Originally posted 10.04.11
Admit it, you don’t know much about the Jehovah’s Witnesses other than that you fear them. For many, the sight of a well-dressed, smiling couple patrolling the neighborhood can instill the same fear that a gang member would. Unlike that gang member, whose interest in your house is only a possibility, the Witnesses are guaranteed to knock on your door, copy of The Watchtower in hand.
You may know some of the more peculiar details of the Witnesses’ faith–the failed doomsday predictions, their lack of cool holidays or Witnesses’ refusal to salute the flag. Moreover, they refuse blood transfusions and military service. Most peculiar of all, like Jews and Seventh Day Adventists, Witnesses choose to ruin their Saturday with church, rather than the accepted Western tradition of Church on Sunday.
But most people don’t know the price the Witnesses have paid over the years for their anti-militaristic views. Their refusal to serve in World War I angered fascistic governments in Germany and the United States, resulting in persecution and imprisonment. During the Holocaust, Jehovah’s Witnesses paid with their lives, sent to the camps along with Gypsies, Jews, homosexuals, communists and common criminals. But unlike many of the others, whose offense to Nazi Germany was tied to some immutable condition, all the Witnesses had to do to save their own lives was to shut up about the Holocaust. Contrarians to the end, they refused. Their devotion was such that SS captains implored their lethal stooges to be as fanatical as the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Lastly, everyone must agree that given the Witnesses’ literal belief that only 144,000 souls will be admitted to heaven, it’s pretty generous of them to go door to door every week. With such a small number of the elect slated to make it into heaven, a Jehovah’s Witness puts his or her spot in jeopardy with every knock on the door.