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Source: (consider it) Thread: Jehovah's Witnesses and Bible Study
recklessrat
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Morning all,

So I've been working from home a fair bit during the Olympics and have had two visits from Jehovah's Witnesses during that time. The first time we had a discussion on my doorstep about evolution and creationism and I was given a booklet to read, which was claimed to be 'balanced' with the pros and cons of evolution and creationism (I don't believe such things can ever be truly 'balanced' but there we go). They then came back yesterday and we had another discussion about evolution, creationism and the Bible. I was interested in talking to them on both occasions and didn't tell them to go away as I like to learn about different beliefs and like to get involved in religious discussion and debate (hence why I like this site)!

At the end of this discussion, I was asked if I was interested in talking to them more about the Bible and Biblical passages about creation, when they're next in my area. I agreed, thinking it would be kind of unchristian to refuse to discuss the Bible with others (I had a cross around my neck and had told them I belonged to my church so couldn't pretend to be an atheist)! Plus I'll be back to work next week so may not be around when they return to my area anyway.

However, I'm now concerned that if I do end up having this Bible study, they are going to try and convert me. I adore my C of E church with my entire mind, body and soul, and have no desire whatsoever to be converted away from it. Has anyone been in a similar situation? What should I expect if I do have to go through with this Bible study? How do I get through it safely? Or should I just never answer my door again?!
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

On a side note, I found it interesting that on neither occasion did they come out and say 'I'm a Jehovah's Witness' (it was definitely them – the booklet had the watchtower url on it). I found that quite sad in a way that they couldn't come out and admit what they are. Only one person was sent the first time, so she could have been a local councillor or anyone, on looking out of your window.

It was also interesting to reflect on the way they talked to me – they asked me what my thoughts were on a particular issue, then framed what their response would be to that issue in the context of what I had said – so giving my thoughts undue prominence. I suspect this tactic is quite effective in building acquaintances with some people, who are thrilled that someone seems to be placing so much importance on their personal beliefs.

Mods: Apologies if this is on the wrong board...

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Lamb Chopped
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They are certainly (already) trying to convert you. This is their main method. And if you don't already know your Bible well, I strongly suggest you don't go through with the "studies," which are pre-scripted and twisted. Only real knowledge and/or the uncovenanted grace of the Holy Spirit is going to keep you from getting muddled.

If you do choose to go through with the studies, may I suggest you find a wise, experienced and knowledgeable older Christian to do it with you? That way you have a counterbalance to the distortions and outright untruths they will throw at you. Not that I'm saying they are evil people in themselves, mind you, but they have memorized a particular line which happens to be false--and most of them have no idea what the truth of the matter is. (Witness the shock when they occasionally come face to face with a person who actually reads the NT in Greek, etc.)

Pray for them. And if you choose, invite them to Bible study at YOUR church. (if they actually turn up I'll be astonished--I've tried this and never got anywhere, as they are taught to consider us all of the devil)

[ 07. August 2012, 11:52: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

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Moo

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They have their own Bible translation, which supports their doctrines. If you attend a Bible study, take a translation which reflects mainline Christianity.

Moo

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mdijon
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My problem with them is that they aren't interested in discussion. They have a set approach that is designed to convert you.

I think the fact that they don't announce who they are unless pushed is a sign of a disingenuous approach, and the fact that the bible study they offer is all entirely on their terms is also a bad sign.

I had a call a little while ago, where there was a relatively young woman at the door to give the usual patter regarding God, the world and the end times. I politely declined, saying I'd take a leaflet if they wished but couldn't stop and talk. After giving me a leaflet, as she turned to leave I saw that an older man had been present during the conversation standing to one side of the doorway so as to be out of my field of vision.

It seemed a very strange way to behave, and not really open and honest.

I wouldn't allow them into my home because it will be a propaganda delivery session.

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chive

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The last time they came to the door they greeted me with 'Isn't it awful that evolution is taught in schools?' To which I replied, 'No'. They seemed quite nonplussed by this. When I asked them why they came they said something about wanting to meet people. I challenged them about this and it was only then that they said they were Jehovah's Witnesses. I told them they were being disengenious and she got the hump and left.

If they're not going to be honest, I'm not interested.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by recklessrat:

At the end of this discussion, I was asked if I was interested in talking to them more about the Bible and Biblical passages about creation, when they're next in my area. I agreed, thinking it would be kind of unchristian to refuse to discuss the Bible with others (I had a cross around my neck and had told them I belonged to my church so couldn't pretend to be an atheist)! Plus I'll be back to work next week so may not be around when they return to my area anyway.

However, I'm now concerned that if I do end up having this Bible study, they are going to try and convert me. I adore my C of E church with my entire mind, body and soul, and have no desire whatsoever to be converted away from it.

They were trying to convert you from the first word. [Big Grin]

Enjoy the discussion by all means. No harm in talking.

If they raise issues that may be in conflict with your experience in the C of E that bother you, raise it here or speak to your priest/mates at church.

quote:
Originally posted by recklessrat:

On a side note, I found it interesting that on neither occasion did they come out and say 'I'm a Jehovah's Witness' (it was definitely them – the booklet had the watchtower url on it). I found that quite sad in a way that they couldn't come out and admit what they are.

I would take this a different way.

There is no benefit from coming out early and saying "We are JH's".

They come bearing what they see as "the truth". Their name is irrelevant.

Bit like me turning up at your door and saying:

"G'day, I'm a liberal, anglo-catholic, evangelical Anglican. Oh and by the way, here is what that means". Say it first. Add names later.

quote:
Originally posted by recklessrat:

It was also interesting to reflect on the way they talked to me – they asked me what my thoughts were on a particular issue, then framed what their response would be to that issue in the context of what I had said – so giving my thoughts undue prominence. I suspect this tactic is quite effective in building acquaintances with some people, who are thrilled that someone seems to be placing so much importance on their personal beliefs.

Listening skills 101. They may be genuinely interested in what you have to say or they have been taught the best way to listen and engage.

The fastest way to build rapport is to view the other person as the most interesting person in the world.

[ 07. August 2012, 14:35: Message edited by: Evensong ]

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Alan Cresswell

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If you do take up their offer of a Bible study I can see several benefits:

You might learn something. Even if you disagree you'll learn what JWs believe. Engaging with people of different views helps to understand, and express, what you do and don't believe (which is one of the great things about the Ship).

You could be doing a service to your neighbours. The time they spend trying to convert you is time they are not spending bothering other people in the area.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:


You could be doing a service to your neighbours. The time they spend trying to convert you is time they are not spending bothering other people in the area.

All in the name of Christian Love!

[Killing me] [Killing me]

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a theological scrapbook

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recklessrat
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Thanks for all your replies.

Lamb Chopped:

Not a thrilling thought that I am already in their conversion process!!

I doubt my Biblical knowledge is in their league tbh, and I'm not good at debating verbally.
I think it would be a very good idea to get an experienced, knowledgeable friend from church to attend.

The problem is I don't know exactly when the JWs are coming back (just 'next week') so I can't ask a friend to come in advance. What I could do though is get the friend to come and have a cup of tea with me if I know I'll be on my own, just in case they do turn up.

It would be interesting to see their reaction to being offered Bible study at my church! When I offered a viewpoint that was blatantly heretical to them (divinely ordered evolution), that did actually cause them a moment of surprised silence before they picked up with the pre-scripted stuff again.

Moo:

Thank you. I will keep my ESV Bible (signed by Vicar and Bishop!) close at hand at all times...

Mdijon:

Your experience with the man standing just out of your field of vision is pretty disturbing. My eyesight is terrible anyway so I wouldn't be surprised if a trick like that was pulled with me. An unfamiliar black car was parked outside my house for a while this morning, so I got a bit paranoid and thought I would draw the blinds just in case!

Chive:

I agree, it's really disingenuous not to be clear about who they are. Maybe I should have considered this more before becoming engaged in conversation with them.

Evensong:

Yes, I feel very guilible now I realise that indeed, they were trying to convert me from the first word!

They haven't said anything that would make me in any way question aspects of my existing faith, so that's good. I would defo raise it here/at church if that happened though.

I see your point about not proclaiming who they are. I guess I didn't expect them to mention it straight away, but thought they might have slipped it in over the course of two conversations.

Alan Cresswell:

I like your point about doing service to my neighbours!!

Seriously though, I think it is good to engage with people and see what they believe. I've learnt a lot about JWs just through these two conversations and post-conversation googles.
I just don't want to be converted. Or for them to think I even have the potential to be converted.

So I think if I'm going to go into this, I need to go into it well-armed. Which is where Lamb Chopped's point about having an older, more knowledgeable Christian with me comes in, I think.
I think messages will have to be got out to my congregation also, as I would judge a fair few of them to be more guilible/suggestible than me, and I certainly don't want them getting into this sort of situation!

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by recklessrat:


Not a thrilling thought that I am already in their conversion process!!



Why would a complete stranger knock on your door and start a theological conversation unless they were trying to convert you?

They might be very nice people, and such conversations can be very interesting, but people don't walk the streets risking abuse and rejection just for a hobby.

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Poppy

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JWs do not believe that Christ is the second person of the trinity. AFAIK they have him as the Archangel Michael or something similar. Salvation appears to happen as a result of getting out there and door knocking which sounds pretty grim. I found that when they turned up if I talked about the joy that was at the core of my love of Jesus and burbled on about how the Spirit was with me that day and offered to pray with them they didn't come back. They are trained to argue, but a wittering extrovert who is witnessing to love is something that is harder to put in a box.

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recklessrat
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by recklessrat:


Not a thrilling thought that I am already in their conversion process!!



Why would a complete stranger knock on your door and start a theological conversation unless they were trying to convert you?

They might be very nice people, and such conversations can be very interesting, but people don't walk the streets risking abuse and rejection just for a hobby.

I know it's quite naive, but I guess I thought general awareness-raising, as opposed to working on individual conversions straight away.

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Arethosemyfeet
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I've invited JWs in on several occasions in the past, I find it's best to fight fire with fire - if they're going to come at you with proof texts, it helps to know the eccentricities of JW beliefs and tackle their departures from orthodox Christianity. The doctrine of the trinity is a good place to start, but there are plenty of others. You have to remember that JWs are coached in a particular set of doctrines and associated proof texts. Get them off those and very few of them have any depth of Biblical knowledge upon which to rely.
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Darllenwr
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I found myself on the receiving end of the JW's way back in the mid 1980's, when they didn't seem to concentrate quite so much on the listening skills!

The first JW caller was a relatively inexperienced youngster and, as I was not in work at the time, I took the time to let her have her say. She was trying to persuade me of the impossibility of the Trinity doctrine. Unfortunately for her (mostly by happy accident, I admit) I said a number of things which caused her to think for herself (by the way, I got to know the lass in question through something completely unrelated, it turned out that she bailed out of the JW's a while later, citing her conversation with me as the starting point for her loss of confidence in their system) and turn all uncertain. She was then rescued by an older woman who told me, "We will be back!"

I took the threat seriously and got down to some serious study of my own faith, so as to be ready for them when they returned. I got hold of a number of Christian books examining their doctrine from the Christian point of view and made extensive notes. As the weeks went by, the visitors slowly went further and further up the local hierarchy ...

I looked upon it as a service to the neighbors - whilst they were banging their heads against me, they weren't pestering anybody else.

These days, this house is black-listed with the local Kingdom Hall - they know that they are wasting their time and potentially risking members by coming here.

If you are going to engage with them, be aware that they are going to do their best to make life difficult for you until you fall in with their way of thinking. I don't know if they still use this tactic, but one favourite used to be to have 2 'heavies' call on you. One would pose a question then, as you tried to answer that, the other would throw in a different question, attempting to keep you off balance. This tactic would be played back and forth.

So, if you are going to spend time with them, be prepared to put in some serious study, both of their doctrine and their handling of the Bible. You will find that they tend to quote assertions from 'Watchtower' or 'Awake' which they will then support with quotations from the Bible. Mostly these quotations will be legitimate, but taken well out of context. Read up on their proof texts (again, a current Christian book on the JW's is vital here) and how to deal with them. And, above all, make sure you go fully armed into any battle with them (Eph 6) - this is not just a flesh-and-blood struggle.

Have fun!

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by recklessrat:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by recklessrat:


Not a thrilling thought that I am already in their conversion process!!



Why would a complete stranger knock on your door and start a theological conversation unless they were trying to convert you?

They might be very nice people, and such conversations can be very interesting, but people don't walk the streets risking abuse and rejection just for a hobby.

I know it's quite naive, but I guess I thought general awareness-raising, as opposed to working on individual conversions straight away.
But most people are already 'aware' of the JWs, aren't they? I'm sure they proceed in a gentle way, because urging people to repent and be saved in the first few minutes of conversation probably wouldn't get them anywhere, but what they would hope for is that sooner or later you'll join them.

They come to my front door too, but my father is the one who speaks to them (he's not especially religious, but he lets them chat for a little while). They leave their literature, and sometimes I look at it. Maybe in other places the JWs are more full-on.

It's a shame that people who enjoy having religious discussions (in real life and not just on the internet) have to wait for the JWs to turn up before that can happen. If you're simply looking to learn about other faith traditions, you could get involved with local ecumenical and/or interfaith and networks. (The JWs are unlikely to be involved, but other groups will be there.)

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St. Gwladys
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We've had quite a number of encounters with the witnesses. Darllenwr forgot to mention one particular incident:
We have a Ukrainian friend who wanted to learn more about the Bible, so a few of us started getting together to do some fairly basic bible studies. One day, some JW's called, and we invited them in. They asked if they could come back the next week and bring one of their elders, so we agreed. (Darllenwr actually took the day off so he could join us, although I think "us girls" could have held our own!) The JW's duly arrived, and the conversation started. We answered all their points, and Darllenwr, in particular, gave the Christian angle, only to be shouted down by the JW elder. After some while, our friend's husband ordererd them out of the house - he had been a staunch union man, and he reckoned he had seen better, politer behaviour in some militant union meetings, and he was not going to stand for that sort of behaviour in his house!
Seriously, if you challenge their beliefs, they bring in the big guns, and if you challenge them, they get very irritated. At least, as has already been said, it keeps them from pestering others, but has also been said, you must be sure of your scriptures to be able to answer them.

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Moo

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I have a friend who knows NT Greek and OT Hebrew. When the JWs show up, he says he'll be glad to discuss the Bible but only in the original languages.

It gets rid of them very effectively.

Moo

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Lothiriel
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:


You could be doing a service to your neighbours. The time they spend trying to convert you is time they are not spending bothering other people in the area.

This is exactly why I used to answer the door to them and engage them in long debates.

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Lamb Chopped
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You need not be too awed by their supposed knowledge of Scripture--because it is, as you say, pre-scripted, it is memorized and about as deep as a frog pond in August. (Considers that) Well, in the Midwest, anyway.

Concerning their return--why should the study take place at their unannnounced convenience? Have them set an appointment, like normal people. Then invite your experienced friends.

If you do engage with them, remember that they are expecting, even possibly hoping, to be persecuted "for the truth." Do nothing that will lend itself to that idea. The more kind, loving, reasonable AND firm you are, the more they will be forced to re-examine their own beliefs. After all, they have been led to believe that we are out to "get" them. Poor people.

Agree to nothing in a hurry, and take as much time as you like to consider a point. Do not allow anyone to flurry you with leading questions or fast talk. You wouldn't let a used car dealer do that to you--don't allow it in the caseof any salvation-seller.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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Banner Lady
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I know of one Christian, door knocked by JW's, who invited them back time and time again. He had no intention of joining their Hall; he simply decided that if they were spending all afternoon trying to indoctrinate him, then other good souls would be spared their spiel.

He's now an Anglican bishop. So I guess this was the way he cared for the souls in his area.

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Welease Woderwick

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I understand that if you buy a clerical collar and wear it when you open the door they will be scared away.


eta: on the other hand wearing leather and carrying a whip may be just as effective a deterrent!

[ 08. August 2012, 04:47: Message edited by: Welease Woderwick ]

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Margaret

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Speaking as someone who's done weeks and weeks of a JW Bible study, I think the greatest risk you run is of being bored out of your head. I'm married to an academic who's done a fair amount of research on JWs, and decided to do a Bible study with a JW elder who's also a friend (and once you get them away from the doorstep most JWs are delightful and perfectly normal people). I joined him as a sort of research assistant and we made it clear that we were doing it for academic reasons, not as potential converts.

You work your way through a booklet of prepared topics, illustrated with a jumble of passages drawn from all over the OT and NT - no attempt at critical treatment of the text - and the person conducting the study is keen to make sure you give the right answers to the questions the booklet asks. It went on for weeks, he obviously expected us to see the logic of it all and get baptised as JWs, it was stiflyingly dull and finally I blew it by defending the doctrine of the Trinity in no uncertain terms, and that was the end of that (though I'm glad to say we've remained friends with him and his very nice family).

I don't think there's anything much to fear in a JW Bible study for any reasonably committed and confident Christian except sheer boredom.

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Welease Woderwick:
I understand that if you buy a clerical collar and wear it when you open the door they will be scared away.

eta: on the other hand wearing leather and carrying a whip may be just as effective a deterrent!

I understand that wearing nothing at all does the trick, but I've never tried it.

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Janine

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quote:
... For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore...
I dunno, that chunk of Isaiah makes the Son sound pretty Divine to me.

Welcome, recklessrat!

If you have time to speak with them, do so. If you don't, say so. If you'd like to speak with them but can't now, make an appointment.

Why fear the fact that they want to convert you? Heck, I want to convert you, if you need it.

What have you to fear if you know the Lord? You might learn some interesting things. You'll find you actually agree with them about some things. Is there anything they can do to you, to damage your status (for want of a better word) as a child of God?

No harm in studying with them with their Bible -- just use your own alongside.

No harm in accepting their published materials -- at least in past years I enjoyed the artwork. Rather like some Hindu materials I always accept if I bump into someone handing those out. (Ooohhhh, pretty!)

When we have the time, we always study with them. Their older/more experienced "handlers" -- or the elder/more experienced of the two who first show up -- will blackball your house on their list after a while, though, if you don't happily hoppily skippily agree they have the right of it and declare your intent to join them at their assemblies.

I have a story about encountering them that I consider hilarious, will post it as I get some time later today.

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I'm a Fundagelical Evangimentalist. What are you?
Take Me Home * My Heart * An hour with Rich Mullins *

Posts: 13788 | From: Below the Bible Belt | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cottontail

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# 12234

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quote:
Originally posted by Welease Woderwick:
I understand that if you buy a clerical collar and wear it when you open the door they will be scared away.

I can confirm that that doesn't work!

Last time I opened the door to two very young JWs, they began by saying what a terrible state the world was in today, didn't I agree? I did not agree, positing that the world was no better and no worse than it had always been. The young man said that it definitely was worse, because more people had died in war in the 20th century than in all the previous centuries combined. I countered that more people had been alive in the 20th century than in all the previous centuries combined.

Clearly the conversation was meant to go:
Them: What a terrible state the world is in!
Me: Yes indeed, what a terrible state the world is in, all this crime, etc.
Them: Well, look here! This terrible state is predicted in the Bible! It is the End Times!
Me: Fascinating! Tell me more.

So my experience agrees with Poppy's: they simply couldn't break through my relentless optimism to get past the first line of their script.
They left with my blessing, and have not returned.

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"I don't think you ought to read so much theology," said Lord Peter. "It has a brutalizing influence."

Posts: 2377 | From: Scotland | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
Chelley

Ship's Old Boot
# 11322

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quote:
Originally posted by Cottontail:
quote:
Originally posted by Welease Woderwick:
I understand that if you buy a clerical collar and wear it when you open the door they will be scared away.

I can confirm that that doesn't work!
Ditto!
I've had visits on a few occasions and wearing a collar at the time or standing next to the "Vicarage" sign doesn't seem to make any difference. Though engaging in friendly conversation and a bit of counter-discussion does. I have on a number of occasions (pre and post ordination) suggested that "how kind of you to offer me your literature - I'll take yours if you'd like to take my gospel of John/Luke etc!" So far the offer has been declined. The most interesting conversations have arisen when my visitors have ventured near to 'who Jesus is' territory, though these conversations tend to be cut short.
I do remember one conversation from a number of years ago (before I was ordained) but when I presumably had been labelled as a "so-called" Christian from prior doorstep conversations, so the opening gambit was along the lines of, "We believe in mission and sharing the faith, don't you?" To which I got in quick with "Well yes I do actually, and we have an Alpha course beginning at our church next week, it would be lovely if you'd like to come and explore the faith?" They left, and I suspect I was 'black-balled' after that as I didn't see them again.

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"I love old things, they make me feel sad."
"What's good about sad?"
"It's happy for deep people!"

Sally Sparrow to Kathy - Doctor Who

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moonlitdoor
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# 11707

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quote:

originally posted by Cottontail

I countered that more people had been alive in the 20th century than in all the previous centuries combined.

This is most unlikely to be true even though you used it in a good cause ! See for example http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16870579

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We've evolved to being strange monkeys, but in the next life he'll help us be something more worthwhile - Gwai

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Darllenwr
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# 14520

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quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
quote:
Originally posted by Welease Woderwick:
I understand that if you buy a clerical collar and wear it when you open the door they will be scared away.

eta: on the other hand wearing leather and carrying a whip may be just as effective a deterrent!

I understand that wearing nothing at all does the trick, but I've never tried it.
Why-ever not? [Two face]

Seriously, though, is "scaring them away" such a good thing? I appreciate that they can be a dratted nuisance but, strange as it may seem, The Book seems to suggest that God loves them too. Hard as it may be, I reckon that we are called upon to love them as well.

As a footnote, around here I have found that the JW's tend to be quite aggressive, as compared to the Mormons (we get quite a lot of American missionaries as they have a house in the area) who tend to be quite laid back and relaxed. Saying that, after a series of visits by one missionary pair during which I did some serious damage to the archeological provenance of the Book of Mormon, we would appear to have been blacklisted by the Mormons as well as the JW's. As those visits were in 1997, I must have made a fairly lasting impression ... [Devil]

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If I've told you once, I've told you a million times: I do not exaggerate!

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St. Gwladys
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# 14504

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I agree that the JW's tend to be more aggresive than, say, the Mormons. These days, I don't invite the JWs into the house if I'm on my own, but the last couple of times I spoke to them on the door, I found that they encroached on my personal space so that I was retreating into the house.
Actually, last time they called, Lord P was at home and he got involved in the conversation too. They seemed a bit taken aback by the fact that this obviously young man knew his stuff and could argue his case. I think we're blackballed again....
The local ones are often out on a Sunday morning. I suppose they feel that anyone who is out is possibly in church, so anyone in is fair game.

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"I say - are you a matelot?"
"Careful what you say sir, we're on board ship here"
From "New York Girls", Steeleye Span, Commoners Crown (Voiced by Peter Sellers)

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Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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quote:
Originally posted by Darllenwr:
quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
I understand that wearing nothing at all does the trick, but I've never tried it.

Why-ever not? [Two face]


Just ask any Shipmate who has met me IRL!
[Biased]

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."
~Tortuf

Posts: 9835 | From: Hogwarts | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Arethosemyfeet
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# 17047

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quote:
Originally posted by Darllenwr:

As a footnote, around here I have found that the JW's tend to be quite aggressive, as compared to the Mormons (we get quite a lot of American missionaries as they have a house in the area) who tend to be quite laid back and relaxed. Saying that, after a series of visits by one missionary pair during which I did some serious damage to the archeological provenance of the Book of Mormon, we would appear to have been blacklisted by the Mormons as well as the JW's. As those visits were in 1997, I must have made a fairly lasting impression ... [Devil]

Really? I've found the Mormons far more difficult to get rid of. I lived in Lancashire for a while and you could see them coming down the street, and you'd have to wait for them to acost a student who didn't speak much English to give you time to get away from them. If you time it wrong you get pursued down the street, with them shouting "suuuurrrr! suuuurrr!", and they won't stop even if you politely explain that you don't wish to speak to them. If you do speak to them they're not interested in a discussion, because unless you're prepared to accept the book of mormon as authoritative; and it's hard to challenge that authority without bringing up the inivisible gold plates and the magic spectacles and the racism and the polygamy and so on.
Posts: 2933 | From: Hebrides | Registered: Apr 2012  |  IP: Logged
Cottontail

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# 12234

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quote:
Originally posted by moonlitdoor:
quote:

originally posted by Cottontail

I countered that more people had been alive in the 20th century than in all the previous centuries combined.

This is most unlikely to be true even though you used it in a good cause ! See for example http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16870579
Haha - oh well! I shall rephrase that in future to "More people were alive in the 20th century than were alive in any century previously."

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"I don't think you ought to read so much theology," said Lord Peter. "It has a brutalizing influence."

Posts: 2377 | From: Scotland | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
Shire Dweller
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# 16631

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As an aside of my own experience

In my mid twenties (only a few years ago) the JW's happened to send round two young and attractive women. I rather liked that and ignorantly announced myself as “Church of England”
They said something about living out the Bible – I wasn't listening...

A few weeks later, two more young and attractive JW women turned up. I liked that too but was watching football or something so didn't want to listen...

I stopped liking it when both my Vicar and an experienced Christian friend told me – they just made notes and thought sending you young and attractive women was a way in...

What has annoyed me more recently though is that the JW's were out doing their door knocking around here on Easter Sunday this year. That really annoyed me – it confirmed that they had no respect whatsoever for Christians. I chastised myself for feeling so uncharitable but did find it extremely difficult to think at all well of them because of this.

Naive as ever I suppose.

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Right around the Wrekin

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Polly Plummer
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# 13354

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It seems like time for someone to put in a good word for the JWs.

When we lived in Holland I knew someone who had been very lonely when she first moved there. The JWs called and she told them she wasn't interested, but had they come across any other British people on their rounds? The lady went back to HQ and called again later with the address of an English-speaking (in fact American) person whom one of her colleagues had come across - who eventually introduced the first woman to our club, where I met her. We all thought this was splendid work on their part.

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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You LIKED their artwork, Janine?! [Eek!]

I always thought that was one of the worst aspects of the Watchtower tracts and booklets - the illustrations were just so cheesy ...

Anyhow - I used to have JW neighbours when I lived in a block of flats (apartments to our US friends) - council flats - public housing ...

They were lovely.

On the whole, and I don't mean to insult Pentecostals and fundamentalist evangelicals, but in terms of the demographic, I've always found JWs very similar to the people one might meet at the local AoG or Elim church or the local independent non-charismatic evangelical church.

I used to spend ages debating with them and I'm not sure how much good it did them or me. It probably sharpened up my hermeneutics and debating skills to some extent - but then, I tend not to get into lengthy theological discussions in real life these days - that tends to happen here.

I'd agree with what's been said so far. Their apparent depth of Bible knowledge isn't as impressive as it first appears. Try hitting them with Hebrews 1:5-13.

I'm not sure that sword-fencing with proof-texts really gets any of us very far, but it certainly wouldn't do any harm, and may do them some good, to point out some of the texts on which orthodox Christian doctrines are based. They will have an answer, of course, but there's no harm in trying. It'll make them think.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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SvitlanaV2
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# 16967

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quote:
Originally posted by Shire Dweller:
What has annoyed me more recently though is that the JW's were out doing their door knocking around here on Easter Sunday this year. That really annoyed me – it confirmed that they had no respect whatsoever for Christians. I chastised myself for feeling so uncharitable but did find it extremely difficult to think at all well of them because of this.

Disrespectful perhaps, but also rather foolish - surely, by pestering religious people on a holy day they were unlikely to get a good reception.
Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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This past Easter afternoon I had people from
Faithful Word Baptist Church at my door -- (discussed on this thread).
Pastor Steven L. Anderson is best-know for this sermon.

I am soooo glad I ignored the doorbell.

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."
~Tortuf

Posts: 9835 | From: Hogwarts | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Rowen
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# 1194

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My brother did the naked door thingy.
It worked for them.... No more visits, ever.
Mind you, it was midwinter at the time, and he says he got kinda cold.

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"May I live this day… compassionate of heart" (John O’Donoghue)...

Posts: 4897 | From: Somewhere cold in Victoria, Australia | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
recklessrat
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# 17243

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Hello all,

Thanks very much for all your replies - it is really helpful to be able to read about all your experiences.
I am going to do some serious reading up on the Biblical points they are likely to bring up and ways in which to respond. I will look at the bits mentioned on this thread, and I have also found some websites that are supposed to help you do this. I think I will definitely need someone with me in case they phrase questions in a sneaky way and I get confused and miss something. Best to keep it as formal as possible – they can have an appointment time, and I will book in my friend to come too.

I feel somewhat reassured by the observations of many on this thread that it is actually likely to be pretty mundane, pre-scripted stuff. Not having experienced it before, you do tend to imagine the worst. I agree with Darllenwr that we’re called to love them, and I think me being able to argue confidently with them is a big part of showing that love! So I want to make sure I do a really good job.

I was very surprised to learn from this thread that even clerical collars and vicarages don’t deter, though. And to read Shiredweller’s experience of seeing them around Easter Sunday!! It is this thread of having little respect for others’ religious traditions, and the examples of sneakiness and lack of transparency mentioned earlier in the thread that makes me think, if I’m going to engage with them, I need to be really on the ball.

There’s nothing else for it, I’m joining the naked door-answering club. [Eek!]

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stay simple, remain whole

Posts: 80 | From: The Shires | Registered: Jul 2012  |  IP: Logged
Uncle Pete

Loyaute me lie
# 10422

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FWIW, I was once waylaid by someone I knew (JW) on the street, when I was returning from Christmas services. (They don't believe in Christmas, either).

He was in the business of selling and carving gravestones, among other things. When the time came, I bought my mother's gravestone from the other firm in town.

He was quite put out. But I expect he just chalked it up to another persecution.

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Even more so than I was before

Posts: 20466 | From: No longer where I was | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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The movement is not unused to persecution - the Nazis persecuted quite routinely from 1933 to 1945 and many ended up in work camps or the death camps.

--------------------
I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

Posts: 48139 | From: 1st on the right, straight on 'til morning | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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I have also known JWs be hugely supportive to people in very difficult situations; there was a woman I was at university with who they had supported through kicking her cococaine addiction and getting back into education, and they were very supportive to a woman with mjor mentalillness and learning disability of my acquaintance visitng her regularly through her time in hospital.

I don't agree with their take on Christianity, but I am not sure why they arouse such hostility. I am also not sure why so many of youdon't consider them Christian - I realise they are not trinitarian but then neither are many folk who worship in ostensibly trinitarian churches.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

Posts: 19219 | From: Erehwon | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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The hostility is due IMHO to the deceptive practices of the door ringers. I don't see nearly as much hostility to the Mormons, for instance, who are identifiable six blocks away and who come right out and tell you who they are and what they're up to.

As for non-Trinitarians--well, Trinitarian theology has always been one of the basic marks of Christianity, going right back to the baptismal formula. Of course there are plenty of nonTrinitarians in worship on Sunday--there are also plenty of agnostics, synergists, work-your-way-to-heaven-ers, and so forth. Churches can't and shouldn't try to police their attenders. The best you can do is to teach and pray. And there are no doubt plenty of areas where the Lord shakes his head at all of us.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

Posts: 20059 | From: off in left field somewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Chelley

Ship's Old Boot
# 11322

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In case it wasn't that clear from my last post, the one thing I always try and do is be as friendly and respectful as I can. Relating one human to another and loving for love's sake rather than for conversion's sake I suppose is at the heart of it. We might have some discussion about particular beliefs but I do try and just engage in 'normal' conversation too! Not much point in talking about Jesus theologies if you're going to engage in a way that is nothing like him!

--------------------
"I love old things, they make me feel sad."
"What's good about sad?"
"It's happy for deep people!"

Sally Sparrow to Kathy - Doctor Who

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Niteowl

Hopeless Insomniac
# 15841

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Having done door to door many years ago during the U.S. phase of my missions work, I experienced a lot of hostility, so I don't think JW's get more than others. People do not like being interrupted in their own home by people with an agenda, be it religion, sales or politics.

I used to make it a point to talk with JW's who came to my door until I figured out they have no intention of real discussion and one person is always keeping an eye on the other to ensure no venturing from the party line. Now I generally don't give the time of day to anyone doing any kind of door to door. I've gotten cranky in my old age. That and I'm saving them time as I have no intention of buying anything, converting to any other religion or engaging in political BS from a stranger at my door.

My only advice if you choose to engage with them is to know why you believe what you believe before you talk with them or as others have suggested have someone knowledgeable from your church with you.

I also agree with LC that God is probably shaking his head at all of us in our theology at one time or another.

[ 09. August 2012, 12:35: Message edited by: Niteowl2 ]

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"love all, trust few, do wrong to no one"
Wm. Shakespeare

Posts: 2437 | From: U.S. | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged
Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
As for non-Trinitarians--well, Trinitarian theology has always been one of the basic marks of Christianity, going right back to the baptismal formula.

Perhaps, but few people go out of their way to point out that Quakers aren't Christians (in their view) but it always seems to come up with JWs. I personally wouldn't see trinitarianism as a basic marker of Christianity - not least because most people can't coherently explain what it is they think they believe about it or what it might mean. (See a million past threads.)

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

Posts: 19219 | From: Erehwon | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
I have also known JWs be hugely supportive to people in very difficult situations;
<snip>
I don't agree with their take on Christianity, but I am not sure why they arouse such hostility.

They can be very supportive; they can also be very judgmental of people in crisis.

I knew of a JW group who took under their wing an elderly man whose wife was in a nursing home. What they did for him was very fine. I know of another situation which was considerably less attractive.

A young man who had attended our church with his family for years joined the JWs. He had a lot of problems; I don't know what they were. He committed suicide, and the JWs didn't want to have anything to do with him. They said he was in hell. They offered no comfort to the family. (Granted the family were not JWs.) For them, this heartlessness in the time of their grief was devastating.

Moo

[ 09. August 2012, 12:45: Message edited by: Moo ]

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

Posts: 20365 | From: Alleghany Mountains of Virginia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
St. Gwladys
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# 14504

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One nJW practice is "disfellowshipping" someone if they leave the JW's. I have a Christian friend who's family refused to have anything to do with her for many years after she left the Kingdom Hall.
It can be interesting to challenge them directly - like the fact that according to Reveletion, the 144, 000 are male, jewish virgins!

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"I say - are you a matelot?"
"Careful what you say sir, we're on board ship here"
From "New York Girls", Steeleye Span, Commoners Crown (Voiced by Peter Sellers)

Posts: 3333 | From: Rhymney Valley, South Wales | Registered: Jan 2009  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

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I had a neighbour who was a JW I got on with, who was delightful, and didn't try discussing religion with me after realising I was pretty knowledgeable - she decided good neighbour was better and I had a work colleague who was a JW who was equally delightful. I have also worked with teenagers from JW families and have found that a less helpful situation:

  • a child with gender identity issues and probably homosexualty was having a very rough time at home and running away regularly;
  • another with mental illness was not being taken to CAMHS
  • a third student with learning difficulties linked to oxygen deficiency from heart problems (so speech and language too) was given weekly door knocking duties to get improve his speaking to strangers;
  • another student with reading difficulties was only getting home practice with family bible reading sessions - only thing available at home


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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

Posts: 13794 | From: outiside the outer ring road | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Dennis the Menace
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# 11833

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Many years ago I flatted with a guy who would announce to the JWs when he answered the door "JWs, my mother is a JW (true) I'm a poofter and we have nothing to say to each other".

My partner, mnay years ago when we lived a cold part of Oz, opened the door to JWs one very bitterly cold sleety day and was greeted by them say how cold it was outside and he replied if you had any sense you'd f..k off out of it and closed the door. Through the adjacent window the look on their faces was priceless. Another time both of us were up painting the roof when up the drive came the JWs. They saw us, ignored us and stood at the open front door for several moments apparently waiting for somwone to answer their knock. They left discussing the decor and contents of the house!!
These days we say a polite 'no thanks'.

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"Till we cast our crowns before Him; Lost in wonder, love, and praise."

Posts: 853 | From: Newcastle NSW Australia | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged



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