No celebrating of birthdays and many holidays
Common celebrations and religious or national holidays such as birthdays, Halloween, and Christmas are not celebrated because they believe that these continue to involve "false religious beliefs or activities." Watch Tower Society publications rule out the celebration of Mother’s Day because of a claimed link with pagan gods and concerns that giving "special honor and worship" to mothers is a form of "creature worship" that could turn people away from God. The Society also directs Witnesses to shun May Day, New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day celebrations because of their pagan origins.
Their opposition to birthdays is said to be based on how the Bible presents them. Watch Tower Society publications note that the only birthday celebrations explicitly mentioned in the Bible are those of an unnamed Pharaoh and Herod Antipas, and that both were associated with executions, and neither celebrant was a servant of God.
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions, even if it means death. However, more and more hospitals are now using bloodless techniques in surgery. Jehovah’s Witnesses opposed vaccinations and organ transplants in the past, but now leave it up to the individual Witness. (source)
Strict adherence to Watchtower dogma is expected
The religion makes no provision for members to criticize or contribute to official teachings and all Witnesses are expected to abide by the doctrines and organizational requirements as determined by the Governing Body. Watch Tower publications strongly discourage Witnesses from formulating doctrines and "private ideas" reached through independent Bible research. Members who promote privately-developed teachings contrary to those of the Governing Body may be expelled and shunned.
If you leave the Jehovah’s Witnesses, you are considered an apostate along with anyone else that is non-Jehovah’s Witness
Watch Tower publications assert that members of the religion are not compelled to remain part of the congregation. However, Jehovah’s Witness doctrines provide no method for baptized members to leave the religion on good terms. Any who do choose to depart and announce their decision to terminate their membership are regarded as abandoning God’s organization and protection and voluntarily entering the world of Satan, becoming part of the antichrist. Watch Tower publications define such individuals as being "more reprehensible than those in the world" and direct that they are to be shunned by other Witnesses, including close relatives, with no social or religious contact and no greeting given. Sociologist Andrew Holden claims his research indicated many Witnesses who would otherwise defect because of disillusionment with the organization and its teachings retain affiliation out of fear of being shunned and losing contact with friends and family members.
Watch Tower publications define apostasy as the abandonment of the worship and service of God by members of the Christian congregation, and equate it with rebellion against God. Apostate behaviour is said to include the rejection of biblical teachings or requirements, the rejection of Jehovah’s organization, association with or support for another religion and celebration of religious holidays.
Watch Tower literature says apostates are motivated by vitriolic bitterness and that their writings are poisonous, distorted and false, display the characteristics of "cunning, contrived error, prideful intelligence, lack of love and dishonesty" and are designed to undermine the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Watch Tower Society publications teach that Witnesses are engaged in a "spiritual, theocratic warfare" against false teachings and wicked spirit forces they say try to impede them in their preaching work.[101
Stay separate from non-Jehovah’s Witnesses, as mankind is ruled by Satan.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that it is vital to remain "separate from the world" in harmony with Jesus’ description of his followers at John 17:14-16. Watch Tower publications define the "world" as "the mass of mankind apart from Jehovah’s approved servants" and teach that it is ruled by Satan and a place of danger and moral contamination. Witnesses manifest their world-renouncing beliefs in many ways. They avoid involvement in social controversies, remain politically neutral, and do not seek public office
Association with non-Jehovah’s Witnesses is acceptable when viewed as an opportunity to preach and convert
Witnesses are urged to minimize their social contact with non-members because of perceived dangers of worldly association. Sociologist Andrew Holden indicated they are highly selective in choosing with whom they spend leisure time, generally choosing the company of other Witnesses. Many Witnesses interviewed by Holden reported tensions and ostracism at work because of their religious beliefs. He reported that many converts to the religion required some social adjustment as they gradually reduced contact with non-Witness friends. Association with those outside the organization, commonly termed by Witnesses as "worldly" and "not in the Truth", is acceptable only when it is viewed as an opportunity to preach and Witnesses are under considerable pressure from the Society to show outsiders they are people of high moral fiber. Holden claims that as a result, Witnesses working with "worldly" colleagues tend to closely adhere to Watch Tower teachings.
Higher education is discouraged
Jehovah’s Witnesses are instructed to make their preaching work the top priority in their life. Higher education is discouraged, based on their belief that it is futile to plan for secular advancement in a world that faces imminent destruction, as well as fears about succumbing to "worldly thinking" and concerns that advanced education might lead to a lack of humility. Because evangelistic activities take priority over educational success, young Witnesses rarely progress to college or university,which
can be a source of regret in subsequent years among those who are reared in the organization and later defect.
No Politics, No Military
Politics is not an important part of life, as Jehovah’s Witnesses believe government and mankind are controlled by Satan and will also be destroyed imminently. As a consequence, Jehovah’s Witnesses rarely vote, and they do not take part in anything that has to do with national politics, including the singing of the national anthem or saluting the flag. They refuse to participate in military service—even when it is compulsory.
Jesus has already returned, is not God and is not part of the Trinity
Christ’s Second Coming has actually happened. It was not a physical return to earth. It was an invisible event in 1914 in which Satan and Christ engaged in a heavenly battle. Afterwards, Christ began to the rule the Heavenly Kingdom as King of Kings. Satan was expelled to Earth. World War I was a visible sign of Satan’s ousting from Heaven and earthly imprisonment. This event marked the beginning of the woes that would accompany the "last days of this system of things."
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is God’s "only begotten" son, and that his life began in heaven. He is described as God’s first creation and the "exact representation of God", but is believed to be a separate entity and not part of a Trinity. Jesus is said to have been used by God in the creation of all other things.
End of the world is near
The current world era, or "system of things", is considered to be in its "last days", facing imminent destruction through intervention by God and Jesus Christ, leading to deliverance for those who worship God in truth. This judgment will begin with the destruction by the United Nations of false religion, which they identify as "Babylon the Great", or the "harlot", of Revelation 17. This will mark the beginning of the great tribulation. Satan will subsequently attack Jehovah’s Witnesses, an action that will prompt God to begin the war of Armageddon, during which all forms of government and all people not counted as Christ’s "sheep", or true followers, will be destroyed. After Armageddon, God will extend his heavenly kingdom to include earth, which will be transformed into a paradise similar to the Garden of Eden.
After Armageddon, most of those who had died prior to God’s intervention will gradually be resurrected to a "day of judgment" lasting for the thousand yearsreferred to in Revelation 20. This judgment will be based on their actions after resurrection, not on past deeds. At the end of the thousand years a final test will take place when Satan is released to mislead perfect mankind; Satan and any who fail the test will be destroyed, leaving a fully tested, perfect human race. Christ will then hand all authority back to God.
The Cross is pagan and considered an object of idol worship
Since 1936, Jehovah’s Witnesses have rejected the idea that Jesus died on a cross, and instead teach that he died on a single wooden stake (crux simplex), asserting that the Koiné Greek word σταυρος (stauros) refers to a single upright post. They consider the cross to be of pagan origins and an object of idol worship.
Witnesses teach that sometimes wicked angels (demons) pretend to be spirits of the dead, and that their deception is the basis for many beliefs about ghosts.
Married couples are encouraged to speak with local elders if they are having problems. Married couples can separate in the case of physical abuse and neglect, or if one partner attempts to hinder the other from being a Jehovah’s Witness.
- They have made numerous failed predictions
- They can be considered a cult.
Authors Anthony A. Hoekema, Ron Rhodes and Alan W. Gomes, claim Jehovah’s Witnesses is a religious cult. Hoekema bases his judgment on a range of what he describes as general characteristics of a cult, including the tendency to elevate peripheral teachings (such as door-to-door witnessing) to great prominence, extra-scriptural source of authority (Hoekema highlights Watch Tower teachings that the Bible may be understood only as it is interpreted by the Governing Body), a view of the group as the exclusive community of the saved (Watch Tower publications teach that Witnesses alone are God’s people and only they will survive Armageddon) and the group’s central role in eschatology (Hoekema says Witness publications claim the group was called into existence by God to fill in a gap in the truth neglected by existing churches, marking the climax of sacred history).
- They use of coercion and shunning
- Critics such as Silentlambs have accused Jehovah’s Witnesses of employing organizational policies that make the reporting of sexual abuse difficult for members. Some victims of sexual abuse have asserted that when reporting abuse they were ordered to maintain silence by their local elders to avoid embarrassment to both the accused and the organization.