Where did the Jehovah's Witnesses begin?
According to "Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom", a small group of individuals, including Charles Taze Russell, started meeting together in 1870 in Pennsylvania. In 1877, Russell started writing and wrote the pamphlet, "The Object and Manner of Our Lord's Return". Then, in 1879, he started publishing "Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence" which latter became known simply as "The Watch Tower" which is still being published today.
Jehovah's Witnesses are a natural evolution of the movement away from the old "church" which was solely controlled by the state. They started in the US in about 1870. Instead of encouraging old existing religious dogma into the new "Christian" religion they stepped far away and actually studied the Bible away from any dogma of culturally inflicted "religious ideas".
This is similar to what William Bradford did, to study just the Bible and forget the religious dogma of his day. People who honestly want the truth of the Bible do this and find out what is actually written. Many have been killed for this.
The fist people who were scorned for this were the Martin Luther's who caused much concern.
The publishing of the Bible in English in mass was the cause of people actually getting to read what was in the Bible for the first time. The King James Version is still used by Jehovah's Witnesses and they do Bible Studies with any version of the bible that is not just a transliteration or doctored version, but a word for word translation.
If you take the evolution of the church and state control and remove the state, and remove the original state controlled dogma and just read the Bible, that is the basis of the Jehovah's Witnesses. They remove the holidays that are not contained in the Bible. They only honor the days that are specified in the Bible.
The Protestants (protesters of the state controlled churches), the Lutherans, the Baptists, Methodists, Modern Catholics, Mormons and the rest of the break away "cults" from the big church owned by the Roman and British royalty and other states, did not take the steps as far away from that original dogma and just go with what is actually written in the Bible.
The Jehovah's Witnesses do that as best as they can within the limits of their human minds. They are to be commended. They are feared for no reason by many "Christian" churches.
They used to be called Bible Students, because that is all they did. There is none of the emotionalism and no paid clergy in this religion. That is most refreshing and removes the need to "tickle the audience" to get the collection plate filled.
They never ask for money, and they have no paid priests or paid clergy. This is a threat to any paid clergy and is part of the reason for the scorn. Their Kingdom Halls are very simple and have none of the flash that money making churches have.
The organization is open and friendly and I have never met an active Jehovah's witness that was not just a really nice kind and loving person.
The best way to find out what they are about is to go to the Kingdom Hall or to have a Bible Study with them. They do not inflict anything, but only study the Bible with you. Every service goes over the concepts they learned from the Bible. There is no coercion ever but when the students understand what they show is actually in the Bible, they are the fastest growing religion today. They do not assume anything but just see if you "get it" or not.
I am not a Jehovah's witness. I am just a student of humanity, science and religions.
With reference to Jesus Christ, the Bible states: "These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God." Of whom was he a witness? He himself said that he made his Father's name manifest. He was the foremost witness of Jehovah.-Rev. 3:14; John 17:6.
Interestingly, some of the Jews asked whether the activity of Jesus Christ represented "a new teaching." (Mark 1:27) Later, some Greeks thought the apostle Paul was introducing a "new teaching." (Acts 17:19, 20) It was new to the ears of those who were hearing it, but the important thing was that it was the truth, in full harmony with God's Word.
The modern-day history of Jehovah's Witnesses began with the forming of a group for Bible study in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., in the early 1870's. At first they were known only as Bible Students, but in 1931 they adopted the Scriptural name Jehovah's Witnesses. (Isa. 43:10-12) Their beliefs and practices are not new but are a restoration of first-century Christianity.
10 "YOU are my witnesses," is the utterance of Jehovah, "even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. 11 I-I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior." 12 "I myself have told forth and have saved and have caused [it] to be heard, when there was among YOU no strange [god]. So YOU are my witnesses," is the utterance of Jehovah, "and I am God. 13 Also, all the time I am the same One; and there is no one effecting deliverance out of my own hand. I shall get active, and who can turn it back?" (Isaiah 43:10-12). New World Translation (The most accurate translation of the original or proper copies of the holy scriptures in Hebrew and greek)
Doctrinally, the Jehovah's Witnesses began with the bible studies of Charles T. Russell, much like the Pilgrims of the USA they fell away from the doctrine of the Church because of reading the actual bible and understanding it, the KJV. although they diverged somewhat from him, but owe many of their major understandings and emphases to him. Some of their teachings are repetitions of ancient dogma, such as denying the full deity of Jesus Christ, as believed by the main churches to be taught in the Bible.
Although they regularly quote Bible verses, these are often from their altered NWT, which, rather than following the Greek and Hebrew, amends it to suit their doctrine and alters the clear textual meaning in numerous places. They thus cannot rightfully claim to have a faith which has its origins in any Biblical location or time, since they do not adhere to ancient Christian or Biblical doctrine. Rather, both historically and doctrinally, their faith is of recent origin, Charles T. Russell being born in 1852, he thus being the 'where' as far as their origin.
The claims of Jehovah's Witnesses to come as descendants from any line of Bible characters whatsoever is quite obviously false. This is so since they reject nearly every major Bible doctrine or alter it to suit their theology.
",...their altered NWT"
The above contributor makes several negative and uncorroborated assertions regarding the NWT (New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures).
I've compared a variety of Bible translations/versions over the last 17 years and made extensive use of "Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Word" as well as "Strong's Concordance".
Each time a specific verse differs substantially from the AV or KJV I've researched and compared to determine why. What I've found is that the NWT is consistently the most literal translation.
I highly recommend asking for specifics verses in question and doing the word studies on any passage in question. "Vine's" and "Strong's" are now accessible via the internet. Years ago, I had to buy the hardcopies.
JW's do reject many widely held religious doctrines when these have no 'biblical' basis. For example: Immortality of the soul - simply Google "Plato immortal soul" and you'll find many unbiased resources confirming the philosophical origin of this popular teaching. The words 'immortal soul' do not appear in the Bible.