Residents of Halstead have had enough door knocking by Jehovah’s Witnesses in their village. Halstead in Essex, England, is a town of about 11,000 residents just a 20-minute drive northeast of London. They’ve finally spoken out and complained to authorities that Jehovah’s Witnesses have become a nuisance and nothing seems to deter them.
A local JW elder, Mike Woodison, expressed his concern over the complaints, but did not promise any reduction in the level of door knocking. Instead, he offered a possible solution to the problem: Let the residents take the initiative and notify the local Kingdom Hall in writing that they wanted to be put on a “no-call list.”
“…[We] are anxious to avoid confrontation with householders or to force our message on others…[We] kindly reassure them that we will comply with their wishes should they prefer us not to call.”
One Halstead resident complained that despite his telling them that he is not interested “…they knock every couple of days on [my] door…”
“I often see cars pulling up and ten to 15 of them piling out when I am at work.”
The truth is that most Kingdom Halls do not maintain “Do Not Call” lists. Many claim that they do, but most do not. And those that do keep up such records do not give copies to the JW publishers they send out to work in a territory. The exceptions to this “truth” are that some individual JWs, especially Special Pioneers who work the same neighborhoods often, will keep a notebook listing addresses that have asked them not to call and those with potentially dangerous pets.
Add to the mix some Witnesses simply don’t care and will ignore signs, mad dogs, and clear indications they are not wanted. They feel that by going and knocking on doors of those who have made it clear they do not wish to be bothered is their “standing up against Satan.” They love to tell stories they’ve heard about someone who “rejected Jehovah’s message for dozens of years and was an active opposer” who suddenly stopped and listened out of desperation and then “accepted Jehovah’s word.”
There are more effective methods to stop JWs from knocking on your door. One way is actually to engage them at the door or invite them in and then don’t let them deliver their canned presentation but ask them very direct questions about their beliefs, policies, and history. Then ask them to prove it to you in Bible right then and there – but by including and reading all the scriptures around their proof reference. This strategy works especially well when the subject of the “144,000 anointed” comes up. Most often the JWs will make a hasty exit “to prepare a proper response” and then never come back.
One former JW taught his harassed neighbor this “144,000 trick” of dealing with Witnesses coming to his door: Make them read all of Revelation chapters 7 and 14 and then ask them to try explaining all the details. A few months later the neighbor said that it worked well the two times he used it. In fact – he missed having the JWs come by so that he “could try it again.”
Many will quickly turn tail when asked about the “Conti child abuse lawsuit” or “Judge Rutherford’s 1925 prophesy” or “Fred Franz’s 1975” and “1914 generation” prophesies. Another way one former JW handles them is to always answer “No” to absolutely every question they ask and nothing else. “Can I read you a scripture from the Bible?” NO. “Were you aware that we are living in the ‘end times’?” NO. “May we come in?” NO. “Would you like a free Bible study?” NO. “Would you accept an invitation to our Memorial?” NO. The “NO” is best if delivered with a deadpan expression and no emphasis.
The fact remains that Jehovah’s Witnesses will continue their “door-to-door” preaching for the foreseeable future. Eventually, the Watchtower may find that the use of the long despised Internet and JW.org will be far more effective in getting their message out to non-believers. But they are also learning that by their critics are recording videos and audio of their teachings and will use them as they have the writings of Joseph Rutherford, Charles T. Russell, and Fred Franz. Those videos will come back to haunt them years later when their victims and the public will use their very own words to expose their false teachings and hypocrisy.