30 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #1 by Nodhimmi:

      “Members are not allowed to vote”

      Voting is compulsory in Australia… another free pass for religion??

      Voting is NOT compulsory in Australia. What is compulsory is going to the polling station and getting one’s name crossed off as having attended. What you do with the ballot paper is up to you. Screw it up and throw it away if you want to, but you certainly don’t have to vote.

    • In reply to #1 by Nodhimmi:

      “Members are not allowed to vote”

      Voting is compulsory in Australia… another free pass for religion??

      Interesting question. According to google there are lots of JWs who claim that when they get the “please explain” letter for not voting they reply saying they have a religious objection. They never hear again.

      So, yes, another free pass!

      Michael

  1. Wow. They kept trying to recruit me about a decade ago. This creeps me out that I talked to them.

    More than it should, maybe. The two missionaries that came to my door seemed nice enough, and it would be premature to blame them for the church’s offenses, but to be aware of the cruelty used by their church to enforce solidarity, and then to actively try to recruit other people into such a cult…that smacks of a loss of personal humanity.

  2. I was raised by Jehovah’s Witness parents and was pressured into getting baptized at 15. I’m now an atheist, but if I dared “come out of the closet,” my family would never talk to me again. (They would sincerely believe it was the right thing to do.)

  3. I actually got a leaflet through the door today while I was out having a reasonable time. It had a big picture of a white western Jesus on the front saying ‘who is this man?’ etc. and I thought “Robert Powell!”

    Shame I missed them, I actually would invite them in to talk about their cultish behaviour.

  4. My mother was enchanted by them for a few months, about 12 years ago. My father had to threaten pressing criminal charges on them to get them to stay away from my mom. They had convinced her to stop taking all of her medications, including her psych meds for rapid cycling bipolar. Our family struggled through several months of uñnecessary suffering due to this organization’s desire to rid my mother of “sin”.

  5. By coincidence a couple of elderly Witnesses came to my door an hour after I read this article. I told them among other things, they should read the article, that my humanist values are superior to theirs, and they should be listening to me, and not, as they clearly presumed by their doorknocking behaviour, the other way around. I don’t think it made any difference.

  6. Though in the past I have been courteous to JW doorknockers, I am way past that now. I particularly hate that they drag their children around with them so that they look all cozy and welcoming when you open the door. The next ones who dare are going to get their leaflets tossed back in their faces with a “Prenez votre merde, et laissez moi tranquille!” (I live in Brussels.)

    • Is this simply an Australian phenomenon, or is this common among Jehovah’s Witnesses across the globe? How reliable is this story, even? On the one hand, I don’t want to accuse anyone without justification, including The Age newspaper and Bec Taylor. On the other hand, I’ve never heard of such a case against the JW crowd before, and I don’t want to fall victim to confirmation bias simply because I’m no fan of religions. Have there been other cases reported in other places?

      In reply to #9 by justinesaracen:

      Though in the past I have been courteous to JW doorknockers, I am way past that now. I particularly hate that they drag their children around with them so that they look all cozy and welcoming when you open the door. The next ones who dare are going to get their leaflets tossed back in their faces with a “Prenez votre merde, et laissez moi tranquille!” (I live in Brussels.)

      “Take your shit and leave me in peace” seems a bit harsh, doesn’t it?

      • In reply to #12 by Zeuglodon:

        Is this simply an Australian phenomenon, or is this common among Jehovah’s Witnesses across the globe? How reliable is this story, even?

        If by ‘It’ you mean the circumstances of this woman, then yes, it is common. I grew up in that cult, and like Kubrick, am now an atheist. The woman’s experience does not merely highlight one congregation, but reveals standard practice among the JWs with regard to apostates. Even the sexual abuse is not a rare occurrence because of it’s underlying cause: Organizational, or collective narcissism. To say they are overly concerned with the image of their group is an understatement. It would be more accurate to say that it is an obsession. Members are convinced they must leave matters best handled by police in the hands of organizational leaders. What results has been referred to as a ‘pedophile’s paradise’ because the members are so loath to ‘bring reproach’ that they forgive what any rational parent would prosecute. This is combined with the organization’s idea of operating ‘by biblical principles’, which results in a particularly bad practice referred to as ‘the two-witness rule.’ If there is one accuser, and the accused denies the charge, the matter is ‘left in Jehovah’s hands’, which means it is ignored. Since child molestation is usually committed by one perpetrator against one victim, one can see how much of a problem this is. In short, the JWs are worse than the Catholic Church because they have no ability even to admit wrongdoing or correct their errors.
        See: silentlambs.org

  7. I am now of the opinion that rather than ask them to leave, we should engage the JW’s in polite discourse when they come to our doors. Summertime is best, because rather than invite them in, we could offer them a seat on the front porch, where available. They may have never met a real atheist or agnostic, and having a calm discussion may cause a few cracks to appear in their system of beliefs. I suggest we let them speak, and point after point, rebut their ideas with logic and reason. It may take only a few minutes before they realise we are satanic, and rush away so as not to be infected, but there is a small chance we can get a seed or two planted that will cause them to rethink their philosophy. If they bring children, I would regard this as a wonderful opportunity. I would like to pose the following question….”Which do you consider more important, a personal belief in a deity, or being allowed to vote or drive a car ?” They will probably say “god”. Then I throw back at them that as a society, we have decided that only when a young person reaches the age of majority (and whatever wisdom comes with that) do we let them take the test for their license. Should we not then say that children are not allowed to attend religious services until they have reached a similar level of wisdom sufficient to be able to judge how to follow the rules of the road, so to speak ? Every once in a while I think to myself I should offer to engage in a discussion with the local Kingdom Hall. I have lived long enough in my rural community (7 years) that I think I can stand any shunning.

    One last addition. The more time they spend with us, the less time they have to spend with those who are vulnerable.

  8. There was a woman in the UK named Mary Whitehouse who was a devoit Christian and tried to impose censorship all over the place, at a time shortly after the post of the official censor The Lord Chamberlain had been abolished and a new freedom of expression was being enjoyed.

    She was like an animal in a cage, the door of which had been opened in order to facilitate the creature’s escape, but the beast was too frightened to leave the confines of the bars and instead wanted everyone else to join it inside its prison.

    Same sort of thing here I think, and par for the course.

  9. Hey Rod, not a bad idea, but there are possibly a few questions that could hit home even stronger. Come up with a list of views/inconsistencies that have nothing to do with their Bible and keep it near the door just to be ready when they come by. They may come by several times. Just don’t let them try to control the conversation, by trying to change the topic. If they do bring the conversation back to what was being discussed. Frankly, I’m not very good at arguing in person; I need to think and reflect too long. I admire people willing to do so. I’m more likely to say “No, please do not return.” or put up a tastefully designed sign like the woman in the photo.

  10. “Prenez votre merde, et laissez moi tranquille!” (I live in Brussels.)

    “Take your shit and leave me in peace” seems a bit harsh, doesn’t it?

    Oh “merde” One of the first french words I learned watching french movies. No it is not harsh. If someone is interrupting your day, your dinner, your life, your free time off from work by coming to your door, then no, they should be told how your feeling about their presence. You could also post a sign on your door. No proselytizing.

    • A few years ago, one of my neighbours told me he quickly stripped off his clothes, answered the door naked and invited the JWs in for an orgy with his wife. They ran away and none of them never turned up at his house again. Pretty effective if you want to get rid of them :-)

      My style is a but more subdued than that :-) I quite enjoy inviting them in and meticulously picking apart everything they say, while showing them that atheists typically have much better and more consistent morals than the god who supposedly wrote the Bible.

      In reply to #14 by QuestioningKat:

      “Prenez votre merde, et laissez moi tranquille!” (I live in Brussels.)

      “Take your shit and leave me in peace” seems a bit harsh, doesn’t it?

      Oh “merde” One of the first french words I learned watching french movies. No it is not harsh. If someone is interrupting your day, your dinner, your life, your free time off from work by coming to your door, then no, they should be told how your feeling about their presence. You could also post a sign on your door. No proselytizing.

  11. I like Rod the Farmer’s method. But I just can’t take the time for these wingnuts. When a pair of JWs (They usually travel in pairs.) knock on my door, I put them off very quickly by telling them that I’d love to have a conversation with them, however I am short of time today as I have an appointment at the Red Cross to give my usual pint of blood so as to help others who need this more.

  12. I rarely have time to talk to people whom I consider to be nutters. Ocassionally I have opened the door to them unawares. My opening slavo when they talk about ‘good news’ is I’m an antitheist and believe in nothing supernatural so I’ll waste as little of your time as possible.

    “So you believe that your bible is the word of god?”

    To which they reply yes.

    “Leaving the inaccuracies and character of Jesus aside are you aware that is full of contradicitions and inconsistencies?”

    Yes but it depends on how it is interpreted.

    “There is the problem” I reply, That your god is omniscient but cannot explain himself sufficently that his exact requirements have to be interpreted by the descendants of his defective creation is not a satisfactory premise for your belief” Good day.

  13. My younger brother, while living in Belfast (he lives in Amsterdam now), would invite the JW’s and Mormons into his house and lock the door. He would then proceed to annihilate their woo woo. I’ve read somewhere that those young Mormon’s have to pay for the privilege of venturing out on their mission. Imagine, paying for the privilege of having the piss taken out of ones belief. All part of the big plan I suppose.

    I’m not allowed to answer the door when the eejits call. My better half heads me off at the pass and chases them for their own psychological safety. Most of the time, I only get to know that they’ve been when they have been sent packing. I’m a bit militant you understand.

    She does the same sort of thing with those pain in the arses that street preach and hand out holy roller tracts. I’m ushered past at a swift pace.

    No fun at all.

    • In reply to #17 by Ignorant Amos:

      I’m not allowed to answer the door when the eejits call. My better half heads me off at the pass and chases them for their own psychological safety.
      She does the same sort of thing with those pain in the arses that street preach and hand out holy roller tracts. I’m ushered past at a swift pace.
      No fun at all.

      I have exactly the same problem.
      She even switches TV channels when Religion is mentioned…even if I say I was watching it she replies…yep!…until ya start ranting !

      Life can be grim!

  14. I too have tried dialogue but to no avail. Just as Satan put dinosaur fossils in the earth, so he sends rationalists like myself to try and shake their faith and lead them away from their “Truth”. JW is a particularly pernicious modern cult – when they are not revelling in the misery of natural disasters they are scouring the death notices in the local press, looking for prey amongst the grief stricken and the devastated.

  15. For many years now I’ve been inviting the JW’s into my house when they come knocking. We chat mostly about mundane things like the kids, weather, and local town stuff. They know I am an atheist. But they also know that I’m a normal pleasant friendly and thoughtful person. I don’t hope to de-convert them, I only hope to shatter some of their illusions about non-religious people.

    Imagine you go knocking on doors and the only person who gives you the time of day is an atheist.

    I also imagine that the discussions we do have about religion and the universe and such, that I offer things they might have never heard of. I try to maybe broaden their view. One day (maybe), Sam will come knocking to tell me that he’s no longer a JW. And I’ll be here to not shun him.

  16. I wholeheartedly agree. I think that when Jehovas Witnesses come knocking we should look at it as an opportunity to change minds rather than an annoyance.

    1 A friendly, polite, good humoured conversation may hopefully change the way they percieve atheists.

    2 A well presented argument may ‘plant a seed’ of doubt in the theist mind.

    3 As you have pointed out, the more time we spend talking to them the less time they have for trying to take advantage of the more vulnerable.

    I think that the vast majority of non believers probably either slam the door on them or just don’t open it at all. Let’s start engaging. The more we engage the more likely we are to change minds.

    In reply to #10 by rod-the-farmer:

    • In reply to #23 by RationalConclusion:

      I think that when Jehovas Witnesses come knocking we should look at it as an opportunity to change minds rather than an annoyance.

      Is it the JW’s who won’t accept any drink – tea, coffee, even water?

      I recall a friend who politely invited a pair of door-knockers inside to tell him their Good News, invited them to make themselves comfortable in his lounge and attempted to extend his usual generous hospitality, refusing to let them get down to business until he’d fulfilled his duties as a host. Tea? Coffee? Beer? Wine? Juice? Lemonade?

      When they reached the point of refusing even water, he berated them for insulting him in his own home by refusing to accept even the most basic offering, how dare they, and angrily chased them away with a severe tongue-lashing at their ignorance, offensiveness and general lack of elementary manners and decency.

      I heard something later about them not being allowed to consume anything, for fear of poisoning I suppose.

      It’s a dangerous world they’ve been sent out into….

  17. I got a leaflet through my door from the Jehovah group inviting me for some q,a on “why did Jesus give his life for us?” the picture on the front of the leaflet was of a pale white man with flowing blonde hair the typical look of a middle eastern man of course. im looking forward from a visit from them I will have my video recorder ready when do do they hate that.

  18. I’ve been “in discussions” with a couple of JW’s that came knocking a few weeks back. 2 older ladies who are very pleasant but some of the nonsense they tell me is ridiculous regarding how evolution is the work of the devil and there’s no evidence to support it, yet they are perfectly happy to source the bible as evidence for creation.

    I think like a few other people have posted they we’re a little taken aback when I answered the door and declared I was an atheist and didn’t tell them to f**k off but was welcoming and nice to them. Hopefully they went away thinking slightly better of non-believer’s than they did before. We should be having frank and honest discussions with these people because you never know we might just get through to one or two of them and it stops them pestering anyone who is vulnerable to their nonsense. Plus its a good opportunity to brush up on debating skills and helps you brush up on gaps in your knowledge if you aren’t sure on something yourself.

    They left me a copy of one of their books to read with the promise that they would call back in a few weeks to discuss. Life: How did it get here? By evolution or creation? is the title and its the single most dishonest, incorrect and laughable book i’ve ever read. I’m planning ( if I have time ) to write them a little rebuttal to each of the factually incorrect, quote mined or misquoted points that they bring up in an attempt to discredit evolution. I hope that they might take it away and start to question why they believe such nonsense, although I feel they are far too brainwashed for it to have any effect.

    The guy they use as an expert in evolution – Francis Hitching, as it happens is a massive woo and has been described by Professor Dawkin’s as

    “I know nothing at all about Francis Hitching. If you are uncovering the fact that he is a charlatan, good for you. His book, The Neck of the Giraffe, is one of the silliest and most ignorant I have read for years.”

    Really can’t wait to tell them that!

  19. My son-in-law has minimal contact with his family, because he refuses to be JW. He has stayed in touch with his brothers in case he can help them, but last spring he found out there had been a huge family reunion that he was not invited to. When we went to the beach in the summer, he had a beautiful tattoo on his side from his armpit to his waist of an upside-down cross and the vertical printing beside it of ‘APOSTATE’. He told my daughter that when their son is born he will never know them, because they would let him die rather than give him a blood transfusion.

    It’s your life, and only you know what it takes for you to be free.

    My grandson arrives next month, and he will be born free!

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