Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!
Thanks, Listener and everybody for the memories...I was not a Bethelite, but was up there a couple times and really got a load of it.
I think that the great value of this kind of thread, and particularly from the posters like Warren Schroeder who were actually there and lived it - is simply -
To debunk this grossly false idea that the rank & body have of how holy, worthy, and righteous Bethel and the Governing Body are (not).
What many observers who were right in the midst of things show us is that the culture and leadership of this religion at it's very core (Bethel) is a very paranoid, delusional, and generally dysfunctional group of misfit reclusives.
It is so sad to see millions deceived by this hypocrisy.
the culture and leadership of this religion at it's very core (Bethel) is a very paranoid, delusional, and generally dysfunctional group of misfit reclusives.
That was the same conclusion I reached in three decades of middle management (elder) experience in the organization. This is a great thread, by the way!
Visiting and doing temporary work at Bethel, and hanging with many Bethelites and ex-Bs over the years, is a real eye opener.
Many Bethelites were the most cynical and ambitious bros you could meet - I think of Walden Chin in particular. I took Carey Barber in service, hosted him for an afternoon and a meal, and interviewed him for a SAD. He was not the sharpest tool in the shed by any means. Not exactly what I expected for a GB member. I think a lot of Bethelites left with a very realistic view of the WTS, and proceeded to fade.
Others came out and went to congregations where they thought they were the golden boy. It was a running joke in many congregations with elders in the know that you didn't want to be "gifted" with a pioneer or special pioneer couple right out of Bethel. They could be serious pains in the ass.
GREAT THREAD!!!! THANK YOU!!!
I heard the same comparison about Randall Davis and Paul Lynde.
I think he was THEE Instructor in the 70s that every elder thought was great.
Well, Minimus - as fas as Davis went, at least he did not put you to sleep like Al Schroeder did. We actually did look forward to the half a day we had him. My favorite quotation was his rant on "worldly JWs who pursue this system of things...he went on and on about swimming pools, good jobs, big houses, Cadillacs, fancy clothes, trophy wives with a "sport jitney sports car"...having kids, and still they came to the meetings and acted like real JWs."
On Schroeder - Can you believe it? Old Schroeder actually had his 10 or 12 year old boy Judah Ben come into the class and give us a little upbuilding testimony on how much he loved the door to door service. After he was gone, Al Sr. gave us a self-serving lecture on how to "raise up a boy in the way of Jehovah".
People privately talked afterward on how ordinary Bethelites were not allowed to marry and have kids, not even to date or talk to the single women around. Let alone have his own apartment off-site in Pittsburgh and the use of a big Buick that belonged to the WTS. He also made a big show about tossing a baseball back and forth with the poor kid before and after class - it was so obviously phony that I really felt sorry for the little guy.
Ooops. Yes, John not Paul. My bad. sorry.
All in all I really enjoyed Bethel. The camaraderie that we all shared along with our youthful ignorance and energy made for a fun time. Did we get in trouble? Sure. But, it wasn't serious long lasting trouble.
We were smart and always left goodies for our housekeeper. She never ratted us out for music, books or anything else.
Here's a question that I hope some former Bethelites might know the answer to:
Does the Governing Body/Writing Dept. send out letters to the "annointed" all over the world, when 'new light' is going to be released, before they put it down in the WT? Gumby was talking to a young 23 year old who was recently axed from Bethel and this kid was under the impression that that's what happened.
Is there anything in any of the literature that would shed 'light' on the matter??
I knew two annointed (who were considered "real" enough - dating back to the 1920s) - and the only thing they ever got from the WTS was a notice once a year to be sure and sign the proxy on their WT Society Pensylvania stock so that the society hacks could vote it for them in the annual meeting. It was a very insistent letter.
Thanks for all the stories. I think I knew your family while you were at Bethel. I had a crush on your sister Becky. She let me shift the gears in your Mom & :Dad's little car when we were in field service. I vaguely remember all the hubub surrounding your departure from Bethel. My grandmother still lives in that area as do my two aunts. My grandmother is Roberta Cunningham and My aunts were Vivian and Becky. They are all still dutiful witnesses in a small town. Spitefull as ever.
I think I vaguely remember you giving a talk at the hall there in St. James.
Of course, I was only in about 3rd grade at the time...but I do remember.
RE your question: "Does the Governing Body/Writing Dept. send out letters to the "anointed" all over the world, when 'new light' is going to be released, before they put it down in the WT?"
I used to think that same kind of thing. By dad was a believer in all the big Bethel legends about divine direction, etc. It is all a fairy story.
The entire teaching about two classes was a Rutherford fabrication. It is all theory, no practice at all, a total fiction. And it always has been. The suits up there at HQ don't have any idea who the "anointed" are, except the ones they know personally, and perhaps they could guess in the case of JWs who were active prior to 1935. But most of the "born before 1925" set are more concerned with whether or not their Depends need to be changed, than they are with any "new light".
One of the still-major figures up there (I won't say who to protect his tail) believes that the entire 144,000 number (which he still takes literally) was filled in the first century (most credible Christian historians think there were at least a million Christians by the end of the first century, when the Revelation was written), so this guy thinks that there haven't been anything but "earthly class" since then.
One of the big surprises for me at Bethel was to find out that the vast majority of the material in the publications, including study articles in the Watchtower, study books and any other thing that could possibly be construed by JWs as "New Light" is written, published and enforced by "other sheep". The only notable exception besides Ray Franz was Freddie Franz, and you could always detect his stuff a mile away because its style is what one would expect from an author who was given to fantasy fiction.
The other big surprise for we was that hardly any of the people who write the publications believe what is written in them in the way they expect the average WT reader to do. They are nearly all "apostates" in that sense. But they are all willing to publicly toe the party line to avoid the kind of unpleasantness that honesty begets in a place like that.
In the mid-70, when I was at Bethel, my friend Dan Sydlik told me that the other sheep of John 10 were the Gentiles. That made so much sense to me, and it fit so well with the actual state of affairs, that I rejected the two-class fiction then and there, even when I thought that the WTS was still God's organization.