To My Generation: Jehovah's Witnesses of the Vietnam War Era

by Hold Me-Thrill Me 27 Replies latest jw friends

  • Sail Away
    Sail Away

    Frank, I echo the sentiments of others. Why wait any longer? You have the answers to your questions.

    I love the way you describe those times! Every word you wrote is truthful. I remember the six-month bible studies in "The Truth book". I got baptized at age 16 in 1975. I declined a college scholarship to go pioneer where the need was great. At 19, I married far too young to a man I didn't know. We only dated for three months. All I knew was he was a former pioneer (during the Vietnam years) and had been a ministerial servant in his Bethel congregation. I was told he would make a good spiritual head.

    I walked away from the organization after the district convention in the summer of 2011 at age 52. I didn't learn TTAT until that fall. My husband left 30 years earlier and only learned TTAT after I did. The organization put a horrible strain on our marriage and family all those years. Life is too short. Live it as a free man.

  • DwainBowman

    It ended a year before, I came of age! But I had been auxiliary pioneering almost nonstop for two years, and quit school, and started regular pioneering a couple of months before it ended! I believed all of it, hook line & sinker!

    I had 2 big brothers that came of age in the heat of the war, one if them was drafted, but flunked the eye tests, and all was well! The older one started pioneering a few months before the draft age, and worried nonstop all the time! He would not take time just to have fun, studied all the time, wanting to be sure and have everything just right if he got called! He never did!

    I so remember how worried they were, and how it effected me as my time got ever closer!

    I remember the change when it came about in the 90's, thinking about how many friends I knew that had a black mark on their records, that had caused them problems for years, and unless they had money to burn, would always have that mark!

    Looking back, it blows my mind, that it took so long, and so much to wake me up!


  • blondie

    I lived and still do in a federal locus in my state. Also a large area for jws.


    1) jw could not choose to be a CO or do community service BUT

    2) if the court SENTENCED him to community service he could do it

    We had 3 brothers that were all pioneers

    1) One was designated 4D (for divnity)

    2) One was sent to prison

    3) One was sentenced to work in a hospital for his term

  • blondie

    So most jws think that community services was not allowed and were surprised by this article:

    *** w96 5/1 pp. 19-20 Paying Back Caesar’s Things to Caesar ***

    Civilian Service

    16 However, there are lands where the State, while not allowing exemption for ministers of religion, nevertheless acknowledges that some individuals may object to military service. Many of these lands make provision for such conscientious individuals not to be forced into military service. In some places a required civilian service, such as useful work in the community, is regarded as nonmilitary national service. Could a dedicated Christian undertake such service? Here again, a dedicated, baptized Christian would have to make his own decision on the basis of his Bible-trained conscience.

    17 It seems that compulsory service was practiced in Bible times. One history book states: “In addition to the taxes and dues exacted from the inhabitants of Judea, there was also a corvée [unpaid labor exacted by public authorities]. This was an ancient institution in the East, which the Hellenistic and Roman authorities continued to maintain. . . . The New Testament, too, cites examples of corvée in Judea, showing how widespread it was. In accordance with this custom, the soldiers pressed Simon of Cyrene into carrying Jesus’ cross [torture stake] (Matthew 5:41; 27:32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26).”

    18 Similarly, citizens in some countries today are required by the State or by local authorities to participate in various forms of community service. Sometimes this is for a specific task, such as digging wells or building roads; sometimes it is on a regular basis, such as weekly participation in cleaning up roads, schools, or hospitals. Where such civilian service is for the good of the community and is not connected with false religion or is not in some other way objectionable to the consciences of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they have often complied. (1 Peter 2:13-15) This has usually resulted in an excellent witness and has sometimes silenced those who falsely accuse the Witnesses of being antigovernment.—Compare Matthew 10:18.

    19 What, though, if the State requires a Christian for a period of time to perform civilian service that is a part of national service under a civilian administration? Here again, Christians must make their own decision based on an informed conscience. “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” (Romans 14:10) Christians faced with a requirement of Caesar should prayerfully study the matter and meditate on it. It may also be wise to talk the matter over with mature Christians in the congregation. After this a personal decision must be made.—Proverbs 2:1-5; Philippians 4:5.

    20 While engaged in such research, Christians would consider a number of Bible principles. Paul said that we must “be obedient to governments and authorities as rulers, . . . be ready for every good work . . . be reasonable, exhibiting all mildness toward all men.” (Titus 3:1, 2) At the same time, Christians would do well to examine the proposed civilian work. If they accept it, will they be able to maintain Christian neutrality? (Micah 4:3, 5; John 17:16) Would it involve them with some false religion? (Revelation 18:4, 20, 21) Would performing it prevent or unreasonably limit them from fulfilling their Christian responsibilities? (Matthew 24:14; Hebrews 10:24, 25) On the other hand, would they be able to continue to make spiritual progress, perhaps even sharing in the full-time ministry while performing the required service?—Hebrews 6:11, 12.

    21 What if the Christian’s honest answers to such questions lead him to conclude that the national civilian service is a “good work” that he can perform in obedience to the authorities? That is his decision before Jehovah. Appointed elders and others should fully respect the conscience of the brother and continue to regard him as a Christian in good standing. If, however, a Christian feels that he cannot perform this civilian service, his position should also be respected. He too remains in good standing and should receive loving support.—1 Corinthians 10:29; 2 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Peter 3:16.

  • 3rdgen
  • Hold Me-Thrill Me
    Hold Me-Thrill Me

    Blondie, thanks for posting the 1996 article. In 1998 they opened their fly and exposed the fact that many of us were not too pleased with them. Who knows how many letters they got regarding the 1996 article but it must have been plenty for them to print the article below. Also, it should be noted that brothers in other countries were also going to jail. A letter was printed during this same time from a brother I believe from Greece who expressed his appreciation for the changes in civilian service.The Watchtower's extreme positions on this and other things like blood, shunning of relatives etc. have negatively effected many lives, if not ruined them or even killed them.

    (emphasis mine below)

    *** w98 8/15 p. 17 Strengthening Our Confidence in God’s Righteousness ***

    Feelings of Having Suffered Needlessly

    6 In the past, some Witnesses have suffered for refusing to share in an activity that their conscience now might permit. For example, this might have been their choice years ago as to certain types of civilian service. A brother might now feel that he could conscientiously perform such without overstepping his Christian neutrality regarding the present system of things.

    (It was NOT our choice. They forced the choice on us.)

    7 Was it unrighteous on Jehovah’s part to allow him to suffer for rejecting what he now might do without consequences? Most who have had that experience would not think so. Rather, they rejoice that they had the opportunity of demonstrating publicly and clearly that they were determined to be firm on the issue of universal sovereignty. (Compare Job 27:5.) What reason could anyone have to regret having followed his conscience in taking a firm stand for Jehovah? By loyally upholding Christian principles as they understood them or by responding to the proddings of conscience, they proved worthy of Jehovah’s friendship. Certainly, it is wise to avoid a course that would disturb one’s conscience or that would likely cause others to be stumbled. We can think in this regard of the example that the apostle Paul set.—1 Corinthians 8:12, 13; 10:31-33.

    ( Please note, first they blame God. "Without consequences" means without consequences from the Watchtower. "Christian principles as they understood them" is, pardon the expression bullshit. We understood ONLY what we were told to understand. What follows is an even greater kick in the pants.)

    8 In order to please Jehovah, the Jews were required to obey the Ten Commandments and also a wide variety of about 600 additional laws. Later, under the Christian arrangement, obedience to these laws as such was no longer a requirement for serving Jehovah, not even for fleshly Jews. The laws no longer binding included those dealing with circumcision, keeping the Sabbath, offering animal sacrifices, and observing certain dietary restrictions. (1 Corinthians 7:19; 10:25; Colossians 2:16, 17; Hebrews 10:1, 11-14) Jews—including the apostles—who became Christians were released from the obligation to keep laws that they were required to obey when they were under the Law covenant. Did they complain that God’s arrangement was unrighteous in having formerly required of them things that were no longer necessary? No, they rejoiced in the broadened understanding of Jehovah’s purposes.—Acts 16:4, 5.

    (Please note, they are comparing the changes they make to the change in worship made in the Bible. I don't why I did not explode then but I was too blinded.)

    9 In modern times, there have been some Witnesses who were very strict in their view of what they would or would not do. For that reason they suffered more than others. Later, increased knowledge helped them to expand their view of matters. But they have no reason to regret having earlier acted in harmony with their conscience, even when this possibly brought extra suffering. It truly is commendable that they demonstrated their willingness to suffer in faithfulness to Jehovah, to “do all things for the sake of the good news.” Jehovah blesses that kind of godly devotion. (1 Corinthians 9:23; Hebrews 6:10) The apostle Peter wrote with insight: “If, when you are doing good and you suffer, you endure it, this is a thing agreeable with God.”—1 Peter 2:20.

    (We were not strict. We simply did as we were told. Either we tried to get a minister classification or we went to prison. I was in the northeast at the time and some of us did go prison because we were told that was the only Christian choice to make. If we joined the military quiet disfellowshiping was the result. "Increased knowledge" was the 1996 Watchtower article.)

    Thanks again Blondie for bringing up the 1996 article.


  • DwainBowman

    Don't we all julove the double dips of BullShit we've been served, over the years!

    Just like the years of buildup to 1975, and all the stuff pointing to it, and the outright naming of 75, then a few years later, it was jyst overzealous brothers picking up on stuff, and running wild with it! It surely never was because of anything the gb or borg, said or did!

    BullShit, BullShit, BullShit. ..............

  • zeb

    National Service or 'call-up' was a scar across the face of Australia as well.

    It appalled my dad as he had been a soldier in WW2 and knew full well the horrors of war. Poor mum of course had sat through that war not knowing if she would ever see her husband again and awaiting the dreaded telegram and here was going to have to go through it all again.

    So many Vietnam diggers returned home (over 600 were KIA) with ruined health due to war stress and the host of chemicals sprayed on them, agent orange being only one. add of course those injured by enemy fire. These guys have battled for years to get formal recognition for their valour and for the many ills that plague them still today.

    What did the wt do? Did it speak out against the war? No. I do not recall a single wt or awake magazine that ever did. No those fat gb bastards at bethel sat in safety and dumped the responsibility all on the poor creatures who were conscripted. Did they pay any of any individuals legal fees?

    The gb should go for a drive to the American Vietnam war memorial and bash their heads on it bloody and stand in shame for their snivelling inaction.

    One of the early reasons for me leaving was the presenting to the Botha Apartheid government in South Africa by the wts the field service records for brothers there in conscription cases. This is the opposite to the procedures of the same wt that hides its list of paedophiles and other scandals from governments and courts. Presenting fs records was nothing more than a form of blackmailing to force brothers into more and more fs. and again at a time when 'alternative' service was a banned.

    Oh the stench the vile putrid stench that emanates from the wts.

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