Do Jehovah Witness believe in cremation?

Jehovah’s Witnesses have specific beliefs when it comes to cremation. Here is a quick overview of their stance:


Jehovah’s Witnesses discourage cremation. They believe it shows disrespect for the body and is not aligned with biblical teachings. Cremation is not banned, but strongly discouraged. Most Witnesses opt for traditional burial services.

What does the Bible say about cremation?

The Bible does not directly prohibit cremation. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses point to several scriptures they believe support burial over cremation:

  • Genesis 3:19 – “Dust you are and to dust you will return.” Witnesses believe this supports interment in the ground.
  • Ecclesiastes 3:20 – “All are going to the same place; all come from dust, and all return to dust.” Again referencing dust, implying burial.
  • Acts 8:2 – “Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.” Example of burial.
  • John 5:28-29 – References the resurrection, with bodies coming out of tombs/graves.

Overall, Witnesses believe scriptural support for burial is stronger than cremation. They view burial as aligned with the biblical message.

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses discourage cremation?

There are several key reasons Jehovah’s Witnesses discourage cremation:

  • Body is a creation of God – They believe deliberately destroying the body shows disrespect to God who created it.
  • Resurrection beliefs – JWs believe in a future resurrection where the dead will rise bodily. Cremation impedes this process.
  • Pagan origins – Cremation has pagan ritualistic origins, which Witnesses view as contradicting Christianity.
  • Lack of burial tradition – There are few Biblical examples of followers of God practicing cremation.

Witnesses view the body as sacred, created by God to house the soul. Deliberately destroying it through cremation is considered disrespectful.

Is cremation a disfellowshipping offense?

No, cremation alone is not grounds for disfellowshipping (excommunication) in the Jehovah’s Witness faith. However, it is strongly discouraged for the reasons covered above.

Disfellowshipping typically occurs for “serious sins” like adultery, greed, stealing, etc. Cremation falls into a separate category than behaviors that result in shunning.

However, a Jehovah’s Witness who opts for cremation risks social stigma and disapproval from elders and members of the congregation. Most avoid cremation to steer clear of this disapproval.

Can a disfellowshipped person have a Jehovah’s Witness funeral?

No, a disfellowshipped person generally cannot have a Jehovah’s Witness funeral. Here are key considerations around funeral policies for disfellowshipped individuals:

  • Funerals held in Kingdom Halls are only for members in good standing. Disfellowshipped people are barred from using Kingdom Halls.
  • Jehovah’s Witness elders may allow a “comments only” funeral if the disfellowshipped person showed repentance before death. There are strict limits on what can be said about the deceased.
  • Typically, no mention of the resurrection hope is made at funerals for disfellowshipped people.
  • Close JW friends and family shun disfellowshipped individuals. Even if allowed at the funeral, they would not speak about the deceased.

Overall, a Jehovah’s Witness funeral with typical traditions is very unlikely for someone who died while disfellowshipped. Their status excludes them from normal funeral privileges.

What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe about hell?

Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in hell as it is commonly conceptualized. Their beliefs include:

  • There is no place of fiery torment where sinners are punished for eternity.
  • “Hell” translates to “Sheol” (Hebrew) or “Hades” (Greek) – meaning “common grave of mankind.”
  • Wicked and righteous people go to the same place – “hell”/the grave – when they die.
  • The punishment for sin is death and non-existence, not eternal torture in hellfire.
  • “Hellfire” refers to complete destruction/annihilation, not a literal place of torment.

In summary, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe hell is simply the grave where all people – wicked or righteous – go at death. There is no subterranean place of literal fire and torture for sinners after they die.

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate Christmas?

No, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas or other holidays they believe have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity:

  • Christmas has roots in pagan winter solstice festivals.
  • The Bible does not point to Jesus’ birthday, suggesting it’s unimportant.
  • Birthday celebrations are discouraged based on their pagan origins.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses aim to follow Jesus’ example. There is no record of him celebrating his birthday.
  • Holidays like Christmas overly commercialize and materialize something meant to be spiritual.

Rather than Christmas, Jehovah’s Witnesses hold an annual commemoration of Jesus’ death – the most significant event in his life according to Watchtower teachings.

How do Jehovah’s Witnesses spread their message?

Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for their public ministry aimed at spreading Bible teachings and making disciples. Their main methods include:

  • Door-to-door ministry – Witnesses regularly visit homes, offer literature, and try to discuss the Bible.
  • Print publications – Awake! and Watchtower magazines explain their beliefs. Available digitally and print.
  • Public witnessing – Setting up carts in public areas to distribute literature and discuss beliefs with interested people.
  • Online ministry – Websites like provide information on beliefs and allow Bible discussion.

All members capable of spreading the message are required to regularly report time spent in the public ministry. It is central to the faith, even during difficult times like the COVID-19 pandemic.


Jehovah’s Witnesses have unique beliefs when it comes to cremation, holidays, the afterlife, public ministry, and other topics. They strive to base all their beliefs solely on the Bible, which they view as the word of the Christian God, Jehovah. While cremation is not prohibited, Witnesses strongly discourage it in favor of traditional burial. Their stance against cremation comes down to respect for the body, resurrection beliefs, and lack of biblical evidence showing early Christians practiced cremation. While allowed, any Jehovah’s Witness opting for cremation risks disapproval and stigma from the congregation for going against standard teachings.

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