back in the late eighties while still in high school instead of doing something fun for spring break I got an all expense paid trip to bethel. On a bus no less with about 75 other JWs headed to the promised land. Somewhere I still have a photo album filled with snapshots of the printing presses and all of the "cadets" happily churning out literature -- and of course all of the female cadets happily scrubbing toilets and doing laundry. I remember feeling horrified at the stepford wife like mentality of the whole place. the female JWs on my tour acted as though they were going to a big meat market and were all hoping to snag a hot young bethelite as a husband. totally gave me the creeps. the only highlight was an anti-JW protester who hung out in front of the buildings yelling at the JWs as they came and went. He yelled at me and a few others -- told us we were Jezebel whores with painted toe nails. Have no idea what that was about but it was the only laugh I got on the whole stupid trip. I recently spent a weekend in NYC -- first time back since my bethel trip and saw it as a non-JW --- what a great time!
Anyone ever go on one of those bus trips to bethel?
sadly yes- twice!!!
Yes, unfortunately. I remember that we got to go through the hallways of one of the office buildings, and one of the "higher ups" had their office door open and he invited us all into his office. His office had a magnificent view of the Statue of Liberty, and I made a comment about what a beautiful view it was and the guy actually thought we were stupid enough to buy that he didn't notice the view so much because he was so busy serving Jehovah. I walked out of there thinking that he must have thought we were all straight of the hay wagon to believe that he didn't appreciate the view.
Yes, I went on a bus trip in August of 1992. I kind of enjoyed the trip. I wasn't turned off to JW by the trip, but it did pretty much tell me that I wasn't Bethel material. I knew I could never get with all the strict rules they had there. The trip also turned me off to tour bus trips. I lived near Memphis at the time, but now I live in Washington DC. Our tour bus stopped for a short while in DC. Now I live here and see lots of tour buses coming through here every summer. I really can't see what attracts people to traveling that way. I would think one would have a lot more fun if they weren't tied down to going where the tour bus is going, which is usually just the monuments, government buildings, all the stuff every tourist sees. I visited NYC again 3 or 4 years ago. We took the train in and walked or rode the subway wherever we wanted to go. Much more fun than being stuck on a tour bus.
Ya, I did one of the big bus trips back in 1993. I was sick as a dog and spent most of the time fighting a fever and a bloody nose. I kept up my energy for the actual bethel tour and crashed on the day that everyone went to all the tourist spots. Haven't been back since.
I also did the jw bus tour to Washington DC to see the Holocaust museum. It was a much better trip--less jw focused and more touristy.
Yup, did one with my (now ex-) wife. Two busloads of plebes in total. My wife and I were privleged to sit next to the toilet on the way down; which promptly broke. The rear of the bus (i.e. our section) stank of human waste and chemicals for most of the 12 hour trip. Yum.
Oh, and someone died in our group on about the 2nd or 3rd day. She was a married mother of two, and suffered from Lupus. Intersting results from that death:
(1) the trip continued... after a prayer was said on the bus, of course. We then headed out for our next stop on the tour. I guess we can't let something like untimely death cut short a tour of a printing factory now, can we! Nope, those are JEHOVAH'S high speed presses out there boy! And look at how clean the floors are, too!
(2) We took a collection to help the grieving family with their expenses. Brother Elder-In-Charge asked me to announce and pass the hat on my bus. I (a married young man just starting out and trying to make ends meet) started the pot with $20. Forty-five people later, the collection came back to me to count: $75. I couldn't decide who I was more angry at: the others for being so cheap, or myself for being uniquely over generous. I quicly realized that there was no reason in being angry with myself.
I did. We went to Brooklyn. (Of course.) Jersey City. (Kinda interesting.) Walkill (Wow, Jehovah has a lot of printing equipment.) And, Niagra Falls (The Canadian was much nicer than the American side.)
At the time, I have to say, I liked the trip. Mostly because it was me and my friends without our parents. There were a couple of elders from our cong. on the trip, so we had to be 'good.' But, it was a nice way to spend a week with your friends.
I do remember the trip wasn't going so good for one of the older gentlemen. At the Jersey City site, he told the brother in charge of the tour, "The ONLY way I'm going to get back on that bus is if Jehovah God HIMSELF tells me to do it. I'm going to fly home." And he did! I always thought that was funny and considered it to be one of the highlights of the trip.
I went to Bethel twice, but only once on a bus trip. I took my sister, thinking it was going to be great. We were so disappointed. At the time, I was gung-ho JW. Now I look back and think how sad it was.
1989 departure from the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses Rockland Massachusetts 3 things stand out in my mind.
(1) bus divided down the middle cools vs. 'geeks' (guess who i was)
(2) indoctrination that faithful WT editors must scrutinize every word as "apostates will use typos as an excuse to sue" LIE
(3) the faithful brothers have security in the bethel parking lots to catch apostates slashing tires LIE