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Left: Brother Nathan Knorr visits the branch office in Rio de Janeiro in April 1949. Right: Brother Knorr speaks at an assembly in São Paulo that took place on April 9-10, 1949

JUNE 22, 2022

Seventy-Five Years of Legal Recognition in Brazil

“Our Faith, Enthusiasm, and Confidence in Jehovah Never Wavered”

Seventy-Five Years of Legal Recognition in Brazil

On June 23, 1947, Jehovah’s Witnesses registered the Sociedade Torre de Vigia de Bíblias e Tratados (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society) in Brazil. This is the primary legal entity that has been used in Brazil for the past 75 years. The path to obtain this legal recognition involved years of opposition for our brothers.

On October 13, 1945, publishers in Brazil circulated a petition requesting support for the legal recognition of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Throughout the country, approximately 400 publishers gathered 44,411 signatures. They sent the petition to the presidential palace but did not receive a response.

In 1946, Brazil adopted a new constitution. This constitution provided a legal framework that allowed the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society to be registered. In that year, an average of 442 publishers preached in the country each month.

The clergy were not happy with this legal recognition. Three years later, on November 3, 1949, the clergy successfully pressured the president of Brazil to sign a decree to suspend and close the Watch Tower Society. The brothers took the matter to court. The case continued until April 8, 1957, when a new president halted the legal challenge to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.

While the brothers contended with legal difficulties, Jehovah continued to bless the preaching work. Brother Djalma Mendes Souto, who was baptized in 1941 and was one of the original members of the Watch Tower Society in Brazil, said: “Our faith, enthusiasm, and confidence in Jehovah never wavered, and because of this, the number of publishers continued to grow. It was with much joy when in 1947, we surpassed the 1,000-publisher mark for the first time.”

Since then, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brazil have experienced explosive growth. In 2021, Brazil reached a peak of 913,479 publishers, and 2,184,856 observed the Memorial of Christ’s death. The 2021 “Powerful by Faith!” Convention was translated into 15 languages, including 10 indigenous languages.

We are encouraged as Jehovah continues to bless the work in Brazil. Our brothers’ endurance despite legal challenges gives evidence that Jehovah saves those who hope in him.—Isaiah 25:9.