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What to do about religious ministries

Old 11-18-2017, 01:01 AM
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What to do about religious ministries

This is a bit off topic but still has to do with my sobriety as I am doing my best to not get too stressed about things, about saying "no", etc.

I have these very nice Jehovah's Witnesses who come to my house on what is starting to become a very regular basis. I have always said hi and have taken their little pamphlets because I feel like if handing out this stuff and making a visit is really what is going to get them into their heaven who am I to deny them that? If taking a little booklet and saying thanks will do anything to further their chances of getting into heaven, why not? It doesn't cost me a thing to just take the booklet and then thumb through it or just simply throw it into the recycling. I have no intentions of joining their church, inviting them into my house for further discussion or converting to a religion. But again, it doesn't hurt to be nice and help them... or does it?
My ex boyfriend tells me what I am doing is actually wrong, that I am giving them false hope they might convert me (which may be true) and that I should just say no and not speak to them at all.
I have a very hard time with this. First, it is difficult for me to be rude. Secondly, again, I feel like if I can give them a little lift or make them feel like they are doing their witnessing work well, why not? But it has gotten to the point where they are now coming by multiple times per week and are dropping off bigger and bigger books. In the past I had no issue just recycling them, now I am concerned about her amount of money that went into these larger publications and the many trees that went into producing them, we're talking hundred page paperback materials.
But now I am in so deep. I don't know how to politely tell them that I don't want to join their church, I never had any intention of it, I was just trying to be nice.
I thought being at work all day would help but now they have figured out my schedule and come by on my lunch break and the weekends.
HELP!
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Old 11-18-2017, 01:04 AM
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Please no religion bashing on this thread, not that any of you nice people would, but I want to put that out there. Everyone has their own beliefs and ways of getting through this life and I celebrate that, even if it is not for me.

What I am more getting at here is how to say "no" and back out of something so sensitive when I have already made the mistake of letting it get this far. This could be anything- religious witnesses, a social commitment that one regrets, etc etc.
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Old 11-18-2017, 01:25 AM
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Sorry, I wanted to clarify one other thing. this really is a post spurred on by the idea of saying "no"
In my work with my old psychologist we worked a lot on my feelings of guilt and the idea of a "god complex" as he called it. He would try to show me that often my idea of being nice was really a result of my "god complex" and the idea that little old me would have any sort of effect whatsoever on situations outside of my control. For example, I once suffered unnecessarily over a dinner I arranged for some very good clients at one of my villas. We went to the restaurant I recommended and had arranged and the dinner was awful- incredibly slow service, tiny portions, bad food, etc. I felt such tremendous guilt and regret over this that I dedicated an entire hour of therapy to it. He explained I had a god-complex to feel somehow responsible for this. I was simply trying to explain that I felt bad that I had talked up the restaurant and then had them spend money there when it was anything but good. but he was on about this god-complex.

This situation with the Jehovah's Witnesses could fall into that category I suppose. I somehow feel that ME, me me me, could possibly do something to help these people when in reality it is not like I am chartering an airplane and flying them straight into the great big castle in the sky myself.

I am really trying to do sobriety differently this time, after my last relapse. I am willing to do anything and everything and I see now that I must do important work on myself. I want to be a better person, live an honest and honorfull life and I need to work out how to do that while still staying true to my nature. So, being nice, helpful, generous, empathetic (for those are the qualities I most cherish in myself) but not doing so in a dishonest way. For example here, being able to tell these people I do not want to join their religion and not accepting their visits or materials but do so in a way that feels nice, helpful, generous and empathetic.

Oi oi.
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Old 11-18-2017, 01:45 AM
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I think it could be a great exercise in saying 'no thanks I'm not interested', and working through the feelings that 'no' will probably dredge up in you.

It gets easier to say no the more you do it - you can be firm but still polite

D
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Old 11-18-2017, 04:26 AM
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You can be honest with them.

Say something like, “I need to apologize to you guys for giving you a false impression. I’m not really interested in converting and never have been; I just figured that if it was an important part of your ministry, I was happy to help by accepting literature.”

“It’s been pointed out to me that I’ve actually been leading you on and getting your hopes up. I’m truly sorry. I wish you the best, but it would be a waste of your time and effort to pursue me anymore.”

Of course they’ll chime in with comments, and you’ll have to play it by ear; but stay true to the main message: “I wanted to be nice, but I’m actually wasting your time.”

End by reiterating that you’re sorry, and also that you would prefer that they not come back.

If they try to entreat or insist, just say, “I really mean it. I’m not interested.”

If they still push back (and they probably won’t), tell them that you’re going to close the door. If they don’t immediately leave, just do it.
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Old 11-18-2017, 04:55 AM
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a simple "thanks, but it's not for me" is all you need to say.

I'm sure they get dozens of polite refusals every day, & probably a fair few not-so-polite ones too. I bet they won't bat an eye & will have forgotten about it in two minutes.

there's no point giving them free space in your head when they will almost certainly have put you out of their heads by the time they're two houses down the street from yours.
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Old 11-18-2017, 05:02 AM
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ya dont have to be ride, mera, when making amends and setting boundaries.
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Old 11-18-2017, 06:17 AM
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They come to my house too..... and they put these creepy children's comics in my mail box, I guess for my kids to read. I shoo them away. I don't agree with people pushing their beliefs on others. I've told them how those comics make me and my children uncomfortable but they've persisted with them for literally years. In my opinion they are the ones with the problem. I believe everyone is free to their own beliefs, but I should be free not to have someone else's imposed onto me.
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Old 11-18-2017, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
I think it could be a great exercise in saying 'no thanks I'm not interested', and working through the feelings that 'no' will probably dredge up in you.

It gets easier to say no the more you do it - you can be firm but still polite

D
^^^ this. Saying no does them no harm, and learning to say no in such a low-stakes situation is EXCELLENT practice for you.
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Old 11-18-2017, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by andyh View Post
a simple "thanks, but it's not for me" is all you need to say.

I'm sure they get dozens of polite refusals every day, & probably a fair few not-so-polite ones too. I bet they won't bat an eye & will have forgotten about it in two minutes.

there's no point giving them free space in your head when they will almost certainly have put you out of their heads by the time they're two houses down the street from yours.
Exactly.
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:33 AM
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When we were kids they would come around and our Mom would have us hide in the house and be quite until they stopped knocking! As a kid it was fun to "hid out" from someone. My Dad, on the other hand, would chase them out of our yard. He had reason though because one time one of them stuck his food in the door so my Dad coudn't close it after he told them No! That guy was the first one chased out of the yard : ).

I look at it like feeding cats, if you keep giving them food scraps they will keep coming around. If you really aren't interested in joining their religion then tell them no thanks. Then again maybe you are and in that case you should go to one of there services to see if you like it or not.

By the way, the last one that stopped by my house I took the pamphlet and thanked the nice lady and told her that I am not interested at this time but I would look at the pamphlet and contact them if I changed my mind so she didn't need to stop by again. She was polite and shook my hand and off she went. I haven't had any more stop in some years now.
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:07 AM
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No disrespect to you for your post... but I really think this topic should be in another thread? Sorry...it just looks more like a religion discussion.
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:36 AM
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I have a "no soliciting" sign outside my front door.
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:43 AM
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As long as you say it in a nice conversational tone, then you are not being rude. You are simply stating your feelings on the matter. The other person can do what they want with the information conveyed.
" I have no intentions of joining their church, inviting them into my house for further discussion or converting to a religion"
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:44 AM
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Mera, they are being rude by coming to your home uninvited, knocking on your door and interrupting your day. You would not be rude to say 'No', firmly.
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:42 AM
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Your too nice Mera and they are playing on your niceness .
The same thing happened with me in a different situation at a work place where there was a very odd chap who if you let him preached and quoted the bible , A LOT .
I also didn't want to be rude and would let him have his little chats but they gathered frequency and depth . People were noticing that I was spending time listening to him and making comments such as "are you converted yet " .
I found it hard to have to say to him please , no more religious talk but I had too . The poor guy couldn't understand my sudden change of heart so in a way I lead him on , I patronized him for the sake of not being rude which done none of us any good .
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Old 11-18-2017, 01:30 PM
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.....don't answer the door?
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Old 11-18-2017, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by AnvilheadII View Post
.....don't answer the door?
You beat me to that response
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:06 PM
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Most belief systems believe in simple honesty. Tell them the truth. Yes they may be disappointed, disappointed feelings won’t be forever. Sounds like you have some spiritual interests that you might benefit from some searching. It also is obvious that you have a kind caring heart, and all spiritual belief systems would welcome a heart like that. My spiritual beliefs are key to my sobriety and if you ever want to ask me questions, feel free to PM me. Blessings
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Old 11-18-2017, 11:55 PM
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Thank you everyone. Thank you Glimer for clearly spelling out what I can say to them, it is perfect. It will make me feel quite nervous and upset but it must be done. Yesterday after they brought this big book I realised just how far I had let it go.

I just have such a hard time doing something that I feel might hurt someone else's feelings. This is what my doctor called the god-complex. I also just am, for better or worse, a nice person and it makes me happy to be nice. But I'm not so nice I'm going to join a religion- particularly one of which I disagree with several of the basic tenants.

I do sometimes not respond when they come. I have a fence around my yard and a gate in order to enter, they ring there at the gate. The problem is when I am outside and they catch me.

I'll say something, I will. I saved the book they gave me instead of throwing it away, so next time they come I will get the book and take it out to them and explain my position.


And yes, I am very curious about all spiritual beliefs, I find it to be something beautiful. I have never had some overwhelming experience or belief myself, but when I see others exhibiting this I am deeply moved by the intensity of their experience. I remember being on holiday in Morocco and hearing the call for prayer come out over the town loudspeakers and watching the waitstaff in a restaurant stop everything and get down on their knees to pray, it was one of the most powerful things I have ever witnessed. In any case, I don't personally share in that belief but I can understand why others would. I like to be a decently informed member of society so I have done basic research on all major religions just to be informed and educated, but nothing really called out to me and made me want to research more.

All of the above said I do pray and do believe that there is a power greater than myself at work. And I believed this prior to getting started with AA. I often see miracles all around me and just know that I am not in charge.

But all that is getting more into a religious discussion (sorry heaven!) and not about the "saying no" issue that was my original concern. So I will leave it at that.

Have a nice Sunday everyone, a day of the week important in many major religions
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