It was on Sunday morning when I was preparing to attend my church that is catholic. My friend Ann had decided to attend Jehovah witness church, a church she had never attended before. She came home to pick me so that I can take her. At first I refused, but after she persisted, and I decided to take her. She was interested in knowing how Jehovah witness carries out their service. I was scared since people said that they had different faith when compared to other Christian faith. We therefore, attended a Jehovah witness church that was near our home. We arrived in the church early since the service had not started, although, we were welcomed warmly.
My visit to Jehovah’s Witness church gave me an analysis about its religion. When this name Jehovah’s Witness is mentioned, the first thing that comes to my mind is an image of an overly polite group or person all wearing nice clothes and suits turn up at ones door and give pamphlets samples, which are either small or large. They contain bible verses and pictures that explain the information written on those pamphlets. According to most people, this religion is far from Christianity. However, I realized that this is not true after attending one service in a Jehovah’s Witness church that people attending the worship provide.
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After I got at the kingdom hall building of Jehovah’s Witness church, nothing looked different compared to other churches I had attended before. The only thing that lacked was a cross, which was neither on the outside nor at the steeple. I had attended the service with my friend and the welcome we received from the congregation was not only sincere and brotherly but also full of warm feeling. Although, we were complete strangers, we were accepted wholeheartedly. Arriving quarter an hour early, the members of the congregation who had very friendly smile greeted us with a handshake. While waiting for the service to start, many people began to pile in the building. There were slow conversation between non-members and members, including myself. After about ten minutes, people stopped taking and they started sitting on the seats that were in the kingdom hall building.
The inside part of the building was beautiful since it had been well lit without pews. However, the room had many chairs that were connected using bolts on each chair’s bottom. Astonishingly though, the building lacked altar and cross. The service was then begun with singing like other ordinary church. We sang using the book of songs that was provided by the church. The singing took about one hour and there was less body movement, which made it boring. Following the singing, a guest speaker called Henry Stephen from Minnesota was given a chance to speak to the congregation. In his speech, which took about three quarter of an hour, he spoke on topics in the bible. The church priest later went to the podium and gave thanks to the speaker for the word. He also thanked all people for attending the service and led another song from the hymn book.
Later the congregation started a bible discussion using an article from the weekly magazine of the Jehovah’s Witness church called The Watch tower. This article had to touch on issues that are paramount in one’s life. This discussion took one and a half hour, which also included questions after every paragraph of each article. The unusual thing regarding these questions was that some of the people in the congregation answered the using microphone so that the other people could hear. Two men helped the people answering the questions hold the microphones. When the bible discussion ended, the service was also ended with a song from the hymn book. The priest then gave my friend and me The Watch Tower magazine, the same that was used during the discussion during the service. The magazine also provided other information concerning the church.
I realized that some beliefs of Jehovah’s Witness church were similar to most of the Christian religions. The only exception is that they do not consider the cross important the same as other Christians do. They believe and rely more on the guidelines that are in the bible. I also realized that an elder member of the church, who had head full of grey hair and had a wide smile that was unreal, was pleased to answer some questions I had asked. The other members of the church were very friendly; however, as I talked to the elder, I understood that the members of that church were not completely tolerant to beliefs of other religions.
Concerning some standards of beliefs about controversial subjects such as marriages between people of the same sex, gay rights, abortion, and suicides assisted by doctors among many religions, Jehovah’s Witness church stand on the same ground with other Christian religions. They do not support marriages of people of the same sex, abortions and suicides assisted by doctors. On the issue of gay rights, they consider gay as being blasphemous as written in the book of Corinthians; therefore, gay are ridiculed in their church.
They also believe that Jesus Christ was god’s first divine creature, and he died on a stake that was torched to liberate human race from sins. This is similar to other Christian faith except the emphasis that Christ was on torcher stake, which is unnerving. Concerning views about other religions except it, the elder of Jehovah’s Witness church compared them with misguided sheep. I was disturbed by this statement since I realized that it was intolerant and rude; however, I did not argue with them so as to show respect what they believed, and to avoid conflict.
Members of the kingdom hall are mostly concerned with today’s youth. They distinguish that today’s youth are uncompromisingly tempted regularly by the press, fellow teens and the society. Therefore, their beliefs have more pressure on teens than adults. Jehovah witness church believes in almost all bibles of today; however, they stick to traditional versions, for instance, King George and King James Versions. For newer bibles, for example, New Testament, woman’s bible, man’s bible, they believe that these versions are misguided version of the bible; therefore, they advice their members to avoid using and buying them.
During the service, as I saw the Jehovah witness religion, show their friendliness, I was close minded and felt as if I was in other Christian religions. The church had similar atmosphere with other Christian religions, although, it lacked the same beauty of other Christian churches since it was more of a seminar than a church. While I followed the service of the church, I realized that members of Jehovah witness church were not that different in their beliefs and their lives. I did not see why other Christian faiths perceive this religion as drifting from the faith of Christian in their following of the guidelines of the bible.
I concluded that the main reason for this misunderstanding was ignorance, which is caused by lack of knowledge. Knowledge among Christians will help bridge this gap, although, even after gaining knowledge, sometimes people may not accept the knowledge. Few religions accept faith of other religions that educate on tolerance; and hence, the religion may not b responsible for people’s ignorance, and perhaps it is basic stubbornness of the people. According to what I saw during the service in Jehovah witness church, religion is the same to all Christians. Additionally, a small number of people who are religious do not follow what is when they are outside their places of worship and their homes.
The service ended with a prayer from the priest and people were ready to disperse. Before they all went home they greeted each other with smiles on their faces. The priest later called us and told us we can continue attending the church services if we wished. He said we can also receive spiritual counsel from elders so as we may be restored. He was so friendly to us even when we were strangers. He also informed us that the church met three times a week: one of the meetings was on Sunday whereby there is a public meeting that takes forty five minutes, bible lecture and watchtower study that takes one for discussion on a recent article on that magazine. He gave use more pamphlets that contained many articles, which had bible quotes and verses.
After the priest had told us everything, we left his office and went home. The day was enjoyable since I was able to discover that Jehovah witness religion is far from Christianity. I realized that some beliefs of Jehovah’s Witness church were similar to most of Christian religions. The only exception is that they do not consider the cross important the same as other Christians do. They believe and rely more on guidelines that are in the bible. The service I attended made me understand that it is important to accept and respect other people’s religion.
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