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Monday, November 22, 2010

Are Jehovah's Witnesses a Sect or a Cult?

People who oppose Jehovah's Witnesses like to use the word 'cult' to describe them because it has a general negative connotation. They are counting on people who are not familiar with Jehovah's Witnesses to simply accept this false label and then unknowingly repeat what they have been told.

The following will examine several common characteristics of cults and will show how Jehovah's Witnesses definitely do not share any of these characteristics.

Jehovah's Witnesses Are Not a Small, Local Group

Cults are regarded as being small, local groups. In contrast, Jehovah's Witnesses currently number over 7,ooo,ooo and can be found in almost every country of the world. The World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses is in New York. Located there is the Governing Body, a central group of experienced elders who oversee the worldwide congregation. (For more from the Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses, see: How Jehovah's Witnesses Are Organized and Jehovah's Witnesses - Their Worldwide Organization and Work)

Jehovah's Witnesses Have Nothing to Hide

Cults are also regarded as encouraging their adherents to live in groups apart from the rest of society. Many also think of cults as being secretive about their activities or having something to hide.

In contrast, Jehovah's Witnesses live and work in the midst of other people. They have nothing to hide. In fact, they desire to tell anyone who is willing to listen about everything that they believe.

Their book Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom correctly notes: "Jehovah's Witnesses are in no sense a secret society. Their Bible-based beliefs are fully explained in publications that are available to anyone. Additionally, they put forth special effort to invite the public to attend meetings to see and hear for themselves what takes place." (See the VIDEO from the BBC that shows what a meeting inside a Kingdom Hall looks like.) (ALSO SEE: Our Congregation Meetings

Jehovah's Witnesses Do Not Follow a Living Human Leader

Cults members are also associated with following living human leaders.

Yet Jehovah's Witnesses do not look to any human, but rather to Jesus Christ, as their leader, as their leader. Jehovah’s Witnesses follow what Jesus taught and put it into practice. That is what it means to be a Christian. Accordingly, Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to adhere strictly to the precepts established by the first Christians. (ALSO SEE: Who Was Your Founder?)

Jehovah's Witnesses base all of their beliefs, their standards for conduct, and organizational procedures on the Bible. Their worship is a way of life, not a ritual devotion. (ALSO SEE: Are You an American Sect?)

Jehovah's Witnesses Are Financed Through Voluntary Contributions

Leaders of cults have been known to ask for money from their followers. Even what many consider to be 'mainstream' religions encourage their members to give them money through tithes, collection plates, or other means.

However, the work of Jehovah's Witnesses is primarily financed through anonymous, voluntary contributions, as was true with the early Christians. (2 Cor. 8:12; 9:7) No collections are ever taken at their meetings and they do not beg for money from the public. Any donations from interested persons are used to further the worldwide work of Bible education conducted by the Witnesses.

The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, a legal religious corporation that is used by Jehovah's Witnesses, was incorporated in 1884 in accordance with the Nonprofit Corporation Law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. This means that, by law it cannot be and it is not, a profit-making enterprise, nor do individuals make a profit through this Society. The Society's charter states: "It [the Society] does not contemplate pecuniary gain or profit, incidentally or otherwise, to its members, directors or officers."'

Even disinterested parties (such as the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet) plainly state that:

"The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania is a non-stock, not-for-profit organization." (ALSO SEE: How Is Your Work Financed?; and How is the Work of Jehovah’s Witnesses Funded?)

Don't Listen To Hearsay, Find Out For Yourself!

So instead of relying solely on hearsay and running the risk of parroting bad information, why not investigate this further for yourself? This way, one will be in a position to be properly informed as to the true faith and beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses.

The best way to find out more about Jehovah's Witnesses via the Internet is through the pages of their official website:

The Official Web Site of Jehovah's Witnesses (The Official Jehovah's Witnesses Website Home Page)

What Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe?

Search The Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site

Jehovah's Witnesses FAQs

Questions Often Asked by Interested People

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