Photos: A Tidy Stadium Greets Its Witnesses




Photos: A Tidy Stadium Greets Its Witnesses

A few weeks ago I heard a knock on my screen door as I worked out of my home office.

Three women, chipper as could be, handed me a flier.

“Truth,” it read. “Where can you find it? How can it benefit you and your family? Hear the answers at a free public event.This is your invitation.”

This was the invitation I had been waiting for not because I was in search of truth, but because I was in search of resolution. Two years ago, I joined reporter Liam Dillon for a day at Qualcomm Stadium. Inside, we didn’t find monster trucks or Chargers Girls, but thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses taking part in their long-standing tradition of scrubbing the facility clean.

I wanted to understand why they scrubbed the stadium from top to bottom. The Witnesses give the stadium a remarkably thorough cleaning. They pressure wash the walls, scrub down the seats individually, and even get on their hands and knees to scrape gum off the ground. Rodney Garcia, one of the Witnesses, told us in 2011: “I would never see myself scraping. For the stadium? No. For my God? Absolutely.”

Ever since photographing that first story, I’ve felt that there’s something unresolved in the images: There was no “why.” So, I accepted the invitation of the three women on my doorstep, and on Saturday, spent the day accompanied by a Jehovah’s Witness elder at the “God’s Word is Truth” District Convention.

Below, I’ve paired visually complementary images from the 2011 cleaning with images of the 2013 convention.

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