When They First Went to the Kingdom Hall
ARE you one of the hundreds of thousands of persons who are studying the Bible regularly with Jehovah’s witnesses? If you are, then no doubt they have cordially invited you to attend the meetings at their Kingdom Hall in your vicinity. What has been your response to their invitation? Are you attending their meetings?
Perhaps you are wondering what it is like when you first go to the Kingdom Hall. Do you imagine that the meetings there are just like church services? Well, what did other persons find when they went to a Kingdom Hall for the first time?
Meetings to Increase Bible Knowledge
Much to their pleasant surprise, persons who were coming to the Kingdom Hall for the first time found that the meetings conducted there are very different from what goes on in the churches of Christendom. This was especially so when they observed that the audience at times participates, doing so on a voluntary basis.
A person who lived in Detroit, Michigan, experienced this when he went to the Kingdom Hall for the first time. He said: “I was attending the Baptist church Sunday school when my sister began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses in our home. I sat in on a few of her study sessions and I found them most interesting, especially when I learned that God’s name is Jehovah. (Ps. 83:18) I was invited to come to a meeting at the Kingdom Hall in my vicinity and I agreed to do so.
“I really did not know quite what to expect, but when I arrived at the Hall I quickly saw that it was very different from my church. During one meeting, I watched various ones in the audience offer voluntary comments by raising their hands. In my church the preacher did all the talking, but here in the Kingdom Hall I noticed that everyone was involved in the program. Each one knew what was required of him. Young people, too, gave comments, and this made it seem like one large family to me.
“The thing that impressed me the most about this meeting was that God’s Word the Bible was actually studied there. I learned a great deal in that one hour. So I soon stopped going to the Baptist church Sunday school and I began attending the meetings at the Kingdom Hall regularly. It was very easy for me to see where God’s truth was being taught.”
When you sit among Jehovah’s witnesses in their Kingdom Hall you will see immediately that they have assembled together for one purpose. That purpose is to learn Jehovah’s will as set forth in the Holy Bible. At their meetings the Bible is the object of deep study. Its practical principles and amazing prophecies are discussed, analyzed and explained.
When a young man who lived in Stockton, California, was first asked to visit the Kingdom Hall he had some preconceived notions about what went on there. He relates his impressions of that first meeting he attended: “When the Witnesses invited me to attend their meetings at their Kingdom Hall, I accepted. However, since I was not a very religious person I was a little apprehensive as to what it was going to be like. You see, I felt that I was just going to another church service where I would see people jumping around and shouting emotionally.
“Well, I went to the Kingdom Hall and I was truly surprised to see how the meetings were conducted. The well-arranged, orderly, educational program quickly dispelled any former ideas I had about the Witness meetings. It was amazing to see how the Scriptures were used to educate and improve those in the audience as well as those on the platform. I was especially impressed to see a nine-year-old boy deliver a six-minute Bible reading. He did so well!
“This convinced me that Jehovah’s witnesses are truly different! So I began assembling with them to receive the spiritual benefits of their Bible meetings.”
Yes, Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the world meet in their Kingdom Halls for the purpose of increasing their Bible knowledge. By attending one of these meetings you cannot help but be benefited spiritually. You will see that the program is arranged so “that there may be an interchange of encouragement . . . by each one through the other’s faith.”—Rom. 1:12.
Genuine Interracial Unity
In visiting a Kingdom Hall you will notice that racial barriers to unity do not afflict the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses. No matter what your race or nationality may be, you will be made to feel genuinely welcome when you walk into the Hall. You will observe that the Witnesses are impartial, in harmony with Jehovah’s counsel and fine example.—Acts 10:34, 35; 17:26, 27; Gal. 2:6.
This is what an ex-taxi driver experienced when he first walked into a Kingdom Hall in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. He recalls his experience in these words: “When I entered the Kingdom Hall, I noticed immediately that the congregation consisted of mostly white folks. No sooner had I walked through the door than I was approached by many of them in an extremely friendly way. Though I am a colored person, I was treated with respect as a fellow human. No prejudice was manifest. Such genuineness made a very deep impression on me!
“Later I visited another Kingdom Hall and the same friendly atmosphere prevailed, with not a trace of racial prejudice. This really underscored the unity of Jehovah’s witnesses to me.”
Another person observed this interracial unity of the Witnesses when he attended his first meeting at a Kingdom Hall in San Francisco, California. He relates what happened: “When I first walked into the Kingdom Hall I was amazed to see the people of different races mingling together in animated conversation. You see, my Baptist church was all Negro. Yet right after I arrived at the Kingdom Hall, I was taken around and introduced to various ones, both colored and white. This was a new experience for me because I never had so many people of different races show such friendliness to me. I noticed that everyone I met was genuinely glad to see me there.
“After the public talk, I was introduced to the speaker. I thought he was superior to me and that he would look down on me, but no, he, too, expressed sincere happiness to see me there. I was so moved by what I experienced that day that I resolved to attend the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses regularly.”
Attend a meeting of Jehovah’s witnesses and see for yourself what these persons observed. The family-like unity, unmarred by racial prejudice, will make you want to congregate regularly with these happy servants of Jehovah God.
The Kind of People Who Go There
What kind of people will you meet at the Kingdom Hall? Well, from what we have considered thus far, you will meet friendly people who are genuinely interested in your spiritual welfare. People from many walks of life, both young and old. You might even meet old acquaintances or neighbors, as others have when they first went to the Kingdom Hall.
If you are studying the Bible with the Witnesses, you already have an idea of what kind of people go to the Hall. Their regularly coming to help you learn the Bible shows you their unselfish interest in your spirituality. These are the kind of people you will be with at the Kingdom Hall, persons who are anxious to serve God and live by his righteous standards. Surely, such make fine associates!
This is what a teen-age Sikh girl who lived in Nairobi, Kenya, came to appreciate about the Witnesses when she began studying the Bible with them. Here are her thoughts: “I was enjoying my Bible study with the Witnesses so much that I asked them if they could come more often during the week. I wanted so much to be in their company. They told me that they could not do this because they had to attend meetings. I immediately became interested in this and I asked them if I could go to their meetings too. They were very happy to see that I wanted to do this and they said that I could.
“When I went to the Kingdom Hall, the Witnesses were so friendly that I did not want to leave the Hall, and when the meetings were over in two hours, I exclaimed, ‘Is that all? Isn’t there any more?’ Then announcements were made about other meetings and I quickly asked if I could attend these also. They happily said that I could. I loved the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses and the fine associations I found there so much that I have attended them regularly since, rain or shine.”
This young girl found the association of the friendly folks at the Kingdom Hall to be most desirable. And you, too, will find this when you attend the meetings of the Witnesses, for you will be associating with people who truly love Jehovah God and their fellowman.
Due to misinformation some people have formed wrong opinions about Jehovah’s witnesses. At first these people would not even think of going to a Kingdom Hall. But when they finally did, they found that what they had heard about the Witnesses was not true. They saw that the people at the Hall were not what they thought them to be. This is illustrated in the experience of a young woman who went to live with her Witness grandmother in Alabama for three months:
“I had been told that Jehovah’s witnesses are fanatics. So when my grandmother and my aunt, both of whom are Witnesses, invited me to attend their meetings, I expressed great displeasure. They did not ask me again. However, I began reading some of their literature that was around the house. I did this on the sly, as I did not want anyone to know that I was reading it.
“After two months of reading, I wanted to attend their meetings, but no one was inviting me as they remembered my reaction when they first invited me. Well, after two weeks of waiting for them to ask me, I finally asked them if I could go with them to their meetings. They were delighted to take me along.
“When I walked into the Kingdom Hall, the first thing that I looked for were faces that were mentally disturbed, reflecting fanaticism. Instead, everyone, especially the young folks, came up to me and was so friendly and kind. I was in a measure disappointed that they were not what I thought them to be, but this soon turned into shame for having been so wrong about them. I was convinced that Jehovah’s witnesses have God’s truth. Right at this meeting, I decided that I wanted to be with these people always, serving God as one of them. I fulfilled my resolve a short time later by being baptized in water.”
Responding to the Invitation
Have the observations of these sincere people impressed you and encouraged you to want to attend a meeting of Jehovah’s witnesses? We truly hope so. In fact, we hope that their remarks have moved you to plan to go to a meeting this week. A truly refreshing experience awaits you. Surely if the individuals whose experiences were presented in this article had the opportunity to speak to you personally they would unanimously encourage you to respond to the invitation to come to the Kingdom Hall soon.
Do not be content to learn about God and his purposes just in the privacy of your home. Take full advantage of the Bible educational meetings scheduled at the Kingdom Hall to increase your understanding of Jehovah’s will. Gathering together for mutual encouragement is vital for spiritual growth and health. The meetings are designed for this very purpose.—Heb. 10:25.
Add to this the pleasure of associating with people who are truly united. Racial barriers and discrimination are replaced by warm, friendly and loving concern for each other. How refreshing this is!
You will find that the meetings at the Kingdom Hall are like an oasis of spiritual plenty in a world where there is a famine “for hearing the words of Jehovah” and understanding them. (Amos 8:11) Your presence among Jehovah’s people will help you gain true comfort and security. Why not experience this for yourself by responding to the invitation and by directing your steps to the Kingdom Hall this week?