I just got back from a wedding in London, Ontario, one of the best weddings I’ve ever attended.
My wife’s uncle and aunt are Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is a fundamentalist religious sect of the Christian faith. You’ve probably been approached at your doorstep by “Witnesses” issuing their magazines “The Watchtower” and “Awake!”. Door-to-door preaching is just a part of their way of life and how they live.
The sect has been very misunderstood faith by many over the years. But by attending my cousin’s wedding, I was able to take a look at some of their customs and beliefs.
Overall, Jehovah’s Witnesses are just like any other religion in the world. But there are some very distinct changes that are very controversial, particularly with Christian doctrine.
Among their beliefs, they include not celebrating holidays, such as Christmas, New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day or even birthdays. They’re not celebrated because they believe that these continue to involve “false religious beliefs or activities”.
However, Witnesses do commemorate Jesus Christ’s death as a ransom or “propitiatory sacrifice” by observing “The Lord’s Evening Meal”, or Memorial. They celebrate it once each year, noting that it was instituted on the Passover, an annual festival. They observe it on Nisan 14 according to the ancient Jewish lunisolar calendar. Witnesses are taught that this is the only celebration the Bible commands Christians to observe.
The sect also rejects Trinity, or the “Father”, “Son” and “Holy Spirit”. They view God as the Father, an invisible spirit “person”, and therefore separate from the Son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is described as God’s active force, rather than the third person of the Trinity. Witnesses teach that God must be distinguished by his personal name – Jehovah, as it was rendered in the King James Version.
“Witnesses” are also not to participate in government activities, such as voting in elections or holding public office, participating in military service. This includes working for industries associated with the military. They do not salute or pledge allegiance to flags or sing national anthems and patriotic songs. Witnesses believe their highest allegiance belongs to God’s Kingdom, which is viewed as an actual government in heaven. They also are not to accept blood transfusions. “Witnesses” believe that the Bible prohibits this based on their interpretation of Acts 15:28-29.
I just listed information that I found very significant about the sect. There are many other beliefs and practices the Jehovah’s Witnesses follows. For more information, go to their public information website at jw-media.org.
My political activism and social independence would preclude me from being a part of a group such as this. I don’t agree with not being involved in the world you live in. It’s too important not to get involved, especially with all the problems the world faces. There are other issues I have a problem with, as well.
But despite this, I was able to have a better understanding about the group. Witnesses made my family feel welcome at the wedding. We were, in turn, were very respectful of their customs and didn’t interfere with anything out of the ordinary.
It made for a memorable weekend!
Famous Jehovah’s Witnesses reads like a Who’s Who in entertainment.
Venus Williams and Serena Williams
Lark Voorhies (Lisa on Saved by the Bell)
Former Jehovah’s Witnesses
The Wayans Brothers
Geri Hallwell (Ginger Spice)
1. ^ Awake! 7/8/04 p. 30 “Christians refrain from any celebrations or customs that continue to involve false religious beliefs or activities that violate Bible principles. For example, the Bible definitely puts birthday celebrations in a bad light”
2. ^ Questions From Readers, The Watchtower, November 15, 1960, p. 704.
3. ^ Questions From Readers, The Watchtower, October 15, 1998, p. 30.
4. ^ Reasoning From The Scriptures, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, p. 265.
5. ^ Insight On The Scriptures, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1988, p. 392.
6. ^ Should You Believe in the Trinity?, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, pages 14, 20.
7. ^ Education, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2002, pp. 20-23