I've been living in my hilltown home for about 32 years. In that time, Jehovah's Witnesses have been coming to my door at least once every three years, usually in the spring. I suppose the reason for such frequent visits is that there is a Kingdom Hall less than half an hour's drive from here.

I'm not at all adverse to inviting them in for a discussion on religion, especially since the visitors are different people each time. Over the years, however, these discussions have gotten rather boring and offer little that's new or challenging. By and large, JW's are the most closed-minded, intellectually illiterate theists I've ever encountered. During the early 1990's I took to issuing this caveat to them before entering into any discussion: "You're not qualified to witness to an atheist because neither of you (they always come here in pairs) understands what atheism is, nor do you understand atheistic or humanistic philosophy."

My questions for atheists in this forum are: How often to Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door or canvas your neighborhood? How do you deal with them? Do you converse or correspond with them? Do you tell them to take a hike? Do they know that you're an atheist? Have they ever simply walked away upon finding out you're an atheist? Do you have any interesting anecdotes about your encounters with JW's either at your door or elsewhere?

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My theory is that they are hypnotized and if I can get the right dig in there I can rattle the hypnosis.

Absolutely. Even if your comments appear to have no immediate effect, they will stay with them and may eventually put a crack in the wall of indoctrination.
I do not believe I have ever had a JW knock on my door even though there is a Kingdom Hall about 2miles from my house. But we seldom answer the door to anyone. I was stopped by two Mormons while out on a walk one day and that was very interesting...
I don't like to be rude so I simply told them that no I was not a mormon and no I did not know much about their religion but sure I would look over the pamphlet (and I would out of curiosity!) then the kid launches into this rant about how he "knows Jesus came to the Americas!" and he got louder and louder and was just saying the same thing so I finally just walked away.
But the best one I ever answered the door to was two little old ladies who invited me to "a memorial for our lord Jesus Christ" it was for the Easter service at one of the Christian churches up the street but I just thought it was a funny way of saying it. I was so caught off guard that I just smiled, said thanks, and shut the door.
I really don't argue with these types of people I just don't see the point. What is it that you/they gain from it? I don't feel like they listen to you and in the end everyone ends up angry that they just wasted an hour of their life.
"a memorial for our lord Jesus Christ"

Sounds like they could have been JW. They call their Quartodeciman annual celebration(corresponds with Nisan 14 of the Jewish calendar) of the sacrificial death of Christ The Memorial.
I really don't argue with these types of people I just don't see the point. What is it that you/they gain from it? I don't feel like they listen to you and in the end everyone ends up angry that they just wasted an hour of their life.

From your point of view it’s crazy, from theirs it’s a test to adulthood. My understanding is that all Mormons males have to spend a certain amount of time spreading the word. (Probably the same with JWs) It’s a right of passage. And as such they are going out into the unknown world and they may be lucky enough to run into an articulate atheist. What fun! Ever talk to a 19 year old in suit wearing a name tag that says “elder?” Very strange stuff. I’m not saying that we should always have the time for it, or always be in the mood for it, but when it happens it’s a chance to try arguing with a deluded person, almost like someone with brain damage. Look for the weakest one, the one who has doubts. The doubt is your friend. To a believer the doubt is the devil’s work, and they are warned to stay away from it, because it’s the first step toward thinking. So look for it, and if you find it, go to work on it.
"My understanding is that all Mormons males have to spend a certain amount of time spreading the word. (Probably the same with JWs) It’s a right of passage."

I am not a Mormon, but AFAIK Mormon "missions" last 2 or 3 years (to mirror the life of Jesus) and it is voluntary (although if you're a single young mormon male who decides NOT to go on a mission, you become a social pariah). Historically only the young males were allowed to do this but I believe they're allowing women to do it now, too.

With Jehovah's Witnesses, everyone in the "publisher" rank (the first step to becoming a JW before being baptized as a full member) is expected to spend time door-knocking each month. It doesn't matter if you're young, old, male, or female, everyone has to do it. Plus, it is never-ending. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, all Jehovah's Witnesses are expected to go door-to-door for the rest of their lives, until they are physically unable.
I've been stalked by Jehovah's Witnesses a few times. Last time, I gave them nasty insults because I just hated them so much. They are stupid and annoying bastards. I want to sue them and put them in a prison for religious harassment.
Hello Gwaithmir,

“How often to Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door or canvas your neighborhood?”

It seems every other weekend, and holidays of course.


“How do you deal with them?”

It depends of the day, my mood at the time, and finally if I open the door. ;O)


“Do you converse or correspond with them?”

Sometimes


“Do you tell them to take a hike?”

Never


“Do they know that you're an atheist?”

Only when I tell them. But there was a time when one person(jw) asked.



“Have they ever simply walked away upon finding out you're an atheist?”

No, not yet...


“Do you have any interesting anecdotes about your encounters with JW's either at your door or elsewhere?”

Sorry no; not too interesting... About 10 years ago I was curious about the JWs, and since I was never a theist; I wanted to know(along with their origins) what they believed(and why they believed it). So I “studied” with them for a year.

Within that time I researched, and learned about:

Charles Russell(the founder), and his court cases.
The incorporation of their business(religion).
Their multiple publications.
The JWs multiple failed prediction/prophecies(over 30).
How they treat their apostates.
How they produced their own interpretation/translation of the bible(New World Translation) without citing the credentials of the individuals in New World Translation Committee.
I even own and have studied one of their books entitled “Reasoning from the Scriptures”. Which after studying; realized that the book was not meant to be in the hand of an non-jw. ;O)

Katalyzt
Thanks for responding. I've also enjoyed your commentaries and responses on YouTube and the Amazon forums.
One JW woman approached me as I stepped out from a convenience store a few months back. Before she could hand me her "repent" flyer, I immediately cut her off by saying I am an atheist and a militant one! Lest she runs the risk of being converted into an atheist like me, it will be in her best interest to leave me alone. So, she hurriedly walked away from me as if she had seen the devil. \o/
Do you converse or correspond with them?

Yep, I conversed with them and even had bible study with them together with a friend of mine. I know quite a bit about the bible and thought I could beat them at their own turf. I am still waiting for answer to a few questions that neither they nor their elders could answer.

They knew about my atheism, but that did not seem to bother them much. In general they were very nice and friendly to us.
The JW's have their own version of the bible known as The New World Translation. It contains a large number of deviations from the KJV to bring it in line with their theology, one of them being that Jesus was was not truly crucified, but rather hung from his arms from the top of an upright post. I've asked JW's who did the translations and peer review for the NWT and none of them could give me a straight answer. One told me, "I'll find out and get back to you." He never did.
Members of their Governing Body did the translation work. Of the "translation committee" involved, only one, Fred Franz, had any familiarity with the original languages whatsoever, and even he was unable to translate ancient Hebrew when tested in court. The only reason the names of the men involved are known is because former Governing Body member Ray Franz published their names in his book "Crisis of Conscience." The Society has never revealed the names of the men because they claim to want "all glory to go to Jehovah" and "the translation can speak for itself." Of course this also has the benefit of hiding the fact that their translators were simply unqualified to do the work they did, but they do have a point in a way. The problem is the work actually has highly questionable translations, such as the use of the tetragrammaton in the New Testament (it does not exist in any ancient manuscript).

The thing is, there are already so many English translations of the Bible, any uneducated bafoon can make a passable version.

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