northanger (northanger) wrote,
northanger
northanger

Jehovah's Witnesses

in new york city recently had a chance to visit the Jehovah's Witness world headquarters. in the past several weeks, i've had some interesting synchronicity with this organization.

two JW folks knocked on my door two days after the 26-Dec earthquake and tsunami -- which is how i first heard about the event. in october, the same couple first knocked on my door. mid-dec, i was doing gematria on do-re-me-fa-so-la-ti (for some odd reason). margaret mentioned the suffering caused by the tsunami. as they were leaving, margaret stopped and asked if my name was "FA". strange-sounding name, i said no. over the next few weeks a close friend told me he was a Jehovah's Witness (and the conditions of that revelation was pretty amazing), by then, i'd gathered more numerological "evidence" related to do-re-me-fa-so-la-ti and FA in particular. so that's been percolating with me for awhile.

i think god is calling me back to the faith & in the next few posts i'll be exploring the faith of the Jehovah's Witnesses and what it means to be a missionary.

here's an article about a believer from Watchtower.org.

ARMENIA lies east of Turkey and just south of the great Caucasus mountain range. It is home to more than three million people. The nation's capital, Yerevan, enjoys a stunning view of the two peaks of Mount Ararat, where, according to tradition, Noah's ark came to rest after the global Deluge.—Genesis 8:4.

Jehovah's Witnesses have been carrying out their Christian activity in Armenia since 1975. After Armenia gained independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, a State Council for Religious Affairs was created to register religious organizations. However, this council has repeatedly refused to register Jehovah's Witnesses, largely over the issue of Christian neutrality. Consequently, since 1991 more than 100 young Witnesses in Armenia have been convicted and in most cases imprisoned for their Bible-based stand on military service.

The Council also requested the government prosecutor's office to investigate the religious activity of Lyova Margaryan, a Christian elder and a hardworking lawyer employed by the local atomic power plant. Eventually, Brother Margaryan was indicted under Article 244, a relic of Soviet law passed during the Khrushchev era, intended to hinder and ultimately eliminate Jehovah's Witnesses and other religious groups.

That law makes it a crime to organize or lead a religious group that, under the guise of preaching religious beliefs, ‘lures young people into attending religious meetings of an unregistered religion' and ‘influences members to refuse their civic duties.' To support his claim, the prosecutor focused on the presence of minor children at meetings conducted by Brother Margaryan in the city of Metsamor. The prosecutor also alleged that Brother Margaryan had coerced young members of the congregation into refusing military service.

The trial began on Friday, July 20, 2001, in the Armavir district court with Justice Manvel Simonyan presiding. It continued well into August. During their testimony, witnesses for the prosecution eventually admitted that agents of the National Security Ministry (formerly the KGB) had dictated part of the written statements against Brother Margaryan and had coerced them into signing those statements. In one instance, a woman admitted that a certain Security Ministry official had instructed her to allege that "Jehovah's Witnesses are against our government and our religion." The woman confessed that she did not know any of Jehovah's Witnesses personally but had only heard accusations against them on State television.

When his turn came, Brother Margaryan testified that minor children who attend meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses do so with their parents' permission. He also explained that military service is a personal decision. The prosecutor's cross-examination continued for several days. Brother Margaryan, using the Bible, calmly answered questions about his beliefs, while the prosecutor checked the Scripture references in his own Bible.

On September 18, 2001, the judge pronounced Margaryan "not guilty," stating that there "was no element of crime" in his activity. A telling report on the case appeared in the Associated Press. It read: "A leader of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Armenia was acquitted today on charges of proselytizing and of forcing young people to evade military service. After a two-month trial, the Court said there was insufficient evidence against the leader, Levon Markarian [Lyova Margaryan]. He had faced up to five years in prison. . . . Though Armenia's Constitution provides for freedom of religion, it is difficult for new groups to register and the rules favor the dominant Armenian Apostolic Church." In its press release of September 18, 2001, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) stated: "Although welcoming the verdict, the OSCE Office continues to regret that the prosecution was launched in the first place."

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