The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, known for its aggressive worldwide proselytizing efforts, stunned many of its 12-million members by declaring war this week on a Los Angeles denim and designer jeans organization that goes by the name “True Religion.”
“As members of Jehovah's one true religious faith we have no business of associating with any organization that claims to be Jehovah's true religion!” a letter from the GB states. It was dated July 20.
In its opening salvo, the seven-member GB directed believers to not “shop at, buy, nor even wear” True Religion's products.
“There's really nothing surprising about our actions,” said GB member Mark Sanderson. “We don't sell jeans and they shouldn't be into religion.”
But True Religion CEO John Ermatinger doesn't agree.
“We're not into religion at all. It's simply a marketing name, like Kleenex, or Xerox. Where do the Jehovah's Witnesses get off criticizing us?”
Sanderson says registered companies should stick to the businesses they were created to serve. “We've been around for more than a century,” Sanderson said, “and though we haven't actually heard from Jehovah, we're pretty sure if he were here that he'd disapprove of what this clothing outlet is doing. I've never told any of the other guys this before, but when we meet, I can feel Jehovah is there with us, invisibly of course. No one can see him. Sometimes when we're together as a group of Twelve...er, seven, I'll hear someone cough, and I'll look behind me and no one will be there. Very odd. I'll say, ‘Hey, did you guys hear that?' and they'll like say, ‘yeah.'”
“Look, we have nothing to do with religion,” Ermatinger iterated, hitting his fist gently against the table with each word. “Sometimes these guys, they come in here with their wives, clutching their Watchtowers and we ask them if we can help them. They just look at each other and then look away. They don't say a word. It's very creepy!”
“Well,” Sanderson said, “Creepy is as creepy does! But where does Ermatinger get off with this True Religion stuff? What if we called ourselves the Watchtower Jeans and Denim Society? What would he say?”
“I'd say, go ahead,” Ermatinger said. “Besides, what do they have to do with religion? They're a frickin' publishing company! And besides, they use cheap paper and ink! We have to wash our hands every time we pick up the literature they leave around here. If we don't our hands smell and we break out in a rash.”
The Jehovah's Witnesses have said it will sure the new store if its owners attempt to use the term, “The Truth.”