What was it about Bethel that woke you up?

by cognisonance 95 Replies latest jw friends

  • Balaamsass

    I had one roomate who actually ENJOYED Bethel. However he was a newly converted Vietnam Vet who enjoyed the military and had no job skills. Told me he liked the structure and least no one shot or lobbed mortars at him...and he got a bit of an rush attending a Spanish Harlem Congregation (high crime area). Odd.

    I THINK he was the only guy I ever met who loved Bethel.

  • Crisis of Conscience
    Crisis of Conscience

    I wrote the following to someone here via PM a while ago. And I can say that what has been said so far in this thread about Bethel is spot on. They are things I noticed in my short stay there.

    "One of my first things at Bethel, at 19 years old, was seeing a bit of a double standard. At Patterson I got a lot of opportunities to see GB members. The one thing I questioned to myself was the way I saw them around female visitors. One in particular, Lyman Swingle, before he died, would put his arms around the sisters, point at his cheek, and ask for a kiss.
    Now I'm big on equality, as I will probably point out later in my posts. So I don't care who you are or how old you are. If I would have tried at 19 to get that kind of attention from the ladies, and especially at Bethel, I would without a doubt have been spoken to about how my actions are inappropriate or perhaps at the severest point, been dismissed. Now I don't crave attention by any means, but to me that just wasn't right. And I witnessed it more than once. May not be a big thing but it definitely made an impression in my mind that I just can't forget.

    I was also bothered by the way some were treated by others right in front of their overseers. I talked about it with a brother and he told me in so many words, that we are imperfect and we have to accept and forgive.
    That I can agree with. Except the Bethel standard is pushed so much and praised so high above the "worldly" work standards and environments that I just couldn't be satisfied with that.
    So again, a small thing, but made an impression in my young mind......................................

    .......................................................While I can say for the most part that I enjoyed my short stay at Bethel, I can agree with what you say you saw. I hated hearing people talk about how brother so and so is coming through so we have to do this and act this way like everything is running the way it should. I thought to my self just like I would in any other situation, so what? He's is human just like me. Why act any different? But a lot of people don't see it that way."


  • Etude

    One morning, I received a call from a family member while I was living at the Towers Hotel (before they refurbished it and built the tunel). I had been on night shift and was sleeping. This is the way it went. The front desk at the 124 Columbia Heights got a call for me. They would in turn call (not patch to) the front desk at the Towers. The Towers reception would then ring the floor I was in. Someone would pick up the hall phone, knock on my door and then I'd answer the hall phone and learn I had a call at the 124 building.

    So, I had to get dressed in seconds, run down and jog the couple of blocks to the 124. As I was approaching the 124 Nathan Knorr noticed my disarray. I could tell he was furing from his look of disdain at me. It seemed he was going to turn around at that instant and dress me down, but I was in too much of a hurry. By the time I got to the desk, whoever called had hung up. That gave me a little time to reflect on Knorr's leer. I thought about it and it made me angrier. I contemplated that had he turned around and said something I would have unloaded on him and quicly end my Bethel career (I was relatively new). I thought: "What an asshole!"

  • pontoon

    I had a brother in bethel, cleaning dept. Chemicals were taking a serious toll on his hands after the years he spent in that dept. He requested a job change and they told him to leave. Just like that.

  • williamhconley

    I worked in the bindery & the overseers were complete dictators. Yelling & name calling was commonplace. I even thought that that was normal & acceptable as this was God's house & if I felt offended it was my faulty thinking not theirs. If you were LITERALLY 1 second late, they would call your name on the floor speaker to make sure everyone knew you were late & this would be marked against you.

    When brothers would mistakenly fill in the wrong pockets with the wrong signatures (they called these weirdos) they would gather all the books, write you name on top of all the books and put in the amount of money you wasted (bound volumes were $10 & books $2). You would then have to use your lunch time to tear each book and throw then in the dumpster. I saw many new boys literally cry & be humiliated by this treatment.

    John Foster was the bindery overseer and was very harsh. Even at lunch he would like to interrogate new ones & trash talk. We were made to feel that the organization was doing us a big favor by having accepted us to Bethel. Coincidentally, John Foster was in a bad car accident & suffered permanent damage.

    Almost every morning we were told that Bethel should be our lifelong career. Leaving Bethel was almost the same as being unfaithful. One morning Sydlik promised that the Society would never let go of Bethelites. I feel for those having served 20+ yrs without any real skills & have been let go.

    Once sat at Jaracs' table & you were scared stiff of both of them. No love whatsoever. Don't even try asking Sister Jaracs for anything at all!

    When talking to family or friends back home, you had to hide many things that actually did go on.

    During my stay there, I had to tell off 4 bethel elders due to their constant harrassment. They didn't accuse me cause I had info on them.

    It's interesting how visitors especially worldly people were treated with respect and dignity when visiting Bethel but not fellow bethelites especially new ones.

    I remember a Bethelite being arrested in 1995 at 90 sands for comitting fraud before entering Bethel service. It appeared in the papers but I have not been able to find it online.

    Bethel was nevertheless a learning experience & gives you alot of weight when you talk to others about what goes on as one having been on the inside.

  • maisha

    I have to ask all of you,

    WHY keep these things secret from family or others?.

    this sort of stuff should come out in the open.

    I worked on a branch build once, two brother one was the oversea and one was a professional, they were going at it as to who was right for a particuluar problem.

    they were so close to hitting each other, many came into to stop the fight.

    Te oversea held sway as he was the one in charge, however he was WRONG, but they did it his way.

    Pride, arrogance, i am in charge crap...

    I went back and told everyone!,,,

    If you are at bethel, open up this closed off garbage, TELL EVERYONE WHAT GOES ON.


  • life is to short
    life is to short

    I remember one of my Bethel experiences involved one of the attorneys. I did not know him by name or anything but I did know he was one of the true heavy's and he was someone with weight both ways and who you did not want to cross.

    So fpr some stupid reason I was always coming into the 124 building and he would be waddling up. He was huge well over 350 pounds and he truly waddled as he could not walk fast being so fat. He always called to me HOLD THE DOOR with a very rude voice. So I held the door. He was so rude when he came up to me and he would stormed by me never saying thank you or even acknowledging I was standing there. He would only yell at me to HOLD THE DOOR so he would not have to get his key then he looked at me like I was dog poop.

    This happened about four or five times in a roll. Then one day he happened to be in front of me and he clearly saw me and slammed the door shut in my face. It was so beyond rude, I was speechless.

    I got my chance a very short time latter when he came waddling up and yelled HOLD THE DOOR. I made clear eye contact with him and slammed it in his face and took off. He was so hot with anger but he did not know my name so there was nothing he could do to me as I am sure he would have loved to.

    It never happened again after that. I was just so blown away by how arrogant and haughty he was.


  • cult classic
    cult classic

    Good for you LITS. I Love that!!!!!

  • exwhyzee

    It's too exhausting for me to hash over my experience in Bethel. I had some good times but after I saw for myself what went on there, I never felt the same about the religion again. You can beleive what everyone said in their posts so far. Just reading them brings it all back to me in detail. All I can tell you is that when I left and came home, for the first year or so I was asked to speak about my Bethel experience at get togethers,meetings and assembly parts. I always declined. People thought it was because I was humble and didn't want to draw attention to myself. The truth of the matter was I simply couldn't in good conscience paint the same misleading and rosy picture that was painted for me about Bethel and I still half beleived that maybe there was something bad about me for having such a low opinion of the organization, even after having all my money stolen out of my room by my houskeeper Dorreen and her husband. I went through the public school system without so much as a scratch only to volunteer at God's house and see the craziest stuff going on amongst people who were pretending to be such a good example and were looked up to by so many.

    I still occasionally have nightmares where I dream that I've signed up for Bethel and there's no way to get out of it.

  • Satanus

    Sounds to me, that the american bethel may be run tighter than the canadian. I worked there for almost a yr on construction. I found them to be reasonable. I got drunk a couple of times w one of the overseers. It didn't stumble me, for some reason. Pun not intended.


Share this