What are the basic beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

There are a lot of articles out there that cover the basic beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, most of them focus on the harmless parts of their teachings, and quite frankly, fail to explain the harsher beliefs taught and practiced. These beliefs and practices have severe consequences on the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses, their families, and the people around them.

In this article, I want to explore some basic beliefs that Jehovah’s Witnesses will never tell you upfront. What are some of those basic beliefs?

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Armageddon is imminent and that everyone who is not a Jehovah’s Witnesses is wicked and is going to be killed, including babies. Jehovah’s Witnesses also believe that if any member questions the organization’s doctrine, direction, or policies, they are guilty of apostasy and will be disfellowshipped and consequently shunned by all, including immediate family members. They also believe that these disfellowshipped ones will be killed at Armageddon, or if the individual dies before Armageddon, they will have no salvation as a person who is rejected by God. Furthermore, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Bible forbids blood transfusions, even if that means you must die.

Now I know that is a lot to take in, and if you ask a Jehovah’s Witness if this is true or not, they will very likely attempt to water down, or white wash this teaching. They might even outright deny it, claiming that these are “apostate lies”. However, let me show you with their own literature, what Jehovah’s Witnesses really believe and teach.

The end of the world is imminent, non-Jehovah’s Witnesses are wicked and are going to be killed soon, including their children


A 1912 Watchtower (Watchtower 1912 12/1 RS139) said: “Just now, all the nations of the world are fast approaching the most terrible crises of their national existences. In a great time of unparalleled trouble, which is even now imminent, they are about to reap what they have sown. They have sown to the wind the seeds of selfishness, and now they are about to reap the whirlwind of terror and the destruction of all law and order, and of national and social organization.”

This was one of many statements they made to the effect that Armageddon will come and end in 1914. The July 15, 1894 Watchtower said “But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble.” and in another publication, called Studies in the Scriptures, the Time is at Hand, they said “We consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished by the end of A.D. 1914.”

This “impending” doom has done wonders at recruiting millions of members over the following 100 years or so, and today, the same narrative is used to continue to scare thousands into joining their religion. In fact, a recent article published in the Watchtower states “…the end of this system of things is imminent, and problems are more pressing than ever.”

You see, it is important for Jehovah’s Witnesses to believe that Armageddon is going to come within their lifetime. This is what creates a sense of urgency in their preaching and recruitment campaigns, and it is what drives rank and file members to make huge sacrifices for the sake of the organization.

Some of these sacrifices included selling up everything they had, and enter the “little time left” serving the organization, and many members were commended for doing so. In 1974, one of these commendations was printed on page 11 of their November 8th Awake! magazine, stating that “Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.”

Since the earlier days of the organization, Armageddon has always been taught to be imminent. At any given time in their history, the end was always taught to be within that generation’s lifetime. This amounted to countless failed prophecies and destroyed many lives as people sold up their homes, abandoned the idea of getting married or having children, and neglecting to pursue education or careers, all in anticipation of the end

This certainly has not changed, and today, they are still the boy who cried wolf, encouraging people to prepare for the end. The video below is just a modern example of the organization’s modus operandi when it comes to tricking followers into giving up their lives for the organization.


Jehovahs Witnsses might have a loving facade, displaying self sacrificing service to the community by going from door to door, preaching their doctrine, but what do Jehovah’s Witnesses really think about those who are not part of the group?

Jehovah’s Witnesses say that those not part of their religion “are not governed by God’s principles”, and they go as far as to say that “a nice exterior can conceal wicked intents.” in an article called “Set Apart from the World” published in their Watchtower Magazine. They go on to say that there is little time left in this world and that they should not “associate with it unnecessarily”, by “by hobnobbing with worldlings at office parties” for example.

In another article titled “Breathing This World’s “Air” Is Death-Dealing!”, published in their Watchtower Magazine, they make it clear that they should let the world (everyone outside of the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses), “go along in its way, reaping its bad fruitage in the form of broken homes, illegitimate births, sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS, and countless other emotional and physical woes.”.

The article goes on to explain that while some contact with these “worldly” people is “unavoidable-at work, at school, and otherwise-we must be vigilant so as to keep from being sucked back into the death-dealing atmosphere of this world.”

So in short, it’s quite clear what Jehovahs’s Witnesses are taught about those who are not part of their religion. Based on their own publications, non-Jehovah’s Witnesses, also known as worldly people among the witnesses, are people who do not follow good principles, and that they have nice exteriors that conceal wicked intents. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that association must be avoided at all costs outside of work and school, while worldly people reap bad fruitage in the form of broken homes, sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS, etc.


A Jehovah’s Witnesses’ main goal is to keep their organization “free from reproach” and despite what they say, their main goal when preaching to you is to recruit you. So it going without saying that they aren’t going to tell you the truth about what they teach outright when asked. That is why it is important to read their literature properly before getting involved with this group.

When I first started knocking on doors as a newly baptized Jehovah’s Witness, I was always confused as to what the official teaching is about what would happen to those who do not become Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was always told that Jehovah would judge the hearts individually, but this is not what I heard the elders say when doing talks at the meetings, using phrases like “You’re either on the Ark, or you’re off”…

I always got a different answer, depending on the when, where and whom I asked. The only way to get to the official teaching was to scour through hundreds of articles myself, and this is what I found.

I will let you read it in their own words:

Do not conclude that there are different roads, or ways, that you can follow to gain life in God’s new system. There is only one. There was just one ark that survived the Flood, not a number of boats. And there will be only one organization- God’s visible organization – that will survive the fast-approaching “great tribulation.” It is simply not true that all religions lead to the same goal … You must be part of Jehovah’s organization, doing God’s will, in order to receive his blessing of everlasting life.” 

You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth p.255

That is the whitewashed versions. After digging a little deeper to find out what happens to the people who do not join their organization and “receive the blessing of everlasting life” Well, I did not have to look far, in an article entitled “Jehovah’s Day of Judgment Is Near!”, in the 2001 Watchtower, it says “Annihilation awaits all who will not listen and who thereby set themselves against rule by God’s Kingdom.​”

If you do not listen to them, you will be annihilated…

And just in case you think you stood a chance of surviving their glorious Armageddon, they make it clear as day that “Only Jehovah’s Witnesses, those of the anointed remnant and the “great crowd,” as a united organization under the protection of the Supreme Organizer, have any Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil.” as stated in an article named “Remaining Organized for Survival Into the Millennium”

Worldly” children and babies are also to be killed, as explained in their book, “Reasoning from the Scriptures”, on page 47: “when God destroyed the wicked he likewise destroyed their little ones.”

Well, there you have it, if you’re not a Jehovah’s Witness, your as good as dead in their impending Armageddon. And time is running out, because it is happenning very soon, as far as they are concerned.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that if you question their teachings, you must be disfellowshipped and shunned

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that they must give absolute obedience to the Governing Body and any Jehovah’s Witnesses will agree that to question the Governing Body is akin to apostasy, a very serious offense that could get you disfellowshipped if you do not repent. This includes not only the theroetical teachings by the organization, but actual instructions, even if they do not makes any sense.

…direction that we receive from Jehovah’s organization may not appear practical from a human standpoint. All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not.

Watchtower 2013 – Seven Shepherds, Eight Dukes—What They Mean for Us Today, Paragraph 17

In a recent broadcast by the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Governing Body member Stephen Lett said: “As for the rest of us, whether the direction we receive comes from the Governing Body, the Branch, our circuit overseer,  or the elders, we want to follow that direction closely, it can serve as a protection now, and really, if we think about it, it’s good practice as we head into even more turbulent times ahead.”


Openly questioning any of the current teachings, instructions, or policies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses makes the individual guilty of apostasy and will land them in a heap of trouble. This so-called apostasy is one of the most serious “sins” a Jehovah’s Witness can commit, according to the elder’s book “Shepherd the Flock of God”.

A person who is disfellowshipped is cast out of the organization, but that is not all. This person will be cut off from all family, including mothers, fathers, brothers sisters, sons, and daughters.

If you have doubts about any of the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses and talk about it to anyone, then you can be disfIf a Jehovah’s Witnesses expresses any doubts they have about the organization to anyone, including immediate family, they will be subjected to a judicial committee, a trial, where they will be found guilty of apostasy if they do not repent and commit to stop sharing their doubts with others. In other words, you will be silenced by way of disfellowshipping.

After the outcome of this hearing is announced to the congregation, you will be cut off from your friends and family.

Once an individual is guilty of apostasy, they are considered “despicable enemies of Jehovah”. They really feel this way about “apostates”, in fact, Tony Morris (Governing Body of Jehovahs Witnesses) expressed this clearly in a recent talk, stating that “it’s not that we rejoice in someone’s death, but when it comes to God’s enemies, FINALLY, they’re out of the way”. He goes on to say that this especially applies to ex Jehovahs members who “joined forces with Satan” simply because they did not want to be part of this organization.

So called apostates are further slandered by a smearing campaign, in the form of a “local needs talk”. where statements are made about the suspected apostates.

In paragraph 4 of a popular Watchtower article entitled “Do Not Be Quickly Shaken From Your Reason” used as a guide to how to deal with so-called apostates, it says, that for apostates “…the only satisfaction, of a perverted kind, may come in beginning to beat one’s fellow slaves with slander and half-truths.”. The same article goes on to say that any literature written by these so-called apostates should be avoided in the same way that they avoid pornography. In fact, reading apostate literature is considered “spiritual fornication”.


According to item 6, on page 116 of the elder’s book Shepherding the Flock of God, any Jehovah’s Witness who has a persistent association with a disfellowshipped will be subject to discipline and will be disfellowshipped if they do not stop associating with the individual.

A Jehovahs Witness can also be disfellowshipped for questioning the elders decision to disfellowship someone.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that if you die in a disfellowshipped state, you have no hope for salvation, and if you are alive in a disfellowshipped state, you will be killed at Armageddon along with all other non-Jehovah’s Witnesses.

You see, there really is no way out for anybody. They have thought of every angle and designed a system of mental captivity.

Simply put, if you are not a Jehovah’s Witness in good standing, then you are doomed to death. Getting disfellowshipped truly is a terrifying ordeal for any Jehovah’s Witness. This is so serious that many Jehovah’s Witnesses have even committed suicide as a result of the shunning by their closest friends and family members after being disfellowshipped.

In addition to being rejected by loved ones, another reason a Jehovah’s Witnesses is terrified of being disfellowshipped is that if they happen to die while being a disfellowshipped state, they will be rejected by God and be subject to “everlasting destruction”

if one should remain in this disfellowshipped condition until he died, it would mean his everlasting destruction as a person who is rejected by God.

Watchtower 1965 Dec 15 “We Should Not Neglect the House of Our God”, Paragraph 15

Disfellowshipping is nothing but a weapon of control and has no scriptural support at all. Read: Is Disfellowshipping Scriptural?

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that if someone is disfellowshipped, they must be shunned, including siblings, parents, and children

Jehovahs Witnesses believe that if someone is disfellowshipped, they must shun that person and avoid all contact with them, no matter who they are. This arrangement includes mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters.

According to a 1981 Watchtower article “disfellowshiping” is what Jehovah’s Witnesses appropriately call the expelling and subsequent shunning of such an unrepentant wrongdoer.”

An “unrepentant wrongdoer” could be someone who simply disagrees with teaching, or understandably questions an elder’s decision to disfellowship a loved one.

After a loved one is disfellowshipped, members are warned not to have any contact with that family member.

A 2017 Watchtower article says that “Despite our pain of heart, we must avoid normal contact with a disfellowshipped family member by telephone, text messages, letters, e-mails, or social media.” and this means complete radio silence for the disfellowshipped person. All messages, emails, and phone calls will be ignored. Members are constantly challenged with questions, reminding them that they are to avoid disfellowshipped family, a 2014 Watchtower article reminds members to “prove themselves holy” by not associating with family members who have been disfellowshipped.

A young Jehovah’s Witness is publicly commended for shunning her own sister while her mother stands beside her proudly.
“Really, what your beloved family member needs to see is your resolute stance to put Jehovah above everything else – including the family bond. … Do not look for excuses to associate with a disfellowshipped family member, for example, through e-mail.”

Watchtower 2013 Jan 15 p.16
“And all members of the congregation need to be determined to avoid the company of disfellowshipped individuals.”

Watchtower 2011 Nov 15 p.5
“Is strict avoidance really necessary? Yes for several reasons. … In other cases, the disfellowshipped relative may be living outside the immediate family circle and home. Although there might be a need for limited contact on some rare occasion to care for a necessary family matter, any such contact should be kept to a minimum.”

Keep Yourself in God’s Love (2008) pp.207,208

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Bible forbids blood transfusions, even if that means you must die.

What Jehovah’s Witnesses will admit is that they don’t accept blood transfusions. What they will deny is that thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses have died as a direct result of being refused blood transfusions. However, in an attempt to glorify their stance on this, they inadvertently admitted the fact that thousands are dying, when they published an article in their 1994 Awake! magazine entitled “Youths Who Put God First”, stating that “In former times thousands of youths died for putting God first. They are still doing it, only today the drama is played out in hospitals and courtrooms, with blood transfusions the issue.”

Many of these deaths are a result of babies being denied blood transfusions by their parents. In another article published in thier Awake! magazine, a womans story was published, glorifying her for allowing her child to die.

“I’ve always wanted a little girl. But we can’t break Jehovah’s law. He gave us these commands. He told us if we follow them, we will live. If we do not, he will cast us off. We believe it is more important to carry out his commands than to deliberately break them by giving my baby blood.

Awake! 1951 Oct 22 p.4

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that the Bible forbids blood transfusions, and those who do take blood will be “cast out”, meaning certain death at their impending Armageddon. As far as a Jehovah’s Witness is concerned, this punishment is a certainty. And it doesn’t end there…


Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Bible forbids blood transfusions, even if it means death. This is highly controversial teaching that has resulted in the death of over 30,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses since its inception in 1961.

While some would say that it is each one’s personal decision and that they are free to refuse blood if they choose to, but how can it be a personal decision when there are such harsh punishments for accepting a blood transfusion?

Which brings me to my next point…


If a Jehovah’s Witnesses accepts a life-saving blood transfusion, they would be disfellowshipped and consequently shunned by the entire organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, including immediate family. That means all contact will be cut off.

According to the elder’s book ‘Shepherd the Flock of God”, anyone who accepts a blood transfusion, automatically disassociates themselves from the organization. This careful wording by the organization makes it look like it is the victim’s own decision to disassociate, however, the decision is really with the organization to disassociate. Disassociation has exactly the same consequences as disfellowshipping. A person who needs an emergency blood transfusion does not want to be cut off from their family simply for exercising their right to live.

“Beginning in 1961 any who ignored the divine requirement, accepted blood transfusions, and manifested an unrepentant attitude were disfellowshipped from the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Jehovah’s Witnesses-Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom pp.183-184

Do you see that this really isn’t a “personal choice”? It is brainwashing, and intimidation. In fact, when a Jehovah’s Witness ends up in the hospital, the elders will assign a committee of men to come to the hospital to “encourage” the individual to “do the right thing”.


Jehovah’s Witnesses will tell you that the Bible is clear on the matter. But really, they do not understand the context of the scriptures. To say that you must abstain from blood means to not accept a lifesaving blood transfusion, is a very narrow-minded approach to the scriptures.

Firstly, the purpose of abstinence from blood was to preserve life. Is it acceptable to die, by applying a principle that was meant to save lives? Does that make any sense? Of course not.

Even Jesus taught the principle of “Life trumps law” when he said that a man should be able to break the Sabbath (Which was just as serious as eating blood) to save the life of an animal, much more so the life of a boy.

Jehovah’s Witnesses blatantly ignore this principle, and it is costing thousands, including children, their lives. And for what?

Even Jews, who practice this levitical law much more strictly, accept blood transfusions. They do this because they understand that the purpose of God’s laws is to preserve life, not sacrifice it! The Jew’s call this principle Pikuach Nefesh


Jehovah’s Witnesses really do have two sets of beliefs, the one set they keep to themselves, and the other, they whitewash and share with the public. However, it is not difficult to find out what they really believe and teach simply by studying their literature carefully. Since the inception of the religion, they have taught and believed that Armageddon is imminent, with the first date for Armageddon set at 1914. This tactic was used by the leadership to keep the members of the organization working hard in their preaching and recruitment campaigns. This teaching has also been the driving factor in the huge sacrifices made by the members, giving up their hope of starting a family, pursuing a career, and some members even selling up their entire estate to pursue full-time service in the organization.

This narrative has not changed, and today we are yet again around the corner from Armageddon, and Jehovah’s Witnesses are working hard as ever at spreading their “good news”.

Jehovah’s Witnesses also believe that non-Jehovahs witnesses, known as worldly people, are wicked. In fact, they teach that when it comes to worldly people, a nice exterior conceals wicked intents. Jehovah’s Witnesses also teach that these worldly people are going to be killed at their imminent Armageddon, including their babies.

In short, unless you are a Jehovah’s Witness, in good standing with the organization, you’re as good as dead.

Don’t like it? Well, if you are a Jehovah’s Witnesses, that’s too bad because if you openly question, doubt, or criticize any of the teachings, instructions, or policies, then you will be found guilty of apostasy and disfellowshipped. Being disfellowshipped is a cruel policy used by the organization to silence so-called apostates from waking up others. Once someone is disfellowshipped, they will lose all contact with their loved ones, and in many cases, lose their jobs and even the roof over their heads.

Moms, dads, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters, will all shun the so-called apostate, and failure to do so, or openly questioning the elder’s decision to disfellowship the individual will earn them a hearing of their own, where they will also be disfellowshipped if they do not “repent”

A disfellowshipped individual now is without family and friends, but it gets worse. They now have to deal with being called wicked, and their families believe that they are going to be killed very soon when Armageddon comes.

2 Replies to “What are the basic beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses?”

  1. You have some interesting and valid points about witnesses believing they are the only ones who will be saved however let’s not forget that god practically destroyed the entire human population once before and there was only 8 survivors so is it really hard to imagine that he could do it again? The Bible uses the days of Noah as a parallel to the last days.
    Just because it doesn’t sound appealing that god can or will destroy much of mankind doesn’t mean it won’t or can’t happen.
    Witnesses are far from perfect and have really done some lame things over the years that has caused lots of criticism and deserving so but let’s also not forget that the first century Christians and Israelites often acted like jackasses due to imperfections so it is all that surprising that current day witness Christians do the same?
    There is not a perfect religion nor will there be so we must look at who is the closest and who is willing to change doctrine as they discover it’s wrong.
    Most religions that I’m aware of don’t change beliefs even when the evidence is abundantly clear they the doctrine is wrong.
    So as messed up as the organization is and as much as it has done some really lame things including being wrong over the years they appear to be trying. It’s not hard to find fault with them in fact it’s really easy but show me something better and I’ll take it. The problem is it doesn’t exist so this is the best train to ride even if it’s not a smooth ride.

    1. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are no better than any other organized religion. They use deception to back up a doctrine convincing enough to recruit and capture followers. One of the dozens of examples, in 1947, Jehovah’s Witnesses criticized the Catholics for practicing ex-communication (disfellowshipping), saying that it had “no support in scripture”, and was of pagan influence. Only to adopt the exact same practice soon after. All organized religions, and cults even, use the exact same tactics that Jehovah’s Witnesses use to recruit and capture people into the religion.

      Jehovah’s Witnesses also claim that it is because they teach truth, that makes them the one and only true religion, but what if you found out that what they teach isn’t actually true? Have you really checked the facts, outside of the controlled information? Do you truly understand how they derive the date 1914? Does it truly make sense? What date do they insist on for the destruction of Jerusalem, despite overwhelming evidence that they are wrong? Once you tell one small lie, you must tell more lies to tie it all up. Look carefully and you will find them.

      Have a look at the “insight to the scriptures” book, look up the date of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, then try to find one single source outside of the Jehovah’s Witnesses that agrees with that date. You’ll say that it’s because that’s all Satan’s System, but at what point do you accept reality, and tangible evidence? Small lies cover up bigger lies. It doesn’t end. Any organization that must use deception to recruit, cannot be a true religion. Worse still, a religion that teaches falsehoods, and calls itself “The Truth” is as shocking as something out of George Orwell’s book 1984.

      At the end of the day, Jehovah’s Witnesses are guilty of the very things that they say disqualify a religion from being a true religion.

      I could go on and on with examples, but I find most Jehovah’s Witness apologists aren’t interested in finding the truth. They are only interested in being right. Really, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are no different from the “woke, extreme leftist” movement that they are so quick to demonize, rejecting outright truth backed by tangible and scientific evidence, just because it hurts their feelings.

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