A Brush With A Jehovah’s Witness6 October, 2008
My days off are Monday and Tuesday. Of course, (((Wife))) has to work her street corner in South Wilkes-Barre any day school is in session. I slept in during her morning shift, but went with her for the afternoon. Unfortunately, I had to make a run for facilities. Fortunately, there is a Mickey Dees not far from her street corner.
After my quick constitutional, as I walked back out to the minivan, a nicely dressed younger man (mid 30s?) approached me and asked, “May I have a moment of your time, sir?”
My response was meant to show that, if he is selling, I’m not interested: “Maybe.”
“Thank you, sir. I know this sounds personal, but have you lost a close family member?”
Okay, that is not what I expected. “Yes.”
“Where is that person now?”
“She’s dead. Her ashes are in the soil at a special place.”
“But what about her soul, her consciousness?” he asked.
Ah. Now I get where this is going. Time to nip this one in the bud. “Dead is dead. Consciousness does not exist without a working brain.” And (to myself) I wonder if yours is working.
I expected him to start talking about eternal life, heaven, hell, the whole shebang. He surprised me. “Ah, wonderful. Someone who understands reality.”
What the hell. Am I being witnessed by an atheist? Then he pushed a pamphlet into my hand titled, “What Hope for Dead Loved Ones?” Then he said, “Thank you for your time, sir. Have a pleasant day.”
It was an interesting read. Actually, make that bizarre.
Apparently, this group of Christians believe that death, being the absence of life, means that there is no conscious thought. Dead is dead. Wow. A Christian sect with a coherent view of death. Wow, was I wrong.
No heaven, no hell, just a full body resurrection at some future date. And the proof? Bible quotes. Quotes from a 1960 version of the Bible written just for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. (If you want to subject yourself to the full text, I found it at (believe it or not) an AARP website.)
This was my first brush with actual JW theology. No more or less scary than any other Christian sect (though, compared to some of Palin’s churches, these folks sound almost sane). Just run-of-mill batshit crazy.
I do, however, think it is unfair. (((Wife))) gets subjected to attempted savings by mail (twice in the past year (the latest was for a Biblical Riches Seminar)). Me? Do I get mailings? No. I have fruitcakes coming up to me at work, at gas stations, and coming out of a McDonald’s bathroom. I really need to learn to look both psychotic and angry to keep these fruitcakes away from me.