It is a peculiar experience.
Once you are out of the Kingdom Hall forever and haven't been in Field Service for many years.....
A knock comes at your front door and you answer it only to find:
That happened to me......finally.
In the last decade I don't think I've encountered anything other than Mormons or drug ministry fund raisers at my door.
But--this time, it was the REAL thing.
It was two Sisters and they weren't much older than their 20's.
They didn't know I was Satan himself, of course and I was reluctant to interrupt them and tell them.
What to do---what to do? They jabbered their canned presentation and offered me the offer du jour.
Should I simply stay quiet? Engage in pretend interest? Go into refutation mode?
No. That's not nice.
"I use to go door to door myself....for maybe 15 years or so. I was once a Pioneer." I offered cheerily.
The expression on their faces was halfway between puzzlement and instant caution. I felt bad...for me.
"Where?" A neutral enough question.
"Here in Fort Worth at the Polytechnic Congregation and in Redondo Beach, too. Years ago."
They were exchanging glances at this point. They may have taken a step back--but, I'm probably into false memory.
"Umm, you don't ---you aren't ------why did?" Innocently asked.
I tried to help her out.
"When I got out of prison for the Neutrality issue I became a Regular Pioneer, got married and had 3 kids. But, I couldn't pay my bills. I had to stop
Pioneering. When 1975 came and went without Armageddon coming along---I suppose my wife and I lost faith in anything we had been preaching about door to door. I became inactive and faded away. She became an alcoholic. She died in a car crash and I got disfellowshipped."
Wuh! How big can a person's eyes get, I wonder? Theirs set a new Guiness Book record.
The oldest sister was ready to drop her magazines and break into a dead run back to the carpool. But, the younger one was darned curious. You could see that all over her face.
"Don't you miss Jehovah's Organization?" she asked as sweetly as anything you've ever heard.
How to answer? So many ways. None of them nice. I opted for simplicity.
"I miss believing I'm absolutely right because I didn't know any better at the time. But, since I have investigated what I use to think was True---I'm sad I wasn't more intellectually curious. "
"So...Yes and No. Yes I miss they way I THOUGHT things were and NO---I'm better informed and mostly upset by the years I wasted believing things without merit."
The older sister was tugging at the younger one's sleeve with increasing urgency. Sort of like being in a burning building instead of on a strange Apostate's front porch. The younger sister looked vexed and clearly didn't understand a word.
I added for good measure, "They say about Alcoholics 'you can't help them until they hit bottom and realize they need help'. I think it must be that way about Godaholics too. I am a Godaholic. Jehovah was the beginning and end of everything I held dear in life. But, I hit bottom and got help."
They bid me one of the fastest "have-a-nice-day" codas I've ever heard and retreated to the street where an idling car sat not far from the curb.
There was a hasty conference. Lo and behold! A brother emerges! The Cavalry is coming!
The man is about 35, suit and tie, bookbag and a used car salesman's smile.
"I'm ____something or other___" he said. I didn't catch the name because I was fascinated by what I was experiencing. It was an out-of-body experience.
"I'm Terry Walstrom. I was just telling those sisters I use to be a Regular Pioneer." I watched his expression. I couldn't read it at all.
"Yes.....I thought I'd share a scripture if you don't mind, Jerry. It is Proverbs 18:13....."
As he deftly hefted his red leather New World Translation with embossed gold letters-- a memory popped up like an Internet advertisement in my head.
I chimed in...."Anyone replying to a matter before he hears it ..it is a foolishness on his part and a humiliation. Right?" I grinned proudly like a six year old reciting a poem for his first grade teacher.
The man actually ignored me and read the scripture as though I'd said nothing! I wonder if he even heard me?
"We realize the time is short and our responsibility is to warn people---even people who have turned their backs on Jehovah's loving kindness--that when Armageddon comes--it will be too late to wish we had listened." His face reminded me of Bill O'Reilly at that moment for some reason!
"I understand perfectly," I offered evenly, "When Jesus said the Good Shepherd leaves the 99 to go out and rescue the 1 that had strayed---he didn't want to leave it up to the stray to get back safely."
The Brother blinked. I could hear his gears shifting.
"There is still time to come back before it is too late." He said with finality and returned his bible to his bookbag in prepartion to walk away.
"I remember in the fall of 1975--just before the "end of six thousand years of human existence and Armageddon" telling that same thing almost word for word to a family who had stopped coming to the Kingdom Hall. Wow! Hard to believe that was----umm----how long ago? THIRTY FIVE YEARS AGO? Boy--I bet they think I was some kind of wacko now!" I looked directly into brother anonymous' eyes as I said this searching for a glimmer of understanding.
He didn't look up or answer. He just wheeled about and marched back to the idling car in the street and away they went.
I'm pretty sure nobody understood a word I was saying!
What a truly metaphysical experience that one was!