Who Founded The Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe solely in God, and whom they call Jehovah. They also believe in his messages to humanity in what we know as the Bible. It is non-Trinitarian Christian belief, which means that unlike other Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that God is made up of the three entities commonly referred to as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (via Britannica). To them, the trinity is unbiblical, per Gospel Coalition. Some of the most famous, well-known Witnesses were the Jackson family (via the Los Angeles Times) and Prince (per The Guardian).

According to their main website, there are close to 8.7 million practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world, and they are present in more than 240 countries. They are known to many people for their door-to-door preaching, not celebrating a lot of holidays (even their birthdays), and they often share their recognized religious publication called The Watchtower.

Formerly headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, where it had several locations over the course of a century (via Watchtower Online Library), the main office for the religious organization is now in Warwick, New York (via Fox 5 NY). But where did it all begin?

Founders of the Jehovah's Witnesses

When a member of the Adventist movement began to separate from some of the teachings that Adventists believed in, following Jesus’ no show in the predicted early 1840s second coming, a new religion was on the horizon. A man named Charles Taze Russell led the new movement, in which one of the main stances was discarding the Trinitarian doctrine and strongly believing in the Bible (via Britannica). Russell didn’t just stop there. He later founded the International Bible Students Association in Pittsburgh and began sharing his newfound beliefs. At these studies, one of the main practices was reading the religious text and comparing it to what they had previously learned in their churches, per Jehovah’s Witness. They later shared what they learned in what would become their global magazine, The Watchtower. From there, they spread their revelations and gospel to others.

In 1884, Russell officially founded the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. In the early 1900s, he moved his organization to Brooklyn. When he died, the group was headed by a man named Joseph Franklin Rutherford (via Dialogue Institute). He’d become a prominent and important figure in the religious belief because it was him who would change the name of the organization, to what is now known simply as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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