I popped into town this morning to buy an anniversary card for Mrs Cofty. It is market day on a Saturday and it's tourist season so the town was very busy. Here is a picture of the scene from a year ago... Two cult carts were in their favourite place being guarded by none other than one of the elders who was on my judicial committee, his wife and another JW woman in her electric disability buggy.
Brian had a fixed smile and was holding out the magazines in plastic covers facing Carol who was a few yards opposite him clutching her bible. Faye had her buggy facing down the street looking like she wasn't with them.
So I wandered up the street said hello to Carol, stood right in front of Brian - slightly in his personal space - and greeted him with a big friendly hello.
Brian was silent and looking heavenward. I held my nerve until he could bear it no longer and had to make eye-contact. It was obvious he wasn't going to suggest going for coffee so I decided to go for the jugular. Relax, I mean metaphorically.
Me - "So Brian are you keeping up with events in Australia?!
Brian - "No"
Me - "There is a Royal Commission looking into the Watchtower's handling of child abuse, it's all over the media"
Brian - Silence but blink-rate rising rapidly.
Me - "It turns out that there are over 1000 cases of child abuse on file at the Branch Office in Australia and do you know how many were reported to the police"?
Brian - "I'm not interested"
Me - "Then I will tell you anyway. None!"
Brian - "I'm not interested"
Me - "You should be this is really important. The organisation is in trouble for protecting pedophiles"
Carol - "Brian we should go now"
Brian and Carol quickly snatch the boards from the top of the carts while Faye almost pulls a wheelie in her scooter and heads off down the High Street through a crowd of startled tourists. Now I get to watch Brian and Carol do an impersonation of headless chickens. First they head up the High Street but then they remember about Faye and turn back down the street after her. A few seconds later they realise she has fled the scene and their car is in the other direction so they turn the carts for the second time and head north.
I wander off with a smirk and go and buy a nice card. Ten minutes later I came out the shop and there is Brian and Carol back again with the silly smiles. No sign of Faye. So I walk back up to continue my chat.
Me - "Hi Brian, it's a pity you had to rush off I was enjoying our chat".
Brian - "Right Carol come on we need to go now!"
Me - "Don't go Brian I have lots of stuff to tell you about."
(Brian and Carol rapidly dismantling carts again)
"Do you know that numerous pedophiles who were protected by the Watchtower went on to abuse more victims?"
Now Brian and Carol set off heading up the street so fast it was almost a jog dragging their carts behind them. Just then Brian stopped and came up really close. (I supress the urge to head-butt him) His bottom lip was quivering as he said "One thing about apostates, they are really good liars".
As he set off again I said "Don't believe me Brian take a look at the official government website."
I was calm and respectful at all times but they reacted like they had been threatened with extreme violence. Please, if you can spare a minute always stop and ask them difficult questions. You don't have to get into a debate if you don't want to. I was a zealous JW but this topic would have kept me off the streets.