english - Detwiler 1 Jehovahs Witnesses and American...

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Detwiler 1 Jehovah’s Witnesses and American Freedoms: The Fight for Speech and Religion Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom . New My first thought in researching was to go to the most authoritative source. Looking at the history of court cases involving Jehovah’s Witnesses, I concluded the most authoritative source would be with the Witnesses themselves. Having been an avid reader, I had read this book cover-to-cover a few years ago, despite its 700+ pages. I found the history and the perspective enlightening, because it placed within a historical context the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I could trace how the issue of, for instance, neutrality and how came to a head just before World War II, whereas during World War I, the issue was not clearly addressed in Witness beliefs. The publishers of this book had a vested interest in preserving the accounts of their struggle for various rights, and the experiences of those individuals involved. In examining this work critically, my faith in the honesty of its publishers was heightened. First, it is very candid about any changes in belief or mistakes that were made by Witnesses. Its tone is not one of self- aggrandizement. Second, in examining the chapter “Defending and Legally Establishing the Good News” could not be a more transparent topic. Any material cited and any cases referred to are a matter of public record, easily verifiable. This publication was an excellent starting point, one published by the , itself the legal entity of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Peters, Shawn Francis. Judging Jehovah’s Witneses: Religious Persecution and the Dawn of the Rights Revolution . Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000.
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Detwiler 2 I was immediately excited when I saw the title of this book: it seemed to fit exactly with my topic. As I read through the table of contents, I found out I was right. Reading the accounts that Peters describes, I was struck by the nature of the clashes between Witnesses and police in the 1940s. Today, we would never consider that police had the authority to take the action that they took back then, but sixty years ago, this action held up even in the light of public scrutiny. As I read, I was unsure of one thing that was important to my critical understanding of Peters and his book – was he one of Jehovah’s Witnesses? Reading further, though, I found out not only that he was not, but that he disagreed with some of the doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was extremely pleased by this finding, because now I recognized that I had the perspective of someone with a different background. I could compare this book to other publications by Jehovah’s Witnesses and see how they matched up. Even better, the notes and references that Peters provided were comprehensive and scholarly. Among these, he included several references to Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom
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english - Detwiler 1 Jehovahs Witnesses and American...

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