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Are Jehovah's Witnesses allowed to vote?

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THE WATCHTOWER (SIMPLIFIED EDITION) APRIL 2016https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/watchtower-simplified-april-2016/maintain-neutrality-in-a-divided-world/#?insight[search_id]=a2dfe6ab-0328-4e

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 preachin

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 pe

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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 2016https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/watchtower-simplified-april-2016/maintain-neutrality-in-a-divided-world/#?insight[search_id]=a2dfe6ab-0328-4e02-9469-f970b64cdaf6&insight[search_result_index]=15

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. (Isaiah 2:4) Since Jehovah  allows human governments to rule, we do not oppose them. We also do not get involved in any patriotic or nationalistic activity. (Romans 13:1, 2) 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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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)


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 http://www.watchtower.org/e/bh/article_15.htm 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:


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


The master mind:


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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      Les descendants de ton salut seront puissant sur la terre.
      Gloire et honneur soit rendu à notre Dieu Jéhovah. 
      Bénis soit le Dieu unique de notre Salut

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