Why Mormons evangelize in twos: The power of pairs

Have you ever wondered why Mormons/Jehovah’s witnesses/etc. travel in pairs when they go door-to-door evangelizing? At first thought, you’d think it would be more efficient to split up and cover more ground. But they’ve clearly spent a lot of time thinking about it, because upon deeper examination, evangelizing in pairs is actually the optimal strategy. Here’s why.

If only one person was sent out evangelizing, they’d be at a numbers disadvantage. Even in the case of only a single person being home to talk to, that’s still even. Any discussion can easily turn into a back-and-forth argument. However, with two people, a lot of situations are two-on-one, in which the evangelizers fervently agree with each other and work as a team to convert the person they are speaking with. Group dynamics is a very powerful thing, and all it takes to get absurd views considered normal is a majority of the people present subscribing to them. It really cuts down on the power of counter-arguments if none of the other people in the room see any validity in them whatsoever, whereas a back-and-forth between two people feels a lot more equal.

Having the evangelizers work in pairs also prevents that most dreaded of situations for evangelizers, being ganged up on by those they would seek to convert. The odds of running into more than two adults on a typical evangelizing run are very small; after all, the nuclear family has been an American standard for three generations now — you have to go back to before World War II before you start seeing lots of extended families all living together.

Having the evangelizers in pairs also allows them to keep each other in check. A frequent situation encountered during evangelism is when a person of a different religious strike lets the evangelizers in for the sole purpose of trying to convert them to their own religion. Reverse-evangelism, if you will. If the evangelizers were sent out on their lonesome, they might possibly be vulnerable to a really convincing homeowner. With two of them to keep each other faithful, however, the odds drop to nearly zero. No member of a tightly-integrated pair would possibly want to appear religiously weak in front of their other.

Sending trios out evangelizing, on the other hand, would simply be overkill, and is not justified in terms of the reduced area that two trios can cover versus three pairs. Two really is the ideal number for evangelizing — large enough to achieve a majority or at least parity in nearly all cases, but also as small as possible so as to not waste human resources. That is why evangelizing in pairs is actually the optimal strategy, and is thus what nearly every organization that practices door-to-door evangelism settles on.

So the next time Mormons visit your house, at least pause to reflect on the elegant logic that led there to being exactly two people getting cursed at through your mail slot.

7 Responses to “Why Mormons evangelize in twos: The power of pairs”

  1. Kelly Martin Says:

    I once had a pair of Baptists try to convince me to come to their church. Within 10 minutes, I had them earnestly arguing with one another about their own religious beliefs, at which point I shooed them out of my house. It was sad, and funny, all at the same time.

    Also, there’s no excuse for cursing at Mormon missionaries. Those people are perfectly polite and deserve nothing but courtesy in return. You should, however, refrain from offering them coffee. :)

  2. Jeff V Says:

    My first thought when I read this was “I guess that was O’reilly’s plan on the factor. Invite one conservative, one hairbrained person that is supposed to be representative of the entire left and it will be a two on one every night”

  3. T2A` Says:

    Who cares? They both cunts. :]

  4. Ed Says:

    I’m sure there’s also some kind of strategy regarding the areas that they choose to cover in their deambulations. When I was a poor nobody living in social housing next to the steel mill they use to knock at the door about once every fortnight, but since I managed to fight my way out of it and finished my degree I have never seen them again.
    I always turned them away politely but one of my neighbours (firefox – uk spelling) used to invite them in and offer to test his condom collection on them. They never accepted but maybe if it was just one instead of two, who knows… That may be another reason why they go in pairs.

  5. Cyde Weys Says:

    T2A`: “Know thy enemy.”

    Ed: Yeah, I’ve never once been bothered by evangelizers, living as I do in Potomac, MD. They definitely seem to go after “low information” (i.e. poor) neighborhoods.

  6. William (green) Says:

    I’m fairly certain it’s because most people use religion to justify and explain everything that is out of their control or that they don’t want to deal with. “I don’t care” can be rephrased as “I’m leaving it in Gods hands!” or something similar, which sounds… Well, it sounds stupider, but I’m decently confident that the average American would look down less on someone saying the latter than the former.

  7. drinian Says:

    Oddly enough, I had a friend who spent a summer going door-to-door canvassing for MaryPIRG (“the environment is in danger, so give me a check right now!”) and he said that folks in poor neighborhoods were much more likely to give away their money right then and there than were those in wealthier neighborhoods. He covered Potomac and the notoriously liberal Takoma Park without much success, actually.

    In any case, I thought this was going to be about missionary dating.