Peculiar People: Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses

February 18, 2008
By

For a religious community that is often misunderstood and sometimes maligned or mocked, we don’t learn much from our experience. I can’t tell you how often I hear underhanded remarks about other religious groups. Its not a common topic of conversation, but when the subject turns to Jehovah’s Witnesses, and in almost any setting, you are bound to hear jokes. Like Mormons, the faithful really do stick out in a crowd. With my background in having studied with them, I thought it might be fun to examine the “peculiar” similarities between Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. We may be more alike than you think.

  • Member Missionaries
    This is probably the most clear parallel. Most people who know nothing about either group can identify with an image of either the guys in suits on bikes, or the families knocking doors on Saturday mornings with a handful of Watchtower magazines. Some people think they are from the same church. Being a faithful and active Jehovah’s Witness is similar to being Mormon, in that there is an implied call to missionary work. You are called to step out of your fears of alienating yourself socially and proselyte to your own community and friends.
  • Defining Praxis
    If Mormons are defined to the unfamiliar by the missionaries, we are most likely defined to the familiar by the commitment to “clean living” as punctuated by abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. Likewise, the peculiarity of Jehovah’s Witnesses is expressed to the familiar in their rejection of holidays and customs and refusing blood transfusions. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that holidays essentially consist of giving praise or glory to someone or something other than God, which is unacceptable. Also, most holidays originate from rituals and religions very different from the people who observe them today. For JW’s, if its not approved in the Bible its a no go. Blood transfusions are equated to consuming blood, which is prohibited in the Bible.
  • Millennialism
    For the average mainstream Mormon, the millennium is not really a major focus on their mind, but it is still considered an event or stage that is extremely important and most likely coming soon. I’ve heard many conversations speculating on when the Second Coming might occur. With the Jehovah’s Witness friends I had, it was an obsession. Their life was hard in high school. Constantly mocked by the cool crowd, chronically outcast from even the outcasts. The Second Coming represented a turning of the tables, at least to my friends. They would tell me about dreams they would have wherein they would be riding horses alongside the horsemen of the apocalypse slashing down the wicked, including the jerks from school. They really did glory in scriptures describing how the wicked would be burned as stubble during Armageddon.
  • Community Isolation
    On the ugly side, we have a term for our own religious, separatist elitism. “Utah Mormon”. To me this term represents behavior like parents not allowing their kids to play with non-Mormons, or the kids choosing to be exclusive on their own. This problem exists for Jehovah’s Witnesses, too. I initially met my friends at school because of our shared interest in punk rock, illustration, and skateboarding. I wanted to come over to their house to play on their skate ramp, and they told me their mom would not permit it unless I began the equivalent of “taking the discussions” with them.
  • Other churches as abominations
    Recent LDS rhetoric has been much more ecumenical, but our Mormon past has been clearly marked by a belief that our church is God’s only official and authorized church on the Earth. The party line for Jehovah’s Witnesses as I knew them was pretty much equivalent to the harshest McKonkie-esque expressions. All other churches are collectively the Church of the Devil. This attitude greatly contributes to the whole reveling in the destruction of the wicked and the separatism mentioned earlier.
  • Jehovah is Jesus
    In JW theology, Jehovah is the God of the Old Testament. The name emphasis is common between us, as well as Jews, but JW’s also believe in a more trinitarian view that Jehovah became Jesus as He left His heavenly throne to become mortal and redeem us. Of course, in Mormon theology, we technically believe the same thing. Jehovah was the God of the OT and left that position to come to Earth as Jesus. We only differ in that we believe there is another god (Heavenly Father or Elohim) ranking higher and kind of behind the scenes. Incidentally, JW prayers are said directly addressing Jehovah, not seeing a need for Jesus to mediate prayers.
    Edit: My memory was totally off on this one. See the comments below for corrections.
  • The influence of Satan
    The war in heaven mentioned in the book of Revelation that Mormons interpret to have occurred before the mortal stage, JW’s believe was a prophecy of 1914. They believe that World War 1 was the signal that Satan had been cast down to Earth. While we differ wildly in that view, we do share in common a heavy sense of the influence of Satan all around us, and often use similar terminology in church meetings with imagery of war and battle with the forces of evil.
  • Calling and Election Made Sure
    While the Mormon view of this is that some people (Moses, Elijah, City of Enoch, Joseph Smith) can be guaranteed exaltation before their death, and there is a controversial rumor of a special temple ceremony that seals this on the lucky recipient as well, its not really a core principle doctrine for us. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, their view of the afterlife is different and similar at the same time. Like looking at Mormon doctrine with a kaleidoscope. There is an equivalent of a Celestial kingdom. 144,000 persons who were worthy of exaltation to live with Jehovah, and the rest of humanity who is good will live in a paradise on Earth (millennium, anyone?). Interestingly, the 144,000 are believed to mostly have been born before 1935 (when the WatchTower Society supposedly declared the gates of heaven to be shut). This is a stark contrast to the popular Mormon belief that the best have been saved for last.

I’m sure there are other distinctions and parallels, but its been a while and this is already a fairly long article so I’ll stop there. You may find it interesting to note that in a recent beliefnet article, Jehovah’s Witnesses were identified as the fastest-growing religion in North America with over 1 million members and a growth rate of 2.25%. We were #4 with 5.7 million US members and a growth rate of 1.56%. Here’s the official site of the Jehovah’s Witnesses for those curious among you.

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37 Responses to Peculiar People: Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses

  1. February 18, 2008 at 4:46 am

    I think you are doing a great job of pointing out the similarities in our churches…something I think is very constructive and ecumenical. It is interesting to find critical points in any religious history as a way of promoting skepticism but I think it is important for people to come together on similar beliefs in understanding. We are both a peculiar people though I do feel that mormons are moving more to the “center” in comparison to the JWs. Fantastic post…thanks Clay.

  2. February 18, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Interesting post, though you may want to read a little more on some of the JW beliefs. Perhaps there are less-official factions that believe differently, but according to the official JW doctrine, for example, Jehovah and Jesus are not the same being.

  3. John Hamer
    February 18, 2008 at 7:27 am

    You’d be surprised by how many early Mormons are numbered among the 144,000 — at least according to their patriarchal blessings. Lorenzo Barnes, Don Carlos Smith, Harlow Redfield, Ethan Barrows, C.C. Rich, John W. Clark, Elisha Wright, Isaac Rogers, Laban Morrel, Lorenzo Snow, Sampson Avard, Joseph Bucklin Bosworth, Jacob Kimble Chapman, Nathan Cheney, John Cooper, Edwin R. Corkins, George Dunn, Reuben McBride, George Robinson, and William Wightman to name just a few.

  4. February 18, 2008 at 9:17 am

    When I lived in Hawaii (late 80′s) I met a JW woman who was considered one of the 144,000 by her local congregation. She was my age (and believe me, I was born well after 1935!) Once a year, they had a special meeting where the sacrament was blessed and passed. I attended the meeting with their congregation of about 200. Only the 144,000 were able to partake, so it just went from hand to hand until it got to her. She partook while everyone else watched avidly.
    So, am I confused in my understanding of who the 144,000 consist of? I recall asking her once how they were chosen, and she said, it is revealed to them personally and they let the church leadership know. Most members are satisfied to be of the lesser class, who do not get resurrected physically. I thought, if that was how it worked among the Mormons, we would definitely have to add a few more zeros to the 144.

  5. Bruce Nielson
    February 18, 2008 at 9:32 am

    >>> but JW’s also believe in a more trinitarian view that Jehovah became Jesus as He left His heavenly throne to become mortal and redeem us

    JW’s do not believe Jesus is Jehovah. In fact, they believe Jesus is Michael the Archangel and that Jehovah is God the Father. Like Mormons, JW’s believe Jesus to be a completely separate person from God the Father. The difference is that we believe Jesus is Jehovah and they believe he is not.

    In reality JW’s are less Trinitarian than we are. Actually, Mormons are highly Trinitarian. We are close to the point of view of Eusebius back at the time of the Nicean creed. JW’s are closer to Arian. Eusebius’ views were considered a valid orthodox view at the time. Today not so much so. Today Eusebius is called a “Semi-Arian.”

    The Michael the Archangel is Jesus thing is not something they let get around easily. However, I’ve asked many JW’s about this and they all confirm it when asked.

    “TIME and again, Jesus showed that he was a creature separate from God and that he, Jesus, had a God above him, a God whom he worshiped, a God whom he called “Father.””

    “THE Bible’s position is clear. Not only is Almighty God, Jehovah, a personality separate from Jesus but He is at all times his superior. Jesus is always presented as separate and lesser, a humble servant of God”

    From http://www.watchtower.org/e/ti/article_06.htm

    See also http://www.watchtower.org/e/20050915/article_02.htm

    A bit more hidden, but here is an example from their website of believing Jesus is Michael: “The foremost angel, both in power and authority, is the archangel, Jesus Christ, also called Michael”

    From http://www.watchtower.org/e/19951101/article_02.htm

  6. February 18, 2008 at 9:33 am

    BiV,

    The 1935 thing might be a myth, or maybe the current members aren’t aware of it. Hey, there’s another parallel to Mormons! ;-)

    Here’s a link to the official JW teaching on the 144,000.

  7. Jason Moore
    February 18, 2008 at 9:43 am

    When I was on my mission, my companion and I met with a JW lady several times and kind of had an exchange of our religious beliefs. It was very informative and interesting.

    Some of the things that stuck out to me as different: The JW lady would not allow us to pray in front of her. Basically if you were not a JW, you couldn’t pray in front of other JWs. When she prayed, she had to wear a hat to cover her head. Evidently that is required for the JW women.

    They only have the sacrament (passing of bread and wine) once a year, and the only people allowed to partake were ones that were part of the 144,000.

    Another area where they are very different from LDS, is in their view of education.
    JW’s pretty much discourage people from going to college and furthering career opportunities. They basically believe that when going to college, you are taking away from time that could be spent teaching and learning more about Jehovah.

    By the way, Clay, I loved your post the other day about living a princple like it is true as long as it is joyful. Very nice!

  8. February 18, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Bruce and Silverrain, You are right. I went from memory on that issue and I had it wrong. Refreshing on it actually demonstrates that their theology is closer to Mormons than I thought.

    http://www.watchtower.org/e/ti/article_05.htm Actually explains the view on the trinity.

  9. Bruce Nielson
    February 18, 2008 at 9:54 am

    >>> Most members are satisfied to be of the lesser class, who do not get resurrected physically.

    this isn’t my understanding. I understand JW’s as teaching that “the lesser clan” will be physically resurrected but that they will live on a paradisical earth instead of being redeemed and going back to heaven like 144,000.

  10. February 18, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Hey folks, apparently the JW official website in links trips the spam sensor. See, zealous missionaries, everyone ios called to the work. :-)

    If you include a link in your comment, it may go into spam, so be patient until someone rescues it.

  11. February 18, 2008 at 9:56 am

    “I understand JW’s as teaching that “the lesser clan” will be physically resurrected but that they will live on a paradisical earth instead of being redeemed and going back to heaven like 144,000.”

    Yes, that’s right. See the link in comment #6 for details on that one.

  12. Brent Hartman
    February 18, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    19th century Mormons usually viewed God the Father as Jehovah. For instance, here’s a hymn by John Taylor:

    “As in the heavens they all agree,
    The record’s given there by Three,
    On earth three witnesses are given,
    To lead the sons of earth to heaven.

    Jehovah, God the Father, is one;
    Another, God’s eternal Son;
    The Spirit does with them agree -
    The witnesses in heaven are three.”
    (Sacred Hymns, 1891, p. 295)

    You can also see this in older versions of the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Look of “God” in the index, and you will find “(Jehovah)” afterwards. These listings are for God the Father. If you look up “Jehovah” it will say, “See also God”, not Jesus Christ.

    In “The Women of Mormondom”, a book that Brigham Young sent out to teach the world about Mormonism, you’ll read the following:

    “Mark this august wonder of the age; the Mormons build
    not temples to the name of Jesus, but to the name of
    Jehovah – not to the Son, but to the Father. . . .
    Temples to the Most High God! The scepter, not the
    cross!” (The Women of Mormondom, p. 79, Eliza R. Snow
    with Edward Tullidge, New York 1877)

    The new doctrine of Jesus being Jehovah didn’t really take hold until “Jesus the Christ” by James Talmage.

  13. February 18, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    I had a work friend recently come “out of the closet” and tell me he was a JW after learning I was a Mormon. He was very hush hush about it, asking me not to tell our co-workers. We had a good laugh comparing our mutual growing pains in an outside-the-mainstream religion: our unique idiosyncratic beliefs and practices; our common fear or suspicion of others/sin; our overprotective parents; our fear of ostracism from community/family for believing differently, etc. Now, he seemed to be more of a Cultural JW or New Order JW, if such a classification exists.

    Though the “what” we believed was different, the “way” we believed, and the role the faith tradition played in our lives both then and now, was remarkably similar. Change the vernacular and I could have been talking to a Mormon.

  14. Bruce Nielson
    February 18, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    >>> 19th century Mormons usually viewed God the Father as Jehovah

    You are only partially correct. 19th centure Mormons usually viewed Jehovah (“The Self Existent One” or “He Is”) as a title synonmous with God and thus could be the Father or Son. This usuage started to die out after the Temple ceremony began to identify Jesus with Jehovah, but it continued to be used as both a title synonmous with God (and thus could apply to the Father) and also like a personal name for Jesus.

    The Bible and the D&C both use “Jehovah” as titles for God. The Mormon usage as applying for Jesus as a personal name is based outside of scripture and is founded in the Temple ceremony as far as I know. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s also founded on the principle of Jesus, as Jehovah, being the being that spoke to Moses and other OT prophets. (That idea is backed up by the New Testament in several places.) I did not know it was tied to Jesus the Christ by Talmage, but this may have popularized it.

    Barry Bickmore covers this topic in depth. I can’t find the paper I read about this, but this one partiall covers it: http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/pdf.php?filename=NDczNTU5MTY4LTEyLTEucGRm&type=cmV2aWV3

    Update: found the article – http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/pdf.php?filename=MzU4NzQyMDUyLTE1LTEucGRm&type=cmV2aWV3

    I might be wrong about it coming from the Temple ceremony, as reviewing it, he doesn’t mention that. But I’m pretty sure that was the place the usage started. He mentions it became very popular after 1916. Was that when Jesus the Christ came out? But it’s never been an all or nothing usage. Sometimes “Jehovah” is used as a title for “God” and other times it’s used as a peronal name for Jesus. Bickmore documents examples of both before and after 1916.

  15. John Hamer
    February 18, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Clay: Another interesting similarity is the existence of a very active Ex-JW community. Although there are both ExMos and ExJWs, you don’t hear a lot about ExJews and ExCatholics.

    I have a good friend who is an active leader on an ExJW internet bboard.

  16. February 18, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    John #15,
    Maybe that is because Jews and Catholics, for the most part, let people go in peace. Judaism is very personal religion so that makes sense. I’m sure with Catholics there are exceptions with more zealous families.

    But with Mormons and JWs, the religion demands so much from you, and makes such heavy claims about itself and outsiders, it becomes very polarizing. When a religion gets that deep into your life and worldview, folks who come to the opinion that the lifestyle and worldview is destructive will be tempted to attack it. Some of that comes intentions to save the believers from themselves, and some of it comes from an effort to reassure themselves they are now the ones who are better than the other. Human nature, right? We validate ourselves by invalidating those different from us.

  17. John Nilsson
    February 19, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Clay,

    Thanks for the info. Do the JWs have formal theological training for their leaders like the Catholics or are they more like the Mormons in this regard? Also, are their leaders paid (as our General Authorities and mission presidents are) or are they expected to maintain their day jobs as well?

  18. February 19, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    While the Mormon view of this is that some people (Moses, Elijah, City of Enoch, Joseph Smith) can be guaranteed exaltation before their death, and there is a controversial rumor of a special temple ceremony that seals this on the lucky recipient as well, its not really a core principle doctrine for us.

    This is the second time that I’ve seen comments in the bloggernacle suggesting that the Second Anointing is merely “rumor” or “myth.” Historical information on this ordinance is so readily available that I can’t understand intelligent people questioning its existence. Is this one of those cases where yet another BYU Religion Department instructor is teaching utter nonsense to students, in order to craft a new “truth” in the LDS church??

  19. Brent Hartman
    February 19, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Nick,

    The things that were once required for the highest degree of exaltation are no longer needed. Besides, women had to administer to men during the 2nd annointings, and it just wouldn’t be right to allow women today to administer to men. They might let the power go to their head. ;)

  20. February 19, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    “This is the second time that I’ve seen comments in the bloggernacle suggesting that the Second Anointing is merely “rumor” or “myth.””

    Nick, I was referring to the rumor of the Second Anointing still being practiced secretly. I’m using the term “rumor” only for lack of evidence corroborating it, for me personally. Calm down. ;-p

  21. February 20, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

    I think it’s funny when we sometimes make fun of other religions, like the “Jay Dubs”, and then turn around and expect other people to respect us and are shocked when they ridicule us too. If we want respect, we must first give it, and always give it. We might follow the good advice of doing unto others what we would have them do unto us.

  22. Carlos U.
    February 28, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    I’ve always had a high oppinion of Jehova’s Witnesses. I don’t agree with their beliefs, but overall they are moral, good people. I studied with them casualy for a while (more like my mom would have them over) and learned a lot of basic Bible stories. In high school I had a few classmates who were JW and they were great kids and good friends.

  23. Travis W.
    March 14, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Great Article, You are right there are many simularities between JW’s and LDS mebers. I know first hand. I was raised and spent 19 years attending meetings at the kindom Hall and my family is rooted strongly in that religion. I though, met and married a morman girl and 9 years later converted to mormanism. I find both religions to have strong moral values but the differance for me is that JW’s hold no hope for an after life if you are not a practicing member at Armgedon. I could not buy into this and don’t believe heavenly father could be as cruel as to only rember those of one religion.
    Also, if you choose to leave the church after being baptised you will be alienated from your family. They do not believe in putting family first. I chose not to be baptised so I am still able to be a part of our family fuctions.
    I hold no Ill will towards JW’s, For the most part they are good people.

  24. March 29, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Jehovah’s Witnesses have largest turnover of recruits,have one of the highest attrition rates of all denominations.

    Reports all over the news wires from TIME Magazine-””An even more extreme example of what might be called “masked churn” is the relatively tiny Jehovah’s Witnesses, with a turnover rate of about two-thirds.

    That means that two-thirds of the people who told Pew they were raised Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer are — yet the group attracts roughly the same number of converts. Notes Lugo, “No wonder they have to keep on knocking on doors.”

    Jehovah’s Witnesses claim of increased membership is suspect.
    These reports are “SELF-REPORTING” stats tallied by the Watchtower society.They wouldn’t cook the books would they?

    There actually are now twice as many former Jehovah’s Witnesses as there are active ones with thousands leaving every month.Baptisms at assemblies is often mostly family member children who have grown up JW.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are LOSING members and are on the decline.Japan has lost over 600 congregations.Witnesses are shrinking in number in many Western countries as of the last few years, as the Internet facilitates the spread of information (much of it critical of the Witnesses).

    Jehovah’s Witnesses members are cautioned against creating JW-related websites, largely to prevent their members from discovering the history and dirty laundry of this organization on other websites. There are literally hundreds of former members pages in many languages

    Danny Haszard Jehovah’s Witness X 33 years
    http://www.freeminds.org

  25. March 29, 2008 at 5:14 am

    I think one reason JW’s lose people, and this was certainly a HUGE consideration for me when I married a gentleman raised as one, is that you’re not supposed to have friends with whom you socialize outside the congregation. One of the reasons they sometimes get labeled as a “cult” is because of that tendency to isolate members. (I think the word cult is thrown around far too often for the wrong reasons.)

    If you have no good friends outside your Church, and for some reason you get “excommunicated”, you are truly isolated. (I put the word in quotes as it means very different things to different faiths.)

    I like JW’s. I admire their willingness to do truly unpleasant things because they think God wants them to, a dedication not often found in other religions, but I think they went too far in their drive to see themselves as “The Chosen Ones”.

  26. norman chapman
    May 11, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Hello,
    I am researching Jacob Kimbel Chapman. On Feb. 18th a John Hamer wrote that he is among the 144,000. Does that mean that he converted to the Witnesses at some point? Is there anywhere that I can see documentation to this effect?
    Thank you,
    Norman Chapman

    • LChapman
      October 27, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      Elders List from the Latter Day Saint’s Messenger and Advocate Vol. II, No. 9 Kirkland, Ohio, June 1836 The following is a List containing the name of Ministers of the Gospel, belonging to the church of the Latter Day Saints, whose Licenses were recorded, the preceding Quarter, in the License Records, in Kirtland, Ohio.

      Partial list; Jacob K Chapman, Lyman Curtis CHAPMAN hosted an appointment for McLellin in Hate, New York, on May 27, 1835. Was baptized by McLellin on May 30, 1835. [McLellin] CHAPMAN, Jacob (b. 1803), was born on Mar. 12, 1803, in Palmyra, New York, and later married Julia. Marched in Zion’s Camp. Donated money to McLellin in Amherst, Ohio, in Oct., 1834. Was ordained a member of the First Quorum of Seventy. Received patriarchal blessing from Joseph Smith, Sr., in Kirtland, Ohio, 1836. [McLellin] SOURCE: BYU: Brigham Young University Biographical Registers, Aug. 10, 2006 http://byustudies.byu.edu/indexes

      Seventy Quorum Membership, 1835– 1846
      Name: Jacob Kimball Chapman [Kimble Jacob Chapman]
      Birth Date: 1803
      Birth Place: New York
      Wives: ____, Julia
      Ordination: 1835
      Quorum: Q1
      Nauvoo Data: In first Quorum of Seventies in Kirtland; Palmyra, Kirtland, MO; Patriarchal Blessing
      Post-Nauvoo
      Data: Died outside Church

      Sources: M9:289; N145
      Source: Ancestry.com

  27. Bruce Nielson
    May 11, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Norman,

    No, the LDS church believes in the 144,000 also, but interprets it differently. Thus John Hamers comment was not about JWs. See http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/77/11#11 for info on the LDS view of the 144,000.

  28. MJH
    May 11, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    #16 Clay-The “go in peace” comment could be true for non-practicing Jewish or Catholic families. Practicing Catholics and Jews generally do not allow peaceful exits. In my own family when a Catholic married a Mormon, the family priest told the Catholic family to not participate in the couple’s ceremony or have anything to do with the couple. Mormons had been listed as heretics in their literature and may be still. In South America, I met numerous Catholics who have left the Church and have suffered estrangement from their family and the Catholic community.

    Of the Jewish converts to Mormonism that I know personally, half have been shunned by their adherent families who refuse to have any contact with their Mormon relations.

    I think the “go in peace” religious exit happens among passive believing communities and families.
    MJH

  29. SA
    July 10, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    For that matter, when someone leaves the mormon chuch they can be shunned as well. I have seen many family members get virtually written off by active mormons because they left. I do not think it is appropriate to imply that “Catholics” or Jews only do this. That is arrogance.

  30. CNJ
    July 10, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    I have a question, if someone converts into one religion, say mormonism, they die a mormon, right? Is the opposite also true, if someone converts out of mormonism, do they die what ever religion they were at the time, or do mormons believe they are always mormon regardless if they leave?

  31. Michael B
    July 10, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    “Jehovah’s Witnesses claim of increased membership is suspect.”

    someone above wrote this, but isnt this the same claim about mormons. isnt there claims that they count people that left, people that dont go, people that they cant find are counted until like 108 or something like that. everyone in a house is counted as well i believe, but i dont know if JW’s and other religions count everyoe in the house, so arent those numbers false as well? does anyone know how many JW’s and Mormons there really are? i suppose not, no one likes to tell people they are losing members

    It does look like both the JWs and Mormons are growing at similar rates. at least from my perspective, JWs say they are 6 million strong, mormons are 12 or 13 million strong, mormons founded in 1830 or something like that and JWs founded in 1930 or something like that, the mormons have about 100 years on the JWs, hence, twice as many members. for what is worth, how fast or how many members there are says nothing, big freakin deal.

  32. m pratt
    July 11, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I was born a Catholic and at the age of 5 my parents converted to Jehovah’s Witnesses. They made me write a letter to the Catholic church that I was to be taken off of their records as a member. That was the beginning of my memory of a life of confusion, stictness and isolation. I grew in the JW faith watching others and myself being rediculed for being different when not allowed to solute the flag, or sing in the christman choir.
    I went preaching from door to door on every saturday covering blocks of territory preaching “the good news of Gods Kingdom “at the tender age of 7. I remember never being allowed to play with the neighbor kids because they were “bad association”.
    Our parents tried so hard to please “Jehovah” my mom often turning my father into the elders because he started smoking or drinking on heavy levels, he was “disfellowshipped” 3 times which is equivelent to ex-communication. We suffered the shame as a family because our dad had to sit in the back row and others could not speak to him and the other children who had fathers as “elders” in good standing teased and rediculed my bropther and i.
    Yet in retrospect, I see that it was all my mothers doing for tattling.
    As I grew up to the age of 12 my father dies and my mother left the JW faith and turned to immorality. She seemed to have lost hope without my dad.
    I wa shuffled around from one family member to another, some of the faith…some not.
    Eventually after marriage I had a son at the age of 22 and decided to rejoin and I became a baptized member. I had difficulty for the consentration of my JW religion took its toll on my marriage. My husband felt neglected because I was preaching and attending meetings against his will. He eventually left me homeless with 2 children and the JW’s stood by and offered no help, but only council that I could turn to churches and other facilities for free food.
    I was inactive for many years and resumed my activity in a different state. I found the congregations there were nicer and more helpful and that it was not the religion that were un helpful but it was the certain people within the congregation.
    I was then an active JW but single and the elders grilled me if at during the time of inactivity di I have any sexual relations outside of a marriage that I was not remoursful over? If there were any chance I would return to the bad lifestyle then I needed to be disfellowshipped. I answered “No”
    But, I struggled so hard as a single person and being alone, and sitting at the end of the row as a head to my family, that the struggle was a daily one.
    So eventually, I became inactive again and moved to another state and to this day I am still the same.
    Why I am here is that finally I have met someone and he is a disfellowshipped mormon trying to return to his faith. I support his need to return because I was once there in his shoes trying to hard to reach God and the faith he chose to represent him. The struggle that I have is that I still dearly love the JW faith I was raised in despite my problems I experienced,
    because of one thing…..a mormon has to give 10% of tithing show their bank financial statements to the mormon church to prove yourself and worthiness
    and JW’s do not collect like that a JW donates what they can in a secretive collection box hidden way back in the room

    • Khf
      January 2, 2012 at 7:42 am

      M Pratt, I know your comment was made two years ago and you may never see this but I wanted to respond. No one is ever asked to “prove” that they are a full tithe payer. At the end of the year we are invited to attend tithing settlement with the bishop. We are given a printout for our own use that tallies the tithing we paid that year. The person can then use the tally as he or she sees fit to determine for themselves if they are full tithe payers or not. Then, in tithing settlement with the bishop, the person can declare that they are full tithe payers, and the bishop takes their word for it. No bank statements or other proof is ever wanted, asked for or expected. A person can lie, or tell the truth.

      While the declaration is verbally to the bishop, most members know that it is really about your relationship with God, and God knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts. Thou shalt not lie is still a commandment, and to do so reaps it’s own consequences in our inner spiritual wellbeing. The church isn’t there to be the spiritual police and prove honesty. It is understood that if you believe in Christ, you will also be striving to be like Him and doing your personal best to keep his commandments. Trust is given, faithfulness and honesty assumed. And tithing is voluntary.

  33. marissa z
    September 7, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Hi Clay. Just a few comments. I am a practicing member of the “Mormon” church and although I have been a member all of my life, I still to this day continue to study it and am always interested in how it differs from other religions. I came across this site as I was researching JW beliefs because a friend of mine is studying with the Witnesses and has started to avoid me and I wanted to know why. I believe I understand why now.

    I agree that there does exist among the Mormons those that are elitist and snobby but that is not because we are ever taught to be that way. Unfortunately, snobbery exists among all religions, races, and creeds. It’s just ignorance.

    I, as others have said, appreciate that you have focused on the similarities between the religions. I think that if we all spent more time seeing what we have in common rather that bashing eachother, we might be surprised. I have been to so many Catholic websites, among other religions, that actually invest a lot of time teaching their members to hate Mormons and more often than not, what they are teaching their people is not even correct. In my area, anti-Mormon classes are given within the other churches. That seems so sad to me. I have never been taught to shun or avoid anyone of any other faith. On the contrary, I have been taught to love and serve them. In our humanitarian efforts, religion is never even a factor.

    Thanks.

  34. LChapman36
    April 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    As a Chapman family researcher, I found that I am a distant relative of Jacob Kimble Chapman. What is kind of funny, is his grandson, Charles Clarke Chapman was the founder of Chapman collage, now known as Chapman University, in Orange county, California. It is just down the road from me, and I hope to someday visit the library with all his family photo’s and history to go over. You all may enjoy this….
    The Early YearsChapman University was founded as Hesperian College in Woodland, Calif., on March 4, 1861. The institution’s founders were members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),  who believed in equal education for males and females of all races. Unfortunately, around the turn of the century, as California started offering free public education, many private schools were forced to close, including Hesperian in 1895. The following year, the Disciples founded the Berkeley Bible Seminary at UC Berkeley, which incorporated the assets of Hesperian. But by 1912, the seminary’s population had dwindled to 35 students, so the church decided to transfer its remaining assets to a new Disciples college in Los Angeles. The principal benefactor for the school was Charles Clarke Chapman, an Illinois native who found great success in Southern California as a real estate investor, producer and marketer of Valencia oranges, as well as a politician and avid supporter of the Disciples. In 1894, Charles Chapman moved from Chicago to Southern California, where he and his brother, Frank, soon acquired citrus and fruit ranches in Covina and the Fullerton-Placentia area.The brothers split the holdings in 1899, and Charles Chapman took the high-producing 175-acre fruit ranch known as the Placentia Orchard Co. Later dubbed “The Orange King of California,” he was one of the first to use attractive crate labels as a selling device, and his revolutionary packing methods meant better-quality fruitBy 1920, Mr. Chapman had raised more than $825,000 for the new college (donating $400,000 himself), which incorporated under the name California Christian College. Mr. Chapman’s continued philanthropic efforts with the L.A.-based college through the Great Depression led its Board of Trustees to officially change the institution’s name to Chapman College at the 1934 commencement. Mr. Chapman later wrote: “Every time my eyes fall upon the printed words—Chapman College—or my ears hear the announcement over the radio or I hear the name spoken by anyone, I experience a thrill. At times, this honor seems only a dream.”Charles Chapman’s records convey his love and concern for his family. Throughout his life Charles maintained strong family bonds with his brothers and sisters. Interestingly, all seven of the Chapman brothers and sisters who lived to adulthood moved to California, where each, Charles notes in his memoirs, “made a strong contribution to this great state.”Charles became very active in the development of the area, and in 1904 he was elected the newly incorporated City of Fullerton’s first Mayor. He built a large home for his family on Commonwealth Avenue in 1903. In 1905, on the southeast corner of Spadra (now Harbor Boulevard) and Wilshire Avenues he built a modern five story office building. In that same year, on the northeast corner of the same intersection, he built the Fullerton First Christian Church, for which he helped organize the first congregation, and in which he and his family remained active for many years.Source;Chapman UniversityCharles Clarke Chapman Collection

    • Faithful Servant...
      October 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      It’s just amazing to read all this knowledge NOT!from people
      who are so blinded by “The God of this System of things”and
      brain washed by the churches of Christendom.Was Jesus Christ
      interested in the politics of his day?Was he a soldier?did he
      believe in taking up arms against his fellow man?Did he believe
      that he and his Father(Almighty God Jehovah) were the same
      person?Thats just a few questions! Can anyone answer them from
      the Bible? If some one is an alcoholic and should not drink booze,
      Would it be acceptable for him to go in to a hospital and take Jack
      Daniels in an I.V.directly in to his blood stream? after all! he is not
      drinking it!! So is that acceptable? Well its the same as taking
      blood.True Christians do not eat or drink any kind of blood! So
      then would it be alright to take it in I.V. form?.Politics;At John 18:
      36,Jesus stated that his KIngdom is not of this World.John 15:19
      He and all his followers were “no part of this world).As are the
      true Christians of today.