Nowadays they send idiotic mail to harass you, instead of a pair of idiots. I miss the personal touch. So yes, I got some mail.
I didn’t censor out the return address, because that’s not a private home. That’s the JW Kingdom Hall here in Morris, go ahead and stop by and knock on their door.
To answer their question, though: no, the “kingdom of god” is an archaic fantasy, a myth built up by people who couldn’t imagine an alternative to their own situation, living in the city-states of the ancient Middle East. I don’t believe in a heaven, but if I did, it would be a decentralized anarchic association of individuals with no kings, and also no angels or devils.
Also, my correspondent is only telling half-truths. Daniel 2:44 says,
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
It’s not very specific, although it implies that God’s kingdom is going to be an earthly one, set up to compete and defeat all other kingdoms. It seems to be a rather primitive conception, don’t you think?
Yes, they included a tract, in that classic, easily recognized Jehovah’s Witness style.
Sorry, that doesn’t persuade at all. It’s a lot of empty promises of a utopia, and the only evidence cited for it all is the Bible. Typical. The Kingdom Hall is only about a kilometer away, I oughta walk over there and give them a copy of Cat’s Cradle, and throw them into the chaos of Bokononism. They’ll be better people for it.
Careful! You know what happens to practitioners of boko-maru, don’t you?
I am currently reading The Godel Operation, about an AI and its human.
The AI begins the book by praying to its god (The third-level intellect in charge of the asteroid and its habitat) and gets a response in some fractions of a second.
This would technically not be an earthly domain, but – even if it seems significantly better than North America under late-stage capitalism- I doubt Jehowas’ Witnesses would approve.
The first one I received was hand written, in pencil, on a sheet of lined notebook paper which had been trimmed to remove the holes. Good spelling and grammar. Envelope was also hand addressed with a real stamp. The return address was the Kingdom Hall. After that is was printed but had a residential return address.
Jehowah’s witnesses are run by a corrupt clique that does not even follow their own rules when excommunicating members.
You might try worshipping the Nigerian demon god Chakra Kiki and get material support by demon vultures (the Vultures of Horror film franchise has produced a lot of films, all of them with a budget of less than what I spend on pizza in a month).
And if you recall the Blaxploitation/horror/Christian film “Abby” from the 1970s you know there is a sex/trickster/demon god named Eshu sealed in a phallos-shaped holy vessel, waiting for unwary archaeologists in Nigeria.
Marcus Ranum says
I worship myself, because I prayed, once, and that was who I was talking to.
Cats know they are the living deities.
I think they are related to that Indian death goddess with four arms, they know how to destroy things with little effort.
Or you could send them a tract of the classic Kissing Hank’s Ass in return.
I can’t stand the JW interpretation of that. Any time they came by the house, I always had Luke 17:21 at the ready. Ignoring that just completely misses the entire point.
Not that they ever actually listen, but it has been useful to at least shut them up.
Reginald Selkirk says
The letter I got in 2020 apologized that the pandemic prevented them from knocking on my door in person.
JWs are a rather nasty cult. I lost a beloved cousin to the cult years ago and he’d turned into a real bizarre misogynistic a- hole . I thought a first that it was just him but the JWs encourage that type of controlling patriarchal repressive behavior. And if you don’t kowtow to every single jot and tittle of their beliefs they enact a severe form of emotional abuse until you do. I wondered about the robotic stupid behavior that my cousin was showing until I started watching some ex- JW videos on YouTube . The JWs are worse than you thought.
I also don’t advise being nasty to them as one of the tenets of the JWs is that ordinary people are basically evil in human form. Be polite but don’t put up with their nonsense
steve oberski says
The sample size in the tract is admittedly small (7 people) but all the hewers and toilers appear to be the darker skinned people.
One summer day a few decades ago, I engaged a Jehovah’s Witness in conversation. In rapid succession, I learned that (a) fossils in mountains proved Noah’s Flood, not tectonic uplift, (b) that my cousin threatened by Rh-factor incompatibility would be better off dead than polluted by a perinatal blood transfusion, and (c) evolution was clearly false because it could not be used to resuscitate a farm employee who fell over dead. I guess that last one was the clincher, because the JW was delighted I agreed with him that evolution could not do that. He was extremely polite and dead-eye cheerful while spouting this utter nonsense. A memorable encounter, but once was enough. No more answering the door for them.
Is there a Kingdom Hall in Morris now, or is it the one outside Glenwood? I haven’t been back to Morris since my dad passed, so I’m not as familiar with all the newer stuff.
Ah, Jehova witnesses, always good for a giggle.
Had them come to me to discuss the Bible. Their response to literally everything I pointed out was “Well we’ll have to agree to disagree” or “Yes, I question that as well sometimes, but faith is to be tested” or some other variant of “I got nothing so let’s change the subject”. Really basic stuff I asked about too, not even that deep!
After the 20th response that literally was a refusal to even try and answer the question, I just stopped right then and there and showed them the door, saying “I’m sorry, I thought you wanted to DISCUSS the Bible…apparently you just wanted to monologue, and I already have your pamphlets. When you’re ready to actually TALK about Bible stuff, feel free to come back!”
Gotta love how they think wars, famines and earthquakes are something new.
I got some mail during the pandemic (which I consider to be yet ongoing) as well, not from the JWs, I don’t think, but definitely Christian. They were actually inviting me to attend some little get together in town. An evening of Jesus & germs, as it were.
I didn’t attend. I was curious, though, as from the mailing it appeared that Jesus has gotten a haircut and now strongly resembles actor James Brolin.
I’ve read or watched somewhere that JW’s sending their youth to evangelize is not to actually get converts (although it is a plus if they get some), it is to send them into the hostile world to be rejected and to confirm with their own eyes that the world is hostile and fallen. So they’ll fall into the line and don’t question the faith or try to get out.
I don’t know how true that is.
Telling half-truths is the Jehovah’s witnesses’ core business. They elevated cherry-picking to a form of art.
Like all authoritarian, patriarchial cults, the JWs also have a…child sexual abuse problem.
One that they have never dealt with.
The JWs and children are not a good combination.
raven@19 And (as I imagine you know) they don’t let their kids get necessary medical care. I’ve been reminded of this on several occasions when my daughter needed blood transfusions and I have to sign a release that I do not object. I don’t mind having to sign a release, but it’s unconscionable that anyone would refuse.
The last time JWs came to the door was several years ago. I thought I had just been out when they came.
To be clear, I’m not anti-government, but “There is government in heaven.” strikes me as a terrible sales pitch.
Dennis K says
@12 steve oberski – I’m glad someone else noticed that too.
@12 @22 The girl with the long hair (age unknown, but she looks like a teenager) seems to be laughing at the Black family harvesting the carrots and apparently enjoying it, while she just strolls past (sucker!). Or maybe it’s her look of knowing satisfaction that people of color are being kept in their place. Well, I am probably reading too much into it.
But race aside, it raises another question. Why kind of tragedy brought that whole family together along with the kids to pick carrots in heaven? Everyone in this picture is younger than I want to be when I die. Or maybe all these people died after a long life but revert back to the most appropriate age around family members. It doesn’t seem very well thought out. Do JWs believe that people continue to have children after the kingdom of God is established?
@ 13 & 15: Same here, a funny chat many, many years ago with one of those guys about biology and evolution after he learned that I was studying biology. I learned cool stuff, like the fact that every cell in the human body rejuvenates every 7 years and that God can change natural laws that makes certain biological processes impossible as he sees fit (which makes every discussion of course pointless – not that there ever was a point other than that I had to kill an hour until an appointment :-) )
The only problem was that that guy was so encouraged by our talk that he came back again and again and did not understand my polite pointers to b….r off. So, in the end I thanked him, told him I have though about all he said, and have decided to worship Satan. He never came back but for months glared at me when he saw me in the streets while selling his watchtower thingy. Fun times.
Where I am in S.France, I used to be bothered by teh cult every two-ish years. I put on my “I don’t speak French” act / accent (neither difficult) and (after the first time or two) generally asked polite questions / statements in (slightly obtuse / mangled) English, such as “why yer fecking eejits?” and “nicht sehr rational!”. As far as I am aware, the two individuals (always elderly ladies, and judging from the pamphlets they gave me, not from the area (the closest coven I am aware of is in Marseille)), never had any idea what I was saying. (As far as I can recall, since the pandemic started, they’ve not been seen — nor has the moronic cult (teh mormons)), in both cases (I speculate) because they didn’t agree to the masking requirements on the trains / buses / etc.
Reginald Selkirk@9 Yes, I think I got a letter like that too. So maybe they’ll be back once it blows over.
Jon McNaughton’s ridiculous paintings always make me think of the art in Witness magazines like The Watchtower. I wonder if he has any Witnesses in his family.
They believe that most people who died not believing in Jehovah will be resurrected (unless they’re very evil, a label that really only applies to apostates to their faith. For example, I’ve had a JW elder tell me that Hitler will likely be resurrected). Those resurrected shall be resurrected into perfect health, meaning that older people will generally look like what they did during the ages of 18-22. However, if someone had died as a child, they’ll be resurrected as a child and will continue to age until they reach that “perfect health” age as an adult and they will stop aging.
And yes, they do believe that people will continue having children in the “New System”, which is what they call Earth after the kingdom of god is established.
I have family that are JWs. I’m fairly familiar with their teachings, as a result of arguments and doing opposition research over the years.
Be ye warned everyone: the watchtower recently announced that they’ll be returning to door-to-door witnessing, except in areas where health ordinances still ban it.
Hairhead, Still Learning at 59 says
Urrghh! I wondered why Jehovah’s Witnesses did not have 10s of millions of adherents, as they seem otherwise to tick all the boxes of the popular patriarchal religions: One True God, only a limited number get into heaven, restrictions that could result in the death of a family member, men above women, God Gonna Come Down and Kill Everyone ‘Cept Us. When I looked into it I found that the “disfellowshipping” of Jehovah’s Witnesses by their congregations is so frequent and so emotionally abusive to adherents that masses of “converts” leave, and that the cult can just barely keep itself alive.
Which is a good thing — overall (the poor adherents who are disfellowshipped have my sympathy for the pain they go through.
divineconspiracy667@28 I’m struggling to see the upside of joining JWs in the first place if the only unforgivable sin is apostasy.
Akira MacKenzie says
Considering that McNaughton is a Mormon, you’re not too far off.
The largest benefit to joining is that if you become an apostate (you have to get baptized for it to count) is that no JW will ever have anything to do with you again.
Over the years I’ve seen so many discussions about how best to get the JWs to leave them alone (debate the bible, answer the door naked and smoking a joint, etc), when the true answer is very simple: tell them you’re an unrepentant apostate.
They will leave extremely quickly and mark your house down as “do not visit”. That should keep them from revisiting for up to seven years.
Explanation for seven years: JWs keep a “do not call” list, but they also monitor house sales. If they notice a house that was on their do not call list has sold recently, they’ll mark that house as due for a visit on the next set of rounds to that area. And IIRC they purge the list after seven years because, on average, people move once every seven years, and they don’t want to accidentally miss anyone.
@27 @31 McNaughton’s paintings always look foreboding to me. E.g. https://jonmcnaughton.com/patriotic/make-america-safe/ His fans must see something very different but they all look like hellscapes to me. The lighting reminds me of how it gets when there are massive forest fires near me. The JW pictures I’ve seen in tracts are all like what PZ posted, consisting of sunny days and happy people. Maybe there’s another side I’ve missed.
One Friday evening the JWs made the mistake of knocking on door of a friend of mine. He was bored and between lady friends and having nothing else to do, he invited them in. Apparently they thought they had a live one and stayed for a few hours answering his curious questions. They came back every Friday evening for the next 6 or 7 weeks and at the last visit told him they had everything ready for his baptism at their church that weekend. That is when he told them he had no intention of joining their church since he already had a religion of his own. They were really angry with his wasting their time. Looked good on them.
I miss the personal touch, I’m sure that they don’t. The attrition rate was murderous when they came to my door.
I’m the prick that will talk religion, politics and experience in traveling the world and especially areas where misfortune is rife. They’re shocked to learn that I accept differences in cultures and understand other cultures – especially Arabic and Jewish cultures and their origins. That I can then explain past and current practices, some of which completely undermine their Sodom and Gomorrah nonsense in a cogent and convincing manner temps them to bring elders along.
Soon, they see a small amount of sense and abandon their centrally ruled Hall (a decidedly odd practice, given what they say about a centrally ruled Roman Catholic Church) and toward something that eventually provides a way to sanity.
As for Daniel, it sounds like God is bringing a Culture GSV in to visit… ;)
Sounds good, I can get together with SC and exchange notes. :P
My contempt for religions and the religious grows as I age.
Kathi Rick says
SWEAR TO GAWD the last JW that came to my door looked EXACTLY like Bill Hinzman from NOTLD. Moved like him too – the kid that was with him looked TERRIFIED.
Rob Grigjanis says
nomdeplume @36: I think it’s called ossification. Number 3 here.
@38 No Rob, it’s the reverse of that….
Steve Morrison says
I just read His Dark Materials, so I was primed to say “the Republic of Heaven”—but I like your idea better. Since it’s heaven, we can have any system we want, even one which would be unstable on Earth.
I used to treat doorknocking JWs with polite refusal. But not after I took a copy of the Watchtower to make them feel better, only to discover inside an article about the cabal of Jewish bankers running the world in the service of the Devil. After that, no more pleasantries. Just a “not interested” and a door closed in their faces.
Ray Ceeya says
I’m just going to leave this here…
Peter Bollwerk says
I like to ask them two questions.
1) Is the Bible compatible with science? (they invariably say yes)
2) Do Jehovah’s Witnesses accept evolution as fact (they invariably say no)
Then I try to use street epistemology, if time allows.
The main thing that bothered me about Jehovah’s Witness door-knocking solicitations, was they frequently brought their young kids along. If I were to engage in a conversation, I’d want to ask why their kids were with them. I’d want to ask the kids if they really believed this bullshit. The kids were embarrassed to be there. I wouldn’t want to cause the kids any more pain. I see it as JW child abuse.
I’ve always wondered why people in the JW propaganda aren’t naked. It is paradise restored, after all.
@ #15 it’s because they’re about as sexually repressed as Stephen King’s Carrie’s mother or a southern USA style fundie.