Why I Am Not Jehovah’s Witness

I’m getting back to my series of ‘why I am not’ blogs. In this series I’ve been taking a look at various faith expressions and discussing why I don’t belong to that particular camp. Today, I’d like to address why I am not Jehovah’s Witness.     

Most of you are probably familiar with this organization. They’re famous for going door to door in the neighborhood, dressed very neatly, and being very polite to everyone they encounter. They claim to follow the Bible, and will tell you that they follow Jesus. But most importantly, they claim to be the true Church, and that salvation can only come from them. So, why am I not a Jehovah’s Witness? Well, my answer is actually a number – several numbers: 1914, 1915, 1918, 1925, & 1975.

If you aren’t following me then just hang in there and I’ll do my best to help you understand.  

Charles Taze Russell

But, first let me give you some background information. The Jehovah’s Witnesses – or JW – movement can be traced to a gentleman by the name of Charles Taze Russell. He was born in 1852 and was first raised in the Presbyterian church and would later became a Congregationalist. However, Russell had some difficulties with the subject of hell and the organized church. He briefly became an agnostic, but his belief was brought back to life as he began to study with an Adventist group.     

Around 1870, Russell formed a study group along with his father, called The Millennial Dawn. They were influenced by some Millerites, who had a heavy focus on the Second Coming of Christ.   Russell would eventually pick up some of the math that he would later use to make some of his predictions from the Millerites. Charles Taze Russell would eventually teach that the last days began in 1799.   He said that Jesus invisible presence began in 1874, and he taught that Jesus began ruling in heaven in 1878.      

Now, the problem with those insights is that they’re unverifiable. In other words, how can anyone prove or disprove what has happened invisibly? You can’t. Because we can’t see it, it’s kind of hard to confirm or deny. Maybe those things are true? Maybe they happened?    

So, how do we know if Russell was an inspired teacher and that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are an inspired organization? How can we know that they can be trusted in matters of Biblical interpretation? Well, the answer is fairly simple: If Charles Taze Russell, and the later Watchtower organization can be trusted on matters that are verifiable,  then perhaps they can be trusted on matters that aren’t so easily confirmed.   If God is the inspiration behind the organization, then we should expect to be able to put to test the things they say.    

Alright, so did Russell say anything that we can put to test? Did he make any predictions that we can measure. 

Yes, he did.

On page 228, of “Thy Kingdom Come,” which is part of a three-part series, Charles Russell wrote:  “That the deliverance of the saints must take place some time before 1914 is manifest,” –  in other words, ‘obvious.’  Then, a few sentences later he continued,  “…just how long before 1914 the last living members of the body of Christ will be glorified, we are not directly informed.” 

So, here we see Russell predicting that his Bible students would be glorified, or raptured, by 1914.  This date is confirmed by the Zion’s Watchtower published on July 15, 1894, page 226,  “Now, in view of recent labor troubles and threatened anarchy, our readers are writing to know if there may not be a mistake in the 1914 date. They say they do not see how present conditions can hold out so long under the strain. We see no reason for changing the figures – nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God’s dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble.”      

So, there you see that the year 1914 was predicted not as the beginning of the end of time, but the end of the end. Now, even if you’re not a student of history, you’ll probably recognize that nothing happened to the living members of the body of Christ in 1914. And, it should be noted that Russell believed that the year was established by God Himself. He couldn’t change it if he wanted to – until he actually wanted to; which The Watchtower did in their publication “Studies in the Scriptures – the Time is at Hand,” published in 1911. (The attachment is from the website Jwfacts.com)

“In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A.D. 1915.”        

As you can see, the organization is starting to play with the dates that they once had claimed were set by God.

So, did the kingdoms of this world come to an end in 1915? That’s not something invisible, so we should be able to check on that. My research would indicate that it didn’t happen. 

But that didn’t stop the Watchtower Society. According to their own document, “The Finished Mystery,” which was published by the organization in 1917, one year after Charles Russell died, the Watchtower stated, “There will be no chance of escaping from destruction, though the nations—as in cases of Germany, the Allies and the United States— earnestly seek in vain for some way of securing peace. The trouble is due to the dawning of the Day of Christ, the Millennium. It is the Day of Vengeance, which began in the world war of 1914 and which will break like a furious morning storm in 1918.”   

So, here we have several obvious problems. First, in the earlier document we read that 1914 was not the beginning of the end, but the end of the end. Here, we’re told that 1914 was the beginning. So, without apology, they’re simply rewriting their own history. Second, they said that destruction would come to the nations in 1918. Again, there’s no evidence that the all of the nations were destroyed in 1918. One would think that that would have made the news.    

But like before, this would not stop the Jehovah’s Witnesses from setting more dates. In the same book, The Finished Mystery, on page 128, we read, “Be that as it may, there is evidence that the establishment of the Kingdom in Palestine will probably be in 1925, ten years later than we once calculated.”     

Evidently, the belief was that God was going to establish His earthly kingdom from Palestine, probably Israel, in the year 1925. I would encourage you to do your own research to see if God did in fact set up an earthly kingdom in that year.             

Now, let’s take a look at one more infamous failed prediction: 1975. 

In 1966, the Watchtower published a document called, “Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God.” On page 29 we read, “According to this trustworthy Bible chronology six thousand years from man’s creation will end in 1975, and the seventh period of a thousand years of human history will begin the fall of 1975 C.E.”

If you were alive in the fall of 1975, as I was, you’ll probably recall that the world didn’t end.  

Now, what does all of this mean for me? Well, if Charles Taze Russell and the Jehovah’s Witnesses are going to teach me spiritual things, of which I can’t verify, then they must be able to produce some kind of evidence that I can verify – so that I can know to trust them. However, as I’ve just pointed out from their own material, not only have they not been able to verify their claims, but they’ve demonstrated that they’re false prophets. And this is just a sampling. There’s a lot more we could discuss.     

A lot of Christians, as I do, take issue with JW doctrines, such as the deity of Jesus. As a result, many Christians use that as a starting point to engage in discussions with them. I have no problem with that because I don’t believe that the JWs handle the Scriptures very well. However, in my way of thinking, we don’t even have to go to the Bible to make a decision as to whether or not we want to belong to their organization. That’s because the publications that their organization has put out demonstrates that they can’t be trusted.     

My starting point would not be the Bible, but the false prophecies that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have repeatedly published. Their own documents prevent me from becoming a Jehovah’s Witness.       

I want to close with one final thought. When a Jehovah’s Witness comes knocking at your door, please treat them with love. Most of them are sincere, loving people, who really think that they’re serving God. Some Christians like to beat them in a debate just to carve another niche into their Bible or something. That’s the wrong attitude to take. Instead, we need to love them. Their organization has victimized them. Their organization has hidden the failed prophesies from them and have rewritten their own history so that these people can’t know about them. With a little encouragement from you, they may be willing to do some study and find just how badly they’ve been lied to. Please love them as you would want to be loved.

Dane Cramer is a backpacker, follower-of-Jesus blogger, jail chaplain, amateur filmmakerPodcast host, and author of two books: Romancing the Trail and The Nephilim: A Monster Among Us , and has worked as an investigator for over 35 years.



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