[Related to this question but that one is about teachings while this one is about meetings in general]

The answer to this other question about Mormon meetings says about meetings at Mormon temples:

Temples are very special and sacred places that are only available to members of the church in good standing. The worship ceremonies that are performed inside are not often discussed outside of the temple, not because they're secret, but because they're sacred.

I wanted to ask a similar question about Jehovah's Witnesses as there's this "Theocratic Meetings" YouTube channel that seems to have video feeds of Jehovah's Witnesses meetings. This channel has videos of two types of meetings: "Midweek Meetings" and "Weekend Meetings". The videos for both meeting types are about 1 hr 40 minutes long.

  1. Do JWs have meetings or ceremonies that are not included on this channel because they are "for members only"?
  2. Are these videos actual and complete Jehovah's Witness meetings or are there ceremonies that are done in these meetings but not shown publicly?

Editor's note on November 1, 2019: the linked YouTube channel has no public content and neither YouTube video is publicly visible. They were present at the time of this question, however.

  • 2
    It looks like that channel is cutting out the prayers at the beginning and end of each meeting. Otherwise, that's the whole thing. I don't think they're supposed to be making recordings like that available to the public though. Meetings are always open to the public, but recordings and live broadcasts are usually only made available to members of the congregation who couldn't attend.
    – user32540
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 5:59
  • 1
    All meetings that a normal JW can get to are open to the public. This is a comment because it's only half an answer. A full answer will talk about pioneer meetings, Bethel, and the Stanley Theatre.
    – TRiG
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 11:49
  • @4castle, why shouldn't recordings be available to public?
    – Dee
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 16:08
  • 1
    @Dee If you're interested in watching programs which are designed for people to watch any time, there's tv.jw.org.
    – user32540
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 23:50
  • 1
    The question is not clear since the videos you ask about no longer exist
    – 007
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 19:34

3 Answers 3


The YouTube link you referred to is not the official channel of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is a private account posted by an individual who was obviously present or received a recording of some meetings or convention programs. (I did not watch the entire videos, but At a glance it looks just like one)

ALL OF OUR MEETINGS ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, they are not secret, but our meetings are generally not posted online. This link from the official website gives a thourough overview of what to expect when attending one of our meetings anywhere around the globe...


Besides the regular weekly meetings held at local Kingdom Halls, there are special conventions & assemblies, missionary graduations (Gilead School), Annual Meeting, etc., held at various locations around the globe. All of these meetings are open to the public with a few exceptions due to seating limitations (such as Gilead School graduating class and the Annual Meeting) However, thanks to modern technology, those events are now either streamed live to the congregations or posted online at JW BROADCASTING (link follows)


There are no secret ceremonies.

What happens at a Kingdom Hall

  • The amount of meetings posted at the channel, and the static camera positioning with smooth camera movement (i.e. as opposed to a hand-held camera) makes me think that the YouTube channel is an arrangement made by a congregation rather than an individual.
    – user19845
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 18:44
  • @coderworks There's a program in place for brothers and sisters with health problems to be able to watch recordings of some of the congregation meetings and assemblies. The recordings are made by the organization at various Bethel facilities, and then uploaded to jw.org for these elderly ones to login and view from their homes. Anyone who doesn't have these special circumstances is encouraged to attend a Kingdom Hall to be with the congregation.
    – user32540
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 21:36

Since this question was posted and a best answer selected, there has been a development within the Jehovah's Witnesses religion. I only add this as information to supplement the answers already given, that correctly state their meetings to be open to the public.

At their 2016 Assemblies, also open to the public, Jehovah's Witnesses began to receive preparatory instructions and information about a time to come when they would need to gather together in small groups, out of sight of the public, to be directed by their local elders who would convey instructions from those they were responsible to. Local elders would receive directions from the Governing Body in America to be in regular contact with their congregation members on a weekly basis.

This new development is based upon their beliefs about 'the Great Tribulation' which they say will start any time now. They are being told how to prepare for it, by planning to bunker down in hideaways in private locations. They are to unquestioningly obey whatever their elders tell them to do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNtlDybBVA8 for all of the videos.

A very recent instruction received by Jehovah's Witnesses came through on 16 April 2019, based upon their forthcoming study of the July 'Watchtower' magazine. I copy the text here:

Something encouraging for all of us. Each day brings us closer to the vindication of Jehovah God's name and Paradise. The Governing Body has written two studies of the Watchtower, to prepare us for the persecution. We will have them on September 8 and 15/19. The articles contain practical advice, as: 1-Meetings in small groups. 2-Wear clothes that do not attract attention. 3-Talk low. 4-Do not leave publications when we preach. 5-Hide some publications at home. 6-Memorize from now on songs that strengthen us. 7-Know how to keep quiet. 8-From now: constant prayer. 9-Know Jehovah well to show our trust in him at all times.

The Watchtower of July 2019. Link for the first study


Second study https://www.jw.org/finder?wtlocale=E&docid=2019486&srcid=share

I received this as a Screenshot_2019-04-16-20-03-53.png

Because Jehovah's Witnesses believe that world governments will turn on world religions very soon now, they anticipate the need for them to hide away, out of public view and attention, for they will also be targets. They think that once the governments turn on them, Jehovah will start the battle of Armageddon. This preparation for the start of 'the Great Tribulation' which will lead into Armageddon, will require very private meeting together to which the public will not be invited. It is even possible that mention of this here, on a public forum, will result in pressure to have this answer removed. But I give it, as an update to answers that did not include this development - for completeness.

  • 2
    There is nothing new about JWs giving instructions on how to prepare for persecution. The OP did not ask about what JWs anticipate their meetings may look like when Great tribulation is upon us. The OP asked if certain YouTube recordings represent accurately the meetings of JWs Your answer belongs on a different question about what JWs believe the future holds for them during time of great tribulation and Armageddon. Feel free to ask that question and self answer it. Where did the screen shot you received come from?
    – 007
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 12:06
  • What is new is that, from 2016, JWs are getting ready to hide themselves away, to stop being in the public eye. As this has been going on since the summer of 2016, it is not about the future, but the present. I merely mentioned JWs beliefs about the future to help others understand this new development. And, as I said in my answer, this does not detract from the fact that at present JW meetings are open to the public. However, they are now slowly withdrawing from their totally open meeting stance, with secrecy being advocated in some areas. Do you want to know my source in order to close it?
    – Anne
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 18:18
  • The point is that the “new development” you speak of is not new and is only applicable to scenarios where the JWs are under ban like is the case in Russia currently. That makes your answer off topic to the question. Incidentally the links to the YouTube videos in the question have no content so the question should be closed since it specifically asks about examples that can’t be views any longer.
    – 007
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 19:27
  • I just knew someone or other would try to get my answer removed. From 2016 a new development has arisen, that JW officials are trying to keep secret, fobbing it off as only applicable to extreme scenarios as in Russia, where JWs are banned for illegally taking currency out of the country. This is a global development, aired at all JW assemblies in 2016. It's not my fault that the links cannot be viewed any longer - that is likely due to JW officials trying to keep this under wraps. Are you a party to that?
    – Anne
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 19:52
  • christianitytoday.com/news/2017/april/….
    – 007
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 20:23

There are no secret ceremonies or meetings. The public is welcome to attend any meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses. In fact, we encourage you to come and attend. All the Sisters and Brothers will welcome you with hugs and introductions. There are no secrets at the meetings. All our meetings are focused on the Bible. I am an unbaptized Witness, working towards getting Baptized soon. I love the Witness congregations and all that I am learning about Jehovah God and his son Jesus Christ through the Scriptures.

  • Welcome to the site, Sharon. If your answer could provide a bit more information / research, that would be helpful. Personal opinions in answers need to be substantiated with source material. Do take the Christianity Stack tour to learn more about us: christianity.stackexchange.com/tour This is how we are different to other sites: How we are different than other sites
    – Anne
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 5:53

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