I had a sudden realization the other day, one that took me many years to make but that should have been fairly obvious in hindsight. Let me explain.
My parents are immigrants. They moved to the U.S. when I was a toddler. They were poorly educated and worked tough jobs for little money. As such, they were an easy target for con-artists of various sorts. They were especially vulnerable to door-to-door, high-pressure salesmen.
When I was a toddler my mother was talked into buying an incredibly overpriced cookware set for something like $1,000 in early 80s money. Not to worry, the cookware would pay for itself with the money we'd save from not eating out anymore!
Not long after that my father agreed to buy an encyclopedia set, but thankfully the salesperson never returned. When i was in middle school my mother bought a vacuum cleaner from a lady, again, for over $1,000. Our house didn't have carpet. I wish I were kidding. The most expensive con they fell for was a central air/heating system that was incredibly expensive and came with a near-usurious interest rate. We couldn't afford any of these things.
There was another common thread with all these scams. Each time the salesperson passed himself off as a deeply pious person in order to lull the ignorant into a false sense of complacency. I think you see where I'm going with this.
As I sat there remembering all these things it dawned of me: Of course my parents were going to fall for the nice JW couple who came selling religion to their door . Why wouldn't they? They never once resisted buying a product being peddled door-to-door regardless of the price or the actual need for such product (or lack thereof). The JW product was simply another con peddled by pious door-to-door salespeople. It was completely in character for my parents to blindly purchase it.
Had the Mormons beaten the JWs to their door, I'd likely be posting this on an ex-LDS forum instead.