The New York Review of Magazines

The Most Widely Read Magazine in the World

By Joel Meares

It’s the first Saturday of March and a perfect day for Jehovah’s Witnessing. The sky is clear, the air is crisp and a fresh copy of The Watchtower, stamped March 1, 2010, is ready to be distributed.

At least, I assume it’s a good day for Witnessing; this is my first time. Frank and Lydia Tavolacci — from a Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Glendale, Queens — have invited me along for a morning of door-knocking in their mostly residential neighborhood. A longtime recipient of the Witnesses’ famous “good news” wakeup calls, I jumped at the chance to see what it’s like on the other side of the door.

The day begins at the small, red-brick Kingdom Hall on Glendale’s Myrtle Avenue, where about 40 Witnesses gather in couples and families. Some thank Jehovah for the blessed day, others thank him for the coffee that got them here by 9 a.m. A few quick hellos in the Hall — a trapezoidal room with churchlike rows of chairs, a churchlike stage but no churchlike iconography — and the Witnesses head downstairs to arm themselves.

Their ammunition is The Watchtower and its companion magazine Awake!, each sitting in piles on a bench in the beige basement-level hallway. At first glance there’s not much difference between the two — both are flimsy, pamphlet-like 31-page monthlies, each colorfully adorned with photos of smiling faces and illustrations of Biblical happenings. But while Awake! is an attempt at a general interest magazine — travel and science stories, with a Witness twist — The Watchtower is strictly Biblical, its contents a doctrinal guide to Witness beliefs. March’s cover boy — a bearded scribe writing at a desk awash with golden light — sits over the cover line: “The Bible, Is It Really God’s Inspired Word?” Inside, a table of contents provides the answer. Page 4: “The Bible Really Is God’s Inspired Word.” Page 8: “Why You Can Trust the Biblical Gospels.”

Frank takes six copies of the English-language Watchtower, while others select from of piles of Romanian, Italian and Polish editions. Every month, nearly 40 million copies of The Watchtower are printed in more than 180 languages and sent to 236 countries. There are no subscriptions and you won’t find it on newsstands, but it’s still hard to miss. Thanks to the efforts of Witnesses like the Tavolaccis, The Watchtower is the most widely distributed magazine in the world, with a circulation of more than 25 million. Last year, the world’s 7.3 million-strong Jehovah’s Witnesses spent 1.5 billion hours knocking on doors and “street Witnessing” — stopping folks in parks and on streets — to preach the “good news” with a copy of The Watchtower. Its closest competitors are AARP The Magazine (circulation 24.3 million) and Better Homes and Gardens (7.6 million). It doesn’t hurt that The Watchtower has been free since 1990, with the option of a small donation.

Armed with their copies, Frank and the other Witnesses at the Glendale Kingdom Hall head back upstairs for a pep talk. “Elder” John Juels leads the 10-minute session from the stage, offering tips on how the congregation might keep doors open this morning. Frank Tavolacci calls it “a little bit of rah rah rah.”

“Raise a topic of interest,” suggests Juels, a short, bespectacled man in a bright orange tie. He invites a young blonde, “Sister Rachel,” up from the crowd to the stage for a role play. After a quick knock-knock and some polite doorfront introductions, Juels says the government is a hot topic right now, so Witnesses might raise the spectre of Governor Paterson to keep their bleary-eyed targets listening. “The government of Jesus Christ is coming,” he tells his mock door-opener. “Certainly God would do a better job than some of the people we have today.”

After a prayer, the group divides into pairs to tackle a block of Queens for the morning. I join the Tavolaccis to cover the block directly next to the Kingdom Hall. The two Glendale locals have dressed for what they call “the best volunteer work there is.” Frank’s wearing a checkered beret, gray suit and orange tie, and Lydia has wrapped herself in a chic, ankle-length black coat, her long blond hair tucked under a black woolen cap. Both are 40, gregarious and equally endowed with the kind of thick “Noo Yawk” accents you might expect to hear heckling the umpire at a Yankees game.

Their first door belongs to a large, two-story brick home on the wide and leafy Union Turnpike. Stepping up to the door, Lydia switches off her BlackBerry and tells Frank to get Psalm 104 ready in his black leatherbound Bible. Hers is a little tatty from use. Passages are highlighted, verse numbers circled and dozens of bright orange and pink sticky notes peek out from pages. Lydia is out on “field service” for at least two hours every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Ringing the bell, she asks Frank to hold The Watchtower so it is visible to whomever should open the door. Nobody does.

After three minutes, she rings again. She always rings twice. Again, nobody answers. On a piece of yellow paper called a “House Call Card,” a Witness couple working in tandem with the Tavolaccis notes the address and writes “NH” next to it, for “not home.” Other codes include “CA” for people who ask Witnesses to call again, “B” for busy and “C” for when a child answers the door.

And so it goes. NH, NH, NH. “It’s not a chore,” Lydia insists, as they move on to a woman who dismisses them with a curt “I’m Catholic.” “I mean, it’s not something you want to do, but it’s an important thing to do and it’s something you can do for God. You’re saving people’s lives.”

Frank and Lydia get their chance at the second-to-last house on the block. Amanda, a teenager with pulled-back frizzy brown hair opens the door wearing pajama pants decorated with pictures of milkshakes and the words “Shake it baby!” She is in the mood to talk. “Do you believe the Bible is inspired by God or just written by man?” asks Lydia in a sweet, slow elementary school teacher’s voice. “Inspired,” answers Amanda, after taking a moment to think.

They talk for five minutes before Lydia returns to the sidewalk and takes a purple-covered diary from her bag. On the top leaf of a pad of heart-shaped sticky notes inside, she writes down the scripture they discussed and which Watchtower edition she left behind. She promises to return next Saturday.

“I want to come back with a good question,” she says, clearly excited by Amanda. “Like, ‘Do you think we’re living in the last days?’”

While some magazines have religious followings, few have actually started religions. The Watchtower did just that. Back then, it was Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, so named by its founder, the writer and preacher Charles T. Russell. A former assistant editor of the Second Adventist magazine The Herald of the Morning, Russell released the first edition of Zion’s Watch Tower on July 1, 1879. It looked much like a newspaper of the time, with two columns, simple headlines and no images. Inside, readers learned that “we are living in ‘the last days,’ ‘the days of the Lord.’”

Russell, a charismatic Pennsylvania preacher with a big graying beard and an even bigger bank account, amassed followers in the years leading up to 1879 through public speaking tours and writings in newspaper columns and the Adventist magazine. He began questioning Adventist doctrine when the world failed to end, as it had predicted, in 1878. Russell used the monthly Zion’s Watch Tower to expound a new brand of Christianity to small congregations of Bible Students, as Witnesses were then known, mostly in the Northeast.

The new brand, familiar to many today from television exposés and house calls, taught that Christ would return to Earth in 1914 to govern the world, destroy nonbelievers and leave Witnesses to transform the planet into Paradise. It was revised in the 1930s, when the religion adopted the name Jehovah’s Witnesses, to teach that Christ did return in 1914 — he was just invisible — and that within a generation Armageddon would finally arrive. Witnesses now take a less specific approach to the end of the world.

Today, The Watchtower is the flagship publication produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The magazine and other literature is published by their not-for-profit corporation, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania; Witnesses also use another not-for-profit corporation in the United States, named the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., which is responsible for printing and distributing the magazine. The Tract Society’s catalogue includes the two magazines, a ballooning collection of books and brochures and The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, the religion’s official Bible. As of this year, 165 million New World Translations have been printed since it was first published in 1961.

The mammoth operation is funded by donations, mainly from Witnesses leaving anonymous contributions in boxes titled “Worldwide Work” at the back of Kingdom Halls. The money is funneled to the U.S. world headquarters to fund the publishing empire, as well as disaster relief. Just how much moolah makes that journey is unknown — as a religious organization, the Tract Society does not have to file an annual return with the IRS — but in 2001, Newsday listed the Tract Society as one of New York City’s 40 richest corporations, with revenues of $951 million. Last year, a report stated that the Society had pulled in $125 million for the fiscal year ending in August.

Manhattanites might recognize the Tract Society’s headquarters from the skyline to their east — a pair of stout beige towers nudging the base of the Brooklyn Bridge and the shore of the East River in Brooklyn Heights; squint and you can see the word “Watchtower” stamped across their peaks. The Brooklyn Bethel, as the faithful call it, also functions as the religion’s world headquarters. Here, the nine-member governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses pulls the sect’s doctrinal strings and steers its publishing enterprise. All members of the governing body claim to come from the “little flock,” an anointed class of 144,000 Witnesses who will ascend to heaven upon Armageddon; other Witnesses will have to be satisfied with paradise on Earth.

Few non-Witnesses are allowed inside the Bethel headquarters and you’d be forgiven for conjuring fantastical reasons as to why — the anti-Witness publishing industry rivals The Tract Society’s in size and includes among its titles The Orwellian World of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and 30 Years a Watchtower Slave. But the day I visit, Brooklyn Bethel is less Airstrip One than Pan Am corporate headquarters circa 1965. In the lobby, a dull-painted plaster globe — the size of a boulder Indiana Jones might have to outrun — spins forlornly. Along maroon-carpeted corridors, cheery men in snug dark suits apologize for being too rushed to stop and chat. Everywhere, everyone asks you to stay for lunch.

Despite the absence of a masthead and bylines, The Watchtower is no immaculate conception. Each edition’s journey to your door begins a year ahead of publication at a meeting of the nine-member Writing Committee in the Writing Committee Conference Room, a boardroom dominated by a long polished wooden desk and two mammoth Sony flat screens on the wall; more Vogue Living than Mother Jones.

James Pellechia is one of the magazine’s writers and a member of the Writing Committee. Dapper in a dark gray suit, dark gray vest and even darker gray tie — all under wispy gray hair — 66-year-old Pellechia is a third-generation Witness. His grandparents converted in 1908 after migrating from Italy to Roseto, Pa., and he came to Bethel in 1982 to join the Writing Department. He and his fellow committee members choose the theme of each Watchtower issue and the articles it will feature. “It’s for Witnesses but also for the public,” Pellechia says of The Watchtower. “For people who would be interested in what the Bible would say about subjects like child-rearing and how to keep marriages united.” The magazine might focus on infidelity in May, homosexuality in June and earthquakes in July. Articles might answer questions like “Should you be honest at all times?” and “Has God left us?” (Yes, and no, in case you were wondering.) Each article is littered with scriptural references, which function like hyperlinks, directing readers to Bible pages for further reading. The committee also decides questions and answers for the special “study” editions of The Watchtower produced specifically for Witnesses already in the flock to study at Kingdom Halls every week. The number of study editions printed is undisclosed.

The Watchtower then comes together like most magazines, Pellechia explains. A writer is chosen as a “Compiler,” functioning like a magazine editor, and an assignment editor distributes briefs to writers — there are about 20 on staff. Copy is fact-checked, copy-edited and rewritten as it moves through the 70-person Writing Department. Illustrators and photographers, at a Witness training campus in Patterson, N.Y., provide the images.

Writers live with about 1500 other Bethel workers, including cooks, secretaries, cleaners and committee members, in five buildings throughout Brooklyn Heights. Meals, accommodation and an allowance are provided to keep the focus on God’s work. One Witness-occupied residential tower on Wilson Street might be the best deal in New York, housing 500 Witnesses, a library, a medical center and a dining room. Witnesses call it the “Towers Hotel.”

Despite rumors to the contrary, women can write for The Watchtower, but not on scriptural matters. “That’s what the Bible indicates according to our concept of it,” says assignment editor John Wischuck. “If they wanted to write something about dressmaking, a sister could do that. It might be in another case that she interviews another woman and writes up her life story. That would go through an editor or a rewrite.”

Before the magazine is sent to a facility known as Watchtower Farms, in Wallkill, N.Y., and to 16 other production centers across to the world — to be printed, bound and packaged for distribution — the Writing Committee takes a final look. “All nine of us read it,” says Pellechia. “Each one sees the previous writing committee member’s marks and either adds to it, reinforces it, or, once in a while, may change it. We need to ensure it is in agreement with our doctrine, scripturally.”

Of course, the magazine does not always agree with itself — or past versions of itself — on these matters. Early in its history, for example, The Watchtower told followers that the mischievous men of Sodom and Gomorrah would be resurrected. In 1988, an article in The Watchtower reversed this position. “Our publications are not infallible,” Pellechia says. “Certain Bible texts, certain doctrine, may need adjustment as more information is researched and understanding grows.”

David A. Reed, a critic and former high-ranking Witness, wrote in his book, Jehovah’s Witness Literature, that “much like a collection of White House news releases written during successive Democratic and Republican administrations, the Watchtower Society’s books and magazines reflect the sect’s changing leadership over the years.”

In an e-mail to me, Reed wrote that he stopped reading the magazine in 1999, a year before Don Alden Adams became the religion’s leader. In general, Reed says, today’s Watchtower and the religion behind it are far different from their earliest incarnations. “In terms of internal organizational politics, or religious positions, they are more conservative now than in the days of founder C.T. Russell. The Witnesses are now a tightly controlled, disciplined group, which they were not under Russell.”

The most tightly controlled aspect of the Witnesses’ publishing arm may be the names of Watchtower authors. No Tract Society publication has carried bylines since the early 1940s, because, according to assignment editor Wischuck, the “glory should go to God.” Pellechia expands on that: “There were about 40 writers of the Bible and for the most part, people who read the sacred texts may or may not have known who wrote that information. The material should stand on its own merits and attention should be focused back on the word of God rather than the individual.”

This sort of fifth-person approach to writing means The Watchtower can read like a textbook rendering of the Bible; big on plague and pestilance but short on the simple, beatific prose that marks its source. Former Witness Kyria Abrahams describes the magazine she read growing up in a Kingdom Hall in Pawtucket, R.I., as “extremely boring.” “They were pretty much all on the same theme,” she says today. “‘Why does God allow blah blah blah?’ ‘Is blank okay?’ And you know that it isn’t. For the most part, it was written at a fifth grade level.”

Abrahams, now 36 and living as a writer in New York City, parted with the Witnesses 11 years ago. She courted her own “disfellowshipping” by cheating on the husband she had married at 18. “I wanted out of the marriage so bad that I ended up just having an affair,” she says. “I was so entrenched in the idea of the religion that it was like I was somehow playing by their rules in order to leave.”

Abrahams has not spoken to her father since she left the religion, and has not heard from her mother in three years. She probably won’t hear from either ever again after the release of her acerbically funny account of her life as a Witness, I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed, last year. In the first chapter of the book, she reveals that her Jewish grandmother became a Witness after discovering a copy of The Watchtower on top of a trash can. In the third chapter, she describes her own experience with the books and magazines produced at Bethel. “My children’s books alternated between Dr. Seuss rhymes and tales of how sinners would scream and gnash their teeth at Armageddon,” she writes.

Like the Tavolaccis, Abrahams did her duty, door-knocking three times a week in her teens with a close friend named Kathy. She would do anything to get out of it — only pretending to ring the bell, encouraging Kathy to take long coffee breaks — and remembers many slamming doors. But it was a man who played along that stings her memory most sorely. After Abrahams told him she’d be happy to accept a small donation, he looked at her disdainfully and said, “I bet you would,” before handing her some change. “He saw right through me,” says Abrahams, who was 14 at the time. “I was totally aware that I was just this really annoying, weird person at the door, and I didn’t even know what I was talking about.”

Today, she sometimes sees The Watchtower in the back of a cab or in a doctor’s office. “I will pick it up and look at it for nostalgia,” she says. “It’s still the same as it was when I was a kid — nothing shocking, nothing weird. I would think that I’m going to get a big laugh out of it, but I just end up being sad and put it away.” No Witnesses have knocked on her door since she left her religion, husband and family behind.

But there are those who look forward to the familiar ring of the doorbell on a weekend. I joined Frank and Lydia Tavolacci on their fifth return call to 81-year-old Dominic Bonura’s small one-bedroom walkup in Glendale. The couple makes several of these return visits to people they’ve met while door-knocking every week. “What took you so long?” Bonura asks cheerily, opening the door.

Bonura’s wife died 12 years ago. “She was the most gorgeous thing you ever saw,” he says as we take our seats in a small living room cluttered with portraits of grinning grandchildren. A former butcher and sometime boxer, Bonura’s thin-skinned hands have been knotted by carpal tunnel syndrome. Resting on his knees, they look like large, crushed spiders.

He is dressed as if he were expecting us — polished shoes, pressed pants, a navy button-down all buttoned up — and he has a lot to say. He cuts Frank short before he can discuss the last readings he left. “This carpal tunnel is killing me, Franky,” he says huskily, stretching his arms and fingers out in angry defiance. “I tried to lift a two-pound weight the other day and it hurt so bad I wanted to go somewhere and croak. I’ve been disgusted with people in the world and with myself. I’m not going to lie to you Franky, I didn’t read a scripture, a Watchtower or an Awake!.”

Frank moves over to Bonura, crouches beside him and asks him to read from a Bible page stamped with extra-large print. Bonura pulls a pair of glasses from his pocket and loudly and clearly reads from the book of Isaiah. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” He lowers the Bible.

“When a father is holding a little boy’s hand, how does that little boy feel?” asks Frank.

“He feels safe and protected,” answers Bonura, his face softening. Reflecting on his recent tough times, he says, “Satan might have grabbed me by the shirt, but he doesn’t have me by the heart.”

From here, Frank talks with Bonura about his wife, his daughter and the stresses of staying cooped up in his apartment. Frank explains that “All scripture is inspired, not half, and not a quarter. God’s word can help us with any principle of life.” This is the message of the month’s Watchtower cover story.

Before we leave, Bonura stops Frank. “I was just thinking about that little guy in the street, Franky, holding his father’s hand. If he let go, it wouldn’t take a second for a car to sweep him away.” He pauses. “He can’t let go.”

“And he hasn’t let you go,” says Lydia from the couch. “Dom, we’re here.”

Bonura then turns to me and tells me to write this down, word perfect, with an exclamation mark. “There’s nothing like the truth, nothing!” he says. “These people, this organization, are beautiful. You can trust these people with your life.” He looks at Lydia. “You keep coming back like a song.”

“You know who encourages us to come back,” asks Lydia. “Jehovah.”

The Tavolaccis make tentative plans to return next Saturday before heading downstairs, leaving Bonura alone with his thoughts and a copy of The Watchtower.

202 Responses to “The Most Widely Read Magazine in the World”

  1. Kostya says:

    Matt says:
    “…living in the now is much more fun.”

    A very short-time fun, which leads to utter disappointment in life. All my former “live-in-the-now” friends are dead now (didn’t reach their 4*th birthday), and almost all of them died from their disappointment in life. It just happened to them, as it does to others, you know: there just once came “another” now and then, a one in which there was NO fun at all. But they weren’t ready to accept THAT “now and then”.

    Our human understanding and life interests naturally go BEYOND “now and then”, just as the contents of our life CANNOT be always restricted to making fun. Think about it, for YOUR now and then will also change one fine day.

  2. [...] to smuggle crystal meth inside a Bible to an inmate in Louisiana. The New York Review of Magazines profiles the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower magazine, the “most widely read magazine in [...]

  3. Larry says:

    O.K. It appears that some don’t understand the meaning of the word “Apostate”. From the Webster Dictionary, here is the meaning: “A renunciation or abandonment of a former loyalty (as to a religion.) Now, like it or not, this is the definition. Allot of people think that J.W.’s should be “perfect” or claim to be. NOT TRUE, they will be the first to acknowledge imperfection. As far as our belief’s go, there was also contention among the First Century governing body concerning certain things………THEY were not perfect. But they were still God’s chosen to lead and direct the congregations. I would much rather be affiliated with a religious group that at least will acknowledge when mistakes are made, and change them. NO WHERE in Christendom will that happen. Most “Christians” know that most “holy days” (holidays) are derived from false teachings. But it makes NO difference to them, they will celebrate anyway. Bible says to worship God with Truth. If we KNOW something is wrong, then we shouldn’t do it, otherwise our worship isn’t acceptable. Jesus said that the identifying mark of a TRUE Christian would be LOVE. EVERY religion in Christendom will go off to war and kill, despite what the Bible says about killing. Bible also says to NOT associate with those “Practicing” sin. Disfellowshipping was done in the First Century congregation, just as it is done now among J.W.’s (1 Cor. 5:11-13). And the Bible says that would DIVIDE families. NO WHERE in Christendom will you find that. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is acceptable, no matter how contrary to Bible teachings it is. So as far as Bible teachings go, J.W.’s strive to learn and live by what they learn, although IMPERFECT. I chuckle when I see dissenters try to twist things to make that look BAD. No one is EVER forced to be one of J.W.’s.

  4. grandpa len says:

    my my. such lovely comments by the apostates. and they will, of course, defend their expulsion with whatever excuse. that’s cool.


    1- /our/ count is 7 million. pew research says more about 11 million. those who *call* themselves Jehovah’s witnesses are upwards of 15 million.

    2- publishing ? hey, by state law, you must put down how many of the mags are published, whether our magazine, newspapers, or other mags. It is the law.

    3- we are not ‘part of the W T Establishment’. Actually, there is no such thing. There is the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, Inc. – very few members; and there is the Watch Tower B T S of PA, Inc.
    we are members of the congregation, though, not of the society. it is a legal corp, 501(c)3, registered in the specific state [ or nation ]. Go look it up.

    4- So you got kicked out. Now, stop whining about us. Do you think you have the truth? Fine. Then YOU go out in svc, YOU publish a magazine, YOU build a church meeting hall. Let’s see what happens.
    that or admit you messed up & get back to the hall. Your choice.

    5- With all the mistakes we made, and will still make, we are way ahead of the rest of the religions. We figured out that xmas, b’days, easter, halloween, are not for christians. We figured out there is no trinity. We also figured out there is no ‘burning hell fire’. Acutally, the ro cath church has admitted that ‘hell’ is not a place. it is a state of alienation from god. not bad; not great, but a definite improvement over plato!

    6- finally, the false citations about the trial fred franz was in. those are SO fake. they are taken out of context. read the whole issue and it is obvious that the poster is presenting a dishonest impression that fred was in it alone.

    you can find the entire transcripts of the trial all over the net. just google it up.

    7- finally, if we are so bad, ignore us. if you are soo much better, where are you? where are your ‘followers’? and why have you not visited me at my home?

    by their fruits you WILL know them.

    adios from the beach.

    yep. same old guy.


  5. Alex says:

    I was never a Jehovah’s Witness member, however I do have family that was.
    This religion has broken the family into pieces. People lead double lives for fear of being disfellowshiped or disasociated.
    There was alcohal and drug abuse as well as infidelity outside the marriage.
    Yet on the outside was a mask of lies trying to portray “the happiest people on the earth”.

    This certainly is not paradise on earth.

  6. [...] The Watchtower published by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The New York Review of Magazines has an excellent article about The Watchtower, its history, publication and distribution. I recommend giving it a [...]

  7. [...] fascinating piece from the New York Review of Magazines (tip courtesy of entitled The Most Widely Read Magazine in the World: Every month, nearly 40 million copies of The Watchtower are printed in more than 180 languages [...]

  8. Mia Chen says:

    I converted to becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses 25 years ago, and I love being one. Love it. Nothing has added more joy in my life than knowing the Truths from the Bible and being around those that try their best to practice what they preach. I can truthfully say that there is no other organization I’ve ever met run so lovingly and conscientiously. Sure they are made up of imperfect people, but who isn’t imperfect? People who criticize this religion are bitter negative people who have many other issues besides this.
    Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only religion that can answer almost every religious question and answer it from the Bible. They are the only organization that systematically preaches God’s Kingdom WORLDWIDE, what Jesus told all Christians to do, and that’s good enough for me. They base all their teachings on the Bible. The Bible is the final authority. Period.

  9. REBEKAH says:

    (In case you don’t know, a “naysayer” is, it’s somebody who speaks against something, especially somebody who habitually expresses contrary opinions.)

    Remember Moses? The people were complaining that they could not find water. Moses became impatient with them as he struck the rock for water. Because Moses did not have faith, he did not get into the promises land. (Numbers 20:1-13, 22-29)

    My insight is that Jehovah God doesn’t like anyone mistreating his people … not having compassion and understanding for their human needs. Moses had the same human needs for his physical well-being and, even so, it wasn’t appropriate, especially because he was their leader and caretaker, to become angry with the people.

    Then there was Korah and his supporters. They did not respect Jehovah’s arrangement and wanted to raise orah above Moses and Aaron. Korah agreed to meet before Jehovah. His case was already stated and Jehovah knew his heart and what he was attempting to do; therefore, Korah never got to address Jehovah. He and is supporters lost their lives.

    Right after that, others of the Israelite assembly began murmuring that Moses and Aaron killed Korah and his supporters. Some 14,000 of them lost their lives because of their accusations and insistent murmuring. (Numbers 16:1-11, 16-35, 41-50)

    Then, when Jesus was on the earth, the Pharisees told him to rebuke his disciples. Jesus’ reply was that if his disciples stopped talking then the stones themselves would cry out. (Luke 19:40)

    You’re living in the past and you’re trying to convict from the past. One’s end is better than one’s beginning. (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

    How is that different from the Scribes, Pharisees and Priests of Jesus’ time? It’s not.

    The scripture at Matthew 7:6 is true. There’s been plenty of truth told here. The dissenting element spoken of in this scripture, though, is only bent in tearing apart.

    Even if what you said is true, there’s no way I or anyone that knows forgiveness … even when not warranted … and moving on with one’s life … not allowing themselves to be crippled by others’ failures against us … would be prone to let your venom destroy the peace they’ve achieved despite serious difficulties that you certainly do not know.

    You’ve got pain? I’ve got news for you … everyone has pain. It’s not the “pain” that’s the problem. It’s what you do with it and you just seem to keep stabbing yourselves over and over again with pain that you feel was inflicted upon you by one or others.

    The truth is that, now, you’re the ones who are inflicting pain on yourselves. It’s not that your pain isn’t important. It’s that you need to heal yourselves and get on with your lives in a positive manner. It’s difficult to believe that anyone with such a determination to “expose” anyone is a happy person and has a good life or that it is desirable to others to imitate.

    Then you wonder … after repeated attempts to restore you … why you’re rejected.

    It’s my hope that you “wake up and smell the coffee” because you’re treading on the same path as those who bring negative retribution upon themselves.

    Thank you for a good … no, excellent … article that presents Jehovah’s Witnesses in a positive light and in the way the vast majority are … in spite of their past “sins” … their own or their forefathers errors in the faith.

  10. HighSKY says:

    why is it hard to understand human beings? i tell you why, when a famous actor or actress or anyone in nonreligious group voluntarily does something or donates some cents from their millions people do commend them right? thats a fact, now when Witnesses for so long and with no harm dedicate their lives to help others for free, shouldn’t we commend them and thank them for what they doing, even if we do not believe what they do so. they are well educated people and work hard. all their publications are no harm to the public, only love and friendship, no drugs. people they oppose the war or the army, people that it is very safe to be with. if you people do not see all these things then i will say you are blind. i believe that there is a sacrifice to have strong faith and have a high standard family and raise your kids in the right way…

    the Bible was there, we have it here, and it will be always, lots of churches have been soft cos they want to keep their people, their leaders do not care what they do or how they live their live all they do is come Sunday and thats it…

    now for those that do not believe in any religion why comment just stay out continue your life.

    for those who were witnesses why comment its a waste of time for u cos u left and it was a waste of time…

    what i call a waste of time is voting, all we do is switch chairs for the same politicians that failed, if they failed once how would they do it better the next time and the next time..

  11. Stuart says:

    There are many who attack Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some are ministers of churches who have seen members of their flocks leave to become Witnesses and some are ex-Witnesses who were disfellowshipped for grossly dishonest or immoral conduct. Stubbornly refusing to accept correction their only defense is to retaliate with apostate lies and slander.
    Disgruntled former Jehovah’s Witnesses never divulge to those whom their hate mongering is intended to influence just why it was that they were excommunicated. Telling the truth on just this point alone might prove helpful to those who read their comments but being helpful is no part of their motives. Instead of accepting correction they give in to the injured pride and jealousy that can result from being unmasked and not getting to have it their way. They allow their personal chagrin to fester until vexation leads them into open declarations of animosity, spewing forth all consuming tirades with such vehemence that they no longer have any capacity left for telling the truth.
    As a result, readers who relish hate filled criticism eagerly believe apostate lies and become their latest victims, while those interested in knowing the truth look for factual evidence and are not taken in by falsely contrived stories. If you are one who prefers to know the facts contact the nearest Kingdom Hall or ask the next Witness who calls at your door and it will be supplied to you.

  12. Stuart says:

    When you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near.—Luke 21:20.
    In 70 C.E., the Roman armies returned, attacked the city of Jerusalem , and destroyed its temple. Divine judgment was executed upon that Jewish system of things. Something similar is about to take place in our day. Elements within the United Nations will be involved in the execution of divine judgment. Just as the Roman armies of the first century were designed to maintain the Pax Romana (Roman Peace), the United Nations of today is intended to be a peacekeeping instrument. Although the Roman armies tried to ensure relative safety throughout the then known world, they became the desolater of Jerusalem . Likewise today, Bible prophecy indicates that militarized powers within the United Nations will see religion as a disturbing element and will act to destroy modern-day Jerusalem—Christendom—as well as the rest of Babylon the Great.—Rev. 17:12-17. w 9/15/05 12, 13
    (Note modern day Jerusalem is Christendom, they like Jerusalem at one time had the truth but have rejected the truth and have become an apostate nation). A Worldwide Message The End of False Religion is Near!

  13. KLT says:

    Hey is that the same sister who was on the cover of the Awake! issue that came out last year about marriage? (The one showing a young couple holding hands, walking with an umbrella in the rain?) It looks just like her.

    I’m so glad that the media is finally starting to write positive articles about Jehovah’s Witnesses and to acknowledge the hard work and effort that goes into accomplishing the preaching work worldwide …especially after so many years of jokes and unflattering publicity from the media and the public in general, who’ve never really understood what we do or why we do it, as well as the constant slander and derogatory comments made by former members (who also don’t understand what we do, since they apparently still don’t seem to grasp the bigger picture).

    And in response to some of the comments which said that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t base their teachings on the Bible, and place more emphasis on their own literature instead of the Bible, that is simply not true. One of the most obvious examples of that fact, is the huge sign that has been prominently displayed on top of the Watchtower Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, (for almost 60 yrs now, for all passerby to see) which says:


    (It doesn’t say: “read the Watchtower and Awake! magazines daily instead of the Bible”) Attention is directed to the Bible itself, and the Watchtower publications are considered Bible “study aids” -not a replacement for the Bible itself. In addition, there has been continual emphasis placed on regular personal Bible study, from the platform during congregation meetings and convention programs, as well as recommendations in the literature itself, (including practical assistance, such as a chapter-study schedule for accomplishing the entire Bible in 1 year)

    In fact, that’s the ENTIRE PURPOSE of publications like the Watchtower and Awake! mags … to assist people in gaining an appreciation and a deeper understanding & knowledge of Bible subjects (which is sorely lacking in our society) and to encourage them to look to God’s Word as the source for moral guidance in their life, by learning what He requires of us, … rather than just relying on the opinions of theological experts, or priests and ministers who basically just ‘tell’ the people what to believe from the pulpit, without really encouraging them to investigate the accuracy of it for themselves.

    I’m surprised anyone would even try making that suggestion…because I don’t know of any other religion that places as much emphasis on Bible study as Jehovah’s Witnesses do. And they don’t just encourage their own members to do it, but the general public as well.

  14. teenmc says:

    Thank you so much for your article about WBTS. The information seemed accurate and somewhat favorable! I especially enjoyed the couple’s visit with the elder gentleman who complained about his carpal tunnel problem and his response of satan not having his heart that brought tears to my eyes! Now, as mentioned previously from other readers I too must say that no one is forced to serve the Sovereign Lord of the Universe! in fact if your service is not from the heart then you’re wasting your time and everyone elses! I’ve been disfellowshipped it’s not a pleasant feeling, in fact there’s no where one can go and find a peace of mind! churches can only present so much before one realizes sooner or later the glass is half full/empty! This organization has people who are willing to be there for you! yes, we are imperfect! yes, we do have our flaws but one thing is for sure Jehovah does not change he will provide and protect what belongs to him, I’ve come to learn that we all have WANTS but Jehovah delivers our NEEDS ~ simple but true! if people would but for a moment take off their blinders perhaps they would see something major is coming and are you prepared for the outcome?

  15. gonnaPioneerSoon says:

    What a wonderful article.
    I agree with all those positive posters. As i recently had a most frustrating echange with a friend who was reproved and doing so well but now has totally turned her back on me and other in our cong. with the familiar “you think you are all perfect and you tell people they are bad” words i knew she had been spending way too much time with apostates and posibly apostate literature. I thought i was going insane trying to reply to her with sincere words explaining why I chose to go door to door and Why i asked if she wanted to join me again (she had for several months after her reproof) My Heart brakes that lies are believed over truths. Thankyou all for your comments i will be favoriting this page for future encouragement.

    THankyou again.

    just some girl who likes to talk to people about the hope i was shown in the Bible.

  16. gonnaPioneerSoon says:

    to Victor Benitez

    with all due respect… If you no longer want to associate with Jehovah’s people you can just stop.. no one forces you to the Hall, no one Drags you out of the meetings, and no one is FORCIBLY removed from the congregation.

    I know many who just drift away without any anouncement… nor fan fare. Often those who are Disfellowshipped are Practicing wilful sin all the while trying to stay as a practicing witness with an unrepentant attitude. If you are truly repentant than a simple reproving is often all that is needed (perhaps eons ago there were hard and fast rules but they have been revised to reflect Jehovah’s compasion towards those who are really repentant)
    Those who choose to disassociate themselves i think something more is going on rather then them saying they just dont want to go to meetings anymore or go out inservice anymore. The elders would not seek out such a person and say ” hey you missed 10 meetings and you missed 3 months of service clearly you want out please sign this letter” It doesnt happen. And if it ever Did…. Trust in Jehovah he will correct such an in justince.

    And to who ever said the WT & Awake are so grade 5… Yes and Jesus preached mostly to those unlettered and Ordinary. So most of our journals are easy to read for all to enjoy no matter how much or how little edumacation you may or may not have.

  17. Don Martini says:

    Our family JW history goes 96 years, four generations, I’ve gone house-to-house 71 years. I’m with a people who have no blood on their hands, and the record of our steadfastness is for all to see in the holocaust museum. I grew up expecting to go to prison, was unafraid, passed 2 physical exams but was never called up for the Korean war. Several of my buddies were sent up, got to spend several years studying the Bible.

    In Rome last month I saw the Coloseum where Christians were burned & fed to beasts for refusing to burn incense to Ceasar, fulfilling Revelation 2:10 KJV: “Behold the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: [all your life] be thou faithful unto death.”

    From the many vicious comments here one could get the idea that JWs do no good and are damaged by their faith. I’ll relate my story as a counterbalance to these charges:

    I graduated from North Phoenix High in 1950 and soon began to pioneer in Grand Rapids MI. At the age of 20 I called on a humble home with old cars in the yard, no grass. The family had 6 children, the husband, Neil, was an alcoholic and they were about to get a divorce. Mary agreed to a Bible study and every Sunday AM I’d sit on the floor surrounded by children while she sat in the only chair and he lay sobering up on the couch. After a year Neil asked “When are you going to ask for money?” My answer was something like: “Jesus didn’t charge for his miracles, so we don’t charge for telling you about them.” The whole family became Witnesses and a few years later I returned to speak in their congregation and Neil pointed out 17 people in the Kingdom Hall as a result of that study. The wrecks were gone, there was grass in the yard and no one sat
    on the floor, they had furniture instead of booze bottles. No Divorce. His son who was fighting in Korea eventually presided over the congregation.

    Neil was part of a strong Christian Reformed family who pressured him to stop his resesrch so he had to study hard to defend what he learned. Good!

    Now tell me where else that family could have acquired a year’s free personal counseling and education without obligation. Who else would have brought advice powerful enough to save their marriage? And who trained the 20 year old boy to do
    it? Jehovah God, The Holy Bible and the Watchtower.

    Test it out: Call 10 local churches and request that
    a teacher come to your home every week at your convenience for a year’s Bible training without any obligation or expense on your part.

    I live a mile from a Presbyterian church with 16,000 members and never has one of them even brought me a handbill. But I had what I thought was a progressive study with an X-Marine from that church who swindled
    so much from me that I’ll be making mortgage payments the rest of my life. My house was free & clear.

    This week my Betty has been on 4 talk shows and has one tomorrow evening. She’s been on about 800
    such in the last 19 years, ofen on syndicted hookups with 50 or more other stations, and they play her talks over and over. She made 4 trips to Europe, addressed a parlimentary committee of the European Union and was flown to New Zealand for a 3 week tour a couple years ago. She began a crusade against toxic deadly chemical sweeteners after my best friend was poisoned and died from aspartame/NutraSweet/diet sodas. Doctors have come to us from as far away as Australia, stayed in our home to confer with her and her work has been written up in national magazines, and books by MDs have been dedicated to her. Check Betty Martini has thousands of emails and letters thanking her for saving lives.

    Her work cost me more than our house. We sell nothing, no food supplements or health aids, nor do we beg. This is not part of my religion but
    the result of it, I feel obligated to help others and give, including 4 good cars to non-family needy ones, have called the doctor or brought groceries or picked up bag ladies or opened my house to recovering addicts often. None of this is significant compared to the incomparable gift Jehovah made of His only begotten Son who will save all who believe on him.

    Several here have charged that JW’s can only read Watchtower publications. I have several thousand books including over 30 translations, encyclopedias (plural) commentaries, books on science, religion, history, philosophy,etc etc etc. I made my living as and industrial chemist and my reputation for integrety was such that the man who bought my last company never sent in an auditor or looked at the books and he paid 7 figures. He, a smart Jewish competitor, knew my faith requires straight dealing.
    Afterwards he said: “There’s more here than you said there was.” I replied: “So there’s nothing for me to explain!”

    Both my sons run chemical manufacturing companies. My education in the Bible and God’s principles proved more valuable than a college degree. But, you see, I really study the Bible a lot, even as a kid, so was unafraid to evangeliz.

  18. Eddie says:

    It is very popular because nothing can stop Jehovah.

  19. lissa says:

    Jehovahs Witnesses Do Not break up families and cause them to live double lives, people live double lives because they want to serve God and Satan which Jehovah God himself says you can’t do (MATTHEW 6:24).Don’t forget God created families Satan Destroyed that bond. We All have free will and if they prefer to live in a way that do not befit holy people then they should Choose which side they want to be on, they’re not FORCED to live double lives …it’s a choice (JOSHUA 24:15).

    Jesus says he came to put a sword between people meaning they were either going to choice truth or stick to the lie (MATTHEW 10:32-38), if they choose truth and the family preferred the lie of course that would cause a problem for both. Satan would have you think that the one serving Jehovah is the bad person because they won’t carry on with the man made traditions (MARK 7:8) any more and behave indecently anymore so they speak bad things about you (1 PETER 4:4). There are two sides BUT ONLY ONE IS RIGHT, CHOOSE TODAY whom you will serve… JEHOVAH the GOD of Truth or SATAN the devil the father of the lie.

    The narrow road that leads to life or the wide road that leads to destruction because that road has no boundaries or barriers for protection. (MATTHEW 7:13,14)

    Try this… do the process of elimination, look up the things the HOLY BIBLE whose author is Jehovah God forbids and see if thats what they do where you worship, if even One thing is found then YOU can CHOOSE…to eliminate it. Don’t blame or complain about other’s who are STRONG enough to make that choice, when the bible says blood is thicker than water it is… people prefer to make their bloodline happy instead of choosing to come and take life’s waters free (REVELATION 22:17)

  20. Rose says:

    I have been baptized for almost four decades, and being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is the best thing that ever happened to me. If you don’t want to remain one, then leave. Don’t complain about being kicked out when no one gets kicked out unless they WANT to get kicked out.

    But who is this guy Don Alden Adams you are talking about, below?? Never heard of him; he’s certainly not our “Leader”, and never was the President of the WT Society, so who is he? Are you sure you know what you’re talking about, Mr. David A. Reed? And who anointed you a “former ‘high ranking Witness’”? Yourself? We don’t have ANY ‘high ranking Witnesses’ in this organization.

    “In an e-mail to me, Reed wrote that he stopped reading the magazine in 1999, a year before Don Alden Adams became the religion’s leader.”

  21. REBEKAH says:

    If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and it is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its
    ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

    THE BAT:
    The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

    A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom… It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

    In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up! That’s the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem! Just look up.

    Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, But faith looks up!

    Live simply, love generously , care deeply, speak kindly and learn about our Creator who loves us.

  22. Victor Benitez says:

    To Koysta,

    So, you do agree with the belief that the “light gets brighter and brighter,” as told by the oligarchs of the Watchtower Corporation. Correct?

    Since the present leaders consider The Watchtower org. as the only organization that God approves of since Charles Taze Russel began his signature magazine, how brighter has the light become?

    In the face of CURRENT EVENTS Russell believed he was teaching the TRUTH. In the face of CURRENT EVENTS Joseph Rutherford believed he was teaching the Truth. In the face of CURRENT EVENTS Knorr, like Fred Franz, believed that the TRUTH IS WHAT THEY TAUGHT, JUST LIKE RUSSELL BELIEVED THAT HE WAS TEACHING THE TRUTH.

    Milton Henshel, the living president and the other oligarchs believe that what they are teaching is the TRUTH. That is, the PRESENT TRUTH.

    Every single one of these leaders have used the SAME scriptures and verses to prove THEIR TRUTH. Remember, in the face of CURRENT EVENTS.

    Kostya, that is not TRUTH. It is an OPINION.

    What do you think 50 years down the line the TRUTH will be, in the FACE OF CURRENT EVENTS?

    Or 60 or 78 or 125 years from now…? Again, remember in the FACE OF CURRENT EVENTS?

    As I said before…an OPINION.

    My question to you, is, why support their truth, when in reality it is not truth,… it is an opinion.

    Please forgive my repetition in words, but I think there is merit to this…after more than 140 years of Watchtower history.

  23. Victor Benitez says:

    To gonna Pioneer Soon,

    My friend, you have MISSED the point. When you can prove that the leaders of the Watchtower Corporation are lying…YOU DON’T SUPPORT THEM. When they have no shame of lying, when they don’t feel any remorse; knowing full well that their predecessors scrude up seriously, for example, with the ban on blood transfussions, and they refuse to abandoned it, you cannot in good conscience give them any respect, whatsover. Thousands of thousands since 1945 have died needlessly. Blood is in their hands. They are guilty of murder. No one should support their religious agenda. NO ONE!

    You shouldn’t either.

  24. Stuart says:

    Jehovah provided more details about life and blood when he gave Israel the Law code. In the process, he took a further step in the outworking of his purpose. You probably know that the Law called for offerings to God, such as grain, oil, and wine. (Leviticus 2:1-4; 23:13; Numbers 15:1-5) There were also animal sacrifices. God said of these: “The soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have put it upon the altar for you to make atonement for your souls, because it is the blood that makes atonement by the soul in it. That is why I have said to the sons of Israel: ‘No soul of you must eat blood.’” Jehovah added that if someone, such as a hunter or a farmer, killed an animal for food, he had to drain the blood and cover it with dust. The earth is God’s footstool, and by pouring the blood on the earth, the person acknowledged that the life was being returned to the Life-Giver.—Leviticus 17:11-13; Isaiah 66:1.
    9 That law was not a mere religious ritual with no import for us. Did you notice why the Israelites were not to consume blood? God said: “That is why I have said to the sons of Israel: ‘No soul of you must eat blood.’” What was the reason? “I myself have put [blood] upon the altar for you to make atonement for your souls.” Do you see that this provides insight into why God told Noah that humans were not to eat blood? The Creator chose to view blood as having an elevated significance, reserving it for one special use that could save many lives. It was to play a vital role in covering sins (atonement). So under the Law, the only God-authorized use of blood was on the altar to make atonement for the lives of the Israelites, who were seeking Jehovah’s forgiveness.
    10 This concept is not remote from Christianity. Referring to this divinely arranged feature of the Law, the Christian apostle Paul wrote: “Nearly all things are cleansed with blood according to the Law, and unless blood is poured out no forgiveness takes place.” (Hebrews 9:22) Paul made it clear that the required sacrifices did not turn the Israelites into perfect, sinless humans. He wrote: “By these sacrifices there is a reminding of sins from year to year, for it is not possible for the blood of bulls and of goats to take sins away.” (Hebrews 10:1-4) Still, such sacrifices were useful. They reminded the Israelites that they were sinful and needed something more in order to gain complete forgiveness. But if the blood that represented the lives of animals could not completely cover human sins, could any lifeblood do so?

  25. Stuart says:

    The Law was actually pointing to something vastly more effective in accomplishing God’s will. Paul asked: “Why, then, the Law?” He answered: “It was added to make transgressions manifest, until the seed should arrive to whom the promise had been made; and it was transmitted through angels by the hand of a mediator [Moses].” (Galatians 3:19) Similarly, Paul wrote: “The Law has a shadow of the good things to come, but not the very substance of the things.”—Hebrews 10:1.
    12 In summary, recall that in Noah’s day God decreed that humans could eat animal meat to sustain life, but they could not take in blood. In time, God stated that “the soul of the flesh is in the blood.” Yes, he chose to view blood as standing for life and said: “I myself have put [blood] upon the altar for you to make atonement for your souls.” There was to be, however, a wonderful further unfolding of God’s purpose. The Law foreshadowed good things to come. What?
    13 The reality centered on the death of Jesus Christ. You know that Jesus was tortured and impaled. He died like a criminal. Paul wrote: “Christ, while we were yet weak, died for ungodly men at the appointed time. . . . God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6, 8) In dying for us, Christ provided a ransom to cover our sins. That ransom is at the core of the Christian message. (Matthew 20:28; John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Timothy 2:6) What does this have to do with blood and life, and how is your life involved?
    14 Some churches emphasize Jesus’ death, their adherents saying such things as “Jesus died for me.” Consider how some Bible translations render Ephesians 1:7: “It is in him and through his death we have deliverance, that is, the putting away of our offences.” (The American Bible, by Frank Scheil Ballentine, 1902) “By the death of Christ we are set free, and our sins are forgiven.” (Today’s English Version, 1966) “It is in and through Christ and the sacrifice of his life that we have been liberated, a liberation which means the forgiveness of sins.” (The New Testament, by William Barclay, 1969) “It is through Christ’s death that our sins are forgiven and we are set free.” (The Translator’s New Testament, 1973) You can see in such renderings an emphasis on Jesus’ death. ‘But,’ some may say, ‘Jesus’ death is truly important. So, what is lacking in these renderings?’

  26. Stuart says:

    Really, if you had to depend on such translations, you might overlook a very important point, and this could limit your understanding of the Bible’s message. Such renderings obscure the fact that the original text of Ephesians 1:7 contains a Greek word that means “blood.” Thus, many Bibles, such as the New World Translation, come closer to the original: “By means of him we have the release by ransom through the blood of that one, yes, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his undeserved kindness.”
    16 The rendering “the blood of that one” is rich in meaning and should convey much to our mind. More was needed than a death, even the death of the perfect man Jesus. He brought to fulfillment what was foreshadowed in the Law, particularly on the Day of Atonement. On that special day, designated animals were sacrificed. Then the high priest took some of their blood into the Most Holy compartment of the tabernacle or temple, there presenting it before God, as if in his presence.—Exodus 25:22; Leviticus 16:2-19.
    17 Jesus fulfilled what was foreshadowed by the Atonement Day, as Paul explained. First, he mentioned that the high priest in Israel entered the Most Holy once a year with blood offered “for himself and for the sins of ignorance of the people.” (Hebrews 9:6, 7) True to that pattern, after being raised as a spirit, Jesus went to heaven itself. As a spirit, having no flesh-and-blood body, he could go before “the person of God for us.” What did he present to God? Not something physical but something very meaningful. Paul continued: “When Christ came as a high priest . . . , he entered, no, not with the blood of goats and of young bulls, but with his own blood, once for all time into the holy place and obtained an everlasting deliverance for us. For if the blood of goats and of bulls . . . sanctifies to the extent of cleanness of the flesh, how much more will the blood of the Christ, who through an everlasting spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works that we may render sacred service to the living God?” Yes, Jesus presented to God the value of his lifeblood.—Hebrews 9:11-14, 24, 28; 10:11-14; 1 Peter 3:18.

  27. Don Martini says:

    Google “bloodless surgery”


    Another article: Treating patients like Jehovah’s Witnesses could save lives: expert Dan Oakes May 28, 2007

    SURGEONS could save lives by treating people as if they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, a visiting US specialist told a conference yesterday. Addressing the the annual scientific meeting of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, cardiothoracic specialist Bruce Spiess said blood transfusions hurt more people than they helped.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to accept blood transfusions, but Professor Spiess said a study in Sweden of 499 Witnesses showed their survival rates were higher than people who received transfusions.
    He described blood transfusions as “almost a religion”, because physicians practised them without any solid evidence that they helped. “Blood transfusion has evolved as a medical therapy and it’s never been tested like a major drug,” he said. “A drug is tested for safety and efficacy, blood transfusion has never been tested for either one.

    “There’s a number of people around the world who are coming to these same conclusions and it’s becoming more obvious that the old risks of hepatitis and AIDS have been defeated by blood bankers, and now what we’re dealing with are events that make patients worse.” Transfusions increased the probability of post-operative complications, including pneumonia and wound infections.

    “I think we need to focus on every possible mechanism we can to keep your own blood,” Professor Spiess said. “If you come to surgery, we should ethically treat every patient as if they were a Jehovah’s Witness and say, my goal is to not to transfuse you and to use every other technique I possibly can, and then only as a very last result transfuse you.”

    He emphasised that in cases of severe trauma, blood transfusions were necessary, but pointed out that the majority of transfusions were of comparatively small amounts of blood. Another area in which Professor Spiess is prominent is that of synthetic blood, which is composed of teflon-like fluorocarbons that carry oxygen far better than our own blood.

    “We’ve just completed a study with traumatic brain injury — you’re talking motor vehicle accidents and guns and head trauma — and we’ve just had a dramatic breakthrough with head trauma using the fluorocarbons as a way to deliver oxygen to the traumatised brain.”

  28. Victor Benitez says:


    Your premise is faulty, your conclusion is erroneous.

    The biblical passages you have quoted have nothing to do with donating blood for medical use or for receiving blood in the event you’re seriously physically sick or when you experience a serious accident.

    The Jews have never advocated since the beginning of the practice of blood transfussions, any use, of biblical references as to whether or not violates biblical passages. Why? There is no reference to that.

    However, since 1945, the Watchtower oligarchs have imposed a private interpretation of their own, with regards to this.

    The Watchtower oligarchs know that this private interpretation is a serious error. They just can’t admit to error without loosing millions of their members and be hit with massive lawsuits which would bankrupt their treasury and operations.

    Organ transplants were banned in the 1960s. In the 1980s, they cancelled the ban.

    Biblical passages were used to support their private interpretation on the ban, and biblical passages were used to support their private interpretation, to abandon the ban.

    And that goes for every private interpretation that was once active that is now abandoned.

    Private interpretation is the traggic legacy of 140 plus years of Watchtower history.

    Why support and believe opinions and totally change one’s life for this man made organization?


    Stuart, you shouldn’t either.

  29. KLT says:

    Victor Benitez –

    Even if you remove the religious perspective of the law in regards to the sanctity of blood, (which is the most important aspect, of course), and look at the blood issue strictly from a medical/health perspective, you will discover that even secular science no longer supports their original opinion in regards to blood transfusions being the healthy choice and saving lives…many are now saying “bloodless medicine saves lives” and they consider bloodless surgery to be the gold standard…even though only a few decades ago, the medical establishment strongly advocated the opposite position. Has anyone pointed the blame at them for changing their stand on such a serious health matter?
    No. Why not?


    Not just for Jehovah’s Witnesses, but for the medical establishment as well, who finally have seemed to ‘catch on’ to what God made known in the Bible (thousands of years ago), and what Jehovah’s Witnesses have been making known to the public for many decades now, (in regard to God’s prohibition on blood.)
    As mentioned in a previous post above, even the United States Defense Dept (who’ve always depended heavily on blood for soldiers injured in combat) has now made a 180-degree turnaround, by recently receiving a federal grant to begin training military doctors in bloodless medicine. (Of course, they aren’t doing it for any Biblical reasons…they’re doing it for the health benefits and cost-effectiveness), but it just goes to show that even when we don’t fully understand all the reasons behind God’s laws, we always benefit by obeying them.

    There is another health issue which the Watchtower publications have continually addressed and warned the public about…which has CLAIMED THE LIVES OF FAR MORE PEOPLE than those who’ve died from not receiving a blood transfusion.


    It has been “estimated that during the 1990s in developed countries, tobacco will cause approximately 30 percent of all deaths among those 35 to 69 years of age, making it the largest single cause of premature death in the developed world.”

    “Patrick Reynolds, son of R. J. Reynolds, Jr., and descendant of the founder of the company that produces Camel and Winston cigarettes, said that 1 out of 5 deaths in the United States is due to smoking. Reynolds was also reported as saying that smoking causes more deaths annually than cocaine, alcohol, heroin, fire, suicide, homicide, AIDS, and auto accidents combined and that it is the single most preventable cause of death, disease, and addiction in our era.”
    (excerpt from the 10/22/96 Awake!)

    How many lives could have been saved if all religions had taken as strong a stand against tobacco as Jehovah’s Witnesses did?…They’ve made their position known to the public in the Watchtower and Awake! magazines since the 1940’s and 50’s, and they’ve began enforcing that stand within the congregation since 1973. And even long before government agencies agreed on the extent to which they should alert people to the harm from tobacco use, The Watchtower, in the March 1, 1935 issue, made it clear that no user of tobacco could be a member of the headquarters staff of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society or be one of its appointed representatives.

    -Did some people complain that such a stand against tobacco restricted their freedom? YES.

    -Did taking such a stand ultimately prolong the life and health of those who listened (and their family members), from lung cancer and other tobacco-related health damage? YES.

    Their discernment in this matter was clearly correct and has benefited the lives of millions of people. However, unlike the very specific mentioning of the misuse of blood throughout the Bible, there is no Biblical law that says “do not smoke or injest tobacco” … but when you understand the principles behind the law, it’s not difficult to determine that it’s wrong in God’s eyes to do something which causes bodily harm to ourselves, and to others. Tobacco has been proven to be extremely addicting, polluting, and harmful to the body, (even when injested as second-hand smoke), and it has proven fatal for long-time users.

    So even within the science & medical field, THE LIGHT HAS CONTINUALLY GOTTON BRIGHTER hasn’t it?
    That’s how God has always dealt with his people ever since Bible times…he reveals things progressively. When Jesus was on earth during the time of his ministry, he revealed spiritual truths to his apostles & disciples PROGRESSIVELY. Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t the ones claiming that’s how God reveals truths…the Bible itself testifies to that fact.

    So if Jehovah’s Witnesses do not publish the truth, than why were they able to reach such a conclusion (long before their ’spiritual’ peers) in regards to the dangers of tobacco use, when so many other religious leaders were SILENT on such a serious, health-threatening issue? Jehovah’s Witnesses did not wait around for ALL the negative, longterm health effects to be revealed among conflicting research studies, but instead, THEY WERE PROACTIVE IN WARNING THE PUBLIC as soon as they reached the conclusion that tobacco was spiritually and physically harmful…while many churches and religious leaders, (who should have been looking after the safety of their ‘flock’ by doing the same thing), were actually receiving financial benefits from those within the tobacco industry, or soft-peddling the issue when it did come up.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses have never claimed to be infallible or perfect,…from the very start they’ve acknowledged that their understanding of Bible truth as an organization would be “progressive” not “creedbound” … but it’s clearly evident that they have taken the lead in making known THE TRUTH from day one, (by providing both members and the public), with Bible-based information that assists people in making informed decisions which will benefit their lives.
    And there is no cost involved, or membership required, in order to receive that free Bible education, either.

  30. REBEKAH says:

    VICTOR BENITEZ: STOP showing your ignorance about blood (and everything else). You are entitled to your OPINION; however, that does NOT mean that you have the right to force it on anyone else … especially when, so far, what you say is NOT reliable.

    You are a “Johnny One Note” person … except that, according to the song, HE found a way to make his one note “work” for him.

    You just keep harping on the same ol’, same ol’, same ol’ … it’s as though you’re an old-fashioned record stuck on the record player … not able to move from the one groove you’re stuck on and get on with the rest of the song. You need a new “needle” or you’re never going to move on.

    You call people liars and, yet, you tell mis-truths and you do not seem to understand that YOU are LYING and trying to make it be truth!


    You are SO WRONG!

    You seem to be DELIBERATELY IGNORING the FACT that the DOD has given Englewood Hospital in New Jersey a grant for $4.6 BILLION to develop a BLOODLESS SURGERY PROGRAM for military personnel in the field (war zones) AND in their TRAUMA CENTERS!

    Your “statistics” can … IN NO WAY … be correct because there’s no way the DOD would go out on THAT kind of a “LIMB” to develop a bloodless surgery program


    Get your head out of your … uh … out of the sand. You are so STUCK in your limited views and opinions that you are insulting YOURSELF!

    There are several videos on YouTube about this DOD grant.

    GROW UP!

  31. Dan says:

    Watchtower publications are some of the worst written trash out there. Many times quotes are taken out of context and only information that benefits the organization is written to keep the watchtower followers in the dark. Magazines are written in a way to capture converts who are in a distressed state of mind.

    Even quotes from old publications are taken out of context at times to make their present teachings sound real. (Millions Now Living May Never Die, recent study article is a classic example of hiding the truth of what was really being discussed in the 1922(?) watchtower)

    For any sincere witness, research fall of Jerusalem. 607BCE is a FRAUD! It was a mistaken year (606 at the time) invented by Nelson Barbour and naive Russell began teaching this nonsense! Point being, is that even IF bible did point to Christ’s second invisible return (and it doesn’t) 607 is wrong, therefor 1914 is wrong and Jesus never appointed faithful and discreet steward in 1919 thus today’s Governing Body is a fraud and a bunch of liars. Research the events. This is only a suggested start to a matrix of watchtower deceit. Watchtower has taken quotes out of context when they quote historians trying to discredit historical fact of 586/7BC for the fall of Jerusalem. Thorough research means looking up stuff outside of watchtower publications. Watchtower cannot prove 607BCE so they try to discredit the entire world pointing to 586/7 for Jerusalem’s fall to the Babylonians.

    Watchtower is a high control group, a cult that uses a bible to keep it’s flock in check.

  32. lrl says:

    King David was an example of how Jehovah has inspired writers of the Bible. It showed his good points, but it also showed his faults, without covering them up. The truth is what matters. I have been a Witness since 1980(62 years young), have not always done the right things, but have always recognized Jehovah’s Theocratic Avenue for help. Forgiveness is a godly quality, which many seem to forget. You can’t expect Jehovah to forgive you if you can’t forgive others. Jehovah’s’ son, Jesus Christ, paid the price for all mankind, whether they choose to accept that ransom has been left up to each one of us.
    Frankly no other belief system has ever given me a way out of my imperfect life (birth defect), but Jehovah himself through the pages of his word the Bible, and the volumes of research, the writing committee’s have included in publication, from the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, have helped me turn mountains into prairies. What a blessing.
    Jehovah by means of his active force, has also helped me learn about my lot in life, how to cope with my infirmities & trust in him. He will continue do so because of the kind of GOD & friend he is.
    He is the only one who really understands each one of us, and at the right time he provided the faithful slave mentioned in Matthew 24:45-47. As Jesus mentioned he felt pity for the people even before seeing their reaction to what he would teach. In other words, tender compassion was, not the result of his teaching the crowd, but rather the motive for his doing so.
    We should ask ourselves what are our motives, to help or to destroy.
    Thank you for this article.

  33. Randy says:

    Hi KLT,

    I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 27 years before I left in 2007. I am now an atheist.

    You said… “I’m so glad that the media is finally starting to write positive articles about Jehovah’s Witnesses and to acknowledge the hard work and effort” then added “as well as the constant slander and derogatory comments made by former members (who also don’t understand what we do, since they apparently still don’t seem to grasp the bigger picture).”

    One of the common mistakes I think we can easily make in life it assume everyone within a certain group thinks and acts alike. You sound very honestly motivated in your preaching work. However, don’t assume you know what it is like to leave this faith, unless you actually have done so yourself.

    Your experience with faith may be positive, but for some it just wasn’t. Although the Jehovah’s Witnesses leadership have often suggested these cases always represent a failure on the part of the individuals and never a defect with the faith, that view is just not correct.

    I left because I don’t believe what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach (i.e. the entire world was flooded in 2370 BCE) is actually true or even all that helpful in life. Just saying that though doesn’t mean I trying to slander JWs. It is just sharing a viewpoint as you have yours.

    You said… “And in response to some of the comments which said that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t base their teachings on the Bible”.

    I think there is little question Jehovah’s Witnesses who are serious about their beliefs are also serious Bible students. Even well known critics of Jehovah’s Witnesses such as Raymond Franz has said he credits Jehovah’s Witnesses for stimulating his interest in the Bible. But in fairness I do think a couple things need to be acknowledged.

    (1) There is little emphasis on developing a personal understanding of scripture. In fact any who express personal views, even if they’re sincerely held and well supported by Biblical references will not be tolerated. All “Bible” study among JWs starts with the view what is being currently taught by the leadership is a full and completely understanding.

    (2) Elders and other leaders often treat the material in The Watchtower and Awake! is a Talmud like law code. Although this material is technically not considered inspired, individual Witnesses will often find the counsel they’re given from this material is expected to be followed as if it were.

    You said… “In fact, that’s the ENTIRE PURPOSE of publications. . .by learning what He requires of us, … rather than just relying on the opinions of theological experts, or priests and ministers who basically just ‘tell’ the people what to believe from the pulpit,”

    I’m glad for you if that has been your experience, however for most it is not like this. For example, imagine you hear a disfellowshipping / disassociation announcement at the Kingdom Hall — what is expected of you? Is is not true you’re expected to rely on the judgement and opinion of the elders? Is it not true, any fact finding you might do on your own would be considered out of place? In fact Jehovah’s Witnesses are generally expected to have unquestioned obedience in such cases.

    Finally is there really a difference between what “God” wants and what the “leadership” wants if one believes they speak for God? If the purpose of the publications were so benign, why is Matt 24:45 so often quoted or cited?


  34. poollady says:

    Hi: I have read all the post and this is my conclusion. As some of us know, Jehovah God reads the heart and will draw those HONEST HEARTED ones to him if they indeed are searching for him. Some people have questions because they really want to know how to worship with truth and others ask questions just to try & teach their own belief or view point. It makes no sense to fuss about all of this. The beautiful thing that we must appreciate is that we all, each and every one of us, has a CHOICE to believe in what he or she wants to! If you take two people and teach them the same thing but one choice to adhere to that and the other doesn’t, IT’S OKAY. God is the one who will have the final say. The only thing i recommend is that MAKE SURE OF YOUR CHOICE. IF YOU CHOICE NOT TO ABSTAIN FROM BLOOD, do thorough research with your Bible on God’s viewpoint in this matter. AGAIN, REMEMBER JEHOVAH GOD IS THE FINAL JUDGE AND WILL REWARD HIS PEOPLE FOR WORSHIPPING HIM WITH SPIRIT AND “TRUTH”.


  35. [...] by an army of volunteers around the world, especially the Third World.Here is an excerpt from the NYT feature:"Every month, nearly 40 million copies of The Watchtower are printed in more than 180 [...]

  36. Sean says:

    Since you prefer to “look stuff up outside of Watchtower publications”, I respectfully refer you to the following site.
    You will find a scholarly examination of the subject with conclusive and overwhelming evidence that Jehovah’s Witnesses faith in the Bible and understanding of it is not misplaced. You will find the author presents it without the insults or false accusations reflected in your comments.

  37. [...] is religious.It is The Watchtower.It is the official publication of the Jehovah's Witnesses.A recent story in The New York Times explored the theologically conservative magazine's remarkable success, which is based on [...]

  38. Linda says:

    I was disfellowshipped not once but twice. Didn’t learn the first time! It was the best thing that could have happened to me, b/c now I’m back, restored, reinstated, finally took the discipline to heart. Jehovah disciplines whom He loves!

  39. REBEKAH says:

    “But when Mi′cha·el the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: “May Jehovah rebuke you.”” (Jude 9)

    Have a good life … it’s the only one you’ll ever have … unless you quit being blinded by apostate lies, continue to insist on your inaccuracies about the Bible and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and COME TO YOUR SENSES. We’ll continue to be kind because of our love that we learned from Jehovah God and as it was demonstrated by his son while he was on earth and because …

    “…as perhaps GOD may give them repentance leading to an ACCURATE knowledge of truth, 26 and they may come back to their PROPER senses OUT from the snare of the DEVIL, seeing that they have been caught alive by him for the will of THAT one. (caps mine)” (2 Timothy 2:25-26)

    Thank you for all of the Bible-backed comments of those Jehovah’s Witnesses and non-JW’s that kept the record straight regarding the truth about JW’s, the Bible and what we believe. Hopefully, it will do some good … especially for those who have allowed themselves to be led astray by wicked reasonings and false testimonies. (Matthew 15:19)

    I’m exiting here … it’s goodbye.

  40. S. Joseph Davidian says:

    A bit of kindly admonishment to some of the Witness responders to this article;

    Why are you engaging in dialogue with these apostates? Not only is it a colossal waste of your valuable time, but ask yourself: Would I argue with these people in person?

  41. Philip West says:

    I know a few former Jehovah’s witnesses who are neither bitter about the society or guilty of immorality or some other gross sin.

    My own perspective on the organisation is that it is a religious denomination not unlike several others.

    The people in the local congregations are controlled fairly tightly regarding doctrine. They are also very strongly discouraged from reading any religious tracts, books, magazines, or other publications from religions other that their own. I guess that is a fairly isolating kind of control. I imagine that forming friendships with Catholics or Protestants would be very difficult for JWs. So in both social life and intellectual life the WBTS exercises strong controls that tend to isolate the membership from anything and everything that isn’t also under the control of the organisation.

  42. Bullukka says:

    I live in Brazil and I can say that, the same scenario happening here, and in other lands.

  43. Paul says:

    Can’t help feeling skeptical about certain ex-Witness comments here. They sound rather too much like someone who’s recently divorced and wants to unload all their grievances about their ex-spouse.

    In my experience, what really happens is that people want everyone else in the organization to accept their view of matters and they become furious when they don’t get what they want. Then they quit in a huff and spend the rest of their lives complaining about how badly they’ve been treated. Too bad they can’t see that they aren’t the center of the universe.

  44. Rose says:

    Mr. Phillip West, you have been misinformed, like most other people who have negative things to say about Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Rather than ask those who have either been kicked out or are inactive, why not go to those who are in good standing to ask what they believe?

    If I were to inquire about your religion, would you recommend I go to someone in good standing, or someone who was kicked out?

    Your comment that Jehovah’s Witnesses are like any other religious organization is false. Here is why:

    Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in killing their Christian brother, or their fellow man, in war. Most religions do, while believing the lie that “God blesses America”. JWs put GOD before their country, like Jesus said we should. Rome was the ruling power of his day; did he encourage his followers to sing “God Bless Rome”?

    Jehovah’s Witnesses worship the God Jesus worshipped–Jehovah. They don’t worship a god with three heads, like other religions do. Are you aware that the Trinity doctrine didn’t even come into EXISTENCE till 300 yrs AFTER Christ died?

    Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe that when a person dies, their BODY dies, but that their ’soul’ lives on. Does that make sense to you? The bible clearly states in Genesis 2:7 that when God created man, that man IS a soul, and not that God PUT WITHIN man a soul.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe hell is hot, like most religions teach. The bible clearly states hell is the common grave of mankind, and that Jesus went there himself. So they don’t believe that people are burning forever in a fire pit with satan and his demons running around with pitchforks.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t dishonor God by celebrating holidays that stem not from Christianity but rather, pagandom. So unlike most religions, they don’t believe reindeers fly, bunny rabbits lay chicken eggs, and in some saint named Valentine. Are you aware that the early Christians never celebrated these holidays, nor did they ever celebrate Christmas simply because it has absolutely nothing to do with Christ? Look it up in an encyclopedia, since you seem to have alot of time on your hands.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in pre-marital or extra-marital sex, since the bible forbids it. Yet most other relgions don’t follow that biblical command, simply because they don’t care.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses follow the biblical counsel to keep their bodies clean by not smoking; yet most religions don’t care if their members’ lungs are filthy and infringe upon others’ breathing space. Jehovah’s Witnesses would rather die of natural causes than emphysema, AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases found among other religions.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t have a clergy/laity class, while other religions do. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t pass a collection plate, nor do they solicit money from their members. There is no paid clergy, and their ministry is all volunteer, since Jesus told his disciples, “You received free, GIVE FREE.”

    Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have ‘difficulty’ in their association with Catholics and Protestants as you state; many of our neighbors, friends, relatives, and workmates are of these religions. And most of us were of these religions growing up. So once again, you are wrong in stating that this is an ‘isolating kind of control’. On the other hand, we courageously go to all sorts of neighborhoods, rich, poor, and outright dangerous, to preach the kingdom, while you, on the other hand, are sitting in front of your TV drinking beer. So we are hardly ‘isolated’, and are far from stunted socially. How many people of other religions would volunteer their time to go door to door like Jesus commanded us to do, in all sorts of neighborhoods to all sorts of people? I’d venture to say they’d be scared to death.

    Oh, and btw, unless a publication is totally against our beliefs, like those on the occult, we are free to exercise our own brains and conscience in deciding whether to read them. So no one ’strongly discourages’ us from reading non-Witness literature.

    Your post lacks intelligence and shows your bias and ignorance. My advice would be to not post anything at all, as you truly make yourself look like a fool.

  45. Marie says:

    This is a wonderful third person view of their work – it’s genuine and I really appreciated the history behind the JWs. I think alot of us don’t realize that these are nice people, who want to share some “hope” in these bad times. I don’t think that I could get paid enough to go door to door, and to get the door slammed in my face or rude remarks. I admire their love for their faith, and also their fellow neighbor. I know that I will be opening my door more often.

  46. Olga says:

    Thank you for the article!it is great!:)

  47. Chinwe says:

    I just want to echo the post of S. Joseph Davidian

    “Why are you engaging in dialogue with these apostates? Not only is it a colossal waste of your valuable time, but ask yourself: Would I argue with these people in person?”

    It’s so easy to lose one’s gurad on the internet. Consider that when you reply to a comment by one who is clearly an apostate you are having a conversation with him – a kind of association -. That it is done online doesn’t make it inconsequential.

  48. Sean says:

    To Randy who doesnt believe the world was flooded, watch this video, if this really is what they say it is, there is no way anyone could have built this in the frozen top of MT Ararat, it would have had to have floated up there. I would also like to add that if Noah was on top of Ararat, he probably had to abandon the ark not long after they got there because I would imagine that it wasnt long that it would have been too cold up there for them to stay. So the ark is probably still mostly intact or at least all still in one general area. Also there arent going to be insects that would eat the wood like at lower altitudes.

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