I remember growing up that we used to hear experiences of people who felt lost in life or weren't happy and miraculasly a JW showed up at the door and brought life-saving good news to the distressed one who moments ago was seeking help from God in prayer.
And there were the experiences of people who led a life of debauchery until realizing that they weren't happy and they had to change. Enter JWs as a study was started and the former evil-doer was transformed into a zealous servant of God.
We've all heard the stories. They were always shared at assemblies and public talks to impress upon us that God's spirit was acting upon either the witness who found the searching on or that the spirit moved the searching one to find the organization. I remember when they said that the angels were directing the work and sending people to us or us to them.
Well, I read a newspaper article about a guy who used to be in a rock band but realized there was more to life, or so he thought. He developed an interest in the Bible and started reading it. He had grown up Catholic, but was unsatisfied with the answers that he got from the priest. So he started searching elsewhere. Who do you think he found?
I'll just post the part of the article that I thought was interesting:
[His] search for truth began in smoke-filled clubs and anonymous motel rooms when he was on the road with his band.
He began reading the Bible between sets after a friend recommended that as a way to find answers to life's questions. It took him several months to work his way through.
"When I finished reading the Bible, I knew God was telling me, 'I want all of your life, completely,'" he said.
After he quit [the band], he moved back home with his parents in Bethlehem, Pa., and began a spiritual odyssey.
He made an appointment to talk with a Catholic priest, the faith he had been raised in, Tarole said.
He asked the priest to point to the place in the Bible where the pope and other traditions of the Catholic Church are mentioned. The priest's answers didn't satisfy him. Tarole called a Baptist minister, who was too busy to see him, and knocked on the door of a Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall, but no one answered.
One day he was walking down a street in Bethlehem, when he saw a sign that read, "Gospel Meeting, the Church of Christ meets here."
He went inside.
He was impressed at how much the people cared about each other, he said, and by the way the Bible backed everything in the sermon up.
He returned to the Church of Christ and began studying the Bible with the minister there. In 1975, he was baptized in that faith.
Here was a guy who was reading the bible and searching for truth but when he looked at the JWs, no one was home.
I know that you can argue all kinds of reasons why he didn't find a JW that day, but the experience tells me that JWs don't have a patent on people finding them through soul-searching or prayer. If other religions can make the same claims as the JWs do when it comes to these conversions then it negates the use of God's spirit as being an influencing factor. It becomes just a coincedental happening.