Jehovah’s Witnesses is a Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity.
Here are several interesting facts about Jehovah Witnesses:
JWs got their start in 1870 when a man named Charles Taze Russell started leading Bible studies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The group was initially called the Watch Tower Society since the founder Charles Taze Russell published a magazine called ”Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.”
In the present day, there are more than 8.4 million active members worldwide in over 110,000 congregations.
They don’t accept blood transfusions. The organization says:
“We avoid taking blood not only in obedience to God but also out of respect for him as the Giver of life.”
JWs do not celebrate the classic Christian holidays of Christmas and Easter since they consider to have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity.
Also, JWs do not stand for national anthems, vote, salute flags, or serve in the military.
They believe that Jesus Christ was not divine, and instead see the Holy Spirit as an “active force” and not just a person.
Jehovah’s Witnesses practice door-to-door ministry since they believe it is an effective way to fulfill the Great Commission.
List Of 10 Famous People Who Are (Or Were) Jehovah’s Witnesses:
#1 Michael Jackson
His mother converted to the sect in 1963, when Michael was only five years old. According to La Toya:
“Michael and I were very active in the Jehovah’s Witness faith. … Five days a week the two of us and Mother studied the Bible at home and attended the Kingdom Hall.”
La Toya later added:
”… Every morning Michael and I witnessed, knocking on doors around Los Angeles, spreading the word of Jehovah. … As my brother’s fame grew, he had to don convincing disguises, like a rubber fat suit he bought years later,…”
Due to his ”Smooth Criminal” video, in which he held a shotgun, Michael Jackson was officially shunned by JWs.
Legendary singer Prince, who passed away in April 2016, was raised as a Seventh Day Adventist. In 2001, Prince converted to the faith, following the death of his mother. He was introduced to the faith by Larry Graham, the bassist for Sly & The Family Stone, an American band from San Francisco.
In a 2008 interview with The New Yorker, Prince said about his conversion and interest in JWs:
“I don’t see it really as a conversion. More, you know, it’s a realization. It’s like Morpheus and Neo in The Matrix.”
Prince even remixed some JW songs of worship to show his sincere devotion. But the Watchtower Society, the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, sent him a letter explaining that the songs were copyrighted.
In 2005, Prince needed double hip-replacement surgery; however, he wouldn’t undergo the operation because JWs refuse blood transfusions.
According to reports, he would attend meetings at a local Kingdom Hall and would from time to time knock on doors to speak about Jehovah’s Witnesses. During a 2008 interview, Prince quoted:
“Sometimes people act surprised, but mostly they’re really cool about it.”
He was last seen at JW Kingdom Hall, Saint Louis Park congregation in Minneapolis on March 23, 2016, to attend an hour-long ceremony commemorating Good Friday.
#3 Ja Rule
Ja Rule was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. He said:
“I was living with my grandmother at the time. My mom would get me on the weekends and stuff like that.”
Ja Rule continued:
”And then they were like, ‘You’re not gonna be able to go with your mom on the weekends anymore.’ I didn’t understand it like that. And I was like, ‘Well that’s not gonna fly, and I’m leaving here and gonna live with my mother.'”
He also said:
“We were kinda like the black sheep now. Nobody was dealing with my mother, and that was crazy.”
#4 Dave Mustaine
Mustaine is best known as the co-founder, guitarist, lead vocalist, and main songwriter of the heavy metal band Megadeth. Dave was also brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness. Mustaine said:
“My mum became a Jehovah’s Witness when I was seven, and that totally ruined my life.”
”When everybody stands up and does the Pledge of Allegiance, and you’ve got to stand like a dork with your hands at your sides, and everybody’s having birthdays and you’re not, and no Christmas, and you can’t have any friends because they’re all Pagan – that really scared me.”
#5 Dwight Eisenhower
Born on October 14, 1890, in Denison, Texas, Eisenhower became the 34th President of the United States.
Both his parents were active in the Watchtower during most of the Dwight children’s formative years, but, he left the faith as an adult.
#6 Venus Williams
She was raised as JW by her mother Oracene Price, who converted to the religion in the 1980s.
Xzibit, born Alvin Nathaniel Joiner, once said:
“My parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses and they didn’t particularly care for rap music. I would get my little headphones and sneak and listen to it at night.”
Joiner later added:
”Every time they would catch me, they would get it and break my tapes. And I’d be mad. Eventually, I got sick of it. So I said, ‘You know what? I can rap my own stuff and they can never take that from me.'”
READ MORE: Famous People Who Are Mormon
#8 Serena Williams
Just like her sister Venus Williams, Serena was raised as a JW by her mother, Oracene Price. But, Serena is more vocal about her faith than her sister. For instance, Serena repeatedly thanked “Jehovah God” after winning tournaments.
Serena has also shared over time that her beliefs have helped her recover spiritually and emotionally, in part, after the loss of her sister, Yetunde, due to gun violence in 2003, and health issues, including pulmonary embolisms.
In 2018, ahead of the U.S. Open, Serena said she wouldn’t celebrate her daughter’s first birthday since she’s a JW.
“We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, so we don’t do that.”
READ MORE: List Of 11 Famous Mystics in History
#9 Naomi Campbell
Campbell was raised a JW. Naomi told the Daily Mail:
“I was raised to be a JW, but I let it slip. Now I have found it again, I feel much more at peace with myself and the world around me.”
READ MORE: 10 Famous People Who Left Scientology
#10 Donald Glover
The rapper now identifies as an atheist; however, he spent his childhood as a JW. Donald told Esquire in 2018:
“If people saw how I grew up, they would be triggered.”
Glover also recalled during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:
“I didn’t have a lot of things from the world. I was always taught that the world was kind of a bad place. So, like, whenever things came in, I’d be like, ‘Yo, this is really dope!'”
Featured image source – © Getty Images.
READ THIS NEXT: Famous People Who Are Atheists