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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Are Jehovah's Witnesses Really a Cult? - Showing How This Label is Incorrect

Some people who oppose Jehovah's Witnesses have unfairly used 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 at face value.

So are Jehovah's Witnesses really a cult? No. Jehovah's Witnesses are not a cult. Rather, they are Christians who do their best to follow the example set by Jesus Christ and to live by his teachings.

What is a cult?

The term “cult” means different things to different people. However, we would do well to consider some common perceptions regarding cults and why those perceptions don’t apply to Jehovah's Witnesses.

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 generally regarded as being small, local groups. In contrast, Jehovah's Witnesses currently number nearly 8,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, see: How Jehovah's Witnesses Are Organized (JW.ORG)

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."

For more, see: Our Congregation Meetings (JW.ORG)

Jehovah's Witnesses Do Not Follow a Living Human Leader

Cults members are also generally associated with following living human leaders.

Yet Jehovah's Witnesses do not look to any human, but rather to Jesus Christ, 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. For more, see: Who Was Your Founder? (JW.ORG)

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.

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." 

For more, see: How Is Your Work Financed? (JW.ORG)

Jehovah's Witnesses Are Not a Cult

So, far from being a dangerous cult, Jehovah’s Witnesses practice a religion that benefits its members and others in the community. For example, their ministry has helped many people to overcome harmful addictions, such as the abuse of drugs and alcohol. In addition, they conduct literacy classes around the world, helping thousands learn to read and write. And they are actively involved in disaster relief. They work hard to have a positive impact on others, just as Jesus commanded his followers to do.—Matthew 5:13-16.

(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)

Also see:

Jehovah's Witnesses are NOT a Cult - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Jehovah's Witnesses Are NOT a Cult (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Are Jehovah’s Witnesses a Cult? (JW.ORG)

Are Jehovah’s Witnesses a sect or a cult? (Watchtower Online Library)

Are Jehovah's Witnesses a Sect or a Cult? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses