My Friend, the Jehovah’s Witness

Every few weeks, I would hear a knock at my door and open it to Jerry, a Jehovah’s Witness who visited my neighborhood near Sacramento. He’d often ask me what I thought was the most pressing problem in society today. One time I told him I thought that it was that people had lost their sense of personal ethics, that they too often just “go with the flow,” and to my surprise, Jerry opened his Bible and showed me a passage that exactly mirrored my concern.

Jehova’s Witnesses standing outside the British Museum distributing literature.
Jehovah’s Witnesses outside the British Museum. (Photo by Philafrenzy)

On subsequent visits I talked to him about drugs, personal integrity and other subjects and he always had a passage that hit that subject square on the head.

Jerry was from Haiti, and he had the good sense not to belabor a point or stay too long, but made his point, handed me a copy of The Watchtower, showed me something in it he thought might interest me, and said goodbye.

He started bringing new people by and introducing them. I joked with him that he was training new people and I must be an easy touch. He said I was the only person on my street that would open the door for him. I admired his ability to communicate, his commitment to his religion, and his persistence in spreading biblical teachings that many didn’t want to hear. It takes guts to go door-to-door in a suit with a Bible under your arm on a weekend when most people are having a beer and watching football on TV.

I moved earlier this year and now I hope someone else is opening the door on my street.

I always looked forward to Jerry’s visits, and when I told him I was a Scientologist and had my own beliefs, he was very accepting, didn’t trot out mean-spirited things manufactured about us in the media or try to get me to convert. He just kept coming to my door from time to time as a “person of good will,” as described in The Way to Happiness. Jerry is one of those people who “… guard the street, counsel the children, take the temperatures, put out the fires and speak good sense in quiet voices … the ones that keep the world going and Man alive upon this Earth.”

When my wife became ill with cancer, Jerry asked about her and offered to visit her in the hospital.

Then one day, Jerry told me he was going to return to Haiti and a fellow he had trained would be continuing his work in my neighborhood. The man who replaced him was not a wonderful communicator like Jerry, but his eagerness and good-hearted sincerity made up for it. But I moved earlier this year and now I hope someone else is opening the door on my street.

So now whenever I pass by Jehovah’s Witnesses handing out The Watchtower on the street, or see young Latter-day Saints kids on bicycles in white shirts and ties, or see a Muslim woman in a head scarf, or Scientologists in their yellow Volunteer Minister shirts helping out in the California fires, I say hello or acknowledge them in some way, as they are living their faith out in the open, “keeping the world going and man alive upon this Earth,” bringing word of the spiritual nature of man—a word that many have forgotten.

Wayne Hanson
I'm a writer and Dianetics counselor who lives in Sacramento, Calif. I have a wonderful life, a creative career, a loving family, and I would not trade places with anyone. I do have a dog who poops on the rug.