Friday, March 22, 2013

"Leaving the Witness" describes adventures of a Jehovah's Witness in China, and the action is all inside

I was kind of floored by this article in The Believer: 

...which describes the author's journey to China as a missionary, and how she found her way out of the walls of Witnesshood through exposure to such a different culture. 

I had a Jehovah's Witness friend in high school, who was a fantastic student but made it clear she had no intention of going to college; I didn't know, though, that discouraging college was POLICY for the denomination. That rather makes me angry. The author paints a picture of a church that carefully discourages exposure to outside thought ... but the idea of proselytizing to China breaks that paradigm.

Particularly striking were paragraphs like this one

"I now understood, [that in Vancouver] I had been nothing more than an English tutor, pulling up in a Volvo and offering free English practice to baffled but appreciative immigrants. In China, there was no mincing of words, now that I could understand the words. These 1.3 billion people I was trying to save looked at life in completely different ways. The concepts I pressed them to grasp and adopt were bizarre abstractions, a not-unpleasant idiosyncrasy one put up with in order to have a Western friend."


  1. Anonymous10:33 PM

    I use our friend as an example for my son. If I remember correctly at one point we both made the mistake of asking her out, but she had to convert us first! or maybe it was just me! Either way, it helps illustrates that a girl doesn't always turn you down for the reasons you think. Ricky W.

  2. Hey, great to see you here, Ricky!