By Hemant Mehta
Dr. Rolf Furuli is a celebrity in parts of the Jehovah’s Witness world.
The religious group has abysmal rates of formally educated members — 63% of JW adults have “no more than a high school diploma” — and that’s partly because the organization says higher education is spiritually dangerous. But Furuli, who lives in Norway, has long been the guy they point to as a scholar who shares their beliefs. He’s a professor! He publishes papers and books!
Witnesses trot out his name like Creationist Ken Ham lauds Ph.D.s on his staff. It lends the group a sort of credibility they wouldn’t otherwise deserve.
Furuli isn’t just a casual JW believer, either. He defends the weird stuff. He supports the ban on blood transfusions. He believes Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE, rather than the historically accepted date of 587 BCE, which is a huge deal for JW believers. He even served as a “circuit overseer” and “district overseer” in the 1960s and 1970s, meaning he was a local leader of the faith.
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