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They do not observe Christmas, Easter, birthdays or other holidays and customs they consider to have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity.
Consequently, some Jehovah's Witnesses have been persecuted and their activities are banned or restricted in some countries.
Membership declined during the late 1970s after expectations for 1975 were proved wrong. It was announced that, starting in September 2014, appointments would be made by traveling overseers.
In a major organizational overhaul in 1976, the power of the Watch Tower Society president was diminished, with authority for doctrinal and organizational decisions passed to the Governing Body.
Before me no God was formed, And after me there has been none.'" (New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures 2013 Edition) —which was adopted by resolution.
The name was chosen to distinguish his group of Bible Students from other independent groups that had severed ties with the Society, as well as symbolize the instigation of new outlooks and the promotion of fresh evangelizing methods.
Jehovah's Witnesses are best known for their door-to-door preaching, distributing literature such as The Watchtower and Awake!
Russell moved the Watch Tower Society's headquarters to Brooklyn, New York, in 1909, combining printing and corporate offices with a house of worship; volunteers were housed in a nearby residence he named Bethel.In 1932, Rutherford eliminated the system of locally elected elders and in 1938, introduced what he called a "theocratic" (literally, God-ruled) organizational system, under which appointments in congregations worldwide were made from the Brooklyn headquarters.