Mormons vs.Jehovah’s Witnesses

Now I may be the only one here ignorant enough to do this, but for some reason I always mix up Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have a hard time remembering which is which and what they follow,, they both seem to send like sending young adults door-to-door. So for my own benefit (and maybe yours) I’m going to do a little comparison, I’m not interested in which is the ‘better’ religion, but rather understanding what each stands for, whether I agree or not.

According to 2013 Census data there are about 40 000 Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) in New Zealand and close to 18 000 Jehovah’s Witnesses. But what is the difference? This is a basic list of beliefs, both have similarities in such things as ex-communicating members, but, vary in their approach and outlook on the greater world.

Latter-Day Saints

Mormons

Often referred to as Mormons, after the Book of Mormon their prayer text, they started as a break-away religion in America in 1830, based in Utah.

Most infamously known due to their original acceptance of polygamy, but this in fact is no longer accepted practice. They have a strong belief in the traditional family unit, close knit community and serving in their church, sex outside of marriage and infidelity are considered sins, homosexual members are allowed in the church as long as they abstain. They abstain from alcohol, drugs, tea, coffee and any other addictive substance. Many young men choose to carry out a two year mission serving the church but this is not compulsory

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses

Started as a break-away religion in Pennsylvania, America in the 1870’s.

They believe Armageddon is imminent and modern society to be corrupt. Do not observe Christmas ,Easter and birthdays as they are considered pagan rituals. They refuse military service and other forms of state allegiance such as saluting a flag. They are under a biblical command for all members to engage in public preaching, with ‘pioneers’ devoted to this full-time, whilst maintaining minimal social contact with non-members. They refuse blood transfusions as a violation of Gods law.

 

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Quakers

Quakers

One of my favourite religions are the Quakers, or Society of Friends – I think just the name alone is fantastic. This religion founded in the mid-17th century as a break-off from the Church of England is often misunderstood or derided due to its name, the term Quaker was used to make fun off these worshipers but was soon adopted by the religion themselves.

Quakers have a small but stable following in New Zealand, and I think deserve better recognition as one of the most peaceful religious groups I know of so far. Quakers started due to the belief that religions had got ahead of themselves – that too much power was being given to the leaders of churches, that it was possible to worship without their aid, considered blasphemous by, you guessed it, the Church of England.

Quaker meetings do not follow traditional western religious patterns, there is no spiritual leader as such, but a quiet service is conducted with members free to speak or read as it takes them. There is a sense of peacefulness about them, they refused to serve actively in wars, often being prisoned for this or choosing to volunteer as ambulance and first-aid workers. There seems a higher placing on doing truly good deeds to others rather than caring about servicing God.

I must admit, I have often thought if I were to join one religion this has a strong pull – I have even heard you don’t have to believe in God, just be open to listening to others!