Jehovah's Witnesses.

OK:  so this is an autobiographical story. Not the kind where I tell you all the details of my birth, who my grandparents were, or what mischief I got up to as a child.

No: this is just something that happened to me, when I was about 13.

 I do have to give you some background info though. My father was a Freemason, who are not such a bad bunch, despite the conspiracy theory drivel that is written about them. My experience of them (though I never became one,(which wiuld have ultimately been problematic) I just stayed a child of one.) is of a genuine, 'fraternity', A group pledged to help each other out. Now philosophically I have some problems with that idea, but Freemasonry is no more guilty of that than the average Golf Club, and certainly less guilty than political parties.

Anyhow I digress: Freemasons meet roughly monthly, and the longer someone is a member the more likely they are to become an 'officer of the lodge' which means they have some theatrical like lines to learn. (There's a whole other post in that statement alone.) Now Dad went through all the officer roles, and therefore, he was always learning his lines for the next meeting.

So, one day Dad was busy rehearsing, when the doorbell rang. I went to answer it. I was 13 or 14 at the time, I forget exactly how old. At the door were two bright eyed and shiny people who wanted to tell me the 'Good News of Jehovah'.

Now it so happened that I was an unusual child, having read the bible (Old, and New Testaments, and Old testament apocrypha (NEB version) cover to cover for a bet with my Mum. This arose because she bought me 7 books one Saturday morning, and had been frustrated when I finished them all by Sunday Evening, she had then bought me a copy of The Lord of the Rings, which I loved and finished in a little over a week. So she had bet me a Fiver I couldn't read the bible cover to cover. And this is 1975/6 so A fiver, is a trip to the cinema with enough munchies to make anyone sick. It took me 3 months to read it the first time. I never got the fiver though, which has always rankled a little.

So then there I am at the the doorstep challenging virtually every claim this pair were making. I can't say I was an Atheist at that time, and later I went through a quite evangelical Christian phase. But even my mum who was the religious one of my parents was not a literalist, for her the bible was mostly metaphor and half remembered history. The important things for her were the 'golden rule,' and the sense of community a church offered. So I was on the doorstep busy explaining the burning bush as a fire fed by oil (not an uncommon commodity in the middle east) The plagues as a result of the Santorini/Thera incident. The column of Smoke by day and fire by night as a multitude of people on the move, kicking up dust by day, and carrying torches at night. And so on.

And this conversation went on for at least 20 minutes, until finaly Dad wondered what had happened to me and came to find out where I was. At that point the conversation had reached, 'The Devil,' and I had just asked, "What happen's if the Devil Repents?"

The response to this had been, "Oh No! No! The devil can't repent!"

Dad arrived at that moment and put his twopenneth in, saying, "That this would mean the devil has no free will, so that meant god was the root of evil."

And that's the direction the conversation took from that point. I remember Dad saying at one point, that the only reason to believe in God, was because the Devil obviously existed since there was so much  evil in the world. And this went on for at least another ten minutes, with Dad essentially playing apologist for the Devil.

It ended when Dad glanced at his watch, and said, "I'm sorry but I really should go now, I have a ritual to learn."

The two Jehovah's took off down the garden path like scalded Rabbits.

At the time the speed of their departure didn't register in my mind as unusual. It was only later that I realised quite why they had essentially turned tail and ran.

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