Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Knocking doors

So i heard about a friend of mine who’s really, really annoyed at the Mormon church because a pair of our missionaries rang her doorbell, not just invading her space but also waking up her son, who had just unwillingly gone down for a very, very much-needed nap.

It’s not just the Mormons her ire is directed against, though—it’s all groups or businesses or whatever that intrude on her privacy* by coming to her door without permission.

There’s got to be a better way. In fact, if you read church history, knocking on doors isn’t mentioned—it seems that the preferred methods were along the lines of street preaching or renting a hall and preaching.** And yeah, i know the whole thing about member referrals, but i’m talking about finding through missionary efforts here—isn’t there some worthwhile way for missionaries in the United States to use their finding time that doesn't involve bothering people who are relaxing at home?

* As she perceives it, at least. Of course, having—like her—grown up in the urbanized part of the eastern United States, i completely understand and actually feel pretty much the same way.

** What ever happened to renting a hall for preaching? Was it the victim of social changes? It’s not like it was an ineffective method back when it was used.


Heather the Mama Duk said...

I don't understand why people get their panties in a wad because someone knocked on their door. When we lived in the townhouse in Springfield we had people knocking on our door at least 3 times a week. Sometimes it was the Baptists (quite a lot, actually), sometimes the Jehovah's Witnesses, and, most often, sometimes it was people trying to sell us something. We'd just say "no, thank you" and go on with our life. Around here, at least, knocking on doors seems to be extremely useful as a way to contact people.

David B said...

I think it’s a local culture thing—i remember getting in arguments (yes, really!) with missionary companions from the jello belt who thought it was evil that people in Austria and Germany didn’t know people who lived in the same complex as them. (Single-family detached homes are rare there—the norm for home ownership is a condo equivalent.)

To me, it made perfect sense—i’d lived in an apartment a couple of years, i knew the need for absolute privacy within that space. Apparently the same cultural norm doesn’t hold in the Mormon dominance area, though—but my living-space acculturation happened in the urbanized east (Greenbelt, Maryland, to be precise), and the intense objection many Germans and Austrians had to having their doorbell rung by strangers made utterly and absolutely perfect sense to me.

Heather the Mama Duk said...

We didn't know any of our neighbors when we lived in the apartment. We knew 3 or 4 of our neighbors as far as saying hello, but not friendly at all when we lived in the townhouse. It was northern VA where no one cares in the least about anyone else (and I liked that). I actually prefer not having neighbors at all. I'm not following what that has to do with getting upset when someone knocks on your door.

David B said...

Well, take the same level of passive privacy, and up it a degree of magnitude into actively maintaining privacy—that’s what you get in Germany and Austria (and what i’m most comfortable with).

Heather the Mama Duk said...

Maybe I'm just really laid back about stuff like that. I think it's silly to actually get upset just because someone knocked on your door. It's 30 seconds out of my life. Big deal.