#1 Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Ride Bikes?
Jehovah’s Witnesses are a restorationist Christian denomination that is often compared to Mormons. The two Christian denominations have a fair bit in common but also highly-divisive differences that distinguish them from one another.
Universally, Mormon missionaries are the denomination seen commonly riding bikes, not Jehovah’s Witnesses.
To be clear, many Jehovah’s Witnesses do ride bikes, and they even mention it as a ‘relaxing break’ on JW.org. It is not that they do not ride bikes, but bike riding is not as primarily associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses as it is with Mormonism.
Some Witnesses will do ministry work and missionary work on bikes, but it is less common in the United States. In other parts of the world, such as South America, Asia, Europe, or Africa, this could be more common depending on how small and localized the community is.
Transportation methods used by Jehovah’s Witnesses include:
- Walking between houses
- Carpooling together and splitting up in a designated area
- Riding in their cars individually
It will mostly depend on one’s area and the transportation options available.
Another reason you may not see Jehovah’s Witnesses on a bike is because 49% of the denomination’s population is 45 years old and over. It may not be considered safe, practical, or efficient to commute this way, especially in highly-populated areas with expressways, off-ramps, and other physical obstacles.
- “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
- JW.org writes in their 2020 page on Distance Learning in the Pandemic – “Take breaks. Go for a walk, ride your bike, or exercise. A hobby too can refresh you. “But get your work done first,” says the book School Power. “Free time feels freer when you don’t have unfinished business.”
Bible principle: “Better is a handful of rest than two handfuls of hard work and chasing after the wind.”—Ecclesiastes 4:6.”
- Inside the World of Jehovah’s Witnesses – VOA News; Published July 12th, 2018.
#2 Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Shun?
Religion is a particularly sensitive topic for most. Rejecting how one believes can feel very personal to a family member, almost like a direct attack on their mind and spirit.
The religious group told the BBC in 2017:
“If a baptized Witness makes a practice of breaking the Bible’s moral code, and does not given evidence of stopping the practice, he or she will be shunned or disfellowshipped.“
Aiming to “remove the wicked,” from amongst themselves, this is seen as a direct betrayal and abandonment of the truth. The Church itself states that they do not aim to shun anyone, and it is a final measure. Publishing on J.W. Org in their piece, Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Shun Those Who Used to Belong to Their Religion?:
“Those who were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses but no longer preach to others, perhaps even drifting away from association with fellow believers, are not shunned. In fact, we reach out to them and try to rekindle their spiritual interest.
‘We do not automatically disfellowship someone who commits a serious sin. If, however, a baptized Witness makes a practice of breaking the Bible’s moral code and does not repent, he or she will be shunned or disfellowshipped. The Bible clearly states: “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”—1 Corinthians 5:13.’
Since the Bible describes that God will not forsake you, this is expected in return.
Although they may not embrace the re-entrance of a former member or may be hesitant to trust someone that has abandoned the Church, they do not condone violence, foul words, or hatred in any destructive way. As a pacifistic group, they do not promote aggression or cruelty.
There are extremes, in any religion, where parents disown their family members for not following the household faith. This is seen through similar actions being taken in the denomination of Scientology in what they call disconnection.
Some members do not take these social regulations to heart, and still connect with non-Jehovah’s Witness family members and friends. This is a generalization that should be taken on a case-by-case basis.
JW.org writes that anyone ready to live by the Bible’s standards is “always welcome to become a Jehovah’s Witness again.”
- “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6.
· “Shun it, do not take it, turn away from it and pass it by,” Proverbs 4:15.
#3 Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Go Door-to-Door?
Jehovah’s Witnesses go door-to-door to spread the word of God because they believe this is the methodology recommended by the Bible to best reach people. Acts 5:42 confirms this, stating:
“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”
They also believe that it is urgent to inform people that judgment day is coming and Armageddon will occur soon. They believe the political turmoil is a sign of the nations crumbling, just as God foretold. It is their primary concern to save others and:
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” – Matthew 28:19.
With a guide on how to conduct Door-to-Door Witnessing, they instruct disciples on:
- Angry Householders
- Approaching passerby and others
- Being gracious
- Feelings of inadequacy
- Introduction; how to choose a topic
- Man walking dog
- Threatening signs
- When householder speaks another language
- Why Witnesses persist
And many other related topics to guide their public ministry work.
- “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” – Mark 16:15-16.
As a Christian denomination with many misconceptions, Jehovah’s Witnesses are a bit extreme in some of their beliefs but also, greatly misunderstood.
They do not believe in celebrating religious holidays and birthdays, as many of them have pagan-origins. With no evidential proof for Jesus’ birthday being on the 25th of December, there are reasons and forms of evidence that cause holidays to feel inauthentic and unsacred in a Witness’s eyes.
With this aside, Jehovah’s Witnesses do still celebrate certain milestones and anniversaries. They may not make a large celebration out of Easter, seeing this as another holiday of pagan-roots; however, they will still commemorate Jesus during this time and honor their own form of Passover.
You usually won’t find a Jehovah’s Witness discouraging others not to celebrate, as they understand that others enjoy Christmas and Birthdays. Some have families in other Protestant Christian denominations, and they allow them to enjoy Christmas; you will find that they simply do not partake or promote the celebration themselves.
- JW.org – Anniversaries – “Certainly, the Bible does not put marriage in a bad light. Jesus both attended a marriage celebration and contributed to the pleasure of the occasion.—John 2:1-11.
‘It thus would not be strange that a couple might on their wedding anniversary take time to reflect on the joyfulness of that event and on their resolve to work for success as a couple. Whether they focus on this happy occasion in private, just as a couple, or they have a few relatives or close friends with them would be for them to decide. The occasion should not become a mere excuse for a large social gathering. On this occasion Christians would want to be guided by the principles that apply every day of their lives. So whether one takes note of a wedding anniversary or not is a personal matter.—Romans 13:13, 14.”
#5 Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Refuse Blood?
As stated on their JW.org page Why Jehovah’s-witnesses Don’t Accept Blood Transfusions:
“This is a religious issue rather than a medical one. Both the Old and New Testaments clearly command us to abstain from blood. (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:10; Deuteronomy 12:23; Acts 15:28, 29) Also, God views blood as representing life. (Leviticus 17:14) So we avoid taking blood not only in obedience to God but also out of respect for him as the Giver of life.
‘Thousands of doctors worldwide now use blood-conservation techniques to perform complex surgeries without transfusions. Such alternatives to blood transfusions are used even in developing countries and are requested by many patients who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
Ultimately, their reasoning could be described as:
- Each body is sacred
- Your body should not be combined with another person’s body; this is seen as unclean
- God gave you this body with this blood type; It is for you and you alone.
· “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” – Leviticus 17:11.
· “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” – Hebrews 9:22.
· “But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” – Genesis 9:4.
#6 Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Stand Outside?
As the Daily Mail U.K. writes:
“How Jehovah’s Witnesses got street smart: Believers swap infamous doorstepping for standing outside train stations and shops.”
What they mean by this headline is that Witnesses used to go door-to-door for ministry work in the past, but the number of Witnesses doing this today is dwindling. It is still common practice, but in the digital age of our highest global population in history, it is being criticized for its less than efficient means of reaching people.
As non-members complain about solicitations from J.W. members, it becomes less comfortable for Witnesses to preach their gospel door-to-door. Due to this, they have embraced a new methodology of standing outside of:
- Popular spots
- Shopping centers
- And places where people naturally gather in crowds
By reaching more people at any given time and also not being as forceful in their approach, it is seen as a form of gospel that allows the person to ‘come to you’ if they are interested in learning more.
Neurologically-speaking, this is a much more effective approach because people like things to feel like their idea, not a gospel being forced on them in their private home. Humans can be triggered to feeling territorial over their own property, whereas a public domain feels like an equal playing field.
One member describes of the trial ‘street-based’ engagement in England:
“I think this method is effective because it allows individuals to take the initiative rather than us approaching them.”
Through allowing people to feel some autonomy and free-will in the situation, J.W.s have found this approach to be more successful in sparking up a conversation that feels more natural and mutual with passerbyers.
It is also difficult to know when people will be home throughout the day, so this is seen as a more accurate means of confirming interest. The times are changing, and the Witnesses are evolving.
- “We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; …” – 2 Corinthians 6:3-10.
#7 Why Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Against Birthdays?
Not only are Birthdays mentioned in cases such as King Herod in Matthew 14:6, but they are generally seen as a celebration that displeases God.
The reasons that Witnesses do not celebrate or encourage birthdays are due to the following reasons:
- Birthdays have pagan roots – The Lore of Birthdays states it is linked to the casting of a horoscope, another forbidden practice that Witnesses associate with fortune-telling and demonic influence. Even small traditions, such as the birthday candles inciting a wish to come true, is seen as fanciful, unrealistic, and summoning magic that humans are not intended to use.
- Deuteronomy 18:14 – States that one cannot use magic, divination, spiritism, or ‘anything like this.’
- Birthdays are not in the Bible – There is no mention of birthdays in the new or old testament besides King Herod, who would have lavish parties with sinful women. The celebration of one’s birth was considered in The World Book Encyclopedia to be a ‘pagan custom.’
- Witnesses are more focused on Jesus’ death, not birth – Still honoring the loss and sacrifice of Christ, Witnesses do not see God as the holy Father or part of the trio-power-source of God called ‘the Trinity.’ Since Jesus is solely the Son of the Father and not an equal power or authority to him, his sacrifice is noted by scriptures such as Hebrews 1:4, in which he has made his death day more important than his birthday.
- No servant of God is seen celebrating birthdays – Only heathens and those of sinful nature. You will see the two mentions of birthdays in the Bible, each being shown in a negative light; Genesis 40:20; Mark 6:21.
- “A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth.” – Ecclesiastes 7:1
- “But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod,” – Matthew 14:6
- “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” – Romans 14:5.
- “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” – John 16:21.
- “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:17.
#8 Why Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Against Blood Transfusions?
Although some Witnesses may receive blood plasma fractions or find it acceptable to have a reinfusion of their own blood – Most Jehovah’s Witnesses will not offer consent to a medical practitioner or surgeon to conduct a blood transfusion.
This is viewed as an unclean transfer between two bodies that are meant to remain separate, sacred, and unique in their special genetic code. As a gift from God, one should not consider fusing their DNA with another human, even if the blood type matches.
Many medical providers are embracing this practice, even for non-Jehovah’s Witness members.
With many misconceptions about this, people find this decision to be a terrifying or unnecessary choice on the Witness’s part. However, CBS News and health officials have already released public statements stating that:
“Jehovah’s Witnesses who refuse blood transfusions are at no greater health risk.”
They recommend that you should use ICSs, PCSs, Iron, Tranexamic Acid, Cell Salvage, or any other alternative that will help your blood to reproduce it’s own cells, rather than mixing your DNA with another.
Many will not even accept a blood transfusion of their own blood, believing this is against God’s will. As Medicalprotection.org puts it, this has “led to expulsion from and ostracization by their religious community.”
Common myths to be aware of with Jehovah’s Witnesses:
Myth: They believe that faith alone will heal a person’s ailments:
Fact: They do not practice faith healing.
Myth: Avoiding blood transfusions are very costly.
Fact: Medical treatments that avoid blood transfusions are cost-effective.
· “And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ – Ezekiel 16:6.
- “Because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.” – Leviticus 17:14.
#9 Why Are Jehovah’s Witnesses So Happy?
Although it is an interesting question I wanted to consider, it is highly subjective in nature and many would disagree, especially those that have left the J.W. church.
In fact, pieces are published about their despair, such as this piece – 10 Reasons Why Jehovah’s Witnesses are So Unhappy.
Being that there is no answer to this question that will satisfy everyone, the reasons why a Witness may be happy includes:
- They are proud to be a part of a community
- They are proud to share the gospel and word of God
- They feel chosen by God, that they have found the right denomination for future life
- They trust God
- It is a Christian pillar to conduct oneself with kindness and love for thy neighbor
- They believe it is God’s will to cultivate joy
- Similarly to Mormons, Witnesses are an evangelical religion that believes in free-will.
Give me a moment to explain this source of their joy, and it will make sense.
If you are Calvinistic, you believe that no one can be saved and God has already predestined those who will perish in judgement. However, for those denominations that want to save others, convert others, or help them to see the light of God – They believe that God has not pre-judged them, and that everyone still has time to prove their loyalty to God.
The choices to convert and baptize allow one’s soul to find salvation and the potential of being brought back someday after Armageddon (Witnesses believing everyone will perish at once in Armageddon, not go to Heaven, but later be brought back for a form of heaven-on-earth).
These beliefs are separate from Mormons, but the link between the two denominations is that each are known to portray themselves as being very happy.
Any religion that wants to persuade others, makes mission trips, goes door-to-door, or wants to convert new members – will give off this appeal.
Mormons are instructed and taught at a young age to display an exterior persona of joy and bliss so that others will want to learn about what is making them so happy.
Whether this is genuine or not, it is seen as a way to connect with others regarding the word of God. Most will not see this as insincere because they are genuinely happy to share God’s gift with others.
- “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15.
- “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” – 1 Timothy 4:13.
- “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13.
- “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” – Galatians 5:22.
#10 Why Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Selling Kingdom Halls?
Contrarily, JW.org is publishing pieces about new buildings that are being designed, constructed, and opened in even remote areas. Perhaps they are keeping this down-sizing private because there are no indications of concern on their website.
Making up only 1% of U.S. Adults, Witnesses have grown to 8,683,117 members worldwide, with over 119,712 congregations in 240 countries. As numbers increased by about 1% in the religion last year, they are expanding in size, even if on a small-scale.
Known for their door-to-door proselytism, some of the reasons that Witnesses may be selling Kingdom Halls (places of worship/J.W. churches) are:
- The 2020 Coronavirus lockdown has led to a substantial increase in digital meeting attendees. Properties are expensive to maintain and require rent, utilities, and other expenses which can be allocated more usefully into the Church if no one is able to leave their home’s anyway. Most people are using JW.org, so the buildings are possibly becoming more obsolete.
- Often buildings are being renovated, or money is being consolidated for new Kingdom Halls.
- Sometimes they are redirecting their residential and real estate properties
- Simply moving and relocating to a more populated area
- Since a new arrangement in 2014, congregations do not have to fund their halls anymore as they are built from a common fund. Although there is no explicit reporting about their buildings being shut down, some are consolidating funds to maintain old buildings under the new common fund arrangement. Others are just adapting to the post-COVID times.
In 2008, they were considered the fastest-growing denomination. It is doubtful they are closing Kingdom Halls while the denomination’s population is increasing, regardless of how minimally.
- JW.org – This is Our Place of Worship – Kingdom Halls – “The zeal for your house will consume me,” —JOHN 2:17.
A Kingdom Hall is the main place where people can meet to worship Jehovah. Meetings are a gift from God, and they help us to strengthen our relationship with him. At our meetings, his organization gives us the encouragement and direction that we need. It is an honor to be invited by Jehovah and his Son to eat at “the table of Jehovah” every week. (1 Corinthians 10:21) We must never forget how special this invitation is.
- JW.org – Fully Utilizing Our Kingdom Halls
- Organizational Accomplishments – JW.org – LDC Kingdom Hall Construction in Remote Areas
- LDC – Designing Future Kingdom Halls
#11 Why Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Discriminated Against?
Discrimination within religion is nothing new. Jehovah’s Witnesses were with the Jews in concentration camps in World War II, and they have been persecuted for their beliefs throughout history. Millions of Witnesses have died for their belief, while billions of Christians and non-Christians have incited slaughter on those that do not believe what they do.
Crimes committed against Jehovah’s Witnesses in recent years was at its peak in 2014:
Some of the reasons that people discriminate against Jehovah’s Witnesses in modern times include:
- They find the door-to-door practice to be an intrusive invasion of their privacy.
- Most people love birthdays and celebrations; they cannot understand why someone would hate a birthday or party.
- Jehovah’s Witness refrain from political participation, or practices such as saluting allegiance to flag instead of God. This can be seen as un-American or anti-patriotic to one’s country, but they are only seeking to stay out of controversial and divisive practices, such as politics.
- They see them as stuffy, rule-stricken, and overwhelmingly strict compared to other Christian denominations.
- Nearly half of American Protestant Christians drink alcohol, while most Jehovah’s Witnesses do not. An additional rule that Protestants find threatening to their way of doing things.
- People fear what they do not understand.
- Ultimately the main answer is – Humans are tribal by nature. Humans want to separate themselves by emphasizing their family (a blood-sharing tribe), by highlighting their race (a skin-connected tribe), by making a large deal out of sports teams (a local tribe), and the many other ways that humans find to divide themselves.
Religion is just another way to designate oneself from others and discriminate against those that do not share a tribe’s outlook. Discrimination is also bred from mankind’s knowingness of his mortality. Due to humans being the only species aware of its impending death – homo sapiens instinctually find ways to make themselves feel ‘unique’ and different from each other.
This is a form of legacy-breeding that makes time feel less impermanent. Tribalism and discrimination are programmed into mankind’s survival tactics, set to not rely on a foreign tribe that may attack, harm, or think differently.
As stated in Prejudice as an Expression of Tribalism, “people show a set of tribalistic tendencies such as ingroup favoritism and outgroup discrimination.“
- “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28.
- For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Galatians 5:14.
- TIME – Russia Considers Outlawing Jehovah’s Witnesses; Published April 4th, 2017.
#12 Why Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Window Cleaners?
There are no public statements on the JW.org website concerning window cleaning, and it is not seen to be a self-promoted occupation within the Church. Opposingly, Kingdom Halls are known for being windowless to reduce the risk of property damage.
The reasons that others claim Witnesses are commonly professional window cleaners are:
- Flexible hours
- Allows for more ministry work and door-to-door outreach
- Decent pay
- Little education required
- Little capital or upfront investment required
- Some J.W.s that are Window Cleaners say, “Jehovah gives me everything, so I don’t need to work much.”
- “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” – Psalm 95:6.
- “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of Heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” – Malachi 3:8-10 .
- Window Cleaning Forums – Window Cleaning and Jehovah’s Witnesses – There is no official statement from JW.org or a professional platform regarding the topic, but many forums and personal discussions you can evaluate.
#13 Why Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Called Publishers?
When a Jehovah’s Witness is baptized, they can be considered a minister. Those that organize preaching services or lead groups in worship can be called publishers. Essentially, publishing in the J.W. denomination is seen as sending information out to the general public.
Publishers are the front-lines of communication to non-members, and the only requirement is evidence that one is clear on the fundamental teachings of the organization. It is a volunteer position in which one represents the Church in formal and informal meetings.
Those that can become publishers include:
- Baptized members
- Non-baptized members
- “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” – 1 Timothy 5:17.
- “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20.
- JW.org – Advice for Kingdom Publishers
#14 Why Are Jehovah’s Witnesses So Boring?
Jehovah’s Witnesses get a harsh reputation due to not celebrating birthdays, Christmas, Easter, or other unifying holidays that bring most Christians together. Considered to be stricter and rule-abiding, some find Witnesses to be ‘boring’ and not engage in any high-risk behavior such as dancing, swearing, or drinking.
Although Witnesses sometimes drink in moderation, they do tend to engage in leisure activities that are not illegal, high-risk, or in violation of their Christian morals. Not even able to view a film such as Harry Potter (which includes witchcraft, which can be seen as satanic), these are the behaviors and decisions that lead people to feel a separation from themselves and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Viewing them as ‘all work, no play,‘ even Jehovah’s Witnesses regard this accusation of boredom on their official website. They describe that if you are bored, you should:
- Find a new attitude
- Broaden your horizons
- Not go directly for technology
- Focus on an objective
- Accept what you cannot change
Many Jehovah’s Witnesses would tell you they are not bored at all. But a new attendee of a Kingdom Hall meeting would find it much more straightforward and formal than the freer style of other Christian congregations and youth groups. For example, you would not be able to wear jeans to a church service as with some Christian youth groups.
- “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger” – Proverbs 19:15.
If you are interested in learning about other Religions in the world, then check out this book on World’s Religions on Amazon.