Sunday, July 5, 2009

Watchtower Rest Stop

The rest stop experience is a quick one, at least for me. No lollygagging or loitering is ever on my agenda when I pull in to one of these highway pit stops. After an hour or so on the freeway, it does feel good though to stretch your legs a little, even if you don't have to "go" really bad.

On my trip back from AZ the other day, when I stopped for my usual mid-point bathroom break and got out of the car, I noticed a young man in a dark suit talking to what appeared to be a reluctant stranger. The stranger, sartorially a stark contrast to the nattily attired boy, moved away a few seconds later after turning down what appeared from a distance to be a brochure of some sort.

I got out, tossed an empty soda can into the trash receptacle (I don't save cans, plastic bottles, or any other "recyclable") and headed straight for the men's restroom on the near side of the building before me. I soon noticed that the boy (he couldn't have been more than 12 or 13 years old) was not alone, but accompanied by two adults who sat at one of the picnic tables with bibles and other literature in front of them. They appeared to be engaging in bible study and completely oblivious to the activities of their young charge, though I'm sure they were well aware of what was going on around them, and were the instigators of it.

After coming out of the restroom I saw the boy hand a Watchtower magazine to a woman with small children who was only a few feet from me. She politely and silently accepted it, then rolled it up in one hand while she continued to supervise her rambunctious kids. I walked right by, expecting to also be confronted by Jehovah's little witness, but I was allowed to pass without being assaulted. I was a little disappointed actually. Was I not worthy conversion material? How insulting! A near bum just moments ago was offered the life-giving key to an eternal paradise earth, and I was being ignored.

I kept walking to my car, memories of past confrontations with the Witnesses filling my mind (most of those previous encounters were back in my Christian days, when I believed the JWs were a Satan inspired cult spreading a false gospel that was sending poor lost souls to Hell), my reverie interrupted by a patter of shoes on cement that approached rapidly from behind.

"Hi, my name is Gilbert." It was the young witness for Jehovah. He handed me a magazine, while an obviously forced smile spread across his face. I took it and didn't say a word (maybe a mumbled "thank you") and went to my car. I wasn't going to argue with a child, and he seemed like a nice kid (of course, they always do), but I wondered what he might otherwise be doing on a nice day like that if not for his Jehovah's Witness family.

I opened my trunk to deposit the cheaply printed tract and noticed I'd received a copy of the latest issue of Awake!. Damn! I'd been hoping for a Watchtower.


  1. I always like the JW. They generaly have their scripture and script nailed down tight and are fun to argue with. I usually devote some time to arguing with them when they coma a knockin', I wouldn't have argued with the kid either though.

    I have known quite a few personally and have noticed that a lot of them became JW when they were adults and a lot of kids who were raised in it want nothing to do with it once they grow up.

  2. @Ryk

    It is true what you say about the youth. JW has the lowest retention rate of any American religion. A typical witness youth will get baptized into the religion around age 13. About two-thirds will leave during the teen years, some disfellowshipped for usual adolescent indiscretions others fading away during college.

    P.s. linking to your article on my blog @

  3. I like to argue with JW's (for obviously different reasons) but got blacklisted a couple of years ago.

    They give our house a wide berth. :(

  4. Basically JW's get training to preach and they generally rehearse their presentations regularly.


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