Thanks for all the replies, it was encouraging to hear others feelings are similar to mine and I am following new boys threads with interest and that is what probably prompted me to talk about my experience at a Bethel.
Australian Bethel Visit - I have to get this off my chest
It is comforting to know that you're not the only one, isn't it? I don't know how many times in my life I've felt that there must be something wrong with myself, and then find out later that the problem wasn't me.
I also visited the Aussie bethel in about 1983. I was struck by how small the rooms were that 2 single people had to share. The room I saw had 2 single beds at right angles to each other with the head ends touching. I remember thinking how difficult it would be if someone was gay. But the most difficult would be living in such a controlled environment.
the great god of the printing presses
I was at the Aussie Bethel for 3.5 years, and felt the same the whole time I was there. I can not for the life of me understand why I was there so long.
Penny, when I was there it was just prior to building the extension and there were 3 to a room. For a while I was with two fleshly brothers and so go relegated to a tiny corner. I was then put with two other brothers. One night one of them was telling us his life story, and admitted to having experimented sexually with men prior to coming to being Baptised and so had to lie on his Bethel application (which asks if a person has ever had any gay experiences). I didn't mind but my other room mate was quite upset and about living with a former gay.
Thanks Wazadummy, I think we have all had similar experiences where you know something isn't right in Denmark but your mind pushes forward against all common sense because you want to believe that this is truly the truth. However more than ever I am convinced of Christ as he said in John 17:17 "Your word is truth"
Nothing else, just God's Word.
We visited London Bethel in the 1980's I think. Not long after they had taken over some optical firms old buildings.
The congregation hired a coach to about 50 of us went.
. You were told how wonderful Bethel was and the brothers and sisters there were so happy being there.
I always remember thinking how lifeless the place felt. The JW sister who was the guide for my group was nice enough. But you did get the feeling she was just going through the motions.
We saw very few others, those that we did see it was almost as if they had been told not to acknowledge that we were there. As we passed through areas no one smiled or said hello.
We went through one area were they had the rolls of paper for the presses. There was just one brother there, who seemed to be just making notes. He never greeted us or acknowledged us. I was at the end of the group as we left the area and I always remember looking back across the floor and seeing him he just looked at me no wave or goodbye. I think what I know now of Bethel I think he was saying "Take me with you"
About 2-3 years ago my daughter was out we a JW brother, Elders son, who was doing 2 years at Bethel. She said how he couldn't wait to finish. He described it as one of the most soulless, miserable places he had ever been to.
Hi, everybody, first time post. I remember going to Aust Bethel in 1982. Don't remember much about it, except the staircase. For some reason that impressed itself in my mind. There were panels of different beautiful kinds of wood all around it. Whoever was showing us around said that the brothers from up in North Queensland sent down a load of rainforest trees. All I can remember thinking is - why? Why chop down rainforest trees when plantation pine would do just as well.
As I said I don't remember too much. I had a 3 year old and a baby in nappies that I had to trudge around with. We certainly didn't get lunch!
Hi Rose Petal and welcome to JWD I'd forgotten about that beautiful timber and wondered myself about it when I saw it. Our kids were fairly small then too and we were worried they might play up when there but I think they were just a bit frightened of the place.
We lived on the northside of Brisbane for a few years around Caboolture so maybe we have met. Anyhow welcome and enjoy your enlightenment here!
It was a Bethel experience in the 1980's that left me 'cold' to the organization. Even though I never left for another twenty years, I felt the organization to be a cold and souless business but just never managed to put two and two together.
I always wondered, however why so many Bethelites left the WTBTS after their stint at Bethel was over. There is a couple at our old cong and their three sons all went to Bethel. After they left, they not only left the WTBTS but cut their fanatical JW parents out of their lives and will have NO contact with them at all.
It is life at Bethel that seems to 'sour the soul' and wake a keen JW up to the reality of the WTBTS unless he/she can shut their subconscious thoughts off with cog diss.
I remember staying the night at London Bethel when I was a teenager, visiting my cousin. I was starry-eyed then and loved the whole idea of it. Although I remember the food was not the best.
Welcome to the Forum Rose Petal