The Events That Caused Me to Start Pioneering (way back when...)

by AllTimeJeff 15 Replies latest jw friends

  • AllTimeJeff

    Hi there. I was toying with the idea of re-writing my lifestory. Frankly, it would be long. So I will just do some random experiences instead. (maybe I will delete this before I post it... lol)

    What got me pioneering? Well, I was in the Hollywood Fla area shortly after I was married to the ex. 19 years old, new MS, made the accounts servant because no one wanted it, and starting a new job, living in 2 rooms attached to a real apt attached to a house that a sister owned. (a very nice sister as I recall). Oh, and my ex was mentally unstable. She had an eating disorder and actually kept it hidden from me for the first year before she eventually confronted it and stopped. Long story, I will stop on that one here. Suffice to say, it was more then any 19 year old should have to deal with. After all, that should have been my freshman year in college.

    I had went to Builders Square, willing to accept any work I could get. But because the ex was insistent that we pioneer together, I asked for part time work. At the time, the manager said that he was only hiring full time, but he was impressed with my vocabulary, partly because I used the word "bombastic" in a sentence. He loved that. At the time, neither of us knew that this came from a lifetime of training in using the english language to bullshit, courtesy of the Theocratic Ministry School... but I digress.

    I got the job, part time. It was perfect, it wasn't fulltime, and it had no benefits. HAD to be Jehovah telling me to pioneer. At least thats what the ex thought.

    Not me. I was beginning a lifelong adult experience of being worn out. This was the first time I could ever officially remember being... mentally and emotionally tired. The thought of pioneering while she was battling an eating disorder was a lot for my head. I suggested I wait a year.

    Holy cow did the SHIT HIT THE FAN! I tried 2 family WT studies, and both times, she was so unreasonable. The 2nd time, she yelled at me because we didn't look up each scripture and read them together while allowing her time to write them verbatim in the margins of the WT. I just looked at her and that was it. We didn't have a family WT study for 3 years. Never did more then 3 in a row as I recall.

    But then, after all of that, she started talking about why I didn't sign up to pioneer. I recall trying to use logical grown up reasons with her, like living on one income (she couldn't work at the time due to her immigrant status) and my responsibilities there, to which I got the "you don't have enough faith in Jehovah do you?"

    That statement started this whole little experience. I just remembered today that this is was the first time she accused me of having no faith when it suited her. The 2nd time was in Cameroon after I was attacked and told her I needed to come home to the States. Same response over 10 years later, I didn't have faith in god, which evidentally inconvenienced her life goals.

    A life lesson here folks, if only I could talk to 19 year old ATJeff, I would tell him. "You tell that crazy bitch that a job pays for the bills. If you can get insurance, it will pay for the therapy she desperately needs. Stick to your guns!"

    I didn't of course. I pussied out and signed up to pioneer with her. Official start date: April 1 1994*. I would be categorized as a full time pioneer of some sort from this time until my resignation in 2006.

    What I didn't have was the ability to be honest with myself. Of course, I loved her a ton. And at the time, I was thinking that I wanted to be like most elders I saw, set an example, maybe be a CO one day, after we got on our feet and I could start pioneering.

    But I lacked the ability to be honest with myself. Under all kinds of pressure, this cult produced people that I allowed to influence me. And I bear responsibility for that. As I look back to what got me started, sure, the cult is culpable. My ex was nuts, and the cult fed her mania. It allowed her to deal with her personal demons by giving her so much preaching to do that she could ignore her mental and emotional issues for the sake of Jehovah. I will never forgive her for sacrificing her marriage on the altar of full time service to the WTBTS or for wanting me to rot rather then recover in Africa.

    And I let her do it, because I loved her.

    But, its easy to see that now. Don't you just love experience?

    Anyway, that is what got me started in pioneering. I wanted to be a CO, but the ex had other plans. She wanted to be a missionary and go overseas. Thanks to that damn Gilead video "To the Ends of the Earth", she got all the energy she needed. She could have worn a nice nighty to seduce me, instead, she used this video. More on that another time.....

    *Edit: It was 1994, not 1995.

  • Farkel


    Here is my somewhat long story about why I started pioneering. I did it out of a humble and sincere desire to help people find true spirituality, comfort and a loving relationship with their Grand Creator.

    So here is my story (sorry it's so long. Viewers with little patience may want to skip it):

    1975 was coming.

    end of story.

    Was I surviving for a date? No. I was surviving AGAINST a date with death.


  • AllTimeJeff
    1975 was coming


    1995 was coming for me. Of course, I was an idiot and didn't realize what the generation change meant at the time. I was in my own little world around Planet ex Wife.

    1975, subject de jour for JWN. :)

    Here is my somewhat long story about why I started pioneering. I did it out of a humble and sincere desire to help people find true spirituality, comfort and a loving relationship with their Grand Creator.

    I wish I could say the same thing. I was more involved with how my JW community and (ex) wife saw me. I started to care about people, toward my late 20's. Until then, I was pretty much an asshole on plenty of levels.

  • sspo

    Thanks for your story.

    I was married to a "spiritual freak", served as an ms and elder for 29 years, raised 3 kids, worked my ass off in providing for

    her a good life, big homes and beautiful cars, constantly pushing me to do more spiritually and making me feel guilt

    for not having enough faith in Jehovah.

    I have many crazy stories about my ex mental state due to the influence of the [email protected]#$%g GB and the pressure

    to do more in order to receive God's approval.

  • DrJohnStMark

    Same kind of memories, but related to the mid-80s expectations and the nie-mehr-schule campaign of the society, so they're to blame. But most probably, almost certainly, I would never have started pioneering without my ex. On the other hand, I earlier should have been able to prevent her from starting, but I did not. Even after I had started pioneering, I was all the time complained that I was not really taking the lead in the family, in both spiritual and practical matters, etc. It all ended in a burnout in less than a decade.

  • no more kool aid
    no more kool aid

    Jeff, thanks for the story. One of the reasons I got out was my son , who is approaching that age. I looked around at all the whack jobs he could potentially get hooked up and I trembled. We have close friends that are getting divorced now, 15 years later and this is how their marriage started. Young, mental illness and pioneering! How can the older generation (me, now) keep sanctioning this? You see it in every congregation!


  • AllTimeJeff

    The sad fact is, it's the easiest thing to do to marry poorly in the borg. The best marriages always seemed to me to be the irreagular/inactive, who actually invested time in their marriage instead of the borgs ridiculous schedule.

    Cest la vie!

  • OnTheWayOut

    Thanks, Jeff.

    I pioneered when I first got married, but only lasted 6 months. I pioneered again in 2001-2 and lasted the whole year and went to pioneer school. That was a last-ditch effort to see if Jehovah's spirit was upon me and this damned organization. It wasn't. I did the time that year, but would get my 4 or so hours in and go to the library and do some research on WTS doctrines. By the end of pioneering, I was fully convinced that there were major problems with WTS. Pioneer school, I saw right through it. It wasn't teaching us anything from the Bible, it was teaching us how to rely on the WT for answers.

  • cantleave

    I wish I could say the same thing. I was more involved with how my JW community and (ex) wife saw me.

    Jeff, I always felt that how others percieved wasn't importatnt. It was until I resigned as an elder and thought about the things I made my family do, in order to be seen as a spirtual family, that I realised it was important.

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    Your story brings back a lot of memories.

    I believe I was 19 when I was made a MS, which was a big deal to me at the time. After joining the group at the age of 16 (no JW family), I made "rapid progress". I began to pioneer the summer after I finished high school with the hopes of continuing my "progress". The Elder that studied with me had created the most fantastically idealistic picture of the organization for me. I truly believed that I could somehow make advancement though the org quickly, although I had no idea exactly how it would work. Bethel didn't seem like the right path, and other forms of service (e.g. "going to where the need is greater", missionary, higher leadership positions, etc.) seemed either impractical or distant. There was no clear direction that I could see. Like many young men in the org that I had known, I simply wanted to "work" full time for the organization, yet had no idea how I could make that happen.

    I find it interesting how the conditions of your first marriage directed your decision making. I believe I was possibly on a similar path, with one exception. During my pioneering I decided to attend a local college in order to establish a career. Early on I kept thinking of Bethel, but by the end of that first summer I knew that sticking with the organizations suggestions would not help me. I was attending college, pioneering and working part time. I can really sympathize with your situation regarding being very young and managing a lot of different tasks. I got married at 20, moved to a new hall, and was made account servant.

    I eventually started a business that achieved some short term success, which allowed me a semi-legitimate excuse to back away from being MS (the elders at the new hall didn't seem to be in a hurry to appoint me, thank goodness!). While my wife wanted to pioneer, it was mainly because "that's what you are supposed to do". We both had enough work to do in order to push of "theocratic advancement".

    Knowing the background of your marriage at a young age provides some additional context to the problems you have described during your time as a missionary. I find it very interesting that you both were selected for Gilead. Have you ever described the application and selection process on this board? During my time in the WT, I always heard about how detail oriented the organization was towards appointments. Getting into Gilead regardless of you and your wife's problematic personal history is very interesting.

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