To my generation: Jehovah's Witnesses of the Vietnam War era
If you were a young brother in the late 60's you then remember the burden of the draft and the prospect of going to jail for refusing on religious grounds to be called up. In those days we were taught that to do community service was conscientiously the same as joining the military and so we were told to refuse such exemptions. Many of us had the choice to either pioneer and hope to get the minister exemption or go to jail.
Do you remember how it was? Do you remember the monthly pressure to get our hours and mags in during the Vietnam War days? Do you remember the letters reminding us that if we did not keep our hours up we could lose our exemption. Month by month- keeping out of jail was the driving force which kept us going in the rain, the snow and even to fudging it at times. Were you one of those who went to jail for your conscientious refusal to do community service because that was what we were taught to do?
Then in the 1990's all of sudden we are told Jehovah had made a change. Brothers could now do community service and avoid jail. Was this really from Jehovah or was the whole anti community service policy really from Brooklyn to begin with? Did you wonder about that when that change was made? I did.
Do you remember the six month study program during the early 70's? Were you ever told by the Circuit Overseer to drop a study because they had not made enough progress after 8 or 9 months? I was. It was one of the hardest things I had to do but you know what, I did it. I did it because I trusted. I gave up on someone who wanted to learn but were not going fast enough because the Society and the CO said so. Because 1975 was on its way.
Did you believe 1975? Did you put off some things? Perhaps marriage or having children? Did you give up a home and move to where the need was great? Did you tell your wife that the end was near and having children was not a good idea? I did. Did you strive your best to do everything you could. To serve as a servant, an elder, to pioneer, to do all the grunt work handed you. To disfellowship, to reprove, to do what was required even though there was something that kept nagging in your heart. Even though Jesus' words kept nagging. But no, this is God's organization what we do we do for Jehovah and for the benefit of our brothers and sisters. I see their faces to this day. The face of the sister disfellowshiped because she had again taken up the habit she had tried so hard to quit, smoking. I helped to destroy her.
Did you wonder as I did how long the 1914 generation would last? They kept dying and we kept waiting. Then they died some more and we waited some more. Then the big change. In the mid 1990's we no longer had to wait for the 1914 generation to die because they already had. I would put a (LOL) here if it were not for the fact that my stomach turned over that day and the beginning of a hint of "what is going on?" started in me. But I let it go, I moved on. Too much to do, trust in Jehovah, trust in the Organization. But now WE are dying! Seems like a joke doesn't it? But it's no joke.
Did Jehovah teach us that the 1914 generation would not die or was that from men?
Did Jehovah say we should disfellowship a young woman for smoking or was that from men?
Did Jehovah say we should not do community service or was that from men?
Did Jehovah teach us to get ready for 1975 or was that from men?
Did Jehovah teach that we should engage in studying with new ones for six months and then move on if there is not enough quick progress or was that from men?
What else is from men? Spend a little time each day reading the Gospels and compare what Jesus teaches with what we hear at the Kingdom Hall. Jesus ate with practicing sinners of his own religion- think about it.
I have come to a precipice. At this time of my life when I do not know how many more years I have to truly use my mind and body in a useful way I am at a crossroad. I do love Jehovah God, I do love Jesus Christ, I do love my brothers and sisters in the Organization, I do love my neighbor. But I find myself unable to understand the present Governing Body. I'm nobody, I do not have to understand it's true, but at this time in my life I feel I must understand just where are we headed? Who is truly in charge? Jehovah and Jesus? Or men?
I remember the joy of the International Convention in Yankee Stadium. Those of us who volunteered had it the best I think. The air felt electric. What, as we used to think,- a blast! Single good looking sisters everywhere, good food, good work and hope. Hope. To be young and have hope. Nothing like it.
Dear brothers and sisters of my generation, the generation who as children came out of the 40's and 50's into a new world of sorts, and who may be reading this-
I am going to continue attending meetings and continue being as active as I have been. I am going to the summer Convention, I will wait for the Annual Meeting, I will wait for the New Year and the publications that come with it and I will wait for the 2016 Memorial. I will wait on Jehovah and if by then repentance has not been declared, repentance for the trampling on God and his name, for trampling on Jesus, for not teaching Christlike love for all, for never saying "we made a mistake"- then in the Spring of 2016 I am leaving my religion.
I am not leaving Jehovah and his son. I am leaving the following of men. I was baptized not in the name of the Organization or of men. I am a follower of Jesus Christ who after the 2016 Memorial will be free to follow him alone.
I ask my generation, the generation that was not going to grow old- Did you trust Nathan Knorr? Do you today trust Anthony Morris as well as you trusted Knorr? If not, why not?
A negative answer to that question should provoke deep thought.
May Jehovah and Jesus Christ be with all of you,
Frank, an old man who knows who my Father is.