In my experience, I know that they always start a conversation in more or less the same way: „Have you thought about where this world is going …” – what can we expect from them once we get involved in the discussion?
Jehovah’s Witnesses are accustomed to having the door shut in their face as soon as they finish their line. This is the norm – in over 95% of cases, people do not want to talk to them, sometimes they say thanks, and sometimes they slam the door.
If we allow ourselves to continue the conversation, we can expect that we will hear from them 2-3 more questions aimed at stimulating the discussion and arousing our curiosity.
They can also show on their smartphone / tablet any of the videos available on the jw.org website – these are short films aimed at explaining in a simple way the views of witnesses on a given topic, e.g. the issue of celebrating holidays or their vision of paradise on earth. Then, after a few minutes of chatting or playing a film, we will receive the Watchtower or Awake! magazine, or some other brochure or flyer. We will also be asked when we are leaving about our name and if the witnesses could visit us again in a few days to talk again.
You can also be sure that as soon as you leave the door, they will make a short note about us – name, house or apartment number, the topic that was raised and our reaction to their visit, maybe also features of appearance or age – so that when you visit again you can it was easy to identify us and relate to the topic discussed last time. In the past, everything was noted down in great detail, and such notes were given to the preaching coordinator in the congregation, but could also be kept for personal use. There were funny situations where I found an old notebook, and along with other young Jehovah’s witnesses, we laughed at the notes I was making.
For example, I once wrote:
” The house at the end of the street where the red car was standing. It was opened by a very nice lady at the age of 40, red hair color. She accepted the Watchtower, 'Why God Allows So Much Suffering?’ She agreed to visit her next Wednesday. ’
So next Wednesday another Jehovah’s Witness was sent there – but unfortunately the red car next to the house was gone and that lady had dyed blonde.
JW texts seem to be staged and practiced. Are there any that can beat them up?
We would have to try very hard 😉 Jehovah’s Witnesses have a special meeting in the middle of the week where they practice in pairs how best to talk to the household member who opens the door. In practice, for a person who has not had contact with them before, the witnesses are 'unbendable’. During their trainings, they look for various variants of conducting a conversation, techniques, and learn the introductions by heart. They practice their lines until they are successful, and finally being „on the ground” (ie in front of our door) – they have such a sophisticated conversation pattern that practically nothing will surprise them. You can stand on your head, say what you want – you won’t put them off their stroke.
Something that could be embarrassing for them is to start discussions on inconvenient topics, e.g. pedophilia in their congregation, the issue of financing compensation for victims of pedophilia with the money of the faithful, the issue of unfulfilled predictions of the end of the world, constant changes in teachings and doctrines and pretending that such changes did not take place – all this is very embarrassing for the witnesses. Unfortunately, bringing up these topics during the first conversation may block us from talking to witnesses again. Well – unless that’s what we want.
Is it worth asking them questions about faith – if so, what?
It depends on the results we want to achieve. Witnesses divide people they meet in the ministry into honest and insincere.
Honest people are those who ask them questions because they are genuinely curious about their beliefs – if you do it honestly and you are really curious about their religion, you can count on an exhaustive conversation, and you will probably get into a study with witnesses. But do you want this? I doubt it.
In turn insincere are people who, e.g. ask a question knowing the answer – or ask perversely, so as to shame and bend the witnesses – then they will recognize it very quickly and finish the conversation and will not come back again.
If you want to argue with witnesses, you need to be very knowledgeable about the Bible and about their religion – but that’s not all. The key is to be considerate, careful, and listen carefully to what they say. All this combined can give interesting effects. A properly conducted conversation can be interesting – if only because you can see well-prepared salesmen in action.
However, I was discouraged by the fact that we had no common ground – when I opened my Bible, they had their translation, which differed drastically at key points for a Christian. Could you say more about the differences between these translations?
Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own translation of the Bible, called the „New World Translation.” It is the world’s translation of the Bible, published in the 1950s, adapted to the beliefs of Jehovah’s witnesses.
Generally, all Christian denominations base their doctrines on scripture. In witnesses, the opposite is true – they base their bible on preconceived dogmas. So in practice – if the Bible says something contrary to their beliefs – so much the worse for the Bible!
One might mention, for example, the insertion of the name Jehovah in the New Testament wherever the word LORD appears. The Witnesses believe that the conspiracy theory has replaced the name Jehovah with the title LORD. Therefore, they have included the name Jehovah everywhere in their translation. Even though the context pointed to the LORD Jesus. However, this does not bother the witnesses – they modified the context so that the reader would think it was about Jehovah.
You could say that in the hands of witnesses, the Bible has become another of their textbooks. They rewrote it in their own way. This is not the Scriptures anymore – this is their next book.
To be continued….
Haven’t read Part 1 yet? Here you are.