10 Things You Never Knew About Jehovah’s Witnesses
The modern day Jehovah’s Witnesses (known most commonly for their door-to-door evangelizing work) have been around since the late 1800s. It was around that time that a Bible study group based in Pennsylvania began analyzing, comparing, and dissecting Biblical scripture only to arrive at conclusions not taught by the majority of mainstream Christian religions. This group used zealous proselytizing to spread their scriptural discoveries. They also used their hope for the future that they gathered from the Bible to spread their beliefs across the US. Eventually, they spread their message into many different countries. Though they are currently based in hundreds of lands around the globe, the general populace knows relatively little about this far-flung faith.
10They Refuse To Go To War Or Bear Arms In Conflict
When it comes to war, Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to bear arms or engage in war or conflict of any kind—even when refusing means imprisonment or execution.
Claiming to be a continuation of a first-century Christian congregation, they cite the ancient faith’s refusal to participate in war as one reason for their own refusal. Confirming this historical fact, The Encyclopedia of Religion and War states that the first disciples felt that war and political conflict were “incompatible with the love ethic of Jesus and the injunction to love one’s enemies.”
They also cite their obedience to God and Jesus Christ’s commands (including His admonition to the Apostle Peter to return his weapon to its place in more than one of the Gospels)—as well as their love of those around them—to be additional reasons for their refusal to participate in military action. They have faced resentment and ostracism from political parties around the world. Countries such as Armenia, Turkey, and Eritrea in recent times have convicted, fined, imprisoned, and even tortured members for their conscientious objection. As of mid-2013, one country—South Korea—held 93 percent of imprisoned Jehovah’s Witnesses.