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Sunday in the Bible Belt - Bearing witness
Jehovahs Witnesses
Jehovahs Witnesses Rickey and Velinda Farris hand out free religious literature at the Morrison Yard Sale.

Although many may wonder what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, most recognize them for their door-to-door ministry. According to Elder Rickey Farris, they follow the example of early Christians and find going from house-to-house is a good way to reach people.

“In our Hall, we have around 100 publishers and that would be those who’ve been approved to go out into the door-to-door ministry,” said Farris. “Their ages vary anywhere from 8 to infinity.”

Known as a Kingdom Hall instead of a church, the structure in McMinnville was established in 1975 and is located on 1015 Harrison Ferry Road. Farris says as the name “Kingdom Hall” implies, their congregation is focused on God’s Kingdom.

“Jesus said, ‘Go therefore and make disciples’ and tell them about the good news of the kingdom,” said Farris. “Then, in the Lord’s Prayer, the second thing he asks for is ‘Let thy kingdom come’ so our preaching work is focused on that coming kingdom.”

So, what happens inside these places called Kingdom Halls? Every meeting is open to the public and consists mainly of songs, prayers and reading and discussing scriptures. Farris also mentioned no collection is ever taken.

“We have a 30-minute, Bible-based talk followed by an in-depth ‘Watchtower’ Study geared for Witnesses,” said Farris. “Our midweek meeting is focused on training for our mission work.”

This one-hour lesson comes from “The Watchtower,” which is an illustrated religious magazine, published monthly by Jehovah’s Witnesses. According to their website, they use the material to apply the Bible’s guidance in their lives and this same material is studied in 110,000 congregations worldwide.

“My mom was a church jumper, but to me, you know what’s right and the Witnesses teach the Bible and everything is backed by scriptures,” said David Bailey, who became a Witness later in life. “A lot of churches just go along with traditions and if you look in the Bible, it’s not there.”

Farris said there are two common misconceptions concerning Jehovah’s Witnesses -- that they don’t believe in Jesus and that they have their own Bible. He explained both are untrue. They do believe in Jesus and they typically teach from the New World or King James translation.

In order to shed some light on what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, here are five brief points to summarize their basic beliefs.

God – They believe God is the Creator and His name is Jehovah.

Bible – They accept the entire Bible and are not fundamentalists, so they believe parts were written in figurative or symbolic language and are not to be understood literally.

Jesus – They follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ and honor him as their Savior and as the Son of God. However, they believe Jesus is not the Almighty God and there is no scriptural basis for the Trinity doctrine.

The Kingdom of God – Jehovah’s Witnesses believe this is a real government in heaven, not a condition in the hearts of Christians. They believe the faithful are rewarded with a paradise on earth.

Death – People who die pass out of existence and they do not suffer in a fiery hell of torment. According to their interpretation of the Bible, God will bring billions back from death by means of a resurrection, but those who refuse to learn God’s ways after being raised to life will be destroyed forever with no hope of a resurrection.

For more information about Jehovah’s Witnesses visit www.jw.org. If you’re interested in service times for the Kingdom Hall in McMinnville, call 668-7655.