary, as understanding became clearer, to correct views. (Prov. 4:18) "—February 15, 1981, page 19.

Family integrity & freedom of mind
Critics of Jehovah's Witnesses (e.g., Randall Watters, Timothy Campbell, David Grosshoeme, Kaynor Weishaupt, Jan Groenveld) object to Witness policy and behavior where, in their view, the integrity of family relationships and the capacity of members to exercise freedom of mind is impacted. Others believe that some members of anti-cult movements have impinged on the religious freedom of Jehovah's Witnesses through coercive deprogramming and discrimination.[110] Witnesses teach that "freedom to make decisions [is] to be exercised within the boundaries of God's laws and principles", [111] and that "only Jehovah [is] free to set the standard of what is good and bad."[112] As mentioned above, however, it is believed that such principles can only be understood through association with Jehovah's Witnesses.[113] In practice, members may face sanctions if they do not abide by regulations set forth by the leadership, which presents itself as the channel through which God instructs members about "what is good and bad". Religious scholar Sergei Ivanenko stated, "It would be a serious mistake to represent the Religious Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses as a religion whose leadership forces its rank and file believers to engage in one form of activity or another, or place upon them strict restrictions or directives. Jehovah's Witnesses strive to live in accord with Bible principles on the basis of an individual, voluntary choice. . . . This also applies in full measure to preaching." [114] James Beckford, an expert of the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses and a professor at the University of Warwick, England, mentioned, "It is

important for each of them to exercise free moral agency in choosing to study the Bible and to live in accordance with their interpretation of its message." [115]

Treatment of disassociate

members

who

If a member of Jehovah's Witnesses does not comply with the organisation's interpretations, they can be excommunicated, termed disfellowshipping. This involves being shunned by all members of the religion, including any family members that do not live under the same roof. Due to the social nature of the religion, being shunned can isolate a member in a very powerful way and can be devastating if everyone in a member's social circle participates in the shunning. Jehovah's Witnesses say that disfellowshipping is a scripturally-documented method to protect the congregation from the influence of those who practice serious wrongdoing. [6] The Encyclopedia of Religion notes: "Any community claims the right to protect itself against nonconforming members who may threaten the common welfare. In a religious setting this right has often been reinforced by the belief that the sanction [of excommunication] affects one's standing before God."[116] Prior to 1981, if a member disassociated from the religion but was not disfellowshipped, the practice of shunning was not required and normal contact could be maintained. A policy change in 1981 required that all who were considered to have disassociated by their actions were to be treated in the same way as a member who had been disfellowshipped for gross wrongdoing. The new

policy meant that congregation members are not informed whether a person was being shunned due to "disfellowshipping" or "disassociation", or on what grounds. Many of these changes were precipitated by events surrounding Raymond Franz, a former governing body member. Critics state that fear of being shunned and family break-up causes people to stay who might otherwise freely leave the religion.[citation needed] The only way to officially leave the religion is to write a letter requesting to be disassociated or to be disfellowshipped, but both entail the same set of prohibitions and penalties. Critics contend the judicial process involved, due to its private and nearly autonomous nature, contradicts the precedent found in the Bible and the organizations' own teachings[117] and can be used in an arbitrary manner if there is consensus among just a few to so use their authority.[118]

Reporting of sexual abuse
Critics have accused Jehovah's Witnesses of employing organizational policies that make the reporting of sexual abuse difficult for members. For a report of abuse to be considered "proven" (to the degree that would merit congregational judicial discipline), there need to be two witnesses or a confession by the accused (only in cases where there is no physical evidence of the abuse).[119][120] Some victims of sexual abuse also assert that when reporting abuse they have been directed

to maintain silence to avoid embarrassment to both the accused and the organization.[121][122] The official policy on child protection for Jehovah's Witnesses, which discusses the procedures for reporting child sexual abuse, states that elders obey all legal requirements for reporting sex offenders, including reporting uncorroborated or unsubstantiated allegations where required by law and that they are to discipline pedophiles. It also emphasizes the right of the victim to notify the authorities if they wish to do so.[123] A Religious Tolerance.org website article on the handling of child sexual abuse cases acknowledges this, stating, The WTS recommends that the victim's parent or guardian — or even the accused person themselves — report the abuse to the police.

Use of Deception
Among their unique doctrines is a teaching called Theocratic War Strategy that justifies deception under circumstances.[124] Essentially this doctrine teaches it is appropriate to withhold the truth from "people who are not entitled to it" and deceive if necessary to protect the religion's activities since these are deemed "God's will". The doctrine condemns lying as "untruths told for selfish reasons". However it draws a distinction between selfish deception and deception to further "God's will". According to the doctrine, one is lying and the other is not, though both are deception. Specifically the

teaching stipulates that when under an oath to tell the truth, such as in a court of law, that it would be improper to deceive.[125] Controversy over this doctrine is stirred by detractors asserting Jehovah's Witnesses apply this doctrine by lying, for example, in a court of law.[126]

Internet use
The Watchtower Society has instructed Witnesses to be careful in the use of the Internet because of the availability of what Witnesses consider "harmful" information. This can include information that is objectionable on moral grounds such as pornography, but also information considered to be 'apostate'. The word 'apostate' is assigned special meaning by Witnesses, to refer to individuals who leave their religion over doctrinal matters rather than the broader sense of any person who changes religious or political alliance.[127] A 2000 issue of The Watchtower stated, "Some apostates are increasingly using the internet to spread false information about Jehovah's Witnesses. As a result, when sincere individuals do research on our beliefs, they may stumble across apostate propaganda. Avoiding all contact with these opponents will protect us from their corrupt thinking."[128] While Witnesses define the existence of "harmful" information, critics define all accurate information valid. What Witnesses consider "apostate propaganda", critics consider merely an alternative viewpoint, which must be

considered in order to claim one has a rounded viewpoint. Witnesses teach that Scriptures such as 2 John 8-11 apply to such "apostates" and thus they must, "look out" for themselves and never "receive" such teachings in any form.[129] Critics have stated that this warning against Internet use is an example of "milieu control"[130] in which the society controls its members by restricting negative information regarding the society.[131] Jehovah's Witnesses respond to such criticism by stating that branch libraries, accessible by thousands of Witnesses and visitors, include books that speak negatively about Jehovah's Witnesses.[132]

Education
This quotation is typical of many that express the worry that education and exposure to college influences will lead one to seek a high-paying career and the material things that money can buy. This would mean one would put less emphasis and time into the work of preaching Watchtower doctrine and distributing their literature. Parents are cautioned about contributing to this attitude, too.
Young people, for example, are easily influenced by the materialistic outlook of the world around them, and especially is this true if their parents are inclined to value highly the ability to command a big salary in the business world. As a result, they may set their hearts on the education that is offered by the world's

institutions of "higher learning." Their desire is not simply to learn a trade so that they can work with their hands and not be a burden on others; no, they want to be in an upper income bracket. But what is wrong with that? Jesus frankly said that it would be more difficult for a rich man to get into the Kingdom than for a camel to get through the eye of a sewing needle. Rather than being content with "sustenance and covering," those who devote themselves to getting a "higher education" usually want to be able to enjoy the "rest of the things" that money can buy.[133]

The following quotation from a 1969 Watchtower article hints at how strongly the Society opposed higher learning. Making something of yourself is here classed as "Devil's propaganda." Notice the continuing theme that time is too short to waste it on education. They, claim that the only work with a future is Watchtower service.
Many schools now have student counselors who encourage one to pursue higher education after high school, to pursue a career with a future in this system of things. Do not be influenced by them. Do not let them "brainwash" you with the Devil's propaganda to get ahead, to make something of yourself in this world. The world has very little time left! Any "future" this world offers is no future! ... Make pioneer service, the full-time ministry, with the possibility of Bethel or missionary service your goal. This is a life that offers an everlasting future![134]

The Watchtower Society even encourages young people to spend less time on their normal high school education. The following is one of several articles they wrote that suggests shortening the school day to allow more time for the Society's interests.
There are activities available that may be more beneficial than working. These activities include reading and studying outside of school and taking on the responsibilities of unpaid volunteer work or community service.' Nina, for example, performs a most valuable community service after school as a full-time minister of Jehovah's Witnesses. She says: "I worked it out with my guidance counselor to have a short school day so I would get out of school near noon. Monday through Wednesday I go out in the public preaching work. I love doing it. I just love it." Would your schedule and personal circumstances permit you to do likewise? Developing "Godly devotion" in this way would no doubt prove to be far more beneficial than working at some job![135]

All this disapproval of a college education has now been replaced with a conditional approval of higher education. In The Watchtower of November 1, 1992, both study articles and one short reading article were on the subject of education. The first study article, pages 10 through 15 entitled "Education in Bible Times," was devoted to a discourse on education in Old Testament times, with the last two paragraphs covering New Testament times. The second study article, pages 15 through 22 covered educational needs in our modern times. The

quotations below come from this second article. The third article, on pages 21 and 22, discussed the educational background of the apostle Paul.

This seems, therefore, to be an appropriate time to consider the Christian's attitude toward secular education. What Bible principles bear on this subject? First, in most countries proper submission to "Caesar" requires Christian parents to send their children to school.... A second principle involved is that Christians should be able to support themselves, even if they are full-time pioneer ministers. If married, a man should be able to provide properly for his wife and any children that may be born, with a little extra to give to those in need and to support the local and worldwide preaching work. How much education does a young Christian need in order to respect these Bible principles and meet his Christian obligations? This varies from country to country. By and large, however, it seems that the general trend in many lands is that the level of schooling required to earn decent wages is now higher than it was a few years ago. Reports received from branches of the Watch Tower Society in different parts of the world indicate that in many places it is difficult to find jobs with decent wages after completing simply the minimum schooling required by law or in some countries even after finishing secondary or high school. What is meant by "decent wages"? It does not indicate highly paid jobs. Webster's Dictionary defines "decent" in this context as "adequate,

satisfactory." What might be termed "adequate," for instance, for those who wish to be pioneer ministers of the good news? Such ones generally need part-time work to avoid putting "an expensive burden" upon their brothers or their family. Their wages might be termed "adequate," or "satisfactory" if what they earn allows them to live decently while leaving them sufficient time and strength to accomplish their Christian ministry. What is often the situation today? It has been reported that in some countries many well-intentioned youngsters have left school after completing the minimum required schooling in order to become pioneers. They had no trade or secular qualifications. If they were not helped by their parents, they had to find part-time work. Some have had to accept jobs that required them to work very long hours to make ends meet. Becoming physically exhausted, they gave up the pioneer ministry. What can such ones do to support themselves and get back into the pioneer service? ... Christians should regard education as a means to an end. In these last days, their purpose is to serve Jehovah as much and as effectively as possible. If, in the country where they live, minimal or even high school education will only allow them to find jobs providing insufficient income to support themselves as pioneers, then supplementary education or training might be considered. This would be with the specific goal of full-time service. ... "We have quite a number who are studying and at the same time have been able to arrange their schedules to pioneer. Generally they become better publishers as they are more studious, provided they do not

become overly ambitious in worldly pursuits." The last remark should give us reason to reflect. The purpose of the extra schooling, where this seems necessary, must not be lost sight of or changed into a materialistic goal. ... If Christian parents responsibly decide to provide their children with further education after high school, that is their prerogative. The period of these studies would vary according to the type of trade or occupation selected. For financial reasons and in order to enable their children to get into the full-time service as quickly as possible, many Christian parents have chosen for them short-term study programs in vocational or technical schools. In some cases youths have needed to be apprenticed to some trade but always with a full life of service to Jehovah as the goal. ... This magazine has placed emphasis on the dangers of higher learning, and justifiably so, for much higher education opposes the "healthful teaching" of the Bible. Further, since the 1960's, many schools of advanced learning have become hotbeds of lawlessness and immorality. "The faithful and discrete slave" has strongly discouraged entering that kind of environment. It must be admitted, however, that nowadays youngsters meet up with these same dangers in high schools and technical colleges and even in the workplace. [136]

United Nation Department of Public Information association
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the United Nations is one of the 'superior authorities' that exist by God's permission (Romans 13:1, 2, NWT), and that it presently serves a purpose in maintaining order, but they refuse to give political support or to consider UN as the means for the achievement of peace and security. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that only God's Kingdom will bring true peace. Jehovah's Witnesses also believe that UN is the "image of the wild beast", that is, the representative of the global political system referred to in Revelation 13:1-18, and the second fulfillment of the "abominable thing that causes desolation" from Matthew 24:15, that is, the political means that will be used for the devastation of the organized false religion on a world scale,[137][138] and that, like all other political powers, it will be destroyed and replaced by God's heavenly Kingdom.[139] Jehovah's Witnesses have denounced other religious organizations for having offered political support to the UN.[140] On October 8, 2001 an article was published in the British Guardian newspaper questioning the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society's registration as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with the United Nations Department of Public

Information and accusing the Watchtower Society of hypocrisy.[141] Within days of the article's publication, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society submitted a formal request for disassociation, removing all association with the United Nations Department of Public Information,[142] and released a letter stating that the reason for becoming associated with the United Nations Department of Information (DPI) was to access their facilities, and that they had not been aware of the change in language contained in the criteria for NGO association.[143] The purpose of membership is to "promote knowledge of the principles and activities of the United Nations". At the time NGO association was sought, "the organization agreed to meet criteria for association, including support and respect of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations".[144]

References
1. ^ See this page for a general overview of the beliefs of various mainstream Christian denominations. 2. ^ Official link 3. ^ Official link Reasoning From the Scriptures, pp. 136-137, 282-283; 4. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses do not capitalize "Holy Spirit". 5. ^ Official link Reasoning From the Scriptures, pp. 136-137, 361;

6. ^ What Does the Bible Really Teach? pp. 218, 2005, Appendix, "Who is archangel Michael?" 7. ^ Revelation - Its Grand Climax at Hand, p.148. 8. ^ http://www.watchtower.org/e/rq/article_11.htm. See also New World Translation#Rendering of σταυρός (staurós) 9. ^ What Does the Bible Really Teach? pp. 215, 2005, Appendix, "1914-the important year of Bible prophecy" 10. ^ "Reasoning From The Scriptures" p. 199 - p. 208 "Jehovah's Witnesses" – " they do not exist except in God's memory, so hope for their future life lies in a resurrection from the dead." 11. ^ Watchtower 6/15/79 p. 29 par. 10 "10 The spiritual resurrection of the "dead in Christ" in the spring of 1918" 12. ^ "Revelation …Climax" 40 p. 293 par. 26 Crushing the Serpent’s Head "26 We have already noted that “the lake of fire and sulphur” could not be a literal place of torment. … par. 27 "What befell the two cities is called “the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.” (Jude 7) Yet, those two cities did not suffer everlasting torment. Rather, they were blotted out, obliterated for all time,…" 13. ^ Insight on the Scriptures, Vol.1 pp. 905-6. 14. ^ "What Does the Bible Really Teach? ,2005, Appendix "Judgement DayWhat day?" 15. ^ The Watchtower, 2/1/1986, p. 17, ¶ 17 16. ^ What Does the Bible Really Teach? ,2005, Appendix "What is Sheol and Hades?" 17. ^ "Mankind's Search for God" chap. 15 p. 344 par. 2 A Return to the True God "And Jesus himself explained why his disciples did not fight to deliver him, saying: "My kingdom is no part of this world" 18. ^ Watchtower 12/1/06 p. 6 " Indeed, Satan, not Christ, is "the ruler of the world" and "the god of this system of things." (John 14:30; 2 Corinthians 4:4) This explains why Jesus will soon eliminate all human governments" 19. ^ Awake 6/8/98 p. 17 … doctrines that come from the devils . . . They will say marriage is forbidden."—1 Timothy 4:1, 3, Jerusalem Bible." 20. ^ Awake! 6/8/98 p. 17 Is Celibacy a Requirement for Christian Ministers? "Honorable marriage is a blessing from God. Enforced celibacy has turned out to be spiritually damaging. Freely chosen singleness, on the other hand, while not essential for holiness or salvation, has proved to be a rewarding

and spiritually satisfying way of life for some.—Matthew 19:12.*** g98 6/8 p. 17 Is Celibacy a Requirement for Christian Ministers?" 21. ^ Watchtower 11/15/96 p. 7 Does God Require Fasting? "Choosing to fast in certain circumstances is an individual decision. … We should not want to "appear righteous to men… the Bible shows that God neither requires that we fast nor prohibits us from fasting 22. ^ Watchtower 9/15/53 p. 551 Is Monastery Life Christian? 23. ^ Awake 10/8/97 p. 21 "Jesus and his disciples were not ascetics. They endured various trials and tribulations, but these tribulations were never selfinflicted. 24. ^ Watchtower 10/15/77 p. 618 par. 10 "Jesus was a man who pleased God in every respect... But even though he was perfect he was not an ascetic" 25. ^ Penton J, Apocalypse Delayed Second Edition, University of Toronto Press, 1999, pp. 173-174. James Penton is disfellowshipped from the Watchtower organization. 26. ^ A Closer Look at the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, The Jehovah's Witnesses Bible, North American Mission Board SBC, 2000 27. ^ Rhodes R, The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions, The Essential Guide to Their History, Their Doctrine, and Our Response, Zondervan, 2001, p. 94 28. ^ "The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures", The Bible Translator, 15/3 (July 1964), p. 151. 29. ^ Penton J, Apocalypse Delayed Second Edition, University of Toronto Press, 1999, pp. 173-174. 30. ^ Robert M. Bowman Jr, Understanding Jehovah's Witnesses, (Grand Rapids MI: Baker Book House, 1992); Ankerberg, John and John Weldon, 2003, The New World Translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses, accessible from this site, which quotes a number of scholars regarding theological bias of the New World Translation; Samuel Hass stated: "While this work indicates a great deal of effort and thought as well as considerable scholarship, it is to be regretted that religious bias was allowed to colour many passages." Journal of Biblical Literature, December 1955, p. 283 31. ^ Alan S. Duthie stated that the "Jehovah's Witnesses' NWT, which is certainly not 'filled with the heretical doctrines' ...even though a few aberrations can be found. ...Some have to condemn out of hand any version

made by Jehovah's Witnesses...because they must be full of heresies...It is true that there are some heretical doctrines to be found in NWT (eg. the incoherent polytheism in Jn.1:1,... but the percentage of the whole Bible thus affected... does not reach even 0.1% of the whole, which is very far from 'full'. How To Choose Your Bible Wisely, Alan S. Duthie. pp. 30, 216. Jason BeDuhn stated "While it is difficult to quantify this sort of analysis, it can be said the NW[T] emerges as the most accurate of the translations compared." Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament, 2004 p.163; J. D Phillips stated, "You have done a marvelous work..."; Allen Wikgren referred to it as "Independent reading of merit"; Benjamin Kedar , " I find my feeling repeatedly confirmed that [the OT] reflects an honest endeavor to achieve an understanding of the text that is as accurate as possible....Giving evidence of a broad command of the original language ... I have never discovered in the New World Translation any biased intent to read something into the text that it does not contain."; S. Maclean Gilmore, "The New Testament edition was made by a committee....that possessed an unusual competence in Greek." The Andover Newton Quarterly, September 1966 Vol. 7, #1 p. 25,26; C. Houtman , in discussing translator bias stated "the [NWT] of the Jehovah's Witnesses can survive the scrutiny of criticism" Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift #38 1984 p.279-280; William Carey Taylor stated the NT of the NWT contains "considerable scholarship" The New Bible Pro and Con, 1955 p.75; Edgar Goodspeed, Robert M. McCoy, Steven T. Byington, Alexander Thompson, James Parkinson, and Thomas N. Winter also give favorable mention of the NWT. 32. ^ http://www.watchtower.org/bible/ "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." 33. ^ "[Some] translations use such words as "a god", "divine" or "godlike" because the Greek word theos is a singular predicate noun occurring before the verb and is not preceded by the definite article. This is an anarthrous theos. The God with whom the Word, or Logos, was originally is designated here by the Greek expression ο θεος, that is, theos preceded by the definite article ho. This is an articular theos. Careful translators recognize that the articular construction of the noun points to an identity, a personality, whereas a singular anarthrous predicate noun preceding the verb points to a quality

about someone. Therefore, John's statement that the Word or Logos was "a god" or "divine" or "godlike" does not mean that he was the God with whom he was. It merely expresses a certain quality about the Word, or Logos, but it does not identify him as one and the same as God himself." -"New World Translation-With References", 6A pg. 1579. 34. ^ "At John 1:1 the New World Translation reads: "The Word was a god". In many translations this expression simply reads: "The Word was God" and is used to support the Trinity doctrine. Not surprisingly, Trinitarians dislike the rendering in the New World Translation. But John 1:1 was not falsified in order to prove that Jesus is not Almighty God. Jehovah's Witnesses, among many others, had challenged the capitalizing of "god" long before the appearance of the New World Translation, which endeavors accurately to render the original language. Five German Bible translators likewise use the term "a god" in that verse. At least 13 others have used expressions such as "of divine kind" or "godlike kind". These renderings agree with other parts of the Bible to show that, yes, Jesus in heaven is a god in the sense of being divine. But Jehovah and Jesus are not the same being, the same God.— John 14:28; 20:17." Watchtower, 1991 March 1 pg. 28. 35. ^ Murray J. Harris: "from the point of view of grammar alone, [it] could be rendered 'the Word was a god'..." Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus 1992 p.60; C.H. Dodd: "As a word-for-word translation ['the Word was a God'] cannot be faulted..." New Testament Translation Problems II BT 28, 1977, p.101-2; Jason BeDuhn: "A lexical ("interlinear") translation of the controversial clause would read: 'And a god was the Word.' A minimal literal ("formal equivalence") translation would rearrange the word order to match proper English expression: "And the Word was a god". The preponderance of evidence, from Greek grammar, from literary context, and from cultural environment, supports this translation" Truth in Translation 2004, p. 132, 36. ^ C.H. Dodd: "The reason why [the Word was a god] is unacceptable is that it runs counter to the current of Johannine thought, and indeed of Christian thought as a whole." Technical Papers for The Bible Translator, Vol 28, No. 1, January 1977; Jason BeDuhn: "The NWT translation of John 1:1 is superior to that of the other eight translation we are comparing. I do not think it is the best possible translation for a modern English reader; but at least it

breaks with the KJV tradition followed by all the others, and it does so in the right direction by paying attention to how Greek grammar and syntax actually work." ibid, p. 133 37. ^ "United in Worship of The Only True God" chap. 2 p. 17 par. 11 "If someone feels that it is wrong to use the indefinite article when translating John 1:1, would he also want it left out at Acts 28:6 according to the King James Version and others?" 38. ^ Awake! 4/22/05 p. 9 “Bible verses that in the Greek language have a construction similar to that of John 1:1 use the expression “a god.” For example, when referring to Herod Agrippa I, the crowds shouted: ‘It is a god speaking.’ And when Paul survived a bite by a poisonous snake, the people said: “He is a god.” (Acts 12:22; 28:3-6)" 39. ^ Watchtower 12/15/63 p. 763 "Among the various other ways in which the New World Translation honors God is by keeping clear from trinitarian bias. That is why it renders the controversial phrase of John 1:1, “The Word was a god,” even as other translations put in the article “a” in rendering a like passage at Acts 28:6, namely, “He is a god.” (New English Bible)" 40. ^ "and godlike sort was the Logos." Das Evangelium nach Johannes, 1978, Johannes Schneider. 41. ^ Examples include Mantey, Julius, Depth Exploration in the New Testament (NY: Vantage Press, 1980): "The apostle John, in the context of the introduction to his Gospel, is pulling all the stops out of language to portray not only the deity of Christ, but also his equality with the Father. He states that the Word was in the beginning, that He was with God, that He was God..."; Metzger, Bruce M., "Jehovah's Witnesses and Jesus Christ", Theology Today (April, 1953), p. 75: "As a matter of solid fact, however, such a rendering [the Word was a god] is a frightful mistranslation. It overlooks entirely an established rule of Greek grammar which necessitates the rendering, "…and the Word was God"."; Ankerberg, John & Weldon, John, Jehovah's Witnesses and John 1:1 (Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, 2005); Bruce, F.F. "Much is made by Arian amateur grammarians of the omission of the definite article with 'God' in the phrase 'And the Word was God.' Such an omission is common with nouns in a predicative construction...'a god' would be totally indefensible." See this page or this page for a more complete listing.

42. ^ "a frightful mistranslation" - Bruce M. Metzger; "monstrous" - Samuel J. Mikolaski; "intellectually dishonest" - William Barclay; "totally indefensible" F. F. Bruce; "an abysmal ignorance..." - Paul L. Kaufman. See this page for a more complete listing. 43. ^ For a comparative table see [1] 44. ^ Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, pg. 523-524 45. ^ "How Can Blood Save Your Life?" (1990). Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania 46. ^ "Be guided by the Living God" (Jun. 15, 2004). The Watchtower 47. ^ "Questions from readers: Do Jehovah's Witnesses accept any minor fractions of blood?" (Jun. 15, 2000). The Watchtower 48. ^ Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood 49. ^ The Watchtower November 1, 1961 p. 669 Questions From Readers 50. ^ What Does The Bible Really Teach? 2005 P.128 51. ^ [2] [3] 52. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses, Blood Transfusions and the Tort of Misrepresentation, Journal of Church and State Vol 47, Autumn 2005 p. 815 53. ^ Franz, Raymond. "In Search of Christian Freedom" - Chapter Nine. Atlanta: Commentary Press, 1991. ISBN 0-914675-16-8. p.732. 54. ^ Awake! August 2006 box on P. 11 55. ^ Jackson, K. & Nazar, A. "Breastfeeding, the Immune Response and Longterm Health", Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 106(4), 2006. Available online. 56. ^ Franz, Raymond. "In Search of Christian Freedom" - Chapter Nine. Atlanta: Commentary Press, 1991. Pbk. ISBN 0-914675-16-8. pp.732. 57. ^ Ivanhoe's Medical Breakthroughs - When Religion and Medicine Collide 58. ^ http://www.watchtower.org/library/hb/index.htm?article=article_07.htm 59. ^ The Watchtower (Feb. 1, 1997) p30 60. ^ Penton, James (1997). Apocalypse Delayed. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3 61. ^ United States Congress (1943). Declaring Certain Papers, Pamphlets, Books, Pictures and Writings Nonmailable. Hearings Before a Subcommittee. 62. ^ Penton, James (1997). Apocalypse Delayed. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3

63. ^ http://www.catholicleague.org/1998report/miscellaneous1998.htm 64. ^ The Watchtower, 1 September, 1989 p. 19 65. ^ Watchtower, April 1,1914:110 66. ^ The Golden Age, July 24, 1929: 702 67. ^ Watchtower, April 1, 1914:110 68. ^ Zion's Watch Tower, February 15, 1904: 52-53 69. ^ Zion's Watch Tower, July 15, 1902:216 70. ^ e.g., Watters, Randall (2004) Thus Saith Jehovah's Witnesses, Common Sense Publications; Gruss, Edmond (2001) Jehovah's Witnesses: Their Claims, Doctrinal Changes, and Prophetic Speculation. What Does the Record Show?, Xulon Press; Reed, David A. (1990) Index of Watchtower Errors, 1879 to 1989, Baker Books 71. ^ e.g., The Watchtower Information Service; Quotes-Watchtower.co.uk; Reexamine.Quotes. See also [4] 72. ^ See this page for a more complete listing 73. ^ Russell, C.T, The Time is At Hand, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc., 1907 p. 101 74. ^ Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 7, 1917, p. 485. 75. ^ Watchtower, May 15, 1922; Sep. 1, 1922; Apr. 1, 1923; Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1925, p. 110 76. ^ Face the Facts, 1938, pp. 46-50 77. ^ Watchtower, Sep. 15, 1941, p. 288 78. ^ Watchtower, May 1, 1942, p. 139 79. ^ Awake!, May 22, 1969, p. 15 80. ^ The Approaching Peace of a Thousand Years (1969) (Watchtower publication) Available online; see also [5] 81. ^ See, for example, Awake!, Oct. 8, 1966, pp. 19-20; Watchtower, Oct. 15, 1966, pp. 628-631; May 1, 1967 p. 262; May 1, 1968, p. 271; Aug. 15, 1968, p. 494; Oct. 15, 1974, p. 635; May 1, 1975, p. 285. See this page (starting about half-way down the page, beginning with "How Much Longer Will It Be?") for full quotes. 82. ^ Watchtower, Mar 1, 1984, pp. 18-19 83. ^ United...worship book 84. ^ The Watchtower, August 15, 1996

85. ^ Waldeck, Val Jehovah's Witnesses: What do they believe?. Pilgrim Publications SA. ISBN 1-920092-08-0; Buttrey, John M (2004). Let No One Mislead You. iUniverse. ISBN 0-595-30710-8; see also some of the books referenced at the start of this section, and the end of the article. 86. ^ "This "prophet" was not one man, but was a body of men and women… Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian witnesses… Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a "prophet" of God. It is another to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record. What does it show?" The Watchtower, 'They Shall Know that a Prophet Was Among Them', Apr. 1, 1972, p.197 87. ^ "Whom has God actually used as his prophet?... Jehovah's witnesses are deeply grateful today that the plain facts show that God has been pleased to use them. ... It has been because Jehovah thrust out his hand of power and touched their lips and put his words in their mouths..." The Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1959, pp.39-41 88. ^ From Awake! Magazine: True, there have been those in times past who predicted an 'end to the world,' even announcing a specific date. Some have gathered groups of people with them and fled to the hills or withdrawn into their houses waiting for the end. Yet, nothing happened. The 'end' did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing? Missing was the full measure of evidence required in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. missing from such people were God's truths and the evidence that he was guiding and using them. (Awake!, Oct. 8, 1968, p. 23, emphasis added) 89. ^ Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence January 1908 "Views From the Watchtower" 90. ^ The Watchtower Jan. 1883, p. 425 91. ^ Watchtower, May 15, 1976, p. 297; Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, p. 136 92. ^ Awake! Mar. 22, 1993, pp. 3-4 93. ^ The Watchtower, 15 January, 1892, page 1355 94. ^ The Watchtower, 1 January, 1924, p 5 95. ^ The Watchtower, 15 January, 1993, page 5 96. ^ The Watchtower, 15 July, 1894, page 1677

97. ^ Watchtower, Sep. 1, 1954, p. 529; Oct. 1, 1967, p. 587; Dec. 1, 1981, p.27; Feb 15, 1981, p.19 98. ^ Ephesians 4:13 The Watchtower, Aug 1, 2001 p. 13 99. ^ Watchtower, Aug. 1, 2001 100. 101. ^ Qualified, 1955, p. 156 ^ e.g., 1902: The Book of Ruth is not prophetic. (Watchtower Reprints

IV, p. 3110, Nov 15, 1902); 1932: The Book of Ruth is prophetic. (Preservation, 1932, pp. 169, 175, 176) 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 109. 110. 111. 112. 113. 114. 115. 116. 117. ^ e.g., 1917: Apollyon is Satan (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 7, 1917) ^ See this page ^ See this page ^ See this site ^ See this site ^ Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1919; also Watchtower, May 15, 1933, pp. 154^ Watchtower, Nov. 1, 1956, p. 666; Watchtower, Jun. 1, 1955, p. 333 ^ Watchtower, Jul. 1, 1973, p. 402 ^ CESNUR ^ Worship the Only True God chap. 5 p . 43 par. 4 Freedom Enjoyed ^ The Watchtower June 1 p. 11 par. 7 A Free People but Accountable ^ Watchtower, Sep. 1, 1954, p. 529; Oct. 1, 1967, p. 587; Dec. 1, ^ Expert Opinion, S. I. Ivanenko, p. 10 Golovinsky Intermunicipal ^ Sworn Expert Opinion, prepared by Professor James Beckford, ^ Encyclopedia of religion ed. Eliade M, New York Macmillan, 1987 ^ Matthew 18:17, "The local court was situated at the gate of a city. 1969: Apollyon is Jesus (Then Is Finished the Mystery of God, p. 232)

155; Jul. 15, 1960, pp. 438-439; Our Kingdom Ministry, Sep. 2002, p. 8

by Worshipers of Jehovah

1981, p.27; Feb 15, 1981, p.19 Court. Link to full Rebuttal JW-MEDIA University of Warwick, Coventry, England, November 1998, p. 2

(De 16:18; 21:19; 22:15, 24; 25:7; Ru 4:1) By "gate" is meant the open space inside the city near the gate... as most persons would go in and out of the gate during the day. Also, the publicity that would be afforded any trial at the

gate would tend to influence the judges toward care and justice in the trial proceedings and in their decisions. (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol 1, p. 518) 118. ^ In Search Of Christian Freedom by Raymond Franz, 2002, and In Search of Christian Freedom, pp.374–390 'The Misuse of Disfellowshipping', by Raymond Franz 119. 120. 121. 122. 123. 124. 125. 126. ^ Robinson, B.A (2005). "Jehovah's Witnesses (WTS) Handling of ^ Tubbs, Sharon (Aug. 22, 2002), "Spiritual shunning", St. Petersburg ^ "Another Church Sex Scandal" (Apr. 29, 2003). CBS News. ^ Cutrer, Corrie (Mar. 5, 2001). "Witness Leaders Accused of ^ "Jehovah's Witnesses and Child Protection" (2003). Jehovah's ^ The Watchtower, February 1, 1956, pp. 76-85 ^ The Watchtower, August 1, 1957, p. 285 ^ Bergman J, Lying in Court and Religion: An Analysis of the Child Sexual Abuse Cases", Religious Tolerance.org Retrieved Mar 3, 2006. Times.

Shielding Molesters", Christianity Today. Witnesses Office of Public Information.

Theocratic Warfare Doctrine of the Jehovah's Witnesses, Cultic Studies and Review: An Internet Journal of Research, News and Opinion, 2002, Vol. 1, No. 2 127. ^ "apostates have stopped feeding at Jehovah's table"; "To what have the apostates returned? In many cases, they have reentered the darkness of Christendom and its doctrines, such as the belief that all Christians go to heaven. Moreover, most no longer take a firm Scriptural stand regarding blood, neutrality, and the need to witness about God's Kingdom.", The Watchtower, 1 July 1994, pp.10-12; also Reasoning from the Scriptures, p.36 128. 129. 130. Lifton 131. 132. ^ Cameron, Don (2005). Captives of a Concept pg 112-113. ISBN 1^ Bethel catalogue 2000 Jehovah's Witnesses For example: The 4116-2210-3 Chaos of Cults by VanBaalen, Jan Karel and God is a Millionaire by Mathison, Richard ^ May 1 2000 Watchtower p.10. ^ The Watchtower May 1, 2000 p.10 par. 10 ^ http://www.freeminds.org/psych/lifton2.htm David Grossoehme on

133.

^ The Watchtower, February 1, 1967, pp. 75-76. Article entitled

"Fruitful Christians Manifest Godly Contentment", subheading "Do Spiritual Interests Come First in Your Life?" 134. 135. 136. 137. 138. 139. 140. ^ The Watchtower, March 15, 1969, Article on pages 168-173 titled ^ Awake! magazine, November 22, 1990, article on pages 25-27 titled ^ Watchtower,November 1, 1992, pp. 16-20. ^ "No Calamity Will Befall Us" (Subheading). (Nov. 15, 2001). The ^ "Let the Reader Use Discernment", (Subheading "A Modern-Day ^ "A World Without War-When?" Oct.1, 1991, pp.5 The Watchtower ^ The Watchtower, 1 June, 1997, p. 17 par. 15: "In the first place, what "What Influences Decisions in Your Life?". Quote is from p. 171. "Will An After-school Job Help Me Grow Up?" Quote is from p. 27.

Watchtower, p.19 'Disgusting Thing'"). (May 1, 1999). The Watchtower, p 14

lies ahead for the world's false religions that have so often been extremely friendly with the UN? They are the offspring of one idolatrous fountainhead, ancient Babylon. Appropriately, they are described at Revelation 17:5 as "Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth". Jeremiah described the doom of this hypocritical conglomerate. Harlotlike, they have seduced earth's politicians, flattering the UN and forming illicit relations with its member political powers." 141. 142. 143. 144. ^ Bates, Stephen (Oct. 8, 2001) "Jehovah's Witnesses link to UN ^ Bates, Stephen (Oct. 15, 2001) "'Hypocrite' Jehovah's Witnesses ^ Letter to Editor - The Guardian" (Oct. 22, 2001) Office of Pulic ^ Letter from United Nations DPI/NGO Resource Centre queried", The Guardian abandon secret link with UN", The Guardian Information

Books Critical of Jehovah's Witnesses
Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses' by M. James Penton. Penton, who is a former Jehovah's Witness and a professor emeritus of history at University of Lethbridge, examines the history of

Jehovah's Witnesses, and their doctrines. Read selections from: Apocalypse Delayed: the Story of Jehovah's Witnesses University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3 (Canada, 1998) (Google book search) Wolves Among Sheep by James Kostelniuk. Harpercollins Trade Sales Dept, ISBN-13: 978-0006391074 The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses by Heather and Gary Botting. Both authors were raised Jehovah's Witnesses and are trained scholars. In fact, the book is based on a doctoral dissertation by Heather Botting. Read selections from: The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses (Google book search) University of Toronto Press, ISBN-13: 9780802065452 The Truth Book: Escaping a Childhood of Abuse Among Jehovah's Witnesses by Joy Castro, adopted as a baby and raised by a devout Jehovah's Witness family. Read selections from: The Truth Book: Escaping a Childhood of Abuse Among Jehovah's Witnesses (Google book search) Published 2005 Arcade Publishing, ISBN 1559707879 Crisis of Conscience by Raymond Franz, a former Jehovah's Witness who was a member of the Governing Body of the Watch Tower Society for nine years. This book gives a detailed account of the authority structure, practices, doctrines and decision-making practices Franz experienced while serving on the Governing Body. Sample chapters online: 1, 9, 10, 11, 12. Publisher: Commentary Press. 420 pages. Hardback ISBN 0914675-24-9. Paperback ISBN 0-914675-23-0. 4th edition (June 2002) The Gentile Times Reconsidered: Chronology & Christ's Return by Carl O. Jonsson. Jonsson considers the origin of the belief that the Gentile Times began in 607 B.C. and examines several lines of evidence and the methodology for deriving it. ISBN 0-914675-06-0 Publisher: Commentary Press (July, 1998, Fourth edition 2004) Jehovah's Witnesses Defended by Greg Stafford. The author considers himself one of Jehovah's Witnesses but has renounced affiliation with the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. This book reviews and thoroughly explores the most common, and/or prevalent, criticisms made about Jehovah's Witnesses and the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. http://elihubooks.com/books/

I Was Raised a Jehovah’s Witness by Joe Hewitt. Hewitt gives a frank and compelling account of his life as a Jehovah’s Witness and his subsequent persecution and excommunication after he decided to leave the Jehovah’s Witness movement. Read selections from: I Was Raised a Jehovah's Witness (Google book search) Published 1997, Kregel Publications, ISBN:0825428769

   

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