Remembering in how many countries the Jehovah’s Witnesses have already visited me at home could almost make me paranoid: in Germany, England, Malta, Lithuania, Italy, Romania, Bolivia and Peru. In Sicily and in Romania they showed up within days after me moving in, as if Mr Jehovah had an intelligence operation that is constantly monitoring all moves and movements around the world. Often, the Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped by to welcome me to their hood before the internet guys – whom I had asked to come – managed to do so. This actually led me to a business idea which I should convey to the CEO of the Jehovah’s Witnesses if I ever meet him.
And then there are the old ladies talking to me in the park, the younger ladies standing in pedestrian zones with their evolution-misunderstanding pamphlets, and the gentlemen who seat themselves next to me on the train, always quite coincidentally of course.
Based on my roughly 67 encounters with the Jesus Witnesses, I meanwhile know how to keep them at bay:
- Pointing out that I am an atheist, that I have been an atheist for 25 years, and yes, that I have thought about this seriously, and that – when I grow impatient, I sometimes become elitist – I studied philosophy, after all, and that I have thus reflected on the important aspects of life at a higher level than is possible in a doorstep conversation, is absolutely useless.
- Humor doesn’t help either. “Oh, is it Halloween already?” admittedly is a very low-level joke anyway, but it met humor-resistant ears. Maybe humor is as taboo as tobacco and alcohol.
- Smoking cigars while the abstainers are smoldering their sermons, doesn’t help either. It may even make them feel like better humans. “Did you see the poor, weak sinner, smoking demonic herbs?” they say to each other with a sad look, as they leave.
- Extremely aggressive unfriendliness may help, but it’s not in my nature. Sadly, I have always been in a good mood when the preachers rang the bell.
But now comes the trick:
- Already on three occasions, the Jehovah’s Witnesses left of their own volition after half a minute. Each time, one of the Witnesses was giving his speech, while the other one inspected me and then noticed something that he didn’t like at all. Shocked, he pulled his colleague by the sleeve, pointed to my belly, his mouth open in horror, and both of them say goodbye very quickly.
What had happened?
- I have a sweater with the logo of the Israeli Air Force. It’s very cozy, so I often wear it at home. And thus, my chest is adorned with the Star of David, which apparently makes the Witnesses run for their lives.
The first time, it happened in Malta, where I still attributed it to the anti-Semitism which is part of the local folklore. But when exactly the same happened in Lithuania and in Romania, I recognized a pattern that went beyond the personal prejudice of the individual standing in my door.
A quick research yielded that the Jehovah’s Witnesses do indeed have an anti-Semitic tradition, which they are still nursing and which is also directed against Israel.
But at least now you know how to get rid of these obtrusive guys. Good luck!
(I haven’t found the exact sweater online, but here you can order a T-shirt with the same logo.- Hier könnt Ihr diesen Artikel auf Deutsch lesen.)
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That’s pretty hilarious.
Though I should tell you that I recall them knocking on my door when I was a kid, and they were not at all deterred by my yarmulka (Jewish skullcap). I guess the logo works better!
Or maybe yours were more enlightened and tolerant Jehova’s Witnesses. ;-)
Hi Andreas – There were other strategies you could have employed while in Malta :)
You might already know, but maybe not: yellow stickers ““prohibiting” people belonging to this “sect” from doing house visits could still be seen affixed next to doorbells.”
Excerpt taken from our local newspaper http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150921/local/jehovahs-witness-convention-hopes-to-help-shed-stigma.585230
You can still see these stickers, AFAIK, notwithstanding this article suggesting it’s a thing of the past. Did you encounter them? If I spot one, I will take a photo for you :)
Thank you! I have never seen this in Malta, but in Peru, many houses had stickers that said “Our faith is Catholicism. Please respect it.” which also seemed to be directed against Jehova’s Witnesses, Mormons, 7th Adventists and other Christian churches that are spreading rapidly in South America.
I have a flagpole in my front yard which stands empty without the flag (it came with the house, and I’m not that America-obsessed to put up the US flag). So now I know which flag I could put up.
On the other hand, not even a single Jehovah’s Witness has tried to convert me yet, so maybe I’m not in their database yet.
There should be a way to add you to the database and to receive a commission.
I always wondered how to keep them away, they love to intrude when you are reading at a park. Unfortunately, in my part of the world, I don’t think they know their own past. Still, I’m going to talk about how great Israel is, when I have to deal with them. Thanks for an interesting article :)
I love reading in parks, so I know that problem, too. And it’s often the old ladies who are a bit aggressive and tell me that I will go to hell if I don’t follow Jehovah.
Here in South America, the only positive thing I derive from these encounters is that it helps me to practice Spanish.
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