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Express and Echo expects JW in Exeter


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The late pop singer Michael Jackson and tennis player Serena Williams share a common bond - they were both brought up as Jehovah's Witnesses.

 

The faith is known for refusing to celebrate birthdays, Easter or Christmas, and knocking on doors to hand out their magazine The Watchtower.

 

But if you're curious about what it really involves, you can find out more next week as an estimated 8,000 people are expected to attend a Jehovah’s Witnesses gathering at Westpoint near Exeter, on Friday July 8.

 

Local people are invited to attend the three-day event free of charge to find out more about the faith. It is one of a number of Remain Loyal to Jehovah! conventions across the UK.

 

Famous followers of the religion include the rock star Prince. The Purple Rain singer, who died earlier this year, converted in 2001 shortly after his mother's death.

 
 

The late American singer Michael Jackson was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, as was tennis player Serena Williams, who still practises the religion.

Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate Christmas, Easter or birthdays as they believe it displeases God, and refuse blood transfusions because they believe the Bible forbids it.

They call God by the name Jehovah, see the Bible as a historically accurate account of God's message, believe Jesus started ruling Heaven in 1914 and say we are living in "the last days" before God's Kingdom becomes are reality on earth.

There are eight million Jehovah's Witnesses around the world, with more than one million in the United States where the faith is based, and more than 100,000 in the UK.

 

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Tennis player Serena Williams

 

David Semonian, a spokesman for Jehovah's Witnesses, said: "Our convention this year features content that will help people develop stronger bonds with friends, family members and, above all, with God. We are confident that all who attend will enjoy this program."

Saturday morning will see a water baptism for those expressing their dedication.

What do Jehovah's Witnesses believe?

Here is a summary of some of the religion's main points. Find out more here.

We worship the one true and Almighty God, the Creator, whose name is Jehovah;

We recognize the Bible as God's inspired message to humans;

We follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ and honor him as our Savior and as the Son of God.

 

 

 

 
The Kingdom of God

This is a real government in heaven, not a condition in the hearts of Christians. It will replace human governments and accomplish God's purpose for the earth. It will take these actions soon, for Bible prophecy indicates that we are living in "the last days."

Jesus is the King of God's Kingdom in heaven. He began ruling in 1914.

Salvation

Deliverance from sin and death is possible through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. To benefit from that sacrifice, people must not only exercise faith in Jesus but also change their course of life and get baptized.

Heaven

Jehovah God, Jesus Christ, and the faithful angels reside in the spirit realm.

Earth

God created the earth to be mankind's eternal home.

Evil and suffering

These began when one of God's angels rebelled. This angel, who after his rebellion was called "Satan" and "Devil," persuaded the first human couple to join him, and the consequences have been disastrous for their descendants.

Death

People who die pass out of existence. They do not suffer in a fiery hell of torment. God will bring billions back from death by means of a resurrection.

Family

We adhere to God's original standard of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, with sexual immorality being the only valid basis for divorce.

Our worship

We do not venerate the cross or any other images.

Our organization

We are organized into congregations, each of which is overseen by a body of elders.

Our unity

We are globally united in our beliefs. We also work hard to have no social, ethnic, racial, or class divisions.

Our conduct

We strive to show unselfish love in all our actions.

Our relationships with others

Jesus commanded: "You must love your neighbour as yourself."


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