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|Part of a series on|
|Bible Student movement|
|Beliefs · Practices|
|Salvation · Eschatology · 144,000|
Faithful and discreet slave · Hymns
God's name · Blood · Discipline
|The Watchtower · Awake!|
New World Translation
List of publications
|Kingdom Hall · Gilead School|
|Watch Tower presidents|
|W.H. Conley · C.T. Russell|
J.F. Rutherford · N.H. Knorr
F.W. Franz · M.G. Henschel
|William Miller · Henry Grew|
George Storrs · N.H. Barbour
|Notable former members|
|Raymond Franz · Olin Moyle|
Conrad C. Binkele
|Criticism · Persecution|
Supreme Court cases
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society produces a large amount of literature for use by Jehovah's Witnesses; their best known publications are the magazines, The Watchtower and Awake!. The Watchtower was first published by Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Bible Student movement, in 1879, followed by the inception of the Watch Tower Society in 1881. Following a dispute in the movement's leadership, supporters of the Watch Tower Society's president, Joseph Franklin Rutherford, adopted the name Jehovah's witnesses in 1931. Particularly since 2001, the literature produced by the Watch Tower Society has typically stated that it is "published by Jehovah's Witnesses".
Along with books and brochures, other media are also produced, including audio cassettes, videocassettes, CDs, MP3s and DVDs. New publications are usually released at Jehovah's Witnesses' annual conventions.
Most literature produced by Jehovah's Witnesses is intended for use in their evangelizing work. Publications for preaching are also routinely studied by members, both privately and at their meetings for worship. Their most widely distributed publications are:
When interested individuals are encountered, Witnesses attempt to initiate a home Bible study course, using a current publication, such as What Does the Bible Really Teach?, that outlines their primary beliefs and interpretations of the Bible. The Witness then visits the student on a regular basis, generally considering a chapter on each visit, depending on the student's circumstances. Students are requested to examine the material prior to the arrival of the Bible study conductor, using the questions at the bottom of each page, to "help prepare the student for the Bible study". Jehovah’s Witnesses customarily read each paragraph aloud together with the student, and then ask the question(s) provided for that paragraph. Students are encouraged to read the scriptures cited in the material. Bible students are expected to be making progress to become baptized as one of Jehovah's Witnesses by the time the book is completed, and may be asked to study a second publication, such as "Keep Yourselves in God's Love".
Jehovah's Witnesses previously offered their literature for a price determined by the branch office in each country, to cover printing costs. Since 2000, Jehovah's Witnesses have offered their publications free of charge globally. Printing is funded by voluntary donations from Witnesses and members of the public. Jehovah's Witnesses accept donations if offered by householders, and are instructed to invite donations in countries where soliciting funds is permitted.
Certain publications are designed for distribution to members of specific religious groups. The brochure Will There Ever be a World Without War? is intended for the Jewish community; the brochure The Guidance of God—Our Way to Paradise is published for readers with an Islamic background; Our Problems—Who Will Help Us Solve Them? is targeted toward Hindus; Why Should We Worship God in Love and Truth? is also written for those with Hindu beliefs. The booklet Good News for People of All Nations contains a simple Bible message in many languages.
The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life was a Bible study textbook published in 1968 and revised in 1981 (now out of print). The 1990 edition of the Guinness Book of Records included this book under its heading "Highest Printings". According to the Guinness Book, by May 1987 it had reached 106,486,735 copies, in 116 languages.
Life—How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation?, first published in 1985, presents the Old Earth (Day-Age) creationism of Jehovah's Witnesses, and their criticism of evolution. Biologist Richard Dawkins criticized the book for repeatedly presenting a choice between intelligent design and chance, rather than natural selection. The book was supplemented by the 1998 book, Is There a Creator Who Cares About You?, and the 2010 brochures The Origin of Life—5 Questions Worth Asking and Was Life Created?
Some publications, such as the hymnal Sing to Jehovah, The Watchtower Study Edition, the newsletter Our Kingdom Ministry, and the textbook Benefit From Theocratic Ministry School Education are for use by those who attend congregation meetings. Others, such as the organizational manual Organized to Do Jehovah's Will and Watchtower Library CD-ROM (containing the Watch Tower Publications Index from 1930, each issue of The Watchtower from 1950, and most other Watch Tower Society literature published since 1970), are typically reserved for baptized Witnesses. Certain publications are limited to members in appointed positions, such as the manual for congregation elders, Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock.
Some publications are typically distributed only to members, but may be supplied to other interested individuals on request or made available in public libraries. These include the biblical encyclopedia Insight on the Scriptures and Jehovah's Witnesses' official history book Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom.
Aid to Bible Understanding was the first doctrinal and biblical encyclopedia of Jehovah's Witnesses, published in full in 1971 (now out of print). Research for the Aid Book led to new interpretations of some concepts, providing a catalyst for changes in doctrine.
Become Jehovah's Friend—Listen, Obey, and Be Blessed is an animated short film released at district conventions of Jehovah's Witnesses in 2012, with the aim of teaching young children to be obedient. An internet meme developed in relation to Sparlock the Warrior Wizard, a toy in the film that is depicted as 'bad'.