a lame spinoff to AllTimeJeff's "Trained to Argue"
Not wanting to clutter ATJ's reasoned thread on JWs' art of persuasion, this thread attempts to trace my personal evolution in style, technique and substance relevant to JW proselytizing. Even so-called secular sources have called attention to the general progression from foot-in-the-door arguers of the 50's to the pet-the-pooch, broad smiling, "not-here-to-change-your- religion" marketers of the 70's, 80's. Door to door skills have dumbed down a bit since then, but that's another story.
I cut my field service teeth on the American Standard Version, the 6-8 minute sermon, the 10-15 minute back call sermon and the anti-trinity, anty-hellfire, anti-immortal soul scripture lists. Scripture flipping requires quick fingers, a canned rhetorical question to lead into the next flip and conveying the false expectation to the householder that your annoying little rant is within a millisecond of finishing. In my personal case, no trinitarians or hellfirers were converted, no arguements were won, no seats needed to be added to the Kingdom Hall.
A dramatic shift in personal style was influenced by my Uncle Joe, the quintessential door to door preacher. Uncle Joe exuded movie star, not Pentecostal style charisma, flashed his white teeth, was beyond relaxed, accommodating, listened keenly and could not be insulted. He broke down scriptures slowly, simply, making eye contact, using the person's first name. In the post WWII 50's and 60's young male Jehovah's Witnesses needed a 4-D or Minister's Exemption to avoid the military draft or prison. Since 18-20 year olds are never actually ministers or pastors of an actual congregation, the Watchtower put an interesting spin on things. They said the doorstep was the pulpit for JWs, that the folks in the territory were the congregation. The Secret Service didn't buy that arguement and followed young JWs out in field service, sometimes interviewing householders. I suspect that my uncle was one of the rarest of JWs who actually fit the Watchtower's definition of minister, with many in his personal territory actually knowing him by name. He kept notes on all of the, too, interested, apathetic or violently opposed.
(to be continued)
I think that the Knorr era and the transition to personal contact via door to door when you had to actually talk must have been interesting to live through. It would stand to reason that the ability of the average JW to argue or debate would not be what it was since the 70's and 80's.
I used to romanticize about what it was like to be a JW in the 50's and 60's... till I started reading here that is...
:I used to romanticize about what it was like to be a JW in the 50's and 60's... till I started reading here that is...
I was active during those years. It was the same old shit, just longer.
Lol @ Farkel.
Old timers made it sound more cool then what it was, I am sure.
I'm sure there are similarities with todays JWs in the door to door preaching work.
There are always going to be ones that can talk to people concisely with bible knowledge intact, but
most JWS that are out in service are really just trying to put in their hours to shrug off some
inner guilt thats been impressed on to them.
Here's an example, my father has been a JW for 50 or more years of his life and not once
has had a personal bible study with anyone, yet he probably goes out in service on average of
about 4 or 5 times every month.
"I'm sure there are similarities with todays JWs in the door to door preaching work. There are always going to be ones that can talk to people concisely with bible knowledge intact, but most JWS that are out in service are really just trying to put in their hours to shrug off some inner guilt thats been impressed on to them."
Absolutely. Not saying that one era of JWs were more persuasive than another, but just that the recommended methods have been adjusted by "mother" over the years.