Thanks for the welcomes.
I have to ask, "did you go door to door with the JW mindset?" and if so, "how does that make you feel now?" I would have had a hard time doing that even if I believed.
To answer that, I have to provide some background. I believe that my mother turned to the JW faith because their concept of the future provided her a way out of a situation that she did not want to be in. To clarify: Jehovah's Witnesses believe that god has not abandoned his original plan of allowing humanity to enjoy an unblemished and unending life on an Earth that was designed to cater to their every sense. The Devil may have sidetracked that plan with Adam's help (Eve being an unwitting pawn who nonetheless shared the penalty for man's
sin), but god is determined to provide us with that original paradisaical existence. Those who serve him as he demands will be so rewarded (excepting those who are part of the anointed class, and will rule in heaven with Christ), while those who reject him --or don't serve him well enough, I guess-- will be destroyed. JWs do not believe in a fiery hell where souls are tormented, they believe that if we reject god's demands, then we will cease to exist.
Anyway, back to Mom. She was married to a man she didn't love and resented the family that they built together, to the degree that psychologically, she blamed us (her children). I can remember times during my early childhood, when she would bitterly proclaim that none of us would join her in the "new system" because we were going to be wiped out by god beforehand, and she would not mourn us, because (and I quote) "the Bible says we cannot feel sorry for those who die at Armaggedon
." Please note: this was not some misguided attempt at urging us to agree to god's demands in the hopes of being saved. This was the spilling over of bitterness that she simply couldn't contain. Is this a horrible thing to tell a child even once, much less numerous times? Yeah, I certainly think so.
With that in mind, it's not surprising that although I accepted the belief system and could explain it quite well, my mother sometimes had to drag us to meetings as children. And in spite of her predictions of doom, she made every effort imaginable (and with a nonbeliever dad who was almost never around, it was not a minor effort) to get us to every meeting and to get us to every assembly and yes, to get us out on the door-to-door activity. Door-to-door preaching wasn't terrible, in that I never had any truly distasteful experiences. I can't say it was ever great; I never really felt as if we were out there accomplishing something significant, treading a path blazed by Jesus. I would say that there were times when I approached it with "the JW mindset
." That is, the feeling that we were trying to save people. As opposed to hoping that there was no one home.
How do I feel about it now? I'm fairly ambivalent about it. I feel bad for the people we inconvenienced. I can still recall an elderly man who became flustered when I knocked on his door and identified myself as a JW. He snarled something at me and disappeared, so we wandered to the next door. Moments later, he emerged, waving several of the WT magazines and cursing us for visiting him "three times this week!
" JWs take care to rotate assignments so as not to visit an area so frequently, but individuals will occasionally go their own way. This poor fellow apparently put up with the first two visits, perhaps out of a desire to be polite, but we'd burned up whatever patience he had left. In most circumstances where someone gave us grief, we'd have just chalked it up to Satan exerting influence on some poor schmuck, but realizing what he'd been through managed to get through the shell I'd built around my brain.
More than anything, today I feel a sense of relief. I found that being a JW massaged my ego tremendously. You mean that I won the cosmic lottery, that I'm one of the 0.01% of people born
into salvation? That god chose me
? And that I'm BETTER THAN THE REST OF THESE LOSERS? Letting go of religion deflated the ego balloon. I am now a part of the rest of these losers, and it feels pretty damned good.