A question for all those who were a witness in NY........................

by vitty 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • vitty

    ..............................What was it like? For someone who lived in the UK, Brooklan was like Rome is to a catholic. We all had strange ideas to what it was like.

    So how was it for you who live in NY. Did it "feel" more spiritual, cos the HQ where there or did you take it for granted?

    Where normal people more or less receptive to you when you went out in FS?

    Can anyone give their experiences?

  • enlightenedcynic


    I have lived in Brooklyn my entire life and was raised as a witness. I recognize that many witnesses from other places view Brooklyn Bethel like the Catholics view the Vatican or the Muslims view Mecca. It used to have the same hold on me. To get invited down to Bethel for lunch or to visit someone in their room was a real treat. To actually meet a member of the GB while on tour or while eating lunch...well by the look on the faces of everyone you would think that Christ had just floated down from the sky.

    Nowadays, I think that most jw's that live here are overwhelmed and exausted, NY is a very tough place to live!! And while many still view Bethel as a special place, it doesn't quite seem to elicit the same open-mouthed awe as it once did. In regards to field service, I remember 15-20 years ago how zealous everyone was in the ministry. Witnesses regularly reported 30 or more hours per month without breaking a sweat. Since I assist the secretary from time to time, I see the time slips being turned in now.....8 hours, 14 hours, 22 hours, 6 hours, the brothers and sisters just can't keep up with the demands of the society and it is showing. While I am sure that there are many who still legitimately make their hours, there are many more, including myself, who fudge the numbers and report time they have not done, just to keep the elders off their back.

    In addition to attending my own meetings, I have visited a number of halls here in Brooklyn enough times so as to get an accurate pulse of the congregations. The large majority of congregations that I have experience with, are cold and unkind. Whether you are a regular member or visiting, no one approaches you or greets you unless you speak first, and then what you get is just a perfunctory "hello" and "nice to meet you". Many witnesses here are joyless and unhappy. Marriages are falling apart here at an alarming rate..elders walking out on wives...wives leaving husbands and children behind..I know of these cases not through hearsay but directly from the sources.

    I guess to sum it all up, there is no "spiritual paradise" here in Brooklyn if you ask me. While friends from other states and countries revere Brooklyn Bethel and think that this is the super hub of spirituality for jw's....nothing could be further from the truth. I wonder if there are any other posters here from New York who can add their viewpoint about the atmosphere here in NY and surrounding Bethel?


  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    O it was GLORIOUS!

    Seventeen times a week we would file into our Kingdom Hall to partake of the spiritual feast of half-baked goodies provided by the FDS Baking Company, Inc. By the way, they never use aluminum cookware. NEVER!

    Our halls had no windows - so that outsiders would not be able to spy on our spiritual joyousness, and most of the time all the lights in the Hall were turned off except for the single spotlight that illumed the speaker's podium.

    Sometimes in the darkness the droning monotone from the platform would induce a heightened level of theta brain wave activity. When this was detected by the ever vigilant attendants, we would be given an opportunity to catch a specially bound edition of the New World Translation, impressed on lead sheets with a cover of milled granite. We usually failed to make the catch.

    We had pianos in the Kingdom Halls and the congregation would watch with rapt attention as one or more of the anointed danced onstage to the uptempo theocratic music. Much spiritual benefit could be derived therefrom, it is said. "Dancing as to Jah" we called it.

    During the mid 1950s a brother in the Long Island City congregation had the idea that the small rooms within the Kingdom Halls that were set aside for child discipline - affectionately known as the "beating room" - could be used for the temporary storage of outer garments, umbrellas and such. This had the added benefit of muffling the protestations of the wicked child who was being beaten into a state of wakeful, studious alertness.

    Ah yes, i could go on and on and on. It was glorious, but my capacity to lie has its limits.

  • EC

    Me and my husband went to NY for our first time a few months ago.....You know, we were there for several days and didn't see 1 witness on the streets. It was weird...My whole life I thought it would be some sort of spritual haven, but didn't see one witness or a Watchtower or Awake...We were everywhere too...Rode the subways...

    We also did a bus tour to Brooklyn and the driver didn't mention once about the JWs. We passed by all of the buildings owned by the WTBTS and didn't mention one word about it...

    Growing up I always wanted to go to Bethel, and then when I finally get to go to NY...it was at the time in my life where that interest was no longer there...kinda strange, but I had the best time in NY...and all of the people were soooo nice!

  • rebel8

    I was a dub in NY, but I lived hundreds of miles away from Crooklyn.

    On the ex-jw forums, I've noticed my kingkongregation's rules were often much more strict than those who lived farther away from borgdumb. While I was a dub, I don't recall people feeling as though we were holier than those who lived farther away....surprising, considering how my group was so keen on finding opportunities to feel superior.

  • juni

    Do they still have the sign "READ GOD'S WORD DAILY" on the building across from Brooklyn Bridge?


  • lawrence

    Nathan, that was priceless, especially the use of the "beating room" as a convenient coat room... Glad you had such a wonderful time. NOT!

  • done4good

    ***Do they still have the sign "READ GOD'S WORD DAILY" on the building across from Brooklyn Bridge?***


    I spent most of my life in NJ near NY, (had Bethelites in two of my former halls, that would actually commute back and forth to Brooklyn). Although most jws who lived here really didn't feel anything special, I would often hear comments such as, "the farther you get away from Bethel, congos have more problems, etc). I always thought that talk was such BS, especially having lived in three other states, and having attended halls there. Another good one was (during delegate visits to Russia for the International Convention), that the delegates all had to stay dressed in suits and ties and women in dresses at all times because, to them (Russian jws), we were considered as "from a place so close to Bethel", we had to set an even "better" example.


  • juni

    Thanks J. Interesting account. That "setting an example" blah blah always got me. I remember Bethelites from our cong. coming back to visit. They ALWAYS had crowds around them and they had a superior attitude toward others. Sickening.


  • Arthur

    I attended a congregation in one of the NYC boroughs for a while. Field service was tough, as all we worked were large run-down appartment buildings where nobody opened the door (who could blame them). The congregation was pretty much an average congregation. It certainly wasn't any more "spiritual" than any of the others I attended. But there were several very nice people.

    One thing that I observed was that many Witnesses seem to be somewhat "hardened" by living in the NYC atmosphere. I wouldn't say that they were mean, but many of them were gruff, and hard to please. Perhaps it wasn't their fault, just a result of growing up and living in that kind of atmosphere.

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