Bethel Rules

by brotherdan 194 Replies latest jw experiences

  • DaCheech
  • leavingwt


    @leavingwt - what is "open sleeping?"

    Please allow me to give the long answer.

    Morning Worship is a 15-minute spiritual discussion and consideration of Daily Text, presided over by the Governing Body or another Bethel 'heavy'. This takes place SIX DAYS per week. It is REQUIRED that every Bethelite attend, unless he is not required to work that day, on vacation or (officially) on the sick list.

    On Monday through Friday, each Bethelite has an ASSIGNED seat at a breakfast table. Each table has a Bethel elder as a 'Table Head'. His function is keep watch on the people assigned to his table. He will be consulted by other Bethel elders as to the spiritual health of each member, if needed. For new Bethelites, the table head will be consulted before the new Bethelite "passes his 10-month review". So, put simply, the Table Head is someone who can SCREW you over, if he doesn't like or if you don't meet or exceed his expectations. If you have the misfortune of being assigned to a table with a jerk as a Table Head, this will severely reduce the quality of your life while at Bethel.

    On Saturdays, however, there are NO assigned seats. Why? Because a significant percentage of sisters and many older brothers DO NOT work on Saturday. (The details regarding who works on Saturday and how often have changed considerably since I left in 2000.) Needless to say, there were not enough people expected at Morning Worship on Saturdays to justify assigned seating. In Brooklyn, entire dining rooms would remain closed on Saturday, because they weren't needed. Here is the KEY, however: Even on Saturday, Morning Worship is a requirement for all those who are reporting to work. Here is the dirtly little secret about this 'requirement'. Only a handful of broke people go down on Saturday, even though it's a 'requirement'. Why? Because Bethel is not watching them. Nobody can be held accountable for skipping, because there are not assigned seats. Everyone in Brooklyn has plausible deniability, because there are dining rooms are multiple locations. MOST Bethel elders and MOST Bethelites do NOT attend Morning Worship on Saturday, even when it is required. There are no repercussions for breaking this rule, because the Table Head is not able to keep track of anyone. Plus, the Table Head is skipping, too, in most cases.

    Finally, we arrive at 'Open Sleeping'. Stay with me. . .

    During the summer months, many people go on vacation. As such, at any given time during the peak of summer, a significant percentage of the Bethel Family is away on vacation. So, for roughly a two-month period during the summer, Bethel institutes what they call, 'Open Seating'. During this time, nobody has an assigned seat. You can simply go to a dining room of your choice and sit down.

    Everyone rejoices! People skip Morning Worship, just as they do on Saturdays, for weeks or months. If you skip Morning Worship, you can sleep later than normal, hence the nickname, "Open Sleeping" during the summer months.

    Why would anyone want to skip Morning Worship? Because it sucks. It's at 7 AM, at an assigned seat with nine other people you cannot stand and have not chosen as companions. The food is awful and the coffee is weak. The worst tables are the ones manned by one or two zealous 'Morning People' who love to hit you with multiple questions of a 'spiritual' nature.

    The Table Head can make or break the experience. If he's a jerk, the entire experience is awful. If he's a decent person, it's really not that bad.

    During my last three years at Bethel, I did not attend Morning Worship, even once, during Open Seating. It was wonderful. Fresh coffee, bagels, cinammon rolls and the NY Daily News from 'Cranberry's', a local coffee shop on Henry Street.

  • zoiks

    Jamie - the "no wrestling in just your underwear" line is actually one that I heard third- or fourth-hand as a speech given to some new boys by their overseer. I can't vouch for its truthfulness (maybe just its truthiness), but I can vouch for its comic value.

  • leavingwt
    "no wrestling in just your underwear"

    George Couch, now rotting in his grave, made this one famous. He loved to talk about "homos at Morning Worship.

    He once said, famously, at Morning Worship: [imagine his voice, here] "You're wrestling with your roommate in your underwear, and the next thing you know -- YOU'RE A HOMO!"

    (If anything, Bethel demonstrated to me that WT is not God's Organization. It just took me a few years to comprehend what I had experienced.)

  • cult classic
    cult classic

    LWT - no you didn't just mention Cranberry's. ahhhh

  • WingCommander

    I just have to bring up a point here concerning LeavingWt's post directly above ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

    Who else here sees this "open seating & open sleeping" for what it truly is; a chance at breaking the bonds and having some freedom away from the prison wardens??

    Read and think about what LeavingWT just you FEEL the relief and stress melting off of him as he sits at Cranberry's and drinks actual GOOD coffee, cinnamon rolls, and bagels?? I mean, the tension I feel from just reading all of these assinine rules is infuriating, so I couldn't imagine actually having to live like this.

    This, is in stark contrast as to how Jesus would actually treat people, his flock, the ones he is supposed to be taking care of and looking after. Does it sound like you are being cared for at Bethel, or shuffled around like a prisoner? If you recall, he came to release his flock from the bondange and burdons placed upon them by the rabbi's and Pharisee types of his day. He warned that later on there would be false prophets and wolves in sheeps clothing who would come in His name and place them back under this type of living. Is this an easy yoke, and a light load, as Jesus said His would be???? Certainly not - it is as plain as the nose on your face.

    Control, Control, CONTROL. What a pathetic existance. No way could I stand to live like this. Imagine, you can't even own a freakin bicycle?? Who comes up with this shit???

    - Wing Commander

  • cult classic
    cult classic

    Totally feel you WC. But... keep in mind the youth are indoctrinated that bethel is a paradise. So when you're there the last thing on your mind is that there is something wrong with Bethel and the org. The average bethelite is thinking there is something wrong with him/her. It's just like the local congregation only amped up 1 billion times on crack! Bethelites are told they are being further refined.

    On the upside, those who have an awakening at bethel often head straight out of the religion. I did know some who came in and were like "uh, I made a big mistake, I'm outta here." Lots of bethelites come to know the religion is crap, it just takes a while to decide how to proceed.

    I remember when we left this sister told me "don't talk about the bad things at bethel." Bethelites leaving are "encouraged" to not show bethel in a bad light to the local congregations as this could stumble them.

  • leavingwt
    I remember when we left this sister told me "don't talk about the bad things at bethel." Bethelites leaving are "encouraged" to not shed bethel in a bad light to the local congregations as this could stumble them.

    Indeed. Bethelites are officially warned, constantly, to keep dirt within the family. I had to censor my phone calls to family members, leaving out the stuff that would 'stumble' them right out of the organization.

  • WingCommander
    WingCommander another poster before mentioned, this thread is already at a "classic" level. I mean seriously; having to censor yourself on a phone call to your own FAMILY, for fear of saying something to "stumble" them???? That entire response sounds like it came straight from a Jonestown survivor! (Jim Jones, People's Temple)

    Truly, this entire thread shows what for a CULT this religious scam is. When I started to mentally come to grips with the obvious lies I had been fed my whole life at about the age of 19-21, I couldn't bring myself to accept that this religion is a cult. Aftter many years of reading experiences on here and comparing them to other religions that I did consider a cult, (Mormons, People's Temple, etc, etc.) it became painfully obvious to me just how much of a cult it truly is. It's like a punch to the gut when it hits you too. You feel so cheated, so duped, etc.

    I feel for all of you that had to endure such an Orwellian existance, but I am grateful that you have released the bond of oppression from not only your minds, but your bodies and spirit as well.

    - Wing Commander

  • zoiks
    "You're wrestling with your roommate in your underwear, and the next thing you know -- YOU'RE A HOMO!"


    I can't imagine George Couch's voice, so I'm substituting with Don Knotts.

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