Obituary Witnessing: coercing those who are in despair

 

Cemetery photo

Cemetery photo (Source: Unsplash)

A man who endured the death of his daughter recently received an unwelcome letter. Sent by one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the letter expressed sympathy for his loss.

How did this Jehovah’s Witness learn about the man’s tragic loss? Apparently by scouring the obituary section of a Jacksonville, Florida newspaper.

 

According to a news report, a second letter was sent to the man’s church.

A news reporter from the local station reached out to Eva Robinson, the Jehovah’s Witness who sent the letter. Robinson explained that she couldn’t understand why the man was so upset.

This was not the first time she had scoured the obituaries. No other people had expressed disgust at receiving letters from her in their moment of grief, she added.

The man who received the letter explained to the reporter that, during times of grief, it is understandable that one would want to be surrounded by family and friends. However, he said it was not appropriate for a random stranger to send a grieving person a letter with an enclosed tract in an effort to proselytize (or ‘witness’) to you.

Robinson said she was sorry and meant no harm.

McKee asked Robinson why she would send a pamphlet to someone who belongs to a Presbyterian Church. To a non-Jehovah’s Witness, it seems to defy logic and serve no purpose. To one familiar with Jehovah’s Witness culture, it is a way to count hours toward field service.

Witnessing to people who are grieving and emotionally vulnerable is a cruel way to recruit potential converts. It reminds me of ambulance chasers, the phenomenon of lawyers following a road accident victim to hospital in the hopes of drumming up business.

Reading the obituary section for the sole purpose of evangelizing to grieving families to count time for a field service report is reprehensible, and a sad indictment of the extremes to which Witness indoctrination can lead.