:JT blog radio on JW alternative service
James T. is an old friend of mine, and like minimus said, was one of the sharpest and funniest posters to ever grace this board.
Many know about my experiences with alternative military service, but for those who don't, here goes:
I was pioneering for several years before I was drafted during the late 1960's. Vietnam was raging and the military needed fresh young me to die. We didn't have any such thing as a voluntary military then, and we didn't even have a military lottery. You were just classified 1A (be prepared to fight in the war) and drafted. That was it. Because I was pioneering, I was given a status of "CO" (conscientious objector), but that wasn't good enough to keep me out of the military. I could still be drafted and be assigned as a medic in the field. I tried to get a "4D" status, which was a minister's exemption. Some pioneers got it, some didn't. My draft board would not grant it to me.
I showed up for my military physical, per the "spirit-directed" instructions from Cult Headquarters. After the physical, (yep. Some "doctor" guy put his finger up my butt) we were asked to step over a line, signalling our acceptance to be in the military. I was not allowed by the WTS to step over the line, so I didn't. I left after a big scolding from the Nazi military goon and waited. Some months later I was contacted by the FBI and interviewed. They were very polite and I explained to them my religion and my stance.
About a year later, I was arrested, and the charge was a Federal Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in a Federal prison. I was tried in Federal Court and convicted. The judge sentence me to two years voluntary service, 8 hours per day, 5 days per week. No pay. I worked those two years for the Long Beach, California Tuberculosis Association (now called the Lung Association), stuffing envelopes, cleaning, whatever I was asked to do.
The irony (of which there were many) of all of this was I was sentenced to do the very SAME work I could have accepted voluntarily without ever being charged and convicted. This was yet another of Fred Franz's idiocies and Ray Franz discusses it in Crisis of Conscience. Freddy decided that if I accepted that work at the start, I would somehow "compromise" my "Christian integrity(tm)", but if I took the exact SAME work after being tried and convicted, I was then "ordered by a Court" to do it, and that, somehow, just somehow, was NOT compromising my "Christian integrity(tm)." What a crock of horseshit. It's like "the Devil made me do it" excuse!
Yep folks. I'm a convicted felon. Many years after the fact the WTS changed their "spiritual food" policy and said it was ok to accept alternative military service when it is offered, so young dubs can avoid what I had to suffer: two years of lost opportunities in my very young life and the millstone around my neck of being a "convicted Federal felon" to drag around the rest of my life.
For some strange reason, the Watchtower Printing Corporation never sent me a letter of apology for fucking up my life. It would seem like the Christian thing to do, wouldn't it? Oh, wait! They're not Christians! Not even close.