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I was tricked by Jehovah’s Witnessess!

Published May 16th, 2007 by Bobby Henderson

I almost got shot. kinda.

A few days ago, as I was leaving my apartment, a car sped across the parking lot to intercept me. I had just about reached my car when I noticed the driver stopping directly behind my car, blocking me. The two passengers jumped out of the car and came straight at me.

I get a lot of hate-mail and I’ve had more than a few death threats. I keep my address a secret, but I’ve had people track me down in the past. So, when I saw a car speed up and two people jump out, it freaked me out.

One of them asked me if I valued the mind and body benefits of exercise. I said yes and that I needed to get going. They assured me that they’d move the car, but perhaps I wanted to take some reading material with me to look over when I had more time.

So I took their pamphlet. My only excuse is that I thought I was going to get stabbed or something, and I just wanted to get out of there. It wasn’t until later that I looked at the pamphlet. It slowly went from exercise to Jesus. It turned out to be disguised Jehovah’s Witness propaganda, the Watchtower. I figured that they tricked me fair and square, so I felt obligated to read it.

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What I learned by this experience

The pamphlet, itself, was kind of Jesusy. But it gave me some fantastic ideas for expanding the Pastafarian congregation. Clearly, the way to get more members is to trick them; make them think they’re signing up for one thing and then – bam – all the sudden you hit them with the gospel-speak, and you’ve got them.

So, I’ve decided that we’re going to do a similar campaign to trick people into joining FSM, specifically, members of other religions, especially the religions who propagandize. I figure that we’ve already got the open-minded people, now we need the gullible ones.

Internet advertising – like magic, but nerdier

You can target advertisements to specific categories of websites. We’re going to be targeting competing religious websites. Any religion who hands out pamphlets is fair game. Lots of religious websites sell ad-space through 3rd parties, and we’ll be able to place OUR ads on their pages, and steal their members.

It’ll work like this: their members will go to the church websites as usual, and they’ll see a small ad suggesting that there is more to their religion. Some of them will click the ad and be brought to a specific catch page, where they’ll hear fantastic arguments on why they should convert.

I need your help with any of the following:

1) Specific strategies for each religion. For example, for Jehovah’s Witnesses, we could push that we, also, reject Orthodox Christianity. And the strategies don’t need to be that on-topic. The Jehovah’s Witnesses got me with an exercise pamphlet, we could just as easily have a pirate angle or something. We’ll have different strategies for the other religions – Mormons, Young Earth Christians, Scientologists, etc. Let’s brainstorm. Either post in the comments or send me an email at bobby.henderson@gmail.com

2) Nich text ads. We need short, catchy text ads that will appeal to each of the target religions. The content of these ads will be more clear once we’ve established our strategies for each religion.

3) Small Image Ads. People with art skills, get creative. Same deal with the text ads, we’re going to know more once we know what our angle is. We’ll need ads in the following dimensions:
200×200
250×250
468×60
336×280

4)Individual Catch Pages. Once they click the ad, they’ll be brought to a page on the FSM site which will expand on the idea presented in the ad and slowly make the argument that they should convert to Pastafarianism. I need help with this.

5) Money. I’ve put aside a few thousand for this. Ads cost between $0.25 and upwards of $5 per thousand views. I’m hoping for a budget of at least $5k. If you want to help, you can either donate, or buy some FSM merchandise.

So, that’s my idea. What do you think?



480 Responses to “I was tricked by Jehovah’s Witnessess!”

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  1. Derelict says:

    “Good artists copy, great artists steal” — Picasso

    I think your general idea is feasible, but may have more impact if it is done in a fairly explicit parody/mimicry format based around recognized material already distributed by competing religious organizations.

    The more successful the campaign by the competitor, the better target it is for a parody done by the Church of the FSM. If done right, the impact could be a striking commentary on both the original and on the tactics used by those organizations as a whole, all while raising awareness about the FSM.

    An example? Well, you’ve already highlighted one; Jehovah Witness “Watchtower” pamphlets, “study aids”, and brochures provide a rich framework to start with. Naturally, these are also quite familiar to many people. Ideally, you’d want to do it with enough of a twist that is was instantly recognizable as both a parody of the original yet clearly…not Jehovah Witness. Otherwise, people might mistake it for the “real” thing without realizing that it was, instead, an elaborate scheme by the FSM to accrue supple new minds.

    Having said all of that, I think this sort of “copy-cat” format may lend a stronger result–dollar for dollar, if nothing else–and seems to suit the satirical flavor (pun intended) of Pastafarianism right from the start.

    Something to consider, anyhow…

  2. Derelict says:

    Sorry to post again so

  3. Wench Beth says:

    Got #3… that’s my best in a while.

  4. Wench Beth says:

    Bummer that those idiots tricked you. They are quite brainwashed; it’s very sad.

    I’m no artist but I can donate to the cause. Some of the Disciples are extremely creative and witty; they would be able to come up with some fantastic ideas. (Hint, hint, Disciples, you guys can work wonders!)

  5. noodle says:

    ooh can we get celebrities on board? people love celebrity more than jebus

  6. Mel says:

    AWESOME idea! MORE SHEEP!!! We need more sheep, people…Pasta-y sheep!
    Keep the rhetoric coming…

  7. Scooter says:

    To make a play on “The Watchtower,” our publication could be “The Crow’s Nest!”

    Another pot of coffee and I’ll be able to toss out a few more ideas…

  8. Avatar of Reason says:

    @Mr. Henderson, and all other interested people:
    I’m not sure I understand exactly what you mean when you talk about advertisements. Are these meant to be obvious jokes, or are they actually meant to trick people? If you mean the latter, here are a few points that I would like to make.
    .
    I like the idea of making fun of mass conversion schemes as Derelict suggested. I really don’t like the idea of trying to convert people en masse, however. One is a joke, and the other makes us as bad as the other religions are. I like jokes, but I think that advertisements for the Church of the FSM crosses a line from which we might do better to keep our distance. This is especially true if we don’t mention the FSM early on. If the satire is too close to the mark and the joke ads are too believable, we run the risk of creating the very thing that many of us seek to hinder, namely, the conversion of our fellow people under false pretenses. Remember that this webpage began with a letter to the Kansas School Board devoted to stopping such false conversion. Do we need to burn our own roots and act like our foes?
    .
    How did you feel when you were tricked by the Jehovah’s Witnesses? I’m guessing not very happy. You may have even felt somewhat insulted. I don’t want people to associate that feeling with FSMism.
    .
    Do we really want sheep followers? I was under the impression that this webpage was devoted to introspection, iconoclasm, thought, and the use of argument to find the theories that best describe the world. The recruitment of sheep runs the risk of ruining those positive elements of the movement and replacing them with blind adherence to articles of faith. If the plan works too well, and this webpage becomes a battleground of fools, one side marching under a banner of the FSM and the other side marching under a banner of fundie-ism, and the people who post here currently are drowned out in the cacophony of the battle, then the only real losers are us. In a senseless duel of FSM fundies against other fundies, few will pause to think any longer. We should not lose sight of our introspective heritage.
    .
    I sincerely hope that I am missing the point, and that we are not trying to become a more accurate mirror for fundie-ism.
    -Avatar of Reason

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