Glossary of Jehovah’s Witness Terminology

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Jehovah’s Witnesses regularly change their terminology. Often times word changes are small and the original meaning might change only a little or not at all. What I present here is a glossary of words, phrases, and concepts based on my understanding and at the time that I had escaped the religion. It is likely that some of the terms have since changed.

I am producing this glossary for the benefit of Witnesses, Former Witnesses, therapists, and other helpers.

144,000. Noun. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that only 114,000 people will go to heaven and will reign as kings and priests with Jesus in Heaven. Example: The 114,000 will reign with Christ in heaven.

Agape. Noun. Sometimes “Agape Love”

Angel. Noun. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Angels are spirit creatures that exist in an invisible spirit realm. They believe they serve as gods messengers. Witnesses believe that Angel’s are directing their preaching work. Although Witnesses do not believe in Guardian Angels they sometimes do believe that Angels serve to intervene and physically protect them in the preaching work. Typically though witnesses will credit God with divine intervention rather than angels.

Anointed. Noun. Members of the group of 144,000 Christians that will reign with Jesus. These individuals are considered to be anointed with holy spirit. See also Remnant. Example: That’s Bethany she professes to be of the Anointed.

Announcements. Noun. Usually, at the start of the second portion of their midweek meeting, there will be an announcement section. Announcements often are mundane in nature. However, sometimes announcements include things like announcing a new elder, ministerial servant, or pioneer. Announcements are also when they will announce a person as no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses so as to let the congregation know they need to shun that person.

Apostate. Noun. Former members of Jehovah’s Witnesses are considered Apostates, especially when those members openly criticizes current members or the organization. Members who have left the faith are considered to be more sinful and more reprehensible than individuals who were never part of the faith. Occasionally all non-Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim to be Christian will be called “apostate” as in “apostate Christianity” although this use is far less common. Additionally, some former members of the faith use the Identity as apostate as a source of pride. They cite the Greek word apostata meaning “a runaway slave” as accurate and thus are proud to have escaped what they consider to be oppressive enslavement by the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Apostates are considered to be “mentally diseased” according to the organizations’ official website. Example: I heard Josue is an apostate now.

Armageddon. Noun. When God destroys all the earthy nations as they are part of the devil’s earthly organization. Sometimes considered a joyous time as it is viewed as God coming to protect surviving witnesses and establish his own government over the earth.

Assembly. Noun. Large meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses usually conducted at “Assembly Halls” owned by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Assemblies usually occur periodically throughout the year and are usually one or two days in length.

Associations, Bad. Expression. Concept. Worldly people and witnesses who are not living up to the standards of the organization are considered bad association. Example: Don’t hang out with Johnny, He is bad association.

Associations, Good. Expression. Concept. Witnesses who attend all meetings, go out preaching regularly and adhere to witness standards are considered good association. Example: The Turners are always at meetings, they are good association.

Attendant. Noun. Usually but not always a Ministerial Servant assigned to various tasks during a meeting. Tasks include greeting people, seating people, asking people to leave the auditorium if they are disrupting the meeting, and counting the number of attendees.

Auxiliary Pioneer: Noun. Similar to the above but usually the commitment is just for one month. Also, the number of hours required is usually less. Sometimes this is simply referred to as “pioneer” but it is over lower ranking. Example: I am auxiliary pioneering this month!

Awake! Noun. Often, “the Watchtower and Awake!” A magazine published by Jehovah’s Witnesses that was designed to be distributed to non-Witnesses.

Awake. Noun. Concept. Jehovah’s Witnesses refer to being knowledgeable and active in the Jehovah’s Witnesses as being “awake.”

Baptism. Noun. Jehovah’s Witnesses practice baptism by full body water immersion. Baptisms usually occur at Assemblies and conventions. Individuals are not considered legitimate members of the congregation until they are baptized. Not being baptized is considered a source of shame. Once a person is baptized their relationship with the faith is considered more serious. They can then be officially shunned by members of the congregation as well. Witnesses do not baptize babies but young children of Witnesses are often harassed about and coerced into baptism by family and members of the congregation. It is taught that if you are aware of the faith but do not get baptized then God will kill you during Armageddon. Example: I missed the baptism because I volunteer in the lobby.

Bethel. Noun. The world headquarters and any “Branch offices” are referred to as Bethel.

Bethel (Meeting for future Bethelites) Noun.

Bethelite. Noun. Someone who works and lives at the world headquarters complex or one of its branch offices is called a Bethelite.

Body of Elders. Expression. The collective group of elders at any particular congregation.

Book Study. Noun. Replaced by “Congregation Bible Study” and “Family Study”, but not to be confused with Bible Study.

Bible Study (the activity): Noun. Also “Study.” When Jehovah’s Witnesses go out preaching they try to start Bible Studies. A bible study consists of reviewing an introductory book published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society with a non-Jehovah’s Witness. Usually, the non-witness and the witness will take turns reading the paragraphs and then the witness will ask the non-witness the question that is printed on the page. Example: I started a bible study today! or Sheesh, that was a long Bible study, did you baptize them too?!

Bible Study (The person): Noun. Also “Study. This may also refer to the non-witness who is participating. Example: Did you meet Cindy? She’s my new Bible study. or My study said they were coming to meeting tonight but I don’t see them.

Bible Study, Personal. Noun. Members of the congregation are expected to read the bible and study the bible every day. When they say study they mean to reference and read literature produced by the watchtower bible and tract society. Additionally, personal study or personal Bible study is considered to be reading that you do that is in addition to the reading and studying that is required for meetings and preaching. Example: I do my personal study on Saturday afternoon.

Brother. Noun. What baptized male members of the congregation are called. Usually, the title Brother followed by a surname is used, never a first name. Additionally, when someone is called upon from the platform they are always addressed as “Brother” or “Sister”. In regular speech, a member is more likely to refer to someone as Brother or sister if they don’t know them well, if they are older, or if they occupy a higher rank in the witness hierarchy. Sometimes the term brother is used as a term of endearment. Occasionally Brothers will be used to mean all members of the congregation including sisters.

Brotherhood. Noun. Sometimes the Christian Brotherhood. Sometimes the collective membership of Jehovah’s Witnesses is called “the brotherhood”

Car Group. Noun. The selection of people assigned to go out preaching together and who are traveling in the same car. “Field Service Group” is sometimes synonymous with “car group”. See field service Group. Example: It was just Brother Silver and Sister Rodriguez in my car group today.

Cleaning (After the meeting, Cleaning Assignment). Members are expected to clean and do maintenance on their own buildings and other places that they meet at. Often time members and groups will be assigned to clean after a meeting, convention, or assembly.

Clergy. Concept. Also a preacher, minister. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not use the term clergy and prefer minister or preacher. However, as a concept, it is used and applied inconsistently. The word preacher or minister may be used to intentionally mislead outsiders into thinking the member is part of the clergy. Occasionally only Elders are considered Clergy. Sometimes both Elders and Ministerial Servants. Sometimes all members of the congregation are considered part of the clergy. I think it depends on legality and what they are trying to achieve with the use of the term at a given moment.

Christendom. Noun. Any version of Christianity that is not Jehovah’s Witnesses. Any religion that is not Jehovah’s Witnesses is considered to be part of Christendom. It is also taught that members of Christendom are guilty of greater sin and worthy of greater punishment from God for being fake Christians. Example: The Catholic church is part of Christendom.

Circuit Overseer. Noun.

Comment. Noun. Often To give a comment. Comments are the answer to a question that is presented from the platform at a meeting. Comments are seen as an indicator of a person’s spirituality. Comments that are in-depth, lengthy, or involve references to Jehovah’s Witness literature other than the one being considered at the moment are considered to indicative of greater spirituality. Example: I always love Brother Fulano’s comments.

Comment. Verb. See public Declaration. Often Commenting. The act of raising one’s hand at a meeting and giving an answer to the conductor’s question. The answer may be word-for-word read from the reading material or it may be in the publisher’s own words. Example: He hasn’t been commenting on Sunday anymore.

Congregation. Noun. See also the Hall.

Congregation Bible Study. Noun. Meeting that took the place of the book study. Functions the same as the book study but is typically conducted at the Kingdom hall has part of the midweek meeting. Example: Jimmy is the reader for the Congregation Bible Study.

Convention, District. Noun. A large meeting usually held once a summer. Frequently has several thousand attendees.

Convention, International. Noun. A large meeting usually held once a summer. Attendees must apply to go to such a convention or will be invited to go if they are local.

Demon. Noun. An Angel that chose to follow satan. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that demons can possess objects and may enter ones home by means of the television or other media.

Demonstration. Noun. An assignment was given where one demonstrates how to use the current literature in the preaching work. Demonstrations are part of the Field Service Group or part of the Service meeting.

Disfellowship. Verb. Often Disfellowshipped. Informally “Diffed” When a member has been announced as “no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses” they are considered disfellowshiped. Disfellowshipped people are considered to be worse than non-members. Current members are not allowed to speak with Disfellowshiped individuals unless absolutely necessary.

Double life. Expression. Often “leading a double life” or “living a double life” Individuals who engage in culturally typical behavior and dress when not around other members of the faith but act and dress like witnesses when around other members are said to be leading a double life. This is may be common among children at school. Individuals may also lead a double life in their work environment. Example: Leah was leading a double life all this time. No wonder she got pregnant out of wedlock!

Emblems (of the memorial). Noun. The unleavened bread (usually Matzo) and dry red wine that is passed as part of the memorial observation are called the memorial Emblems.

Elder: Noun. I am assuming Elders are more or less analogous to priests in the Catholic religion. They can only be males. They may do a lot of the same functions as Ministerial Servants. One distinction is that they are expected to do”teaching” activities in the congregation. Elders also participate in “judicial meetings.” and in “Judicial committees” Elder’s have secret books and secret meetings that they are not allowed to discuss or show the rest of the congregation. Also, someone may be referred to as “An Elder” but never is it used as a personal title as in “Elder John”. Example: Brother Bob has been an elder since I was a child. or Brother Rogers stepped down from being an Elder.

Elder Training school. A meeting help periodically for training elders. Only Elders are invited.

Faithful Slave. Expression.

Family Study Night.

Fleshly. Adjective. Used when distinguishing between blood relatives and “spiritual” relatives. Example: that’s John he is my fleshly father. Or did you meet Brother and Sister valentine? They are my spiritual parents.

Field Service. Expression.

Field Service meeting. Expression. See also, group.

Friends. Noun. Usually “The Friends.” Used to refer to other members of the congregation or members of the faith more generally. Example: We had a get together with some of the friends from the hall.

Fundamentalist. Noun. Concept. Jehovah’s Witnesses may describe their own religion as fundamentalist in nature but they will not use the term fundamentalist. Witness actively deny and reject the use of the word, the label, and the term fundamentalist.

Gehenna. Noun. Place of eternal destruction.

Gilead school. School for training missionaries. This term is no longer in use.

Good Standing. Noun.

Governing Body. Noun.

Great Crowd. Noun. Usually “the great crowd”. Members of the Jehovah’s Witness faith that survive the great tribulation and Armageddon. Witnesses teach that not all members of the faith will survive and thus not all members are part of the great crowd.

Great Tribulation. Noun. Usually “the great tribulation” The period of intense persecution against Witnesses that occurs before Armageddon. Often depicted as holocaust like. Functionally the great tribulation and Armageddon serve a similar purpose to Hell in other Christian traditions. Another key feature is the destruction of religion by means of governments. Usually, witnesses speculate that it will be China starts the end of religion during the great tribulation. Example: let’s be nice to the police so they have mercy on us during the great tribulation.

Group. Noun. Usually”the group”. In the past group and “the group” might refer to the weekly meeting known as the book study, or more specifically the attendees. More often it refers to the meeting that is held in preparation for Field service. It may also refer to the car group. See field service meeting, car group. Example: They put Brother Smith in my group again, he smells I don’t want to work with him!

Hades. Noun. See also Sheol, Hell. Witnesses believe that Hades is another term for the grave. Hades is not a term that is used in common speech, but rather a term that is used in bible discussion.

Harlot. Noun.

Hall. Noun. Usually “the Hall”. See Kingdom Hall, Congregation.

Head Covering. Women are expected to wear a head covering if they have to teach or pray in the presence of an unbaptized male. The head covering may take the form of a hat, handkerchief, or even a napkin.

Heart. Noun. Often, “the heart is treacherous”.

Heart Condition. Expression.

Heaven. Noun. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that heaven is spiritual but invisible and literal place in which God resides. It is also the place with which Jesus was resurrected and will reign with 114,000 resurrected humans. Example: Jehovah is in heaven with his son Jesus.

Heavenly calling. Expression. People who profess to be anointed are also said to have “the heavenly calling. Example: Gertrude partook at the memorial, she must have the heavenly calling.

Hebrew (Language). Noun. Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Hebrew was likely the original language that humans spoke before the tower of Babel. They also teach that it is likely that everyone will speak Hebrew again in the New System.

Hell. Noun. See Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, Great Tribulation, and Armageddon. Jehovah’s Witnesses often report that they do not believe in eternal torment in a fiery hell and that they believe the Hebrew and Greek words translated as Hell simply mean the grave. However functionally Jehovah’s Witnesses have replaced traditional teachings of hell with the teachings of the great tribulation and Armageddon. These events are often depicted as terrifying and show people dying horrific deaths.

Idolatry. Noun.

Inactive. Noun.

Interested. Noun. Usually “interested ones”, “people who show interest.”

Jehovah. Noun. God’s personal name and is a translation of the tetragrammaton. Generally, witnesses teach that Jehovah is not the original pronunciation but that Jehovah is the acceptable modern translation of Gods name. Witnesses teach that Jehovah is not part of a trinity and is the Father of Jesus and creator of all things. May be used in combination with the word God, lord, or father. Example: Jehovah God, God Jehovah, Sovereign Lord Jehovah, Jehovah our Father in heaven, or Jehovah Heavenly Father.

Kingdom Hall. Noun. This is the name for the building that Jehovah’s Witnesses meet in. Frequently it’s just called “the hall”. It is synonymous with “church building”. Occasionally when “the hall” is used it might take on a similar meeting to the word congregation. Example: I didn’t see you at the Hall last night, are you feeling ok? or I was talking to the friends from the hall.

Kingdom Ministry (the publication). Noun. Publication. The publication used to train Witnesses how to preach and engage members of the public. It is studied during the midweek meeting. This term is no longer in use and has been replaced with “Our Christian ministry” (Needs verification). Example: Johnny has your kingdom Ministry for Thursday.

Kingdom Ministry (the activity). Noun. The activity of preaching, in general, is sometimes referred to as “the kingdom ministry”. See also preaching, field service.

Kingdom Melodies. Noun.

Local Needs. Noun.

Loved Ones. Expression.

Marking. Noun.

Meeting(s). Noun. When Jehovah’s witnesses “go to church” they call it Meeting or “going to Meeting.” They never use the term church but Meeting is analogous to “church” where church would be used as an activity. The definitartcle “the” is rarely used. Example: He missed 3 meetings this month, I’m worried about him. or We were late for meeting again!

Meeting. Verb. Occasionally meeting will be used as a verb. Some of Jehovah’s witness meetings are referred to a “group” or “the group”. In these cases, one might be meeting with the group. Example: I’m meeting with the group at 9.

Memorial. Noun. Also called the Lord’s evening meal. This is the commemoration of the death of Jesus. Witnesses hold a meeting after sundown. The memorial is the largest meeting held at a kingdom hall, however, it is not always held at a kingdom hall. Plates of unleavened bread, usually in the form of store-bought Matzo, are passed among attendees. Attendees are instructed to not eat the bread unless they have a “heavenly” calling or have been “anointed by holy spirit”. After the bread is passed then multiple goblets of a dark red wine is passed around the attendees. Again they are instructed to not drink unless they have a heavenly calling. The Memorial begins and ends with a song. Typically the same songs are used every year. Attendees sometimes go out to eat after the memorial but they go as separate groups.

Midweek Meeting. Expression. A roughly two-hour meeting held during the week. The midweek Meeting consists of three sub-meetings. The Congregation Bible Study, The Theocratic Ministry School, and the Service meeting. The names of the meetings change periodically but the content and format are essentially the same.

Microphones. Noun. Usually “doing the microphones(mics)” or “passing the microphones(Mics)” or

Minister. Noun. Often Jehovah’s Witnesses will consider any Publisher to be a Minister. This is sometimes used to causes confusion regarding Clergy-type privileges in society.

Ministerial servant: Noun. Ministerial servant or simply a servant is a male member of the congregation that is appointed by the Elders in the congregation as in generally expected to do “non-teaching” activities. These might include running the literature counter or updating maps. Ministerial servant is a privileged position and ups your status in the Witness social hierarchy. I believe this position to be analogous to a deacon in the Catholic church. Ministerial servants are sometimes included in secret elder meetings but they may also be excluded. Periodically there are special secret Ministerial servant training meetings. Also, someone may be referred to as “A ministerial servant” or “a servant” but never is it used as a personal title like “Servant Jose” Example: Roger is a Ministerial Servant, ask him to get you a bible from the literature counter.

Ministerial Servant Training School. A meeting conducted periodically to train ministerial servants.

Ministry. Noun. The preaching work. Often referred to as one’s personal ministry, the kingdom ministry, or the public ministry.

Mother. Noun. Used to reference the organization. This term may be out of use or regional. See also Watchtower Bible and Tract society. Example: Mother teaches us that eating blood is a sin. or Mother expects us to be humble and take correction.

New light. Noun. When changes to Witness meetings, doctrine or terminology is made it is considered new light. The idea being that these revelations come from god as he slowly reveals “truth” to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. As God does this the truth “gets brighter”. Example: There was some new light discussed at the convention.

New System. Expression. Refers to God’s restored world after the destruction of the current one.

New World Order. Expression. No longer in official use. Refers to God’s restored world after the destruction of the current one.

New World Translation. Noun. The translation of the bible that Jehovah’s Witnesses use. There have been various versions of the translation since its inception. They prefer to using translations of original texts that lend themselves to support their views and teaching. Witnesses are often very proud of their translation as well as its cross-references and use of the word Jehovah in the Greek scriptures. Example. The New World Translation is a gift from God!

Organization. Noun. Often “the organization” The organization is seen as being in direct contact with God. It is also the source of doctrinal changes and instructions. Sometimes referred to as Jehovah’s Organization. Criticizing the organization is punishable with excommunication and shunning. See Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Example: The organization provides us with spiritual food.

Our. Concept. Noun. see also Us, We. Referring to American possessions as “ours” is discouraged. Using expressions like this may be considered a sign of spiritual sickness. Example: Our troops went to Iraq.

Pagan: Adjective. Similar to the term worldly, but refers more to non-Jehovah’s witness religious beliefs, superstitions, practices and the like. Example: Is that an evil eye on your keychain? You know that’s pagan right? or Christmas lights are pagan.

Partake (of the memorial emblems). Verb.

Part (Having a part). Expression. Usually “having a part on the theocratic ministry school”, sometimes “having a part on the service meeting”.

Paradise, Earthly. Noun. See New System. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that God will destroy all people and nations that do not agree with them. The believe that after this happens God will restore the earth to an “earthly paradise” as opposed to a heavenly paradise. They also believe that the faithful and those who did not know about Jehovah’s Witnesses will be resurrected to this earthly paradise.

Pioneer: Noun. Someone who preaches 70 hours or more every month. Pioneers are expected to be in “good standing” and it is expected that they will be pioneering long-term over the course of the year(s). A pioneer is a position of privilege in the congregation and ups your position on the social hierarchy. Pioneers have especially/secret meetings and books that are not supposed to be shared with the rest of the congregation. Example: Laura just got announced as a pioneer. She better gets her hours in before winter! or Timothy has been pioneering for years.

Pioneer School. Noun. A multiday training session for Pioneers. Pioneers usually receive a special “pioneer book” that they are not supposed to share with other members of the congregation.

Preacher. Noun. See publisher, Pioneer, Elder. Any publisher in the congregation is considered a Preacher by Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is sometimes used to causes confusion regarding Clergy-type privileges in society.

Preaching. Verb. See field service, ministry,

Professing to be of the anointed. Expression.

Public Declaration. Noun. A generic term for all kinds of preaching that also includes commenting at meetings. Example: In order to qualify for baptism one has to make “public declaration of their faith.”

Public Talk. Noun. The weekend meeting, Usually on Sunday consists partly of a Public Talk. Usually, the speaker will be from a different congregation

Publisher: Noun. This is the average member of the congregation. The layperson of the congregation. Publishers are expected to go out preaching at least once a week or more. Example: The congregation has 75 publishers.

Publisher, Unbaptized: Noun. Before someone becomes baptized they are expected to go out an preach. When the elders in the congregation authorize someone to go out and preach they are considered an unbaptized publisher. People who are in this state are transitioning and will often be showered with attention, love, and affection. They will also be encouraged to stop “worldly” practices and associations. Unbaptized publishers are the lowest rung of the Jehovah’s Witness hierarchy above non-believers. Example: Johnny just became an unbaptized publisher! Congratulations!

Pure Language. Expression. This might refer to witness specific terminology (aka Witness Speak) but it might also refer to discussion and sharing of Jehovah’s Witness beliefs among members.

Remnant. Noun. See 144,000 and anointed. Witnesses believe that god has been anointing members of the 144,000 since the days of the apostles. They teach that many of these have already died and gone to heaven. Those remaining alive on earth today are called “the remnant” sometimes “the earthly remnant”. Example: The earthly remnant of God’s little flock.

Resurrection, Earthly. Noun.

Resurrection, Heavenly. Noun. see 114,000, anointed, remnant. Witnesses believe that only 114,000 people have been anointed since the early days of Christianity and are destined to receive a heavenly resurrection. They believe that these people will be resurrected into some sort of spiritual gender-less form to reign with Christ in Heaven.

Return Visit. Noun.

Satan. Noun.

Service Meeting. Noun. Not to be confused with the expressions “meeting for field service” or “meeting for service”.

Sign of the Times. Expression.

Sin. Noun.

Sin. Verb.

Sitting on the fence. Expression. Concept.

Sister. Noun.

Sheol. Noun.

Shepherding Call. Noun.

Slave. Noun.

Slave (Leading the body as slave) expression. concept.

Spiritual. Adjective.

Spiritual food. Noun.

Spiritual Immaturity. expression, concept.

Spiritual Sickness.

Study for Meeting. Expression. This involves reading and answering questions in Witness literature in preparation for Meeting. Members are supposed to read all cited texts in the bible. It typically involves highlighting the answers as they are found in the paragraph0. Witnesses are expected to start and end “studying” with a personal or group prayer. Lots of highlights in multiple colors might be a sign of advanced spirituality or piety. Highlighting or underlining during the actual meeting is a sign of being spiritually weak and unprepared. Studying also involves the preparation of comments. See comment. Example: Kathy can’t go over her friend’s house tonight because she has to study for Meeting.

Song Book. Noun. Jehovah’s Witnesses typically sing group songs at the beginning, middle, and end of their meetings. For small Meetings there is usually no singing and for large meetings such as assemblies and conventions, there may be many songs. The lyrics to the songs are contained in what Jehovah’s Witnesses casually call “the song book” or “a song book” when referring to the physical book. There are many versions of the song book with unique names but the actual book title is rarely used, members refer to it as the song book. The songs contained in the book are called Kingdom Melodies. Example: Can we share a song book? I forgot mine.

Subjection. Noun. Concept.

System of things. Expression. Usually “this system of things”

Tardiness (to meetings). Concept. Usually “being late to Meeting” or “not arriving early” Tardiness to meetings, although not an expression typically used, is considered a sign of spiritual sickness and is frowned upon. Walking in after meeting has started or during the prayer or song is considered shameful and maybe an embarrassing experience. Members are expected to arrive early to meetings and to stay after meetings to socialize with other members.

Territory. Noun.

Territory Map. Noun.

Theocratic Ministry School. Noun.

Trails and Tribulation. Expression.

Truth. Noun. Usually ‘the truth”. This is what Jehovah’s Witnesses call their religion but only when talking to other members of the faith. Example: I have two brothers one is worldly, the other is in the truth.

Us. Concept. Noun. See also we, our. Using “us” to refer to Americans broadly is looked down on. Example: The Russians attacked us.

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Noun.

Watchtower Study. Noun.

We. Concept. see also “us”, “our”. Using the word “we” when referring to yourself as part a non-witness group, especially when referring to Americans or other national group is frowned upon. Example: We Americans or We went to war with Russia.

Witness (the person). Noun. Jehovah’s Witnesses find it offensive when non-witnesses call them “Jehovah’s”. Instead, they prefer to be called “Witnesses” A member of the congregation being “a witness”. Example: As a witness, I’m not allowed to smoke.

Witness (the act). Noun. Often “to give a witness” Explaining the faith to a non-believer by explicit instruction or by passive demonstration of good behavior, dress, or attitude. Example: Their Christian dress and conduct give a good witness.

Witness. Verb. See preaching, informal witnessing, field service, ministry, and public declaration. Often “Witnessing”. Witnessing may refer to any type of preaching. Example: We were out witnessing in the territory.

Witnessing, Informal. Expression.

Worldly: Adjective. This may refer to people who are not Jehovah’s witnesses. It may also refer to clothing, attitudes, or anything that is not part of Jehovah’s Witness culture. Examples: She dresses worldly when she’s at school. There is a nice girl at work but she’s worldly.

Working in the ministry. Expression. To be out preaching formally, usually on a Saturday morning but may be any day. Example: We were out working on in the ministry on Saturday when I found this woman who showed interests in the magazines.

Young Ones. Expression.

Young Master. Expression. Young children of adult witnesses would sometimes be called “Young master” especially if the child was a male. It was used in place of “Brother” as Brother is reserved for baptized members only. This expression seems to have fallen out of use. Example: Young Master Roberts, do you have a comment?

Some words can be expanded upon, some words need definitions written for them, and some terms may have changed. Are you able to assist with this? Please send me an email.

Thank you to for helping to keep the glossary accurate and up to date.

Published by Ryan David Tuttle

PhD Graduate student studying Behavioral Neuroscience, Addiction, Stress, Behavioral Economics, and Individual Differences. Former member Ministerial Servant and Pioneer in a Spanish speaking congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

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