Kingdom Society (GKS) was founded in 1934 in Nigeria by Gideon M.Urhobo
(1903-1952) a former Jehovah's Witness (JW).
has become one of the larger offshoots from JWs with followers in
Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Benin, North America and England.
170, 2016 September)
FOUNDER, G.M. URHOBO
Meriodere Urhobo (1903-1952) was of the Urhobo people, a largely
Christianized ethnic group numbering 2 million in southern Nigeria.
was born in Lagos, educated in Warri (a coastal city east of Lagos),
and taught in Roman Catholic schools. In 1930 he became a postal clerk
claims a vision of Jesus in 1933 sparked his ministry:
After three and half
years diligent and prayerful studies of the Holy Bible, Jesus Christ
revealed himself to me in a vision and commanded me to go and proclaim
the good news of God's Kingdom (or 'Gospel of Peace') to all nations as
the only remedy for all human sufferings and woes; to expose all the
false doctrines which Satan had used to deceive the people and to keep
them in ignorance of God's Kingdom and purpose of creation; and to
pronounce God's written judgment against all wickedness.
resigned his job to obey the vision and was deserted by his wife,
friends and family who considered him crazy. He lectured against
"churchianity" and Islam which gained him even more rejection.
now received some JW books and met the local JW leader, W.R. Brown.
preached for JWs in Lagos but soon disagreed with Brown over:
Failed JW predictions;
and some others left JWs in October 1934 and founded GKS.
abstract by D.I. Ilega (1990) says:
JW doctrine on Marriage;
144,000 going to heaven;
The Memorial celebration;
The name "Jehovah's Witnesses"; and
The teaching that JWs had "no human leader" (when obviously
"Judge" Rutherford was the leader).
This article ...
focuses on the conflicts between W.R. Brown, pioneer of the Watchtower
in Nigeria, and G.M. Urhobo, onetime Watchtower representative in
Nigeria and founder of the GKS, over the impending Armageddon, which
Brown predicted would be fought in 1936 or 1937. When the war broke out
in 1939 this seemed to many people to be the fulfilment of Brown's
prophecy. In reaction to this prediction, farmers were already
responding to the call to leave all and join in the gospel preaching.
This not only disturbed Urhobo, but was also a matter of serious
concern to the colonial government, which promulgated an
Order-in-Council in 1940 preventing further importation of Watchtower
literature into Nigeria.
Brown (c.1890-c.1967) was incredibly successful as a preacher. He
colporteured in Trinidad in 1910, Dominica in 1915, and was sent by
Rutherford to West Africa in 1923. Stationed mainly in Nigeria he also
preached in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameroon and Ghana. He settled in
Nigeria in 1931 and opened a JW Branch Office. He returned to the
Caribbean in 1960. When Brown first went to West Africa JWs had
virtually no members there. When he died, about 100,000 were preaching
door to door, and today about 550,000.
claim that Brown predicted Armageddon for 1936 or 1937 is plausible
since Rutherford had several times indicated the mid 1930s, and in 1935
implied only "months" remained:
Suppose we should be
wrong in the chronology and that the kingdom will not be fully set up
in 1925. Suppose that we were ten years off, and it would be 1935
before restitution blessings began. Without a doubt there are now
millions of people on the earth who will be living fifteen years from
now; and we could with equal confidence say that 'Millions Now Living
will Never Die'. Whether it be 1925 or 1935, restitution blessings must
(Watchtower 1920 10/15 310)
the few remaining months until the breaking of that universal cataclysm
[Armageddon] the powers that rule the nations of the earth will
continue to make
treaties… (Universal War Near 1935, 27)
also argued with Muslims, the National Church of Nigeria, various
denominations, and politicians.
the late 1940s he opposed the anti-colonial Zikist political movement
because it sought Nigeria's independence through violence.
supported the N.C.N.C. founded by Dr. Nnandi Azikiwe [future president
of Nigeria], but deserted it because of conflict with belief in
Jehovah. In Nigeria's first general election in 1951/1952 Urhobo
campaigned for the "Action Group" a liberal party founded to prevent
N.C.N.C. control of Western Nigeria.
Temisaren Otomewo became president of GKS upon Urhobo's death in 1952
and remained until his own death in 1997.
glowing tribute to Otomewo appeared in The Guardian of Lagos which says in
During his tenure,
honesty and forthrightness were in the forefront of all his actions. He
shunned mundane things and encouraged worshippers to look unto God in
was succeeded by 39-year-old Emmanuel Oseghale Aighalua, a solicitor
and barrister of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, who lives with his wife
in a mansion called Paradise House.
guided all his life. He did not arrogate power to himself nor did he
try to exploit situations to his gain...
the civil war (1967-1970), he went to Benin to remonstrate with then
Col. Adekunle, over the safety of some ministers of Igbo extraction,
owing to the threat that faced all Igbo indigenes in the Mid West. He
secured a respite from the dreaded wartime leader, risking his life in
the process... (Eghagha 2002)
headquarters is in Warri on Nigeria's coast. Its website says:
The God's Kingdom
Society is purely a Christian Organisation founded by the Almighty God
through the instrumentality of St. Gideon Meriodere Urhobo...
estimated that GKS members numbered 2,000 in the 1960s. The GKS
website, however, says:
Around the earth, the
largest, most similar yet different competitor to the Watchtower
Society is the “God's Kingdom Society,” (GKS) which some estimate may
have 3 million members. The GKS itself ... does not count how
many people are GKS members ... so an estimation of 3 million GKS
members is not unreasonable.
largest assembled GKS crowd shown on YouTube looks like several
thousand. One YouTube video mentions 15,000 people at a GKS street
procession, and several videos have received 1100 "Views". All this
suggests thousands of members, not millions.
The GKS much
resembles Jehovah's Witnesses but differs largely in that it places
much more emphasis on helping the needy, elderly, and young
people. So far its membership is mostly Nigerian...
ministers meet annually to decide on church policy and have spoken
against homosexual marriages, violence, and the use of human embryonic
cells for research.
believes that Jehovah is God Almighty and Jesus Christ is Jehovah's
son. Their YouTube sermon on this topic is indistinguishable from JW
believes "Hell" refers to "sleep-like death for unconscious souls" and
"The bible term 'Hell Fire' symbolizes everlasting destruction for the
wicked" — again typical JW stuff. A "Little Flock" receives the "First
Resurrection" and live in heaven. From Ecclesiastes 7:28 it is argued
that no women go to heaven. Another resurrection applies to "faithful
men and women of old who worshipped Jehovah before Christ was born" and
these will live on "a reconstructed earth." Everyone else will share in
the General Resurrection also located on Earth where they are judged by
what they then do.
is anticipated but "no one knows when". JWs believe God's Kingdom was
set up in 1914 when Jesus returned invisibly but GKS says:
its founding the GKS has pointed out that the Watchtower Society has
proved itself a false prophet many many times. As a quick example, even
before the Watchtower Society mispredicted that 1975 would bring
Armageddon, JWs poured into Nigeria's towns and villages proclaiming
Armageddon's imminence after the eclipse of the sun on Tuesday, 2nd May
The Kingdom was
established only after World War I which was 1914-1918. That was when
Jesus returned invisibly.
the JWs, GKS:
Baptizes only adults;
the JW belief that the Bible commands house to house preaching is
services start and finish by exclaiming "Hail Jehovah and Jesus
Christ!" The meetings have choirs and dancing which JW meetings don't.
Men and women sit at opposite sides of the venue, women left side, men
right side. Bible study meetings take place Wednesday nights and are
separate for men and women.
do all the preaching — on streets, in homes, in public lectures, and
via radio, TV and Internet. Females do charitable deeds.
meetings include a "Youth Assembly" every August, "Freedom Day" in
October, "Feast of Tabernacles" in December, conferences for ministers
in June, and a conference for lay members and women in March and April.
GKS website says:
Rejects "speaking in tongues";
Defines the Holy Spirit as "the invisible, active force of God";
Believes Jesus was born in October.
especially of the Urhobo and Isoko cultures, have become members of the
GKS... Even non-members enjoy the GKS’s rich blend of Nigerian music,
its large colorful festivals ... and blending of the elements of other
are considered "admirable for their zealousness but totally misled..."
routinely proclaim how united they are compared to "divided
Christendom", yet have generated hundreds of splinter groups!
splinter groups remained tiny or faded away, but a few had or have
thousands of members. GKS is one that is expanding and going
H. Conscience, Nurtured By Truth, Remembering Ebenezer Otomewo, The Guardian, August 8, 2002
P.P. 2007 History of the Urhobo
People of Niger Delta, Urhobo Historical Society, p. 182
official website: www.mountainks.org
D.I. 1982 Gideon M. Urhobo and the
God's Kingdom Society in Nigeria, University of Aberdeen
D.I. 1990 God's Kingdom Society and
the Watchtower Society, 1939-1945, Orita: Ibadan Journal of
Religious Studies, Volume: 22, Issue 1, 27-39
Correction: W. R. Brown's birth and death dates are 1879-1967.
JWs are ignorant
about their own religion and its many splinter groups but this
website seeks the facts: