Stars who are Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses are a division of Christians who follow their own version of the Bible called New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. Beliefs vary among individuals, but The Sun reports that some of the church's more controversial rules include restrictions on sexual activity (before and after marriage), and dating is usually looked down upon unless a chaperone is present. There are also prohibitions on committing acts of patriotism (like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance), voting, and political campaigning, as those actions could be considered worship of a false idol. 

Most Jehovah's Witnesses also don't celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter, or many other holidays, as they believe Jesus never celebrated his own birthday and that many of the traditions associated with certain Christian festivities are rooted in Paganism. They also oppose war, and many do not believe in blood transfusions.

In stricter sects, Jehovah's Witnesses are discouraged from befriending anyone not in the religion. Some members may also have doomsday and Armageddon beliefs.

The most commonly known teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses is that of their membership drives, which is why many members go door to door in efforts to gain more converts and followers of the religion.

Believe it or not, in the hedonistic world of Hollywood, there are quite a few practicing Jehovah's Witnesses. These stars are all believers.

Prince

In 2001, Prince announced that he'd become a Jehovah's Witness, and in 2003, he went house to house looking for converts, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. However, he likely began practicing earlier than that. When guitarist Wendy Melvoin of Prince's backing band The Revolution tried to reunite with him in 2000, Prince, according to her statements to Billboard, refused unless she gave a press conference renouncing her homosexuality.

In 2009, Prince explained to TV host Tavis Smiley that he doesn't vote because of his religion, saying, "I don't have nothing to do with it. I've got no dog in that race. … The reason why is that I'm one of the Jehovah's Witnesses. And we've never voted. … Prophecy is what we all have to go by now" (via Washington Post).

Sly and the Family Stone bassist Larry Graham reportedly helped introduce Prince to the religion, though many fans had a hard time reconciling Prince as a staunch Christian when he wrote sex-charged songs like "Darling Nikki." Author Touré explained in his book about Prince, I Would Die 4 U (via People), "There's maybe three Prince personas. One of them is a very calculated marketing mind. That's where the 'embodying pure sex' thing comes from. Another of them is 'I'm gonna be the baddest musician there ever was.'"

Touré continued, "And then there's the guy who … holds religious considerations close to his heart and ponders those questions sincerely and genuinely and deeply."

Coco Rocha

Supermodel Coco Rocha's beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness determine the types of fashion campaigns in which she participates — and she says she still preaches door to door looking for converts.

"The whole purpose is to inform people. Some people think we're a pushy religion, but if you're not interested, just say so," she once told DuJour magazine.

As far as her religion influences her style choices on the runway and in print campaigns, Rocha explained, "It's just my boobs aren't out. And I don't have a cigarette in my hand, and I'm not making out with a guy. And it's all fine if you want to do that. I don't judge. My besties do Victoria's Secret. I just don't do it."

But her beliefs did cost her work early on. "In the beginning, the clients would say, 'This is too much,' but over time, the ones I liked kept working with me," she said. Her rules include "no religious artifacts, no government artifacts," and shoots with male models are limited to being fully or mostly clothed and less suggestive than typical campaigns.

Indeed Rocha's been open about her religion for a while, previously telling Fashion magazine, that she wouldn't sacrifice her beliefs for her job (via the Daily Mail). "I'm a Christian first," she said, "and a model second."

Chet Lemon and Lou Whitaker

Detroit Tigers fan favorites Chet Lemon and Lou Whitaker never stood for the national anthem at games in the 1980s because of their Jehovah's Witness beliefs.

Lemon told the Detroit Free Press in 1987, "I acknowledge God's kingdom over earth. I give my allegiance to him and not to the flag." While he noted that he was "grateful" to live in the United States and to have the opportunity to share his religion with others, he explained that "the national anthem is a ritual."

He went on, "You have to think about what's being said: 'rockets' red glare, bombs bursting in air?' We do not believe in nor do we salute war. And for all practical purposes, I'm not the only player to not to salute the flags. Others all over America don't do it for different reasons, and a lot of them don't understand why and don't understand why we don't, either."

Marques Houston

Former child star Marques Houston revealed on his Instagram account in July 2016 that he goes door to door seeking converts to the Jehovah's Witness religion. Critics and trolls responded to his post by writing, "Go home Roger," a reference to his annoying character Roger Evans on the '90s family comedy Sister, Sister (via Bossip). Houston, however, was unfazed, later posting a meme himself of his character with "Go home Roger" as a caption.

A month later, he was baptized into the church, which he fondly honored two years later. Sharing a snapshot from his big day, he wrote, "2 years ago I made the best decision I could have ever made. I dedicated myself to my Heavenly Father #Jehovah and became one of Jehovah's Witnesses." And Houston is clearly super proud of his faith, given that his Instagram bio reads, at the time of this writing, "Always keeping Jehovah # 1."

Venus and Serena Williams

Living tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams are proud and practicing Jehovah's Witnesses, though most people have either forgotten about or simply never realized that fact.

Though the timeline of the birth of Serena's daughter, Alexis Olympia, and her wedding to Alexis Ohanian indicates that she may have not necessarily obeyed the church's teachings on premarital sex, Serena announced in August 2018 that she wouldn't be celebrating her daughter's first birthday because of her religion.

"Olympia doesn't celebrate birthdays," the sports star told press ahead of the U.S. Open. "We're Jehovah's Witnesses, so we don't do that."

Serena also revealed to Vogue in 2017 that Ohanian was supportive of her beliefs, which included no cohabiting until they were married.

"He's extremely smart but not a know-it-all. He's curious about what he doesn't know. Being a Jehovah's Witness is important to me, but I've never really practiced it and have been wanting to get into it," she said. "Alexis didn't grow up going to any church, but he's really receptive and even takes the lead. He puts my needs first."

Venus Williams also practices the religion. Serena and Venus' mother, Oracene Price, told The New York Times that she often went door to door "in service" with her daughters, even after they became tennis icons.

Damon Wayans Jr. and Damon Wayans

While many members of the Wayans family were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses, Damon Wayans may be the only one still openly and actively practicing. His brother Keenan Ivory Wayans explained of their upbringing, "My dad was the Jehovah's Witness. My mom was not, and there was always conflict about that. And that was part of the humor of my house. The clashes that ensued were priceless. … My mom was one of the funniest people when she was angry. I think that impacted us more than anything. Growing up, when we got mad we tended to think funny."

Damon told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel of their strict parents, "Our parents, to their credit, never said 'Stop having fun.' They kept us close, and we had to be upstairs at 6 o'clock. They didn't want us to run in the streets." He added that he and his brothers would entertain one another and, if anyone got into trouble with their parents, they'd mock that brother if he cried during a spanking.

Damon was also photographed at the Memorial of Christ's Death in 2017 with his wife, son and Happy Endings actor Damon Wayans Jr., and the rest of his children.