Jehovah's Witnesses exists as a sect of Christianity. Their beliefs are not radically different from that of mainstream Christianity, as they use the Bible wholly and solely for guidance. However, unlike Mormons, they do not take any other scripture as Divine or authoritative in any way; they view the Bible as the only text that not only contains all the doctrines of belief, but should also be the only source of consultation for any issues in need of resolve. One way they do differ from mainstream Christianity is their argument that the Church deviated in the early centuries of Christianity by adopting doctrines that strayed from the teachings of the Bible. They claim that the Church adopted false doctrines such as the belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit compose the Trinity; that everyone's soul will be resurrected for a Heavenly Judgment after death; and that those who do evil and live in sin and do not repent will face an eternity of damnation in Hellfire.
The Jehovah's Witnesses began as a sect late in Christian history; the founder, Charles Taze Russell, founded the sect in the late 19th century. He was in a study/discussion group known as the Bible Students Association, and soon started publishing rounds of the magazine The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, thus founding the Watch Tower Tract Society (now known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society). Russell became a minister and after further study of the Bible he disputed several of the arguments that mainstream Christians had made about their doctrines, and outright rejected them. He claimed that the Bible could only be interpreted according to how he himself understood it to be. As a result, he – along with Nelson Barbour – preached his views on Christianity, based on what the two had published in their book Three Worlds. After his death, Joseph Rutherford was appointed president of the Watch Tower Society, soon changing the name of the organization to what is now The Jehovah’s Witnesses.
As an organization, the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not consider Russell the founder of a new religion. You will find such a statement on their website that aims to clarify that misconception: “The goal of Russell and the other Bible Students, as the group was then known, was to promote the teachings of Jesus Christ and to follow the practices of the first-century Christian congregation. Since Jesus is the Founder of Christianity, we view him as the founder of our organization” (Colossians 1:18-20). And Jesus takes great reverence from amongst the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as they believe that no one goes to the Father except through him. However, one sharp distinction that must be made is that they interpret the verse “The Father is greater than I am” (John 14:28) as a proof that Jesus, in all his divine spirit, is not meant to be worshipped as God. His death and resurrection acted as a ransom for others to live peaceably on Earth in good faith and hope to attain salvation.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses also do not identify with any one country, America included. They are not an “American sect,” as some may argue, because they have active ministries in over 230 locations worldwide. With such a broad global reach - 19 million congregation attendees as they claim - they have to be able to speak to their audience. As a result, they have been able to translate 179 million bibles into 116 languages, a great feat for a relatively small religious group. As of last year, there are over 4 million members worldwide, with around 200,000 new members joining every year.
The organization is structured under an arrangement of a hierarchy, which they claim to be a true theocratic organization. The Governing Body of men is in charge of making claims on behalf of the group, and act as spokesmen for the public. The all-man Governing Body claims to be comprised of specially anointed men that are chosen from amongst all the “faithful and discreet slave class.” In order…