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Jehovah's Witnesses


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The popular name since 1931 for the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society which traces its origins to the Adventist teaching of C. T. Russell (q.v.). His main claim was that Jesus Christ had returned invisibly to earth in 1874 to prepare for the Kingdom of God which was expected to materialize in 1914. His successor, J. F. Rutherford, turned his followers into a ‘theocratic’ organization, demanding from its members exclusive commitment and indifference to the world. His criticism of political ideologies led to clashes with governments. The most visible symbols of the Jehovah's Witnesses are their Kingdom Halls, their door-to-door ministry, and the public sale of their magazines The Watchtower and Awake! They are also distinctive in their taboo against blood transfusions, their own translations of the Bible, and their refusal to honour symbols of nationhood. They have about 6 million members.

Subjects: Religion.


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