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Jehovah's Witnesses are known for their orthodox beliefs and practices like knocking on people's doors to convert them. Does that make them a cult?

Hidden in plain sight: Is the Jehovah’s Witness “religion” a cult?

It seems like the word “cult” is passed around a lot these days. Former President Donald Trump is often called a cult leader. Democratic California congresswoman Jackie Speier recently compared the former commander in chief to the iconic cult to Jim Jones, the iconic leader of The Peoples Temple. It was an American religious group of which almost 1000 members died by mass murder-suicide in Guyana in 1978. 

Working as a congressional staffer at the time, Speier was heavily wounded by temple members amid an ambush that killed Congressman Leo Ryan of San Francisco. Let’s not forget about NXIVM, a “sex cult” based in Albany, New York. 

According to media reports supported by evidence, NXIVM’s female members recruited “slaves” who were branded like cows with the initials of the group’s leader known as Keith Raniere. Raniere (who also went by Vanguard), was sentenced to 120 years in prison for sex trafficking. Frankly, there are just too many cults throughout human history to list in this article. Today, we’ll focus on just one: the Jehovah’s Witnesses. 

We’re not declaring the Jehovah’s Witness religion a cult but the public is curious. Atrocities aren’t always hidden away, sometimes they can be in plain sight like the buildings and skyscrapers of a prominent city. Is the Jehovah’s Witness religion a cult? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Before talking about the Jehovah’s Witness religion, let’s discuss what exactly defines a cult. According to when discussing its characteristics and behavior, a cult is defined as “a system or a group of people who practice excessive devotion to a figure, object, or belief system, typically following a charismatic leader.”

The term is usually implemented with highly unorthodox religious sectors that conduct sinister practices and demonstrations. Cults, however, have also been known to not be religious. In 1967, Charles Manson founded the cult known today as The Family. It’s merely one of a few examples of a dangerous yet non-religious cult. 

Manson believed the United States was about to fall into an apocalyptic war between races. After recruiting members, he brainwashed them into believing that after the race war concluded, they would be asked to lead the country into the dawning of a new age.  Manson grew impatient because the supposed war wasn’t happening quickly enough so to speed up the process, he successfully convinced his followers to commit brutal murders. 

Ex-Jehovah’s Witness

An ex-Jehovah’s Witness has revealed secrets of the religious group. They described it as a “cult” that “tries to control emotions, thought, information and behavior of a person.” The man refused to be formally identified but shared his experience of growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness in Poland via an Ask Me Anything post on Reddit. 

Utilizing the username “Ohmyiw”, the former Jehovah’s Witness elder openly talked about the group’s rules, which included prohibiting blood transfusion “even if that costs them their life” or believing the world “will end in Armageddon ‘very soon’”. 

Ohmyiw, however, said he tried to “never give an impression that Jehovah’s Witnesses are dumb or intelligent”, added that “many of them are actually quite intelligent, albeit deluded people.” His family refused to acknowledge him and his wife after they left the group. 

According to Ohmyiw, those who leave the faith are deemed “apostates” and are “disfellowshipped”, a term for former expulsion and shunning, where members are “prohibited from talking, and even from saying ‘hello’ to them.” He talked about a time when an elder started to lose his faith and challenged the group. 

He said the Jehovah’s Witnesses allegedly denounced him and spread gossip about the man, pressuring him “so much he jumped into a river and killed himself.”

Do you think the Jehovah’s Witness religion is a cult? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  • Jehovah’s Witnesses have produced the most translated website on the internet in over 1000 language’s. This is so that words of Jesus will come true when he said that “this good news of the kingdom “will be preached through out the world before the end comes, Matthew 24:14.
    They have been persecuted because of their political neutrality. They refuse to do military training or learn war anymore, Isaiah 2:2-4.

    February 6, 2022
  • JW’s are definitely a cult in terms of the. BITE model of control, Behaviour, Information, Thought and Emotional control. They esteem their 8 member only male governing body and are expected to obey them even if they do not understand the instructions they receive . The governing body are self appointed.

    February 7, 2022
  • Yea they’re a cult. One basic difference between a religion and a cult is what happens when you leave. You can leave a religion and not lose your family and network. Not so with cults, who believe there is NO legitimate reason to leave and will shun those who do. Jehovah’s Witnesses hold their members hostage mentally because of the shunning policies. No matter what their website says, in reality they shun anyone who leaves.

    February 7, 2022
  • Gloomy, aggressive, embittered: NO. Open and public: YES. Unconventional: YES. Cult: YES of course, if you ask an ex-Jehovah’s Witness. The “cult” label can be applied to any religion to promote a negative stereotype. Jehovah’s Witnesses are ordinary people with strong beliefs (religious, agnostic, atheistic), like everyone else, including ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    February 7, 2022
  • The Jehovah’s Witnesses an insidious high-control group with cult tendencies.

    Pew research revealed that around 70% of children born into the Jehovah’s Witnesses leave once they reach adulthood. These children are then shunned by their believing parents, forever. There are many thousands of older Jehovah’s Witnesses have never seen their grandchildren.

    Watchtower also covers up child abuse on an industrial scale and fights victims in court. See the Australian Royal Commission where it was found that, despite many claims to the contrary, the Jehovah’s Witnesses there had not reported a single case of child abuse within the church since it was founded.

    It’s a nasty, destructive cult in cheap suits.

    February 8, 2022
  • Yes,they are a “Cult”…the nastiest people on this planet to be exact…they control EVERY aspect of your life…be it what you say,wear,eat,who you marry,if you’re allowed to have kids,no sexual activity EVER,like it’s something dirty…you will never see me join these vicious and incredibly spiteful people!!…I’ve married someone who’s mother is a Jehovah Witness and I’ve never come across such a mind controlling person in my life….I urge anyone who is thinking of joining,please don’t….you’re a prisoner if you do!!

    February 15, 2022
    • I’m in the same boat hugs!

      March 27, 2022
  • yes, without doubt they ARE a cult. Kids indoctrinated from birth. It’s a 24 hour thing. If you commit any of their imposed rules, you are thrown out to the wolves. It happened to my granddaughter, and she lost everything she ever knew, her friends, her family’ie ‘parents, her brother her whole social life, At one point she was suicidal. She also has a sister who is gay and she also went through the same thing. It’s a good job she has me to help and support her through some of the worst times in her life. I’m happy to say after two years she is at last living her life her way and is happy. It’s horrendous how they cut families off and leave them to find their own way. My granddaughter told me many of the young JW’s are on drugs and I can understand why. They are made to surpress all their natural feelings or be doomed.

    December 19, 2022

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