Culutural Anthropology (ANT 5)
Jehovah’s Witnesses: True Religion or Cult
Jehovah's Witnesses is a set of beliefs and traditions, that it should be considered a religion. Sometimes the beliefs that Witnesses hold dear to them puts them at odds with mainstream society. While millions around the world practice the religion of being a Jehovah's Witness, is this a true religion or a cult.
I believe a religion is a set of stories, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural quality. In a sense, Jehovah's Witnesses are indeed a part of a particular religion, and from an objective and understanding standpoint, it should be considered as is. They have their own beliefs and traditions, rituals and prayers that really distinguish them from other religions, hence making them their own religion.
Charles Taze Russell who officially founded Jehovah’s Witnesses, also known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in 1884. Jehovah Witness leadership claims its members by asserting itself to be the sole Christian religion and authority on the earth today, as well as God's mouthpiece or prophet. They are encouraged to go door to door sharing their beliefs of the religion and inviting potential new members to come and fellowship with them. Growing up this action would always annoy me, because it seemed like they were pushing a particular religion on people. But that no different from the Christian missionaries when you think about it.
Jehovah’s Witnesses has a set of different beliefs and traditions than what is normally taught in other Christian religions. My step-father grew up following the Witness religion, his family still practices but he has converted to Christianity. “Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in the Trinity, they also do not believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. They add the word "other" four times to Colossians 1:16, 17, teaching that Christ was God's first creation, i.e., the reincarnation of Michael the archangel created by Jehovah, rather than the Creator.” says Rodney Kirkland, when asked what makes Jehovah’s Witness religion different from Christianity. I decided to call my step-father because he knew a lot about the religion, but he could be unbiased.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jehovah transferred the life force and the personality pattern of his first-born heavenly son, Michael, to the womb of Mary. God's own active force, his holy spirit, safeguarded the development of the child in Mary's womb so that what was born was a “perfect human". “Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to spend five hours a week doing door-to-door visitation and are responsible for selling twelve subscriptions to The Watchtower magazine each month, and are responsible for conducting a Bible study each month in the homes of the people they convert. I hated this growing up, like it something a kid shouldn’t have to be apart of.” says Kirkland.
According to Jehovah’s Witnesses’ theology, a person has one of three possible destinies. The Anointed will be in heaven to reign with Jehovah God. The rest of the faithful Jehovah's Witnesses will live forever on a paradise Earth. They believe Jehovah God will destroy those people who are not members of the Watchtower organization. Hearing things like that it sounds like something out of Harry Potter. There is no concept of eternal punishment or hell in Watchtower theology. They also believe that men will have a second chance, after death, to be saved. That’s kind of sexiest if you ask me, but that typical is most religion. Women are rarely on the same level as men.
Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the immortality of the soul. They do not believe the soul can exist apart from the body, but that a corpse remains in an unconscious state in the grave waiting for the resurrection. They claim that "hell" is the grave. Jehovah’s Witnesses will not accept blood for any reason. This raises a lot of eye brows in the medical world, because sometimes this...