The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 75

On Saturday, the second of October, 2004, Shelley received a call from her parents. She had not heard from them for a month.

‘What did they have to say, love?’ I asked Shelley as she put the phone down and wiped her eye.

‘They want to come around to our place for a discussion,’ she replied.

‘That sounds promising,’ I told Shelley, seeing that it was better than not responding at all.

‘We’ll see,’ she responded. ‘They’ll be here at one. Better start tidying up.’

Considering that we had an automatic vacuum cleaner and a dishwasher, there wasn’t really any tidying up to do. Nevertheless Shelley found enough work for us to do to take up the next two hours and make the flat as perfect as possible.

The buzzer buzzed at 1pm, and Shelley’s parents, Brian and Louise Muller, headed up the stairs to our third floor flat.

They greeted me first and shook my hand. Shelley gave both her parents a hug. It was strange. I could see that they all loved each other, but Shelley’s parents were not sure how to greet their own daughter, because, according to their religion, they were not allowed to greet her anymore.

They had brought a milk tart, which was a good sign, and so we sat down in the lounge munching on milk tart and drinking tea.

‘We had a look at your truth plan,’ Brian began in a rather serious tone, which made me feel uneasy, but surprised me with his next comment, ‘And we can’t find anything wrong with it...’

Louise interrupted him, ‘Shelley, we want you to come home. Please, you must see that what you are doing is a big mistake. You must repent and come back.’

Shelley held onto my arm, showing her mom that she had made her decision to stay with me. I looked at her dad and waited for him to continue.

‘Shelley’s mother and I had a long discussion about it,’ he continued. ‘We think that this system of yours might actually work.’ He sighed, as if it had taken him a lot of effort to say that.

‘Really?’ I responded. ‘I mean, “Thank you”.’

Louise continued from where Brian had left off. ’We think that this system of yours might actually help the world realize that the Jehovah’s Witness religion is the one true religion.’

‘Oh,’ I replied. I hadn’t really thought that they would see it that way, but I suppose it should have been obvious. The system was designed to determine the truth, and if someone already believed that they knew the truth, and agreed with the system then naturally they would think the system would just tell them what they believe.

‘So, what if the system says that, I don’t know, um, maybe Islam is the correct religion, would you believe it?’ I asked in order to gauge their trust in my idea.

Brian looked at Louise, who answered for both of them, ‘It won’t.’

‘What if it does?’ I asked again.

They looked at each other again, confused. I shook my head. ‘Okay, here’s the thing,’ I began to explain. ‘The system is not designed to tell you that something is 100% true, or 100% false. It’s designed to tell you which is more likely to be true. So, if it were to tell you that Islam were the most likely religion to be true, it would give very good reasons for it. I know it’s hard to believe that Islam might be true, because it’s something that none of us have probably ever even considered, but whatever the outcome, I think we should all seriously evaluate the reasons for those outcomes and decide for ourselves if they make sense.’

‘Sounds good to me,’ Brian replied.

Louise nodded in agreement, and Shelley squeezed my arm in approval.

I thought about our discussion for a little while, while we sat in silence and then suggested an idea, ‘I believe in this system so much, that I want to promise you something: If the truth system says that the Jehovah’s Witness religion is the one true religion, I will become a Jehovah’s Witness.’ Shelley’s parents smiled, obviously quite happy about the thought of me converting. ‘But,’ I continued, ‘all I want from you is your blessing for our marriage, no matter what it says.’

Brian looked at his wife to get her opinion. She nodded approvingly. ‘I think we have a deal,’ Shelley’s dad agreed. He looked up for a couple of seconds, obviously thinking about something and then continued, ‘On the condition that we can have our daughter back until the wedding.’

‘That won’t be a problem,’ I said.

‘Don’t be too eager to get rid of me,’ Shelley responded jokingly.

We all laughed a little at Shelley’s joke and her mom wiped her eyes, which had become wet from the emotion brought about by resolving an issue that had bothered her for months.

‘You have nice flat, Nathan,’ Shelley’s dad pointed out, while looking around. He seemed to be looking particularly keenly at the pool table.

‘Do you play?’ I asked.

‘A little,’ he replied.

‘How about a game then?’ I offered, eager to make their visit a bit more fun and less uncomfortable.

Brian and I played a game of pool in the lounge while Shelley chatted to her mom. It was the first time in the three and a half years that I had been going out with Shelley that I had a chance to socialize with her dad. Brian wasn’t very good at pool. I suppose it’s not the best idea in the world to annihilate your future father in law when you’ve just won him over for the first time ever, but it felt really good, and I had to try and hide my smile. I thought about having a game of chess against him, but that would have just been cruel.


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