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Religion and the Deaf Community

*sighs* This is going to be interesting. Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. Today, as you probably already know from the title,
I want to talk a little bit about the religious community and the deaf community. Their…slightly
strained relationship over time. I’m not going back to discuss about
monks and their sign language and– This is not a history lesson. No. Before I go into it, I want to say that I have no script
for this, I didn’t write down my thoughts or anything. I’m just throwing out what I think. This might be a mess, but we’ll go with it. Deaf people may already know
where I’m going with this. Part of the reason why I’m making
this video now is because recently, there’s been an uptick in harassment of the
deaf community from the religious community. And… That’s not okay. When I say religious community, that’s
really broad. So let’s just be more explicit. Typically, the harassment is from two major religions. Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witness. Those two. Mormons… They’re not
as bad as Jehovah’s Witness. So. Those two are the groups
I’m talking about right now. Generally, hearing people are aware of
door-to-door Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness. Going up to people, asking them to come to
their church, are they interested, whatever. But generally, hearing people are used to telling
them I’m not interested, please don’t come again. Generally, they respect that. As you would expect, yes. You would expect that once you say no, I’m not
interested, please don’t come again, they don’t. That’s general courtesy. Now… In the deaf community, that
doesn’t happen. Unfortunately. Every person who is somewhat involved with the deaf
community either has experienced it themselves or knows someone who has personally experienced it. Mormons or Jehovah’s Witness will come to your house.
Understand this, specifically to your house. Not by door-to-door, no. Specifically to
your house. How do we know this? That person who knocks on the door
knows sign. Or at least can sign some. First. Okay, that’s nice you’re… At first look, it’s nice they’re thinking of oh,
they’re deaf so have someone come who signs. But the thing is, if you have never had a person,
any person come knocking on your door asking if you want to come to their church…
How do they know you’re deaf? So, from a lot of people comparing stories,
talking about this, it would seem that… Mormons eh, Jehovah’s Witness–
yes, Jehovah’s Witness. They have some kind of database with
a list of deaf people and where they live. And they will send people specifically to
those houses for trying to get them to come. I generally don’t curse on this channel, but… That’s fucking creepy. I’m lucky to have never experienced this. The point is, how is it okay for you to have that kind of
information, when we didn’t give you that information? Who is giving you that information?
Where are you getting that? The deaf community sees that as
a strong invasion of our privacy. Often, these people will come, we tell
them no, we’re not interested, leave. They come again, and again, and again. Even after telling them, please
don’t come back. Don’t bother me. They’re still obstinate. That’s not okay. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness,
whatever, they tend to look at it as “we’re doing what we can to ‘save’
these people, they don’t have God, so we need to do something to save them.” I personally grew up Christian. I don’t really practice religion, I… It’s not for me. But I have nothing against religion, no.
I think it absolutely has its place for people. Some people need it, and benefit
from it, great! That’s fine. But when you approach religion as something to…
Approach and minister to people– Invading their privacy, and trying to save them,
when they’ve clearly told you no, I’m not interested. And you ignore that. That’s not okay. I want to add another disclaimer. I’m not saying
all Mormons, all Jehovah’s Witness are like this. Absolutely not. No! I know there are some good
people in those religions. But I just… As an entity. You might be looking at it as
we’re trying to do a good deed. But when you target people like that… You have their names, their addresses written down. Ignoring their requests to leave them alone… That is, really, exploiting the deaf community. There are deaf people who may not have the knowledge
to tell them no. Tell them to go away. And that’s… When you–religions–are persistent like that,
you’re kind of forcing your religion on them. And I don’t think that’s what you want to do. Going once, okay. But after they tell
you no, I’m not interested, stop. If I was actually interested, I will go to your place of
worship, I will seek you out and say, yes I’m interested. I want to maybe join. But if you keep
coming up to me, after I’ve told you no… WHAT makes you think I will ever be interested? That is a surefire way to push people away. I don’t know if this video was coherent, but I just
wanted to say that, give you that information. Because I know I have a lot of people who
follow me that aren’t part of the deaf community. I just wanted to have that out there for those people
who may have never thought about this information, didn’t know about this happening.
And…just. So you know. Hopefully, maybe you can try to do
something to help prevent this happening. That’s all for today, I guess. I hope
you learned something from this. Leave comments down below, what
you think about this, or whatever. If you want to support my content financially, I have
Patreon, which is monthly, and ko-fi, which is one-time. Subscribe to this channel. Follow me on all
my socials – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Thanks for watching, see you next time.

34 Replies to “Religion and the Deaf Community”

  • Oh wow that's extremely creepy. I'm Christian and outreach is part of my beliefs, but most definitely not by disrespecting privacy and boundaries. That's honestly disgusting.

  • Last month when I went to the Deaf social in my town, there were two hearing religious folks. A couple of them seem to show up every time I go, which has been for the last six months or so. Anyway, last time I went I asked them about their church. They said it didn't have a name, they just try to re-create the church as in Jesus's day. I have a major in religion so this is all kinds of interesting BUT, what most irked me is that I saw them talking about how they had a project going to interpret the Bible in ASL. Apparently, this project got held up because one of the signers for the interpretation was gay. So now they must rerecord those portions. This left me quite devastated. I talked with a friend of mine who is hearing but teaches ASL at the college level. She said being part of the LGBTQ community is not quite as taboo with the Deaf, but, regardless, I didn't have the heart to show up at the Deaf social this month. I can't imagine what it is like for Deaf people who want these safe spaces and then get invaded by people with an agenda, let alone hearing people who seem to be taking advantage of a minority population.

  • I— what‽ Do they just use sign right out of the gate? That is really fucking creepy, man. How do religious organizations not self-reflect on this and determine that it's condescending?

    People who want to join religious institutions, will. And if the person hasn't heard of them, then a one-time notice is more than enough… but to continually knock and remind people as if they couldn't do any of the research themselves past the first time… Just what the hell? It's rude, it's condescending— it's not okay. Especially if they have private information. Religious institutions should express more humility than that.

  • Yes, that’s a pet peeve! I had experienced something like that a few times while growing up. Now, I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Because I always use PO Box as my address for everything at deaf events. When they usually asked me for permanent address, I told them that my permanent address is PO Box. They kept said no, that’s not permanent address. Then I told them too bad, they have no right to criticize me that I am giving them the wrong address. It’s either take my PO Box or get lost! 😁

  • Yeah, that's just going way too far. My mom's hearing, but when my dad died the local jehova's witness saw the obit in the paper and wrote her a really threatening letter about how if she didn't join them she'd never see him in the afterlife. So messed up

  • That was very interesting. I’ve certainly had Mormons knock on my door but not persistently. Sounds like ignorance about deaf people. Could it be directly addressed to the local offending churches? Sounds like ignorance—assuming if you’re deaf you can’t have a religion??

    Decades ago when I took my first ASL classes, it was offered by a Deaf Mission Church, part of a hearing church, and we learned that many deaf people’s point of social connection/community/fellowship was through their church. I’m sure that’s not as true today with social media avenues as it was then. But at least at that time, religion figured prominently in deaf life—at least that is what I was taught.

  • I worked at a place and once the JWs figured out a Deaf client was there they would not leave him alone. He would have staff tell them he wasn't there to get them to go away. Also, a JW was in an ASL class and the first day of class when they asked us why we were interested in ASL, he said "to spread the knowledge of Jesus Christ". They are very persistent and what you said in the video is definitely a violation of boundaries and privacy. They need to chill out.

  • Oh!! Yep! It happened to me! I was buzzed at first cuz those people know ASL and stopped by my place. I thought it was odd that they knew where I live. Chatted for few minutes and they made weird excuses like I need to use your bathroom. Totally strangers! For sure, it was awkward… lol!

  • I know you meant it as a rhetorical question: but one of the reasons they keep coming beck is bc you might have experienced something in the time in between that changed your mind. Like: (i know Mormons and have heard other christian groups) they target people In Mourning bc thats a time when a lot of people are emotionally vulnerable. Why do they keep coming back? bc maybe this time you’ll be open to it. And its not for nothing. One of the big reasons deaf people get targeted for proselytization is that statistically, theyre an “underserved”/“riper” pool of people to convert. And (overlapping with many marginalised communities) the most vulnerable populations make for the most conversions per person. (Really big religious orgs do these kinds of poll studies on their “work” which is conversion ). For the mormons, thats their job. Not sure about JW, but lds, theyre usually not volunteers, they get “paid” to do this, and theyre doing a good job proportionally to how many people they convert. Separate from their religious creeds (which is a whole other convo) i find these recruitment practises very unsettling. Esp when they target people like homeless youth, and dont “offer” religion so much as “require” it to get services.

  • Yeah, as I’ve been going to Auslan classes a couple of the other students I know are part of religious groups – they are specifically learning because their aim is to make their church more accessible to Deaf people. Which is fine and brilliant if the people who go to the church make their own informed choice and want to go but I do worry about them potentially targeting the Deaf community for conversion.

  • understand…
    I, never.
    post a comment…
    but for this video, I HAD to.

    well "said" (signed), great perspective and fantastic delivery of a general and open opinion.


  • To answer your question(s) @Ronan Shannon ; as former JW for 8 years, from 2015-2016 I was involved in the ASL congregation. I've notice what JW don't want you to know that they have a list of certain people on their territory sheet and ask the "hearing" householder, do you know any deaf people or know any who uses sign language. Most of they say no all time also I can remember when at the kingdom hall they use social media and the internet to harass deaf people even more which is wrong. Also the Witnesses very rarely mind you have deaf in the organization. Basically the organization is made up of all hearing people who make up signing in other words never went to school to learn the language, never got involved with the deaf community and culture, none of them are certified Interpters and the list goes on basically their main mission is only to recruit members. If you have any more questions Ronan please let me know because as a born again Christian after leaving the JWs for almost 2 years I have a lot more to say in addition check here on YouTube TTATT ASL thank you keep up the excellent work with your channel.

  • Hohoho! I've been a victim of this. They didn't know where I lived, but they knew where my dad worked, so they went to his business to have an "innocuous" chat to fish some information out of him. This led them to learn where I worked, so they WENT TO MY FUCKING WORKPLACE TO TRY TO CONVERT ME. I more or less told the witness to fuck off. More details can be found in this blog post:

    You're right, this is a massively fucked up practice. Only 144,000 Jehovah's Witnesses can make it into heaven anyway. Why bother? We have a better chance of winning the lottery.

  • Never heard about that before. Thanks for spreading this information, Rogan. This is awful and creepy. And next time they showing up at my doorstep, I will ask them about this, before I send them away.

  • as a part of the lds church, i find this extremely creepy and i’m so sorry this is happening. i’ll definitely ask my bishop/some of the missionaries about it cause that’s horrible

  • Yes, I have had an experience with JW as a deaf child. The first time the JW came to my house and my parents told them we were not interested. My parents were Buddhists. So, the second time they actually brought the deaf teenager that I went to same school. My parents were quite hesitant to say anything until the teenager spoke in ASL. So, my parents were like, “Ok, let’s give them a chance to see if our daughter is happy after her first lesson with JW.” After the few lessons, it got closer to the holidays and I sadly told my parents I won’t celebrate any holidays anymore because of JW. My parents were upset and decided to stop letting JW teach me anymore. Personally, I was so happy to see that the JW stopped coming to my house. Every day I asked myself the question— how did they know? I suspected that the JW must have somehow obtained the “yellow page” from my school. Every year my school actually distributed the “yellow page” of all the addresses/phone numbers of students. I think we signed up for that in the first place. So, that’s how they found us. Ugh.

  • I have a secret method to dispel JW's "servants" I'd tell them that I was disfellowshipped or excommunicated from their kingdom hall. They never darken my door ever again. I, personally, not a member of any religious, so all I did is, basically, speak their language – they get straight scared shit because they thought they were talking with a "former" member who've sinned.

  • Hello! Have you seen the vlog post from Regan Thibodeau??? She just explained her experience and frustrations with this.

  • I know for a fact that some Mormon Missionaries are specifically called to serve ASL missions. Just like how many are called to serve in other languages all around the world. Often, if an ASL Missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is knocking on your door, it’s because at some time in the past other ASL missionaries had taught someone there or they were given a referral that someone deaf or hard of hearing might live there and might be interested to learn more. Understand, LDS missionaries don’t always stick around in an area too long and so they keep track of who they are teaching so if they are transferred or moved, whoever picks up after them has some reference point. These missionaries focus is to work with the Deaf Community and to ultimately share what they believe. Just like anyone, if you’re not interested – just let them know. They are pretty good at respecting your wishes. Like it has been mentioned already in other comments, they just want you to know they are there as a church community too if you feel you could benefit from it. If you have your own beliefs and community, cool. Just let them know. They will most likely give you their contact information in case you change your mind in the future, but they are good at respecting your wishes. I don’t know too much about JW’s but I have had a run into a few of their ASL people. I’ve only heard stories of targeting strategies they used that seems super shady. I think the worst thing to do is pretend like your not at home, I feel a lot of friends who experience this think that if they pretend they are not home then they will leave them alone. Chance are they will just keeping coming back until you tell them not too. Just be kind and clear to them your not interested in the first place and you should be set. Yes, maybe down the road a new set of missionaries might show up again to say hello and see if you’d like to learn what they have to share. Maybe you might want to hear it, or maybe you will feel the same as before. Either way, the best mode of action is to be honest and clear about what you believe and want and take it from there.

  • Me: That's f*cking creepy!
    Rogan almost immediately after: That's f*cking creepy!
    Great video, very interesting. As a hearing person, and a non-denominational Christian, I had no idea. Thank you for educating us, and love your channel!

  • Yes, I have big experience with the Mormon and jevorah’s witness keeps coming back to my house and I have told the Mormon missionary and JW not coming to my house anymore and it makes me feel bored and no private and it doesn’t work for me anymore as I don’t need any Mormon or JW at all…. and also I just join the catholic deaf church that why I learned that my mom and grandma were catholic living church years ago… I love the catholic deaf people who are very friendly and helpful and but it’s not same kind of thing Mormon or JW

  • And also I forgot to tell you that I am gay and good Christian person and but the catholic deaf church is accepted any gay or lesbian people who are very welcome….

  • Hey all Rogan's Dad here – we actually have had JWs come to our house several times with 'signers' asking about the deaf person living there – you were only 6 or 7 so how they knew….? We were polite the first time and signed with them a bit, and other JW groups have come and we just politely send them away.

  • WOW! That is really creepy of them. Maybe you could go to a sporting goods store, buy a whistle and toot it as hard as you can if they show up again. The people in the houses around you might poke their heads out because of the noise and see these people harassing you. If they’re gonna grate on your eyes after you said no, grate on their ears! People who force religion on others always strike me as wanting to be seen doing it rather than an act of altruism. I say this as a Catholic. God gave Mary a choice in whether or not to conceive Jesus and so too should His followers. Religion is a choice, not a demand.

  • ❤🏠👭👬 I'm a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints ( mormon) I'd like to share my prospective. yes as that is creepy. Its not targeting of a deaf person. There is a world wide roster of names of members, converts, investigators, and of those people that may have had contact with missionaries at some time or there parents may have had contact. Yes that too can sound creepy but its not to save people just give them the opportunity to to worship together. Only the high level leaders over the missionaries ( the door knocker) so there is opportunity for these young men and women to fulfill their duty to god and their religion that they have promised god they will do. Without this roster mission work would be a slow process sadly. Missionaries grow and mature so much by this experience. ❤🏠👭👬

  • I have been introduced by hearing/Deaf JW's for several years. At first I thought they're friendly. I have no Deaf community in my area. It was nice talking with them. But, one thing I don't like is being pushy about their religion and coming too often. I love talking with them any subjects except their teachings. I didn't know they have the databases, THAT's f#@king creepy! I feel sorry for the Deaf because they're being brainwashed? Enjoyed watching your vids.

  • I genuinely never thought about this before, and as you said, it's SUPER FUCKING CREEPY!! OMG!
    Also, I feel like, if I feel stalked, I'm significantly less likely to head on over to my stalkers conversion tent for a chat. Maybe someone should tell the JWs!

  • So, I know absolutely nothing about Jehovah’s Wittinesses, but I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly known as Mormon’s) and they aren’t trying to target you, but are assigned a language to teach in and want to send you signing missionaries. They go to everywhere and teach in so many languages, you can be sent to California and speak Spanish, but they’re not targeting Hispanics, they just want to send missionaries who are able to communicate with those they are trying to reach out to. We also normally get names by members in the neighborhood, and it’d be more like “Oh, their deaf? We’ll send our signing missionaries.” And they may come more than once, but they really do try to not come too frequently, but they are only out for 2 years and move areas every few months so they don’t always quite know who’s been reached out to. And sometimes they just want to check back in and make sure you’re not willing to hear them out this time. I’ve heard so many returned missionaries talk about someone that had turned previous missionaries down before but decided to listen to them and I don’t know anyone who’s been on a signing mission, so they do that to everyone, not just deaf. But, if they are coming more than once within months, that is creepy and that shouldn’t happen. You could try reaching out to a member in your neighborhood and tell them to pass along the message that you’re annoyed and that could help. (Also, missionaries are always looking to serve people, you may not want to hear their message, but try asking them to help you move, or lay down grass, or some physical task they could help you with, say you broke your foot, ask them to mow your lawn. They’ll likely do it, just saying 😉

  • Had that experience so I had to add a paper on my front storm door it says, no solicitation, please and thank you.
    but JW didn't respect that and left a pamphlet. next time I cannot protect JW anymore because I have pitbull now, I will open the door and let my dog out to scare the fuck outta themselves to show that I true business dare to do that due to their brazen and bold of disregarded the sign I posted on.

  • that experience with JW is not unique to deaf people, at least not in my country. It is really common that they will show up at your doorstep once a year (depending on the area you live), even if you tell them everytime you don´t want to talk to them, also it is not so easy to get them go away while staying polite, because they wont move out of your doorway. if you manage to piss them off you might get a break for a few years. And they keep records of everything! who lives there (age etc) what did you say, what did you do. they will note every detail that they can find out about you while visiting.

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