Final Project: The Interview
Nov 30, 2014
Introduction: Jehovah’s Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses was begun by Charles Taze Russell in 1872. He rejected the doctrines of eternal hell fire, and in his studies came to deny not only eternal punishment but also the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and the Holy Spirit. When Russell was 18, he organized a Bible class in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1879 he began to popularize his radical ideas on doctrine through the media platform. He co-published The Herald of the Morning magazine with its founder, N. H. Barbour and by 1884 Russell controlled the publication and renamed it The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom and founded Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society, now known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. The religion of Jehovah’s Witness was given the status of being a cult due Russell claiming that the Bible could be only understood according to his interpretations in which he publicized through his Watchtower publications. The death of Russell on Oct. 31, 1916, placed a Missouri lawyer named Joseph Franklin Rutherford in seat of the presidency of the Watch Tower Society, known then as the International Bible Students Association. In 1931 the name of the organization was changed to "The Jehovah's Witnesses." After Rutherford's death, Nathan Knorr took over. After Knorr, Frederick William Franz became president.
The Society was led by Mr. Henschel who died in 2003. The group has over 4 million members worldwide. The Watchtower Society statistics indicate that 740 house calls made in a year. There are about 1 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in America. Magazine circulation is over 20 million, in over 100 languages. As a mandate the practicing observant Jehovah’s Witnesses spends about 200 hours each year witnessing.
Interview Summary Upon choosing Jehovah Witnesses as the topic of my final project I sought out my aunt, Ann Barfield and best friend from elementary and highschool, Venita Reed both who have been devout and practicing Witnesses the entirety of my life. They both attend the Kingdom Hall located in Bunkie, Louisiana. I stated numerous times that I’ve had discourse with them about their religion but for the purpose of this paper it was made perfectly clear that I had to pre-submit my questions before they would be answered and to ensure I stayed in the guidelines I previewed the frequently asked questions of the Jehovah Witnesses website and it seems their answers were technically linked to what was on the website. The interview was conducted face to face with me questioning each person with five questions each at my birthday gathering which they call a family meal because they don’t recognize or celebrate birthdays on October 17th 2014. I also decided to accept an invitation to the Hall before the interview because they know me and knew my combative or as my friend states assertive style. During the visit I felt like I always feel when sitting in a building listening to a man or group of men go on and on about something they believe in and want the congregation to believe in also. Jehovah Witnesses have named their places of worship Kingdom and Assembly Halls because they wanted to differentiate that the term church which means a congregation whereas the Hall is the physical structure where worship takes place. I found this interesting because technical a congregation (church) can move, the physical building can’t. There were no adornments inside the Hall and it was set up like a teacher student lecture. There was a platform with chairs for the “elders” and a podium and the audience seats like many became quite uncomfortable if one stayed there too long. I was given one of their Bible’s for the meeting and other literature from the Watchtower Society, but since I wasn’t a member I could not keep the Bible but got many pamphlets.
Questions & Answers for Ann Barfield
1. Do Jehovah’s