I just say this thread. I was at Bethel from 91 to 94 in Brooklyn. It was the best of times and the worst of times. I agree with Bro Dan in that you met some very wonderful people who have suffered for what they truly believed in. There were some really kind people there but so many horrible ones also. Like cultclassic said you blame yourself when things go wrong.
I was a married sister when we went and we were temps working on 90 Sands. I thought that they would put sisters in housekeeping and such but no I was in construction. I had never ran a table saw or lifted heavy stuff, I was expected to be able to life 90 pounds over my head in the work I was doing. It was truly a man's work that I was doing. My overseer told me all the time I was lazy and was only at Bethel for the free food and room. I was so hurt. Nothing I did was good enough for for my overseer. I remember before we could get into 90 Sands we were doing what ever needed to be done and once we went to the assembly hall to work, my overseer wanted me to go out on scaffolding four stories up, I am totally afraid of heights and the scaffolding was moving as it was not tied right. I was so freaked out I just froze oh my God did my overseer ream me out. What the heck was I doing at Bethel if I could not handle heights like that. I was just froze with fear finally he let me go back inside but he was soooooooooooo pissed at me. I could do nothing right.
My overseer told me I was huge for a woman I am 5'6 and I weighed 125 but he said I was fat and could stand to bulk up.
It was just like Bro Dan said too about dressing I had to wear a dress to morning worship, then change into work cloths then dress up for lunch then work cloths then dress up for gleaning then go home. I took about four or five showers a day.
Oh also before we left to go to Bethel I asked the CO's wife what to bring as far as cloths and the one thing she said was to not brings jeans that sisters just do not wear them at Bethel. OH MY GOD was my overseer pissed he looked at me and said no CO's wife would ever tell you that what did you think you would wear to work in. I said slacks he was like not in construction and you should have known that you would be in construction. It was never mentioned NEVER to me but my overseer said I was lying.
There were so many time I almost cut off a finger or worse the saw and such that I worked with and no training. My first week there my overseer did not know what to do with me so he had me spend three days sorting screws and nuts and bolts that had just been thrown in. I had everything marked and sorted so you could find things, I worked so hard on it. I was standing there after I had just got done and my overseer comes in upset at one of the brothers on the crew and says I need this screw and dumps all my work in this this bin, all my work for the three days was gone in two minutes. I was so hurt.
I could never make my hard hat stay on as I had to work over my head and look up and my hat was always falling off, I was always being yelled at for that I was not respecting Jehovah. Oh and the summers and when they would paint and I had to put up the closet I had to stay with all the paint flumes, it was so horrible I would feel so sick, but it did not matter as I had to do a so many rooms a day or I got into trouble. We were there when they finally got the AC we could hardly afford it but after spending a day with paint flumes I would be so sick at night and having AC was wo wonderful.
Oh and not showing in affection to your mate, I remember once leaving lunch and just pecking my husband on the check when I first got there, I mean I did not kiss him on the lips just a peck on the check as I left to go back to work oh my God I got into so much trouble over that.
Yet all of this was so much better then pioneering. Pioneering was truly hell. I worked 30 plus hours a week and had to get 90 hours a month in when I pioneered with my husband being the only elder in the hall so he did not work hardly any, I made most of our income so he could devote his time to the hall. All the sisters who hated my guts but rode around in my car all day never giving me a cent for gas and none of them had to work. I passed out in service once on a Bible study while I was pioneering and the sister I was with let me crawl out on my hands and knees to the car alone never came and checked on me as she was inside and just heard me fall she thought she said that I might have fallen but OH WELL. Or the time I got talked because I fall asleep in service due to being so tired.
No Bethel life was wonderful compared to pioneering at least I got to see my husband which I never did the first four years of our marriage.
I hate this religion.