What makes Jehovah’s Witnesses different from other Christians?

June 17, 2016 | Lowell, MA Attendee's stand for a communal song atJehovah's Witnesses Convention at The Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.
Kieran Kesner for The Boston Globe
Attendees stand for a song at the Jehovah's Witnesses Convention in Lowell.

Jehovah’s Witnesses follow the model of “first-century” Christians, subscribing to Bible principles in the old and new Testaments that guide every aspect of their lives. They believe that God’s Kingdom is coming soon that will bring peace on earth.

They don’t vote or serve in the military. They don’t celebrate birthdays, Halloween, or Christmas, finding no evidence of these observances in the Bible.

What is the meaning of baptism?

Baptism is a choice Witnesses make — as adults — to dedicate their lives to God. According to the faith, spiritual protection is granted to those who “live in harmony” with their dedication.

How many are there in the world? How many in the United States?


There are 8.2 million worldwide, 118,016 congregations, and 9.7 million free home Bible courses being conducted. There are 1.2 million in the US.

Why do they go door-to-door distributing religious tracts and talking about God’s Kingdom?

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Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that all Christians are teachers and preachers and are following the example of early Christians who went house to house to share their faith.

What are their core beliefs?

Witnesses view the old and new Testaments as “God’s inspired message to humans.” But they don’t take every word literally. Instead they believe that parts of the Bible are written in “figurative or symbolic language.”

Witnesses follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ and honor him as their savior and the son of God. But they believe that Jesus is not God and that there is no scriptural basis for the Trinity doctrine.

When Witnesses talk of “The Kingdom of God,” they are referring to “a real government in heaven, not a condition” in the hearts of Christians.” They believe that the kingdom will replace human governments very soon.