by Matt Slick
The Jehovah's Witnesses was begun by Charles Taze Russell in 1872. He was born on February 16, 1852, the son of Joseph L. and Anna Eliza Russell. He had great difficulty in dealing with the doctrine of eternal hell fire, and in his studies came to deny not only eternal punishment but also the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and the Holy Spirit. When Russell was 18, he organized a Bible class in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1879 he sought to popularize his aberrant ideas on doctrine. He co-published The Herald of the Morning magazine with its founder, N. H. Barbour; and by 1884 Russell controlled the publication and renamed it The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom and founded Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society (now known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society). The first edition of The Watchtower magazine was only 6,000 copies each month. Today the Witnesses' publishing complex in Brooklyn, New York, churns out 100,000 books and 800,000 copies of its two magazines--daily!
Russell claimed that the Bible could be only understood according to his interpretations--a dangerous arrangement since he controlled what was written in the Watchtower magazine. This kind of assertion is typical among leaders of cult religions.
After the death of Russell on Oct. 31, 1916, a Missouri lawyer named Joseph Franklin Rutherford took over the presidency of the Watch Tower Society which was known then as the International Bible Students Association. In 1931 he changed the name of the organization to "The Jehovah's Witnesses."
After Rutherford's death, Nathan Knorr took over. After Knorr, Frederick William Franz became president.
The Society was led by Mr. Henschel who died in 2003. The group has over 4 million members worldwide. The Watchtower Society statistics indicate that 740 house calls are required to recruit each of the nearly 200,000 new members who join every year.
The Jehovah's Witnesses have several ‘book studies' each week. The members are not required to attend, but there is a level of expectation that gently urges converts to participate. It is during these ‘book studies' that the Jehovah's Witness is constantly exposed to counter Christian teachings. The average Jehovah's Witness with his constant Watchtower indoctrination could easily pummel the average Christian when it comes to defending his beliefs.
The Jehovah's Witnesses vehemently portray the doctrine of the Trinity as pagan in origin and that Christendom, as a whole, has bought the lie of the devil. Along with denying the Trinity is an equally strong denial of the deity of Christ, the deity of the Holy Spirit, the belief in hell, and eternal conscious punishment in hell.
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