Jehovah`s Witness/Jehovah Witness beginning


Dear Mr. Holland,

When did the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses get started? I know it is not one of the older Christian religions from way back. Was it started by a man or by a group of Christians?


Hello Sir, and thanks for writing with your inquiry.

You are correct that the JW religion is not one of the oldest ones, and it is worth noting that their history is not always something that JWs like to talk about.  

You ask..."Was it started by a man or by a group of Christians?"

The religion that is today known as Jehovah's Witnesses, was started by a man by the name of Charles Taze Russell.  Mr. Russell was born in Pennsylvania, in 1852.  He was raised in the Presbyterian religion, and later joined the Congregationalist church.  But while still a young man, Mr. Russell struggled with the Biblical teaching of a literal Hell.  In addition, he also came to question the authority of the Bible.

After a discussion with an acquaintance, Russell was unable to defend his faith, and as a result, left the church and became a skeptic.  At the age of 18, he attended a presentation by Adventist preacher, Jonas Wendell.  Wendell relied heavily on William Miller's calculations, and used them to prove that the Scriptures taught the return of Christ in 1873-1874.  Russell believed in Mr. Wendell, and his faith in Christianity was restored.  

In 1870, Russell and his friends formed a Bible study group in Pittsburgh to discuss the problems they had discovered in the Bible and the issues they had with Christianity. The study group was also joined by Adventist pastors George Storrs and George Stetson, who shaped some of Russell’s early beliefs about immortality and resurrection.  In 1876, Russell came in contact with Nelson H. Barbour, also an Adventist preacher.  Russell financially backed Barbour's publication "HERALD OF THE MORNING", but later pulled his funding from it when Barbour renounced some of their previously shared beliefs, and Russell then started his own publication in 1879, called "ZION'S WATCH TOWER AND HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE".

Back to the teaching of Christ's return in 1874....Many people are not aware that the JWs taught for years, even up until the 1920s, that Christ's "coming" happened invisibly in 1874.  In fact, they said that the "Scriptural evidence" was that Jesus "came" in 1874.  Today, the teaching is that it happened in 1914, and there is no such "Scriptural evidence" of His coming in 1874.

Mr. Russell has numerous failed predictions to his credit.  1914 was supposed to be the END of the Battle of Armageddon, and he was also a strong believer in Pyramidology.  Meaning, he believed the Great Pyramid contained measurements, which gave insight into Scriptural truths.  He believed the length of certain passage-ways, helped to arrive at the year of 1914.

In addition, Mr. Russell also promoted what he called "Miracle Wheat", which he claimed was a superior strain of wheat, and sold it for $60.00 a bushel, when it was actually inferior, and worth far less.  Mr. Russell had numerous quack medical teachings, including a cure for cancer, which consisted of chloride and zinc, a harmful and deadly combination.  But worst of all, Mr. Russell actually had the audacity to elevate his series of writings entitled "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES", as being superior to reading the Bible itself. He claimed that reading the Bible alone would lead a person into darkness within 2 years, but reading his writings alone without reading even one page of the Bible, would lead a person into the light of the Scriptures.

Here is the incredible statement, made by Russell, regarding his "Scripture Studies" volumes....

"Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the Divine Plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years –if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures."

This is the man who founded the religion that later, under the leadership of their 2nd President, Joseph F. Rutherford, became known as "Jehovah's Witnesses".

Now, I'm sure you are aware that JWs today believe themselves to be the only true Christians in the world, and regularly refer to their religion as "the truth".  However, when one looks at the historical evidence, I believe it is safe to say this group was founded by a man, and a man who had some very strange ideas and doctrine.

In fact, this religion has a long line of failed prophecies/predictions, flip-flopping doctrine, quack medical teachings and suffering caused by these teachings, and over-all, unbiblical doctrine.  While most of the members are no doubt very sincere, sincerity alone does not make something right.  

Thanks for writing, and if I can be of any further assitance or clarify anything that I have written here, please do not hesitate to ask.

Take care,


Jehovah`s Witness

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Derrick Holland


I was raised in the religion known as Jehovah`s Witnesses for 13 years. Since becoming a born-again Christian, I have researched extensively this religion, especially their doctrines and their history. I can answer questions about their doctrines from the perspective of Biblical Christianity. To be clear: Jehovahs Witnesses is the religion of my upbringing, though I myself was never baptized into the religion, nor have I ever been considered as a Jehovahs Witness.


29 years of Biblical research into the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, and how they differ from the teachings of the Watchtower.

I would advise each questioner to this forum, to carefully READ the profiles of the various volunteers. There are several such as myself, who are not practicing JWs, but will provide you with an accurate and honest answer, regarding JW teaching. If we don't know the answer, we will try to research and get it for you. There are also some excellent practicing JWs here, who also endeavor to give you a factual and honest answer, based on their point of view. I believe by getting both points of view, the questioner can weigh the evidence for themselves, and make an informed decision. Unfortunately, there are also 3 here who claim to be JWs, but do NOT give honest, or well-researched answers. They will tell you only what they want you to believe, and they often hide facts about the history of their religion, as well as print untruths about other people's beliefs. This is done in an attempt to deceive the unsuspecting reader. It can be easily seen who these 3 are, simply by reading the public posts and "answers" which they write. Their posts will normally be filled with personal attacks, and if you question them about some teaching or aspect of the Watchtower that makes them uncomfortable, they will often reject your question, question your motives for asking it, tell you that you have been reading "apostate" sites, or turn the conversation into an attack on another expert. These ones are better avoided, as there is nothing to be gained by way of positive discussion, as they are not interested in intelligent conversation, or honest dialogue. If after reading the forum, you still have any questions as to who they are, just ask me, and I will be happy to tell you. And I can also provide documentation of their willful dishonesty. One thing is for a forum where people from both sides claim to be "Christians", there should never be any willful lying. Such ones only create a distraction in the forum, and provide nothing of any real value.

High School, some college. Studies of God's Word, the Bible, and how it compares to JW theology. I have found my own personal study and experiences to be far more valuable than any formal education or training. The Bible message is clear...Salvation is ONLY through and by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and no religious organization has a thing to do with it. While attendance at a Bible-preaching, Bible-believing church is a must for spiritual growth and fellowship, no church can grant salvation to its members. Nor is joining a particular group a prerequisite for being saved.

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