To fully understand and comprehend "Who really are Jehovah's Witnesses?", or, "What kind of persons are Jehovah's Witnesses?", one must first have a basic understanding of the rather short history of the WatchTower Society. Simply take a few minutes to read this brief history summary, and you will understand exactly "who is" that Jehovah's Witness with whom you are interacting.
Jehovah's Witnesses originated in the 1870s -- in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jehovah's Witnesses are an offshoot sect from the "Second Adventist" religious movement -- which itself had originated in the 1830s. In the 1830s, a Baptist preacher in Vermont, named William Miller, began preaching that the "Second Advent" of Jesus Christ would occur sometime between Passover 1843 and Passover 1844. By 1843, there were hundreds of traveling lecturers who had joined William Miller in his "Millerite Movement". There may have been as many as 150,000 Americans who professed some degree of belief in Miller's end-time prediction. Nearly all were Protestants -- Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Christians/Disciples, etc. When the "Second Advent" did not occur by Passover 1844, a little known "Millerite" named Samuel Snow proposed a new, SPECIFIC DATE -- October 22, 1844 -- a DATE which William Miller did not personally endorse until the first week of October 1844.
Despite William Miller's lack of support, this new, SPECIFIC DATE was quickly accepted by most "Millerites" -- mainly due to the promotion of that prediction by a man named George Storrs. George Storrs was a Millerite lecturer whom William Miller actually did not like, because George Storrs was also promoting amongst the Millerites his own heretical teachings of "soul sleep" and "conditional immortality". Today's Jehovah's Witnesses, the Seventh Day Adventists, and the Advent Christian Church all received their "soul sleep" and "conditional immortality" doctrines from George Storrs. Interestingly, about a week prior to October 22, 1844, George Storrs attempted to promote nationwide the belief that the "Second Advent" would occur exactly at 3:00 A.M. on October 22, 1844 (an idea originated by one of George Storrs' fellow Philadelphia area Millerites). George Storrs proclaimed that all "true believers" should flee outside of every city and town before 3:00 A.M. on October 22, 1844, because GOD was going to destroy every city and town just as GOD had done to Sodom and Gomorrah. Decades later, in the 1870s, George Storrs became a mentor to Charles Taze Russell -- the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
After the failure of the October 22, 1844 prediction, 75% or so of Millerites returned to their local churches and orthodox beliefs. However, the more hard-core Millerites (also known as "Adventists", or "Second Adventists") continued to believe in the imminent Second Advent of Jesus Christ. Soon after the failed 1844 predictions, these "Millerites", or "Adventists", or "Second Adventists", gradually segmented themselves into separate Second Adventist groups -- primarily based on their "non-second advent" related beliefs -- the Seventh Day Adventists (who believed that Saturday was the true Sabbath); the Advent Christian Church (who did NOT believe in the Trinity, Hellfire, nor Immortal Soul doctrines); and the Evangelical Adventists (whose beliefs were orthodox Christian, except for believing in an imminent Second Advent). There also were some much, much smaller "Church of God" Second Adventist subgroups, from which Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God later developed. Various ones of these Second Adventist sects continued to predict Christ's Second Advent to occur for various dates in the latter 1840s, in the 1850s, in the 1860s, and in the 1870s.
In the 1860s, there was another spike of "Second Adventist Prophets" who set different dates for the Second Advent of Jesus Christ to occur anywhere from 1864 to 1868. After the failure of this latest flurry of "Second Adventist" predictions, and the negative public backlash from such, most Second Adventist leaders swore off the SETTING OF DATES, and simply preached that the Second Advent was "imminent", and would occur sometime in the very near future. However, there remained one lone Second Adventist preacher, named Nelson Barbour, who refused to give up on SETTING OF DATES. Nelson Barbour proclaimed 1873/4 as the newest and latest date for the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
Nelson Barbour's DATE-SETTING movement attracted roughly 15-20,000 bored Second Adventists who were unable to kick the "Date Prediction Addiction". One of Barbour's leading supporters was a Second Adventist preacher named Jonas Wendell, who pastored the Advent Christian Church in Allegheny (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania. It was around 1869 that a Pittsburgh teenager named Charles Taze Russell first went to hear Jonas Wendell preach that the Second Advent of Jesus Christ would occur in 1873/4.
After Nelson Barbour's predictions for 1873/4 failed, Barbour attempted to retain his followers (and more importantly - their financial support) by claiming that Jesus Christ had in fact already "returned" to the "vicinity of the earth" in October 1874, and that Christ was "present", but "invisible". Barbour claimed that the "Second Advent" was actually a 40 year long process, during which Christ was making necessary preparations for His "visible" return in October 1914. Since most Second Adventists were by then worn out from having been disappointed multiple times before, most Second Adventists left Nelson Barbour to his delusions.
However, in 1876, a now older Charles Taze Russell --- who between 1869 and 1875 had been tutored by George Stetson (who was an Advent Christian Church Evangelist and Pastor who chose fellow Second Adventist Charles Taze Russell to preach his funeral in 1879, which was attended by prominent ACC and other Second Adventists), and George Storrs (by then an "independent" Second Adventist due to his repeated failures within the SA community) --- placed his faith in Nelson Barbour's latest teachings to be "The Truth". Charles Taze Russell financially backed Nelson Barbour's stalled ministry, and became Assistant Editor of Nelson Barbour's Second Adventist magazine. Barbour, Russell, and a few other Nelson Barbour followers began preaching that the RAPTURE of the remaining living 144,000 heavenly co-rulers would occur on Passover 1878. After that latest prediction failed, Russell and Barbour started squabbling over some other interpretations.
In 1879, Charles Taze Russell split from Nelson Barbour and started publishing his own Second Adventist magazine, called ZION'S WATCH TOWER and HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE to publish "The Truth" that Jesus Christ had already returned "invisibly", back in 1874, and would return "visibly" in October 1914. (Interestingly, since 1872, another one of George Storrs' proteges had already been publishing his own monthly, then-existing religious magazine named THE WATCHTOWER. George Storrs, himself, had earlier published a book entitled The Watch Tower, in 1858.) Having stolen both Nelson Barbour's teachings and Barbour's mailing list (as well as the name of his magazine), Charles Taze Russell gradually attracted hundreds of his own "Date Prediction Addiction" Second Adventist followers.
In 1881, Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society was legally formed with William Henry Conley as its First President. Henry Conley was a well-to-do prominent Pittsburgh steel industry businessman, who along with his wife, Sarah Conley, and the Russell family -- Joseph (father), Charles, and Margaret (Charles' sister) were the "Five Original Bible Students" -- sometimes vaguely referenced by today's WatchTower Society -- who gave rise to today's worldwide WatchTower Empire of over 7,500,000 followers. The Conley family and the Russell family had been meeting and worshiping together since around 1870. Despite the two family's decade-long fellowship, in latter 1882, Henry and Sarah Conley disassociated themselves from the Russell family and the WatchTower Society after Charles Taze Russell once again COPIED some fellow Second Adventists who had started denying the Deity of Jesus Christ (Interestingly, Charles Taze Russell's sister, Margaret Land, also eventually disassociated herself from the WatchTower Society after the death of her brother. Thus, three out of the "Five Original Bible Students", whom founded the WatchTower Society, eventually rejected it -- a fact that the WatchTower Society conveniently forgets to mention in its publications. Additionally, Charles Taze Russell's wife, Maria F. Russell, the couple's "foster daughter", Rose Ball, and Rosa's husband, Ernest C. Henninges, all three of whom were once Directors and/or Officers of the Watch Tower Society, all THREE disassociated themselves from the WatchTower Society while Charles Taze Russell was still alive. And, YES, there have been two female members of the "Governing Body". Click here to read additional historical information found in our CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL DIVORCE WEBPAGE.) Of Charles Taze Russell's three nieces and one nephew, one niece rejected the WatchTower Society during Russell's lifetime, and the remaining three did so after Russell's death.)
Henry Conley, the First President of the WatchTower Society, eventually rejoined the Presbyterian Church, and also eventually became a Patron and National Board Member of the then inter-denominational Christian and Missionary Alliance, all while Conley continued to believe in and preach the imminent Second Advent of Jesus Christ -- while also embracing the CMA's "Faith Cure" teachings. In fact, the CMA, which was a precursor of the Pentecostal Movement of the early 1900s, was also embraced by many other disillusioned Second Adventists, many of whom later switched back to the DATE SETTING Second Adventist WatchTower Society after Charles Taze Russell's October 1914 Prediction started to pick up steam in the early 1900s.
After the WatchTower Society's First President William Henry Conley rejected the WatchTower Society in latter 1882, it only puttered around up until the turn of the century. Despite the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of books and magazines SOLD by Charles Taze Russell since the mid-1870s, only around 2600 followers of Russell attended local Memorial celebrations in 1899. (10% of those lived in the greater Pittsburgh area, and 30% lived within 300 miles of Pittsburgh. CTR even acknowledged that the vast majority of his "groups" actually were individuals or couples, and their children or other relatives.) However, with Charles Taze Russell's prediction that Jesus Christ would "visibly" return in October 1914 nearing the foreseeable future, Charles Taze Russell's by-then own personal religious movement took on new momentum in the early 1900s. By 1914, there were roughly 15-25,000 "International Bible Students", with varying degrees of interest and loyalty affiliated with the Watch Tower Society. When Charles Taze Russell's predictions for October 1914 failed, he simply repeated what his Second Adventist predecessors had done decades earlier. C. T. Russell reset the date for Jesus Christ's "visible" return for October 1915. However, even before October 1915 arrived, Charles Taze Russell had already started losing what eventually amounted to half or more of his personal followers -- including losing their financial support.
Charles Taze Russell died a dejected man in October 1916 - interestingly on Halloween (and probably a drug addict given multiple historical "hints" that Russell had been addicted to painkillers his entire adult life). More interestingly, Russell suddenly and unexpectedly died on the return train trip back to Brooklyn from California, where Russell had traveled to conduct unknown business activities at his unsuccessful "Secret Gold Mine". [Charles Taze Russell was a longtime speculator in drilling and mining of coal, oil, and natural gas. In a 1898 court decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court even labeled Charles Taze Russell "an experienced oil operator". Click here to go to our separate FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL.] Given the recent failure of C. T. Russell's trademark prophecy in October 1914, which was quickly followed by the failure of C. T. Russell's revised prophecy in October 1915, both of which were then followed by two failed mining seasons at C. T. Russell's SECRET GOLD MINE, which C. T. Russell thought he had been led to by GOD to refinance his nearly "bankrupt" religious empire, it is a reasonable speculation that Charles Taze Russell may have committed suicide -- either by overdosing on the painkillers that Russell always kept with him, or by Russell simply refusing to seek obviously needed medical care. (Read Menta Sturgeon's highly propagandized and highly contradictory account of the trip -- which failed to identify their visit to Russell's Secret Gold Mine on Friday night through Saturday night -- and ask yourself why the supposedly practically-dead Russell and Sturgeon stayed at a Los Angeles Hotel all day long Sunday, conducted a meeting Sunday night, and afterwards boarded a train for a grueling cross-country train ride, rather than staying put in Los Angeles and seeking professional medical care. Russell's trip-long conduct and "symptoms" were as much consistent with that of a heroin-morphine-cocaine abuser as that of a cystitis sufferer.)
"For fifty years [Charles Taze Russell] suffered constantly with sick headaches, due to a fall in his youth, and for twenty-five years had such distressing hemorrhoids that it was impossible for him to rest in the easiest chair; ... ." -- THE FINISHED MYSTERY, page 57. (Tylenol and Advil did not exist in the 1800s. For those readers who do not get the significance of a 19th century religious "guru" being in constant pain -- FOR DECADES -- we suggest reading the book, In the Arms of Morpheus: The Tragic History of Morphine, Laudanum and Patent Medicines. That book will provide the reader with all the info the reader needs to figure out where Charles Taze Russell found his "inspiration".)
Although nearly "broke" financially, the Bureaucracy of the WatchTower Society remained, as did several thousand diehard followers, who then began to teach that Charles Taze Russell was still running the WatchTower Society -- now, from heaven. Charles Taze Russell's lawyer and confidante, the falsely publicized "Judge" Joseph Franklin Rutherford (JUDGE RUTHERFORD FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY WEBPAGE), emerged from an internal power struggle to succeed Charles Taze Russell as the THIRD President of the Watch Tower Society, and leader of its scattered followers. Joseph F. Rutherford needed to both fire up the troops and fill the coffers, so he quickly had a new book published in 1917 which did just that, entitled THE FINISHED MYSTERY. Labeling it Charles Taze Russell's posthumous work, "Judge Rutherford" set a series of new dates in which he predicted the destruction of the world's religious organizations in 1918; the disintegration of all governments and organized society into chaos from 1919-21; followed by the beginning of Christ's millennial reign on earth. Given the ongoing war in Europe, and the United States being gradually drawn into such, THE FINISHED MYSTERY sold like hotcakes.
By the time the United States entered the war in mid 1917, the Watch Tower Society had also moved beyond the bounds of a "neutral" position on the war, and had began actively impeding the war effort. Joseph F. Rutherford and seven other Watch Tower leaders were convicted and imprisoned by a JURY for violating the Espionage Act of 1917. During the UNITED STATES v. RUTHERFORD ET AL trial, WatchTower Society Corporate Secretary William F. Hudgings PERJURED himself and was also sent to prison. That scenario gave rise to the HISTORIC very first and only SCOTUS decision which involved a WatchTower Society Officer. The Great War ended in 1918, and like many other radicals convicted and imprisoned under that same law, the WatchTower Society's leaders were released from prison in 1919 after the very Judge Howe who presided over their jury trial publicly advocated their being "forgiven", and released from prison -- a fact that the WatchTower Society has repeatedly failed to disclose in its multiple "assassinations" of Judge Howe's character over the decades. ("Character Assassination" has long been one of the "specializations" of the WatchTower Society and its local followers the Jehovah's Witnesses. In fact, they are so good at it that they have convinced the general public that they are the supreme victims of character assassination, when in fact, "character assassination" was perfected under Charles Taze Russell, and thereafter mastered through decades of use by Russell's successors.)
Despite the fact that none of Joseph F. Rutherford's predictions for 1918, or 1919, or any other year had or were coming true, Rutherford rallied the troops, and again continued to fill the coffers by publishing revised predictions for 1920-5. "Judge" Rutherford's MILLIONS NOW LIVING WILL NEVER DIE prophesied that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be resurrected by 1925 to rule over the earth from the city of Jerusalem. As had always occurred previously, new prophesies brought new followers and new money. By the start of 1922, around 32,000 "Date Prediction Addicts" were again attending WatchTower meetings. By 1925, that number had skyrocketed to nearly 100,000. However, as had repeatedly occurred in the past, the failed 1925 prediction resulted in the loss of followers, and more importantly, their money. Less than 20,000 WatchTower Society followers attended the annual Memorial in 1928.
After 1925, Joseph F. Rutherford strung his remaining followers along by preaching "any day now". However, some of the remaining older diehard "bible students" who were still loyal to founder Charles Taze Russell were becoming displeased with the radical "Judge Rutherford". Eventually, a nasty guerrilla war for the control of the religion broke out between J. F. Rutherford and the "Russellites". The Russellites were no match for "Judge Rutherford", who was a sneaky, ruthless lawyer who had been caught multiple times in Boonville, Missouri committing THEFT and/or FRAUD for both his clients and himself, and who would now get his way within the WatchTower Society by hook or by crook. As a result, most of the older, longtime sincere "Bible Students" gradually left or were proactively kicked out during the 1930s.
After Joseph Franklin Rutherford came to work for self-styled "Pastor" Charles Taze Russell, in 1907, to serve as Russell's private Attorney, WatchTower Society Corporate Counsel, and WatchTower Society Traveling Lecturer, Joseph F. Rutherford was deceptively publicized as "Judge" Rutherford to the general public, so as to add prestige, credibility, and even intimidation, to each of "Judge" Rutherford's various activities. Thereafter, whenever reporters and others inquired about "Judge" J. F. Rutherford's background, they were told that "Judge" Rutherford had "practiced law" in Boonville, Missouri since 1889, and that "Judge" Rutherford also had been the "Public Prosecutor at/for Boonville, Missouri" for four years. There is no doubt but that the impression purposefully given reporters was that Rutherford had been THE publicly elected "Public Prosecutor" in Boonville, Missouri, as evidenced by newspaper articles expressing such as "fact".
In fact, "Joe" Rutherford, as he was known by Missouri locals, had begun "practicing law" as an Attorney in 1892, not 1889. In fact, there was no such position as "Public Prosecutor at/for Boonville, Missouri". In reality, from 1899 to 1902, "Joe" Rutherford had occasionally worked "when needed" as an "Assistant" to the actual "Prosecuting Attorney of Cooper County" -- Ernest Chambers -- who was Joe Rutherford's law firm partner at Draffen & Company.
Joseph F. Rutherford's background as a "Judge" in Cooper County Circuit Court was even weaker. J. F. Rutherford NEVER, EVER served as the "Circuit Judge" of Cooper County. Joseph F. Rutherford actually had run for the office of "Circuit Judge" of Cooper County in 1900, but he had been EASILY DEFEATED in the Democratic Primary. Joe Rutherford also had run for "State Representative" in 1896, but he had been DEFEATED in the Democratic Primary. Cooper county voters KNEW what kind of man was Joe Rutherford, and most did NOT like him. Missouri Law then provided that whenever a "Circuit Judge" could not make a scheduled court date that the local members of the Bar could elect one of their own to handle some of the Circuit Judge's routine duties for that day, as well as hear minor, routine cases. That generally meant that whichever local Attorney had no business before the court that day got to be "Special Judge" for an hour or so. In reality, practically every Attorney in rural Missouri got to be a "Special Judge" for a few days during their career. None of them would have ever dared to have assumed the title "Judge" for having done so, otherwise they would have been the laughing stock of their community. In the case of "Judge" Rutherford, he had served a grand total of four times as a "Special Judge" -- 2/17/1897, 6/3/1899, 3/15/1905, and 3/29/1905. Only two of those four times included hearing of minor, routine cases.
During this tumultuous time period, from the latter 1920s until his death in 1942, Joseph F. Rutherford dropped or changed many of Charles Taze Russell's last teachings. Many new teachings were added. Teachings dropped included those related to Zionism, pyramidology, and phrenology. The date of Jesus Christ's "invisible presence" was moved from 1874 to 1914. The start of the "last days" was moved from 1799 to 1914. The heavenly resurrection of Christ's co-rulers was moved from 1878 (originally 1874) to 1918. Etc. Etc. Joseph F. Rutherford also began to institute multiple measures intended to eliminate local autonomy of congregations and install absolute control from Brooklyn HQ.
By 1931, Joseph F. Rutherford needed to adopt a new name for his group of followers to distinguish them from the many other groups of "Bible Students" scattered throughout the United States and internationally who had split off from the WatchTower Society, yet retained Charles Taze Russell's teachings. Insinuated as a epiphany inspired by "Jehovah", Joseph F. Rutherford informed his followers that from henceforth, they would be called "Jehovah's witnesses". In actuality, this was nothing more than just the latest THEFT and FRAUD perpetrated by JOE RUTHERFORD, and the latest SCAM foisted on the mostly ignorant followers of the WatchTower Society.
Charles Taze Russell set the pattern by stealing Nelson Barbour's teachings and mailing list, and thereafter stole the name of his first magazine from another George Storrs' protege who already was publishing a magazine named THE WATCHTOWER, and even later stole the names PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION and LAYMENS HOME MISSIONARY MOVEMENT.
President J. F. Rutherford followed Russell's pattern -- undoubtedly via his religious oracle and doctrinal interpreter, Frederic Franz -- by STEALING the label "Jehovah's witnesses", as well as its theological definition, from famous early 20th century Christian Evangelist, Henry Allen Ironside. Judge Rutherford didn't even have sufficient imagination to at least capitalize the "w" in "witnesses", but instead even plagiarized the use of the lower case "w" in "witnesses", just as H. A. Ironside had already been using in his multiple Biblical commentaries and published sermons that Ironside had authored at least as early as 1909, and as was the "Jehovah's witnesses" notation in his personal Bible next to Isaiah 43:10.
Thereafter, J. F. Rutherford stopped his own "Jehovah's witnesses" followers from celebrating their birthdays, and both Christian and secular holidays. Joseph F. Rutherford also became radically "anti-government", and forbid all expressions of patriotism or other support for the government and the military. Joseph F. Rutherford also became radically "anti-Christianity". Previously, the WatchTower Society had viewed other denominations as simply deluded by Satan and needing the correction of the WatchTower Society, but now other denominations became "Satan's henchmen", and the arch-enemies of "Jehovah" and Jehovah's "chosen people" -- the WatchTower Society, and its loyal followers. (Interestingly, while cult founder Charles Taze Russell had attracted self-professed "bible students" as his grassroots followers, Rutherford and Knorr attracted grassroots social, political, and economic misfits and malcontents.) Click HERE to read about a Pentecostal Cult which Rutherford undoubtedly learned about during his incarceration in Atlanta in 1918-19 -- a strikingly similar Cult which likely "influenced" several of Rutherford's "changes" during the 1920s and 1930s.
During the emotionally unsettling times leading up to America's entry into World War II, Joseph F. Rutherford ordered "Jehovah's witnesses" to picket and distribute anti-church literature outside of churches on Sunday mornings and evenings. Anti-government literature was distributed house-to-house and paraded on the sidewalks of Main Street America during shopping hours. Not surprisingly, Jehovah's witnesses were often verbally assaulted, and less often were physically assaulted. This was an intentional strategy to get Joseph F. Rutherford newest and latest "WatchTower Gospel" in the newspapers and on the radio. Many small-town mayors unwittingly fell into Joseph F. Rutherford trap when they used the police to stop often out-of-town WatchTower Society "organizers" from intentionally provoking and antagonizing their local citizenry. Joseph F. Rutherford not only welcomed, but proactively ordered out-of-state WatchTower "organizers" into known "hot spots" to pursue public confrontations. The resulting legal contests allowed the Watch Tower Society to take "cherry-picked" incidents and issues all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. Once there, time after time SCOTUS overruled local ordinances and laws used to stop the Jehovah's witnesses from publicly distributing their "gospel". From the latter 1930s through the 1950s, the Watch Tower Society won decision after decision. Civil libertarians hail Jehovah's witnesses as the group most responsible for the broad interpretation which today's courts give the civil rights and liberties found in the Constitution. [Click here to read some rarely publicized 1940s JWs court cases.]
Prior to Joseph Franklin Rutherford's death in January 1942 (due to cancer of the rectum), the WatchTower Society had taught that World War II was the start of events leading into Armageddon, which was to occur prior to the expiration of the 40 year generation of 1914, in 1954. However, just like what had occurred with Charles Taze Russell and Joseph F. Rutherford during World War I, none of the Watchtower Society's "prophesies" came true. However, the following "Cold War" gave the Watch Tower Society everything it needed for their fall-back message of "any day now". By the early 1950s, the new message was that 6000 years of mankind's existence would end in 1972, and that Christ's Millennium (seventh) would have to start sometime prior to such.
In 1966, the end of the 6000 years was revised from 1972 to 1975, and the Watch Tower Society went on a worldwide campaign of "insinuation" that Armageddon would occur in October 1975. The "October 1975" campaign was the most successful Second Adventist "Date Prediction Addicts" recruiting campaign since William Miller had predicted the end of the 6000 years and the Second Advent for 1843-4, and Nelson Barbour had predicted the end of the 6000 years for 1872 and the Second Advent for 1873-4. Although it had taken the Watch Tower Society from the 1870s until the mid-1960s to reach the 1,000,000th member mark, the "October 1975" campaign allowed the WatchTower Society to go from 1,000,000 members to 2,000,000 members in less than a decade.
After the failure of the "October 1975" prediction, some of those one million new "Date Prediction Addicts" were gradually lost, but overall there was a huge gain in membership -- with their financial support. Having had decades of experience at this "game", the WatchTower Society had already prepared its members for alternate dates just in case the "October 1975" prediction failed. Even prior to 1975, there had been insinuations that Armageddon might occur in October 1984 (adding 70 years "generation" to 1914) and October 1994 (adding 80 years "generation" to 1914).
With the advent of the internet and the birth of the "information age" in the 1990s, the past history and track record of the Watch Tower Society has been exposed to the world. Not surprisingly, over the past 20 years, the only notable growth in the number of members has either been in third-world countries, or immigrants from third-world countries. Even more significant is the impact that the internet has had on the next date for "Armageddon", which in past decades has been the "seed" for the next "harvest" of "Date Prediction Addicts".
In 2003, the year 2034 was "trial-ran" as the next date for "Armageddon". That date was computed by Watch Tower Society leaders by adding the supposed 120 years that Noah preached until the Flood to the ever important 1914. The "2034 insinuation" evidently received little enthusiasm from the membership, because it has only been hinted at since. That date is simply too far in the future for those susceptible to the "Date Prediction Addiction". However, given human nature, and the fact that history will no doubt repeat itself, there likely will be a "world crisis" sometime in the near future which will allow the Watch Tower Society to fire up a new recruiting campaign grounded in a new date, be it 2034, or a closer date more likely to impact current followers.
Since at least the latter 1920s, the WatchTower Society has taught that Armageddon would occur on or before the end of the "generation" that was alive in 1914. First, the WatchTower Society added the Bible's 40 year generation to the year 1914, and arrived at October 1954. Then, even during the ongoing October 1975 campaign, they added the Bible's 70 year generation to the year 1914, and arrived at October 1984, and even added the Bible's 80 year generation to the year 1914, and arrived at October 1994.
Tellingly, only 1/3 of persons who are REARED as "Jehovah's Witnesses" in the United States
continue as "Jehovah's Witnesses" throughout their adulthood.
Numbers. The WatchTower Society typically only publicly reports statistics for "active" members, since it teaches that when Armageddon occurs, any member who is not "active" at that time may be judged by their god as not being a true "Jehovah's Witness", and thus will be destroyed along with all other non-JWs.
"Active" means those Jehovah's Witnesses who both regularly attend all of the weekly meetings, and more importantly, who regularly submit monthly reports documenting that they have performed recruiting activities during that month.
There are approximately 8,000,0000 "active" Jehovah's Witnesses scattered throughout the planet. Of that 8,000,000 worldwide total, only approximately 1,200,000 "active" Jehovah's Witnesses live in the United States.
Actual Exposure. In the United States, in addition to the 1,200,000 "active" Jehovah's Witnesses, there are another 1,500,000 persons who are people who claim to be Jehovah's Witnesses, but only irregularly attend meetings and/or perform recruiting, or are people who are non-members who are attending some WatchTower meetings (and possibly doing some recruiting) in contemplation of officially becoming Jehovah's Witnesses.
In addition to the 2.7 million Jehovah's Witnesses and potential Jehovah's Witnesses described above, there very well may be another 3 - 4 million Americans who once fit into one of the above categories at some point in their past. Many of these people still hold to some of the Jehovah's Witness beliefs and practices, and some may even occasionally identify themselves as "Jehovah's Witnesses". Thus, out of approximately 325 million persons in the United States, there may be 6 to 8 million persons who hold to some or all of the WatchTower Cult's beliefs and practices, and may even publicly profess to be "Jehovah's Witnesses".
For Employers, there tend to be more "Jehovah's Witnesses" percentage-wise living in heavier populated urban areas. Metropolitan employers can roughly estimate that there is one "JW" in any group of 75-100 employees or prospective employees. Employers in mid-size cities can roughly estimate that there is one "JW" in any group of 125-150 employees or prospective employees. Small town employers can probably expect that there is only one "JW" in any group of 3-500 employees or prospective employees.
Racial-Ethnic-Cultural Composition of Jehovah's Witnesses in the UNITED STATES. The Jehovah's Witnesses started out in the United States in the latter 1800s as an "Anglo-American" religion -- with nearly the entire membership being of northern European extraction. Having received only limited acceptance in North America and Europe, most membership growth in the past 40 years has been in third world countries located in Africa, Central America, and South America, and amongst people who have illegally immigrated from those continents to North America and Europe.
By 2016, in the United States, people of northern European extraction no longer constitute the majority of the WatchTower Society's membership. Only 36%, or less, of Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States are "white", and most of these "white" Jehovah's Witnesses live in rural and smaller urban areas. In large urban areas, many non-JWs rarely if ever see a "white" Jehovah's Witness, and some urban non-JWs have even expressed the incorrect belief that the "Jehovah's Witnesses" is an "African" religion. Approximately 26-33% (probably under-reported) of Jehovah's Witnesses living in the United States are "African-American", with most living in urban areas.
By 2025, or earlier, the steadily increasing number of "African-American" Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States will likely exceed the steadily decreasing number of "white" Jehovah's Witnesses, thereby pushing "whites" down to the smallest racial group of Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States, other than "Asians/Others".
By 2020, or earlier, due to the FLOOD of illegal immigrants from Mexico and other Hispanic-Latino countries, and the targeting by the WatchTower Cult of these poorly educated persons for recruitment, Hispanics/Latinos will surpass "whites" as the largest racial/ethnic group of Jehovah's Witnesses living in the United States. Currently, 32-35% (also likely under-reported) of Jehovah's Witnesses currently living in the United States are Hispanics/Latinos.
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EMPLOYMENT ISSUES UNIQUE TO JEHOVAH'S WITNESS EMPLOYEES