Door-to-Door Preaching

After over 40 years on this earth, I finally got my first door-to-door preacher! It was a young, earnest looking fellow who said he was from UT. He tried to tell me about the “female image of God.” I’m oddly disappointed that it wasn’t weirder than that.

At any rate, I’m sure I looked puzzled. I just smiled and said I wasn’t interested, and he and his companions thanked me and went away.

Anyone else have limited experience with them? I’ve always lived in the American South, and have always heard people gripping about them. Maybe our doorways have always radiated evil. Or indifference.

I live in NYC, and I can’t swing a dead cat (not that I would ever do that to a cat, dead or alive) without hitting a damn preacher. I get them on the street corner. I get them on the subway platform. I get trapped them on the subway car. One shuffles off, and another comes on. I get Scientologists. I get Mennonites. I get Baptists. I get insane people. I get people who tell me the Jews are are going to kill us all. I get people who tell me the Aliens are coming and we should have Jesus help us. Sometimes they’re really polished, sometimes they’re comically bad.

They’re better than the shitty musicians. This is why I listen to very loud metal and use old-school headphones, not earbuds and execute my TOUCH ME AND DIE look.

I had a couple of nice old ladies hike all the way up my drive once (about 200 yards uphill) because they didn’t want to open the gates and drive in. Of course I asked them to sit and catch their breath. They were local Biblical based Christians and we had a nice chat about their church.

Then I got a call from a LDS(?) and I think I nearly knocked her off her seat because when she asked to discuss a Bible passage with me, I said sure. It was clear that she’d rarely got past the first question and she must have been reading from a script. I let her get the whole way through then tried to have a conversation about it. More bafflement. Finally, she suggested she could call me back next week. I said sure. And she’s never called since.

I think if you let them talk, it scares the begeezies out of them and they’ll never come back again. Also, they get points for making contacts. So, if you do a door slam, they get the point for having been persecuted. But if you make them talk about what ever it is, that takes up time and lowers their contact numbers.

Since we moved out of the city we’ve had 2 religious calls. One was the pastor from the local Lutheran church who dropped by a tiny loaf of bread and invited us to visit but offered no religious opinions. The second was a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses who didn’t even make it to the door before my husband let them know they weren’t welcome. I think the evangelicals get discouraged by the low soul-per-mile numbers out here in the country.

Even in the city we mostly just got JWs and Mormons. (Lutherans and the Minnesota forms of Baptists and Methodists don’t do the door-to-door thing.) We scared the JWs away and got on their Do Not Visit list, and the Mormons were easy to spot and avoid, traveling as they did in pairs on bicycles with their neatly combed hair, white shirts, black pants and black ties.

We have the JWs and a few other churches. Usually someone making the rounds every 4-6
months. I saw a group of Mormon youths in the supermarket a couple nights ago so they should be around soon.

Every time they stop by I can’t help but recall Kevin Bloody Wilson’s song The Festival of Life (NSFW). I wonder if his suggestions might help get me on the “Do not call” list.

Our JWs are great. They come by about once a month or so. They always say they have a some literature they’d like to leave with me and if I have any questions for them. I say Thank You and No. And they say, Ok, well there’s a number on the literature if you do. Have a nice day.

And that’s the end of it. Takes 2 minutes and no one gets riled up. Maybe we just have really laid back JWs.

No LDS, because our house used to be owned by Mormons and the lambs blood must still be on the door. One JW, but when I told them this was a devout atheist household they turned and ran and have never been back.
Before that I got a Baptist. I didn’t want to play the atheist card, so I told him, no thanks, I’m Jewish. He started on about being saved by the true Messiah and such crap, so I launched into my patented 2,000 years of oppression rant, and scared the crap out of him. They’ve never been back either.
So, peace and quiet at the Voyager house.

I’ve always done the “no thanks” card or even just “don’t answer the door”. We haven’t gotten all that many since the Jehovah Witnesses’ center moved away from down the road. And even before that I can only count the times they came by on one hand. They left some literature on our porch and that was it.

I remember reading something about door-to-door preaching that stuck with me: Tell them no thanks, but invite them in to have a glass of water and take a load off for a few minutes. Chances are they’re thirsty and tired, so this is a kind thing to do and may improve their perception of nonbelievers.

When we moved to the Midwest, a pair of really nice Mormon kids stopped by on their bikes as I was home alone moving up tons of boxes from the sidewalk to the house and offered to help. Since our house is oddly placed up two flights of stairs before you even get to the front door, I took them up on it. They moved every single box and wouldn’t let me give them any money and they didn’t bring up religion once. Weird, but I was really grateful for their help moving! I was glad they didn’t bring up religion, as I am definitely not their customer!

I’ve always had dogs with good, healthy barks. They help.

I’ve never met a JW who wasn’t willing to try to talk over the dog. Weird people.

LDS? Not quite as accepting of the dogs (no, not a Romney joke; I actually agree with his wife), but the last time I actually told them to get off my property and never approach me again, because I did not approve of people who gave one good God damn about what religion anyone else followed.

I have no more against the LDS than any other monotheistic religion, but I am much less understanding of evangelical religions - hell, any religion - since September 11th, 2001.

Unwanted solicitors are why god invented peepholes and front-facing windows. What else would a well-dressed pair of young males be doing on your porch? Don’t freaking open the door unless you want to hear their spiel. Although if you’re in the yard or the door is already open, executing this tactic may be slightly more problematic.

We haven’t had any door-to-door preachers stop by in about 6 or 7 years. When we first moved into this neighborhood, we were getting them about once a month for the first year and then in spurts for the next few years. Its like they go through a listing of all the houses that were recently sold and look upon those people as fresh meat.

On the very rare occasions when I see a strange car pull into my driveway and I’m not expecting anyone, I know it’s time to step out of the view of the big front window and ignore the doorbell. That approach has never failed me.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were working in the garage. The cars were pulled out, the truck was backed up to the open door and it was full of obvious discards for the dump. We were both soaked in sweat, filthy dirty, and at one moment, he had a push broom in hand and I was carrying a large box across to some shelves. That’s when an older white man and a young black woman decided it was the perfect time to walk into our garage to save us. :confused: Seriously, folks, anyone with functioning eyeballs could see that we were in the middle of a large, cruddy task - did they really think we’d invite them in to share their message with us? Frankly, I thought it was particularly nervy that they just walked into the garage uninvited. :rolleyes:

My husband can look really mean and angry, even when he’s not, so when he declined their offer, they scooted back down the driveway and out of our lives. And we were able to finish cleaning our garage in peace.

Around here the God-Botherers only speak Italian. I don’t so I don’t even get to be rude, they just shrug and leave. It is silly really given the post WWII European migrants are dying off and being replaced by newer waves from all over. We are the only skips within cooee* though so will likely stay unbothered even if someone realises that the Word of God needs translating.
*Australians in the area

Back home in New Zealand I used to get them a lot. Here in Australia, not so much. Don’t know what’s different, but I am grateful for it.


I’ve had Baha’i show up a couple times, and JWs every few months. I just take their pamphlets, say thanks, and then they leave. My sister answered the door a few days before Easter. They gave her a pamphlet with three pictures of Jesus, which they described in broken English as “Jesus in a manger, Jesus on a stick, Jesus as king.” Jesus on a stick, heh. Sounds like carnival food. Maybe we should have gone to the Kingdom Hall that week.

I used to be a Mormon. I was a missionary in Polynesia, and my wife went to Brasil. So I have a bit of sympathy for the guys who give up 2 years to their church, however misguided their efforts may be. I enjoyed having them over for dinner once a month as long as I was able to keep the preaching to a minimum.

Then when we informed the bishop that we no longer believed, the missionaries (among others) started showing up a couple times a week. They always claimed they were visiting one of my neighbors and just wanted to take a leak, grab a Gatorade, and chat for a while. One time my 4-year-old answered the door and said “the Mormons are here!” They replied that she’s a Mormon, too. That was one of our first hints that we needed to distance ourselves from the church before the kids got any older. We resigned, and were explicit in our resignation letter that our kids are not to be considered “born in the covenant” Mormons. The missionaries haven’t been back since then.

Eventually some unsuspecting LDS missionaries are going to darken our doorway. It’s not as if they consult a list of what houses to avoid. Our best strategy is probably to be polite, tell them we’re not interested, maybe offer them a toilet and a Gatorade, and send them on their way. Feeding them dinner and/or telling them we’re ex-Mormons would put us back on their radar.

I’ve actually had the opposite vibe from Mormons. About 5 years ago, one of them stopped by my garage sale and started up a chat with me. She was nice, and business was slow, so we talked for awhile and I mentioned that I’m into history. She asked if she could bring by a book for me to read and I said, well what the hell, sure. I’m moving soon anyway. Sure enough she came back with the book and left it and some pamphlets at my door when I wasn’t home. She also wrote to me (handwritten letters!) and I guess she got forwarding materials from the Post Office because I continued to get mail after moving. Always in a handwritten envelope with the same style of writing, too, so it’s not like she just added me to some huge mailing list. I never really responded either but I still get stuff every now and then…

It has been over ten years since I began answering the door only if expecting someone. My friends all know this particular idiosyncrasy of mine, and respect it. I occasionally have someone knock/ring repeatedly. They know I’m home, they hear the dogs barking and the stereo blasting. Do they somehow think if they make enough noise I’ll give in and answer? I never have.:wink: