An Interim to Save the Day?
Good Evangelicals, Bad Evangelicals

Getting Rid of Jehovah's Witnesses

Why is it people don't understand why we call? Is it because we don't explain it? Or does the need for evasive action so occupy them that it doesn't register? Or both? I'm not really sure.

At any rate, you always hear of folks in a panic because the same JWs keep coming back and they don't want them to. How did those Witnesses get it in their heads that they should keep visiting this or that home? How do you get rid of them?

Tom Wheatandweeds got such a letter from a householder who almost felt stalked! Why do they keep coming back, she fretted. I mean, sure, that first visit was kind of fun. "I went to religious schools as a kid and I'm familair with the Bible," she said, "though I don't believe it. That first chat was interesting, but I never meant for them to come back again and again and again. Help! I've explained to them that religion is very personal to me and I've told them that I would never convert. It makes no difference! They keep coming back. Maybe I'll have to move!"

Wheatandweeds, nice fellow that he is, wrote back. With his inside knowledge he knows how to get rid of them. He knows what works and what doesn't work. Barfendogs also knows how to get rid of them, but his suggestions are crass and rude, and most people have too much class to use them.

Dear Besieged:

Don't speak to them about religion being too personal. That strikes them as an un-reason and they can't get their head around it. They think of Jesus and the disciples talking to anyone under the sun about religion, none of whom said it was too personal. Seemingly, that's all they did back then.

Don't speak to them about converting or not converting. That is not their goal at this point. It may be months down the road, but it is not now. Now (from their point of view) they want you to build a base of Bible knowledge, and they think they can help you do that. Only when that is done can a person make any reasoned decision, yes or no, about converting. Most people who study the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses do not convert. They know this (or should) and it doesn't matter to them. They are happy just to teach the Bible, viewing that as their ministry.

Look, if you don't want it, you don't want it. Several visits is enough to say you've looked at something fairly. You don't even owe them an explanation. You might choose to give them one, out of courtesy or whatever, but you don't owe them one. Your time is yours. They are misreading the situation. Maybe because you are sending mixed signals. Maybe because they are not very discerning. Probably a little of both. Explain how you feel. Showing them your letter might help, if you choose. Why not?

On the other hand, knowing their m.o. might allow you to take advantage of what they offer, if you want. Tell them, not only do you not want to convert, but you will be absolutely furious if they ask you to do that months down the road. With that understanding, yes, you will study the Bible with them for a limited period just for your own gratification. 3 months, 6 months - you set the time period. And then it's done. They have a book, they must have shown you, entitled What Does the Bible Really Teach? that they use in studying. They are pussyfooting around trying to ease you into such a study. Tell them to stop pussyfooting and get down to it. One chapter a week. (two weeks at most) That way you cover ground and aren't wasting time. You can always reassess at the end of the time period if you like.

Studying the Bible with them will show some things in a different light. You mentioned you became familiar with the Bible from Christian schools but don't believe it. A reason for this is that most church teachings are not found in the Bible. It is the attempt to read them in that causes confusion and makes people discard it all as nonsense. You may not agree with things JWs say. But it will be different from anything you have learned in the past.

So there. That's what you should do. Either cut loose completely and don't waffle, or take them up on a study for a limited period. But do one or the other and end this frustration. No need to think about moving! You probably like your place.

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Comments

Mike.e

Whats interesting is that I have the opposite experience! I can't get them to come back! In my experience, it seems that those who really know their Bibles are ones that JW's give little time to. And it doesn't matter how kind and polite you are to them; after every conversation i've had at my home with JW's, I ALWAYS ask them to please come back, but they never do.

Maybe you should write a blog for people like me who WANT JW's to come to their home. And i'm not being sarcastic. I genuinly want to talk to them.

One solution to my problem is to get their name and phone number. I have around 5 personal Bible studies a week with JW's. And if I didn't call (or bug) them, I probably would have only one or two.

Miss Manners

Oh, I would so love to, but I can't possibly. Good-bye!

tom sheepandgoats

Mike.e

There is the type of person - I'm not saying you're one of them - who reminds me of the Monty Python black knight. You take off an arm. They don't notice. Another arm. They're oblivious. A leg and then the other leg, but they are too much an ideologue to see they're being thrashed. You take your leave, and they taunt you for being chicken. In my experience, these people always argue the Trinity and/or deity of Christ and don't seem to care about much else. They can argue for hours, days even.

Their reasoning is impossible to follow. (for me anyway) Common sense doesn't seem to faze them. And their tenacity is beyond belief.

I would never go back on such a person.

Perhaps the Witnesses you speak of have confused you with that type of person. Not knowing them, (or you) I couldn't say. At any rate, if they foresee a debate that will never end, they may not return.

Jehovah's Witnesses have a message that they think is important enough to justify searching people out. But some people don't agree with them. That's okay by me. I don't really care to argue. If someone doesn't want it, they don't want it. I'll just go to another door.

Mike.e

Just so you know, i've been studying up on Bible prophecy...more specifically the 1914 chronology. So don't argue JUST about the Trinity...i have 1914 to argue about now ;-)

But in all seriousness, I appreciate your words because they remind me of everything that I don't want to be. For instance, I listened to a sermon the other day about not becoming what some call "a walking debate." These are the kind of people that want nothing more to do than argue. In other words, "theology debate" has become an idol to them.

All i'm trying to say here Tom, is that I take these types of warnings to heart in that I don't want to be seen as that type of person. My concern is the gospel and sharing it with those who believe something contrary.

But when it comes to arguing for the sake of intellectualy pride or something similar, then that becomes something that Jesus Christ didn't want for us.

This would be an interesting blog topic. And its not just those in "Christendom" who tend to be "walking" debates, but it can also be said of Jehovah's Witnesses who simply want to argue with Trinitarians until the cows come home. I know JW's like this and i'm sure you do to.

But I apologize if I ever came across as a "walking debate" because I honestly have no other intention than sharing the gospel with persons such as yourself and would love for nothing more than to see you come to a correct knowledge of the truth; as i'm sure you desire the same for me :-)

tom sheepandgoats

Mike.e

You've not been studying up on Bible prophesy. You've been studying up on how to argue with Jehovah's Witnesses, since they are the only ones who attribute any significance to 1914. I've written a few times about that year. Perhaps I will do so again later:

http://carriertom.typepad.com/sheep_and_goats/2006/09/what_makes_a_gr.html
http://carriertom.typepad.com/sheep_and_goats/2006/12/zedekiah_nebuch.html

It's not for me to judge where you are coming from. I don't doubt that your "concern is the gospel and sharing it with those who believe something contrary." However, a certain version of the gospel is so intertwined with, in our view, unscriptural notions such as Trinity, heavenly bliss, and hellfire, that it makes understanding of God impossible. And without understanding, it's hard to build an enduring faith. We're not going to solve it here, on this blog, because I'm not going to open the comment section to such debates. And if I did, we still wouldn't solve it, though we would wind up with a very, very, very long comment section.

"its not just those in "Christendom" who tend to be "walking" debates, but it can also be said of Jehovah's Witnesses who simply want to argue with Trinitarians until the cows come home. I know JW's like this and i'm sure you do to. " Actually, I don't agree. Most Witnesses I know take care to avoid lengthy Trinity discussions, because they run on forever and don't accomplish a thing. Still, I'm sure there are a few who "specialize." Even in such cases, I suspect their thinking is that "the best defense is a good offense." After all, Trinity is, by far, the majority opinion.

I'm not one of the debaters. I always picture the bystander who, while we are locked in incessant doctrinal combat, rolls his eyes at both of us in favor of someone who is actually DOING something Christian.

cragar

Tom, I backread your old posts on 1914, and as you know I know a little about JW's. I am commenting here as this post is newer. In my wife's congregation in all the meetings I have been to (about 20 or more) 1914 has never been brought up. In the Watchtowers I have read (I haven't read too many lately, but from 2000-2005 I read most of them) I don't recall any 1914 info. If there is one with info let me know the date, we have them all stored in our house.

When I have asked my wife about 1914 (and 1975), she basically says that perhaps they were mistaken, and it's not close to the end times. I don't know if this is her perception or if this is what is discussed in her local congregation.

Whenever we go to functions (cookouts, anniversery parties, etc) when the prayers are made they still seem to stress "we know the system is ending soon," so it seems to me that must still be taught. My nieces and nephews are/were all home schooled and influenced to not go to college. Now the oldest is 20, has no diploma, no job skills, because they seemed to think everything is coming to an end soon.

I am not saying you believe or teach these things, but that is the kind of thinking that goes on at least in my wife's family and congregation.

Luckily I have had enough influence on my wife where we expect our kids to get a quality education not just in public schools but to graduate college as well. And I wish that the JW's themselves would preach more of this also.

We do have different beliefs, but you do have an interesting blog.

tom sheepandgoats

Cragar:

w 92 11/1 "Education with a Purpose" is as good as any for JW views of education. It does not recommend leaving school "diploma-less." It does recommend acquiring blue collar/white collar skills necessary to succeed in the job market, which usually means training beyond secondary school. The specific means to this end is left up to each family, with the idea that each one's decision is not to be criticized by others. The article is partial to trade/ certificate/ vocational courses, and the like. Targeted education, one might say. The article gives an example of one getting training to qualify as a CPA.

1914 is explained often, though maybe not in the magazines you've mentioned. Try the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? page 215

Here is a post on 1975: http://carriertom.typepad.com/sheep_and_goats/2006/11/written_trumps_.html

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