Is it Accurate to Refer to Jehovah’s Witnesses as a ‘Cult’?
The Philosophy of Humor

Getting to the Point in a Crazy World

In America, one must get to the point quickly. Often I begin house-to-house visits by observing, ‘The world’s crazy. We think the Bible can help—how did it come to be that way?/what hope for the future?/how to best live in the meantime? I want to read you a scripture on that, you tell me what you think, and then I’m on my way. Good idea?’

This is not some laid-back land where you must ask about family, tell about yours, and if you don’t, you are rude. No. Tell why you came quickly. One man responded that he was not a religious person. ‘That doesn’t mean that the world isn’t crazy,’ I replied. He agreed that it didn’t.

His neighbor instantly agreed that it was—crazy—even repeating the words. What people had to do, she said, was to ‘stand up.’ Well, sure, it’s hard to disagree with that, and I didn’t. But it’s a little vague. Won’t people, when they stand up, stand up with different fixes and so work at odds with each other? Whereupon, she pointed out that she didn’t believe in any ‘second coming of Christ.’

She was not like still another neighbor, who was concerned that we were ‘recruiting.’ I told him we were not. Or rather, that on my 200th visit, I would ask if he wanted to become a Jehovah’s Witness like me, but it would not happen until then, and what were the chances engagement would go on for so long? In the meantime, it’s just conversation. No. This woman instantly got that it was just conversation—though after ours, when I floated the idea of coming back, she did ask, ‘To what end?’

I initially feared the call would be a clumsy disaster. When she first appeared at the door, so did a couple of noisy dogs, eager for engagement of their own. They weren’t mean or anything. They were more like, ‘Oh wow! Visitors! Lemme go check them out!’ Some people get crotchety trying to curb their dogs for a visit they never asked for in the first place and I thought she might be one of them. She wasn’t. She just wrestled with the creatures.

‘Did I ever tell you how much I like dogs?’ I said to one of them while petting it. That eased tension. It’s true. I do like them. Ever since the days my daughter moved overseas and left us Samson, a boxer/lab mix. Sometimes I would introduce it with, ‘Do you know the Samson from the Bible, who pushes apart the pillars? This the Samson that pees on them.’

The scripture I read was the one some are already familiar with, ‘Let your kingdom come, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,’ from Matthew 6:9. It packs a lot in few words. God’s will is done in heaven, no doubt. He must have it all together up there, but it sure isn’t done on earth. And it won’t be until ‘thy kingdom comes’—so just what is that kingdom?  This is where she said she didn’t believe in any second coming. But in time, I suggested she might want to rethink that. She did believe in God. She did believe he cares for us. So will he really just leave humanity to go down the drain as they are so plainly doing at present?

When she had mentioned chaos in her family over the last few years, I asked her what bad things had happened. Turned out it was all pandemic related; some family members were no longer on speaking terms over accepting the vaccine. As for her, she said she ‘reads scientific papers.’ If it helps, I told her—you get on the same page with your householder whenever you can—I also passed on the vaccine. (as had my companion) It was easy for me, being retired, and there were a few supplements I took instead. (which she also took). But, in answer to her question, the Witness organization mostly did get vaccinated. Here they were, sitting on their hands, and you weren’t allowed to do anything without vaccination, so they monitored those they found easiest to track—a few tens of thousands of other volunteers—detected nothing immediately unpleasant, and so went ahead with the program because they did want to do things.

When she said she didn’t accept Jesus as God, but thought he was a man, it was time for another ‘if it helps.’ (The teaching that Jesus IS God all but dooms any attempt to understand either the Bible or God’s purpose—nothing makes any sense with that albatross strapped around one’s neck.) ‘If it helps,’ I told her, we also believe he was a man, and in a nutshell I told how only a perfect man can exactly counterbalance what Adam had lost—‘repurchasing’ what he ‘sold.’ She played with the thought, not sure how she felt about it. People need time to adjust to anything. I left her the card that has one of those computer things you can scan and bring up the Bible study course. It works best when you do it with someone to guide you, I said, but there’s no reason you can’t look it over yourself. I showed her the lesson that expanded on just how Jesus offsets Adam for those who put faith in the arrangement.

I did caution her, though. She had said she reads scientific papers. Most people don’t. Don’t be put off to find the material is written very simply. It’s not the course’s intention to talk over the heads of the vast majority of people. As was true in the first century, it is the ordinary people most likely to respond, whereas the educated people are sometimes prone to be all full of themselves; there’s not much God can do with people like that, but with humble ones he can do a lot. The caution proved unnecessary. She offered up her view that university was mostly ‘indoctrination’ these  days anyway.

People are busy. I’ve had so many discussions with someone I find once, and then I never find them again. So, these days I have my text number on that QC card. I’ll pop in eventually, but in the meantime, if anything grabs her attention, she has a text number to respond to.


******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'


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