The Jehovah’s Witnesses were first started by a man named Charles Taze Russell. He was born February 16, 1852. C.T. Russell was a congregationalist until the age of eighteen when he decided to start a Bible study group in 1870. The group was based in Pittsburgh and C.T. Russell remained in it and was elected to be the pastor of the group in 1876. C.T. Russell was also the assistant editor of a monthly magazine in Rochester, New York from 1876 - 1878. He left the paper in 1878 after controversy. C.T. Russell argued in the paper against the atoning blood of Christ. When he left that, he began his own paper in 1879, The Herald of the Morning. The magazine is now called The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. The circulation began at 6,000 and is now at 17.8 million copies per month. On 1884, Russell incorporated “Zion’s Watchtower Tract Society” in Pittsburgh. In 1886 he began a book series The Millennial Dawn, now known as Studies in the Scriptures. Russell wrote the first six books by himself. The seventh was edited from his writings and published in 1917 after he died. The seventh book, The Finished Mystery, caused a split with a small group remaining alone and a large number following J.F. Rutherford. The small group became known as “The Dawn Bible Students Association” and the larger became known as “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
The Jehovah’s Witnesses use their own translation the Bible called the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. The NWT was first published in part in 1950 and revised in 1951, 1961, and 1984. The translation committee was not officially identified, but included Nathan Knorr (then president), Fedrick Franz (president after Knorr), Albert Schroeder, George Gangas, and Milton Henschel. The only one that had any college education was Franz but he quit school after only two years. Franz was the vice president and the Translation Committee representative and on November 24, 1954 he was at court. The following is from the cross-examination:
Q: Have you made yourself familiar with Hebrew?
A: (Franz) Yes.
Q: So that you have a substantial linguistic apparatus at your command?
A: Yes, for use in my biblical work.
Q: I think you are able to read and follow the Bible in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and French?
Later on in the same discussion:
Q: You, yourself, read and speak Hebrew, do you?
A: I do not speak Hebrew.
Q: You do not?
Q: Can you, yourself, translate that into Hebrew?
Q: The fourth verse of the second chapter of Genesis?
A: You mean here?
Below is just a brief sample of some of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ beliefs:
“The obvious conclusion is, therefore, that Satan is the originator of the Trinity doctrine” Let God Be True, 1946, pg. 101
“No, the holy spirit is not a person and it is not part of a Trinity. The holy spirit is God’s active force” Should You Believe in the Trinity, 1997, electronic edition
“Jesus was the ‘Son of God.’ Not God himself! “The Word” Who is He? pg. 20
“The doctrine of a burning hell where the wicked are tortured eternally after death cannot be true” Let God Be True, pg. 99
“That the soul lives on after death is a lie started by the Devil” You Can Live, pg. 77
“In his [Jesus] resurrection he was no more human. He was raised as a spirit creature” The Kingdom is at Hand, pg. 258
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a fast growing group of people that are honestly trying to earn their ticket to live here on earth and not be annihilated at death. In 1996, they had almost 5.5 million members world wide. In the U.S., they spent over 1.7 million hours doing door-to-door preaching, and conducted more than 530,000 Bible studies. They have an annual “Memorial” service (our Lord’s Supper) and by inviting as many people as possible, they had an attendance of almost 13 million people in 1996. The average Jehovah’s Witness has to knock on about 740 doors before he gets one convert. Shame on born again Christians, including myself, for probably not even knocking on that many doors our entire lives. Shame on saved children of God who are so ignorant of the Bible that they are deceived into joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses. If they can do what they do, surely we can do more because we are saved and serve our risen Savior.