When it comes to religious beliefs, for the most part people want to live and let live. Some people believe that religion is outdated while others find it’s more relevant and important today than it has been in centuries. Within Christian beliefs there are many different sects that all manage to interpret the teachings of the Bible much differently from one another.
Jehovah’s Witness believe in Jesus Christ, but they don’t believe He was God in the flesh. They actually believe He was the archangel Michael. They also firmly believe that Jesus already returned in secret in 1917, though the Bible clearly teaches that He will return in a manner everyone will know.
Even though it differs from much of what the Christian Bible teaches, there are many devout followers to this day, including numerous celebrities. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays, Christmas, and many other holidays, and it’s interesting to see just which celebrities follow or followed this faith at one time.
20. Luke Evans
Luke Evans has seen his star rise in recent years, especially for his role in The Hobbit, and he recalled that it wasn’t always easy growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness. However, he credits that upbringing for helping to prepare him for rejection later in life. “[O]n Saturday mornings you’d be knocking at their doors,” he once said. “I remember standing there with my mum and dad thinking, ‘Oh my God, I know whose door this is, and I’ll have to see them on Monday.’ It was terrible.” He said that having doors slammed in his face prepared him for rejection. He left school and the religion when he was 16 to pursue his singing career.
19. Janet Jackson
Like her older brother Michael, Janet was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, but she had plenty of strife with her family during her young adult years and it’s no real surprise that she is no longer practicing the religion. Janet managed to climb out from under the shadow of her older brother and build a wonderful career for herself as a musician, singer, and even fashion designer. The 49-year-old continues to live life on her terms and she seems to be more than content to do so.
18. Damon Wayans
Most people will recognize Damon Wayans as the celebrated movie star that he is, but many might not realize he was also raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. His life has seen some incredible successes and he is the father to four children. Born in New York City, the 55-year-old actor, television director, producer, and screenwriter continues to charm with his winning smile and kind, compassionate demeanor. This is a man who seemed to have truly taken to the teachings of Christ.
17. Marc John Jefferies
Marc John Jeffries may not be a household name as an adult actor, he’s still pursuing his dream in Hollywood. He was acting in films when he was just a toddler and has appeared in Stuart Little, Spiderman 2, and even Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. After his appearance as a 4-year-old in Losing Isaiah, his father said that Marc’s dream of one day becoming a policeman wasn’t going to happen; it wasn’t a possibility because of their faith.
16. Venus Williams
Venus and her sister Serena were both raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Venus launched onto the tennis scene as a teenager and her sister seemed poised to remain in her shadow for a long time, but it was Serena who became the far greater champion and is rated the number 1 women’s tennis player of the Open era. Their father has created numerous media problems for the girls with his rants on racism in the sport, but they distanced themselves from him somewhat in that regard.
15. Sherri Shepherd
When people hear the name Sherri Shepherd, they might not recognize it. She is a TV host and personality who is most recognized from her time on The View as the hostess of the revamped Newlywed Game where newlywed couples come on, answer questions in a way they think their spouse will answer, and hope to earn enough points to win the grand prize, usually a honeymoon trip. While some of the questions are risqué, Sherri was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness but is no longer practicing.
14. Terrence Howard
Apparently it’s not so easy to become a Jehovah’s Witness as Hustle and Flow star Terrence Howard has repeatedly said that he wants to become a member of this religious group. It doesn’t appear that he has been welcomed into the faith just yet, though his wife is raising their children as Witnesses. The 46-year-old actor may one day become a Jehovah’s Witness, and when he does his children will be well grounded in that faith.
13. Lou Whitaker
Lou Whitaker was one of the great all-time Major League baseball players who strived to excel at everything he did. The former Detroit Tiger did something, though, that not many other professional athletes have ever done: he put his religious beliefs above everything else in his life, including his baseball career. He continues to be a practicing Jehovah’s Witness to this day and is considered one of the best baseball players in history who have not been elected to the Hall of Fame.
12. Coco Rocha
With the potent gaze, narrow cheeks, and straw jawbone, it’s no surprise that Coco Rocha became one of today’s iconic models. She has the refined appearance that fashion designers love and continues to be a force within the modeling world. She is one of the few women in this profession who seem to be open about their religious beliefs and has admitted she is a practicing Jehovah’s Witness. She has said, “There aren’t many Witnesses who are in the public eye. I can’t even name any, so yeah, it’s hard sometimes when you’re here alone. You’re not with someone who can hold your hand and say we’ll do this together.”
11. Chet Lemon
Another professional baseball player on this list, Chet Lemon played for the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers during his career. He won the World Series with the Tigers in 1984 and threw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 4 of the World Series in 2011. He was introduced to the Jehovah’s Witnesses when he was a teenager and continues to practice and be an active member in the church to this day.
10. George Benson
If you don’t know who George Benson is, just take some time to listen to some blues music. He is a guitarist, songwriter, and icon of the blues and continues to perform to this day. Even at the age of 72, George can still put on a great show and he is not shy about sharing his love of his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness with anyone and everyone who wants to hear about it. In some of his songs you can hear his passion ring through.
The 57-year-old musician has been on the leading edge of music for most of his life. He was raised as a Baptist and was practicing until his mother’s death, when he converted to become a Jehovah’s Witness. Prince has one child, a son, and has suffered from epilepsy most of his life. It’s not clear what drove him from his faith to become a Jehovah’s Witness, but it appears as though he is still practicing to this day.
8. Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson was born into the spotlight. While his brothers were singing and making great careers through Motown, little Michael stole the stage and the show, launching an incredible career that saw him become the biggest pop star and icon in history. His exploits have become legendary and his death shocked the world. He was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, though it’s not clear whether he was practicing at the time of his death. His children are being raised the same as he.
7. The Notorious B.I.G.
Notorious B.I.G. was one of the biggest names in rap music and at a young age. He was murdered in 1997 in a shooting that many people believe was an act of retribution for the murder of Tupak Shakur about a year earlier. While Notorious was larger than life in many ways, he was also raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. His fans continue to revel in the music he created and his family kept quiet about his life as a Witness.
6. Patti Smith
Patti Smith is a revolutionary punk rocker whose career was at its height during the 1970s and 1980s. She was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, but based on her career path, style of music, and actions on and off the stage, it’s no surprise that she had left the religion. She has two children and continues to work as a poet and musician and has even begun working as a voice over artist. She has not been open about her faith today.
5. Dave Mustaine
Dave Mustaine was destined for greatness in the heavy metal world. The original and founding member of the iconic rock group Metallica, Dave was unceremoniously kicked out of the band before they became a monstrous sensation. Undeterred, though furious about the situation, he went on to form Megadeth and, to many fans, is far more likeable than his former band. He was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness but became a born-again Christian in 2002.
4. Jill Scott
Jill Scott may be a beloved poet, actor, singer, and songwriter, but she was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. She has been quoted as stating she’s no longer a practicing member of this religion, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she has completely stepped away from it or left it altogether. She has one child, a son, and continues to inspire people in life. Her music and voice help to make people feel better about themselves and for that, there’s no need for her to make any excuses or apologies for her choices to leave the church behind.
3. Ja Rule
Rapper Ja Rule may be covered in tattoos and his music may not appeal to everyone, but one thing is clear: he is no longer a Jehovah’s Witness. He was raised in the religion, but when his mother was disfellowshipped, he lost all interest and also left it behind.
2. Naomi Campbell
As seems to happen with many people who are raised in a certain religious background, Naomi Campbell was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, but she no longer practices the faith. With her notorious behavior as a reported diva and being nasty to fans and staff, it would be hard pressed for someone to believe she could have any belief system built up that exemplified the teachings and life of Jesus Christ.
1. Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez has built an incredible career during the past decade, starring in the TV show Lost and then the hit movie franchise Fast and Furious and even the blockbuster Avatar. She was also raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and while that hasn’t seemed to stand in the way of her career, she has since left the faith and believes that it scarred her for life in some ways. “I’m always researching ancient religions,” she said. “And I was also raised Jehovah’s Witness, so that kind of scarred me for life. So I hated school right away. Religion had a lot to do with it because I felt like everybody was always lying to me.”