An older man and wife - Ray and Mary - got chatting to me today. They were tourists admiring local wildlife. I gave them a few tips on where to go to see some interesting things and it wasn't long before they were telling me about how awful the world is "Nowadays" and paradise yadda yadda. Big mistake!
Summary of 30 minute conversation as follows....
I told them upfront that I was formerly and elder and pioneer, that I had been out for 20 years and that leaving was the best thing I had ever done.
They waffled about light getting brighter and how the GB are only humans and they make mistakes etc
I told them that they can't have it both ways. Either the GB are just humans trying to understand stuff in which case we should be allowed to take their ideas with a pinch of salt or they are god's channel on the earth in which case they can't teach things that turn out to be untrue.
Ray acknowledged he had never thought about that and we had a moment of honesty. Mary never stopped chattering for a single moment for a full 30 mins - Ray had obviously learned to phase her out years ago.
Next I raised the topic of shunning. I told him that my parents had shunned me for 20 years and had no part in the lives of their grandchildren for the simple crime that I no longer share their superstitions. He suggested that my parents would want to share their faith with my children and if I would not let them that is why they have made that decision. I asked him what was preferable. That they behave like good grandparents but keep their beliefs to themselves or that they shun their son and grandchildren? I had to repeat the question multiple times but he eventually got the point. I reminded him that they were only following the commands of the GB.
Ray started on again about how bad the world was and how we need god to intervene. I told him that we are living in the greatest time in all of human history. He literally laughed out loud. Then Mary did too. So I asked him to tell me which decade in all of history he would prefer to be born in. He was stuck so he changed the subject. I asked the question again. Repeat cycle 4 times. He admitted he has no idea about history.
I went on the offensive by reminding Ray that every time he prays for paradise he is praying for the violent death of every man woman and child we could see in the streets around us. He denied this. It took me a full 10 minutes to get him to admit that only JWs will not be destroyed at the big A but we eventually got there.
I asked them if they remember the old Paradise book. Mary became very animated about how much she loved that book and studied it with her children. I reminded them about the drawing of armageddon with the little child plummeting into a chasm as building collapse all around her. I asked them "What sort of death-cult raises children to pray for this to happen?"
This approach scored a direct hit.
I was ready to end the conversation at this point when Mary said "but what about the churches with all their pedophiles?"
I just could not resist.
I gave them a brief summary of events in Australia. For the first time in half an hour she was silent.
I told them about the official figure of 1006 cases of child abuse that were on file at the branch office and asked ...
"How many of these do you think were reported to the police?"
Ray - " I don't know the answer to that"
Me - "Fair enough, how many do you hope were reported to the authorities?"
Ray and Mary - "All of them we would hope".
Me - "According to the Australian branch office the actual number of the 1006 child abuse cases that were reported to the authorities was ... (pause) .... ZERO!"
Ray - "I need to read more about that, where can I find out the facts?"
I told him to google Australia, Royal Commission, Watchtower, and get the facts from the official website. I explained that official policy on child abuse was appallingly bad and that the situation was as bad in every country where there was no mandatory reporting.
I ended by being warm and friendly and shaking their hands. I said "sorry Ray I have given you a really hard time today but maybe you deserved it". He was genuinely friendly and asked me again how to go about getting the facts on Australia.
He is not an elder and my impression is that they were a lovely old couple who have swallowed a lie about a utopian fantasy. I hope they think seriously about our chat.