The Most Important Job for JWs

I’m getting this out a day late because it was a busy week.  Since today is Saturday, it made me think about how my Saturday mornings were for the majority of my life. In the years since I’ve been out of the Jehovah’s Witness religion, I’ve been enjoying my freedom.  No meetings, no studying, no assemblies, and most of all, NO FIELD SERVICE!

So What Exactly Is It?

In a nutshell, it’s looking for new members.  Obviously most people don’t come to their local Kingdom Hall looking for someone to study with them, though I’m sure the Watchtower Society will say that it’s happened before.  Believe it or not, this activity, called the ‘preaching work’, goes back to the early Christians.  JWs are taught that in Jesus’ day, his disciples went door to door in pairs talking spreading the good news.  So that is why they must do it.  Jesus and his disciples set the example.  His followers were commanded to preach, and that was the most important thing any JW could do.

A.K.A

The preaching work has several different names within the JW world.

  • Field service
  • Out in service
  • Preaching work
  • Field ministry
  • Out in the field
  • Witnessing
  • Door to door

No matter what you call it, you’re doing the same thing: offering some literature and in time, a Bible study.  In some cases a Bible study might be offered right away.  A Bible study is a week-by-week study course that consists of a JW Bible (The New World Translation) and the latest book they’re using for Bible studies.  The student normally would pick a time that’s convenient for them, and the JW will meet with them at that same time each week and go over a chapter in the book.  A good student will prepare ahead of time, reading and highlighting the answers.  Even looking up scriptures.  The topics they study are about the teachings and beliefs of Witnesses.  It’s all presented in a way that makes it sound appealing and sensible.  Nothing too crazy is mentioned, at least not at first.  By the time it does come up, the student is already so hooked that they don’t see how illogical JW reasoning can be.

Once the student progresses through the book, has gone to some meetings, and is showing signs of great improvement from where they started, they will get baptized.  I’ve never conducted a lengthy Bible study or had a student get baptized, but I imagine it must feel very rewarding.  This is the ultimate goal of the field ministry, to bring someone into the Truth.  (I will explain ‘The Truth’ in a later post).

Saturday is the most popular day for field service, and door to door is the most common type.  There are other kinds though: letter writing, phone witnessing, informal witnessing, street witnessing, parking lot witnessing, and serving where the need is great.  There’s a new type of witnessing that started after I left, so I’m not sure what its proper name is.  But I’ve seen pairs of JWs with a literature cart standing in various areas, waiting for someone to approach them and ask questions about the publications they have displayed. Not sure how I would have felt engaging in this type of witnessing, if I would have liked it or not.  I’ll never know.  But I’m sure this type starts the same as any other field service day, and that’s with a meeting.

Before You See Them

Before the JW’s end up on your street, they’ve already had it all planned out.  You meet at either the Kingdom Hall or at someone’s house.  An elder will lead the group in a brief meeting where they will review the articles and/or publications being placed for the week or month.  People will raise their hand to discuss what they plan on offering, and presentations will be suggested.  After that, the elder will put together the car groups. Sometimes, people will have made arrangements to ‘work together’ (walk from door to door together) earlier in the week.  If so, they will be put with either another pair (married couple, parent & child) or with two other people who have no arrangements.  3-4 people make a car group.  Once everyone has been assigned to a group, now they have to be told where to go.  Some people already have what’s called Territory.  Those are little cards with a tiny map of a neighborhood on it.  Someone from each car group will have one of these cards.  All the groups load up in each other’s cars and carpool to one of the streets on it.  Once there, those who aren’t already paired up will decide who will work with who and then they get started walking down the street.

You knock on a door and if you’re like me, hope nobody answers.  If not, great.  Just write down their house number.  This is your list of not-at-homes.  You will most likely have picked up a special little sheet of paper at the KH that is used just for this purpose.  In the unlikely and unfortunate even that someone does open the door, take a deep breath and start your presentation!  Give a brief introduction of yourself and the person with you, say how you were in their neighborhood this morning (ha!) and wanted to stop by to share something with them if they have a moment.  (Pull out your magazines while saying this.)  Show them the cover of the Watchtower or Awake or book that you’re offering and briefly explain what it’s about. Try your best to make it sound interesting and exciting!  If you’re feeling especially bold, read a scripture that you’ve already bookmarked in your Bible.  Hand them the magazines, hope that they will reach out and take them, then state that maybe you’ll return at another time to see if they had any questions.  If you’ve made it this far, you’re doing better than most!  Some get turned away the moment they open their mouths…it’s happened to me too many times to count.  If they are even mildly interested, get out your pad and write their name down.  Tell them you’ll be back in a week or two.  Say goodbye and that’s it, you’re done!  For now.  As you walk to the next house, you and your partner will have some small talk.  They’re probably telling you how good you did and stuff like that.  Their turn will be at the next door, where they will repeat what you just did.

Conclusion

This post was a little longer than usual, I think.  For that, I apologize.  Then again, wouldn’t the most important job of a Jehovah’s Witness deserve the longest blog post? Haha. You tell me.  I would like to hear your thoughts on this and my other blog posts.  If you have anything you want explained or would like to know about, just ask me about it and I will do my best to answer it.  I thank you for your support of my blog.

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A Day in the Life

Most people only see what JW’s are like from a distance, maybe walking door to door on a Saturday morning. At most, you may live or work with one and are familiar with some of their activities.  But have you ever wondered what it’s like to actually be one?

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Get ready to rise bright and early! You’ll need to allow time to read the Daily Text.  That’s a small booklet that has a Bible text for each day of the year.  Don’t just read it and put it down…read the comments, ponder over them, even grab your Bible and read the whole chapter that the verse came from.  From time to time throughout the day, think back on it.

If you have a day job, you’ll head to work. Plan on eating lunch alone, unless you happen to work with another Witness.  You know it’s not a good idea to eat with worldly people.  Did you remember to bring your publications?  “Bait and wait” is used by school kids and adults alike.  If you leave your Watchtower or Awake or some other JW book just sitting on your desk, someone may ask you what it is, which opens the door for a Bible discussion and possibly, a Bible study.  Yay!

Since you’ll be eating lunch alone, might as well get started on the week’s Watchtower study. Save surfing social media and shopping online for the bathroom.  Doing your study during your lunch break will give you a nice head start and will ensure you’ll have time to do your other studies.

Still Going…

Work is done, time to head home. What better way to handle that rush-hour traffic then to listen to some Kingdom Melodies?  Just the thing to keep Jehovah in the forefront of your mind and prevent road rage (Satan) from creeping up.  That music is instrumental, perhaps you’re in the mood to sing.  Pop in the Singing Kingdom Songs CD and sing the same stuff you sing every week at the Kingdom Hall.  (I will say, some of these songs are better than most of the stuff on the radio nowadays, anyway.)

Stopping for gas or at a store is the perfect time to engage in some informal witnessing. This is why you’ll have a stash of Watchtowers, Awakes, and various tracts in your car and on your person at all times.  Don’t want to disappoint Jehovah with missed opportunities!  Strike up a conversation with the nearest stranger and hope that they’ll accept your literature so you can mark that down on your field service report.

Finally home, dinner was eaten, time to relax…with your Bible. Don’t want to get behind on your Bible-reading schedule!  Just a few chapters is all.  Oh and maybe you can look over the field service offerings for the week and start coming up with a presentation so you’ll be prepared Saturday morning.

 Rinse and Repeat

And this is what happens every day pretty much, when it’s not a ‘meeting night’. I will go into that in a future blog post.  Tired yet?  Just reading that has me worn out.  Jehovah’s Witnesses are busy people, but they don’t mind.  They think they are doing it all for Jehovah and securing their place in his Book of Life.

My life is busy now, but I spend more time being busy with my family and pursuing a healthy way of life, like going to the gym before work. Sure, I take time out to worship God, that’s important to me.  But it doesn’t have to dominate my schedule in order to be acceptable to Him.  After all, God can read our hearts, and He extends grace to us all.  And that is good enough for me.

5 Jobs No JW Will Ever Have

For most of us, we remember being asked what we wanted to be when we grew up.  My answer was always a nurse.  Somehow though, when I was in high school and could have started taking some nursing classes then, I didn’t.  The years I schooling that I thought it would take seemed daunting to me, so I gave up on the idea of that career path.  Some days I wonder what my life would be like now had I pursued it anyway.

Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), there are a number of jobs that go against the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and therefore anyone looking for employment would need to steer clear of them if they want to remain in good standing within the Watchtower Society.   Here are five of them, in no particular order:

BBall player pic5) Professional ball player

4) Actor/singer/rapper

3) Author of any self-help book

2) Psychic

1) Nun

I could have included the reasons why each of the above professions are not allowed, but I would have found myself copying and pasting pretty much the same thing for each one. A main reason is that most of these would require spending an excessive of time with worldly people, who, in JW eyes, are bad association.  A good and faithful Jehovah’s Witness associates only with fellow Witnesses…no chance of picking up bad habits there…

Stack Of Books

Another reason is that these jobs wouldn’t allow enough time for studying, regular meeting attendance, and the required field service hours–all of which are vital to any worshiper of Jehovah.  Actually, I can give more specific reasons for a couple of the above jobs.  Besides the reasons I already mentioned, there’s yet another reason why a JW can’t author self-help books.  It’s because the answer to all of life’s problems is The Bible, plain and simple.  Any other advice is simply man’s thoughts based on imperfect thinking and reasoning.

The psychic and nun are obvious I think…JW’s don’t believe in psychics and things of that nature.  Anything that can’t be explained is from Satan and his demons, they say.  Nuns, even though they believe in God and live to follow His principles, do not worship the true God, Jehovah, nor are their beliefs in harmony with JW beliefs.  So, in essence, they worship Satan.

For the unfortunate Witness kid that dreams of becoming any one of the above people when he or she grows up, I hope they find a career that will still be rewarding and will allow them to share their talents and abilities with the world.  I believe that there is a place for God in our life, but serving him doesn’t have to interfere with our dreams, or vice versa.  kid thinking

No Easter For You!

What do chocolate bunnies, colored eggs, and baskets all have in common? If you said they’re part of Easter celebrations, you’d be partly right. There’s something else they have in common—Pagan roots!

Why Do Origins Matter?

Easter basketThey really don’t, not anymore. I mean, most people don’t even know the origins of holidays, and even if they do, we celebrate them for different reasons nowadays. Most holidays are all about having fun and spending time with family and friends. Try telling that to a Jehovah’s Witness, though. To them, it doesn’t matter if the origins are still relevant or not…if they in any way go against their beliefs, and especially if they involve Pagans, they are to steer clear of it.

But Isn’t Easter About Jesus?

To most people, Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you’re a Christian, this is a big deal to you, and therefore celebrating Easter would be a big deal to you. In case you didn’t know, JW’s are Christians, too. Yet they want nothing to do with Easter because of those pesky origins. I’m not going to go into detail about what they are, that can easily be Googled. My job is simply to let people know why Witnesses roll their eyes when talks of Easter egg hunts and Easter baskets come up. Oh, and don’t get them started on Easter Sunday! How full the churches get for that one day out of the year, while the rest of the year there are rows of empty seats. For shame! Lol.

When I was a Witness, the one thing I looked forward to around this time of year were the chocolate marshmallow bunnies. As a lover of sweets, I didn’t care if it was holiday-related or not. I bought it. I’m sure many other JW’s would have disapproved of my sweet selections, but whatever. It was the only time of year you could get marshmallow bunnies and eggs.

Choc bunnyThis year, my husband and I took our daughter to have her picture taken with the Easter bunny. The photographer got her to smile eventually, and the picture came out beautifully. My mom bought her a lovely Easter outfit, and this Sunday she is coming to church with us, where me and the rest of the choir will sing some special Easter songs. I am fully embracing my exit from the JW cult, enjoying every birthday, holiday, and other things this world has to offer. The origins are in the past—the present is for family, friends, and fun.

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The Smurf Story

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Welcome to the weekend! It’s finally Friday. Every Friday, new movies come out in theaters. I’m not sure if there’s anything out right now that has me wanting to find a sitter and rush to the nearest theater, but there is one that I chose to write about this week. That is the animated move called Smurfs: The Lost Village.

No, I’m not writing a movie review, that’s not the type of blog this is. Plus I didn’t see this movie and am not sure if I’m going to. After all, I know nothing about the Smurfs other than it’s this cartoon from the 80’s with these little blue creatures. There’s one other thing that I knew about it since I was a kid—Smurfs are demonic and we should have nothing to do with them. Obviously I know now that this is garbage, and I no longer believe it. But when I was a kid, and my Smurf stuffed animal disappeared, it was very real to me.

So, What’s The Story?

As an adult, I’ve become aware of more stories–or actually, incidents–surrounding the Smurfs. The one I heard about when I was little was that one Smurf doll that Papa Smurfsomeone had suddenly started talking. That was reason enough for my mom to get rid of mine. Some of the other incidents I heard are pretty funny.

One story was that a kid was sitting in a Kingdom Hall and had his or her Smurf stuffed animal there. It suddenly got up, declared “I’m out of here!”, and walked out of the building.

Another story is that a kid who wore Smurf pajamas was bitten by the characters on the fabric.

I bet there are more tales than this out there, but these are the only ones I know of. The common thread here is that apparently, Smurfs are demonic. I’m not sure how Smurfs got to be connected to demon-ism, but somehow it did. And to Jehovah’s Witnesses, anything that they feel fits in the category of being demonic has to be avoided. Even if the stories sound far-fetched. Even if there’s no actual documented evidence of these strange occurrences. If someone said it, it must be true.

Nothing Wrong with Smurfs

In conclusion, I say take your kids to see the movie. Buy them the toys and clothes and other accessories. I have yet to hear about any other incidents of Smurf toys and clothes becoming possessed. If you know of any Jehovah’s Witness kids, you can save yourself the trouble of inviting them to the movies to see it with your kids. They’ll make up an excuse why their kid can’t go. You’ll know the real reason though…and you can laugh to yourself at the silliness of it all. Now, excuse me while I go online to look for some Smurf-abilia to order for my child.

Smurf Toy

JW Terminology 101

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When you become a part of (or grow up in) the Jehovah’s Witness religion, you will learn some new words and phrases that only you and other Witnesses share. There are times when talking to a non-Witness that you need to use “regular” words so they don’t get confused. Here’s an example.

One time when I was a little kid, I was home alone when a maintenance guy came over for something. (Yeah I know, very unwise and dangerous) We had a JW calendar on the wall, and the guy asked where I got it from. Assuming he wouldn’t know what a Kingdom Hall was, I replied, “From my church.” Now, that sentence would make any Jehovah’s Witness gasp in horror. They don’t call their houses of worship churches! Oh well, at my young age I didn’t feel like explaining to some stranger what a Kingdom Hall was, so I took the easy way out and used a word that he would understand.

To help everyone understand better what these words are and what they mean, should you ever hear them for any reason, I have compiled a list of some words and their definitions. Of course these aren’t all of them, I may have to make a JW Terminology Part II one day. For now though, here’s the list:

  • Apostate: a former Witness who speaks against the religion.

  • Armageddon: the day when Jehovah will destroy this world and anyone who’s not a Witness; also Witneses who are not in good standing.

  • Conscience issue: something that isn’t outright wrong, but some may think is unwise. So use your conscience to decide.

  • Disfellowship: the ultimate punishment by throwing a JW out of the religion until they are repentant enough to return.

  • False religion: all religions besides the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  • Good standing: someone who is doing well in the religion.

  • Great Tribulation: the turbulent time that will mark the beginning of Armageddon.

  • Kingdom Hall: the building Jehovah’s Witnesses hold their meetings.

  • Meeting: a religious service

  • New system: the paradise earth that is yet to come.

  • Repentant: when you have overcome your sin and you desire to return to Jehovah.

  • The Truth: the Jehovah’s Witness religion.

  • Worldly: refers to a non-Jehovah’s Witness; also a thing, idea, or style that Jehovah’s Witnesses identify with non-Witnesses.

Did you get all that? I could go on, but I’ll stop here for now. If you happen to overhear two Witnesses talking, or maybe if one should slip up while talking to you and use some of these terms, now you’ll know what they’re actually saying and can secretly judge them in your head (because this stuff is insane, am I right??) Till next time, may Jehovah keep you in his care and keeping. (Lol)

You Are What You Wear

My husband told me recently that he likes when I wear dresses and skirts. The whole time we’ve been together, the only times he’s seen me dress that way was for church. I never thought about it before, but when he mentioned this to me, I was able to pinpoint what the issue is.

A Uniform

When you’re a Jehovah’s Witness, you dress up to go worship. Men wear suits and ties, women wear modest dresses and skirts. Same goes for kids. Anything else is unacceptable. Whether it’s an assembly, convention, or even touring the Watchtower facilities, you better put on your “meeting clothes”.

As far back as I can remember, I never liked ‘dressing up’ if I didn’t have to. It reminded me of going to a meeting or in the door-to-door ministry, neither of which I cared for. So my clothing of choice was jeans and sneakers.

This, I realized, was why as an adult I avoided buying pretty sundresses and such…subconsciously of course. I’ve decided that this summer, I will buy a few cute dresses and skirts to wear when my husband and I go out together. This will help me to associate feminine clothing to fun, enjoyable things.

Watchtower Style

Here are some other parts of the JW dress code you may find interesting:

  • Men aren’t allowed to have beards

  • Women having multiple piercings is frowned upon

  • Bold hairstyles and colors are considered “worldly”

  • Males have to have short hair

  • Tattoos are a no-no

  • Ears are the only things allowed to be pierced

  • Only modest, gender-appropriate clothing is allowed

I’m sure if I think hard enough, I could go on. But I’ll end it here for now. In some ways, their style of dress isn’t much different from other religious folk. Other things, however, are a bit extreme. This just goes to show the lengths the leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses will go to in order to distance themselves further and further away from everyone else.

Next Week!

In my next blog, I will explain some of the JW terminology, like “worldly” and “meetings” mentioned above. Who knew religion should come with an English lesson! Bring a pad and pen and takes notes, you’ll want to know this.

4 Reasons Jehovah’s Witnesses Avoid St. Patrick’s Day

$4 billion dollars is a lot of money. Well that’s what was spent on St. Patrick’s Day festivities in the US last year. That’s not much of a surprise when you think of all the fun stuff that happens around March 17th, the day St. Patrick died in the year 461. Parades, four-leaf clovers, the color green, and of course the Chicago River turning green all mark this fun time of year for everyone, not just the Irish.

Why Not?

But there is a relatively small group of people who you will not find sporting a shamrock or even wearing green. And they surely won’t be seen sipping green beer or attending a parade, either. Yup, those darn Jdubs, ready to give a million reasons why we shouldn’t have fun. Though I’m sure I actually could list a million reasons, or pretty close to it, here are just four:

  • It’s bringing honor to someone other than God and Jesus

  • St. Patrick’s notable acts benefited “false religion”, not JW’s

  • It started as a religious holiday

  • Wearing shamrocks started as a symbol of pride, which is forbidden

Patrick Who?

What can I say, the Witnesses have it in for St. Patrick! They find nothing worth celebrating in any way, shape, or form. March 17th is an ordinary day in the life of a Witness of Jehovah. They show no honor or recognition, even in a lighthearted way, for anyone besides Jesus Christ or God. And they avoid like the plague any type of traditions, because often have Pagan or unscriptural roots.

So next St. Patty’s Day, before you approach someone and give them a pinch, take a good look at them. No green, no go. Keep it moving and save it for someone who will enjoy days like this for what they truly are…occasions to have fun with our family and friends.

The Crazy Reasons Birthdays Are Bad

I was 33 years old the first time someone sang Happy Birthday to me. I wasn’t allowed to celebrate it as a member of the Jehovah’s Witness religion. If you know anybody who is part of this group, then you might know that they don’t celebrate their birthday either. Or their spouse’s birthday or their kids’ birthday. If you didn’t already know this, well now you do. Though it may feel rude to not wish them a Happy Birthday or offer them a piece of birthday cake, fear not. To Witnesses, birthdays are just another day, no different from the day before or the day after.

Say What??

I remember how at every office job I’ve ever had before leaving the Witnesses, inevitably a card would secretly be passed around, usually hidden in a folder. If it was a birthday card, I could not sign it. And that delicious birthday cake in the break room, waiting to be cut up and served to the department? Nope, can’t have any. Needless to say, this made for some pretty awkward moments at work.

The same applied if it was a birthday pizza or potluck…I had to pass on it. If I saw food and didn’t hear what it was for, I had to ask, because if it was for a birthday or holiday I couldn’t have any. I couldn’t even be present at the celebration, I had to stay at my desk or take or break or anything other than participate in this Pagan event. Yeah, this made me feel both awkward and salty.

Are Birthdays Even Mentioned in the Bible?

In the JW religion, they claim that everything they do is from the Bible. That’s supposedly a main thing that separates them from other religions. Every rule, teaching, and belief will have at least one scripture to back it up. They even have scriptures that they use for this absurd teaching about birthday celebrations being wrong. In both scriptures, someone gets killed. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Well here are they are:

  • Genesis chapter 40 says the chief cup bearer was killed at Pharaoh’s birthday party.
  • In Mark 6 is the story of John the Baptist being beheaded at Herod’s party.

Those are two of the few times that birthdays are mentioned in the Bible. As if that weren’t reason enough, they also point out that nobody that Jesus taught celebrated anyone’s birthday because it was considered Pagan. Really? These just sound like excuses to most people. But to a practicing JW, you do what you’re told. And you can’t ask questions or else.

Pass the Birthday Cake, Please!

Since I’ve been out, I have celebrated birthdays and have no intentions of stopping. This July my daughter will be a year old, and my husband and I are excited about sharing her special day with family and friends. After all, that’s really what ANY party is about, right? Having fun with those close to you. Unfortunately, Jehovah’s Witnesses are under the control of people who either misinterpret the scriptures, or they twist them to fit their agenda.

So if you ever wondered why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays, eat birthday cake, or sign birthday cards, now you know! They are simply doing what they are told, whether they fully believe it or even understand all the reasons why or not. The truly believe that they are pleasing God and following His teachings. We, of course, know they are not. But take it from me, don’t bother trying to convince them of this. Just smile, nod, and graciously eat the extra piece of birthday cake that they didn’t eat.

My Introduction

Good evening.  My name is Petrina, and welcome to my blog.  The reason I decided to start a blog is because I want to share my knowledge and experiences growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness. Let me make this clear: I have not been associated with them since 2012, and as a result I have been enjoying my life more than ever before.

The purpose of this blog is not to try and convince current Jehovah’s Witnesses to leave the religion.  Nor is it to try and discourage interested people from joining them.  Although after reading the information on here, I’m sure any interested person would think twice.  The reason I am here and created this blog is simply to share what I know. To help folks with JW relatives, co-workers, neighbors, or acquaintances to better understand them, because honestly they do a lot of strange things!  When I was part of the religion, I felt uncomfortable and even embarrassed at times, and I know I couldn’t be the only one.

The information you will find here is all true, to the best of my knowledge and memory.  I am not going to sugar coat, make excuses, or defend any of the JW teachings and policies.  My goal is to help explain some things that non-JW’s may not understand about them and have possibly been wondering about.  And of course there will be things that the common person wouldn’t and couldn’t know about them without some inside information. Along with explaining what they do and how they operate, I will also sprinkle in some of my own experiences as a Jehovah’s Witness for the first 33 years of my life.  I hope you will join me on this new chapter in my life as a wife, new mother, and now blogger.