April 26, 2016

A closer look at Jehovah’s Witnesses living in the U.S.

Jehovah's Witnesses in the U.S.

The death of superstar musician Prince has prompted many reflections on his life – including his religious faith. Prince, who was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist, became a Jehovah’s Witness as an adult and attended services in his home state of Minnesota.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, who make up just less than 1% of U.S. adults, are known for their door-to-door proselytism. But members of this denomination, which has its origins in 19th-century America, are also unique in many other ways. Here are a few facts about Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States today, based on Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study:

Demographics

Jehovah’s Witnesses are among the most racially and ethnically diverse religious groups in America. No more than four-in-ten members of the group belong to any one racial and ethnic background: 36% are white, 32% are Hispanic, 27% are black and 6% are another race or mixed race.

Most Jehovah’s Witnesses – roughly two-thirds (65%) – are women, while only 35% are men. Christians worldwide are more likely to be women than men, but this gender gap is particularly large in the context of U.S. Christian groups. For instance, 54% of U.S. Catholics are women.

Compared with other U.S. religious groups, Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to be less educated. A solid majority of adult Jehovah’s Witnesses (63%) have no more than a high school diploma, compared with, for example, 43% of evangelical Protestants and 37% of mainline Protestants.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have a low retention rate relative to other U.S. religious groups. Among all U.S. adults who were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses, two-thirds (66%) no longer identify with the group. By contrast, about two-thirds of those who were raised as evangelical Protestants (65%) and Mormons (64%) still say they are members of those respective groups.

On the flip side, about two-thirds (65%)  of current adult Jehovah’s Witnesses are converts – like Prince, they were raised in another faith.

Religious beliefs and practices

Jehovah’s Witnesses identify as Christians, but their beliefs are different from other Christians in some ways. For instance, they teach that Jesus is the son of God but is not part of a Trinity.

By traditional measures of religious commitment, Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of the most highly religious major U.S. religious groups. Nine-in-ten Jehovah’s Witnesses (90%) say religion is very important in their lives, while similar shares say they believe in God with absolute certainty (90%) and that the Bible is the word of God (94%).

Our survey found at least two other interesting ways in which Jehovah’s Witnesses stand out in their beliefs. For one, while half of Jehovah’s Witnesses say they believe in heaven, very few (7%) say they believe in hell, the traditional image of which is challenged by the denomination’s teaching. The share of all U.S. Christians who believe in hell is 10 times larger (70%). And most Jehovah’s Witnesses (83%) say their religion is the one true faith leading to eternal life; only about three-in-ten U.S. Christians (29%) believe this about their own religious faith.

Compared with U.S. Christians overall, Jehovah’s Witnesses are especially likely to say they attend religious services at least once a week (85%, compared with 47% of all U.S. Christians), pray daily (90% of Jehovah’s Witnesses vs. 68% of all U.S. Christians) and – perhaps not surprisingly – share their faith with others at least once a week (76% vs. 26%). They also are more likely than U.S. Christians overall to participate in prayer or scripture study groups and to read scripture at least weekly, among other religious behaviors.

Social and political views

Like many other highly religious Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to take conservative positions on social issues. For example, three-quarters (75%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, while similar shares oppose same-sex marriage and say homosexuality should be discouraged by society (76% each). Roughly three-quarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses (74%) also reject evolution, saying humans have always existed in their present form since the beginning of time.

But Jehovah’s Witnesses do not commonly advocate for these beliefs in the political sphere. The denomination teaches that its members should remain politically neutral and abstain from voting or participating in “any action to change governments.”

This is reflected in our polling. Three-quarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses (75%) say they are political independents who do not lean toward either major party. Half (50%) decline to answer a question about political ideology (i.e., whether they describe their political views as conservative, moderate or liberal). And most Jehovah’s Witnesses (64%), when asked if they are registered to vote, say they are not registered or decline to answer the question.

Note: The last two paragraphs under the “Demographics” section were added on April 27, 2016. 

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices

  1. Photo of Michael Lipka

    is a senior editor focusing on religion at Pew Research Center.

89 Comments

  1. Anonymous6 months ago

    I believe that most people have missed the symbolic message right in front of them. Which is the w on the watch tower. If you you compare side by side. The illuminati symbols which has the upside v with a line across the symbol. Have you ever notice how the w on the watch tower has the w looking so straight as if to v letter v’ are put together looks like a w. I believe it is significant and had to catch it. VV I actually typed to v’s together so you will see what I mean. Also there has been years of perdition which needs to be addressed relations to something even more sinister. Jesus said that know man will know when the end will come not even him. Also the witness believe that Jehovah and Jesus is helping them to write the watch tower. This is outrageous and has know scripture references of such things. Another very importance is the 144,000 which will come from the 12 tribes of Israel. Well all 66 books of the bible points to certain group of people that helps you to identify who the 12 tribes are. These groups of people will 1st come from Abraham. Would all be told by Jesus to go toward the mountains which these mountains that Jesus was speaking about would be towards Africa. These people would be subjected to slavery which makes it very clear that they would go by ships, they would suffer greatly oppression, death by sea, rape by their masters, stripped of their heritage, basically they would suffer horribly. As I have come to the conclusion that there is no other race of race of people of people that has suffered like this other than the African American and I mean that THESE People WERE CURSED BY GOD WHEN MOSES WENT TO GET THE THE LAWS AND WHEN HE RETURED THE ISREALITES WERE WORSHIPPING FALSE GODS AND THEY DIDNT KEEP THEIR PROMISE TO THE COVENANT SO GO,D CUSERD THEM FOR GENERATIONS TO COME. Which included slavery lie no other they would be located all around the world north south east and west. Again if you understand that Jesus really came for the 12 tribes and the tribes will not know their history until he awakens them from this deep sleep. GOD had made it clear that the 12 tribes would be able to repent and still be the chosen people. Also they would need to go back to there land which is apart of the the prophecy. The tribes are starting to awaken right now. And JEHOVEH witnesses the white ones are satanic and are lying and misleading many many people. Al the 12 tribes would be the only ones that would be anoint and was the only ones that could do the preaching work. I have more we can identify who these people are they’re blacks and many other. Remember Jesus spoke about the fake Jesus that are proclaiming a land of iseral as theirs and say that they’re the chosen ones. When in fact Jesus clearly stated that they were associated with satanic. The jehoveh has committed one of the most horrible sins which is quite to change The most high words, jehoveh witnesses are against God they are satanic and are trying to stop God day that will.come. Their is more but I will stop here and leave you with these words the whites have profane Gods words and have not even mentioned to the blacks about them being the chosen ones

  2. Kane Robert7 months ago

    thanks to prophet abuvia for restoring my marriage

  3. Anonymous7 months ago

    100 per true that is why I am going to bapitaizd!

  4. Anonymous7 months ago

    Please know the facts first lol

  5. Anonymous7 months ago

    If 66% that were born witness are no longer ‘identifying’ as such, don’t see how they can be forcing people to stay like some comments are saying. Most of them make it sound like they are actually kicking people out, not making them stay. Live it or leave it, I can respect that. At least they stick to their code of conduct, instead of backtracking every time someone gets upset like most religions do. All you churches out there need to make up your minds! I still am not gonna believe in God, but at least you won’t look so stupid! Makes me think the commentors are actually just mad they got kicked out of a religion that accepted Prince!

  6. Anonymous7 months ago

    Criticism of Jehovah’s Witnesses usually brings out the wrath of those who cry persecution.You JW go door to door intrusively with the intent of criticizing our beliefs but have no reciprocal tolerance.

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      I take such a visitation as a good thing, welcoming them in an inviting a chat. Last Saturday I had a group of three on my door step and this led to a very productive conversation. They left after an hour and I’d swear the leader was prompted to have a few doubts. All done in the most amicable of ways.

      They’re primed to deal with a hostile response which simply reinforces their position. A friendly, positive encounter is far more productive if seeking to disabuse others of their fanciful notions.

      Can’t wait till the next set of missionaries arrive at the door. I expect to hone this skill to perfection.

      1. Anonymous6 months ago

        What leader?
        what was their title? Like: Father, Your Honour etc..?
        How was this person dressed differently than the others to set him / her above the others?

    2. Anonymous7 months ago

      So true!

  7. Anonymous7 months ago

    JW blood transfusion ban cost lives.
    The Watchtower society now allows 95% of blood ‘components’.
    It’s the individual JW member that is confused and panics when they get into the ER with massive blood loss and doesn’t know all the rules and fine print of the complicated Pharisaical JW no blood doctrine that most of the blood can be utilized.
    They cannot think fast enough in a dire emergency.Because of this it causes great confusion and distress for the ER staff….I have been there !
    Anyone working in accident and emergency wards knows darn well that there is absolutely and incontrovertibly no safe alternative to donated blood – particulary in cases of massive blood loss in which blood volume needs to be immediately replaced.
    Interestingly, the Watchtower Jehovah’s Witnesses has very,very little to say on this alarming aspect of refusing blood.
    Jehovah’s Witnesses followers are forbidden from pre-storing their own blood ahead of elective surgery called autologous donation.
    Moreover-Fractions come from donated blood – if you can accept fractions,then why can’t you donate blood?
    The situation is worse in Africa and less developed countries where bloodless surgery and treatment is either unavailable or way to costly
    Emergency blood transfusions save countless lives.

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      These guys are like 1% of the population, can’t be costing that many lives. And lots of countries have made it legal to get a doc to end you life when you are sick and want it over, how’s that any different? If they want to refuse care, why not? I ain’t going to ask a doc to end me anytime soon, but if someone else wants to they should be able to, long time sick or emergency doesn’t matter. If they really want to, they will take blood if they need it. Not like the think they’ll burn in hell if they don’t. Witness kid I grew up with said they don’t believe in hell.

    2. Tsi Tenha6 months ago

      I see you hide behind ” Anonymous”…Good thing you do.

      I am a trauma nurse and have also had experience as an operating room nurse.
      The statements you have made are completely slanderous and if I was them, I’d sue you for every penny I could get.
      But you are too chicken to sign your name because you know lawyers would be at your door damn quick.
      Educate yourself….look up the number of hospitals that do not even keep blood available anymore.
      A doctor who relies on old treatments is a lazy doctor.
      M.Tenha, R.N , SAR tech

  8. Anonymous7 months ago

    I concur that if you really want to know the truth about Jehovah’s Witnesses, that you can visit our website jw.org or listen to them the next time they knock on your door. They will show you Bible truths, using your own Bible.

    Come to know the True God, Jehovah. He is the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth. Take/make the time to learn His will. Then after we pass through the coming Great Tribulation, Armageddon and the “final test” after the 1000 year reign of Christ, when we are brought back to human perfection(like Adam and Eve) and Satan is again let lose for a little while(to test us), when we pass that test, we can ALL live for eternity in a peaceful new world.

    Thank you for the article

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      Armageddon is a coming but God’s judgement day will sweep away as many Jehovah’s Witnesses as other professed Christians because the Watchtower lords of Jehovah’s Witnesses are apostate.
      They are MORE reprehensible than the Atheist.

    2. Anonymous7 months ago

      Jesus Christ was resurrected with an immortal body of flesh and bones. Jesus told the truth to Thomas that he was not a spirit. We too will be resurrected just as Christ was. An ancient prophet said that he would see God in the flesh after he was resurrected, just as Jesus was resurrected.

  9. Beth Soloman7 months ago

    Jehovah’s witnesses shun college and professional sports,because when someone pursues his own human potential it could be recognized that people outside of their “true religion” are actually good and positive examples of humanity.

    College encourages critical thinking and considering multiple viewpoints outside of your own, it also teaches how to give respect to views that clash with your own, and teaches you to challenge your own ideas, as well as how to properly do research. There is no greater threat to autocratic ruler-ship than open minds and eyes. They fear college because you will learn how they are manipulating you.
    Living one’s life now and being a productive member of ongoing human society puts their JW end-of-the-world (aka “this system of things”) teachings, hints and predictions into the light of the ridiculous.

  10. Anonymous7 months ago

    Interesting article. JW’s are the only true Christians on the face of the earth. This is so easy to prove. Matt 24:14 says “This good news of the Kingdom must be preached in the whole inhabited earth for a WITNESS to all the nations, then the end will come.” Now ask yourself, how can the good news of the Kingdom be preached in the whole inhabited earth which has some many tongues and languages? Ask yourself, which religion has a GLOBAL preaching work that spreads the gospel in over 700 languages? Ask yourself, which religion has a website (JW.ORG) which is translated in over 700 languages on the FLY!?!? That’s more than GOOGLE OR ANY WEBSITE on the planet!! Ask yourself, which religion follows these 3 often forgotten tenants of being a Christian: 1- Preach the good news/spread the gospel. 2 – Abstain from blood. 3- Be no part of this world by not voting, fighting in wars, no political involvement.

    There is only one group of people on the face of this earth which fit the above criteria – Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Grab the robe of a Jew” and ascend to the mountain top while there is still time…for the door to the spiritual “Ark” is about to close.

    Apostates, please save your words for Gehenna where you are headed.

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Jesus already had his second coming in 1914.
      Jesus himself warned of those false prophets who would say,”see he is there in the wilderness,or see he is there in the synagogue’.
      Jesus further warned do not go after them.
      Since the October 1914 date for Jesus ‘return’ aka invisible second coming can be debunked.Then the follow up doctrine of the 3 1/2 wait until the selection and sealing of the ‘annointed’ is also false.Ergo,no 1914 then there can be no 1918 inspection and sealing of the ‘anointed’ so the entire Watchtower Bible and Tract Society doctrinal superstructure comes crashing down like a house of cards.
      …….This would mean that the Watchtower leaders the governing body are illegitimate.
      Jehovah’s Witnesses promotion of their Watchtower sect has the net effect of stumbling and turning people off to the Gospel.
      Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte; and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (Matt 23:15)

    2. Anonymous7 months ago

      It is a few good thing there are few JWs in America, I believe it was important to win WW1 and WW2.

  11. Anonymous7 months ago

    Something else that’s worth pointing out – Jehovah’s Witnesses have a well documented and systemic problem with child abuse in their ranks, not too dissimilar to the problems encountered in the Catholic church, and has policies in place worldwide that often result in abuse either being ignored or actively covered up. The Australian Royal Commission in 2015 found that in Australia alone, the Witnesses had failed to report over 1,006 child abusers in their ranks to the authorities.

    These figures came from the Witnesses own internal records, and made worldwide headlines yet at the very same time that the Royal Commission was hearing these facts, one of the Witnesses leaders, Steven Lett, went on record denouncing these reports as “apostate lies.”
    He denounced his organisations own internal records as “apostate lies.”
    That somewhat sets the tone for how this organisation views honesty.

  12. Anonymous7 months ago

    Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Jehoover’s Kingdom is the only hope for mankind, but they take advantage of every social welfare program that Caesar’s government doles out. In the back of the mind of a JW is that little voice that warns them the Watchtower teachings and dogma have been wrong every time- Ironically, by the time critical thinking skills finally open their eyes a JW might already 40-50 years old and they have missed the best years of their life to go on to college, study for a profession and save for their retirement. It’s even worse, when you look at how many JWs were tricked by Watchtower teachings into delaying marriage and having a family to the point that they will never be able to have children. They slaved away for 40 years helping the WT obtain expensive properties in Brooklyn Heights, which are now being sold for a billion dollars, and the obsequious JW is told to keep preaching/working for them. They just had an anniversary party at the KH. Celebrating, 1914-2014, 100 years and nothing has happened , yet. The JWs go to the crematory still waiting for the fulfillment of Watchtower promises of a Paradise Earth and eternal life. Sadly, for JWs, their slavish devotion to mother Watchtower will not help them to cheat death, for they will die like everyone else. JWs could have avoided their miserable lot in life, if they had listened to the warnings that worldly people gave them when they knocked on their doors. They were too busy parroting their WT sermons to pay any attention to common sense advice and warnings from the community.

  13. Amy Alton7 months ago

    Why Jehovah’s Witnesses have such much turnover.
    The Watchtower engages in what many former members refer to as “bait and switch”, which is essentially preaching one thing and doing another.
    Case in point: Prior to baptism, it was drummed into me that God must be obeyed as ruler rather than men (Acts 5:29); and yet 33 years later, I was disfellowshipped/shunned for this very reason.
    But I’m far from alone as many more have been excommunicated for questioning and/or refusing to comply with the organization’s ever-changing, often unscriptural, doctrines, policies and procedures.

  14. Anonymous7 months ago

    Take it from someone who has been a JW for more decades than I can shake a stick at! Jehovah’s Witnesses due indeed practice the unloving and harsh doctrine of disfellowshipping and shunning. JWs have more broken-up & dysfunctional families due to this d’fing policy than most other religions.

  15. Anonymous7 months ago

    Interesting read. The comments just descend into anarchy though. To clear up one thing, cutting off family members for their behavior is a personal decision. Yes, you are not allowed to call yourself a Witness of Jehovah if you will not follow the Bible’s code of conduct. No one is even allowed to be baptized unless they fully understand that. But if you decide you don’t want to live by those particular standards anymore, you are always free to leave, in fact steps will be taken so that you can no longer claim to be a Witness if you refuse to stop saying it yourself. There is no forcing anyone to become our staff a Witness of Jehovah. If your family feels their love for you is more important in their lives, they are not stopped from leaving with you. The congregation is saddened, but in the end it is their decision. People who say their family is forced to stay away from them have not accepted the fact that their actions were beyond what their family wanted to be around, nothing more. No one is forced to start or stay serving Jehovah. We all have free will. If your family cut you off, it is because they wanted to. If they left with you, it is because they wanted to. I can’t imagine how sick the anger these ones are hanging onto is making them. You didn’t want to live by Jehovah’s standards anymore, your family still did, that is all that happened. Let it go before you realise that you have wasted the ‘freedom’ you left to find on fighting to convince yourself and everyone around you that you did nothing wrong. You will always beleive that your family obviously doesn’t. If they do, be patient, they will join you soon enough. No one is making them stay.

    1. Amy Alton7 months ago

      The slightest defection from Watchtower doctrine is a disfellowshiping offense not just moral issue. e.g.
      The false chronology that Armageddon would start within the generation of 1914 has proven to be false, but the date stills stands as Christ’s invisible return that selected them in 1919 as Gods only channel, if you even doubt that your out and shunned,
      The Watchtower is a truly Orwellian World.

      1. Anonymous7 months ago

        If you decided you didn’t believe it anymore, why didn’t you just go? I was raised Catholic, and my aunt was excommunicated because she got a divorce to marry a richer man. Instead of just doing so and moving on she started trying to convince other women in our church to do the same. Eventually people complained and the pastor told her to go. Believing in honoring marriage vows is my right, just as decided to break her vows was her right, but once you push on others, of course they won’t let you stay.
        If you don’t believe it that’s you choice, and of course the world didn’t end in 1914, but if you push that on them, you become just like them. I don’t go out and try to make people become Catholics, I don’t agree with the Jehovahs doing that, but I know for a fact all you have to do is tell them not to come back and they put you on a list and leave you alone. You could have done that, but if you tried to change their beliefs to suit you instead of just finding somewhere that believed what you did, of course they kicked you out.

    2. Anonymous7 months ago

      “No one is even allowed to be baptized unless they fully understand that.”

      That is an astounding statement. It implies that the one getting baptized fully understands the ramifications of their decisions. That’s only true if the person deciding to get baptized is an adult.

      It is well known that Jehovahs witnesses practice child baptism. I worked in the baptismal pool at the assemblies. The last assembly I worked in there was a six year old girl getting baptized. So you mean to say that that child (still a baby basically) fully understands that at ten or even twelve years old she could be shunned by her family? She FULLY understand her baptism made her accountable to a corporation much like an employer employee relationship? That if she as an adult changed her views, every friend, every family member, she’s ever known will disown her? And please don’t act as if the watchtower isn’t to blame. The organization punishes those who do not comply with the standard to shun “unfaithful” witnesses. So emotional blackmail is used to get JWs to comply.

      I served as an elder for over ten years. Your entire comment is dead wrong.

      1. Anonymous7 months ago

        I was a witness over 28 years and never saw a child that young baptised, it is most definitely not common. She must have been a specific case. They have imperfections in their organization, but infant/child baptism is not one of them. And if that little girl ever decides she wants to leave, all she has to do is stop attending meetings and saying she is a witness, that’s what I did. You only get df-ed if you refuse to stop saying you are a witness and keep going to meetings, then you are considered a danger to the ‘flock’ because you are still trying to pretend to be one of them.
        I may have left but I know the first comment is true, if that little girls family did want to leave with her they could ( if she did f df-ed)

      2. Albert Urasz7 months ago

        I was baptised as a Catholic at 6 weeks. That’s child baptism.

    3. Anonymous7 months ago

      So true, if your family didn’t follow you, they simply didn’t want to. Some of mine did, some didn’t. But I have no right to get angry that they are listening to their beliefs if I want to be allowed to listen to mine. I hear from witness family occasionally, they aren’t evil or rude to me, they just don’t want to hang out, and what’s the point in forcing them? Staying angry only hurts you. Why waste all that partying energy being mad?
      Time will tell on all the theories they have, not my job to change their minds, cuz then I would be doing the same thing I left cuz I didn’t want to do, trying to convince everyone to believe the same thing I do.
      Getting mad just makes you look like exactly what they think you are, a child throwing a hissy fit because they were told No. You decided to leave, do it with some pride, otherwise you are just another person pushing beliefs! Next you’ll be going door-to-door!

    4. Anonymous7 months ago

      It is not “a personal decision”. If a jw has on going contact with a df that jw is going to get into a lot of trouble even maybe df’d.

  16. Anonymous7 months ago

    Stating that the Jehovah’s witnesses makes up less than 1% makes them seem so insignificant. But there are hundreds of thousands of people who used to be Jehovah’s Witnesses and have left the faith.

    Everyone I know or meet knows someone who is or was a Jehovah’s Witness. If a study were done to determine the faith with the highest turn over I am pretty sure it would be the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses seduce people into their faith with their brotherly love doctrine. Once the person is completely dependent on their new JW community they are psychologically and /or physically abused. Many leave but those who have been thoroughly brainwashed stay. The organization instills such fear in people that even years after leaving people are afraid to share details about their experiences. A ridiculous number of people have been sexually abused within the JW organization but relatively very very few speak out.

    The Jehovah’s Witness organization has much more power and influence than these statistics would make one believe. Do a study to find out how many people were indoctrinated by the Jehovah’s Witnesses over say a 20 or 50 year period. Many people who study the bible with them and who attend their meetings should also be counted even if they are not yet baptized. The Jehova’s Witnesses love to look small and insignificant but I know many who were in the organization for decades and who were very obedient to the elders though they were never baptized. Every year millions who are not baptized attend the memorial. Many of these individuals should also be counted. I think the only other religion that has more influence and power over people is the Catholic religion. Ask people if they know a Protestant or an Anglican and they will likely say no. Ask them if they know a Jehovah’s Witness and almost everyone know at least one.

  17. Anonymous7 months ago

    The PDF with the questions and exact wording can be found here pewforum.org/religious-landscape… One important example is “Do you think there is a heaven, where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded?” Jehovah’s Witnesses would answer “no” to this. But they do believe in heaven. So the statement in this article “half of Jehovah’s Witnesses say they believe in heaven” is inaccurate.

  18. Anonymous7 months ago

    I was raised a JW and their teaching/beliefs are totally absurd. You can’t have a blood transfusion, you can’t salute the US flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance, they believe only 144,000 go to heaven and sit on the right hand side of God. 12,000 each from the 12 tribes of Israel. They have predicted the end of the world many times and offer Revelations as proof to Armegeddon. Though they have been wrong many times. And trust me they believe the Bible should be interpreted literally without exception. A horrible and judgmental religion.

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      thank you for your honesty

  19. Anonymous7 months ago

    Here’s a good question for you pew research when it comes to shunning ask Jw if they think shunning is truly a loveing arrangement?

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      Of course it is. If your child is misbehaving, would you discipline him/her? Wouldn’t you want to train your child to grow up and be a productive member of society in general? Would you try to help your child learn the life lessons of taking responsibility for one’s actions and concern for fellow humans? The disfellowshipping arrangement is a form of discipline with the big picture in mind. So many times these days permissiveness is confused with love.

  20. Anonymous7 months ago

    My children left the Truth one by one between the age of 18 – 21 because of their peers or friends outside JWs… pressuring into Satan’s world of sexual immorality, fornication etc….now after 10yrs of lose conduct out in the World they had returned to Jehovah much stronger spiritually than ever…I guess with the Pew research study of 66% left the faith this is what’s been happening.

  21. Amy Alton7 months ago

    Jehovah’s Witnesses discourage higher education.This is the deep dark “secret” of life in the Jehovah’s Witness cult.
    Its oppressive, extreme pressure to conform to incredibly strict rules contributes to extreme anxiety and depression.
    It is very hard for adults. Teenagers and children have a much harder time processing and living with the phobic fears that are forced into their thinking every day and night. JW children are not allowed to participate in sports, marching band, scouts, proms, clubs….and shunned to the extreme if they fall into normal temptations. If they decide this cult is not for them, the shunning is worse.
    No matter how hard they they try to appear like shining examples to society, JW’s hide an ugly reality.
    According to PEW Jehovah’s Witnesses have the lowest rate of college educated members.
    Jews have the highest followed by the Unitarian Universalist and so on…..

  22. Anonymous8 months ago

    I think the country has bigger problems then to worry about the beliefs of JW who make just less than 1% of the U.S adults.

    1. Douglas Kelly7 months ago

      You’re right. But you’re apparently in the minority since most Americans are scared to death of Muslims, and they only make up 2%+ of the US population. Considering their cultural differences, they have assimilated better and to a greater extent than the JWs.

      It seems foolish to me that something as personal as one’s spiritual belief should affect another person in any way. But history shows us that nearly all wars prior to the 18th Century were fought about or because of religious differences.

  23. Anonymous8 months ago

    PRAISE JEHOVAH. MORNING NOON AND NIGHT.
    My dad is a minister of a church for 35years and still is. I was raised going to church with the family.
    It never made sense to me Jesus is god. Or the prospect of never-ending torment (hell).
    But I met some JWs one day. Had a chat with them. IN that 2 hours they made more sense using scripture than the previous 15+ years going to church.
    Long story short I became a Jehovah’s Witness.

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      The Bible is always right, sadly the 99 percent of other Christians don’t believe in the Bible. I don’t know when you became a witness but I’m glad you made that decision.

  24. Sharon Holden8 months ago

    The question about our belief in Hell certainly does need to be qualified. We believe hell is the common grave of all mankind who await resurrection to our earthly home after Jesus Christ cleanses it from the present woes he taught about in Matthew 24, Luke 21, Mark 13. The purpose of our calling on our neighbors is to encourage Bible reading in the home. Psalms 1 tells us happy the one who reads God’s word daily. Who doesn’t want to be happy. Check out JW.ORG. Though ups and down in life the comfort and hope I have received from associating with my local congregation remains a source of happiness for close to 55 years.

  25. Anonymous8 months ago

    Excellent research. It would be good to to see if you can track if there is any racial disparity of members who are disfellowshipped or disciplined.

  26. Anonymous8 months ago

    The problem with the shunning is they shun people that actually show up at there meetings peaceful and quiet.

    1. Anonymous8 months ago

      The only people shunned are those who have willfully sinned and are unrepentant. If a person leaves the organization, they are simply considered inactive. Even those who are shunned are encouraged to attend meetings and if they are sincere they can be reinstated. People get reinstated all the time.

      1. Anonymous7 months ago

        Becoming a Jehovah’s Witness is like entering Hotel California. You can become a Jehovah’s Witness anytime you like but can’t come out of this
        religion. You can leave the religion but there is no honorable way out. You will be shunned if you leave. You will be automatically considered as a mentally diseased person. Don’t be fool. The Jehovah’s Witness religion is a very mean and cut-throat religion.

  27. Anonymous8 months ago

    The JW’s are now in the loyalty mode where they will be demanding that the members be loyal and not be critical of the organization but exclusively obedient and thus closing ranks on itself, disfellowishipping, turning people in for apostasy and forgetting about what Gods Kingdom really is.
    The reality is its members should be asking its members to question the failed predictions and take the organization to task as they take to task every other church or organization but their own.
    But that is typical of cults…..

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      This is a very dangerous cult and they encourage being uneducated. The reason being is total mind control. You can research all you want as long as it’s coming from their Governing Body. You cannot freely educate yourself by other means. They deny the evolution scientific fact, they cover uphatmful acts of spousal abusr and child abuse. They preach that Armageddon will be here at any moment and have for years and years, which psychologically puts you in a state of constant fear. They call this fear a healthy fear of Jehovah. Which is total crap. You should not be afraid of something that created you. You should not be in fear of being honest. It builds pathological liar in order to sustain their relationship with people in their church. This religion is so harmful and has torn many families apart. They have made several false prophecies about the last days. Even ignoring scripture that says not to do that. Even trying to pinpoint when the war in heaven broke out. They will tell you in 1914. Not true. They try to guess what a generation means and predict when all of this will happen. The scriptures say that not even Jesus knows. Only the season. Well predicting 1914 is not a season people. They did this in 1976. Many people selling their belongings. Then apologized with the excuse that the light from God gets brighter with time. These are all well known fear and cult tactics to those who can educate themselves on this matter. But you can’t do that as a witness. You’ll be lables an apostate. Taking any real love for Jehovah and squashing it in mundane and inaccurate doctrine. I’m sorry for anyone who is trapped in this fear based cult.

  28. Janet V. Ward8 months ago

    The article was informative for the most part. Many people are curious and the advertisement for JW’s is great.

  29. Anonymous8 months ago

    Probably the most impirtant info here was about the 63% only have high school diploma. They don’t teach critical thinking in high school, most witnesses can’t recognize the fallacies printed in the watch tower or break down the horrible logic that premises their doctrines that are absolutely fundamental to accepting the governing body as the faithful and discreet slave. It’s horrible how they are taught to never go to apostate sites when they think they have The Truth and yet they encourage other people to question their beliefs on a regular basis. This religion is for the uneducated easily influenced sheep. Born in. Left at 30. Pioneered, MS. Never DF or reproved or been involved in judicial committee.

  30. Anonymous8 months ago

    There are many aging baby boomers in the JW including members of both sides of my JW family who entering a desperate crisis.
    They have no meaningful retirement plan set aside as they were swayed by the Watchtower’s apocalyptic promise of the ‘new system’ coming before you get old enough to retire rally.
    Some also took less than optimum long term health care,and now it’s catching up to them.
    This is dilemma drama unique to JW’s.

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      Lol, unique? All minimum wage earners face this worry.

  31. Anonymous8 months ago

    This is very interesting, but I must say somewhat misleading. I am a Witness, and if you asked me if I believe in heaven, I’d have a hard time giving you a ‘yes or no’ answer to that. Yes, I believe that heaven exists, but usually that question means ‘do you believe you are going to heaven’ and the answer to that is no. It’s like asking a vegetarian, “Do you like burgers?” Well, some may say yes, but that doesn’t mean their burgers are made of meat.

    The problem with this survey is that it frames questions about our faith in the context of other faiths. Believing in heaven or hell, or having a political affiliation, these aren’t relevant to us.

    1. Anonymous8 months ago

      Agreed – if you ask a JW “Do you believe in Hell?”, most will just say “no”, because they don’t believe in a place of fiery torment after death. But JW’s DO technically believe in hell. They just believe that the words translated as “hell” in the bible (Hades in greek, gehenna, or sheol in hebrew) refer to “the common grave of mankind”, or the unconscious state of death..or in the case of gehenna, the state of death without hope for a resurrection. So a technically minded JW might answer that question with a qualified “Yes, but…”

      Some of the survey questions do seem to have been framed with some assumptions that might have skewed how someone would answer.

    2. Anonymous8 months ago

      Sometimes it is better to listen to the question as posed. Attempting to answer unasked sideline questions may indicate that the listener is attempting to over-complicate the situation. The obvious answer to the Heaven question is “Yes”. Spin is not a good quality for Christians of any denomination.

      1. Anonymous7 months ago

        If the question about heaven was simply “Do you believe in heaven?”, all Jehovah’s Witnesses would have answered ” yes “. The fact that only 50% did, would indicate that the question was posed differently, perhaps “Do you believe you will go to heaven?”, in which case the percentage would have been far less.

    3. Anonymous7 months ago

      You are correct my friend. Many surveys don’t offer the correct options in order to get the full picture.

  32. Anonymous8 months ago

    The PEW Reports are always interesting. But some readers may wonder, for example, why there is not total consensus on questions like hell or evolution. The results give the impression that Jehovah’s Witnesses are divided in these issues. Actually, it is a question of definitions.

    Hell, as traditionally taught in many mainstream religions, is a place of eternal torment by a vengeful father, who tortures us forever for past wrongs. Jehovah’s Witnesses understand, however, that the words translated as “hell” are originally “sheol” (Hebrew) or “hades” (Greek) and refer to the common grave, which we all go to when we die. Man “returns to the dust” at death, as Adam and Eve did. God does not torture us. So technically, whereas we could say we believe in hell (the grave), we do not believe it as a place of torture. Good people are resurrected from the grave. The wicked are not.
    The same is true of evolution. Do you believe in evolution? Well, how do you define it? Some will think macro and others will think micro evolution. In each case the answer will differ but the respondents have the same understanding.

    This is always the problem with polls if the person asking the questions does not have a thorough understanding of the options and simply asks closed (yes/no) questions. This seems to be the case in this report.

    The Bible is clear on its teachings and there is no disagreement among Jehovah’s Witnesses, as the results might suggest. We think in harmony because the Bible is harmonious.

    I hope this clarifies what might appear to be discrepancies to a skeptical reader. Some of the report, however, is helpful. The last paragraph explains why there are some other issues that appear to indicate disharmony in our thinking. We are simply apolitical and prefer not to take sides on politically sensitive issues. Everyone uses his own common sense in deciding where to draw the line. Thanks again for the opportunity to comment.

    1. Michele Sommers8 months ago

      Well said! Agape.

    2. Anonymous7 months ago

      “Good people” go to heaven? Who is a “good” person and why do they get rewarded with eternal life in paradise? Why do the “good” people get to live forever and the “bad” cease to exist? Study the Bible and don’t depend on Watchtower’s lies

  33. Anonymous8 months ago

    Jehovah’s witness born in children are usually baptised under the age of 16. They are getting younger and it is common to see 8 year olds being baptised.

    These children then grow up and some may decide the religion is not for them or find out the watchtower has a history of false prophecies which because of their age they didn’t have the ability to research and make a fully informed decision, and it is also heavily discouraged to not look at opposing information. Opposing material is considered Satanic and comes from mentally diseased apostates, therefore you are eating at the table of demons by reading opposing or critical information. Hence you are only presented with what they want you to read and absorb.
    These members are then forced with the harsh consequence of loosing their entire family and social network if they leave the watchtower.
    Shunning is a cruel act of captiveness.
    Stay and have your family, leave we will take everyone you love away from you.

  34. Patrick Henry8 months ago

    An early PEW study a few years back showed that JW had the most membership turnover 2/3rd of all children born JW will leave the religion.

    1. Michael Lipka8 months ago

      Thank you for pointing this out, Patrick. This is correct – 66% of adults who were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer identify as Jehovah’s Witnesses. And 65% of current adult Jehovah’s Witnesses were NOT raised in the faith.

      We have added this information to the post. That data can be found here: pewforum.org/2015/05/12/chapter-…

  35. Anonymous8 months ago

    Well for one we dont believr in hell as a place of torment at all why is there a percentage? No evolution ….we all believe in heaven but not as our home after death
    …this article is deceptive and a little misleading the onky truth is our diversity

  36. Anonymous8 months ago

    One of the most harmful Watchtower JW doctrine is the complex ‘fractionized’ blood transfusion ban that has resulted in the deaths of many followers.
    The situation is worse in less developed countries where bloodless surgery and treatment is either unavailable or way to costly.

  37. Anonymous8 months ago

    You forgot to mention their strict shunning policy, where members (including biological family members) completely cut off ex-members, literally not even greeting them in public.

    1. Patrick Henry8 months ago

      JW and SDA are a spin-off of the second Adventist Millerite movement.
      Jehovah’s Witnesses false October 1914 date for Jesus second coming is a carry over of William Millers Adventist 1844 ‘great disappointment’ end times calculations…. and the JW twist is founder Charles T Russell added occult pyramidology into the mix.
      Web search google:pyramidology jehovah’s witnesses

      The History channel had a whole segment on it narrated my Roger Mudd circa 2012

    2. Anonymous8 months ago

      You would bring this up leaving out the biblical reasons for this smh

    3. Anonymous8 months ago

      45 Jehovah’s Witness members of my family treat me as an “apostate worthy of death”. Very sad indeed for a religion who calls themselves, “Jehovah’s loving organization”.

      Very dangerous religion in my humble view. I was one for 30 years.

      1. Mike Malnar8 months ago

        For it is better for one not to know the truth than to know it and reject it.

    4. Anonymous8 months ago

      Go complain somewhere else. This is a discussion of statistical matters.

      1. Anonymous8 months ago

        What a heartless thing to say. You call yourself a Christian, sound more like a judgemental pharisee.

  38. Anonymous8 months ago

    If you really want to know what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, visit. their OFFICIAL website at:

    JW.org

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      Jw.org has no information about the results of the Australian Royal Commission nor the fact their organization was a member of the UN (the destable thing) for about ten years. If you want more information about their cover up of child abuse just do an Internet search or search ‘Geoffrey Jackson’ on YouTube. Geoffrey Jackson is one of the members of their Governing Body.If a Jw left the Organization over their child abuse cover up they would be shunned by family and any other Jw’s they knew.

  39. Sebastian Goetze8 months ago

    Very interesting numbers…
    As a Jehovah’s witness I just have 2 comments:

    Regarding evolution you probably mean: “saying humans have always existed in their present form since the beginning of the human creation”. JWs believed in creation and “a beginning” (Ge 1:1) when science still believed that the universe and all matter have existed forever.

    Regarding hell: it’s probably in the phrasing of the question. There’s many different views of what hell is/symbolizes: human suffering, eternal torment after death, the common grave of humankind without actual consciousness. The official view of JWs is the latter… So if you ask about belief in the “existence” of hell, the answer really depends a lot on the exact phrasing of the question, else it will be meaningless, because some will interpret it this way and some another…

    Greetings from Düsseldorf

    1. Michael Lipka7 months ago

      Thanks for the comment, Sebastian. Here is the exact question wording from the survey for both of these questions:

      “Which comes closer to your view? Humans and other living things have evolved over time [OR] Humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time”

      “Do you think there is a hell, where people who have led bad lives and die without being sorry are eternally punished?”

      Full questionnaire here: pewforum.org/files/2016/04/RLS-n…

  40. Anonymous8 months ago

    Would you ask one of Jehovahs witness these questions directly ? Or would you trust the enter net? To find answers as to what Jehovah’s Witness believe either ask one when they come to your door or visit JW.org

    1. Anonymous8 months ago

      Ex-members of any high control group are generally excellent sources as they have the insider information that is denied to the public at large.
      Google:JWfacts

  41. Robin C. Morgan8 months ago

    The only problem I have with “statistics” is the silent voices, which as in this article, are not referred to except for a few times. In my experience, the lower statistic, like 7% who believe in hell, is skewered by those who claim they are Witnesses, but are not, and those who did not answer. I’ve never met a Witness that believed in a hell of eternal torment. Not one. I have met those who have voted on local issues where the vote actually accomplished something for the community, but did not involve the election of any person to office, and this is not against Biblical or Watchtower dogma.

    1. Anonymous8 months ago

      Exactly

    2. Anonymous8 months ago

      They don’t believe in a burning hell………….but they put families through “hell” by shunning then if they chose to leave the Watchtower organization.

      They are a modern day cult. It’s their way, or the highway.

      1. Anonymous8 months ago

        If a person is saying hateful things, I understand the shunning policy. I was raised Catholic but we had a similar thing happen. When I was growing up, my grandfather would continually say racist things and use the “n” word a lot in front of us kids. My father warned him not to say such things or he would not be welcome in our home. Sure enough, he kept saying racist things and my dad told him not to come back. After a few years my grandpa finally had a change of heart and apologized and we never heard him say the “n” word again. He was bitter when we cut him off, but my dad did it to protect his kids from a harmful influence.

        1. Janet V. Ward8 months ago

          I admire your father for training his children to respect everyone.

        2. Anonymous8 months ago

          You absurd anecdotal explanation of shunning in no way relates to the actual
          shunning policy mandated by Jehovahs Witnesses leadership. You cannot leave this organization if born into it and baptized as a child without being shunned. JW’s are a high control religious cult that uses shunning a a technique for keeping adherents captive. You cannot leave without grave consequences. JW’s divide families. You cannot disagree with their doctrine without being labeled an apostate, the highest spiritual crime a former member can commit.

          1. Anonymous8 months ago

            Well said! This heinous organization allows no room for critical thinking or unconditional love. Toe the line or your out and cut off. There has to be thousands in the organization right now who don’t believe an ounce of what the current JW doctrine is but are only going through the motions so that they can still have a relationship with their parents or kids or extended family or friends. It’s not only extremely sad, but borderline criminal that a religion that destroys families all in the name of “Jehovah’s loving organization”.
            The most poignant statistic is actually in the comment thread and that is that 2/3 of JW adults eventually leave the organization.

        3. Anonymous8 months ago

          The problem with that analogy is your comparing apples to oranges jw shun those who are actually show up at there meetings they literally ignore them

      2. Anonymous8 months ago

        There was a man who died and his son wanted to bury him. Even his friends and other family members was dead to the Christ. For Jesus said, “Let the dead bury the dead, declare the Kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59,60 Jesus knows the wicked will be destroyed at His coming. On the other hand it is better for one not to know the truth than to know it and reject it.