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I think I've talked about religion enough here and there. I'm religious in the sense that i believe in God. I'm fairly liberal in the sense that I believe in reducing income disparity, implementing tax reform on corporations, going green with energy production, equality in social justice in treatment of all people across ethnic, sexual and sexual orientation grounds, etc. Since I know religious people are a diverse group with an inherent motivation to discuss what they believe, I 'get' the door to door thing. I prefer to talk about my faith over a good pint at the bar to the tune of Kendrick Lamar, but hey, everyone's got their thing.

Overall I enjoy talking to people. I enjoy exchanging points of view, even when they diverge largely from my own. I think that even among Democrats I tend to disagree with many statements because of reasons ranging from lack of citation to argument building. Since my background is as a Historian, lack of citation is a argument killer for me. Often when the source is cited, the source itself is weak, so I again find it hard to accept arguments that, while I emotionally agree with them, don't stand on statistical evidence.

Religion is slightly different since very often the argumentation can rest on two points. 1, the argument for the miraculous elements or 2, the value of the teachings. While there's some value to the miraculous component, I've always been a bigger advocate of the Jesus values. Now I get DK is full of people that don't even like Jesus. Fair enough.

The point of the diary is that because I enjoy argumentation I inherently enjoy the people that come to my door, not because I'm looking for an intense battle of the minds but because I want to see the angle they approach with in the debate. So I was pleasantly surprised that my current visitor opened with warnings concerning the dangers of global warming, climate change and the potential destruction of humanity by our own hands. She was a small Hispanic woman. I stand six feet tall and two hundred fifteen pounds with a broad frame, while at best she was five foot four, with wide, round glasses that magnified her face and a sharp accent.

So what did I love about the debate. Well.
1.) The line of reasoning. More than anything I enjoyed this line of reasoning using modern changes in the climate and the potentially destructive influence that has on global lifeforms as a potential fulfillment of ancient prophecy (I don't have to buy the ancient prophecy part to appreciate the way the science was blended with the faith component).

2.) The human interaction. They seemed like good people. Her tall, white, male, old and overweight companion hovered behind her. I think he might have been a form of 'discussion coach' intended to back her up if things got rough. But I won't make life hard on you unless you start telling me we need to eliminate the minimum wage or why gay marriage will destroy traditional marriage. Those lines of argumentation are meant solely to deprive people of rights.

3.) Moments. In life you only get so many. They woke me up because, as an 'outside educator' (read: tutor) my day starts at noon and runs to close to midnight. I got to meet an excitable short Hispanic woman and a tall portly white man that I may never see again but much like two drops in a bucket, the ripples of our lives touched briefly. You don't get those moments back and you can process them as a part of your life any way you want, but for me, as much as I don't 'like' many people, I definitely love human lives.

So in the end this is a Slice of Life Diary. You don't have to like it. Some of you will probably latch on the religious part and scream ALL RELIGION SUCKS. Most everyone that comes to Daily Kos won't read it. And many of you will be too busy worrying about important things like elections. But then again, these are called diaries for a reason. I think retrospect I just really hope they're with me on issues like gay marriage and higher taxes on the wealthy as they were on global warming.

Originally posted to DAISHI on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 08:13 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I just realized that JWs don't visit me anymore (23+ / 0-)

    I dunno why.  Maybe it is the rottie in the yard, a real sweetheart but about the size of a small horse.  Maybe it is the last group to come up to the house, I tried to convert to Judaism.  The group before that I tried to convert to Wicca.  Maybe that had an effect of chilling their ardor or maybe they just gave up on me as a lost cause.

    Personally, I have heard their arguments and read their literature and 15 minutes will cover 95% of what they are preaching.  I would welcome one that came with a new message or at least a refurbished one  

  •  You'd be hard pressed to find anyone stating... (20+ / 0-)

    that they "don't like Jesus". That's a straw man argument at best.

    All we actually know about Jesus is what's written about him by others, and by current expert consensus even the Gospels were written long after his death by people with no first-hand knowledge. If you go by the Gospels, Jesus is so progressive and inclusive that almost everyone here at the Great Orange Satan would be a supporter.

    Now, what other folks have done or what the religious right wing advocates, all in Jesus' name, that's a whole 'nuther discussion. I presume that's what you mean by 'not liking Jesus'.

    •  We Have a Smidge More. (8+ / 0-)

      We have the fact that the quotes reveal a teacher whose chroniclers, followers, subsequent adherents and even close disciples all opposed in numerous points, and misunderstood in many others.

      The stories from just after his time state this explicitly in a number of instances, while inadvertently demonstrating it in some ways.

      THat's not the profile of a fictional superhero invented out of whole cloth.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:03:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  profile (8+ / 0-)
        We have the fact that the quotes reveal a teacher whose chroniclers, followers, subsequent adherents and even close disciples all opposed in numerous points, and misunderstood in many others.

        The stories from just after his time state this explicitly in a number of instances, while inadvertently demonstrating it in some ways.

        THat's not the profile of a fictional superhero invented out of whole cloth.

        Sure it is. Or, at least, can be -- if you're dealing with multiple inventors, acting (semi-)independently one from another.

        snark:

        Too many crooks spoil the burglary.
            -- R.M. Nixon, 1974

        /snark

        Bottom line: Whether or not Jesus actually lived, the problems we're discussing will arise at any time you've got more than one teller of any given story.

        Hell, I can personally testify that this principle applies to a single teller, telling the same story at two different times!

        "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

        by thanatokephaloides on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 11:33:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Complexity of superheroes (0+ / 0-)

        There are indeed super heroes of mysterious origin who are reputed to do amazing things, and who live hellish lives full of contradiction.  

        In fact, the superhero model itself is just a vigilante in underpants.

        Streichholzschächtelchen

        by otto on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:25:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, I dunno. Why, just yesterday (6+ / 0-)

      (or was it the day before?) I was informed right here at DKos that because a couple of people I've never heard of have decided Jesus never existed, Christianity is a total scam. Shrug.

      Of course, I doubt there are all that many people in and around India today that know or care whether giant several-headed black monsters ever ran loose around the countryside eating humans for lunch, or a good-looking blue god-man who could pleasure 40,000 wives at once and kill people with flower petals, or a top-knotted God-god with four faces who rode around on a huge... um... flying monster-thing terrorizing the planet at will, or even a godling with an elephant's head and a human body, or a bloodthirsty she-god with 8 arms. A lot of 'em believe it anyway. I mean, since when has the credulity of non-believers ever successfully dictated what the entire rest of humanity may choose to believe or not believe?

      That said, I don't get any random religious proselytizers where I live. Which suits me fine, thanks.

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:16:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You believe in another myth - about Hindus n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau
        •  Quite likely, Arun. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          radical simplicity, Munchkn

          And apologize for any misconceptions resulting from having run through my western mind. I read some of the books back in college days, more than four decades ago. Recognized the wisdom for the wisdom and mostly just marveled at the pretty illustrations of god/godlings.

          Too many of 'em for my tastes, but that's just me. I don't care what other people choose to believe, so long as they're not attempting to force it on me. I've never met a Hindu who tried. Or a Muslim. Or a Jew. Or a Sikh. Or a Buddhist. Or a Quaker. I don't know all Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists or Quakers, so that's just personal experience. I can't say the same about quite a few folks of the Christian variety.

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:36:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  "credulity of non-believers" (0+ / 0-)

           Ha-Ha. Funny.

    •  Fishtroller. (3+ / 0-)

      Just two days ago said that.

      http://www.thedreammapnovel.com

      by DAISHI on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:18:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some think Jesus is simply a myth... (11+ / 0-)

      Scholars who have studied him believe Jesus my never have existed at all.

      For me, if he did exist, I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is so many of today's so-called Christians ignoring his teachings while claiming they follow him.

      Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

      by MA Liberal on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:06:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  hey Ralphdog! i'm bill dog! (0+ / 0-)

      i think i'm gonna hafta go ahead and kinda hafta agree with you on almost everything you wrote, 'cause no two people can agree on EVERYTHING, now can they?

  •  The JWs I know are all extremely (9+ / 0-)

    nice, and they've never tried to preach to me or convert me.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 08:53:13 AM PDT

    •  I've never really understood why (13+ / 0-)

      people have such a visceral reaction against people knocking on the door trying to save their souls. If I don't want to talk, I tell them to get lost. If I'm in a friendlier mood, I ask if they need a glass of water or anything, then tell them to get lost. I'd probably hate how they vote and donate, and I'll eagerly get all het up about those things, but they do me no damage, standing on my stoop.

      "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

      by GussieFN on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:58:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They don't vote (6+ / 0-)

        They believe it's wrong to place your faith in any human being, and besides, the end of the world is coming any minute now.

        I've had lots of them come to visit me in the past, and I've tried to budge them on it. You don't have to have faith in someone to vote for them, you should vote for the lesser of two evils, even if the end is nigh, it isn't here yet, and we have to decide how to manage our affairs until it comes.

        None of it moves them. They are adamantly opposed to participating in elections in any way. All the ones I've ever talked to are black folks from Detroit, so I'm pretty sure they would vote for Democrats if they did vote, but they simply refuse.

        La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

        by dconrad on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:05:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  it's a different time and culture (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shesaid

        there was a day when everyone went around knocking on doors for various things--sales, religion, welcome to the neighborhood, just visiting, and having someone at the door was an opportunity for a pleasant surprise

        now a knock on the door is almost always an unwelcome intrusion

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 08:46:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Same here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shesaid

        If I'm busy, I tell them I'm busy.  If not, we chat for a few minutes and they're on their way.  They're nice enough folks, at least the ones I've dealt with.  And if I don't completely agree with them, I respect their willingness to put themselves out there.

        The not voting makes no sense to me, but that's religion.

        I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

        by Russycle on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 05:22:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why not? They knock on the doors of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, Angie in WA State

      absolute strangers at 9:00 on Saturday mornings.

      "Because I am a river to my people."

      by lordcopper on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:02:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  we had a persistant set (4+ / 0-)

    that'd come by every saturday, only because there was one in the family and they thought they could get us too (that family member was simply using them as a conduit for his schemes and cons. he hasn't been disfellowshipped yet, but the JWs more or less don't want him around anymore. But I digress.)

    twice was fine to visit but the other times after we politely indicated our disinterest bordered on rudeness, and we returned the favor.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. Russia Today=FoxNews, Seralini=Wakefield. yadda yadda.

    by terrypinder on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 08:58:38 AM PDT

  •  Citation? (2+ / 0-)
    Now I get DK is full of people that don't even like Jesus.

    "Who is John Galt?" A two dimensional character in a third rate novel.

    by Inventor on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:00:05 AM PDT

  •  I saw them coming and answered the door in my u... (14+ / 0-)

    I saw them coming and answered the door in my underwear with bong in hand. They asked to talk I said sure hold on while I take this hit. They asked do you believe in jesus? I said no have you heard of the flying spaghetti monster or aqua budda? Stunned quiet look. I said come join me by having a hit and I will introduce you to both on my computer. Never seen a JW since

  •  I tend to agree with them about most things, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    just not the "god" parts . . .

    Still, I think I'd like this country a lot better if they ran it instead of them what do.

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:38:13 AM PDT

    •  The JWs? (4+ / 0-)

      They don't believe in evolution, they believe the end of the world is nigh (or, even, that it started a while back), and they refuse to participate in politics in any way. They wouldn't run the country, but if they did, you probably wouldn't like it much.

      La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

      by dconrad on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:08:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They actually do participate in politics (7+ / 0-)

        although they will deny that they do, and believe that they do not.  They don't vote, or affiliate with a political party, or attempt to legally circumscribe others' freedoms, or participate in armed insurrection. They do take an active role in "legally establishing the good news" as they would put it.  This includes engaging in what we would see as civil disobedience, educating the public on a broad array of issues where they see law as violating their rights, and litigating those issues in a manner which regularly results in increased freedoms for others here and abroad.  Think of them as a special interest lobby for a range of political issues which maintains an ostensibly nonpartisan focus while boycotting all elections.

        P.S. Surveys in the U.S. indicate that of self-identified Witnesses who will admit to a partisan bias (a minority), the majority are liberal.  I can see how that might be frustrating, given their stance on voting, and the fact that despite making up such a small part of the U.S. population, they undoubtedly spend more time canvassing than all political parties combined.

        Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

        by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 11:02:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  isn't it interesting, that though they (3+ / 0-)

          don't vote, they are extremely litigious. up to the supreme court litigious.

          and in a weird, twisted way, they have helped the us gov. to refine and hone first amendment/freedom of religion issues.

          now, w/ hobby lobby, the first thing i thought of was jw companies who would challenge the ins. company paying for a blood transfusion. but i am not a lawyer, so what the hell do i know.

          and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make-jpgr

          by shesaid on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:09:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  50/62 Supreme Court wins, in the U.S alone, yes (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shesaid, Thaddaeus Toad

            Most of the high impact legal activity is overseas these days, although they did take an anonymous speech case to SCOTUS in 2002.

            P.S. I guarantee you won't see a Witness organization backed challenge to the healthcare mandate on the blood issue.  They will continue to maintain their individual right to bodily self-determination, however, indirectly legally supporting both reproductive rights and the right to die.

            Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

            by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:20:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't see why they wouldn't, after all they are (0+ / 0-)

              being forced to pay for something that violates their religion just like Hobby Lobby was.  Or if you prefer, I am sure that there is at least one JW owned business that will be willing to file such a lawsuit.

              You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

              by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 05:54:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Won't happen, not how they work (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Thaddaeus Toad, shesaid

                P.S. Wars are against their religion too.  They pay taxes, anyway.

                Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

                by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 06:36:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Perhaps that is the case for many or even most of (0+ / 0-)

                  them but how can you say for sure that not a single JW owned company or a single JW church would do such a thing?  Remember, it only takes one.

                  You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

                  by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 06:43:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If they do, they won't be a Witness anymore (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Thaddaeus Toad, shesaid

                    Claiming to be a Witness and publicly claiming to hold doctrinal beliefs in opposition to the organization is considered apostasy.  They'd be immediately BOJO'd for apostasy, probably even faster than they'd be laughed out of court.

                    Note there is a reason Hobby Lobby went forward, and it isn't religion.

                    Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

                    by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 06:49:37 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Reference (0+ / 0-)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          Many are on 1st Amendment grounds, including freedom from reciting the pledge of allegiance or saluting the flag in schools

          Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

          by EthrDemon on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 10:04:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  the ones I've talked to (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shesaid, benamery21, Joieau

        have a somewhat more nuanced view than what you ascribe to them.  What you describe as "the end of the world" is not the more common apocalyptic vision, but rather the elimination of evil from this world (they don't believe in either heaven or hell), and might be better summarized as "the end of the world as we know it" (and it's replacement with something at once more gentile and peaceful).

        I don't see it . . . but can't fault anyone for wanting it.
         

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:55:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Asking them why the Watchtower (0+ / 0-)

          Have billion of  dollars in assets, and maybe they should sell  them ahead of the great Tribulation and  maybe  use  all the money ,for those who suffering on the present day earth

          •  Just as an fyi (4+ / 0-)

            After the Haitian earthquake, JW's provided free T-shelters for more than their full share of the displaced population of the island, prior to the FIRST hurricane season.  You probably didn't see any news coverage of that fact, either.  Compare to other T-shelter aid efforts in Haiti which were still incomplete in 2013.  This even though a majority of the Witness population lives in the developing world, and those in the developed world tend to be among the lowest socioeconomic classes.  If resources were compared, I'm confident the U.S. government did less per capita, and less per GDP than the Witnesses.

            Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

            by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:50:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was in Oklahoma visiting family (6+ / 0-)

              when Katrina came to the Gulf Coast. Brother-in-Law was the disaster relief guy for that region's SBC. They saw it coming, started collecting trucks full of supplies days ahead of time. As it was hitting N'Orleans they headed out in a convoy, with mess trucks and supplies that could have lasted a week for many, many people.

              They were turned away before they got there, their trucks full of food and supplies - and their expensive mess trucks with full kitchens - confiscated by FEMA. It was shocking to watch happen. This disaster relief mission had been operating with zero government interference for decades, 'everybody' Baptist or not donated cases of bottled water and Pampers and crackers and canned food and... because that's what you do when people are in trouble.

              They were absolutely doing the right thing, and absolutely should have been allowed to do it. That in no way means it's not beyond tedious whenever we have to be subjected to doctrinal weirdnesses and blatant bigotry during more casual visitations with the fam...

              There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

              by Joieau on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:19:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Katrina was a logistical disaster (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Joieau, shesaid, libnewsie

                My brother (also ex-JW) was there with the Guard.  

                Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

                by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:47:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  We were eating at a highway-side (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  207wickedgood, shesaid, libnewsie

                  restaurant (Bro & Crew had been home for a day, it was 4 days after the disaster hit and still no help had showed) when buses full of NG from Tulsa area stopped in for dinner. "On their way" to provide whatever passes for 'relief', they certainly didn't look all that anxious about being late. I asked one of the sgt's in the foyer as I was leaving what the fuck took them so long. Everybody else was gushing all over them for being Rescue Heroes.

                  My pointed question was not appreciated. They were still a solid 12 hours away...

                  There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                  by Joieau on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:59:57 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Thier is nothing innocent about the Governbody (0+ / 0-)

              They have ruin the lives of many of thier followers,lots of Witness cannot enjoy  the basis thing that life  ,has to  offer them

        •  No. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Angie in WA State, mightymouse

          Their theology is different than mainstream Christianity but they do believe in a definitive, apocalyptic end where non-Jehovah's Witnesses will die a gruesome death. They have storybooks for children showing cities being destroyed by fireballs and people slipping into earthquake cracks.

          They do believe in heaven but only as a destination for an elite group - not your ordinary Witness.

          A million Arcosantis.

          by Villabolo on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:28:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Meh. There's about 3 million JWs (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shesaid, Angie in WA State

            in the US, they're always out trying to recruit more. Their belief system has a total of 144,000 of them ever getting to 'heaven' (whatever that means in their system). That figure was reached a pretty long time ago if numbers count. So today's JWs aren't expecting to escape destruction or death that I can see.

            That's always seemed to me a rather significant difference between them and, say, Falwell and Robertson's Golden Gated Communities. Which aren't at all appealing either.

            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

            by Joieau on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:26:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  yeah...about those storybooks with (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Angie in WA State

            the cities with the earthquakes and the fireballs and such...

            it's called the bible-specifically, revelations.

             no, seriously, have you not seen some of the dreck that churches publish for their children? the religious homeschool groups materials? was it rush or newt gingrich that wrote a kids book w/ images of 9/11? there are picture bible books for children that definitely have scary images.

            again, this isn't specific to jws.

            and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make-jpgr

            by shesaid on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:40:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was merely responding to a poster who said (0+ / 0-)
              What you describe as "the end of the world" is not the more common apocalyptic vision, but rather the elimination of evil from this world
              I was trying to bring out that their ideas were not that nuanced or subtle. Their apocalypse is of the more common biblical variety.

              A million Arcosantis.

              by Villabolo on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 05:19:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Nice bedtime stories for kids! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jan4insight
  •  I was out in the yard working (12+ / 0-)

    They drove up when I happened to be right next to the driveway, so the driver rolled down his window first.

    "We're Jehova's Witnesses, can we talk to you for a few minutes?"

    "Well, I'm kinda' busy but I can probably save you and me some time and we can get right to a major point.  What do you believe about homosexuality?  Do you think that they ought to be able to get married?"

    He opened the door and started to get out.  "Well the bible says"

    I cut him off, "I know what the bible says. What I want to know is how you interpret what it says.  That's the real issue."

    "Well there isn't anything to interpret.  In Corinthians"

    "I understand that Paul was a homophobe, so what?  I want to know what you think, what Jehovah's Witnesses think about homosexuality."

    "Well I was getting to that."

    "OK, like I say, I want to save us some time.  I don't need the rationalizations, I've heard all of them before.  What does the Jehovah's Witness body think is going to happen to homosexuals in the afterlife, if there is such a thing?"

    "Well, they are certainly going to hell."

    "OK, here's what you are going to do.  You are going to get back into your car, turn around, go down this driveway, and NEVER come back here again.  Am I clear?"

    "I understand," he said as he slowly got into his car.

    You matter to them IF YOU VOTE!

    by nuketeacher on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:39:18 AM PDT

    •  You do know that JW's don't believe in hell? (6+ / 0-)

      It's one of their more prominently heterodox beliefs.  Methinks your approach may not have resulted in the communication you appear to think it did.

      Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

      by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:38:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Jehovah's Witnesses may not believe in a hell of (6+ / 0-)

        eternal fire but they do believe that those who are not part of their faith will be gruesomely exterminated at Armageddon which is suppose to happen any time now.

        Take it from someone who was one, they are not liberal.

        A million Arcosantis.

        by Villabolo on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:09:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They didn't seem liberal to me (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, Angie in WA State

          ...at least based on my interactions with them.

          As mentioned before in comments, they're anti-gay.  They're anti-science and modern medicine and refuse blood transfusions even in cases of emergencies (as if there were any other kind for blood transfusions).  They believe the end of the world is always just around the corner.  They don't believe in evolution either.  Perhaps black JW's in Detroit tend liberal but not the ones I've met (one of which was black too).

          Anyone coming to my house to sell me a religion, I tell them one thing.  I tell them to go find "The Case Against God" by George H. Smith and learn where I'm coming from.  If they go ready that book, I'll read their book in return and we can have a discussion.  They invariably never do.  They usually complain that they're not allowed to read something like that and move on to the next house.

          Proud to share my name with Howard Dean

          by DeanNC on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:37:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They are socially conservative in many ways (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shesaid, Egg, mightymouse, Thaddaeus Toad

            and overwhelmingly liberal in others.

            I've never seen less personal racism in any group of people, for instance.

            They are certainly not progressive on LGBT issues, but are less anti-gay than one might assume.   For instance, many more mainstream religious groups have supported legislation and litigation designed to deprive folks of rights.  Witnesses don't do that.  While many are subject to unconscious bias toward the LGBT community, most consciously strive to treat other individuals as they would like to be treated.  Given the overt discrimination most of them have experienced, they tend to be sensitive to that issue.  

            I remember, for my father's company, doing electrical work for an LGBT travel publishing company in the late 80's in Phoenix (maybe Tempe) in which he went out of his way to solve their problems with great creativity at minimum cost and maximum speed and with full discussion of their options.  He also took me along as a kid, without saying a word about the nature of the company.  When we were done they told us that we were (I think) the 4th contractor they had tried to get service from.  

            In the late 70's and early 80's one of my sisters had a high school friend who was out (very unusual at the time in the area).  He was regularly welcome in our home.  I was a small child and was aware of his orientation, and also probably better informed at that age about human reproduction than most of my later high school friends.  

            That said, I'm not a Witness, I'm agnostic, and while straight, I certainly recommend that any LGBT-identifying Witness leave, as amicably as possible.  It isn't necessary to turn it into a GBCW event, although their approach is similar to DKOS if you do.

            Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

            by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:38:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They're not supposed to be involved in politics (0+ / 0-)
              For instance, many more mainstream religious groups have supported legislation and litigation designed to deprive folks of rights.  Witnesses don't do that.
              or vote like mainstream churches do so the Jehovah's Witnesses don't display in public how virulent they are on this issue. You need to be a member attending meetings to see that side of it.

              A million Arcosantis.

              by Villabolo on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:24:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I guess I interpreted it as hell. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        benamery21

        He may have said something about not being with God, or Jesus, or something to that effect.

        I did not know that.

        You matter to them IF YOU VOTE!

        by nuketeacher on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 05:26:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hades vs Hell (0+ / 0-)

          They do use the term Hades to refer to death without hope of resurrection, it's Hell as a place of torment that isn't part of their doctrine.

          Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

          by EthrDemon on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 10:10:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Although The JW Said (0+ / 0-)
        "Well, they are certainly going to hell."
        Either ignorant of his own religion or simply a liar.

        "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

        by kerplunk on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:37:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A JW witness told you that people are (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shesaid, benamery21, Thaddaeus Toad

      going to hell?
      I don't want to say I don't believe you, but...
      Could it be that you got them confused with someone else?
      Jehovah Witnesses believe that hell is the grave, not a fiery pit.
      Something is very wrong with your story.

      Maya Angelou: “There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.”

      by JoanMar on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:21:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sigh, right? (4+ / 0-)

        joan, honey! (((hugs))). dejavu, eh?

        i'm shaking my head, because all these people w/ their jw encounters. almost funny. they don't get that they are making an assumption about someone's faith based on a fleeting meeting or two. (the concept of hell, for example), and judgement is made. and someone is made 'the other' because of their religion (or lack of? i'll have to look at the diaries on atheism).

        sooooo reality-based around here. (snark).

        i chose to ignore the recent diaries about 'jesus: real or not', since i am no longer religious in a conventional sense, but now, wow. another war to be waged on dkos, as i see the rec list.

        hope you had a lovely labor day wkend, in spite of the meta.

        and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make-jpgr

        by shesaid on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 04:28:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ((((shesaid)))) (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shesaid, TrueBlueMajority

          I am so like you: no longer religious in the conventional sense, but you know, there's still something...
          Is the argument about whether Jesus the man lived? Or whether he was the Son of God? Those are two different arguments, imho. There should be no dispute about the first; the second? People are free to believe what they want, is my view.

          For the most part I stayed away from the meta wars. After my initial support for one member, I was shocked to get a glimpse of what has been happening behind the scenes. I had no idea. It was so very disappointing. I have never believed that people are anything but human, but I'd rather not deal with them when they become so dishonorable. Sigh.

          Take care, shesaid. :)

          Maya Angelou: “There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.”

          by JoanMar on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 05:13:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I interpreted it that way (condemned to hell). (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kerplunk

        They were definitely JW and his answer was definite that homosexuals were not welcome in whatever it is that is beyond here.

        You matter to them IF YOU VOTE!

        by nuketeacher on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 05:31:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  All I've ever had to say (18+ / 0-)

    when JWs come to my door is "Thank you, but I'm not interested." All of them have politely gone on their way.

    I like your reason #3 for enjoying the argumentation :)

    •  Same here (15+ / 0-)

      I'm polite to them, they're polite to me. I'll take their pamphlets, sometimes I even glance at them.

      All the JWs I've known have been very nice, tolerant, hard working people.

      Of course, most people I've known have been very nice, tolerant and hard working.

      •  Same here (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shesaid, carolanne, chrisculpepper

        We had a man come to our beach house and two women at home . . . All within two weeks.  We just thank them and take the pamphlet.  Short and sweet.

        •  i'm polite to them (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Russycle, shesaid

          sometimes i take the literature

          i never let them in

          i talk to them at the door for a few minutes, answer their questions truthfully, tell them i am happy with my own religion and have no intention to convert, and they leave

          the only reason I am nice to them is because i have done door to door canvassing and i am always grateful when people are nice to me

          golden rule and all that

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 08:53:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I don't like people coming to my door (7+ / 0-)

        at all. Not that I mind discussing things with people, but I hate the invasiveness of it. I work at home and there have been times that I'm in a video conference and it's really irksome. Or, I'm just relaxing in a nightie because it's effin' hot out and I don't appreciate being seen like that by a total stranger.

        But, I'm a Buddhist and the times that I have answered the door, I just give each of them a card explaining how to be "saved" by my faith and that they're wrong.  ;)

        (JK - we don't believe that anyone else is wrong for believing what they believe. If it makes you happy, makes you a better person and helps to make the world a better place then we're all for it)

        Mediocrity cannot know excellence ~ Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:25:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I work at home, too, (5+ / 0-)

          and knocks at the door from strangers are often irksome to me, as well, whether they're Jehovah's Witnesses, local political candidates, or Girl Scouts - although I will usually engage long enough to order some cookies :)

          I'm just not interested in engaging in religious conversations with strangers. I don't elaborate; I just say no thank you, and in my experience, that's all I've ever had to say.

        •  I'm a buddhist too (4+ / 0-)

          But when they come, I just spend a few minutes chatting, smile at them (they sometimes have a child in tow), take the pamphlet, and off they go. The only time I had to do more was when they tried to get me to commit to coming to Easter service and I said no thank you.

          Sometimes I don't answer the door - when on the phone, or when I just don't want to be seen, interrupted, or be nice. They leave the literature in the door.

          The woman who is always part of this around here is an older, small, African-American woman who I think realizes she's not going to sign me up. She just comes around every so often and checks in.

          I admire their courage. They have conviction, they are gentle, and I can answer the door or not.

          You can observe a lot just by watching. - Yogi Berra

          by kayak58 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 08:07:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Polite (6+ / 0-)

        I don't make it a person issue.  

        I merely ask them some of the questions that would cause me to stop and think if I were a  believer.

        How can an omniscient being commit a sacrifice?  Didn't he know what would happen?  Doesn't that make him either non-omniscient, or a deceptive?  

        Is the god of the OT the same god of the NT?  Was it moral to kill teenaged girls with rocks at the time that the laws of the OT were active?  

        If God is the moral force, and god is timeless and unchanging, shouldn't it be moral now to do that?  

        Would you stop a group of people from the city who were going to kill a girl for her marital infidelities as a result of her rape?  

        Are you saying that out of all the 40,000 sects of Christianity that yours is the correct one?

        Streichholzschächtelchen

        by otto on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:34:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't make it a person issue, either. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shesaid, gffish, Angie in WA State, vpd4

          I just don't engage in conversation with them when they knock at the door. I don't think that anything I have to say about what I believe or don't believe will make a difference to them. But maybe your questions will get at least one of them to think a bit.

          My next-door neighbor is a staunch Catholic; he talks (or used to) to the JWs whenever they visit, explaining Catholic doctrine and "setting them straight" about Biblical teachings, etc. I know he's not confrontational and I know he enjoys it; it's just not something I want to do.

          •  Lack of belief, a secular world view (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kerplunk, shesaid

            The issue of the influence of religion is, in my view, a moral one.  

            We have a huge majority of people on this planet who claim to know supernatural information, and they act on that information.  

            The basic idea   of most of it is fine.  Be nice and all that.  

            The problem is that all of those people also tend to believe the things that are not nice.  

            The faith of an individual that they are right doesn't stop them from believing the things that are obviously immoral.  

            Things like Genocide, rape, murder, and slavery also are the beneficiaries of that faith.  

            In my opinion, it is a moral issue whether or not we question religion.  Religions rest their value claims on their moral teachings.  I question the basic assumption that they have any authority to make moral pronouncements.  

            Religion, in my opinion, is not deserving of the benefit of the doubt.  

            I guess I literally and figuratively believe that nothing is sacred.

            Streichholzschächtelchen

            by otto on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 06:56:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Re: Omninesience (0+ / 0-)

          They don't believe in the Holy Trinity; Jesus is considered subservient, the firstborn of God, not part of the Godhead.

          Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

          by EthrDemon on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 10:13:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  They also believe in disfellowshipping (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, gffish, shesaid

        which for JW's who come out as gay, or who begin questioning the faith, and end up disfellowshipped - cut off from all family and friends in the religion  - is not so nice.  Not so nice at all.

      •  You get under thier influence (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Villabolo, carolanne, gffish

        And start bible studying  with them,and stop studying and see how nice they will be with you

        •  They'll dump you. (3+ / 0-)

          They are not supposed to associate with anyone outside of their religion except in a 'Bible study' with the intention of converting them.

          A million Arcosantis.

          by Villabolo on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:31:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But this isn't about Bible (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          benamery21, shesaid, gffish, kayak58

          studying with them. This is about visits to your house where they hand out fairly innocuous pamphlets. You can accept the pamphlets, toss them in the recycling pile (or read them first, if you're curious) and forget them. True, the pamphlets won't give details about what it's like to be part of their "congregation," so if you or someone you know has personal experience with the dark side of it all, it must be difficult to ignore that. Still, I'd find it hard to engage in it in the doorway of my house.

           

        •  I know of numerous non-Witness folks (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shesaid, mmacdDE, Thaddaeus Toad

          who my mother continued to provide emotional support for, long after they stopped any bible study with her.  In at least 3 cases this turned into years of in home care.  In others it turned into a bed and meals when they were homeless.  In others it was just a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.  I'm not going to say she never talked about her beliefs, but I know there was no quid pro quo.

          She attracted primarily two types, elderly widows and young single mothers.  

          Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

          by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:02:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  i have heard of LDS doing this as well (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shesaid

            but i think it is the ministry of individual hearts rather than generally accepted practice and/or doctrine

            Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
            Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

            by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 08:57:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Physical charity is not a primary focus (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TrueBlueMajority, shesaid

              but all members are expected to take to heart the admonition to love one's neighbor, and the answer to the question about "who really is my neighbor."  I'm pretty partial when it comes to my mother, but I can tell a lot of similar stories about others.  At least in my experience the average Witness is very sincere about this part of their Christianity.  

              Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

              by benamery21 on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 09:15:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I welcome anyone of good will, (12+ / 0-)

    who wishes no harm to others.

    The unexamined life is not worth living.--Socrates

    by marina on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:22:42 AM PDT

  •  i used to be one, once upon a time. (10+ / 0-)

    no-they won't agree with you on the other issues. it will be a robust debate, but no, they won't.

    two things drew me to the witnesses 25 years ago: their pacifism and their diversity. where my family saw a cult, i saw devout people who believed in peace and equality. there's more to it than that, of course, but that always baffled me. how are they any different from the catholic church, or the lutherans down the street, or jewish, or muslim, or atheist or...

    and why not just respect their religion, respect the difference and move on.

    i appreciate your slice of life thoughts.

    interesting that some people chimed in on their experiences w/ the strange people going door to door, seeming to take pleasure in getting one over on them, shocking and offending the poor proselytizers.

    thanks.

    let me take you down, 'cause i'm going to strawberry fields. nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about.-jpgr

    by shesaid on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:31:34 AM PDT

    •  your question (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, blueoasis, side pocket, shesaid
      and why not just respect their religion, respect the difference and move on.
      This question has an answer.

      It is:

      To "just respect their religion, respect the difference and move on", they need to keep their differences to themselves. When they invade my living space with those differences, I can't just "move on" any more; I must deal with them.

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 11:44:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i do hear you on that-and there were (3+ / 0-)

        definitely a few jw's that did not conduct themselves in a respectful manner as they went "door to door," which they consider to be one of the few 'orders' or mandates that jesus wished us to follow (bloody hell if i remember now the scriptures they would use to defend their way of 'preaching the gospel.'

        {sidebar: their way of 'spreading the word' was another thing that i have always respected about both jws and mormons. if one believes in jesus, one has to acknowledge that the method he taught was 'door to door'. as a protestant growing up, i found it a waste of time and futile to have all these church services and just expect the worshippers to come to you, unbidden. your mileage on that obvious varies.}

        anyhoo, if we as jws were pushy or disrespectful in the field, we were 'talked to' about it. it might even be one of the subjects the head preachers might address to the congregation at large. if you did not invite us into your home, we didn't barge in.

        indeed, we must 'deal with' people all the time. in all aspects of our life. my personal space can be invaded while i'm walking down the street or while on dailykos, i found out. fact o life.

        you don't want a jw preaching in your living space. cool. say that respectfully and shut the damn door. dealt with, done. don't play mindfuck antics. it's unkind and dare i say, undemocratic.

        i'm just trying to show that we as humans (and as dems, i add), must be trying to be better at being a human being (or dem).

        would some of these people treat a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesperson the same way?

        a vacuum cleaner salesperson...isn't that really what a preacher is (jw, xtian or otherwise)? ya got a product, you believe in it, you want to tell others about it, so they'll buy that eternal cleaning of life?

        so, not interested? smile and shut the door...oh, here comes the chick with the magazine subscriptions, smile and shut the door...girl scout cookies? come on in.

        let me take you down, 'cause i'm going to strawberry fields. nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about.-jpgr

        by shesaid on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:27:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think actual respect (5+ / 0-)

        for their religion is necessary. There are some really bizarre mind-bending (and soul-sucking) religions out there these days. Respect for them as people, and respect their right to believe however they choose. That is enough.

        Said by a person who stopped calling herself "Christian" back when Fallwell & Co. founded the sarcastically named "Christian Coalition" and started lobbying loudly for the destruction of American Democracy in favor of a specifically "Christian" version of Sharia law and theocratic government.

        I don't proselytize, don't welcome proselytizers to my home and property. But if asked - nicely, by someone who looks to care and who I care about - I simply respond that I'm a follower of Jesus. If they want more than that, we can talk about it...

        There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

        by Joieau on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:10:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  so right! respect for them as people should be (3+ / 0-)

          enough.

          oh, my, your mention of falwell made me flash back...ptl club, cbn, jim and tammy faye baker, the christian amusement park...and my conservative family bought into it all.

          thanks for your thoughts. much appreciated.

          and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make-jpgr

          by shesaid on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:20:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I have no problem with truly religious persons (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shesaid, chrisculpepper, gffish

      in fact, I consider myself one. I do, however, have a problem with preaching. I find it very presumptuous that anyone would tell another how to find a personal connection with the divine.

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:30:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i don't disagree...now. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RMForbes

        it's been 25 years or more. now i'd call myself a pagan agnostic. or something. the religion of 'be kind, rewind', maybe.

        and i do, truly, have deep respect for various people i've seen and met in the religious realm.

        and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make-jpgr

        by shesaid on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:01:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course we can talk and share our most basic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shesaid

          experiences, the problem begins when it starts getting preachy and authoritarian. That's when I personally get turned off and why I don't belong to any church or temple.

          Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

          by RMForbes on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:01:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

        They take the Great Commission very seriously

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

        by EthrDemon on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 10:18:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  On diversity and pacifism (4+ / 0-)

      As of August, 618 Witnesses in democratic South Korea are serving prison sentences (typically 18 months) for conscientious objection to military service.  Witnesses have been instrumental in obtaining and maintaining an acknowledged right to non-military alternative service for conscientious objectors in numerous countries, and continue to work toward that end.

      ~85% of JW's live outside the U.S.  

      Within the U.S. only 48% of self-identified Witnesses are non-Hispanic white, per Pew survey.  

      Witnesses currently produce literature in nearly 700 languages, some of which covers topics other than theology, in languages where printed matter is a rarity.  This includes distribution of literacy aids.

      P.S. Another ex-JW

      Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

      by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:30:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  another little-known fact: the nazis (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        benamery21, Thaddaeus Toad

        also threw jws into concentration camps and gas chambers, like jews (yellow star), homosexuals (pink triangle), and other groups.

        jws was a purple triangle, i believe.

        wow. thank you so much for all the great stats. talk about channeling any bitterness positively.

        and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make-jpgr

        by shesaid on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:58:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Do you happen to know if they changed their view (0+ / 0-)

        regarding when the world as we know it will end? Years ago
        in small print on the first page of Watchtower it always said something about how the end would come before the generation that witnessed the events of 1914 had passed away. Or something like that.  Then I noticed that note went away.  I got the feeling that a specific timeline has been abandoned as doctrine.

        •  There have been several changes to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rob in Vermont

          that view in the past 20 years.  The term "this generation" was redefined about that long ago so as to not necessarily imply the literal lifespan of those who saw 1914 about that long ago.  I haven't paid much attention to the details, but there have been some more recent changes.  The most basic Witness teaching about the "Last Days" is that we are "in the time of the end" and "no one knows the day or the hour" but it's even CLOSER than when Paul talked about it ~2000 years ago, and is "coming as a thief in the night."

          I don't pay much attention to the intricate theological details these days.  I haven't been counted as a Witness in about 15 years, although I've been inside a Kingdom Hall a few dozen times in that timeframe (for milestones like marriages, deaths, and first talks, first public talks, first memorial talks, first foreign language talks, etc).

          Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

          by benamery21 on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 08:07:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

            What are "first X talks"?  

            •  Witnesses don't have clergy (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rob in Vermont

              Meetings are participatory (but structured) and open to the public.  One mode of participation is the giving of "Talks" (not sermons).  Certain types of talks are more consequential than others.  It's a big deal in a Witness kid's life when he or she gives his or her first 'student talk.'  I gave my first 5 minute Bible reading, which at that time typically included 2-3 minutes of public reading with 2-3 minutes of introduction, analysis, and conclusion, at about age 5.  That's fairly typical.  Today that part is just reading, no commentary, which makes it even easier to get started.  Such assignments are distributed across almost all members of the congregation, not just kids or new students.  For large congregations, the school may split into 2 or 3 groups to allow more participants.

              Public talks are the Witness equivalent of a weekly (usually Sunday) sermon.  It's a big deal (a privilege of service) for an adult to give his (virtually never her, but not actually never, but that's a whole 'nother conversation) first one.  Out of a typical Witness congregation of 40-200, typically only about 5-10% of members would be doing that.  After some experience in the local congregation, a brother will be asked to also give such talks in other congregations.  This means that most public talks are given by a different brother each week, and the local congregation will typically see the same public talk speaker only once or twice a year (more in small or rural or foreign language congregations).  Because he's going to multiple congregations, however, a typical speaker may give 3-6 such talks a year (a few will give one almost every week).  

              There are other "parts" on the meeting programs which vary progressively in difficulty, selectivity, and import.  Certain brothers may well have multiple parts in a single meeting, and it is normal for a handful of them to have a part every week.

              Memorial talks commemorating the ransom sacrifice are given once per year on Nisan 14, to the largest local attendance of the year.  A sub-sample of public talk speakers have given this talk, which is as close as Witnesses get to ceremonial liturgy, and giving which, for many, is the greatest privilege of service they attain.

              A few Witnesses choose to learn languages in which they are not native, in order to provide assistance to groups and congregations where "the need is greater."  In the U.S. pretty much every language other than English has better market responsiveness for the Witness message than does English.  After gaining some level of fluency (and sometimes before) a Witness may be asked to give a talk in a language in which they have not done so before.  This tends to be a nerve-wracking experience, and a big deal (though less so than a Memorial talk).

              Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

              by benamery21 on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 07:56:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks for all the info (0+ / 0-)

                A long time ago I happened to come across a book on Jehovah's Witnesses, probably at my college library, and read it out of curiosity.  But as it was written from an apostate's point of view, it was quite negative and I don't recall it discussing any of the stuff you've described.  At my folk's house when I was growing up (and later when I was on my own) we tended to always be welcoming to  religious folks who came to the door.  Well at least my dad and me.  Mom, not so much. (And now that I think about it, my wife not so much either!)  I always felt a rather positive vibe coming from both from JW and Mormon folks, when we told them we were Jewish.  (Maybe that was my imagination, but it seemed that way.)

            •  Shorter answer (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rob in Vermont

              Lay sermons.  My occasional attendance for such is culturally similar to attending a friend's or relative's first big performance in a ballgame or recital or concert.

              Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

              by benamery21 on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 08:02:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I have a soft spot for Jehovah's Witnesses. (7+ / 0-)

      My grandmother became one when she was about 75.  Sure it was a bit irritating to have her eagerly give us kids books like "Did Man Get Here by Evolution or Creation" -- which I still have 40 some years later.  We're a scientific family and chuckled over arguments like "why are there giraffes and sheep which both eat grasses unless God wanted diversity."

      But, the Witnesses helped her become a non-smoker and gave her many good black friends after a life as an ignorant bigot.  She opened up and actually died laughing on the phone with one of her new friends.

      I'm always polite when they knock, tell them how happy they made my grandmother and softly tell them I'm not a believer and wish them a nice day.  No problem.

      the fact that you're right is nothing more than interesting

      by Egg on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 04:53:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My son-in-law's mom (11+ / 0-)

    is a JW. She isn't extremely active any more, nor has she exactly left the faith. I'm not sure any of her kids are even members; I know my son-in-law isn't. But my co-mom-in-law is a good person, whatever she believes, and so are all her kids. She and I don't talk religion.

    When I was a kid there used to be a little old JW guy who would come by periodically. He was some kind of foreign, I think perhaps Norwegian, and his English wasn't very good, but he was a happy little man and he never took offense when my mother told him we were happy with our own church. It was always, "I bid you a good day, and God bless you, Missus," as he left. Mom called him "the happy Witness". I remember my youngest brother asking one day, "Mommy, why do they call them Joe's Witnesses?" We still tend to refer to them that way in my family of origin.

    Being "pro-life" means believing that every child born has a right to food, education, and access to health care.

    by Jilly W on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 11:05:44 AM PDT

  •  I've always had a pleasant time with JWs (9+ / 0-)

    who came by.  They seem to me to be kindhearted people as a rule, genuinely concerned about my salvation.

    With one woman in particular, I developed a strong rapport and mutual liking.  From our conversations, I came to understand that her life had been horrendously difficult and that the church had given her the only solid footing she'd ever had in life.  Over time (she came every few weeks and I always made them coffee and provided a baked good) she came to understand that my life hadn't been anything like hers and that I didn't need what she did.  When she stopped coming by, I wondered whether she'd grown strong enough to move on.

    Personally I think all monotheistic religions are stupid (like anything that believes there's a single answer / solution to anything), but pretty much everybody I've ever met has some stupid thing they believe in, so, it's not that big a deal as long as they don't insist that their stupid answer applies to anybody else's life.  

    A friend of mine grew up JW and tried to leave (that was when I knew her), but she'd had a daughter when she was underaged and they wouldn't let her see her unless she came back to the fold (cult).  So, she did.  None of us ever saw her again.

    •  We had JW friends once in VA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      side pocket, Urizen

      when our kids were very young. They had kids the same age, Ralph worked construction tech at the same nuke plant hub worked at, we set up a carpool with a couple of other techs because Ralph's place was on the way.

      They were very nice, gentle people who never pushed their religion on us. They did have a very appealing, simple lifestyle, a lovely little farmstead, raised goats for milk (and butter and cheese), rabbits, chickens and an annual hog for meat, and lots of almost comparable to Mennonite/Amish organic vegetables. We babysat for each other semi-regularly, exchanged veggies and got our two goats from them. God (by whatever name) doesn't make a cuter critter than a baby nubian. Really.

      One day their whole blood transfusion weirdness to my attention. Which isn't that bad, I think adults ought to be able to accept or refuse any medical treatment for themselves that they don't want. Then I was told they'd let their children die rather than allow a transfusion, and that was why they were so often in court. It was all based on a single clause in a single verse in Leviticus - "Thou shalt not eat any blood or any fat at all."

      So, these people who ate regular pork and bacon for breakfast - despite THAT Levitical prohibition in more than one verse - would let their kids die because they think blood transfusions are "eating" blood? It wasn't until the discussion got around to what they'd do about MY children if they were babysitting and one of them got hurt that I freaked out. Sorry, Ralph said, but their religion demanded they refuse it, knowing we would of course save our child if that were possible, screw Moses AND his bronze age god! Whoa.

      Next work day the three early riders pulled in to pick up Ralph with clear plastic IV bags full of red water with hoses taped under their sleeves. That was the end of that.

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:43:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So they would refuse to call 911 if there was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        a chance that your kid might need a transfusion in the hospital (or in the ambulance)?

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 06:44:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, they'd have called 911 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          if that had been around back then, taken them to the hospital. They just wouldn't have allowed a transfusion, and if we were truly unavailable, would have let our child die to "save his/her soul." Even though they'd committed god only knows how many 'sins' before they became JWs, and somehow managed to get forgiven.

          Don't ask why, it would make no sense. Like eating bacon - not only fat but pork fat - didn't violate "no fat" but a lifesaving medical procedure DID violate "no blood." It's religion - it's not supposed to make any rational sense.

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:20:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I like watching people's head spin! (3+ / 0-)

    I have a friend. He says all religions are scams and their followers idiotic sheep. so I asked him if he was an atheist.
    "Well...no..."
    Then you believe in something.
    "Well not like THEY do."
    So what do you believe?

    As my Q&A continued, I tried to get him to fathom my belief that there is no man in the sky, wearing a robe and sandals, standing on clouds behind a pearly gate.

    "No kidding!"

    I told him I believe that there is such a thing as a "god force" and that it is universal. We are all part of it. It is like a giant woven fabric where our lives intertwine and how we act, react and treat each other is THE most important thing. It's all about love.

    There isn't a religion out there which does NOT claim that loving your fellow man isn't part of their base belief system.

    (quizzical look)

    "But no one can prove anything.

    I tell him my proof is that over the centuries mankind has looked to the heavens and asked "Where do I come from? Why am I here." The enlightened ones don't give a damn what you believe, only that you believe in something and live your life for ALL of us here.

    Of course my friend also doesn't believe in intelligent life forms other than human beings; even with the billions of stars in the universe he says we are the only ones.

    "Prove it." is the answer...about aliens, God and anything else that involves faith.

    The problem is MAN. Mankind (especially males) have taken every religion and used it to his own end - for control, to keep women "in their place," and for money.

    Whatever god force is out there has NOTHING to do with control of anything or money.

    Our conversations usually end with my roommate saying, "You're never going to win with him."

    Yes, I know. But it sure is fun trying to get people to think...and not just act like sheep.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 11:59:05 AM PDT

  •  As a former member I can tell you that (8+ / 0-)

    the Jehovah's Witnesses are a virulently dictatorial religion in all aspects of human life and thought. Non-conformity in thought and action to the slightest degree is punished by disfellowshipping (excommunication) in which the member is totally shunned by friends and family. Even those who simply stop attending the meetings are shunned by family.

    This is a good website run by ex-Jehovah's Witnesses. It is well worth visiting if you have any questions or simply want to lurk and find out how an authoritarian religion ruins people's lives.

    A million Arcosantis.

    by Villabolo on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:00:30 PM PDT

    •  Many ex-Witnesses aren't bitter about it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shesaid

      this one, for instance.  

      Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

      by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:39:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bitterness is justified when the best years (8+ / 0-)

        of your life are stolen in the service of a religion that benefits no one. They're even advised against getting a college education which is a life changing event.

        When you're in the religion you are advised against making any life changing decisions for yourself and your children on the assumption that the world will end shortly.

        I was a Jehovah's Witness as a teenager and not only did I view education as being moot but I declined a treatment for scoliosis and lordosis thinking, in my naiveté, that the end would come any year now.

        I'm entitled to my bitterness.

        A million Arcosantis.

        by Villabolo on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:55:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm sorry that was your experience (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shesaid

          I have many non-Witness and Witness friends who also had less than ideal childhoods.  I had things better than some, and worse than others.

          I don't think objectively, I can say that they benefit or harm no one.  They do have an impact, and it isn't unvaryingly good or bad.

          Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

          by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:27:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  indeed you are entitled to feel that way. (6+ / 0-)

          i feel for the loss of your youth, your best years. i get that...

          i was excommunicated for this: i finally took blood transfusions while giving birth to my son. i was 28. lost practically every ounce i had. i came as close to dying as anyone could. in fact, i technically did. there was a time when i was bitter, as i was entitled to be.

          but i managed to survive and to raise my son. later, i got out of an abusive marriage, and went back to college. i've had many experiences in my life that made me feel bitter (and scared and depressed), but i had to somehow let some of that go, for my own peace and sanity.

          one could argue about losing the best years...(and honestly, my teen years were plenty miserable without religion making it so).

          you most certainly are entitled to the pain and bitterness you feel. i wish you peace in that regard.

          but if you got out of the jws by your 20s, count your lucky starts. hell, if you are here to draw a breathe, count your lucky stars.

          and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make-jpgr

          by shesaid on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:21:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  oh, there are dark stories... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dandy lion

      no doubt. but...given the dark history of the christian church in general, and, the catholic church. now, c'mon-
      authoritarian, dictatorial, misogynistic, abusive, patriarchal. check, check, etc.

      two of my dearest childhood friends experienced this in the church of christ (of which there were three subdenominations in town who all felt the others and the rest of us protestants were going to hell). amidst all that authoritarianism, they were molested-one by her own father, an elder in the church.

      it's not just jws. let's be clear.

      i was one. and i left as they were disfellowshiping me. i'm so ok w/ that. it's part of their religion to disfellowship and excommunicate and you know there are scriptures to back that aspect of their belief, too. and i believe the muslim faith practices excommunication, and the catholic church, and though they don't call it that, protestants do, too.

      i wonder if you were disfellowshipped or perhaps had a family member who was. you're still angry, it seems. i'm so sorry, if you are. i saw some crazy stuff in the 5 years i was involved. sad, damaged people.

      and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make-jpgr

      by shesaid on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:54:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As for other religions being dictatorial that I (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gffish

        certainly know to be the case. However studies have shown that the Jehovah's Witnesses have the highest turnover of any religion.

        As for me I was disfellowshipped for apostasy (heresy) but it's not that I resent them for. It's the realization that my world was made of shit and I was lied to so much.

        A million Arcosantis.

        by Villabolo on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:03:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  JW (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid, benamery21, mightymouse

    I have had more than a few JWs' as therapy clients. Off the "record", a number have commented that if they were politically affiliated it would be with the Democrats. I have found most to be consistently open to humanistic psychology. Generally a kind and unassuming group.

    •  Even though they are supposed to be politically (0+ / 0-)

      neutral when they leave the religion they tend to fall pretty evenly into the typical conservative/liberal spectrum. One can see this on websites like http://www.jehovahs-witness.net/... which is a discussion forum for ex-members.

      I've seen, on that website, the liberals line up against an equal number of conservatives engaging in flame wars.

      Perhaps the Jehovah's Witness" clients you have are disproportionately 'Democrats' because they're the ones who seek out therapy more than conservatives would.

      A million Arcosantis.

      by Villabolo on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:44:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  An anti-JW site is also a biased sample of ex-JW's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shesaid

        given that we're talking about self-selection potentially skewing the sample for therapy.

        Most majority-minority groups are liberal, most secular folks are liberal.  Most ex-JW's are both minority and secular.  

        Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

        by benamery21 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:28:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  OMG! You poor thing. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid

    Did you get any on ya?

    I usually just politely say no thanks not interested and they leave.

    I do the same with save the whales save the rain forest save the water etc and the phony working my way through graduate school with these magazine sales and political canvassers of all stripes BTW.

  •  They can't vote (5+ / 0-)

    Jehovah's Witnesses are prohibited by their religion from voting.  To cast a vote is to make a judgement on someone and they're prevented from doing that.  

    I remember being a voter registration drive and I saw this middle aged woman in Virginia who say our table, looked really longingly at it, and then said "I can't vote.  I'm a Jehovah's Witness."

    I also had JW's come to my door before and told them I was an atheist which they found almost inconceivable.  I said, "hey, you're the guys who've predicted the end of the world regularly since the 1800's.  How many times has it been now, 7 or 8?" to which the guy responded, "We like to think we get ahead of ourselves sometimes."  A clever come back but B.S. none the less.

    Proud to share my name with Howard Dean

    by DeanNC on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:36:46 PM PDT

  •  I tell them I'm an apostate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Villabolo, Angie in WA State

    and they give my house a wide birth.

  •  We all owe the JWs a huge debt of gratitude (11+ / 0-)

    They have taken on and litigated many of the important First Amendment cases -- speech, more than religion -- from the right of kids not to salute the flag in school, to the right to hand out leaflets on the street without some kind of permit test by the police, to the right to tape over "Live Free or Die" on your NH prisoner-made license plate. In doing so, they have pushed out the boundaries of liberty for all of us.

    (I decided they were right about saluting the flag -- they say it's idolatry, as you should only pledge your ultimate loyalty to God. So I don't say the pledge either -- and thanks to the JWs, I never get in trouble for it.)

  •  I'm not a big fan of missionaries (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, mightymouse

    Heck, I'm Jewish. And the ones missionaries who used to bother me the most were the Lubavitchers who'd descend on the taxi parking lots at JFK Airport (back when I was a graduate student and part-time cabbie and the stereotypical New York cab driver was a middle-aged Jewish man) and browbeat those of us who they determined to be Jews into putting on tefillin and saying the appropriate prayers. And these were--more or less--my co-religionists.

    As individuals the Jehovah's Witnesses are perfectly nice people no doubt, as are the nice young Mormon "elders" who travel in pairs, often on bicycles (someone needs to get them to start wearing helmets). And as rugbymom noted above, Jehovah's Witnesses, as a group, have provided a valuable service in terms of the First Amendment litigation they've pursued.

    However that does not mean I wish to be told what to believe and how to believe it, no matter who's telling me or how nice they are or, for that matter, how I'm supposed to practice my own religion. It really is nobody's business but mine.

  •  I Enjoyed a Biblical Chess Match When... (4+ / 0-)

    ...a few years ago, I was visited by a middle-aged woman (and I don't say that disparagingly, since I'm a middle-aged man myself) who was a JW.  Being a liberal Christian Universalist myself (I guess), I was reasonably, if somewhat superficially, knowledgeable about the Bible (which I do not consider to be the innerrant word of God, but a book of often conflicting stories and retold historical legends that have attempted to explain our relationship with God).  So, I sharpened my wit just a bit (that's about the extent to which it can be sharpened) and prepared to do battle...

    I invited the woman in to see what she had to say (knowing from my previous brief JW encounters what she likely wanted to discuss).  Up front I told her, when she started quoting scripture to back up her arguments, that I did not consider the Bible to be a reliable witness (no pun intended - really).  She dusted off the ol' tried-n-"true" 2 Timothy 3:16 ("All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" in my NRSV), as proof that the Bible can be used to prove a religious point.  I told her that she was using circular reasoning (I am not sure that that is the exact logical fallacy involved here, but it sounded good at the time) by using the Bible to try to prove that the Bible was a perfect authority.  I then took a piece of scrap paper, folded it a couple of times, wrote inside the outer fold that "the sky is green", and wrote inside the inner fold that "this piece of paper is divinely inspired and inerrant".  I handed my piece of scripture to her, and had her "see" that the sky certainly ~must~ be green.  [I am not sure that my use of that piece of "scripture" (or "scrapture") was totally analogous or totally logical, but I thought it would at least open up the discussion to other than just what the Bible "says".]  She was hooked.

    She then visited my home nearly every Friday for almost a year, and we dueled across my dining room table.  Each week she left literature (of which she seemed to have an inexhaustible supply) for me to digest, that she was sure would prove her points, which I got to critique the following week.  In turn, I left her with a couple of contradictory Bible verses (or groups of verses) each week, for her to try to harmonize, as her "homework".  It was mostly fun, intellectually speaking.  The only time it became somewhat emotional for me was the time, after a number of months of meetings had gone by, that she confessed that I was starting to damage her faith.  Taken aback, I told her that that was not my real intention, but only to show that the faith she was trying to pass on to others was really "only" faith, in that it was not really based upon facts or on logic.  I reminded her that it was ~she~ who had came to my house to try to change me, and not the other way around -- I was only trying to defend my own faith, and not to cause her to cease being a JW.

    Our meetings eventually ceased a couple of weeks after the time she visited accompanied by another woman and a man (both younger than we), who, I am assuming, were trying to assess whether she was wasting her time or not (perhaps that is a rather unfair description of their motives - I don't know), but our larger meeting seemed to signal that our Friday discussions were likely to be coming to a close, and they did in fact do so.  We parted as friends, and (I think) we had both grown a little bit wiser because of our discussions.  Although we both live in the same town, I have never seen her since (in a store or at a town meeting, etc.).  And, I have never been visited by any further JW "ambassadors" ever since...

  •  Miraculous Elements vs. Value Teachings (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid

    Probably just about every religious person who posts on KOS is more heavily into the value of the teachings.

    There are a few carrying a grudge against some of his more vehement followers, but who can blame them?

    What I find missing from both sides of the religious argument is neither side will admit that religion is interwoven with culture.

    I can say that Ayn Rand was Jewish, and Ayn Rand was an atheist, and no one questions either statement, but we argue all day about whether the United States is a "Christian" nation or a "secular" nation.

    The religious folks don't want to admit that we are legally a secular nation, and the secular folks don't want to admit that we have a Christian identity and culture.

    The long memory is the most radical idea in this country." Utah Phillips 1935 - 2008

    by Grey Fedora on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:22:34 PM PDT

    •  The US does not have a "Christian identity" (0+ / 0-)

      and culture.

      Why would you say that?

      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

      by Angie in WA State on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 05:12:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

        Because we celebrate Christian holidays, (Christmas, Easter... even our civil holiday of Thanksgiving is Christian in nature. The most common religious building in the US is a Christian church, the most common religious symbol is the cross: visit a military cemetery and you will see rows upon rows of them, punctuated by the occasional Star of David.

        Most Americans have a rudimentary knowledge of the Bible, (more so than any other religious text) Many elements of the Christian lexicon have entered our speech (taking up one's mantle, the apple of one's eye, the skin of one's teeth, the Golden Rule, the Damascus Road conversion, the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, the widow's mites, etc.)

        The phrase "In God We Trust" that is on our money invokes the Christian god. Most likely the benediction at a public event will be given by a Christian minister; sure sounds like Christian culture and identity to me.

        Hell, even the god that American atheists don't believe in has a Judeo-Christian face.

        The long memory is the most radical idea in this country." Utah Phillips 1935 - 2008

        by Grey Fedora on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:43:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Christians celebrate Christian holidays (0+ / 0-)

          Not every one is a Christian. Some of us are Jewish or Muslim or even atheist.

          Just because there are more Christian houses of worship that doesn't mean the Nation is Christian.

          Point of fact, there is a much pointed to bit of language from an Official US Treaty (the link is to the Yale School of Law, by the way), specifically Article 11 of the Treaty which reads:

          The Barbary Treaties 1786-1816
          Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796
          ARTICLE 11

          As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

          I've read the KJV of the Bible more than once, all the way through. Also a number of other religious books. It in no way makes me a christian, muslim, jewish, or any other sort of worshipper of a deity.

          The words "In God we Trust" were never on US paper Currency until the Communist Red Scare of the mid-20th century 1958, a well-known fact by most modern Americans. It was on US coinage off and on from 1864-1883, then from 1938 onward. It is in no way an imprimatur of a "christian" aspect to either our currency or our Government. It's a leftover from an era in which FEAR and IGNORANCE reigned in this land. Not something of which to be proud.

          Every single thing you apparently think makes the United States a "christian nation" is either mistaken history or just plain ignorance.

          I feel sorry for you.

          "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

          by Angie in WA State on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 08:00:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't put words in my mouth. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dave1955

            I never said the US was a "Christian nation." I said it was a secular nation with a Christian culture.

            Religion and culture are intertwined. There are secular states in the middle east which have Islamic cultures. Perhaps I should have prefixed my comment with the adjective "predominately" or "majority."  

            The long memory is the most radical idea in this country." Utah Phillips 1935 - 2008

            by Grey Fedora on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:33:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  To be fair you did say (0+ / 0-)
              but we argue all day about whether the United States is a "Christian" nation or a "secular" nation.
              Which is literally different than "christian nation" by the placement of a single quotation mark after the word nation instead of in front of it.

              I still don't agree with you that it is a Christian culture. Oh, it was at one point in history, I'll give you that, at least on the surface. But the rest of us in this country are no longer willing to just pretend that America is of, by and for only Christians. Those days? They are the past.

              "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

              by Angie in WA State on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:16:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  According to the founding fathers, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Angie in WA State

                America never was of, by, and for the Christians.

                Those days?

                I'll grant that we have lost a lot of our Christian culture. I often find myself explaining biblical references to younger people.

                I'm in my 60's, and probably represent the last generation when even non-religious parents packed their kids off to Sunday school for the "moral" training. I didn't send my kids, and they didn't send theirs, so we are two generations removed.

                But even the "post-Christian" nations of Europe still retain vestiges of Christian culture, so will we for a long time, unless we are conquered by people of another culture and forced to assimilate.

                I also made no value judgement on the culture, and don't deny that it is just "on the surface." It always has been.  Most Christians are  CINO's, meaning they identify culturally with Christianity, but have no more knowledge of their religion (and often a lot less) than people who self-identify as non-Christian. Anyone who thinks even southern US culture is monolithically devout has never seen The Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

                Nevertheless, we can't deny that cultural Christianity has a tremendous influence on our politics and society. You asked, and I provided present day (not past) examples of why we live in a predominantly Christian culture. We are free to disagree about this. As the sages say, we all have opinions, and they all stink.

                The long memory is the most radical idea in this country." Utah Phillips 1935 - 2008

                by Grey Fedora on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 12:34:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  I try to convert them to Catholicism (2+ / 0-)

    I'm a "no proselytizing" kind of guy in that I buy into my church's laborious conversion process whereby you spend a year in RCIA and really get to know the faith before we hit you up with an actual baptism, etc.

    But if you come to my door to sway me, I think you're fair game too. And I don't mean than in a nasty way - I simply wonder, out of curiosity really, how effectively can a door-side conversation be at talking someone into a religion?  So I give it the good college try.

    No takers so far. Still, I get interesting reactions. :)

    Rick Perry - the greatest scientist since Galileo!

    by Bobs Telecaster on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:39:33 PM PDT

  •  Easiest way to get into a debate with a JW... (0+ / 0-)

    is to tell them that Jesus is God, and that if you reject that idea, you're going to hell for eternity. They hate that. Watch the sparks fly!

    "Woe unto ye beetles of South America." -- Charles Darwin, about to sail on The Beagle, 1831

    by Katakana on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:48:28 PM PDT

  •  P.S. Oh, and wish them "Merry Christmas". (nt) (0+ / 0-)

    "Woe unto ye beetles of South America." -- Charles Darwin, about to sail on The Beagle, 1831

    by Katakana on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:49:47 PM PDT

  •  I like Jesus (0+ / 0-)

    I just don't like allot of his followers.

    I ask him if he was warm enough? "Warm," he growled, "I haven't been warm since Bastogne."

    by Unrepentant Liberal on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 04:17:46 PM PDT

  •  Some (0+ / 0-)

    of my best friends are JWs

  •  My all-time favorite Jehovah's Witnesses story (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2008, shesaid

    is the one told by Julia Sweeney in her one-woman show "Letting Go of God".

    Even the Faithful may find something of value in her show, I recommend it to everyone.

    I'm not a militant atheist or an angry atheist or any of the things a lot of religionists think atheists are.

    I'm an open minded person who has no Faith in omniscient beings of any stripe.

    But I had for neighbors a family of Jehovah's Witnesses a couple of decades ago now. It seemed to me to be a dreary and sad religion, as religions go. Their basic theology includes the idea that only 144,000 people will be bodily assumed into heaven when Christ returns at the End of Days. Which just seems odd, to pick a number and then to set it so very low?

    Anyway, religion aside, I enjoyed your diary.

    #LLAP

     

    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 04:43:34 PM PDT

  •  A female Jehovah's witness knocking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2008

    at your door to tout her religion?  Do you have any idea how women are treated in that church?

  •  Which ones? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kerplunk

    "I've always been a bigger advocate of the Jesus values.."

    Do you mean the values of threatening people with hell? Or of taking men away from their families to follow him around?

    The phrase "Jesus values" is just as meaningless as the term "Christian values".

  •  Convert them to hockey ??? (3+ / 0-)

    "The illiteracy of our children are appalling." #43

    by waterstreet2008 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 04:53:57 PM PDT

  •  No more JW (0+ / 0-)

    Many years ago I lived in N. Highlands, Sacramento. JW  or scientoligists were a once a week thing. My girlfriend and I came up with a plan, and the next time they came we did it. Invited them in and got comfortable in the living room, insisted that they have a drink (soda, ice tea, water beer) as it was 105 in the shade, Vicki went to the kitchen to get the drinks and when she came back with the drinks she was nude. I said to Vicki " Hey babe you got comfortable without me", proceeded to take off my clothes (shorts and a tee shirt) and asked the JW's (a man and a woman) if they would like to get comfortable. They said they had to leave and did. We never had JW knock on our door again.
      Vicki was about 19 and had a body to die for, I was 25 and had just come back from three months logging and am not ugly!
      I was disappointed, we did not even get to the second stage of our plan. But when they left we had plenty of fun anyway.

  •  I find minority religions are rarely worth the tim (0+ / 0-)

    critiquing, except perhaps for Mormonism and Judaism, because these are two small religions with disproportionate world influence.

    As far as religions go, Seventh Day Adventist live the longest, so, there's that. If you're one of those concrete types who assumes believing if God should give you some tangible earthly benefits.

  •  Answer the door in bloody coveralls (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird

    And say "Glad you're here! Do you know how to get rid of a body?"

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 06:34:44 PM PDT

  •  I could have written this same diary almost (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid, mightymouse

    word for word.  Last Saturday a young married couple, JW, latino I think, came to our door.  The wife was just beautiful, and in a sweet, modest, soft-spoken way, which made her even more beautiful, of course.  She showed me a question printed on a tract, and it went something like:

    Do you think the Bible is:

    a.  False history written by ignorant people?
    b.  Mythology written by ignorant people?
    c.   The word of God?

    "All three!" I answered, enthusiastically.  The wife said, "Can I read you a scripture?," and I said "Of course."  I think it was from Timothy, and it was the one about how the word of God is good for all things, for  (well, I can't remember any of the rest), etc.  I started to argue the point that using Scripture to prove that Scripture is the word of God doesn't make a lot of sense, but I let it go.

    The couple asked me if I had any questions, so I asked, "Is the earth 6,000 years old?"  The husband started in with, "Well, we don't know because carbon dating, blah blah blah."  
    So I said, "Oh come on!  We know it's not 6,000 years old!"  So then he said, "Well, personally, I love science, and I don't believe that the Bible is a science book.  And frankly, we're all about looking to the future, rather than looking back to the past."  I liked that.  I thought it was a good recovery.

    They wanted to come back and talk to me, and I said that I wouldn't mind talking to them again, but that I didn't want to commit to a specific day or time.  Then I told them I was really glad they came by, and that they were a beautiful young couple.  I also told them that when I was much younger, and angry, and full of venom, that I might have been quite confrontational if they knocked on my door.  But at my current age, I like being around nice people with gentle spirits who care enough to ask what I think.

    What I really respect about JWs is that they are true pacifists (just like me), and they don't mix politics with their faith (that's why they don't vote).  I vote, and of course I'm a political junky, but I don't mix my politics with my faith (much), and think it's stupid when people do.  And I respect their other beliefs, too, even though I would have a blood transfusion if I needed one.

    Well, I'll close this up.  It may be longer than the original diary, and I apologize if it is.  But thanks.  As my old man used to say, "Great minds think alike!"

    "What are we afraid of, and why are we holding back, when nobody's gonna listen to this shit anyway?" -- magic mitch

    by oldmaestro on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 06:54:14 PM PDT

    •  nice. my comments lately have tended toward (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldmaestro

      the lengthy, but i think it's because of all the meta. i went into a bit of a rant mode.

      lengthy meaty stories are good.

       

      and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make-jpgr

      by shesaid on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:31:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pro-tip (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldmaestro

      They don't  believe the earth is 6,000 years old.  That's folks who think that the 'days' in Genesis were literal.  They believe that the creative days were not literal days.  Now, up until about 30-40 years ago, they did typically believe that the earth was less than 50K years old.  They changed that very quietly (I remember a new version of an old book, I think in '81 or '83 or so, having an approximate date changed to "in the beginning" when I was a kid).  They do still purport to believe that humans are only 6000 or so years old.  They also basically believe in micro-evolution within 'kinds' at this point (though most of them don't know it).  I've seen a fair amount of shifting on this issue over the last generation, and I suspect it will continue.  Their big hangups will be abiogenesis and special creation of humans.  I can see them already moving toward scientific reality SLOWLY on everything else in evolutionary theory.  

      Do you live in SoCal? Connect! Unite! Act! Join Los Angeles Kossacks. I'm in CA-35. What's your district?

      by benamery21 on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 06:10:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There were some in prison (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid

    for the draft when I was in prison for the draft. They had a lot of dignity, choosing prison rather than going the Conscientious Objector route. Their propaganda isn't overpriced, tends to start off with clear-eyed descriptions of the world, then ends up veering into loony 144,000 land.

    Michael Weissman UID 197542

    by docmidwest on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:04:34 PM PDT

  •  My mother was a JW in the early 70s... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    When I was about 12 or 13. All I remember is that it cost me a rather substantial record collection and most of my classic old sci-fi books and comix mags, things that were deemed "evil" and inappropriate.

    Oh yeah, and back then they were telling everyone that the world would end in 1975.

  •  They're a dangerous cult (0+ / 0-)

    responsible for tens of thousands of deaths (*).

    They also practice radical shunning of family members, and actively break up families where one party only is a believer (and the other refuses to convert).  They are extremely conservative, socially, but on the plus side they don't vote (they didn't, 20 years ago, I'm not sure where they're at now- I think it's officially left up to the individual member in the USA, but unofficially it's grounds for punishment).

    As for being happy, well-adjusted people following in the footsteps of Jesus and all that jazz, they are required to go knocking on doors to remain in good standing in the cult; most members do not want to actually talk to you.  And a very large number (by some estimates 10x higher % than the general population) suffer from serious depression, bipolar and other psychotic illnesses, etc.

    If I had to give any advice for when they come knocking on your door, is to politely send them on their way.  If you're seriously considering joining, please look up some info on cults and 'love bombing'.  These people practically invented it.  But once you're 'in', they're just like any other high-control cult.

    * Their refusal of blood transfusions has cost the lives of tens of thousands of members. Method: comparing mortality rates, for such things as childbirth or hemophilia, of JWs vs. the general population, then multiplying by the prevalence of those conditions.  

    There are also many reports in the medical literature of the JW leadership (in published JW materials, also local leadership) lying to their members about the risks of their refusal of blood, and now (physically!) shielding members from medical professionals who might be able to explain the risks; many members suffering trauma or hemorrhage go happily to their deaths convinced their doctors are lying to them, and that they will recover fully.

    190 milliseconds....

    by Kingsmeg on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:49:59 PM PDT

    •  I think you missed the point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      benamery21, shesaid

      You're making a massive sweeping statement about a group. I'm asking people to consider the individual in front of them for their many different quirks, angles, fallibilities, triumphs, failures, greatnesses and weaknesses. They 're human. And regardless of what a person is taught or what they believe they should receive some degree of compassion and a moment of human time. Because all people need dialogue and human contact. If you can't give that, then what you're really saying is that we should only speak to like minded individuals, and that's just a guaranteed way of remaining closed off from the many blossoms of humanity.

      http://www.thedreammapnovel.com

      by DAISHI on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 02:52:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Converse all you like (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Russycle

        (you may even reach one, after all they have an extremely high turn-over rate), just be aware that they are dangerous, and they prey on the weak.  

        You can chat with your neighborhood mugger as well, just take precautions.

        Perhaps I do miss your point, but it's hard to approach a group such as the JWs with an open mind, being aware of the deception and the methods they're trained to use to pass 'under the radar' of unsuspecting people who just happen to have moments of vulnerability.  And then there's the whole issue of what they do to families, of which I obviously have first-hand experience.

        190 milliseconds....

        by Kingsmeg on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 04:47:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i have to say something, as an ex witness. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          benamery21

          no.

          i was not patty hearst. i was not trapped and converted and brainwashed. i studied because i believed. and once i was a 'believer,' there were no 'methods' or deception that we were 'trained' to use, in order to pull people in. no underhanded spy-op terrorist manipulations. jeez louise.

          we had lots of bible studies and took turns practicing being the person at the door. we discussed lines of reasoning in biblical interpretations. we were advised on how to not get angry and not be pushy and to be kind and understanding. if someone seemed receptive, we studied the bible w/ them, and would even extend kindness beyond that (because that's what humans should do), and when they wanted to quit studying, we quit studying. we'd still be courteous to them, though. sheesh.

           we believed soooooo much in what we believed that we honestly, truly felt from our hearts that others needed to know. and door to door was doing what jesus said to do.

          i mentioned above how my parents were so sure that the witnesses were a cult. as opposed to what? depending on how you want to define a cult, it can be argued that all denominations are a cult, if you don't believe in god.

          jonestown, koresh, the people with the nike shoes that all committed suicide? those are definitely cults, right?

          seventh day adventist? mennonite? amish? christian science? they aren't violent and self-destructive, like some, but there are some ideas there that are far from mainstream. many churches teach that they are cults. hell, i found that out when i tried to research this last night. almost every link is from a religious organization, explaining how this one or that one is a cult. not academic/scientific study. just religious opinion.

          what about the churches that lift up snakes (based on what scholars say is a spurious text, btw)? some say cult.

          what about some of the anti-vaxxers who have a religious 'reason' for that? or the 'quiverful' movement (the duggars with their...19 kids)?

          what about the catholic church, forbidding to marry (y'know, there's a scripture rejecting that 'tenet), and the other problems of the church, well...how is the pope any different than jim jones, really? (NOT really, of course). but there is that charismatic leader that everyone is supposed to pledge allegiance to and confess to.

          so, no, witnesses are not a cult, any more than some of these other groups.

          i just ask that you try to look at it from another angle. you mention first-hand experience. could your pain and your family's pain (perhaps disfellowshipping or shunning) be why you see them as a cult?

          i am sorry for your loss and wish you the best.

          and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make-jpgr

          by shesaid on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 01:45:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Is It Mentally Healthy To Debate With Someone (0+ / 0-)

    about religion since it is based on faith and not any logic?

    I remind myself that this person's belief is based on non-reality, irrational, and illogical stuff.

    You would have to put all of that aside and put yourself into some crazy mindset to actually believe the conversation was going anywhere.

    "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

    by kerplunk on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 08:16:31 PM PDT

  •  The JW ideology is not benign (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    it is extremely harmful to families and individuals.  
    JWs themselves are usually nice people.  But they are under the control of a manipulative Governing Body who are to be considered infallible (though they will deny that) and who demand unquestioning obedience.

    What most people don't realize, is that JWs really are not particularly knowledgeable about their theology or their own history because the Watchtower Society hides historical  information and forbids deeper research - which they call "apostasy."  You notice how JWs avoid meaningful questions and discussion - they are not prepared and really only want to ring your doorbell, be rebuffed, and go on their way.  One to two hours later, they report their "time" and feel righteous in enjoying the rest of their week-end.  They really could give two figs how you respond to them other than to relish the prospect of your (hopefully) gruesome demise at Armageddon as they walk away from your door.

    Seriously.  I was a third generation JW for the first 23 years of my life.

    Hi, Villabolo!  BizzyBee here!

  •  When I was 16 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    and home with only my younger brother, a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses came to the door.

    My parents taught me to be polite, so I was, and endured their hour-long sales pitch. This was back in the days when they sold books along with their pamphlets. The books were always 3 inches thick, printed on newsprint and only cost a dollar or two.

    I bought one, just to get them off the front porch.

    When my mother came home and saw the book, and my little bro told her what happened, she threw a fit, called the church office, and gave them a good piece of her mind. She is a devout and lifelong Presbyterian.

    It was their last visit ever. That was over 60 years ago now, and I must still be on their no-call list, as I was just passed by last year when I noticed a pair out working the homes on my street. Mom is 89 now, and when I mentioned the ancient incident to her, she said that was the last time they ever came to her door again, too.

    I have no bones to pick with the JW. Then and now, I understand how missionaries can get carried away. I do think that they have lightened up a lot since then.

    And since half my family is Mormon, these days, if my patience had worn out, I would have turned them onto a cousin or two who were missionaries, just to watch the fireworks.

    Right many are called, and damn few are chosen.

    by Idaho07 on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 12:20:40 AM PDT

  •  I tell them I'm on my way to donate blood. (0+ / 0-)

    That usually drains the blood out of their face.

    "For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it." - President Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013.

    by surfermom on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 01:43:18 AM PDT

  •  When (0+ / 0-)

    I lived on the Big Island, a young witness came by my house regularly and we had productive discussions about the translation of the bible. For instance, the several words that are interpreted as "love" and as "kill". When he moved to Oahu, some older guys came by and tried to convince me that some things in the bible were literal and some were not. Which one was entirely subjective to their bible-view. I told them off.

    "I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night..."

    by Killer on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 06:05:23 AM PDT

  •  Best friend grew up JW. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    benamery21

    I know a lot about that deal. Was around in childhood when he was still somewhat under that control. Know all the brothers and sisters, all older. Dad was a stevedore and I think it was a chore for him. Mom was devout.

    The kids are all very bright, artists and musicians, eccentric, 70's and 80's for hardcore punk and subversive culture. Mom was never able to get the kids under control. It was open rebellion.

    But my friend especially, being significantly younger than siblings, got the most control. Meetings and service. He hated it with a passion. I'll never forget him dosing LSD and heading home for Kingdom Hall. He was fuck all rebellious from git.

    Kid can cite chapter and verse from the bible. He's like me, spiritual and animist but with zero use for organized of any kind. Doesn't begrudge others but no use for it.

    I have always appreciated his ability to "argue" religion with people holier than thou or aggressively solicitous. His knowledge combined with thick skepticism is a dangerous combination for anyone unforgiving in their intent to convert.

    What struck me about your story is the environmental angle. I remember when he was preparing for a trip to Papau New Guinea. He taught himself pidgin by reading Watchtower mags writen for the South Pacific. I used to read the English ones just for fun and they were full of environmental crisis and warnings. Real stuff based on real science. In fact, it was Watchtower mags that got me first interested I environmental issues! And the JW comic tracts were funny as hell.

    Mom, the devout one, was and is incredibly science oriented and environmentally conscious. I think it is part and parcel of the religion. But make no mistake, the science is a means to an end, regardless of the validity of the info.

    Great read. Thanks!

  •  Second That (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    benamery21

    I think you have exactly the right attitude. You don't have to agree with someone to be civil with them and potentially get something of value out of the interaction.

    Thanks for the diary on a highly important topic.

  •  My Lone Encounter 40 years Ago (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29

    Nice looking pamphlet toting JW lady got me to the door, baby on hip.

    After the usual introductory and banal remarks. . .

    SHE: Do you know Jesus is your savior?  Won't you let me tell you about God's plan for you?
    ME: Sorry, I'm an atheist.
    SHE: How can you not believe? God has proven he loves you!
    ME: No.
    SHE: Well, how do you think you got such a lovely baby?
    ME: Sex, lady!

    Sound of door shutting firmly.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 11:53:20 AM PDT

  •  Most of my neighbors are JW (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid

    In the 10+ years I've lived in my house, only one of them quietly passed me a pamphlet one time. Other than that, they've been very polite and kind people, quiet about their beliefs. The only time I've been even slightly annoyed is on some Saturdays when they all gather at my neighbor's house next door to worship. Cars line both sides of the street, making it difficult some days to get through.

    On the other hand, I've got Christians of other denominations who come to my door every single week, sometimes twice a week. It's exhausting.

    Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole. - Ta-Nehisi Coates

    by moviemeister76 on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 12:48:09 PM PDT

  •  Look, if you really want to stop (0+ / 0-)

    the visit without being openly rude, tell them you're Associated Bible Students and they'll scram.  They're on bad terms with many groups from many schisms.  That was the one my mom belonged to until two more schisms, and by then I called it the Church of the Final Thunder.

    "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

    by escapee on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 01:11:31 PM PDT

  •  They normally don't bother me (0+ / 0-)

    I worked with a couple of JW's and you could not know two nicer people. That said, one Saturday some teenaged JW's stopped by with a little kid, about 6 years old. He was dressed in his Sunday best. Well for some reason that infuriated me. I told them they should be ashamed of themselves for bringing along a little kid that had no idea what they were doing. Rude I know but I didn't like that. It all boils down to them being cult like with weird ideas.

  •  "This is Havana, your cigars are ready." (0+ / 0-)

    Many, many years ago, when I was an MIT undergrad, we had an unwritten rule in our dorm: room doors stay open, unless you've got a particularly tough test coming up.   The idea was to be there in case someone needed someone to talk to. It was also understood that you didn't spend too much time in someone else's room when that person was obviously trying to study.

    But there was one girl that just didn't get it.  She'd walk into your room and spend hours talking about this and that. No matter how you hinted that you really needed to get back to work on your thermodynamics problem set, she'd never get the message.

    So a system developed: if you saw someone buttonholed by this girl, you'd go to a telephone (this as before cell phones), call their room and say, "This is Havana, your cigars are ready."  The person would then excuse himself, pick up his books and go to the library to study.  It tells you something about those guys, that they'd walk half way across campus on a cold February night rather than tell a socially awkward girl she'd outstayed her welcome.

    So anyway I as home from school and my sister answers the door, and there are the Jehovah Witnesses.  Twenty minutes later they're still there; she's too polite so cut off the conversation. I was on my way out, so I stop and call her from the corner store.

    "Hello?" she answers the phone.

    "This is Havana," I say, "your cigars are ready."

    "What?"

    "Tell the Jehovah's Witnesses you have to take this call," I said.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 03:50:12 PM PDT

  •  Living in a 6th floor penthouse I don't get many (0+ / 0-)

    door-to-doors (or even trick-or-treaters) but your story reminded me of a time in high school when I was at my cheerleader girlfriend's home with her and her little sister and no adults, and two JWs came to the door.  Well, me and Carolyn were devout Southern Baptists and we gave them quite good theological arguments and our Biblical knowledge was definitely greater than theirs.  I think we actually shook their faith, they definitely didn't shake ours.
    Since then I drifted into Catholicism (because I was music director at a church) and then Judaism, which still appeals because it doesn't have any of that life-after-death bullshit.  But really now, I'm just waiting for the Goddess to appear.  I know She will...

    Lost Tom. Lost Charlie. Can't read (Paul Newman, 'The Left Handed Gun')

    by richardvjohnson on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 05:25:40 PM PDT

  •  Can I get a Witness? (0+ / 0-)

    A few years ago I had two JWs who would come by every few months--an older woman and a pretty younger woman. I've had a few other religious visitors and they all seem to have a younger pretty girl as one of the team. Maybe my sample is too small or maybe the people in the "marketing" department have a strategy. I'm a non-believer but I don't want to get into an argument while I'm standing in the doorway. (And I always get into a position so that they can't get any further into the house).
    I just smiled, nodded my head and remained noncommittal.
    Maybe that was my mistake because they came back a few more times. Maybe I should have said something like This is some pretty weird shit you're peddling here. After a few more visits I believe they caught on that I wasn't interested in becoming a JW and their visits ended. So I send them on the way with a nod and a smile and a closing of the door. Amen.

  •  just a heads-up, daishi. (0+ / 0-)

    your diary and the comments that followed inspired me to write about my own observations.

    just thought you would want to know, since i did mention it in my diary. maybe it brought a few more eyes to yours. hope so.

    and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make-jpgr

    by shesaid on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 11:39:20 PM PDT

  •  they leave the Watchtower on my door (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shesaid

    I'm a hardcore atheist, but I get along okay with the local Jehovah's witnesses.  I hardly ever talk to them, and I don't debate with them -- as long as somebody's not being obnoxious about it I don't usually confront them about their beliefs... even if it means just nodding politely like a toddler's talking to me about their imaginary friend, which is pretty much what it feels like.  But, if I can tell the person means well and is getting some fun and good-intentions out of their beliefs, I don't feel any need to try shooting them down.   It's what a person actually does that might make me go after their religion, just the mere fact that they have one.

    Anyway, I've only talked to them a couple of times.  The ones who drop by my house are a couple of very polite, friendly black guys who usually want to talk about my car more than religion (I have a '71 Nova parked in my carport, and even though it's not running, it still usually gets a reaction out of any guys who show up at the house :) ) and it's never more than a couple of minutes.   I never led them on to believe I'm any potential convert, but I told them that the Watchtower's an interesting read, so now I find them left on my door a lot when I get home from work.  

    It may just be that my local branch is nicer than average or something, but I've never found the Jehovah's Witnesses all that annoying.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 08:41:50 AM PDT

  •  Join us and you will feel better, blah, blah, blah (0+ / 0-)

    Or, you could go to Hell.
    It is your choice.
    What church do you attend? None? You poor, deprived SOB. Well, when you come to your senses, we are all waiting for you with open arms, and, we are praying for you, on top of it. Jesus loves you, really. Until you accept the one, true Word of the true Son of God, though, which we, luckily, happened to have stumbled upon, the bottom line is that you, and much of the rest of the world, will be going to Hell, and we won't. We aren't perfect, just forgiven, which is very convenient for us.  
    We are certain of these beliefs, virgins giving birth, humans dying, then coming back to life, and we don't think that is in the least insane. It only happened 2000 years ago, practically yesterday, as written by some people in a book that has been rewritten, revised, and cherry-picked for certain phrases.
    John:3:16

    The US ranks 138th out of all 169 voting countries in actual voting. Since 1974, mid-term % of eligible voters who vote avgs. 37%. Democrats would dominate if they did one thing- GOTV. They never do. Curious.

    by Incredulousinusa on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 08:42:14 AM PDT

  •  fair's fair (0+ / 0-)

    I've printed out copies of this brochure and have them at the ready for when the JWs come around:

    http://whichreligion.com/...

    I tell them, "I'll read your literature if you'll read mine. Fair's fair!"

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