From an outsider's POV I can tell you that formerly I didn't think much of them, just that they were some strange super conservative Christian group that would leave scary and creepy pamphlets on your car or your door. Definitely had my door knocked on and didn't answer it. After meeting my Dub but still not knowing much about the religion, I revised my views to thinking they were nice but ultra conservative Christians. After attending my first JW event, I thought they were frightening, mislead and ultra conservative Christians. That's where I am now. Oh, and I wouldn't apply that label most of the individual JWs I know, just to the organization.
how are the JW's viewed from the outside?
Most people I've talked to don't know the difference between JWs and Mormons, except that when religious people come to their doors, they almost always think they are JWs, even when they are Mormons.
Nearly no one I've talked to knows anything about the JW "message" of the "Good News of God's Kingdom."
After 1,400,000,000 hours per year and a century of "preaching", the only message JWs seems to have gotten out is, "turn out the lights and lock the door, Mabel. Those religious freaks are coming up the driveway."
"I never find any who have issue with the blood but usually other minor things like not celebrating xmas."
Now is that a delusional statement or what? People do not have issue with the GB blood ban?? I remember several times in service where householders brought this up. My wife at work has had people voice objection on this to her. Not celebrating Christmas is minor? Only if that is an individuals choice. It becomes a major thing simply because it is not an individuals choice but a mandatory ordinance one must follow, not reached by a conviction of reading God's word. This minor thing, by the way, becomes a major issue if the JWs conscience allows him to celebrate Christmas.
They are viewed as irritating and bothersome.
Well the Jehovah's Witnesses themselves believe that they are hated. This of course conveniently fits in with Jesus words regarding his true followers in the world; 'The world will hate you, just as it has hated me'.
But in reality and in my opinion, the JWs are not hated, instead they are just viewed as maybe being a bit strange, odd, perculiar, social misfit perhaps, and a pest (with knocking on your door all the time).
The only time when they become hated is when they allow their children to die by refusing them blood transfusions.
Let's tell it like it really is, for once.
It is not about blood, it is not about Christmas or Thanksgiving or Halloween, it is not about Flag Salute, or the END OF THE WORLD.
What it is about is very irritating and very simple: Early on Saturday Morning, you have just made the coffee, got out the paper, and turned on some old black & white movie. It is the start of a beautiful fall day. Your cat is rubbing around on your feet, making a purring sound.
Much to the chagrin of the Governing Body, and likely surprise of every other JW, the "outside" (lol) hardly gives JW's a 2nd thought.
I laugh at the term outside, because in reality, its JW's who are on the outside looking in. They are the ultimate fringe group. They are around just enough to let you know that they still exist, but do nothing in the way of interacting constructively with anyone else.
Realizing this helps me to keep JW websites like this in perspective. Truthfully, WE ex JW's can get wound up about all sorts of stuff, and look like idiots to anyone reading this who has never had the great pleasure of hanging around this cult.
Most people think "Just leave", and they don't understand that this is actually a cult that damages people.
Anyway, JW's are viewed at best as odd, and absolutely crazy otherwise. Also, people only think about JW's when they are at the door, hearing the latest blood scandal on the news, or if there is another pedophile scandal.
Other then that, JW's are below the level of "small beans".
I think both JWs and Mormons are known for knocking on your door looking like they are on the way to a funeral.
JWs are infamous for not accepting blood transfusions and maybe secondly not celebrating Christmas. The former is viewed as quite ungodly, allowing people to die over a doctrine and the latter is viewed as strange Christmas being a celebration of Christ's birth.
Mormons likely quite rightly hit the top spot with their magic undergarments but are equally know for abstaining from tea and coffee.
All the best,
"No birthdays or birthday parties! That sucks."
"Ohhh, you were one of those?!"
"You don't seem...."
"Aren't they the ones who don't celebrate Christmas and Halloween? How was that growing up?"
"Did you have to go knock on people's doors?"
"Oh, so your Mom is still in. That explains a lot."
Those are some of the questions and comments that have come up over the years.
Very few people have said anything positive, though, to be fair, I have been told "They seem like nice people when they come to our door". I tell them that looks can be very deceiving.
JW's have this duality in their minds: the outside world loves them for their high morale, and at the same time they hate them for the same morale, and being the followers of God. The world however, as said by others, have one prominent oppinion: they are inoffensive bothersome people. Someone on this forum on an other thread exemplified this lack of concern with the death of Michael Jackson: even when the whole world was only talking about him, noone gived a damn about his religious beliefs.