Yes, btw, I do live in a medium-sized town right next store to a major Air Force Base and .5 hr. from the capital of our state.
1. No, we don't buy Girl Scout cookies, or at least don't admit it to anyone. Neither do we put any contribution to the Firefighters who then would give us a paper flower. Nor do we buy candy bars from little kids - unless we ask them first what they are raising money for. If it's for a public school, ok. If it's for a church, we politely turn them down. We do not go to the Y because of the religious implications. 1987, a brother got disfellowshipped for doing so. We do not go to any meetings held in a religious building.
In my neck of the woods - JW's do not rent religious buildings - period. Nor do we enter them.
My husband and I own a business open to the public. We treat everyone the same. If we are asked to quote a job for a complete stranger and the person wants a big crucifix on his vehicle - we suggest another sign shop in town (saying they have that design already).
We did signage on a church bus through a dealership who had sold the vehicle to the little black church. We billed the dealership, the instructions came through the dealership. Our PO got wind of our "transgression" and he and another elder came to our place of business and told us that we should have quote our customer of 25 years "a quote so high he couldn't accept it."
We told him that we treat everyone equal - being public and all. PO's response? "Well, that's the way I've always done business - and I don't see anything wrong with it
We asked him if a Jewish person from a Jewish church came in - do we double price him for being a Jew or being of the Jewish faith?
The small church we did lettering on through our regular customer, happened to be black. If we had double priced him and he found out - how would we explain our position? No, we didn't jack the price up a 100% because you're blacks. We did it because your a church. Discrimination is not dead where we live.
We do not donate to the Salvation Army, unless we sneak it in. A sister who has been in the truth for 60 years said "some of those people make a good living off those clothes. They're a religion and we shouldn't help them make a living for their church." I would give to Good Will, but there are none in our area. I do sneak clothes, etc, to the Salvation Army. There are poor people everywhere.
We wouldn't be caught dead at a bake sale, etc. for a church. Never.
A sweet pioneer sister, out in 95 degree weather, car broken down, 3 kids in car, in the country. A small convience store right across the street. We stumbled on her and helped her out. I offered to take her kids to the store to buy a coke - it was so hot in July. She and her kids had been stranded there for over 2 hours.
Her response? No, the man who owns the store is disfellowshipped, and he might be in there. So she sat for hours in the sun with these kids with nothing to drink. I summoned my JW courage up and actually walked across the street and bought cokes for everyone. The man wasn't even in there - I asked.
Are we an ignorant people - it would seem that a lot of us are. An important thought here is that we live in the USA. What about the ignorant people in the Third World countries - are they to be dismissed because of their ignorance? I believe that is the implication of being in a Third World country - Lack of money, education, etc. The connotation is that they are much worse off than we in First World countries, and your suggesting that those in small towns are ignorant.
After all, where I live, children are still (some) not graduating high school, nor getting any additional training - unless they "take it on the chin" from other ignorant brothers, some elders, who say that they are just doing that to "make a name for themselves." I believe they get that type of quote from the Society who is referring to Nimrod's people.
I believe the Society refers to us as educated in the knowledge of the Bible - as they teach it. They teach us well the fundamentals of life - in many countries, how to read, cook, hygiene, etc., and they tell us they do a fine job. And we believe them. Why wouldn't we?
But our discussion is way past these fundamentals of life - I believe our Society is quite fine with the ignorance of their people. And this state proves it, in my ignorant opinion.
PS, we still won't admit in public that we read any novel other than Watchtower literature. But I've seen others do it - the sisters hide them.
We follow the admonition that there should be only 3 rings on any hand. I was quite rebellious and got my ears double pierced (I am such a radical). Men are back to white shirts and suits on the platform. Women are not allowed to show their knees and sit in the first row.
We are "ushered" to our seats by attendants - they don't want us to sit near the doors. I have a personality disorder and needed to be assured because of panic attacks that I could get out of the building in 30 seconds flat. I had to forcefully argue my medical point because two attendents would, absolutely, not let me sit near the door.
I could go on endlessly, and I'm sure you hope I don't. 'Nough said - we are ignorant on many things and a lot of them here have been valuable witnesses for decades. And that is the status quo.
Where do you live that it is so radically different? I've been to assemblies for 30 years, and never met anyone much different from myself. I've lived in a midwest state, capital of the state, and they were exactly the same as here. My sister lives in Nevada, quite large city, and it's the same there - we compare notes.
Except in this one area. Our PO made the statement one night that the Society would "designate surgeons for us in case of a blood emergency" and he said from the platform that's what the Society said. Another elder, sitting in his chair, actually had the letter in front of him. He did not raise his hands to "respectfully clarify" the Society's letter.
After the meeting, I privately asked this sitting elder how a mistake is clarified and why couldn't he have just read from the Society's letter what the Society had actually written?
He asked me if I had asked this question to my husband who is a brother. I said no, because my husband was not there. He said I should learn from my husband first, as the scriptures say. I said my husband did not hear this mistake, so how could I ask him? He said, politely, that was not the Scriptural point - I, as a sister, must ask my husband (even if he wasn't there)what the correct quote from the Society was, and why it couldn't be corrected - respectfully by another elder - at the time it was said.
In others words, I was scripturally told to go home and be quiet until my husband could think for me. I tend to understate things - I was not a happy camper for a long time.