Saturday, June 17, 2006

My first Japanese cult encounter

I think I neglected to mention that some Jehovah's Witnesses had come to our house 10 days ago and I discussed a little w/ them and then invited them to come back on Friday. So they did (to my surprise). I had read 2 of the Watchtower mags that they gave me, and one was about the identity of Jesus Christ, so that was great - exactly what I wanted to get into.
Anyway, they rang the doorbell when they had said they would and so I came out to stand on the doorstep w/ my big English bible, a bilingual NT and a dictionary. Told them I'd like to discuss who Jesus is and so we turned to Psalm 102:18-28 and then to Hebrews 1:10-12 which quotes the Psalms psg and refers to "the Son" as Jehovah.
So we discussed/wrangled a bit on whether this was referring to Jesus and Jehovah, but it clearly is. Then they tried to take me to Proverbs 8 and turn Jesus into the Wisdom referred to in this psg. Interestingly, quite a few Church Fathers, even some Early ones, spoke of this psg as referring to Jesus as well. These particular JWs have no idea that that's the case, but the case that it refers to Jesus is really weak and I pointed out to them how so. And then I gently directed the discussion back to Ps 102/Heb 1 b/c we clearly see Jesus as Jehovah here.
They tried to explain that Jesus was the conduit God used to create the universe and all that, and I agreed but said we need to go further.
Anyway, the convo ended very amicably and they said they would come back next Friday b/c right now they don't have a "strong" answer for this. I told them that their theology has no answer for it at all, and welcomed them back.

I don't honestly know if I expect them to come back - it would certainly fit w/ established JW patterns to avoid orthodox Christian believers who show themselves to be knowledgeable in the Scriptures. But I'm praying. You can pray for them too - Muramoto and Yamashita are their names.
Finally, I praise God for the way that He answered my prayers that my Jpns would flow well enough to be understood and to understand. They had to repeat a few things thrice but I always caught it the 3rd time, and the dictionary was on target when I needed it to be (about 10 times). Thanks be to God!

6 comments:

Miklos Fejer said...

I talk to those guys sometimes, too.

I'm no theologan, just curious about what folks are thinkin'.

Rhology said...

Hi Miklos,

Thanks for commenting once again!
It's interesting, one has to admit, to talk to cult mbrs, at least SOMEtimes. In this case, since it was in Jpns and all that, it was definitely interesting, but even if it had been in plain old Oklahoma English it would've been of great import to me. For some reason God has seen fit to make my heart really cry out for mbrs of cults, from JWs to Mormons to Soka Gakkai to the Local Church, etc. Hopefully He doesn't regret having done so... ;-)
But here are two thoughts along those lines:
1) Cults, including those that make strong attempts to become mainstream like the JWs and Mormons, exert moderate to strong psychological/sociological pressure on their mbrs to the extent that the mbrs are gradually conformed to the image that the cult desires. The term "brainwashed" carries alot of baggage in English, but it's still mildly applicable in this case. I have materials, for example, that are actual court of law documentation of the Joseph Smith's conviction on the charges of con artistry and treasure-hunting (Joseph Smith founded Mormonism). I can show that to a Mormon and he won't blink - they are AUTOMATICALLY false. Why? B/c he has an *internal* conviction that Mormonism is true, and b/c he has no recourse in his own thinking processes to consider that these documents might not indeed be fakes.
2) The Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans tells us that "no one seeks good, not even one" (Romans 3:10), his first letter to the Corinthians tells us that "the natural man (ie, the non-Christian) does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he does not understand them, for they are spiritually appraised" (1 Cor 2:14), and his 2nd letter to the Corinthians tells us that "the god of this age (ie, the devil) has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God" (2 Cor 4:4). It's not just a socio/psych matter - it's a matter of the heart and spirit.

blue said...

I wish someone could use me as a psychological example of what growing up in the Jehovah's Witness bubble does to a person. I once was a beautiful, shining individual. Now I am broken.

I can appreciate why someone would want to talk to Jehovah's Witnesses when they come to your door. It could be for your own ego, to show others how much more you know than them. Or to rack up points with the almighty trying to save blind ones from silly cults. Or it could just be that you enjoy the religious banter. But, whatever reason it is...nothing good will come of it unless you have a plan.

The people there at your door are there because they truly believe they are God's chosen people. Nothing you will say in contest will change that. But, if you think you can...I hope your face looks good with a blue tint.

Most JWs won't come back to visit a fundamentalist christian even a chatty one for the same reason. There is no exchange when both doors are closed.

It's like playing religious tic-tac-toe. No one wins but the cat.

I can honestly say I know what I am talking about. I was born into the Jehovah's Witness religion. We go back Three generations. I gave my heart and soul to the organization at age 9 when I was baptised.

I knocked on your doors for 33 years. I talked with you, laughed with you...was invited in to your homes. I shared my heart and soul with you and truly believed every single word without question.

Nothing you would have said would have changed one cell in my body or one thought in my heart.

Since I spoke with such conviction, there would however, have been a chance that I would sway you with my dedication. I was a very influencial sales person if I truly believe in my product. If not, we would have let the cat win and I would have smiled and graciously excused myself.

I will let you in on a little secret. When you are talking to Jehovah's Witnesses. Always show them kindness and love. Be polite and hospitable. Become their friend.

They won't expect that. They are told that you are wicked and deserving of death (even/especially if you are devoutly religious and "god-fearing")

Don't dive into scripture to "prove" to them they are wrong. That only makes for stronger willed JWs.

Be aware of your body language. Express genuine openess and interest in what they are saying.

All of this will surprise them in a positive way. The moment you show the slightest inkling you are not interested or could be confrontational...the hairs on their JW radar stand up. They will go into automatic rebuttal mode.

But, if you are kind, gentle and loving. They will remember that for a long time. In time, when the moment is right...your seed of kindness will do it's job.

In my years of public bible work, I had a few encounters with genuinely good people who reached me. Even though I have forgotten their names or where they live, they are written indelibly on my heart.

Danny Haszard said...

I applaud your blog, former JW member speaks out.

The core dogma of the Watchtower organization is that Jesus had his second coming 'invisibly' in the year 1914.Their entire doctrinal superstructure is built on this falsehood.

Jehovah's Witnesses door to door recruitment is by their own admission an ineffective tactic. They have lost membership in all countries with major internet access because their false doctrines and harmful practices are exposed on the modern information superhighway.

There is good and valid reasons why there is such an outrage against the Watchtower for misleading millions of followers.Many have invested everything in the 'imminent' apocalyptic promises of the Jehovah's Witnesses and have died broken and beaten.
---
Respectfully, Danny Haszard www.dannyhaszard.com

Rhology said...

Ah, but Danny, just b/c some religious group destroys people and lies to them on a constant basis, we simply MUST tolerate them and love everyone. Otherwise, we might be mean and nasty.

Thanks for stoppin' by.

blue said...

Alan,

You asked for a little more about how I thought I was a part of the church and such.

I posted on a different blog.

Here is the link:

http://blue-free.blogspot.com