There really is no difference between Jehovah’s Witnesses and the rest of the people of the world. That’s the first misconception Carl Mackay would like to clear up right away.
- Source: Facts about the Jehovah’s Witnesses
- Source: Four Dangers of the Jehovah’s Witness Organization
“We experience sickness, pain and suffering just like everyone else,” says Mackay, an elder at the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in Lynn. “The one difference is that we know it’s not always going to be this way. We know that God is going to put an end to that very soon.”
That may be true, but the true distinction between Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religions has less to do with their belief systems and more to do with they way they apply those beliefs to everyday life.
Perhaps more than any other religion, the Jehovah’s Witnesses interpret the Bible in it’s most literal sense – and of course they’re most famous for their efforts to spread word of that interpretation by going door to door.
“There aren’t too many other religions going house to house,” says Mackay. “If you see someone all dressed up and carrying religious literature, you know it’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
The modern-day version of the Jehovah’s Witnesses began near the end of the 19th century with a small group of Bible students near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Essentially, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are members of a worldwide Christian religion who actively share with others information about their God, whose name is Jehovah. They base their beliefs solely on the principles found in the Bible and view first-century Christianity as their model.
A typical Jehovah’s Witness congregation has no specific clergy, per se, but is instead led by group elders or overseers such as Mackay, who is also the secretary of the Lynn Kingdom Hall.
Believing that living by the Bible’s principles gives purpose to life, promotes strong family ties and develops productive and honest citizens, the Jehovah’s Witnesses boast more than 6.5 million members worldwide, making it one of the fastest-growing religions in the world.