Derrick, if we are not that far away from you maybe some day we will meet.
You never know. Do you work in the high tech industry? Also, are you right near some of the Hollywood studios that have backlots on Charleston Road in Mountain View and that general area? I was given a tour one time, of one of the studios and backlots where they filmed portions of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. (As I recall Silicon Graphics worked on the award winning special effects and its facilities are in the general area. I went to that giant cinemaplex of theaters directly across the street from Silicon Graphics main lobby on T2's opening day, which I had advanced tickets for.)
It's a real tough place in northern California for JWs especially in the Silicon Valley area (which spans from San Francisco down the peninsula to San Jose and is expanding towards Morgan Hill with the proposed city-sized Cisco complex near there). Mountain View and Sunnyvale have been quite popular meccas for the high technology companies such as Adobe and Intel. Since I got into the real estate market in the mid-1990's before hyperinflation kicked in, I've seen houses start to approach the levels one would expect in Tokyo and other inflationary markets, due to a fundamental shortage. That's what makes this inflation different, and why I loosely use the word "hyperinflation".
It's really fascinating being in the midst of these fast times in technology and internet communications, and I'm so thankful that I went against the "wise counsel" of the elders to graduate from high school with honors. I was eventually forgiven for this trespass but again tested their patience when I decided not to become a fulltime Pioneer but get a degree in the computer sciences and business communications instead! I literally got called on the carpet when a sister overheard me telling a brother that I graduated (and he got called on the carpet for congratulating me using some odd line of reasoning). I was never a smart ass however, always treating them instinctively like I treated managers in corporations (LOL!), doing this unconsciously. Ironically the elders liked that respect, as I discovered many of them are similar to the Scribes and Pharisees who love being treated as your Superiors! Well, I was guilty of massaging those humongous egos without even realizing, I think because I was a Witness since my mid-teens and always viewed them like my father. And you needed to treat dear old Dad respectfully or watch out! ;-)
I really sense that you'll do well. I did a search and read your original posts on this site back in June of 2001, the ordeal you went through, and really commend you for maintaining your sanity. Just remember that their bad behavior is no more God's fault than the poor behavior of the clergy class in general (of which the elders have proven themselves to be part of). They will receive what the rest of the clergy will receive, whether it's the majority who abuse their authority over the flock, or the few who really make themselves true servants of God -- each will receive his reward whether it's good or bad, I believe. By the way, I did a search on "Pickering" next to "Jehovah" (I think that's the right name) over www.yahoo.com and amazingly that name is as common as "Smith" amongst JWs! What is it about that name that it's so widespread? (Other than your getting shafted by a member of the J.C. with that name? Maybe it's a sign from God as one brother in my congregation would always say about unusual coincidences, LOL.) ;-)
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
-- William Blake (Auguries of Innocence)