Those Darn Jehovah’s Witnesses

Apparently we live near a hive of JWs, because they have started to regularly ignore the large posted signs that say NO SOLICITING at the entrances and exits of our neighborhood and then swarm our homes to irritate us.

I’m too annoyed to type a nice rant, so here’s a not-so-nice one. I also didn’t feel like thinking too lengthily about JW beliefs, so I cut and pasted from Wikipedia. I already know what they believe. They won’t leave me alone about it. I’ve had 20+ years of being stalked and harassed by these knobheads. It’s got to stop. I’ve read their tracts (but then again, I read instructions on shampoo bottles and nutritional labels on cereal boxes just to read ANYthing). Of course I read it. It had words on it and I hadn’t read it 40 times before. I’m a read-a-holic. I have not learned anything new after 20+ years of being irritated by these puds.

See, they think everyone but them is going to Hell. I got that point pretty quickly. If they went off and were smug about it on their own time on their own turf rather than making a point to seek me out at my own house and rub my nose in it every damn weekend, I’d be more sanguine about it. I’m sick of picking up water-logged lumps of cheap paper tracts out of my bushes, off my lawn, and off my driveway. It’s bad enough that The Pennysaver won’t go away and insists on leaving me more trash to throw away every week. I don’t live in a mobile home, so I’m not in the market for Franklin Mint plates, Precious Moments figurines, a new used motor home, a crappy bass boat, a 1970 Firebird (Frank Burham is welcome to his), splay-hipped genetic disasters of mixed-breed hound dogs or overpriced non-collectible boxes of used modern-era Barbie dolls that the owner thinks are genuinely worth more than a free haul to the dump.

The JW tracts are worse than Pennysavers because they don’t courteously pre-wrap them in a plastic sleeve, perfect for toting directly to the garbage can. Then there’s the judgmental smugness. Nothing makes your day like random strangers trying to convince you that only they can save you from fire and brimstone.

I’m getting increasingly irritated by the insensitive and bullheaded obstinacy of these people. First of all, they decide that “NO SOLICITING” signs can’t possibly refer to them. In truth, they are the ONLY reason we folks in the neighborhood posted the signs. We are now missing out on Girl Scout cookies and small kids selling greeting cards and band candy all because these religion-addled opportunists assume that their message about The Jesus is so overwhelmingly important that it’s not REALLY soliciting to wake people up early in the morning, or interrupt them during dinner, or to get the entire dog population of the neighborhood up in arms and barking because the JWs are tromping all over everyone’s front yards, or to resist polite attempts to shoo them off if they corner while you are outside on your porch attempting to relax with friends.

Nothing breaks up a nice cocktail hour gabfest like two fresh-scrubbed JWs demanding that we listen to their spiel, giving us the stink-eye for drinking alcohol (I got the stink-eye over my glass of soda pop a couple of times, which irked me even more and made me want to run home while they were still hanging about just to break out the vodka in front of them even though I’m not a huge drinker at the best of times), insisting that we take their stupid, poorly-written propaganda pamphlets even if we protest we already have a huge collection and these will just end up in the garbage unread, and attempting to engage in intellectual debate with folks who are 10 or 20 or more years older and, as it always transpires, far better-versed in knowledge about various religions and spiritual issues. Not to mention the life experience that far outweighs any that a JW brought up so sheltered as to be unquestioning about the need to harass people about their ghost and pumpkin Hallowe’en or reindeer and Santa Christmas decorations around the holidays.

So fucking rude. And presumptuous.

Next time I’m going to tell them that we’re celebrating a birthday (a big JW no-no!) and that unless they wish to explain to their elders about it, they need to scoot before we sing and break out the cake and presents and consider them invited guests.

Party cooties! Going straight to hell!

Kill ’em with kindness! And high-cholesterol baked goods!

Then again, I don’t just have cakes laying around the house. Maybe I should do, but I haven’t done, thus far. Cake is good, I should consider it. Go on an all-cake, all-the-time diet. Mmmm, cake.

But I digress.

It is rude to inflict your agenda on strangers. It is rude to assume they are heathens that require your guiding hand to save them from Hell. It is also rude to assume that they need help picking out a religion or spiritual philosophical belief without some crew-cutted dweeb in a necktie leading them to Glory (Hallelujah). I daresay that there are very, very few teenagers capable of teaching me much about life. I remember that I was not an arrogant, know-it-all teenager, and I was fairly humble and all, but deep down inside, as much as I knew from books and lectures and life itself, and as high as my IQ was tested to be, I still knew NOTHING about life. I cringe at the idea of me at that age deciding to go out and minister to total strangers. I wouldn’t have, because I’d never have the gall to be so rude as to assume everyone else was in need of my brilliant religious guidance, or feel motivated to go door-to-door with tracts.

You know, it’s not the door-to-door thing; I sold Girl Scout cookies door-to-door. It isn’t a lack of gumption. One year I supposedly outsold every other child in my age group in the entire state. I don’t recall the details, just three rooms of our house stuffed to the ceiling with cartons of cookies and the unpleasant task that cookie delivery ended up being. (I was politely discouraged from selling so many the next year.)

But, hey, I obeyed No Soliciting signs, AND it helped that people actually WANT Girl Scout cookies. 🙂

Here’s a little bit about JWs:

“The Bible is considered by Jehovah’s Witnesses to be the inspired word of God. The New World Translation, produced by the group in 1950, is regarded by the group to be the most accurate translation of the Bible to date. They believe that the use of God’s name (rendered Jehovah in English) is vital for acceptable worship. They also believe that Jesus’ death was necessary to atone for the sins of humanity, opening the way for everlasting life. They believe that the wicked will be destroyed at Armageddon, and those who survive will form a new society and live in an earthly paradise forever. Jehovah’s Witnesses differ from mainstream Christianity in rejecting doctrines such as the Trinity, eternal torment in hell, and the immortality of the soul.

Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to become involved in social, religious, or political conflicts.” 

They don’t vote, or protest social injustice, or take sides during wartime conflicts. I don’t get the impression that this is done with a Quaker-like non-violent conscientious objection. Did they protest when Jews, gypsies, gays and others were slaughtered by the millions during The Holocaust? Did they take a stand when blacks were struggling for their Civil Rights?

Oh, gosh, no. It’s far more important to annoy people who have a sheet-with-eyeholes  “I got a rock” Charlie Brown-style ghost hanging from a shrub or a cardboard witch cartoon hung on their front porch.

“They are well known for their refusal of blood transfusions. This has garnered criticism from medical and legal sources. Their search for bloodless treatment options has added incentive for the development of many bloodless surgery techniques and the codification of patient rights.”

The ends justify the means, apparently. Their bizarre taboo against using someone else’s blood (why? because it could belong to someone of another gender, race, religion or sexual preference than the recipient?) at least benefits scientific progress in a round-about way. This may sound cruel, but if the person refusing the blood treatment is legally an adult, respect their wishes. I mean, honestly. If we get pissed off that they insist on pushing their beliefs on others, who are we to press our technological and scientific beliefs on them? Let them attempt to survive without it. I mean, really! Aren’t there other people who need it and have fewer qualms about HAVING it?

“Members who are judged to be unrepentant sinners, for such actions as committing adultery, stealing or continued drunkenness, are excommunicated (“disfellowshipped”). The Witnesses view the procedure as a Biblical practice of keeping a congregation in clean moral standing before God. Members subsequently discontinue their association with disfellowshipped ones (except when it comes to business or unavoidable family matters) until they are deemed repentant and seek re-admittance. Critics have labeled this practice as cruel and arbitrary.”

Nice to see that the JWs are into doing God’s work, judging their fellow humans about things such as these, including certain things that rely on opinion. What constitutes “continued drunkenness”? Enjoying more than one beer at a picnic every year or so? Passing out in puddles of your own barf every day? I got glared at for drinking a soda in the company of people who were having a glass of red wine on their own porch on their own property at a reasonable hour of the evening. Prats.

This “clean moral standing” bunk is particularly amusing, given the stereotypes and cliches out there about religious leaders who abuse their wifes and children, who commit adultery, get caught murdering people, who steal money from parishioners, who are closet drunks or self-hating homosexuals, and so on. To become a clichè, it has to have been repeated more than a few times.

To be fair, it’s not usually the JWs who get caught. Probably because it’s a lot easier to get shunned for being a normal human with faults than it is to rise in power and achieve the inevitable judgmental moral “superiority complex” smugness within the ranks.

“Within each local congregation, elders assigned by the branch organize the congregation’s public ministry, and schedule various speakers for congregational teaching. They also decide on qualified members of the congregation for the positions of elder or ministerial servant, requiring the approval of higher leadership.”

Qualified = able to carry a few pounds worth of Watchtowers in a basket on a bicycle, and to pedal the bicycle while wearing dress shoes.

“Elders are prominent in congregational matters, particularly in religious instruction and spiritual counseling; ministerial servants generally assist elders in a limited administrative capacity. Elders are unpaid, but Circuit and District overseers receive a small financial living allowance. All baptized Witnesses are considered to be ordained ministers, and are expected to be able to provide religious instruction to others. Males are encouraged to qualify to become elders. Within local congregations, the role of women is minimal in terms of responsibility, but they carry out a large proportion of the preaching work.”

If you think that being female makes you less qualified to be a religious leader, or if you believe that being flicked with or dunked into water automatically turns callow young males into “ordained ministers” capable of tendering a rational and well-reasoned argument to total strangers about matters as personal and private as religion, then maybe you, too, can be a JW. Or a twenty-something-year-old “elder”. That just bends my brain. Since when were 20-year-olds, at least in modern times, capable of being consistently wise about anything? It’s not a condemnation of youth, it’s just a fact: the wisest teen or 20-something doesn’t have the life experience to draw on that an older person does.

“The entire Biblical canon, excluding the Apocrypha, is considered the inspired word of God. A literal interpretation of the Bible is usually favored, though it is acknowledged that at times biblical writers and characters employed symbolism, parable, figures of speech, and poeticism. The doctrine of sola scriptura is principal, that is, only the Bible should be used for deciding issues of doctrine. The codifying interpretation of scripture is the responsibility of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. God is the creator and supreme being, sovereign of the universe. Using God’s name, Jehovah (a derivative of the Tetragrammaton), is a requirement for true worship. Jesus is God’s first creation and he was used by God to create everything else. Jesus is literally the only begotten Son of God, and received his life from God. He is the one who is the means of approach to God in prayer, and is the “Chief Agent of life” and salvation for all worthy mankind. His role as mediator of the “new covenant” is limited to those going to heaven, whose number totals 144,000.”

There are between 6.6 and 7 million JWs out there. Are they going to draw straws to be one of the 144 thousand, or what?

“The vast majority of God’s faithful servants will live on a renewed paradise earth. They believe that Jesus did not die on a cross but on a “torture stake” without a cross-bar.”

Despite recorded accounts to the contrary. Though, sure, there’s a lot of room for inaccuracy when you’re dealing with a subject that has been scrutinized exhaustively for over 2,000 years. (That’s not sarcasm.)

“Mary was not perpetually a virgin, but bore more children after Jesus. The soul is the human body and consciousness, not an immaterial entity that dwells in a physical human. Death is a state of non-existence. Hell (Hades or Sheol) is not a place of fiery torment, but the designated common grave of all mankind.”

There is no mention of Hell in The Old Testament, FWIW. There’s certainly no Dante-esque or Bosch-like Hell described within the Bible, though Revelations is enough to scare the pee out of the devout.

“The period known as the “last days” began in 1914. All religions, including Witnesses themselves, will shortly come under attack by governments leading into Armageddon, banning all forms of religion.”

Thanks to the Religious Right, that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

“After religion is destroyed, governments also face destruction. Any who are not deemed faithful by God will be destroyed. The fate of some, such as small children or the mentally ill, remains indeterminate.” 

A recent film, “Left Behind,” implies that small children will be whisked up to Heaven, but it promotes the Rapture specifically, not necessarily JW beliefs. Christian prophetic themes are explored in a fictional context around the theme of the “Rapture”, an interpretation of the Book of Revelation that is not accepted by some major Christian denominations. Among those Christians who believe there will be a Rapture, there are three main theories on the timing of this event: Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, and Post-Tribulation. This book takes the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position. The story is built around such End times themes as the Second Coming, the Antichrist, the Tribulation, and the expected coming Millennium of Messiah.

In 2004, Penn & Teller’s TV show “Bullshit!” devoted an episode to the “end of the world” phenomenon, following centuries of incorrect prophecy. The show explained that Bible prophecy is nothing new, and that the vague descriptions in the book of Revelation can apply to almost any location at any time. The Left Behind series was featured, and Jerry B. Jenkins was interviewed. Jenkins said “in my mind, in a way, we are sales people for the Gospel.” He continued, “people say money is the root of all evil, and actually it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil. So there is nothing wrong with money if you use it right.” The host, Penn Jillette, responded, “what’s the story on money if you get it by creating an irrational fear in people?”

Word.

“After Armageddon, an unknown number of dead people will be resurrected, with the prospect of living forever on the paradise earth.”

Beam me up to Earth Two!

“Their view of sexual behavior reflects conservative Christian views. Homosexuality and premarital sex are considered sins. Abortion is considered murder. Modesty is heavily encouraged in dress and grooming.”

Which is why they all look like accountants.

“Gambling is strictly forbidden.” 

Though technically they are gambling each time they harrass people by wandering up to strange households and bothering people repeatedly about converting from their own perfectly good religious and spiritual beliefs to convert to THEIR damn religion. Gambling that someone doesn’t get sick of being interrupted during dinner, a bath, while sleeping, while working, while doing any number of things that are far more important than being preached at by pairs of earnest strangers that reek of man-made fibers, Ivory Soap and Clearasil.

“Practices that connote nationalism or false religion are avoided.”

Yup. I get pamphlets around every holiday, or when my neighbors display flags. I’m tempted to display my Union Jack on the Fourth Of July to see if it confuses them doubly.

“Weddings, anniversaries, and funerals are typically observed; however, common celebrations and religious or national holidays such as birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are regarded as unchristian and are not celebrated.” 

That’s right. CHRISTmas is unCHRISTian. Celebrating birthdays and Giving Thanks (again, who are you supposedly giving thanks to?) are also bad.

Need we add that Easter Bunny is bad? And they left tracts stuffed all around my Hallowe’en decor. I’m tired of picking up JW garbage off my front stoop every week. Worse, it’s all written on the intellectual level of your average Jack Chick comic.

“The family structure is patriarchal. The husband is considered the final authority on family decisions, but is strongly encouraged to actively solicit his wife’s thoughts and feelings.” 

I’m glad they are into feminist theory and aren’t the least bit backward or misogynist or Troglodytic with regard to their cultural and social awareness.

“The preaching work is regarded as a form of humanitarian effort by giving people a hope for the future. Aid work after large natural disasters is considered an important part of their work. Often hundreds of thousands of donated money is used in the affected areas to rebuild communities and provide aid. However, on-going aid work that some other religious groups provide, such as soup kitchens, clothing donations, or building homes for the homeless, is not focused on.”

Nice to know that it takes a major disaster to get them out in force to help clean up and rebuild. I suppose when it affect your own homes or religious halls it’s more important. But apparently the most important work of all is witnessing to the disinterested majority of strangers around them in their communties. Leaving unwanted tracts and booklets all over the city is far more important than feeding and clothing the homeless.

Do I hate Jehovah’s Witnesses? Emphatically not. I just find them rude, pushy, irritating, judgmental and arrogant.

  1. The NO SOLICITING signs apply to everyone.
  2. If you drop off tracts 200 times at a single house and never get a nibble of interest and are, in fact, told to go away and to stop bothering the people in the house, you are pushy. And trespassing.
  3. If it becomes expected that you will litter your garbage all over everyone’s lawn at the first sight of a coloured egg, pumpkin, American flag, black cat, reindeer or cornucopia, you are a killjoy jerk and I pity your kids.
  4. If you repeatedly assume that everyone you don’t know from your narrow JW-only social circle requires education and saving and enlightenment from you, you are judgmental and annoying.
  5. If you automatically assume that strangers are in need of your particular flavour of religious guidance, without which they will go to Hell, you are an arrogant prick.

I’m just saying.

People with evangelical zeal convince themselves that rules don’t apply to them because they deem their message all-important. Spreading the word about God-as-they-know-Him is, in their minds, a Good Thing. They’re just looking out for all their heathen brethren (and sistren).

I’m generally polite to them if I don’t just ignore the banging and ringing at my front door instead. I can say that I never get the same pair twice after I shoo them, but their communication skills are poor down at Jehovah Central Command because they send more out month after month.

Clearly I’m a short bike ride away from The Hive Mind.

I’ve worked with Mormons; I generally like them and have no issues with them. They haven’t been the polygamous Mormon types (as far as I know), but they all were anti-stimulants (which means no caffeine, which means no chocolate, no soda pop, and no teeeeeeeeeaaa! I’d die without my tea).

Mormons (in my town at least) and Quakers tend to actually practice what they preach and lead by example, which is the best way to impress me, personally speaking.

The only sect I am annoyed by more than Southern Baptists and JWs are Scientologists. They don’t take criticism well. I’ve been online for over a decade and could tell stories about rogue Scientologists engaging in denial-of-service attacks and personal harassment when anyone dares to comment on the loonier aspects of their beliefs. A case of “if they won’t join you, beat them.”

Then there’s the Religion-Of-One crazies I encountered in Las Vegas and Los Angeles who left photocopied and mostly illiterate screeds on my doors, the best one of which explained that Hell was your stomach after you engaged in fellatio, swallowed, and your stomach acids killed all the sperm. Every sperm is sacred, y’know. I suppose Heaven is a partner that spits. I frequently wish I’d saved them. They had cool hand-drawn art and everything. I’m not sure who these people worshiped: dread God Pornulus, probably.

I also got some “God is an ET” flyers, but gave up trying to decipher them. Picture little green men with halos and wings, though. And reptile-like ETs with horns and forked tails and tongues…sort of a Jack Chick Devil character, but it was from outer space.

Of course, here in Georgia, we have dirt-eaters and snake-handlers nearby. I’ve never known any personally, but I think Darwin’s rules, specifically those concerning adaptation and survival of the fittest, tend to keep their populations on the small side. They probably can’t recruit too many folks from outside their community.

Now that it’s getting chillier, the JW neighborhood-wide infestations will slow to a trickle. Instead of 2-3 forays a month, I’ll get maybe one or two every other month.

Last time I mentioned my annoyance with JWs, an online friend posted this:

This website summarizes 300 United States court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah’s Witnesses, including dozens of cases where the Parents refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions:

DIVORCE, BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS, AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES:
http://jwdivorces.bravehost.com/

This website summarizes 160 United States court cases and lawsuits filed by Jehovah’s Witnesses against Employers:

EMPLOYMENT ISSUES UNIQUE TO JEHOVAH’S WITNESS EMPLOYEES:
http://jwemployees.bravehost.com

Yikes.

No comment.

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8 thoughts on “Those Darn Jehovah’s Witnesses

  1. Hortensia says:

    former JW here. Loved your rant!

  2. Jay Dub says:

    Good write up!
    Would you like to have them never call again?
    I grew up in the religion allow me to share some information.

    JW’S do not care about your signs. NO SOLICITING NO SALES etc.
    NO TRESPASSING. will likely make them pause for a moment.

    So what do you do? Simple.

    Next time they call just ask them not to call again! Really.
    When they leave your door they will make a note and inform the Elder in charge that ‘we just got a Do Not Call!’. Usually the conversation will be whether you were angry or politely asked not to call. Your address will then go on the back of the ‘Territory Map’ (your neighbourhood) as a DNC.
    The ‘Do Not Calls’ are read out to the group before heading out to the ‘Territory’ and are expected to note it down.
    Each of your neighbours would have to do the same to have no JW’S ‘work’ your street.
    You may have an Elder call to politely say they will respect your wishes and could they call 1 time a year to review? (New owners, changed your mind) Just say NO thank you!

    Keep in mind that some JW’S are a dozy bunch and are more concerned about the latest gossip to care about the ‘Do Not Call’s’ bell they are about to ring!
    Cue whispered shouts and flailing arms as the others try to point out their mistake “That’s the Do–Not—Call”

    Then take your signs down so you can buy the cookies. LOL

    • britpoptarts says:

      If only asking them not to visit worked. Been here 8 years. Have asked each pair to not bother me again. Politely. Am promptly visited again, albeit sometimes not for a couple of months, as opposed to every weekend. I guess the local bunch are terrible about keeping records or respecting Do Not Call requests.

      I wonder if I’d get sued for religious discrimination if I forbade JWs by name on a sign on my own property? Perhaps “no religious soliciting or witnessing or visits” would work.

  3. scottleblog says:

    Be more specific with your sign. “No Jehovah’s Witnesses” should work.

  4. J-Dawg says:

    I am not a witness… but know of some. They ignore the “soliciting” signs because they aren’t selling anything, they’re free. So if you want to stop them, get a no tresspassing sign or a no-JW sign. That will stop them way before a no soliciting sign will. Nice tip I learned from them. Hope it helps ya out!

    Also…I don’t think they beleive in hell per se.

  5. Timourlang says:

    NO TRESPASSING, NO SOLICITING signs are on my property. it seems that these JW dummies simply do not care. i have been patiently telling them off for the past 5 years and they just keep coming. next time i see these people i am going to chase them off my property with a hammer. lets see how they like it. as far as i am concerned, within legal terms NO TRESPASSING sign allows me to take rather drastic actions towards perpetrators, regardless of their beliefs.

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