Another Way to Reject Door-to-Door Preachers

Those of us from an older generation often looked forward to reading “advice columns.” Twin sisters “Ann Landers” and “Abigail VanBuren” wrote competing and entertaining columns that appeared daily in our hometown newspapers. Occasionally they included responses and suggestions from their readers that were actually useful and informative.

In early 1979 “Dear Abby” published a reader response to an earlier article that involved complaints about “door-to-door preachers” and “religious hucksters.” Abby’s original suggestion was to be polite and “…Tell them you don’t want to take up their valuable time.”

However, that reader suggested a far more dramatic and pointed response to Bible salesmen, Mormon missionaries, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other unwanted religious zealots who might knock on someone’s door.

Religious fervor

DEAR ABBY: I liked your answer to  I ALREADY BELIEVE, who wanted to know how to get rid of religious hucksters. But you were too gentle when you said, “Tell them you don’t want to take up their valuable time.”

Abby, their time is not wasted trying to get converts. It’s part of their religious program to spend their time that way.

Why not say, “Please don’t take up MY valuable time.” It’s more honest.

May I tell you how I got rid of a pair of religious salesmen? I got my Bible and turned to Luke 10:7, and read aloud what our Lord told His disciples: “Go not from house to house…”

I was never bothered again. — I ALREADY BELIEVE, TOO

 

When the “Dear Abby” article was published in March 1979, the style of Jehovah’s Witness door-to-door preaching was quite different from what it is today. Between the 1930s through the late 1970s, individual Witnesses considered themselves actual ministers – “preachers of the Truth.” Witnesses were trained to actively engage and try to have a conversation with the householders and others they met during street witnessing. Some dedicated (or over-enthusiastic) Witnesses could be as aggressive and intrusive as the fabled door-to-door “vacuum cleaner” and “Fuller Brush” salesmen that made frequent visits to private homes between 1930 and 1960. Some Witnesses simply would not take “I’m not interested” as a valid response.

Times have truly changed

While door-to-door and street preaching are still options in their active ministry, the process and frequency of personal contact with the public have changed dramatically for Witnesses over the past decade. Now it is rare for most JWs to try to go beyond simply reading a Bible verse and then offering a flyer or invitation for an upcoming local convention or “Memorial” observance. Their presentation will often involve sharing a page or illustration on their own Ipad or tablet computer screen to those showing some interest. Few modern Witnesses will try (or want) to engage anyone directly or get involved in deeper levels of discussion.

It’s quite difficult to engage in a real conversation with Jehovah’s Witnesses who come to your home. It can be quite a challenge to even chat with those who stand beside literature stands on public streets. The Witnesses have gone from aggressive “spreading the Good News,” to actually avoiding any real personal conversation or debate with anyone they meet while preaching. They’ll read you a scripture, but they don’t want you to read one to them – just as described in the response to Dear Abby.

Today’s Witnesses just want to press a printed invitation or handbill into your hand and then move on down the street. For many JWs – the shorter the conversation the better. They still count the hours as “preaching” whether they actually converse with anyone. 

 


Comments

Another Way to Reject Door-to-Door Preachers — 4 Comments

  1. I still can’t believe how I was brainwashed into going door to door for years. I was very successful in starting bible studies and getting people to come to the hall.
    I have attempted to engage numerous people standing with a Watchtower. I would ask a question and they would quote or read a scripture that had absolutely nothing to do with my question.
    If these so-called chosen can’t hold a proper dialogue on the street how in the hell do they do it at the Kingdom Hall. It all went to fecal matter when the ministerial school was stopped.
    Jesus taught did he not? Where do these JW’s teach?

  2. “school” was dropped here after a court case in Victoria when the wt refused to have their members obtain a “working with Child Clearance” from the Victoria Police. Eventually the wt begrudgingly suggested that jw could apply for a clearance if they wanted too.

  3. Coming from the Catholic Church to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses was strange. Right away these people told me to “cut off all my family and friends and that the entire association of brothers and sisters were my family and friends now.” Boy, was the BIGGEST LIE I have ever heard! They ALL disappeared when I disclosed I was sexually assaulted with a deadly weapon and threatened with rape and murder of my loved ones (including my 11 year-old sister) and myself if I told the police by a married publisher when I was a child in the world. They were just passing acquaintances and NEVER THERE for me in the storms of life. A woman was coming to my house to encourage me back to meetings lately. I told her I wanted an apology from the elder body as their favorite sexual predator in my Kingdom Hall has an exact sketch of himself on the FBI’s most wanted list for the Golden State Killer. I have not heard from her since. They look at the world through rose tinted glasses, have too much ear wax, and are elder pleasers. In their opinion, “even serial rapists and/or killers should have the excuse of needing 2 to 3 witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15) to their crimes against humanity, despite DNA evidence.” Even when the elders are handling things their own way and not according to the Governing Body. There are absolutely no checks and balances in this religion, and women and children have absolutely no public platform to be heard. If you tell a person at the door this, they will mark you as a do not call. Because they hate to hear the REAL TRUTH.

  4. I LIKe that name…religious hucksters! :). Looking at a pic of the GB of Jw.orgy…do they not look like…Religious Hucksters! ;)- I worked with an older pioneer sis a lot….funny thing…she also sold Watkins, Raleighs, Fuller Brush to support herself…kept all her return vizs from all in same bk…she would go to do what she thought was an interested person in Bible…get chewed out…upon being asked to leave!!!! We would walk away…she would be laughing, and say…oh that must be my Raleighs costumer…gee I always get them mixed up! So few days latter back she would go with the person pkg. they had ordered from Raleighs! More than once I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide or be invisible! But she pressed on and did not change her way of doing things! Was fun even if sometimes….:-//. But she is long gone…wish she was around to see the horrid shape the Jw.org is in! Not be impressed and for sure she would say so!!!!!

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