The year was 1969.
I had just spent my 2 years fulfilling my "neutrality" obligations to Jehovah's Organization during the Viet Nam war by going in to Federal Prison.
I thought I could use my parole to get my life together.
Getting a job, saving some money, buying a car and getting a place to live didn't seem like radical or worldly ideas to me.
I guess I was pretty surprised when I walked in to the Kingdom Hall where I had not set foot since 1967.
Instead of a homecoming I was greeted by----the Congregation Overseer (the pre-Elder days).
In his hot little hand was the Pioneer Application form. He handed it to me saying, "I know you'll want to continue your serving Jehovah Full Time!"
Was this a bad joke?
Prison means "Full Time" because....well....you're an F-ing PRISONER!
But, apparently, there is no parole from Jehovah's bars and stripes.
I soon learned the Congregation Overseer's son was Pioneering and needed a companion!
So, what was I going to do?
I know what I should have done. I should have said, "I had two years of my life taken from me and I'm in the hole. I need to dig out."
But, all I said was, "Sure." I signed and it was mailed in and accepted.
At that time, the END was actually near because 1975 was THE END (of 6,000 YEARS of human "existence").
JW's don't believe in Evolution. They were Young Earth Creationists!
All the fossil and archeological "evidence" telling science humanity had evolved over a period exceeding 100 thousand years to the contrary--
JW's taught the Freddy Franz schedule, instead!
Man was specially created exactly in the year 4026 c.e.
Freddy said so.
The Earth had been created in 6 days that were (get out your gullibility hat) 7 thousand years long each!
Soooo....using impeccable Rhodes Scholar (candidate...sort of..) reasoning, Fred Franz calculated an amazing thing!
Franz did it by working backwards--from the end point toward the beginning!
Franz figured that the LAST DAY (the one all of us were living in) must also be 7000 years long.
We were, therefore, living in Jehovah's "Day of Rest".
But--Franz noticed just on the other side of Armageddon event was a 1000 year long refurbishing period (the Millennium).
Counting backwards....from that Millennium toward the creation of man would tell him WHEN Armageddon would be bracketed by events.
He (Fred Franz) gets to set ALL the dates and make them come out the way he wants!
Franz came up with 1975 and this was why I HAD TO PIONEER!!
I was standing there in 1969 looking ahead a scant 6 years until THE END!!
It was clear to all JW's that only having 6 years left called for some frantic activity!
For one thing, you had to get on Jehovah's good side. Armageddon was going to be a picnic only for the carrion birds.
Everybody else would either live or die depending on------on-------on what?
JW's didn't depend on the mercy of God without works. No way!
JW's had to work their collective butts off going door to door WARNING people.
"Get your butt in the Kingdom Hall" was the subliminal message for non-members.
As a Pioneer I was invested with the opportunity for Pious Sneering.
It was strictly Take-it-or-leave-it work we were doing! The maximum time we would be willing to give a person was 6 months!!
You placed a Truth Book, conducted a study, took them to the meetings at Kingdom Hall and told them to Put-Up-or-Shut-Up.
Baptism or bye-bye to your ass!! I think of it now as Pious Sneering.
It amounted to this: "You don't listen to me---you DIE"
What a feeling of self-importance this generated.
Being a Pioneer was Heavy, dude!
We were Rock Stars. Sort of.
We couldn't afford to dress well or own a home or a good car or even go on dates. But, we were IMPORTANT.
Legends in our own mind! We were engaged the "marking work" separating sheep from goats.
Step out of the way 'cause I gots the power of J-hovah crackling outta my eyes!
As you may or may not have heard.....
1975 was SHOWDOWN time!
The whole world had been put on notice! All eyes were watching.
People were holding their breath. Especially the naive ones!!
There ain't no way Jehovah's Organization would tell us to spend 6 years preparing EVERYBODY for an event unless it was going to be an Extravaganza!!
Well, let me tell ya, Brothers and Sisters.....
Going back to the same house and knocking the same door where a few months previously you had Piously Sneered....is no happy holiday in the sun.
"Hey Buddy, what happened to Armageddon, huh?"
Don't think the Pioneering was quite the same for a long long time after that........
We weren't Rock Stars any longer. We were Goobers with tinfoil hats with a propeller on top.
We needed a drool cup.
Pious Sneering = Doofus!