When the name of Jehovah’s witness arises, most of the public of differing religions, a picture of an overly nice person or group of people all dressed in suits and nice clothes, arrive at your door and offer a sampling of pamphlets, (large or small). To most of the general public, the religion is a far cry from Christianity, but this is untrue, as a visit to one of the services that the congregation provides. Upon arriving at the building Kingdom hall of Jehova’s Witnesses, there was nothing especially different about it except there was no cross on the outside nor a steeple.
Arriving about a half an hour early we were greeted with a handshake and a almost too friendly smile from a member of the congregation. As we waited for the service to begin, more and more people started to pile into the building. Slowly conversations between members and nonmembers, including myself. After about twenty minutes, the talking reseeded and people started to seat themselves. The inside of the room was well lit up with no pews, but there were many chairs connected by metal bolts on the bottom of each chair. Amazingly though there was no cross and no altar.
First the service started with singing, as any ordinary church would. We sung out of a book of songs that they provided for us. After the singing there was a guest speaker from Bagley, Minnesota. The speaker spoke to the congregation about topics in the bible, his speech lasted about three fourths of an hour. Afterwards the priest came to the podium and thanked the guest for coming. Then the priest leaded another song, sung from the song book. Next the congregation headed a bible discussion from an article from a Jehovah’s Witness weekly magazine The Watch Tower.
The article had to deal with what is paramount in our lives. The discussion lasted for another hour and a fifteen minutes, with questions at the end of each paragraph. The different thing about the questions was that people in the congregation actually answered some of the questions with the help of two men that stood in the back and held microphones on sticks so that they could be heard. After the bible discussion was over with, the service was ended in another song from the song book.
The priest supplied me with the Watch Tower magazine that was discussed over during the service, and some further information on the church itself. Some of the beliefs of the church are most like that of most Christian religions with the exceptions that they do not regard the cross as highly as most Christians do. The Jehovah’s Witness religion believes more in the guidelines of the Bible. One of the elder members of the Church was happy to answer some questions that I had. He was an elderly man with a full head of white hair, and a wide unreal smile. The members of the church were extremely friendly.
However, as I talked with him, I realized that they were not entirely tolerant to the beliefs of others. On the standards of beliefs on the controversial subjects today such as abortion, same sex marriages, doctor assisted suicides, and Gay rights, they stand on similar ground along with other Christian religions. They do not believe in marriages of the same sex, not in abortions, nor doctor assisted suicides, and the concept of being gay is considered blasphemous in many parts of the bible as in Corinthians 1:8 and 1:9 so gay rights seems a mockery to the church.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christ/Jesus was the first divine creation of Jehovah/God and that he died on a torcher stake as ransom for the human race. Similar to the Christian faith, except that the emphasis on torcher stake was unnerving. The church views on other religions outside itself are as the an elder member said are like misguided sheep. I was slightly disturbed by this slightly rude and intolerant statement, but i had to respect their beliefs, so I said nothing. Kingdom Hall’s members are concerned about the youth of today.
The youth of today as they see it are relentlessly tempted on a regular basis by society and the press and fellow teens. Now more than ever, teens have more pressure on their beliefs than adults. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in most all of the bibles of today, but stick to the traditional versions such as the King James or the King George versions. But as for the newer bibles such as the new testament, or the man’s Bible, or the woman’s bible, they consider these versions a misguided representation of the bible.
As I see the Jehovah’s witnesses religion, as friendly as they were, was as closed minded as most other Christian religions. It had the same feel and atmosphere of A Christian religion, but it did not have the same beauty of a church, more like a seminar. As I went through the service, I learned that a Jehovah’s Witness is not that different in their lives or in their beliefs. I find it hard to see why other faiths see the religion as straying from the Christian faith, when they follow the guidelines of the Bible itself.
The reason for misunderstanding is ignorance and with knowledge that gape can be bridged, but even with knowledge gained, sometimes acceptance of that knowledge does not, as is all to true in religious society. Sadly there are to few religions that accept other faiths, religions that teach tolerance, maybe the religion is not at fault, maybe it is the people’s basic stubbornness. From what I have seen religion today is like a cola you drink, a type of pizza you eat, a certain style of clothes you wear, rather than a way of life.
From what I have seen, a small percentage of a religions people do not follow it’s way outside of their place of worship, and outside of their homes. Mormons in Utah I intend to prove that the Mormon religion, which began to rise in both reputation and numbers in Utah, is a strange mixer of Christianity, American pragmatism, millennialist expectations, economic experimentation, political conservation, evangelical fervor and international activity, but is still a highly followed, rapidly growing, and successful religion.
Mormonism is a major modern religion with more than 8 million members, and over 4 million in the United States. Mormonism was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith who was known as the prophet. This is a young age for such a widely practiced religion, and its numbers grow daily. Mormonism is officially the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Its founding doctrine is based on the assumption that Christianity was too corrupt and ungodly, and that restoring true Christian values was necessary. A revelation like this may only come through God who needs to put the true, pure forms of Christianity in a divine authority.
The Mormons, who follow four books including The Bible, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine of Covenants, and Pearl of a Great Price do believe that all religions have some amount of truth to them and do good in one form or another, but it is only their religion that is ” the only true and living church upon Earth”. In 1820 , Mormonism was founded by a teenage Joseph Smith during the 19th century United States religious movement known as the “Second Great Awakening”. On April 6, 1830, The Book of Mormon was completed and a new religion was born.
Mormonism attracted many people and the firs official home of the Mormons was in Fayette, New York. In 1831, the Mormons moved to Kirtland, Ohio, now known as Kirtland Hills. Other Mormon areas were being established, especially in Mississippi. Newly proclaimed Mormons were rushing to their new religious grounds, mainly in norttheastern Ohio and western Mississippi. Although the Mormons were thrilled with their “perfect” religion, there were many problems where they had established themselves. The people who were already present in strongly populated Mormon areas began to get upset and act very hostile.
Threats were made, and the Mormons became very scared-scared enough to move. So they did. The Mormons reestablished themselves somewhere along the Mississippi River at a place known as Commerce, Illinois. They Mormons were granted permission by Chicago to latter rename their property as Nauvoo. The Mormons still were not wanted. The people living around the Mormons became worried about their local economy and the affects the block voting done by the Mormons would have. The Mormons were allowed to set up their own army to protect themselves.
Soon, rumors of monarchical powers and the practice of polygamy began floating around. This enraged locals even more and the federal government sent armies into Mormon territory to see if they could dispel any of these rumors. This only caused more of an upset. In 1844, Joseph Mormon and his younger brother were placed into a prison in Illinois on charges of treason and conspiracy. After they were released they were promised protection by the government, but this was not the case because shortly after their release, they were assassinated.
The leadership of the Mormons fell onto the shoulders of a group of men known as the 12 Apostles. The 12 Apostles, knowing they couldn’t stay in Illinois, decided they had to move. Brigham Young, who took over as prophet and president of the Mormon group, decided to move the Mormons in 1847. They moved from Illinois to Great Basin in the rocky Mountains in Utah. salt Lake City was set up as the main Mormon city of worship, and soon over 300 other cities of worship sprouted up nearby. The Mormon religious territories spread from California to Colorado, and from Mexico to Canada.
In their new land, the Mormons thought they were safe, and 10% -20% openly practiced polygamy. The rumors about this had proved to be true and the government sent in an army to stop this form of worship. This propelled the supposed Utah War that lasted from 1857 to 1858. The Mormons went through battle after battle of judicial trials. Finally, in 1890, the church president at that time, Wilford Woodruff, publicly ended all Mormon polygamy. The Mormons finally were left alone and their little city in Utah created thousands more cities like it.
The contemporary Mormon church still has many problems, and while it is seen as a conservative Christian church, their ideas about God’s nature and salvation greatly differ from other Christian religions. However, the Mormons have constantly proved they believe their religion is worth fighting for. In this report, I have proven the Mormons are an odd mixture of Christianity, American pragmatism, millennialist expectations, economic experimentation, political conservation, evangelical fervor, and international activity, and continue to grow because they are a highly followed rapidly growing, successful religion.