Why Not Jehovahs Witnesses?

As with all other comparative religion sheets, the following information is not intended as a personal slight against individuals. It is simply a presentation that highlights the history and beliefs of the Witnesses of Jehovah (hereafter denoted as JW's).

JW's oppose blood transfusions, Christmas, alcohol, priests, the Pope, military service, Mother's Day and voting. Even the word 'Jehovah' is erroneous, grammatically impossible, and was never used by the Jews.

Charles T. Russell was the founder of the JW's. He was born in America in 1852. He was first a Congregationalist, then dabbled in Seventh Day Adventism, and finally set himself up as a prophet announcing the invisible Second Coming of Christ in 1874. Russell's wife divorced him for infidelity; and he made money by selling what he called "miracle wheat" at $60 a bushel to credulous farmers, the fraud being eventually stopped by the Federal authorities, who made him refund the money.

Charles Russell propagated his ideas in the 'Watch Tower'. JW's regard the 'Watch Tower' (WT) as God's reliable mouthpiece to the nations but its prophecies have repeatedly proven to be false. To name but 2 examples: in 1968 the WT prophesied that "the end of the 6 thousand years of man's history in the fall of 1975 is not tentative, but is accepted as a certain date." (WT Jan 1, p. 271); and as far back as 1891 JW's were prophesying that Christendom would have "passed away" by 1914 (Scripture Studies, Vol. 3, p. 153).

Besides false prophecies, the 'Watch Tower' has misled its members through false teaching and countless changes in doctrine and practice.

For example, as regards false teaching, the WT taught the following in 1902: " White people living in China eventually produce Chinese offspring - without intermarrying - due to the influence of soil and climate" (WT 15/7/02, p. 3043).

As regards changes in doctrine and practice:

- in 1880 "To worship Christ in any form cannot be wrong" (WT 3/1880, p. 83) but by 1964 "… it is unscriptural for worshippers of the living and true God to render worship to the Son of God, Jesus Christ" (WT 1/11/64 p. 671)

- military service being permissible in 1903 (WT 15/4/03. p. 3180) but being outlawed by 1951 (WT 1/2/51, p. 73)

- Christmas being celebrated by JW's in 1904 (WT 1/12/04, p. 3468) but being condemned by 1983 (WT 15/12/83, p. 7)

- displaying one's national flag is praiseworthy in 1917 (WT 15/5/17, p. 6068) but is idolatrous in 1971 (Awake 8/9/71, p. 14)

JW's deny the immortality of the soul. But this doctrine is proven false when we consider Christ's descent into Hades. In 1 Pet 3:19 the apostle tells his audience how Jesus 'preached to the spirits in prison'. If the dead were aware of nothing, then his preaching would have been futile.

JW's deny the existence of Hell. But, Jesus informs His listeners that Hell is: "where the maggot does not die, and fire is not put out" (Mark 9: 42-48), an "everlasting fire" (Matthew 18:8), where there is "weeping and the gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:12). If Hell were 'a place of rest in hope' as the 'Watch Tower' teaches, then it is odd that Jesus would choose such contradictory illustrations to convey this.

JW's claim that the anointed 144, 000 seen in Revelation 7 will enter Heaven, while the remainder that are not annihilated will live forever on Earth in paradise. However, the Bible poses some irreconcilable difficulties with this interpretation. If Rev 7 is to be taken literally, there would only be 144,000 Jewish male virgins taken from the Earth. This would mean that St Peter (not a virgin), the Virgin Mary (not a male), and Charles Taze Russell (not a Jew) could not be in Heaven. Further to this in Rev 14 the 144,000 stand before the 24 elders from Rev 4:4. This at least brings the grand total to 144,024 total people. But, the Bible indicates even more in Rev 7:9 where a countless multitude stands before the throne. The following verses all demonstrate that Christians go to Heaven, and do not remain on Earth: 2 Cor 5:1; Heb 3:1; Eph 2:6.

JW's claim that Jesus is the Archangel Michael. Even Jehovah's Witnesses will admit that if one were to ask any of the apostles who Jesus was, they would not say, "But of course, he's Michael the Archangel." The very idea was unheard of before Charles Taze Russell, and the Bible explicitly rejects the possibility of it. For example, Hebrews 1 says, "To which of the angels did God ever say, 'You are my son?' … Let all the angels of God worship him … to which of the angels has he ever said 'Sit at my right hand'." Also, Jesus forgives sin and gives eternal life, no angel has this capacity.

JW's claim that Jesus is not God. But John 1:1 states unequivocally, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This verse has been changed in the New World Translation (the JW bible) to, ' … and the word was a god.' All other Christians dispute this translation. All other Biblical Scripture scholars (with the exception of JW scripture scholars) dispute this translation of 'a god'. And there are Bible passages that clearly contradict this JW translation: Deut 32:39 'I alone am God and there are no gods together with me'; Is 43:10 'Before me no god was formed nor shall there be any after me'. However, JW's will offer other Scriptural passages that describe Jesus as subordinate to the Father, as a way of denying His divinity. But the Catholic response, in every case, is to say that as man, Jesus is inferior to the Father; as God, Jesus is perfectly equal to the Father. Jesus is subordinate to the Father only in His humanity. Jesus is equal to the Father in His divinity (Jn 1: 18; Jn 10: 30; Jn 14: 9; Col 2: 9; Heb 1: 6).

JW's deny the Holy Trinity and claim that the Holy Spirit is not God but an impersonal force. But the Bible flatly contradicts this view in Acts 13:2 where the Holy Spirit says, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' Also, in Acts 10:19-20, this so-called "impersonal force" considers himself to be a person. John 16 supports this idea by referring to the Holy Spirit as a 'He' 10 times in the same chapter.

The JW bible is unreliable. The New World Translation (NWT) was created between 1950 and 1961. It was made by a committee of persons who altered texts that were problematic for earlier JW's. For example, Col 1:15-17 has been changed in the NWT to 'by means of him all [other] things were created'. If this text were left in the original Greek, it would state 4 times that Jesus created all things. However, JW's cannot afford to say that anyone but 'Jehovah' created all things. The NWT is used by no other sect.

Whalen, Separated Brethren; catholicanswers.com; ewtn.com, FAITH FORUM Q+A; San Juan Catholic Seminars

* Please note that this text should be read in the context of the whole work and in recognition of the appropriate paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlighted in the index.