Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual Memorial attendance of over 18 million. They are directed by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, a group of elders in Brooklyn, New York, that exercises the final authority on all doctrinal matters. Jehovah's Witnesses' beliefs are based on their interpretations of the Bible, with a preference for their own translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. They believe that the destruction of the present world system at Armageddon is imminent, and that the establishment of God's kingdom on earth is the only solution for all problems faced by humankind.
The group emerged from the Bible Student movement—founded in the late 1870s by Charles Taze Russell with the formation of Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society—with significant organizational and doctrinal changes under the leadership of Joseph Franklin Rutherford. The name Jehovah's witnesses, based on Isaiah 43:10–12, was adopted in 1931 to clearly distinguish themselves from other Bible Student groups.
Jehovah's Witnesses are best known for their door-to-door preaching, distributing literature such as The Watchtower and Awake!, and refusing military service and blood transfusions. They consider use of the name Jehovah vital for proper worship. They reject Trinitarianism, inherent immortality of the soul, and hellfire, which they consider to be unscriptural doctrines. They do not observe Christmas, Easter, birthdays, or other holidays and customs they consider to have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity. Adherents commonly refer to their body of beliefs as "the truth" and consider themselves to be "in the truth". Jehovah's Witnesses consider secular society to be morally corrupt and under the influence of Satan, and limit their social interaction with non-Witnesses.
Congregational disciplinary actions include disfellowshipping, their term for formal expulsion and shunning. Members who formally leave are considered disassociated and are also shunned. Disfellowshipped and disassociated individuals may eventually be reinstated if considered repentant.
The religion's position regarding conscientious objection to military service and refusal to salute national flags has brought it into conflict with some governments. Consequently, activities of Jehovah's Witnesses have been banned or restricted in some countries. Persistent legal challenges by Jehovah's Witnesses have influenced legislation related to civil rights in various countries.
Source: Wikipedia, "Jehovah's Witnesses", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
Official Website: JW.ORG