Based on the fact that he does seem to be a loving, conscientious individual, I have often wondered how much actual good he would do had he not chosen to follow his ministry. So I asked him where he would be if the church wasn't a part of his life. He's nineteen.
He told me that when he was young, he had often wanted to be a doctor or a physicist. He was particularly passionate about taking up a career in which he could make as much change as possible, where he could help the maximum number of people within his lifetime. 'Then I discovered the Bible,' he said. I'm not paraphrasing, he literally concluded with, 'then I discovered the Bible,' as if this made perfect sense.
He and his family converted to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses and changed their lives forever. And that's a valid choice - of course it is. I would never force the guy to be a doctor or a scientist. But I found it quite sad to see the vacuum between a man with so much passion (an admittedly a touch of naivety) for making the world better and his choice of realising that passion.
This is a common sleight of hand performed by religion - it can make you believe you're actually achieving something, when in reality you're performing through smoke and mirrors. For example, he often states that he believes the world is in a worst place than ever (something I don't agree with, but let's go with it for now) and there is more unnecessary suffering, greed, etc. than we've ever seen. His solution is to turn to God and hope he'll sort it out. As I've often pointed out, if everyone in the world used this method we would be completely screwed. The only way to bring about improvement is by owning the responsibility for that change as human beings. It's easy to defer to a higher power, but that's completely ineffective is nothing more than illusion.
It would have been nice to have another doctor or scientist in the world with the wide-eyed benevolence of my weekly visitor.