Witnesses

William_Hogarth_013Cast your bread upon the waters…

A Jehovah’s Witness called round, and offered me the Watchtower. I told him I would read it if he would take and read Advices and Queries. As he refused, so I declined too. The next day on Oxford St a pretty young woman handed out “Awake!”, so I took one. What do they give people, to try to bring them to their faith?

They answer fundamental questions, but not in the way I would. “Are suffering and injustice part of God’s purpose?” It refers me to Deuteronomy 32:4-5, where I read,

The Rock, his work is perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God, without deceit,
just and upright is he;
yet his degenerate children have dealt falsely with him,
a perverse and crooked generation.

So it’s all our fault. There you go. However, they say, that our planet ideally suits life makes “many people” conclude that it was designed. That dung beetles navigate by starlight- “What do you think?… Was it designed?” Sadly, brane theory gives a different interpretation- of course we live somewhere suited to life: those Universes not so suited have no life to ask these questions; and if an eye can evolve, so can the ability to walk in a straight line.

There is an article on Joseph Priestley. I had known that he isolated oxygen, calling it “dephlogisticated air”; I had not known that he denied the doctrine of the Trinity, nor that the JWs do too, though he has nothing else to do with them: their antecedents do not go back before 1870.

Awake! is a general interest magazine, informing me that I should gently floss daily and brush at least twice a day. Then “Help for the Family | Marriage”: “How to control spending”. Your spending is out of control. Is your spouse to blame? What can you do? Instead of blaming each other, work as a team to bring spending under control. It cites Ephesians 4:32- be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

The cover story is “What makes a good friend?” Show you care, communicate well, have realistic expectations and widen your circle of friends. Well, so far so good, but none of this is new to anyone, surely?

The Watchtower gives God’s View of Smoking. God disapproves, apparently: you must love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, but you cannot if you abuse your God-given body by indulging in a defiling habit; nor can you love your neighbour if you expose them to second-hand smoke.

Referred to their website for teenagers, I find You can choose what you will let your mind dwell on. Both in your thinking and in your conduct, you can be chaste if you choose to! What? Teenagers?

I can’t see how any of this would allure anyone into investigating the JWs further. Is it designed to put people off, so that they can feel like martyrs?

8 thoughts on “Witnesses

  1. Terrific and quite funny post. The rather pitiful girl who sat behind me in Senior Honors English in High School was Mormon (Simpson, Smith … we sat by alphabet, which was inventive of our teacher, I thought). Anyone as a birthday present she gave me … yup … the Book of Mormon. Having taken it out of my satchel at home, while filching things from the pantry to snarf at school the next day, I forgot about it (see my mother didn’t catch on to the afternoon before trick … she probably suspected poltergeists, my father or my brothers). Anyway, at dinner that night she brought it to the table and said, “To whom do we owe the honor of this addition to the library?” No one said a thing (at least not repeatable). Since no one ‘fessed up my mother read the inscription (I did NOT know there was an inscription !! I hadn’t opened the thing up), “Dearest Mark, I hope that by reading this you will see more clearly and perceive the light. Love, Terri.” Oh, dear Lord. Such a hubbub of laughter and carry-one. My father, who possessed a drier sense of humor than my brothers said, “Strange gift. Are you having religious issues?” “No,” I said. He nodded sagely then asked, “Then clearly you have mentioned some sort of trouble with your eyes. Why haven’t you told us? Can you not see clearly? Do you have trouble perceiving light?” He shook his head. “I’ve never heard of that, but it’s possible. Boomer,” he said, which was my mother’s nickname, “You’d best make an appointment with the eye doctor ASAP.” Ha Ha. I never did live it down, and I swear that thing would appear at family gatherings, parties, etc. Hmm.

    Anyway, I digress (by way of a change). I loved your post.

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    • Thank you for that story. All digressions are welcome, especially LOL ones. I suppose that we are talking about Mormons illustrates the common way of bracketing them with JWs when their doctrines and practices are different; both have doctrines which are not mainstream Christianity, though I could not say precisely how; both are enthusiastic about evangelising; both make great demands on their members.

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  2. I know from your description I got the same copy of Awake as you did Clare – from a pair of young ladies with the eyes of the evangelist on my doorstep. I have in the past discussed at length the Bible versus Darwin and geological timescales against Genesis – noting the similarity of events and the disparity of timescales. It remains an ongoing voyage of enjoyment whenever the Jehovah’s Witnesses come to call – a chance to discuss our individual views of the Christian Faith. For the record, I’m CofE and attend my local parish church irregularly.

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    • I used to be CofE, and was baptised Episcopalian. After Frederick Temple, Anglicans have no need to deny the Hadean period or Cambrian Explosion.

      I enjoyed one visit. They had a very, very bored child along with them, and I tried to interest him in a chess position, an artificial puzzle with a subtle and subtler solutions. It depends on the people. Like most people, I dislike being told I am wrong and am going to Hell.

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