I have *once* in my life wished for a greater grasp of the rules of grammar.
In college I felt thankful to have enrolled under the last possible catalog (year) that allowed me to graduate with a journalism degree without taking a full 3-credit semester of straight grammar (“History of Grammar” I could see enjoying. Three months of lecture and practice, not so much).
A lot of my peers were annoyed with me (I need to someday do a post on this being annoyed at a non-braggy people who’ve got it better than one).
Anyway, I’ve read enough (or something, I guess) that I never felt a lack in my education until I was sitting opposite a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs), “discussing scripture.”
On a side note, my mother did point out ahead of time this is rarely a good idea, but I had already-sort-of said yes when they asked to come back, and didn’t really know how to change that.
The reason discussions like this (I now agree heartily with my mother) are generally not a good idea, is that the average layperson (you and me) will not be as prepared for discussion as the average JW going from door to door.
Or, you may be about as prepared as the younger of the two, but *definitely* not the older one.
Any discussion will only affirm in the “missionaries'” minds that their position is the firmer, more reasonable one, because they are the ones who have the answer to everything.
I can’t know this for sure, but my guess is that they bring the younger JWs to these discussions to build their faith– in their elders as well as their doctrine.
Anyway, the JWs have their own translation of the Scripture that eliminates the deity of Christ (they see him as another incarnation of the angel Michael), but encourage you to look up references in your own bible.
Sitting “tailor-style” in a dining room chair, I did this, following their argument, and suggesting alternate interpretations and verses myself.
Then it happened: we got to one of those “modified” verses of theirs. I don’t remember now what it was. Their translation said something different than mine, and I said so.
It was one of those passages full of hims, hises and yous (Did I get that right, Kaye? What’s the plural for ‘his’?).
I reread aloud it from my translation and the women acted politely confused. “Isn’t that what we just read?”
“No,” I said, recognizing my my helplessness. “This ‘you’ is referring to someone else.”
“What makes you think that?”
And I realized that all my instinct from years of reading meant nothing here because I didn’t have a name for what I knew to be true.