Jehovah's Witnesses Ethics

Jehovah's Witnesses place a high value on moral living, teaching that "believers...will be saved to eternal life only if they continue to adhere to all of God's requirements" {1} and that "persons who practice things that God says are bad will not inherit God's kingdom." {2}

Those who have committed serious sins before their baptism, or even after, will be forgiven by Jehovah and welcomed in the congregation so long as they abandon their sin completely. However, even after full restoration, such repentant sinners will probably never be eligible to lead the congregation as elders. {3}

On the positive side, Jehovah's Witnesses encourage cleanness (physical, mental, and spiritual), honesty, modesty in appearance, and many other virtues. Members are encouraged to cultivate virtue, which is "entails more than a thorough acquaintance with God's Word. It calls for meditation on what is written there so that our hearts get filled with gratitude for Jehovah and we are moved to apply Scriptural principles in our lives." {4}


Jehovah's Witnesses condemn sex before marriage, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, and the use of pornography as "serious sins before God." Jehovah's Witnesses also regard masturbation, anal sex and oral sex, whether done within marriage or not, as unnatural, unclean, and sinful. {5} A person is to avoid even thinking of these things. {6}

The February 8, 1995 issue of Awake! stated with regard to homosexuality:

True, some individuals may very well be prone to homosexuality... a Christian cannot excuse immoral behavior by saying he was "born that way." Child molesters invoke the same pathetic excuse when they say their craving for children is "innate." But can anyone deny that their sexual appetite is perverted? So is the desire for someone of the same sex."

Those who persist in homosexual or other behaviors seen as immoral are disfellowshipped. At least one support group for disfellowshipped homosexuals exists. {7}


With regard to gambling, Jehovah's Witnesses teach:

Every form of gambling is tainted by greed. So Christians do not take part in any kind of gambling, such as lotteries, horse racing, and bingo. (Ephesians 5:3-5) {8} ## Drugs & Alcohol

Jehovah's Witnesses are allowed to drink a little beer or wine, but overdrinking and drunkenness is regarded as a sin that also has negative consequences on one's health and family life. {9}


Jehovah's Witnesses condemn abortion, teaching that life begins at conception and life is sacred to Jehovah. {10}


Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to participate in wars, but on primarily religious, not moral grounds. War will be right to participate in when it is conducted by Jehovah himself at the Battle of Armageddon, but:

Jesus taught his followers not to meddle in this world's political affairs nor to get involved in its wars. He also taught them to be peace-loving, to be law-abiding, to have love for their fellow humans free from any prejudice, even being willing to sacrifice their own lives rather than take the lives of others. {11}


  • The Watchtower, September 15, 1989.
  • "Practices That God Hates." Jehovah's Witnesses Official Site.
  • "Let Us Abhor What is Wicked." Jehovah's Witnesses Official Site.
  • "How We Can Cultivate Virtue" and "Cleanliness: What Does It Really Mean?" Both, Jehovah's Witnesses Official Site.
  • "Practices That God Hates"; "Pornography: Harmless or Harmful?" Both, Jehovah's Witnesses Official Site."Watchtower Observer" has selections from Jehovah's Witnesses publications on these topics here and here.
  • "Cleanliness: What Does It Really Mean?" Jehovah's Witnesses Official Site.
  • A Common Bond.
  • "Practices That God Hates." Jehovah's Witnesses Official Site.
  • Ibid.
  • "Showing Respect for Life and Blood." Jehovah's Witnesses Official Site; "Beliefs: Medical Treatment." Office of Public Information of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
  • "Christendom Has Betrayed God and the Bible." See also "A Secure Future At Last!" Both, Jehovah's Witnesses Official Site.

More Online Resources

Witness Sources

  • Practices That God Hates - Watchtower
  • Who is To Blame: You or Your Genes? - Watchtower
  • Beliefs: Medical Treatment - Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses

Non-Witness Sources

  • Jehovah's Witnesses Speak Out, Part 2 Article based on interviews with Jehovah's Witnesses about homosexuality.