Cheerios, I like the reference to Shawshank. Some us fear we will end up like Brooks did...he made it out but found he couldn't adjust to life on the other side of the wall and ended up hanging himself. Billie is that how you feel? It seems the WTBS programs us to beleive we will faill if we ever leave. I can't count how many times I've heard the comment "you never hear of anyone's life improving once they leave Jehovah's organization". Obviously, this forum provides ample evidence to refute that claim, but does it ever really go away completely?
LaidOff Bethelites: Weeping And Gnashing of Teeth
Good thread, metatron...
I've talked to a few JWs that call the reduction a "lay-off". It's a term they understand from the real world. I've sensed that many JWs are not fooled by the Society's explanations. I've heard some brothers whispering about the future of Bethel.
I'm not around dubs much anymore, except family that will not say anything negative around me, but on the rare occasion that I'm around other dubs, I see a change in many of them. The Society may not be reforming or going mainstream, opposite in fact...but the followers aren't following so close anymore. They're going through the motions of meetings and service but aside from that, they're starting to become more and more mainstream in their daily lives.
And when the Society sends Bethelites packing and calls it "sending them where the need is great" many of them see through it. They're living in the same ecomoic crisis we are and they know that times are tough. So when the Society does exactly the same thing as other corporations they relate to it as if they saw a local plant laying off.
I think it makes some of them nervous. If Jah's spirit really was on this organization, the economic hardships that result in downsizing all over really shouldn't affect the work of Publishing the Good News. If the economy affects Bethelites being laid off (the cream of the crop, so to speak) then how it will affect the lowly rank and file? If Jehovah didn't protect the Bethelites, will he protect the publisher that barely makes it out in service and to the meetings? Maybe...just maybe, Jehovah's spirit doesn't have anything to do with Bethel or the organization.
These aren't cognizant thoughts they have, but are subconscious fears. Fears that are slowly pushing to the surface and are causing nervousness amongst the faithful.
I was at Bethel 5 years. Married there, officated by Nathan Knorr in '73. When I got pregnant there at Bethel, we left. When I left there I could tell everyone how happy I was that I was going to have a baby, but I realized how happy I was to leave Bethel also. Early on, Knorr was very clear to "new boys" how everyone was "indispensable". He instilled "fear" in everyone that anyone could be kicked out at any time. He could go on a tirade about any subject. A couple boys one time had water balloons and threw them out a window at their Bethelite buddies. When Knorr chastised them in front of the "family" (on closed circuit tv for all dining rooms), everyone was chastised.
When we left, finding suitable work was always a struggle and involved many moves. My husband then, tried frequently to talk to Bethel friends the reality of that struggle. They remained emotionally and mentally clueless to that reality. The good thing with the moving we had to do, eventually brought on our "inactive" status. The good thing for me about that "inactive" state, I was able to get personal time to "rethink" the reality of JW life. It took me a lot of time because I had to rethink every little thing from my youth as a JW, pioneer days, and Bethel days, how I was going to raise the children and re-evaluating how to think of the "future" for me and my children. My "evolutionary" process took years. So our hardship, in looking back, gave me a valued learning experience and awakening.
I see some here feel empathy for the "laidoff" Bethelites. I am normally a sympathic person to a fault, but I don't feel sorry for those Bethelites. There is a form of over-cushioning, a false sense of security for them. Many of those remaining, I suspect, are fearful of being "laid off". Those more at the top like the Governing Body may feel more secure. However, I liken the security of the Governing Body like the security of the hiding Bin Laden has in his "caves". The are surrounded by their "Taliban" supporters. However, exposure is on their tail. With all the lawsuits and Internet and books coming out about their "sins", they cannot be envied.
The worst part is that although I know I should rally and get on with my life and pursue freedom, there is something like a "self-destruct mechanism" planted in my brain by JW teachings. "The world is hopeless. Look at all the problems. There are no real friends out there. Nobody who leaves is really happy." And all my friends and family are in the bOrg. Although I'm trying to fade and ease my mind and life away from the cult, it's a battle to admit that I've wasted so much time and energy on a lie.
That's tough, Billy. I hope you can make those last couple steps into intellectual and emotional freedom. For me, feeling free emotionally is the hardest of all. Growing up in the JWs, there were always so many things that controlled our futures, our potentials, that it often felt like everything was mapped out for us and there really were no other possibilities.
I don't know what the solution is for you to make those last steps into your own person... it's hard--I'm learning as well, because in many ways we're becoming people that we never prepared to become.
JWism does not breed self-confidence.
Gayle, you put it very much as I see it also. I suppose it is the institutionalized old timers who are cut loose that I come closest to feeling sorry for. But I still have to temper my empathy by remembering that we all have to sleep in the bed we made. Life is not for cowards.
I remember the clergy of other churches being mocked from the platform because they had retirment plans. Not so funny now is it?
I left Bethel nearly 40 years ago and can relate to what Gayle has said about Knorr's tirades.
Some of my Bethel acquaintances are still there and some are here ... "reassigned." Those still at the Big House fear they will be kicked out despite their long tenure and high-profile positions. Those "reassigned" ones are not universally viewed as special ("Why can't they get off their butts and work like the rest of us?"). Their current existence is pretty cushy. The true-believer rank-and-file who smell something fishy and speak out are called apostate.
Accordingly, earlier comments made do accord with what I see and hear among JWs here.
My husband and I were visiting Patterson Bethel a short time after these massive lay-offs occurred. We took a couple of Bethelites out to dinner and the subject of the cut backs came up. I raised the issue that these ones booted out were middle aged people for the most part who had denied themselves children, education, a home, a career and any sort of financial security (including social security because they never worked enough hours), and I expressed that I believed this was very bad treatment of these people by the Org. This particular guy heads his department at Patterson and feels very secure and smug and his reply to me, with a smile on his face, was "Well, they were deadwood".
That just about says it all.
Nice compassionate overseer.
Billy, if I see you're replied to a thread, I have to read it.
You'll get there my friend.