Because of some similarities with the Christian religion, many people are often confused about what the Jehovah’s Witnesses stand for. Even though they share the same passionate criticism when it comes to the theory of evolution and common concerns about religious apostasy with Christians, it is necessary to mention that these two doctrines differ significantly on the important doctrines. Let’s explore some of the most shocking beliefs associated with what some might dub a very dangerous cult.
1. The “disfellowship”
In the eventuality that a member commits a sin that the Watch Tower society perceives as serious or if a person stops believing in the authority and teachings of JW blindly, the punishment is excommunication. The disfellowshipping of a member usually has severe emotional impact on the individual, especially since members are required not to associate with such a person. In fact, according to the society’s teaching even a simple “Hi’ is forbidden because it can lead to a conversation and even – god forbid – a friendship.
2. Jehovah’s Witnesses hold the most accurate translation of the Bible
Unlike the Catholic Church that pretends it is infallible, Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders are renowned for constantly changing their beliefs and policies. The explanation for this rather strange behavior is that it is perfectly normal for their knowledge to be imperfect and that the Governing Body is allowed to make mistakes. However, as Armageddon draws near they will be able to presents more accurate information.
3. Jesus has returned since 1914
The JW’s publications teach the heavenly kingdom has been literarily formed in 1914 and since that date Jesus has been ruling along with the anointed ones. In addition, the main role of the kingdom is to make sure that God’s original purposes can be accomplished here on Earth. In short, God’s Messianic Kingdom is a new paradise where sin, crime, sickness and poverty have no place.
4. Jesus was in fact Michael the Archangel
Michael the Archangel is the only real creation of God – “the Word” – while the rest of the universe represents an indirect creation built under Jehovah’s guidelines. In addition, because their scriptures say that Jesus came to Earth with a seraph voice and Michael was the only archangel mentioned in the Bible (except Gabriel), witnesses believe that Jesus was in fact Michael prior to his first coming.
5. Only the anointed will go to Heaven
Because the Governing Body tends to interpret the Holy Scriptures word for word, a further shocking JW belief is that only a bundle of faithful and true believers will end up in heaven and rule alongside with Christ. To be more precise, the witnesses talk about 144,000 true Christians, the number indicated by God in the Book of Revelations. Even though the anointed or the “born again” are part of a very exclusive group, it is necessary to mention that they do not benefit from any preferential treatment in the society. However, they are the only ones allowed to partake in a yearly ceremony where they feast on unleavened bread and wine.
6. Blood transfusions are forbidden
In case a member needs a blood transfusion or else he could die, the witnesses are very strict regarding this medical procedure. This absurd doctrine was introduced in 1945 and it is based on scriptures that are not accepted by mainstream Christianity. To summarize, blood is perceived as a sacred gift from God and its sole purpose after being removed from a creature is to amend sins. Even thought they will immediately “disfellow” a member who dares undergo procedures involving the transfusion of red cells, white cells, blood plasma and platelets, witnesses are permitted to use fractions such as hemophiliac, albumin or immune globulins.
7. Only members of Jehovah’s Witnesses are truly saved
For Christians, the idea of salvation implies reaching a state of spiritual distinction that will determine a positive judgment and going to Heaven. On the other hand, witnesses teach that in order for a person to obtain salvation he/she will need the direct intervention and mediation of Jesus Christ. In addition, no one can be saved without dying and being born again in the kingdom currently ruled by Jesus.
8. Governments and other churches are tools of Satan
Witnesses do not believe Satan lives in Hell or that he spends most of his time torturing the sinners. Instead they teach that Satan and his horde of demons have descended down to Earth in 1914 in order to fulfill the will of God and cast humanity into its “last days”. The influence of the devil is widespread and demons are appointed to influence individuals and organizations to perform wrongdoings and contribute to the overall human suffering. Because Jehovah’s Witnesses is the only true religion, anyone not part of this society is just another cog in Satan’s scheme. Moreover, governments are the preferred tool of the devil and this is why members are forbidden to get involved in any political action.
9. Jesus died on an upright stake and not the cross
Even though they have used the cross and crown symbol on tombstone until the 1930s, since 1936 witnesses have rejected the idea that Jesus died on the cross. At a “closer examination” of the translation of the scriptures, the leaders of the society concluded that the Greek word “stauros” actually refers to a single upright stake and not the cross. After elucidating this mystery, the JW organization has deemed the cross as a pagan symbol or an item associated with demon worshipping.
10. Holidays and birthdays are pagan rituals
Since Jesus didn’t celebrate his birthday, nor did he asked his supporters to do so, witnesses decided to follow in their role-model’s footsteps and have declared holidays of pagan origins. In addition, the Watch Tower society claims that birthdays used to be celebrated in ancient pagan religions for the purpose of honoring a certain god or a specific sign of the zodiac. Similar to those ancient times, modern holidays and birthdays are celebrated in the same manner, meaning with gatherings, gifts, cake, candles, music and dancing. Overall, this is nothing more than a literal interpretation of the “thou shall not worship false gods” commandment.