I notice these days that all the JWs who call on me seem only too pleased to have an excuse to disengage from the enemy, and flee the field!
Towards the end of my time with the Witnesses, i.e. during the late 1980s / early 1990s, I noticed a growing reluctance to continue a conversations with anyone wishing to dispute a point.
Partly, I put this down to lack of practice.
Our congregation's territory took in part of a large low cost housing area:
- Jehovahs Witnesses, being nearly always in the lower socio-economic group (if not originally from it, certainly driven there by WTS policies), were attracted to such areas by necessity.
- Consequently, all the congregations in this vast area were spilling over with "publishers", and the territory was being covered every one to two weeks.
- People were utterly sick of us calling at their homes, the list of "Do Not Calls" almost equalled the number of homes where it was comparitavely safe to call at, most resident's vocabulary appeared to consist of little more than that "Fornication Under Consent of the King" word, and you were lucky even to reach their front door before being turned away.
- Getting into any sort of a conversation (let alone a deep one) was a notable exception.
- The only ones that showed any inclination to talk to us (if "talk to us" is an accurate description under those circumstances!) were ones from the more fundamantalist fringe groups of the Christian churches. These ones, though, were usually not too brilliant themselves - and only wanted to condemn us all to hellfire and damnation - not the sort of people you could get into a rational debate with (Though Rutherford and his sidekicks sound like they would have fitted quite well into that sort of a situation!).
Consequently, when the double exception was encountered - i.e. you met somebody who knew what they were talking about, AND was inclined to carry out a discussuion - the average JW was automatically placed in a position in which they had had no previous experience.
Incidentally, all agreed that the counsel / training / a#$ kicking - call it what you will - at the Kingdom Hall had very little relevance to reality, at least in our congregation's territory. Certainly, the WTS's claim that the "Territory is never worked to Death - only worked to Life" proved to be a very hollow one indeed!
This contrasted very much with the congregation I was with as a pioneer, some 20 years before that. That was in both an area and an era in which "Alerternate Lifestyles" were very much in vogue. The territory contained a large number of non-conformists - ranging from Hippies to Communists to the various Eastern Religions. Yet another non-conformist group such as JWs only attracted (usually) favorable attention, and you could get into some very interesting discussions with other non-conformists. Every time you went out in "service", you had opportunity to hone your (admittedly flawed) skills learned at the Kingdom Hall.
It would seem that these days, the JWs do not even have those opportunities anymore.