Serena Williams baptized as a Jehovah's Witness
23-time Major champion Serena Williams was baptized on Sunday as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, marking a monumental moment for the recently retired tennis great. The baptism took place at the Jehovah's Witness Assembly in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Williams, 41, was raised as a Jehovah's Witness by her family. For the uninitiated, Jehovah's Witnesses are a sub-sect of Christianity and have a membership of almost nine million people.
In addition to rejecting the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the denomination also prohibits observing holidays like Easter, Christmas, birthdays, or any festival with pagan origins. Williams and her family members do not observe any of these traditional Christian festivals.
Here are some of the glimpses from her baptism:
Who are Jehovah's Witnesses and what does Serena Williams think about the practice?
According to their official website, Jehovah's Witnesses is a denomination of Christianity that advocates both the Old and New Testament of the Bible. Jehovah's Witnesses do not see Jesus Christ as the 'Almighty God' but rather as the son of God.
Furthermore, Jehovah's Witnesses are told to abstain from politics, voting, and the other aforementioned activities.
Serena Williams' sister Venus also follows the religion, while her daughter Olympia is being brought up with it as well. Back in 2017, the 23-time Major champion told Vogue that "being a Jehovah's Witness" was important to her and that her husband Alexis Ohanian was extremely supportive of her in this matter.
"Being a Jehovah’s Witness is important to me, but I’ve never really practiced it and have been wanting to get into it. Alexis didn’t grow up going to any church, but he’s really receptive and even takes the lead. He puts my needs first," Serena Williams said in 2017.
In 2018, when her daughter Olympia turned one, Williams disclosed that she would not be hosting a birthday party for her daughter that year, or ever in the future.
“Olympia doesn’t celebrate birthdays,” Williams said. “We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, so we don’t do that.”
After winning her sixth Australian Open title in 2015, the American expressed her gratitude to the "Jehovah God" during her winning speech.
“I have to thank Jehovah God for this. I was down and out and he helped me today and I just said prayers, not to win but to be strong and to be healthy and in the end I was able to come through so I have to give the glory to him first and foremost," Williams said in 2015.