Cleveland had rarely seen such concerted concern for the uplift of its soul. Evangelists cried out on street corners; windrows of leaflets clogged the city's gutters. Defiant placards atop caravans of clanking autos proclaimed the doom of Satan.

All this, including the fair warning to Satan, was the work of an extraordinary army of 75,000 invading and noisy militants—from Finland, Argentina, Scotland, Mexico and every corner of the U.S. They were encamped on the shores of Lake Erie for the Glad Nations Theocratic Assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses.

At their first triumphant postwar conclave, the Witnesses cast off wartime tribulations. In Germany,...

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