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Definition of JEHOVAH'S WITNESS
: a member of a group that witness by distributing literature and by personal evangelism to beliefs in the theocratic rule of God, the sinfulness of organized religions and governments, and an imminent millennium
Member of an international religious movement founded in Pittsburgh, Pa., by Charles T. Russell in 1872. The movement was originally known as the International Bible Students Association, but its name was changed by Russell's successor, Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869–1942). The Witnesses are a millennialist group whose beliefs are based primarily on the apocalyptic sections of the Bible, notably Daniel and the Book of Revelation. They refuse to perform military service or salute the flag, actions which have brought them into direct conflict with governments around the world. They are famous for their door-to-door evangelizing and for refusing blood transfusions; they believe there is scriptural justification for all their actions and beliefs. Their goal is the establishment of God's kingdom on earth, and they hold that Jesuswho is believed to be God's first creation rather than one person in a trinityis God's agent in this plan. Their national headquarters is in Brooklyn, N.Y.; their major publications, the Watchtower and Awake!, are published in about 80 languages. See alsomillennialism.