Here are some of their beliefs:
Heaven is only for select Jehovah's Witnesses
Heaven is limited only to 144,000 Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses are the only true Christians
There is no Hell (it is simply the grave)
Jesus is not to be worshiped or prayed to
All churches (non-JW's) are of Satan
You cannot take a blood transfusion
You cannot salute the flag, stand for the national anthem, or own a flag
If one does not follow the rules of the Watchtower, they will be shunned
You cannot celebrate any holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.)
You cannot celebrate your birthday
You cannot have friends who are not Jehovah's Witnesses
You cannot understand the Bible without JW literature to explain it
A child abuser is reported to Watchtower elders and not the police
Men cannot wear beards
You are forbidden to use any tobacco products
You cannot read any anti-Jehovah's Witness material
If you see another Jehovah's Witness breaking the rules, you must turn them in to the elders to be interrogated
You cannot celebrate Mothers or Fathers day (it may produce pride)
God only speaks through the "Governing Body" in Brooklyn, New York
JWs in times of crisis, are strongly discouraged from consulting with family counselors, including mental health professionals who are not Jehovah's Witnesses
God will destroy all non-Jehovah's Witnesses at armageddon
You can never question what is printed in JW literature
My parents woke me up on a Sunday morning a few weeks later and said that we were going to the "Kingdom Hall". Being 5 years old, I imagined that we were actually going to be meeting a king. Scary. Instead we went to a house of worship that had no crosses or stained glass windows.
Everyone was very friendly to the new meat, I mean, people. The Jehovah's Witnesses have meetings three times a week (Tuesday evening, Thursday evening, Sunday morning). That was a lot of time for a kid to sit still, but I noticed that there were quite a few other kids that were also Witnesses. On many occasions, my dad took us to McDonalds after the meetings for an ice cream cone. That almost made sitting through the meetings worth it.
As I grew older and time went by, I learned more about the religion and accepted it as the truth (If my parents believed it, there must be something to it). I was a very good reader at quite a young age, so my dad asked if I would be interested in giving a short "talk" (reading from the Bible) at one of the Thursday night meetings. Let's see...go up in front of more than 100 God-fearing folks all decked out in a zoot suit and read a chapter from the Good Book. I didn't have the vocabulary at the time, but if I did, I woulda said, "Fuck off, Dad, and your circumcised donkey dick!" I said I'd give it some thought. He eventually convinced me to give it a shot.
So on one Thursday evening, I went up to the podium for all to see. I was definitely intimidated looking out at all the people, but fact is, most had smiles on their face and wanted me to do well. I did my reading (followed by a short commentary that my dad had put together) and as I left the stage, was greeted with a smattering of applause. Hearing all that clapping directed at me felt quite good. After the meeting, several people came up to me and said that they enjoyed my talk and looked forward to more from me in the future.
I will continue this story next week.