"Game recognizes game." Or in this case, former Jehovah's Witnesses recognize current ones.
There's a youngish couple in our building that I pegged as JWs a while back and finally had my J-dar confirmed when they came knocking during the Jets game yesterday. Something about the way they carried themselves rang familiar, but it was seeing them heading out a few times on weeknights, usually around 6-6:30pm, that gave them away. At those times, they were always well-dressed, but modestly so, with briefcases in hand and the friendly demeanor of those who genuinely believe they have found the way to everlasting happiness.
Contrary to popular, if woefully ignorant, opinion, most Jehovah's Witnesses are regular people; the majority of them likable, even!
Unlike most people, I don't have a problem with Jehovah's Witnesses, despite arguably having good reasons to do so as someone who was disfellowshipped and shunned after deciding to walk a different path. If anything, I respect them more than most people who claim to have God's ear as, generally speaking, they put their money where their mouths are, living their beliefs to both the spirit and letter of the law as they interpret it. And they're not armchair quarterbacks, either, going out of their way to spread the word as they believe Jesus instructed them to. Most Christian religions take that part of the gospel much less literally, satisfied with attending church for a couple of hours every Sunday, if then, and maybe avoiding taking the Lord's name in vain. Maybe!
I do have a problem with people that see nothing wrong with mistreating Witnesses, though, whether on the street or knocking at their doors. Sure it can be annoying early on a Saturday morning but really, does the minor intrusion on your day justify the chest-thumping threats to kick some ass, or even the demoralizing slamming of the door?
When they came by yesterday, they were with a teenaged boy, probably no more than 15 years old. Whether it was his first time or he was a seasoned veteran, whether he was there simply out of obligation or a true believer, I have no idea. I couldn't help to think about the various times when I was some combination of the four, nervous every time a door opened, not knowing what sort of greeting was coming my way. Even when I started to lose my faith and started to question things, I viewed it as a challenge, sometimes even hoping for the rude, ignorant response so I could dismantle it, turn it back around on them and walk away feeling vindicated.
Of course, by that point, I had no business being there and realized it shortly after.
Yesterday, I simply said "Thanks, but I'm not interested," before recognizing the couple from upstairs, at which point I added, "Hey there! Actually, my mother's a Witness, down in Virginia. Thanks for stopping by, though." No drama, no problem.
Fact of the matter is it's generally easier to disarm a Jehovah's Witness with politeness, especially since they practice overcoming objections as a matter of course. Attempting to argue religion with them is pointless as the average Witness knows the Bible better than most people who claim to be religious and most of them can break down most objections USING THE BIBLE, something most people who claim to be religious couldn't do if given an index and a couple of hours to page through it. Sixteen years later and I still remember more of the Bible than the average Christian knows.
All that to say the next time a Jehovah's Witness comes knocking on your door, if you're not interested, simply say so politely, thank them for stopping by and go on about your business. 95% of them are looking for interested people to talk to, not arguments with those looking to work out a little misdirected anger.