When the end did not come in 1914, new dates were fixed: 1918, 1925, 1941, and 1975. These mistaken predictions have been embarrassing every time. Yet, there has been no shortage of imaginative explanations. The closeness of the end of the world remains the most important part of the teachings, though today there is no longer a fixed year for the battle of Armageddon.
At the time of Russell´s death, the foundation of a large American organization had been laid: The Watchtower Society. A lot of people all over the world were affiliated with the society. Under the leadership of President Russell´s successor, Judge Rutherford, a theocracy was introduced: The top management of the Watchtower Society, "The Governing Body", was now said to be directly led by God. What these leading men decide and agree upon becomes law for the followers, for they claim to have their authority and power from God.
One significant feature of the teachings of the Jehovah´s Witnesses is the sharp rejection of the Christian belief in the Triune God. They separate the Father from the Son, and they do not believe that Jesus is God. The entire Biblical preaching of the Holy Spirit as God´s personal presence and love is lost and substituted with an understanding of the Holy Spirit as a power. Their ideas of "God" have been given non-Christian content, and God is seen as a gruesome Avenger. In the teachings of the Witnesses, Jesus Christ as the merciful saviour is receding from view. Obedience to the law, merits, and principles are introduced as the basis of man´s salvation.
The Watchtower Society claims to base its teachings on the Bible. In reality, however, they have turned the Bible into a selection of proof texts that confirms the specific religion of the Jehovah´s Witnesses. Each one of them is a peg and the Bible as a whole is a kind of coat stand on which the Watchtower Society hangs its doctrines.
Rules and Regulations
A Witness will be expelled if he does not comply and show loyalty to the Society. Witnesses are not allowed to question the teachings of the Watchtower Society, and they must live in accordance with the fixed rules. If they do not obey orders they will be spied upon by their own local "congregation". In the event that a Witness is expelled, he will immediately be shunned by all the other Witnesses and by all his friends. The Witnesses are not even allowed to greet an expelled one if they meet him in the street. The purpose of this psychological punishment is to make the expelled one return to "the right path" and submit. It often ends with the expelled one experiencing severe mental problems, abandoned by former friends and family members.
In order to help expelled and deserted Witnesses, national support groups have been set up in some countries. In Denmark their address is:
Kristen Frihed, Stårupvej 4, 7800 Skive. Tel. (+45) 9751 2525 or (+45) 6228 1600 (e-mail: Kristen Frihed, home page: Kristen Frihed).
Støttegruppen, Postbox 504, 7800 Skive. Tel.: (+45) 9752 1922. Or: Støttegruppen, c/o Gitte Redsøe Eriksen, Skarridsøgade 5, 1. tv, 4450 Jyderup, Tel. (+45) 5920 8101 (e-mail: Støttegruppen, home Page: Støttegruppen)
You can also write to the Dialog Center, Ruddi Agerriis, about Jehovah's Witnesses.In Denmark there are approximately 15,000 preachers within the Jehovah´s Witnesses, and a total of 21,000 followers. Globally there are by now an estimated 5.2 million Witnesses.