Jehovah's Witnesses are a sect of Christians. Their religious services take place in a building termed a "Kingdom Hall" rather than a church. Their most distinctive beliefs are a historical premillenialism (see Eschatology), connected with a controversial interpretation of the year 1914 as being in some way the beginning of the end of the world; and an Arian christology.
They are known for their racially diverse, close-knit social community. They are also known for door-to-door proselytizing.
The group was derived from that founded in the 1870's by Charles Taze Russell and adopted the name "Jehovah's Witnesses" in 1931. Their world headquarters is located in Brooklyn, New York. Their legal name is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. There are also some other, independent derivates of Charles Taze Russell; these groups call themselves "Bible students".
They use a translation of the Bible that they comissioned in the early twentieth century, known as the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. Many other Christian groups claim they mistranslate parts of the Bible to support their own beliefs; a particularly disputed point is their translation of John 1, where they refer to the Word as "a god", rather than the translation "God" preferred by most other English-language versions of the Bible..
The Jehovah's Witnesses have frequently been involved in legal controversy. They have refused to salute flags, to pledge allegiance to states, to serve in the armed forces, and most controversially in recent years, to receive blood transfusions. All of these acts are disallowed by their faith.
As of the year 2000, Jehovah's Witnesses claimed a world-wide membership of approximately six million individuals.