A recent antiwitnessing experience

by john.prestor 29 Replies latest jw experiences

  • john.prestor

    I shared one of these before in which my approach left something to be desired, and I got some flack for that, and rightly so. So if this story doesn't go over well I won't share another... but given how it ended, I just had to share...

    A few days ago I took a trip to a nearby city by bus. In the about 20-30 minute window between my connecting buses I walked over to a McDonald's and got a cup of coffee, and when I came back to the little bus station I saw a literature cart sitting unmanned near the doors. I went inside and found two Jehovah's Witnesses (a married couple in their 50s-60s) sitting in a row of chairs behind a window looking out onto the street and the literature cart, I guess they parked the cart outside and were just sitting there behind the glass to make sure no one stole it... which just seemed absurd..The alternative, that they were watching until somebody walked up and took a magazine so they could jump up and go running outside to speak with them, is even more absurd (I realize it's winter but it wasn't very cold that day, either).

    I wasn't going to say anything, I'm trying to be less confrontational when I antiwitness, I just show them an article on my phone about Jehovah's Witnesses covering up child sex abuse and then move along. But the woman started listening to a video from www.jw.org and it was loud enough that I could hear it on the other side of the little station which means so could the other 5-6 of us in there. I wasn't sure if she was trying to preach to us indirectly or just didn't care that we were there or what but I didn't feel like listening to it so I grabbed my coffee and headed for the doors.

    As I passed them I looked at them and said, "The Governing Body is covering up child sex abuse, it's all over the news. Elders are molesting children, there's been multi-million dollar lawsuits." The man gave me an angry look and sorta growled at me, kinda rearing up in his seat, "Go on, get outta here!" I looked at him and I said, "Do you ever think for yourself or do you just listen to them like sheep?" The anger vanished and he just gave me this blank look, like the question had never crossed his mind, and then he said, "Who do you listen to?" I said, "Answer my question first and I'll answer yours." He said, "I don't have to answer your question." I replied, "I don't have to answer yours either. Enjoy ignorance, it must be nice."

    And as I walked out the doors he sorta growled at me, "Yeah it is!"

    Well... at least he admits it.

  • cha ching
    cha ching

    That is the true sad state of affairs.

  • Phizzy

    I always feel dissatisfaction with my ant-witnessing attempts. After it is all over I think " Ohh...I wish I had said this....and that ..and that".

    It is so easy for people on here to say " You should have said so and so", but when you have to think on your feet, when you are trying to be nice, kind and reasonable it is difficult to come up with exactly the right words, and even the right tone sometimes, it is easy to be goaded by their silly, sometimes nasty, responses.

    I think you did well, if what you said does not plant a seed or two, then they are simply " stony ground".

    Never give up trying, if you free someone, think how grateful they will be !

  • john.prestor

    I hope it does. Jehovah's Witnesses are taught to experience deep self-alienation, to subject themselves entirely to the Governing Body, to refuse to trust their own senses and feelongs and thoughts. I want to wake them up.

    So thank you for that encouragement. It means a lot.

  • Finkelstein

    Next time tell them its a grave sin to preach a tainted commercialized gospel and its a Scriptural truth by Jesus's own commandment and admonishment.

  • VIII

    Trying to get a JW to listen to an anti-JW message is tough enough. When they are confronted with any anti-JW message they immediately go into "You must be 1) An Apostate, 2) Demonized, 3) Influenced by Satan-see 2, 4) Evil Worldly, etc.

    They will not listen. Why bother? You don't influence the people around the JWs and very few, if any, people around will care. People going on their day will care less.

  • neat blue dog
    neat blue dog
    "Answer my question first and I'll answer yours." He said, "I don't have to answer your question." I replied, "I don't have to answer yours either."

    I wonder if later it hit him that that's exactly the way Jesus' conversation with the Pharisees went down.

  • StephaneLaliberte

    Simply throwing "JW's witnesses protect pedophiles" is not going to work for most people. For most JWs, they never seen it, never heard of it; so, it must not be true.

    This is why the approach must be much more subtle. I like the following:

    YOU: Do you believe everyone is imperfect?

    JW: Yes, however, we could reach perfection in a paradise.

    YOU: Would you say that our imperfection causes harm or hurt people around us?

    JW: Of course, that is the nature of sin. There is always negative consequences attached to it.

    YOU: So what should a Christian do when his imperfection causes harm to others?

    JW: Confess to the wrongdoing, show signs of repentance, such as apologizing to people that were hurt and try to make things right with them.

    YOU: Yeah! And how about your organization. Does it claim to be perfect?

    JW: No, of course not. We readily admit that we are imperfect.

    YOU: So, in the past years, do you believe that they made mistakes?

    JW: Of course, they're imperfect!

    YOU: Do you think these mistakes ever hurt anyone?

    JW: I don't know.

    YOU: Well, isn't that part of being imperfect? That, despite our best efforts, we hurt people from time to time?

    JW: I guess?

    YOU: Have you ever seen your organization admit their wrongdoing, apologies and try to make things right with people that were hurt?

    JW: …

  • Giordano

    "......to refuse to trust their own senses and feelings and thoughts. I want to wake them up."

    There is a world of truth in refusing to trust their own......feelings and thoughts.

    But a real problem 'in waking them up.' By saying something outrageous.

    This guy experienced cognitive dissonance immediately with your remarks to him about the JW'S experiencing a massive child sexual abuse problem.

    "Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. This discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a person’s belief clashes with new evidence perceived by that person."

    While the goal was to get him and or her to think....when you start by directly attacking a belief structure you raised his discomfort level instantly. He was no longer going to be accessible to any kind of discussion.

    In my opinion one needs to establish common ground first.

    You could have said " Hi, I see by your cart that you are Jehovah's Witnesses........my Mother was a JW (any family member will do) even "hey one of my best friends was a JW....... a really nice guy."

    But the real truth, at least from my perspective, is that a JW needs to self start.

    The leading cause of Catholic's leaving their faith is the Church's child abuse problem as well as their covering up serious abuse.

    As the word gets out that those nice smiling people are riddled with pedophiles both the members and the public may change their minds about JW construct.

  • john.prestor

    I want to respond to those who responded to my post one by one

    StephaneLaliberta: I see the value in that approach, I really do. But I'll be honest, I'm done with the indirect approach. I'm not going to be a dick, I'm just going to be direct going forward. The truth is horrible and the truth is a hard pill to swallow, but it will "plant a seed" so to say and maybe, just maybe, they'll wake up eventually. There's people on this site who were Jehovah's Witnesses for 30 plus years if not longer and woke up at 50 or 60. It's never too late. Ever.

    VIII: You're right, that's the categories into which Jehovah's Witnesses force the world, and the man was doubtlessly getting at one of those by asking me who I "listen to." But I saw his remark was really about power (so much of life is, underneath it all, under the pleasant smiles and light conversation) and so I cut that Gordian knot right in half. He was so desperate to win the argument that he humiliated himself at the end by trying to win. He'll remember that for a long time.

    Why do I bother, ultimately? Because I'm tired of remaining silent. I'm tired of letting people peddle their... sunny lies, (kinda like you said Giordano, the nice smiling people) spinning their little webs in public. I won't remain silent anymore.

    neat blue dog: Damn, that makes me feel good. That was just like the confrontation between Jesus and the pharisees in the temple, isn't it? The baptism of John and who it came not and what not, hahaha.

    Phizzy: I hope so too. It's up to them now. I'm no savior, I can't save anyone but myself, but... maybe I can help them start down that path on their own.

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