Are Witnesses really zealous? They certainly claim to be. They "turn in" field service reports month by month claiming
huge amounts of time spent in a "ministry".
Yet my past experience as an elder strongly contradicts this superficial image. In particular, when dealing with the
fringes or disadvantaged of society, I observed Witness efforts as distinctly inferior.
I was once in the unique position to observe Witnesses volunteering to religiously assist prisoners in a large jail.
They had constant trouble recruiting enough brothers to do this - their meetings were more poorly attended and
vastly fewer in number than what 'born-agains' provided. In addition, I noticed strongly the lack of joy or enthusiasm
amoung them in contrast to the fervor of the local fundamentalists.
This contrast also applied to volunteers in nursing homes and hospitals - the Witness 'ministry' was a half-hearted
burden with most of the congregation opting out or finding excuses - EVEN THOUGH in many cases, bible studies
could be had in large numbers, just for the asking.
When I look at the spiritual needs of addicts, drunks, the poor, the prisoners, and the bedridden, generally Witnesses
found "other things to do" - while other people they DENY as Christians - like the Salvation Army, or fundamentalist
groups - took the lead. It was also common, in my experience, to see Witnesses avoid caring for chronically ill
relatives and congregation members by saying "I can't, I have to go out in service".
The same often applied to bible studies in the field - although fewer in number, most Witnesses didn't want them
unless they were convenient. I personally observed the difficulty of trying to "turn a study over " to someone else
and being unable to find anyone who would take it - including pioneers. ( who often seemed to be on a perpetual
It is all too easy for Witnesses to "count time" doing nothing for others, while holding their heads high
and considering others as damned - like the Pharisees "who considered the rest as nothing".
It is too easy to peddle magazines, knock on unanswered doors, sit in the van, make excuses, go on coffee
breaks, drive to the other side of the county on a return visit, and generally maintain the pretense of a ministry
that offers little beyond boredom and the unmerited superiority that judging people provides.
In Rutherford's day, it was probably a real ministry, however warped that was.
Now, it has all the real spiritual impact of a motor driven prayer wheel in some Tibetan monastery.