In Which I Politely Turn The Tables On The Holy Rollers


Late summer in a midwest suburb. Saturday afternoon. Beautiful clear blue sky with white clouds. Green lawn, well-tended. Leafy trees aplenty. Pink roses blooming along sidewalk up to front door. Daisies giving it their last hurrah near front door.


Me, free spirit & lapsed Presbyterian

Holy Roller #1, Amy Winehouse wannabe, brandishing iPad

Holy Roller #2, Olivia Walton doppelgänger, carrying Bible


When the doorbell rang I was sitting in our home study, which is on the first floor of the house, with the window open.  The women who had walked up the sidewalk could see me in the study, so I couldn’t hide from them.

I answered the door.  Reluctantly.

Amy said “hello.”  She introduced herself and her sidekick, Olivia.  They were from Jehovah’s Witnesses, dressed in black: Amy opting for the H&M cool vibe, Olivia going with the tried & true Salvation Army look.

Amy explained that they were bringing the word of God to the heathens people on my street, and could she ask me a question?

“Sure,” says I.

To which she said: “what gives you comfort?”

Without a moment’s hesitation I answered: “nature.”  Then I pointed out toward our front yard with flowers + trees– and the sky above.

My answer, immediate and honest as it was, stopped Amy.  She didn’t know what to say.

But Olivia, consummate holy roller professional, jumped right in and agreed with me: “Yes, God surrounds us all with His majesty.”

I nodded my head to show that we were on the same page here and smiled.

Nothing happened.  Neither one said a word to me.  They just stood there staring at me.

So I asked them: “Is this a poll?  Are there more questions?”

They chuckled and quickly assured me that: “Oh no.  This isn’t a poll.  There are no more questions.”

Thus giving me the opportunity to bring this unwanted conversation to a conclusion: “Well then, we’re finished here, aren’t we?  Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your mission.”

At which point I slowly shut the front door, leaving them confused by what had happened.

I mean, from their perspective they’d brought the word of God to a presumed heathen who had just got rid of them by turning the conversation around to where they admitted they had nothing more to say.

From my perspective, it was a conversation that would make Jesus and Emily Post proud.

Can I get a hallelujah?

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49 thoughts on “In Which I Politely Turn The Tables On The Holy Rollers

  1. There must be some sort of autumn proselytizing program going on – I had the same experience a couple of weeks ago. Not sure of the denomination. He caught me when I was in a slightly pensive mood, so I had a protracted conversation. It inspired a short story I’m working on, so even though I’m going to hell, I have some good material.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Michelle, maybe fall is when people are at home and on a schedule so it’s a good time to get the heathens into the fold? I dunno. These women were pleasant, but perhaps a bit clueless. Looking forward to your short story on this topic.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Deb, I was in a good mood so I decided to engage with them. The women were nice enough, but perhaps not ready for my directness! I kept thinking to myself: “you started this conversation, ladies.”

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Apparently one of my relatives (dead before I was born) used to enjoy inviting them in and having a good debate with them. I’ve had some success in deflecting them over the years, the most notable time being when I was writing up my thesis in a cold, cold house so had my Scout blanket on, fingerless gloves etc… On the other hand, I’ve also had a couple of ‘mugged in the street’ versions of this, the worst one being when they stopped me to ask directions and ended up doing their spiel.

    I’ve always wanted to claim to be a Jedi or some such, but haven’t had a good opportunity to try that one, yet. I once managed to get rid of a telemarketer in short order: they asked for the former owner, who happened to have died. I was perhaps a trifle blunt in how I communicated the information. Sadly JW and Mormons are interested in you whether you’re the home owner or not, so difficult use that line.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @breakerofthings, someone asked you for directions, then proceeded to try and save you? That’s kind of inspired, kind of gutsy on their part. I don’t think my holy rollers were that clever. I stumped them with a one word answer.

      I felt sorry for these women because I knew that a few doors down they’d be meeting the neighborhood curmudgeon who’d tell them off, then call the police on them for not having proper vendor identification. I figured their time on the street was limited, so why not be nice?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautifully done! I had a friend long ago who had another method. When such folk came to the door, unless they introduced themselves as “Elder so&so” in which case they were Mormons, he would just say “LDS” and they would flee, knowing it was hopeless. If he got the letters in the wrong order, that worked too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wish it was always that simple. Mostly I hide. They only seem to come through our neighborhood during the spring and fall on Saturdays. I think they are trying to catch people doing seasonal yardwork.


    • Kate, I bet that you’re right. I never thought about how if you’re outside and they start talking, they’ve got you sort of trapped. I didn’t want to be rude, so when I saw a conversational out, I took it. No more questions? Ok, bye!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hallelujah Ally! I once worked with a gal involved in this church. She never bothered us at work. She said they are all “required” to go out and give their speech every year. I really liked this woman. She was a hoot and fun to work with. I can’t picture her going out and doing this. I’ve always wondered if they get anyone to join them.


    • Beth, I didn’t know they were required to do this sort of mission work every year. I’d hate having that hanging over my head! Good question about if they get anyone to join their church. Maybe it’s an exercise in humility?


  6. My husband will occasionally engage with them but he is more sociable than I. I either don’t answer the door or, if they see me in the window I ignore them or shake my head no and wave them on. I never let them get that first question out. I figure I’m doing them a favor by not wasting their time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janet, you make a good point about not wasting their time. I wonder if they are evaluated by how many houses they hit per hour OR by how many people they talk with them per hour?! Or maybe they just do what the spirit tells them to do. 🙂


  7. I’m glad you were kind to them. I had two women come to my door a few weeks ago, and I told them that I already belonged to a church and wished them well. I considered pretending I wasn’t home, but I was sitting right near the window when they walked up, soooooo.


    • Margaret, I’m often awkward in these sorts of situations, too. But on Saturday the words flowed… must have been the beauty of nature guiding me to say the right thing!


  8. Hallelujah! I think you handled that beautifully. Respectful to them but not getting caught up in the rhetoric. I used to say I was Jewish. Of course the opening line was different back then. But for some reason, if I was Jewish they stopped the effort to get me to take Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I’m not sure why. Just never, never tell them you’re an atheist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zaz, I wonder why being Jewish is a no-go for them? Too many spiritual obstacles to overcome, perhaps? I didn’t know about the atheist thing. They pounce on that? I suppose that’s seen as a big old opportunity to save someone AND gain status in church for doing so.


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