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Monday, 7 September 2015

Jehovah's Witnesses

The Congregationalist-raised Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) founded a Bible study group with some associates called the Millennial Dawnists movement in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1870s. Russell was much influenced by the 'Millerite' Adventist movement and he believed the Rapture of believers was imminent so he enthusiastically proclaimed his beliefs to anyone who would listen.

Russell's group began to expand into other congregations from the mid 1880s as the former Congregationalist began to intensify his ministry with the help of the tracts, magazines and Bibles that he began distributing through the Zion Watch Tower Tract Society.

Though Russell's  organization went through a number of schisms, it became a worldwide movement helped enormously by the international syndication in newspapers from the early 1900s of his sermons.

After the death of Russell in a train crash in 1916, his successor Joseph Rutherford (1869-1942) re-energized the movement encouraging the Millennial Dawnists from 1922 to go from door to door preaching the Gospel.

In 1931 Rutherford proposed that they change their name to Jehovah's Witnesses based on Isaiah 43:10-12.

Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Satan and his demons were cast down to earth from heaven on October 1, 1914, at which point at Jesus Christ began to rule in heaven as king. The end times began at that point.

Nazi Germany began its persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses on April 24, 1933 by shutting down the Watch Tower Society office in Magdeburg.

Michael Jackson was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and was active until his disassociation in 1987. Despite his tremendous fame and great fortune, the Thriller star was still door-to-door witnessing for his faith twice a week in the mid-1980s and regularly attending meetings at Kingdom Hall with his mother when he was in town.

The musician Prince was introduced to the Jehovah's Witness faith, following a two-year-long debate with friend and fellow Jehovah's Witness, musician Larry Graham. He attends meetings at a local Kingdom Hall and occasionally knocks on people's doors to discuss his faith. Prince has given up using profanity in his performances and recordings since his conversion (he refers to it as a "realization.")


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