For years now I have been getting emails and contact requests from individuals asking me to send Watchtower literature or to arrange for Bible studies. Most were trying to connect with local Jehovah’s Witnesses near their home but could not get any response from local Kingdom Halls. Some months I get a dozen or more of those kinds of emails.
Many complained that when they looked up the phone numbers for a nearby Kingdom Hall, the numbers didn’t work, the number didn’t have a message machine or voicemail, or if they did have voicemail – no one returned their calls.
I would respond to them and suggest that they go to JW.org, look up the Kingdom Hall in their area and get the contact information. I also suggested that they call Watchtower in New York and have them send literature and Bibles.
I find handling these inquiries to be awkward. I know that most ex-JWs would simply erase the messages or send a response back that said, “I’m not the Watchtower! Go to JW.org!”
On the other hand, I can see these misrouted requests as opportunities to do a little “anti-Witnessing” of my own. When I contact them, I ask why they would want to study the Bible with a cult like Jehovah’s Witnesses? After all, there are many excellent books about Bible history and Christian theology available in local libraries and dozens of recent books on the Bible and theology sitting on used bookshelves at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores.
When I respond to these inquiries I try to take a balanced approach, hoping they will see the error of their ways and the dangers ahead. Hopefully, they will come to me for more (anti) JW information and facts.
Recently I got an email from someone who was upset, feeling that I had led him astray when I’d given him information about contacting the Watchtower earlier that week.
“You don’t even know what you are talking about. How am I supposed to contact Jehovah’s Witnesses when their email address doesn’t work, they won’t answer their phones and won’t respond to my mail? No one answers the phone at the Kingdom Hall near my home, so I called another Kingdom Hall and they would not help me. They told me that I would have to call or go to the Kingdom Hall in my area.”
I took the fellow’s phone number and called the Watchtower phone line. Unfortunately, it was after 2 PM my time on a Friday (I live in a Pacific Northwest state.) My next opportunity was the following Monday. When I did get someone at Bethel, their response was that the people I represented should call and arrange for someone to come to their home, not me as a third party.
Their reasoning was somewhat valid. JWs might be sent on a wild goose chase by pranksters or set up to be crime victims. While I agreed that seemed to be a reasonable policy, and yet JWs go knocking on strangers’ doors and try to get inside homes to preach.
“We are slowly moving away from that kind of preaching work,” I was told during one call to Watchtower. “We do more preaching by using literature carts and by making personal telephone calls.”
I decided to make some phone calls during New York area working hours and try to talk directly with some of the Watchtower’s support staff. I know that others have done this many times, but their predetermined agenda resulted in calls turning into embarrassing rants intended to engage someone at Watchtower in an argument.
A few days ago I made several attempts to contact Watchtower Support in New York. Several times I was transferred and the call was dropped. A few times I was told that no one was available and I should call back. One recent Friday – at 4 PM New York time – I was told that no one was available and that I should call back Monday.
In every case, the call was answered and forwarded in a professional manner. After the calls were transferred the quality level degenerated. It seemed that the Watchtower’s support staff was convinced that every call would be filled with a barrage of insults or would set up an argument.
I decided to make some calls, but I would be sure to remain professional at all times and speak in a calm, relaxed manner. I would not use the calls to argue religious doctrine but deal directly with technical issues I’ve detected only ask for reasonable resolutions. I would record and keep calls I felt were representative of my both my style and theirs. I would focus on legitimate problems with Watchtower policies or the JW.org website.
Here are two calls that I made during the week of February 15, 2015. I look forward to your comments. (Click on far left side of player bar to start program)
Call handled by Watchtower Computer / JW.org Technical Support:
Longer call handled by JW.org User Support Team Member:
Feel free to comment below. Be sure to share your own experiences dealing with Watchtower Support Services.