When I was going door-to-door a few years before I went to Bethel, I met a man who told me he lost his job and didn’t have any money for the literature. He said that life was so tough that there was little food in the house to feed his family.
His home was a nice one – clean, neat and yard in order. I felt so badly about his situation that I went home and talked with my husband and my mom, who lived next door, and asked if we could take the man some food. Both agreed so we raided our freezers and pantry and took the man about four grocery bags of food. He was quite shocked and couldn’t thank us enough. My family agreed not to tell anyone in the congregation what we did because we knew it was a “no, no” thing to do and we were not setting the right example for others in the congregation!
We were in the process of moving to another state and too busy to make a return call so we didn’t see the man again. About two years later, when we were visiting the congregation in the area where we had lived before, a nicely dressed man came up to me and asked if I knew who he was. I said no.
Well, he explained that a few years before, I had given him bags of groceries after he told me that he didn’t have food in the house to eat. He said he was so impressed by my actions that he agreed to study with the next JW that came by because he wanted to know what the religion of JWs was all about. At that point, he told me he was my baptized “brother.” Of course, I was elated by this outcome, but it crossed my mind if all JWs were more charitable towards unbelievers maybe we would see more converts, but, of course, I knew the “rice-Christian” counter-argument to that approach.
When I was in Bethel, and there was an opportunity to do so, I would share this experience with prominent men in the organization, but doing that didn’t change anyone’s mind on the matter because being uncharitable towards unbelievers went back to Russell’s viewpoint that the only way to help people was by giving away his tracts and Zion’s Watch Tower free. He taught that this spiritual sustenance would lead unbelievers to become “believers” and then they would be given everlasting life. And that has been the view of the Watchtower religion ever since.
Like many others who have left the Witness religion, we are trying to atone for the selfish beliefs that we were taught and then taught others by now doing whatever we can to help people if there is a need for material assistance. And as we all know, there is more happiness in giving than in receiving.