Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hiding from the JWs

Photo: cubanapura @photobucket.com

This has been on my mind for a while but a few days ago it was, again, brought to the front counter of my brain. Last Saturday morning, two lovely, young women traveling together knocked on my door. They wore freshly scrubbed faces and modest church dresses. The earnest light of Jehovah illuminated their smiles, bright as that sunny day.

Luckily, I was in the back bedroom. Luckily, I had not turned on the stereo or television. It was so nice and warm that morning that I just opened all the windows and listened to the birds, bees and breeze while I cleaned. My dogs started barking ...madly announcing the women's arrival. I looked out the bedroom window and saw the telltale car with boxes of pamphlets in the back. After a moment's hesitation, I decided to stay hidden and not answer the door.

It makes me feel guilty that I hid from these spiritual sales people but I am just not into door-to-door religious sales. If you're of that faith, please understand, I do not mean to offend. I am not dogmatically religious but I am strongly spiritual. I celebrate all faiths, gods, goddesses and divine beings. Daily. I celebrate Jewish New Year, Hanuka, Kwanzaa, Yagnas, Lord Shiva Nights, Christmas, Easter, equinox and solstice just to name a few. I support Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, Hercules, Lady Victory, St. Germain and many other saints and lords. I honor all the cosmic beings of light. The legion of angels and all seven kingdoms. If you want to pray, chant, drum or dance in the name of the All that Is, I'll join in the festivities.

I serve the Elohim or Yahweh or Jehovah by name as the one God. There is only One, I believe. One stream of higher spiritual consciousness that appears to each person matching their inner-vision of their personal savior. To some it is Jehovah or Yahweh. To some it is Jesus. To some it my be Buddha or Shiva. To some it is a dog or other innocent animal, beautiful flower or plant. To some it is nothingness. What this higher power appears as doesn't concern me. What does concern me is that all paths to the One are acknowledged with respect.

I understand that Jehovah's Witnesses also believe that there is only one God, Jehovah. That to not call Jehovah by name is disrespectful. I understand that an important part of that belief is the active sharing, or witnessing, the nature of Jehovah. To give witness to Jehovah's grace and teachings. I understand and honor your belief.

Photo: flyingbrick6t3 @ photobucket.com

But what I don't understand is why there are frequent attempts to reach new members by grassroots, door knocking tactics. Over 3o years ago, when I was young and new to my neighborhood, I always answered my door. I took the time to accept the Watchtower pamphlet and listen to the witnesses. But for some reason, our neighborhood is visited time and time and time again. Often, barely a week goes by without some faithful soul knocking on my door. I could be wrong but all of my front porch visitors seem somewhat new to the teachings. If I am polite and engage in discussion, the next weekend a seasoned witness joins the rookie at my door. Is our neighborhood a training ground for new recruits? Are we demographically bereft of Jehovah power? Are we nice and safe for new trainees? I choose to believe the latter.

I have so many questions about this witness dumping program. And if any care to enlighten me with further insights, please do so. My spiritual door is open. But that day, I chose to hide and peek out from behind my bedroom window shade as I waited for Jehovah's soldiers to finish knocking on my neighbors doors. It didn't take long. I suspect that they, too, hid behind their shade.


Candie Bracci said...

Hi,I'm the same as you,more spiritual than religious.I don't know how to feel about what they do,I mean,we all have the same God at the end.My mother in law is one of them,I don't see her often cause she's in Italy but she tried to tell me about it,in my bad italian I told her what I believe in too.It's kind of complicated but I understand her.She used to got to catholic church,the priest of the illage,a small village she was seing.One day,her husband has been really sick,he was going to die.She told the priest to come and see him many times,he never bothered to come and her husband died.She was so upset and sad and those people were there at that moment and so she walked away from the church and became one of them.I understand the circumstances.She's going to doors too.I might not agree with her,but one thing we agree on is that hate of those people who aren't human at all and pretend to be serving God,and that hate of the Vatican and most of his members who just want to make money and are doing the contrary of what God would like it to be.Thanks for that post and don't feel guilty,guilt is something they have made up to lead you far from God.Already forgiven and forgotten.And if those people at your door were really in tune with God,they have too.
Have a nice day ;)

Brian Miller said...

mmm....good thoughts here...gotta come back though in a bit to really comment. be back shortly.

Brian Miller said...

Interesting. I am not a Jehovah's witness, so not sure of their training regimines, but have avoided a few coming up the driveway. I believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I believe that life is lived best when you love God an love people. I believe there is one way to eternal life. I don't believe all this means we can sit around until the rapture one day to get saved from this heathen earth. lol. I don't believe in high pressure salvation. I have lots of friends with different beliefs. I respect others and their beliefs and enjoy hearing about them most of the time.

Chris Wolf said...

JW's have been on bicycles in my grocery store parking lot here. Nice young men, shirt and tie, and bike helmet, asking me if I had a minute to hear....
I smiled, shook his hand, told him I loved the Lord with all my heart my soul and mind, and loved him, my neighbor, for telling the good news. They've never bothered me since and I wave at them and they wave back.
In my humble opinion, they're just expressing their love of what you believe the way they think they should.
So I Guess, to quote the angels, "Do not be afraid".

Denise said...

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are following his model and instructions. He taught his disciples and sent them out in two's, going from door to door throughout the land.

Jesus gave his followers the command at Matthew 28:19-20
"Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded YOU. And, look! I am with YOU all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”

Depending where you are on the globe, determines how often you are visited. Due to concentration of Jehovah's Witnesses in a particular area vs. the available area to preach can cause frequent visits. On a regular basis some volunteer to go, say for a week, to seldom worked territory, or some actually move to where the area has not been ever worked or seldom worked. Others may not have the circumstances to move, but since there may be many foreigners in a particular area, some will learn a foreign language to help that community of people. We live in Delaware and my daughter is trying to learn Mandarin Chinese and French since we have a growing community in those languages that are interested in studying the Bible.

Since all religious paths do not lead to God as Jesus clearly stated, it is necessary to go to the Bible to find out God's standard of worship:
Matthew 7:13-14
“Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; 14 whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.
Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22 Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew YOU! Get away from me, YOU workers of lawlessness.

Jesus said in that one scripture,"the one doing the will of my Father". So one if a follower of Jesus, is required to know WHAT the WILL OF HIS FATHER is, to be approved. Where do you find that, in the scriptures, that is why we offer a free home bible study, and many start off using their own personal copies of the bible, until they see that the translation we use says the same thing, just is easier to understand. After they have studied, they are then able to make an informed decision in regards their relationship with God. That is why we knock on your door.

And remember the Scribes and Pharasees of Jesus day were "religious" leaders and Jesus condemn them, so all path's do not lead to God.

Hope that answers your questions.....

Ronda Laveen said...

Thanks for your comments. All are welcome here. From each person, I learn to be a larger, better part of the whole.

Candie: Sorry about your father-in-law. But I'm glad the JW's were there for you MIL. I understand how you feel about the power of the Vatican and their, often, less than humane acts and positions. I would rather go to a place of worship that was adorned with plants and sticks and stones and pure acts than one with all the gold in the world.

Brian: I, too, believe that life is lived best when you love Yahweh, love people, and and don't wait around for salvation.

Chris: I also think that they are expressing their and my beliefs the way they think they should. It is important work for which I give them a lot of credit. Initially, I tried your approach with good success but over time time the pursuit increased rather than abated. I'm not really afraid...just some times feel pestered. I will try harder. Thanks.

Denise: Thank you so much for the time you took to respond. I learned a lot from your comment. It was very comprehensive and my understanding of Jehovah Witnesses has been greatly expanded. Your daughter sounds like a very ambitious and dedicated young lady. You have every right to be proud of her. Many will read your comment here.

Baino said...

Ronda I am a spiritual person at all. More into nature and the cycle of things but I did work with a JW for many, many years. She too went on her 'mission' and was bullied and hurt by the experience. Not by the general public by by her fellow missionaries. The rules were strict, she had to ride a bicycle in a skirt, and tally her visits to people. She's still a strong believer but the mission was an embarrassing and hurtful time for her . . . Frankly, I'm happy to take the Watchtower but don't try to convert me. I've been there, done that and cannot accept an interventionist God on any level.

Baino said...

Sorry that should be 'not' spiritual in a sense that I don't believe in a 'deity' and all powerful personallity but more in the rule of physics and the cosmos.

Ronda Laveen said...

Oh, Baino. Thanks for your comments and cadidness here. I tend to run many of the same beliefs as you. More cosmology related.

Evening Light Writer said...

At my library I often see Mormon Missionaries come in to access e-mail. They are always polite and really I think just eager to hear from home. I try to remember that when I deal with anyone who is trying to push their beliefs upon me..we're all just trying to hear from home..wherever that is..in the sense of the soul. I don't blame you though, I would have hid too. I really side with Emily Dickinson when she says :

"The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more."

Ronda Laveen said...

Mindy: Again, I say to you, are you sure you are only 25 years old? You are far wiser than your physical years. Yes, I agree. We are all just trying to not only hear from home but get back there. Your Dickinson quote sums it up quite nicely.

Megan said...

I remember answering the door to them once, when I was about 14. I didn't know what they were there for, at first. And then I was kinda freaked out.

But I'd been raised to be polite and courteous, and I was. I listened for a while and even discussed the scriptures for a bit. Heck, I was in Youth Group, I recognized the verbiage, you know? But the next week, when they came back with reinforcements and asked for me, they got to meet with my father instead. Hoo boy. That was the last visit...

Ronda Laveen said...

Megan: Sounds like you handled yourself very well for a 14 year old. I thought that Denise's comment was very interesting about how they canvas an area.

Reya Mellicker said...

Wonderful post and fantastic comments.

Ronda this is so well timed I'm kind of blown away. Over on Facebook I have reconnected with old friends from high school. Just now I was writing to one of them about my spirituality. Like you, the "spiritual sales people" approach is so awkward to deal with. I find it completely disrespectful, even though I know to those trying to sell their approach to God, it's part of what they do.

I am committed to being open minded, to recognizing that all over the world throughout history, people have worshipped the divine in so many different ways.

I believe all paths lead to God, in fact I believe that diversity is intrinsic to the divine. I honor the JW their path and wish they could honor mine. But they can't - and there's the rub.

Ronda Laveen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ronda Laveen said...

Does the synchronicity of our timing really surprise you? For us, it seems like it is frequent and getting more so. I do find the approach awkward and am struggling with handling it with grace. Seems like I am always asking for grace. But there it is...I'm not perfect.

Yes, it often seems like a one way street on the other side. But I still believe one day we will cross over and all be together in the cosmic Yahweh soup. I do honor all paths. Blessed Be.