Were You Punished by Your Government for Not Being a Part of Military Service?

by Diest 17 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Diest

    I never cease to be amazed by the sacrifice that the WTS foolishly requires. One of the larger sacrifices is that of personal freedom that has been demanded of young men and women around the globe. Many are sent to prison for several years and have a felony on their record for life. All because some men in an ivory tower refused to let you participate in some form of alternative service.

    I think I am so amazed by the stories I hear, because shines light on the lies I was told. I was born several years after Vietnam and I was always told that all you had to do was tell the courts that you were a conscientious objector! Boom, it's just that easy. Then I come on here and find out that the WTS hung these young men out to dry. They didn’t back them in court, and took away alternative service options. They sacrificed these young men to promote their theology.

    So, if this happened to you and you want to tell your story. I am sure that many of us who did not live through those eras or live in those countries would really appreciate it. If you have told your story before you can just post a link or repost the story.

  • james_woods
    Many are sent to prison for several years and have a felony on their record for life. All because some men in an ivory tower refused to let you participate in some form of alternative service.

    Not only that, but after ruining the lives of several (half a dozen) of my friends - they just decided about 20 years later that it would have been perfectly OK for them to take the alternative service in the first place. And nearly me, except that I was saved by Nixon's lottery.

    They kindly explained it in the WT that this was "up to the conscience of the ones that went to prison" - not their fault at all.

    I specifically remember that they absolutely forbid us to say that we were instructed by the WTBTS in any way on this issue - it was all our own choice.

    Right. Sure.

    Oh - and at the same time, it was perfectly OK for Mexican witnesses to just bribe the officials and buy a "get out of service" card.

  • Diest

    Reading Terry's story about this was the first non child abuse story that made me cry on JWN. I just feel like these young men were so wronged by their family and by the Watchtower Society.

  • Magwitch

    I had 3 uncles that spent 4 years in Sandstone Prison during WW2. My father still cries when he tells the story of the paddy wagon pulling up and they handcuffed his older brothers and took them away.

  • Farkel

    : Yes, and no. I was punished not for failing to enter the military service, but for failure to submit to two years civilian alternative military service because I refused military service. Insane old Freddie said we could not accept alternative military service unless we were tried and convicted and the Judge offered us alternative military service instead of prison. That policy was dropped years later.

    "Waiting on Jehovah" to change his mind about that didn't do shit for me. I was tried, convicted with a felony on my record and had to perform two years of civilian service for 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week without any compensation, gas allowance or anything else.

    I was lucky compared with Terry who is only one year older than me. He did hard time. We both did our time while Freddie was sitting in his little room in Brooklyn making up new and better shit and escaping scott free from our hardships and disgraces that he SOLELY brought upon us.


  • blondie

    Not me, not mandatory for women except in Israel (2 years) at my age.

    But the draft board was variable in its decisions depending on the location and the thinking of the members. In one year they decided that one jw was 4-D, one went to prison, and one was sentenced to alternative service. Same age and background. Those with felonies on their records had limitations on employment, etc., unless they were able to go to court later and have it removed. I know 5 jws that happened to, limitations in employment.

    I can say that young male jws regular pioneered more then and went to Bethel, 2 good things to get a 4-D status. But I knew brothers from WW2 , Korean war that ended up in prison.

  • Farkel


    : I can say that young male jws regular pioneered more then and went to Bethel, 2 good things to get a 4-D status.

    Well. I had pioneered for almost 3 years before I was drafted. There was no "lottery" then. You were just "drafted." I was also a MS, 2nd TMS Conductor, Book Study Conductor, and was a traveling speaker for public talks.

    I was refused a 4-D and only received a CO (Conscientious Objector) status from my draft board.


  • blondie

    Like I said Farkel, 3 brothers, same year, same draft board, all had regular pioneered, yet 3 different outcomes. Did you refuse the CO designation. The brothers here were told to do that (behind the scenes of course or the brothers advising them would have been charged criminally). The ones that went to prison were separated from the general population but it was still a federal prison. I remember that the lottery started in 1969. It ended the year 4 in my family turned 18. Many young jws have only the memory having to sign up at 18 per the law in the US.

    The WTS doesn't even remind the elders every year...last time 2008.

    *** km 1/08 p. 7 Announcements ***U.S. Selective Service regulations require that all men under the age of 26 who are (1) citizens and have reached 18 years of age or (2) noncitizens who move to the United States must register within 30 days. From the time a man registers until he turns 26, he must notify Selective Service within ten days of any change of address. Compliance with this law is a Christian’s obligation to the superior authorities. Elders should remind those to whom this applies or will soon apply of their duty to register.

  • Terry

    The Government gave me an opportunity to work in a State Hospital as ALTERNATE service, but, the jackels at the Kingdom Hall

    had a pow-wow with me and explained I could NOT accept that. I also could NOT ever tell anybody they were advising me!

    Clear instruction to lie: "You have to say this is YOUR idea and that nobody connected with the Watchtower Society has influenced you." Or words to that effect.

    The sentencing Judge Leo Brewster clearly explained to me that "at any time you decide you want to change your mind I will have you released for alternate service." What could be less "punishing"?

    Funny how everybody but me could see what a raw deal and stupid and illogical course I was taking.

    Just having to explain this to "Authorities" became embarassing because it didn't make any sense even to me. It was just a matter of doing what was

    expected of me. Being only 20 years old I was still a "Youth" and not an adult. I had something to prove to the brothers and sisters. I wasn't

    going to let "them" down, was I?

    In hindsight, being attacked by an inmate with intention of rape was the clarifying element. Jehovah had no interest in me. I was on my own.

  • James Brown
    James Brown

    I had to go before the draft board in 1970.

    I had a high number like 180 or so and I didnt have to go.

    As I remember no one helped me or encouraged me. I'm glad it worked out as it did.

    In America there is another kind of punishment for not going in the millitary. Many good government jobs, post office,

    Fire department, Police department and other government jobs give preference points to veterans.

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