Sects: Witnessing the End

If this turns out to be the last time they all got together, the thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses who gathered last week in New York City's Yankee Stadium for an international assembly will not be a bit surprised. In fact, they fully expect the cataclysm of Armageddon within the next few years. The latest calculations of this energetic, eschatology-minded sect date the end of the world in autumn, 1975.

Fearful as it may be to other religious believers, the end is a prospect that rejoices the hearts of the 323,688 U.S. members of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, as...