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Are Jehovah's Witnesses allowed to vote?

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Are Jehovah's Witnesses allowed to vote?

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Yes, the way the question was asked is as if we are brain dead or something. We can do whatever we want. But the real question why would we if we truly love Jehovah as our God. And believe that his kingdom is our only hope? Are we allowed?, that question is somewhat insulting. But I overlooked that person stupidity in asking it, due to their ignorance of our core beliefs.

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I think the question is not so stupid. Ask any Jehovah's Witness in Greece and will tell you that the voting was forbidden in the past. And even now some brothers and sisters advertise in the preaching work that we go to vote but we vote with a white paper... and of course the people answer:... then why go voting in the first place.... because in Greece the winner takes all neutral votes... so is like voting the winning party. Anyway I think God will not be displeased if I will vote a good mayor who will fix the road in front of my house over a mafioso who will go to elections for mayor just to steal people's money. I mean there is no connection between my mayor and God's kingdom.

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THE WATCHTOWER (SIMPLIFIED EDITION) APRIL 2016
    Hello guest!

2 One way we pay back “God’s things to God” is by not taking sides in the political issues of this world. We are neutral in these matters. (

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) Since Jehovah  allows human governments to rule, we do not oppose them. We also do not get involved in any patriotic or nationalistic activity. (
    Hello guest!
) We do not try to change governments or try to influence politicians, and we do not vote in political elections or become politicians

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ARE  WE  NOW  ALLOWED  TO  VOTE ?

The WTB&TS is involved in all kinds of political activity ... most recently having the Brotherhood of 8 million people and more (?) sent letters trying to persuade the Russian Federation to change its political policies towards Freedom of Religion, and non-interference with Jehovah's Witnesses. 

An estimated 64 MILLION of Jehovah's Witnesses letters flooded the country's leaders to try and get them to change their policies.

Unintended consequences of that gave the Russians approximately 11 boxcar loads of paper to dispose of  (firewood?), and through the Universal Postal Union's terminal duty contracts with all nations, 70% of the face value of the stamps, which amounted to 56 MILLION DOLLARS, CASH, of the Brotherhood's hard earned money. 

This does not count the time of about ( 64m x 20 minutes per letter  = 21,333 hours, or 10.3 "man years" ) of Jehovah's Witnesses time and productivity .... TO POLITICAL ACTIVITY.

My wife just told me that now ... the Society's policy is that voting is a matter of personal conscience .... where "before", it was strictly forbidden under pain of disfellowshipping.

I apparently have not kept up if this is true.

So my question is ... is this true ?

.... and if so ... why did the corporation policy change?

Are we now allowed to vote ?

 

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Jehovah's Witnesses are known to be politically neutral and for refusing to vote. They have suffered imprisonment and even death (such as Malawi) for abstaining from involvement in political affairs. However, the requirement not to vote has varied over time. Although few Witnesses vote, since 1999 it is technically a conscience matter. The latest elders manual - Shepherd the Flock of God - does not mention voting at all.

Conscience Matter

Watchtower 1999 11/1 pp.28-29

Questions From Readers - How do Jehovah’s Witnesses view voting?

There are clear principles set out in the Bible that enable servants of God to take a proper view of this matter. However, there appears to be no principle against the practice of voting itself. For example, there is no reason why a board of directors should not take a vote in order to arrive at decisions affecting their corporation. Congregations of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses often make decisions about meeting times and the use of congregation funds by voting with a show of hands.

What, though, of voting in political elections? Of course, in some democratic lands, as many as 50 percent of the population do not turn out to vote on election day. As for JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, they do not interfere with the right of others to vote; neither do they in any way campaign against political elections. They respect and cooperate with the authorities who are duly elected in such elections. (Romans 13:1-7) As to whether they will personally vote for someone running in an election, each one of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses makes a decision based on his Bible-trained conscience and an understanding of his responsibility to God and to the State. (Matthew 22:21; 1 Peter 3:16) In making this personal decision, the Witnesses consider a number of factors.

First, Jesus Christ said of his followers: "They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world." (John 17:14) Jehovah’s Witnesses take this principle seriously. Being "no part of the world," they are neutral in the political affairs of the world.—John 18:36.

Second, the apostle Paul referred to himself as an "ambassador" representing Christ to the people of his day. (Ephesians 6:20; 2 Corinthians 5:20) JehovahÂ’s Witnesses believe that Christ Jesus is now the enthroned King of GodÂ’s heavenly Kingdom, and they, like ambassadors, must announce this to the nations. (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 11:15) Ambassadors are expected to be neutral and not to interfere in the internal affairs of the countries to which they are sent. As representatives of GodÂ’s heavenly Kingdom, JehovahÂ’s Witnesses feel a similar obligation not to interfere in the politics of the countries where they reside.

A third factor to consider is that those who have a part in voting a person into office may become responsible for what he does. (Compare 1 Timothy 5:22, The New English Bible.) Christians have to consider carefully whether they want to shoulder that responsibility.

Fourth, Jehovah’s Witnesses greatly value their Christian unity. (Colossians 3:14) When religions get involved in politics, the result is often division among their members. In imitation of Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses avoid becoming involved in politics and thus maintain their Christian unity.—Matthew 12:25; John 6:15; 18:36, 37.

Fifth and finally, their keeping out of politics gives Jehovah’s Witnesses freeness of speech to approach people of all political persuasions with the important message of the Kingdom.—Hebrews 10:35.

In view of the Scriptural principles outlined above, in many lands JehovahÂ’s Witnesses make a personal decision not to vote in political elections, and their freedom to make that decision is supported by the law of the land. What, though, if the law requires citizens to vote? In such a case, each Witness is responsible to make a conscientious, Bible-based decision about how to handle the situation. If someone decides to go to the polling booth, that is his decision. What he does in the polling booth is between him and his Creator.

The November 15, 1950, issue of The Watchtower, on pages 445 and 446, said: "Where Caesar makes it compulsory for citizens to vote . . . [Witnesses] can go to the polls and enter the voting booths. It is here that they are called upon to mark the ballot or write in what they stand for. The voters do what they will with their ballots. So here in the presence of God is where his witnesses must act in harmony with his commandments and in accordance with their faith. It is not our responsibility to instruct them what to do with the ballot."

What if a Christian woman’s unbelieving husband insists that she present herself to vote? Well, she is subject to her husband, just as Christians are subject to the superior authorities. (Ephesians 5:22; 1 Peter 2:13-17) If she obeys her husband and goes to the polling booth, that is her personal decision. No one should criticize her.—Compare Romans 14:4.

What of a country where voting is not mandated by law but feelings run high against those who do not go to the voting booth—perhaps they are exposed to physical danger? Or what if individuals, while not legally obliged to vote, are severely penalized in some way if they do not go to the polling booth? In these and similar situations, a Christian has to make his own decision. "Each one will carry his own load."—Galatians 6:5.

There may be people who are stumbled when they observe that during an election in their country, some Witnesses of Jehovah go to the polling booth and others do not. They may say, ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses are not consistent.’ People should recognize, though, that in matters of individual conscience such as this, each Christian has to make his own decision before Jehovah God.—Romans 14:12.

Whatever personal decisions Jehovah’s Witnesses make in the face of different situations, they take care to preserve their Christian neutrality and freeness of speech. In all things, they rely on Jehovah God to strengthen them, give them wisdom, and help them avoid compromising their faith in any way. Thus they show confidence in the words of the psalmist: "You are my crag and my stronghold; and for the sake of your name you will lead me and conduct me."—Psalm 31:3.

Not Allowed

"Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock" (1991) pp.139,140
Jehovah's Witnesses maintain neutrality with regard to the political and military affairs of the nations. (John 17:16; rs pp. 269-76)

elders-p140-voting.jpg

They do not interfere with what others do as to voting in political elections, running for or campaigning for political offices, joining non-neutral organizations, shouting political slogans, and so forth. (w86 9/1 pp. 19- 20; w68 6/1 pp. 351-2) [See also w99 11/1 pp28-9 Q from R]

Since true dedicated Christians are "no part of the world," if a member of the congregation unrepentantly pursues a course in violation of his Christian neutrality, he thereby disassociates himself from the neutral Christian congregation. (John 15:19; 17:14-16; w82 1/15 p. 31)

Elders should talk to one known to be contemplating taking such a course, since he may be doing so in ignorance. (Ps. 119:67; Gal. 6:1; 1 Tim. 1:13)

If he disregards the help proffered and pursues a course in violation of Christian neutrality, a committee should send the facts substantiating the disassociation to the branch office on the S-77 and S-79 forms. [See also ks91 p143]


What Does the Bible Really Teach? Chapter 15 paragraph 12
as shown at

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April 3rd 2010

True worshipers are no part of the world. When on trial before the Roman ruler Pilate, Jesus said: “My kingdom is no part of this world.” (John 18:36) No matter what country they live in, Jesus’ true followers are subjects of his heavenly Kingdom and thus maintain strict neutrality in the world’s political affairs. They take no part in its conflicts. However, Jehovah’s worshipers do not interfere with what others choose to do about joining a political party, running for office, or voting.


jv p.673
In some lands, voting in political elections is viewed as an obligation. Failure to vote is punished by fine, imprisonment, or worse. But JehovahÂ’s Witnesses support the Messianic Kingdom of God, which, as Jesus said, "is no part of this world." Therefore, they do not participate in the political affairs of the nations of this world.


uw p.166
However, JehovahÂ’s Witnesses do not meddle in politics, no matter what the country in which they live. They do not interfere with what others do as to joining a political party, running for office or voting in elections. But, since Jesus said that his disciples would be "no part of the world," JehovahÂ’s Witnesses take no part whatsoever in political activities.


sj p.16
In many schools, students are voted into an office or a position, such as class president. Some schools have small-scale political campaigns, including campaign buttons and posters advertising candidates. The purpose is to familiarize young people with the machinery of politics. However, Witness youths do not mix in school politics, either by accepting an elective office or by voting others into office. So if either nominated for or elected to an office, they tactfully decline. In this way they follow the example of Jesus who withdrew when the people wanted to make him king


Watchtower 1964 5/15 p.308
To mature Christians, the question of what attitude should be taken in the matter of political elections presents no issue. In totalitarian countries oftentimes people are forced by law to go to the election polls and sometimes persons are even picked up at home and brought to the polls. Even in certain democracies the law makes it compulsory for the citizens to go to the election places. In no country do Jehovah’s witnesses take part in politics. They are not of this world. (John 17:14) Therefore they do not take part in voting at elections. They do not compromise their neutral standing in matters of politics, however, if they go to the polls and make the ballot void in some manner, either by crossing it out or by putting down, for example, the words "For God’s Kingdom." That is telling what he is for. By doing this their ballot will become void; it will not count in the election of a man. They have complied with the law and gone to the polls and likely avoided punishment. Remember Jesus’ counsel: "Look! I am sending you forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves." (Matt. 10:16) No one should be condemned for acting so. "But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you also look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God."—Rom. 14:10.


Watchtower 1959 7/1 p.398
Jesus Christ was not subversive though he was so accused by his religious opposers. (Luke 23:2) He refused to become politically active in this worldÂ’s affairs because, as he said: "No one can be a slave to two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other." (Matt. 6:24) It is because of such admonition by Jesus that JehovahÂ’s witnesses have refused to mix these interests in government. But this does not make them subversive. The refusal of JehovahÂ’s witnesses in the past to fulfill such patriotic duties as voting, saluting a flag or participation in the armed forces, is an insurance to every country that JehovahÂ’s witnesses will not endanger the security of that nation, because they have been refraining from the same activities in all other countries at the same time.


Watchtower 1952 6/1 p.346
If he made improper appointments he would become responsible for the sins of such appointees, since he put them in position to commit their sins that hurt the congregation in GodÂ’s sight. So the people who either vote wicked rulers into office or allow them to remain in power must accept responsibility for such rulersÂ’ official acts and sins against God and man.


Watchtower 1952 9/1 p.526
"Voting is compulsory, and because the brothers have refused to vote they have been frequently beaten and imprisoned.

Conscience Matter

Watchtower 1950 11/15 pp.445-446 Subjection to the Higher Powers
21 In view of not recognizing worldly political powers as the “superior authorities” ordained by God, but recognizing only God and Jesus Christ to be such now, the Christian witnesses conscientiously refrain from taking part in the politics of this world, yes, even from voting. This has been true of them from the first century on. Testifying to this fact, Ancient Times—A History of the Early World, by Jas. H. Breasted, Ph.D., LL.D., says, under the heading, “1070. Rome persecutes the early Christians,” the following: “The officers of government often found these early converts not only refusing to sacrifice to the emperor as a god but also openly prophesying the downfall of the Roman State. The early Christians were therefore more than once called upon to endure cruel persecution. Their religion seemed incompatible with good citizenship, since it forbade them to show the usual respect for the emperor and the government.”—Page 663, edition of 1916.

22 In some countries today the legislature wants to make all the adult citizens responsible for the government. To enforce the democratic way upon them they are required by law to vote in the national elections. Under such circumstances what are Christians to do, since they are under divine command to keep themselves unspotted from this world? By dedicating themselves wholly to God through Christ they have vowed their unswerving allegiance to the kingdom of God, and they cannot divide their allegiance. So how are they now to proceed? Can they register as qualified voters? Yes. The apostle Paul held onto his Roman citizenship and fought for its rights, even appealing to Caesar in defending his right to preach the gospel. In lands where military conscription is in force JehovahÂ’s witnesses register the same as all others within the age limits, and they write down their relationship to the matter. They remember how Joseph and Mary complied with CaesarÂ’s decree and traveled to Bethlehem-Judah in order to be registered at their home town. (Luke 2:1-5, NW) But it is when these ministers of JehovahÂ’s Word are called up for induction into the army that then they present themselves and take their stand according to GodÂ’s Word and pay to him what belongs to him. Likewise where Caesar makes it compulsory for citizens to vote. After they have registered and when election day comes, they can go to the polls and enter the voting booths. It is here that they are called upon to mark the ballot or write in what they stand for. The voters do what they will with their ballots. So here in the presence of God is where his witnesses must act in harmony with his commandments and in accordance with their faith.

23 It is not our responsibility to instruct them what to do with the ballot. They must act in accord with their conscience as enlightened by the study of GodÂ’s Word. In lands where voting is not compulsory, the ministers of JehovahÂ’s Word remember that his people are theocratically organized. According to the divine law under which they are organized the popular vote of the majority does not put servants in office, but all appointments in the theocratic organization are from God and through those whom he puts in authority in his organization.

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@James Thomas Rook Jr. No, Christians who are serious about neutrality are not suppose to be voting, however they can be in defense of Freedom of Religion, which is in conjunction with what the Apostle Paul taught regarding Civil Disobedience and when and where and how it is done by the Christians, in this regard, the Jehovah's Witnesses are in a defense of trying to preserve what they practice and preach, as well as the Bible, for the Kremlin has been cracking down on all Bibles prior to the ban, they say they target JW Bibles, but really you can get can a visit from the police or FSB if you have a Bible in public.

Plus there is also another factor, for JWs in Russia are Anti-Nationalist, not even taking part in war glorification ceremonies and or often targets in institutions and threaten, and prior to the election, Jehovah's Witness crackdowns were in full force, for the Kremlin believed that JWs neutrality would hinder those who are not of the faith to not vote, perhaps not vote for Putin, for this was included in a list of things as to why the ban was issued.

Also I think it is obvious of how Putin won, that end result for the election was clearly rigged, but if you say something, you'll end up like most Kremlin Critics, or perhaps end up like Boris Nemtsov.

So in short, Christians will be in defense of religious Freedom, even if it means Civil Disobedience against a political party, but never will they take sides, granted all sides and spots on those sides are held by the Kremlin and their connections.

Other than that, this is all the Russian Church, the Kremlin and the Duma care about, this video speaks for itself:

53465768798.si_-e1466842996527.jpg

This other image is whom was in connection with the Pope to get rid of JWs to begin with:

220px-Patriarch_Kirill_of_Moscow.jpg

The master mind:

dvorkin.jpg

So even if they had the chance to vote, they get pegged with rocks with the crest of the Kremlin (Coat of arms of Russia) painted on it, figuratively speaking.

For the biggest clue that people missed is the fact a JW family had been awarded, and the only reason Putin was present is because the RoC and the Duma were not there during the ceremony - for a very specific reason.

@Matthew9969 Not really, for if there was a halt to prevent the JWs from influencing neutrality, clearly the Kremlin had put in motion on how to get rid of them, but little did they know Religious Freedom is held to a high regard to the Russians, mainly to those who are outside of and against the RoC. The Kremlin do not even let them preach near any political office that is in regards of voting. Other than that, fighting for religious freedom has nothing to do with voting, if the case involving baker and the 2 homosexual men had taught us anything or that of the two women some days ago.

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@Jack Ryan Fighting for religious freedom has nothing to do with voting. Granted this is Russia, JWs are not only allowed to vote, they are kept away from voters because of suspected influence of neutrality, mainly for the fact that there is a HUGE amount of Russians who are Anti-Kremlin/RoC, which resulted in them being called heroes, for said heroes are targeted, hence the various websites having the pictures and information of people as if they are targets for the hunt should the situation call for it.

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It seems that 1999 was the last time the WTB&TS gave it's corporate guidance on this matter.

Anybody know about any current updates ... either via publications, talks, or actual practice?

I am thinking about voting in the November Senatorial Elections, here in the United States, with a clear conscience ... but I of course do not want to run afoul of the Congregation's Elders current conceptions or mis-conceptions, and be "burned at the stake".

uh .... so to speak.

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@James Thomas Rook Jr. Yeah, I don't think they are the type to vote and or pick sides in the realm of politics, but even if they never were neutral, having the option of Trump and or Hilary is a nightmare, granted we have a nightmare in the White House right now. But that being said, they've been neutral for a long time an their neutrality was only brought forth in the 1940s when JW kids refused to stand for the flag that resulted in JWs being hunted down by angry mobs that is of ku klux klan levels of crazy, moreover, the Bellamy Salute (Nazi Salute) had been changed after some time, probably after World War II. Present day because of the whole kneeling thing in the NFL, people are tailing about the JWs' neutrality in this regard, and because of the nations of JWs, a lot of people do not stand for the flag for various reasons, but mostly religious reasons, like a child who months back refused to stand for the flag and says he only stands for God only to be roughhoused by a Teacher who is a Patriotic Nationalist.

But it makes you think, what if kids today were still suppose to o the Nazi Salute/Bellamy Salute even after World War II has long since ended? That would be quite the sight and very eerie, mainly to those who had family members fought in that war to have flashbacks.

If I am not mistaken, I think those who uphold neutrality are often attacked, mainly in African countries where political theatre is at play.

 

This is what the Bellamy Salute looks like back in those says:

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Yeah ....

My allegiance is only to God ... but I will fight with anyone who believes as I do about Freedom and Justice.

It is quite obvious that for the time being, we are on our own .... and we have to do the best we know how.

The only thing necessary for evil to prevail, is Good Men to do nothing.

At least if I screw up, and make a mistake ... it will not cost the Brotherhood 56 MILLION dollars.

 

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It is bad form to vote only for one party or another solely just because of party affiliation, that is when your in danger of voting strictly for politics rather than substance. Voting also doesn't mean you are choosing party or person over God, that is absurd to think that way. If that were true my favorite color would mean more to me than God because I voted green my favorite color.

 

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On 8/8/2018 at 4:57 AM, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

At least if I screw up, and make a mistake ... it will not cost the Brotherhood 56 MILLION dollars.

It could cost your life.....actually worth a lot more....even if you don't agree!!

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6 minutes ago, Gone Away said:

t could cost your life.....actually worth a lot more....even if you don't agree!!

Probably a lesser risk than my getting killed in my car, driving to Home Depot ... by a factor of about 20,000.

The GOOD news is that Bill can now spend all day, every day ... day in and day out ... 24/7/365 ........ with Hillary.

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1 minute ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

lesser risk

Risk assessment is a complex skill, :

  • Identify the hazards
  • Decide who might be harmed and how
  • Evaluate the risks and decide on control measures
  • Record your findings and implement them
  • Review your assessment and update if necessary

but you are an engineer..................

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7 hours ago, Matthew9969 said:

It is bad form to vote only for one party or another solely just because of party affiliation, that is when your in danger of voting strictly for politics rather than substance. Voting also doesn't mean you are choosing party or person over God, that is absurd to think that way. If that were true my favorite color would mean more to me than God because I voted green my favorite color.

What of Paul's dealing with the Temple of Artemis?

That being said, Christians will go to Civil Disobedience should their faith be in subjection to things that can effect it. As we can see here, no political ploy going about such ones, for it is an act of defending their faith to those who are attempting to halt said faith.

And it has been done by all persons, for instance, the whole situation with Christians vs. Satanist activities for the last couple of years, even that one situation in Detroit, the other being at a Cemetery. When it comes to defending what is deemed true, like Paul, anything in the realm of Spiritual Warfare and Civil Disobedience will be in total usage.

That being said, this is Russia we are talking about. The same country that has removed all personnel who will influence others to not pick any side whatsoever, and to not partake in an event that glorifies violence.

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      By Guest Nicole
      PANAJI: The build up to the elections, the hullabaloo on polling day and the much-awaited results on counting day mean nothing for the 600-odd members of the Christian sect Jehovah's Witnesses in Goa. Just like their counterparts in other countries and "like the first century- Christians", JW members choose to maintain political neutrality for religious reasons."There are no restrictions on us and our individual decisions," one member said, adding, "The Bible says we must obey God rather than man. Whether to obey God or not is our own decision."
       
      A 62-year-old member from Margao, on the condition of anonymity, said he was introduced to the sect as a child when his entire family joined. He told TOI that he has never voted for any political party or candidate in any election. "If one's conscience allows then they may vote but this is generally not done. We have voting cards and follow all the rules and regulations of the government, no matter which government is in power, but we don't take active part in the political process," he said, adding that the sect doesn't raise any slogans against the government either.Explaining the belief, he said, "We're citizens of God's kingdom and although we are in this world we are not part of this world. The world is full of corruption but we're not involved in it. This kingdom belongs to Satan. We're purely looking for God's kingdom to come when peace and security will be there."
      Members also consider bowing to a flag or saluting it in conjunction with an anthem to be non-scriptural as they do accepting blood transfusion.According to the Christian breakaway group, there are 44,000-odd members (witnesses) divided into 600-odd congregations in the country. In Goa, the group has its presence in Margao, Vasco, Panaji, Mapusa and Siolim where regular meetings are held in English, Konkani and Hindi at premises known as Kingdom Halls of JW and at rented premises.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Question:  Why did Jehovah’s Witnesses  recently organize a worldwide letter writing campaign due to the persecution in Russia and not for other countries where there is also persecution?
    • By The Librarian
      An older instructional video a brother made to help others out.
    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      I read this question at another site, it is interesting to me since as far as I know in Spanish we don't use that phrase: 
       
      JWs don't say, "I am a Jehovah's Witness."
      Instead, they say, "I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses."
      What does the second way of saying it convey that the first does not?
      In other words, why does the organization prefer the second formulation?
      This isn't a teaser.
      I really don't know the answer.
       
    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      "Esto es un completo disparate. Tenemos que investigar esto con cuidado ”, comentó Vladimir Putin sobre la inclusión de los Testigos de Jehová en la lista de organizaciones extremistas.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Is not that equivalent to boast about the "many" hours you dedicate preaching about God over others who have not the same agenda?
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      What should I gift a new born of Jehovah's Witnesses?
    • By The Librarian
      Ripped jeans are not appropriate for christian sisters. I Peter 2:16
    • By She
      How can I get comments for watchtower study’s  pictures ?
    • By JAMMY
      How do you respond to "Have you voted yet?"
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      .
      Why doesn't the Society translate and provide the Russian Court Transcripts for us?
      Since somewhere around 5.5 million Brothers spent somewhere around 20 million hours writing letters to the officials of the Russian Federation mailing an average of somewhere around 4 letters each at an international postage rate of perhaps 80 MILLION DOLLARS, total ... why has the WTB&TS not translated FOR THE BROTHERHOOD, translations of the Russian REAL transcripts, so we will know exactly what is going on?
      You would think that for 80 or so MILLION DOLLARS, some usable hard data would be forthcoming, from people that reportedly are the world's best translators !!
      This affects the Brotherhood worldwide, as well as being banned in the Russian Federation .... I sure hope this is not a repeat of the Haiti Relief Fiasco, where the news was so onerous, the WTB&TS Relief efforts intertwined with the United Nations, and the Red Cross that the news of what really happened throughout the relief effort could not be published on the Society's "News" portion of the web site.
      Why doesn't the Society translate and provide the Russian Court Transcripts for us?.
      ... and the WORLD at large!
      .That is hard news EVERYBODY can use!
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      This article from July 2018 states: 
      If an unmarried couple spend the night together under improper circumstances, would that constitute a sin meriting judicial action?
      Yes, if there are no extenuating circumstances, a judicial committee would be formed on the basis of strong circumstantial evidence of sexual immorality.—1 Cor. 6:18.
      The body of elders carefully evaluates each situation to determine whether a judicial committee is warranted. For example: Have the couple been pursuing a romantic relationship? Have they been previously counseled regarding their conduct with each other? What circumstances led to their spending the night together? Did they plan ahead to do so? Did they have a choice in the matter, or were there extenuating circumstances, perhaps an unforeseen occurrence or genuine emergency that left them with no choice but to spend the night together? (Eccl. 9:11) What were the sleeping arrangements? Since each situation is different, there may be other relevant factors that the elders will consider.
      After the facts are established, the body of elders will determine whether the couple’s conduct warrants judicial action.
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      My questions are: What could be those improper circumstances? Is not there the "two witnesses rule" for the elders to form a  judicial committee and accuse you? 
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Are JWs   allowed to get this treatment? 
      "Platelet-rich plasma (PRP), also known as autologous conditioned plasma, is a concentrate of platelet-rich plasma protein derived from whole blood, centrifuged to remove red blood cells."
      For example to reduce wrinkles on the face
       
       
    • By The Librarian
      Question sent in to to me....
      Answer: Yes. And usually only sisters attend them.
    • By Jack Ryan
      Can you add an example of a JW Cultural Rule from YOUR area?
      Example Trimmed moustaches are not ok in certain areas.....and WHERE are you located?
      Oh it’s sorta like when you want to grow a beard, but thereÂ’s no Biblical basis for not being able to grow one, but the elders say NO simply because itÂ’s “cultural”. You mean like that?

    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      ARE  WE  NOW  ALLOWED  TO  VOTE ?
      The WTB&TS is involved in all kinds of political activity ... most recently having the Brotherhood of 8 million people and more (?) sent letters trying to persuade the Russian Federation to change its political policies towards Freedom of Religion, and non-interference with Jehovah's Witnesses. 
      An estimated 64 MILLION of Jehovah's Witnesses letters flooded the country's leaders to try and get them to change their policies.
      Unintended consequences of that gave the Russians approximately 11 boxcar loads of paper to dispose of  (firewood?), and through the Universal Postal Union's terminal duty contracts with all nations, 70% of the face value of the stamps, which amounted to 56 MILLION DOLLARS, CASH, of the Brotherhood's hard earned money. 
      This does not count the time of about ( 64m x 20 minutes per letter  = 21,333 hours, or 10.3 "man years" ) of Jehovah's Witnesses time and productivity .... TO POLITICAL ACTIVITY.
      My wife just told me that now ... the Society's policy is that voting is a matter of personal conscience .... where "before", it was strictly forbidden under pain of disfellowshipping.
      I apparently have not kept up if this is true.
      So my question is ... is this true ?
      .... and if so ... why did the corporation policy change?
      Are we now allowed to vote ?
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The annual report by the Council of Europe assessing the execution rate of judgments by the European Court of Human Rights points to 36 judgments involving Georgia which have yet to be executed. The report calls on Georgia to accelerate the execution process, as it is “imperative for the insurance of human rights.”
      The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers is responsible for monitoring the implementation, or “execution,” of judgments from the European Court of Human Rights and publishes an annual report with the results for each European country.
      The monitored cases are classified into different categories to allow for ease of understanding. All cases are classified as either “leading” or “repetitive.” Leading cases are those revealing new structural and/or systemic problems, whereas repetitive cases relate to issues that have already been raised before the Committee.
      Georgia was involved in 10 new cases in 2017, a light increase from 2016 with its 7 new cases. Of these 10 cases, three were leading cases, and seven were repetitive. Countries often lack behind in the implementation process for years, trying to avoid necessary measures or pointing to an unfavorable situation to implement legislative amendments. In 2016, Georgia still had 39 pending cases to implement, decreasing slightly to 36 last year, out of which 23 are repetitive and 13 leading.
      The Committee selected six pending cases to be under enhanced supervision, which is a supervision procedure for cases requiring urgent individual measures, pilot judgments, and judgments revealing important structural and/or complex problems as identified by the Court.
      Presently, Georgia has five such pending cases, which have been awaiting execution for more than five years. With regards to monetary compensation, also called “just satisfaction,” Georgia awarded €120,151 in 2017, almost twice less than in 2016 (€221,000). However, the State itself is tasked with payment to the victims, which rarely takes place in a timely manner. In 2017, Georgia respected the payment deadline in eight cases, while for four cases, the payment was still pending past the set deadline.
      The report highlights two main pending cases, which it urges the government to implement due to their importance regarding human rights. The first case is Tsintsabadze vs Georgia, dealing with the lack of effective investigations into allegations of ill-treatment or violations of the right to life. Although the monitoring team observed improvements, they continue to monitor the case.
      The second case is Identoba et.al. vs Georgia, dealing with the lack of protection against homophobic attacks during a demonstration. Touching again the issue of the first case, as adequate investigation procedures were missing also for this case, the European Court’s judgment points to a “Failure to adequately protect against inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted by private individuals to LGBT activists (in May 2012) and Jehovah’s Witnesses (in 1999-2001) during marches or meetings.” Following the broad scope of the judgment, this case deals with the freedom of religion and the freedom of assembly and association.
      Furthermore, the report highlights essential improvements undertaken by the government with regard to closed cases. The Committee closed the Gharibashvili vs Georgia case, as the effectiveness of investigations was improved through the better involvement of the victims in the investigation, new rules for witness interrogation, and reinforced institutional independence for investigating bodies. In addition, the prevention of excessive use of force by the police in the course of arrest and ill-treatment in custody has been improved, notably through the creation of internal monitoring mechanisms in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Corrections.
      Monitoring legal improvement and law amendments, the Committee praises Georgia for the law “On Common Courts,” foreseeing that all judicial acts, including the operative part of decisions adopted, will be published on the website, thus increasing transparency. In conjunction with these measures, numerous training and awareness-raising measures have been undertaken.
      Besides the assessment of improvements based on specific cases, the report highlights general advances in the field of human rights and safety. The power of bailiffs to arrest individuals is better circumscribed, and guarantees for the holding of a public hearing and respect for the equality of arms have been adopted. The possibility for detained persons to obtain compensation for their illegal or unjustified detention is ensured, independently of conviction or acquittal.
      Rehabilitating GeorgiaÂ’s past, legislative amendments were adopted in 2011 and 2014 in order to grant compensation to the victims of Soviet-era repression. Improvements have also been observed in the electoral law.
      Clear criteria were introduced to define when the Central Electoral Commission can use its power to invalidate elections, alongside the introduction of an effective remedy against its decisions.
      On a European level, the countries with the highest total number of pending cases at the end of 2017 were Russia (1,689), Turkey (1,446), Ukraine (1,156), Romania (553) and Italy (389). Of the 7,584 pending cases at the end of 2017, 1,379 (18%) were leading cases and 6,205 (82%) were repetitive cases. The countries with the highest number of leading cases pending at the end of 2017 were Russia (216), Turkey (177), Ukraine (136), Bulgaria (77) and Moldova (76). The countries with the highest number of repetitive cases pending at the end of 2017 were Russia (1,473), Turkey (1,269), Ukraine (1,020), Romania (495) and Italy (335). A strong decrease in pending cases could also be observed on a European level, as 3,849 pending cases were under enhanced supervision at the end of 2017, down from 6,718 at the end of 2014 (a drop of 43%).
      Although Russia tops the statistics in pending cases, they strongly lag behind resolving or implementing them, surpassed by Italy and Hungary. The countries that closed the highest total number of cases in 2017 were Italy (2,001), Hungary (296), Russia (254), Romania (144) and Poland (133).
      In 2017, the court awarded €14.6m in “just satisfaction” against Russia, €12.5m against Italy, €11.6m against Turkey, €5.9m against the Slovak Republic and €3.7m against Greece. The total figure is €60.4m compared to €82.3m in 2016.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Men are granted waivers from conscription if they can show they are active members of the denomination. All other men must carry out either military or non-military service.
      The Finnish Defence Ministry has set up a panel to reconsider the exemption from conscription granted to members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The non-mainstream Christian denomination urges its members not to participate in military service, even in unarmed roles.
      The ministry said on Friday that it has established a working group to consider revising the legislation that waives Jehovah’s Witnesses’ obligation to perform military service.
      All Finnish men aged 18 to 60 must carry out either military or non-military service. Under current law, a man can be granted a deferment of service for three years at a time as long as he can certify that he is an active member of a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation.
      "Problematic" from equality standpoint
      The Defence Ministry says that previous studies of the issue have found the current practice to be problematic, particularly from the standpoint of equality.
      The legislation on Jehovah’s Witnesses’ conscription was originally passed as a special act before the present constitution came into force.
      The committee is to complete its work by late June.

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    • By Bible Speaks
      Refusing to Buy a Party Card Meant Death ~ Could You Stand Up To The Truth? 
      Refusing to purchase this party card invited death and persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Malawi, many fleed into exile, it was a tough time!! Glad today we are free of this and we worship free from all bans with Timson Samuel Chimwala

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A Finnish court has ruled that the exemption from military service currently enjoyed by Jehovah's Witnesses is discriminatory.
       
      News 23.2.2018 14:34 | updated 24.2.2018 10:53
      Jehovah's Witness exemption from conscription deemed prejudicial in "pivotal" ruling
      A Finnish court has ruled that the exemption from military service currently enjoyed by Jehovah's Witnesses is discriminatory.
      A new court ruled on Friday that the Finnish practice of allowing male Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid conscription is discriminatory.
      The Helsinki Court of Appeal on Friday voted 4-3 for naming the policy discriminatory against other conscientious objectors. The ruling came in a discrimination case brought by a man who was imprisoned in 2016 for refusing conscripted service the year before.
      The decision is the first court verdict that directly denounces the decades-old exception (instated in 1987), which says that men belonging to the Jehovah's Witness denomination will uniquely not be sent to prison if they refuse both military and civilian service.
      The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee and the Defense Ministry have long held that the law contradicts the constitution's principle of equality as well as its prohibition on discrimination.
      Basis in faith
      The majority of the court held that Finland has taken significant measures to improve equality since the exemption became law more than 30 years ago, such as signing the European Convention on Human Rights.
      Under current legislation Jehovah's Witnesses may postpone their entry into service for three years at a time (starting at age 18), until their obligation officially ceases at age 29.
      Proponents of the Christian faction cite their pacifist reading of the Bible as the basis of their objection, for which they receive no punishment. No other groups in Finland have the same right, except women, who have never been legally bound to enter conscripted service.
      "Pivotal" step follows international condemnation
      The Union of Conscientious Objectors (Finnish acronym AKL) tweeted about the news on Friday, calling the court's decision "pivotal" in the process towards banning conscription altogether.
      Robin Harms, a senior advisor to the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, has acted as legal counsel to the imprisoned man who originally brought the case to the Eastern Uusimaa District Court in 2015.
      "Favouring Jehovah's Witnesses in this way is an embarrassment for Finland," Harms says.
      More than that, human rights organisations including Amnesty International and the UN Human Rights Committee have long chastised the Finnish government for its ongoing practice of forced conscription. Only male (non-Witness) Finns are obliged to choose between military service, a longer civilian service term and a six-month prison (or remote monitoring) sentence.
      AKL reports that an average of some 40 objectors have annually refused both military and civilian service since the beginning of the 21st century. Some 100 Jehovah's Witnesses plead the law of exception to avoid conscription each year. While 72 percent of young men enter military service (minimum 6 months) when called, some 2,000 men opt for a civilian service period (minimum 347 days).
      All men who are jailed for objecting to conscription are considered by Amnesty International to be prisoners of conscience.
      Justice Minister: Consider exemption anew
      Justice Minister Antti Häkkänen said after the verdict that the current exemptions from military service should be evaluated in the light of the verdict.
      "If some group or other has exemptions based on their beliefs, then in this day and age they should always be evaluated to make sure different groups are treated equally," said Häkkänen.
      Häkkänen added that participation in national defence is mandated in the Finnish constitution, and that exceptions to that are based on religious convictions.
      "How are those interests weighed against each other in different situations, especially in a changing world, then that's a big constitutional law question as well," said Häkkänen. "This is an interesting issue that must now be resolved fairly."
      EDIT: This story was edited on 23 February to add comments from the Justice Minister.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Born to a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baek Jong-keon realized the price of his faith in South Korea at an early age. 

      His father had gone to jail for refusing to take up arms, and his three older brothers chose the same path when the time came for them to serve their mandatory military service. 
       

      Baek Jong-keon works as an assistant at a law firm in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Bak Se-hwan/The Korea Herald
      In a country where all able-bodied men are required to serve in the military to defend against North Korea’s 1.2 million-strong armed forces, it seemed like a bleak future awaited him, too. 

      “I grew up watching my father -- and my three brothers -- go to jail for objecting to the mandatory military service. It was hard to overcome the fear and the pain as a kid,” said Baek, 33, in an interview with The Korea Herald. 

      “That’s why I wanted to become a lawyer -- to change the situation.” 

      Baek also chose the life of a conscientious objector in South Korea -- or the life of a convicted “draft dodger.” He was sentenced to 18 months in jail by the Supreme Court in 2016. 

      He served his prison term and was released in May this year. The Korean Bar Association suspended his lawyer’s license for five years, a possibility that he had known since he was preparing for the bar exam. 

      All this, however, does not mean Baek is accepting things as they are. Now working as an assistant at a small law firm, he is fighting to regain his license. He has been rejected once, but is still fighting. 

      He is also fighting for the sake of other conscientious objectors to have the government and society recognize their freedom of conscience and offer them alternative ways to serve the country. 

      “Roughly 400 young conscientious objectors are currently in jail. I think that we should seriously consider giving them alternative forms of military service instead of just treating them as outlaws,” he said. 

      Since 2013, nearly 2,500 people were prosecuted for failing to enlist in the military, according to data from the Military Manpower Administration. The military service law mandates a prison sentence of up to three years for men who avoid the draft. 

      A majority of the 2,500 are Jehovah’s Witnesses, who object to any form of militarism. Of the total, 15 are unreligious, objecting conscription based on their personal beliefs and the principles of “no violence” and “no war.” 

      But there are growing signs that the judicial system may be easing its stance on conscientious objectors. This year alone, 40 acquittals were made at lower courts for conscientious objectors, five times more than in 2016, reflecting a possible change in legal perceptions. 

      Although no final decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the acquittals has been made yet, the repeated rulings in favor of the objectors are pressing the government to react.

      The Constitutional Court is currently reviewing the constitutionality of the conscription law, with several complaints filed regarding conscientious objection.

      During his confirmation hearing at the National Assembly last month, new Constitutional Court chief Lee Jin-sung hinted at the need to change the long-entrenched judicial practice against conscientious objection. 

      “We should take the situation seriously where people endure being sent to prison for their adherence to their conscience,” Lee said. 

      Views on conscientious objection seem to be changing as well.

      According to a survey by the National Human Rights Commission, 46.1 percent of people said last year the government should allow conscientious objection, up 12.8 percentage points from 33.3 percent in a 2011 poll. 

      “The answer is simple,” Baek said. “We just have to adopt legislation that allows conscientious objectors to carry out an appropriate alternative service of a length comparable to that of military service.” 

      Three bills are pending at the National Assembly seeking to add alternative options to the mandatory military service system. 

      Critics argue it is premature to adopt an alternative service program, especially amid ongoing threats from North Korea. It would also affect the morale of conscripted soldiers to see those citing faith -- which is hard to prove -- being allowed to avoid the tough life in barracks. 

      “We do not ask for special treatment,” Baek said. 

      “Some people wrongly assume that we would be exempted from the national duty mandated to all male citizens of South Korea once the court rules in favor of conscientious objection.

      “But we are willing to serve our country once an alternative service for objectors is introduced. That will allow us to contribute to the community in a way that does not conflict with our conscience, for instance, in the areas of public health, social welfare, the environment and labor,” Baek added. 

      He also believes that religious conscientious objectors have an important role to play. 

      “It is our part not to give up and to keep hope alive. I hope they do not resign themselves to be sent to jail, but keep appealing against the prison term to bring about change,” Baek said. 

      By Bak Se-hwan (sh@heraldcorp.com)

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    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Indiana woman Jamie Porter claimed her first-grader son was punished for refusing to say the pledge of allegiance. Now she is suing the teacher and principal allegedly responsible.
      The complaint, obtained by Fox 59, said the incident happened in March. Fuqua Elementary School teacher Kelly McFarland allegedly sent the boy to the principal’s office because he stayed seated during the pledge. Asked why he didn’t recite it, he said that “he was doing it to protest the government of the United States, as it was racist, greedy and does not care about people,” the lawsuit stated.
      Later, Principal Mary Beth Harris‘ office allegedly made him practice reciting the pledge. He and his mother now seek damages after he disliked the way school officials treated him. He was also still mourning after his father recently passed away, the lawsuit said.
      LawNewz.com reached out to McFarland and Harris for comment, and will update when they respond. The Vigo County School Corporation, a public school district, has not been sued.
      Case law on this sort of allegation remains very clear: officials cannot make students say the pledge. Doing so violates kids’ First Amendment rights.
      This dates back to the 1943 Supreme Court case West Virginia v. Barnette. They voted 6-3 on behalf of several students, all of whom were Jehovah’s Witnesses refusing to stand for the pledge on religious grounds. Justice Robert H. Jackson said the government, including school officials, couldn’t force people to say things they don’t mean:
      To sustain the compulsory flag salute, we are required to say that a Bill of Rights which guards the individual’s right to speak his own mind left it open to public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind.

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    • By terry bowler
      is it ok for sisters to walk with the microphone
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