You may already have some knowledge of the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith, as they may have knocked on your door and tried to recruit you to their religion. (Has that happened to you? Because it's totally happened to me.) But other than the aggressive recruitment practices, what’s their religion really about? UM, some crazy stuff! Those clean-cut young boys who try to recruit you to the Jehovah’s Witnesses may look sweet and innocent, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses live by some pretty shockingly dark rules.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a relatively new religion, as it was founded in the 1870s. Though it is relatively new, the aggressive recruitment methods and the downright scary beliefs have helped the religion gain 8 million followers already. By scary beliefs, I mean the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the end of the world is rapidly approaching (like, tomorrow) and they will be the only people saved. That’s right, the rest of us will perish, even those who worship God via other religious faiths. And that’s because Jehovah's Witnesses believe all other religious faiths are actually devil worship. But more on that later.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses religion dictates many parts of the members’ lives, from who they can be friends with, to what sexual activity in which a husband and wife may engage, to even which medical treatments members may receive. Oh, and the world is constantly ending, by the way. Below are 15 shockingly dark rules that Jehovah’s Witnesses have to follow. So next time a sweet, young boy knocks on your door with a pamphlet about salvation for your soul, just remember this article... because that salvation does not come easy.
15 Life-Saving Blood Transfusions Are Not Allowed
Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in life-saving blood transfusions because the Bible tells them so. Well, the Bible kind of tells them so.
What it comes down to is that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in ingesting blood of any kind, as there are sources in the Bible for this. In the book of Genesis, God told Noah to add animal flesh to their diet, but not to drink the animal blood. There are several other instances of God commanding people to not ingest blood because God apparently views it as sacred.
But like, drinking animal blood is much different from a blood transfusion, right? Also, I'm pretty sure God doesn't want you to die. Sometimes a blood transfusion is a life-saving procedure, which Jehovah’s Witnesses will actually TURN DOWN because they believe it’s what God would want. They are not allowed to receive any components of blood - red cells, white cells, platelets or plasma.
I get the whole not wanting to piss off God thing, but he told Noah not to DRINK ANIMAL BLOOD. Blood transfusions are a different thing. Maybe the Jehovah's Witnesses need to rethink their Bible interpretations.
14 Chaperoned Dates Until Marriage
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in many of the core Christian beliefs about dating. So no banging before marriage, blah blah blah. That’s pretty much the norm when it comes to religious beliefs. I mean, almost every religion is going to tell you to hang on to that V-card until marriage.
That said, certain people and certain religions follow stricter rules about courtship. And Jehovah’s Witnesses follow some very strict rules about courtship. Apparently, when you’re basically ready to get married, you’re allowed date someone you want to marry. So, no dating around or downloading Tinder, kiddies.
Now that you're ready for marriage and dating someone you want to marry, you’ll never be alone with said person. Yes, all dates are chaperoned, because nothing says getting to know your potential spouse like a chaperoned date. Obviously, sex before marriage is a huge no-no, though it would be hard to even initiate any kind of physical contact on a date, y’know with the chaperone there and all.
13 They REALLY Do Not Believe In War
Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to engage in war or bear arms. Yes, even if it means imprisonment, Jehovah's Witnesses will refuse to engage in warfare.
Jehovah's Witnesses feel as though warfare is incompatible with Jesus’ teachings, which is probably true. I mean, "love thy neighbor" implies not shooting your neighbor in the head, right? Wow, I got dark there. But you get the point.
Even though it’s against their faith, Jehovah’s Witnesses have still landed in jail (or worse) for refusing to participate in war. In Armenia and Turkey, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been fined, imprisoned and even tortured for their refusal to participate in war. In 2013, it was reported that South Korea was home to 93% of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who are imprisoned for this reason.
12 Their Rules Led To Nazi Persecution
The fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in participating in war isn’t all that shocking or dark, but the results of their conscientious objection have led to some rather shocking and dark things.
The scariest example of this is that the Jehovah’s Witnesses became targets of Adolf Hitler. Because Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to fight in World War I and to support the National Socialism party in Germany, they were persecuted. It’s estimated that 10,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses were sent to concentration camps, where 5,000 of them perished, which is an utter tragedy.
Unlike many of the other groups of people persecuted by the Nazis, the Jehovah’s Witnesses were given a chance to denounce their faith, but most of them refused to do so and ended up being sent to a concentration camp.
11 Some VERY Strict Rules About The Bedroom
Even when you’re married, there are STILL rules about sex. That’s right, after all those chaperoned dates, tying the knot, and saying those vows, there’s still some things you can and cannot do in the bedroom. Particularly, there is to be no oral or anal sex. Both oral and anal sex are prohibited even if the couple is married and both parties consent to the act. The reason for forbidding oral and anal sex - even when married - is because they fall under the "fornication" umbrella, which is strictly prohibited in the Bible.
If it's found out that a married couple is engaging in prohibited sexual activity, the couple will be stripped of all privileges they hold in the congregation. Like, heaven forbid you want to change it up, right? There’s no rule on positions that I can find on the Internet, so at least you can experiment that way, I guess.
10 "Report What Is Bad"
But how will anyone know what you do in the bedroom with your wife or husband? Well, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have this nifty little thing called “report what is bad.”
"Report what is bad" basically means that if another Witness tells you they did something that is deemed wrong by the Jehovah's Witness faith, you’re supposed to report them to the higher ups. So, if a friend tells you they bought a lottery ticket (against the rules), you could be expected to snitch on them.
That said, it’s likely only your husband or wife would be privy to the down and dirty happening in the bedroom, but your husband or wife could easily be the one to report what is bad. Many people who left the Jehovah’s Witnesses say they felt they couldn’t show their true self to anyone – not even their own spouse – for fear they would report what is bad.
Could you imagine not even being able to trust your significant other because their allegiance to the church was stronger than their allegiance to you? That is dark.
9 The World Was Supposed To End Quite A Few Times
Between global warming and the North/United States tensions, it does kind of seem like the world could end any day now. But the Jehovah’s Witnesses like really, really think the world is going to end, and not by our own doing. Nope, they think God is gearing up to end the world. So far, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have predicted the world would end in 1914, 1915, 1918, 1925, and 1975. That’s a lot of world ending, right?
Particularly, 1914 was believed to be the year of world-wide anarchy, which would follow the end of the Gentile Times. In 1925, Messiah's kingdom was to be established and bring worldwide peace. And by world wide peace, they mean just peace for the Jehovah's Witnesses, as the rest of us will perish. In 1938, it was decided that Armageddon was too close for anyone to get married or have children. In 1941, there was only “months” before the Armageddon. In 1984, it was said that there were signs the world would end before the end of the 20th century.
So, basically the Jehovah’s Witnesses are always on high-alert for the end of the world. Just imagine the constant anxiety.
8 What They Think Will Happen When The World Ends
The reason for the Jehovah’s Witnesses being so obsessed with the world ending may be because this is a cornerstone of their teaching. They believe that when the world ends, which is imminent, God’s kingdom will be established throughout the world. And not just figuratively. They literally believe it will a government ruled by Jesus Christ and 144,000 others. By the way, that number is so very specific and I have no idea how they came up with it.
To that end, the only people who will be invited into this literal kingdom on Earth are Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you practice any other religion, you’re a goner. Though, you don’t go to hell. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in hell, but rather non-existence. Those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses will simply no longer exist. I mean, if there was ever a good reason to be a Jehovah’s Witness, this is it, right?
Obviously this is used as a recruitment tool, as well as a tool to keep people in the faith.
7 "New Light" Allows For Ever-Changing Rules
How do Jehovah’s Witnesses get down with the ever-changing doctrine, in which the world is always ending at a different point in time? Well, they explain it as “new light.” This “new light” is God shedding light on new information to the elders, and so their doctrine changes.
If the world doesn’t end when predicted? Whoops, NEW LIGHT! We now have a new day the world will end.
This “new light” creates a system in which all the rules can be constantly changed whenever the leadership sees fit. Sometimes this works out in the favor of followers, like when they changed the rules to allow for blood fractions for those who really needed it. However, stating the world will end, then getting "new light" that the world will actually end on a different date…? Yeah, that just makes them unreliable.
6 Holidays Are Not Observed
Okay, but like the one good part about religions are the holidays, right? WRONG-O. Jehovah’s Witness don’t celebrate any holidays. No holidays at all. No religious holidays, like Christmas or Easter. No national holidays, like Thanksgiving or 4th of July. Jehovah's Witnesses don’t even celebrate birthdays. Imagine being a little kid and not celebrating your birthday. What a bummer! The reasoning for this rule is that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the celebration of holidays is a pagan ritual. And so celebrating holidays, even religious holidays, is seen as devil worship.
Though, there are some legit reasons for their refusal to celebrate Christmas that make actual sense. For example, there is no real proof that Jesus was born on December 25th. That’s just an arbitrary date we all came up with, so we're not really celebrating his birthday. In the Bible, there's also a passage in which Jesus said we should celebrate his death on earth, and not his birth on earth.
But even with all of that, it seems harsh to like not let people have a Christmas tree, right? Christmas trees are just so heartwarming, guys!
5 Crosses Are Bad News
Almost every single Christian faith believes Jesus Christ died on the cross and, in doing so, saved us from our own sins...I don't know... or something like that, right? After twelve years of Catholic school, I’m actually still confused about some of the details, but whatever. Jesus was on a cross. That’s how it goes.
Jehovah’s Witnesses, on the other hand, are anti-cross. You won’t find a single cross in any of their places of worship. What’s up with that? Well, the Jehovah’s Witness do not believe Jesus died on a cross. Instead, they believe he died on a simple stake, so we’re all wrong to be praying to crosses and crucifixes.
That said, even if they believed Jesus did die on the cross, Jehovah’s Witnesses would still be against using crosses for worship, as crosses can be seen as idolatry, which the Bible warns against. Basically, Jehovah’s Witnesses like to par down their worship to be as minimal and non-flashy as possible.
4 All Other Religions Are Satan Worshipers
If you’re not a Jehovah’s Witness, you’re sh*t out of luck in their opinion. When the world ends, which is any day now by the way, God will only bring the Jehovah’s Witnesses into the paradise on earth. The rest of us will simply cease to exist. And the reason all people from other religions will perish is because all other religions are actually devil worshipers. YUP, every other religion – even of the Christian faith – are devil worshipers, y'know according to the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Furthermore, Jehovah's Witnesses believe there are A LOT of Satan-related things going on in the world. In the Jehovah Witness faith, it’s believed that Satan and his demons came to earth in 1914, you know that one time earth was supposed to end but didn't. Since the world didn't actually end in 1914, the "new light" told the elders of the Jehovah's Witnesses that Satan and his demons did indeed come down to earth in 1914. It was at this point in time that the end of days began, with the human race being influenced and misled by Satan himself.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe human governments and religions are controlled by Satan, who is apparently here on earth.
3 You Cannot Be Friends With Non-Witnesses
Unfortunately, Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t allowed to be friends with anyone who is not a Jehovah's Witness. In a way, that makes sense. I mean, if you truly think the world is going to end and all non-witnesses will perish, why become friends with someone who is doomed? It seems pointless to make friends with those who are destined to perish, y'know when the world ends any day now.
That said, this makes Jehovah’s Witnesses very sheltered. Being that they are only to make friends with people who practice the same faith, Jehovah’s Witnesses never really learn about other faiths and have a chance to question their own. This type of sheltered lifestyle keeps people inside the faith, as opposed to letting them explore different options and possibly leave the faith.
But like I said, why would you even want to be friends with one of those Satan-worshipers who is clearly going to perish into nothingness when God comes to reclaim the earth in, like, two weeks? Totally pointless from their point of view.
2 Spreading Their Word Far And Wide
Most people know Jehovah’s Witnesses as the religion that awkwardly tries to recruit you. You know the deal, right? Usually in pairs, young boys will walk around a neighborhood. They knock on doors and hand out pamphlets about why we should all be Jehovah’s Witnesses before it’s too late of our souls. It definitely seems a little rude to slam the door in the face of two young boys but also, I've definitely done just that. Just kidding, I'm usually very polite when I decline their salvation for my sinner soul.
That said, the reach of the Jehovah's Witnesses is pretty impressive. Active Witnesses can be found on 239 lands across the globe. And being that the religion keeps active records, their growth is well cited. At this point, the religion has almost eight million members.
So at the end of days, approximately eight million people will be saved, while the rest of us will be damned. Gotcha.
1 Recruitment Leaves Children Sleep Deprived
If you’ve ever had someone try to recruit you to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s almost always a young boy, right? Well, in a story from a man who left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, he shared memories from his sleep-deprived upbringing, “I needed the weekends to catch up on my sleep debt, but instead I had to get up at the crack of dawn to go out preaching. The act of knocking on strangers’ doors to tell them their religion is wrong and that they better change or face God’s wrath is bad enough. When you’re so exhausted you can barely stand up, it becomes absolute torture—both for you and the person you’re trying to recruit into a cult at 9AM on a Saturday.” Damn. Furthermore, this ex-Witness went on to say he had to fill out monthly reports to tell the elders just how much preaching he did, which sounds like fun. I mean, everyone enjoys being micromanaged, right?
Sources: JW.org, Thoughtcatalog.com, Listverse.com