JWs - A View From Outside

by Joe Grundy 23 Replies latest jw friends

  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    I never was a JW (I make this point in - almost - every post) but having been brought up ('raised' for our US cousins) in a non-conformist fundy sect with 'Rapture' aspirations, it wasn't that different.

    I still have extended family members in it, or in that mindset, but we rarely discuss religion. In particular, my sister and BiL lost their son (my nephew) some years ago when he was just 13. Their comfort is that he is in a 'better place' and I don't want to challenge that to them.

    I keep up with all things JW here in this forum and maintain my academic interest and these are just my thoughts as an outsider, for what they are worth.

    IME, those people who have heard of JWs tend to lump them in with mormons and other crazies and have no knowledge or interest in them - other than to warn neighbours when they are about.

    Where I live should be prime 'witnessing' territory but they rarely come round, even in the recent leafletting campaign. They are not as effective as the people who regularly call with the latest menus from the local curry/Chinese/kebab houses.

    On the occasions when JWs have called, despite invitations to come in and have a cup of tea, etc., none has ever wanted to engage in conversation, far less progress to an invitation to a kh meeting or start a bible study (and I always present myself as an 'imterested householder').

    My conversations with people in general and friends in the real world lead me to conclude that few people have heard of JWs, those that have regard them as a minor irrevelant nuisance and that there is no interest in their message or beliefs.

    A few months ago I did a 'drive-past' of the million pound seafront property in Bangor, North Wales that WT recently bought for use as a 'translation office' (ha ha!). My companion was impressed with the property but found it hard to connect it with the minor irrelevant nuisances who knock her door occasionally.

    In summary, for all that JWs may believe that they are, and for all their rebranding with jw org etc., in the real world they remain a minor sect/cult that few normal people have any inyerest in or knowledge of,

    (None of the above is intended to minimise or ignore the very real damage caused by the JW cult).

  • Ignoranceisbliss

    Thanks joe. Thanks an interesting perspective.

  • smiddy

    So very true joe , before I left I would point out to" associates" that if you canvassed every housholder in any given street asking them what JW`s beleived , I would say 99.9% wouldnt have a clue and wouldnt care.

    The only answers I would get were deflections of the question I raised , pointing out WT quotes of how great a witness they were giving.


  • kaik

    JWs are pursuing outdated model of proselytation that had worked 80-40 years ago, but does not work anymore. People are less interested in religion and even other religious groups suffered similar fate where the potential fish pond run out of any new fish. In older times, people would not mind to talk to stranger on the street, but in present society, this is impossible. People are too independent and individualistic which makes hard for JWs to penetrate beyond the human shell.

  • sparrowdown

    Thanks for that perspective.

    Helps reinforce for me that all those years of doorknocking was a complete and utter waste of my time and the that of the householders.

    Their worldwide preaching campain is a dismal failure.

  • Crazyguy

    I found in all the years of preaching that most people if they knew anything about a JW was that they didn't celebrate holidays, didn't take blood transfusions and thought that they didn't, because of their name, believe in Jesus. So much for preaching the good news of the kingdom. Its funny how you mentioned that the ones you have met don't want to actually engage in discussing anything or having a bible study with you they if I understand you correctly just want to drop off a flyer and run.

  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    Thanks for the responses.

    As a non sequitur, one of my earliest memories is when I was a child (perhaps 50 years ago) being in town with my mother and seeing a couple of men in the street. They must have had a sandwich board or some other means of being obvious because I asked who they were. 'Colpourteurs' she said, with a dismissive sneer. Why on earth that stuck in my mind I have no idea, but I can remember thinking that if they were doing what 'we' were all encouraged to do (spread the word, preach the gospel) why did she disapprove?

    (To put this in context, my mother's mother firmly believed that someone she knew had died when her arms fell off because she was knitting (i.e. working) pn the sabbath. It doesn't come much more crazy than that.)

    Just to re-emphasise, none of this is to mimise the harm that the JW cult does. But it's not alone.

    I read recently about the GB edict that men should be MS by 23 and that women should only marry MS-potential men. It reminded me strongly of the stuff I was brought up with - and the biggest fear that cults/sects have, i.e. that people will marry outside the cult/sect. IME, especially where dating etc. rules were strict, potential partners could be found 'just outside' one's own sect/cult - and the willy is stronger than the brain sometimes.

    The financial bits about WTBTS continue to fascinate me (as a former Fraud Squad commander) but as far as R&F goes I believe that the org is becoming less and less relevant to the real world. Proselitising just tp try to get people to log on to jw prg is a joke IMHO but it gives JWs something to do and (perhaps more importantly) it gives WT something to tell JWs what to do.

  • TheOldHippie

    Crazyguy's thoughts were mentioned by a CO in a talk. And he said that if JWs were running an advertising business, they would have been fired, 'cause people don't know anything about them.

  • lurkernomore

    As someone who lives in a locality not too far from you Joe I can totally confirm your evaluation of the impact JWS have in this area. The town I live in has approx 0.5% wintesses out of the local population. Shortly before I left around 3 months ago I noticed a massive increase in the time spent in the 'field' by the congregation as a whole, partially down to the August campaign. My mother has taken to going out two or three times a week from once a week ever since the campaign finished. In any case since my departure I can honestly say I've only seen them knocking on doors once or twice and I work in town a lot.

    My wife and I have both said how little we see of them since we no longer attend. The most visible sign is the cart every morning in the town centre. I have to agree that we can now see how little impact they really have in the real world and it's been a real eye opener for us.

  • steve2

    To those living in a goldfish bowl, the biggest fish is the goldfish, to those living in the ocean, the biggest fish monumentally dwarf the tiny goldfish. JWs are in a fish bowl, everyone else, the ocean. It's not until you get dropped out of the fish bowl and into the ocean that you realise how astonishingly puny the fish bowl is.

Share this