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Doorstep Canvassing

(28 Posts)
Anne58 Wed 09-Jan-13 12:44:27

Hello all,

I had a visit from the Jehovahs Witnesses earlier. It was around 9.30 and I'm ashamed to say I was still in my bathrobe, having been a bit late going for my shower. I opened the door to see 2 middle agedish ladies, to whom I lied, saying that I was ill, as an excuse for not being dressed. They made sympathetic noises and asked if it was a virus, I said I wasn't sure, they said "Well, we'll leave you this copy of the Watchtower then."

I wasn't aware that the Watchtower, or any other religious publication for that matter, had any curative properties for viruses, either real or ficticious.

However, that is not my point. Whilst I have a certain admiration for those of strong faith, I do not see why they seem to think that they have a right (or duty?) to make unsolicited visits to try to talk to others about it.

To me, in some ways, this is the religious equivalent to telephone cold calling by double glazing companies.

If I was in the market for new windows, I would not sit at home hoping that someone might ring me about it. I would pro actively contact them, ask about the service they provide, costs, guarantees etc. Similarly, if I was considering becoming an adherent of any particular faith, I would do appropriate research and make my decision.

There are things that I enjoy and that I think enrich my life, but I do not go around knocking on strangers doors brandishing a copy of the Racing Post with my tips for the day picked out in yellow highlighter, nor a plate of smoked salmon and parmesan cheese straws saying "You really must try these, they are delicious".

I did wonder whether this should be put under the AIBU section, but decided to put it here.

Thank you.

Ana Wed 09-Jan-13 12:51:42

I think it's part of their religion, isn't it, to go round 'spreading the word'? They really believe that you're missing out, not like most door to door salesmen, who are on commission!

Anne58 Wed 09-Jan-13 12:53:41

I hadn't thought of it like that Ana good point.

Lilygran Wed 09-Jan-13 12:53:51

Members of Jehovah's Witnesses do have a duty to go out on missionary activities, door to door. The Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints) put a similar obligation on young men who often get sent abroad. The Salvation Army meets in public places to play music and hold prayer meetings. Some CoE and RC parishes have public processions during major festivals. Churches re-enact the Nativity in public. And this isn't restricted to churches; in a number of cities, menorah are lit in public gardens to celebrate Hannukah, Diwali lights are lit in public places......Most religions have some element of sharing the good news with others. I'm not sure what phoenix's problem is.

Lilygran Wed 09-Jan-13 12:55:51

And that's just in this country. If you lived in Italy or Spain or Japan or a Muslim country, you would find religious festivals take over the whole town or even country.

Barrow Wed 09-Jan-13 12:59:13

Jehovah Witnesses believe that only a certain number of people will be taken up into heaven when the rapture happens. If they can convert a set number of people to their faith, they will be among the lucky ones who will rule with God in heaven over the rest of us left below.

Whenever I get them knocking on my door I do try to be polite but some do try to push it a bit too hard and then I just tell them they are interested in their own salvation, not mine.

I particular don't like it when I see them bringing young children around with them, especially if the weather is bad.

MiceElf Wed 09-Jan-13 13:06:04

I do find JWs a bit irritating, but, - having canvassed for the Labour Party, when it was the Labour Party, I do have a certain respect for them. It takes a lot of courage to knock at a strange door. I always explain that I am a Catholic and thank them for taking the trouble and close the door firmly.

On a lighter note, last week they knocked at the Priest's House. He said he had already been interrupted by cold phone callers three times and was in the mood for a discussion. It seems that 45 minutes later they took their leave explaining that he obviously knew his Bible better that they!

JessM Wed 09-Jan-13 13:06:06

I think Phoenix would prefer not to be disturbed? Although there is a right in this country to knock on doors - at elections etc - it is a bit of a nuisance at times, particularly for disabled people who struggle to answer the doorbell.
(or for bad bad people who are still in their dressing gowns - shame on you )grin
I always say "Sorry I am not interested" often before they have opened their mouths, which always gets a shrug. They never ever try to leave me any literature. A big mistake to beat about the bush - it only takes a chink for them to think they are being encouraged.
I do disapprove of them dragging their poor children around. Imagine if you were 12 and your parents insisted you join in with this activity and you saw people from school - or rather they saw you. shock

Barrow Wed 09-Jan-13 13:14:47

The reason I object to them bringing their children is that some people do get angry and aggressive towards them and this is not good for the children to witness.

I don't object to other faiths having public displays of their faith and find many of them very interestings, however, I can choose whether or not I watch, what I object to is being disturbed in my own home, a place where I should be able to be left in peace.

BAnanas Wed 09-Jan-13 13:39:48

I too have had Jehovah's Witnesses round and although it may be part of their religion to do this I personally feel it is unacceptable. We live in a three storey house, the last time they were round I had come down from the top floor just having got of of the shower, tore down stairs with just a towel round me, to be confronted with several women who said something along the lines of "we've come to talk to you today about Jesus!" Annoying!, particularly as JessM has stated previously if you happened to be disabled and found it an effort to get to the door. Whether you follow a religion or are an atheist I don't think it's something you would necessarily want to discuss on the doorstep. Also as they are Christian, they are going to surely knock on the doors of people from non Christian faiths and I feel they could well annoy them. It's intrusive, I just don't think they should be doing this, some will not want to declare what they believe, or not believe, and defend that to total strangers. Excuse my ignorance but are Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists one and the same anybody?

Lilygran Wed 09-Jan-13 13:42:32


MiceElf Wed 09-Jan-13 13:43:29

No they are not the same. Nor are either of them recognised by the World Council of Churches as Christian.

MiceElf Wed 09-Jan-13 13:46:14

But you know what, the worst experience in the world is canvassing AFTER the JWs have already annoyed the householders. Not an experience I would care to repeat. Even though they were smart and we were scruffy.

janthea Wed 09-Jan-13 13:50:25

Phoenix I agree with you. I hate people 'cold calling' on me, be they 'missionaries' or selling something. I particularly dislike it at night time as I live alone.

If and when I want double glazing, insurance, religion or anything else, I will sort it out myself!

vampirequeen Wed 09-Jan-13 14:00:20

They're different sects.

I don't mind the JWs calling. I enjoy baiting them. I give them a chance to escape by telling them I'm a Roman Catholic, if they don't run for the hills, I add that they are free to try to convert me but at the same time I will be trying to convert them. If they're stupid enough to stay after that then it's open season.

If you ever feel like baiting one the easiest way is to demand that they show you where in the Bible they're quoting from. They work on the theory that we know very little if anything particularly about the Old Testament so they'll often quote something from Daniel or Kings. I've discovered they actually know the quotes don't know where to find them. It's wonderful to watch them begin to panic when you demand, "Show me where it says that."

Then when they are totally flustered and have done their best to persuade you that this is the end time and pointed out all the world events that prove it ask them who is the most important person in the Bible and who's teaching should we follow. They will say Jesus. Then direct them to Luke 12:40 "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Challenge them to explain why there would be signs and warnings if, as he said, Jesus is going to return unexpectedly.

Several times I've had the poor souls lost for words saying they'll bring it up at the next meeting.

Am I evil....well they seem to think so grin

tanith Wed 09-Jan-13 14:09:53

They usually only manage to get two words out before I politely say no thankyou and shut the door. I don't wish to waste their time or mine by discussing their God.

BAnanas Wed 09-Jan-13 14:12:28

vampirequeen, you are very naughty, I have a friend like you who likes engaging JW in arguments on the doorstep, she seems to get them around more frequently than me and likes to ring the changes in her religious beliefs, so far she's been RC, Jewish and Druid, next time she tells me she's going to be a Scientologist so she can spout back to them about Thetans!

whenim64 Wed 09-Jan-13 14:28:50

My father used to regard any doorstep caller as open season for sport. As soon as they opened their mouths, he would say 'shut the gate as you leave, we can't have more like you getting in, can we?' Then he would slam the door and leave them stood there, including the vicar who came by invitation to visit my sick mum! When he was too poorly to get to the door, he put a notice in the porch, warning cold callers, JWs and 'any other mumbo-jumbo spouting wasters' to knock at their peril. He wasn't a very welcoming man, even with his family!

Ella46 Wed 09-Jan-13 14:33:33

I have a sign on my porch door telling salesmen and religious groups not to bother!

Ana Wed 09-Jan-13 14:34:55

Ella, that's probably against the law these days....(discrimination) grin

janthea Wed 09-Jan-13 15:14:39

I usually just say 'no thank you' and close the door. I can't be bothered to waste time on them.

However, I did once engage with some Mormons for a few minutes and tied them into knots, but then got bored and said that I would never agree with them and 'goodbye'.

annodomini Wed 09-Jan-13 16:28:41

I don't waste time with them either. When I knocked on JWs' doors at election time, they gave me very short shrift because, on principle, they won't take part in the political process.

Anne58 Wed 09-Jan-13 16:34:40

Some of their principles worry me, I believe there was a case some years ago where the courts had to intervene because a JW couple would not allow their very ill daughter to have a life saving blood transfusion.

annodomini Wed 09-Jan-13 16:45:02

A regular feature of the plots of 'Casualty'/Holby City phoenix! I'm sure that when they run short of ideas, they trot out the JWs.

crimson Wed 09-Jan-13 17:42:20

I used to be quite pleasant to JW's when they called until I realised after a few years that they homed in on whichever scare story was doing the rounds at the time. Nuclear war; HIV etc etc. When I realised what they were doing I despised them for preying on peoples fears. They probably say now they can protect us from Piers Morgan coming back to our shores confused.