HOW TO GET Jehovah's Witnesses TO LISTEN

by ex-JW David A. Reed

Not just indoctrinated, but also trained, drilled and rehearsed

Whether they are relatives, workmates, or strangers visiting your doorstep, Jehovah's Witnesses are difficult to talk to.

And this is no accident. They are thoroughly indoctrinated.

Following the complete program of congregation meetings and personal study, a JW who does all the assigned homework ends up reading approximately 3,000 pages each year from Watchtower Society publications. That includes 24 semimonthly Watchtower magazines of 32 pages each, an equal number of Awake! magazines, 12 monthly Our Kingdom Ministry internal publications of 4 or 8 pages each, plus one or more books, brochures and/or booklets -- the typical year's output from the organization's printing factories.

It also includes re-reading "study" material a second time when underlining answers in each paragraph in preparation for meetings, and re-reading that material a third and perhaps even a fourth time during the course of those meetings. There are usually two or three "study articles" in each issue of The Watchtower that receive such close close attention and repetitive reading in preparation for Sunday morning Watchtower Study meetings. There is also a book studied paragraph-by-paragraph at Congregation Book Study meetings typically held every Tuesday evening. And there are other books used in preparing assignments for the Theocratic Ministry School on Thursday or Friday evenings.

Even Witnesses who don't do much or any of the assigned reading do find themselves sitting through nearly five hours of meetings each week. Besides question-and-answer coverage of "study" materials, these meetings consist mostly of lectures and staged discussions.

Both the aforementioned "School" and the Service Meeting feature many role-playing demonstrations, with one JW playing the part of YOU and another playing himself or herself calling at your door or speaking to you in less formal circumstances.

These demonstrations on the platform in front of the Kingdom Hall audience show Jehovah's Witnesses how to present their message effectively. They learn how to handle, not just their prepared message of the week, but also the objections, questions, and arguments that YOU are most likely to bring up.

By rotation, nearly all active JWs take turns acting one part or another in these demonstrations, actually trying out the various approaches and learning to overcome objections and defeat arguments raised by non-Witnesses.

In addition to the sessions at Kingdom Hall meetings, similar practice sessions are held when groups meet for door-to-door work and even in homes when families prepare for this activity.

So, the chances are that a clever argument you have thought of to share with the next JW who calls, may well be an argument he or she has already heard, practiced, and learned how to defeat.

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