14 May 2013

Hello! My name is Elder Wells

My son, Philip, and I are getting ready (girding our loins, so to speak) for a new project. We don't know what to call it yet, but it's inspired by the Mormon missionaries and Jehovah's Witnesses.

We're going door to door with the Skeptic's Annotated Bible.

It'll be something like this:

Or this:

Just kidding.

We'll probably start off with something like this: "The Bible is an important book. You should know what is in it. We're here to help with that."

Most Bible believers believe in the Bible because they don't know what's in it. Most non-believers don't know what's in it either, that's why they're so easy for believers to convert. The cure in both cases is knowledge about the Bible. Those who know what is in the Bible are unlikely to believe in it.

So we're getting ready. Deciding whether to wear the white shirt and black tie of the Mormon missionaries or the more colorful attire of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Name tag or no name tag? Elder, Brother, or Infidel?. And what should we call ourselves?

Let us know if you have any ideas about this. Or if you'd like to join us. (We'll provide a free SAB book for you to use.)

It'll be lots of fun!


Unknown said...

Marvellous project but probably not working.

The believers will have to think for themselves and they are not used to do so.

They pick the things they can live with from the bible and skip the nasty bits claiming some parts are not to be taken literally.

In my opinion a book of knowledge is te be taken literally from start to finish, how else can you understand it?

Stephen said...

I'm guessing, sadly, that this might not be as successful as it *ought* to be, at least in part because of the amount of time required... very time-intensive.
A more efficient way would be to create a float or have a bunch of marchers ("SAB-Corps"!) in a local holiday parade. Any shenanigans would be witnessed by a lot of people as well... possibly a benefit! Just a thought!
Steve Weeks

Steve Wells said...

Unknown and Steve,

Yeah, going door to door might not be for everyone. And we won't have a 100% success rate. But I bet we'll do as well as the Mormons or JWs do.

Heck, I figure if my son and sister can do it as JWs, I can do it as an atheist.

I just hope I don't chicken out.

Dee Paolina said...

How 'bout "nihilist" for your title? most people will have no idea what it means.

teavee said...

I'd like to think something like this could work in some form or other that's better than the way JWs, Mormons or evangelicals come across.

You could also work street corners like this guy:

Steve Wells said...


How 'bout "nihilist" for your title? most people will have no idea what it means.

Yeah, but I do know what a nihilist is. And I'm not one. So it wouldn't work for me.

Steve Wells said...


Yes, you're right. Something doesn't seem quite right about imitating JWs and Mormons. And yet I think it's worth a try. It's the message not the method that matters.

Philip and I also plan on making up some non-tracts to hand out to JWs and Mormon missionaries when they come to the door.

But I like the street preaching idea too. And that video was great. Thanks!

TWF said...

Sounds like great fun! I think you should go with opposite Mormon dress:

White pants, black shirt, white tie.

Good luck!

Nathan said...

Great idea and I think you will have some success. The main problem is believers don't want to un-believe. They are comfortable in their bubble and do not do well with facts. I think your other book (Drunk w/ Blood) is an even better tool for deconversion. The bible is way TL;DR.

My 2 suggestions would be:

1) Door to door with Drunk w/ Blood and highlight the URL to the SAB online.

2) Start a not-for-profit that raises money which would go towards purchasing as many of your two books as possible. Then they would be paid for so you could pass them out for free. Every $1500 collected is 100 copies of Drunk w/ Blood. Provide your email so you get feedback from the believers. I'd do this door to door and at mega churches. As an added bonus you'd get to enjoy the same tax exempt status that preachers get.

I might be willing to donate $100 if something professional was put together, and knew that 6 or 7 copies of DWB made it into the hands of believers. What about one of those fundraiser sites like IndieGogo.com

Nathan said...

I also think that on the next edition of both of your books you should include a couple of your blog posts. Most importantly, the 50 reasons not to be a fan of Jesus.

Christians are obsessed with this guy from 200 decades ago and they should see some of his character flaws.

Although they would be terribly offended, lol.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the great ideas, Nathan!

Now that you mentioned it, "50 reasons not to be a fan of Jesus" might make a really good flier to bring with us to leave behind. We just submitted the revised Drunk with Blood manuscript to our layout designer, but we'll consider it for the next printing.

And I think that your idea of using Drunk With Blood instead is also a good idea. If we do a big printing of them, we can get the costs down to the point where we could really get lots of them distributed.

And we'll look into doing a indegogo or kickstarter for this. I hadn't thought of that. First we'll have to go out and ring some doorbells, though, and report back to you all.

Stephen said...

How about a pamphlet or small booklet, something that wouldn't cost too much to print, that could be left in hotel rooms inserted into the Gideons' bibles and (in some locales) the BOM? Something just a bit more than a warning label, but whose destruction (virtually assured eventually) would be no great loss.
These could be sold by the dozen or so, and folks who travel could carry a few of them and leave them behind. If they were the size of "Watchtower", they could even be left in waiting rooms and other such places. My dental school clinics always have the JWs' tracts strategically placed in the waiting areas, and I always pitch 'em (wall of separation in a state school, don't you know). But it would be better to propagate the alternative!
Steve Weeks

Brucker said...

Why not become actual ministers of the Universal Life Church? It worked for me!

I think the idea is great, and would actually suggest that if at all possible, you should find some way to record the whole thing, as there's bound to be some memorable moments. I know I've had a lot of memorable experiences with LDS and JW folks who've come knocking at my door, and that's without even really being antagonistic. (I don't like to push my beliefs on others, but if someone approaches me wanting to talk about theology? It's on!)

Regarding dress, though, I'd go with something more like the JWs, since the LDS "Elders" have such a specific dress code that dressing like them would be taken as impersonation, which I don't think is your intention, right? JWs really just dress nicely, which would be a good idea anyway. Also, everyone's suggestions of pamphlets/tracts makes sense; if you're trying to make a serious impact on people, it would be good to have some reading material to leave behind. One of the things I admire about the JWs is that they do seem to have some very capable writers working for their organization, even if their subject material is questionable.

Steve Wells said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Brucker.

I'm not sure about the video though. Would that even be legal? It would probably make people mad (madder even) if they knew they were being recorded.

Philip and I plan to get some reading material to pass out before we start our door to door adventures. And, yeah, we'll probably look more like JWs than Mormons, although Philip likes the idea of the corny nametags.

Steve Wells said...

Good idea, Steve, about hotel room literature. We're thinking maybe the new edition of Drunk with Blood might work, since it's not nearly as expensive as the SAB to produce.

But a WatchTower-sized mini-mag might be even better. We'll let you know, whatever it turns out to be.

Brucker said...

I think the logistics of filming would be too difficult. You've either got to hide the camera or accept that most people are going to think it's something like Candid Camera. Unless you've got someone with fancy equipment and editing skills, I wouldn't go there. On the other hand, an audio recording shouldn't be too hard to pull off, and my understanding is that it's legal to record a conversation so long as at least one person involved knows they're being recorded. Of course it would be best to double-check that since I'm not a lawyer, but I can't imagine that an audio recording with no names on it would be a legal issue in any way.

Brucker said...

Ah, here's the post I was looking for. Did you end up doing this? If so, how did it go?

Steve Wells said...

No, we haven't done it yet, Brucker. But we still plan to.

It's a mostly a mix of being busy lately and being chicken-shit. Mostly the latter though, I'd say.

When we do get up the nerve, we'll let you know how it goes.

Brucker said...

I wouldn't feel bad about it. I think it's pretty much only Mormons and JWs that do that stuff, and in their case, they're sort of spiritually blackmailed into it. I had an organization I was involved with ask us to give a shot at street evangelism, and it was way out of my comfort zone.

That's why I like the blog; you know people who go there are actually looking to discuss religion in one way or another, or they wouldn't be there.