LaidOff Bethelites: Weeping And Gnashing of Teeth

by metatron 61 Replies latest jw friends

  • See See
    See See

    Billy, your post struck home.

    I used to live at 168 Willow Street, and attended the Columbia Heights Congregation back when all new Bethelites home congo. Harley Miller, the WTBTS' hatchet man was Presiding Overseer and determined who among the 'new boys' was 'worthy' or 'unworthy'. (He was involved in orchestrating Ray Franz' trumped-up ouster, meticulously arranging for all those who could have born witness on his behalf to be cast out of the Organization (and unable to be 'heard' by their 'righteous' ears) before they called him in.) Harley's dead now but Franz' books "Crisis of Conscience" and "Search for Chrisitan Freedom" are still selling and he's outlived almost everyone who accused him.

    Because at that time I was about the age of most young Bethelites (we're all old now) I socialized with several of them and got to hear what they really thought about life at Bethel. Coming from the West Coast and with a true-believer mother who thought living so near Bethel would be like being in 'Paradise', I got my first dose of reality from those fellows. Most of them were even more disillusioned by the truth of Bethel life than I was shocked. In those days they had to agree to 'serve' for four (4) years. (And paid $14.00 a MONTH and exactly enough subway tokens to get back and forth to their congregations on meeting nights for five and one-half day's work each week when street sweepers got $80 a week.) Those who wanted to leave (to get married because they "burned") were told they would be breaking a "vow" and Jehovah's Organization could not use such a man. Every man I heard talk about that, expressed anger and amazement because they had not made any such vow, and felt abused by that minipulation. Some left under a cloud of discrace knowing that their decision might be used as the victim of criticism while everyone's breakfast eggs waited.The ones who stayed in order to protect their reputations were a miserable lot--living a lie, giving up their own needs and desires to keep other's tongues from wagging. Poor guys!

    Think about that as you try to 'fade'. I'm sure you're trying to keep your family and those you imagine are your friends able to talk to you. But ask yourself if you can't trust them to know you. You've got to ask yourself these questions:

    Do you really know you someone if they won't or can't share what they think, feel, desire or believe?

    If expressing ideas ideas they don't hold with would cause them to reject you as a family member or friend, do they really love you?

    Is it a friend or a phoney that hides what's in their heart from those he/she cares about?

    Would you keep these secrets from your child? Your spouse? Your parents? (OK, skip the parents. If they're anything like mine they'd feel proud to turn you over to the elders, as a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card to show the WTBT at Armageddon.)

    I know from years of participating with another online ExJDub community that "fading" seems to be the best of both worlds. But usually it doens't work out they way they'd hoped. It's not so much that they'll catch up with you someday (there are a lot more of them and you, and eventually they'll get'cha) but that Fader is living a lie--and not enjoying life.

    Hope all goes well for you, SeaSea

  • cantleave

    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.

    Billy - I hope you can get on with your life soon. I can't even start to imagine what you are going through, being brainwashed as an Elder at congregational level is hard enough to deal with, being indoctrinated by the Bethel routine must be harder than escaping drug addiction! Good luck.

  • undercover

    Welcome See See...

    Thanks for sharing your Bethel experience. I appreciated it. I had a friend who became dissillusioned and came back disgrace. It messed him up. He's never been right since. And he hasn't left the religion either. He keeps hanging on, feeling guily and miserable. I thought of him as I read your experience.

    I would like to comment on this though,

    I know from years of participating with another online ExJDub community that "fading" seems to be the best of both worlds. But usually it doens't work out they way they'd hoped. It's not so much that they'll catch up with you someday (there are a lot more of them and you, and eventually they'll get'cha) but that Fader is living a lie--and not enjoying life.

    I can't totally agree with your take on that last part. I'm a fader. I'm out, have been out for some time. My family, the ones that I care anything about anyway, know my feelings. A few close JW friends know my feelings. The rest, the ones I don't care about, the elders, they don't's none of their damn business anymore. And I am enjoying life. I'm enjoying it so much better now than before. I feel so much more relaxed and at ease with the world. I've had co-workers and non-JW acquaintances comment on how I've changed and seem more relaxed than before. A couple of them noted that this happened after discontinuing my association with my "church" as they called it.

    My feeling on not DAing has been that I'm done with the WTS...and I'm done with their rules. To DA is to play by their rules one last them the satisfaction of labeling you. Fuck that. They're not going to have my blessings in trying to label me or have me sanctioned by coercing the flock to ostracize me. I'll go out on my terms, not theirs.

    But even though that's my personal feeling on the subject, I've always asserted that each person has to do what's right for them. For those that DA, I support them in the decision. Those that choose not to, I support them as well. We can't decide for anyone other than ourselves what we can or can't live with when it comes to a decision like that. And it's not in our power to be able to determine who is and isn't living a lie based on whether one DAs or not.

    Just my thoughts on it. I look forward to more posts from another Bethel survivor...ya'lls insight from the world within up there is so instructive and educational.

  • BabaYaga

    Welcome, SeeSee! Great first post.

    We're glad you're here.


  • bluecanary

    Welcome See See

  • dissed


    I particualer enjoyed reading your comment. Sounds like we were there about the same time, maybe even knew each other. Looking forward to more of your inciteful comments.

    Its frustrating isn't it? You can give your all to them and in the end, they don't even care if you leave.

    As I tell my wifey, "Its a justa business"

  • stillajwexelder

    Great post see see

  • Blueeyes54

    Knorr said that when donations tapered off and stopped coming in, the work was over. The "slave" to watch out for resides with the "tare' amongst the "wheat". Evil slave does not support Christ's brothers. It you say in your heart, "I'm sorry your're having a bad day" and do nothing to provide solace to that needy person, you are faithless. If one is faithless, can they be a "faithful and discreet slave?" Christ fed the multitude when hewas so bone weary all he wanted was rest. He put himself out many times to feed and comfort the people. Do you envision the GB washing our feet? To avoid ever having to do it, they dismiss us like the Pharisees did to Jesus followers. The Pharisees were the leaders at the time of the people under Jehovah's name. How disgusted Jehovah must now feel at the lack of love being exhibited by administration. Faith, hope, love and the greatest is love.

  • moshe

    I almost went to Bethel to work on the construction projects- it was around 1976, I think. Too bad, because after reading what life was really like at Bethel, I would have surely left JW's early or been kicked out. As it was, I hung around the KH another 12 years just like a frog in a pot of water set on slo-oow simmer.

  • Gregor

    I understand the feelings of empathy for those who have given their lives to the WTB&TS in one way or another and are now being cast aside.

    But let me remind you that these people dedicated themselves to a belief that everyone in the world is going to be destroyed except them.

    They are willing to live by the blood doctrine du jour. Infants, accident victims, etc. too bad.

    They discourage young people from pursuing education.

    They blindly support cruel shunning without even knowing why a person has been DF'd.

    Their very existence is based on attacking other peoples faith in the desire to have them leave it and join the org.

    They willingly turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the lies and inconsistencies of the org.

    F--k 'em.

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