Skirting Religion For Society: Talking Jehovah’s Witnesses

At about 9:45 I heard a knock at my door on a Saturday. As we’d established on my Twitterline just a couple hours before I was up earlier, having fallen asleep in my chair from having not slept the night before. It’s a thing I do. I’m about as anxious as man with a brick and a scorpion at his feet. (Not very)

With “Treat Him Good” by the Love Me Nots ringing quietly in the background (I’d turned it down after I heard the knock) I looked through the glass seeing two men in black suits, with thin literature in their hands. I thought they were Mormons having completely forgotten about Jehovah’s Witnesses. My roommate had met them last time they came a few months ago and I’m sure talked to them with more Godly knowledge than I.

My relationship with religion goes as deep as my fascination with the people who believe and how they live.

I said I probably didn’t have much time to talk. The older guy, Larry, opened the gambit (is that an appropriate phrase here?) pointing to The Watchtower, page 4, saying he wondered why people abused alcohol. He pointed to the scripture there showing that indeed Jesus didn’t eschew alcohol having served it at a wedding. But he also pointed to the scripture about not getting drunk.

As he was talking about the benefits of wine (“to make us happy”) accorded to us by God (don’t want to push people to hard to stop drinking or anything), the phrase “and doctors say a glass of wine is beneficial, too” came to mind and reached my lips – but not my tongue.

He asked me why I thought we abused alcohol. After asking what he meant by “we” and after the assurance that of course it wasn’t he and reassurance he was *sure* I didn’t over-drink, I said it was escapism in the same way books, TV and music are escapism. He agreed, hesitatingly, and asked why I thought drunk driving was on the rise, that people seemed to do it more and not pay attention to the consequences as much. I thought he was saying they did it for the danger and said so. He paused as if not having considered that aspect but went on without addressing it.

I later spent a few minutes of my time looking at the cover of Watchtower trying to figure out what the alcohol on the cover was (a 44.8% whiskey ending in O’ Age”) and then what it might taste like – and why the bottle was half empty with a guy in a bright white shirt, head in his hands staring at it.

Larry was the older gentleman and Raymond was the younger. I had asked them their names after he had asked mine.


He did not hear me correctly. He had the disadvantage of being on a lower step and the first words out of his mouth when I opened the door, “I did not expect someone so tall.”

He repeated a wrong name and I said it and Raymond repeated it. Larry then reached toward his right ear furthest away from me, and apologetically started saying,”I have trouble hearing clearly.”

Me: “I have trouble speaking clearly sometimes.”

Raymond: “It’s funny we are together, I have trouble projecting and he has trouble hearing.”

Temple: “I speak quietly sometimes. Were you born deaf?”

I always enjoy a little off-kilter approach.

Larry looked up again at me with a slight smile, and said yes, he “had been born with a birth defect.” (God’s plan, no doubt). That he was almost 60 now and people didn’t usually notice. I thought maybe they just didn’t bring it up. He had a slightly high tone and an off-cadence to his speaking, though it was not unpleasant at all. The type you get when you learn to produce sound without hearing it.

He pointed to the other tract and the headline “Are You Working Too Hard? The cover was of a guy sat alone in his office, one light on above his head. Not a bad photo at all.

Below it was a much smaller headline: “Also: What is Judgment Day? PAGE 10”

What do you think about people working too hard,’ he asked. I said I was working on that and I thought I was. He didn’t say anything else. That’s when I asked them their names and after the exchange, Larry pleasantly said he was going to sit down with Bo, my neighbor later to talk about that.

“Maybe I could come over and talk to you afterwards.”

“Sure, I probably wouldn’t invite you inside though.”