Serena Williams’ Jehovah’s Witness religion: no oral sex, no birthday presents, forbidden from making friends with ‘others’ and believing Satan runs the world. After the tennis star announced she won’t be celebrating her daughter’s birthday due to her faith, we take a closer look at the religion which bans oral sex and encourages members to make friends with only Jehovah’s Witnesses.
LAST weekend, tennis ace Serena Williams stunned reporters at a press conference when she said she won’t be celebrating her daughter Olympia’s birthday due to her Jehovah’s Witness faith. “Olympia doesn’t celebrate birthdays,” the 39-year-old said. “We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, we don’t do that.”
While for most of us our knowledge of Jehovah’s Witnesses is their frequent door-knocking to try and convert you, a surprising number of celebs – including Serena’s sister Venus and model Naomi Campbell – are followers or were raised in the faith.
And there are unusual rules members have to follow: they can’t have life-saving blood transfusions, are unable to vote or date without chaperones being present – and are forbidden from having oral sex both in and out of marriage.
Celebrity followers going door-to-door
Serena and sister Venus were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses by their mother Oracene Price, who converted to the religion in the 1980s. Serena has been more outspoken about the religion – which was started in the 1870s in the US – constantly thanking “Jehovah God” for her success as a tennis player.
In a recent Vogue interview she also said: “Being a Jehovah’s Witness is important to me, but I’ve never really practiced it and have been wanting to get into it. “Alexis [Serena’s husband] didn’t grow up going to any church, but he’s really receptive and even takes the lead. He puts my needs first.”
Committed Jehovah’s Witness, believe our world now belongs to Satan, and because of this God – who they call Jehovah – will end it very soon in order to create a new kingdom.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are not meant to make friends with people of other faiths, as non-believers are considered to belong to “Satan’s world” – although this isn’t always strict as their celebrity followers show.