Yesterday I saw two women walking slowly around the end of our street, waiting on porches of empty homes. I told my husband, "Look, there are 2 JWs. We haven't had them come here for 4 years--ever since I mentioned that I had some serious questions (but had never enumerated any points at all)." My husband said, "Guess we've been on the do-not-call list." I agreed.
Today, those 2 same women knocked on my door. I had fallen asleep after getting the kids out, and when they knocked my dog barked up a storm. I thought, "No... it couldn't be..." and I looked out the window and saw those 2 women slowly leaving my porch.
Clad in my pjs and a bathrobe, I answered the door, and the ladies returned and one began her little spiel about "Don't you think..." "As a parent, don't you worry..." and I kinda shrugged thru those things. Then I said, "I have a question for you. How long have you been a JW?" They looked very, very happy.
One has been in since 1988, the only one in her family to join. The other became a JW 50 years ago (her mother converted from Lutheranism). I asked what made them feel confident about becoming a witness. One said it was the only place where she got BIBLICAL answers to her questions. The other said, in a paraphrase, that her mother was anxious about hellfire, as only good people went to heaven and bad people went to hell (this from a LUTHERAN, of all things!). Of course, her mother began to feel the trinity was bogus after studying a bit with JWs, and it all went (downhill) from there.
Our discussion was probably a bit different than they expected, but it allowed me to get a feel for where they were, perhaps. Only one of them has the internet, but doesn't use it much (but there is hope! ). One has several children, but none of them were ever baptized. (They were very proud of the fact that they didn't baptize infants, and force a choice on them. I commented, well, nobody truly forces a choice on an infant anyway, really...)
We touched on many, many things. Me playing the uncertain innocent, asked to clarify things as they all came along the pike. And my, so many things came. It wasn't a showdown in any sense, but I decided I wasn't going to tell them what I knew they believed, but clarify what I'd understood... like, 607 BCE not being the destruction of Jerusalem. NOTE: They told me that 607 marked the beginning of the exile from Jerusalem, and brushed off my question about hearing it being published as the destruction of Jerusalem. So, has anything been slowly switched around? Has there been a flash of new light?
They talked about Luther, and other reformers as if they were recognized by the WT as their heritage! I asked if the JWs accepted Lutheran theology, since they admit that he had indeed acted by God's guidance. They hesitated. I explained that sometimes people do certain things I can agree with, but I definitely wouldn't be using them as examples for my point of view if we were truly different. Why do the JWs refer to reformers at all, if they are unwilling to also agree with any of their basic theology? ...?
I returned to Lutheranism, and mentioned that it was odd that the Lutheran mom had not known her own theology. Anyone could easily find Luther's writing and discover whether they had really understood his comments at all. The Lutheran catechism is also easily available anywhere, so it was odd to me that she didn't know her beliefs weren't actually Lutheran.
Following this line, I asked if WT writings were available from the early days. One gave me the WT's official website address. I asked if they cataloged old writings there; she didn't know. She told me she would bring a book she simply calls "JP"--something about proclaiming?--which would give the history of the WT. I asked her if old writings were in it, or simply their own biography. She didn't really answer that one.
Very nice ladies. The younger one seemed a bit nervous. She does this 6 days a week, she says; and she admitted that she doesn't enjoy it much but does it anyway since 'God is important to her'. She admitted that she prayed every day (looked a bit disheartened here) for holy spirit to help her in the work she was doing. She would not say that she had been filled, when I pressed for clarification.
The other one, I am now guessing, is a friend of my JW neighbor (who has since moved, but I did not mention it here before). This older one has been very, very kind to my JW neighbor out of all the congregation, so I am hoping this is indeed who I think it might be. I have a personal motivation to help gently get this older lady out of the tower--keeping my JW neighbor's friendships intact on the outside. I hope (and pray) for all of them to come out.
I'll be brewing coffee here soon--maybe tomorrow! I'll also make sure I'm not in pj's and bathrobe. (And I will have them use the back door, or they will see a little too many book titles in my front room booshelves and the ploy will be over.)