Jehovah's Witnesses, the name that evokes a variety of images and produces a numerous amount of reactions. Known around the world for distinct beliefs, door-to-door proselytism, refusal to participate in any political or military conflict or saluting to the national flag of the many lands in which they live and worship in, often greeted with a mixture of respect and hostility. According to the Yearbook of Jehovah s Witnesses they number well over six hundred thousand active members worldwide and are regularly involved in spreading information about their religious beliefs and practices. Although Jehovah's Witnesses are generally eager to discuss their religious beliefs ...view middle of the document...
He also began interpreting the Second Coming following the literal translation of the original Greek term, parousia (“presence”), suggesting that Christ would return as an invisible presence and that the Parousia, or “Millennial Dawn,” already had occurred, in 1874. The coming of Christ’s invisible presence signaled the end of the current order of society and would be followed by his visible presence and the establishment of the millennial kingdom on earth in 1914.
In 1884 the group secured a charter from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and adopted the name “Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society.” Due to the many years of preaching and lecturing Russell’s Bible Students were organized into many states around the country with headquarters being established in Brooklyn, New York. As time passed his views continued to spread through his books. The primary book among these were seven volumes titled “Studies in the Scriptures”. The first volume, titled The Divine Plan of the Ages, laid down a set of guiding principles of Biblical interpretations.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century the scope of this sect began to spread on an international level when distribution offices were opened in several cities of Europe, Africa, and Asia. However this success of this religious movement had the opposite effects back in the states. In 1909 some of Russell’s followers seceded stating that he began to view his own words being equal to that of or above those of the Bible. However this secession was insignificant compared to a larger group in 1913 when Russell’s wife divorced him on the grounds of “his conceit, egotism, domination, and improper conduct in relation to other women.” This contributed to the movement dying down as well as Russell’s death on October 31, 1916.
Soon after responsibility of the group fell upon Joseph Franklin Rutherford, also known as Judge Rutherford. Under his guidance and writings the Watch Tower Society grew again in numbers and influence around the world. Approximately more than a hundred books and pamphlets were personally written by him and one or more were translated into seventy-eight languages and distributed to more than three million people. Although it seemed that Rutherford was conforming to Russell’s teachings, Rutherford began to modify them. After several discreet changes were made people did not seem to mind them but became angered when a significant change was made. Russell had previously created a theory around the measurements of the Great Pyramid of Egypt which told the history of the human race and the time when Jesus would reappear on earth. However in 1929 Rutherford officially and completely dismissed this causing several followers to leave the movement.
In spite of this the movement persisted with Rutherford changing the group’s name to Jehovah’s Witnesses at an international convention of members held in Columbus, Ohio, in 1931. This was done to emphasize the belief that Jehovah was the true God and the...