Source – Wikipedia
Jehovah’s Witnesses is a millenialist restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The organization reports worldwide membership of over 7.65 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual Memorial attendance of over 19.3 million. They are directed by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a group of elders in Brooklyn, New York, that establishes all doctrines. Jehovah’s Witnesses’ beliefs are based on their interpretations of the Bible and they prefer to use their own translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. They believe that the destruction of the present world system at Armageddon is imminent, and that the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth is the only solution for all problems faced by humankind.
The group emerged from the Bible Student movement—founded in the late 1870s by Charles Taze Russell with the formation of Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society—with significant organizational and doctrinal changes under the leadership of Joseph Franklin Rutherford. The name Jehovah’s witnesses, based on Isaiah 43:10–12, was adopted in 1931 to distinguish themselves from other Bible Student groups and symbolize a break with the legacy of Russell’s traditions.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are best known for their door-to-door preaching, distributing literature such as The Watchtower and Awake!, and refusing military service and blood transfusions
Here is a little info on their members commitment levels within the organization.
Baptized publishers are members who have been publicly baptized following conversion to the faith. From the moment of baptism, the person is officially considered to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and an ordained minister.
Regular publisher do not have a specific quota of hours for preaching each month, although publishers are requested to “set goals such as reaching the national average of hours for publishers”. Publishers are typically each required to report at least one hour per month to be counted as a ‘regular publisher’. Publishers who fail to report for one month are termed “irregular”; those who do not report for six consecutive months are classed as “inactive”. The terms irregular and inactive are used to indicate members in need of ‘spiritual assistance’ from local congregation elders. Yearly reports of congregation activity are compiled and published annually in a Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Those habitually ‘irregular’ or ‘inactive’ are usually restricted from serving in any special capacity.
Baptized publishers in ‘good standing’ may serve in various special preaching capacities:
Auxiliary pioneers: make a commitment of fifty hours of preaching activities for a given month. This can be performed on a per month or ongoing basis.
Regular pioneers: make a commitment of an average of seventy hours of preaching activity each month, totaling 840 hours for the year. For congregation elders to recommend appointment of a regular pioneer, a publisher must be baptized for at least six months and be considered an exemplary member of the congregation. Members who have been reproved or reinstated in the last year may not serve as regular pioneers.
Special pioneers: assigned by a branch to perform special activity, such as preaching in remote areas, which may require at least 130 hours per month. Special pioneers receive a stipend for basic living expenses.
Missionaries: sent to foreign countries to preach. They spend at least 130 hours per month in preaching. Before assignment to a location, missionaries may receive training at Gilead School. Missionaries receive a stipend for basic living expenses
Critics have described the religion’s leadership as autocratic and totalitarian because of Watch Tower Society requirements for loyalty and obedience by Witnesses, intolerance of dissent about doctrines and practices, and the practice of expelling and shunning members who openly disagree with the religion’s teachings. Sociologist Andrew Holden says defectors “are seldom allowed a dignified exit. Not only is their disfellowshipping announced from the platform, they are also condemned as ‘mentally diseased’ or ‘apostates’.
The Watch Tower Society’s publications strongly discourage followers from questioning its doctrines and counsel, reasoning that the Society is to be trusted as “God’s organization”. It warns members to “avoid independent thinking”, claiming such thinking “was introduced by Satan the Devil” and would “cause division”. Critics charge that by disparaging individual decision-making, the Watch Tower Society cultivates a system of unquestioning obedience in which Witnesses abrogate all responsibility and rights over their personal lives.
Get more info at Wikipedia
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