This site contains a lot of interesting information . Personal experiences of former Jehovah's Witnesses , explanation of 607, 1914 faithful slave , and Important CHANGES in March 15th, 2015 Watchtower, Explained & Clarified .
I recommend reading .
thanks for answering. I sent an email to you .
I see your email, and just responded. Since you asked about my own experiences and about persons I knew from Bethel, I'll respond here, too, in case others are interested:
Glad to meet you. I know some of what you are going through. At least I know how disturbing it can be to try to figure out what's right and what's wrong after you were so sure it was nearly 100% correct for so many years.
Many of my own family are still JWs, including my father, still an elder and my mother, who still pioneers when she can even in her old age. My grandparents were also JWs, and even a great-grandparent who went on speaking tours with Russell from after 1906 to 1916 and remained a Bible Student.
When I came to Bethel in 1976, my father already knew Brother Bert Schroeder on the Governing Body (from KM School) and I was quickly put into a job where I mostly did artwork, but also some proofreading and research. Brother Schroeder began assigning me some research projects that required a background in Greek even though I was not very skilled. I spent a lot of time in the Bethel Library and Gilead Library, and Brother Schroeder gave me access to his office and his library at any time. I also became friends with his son, and was often invited to the same gatherings that they went to. I even traveled to Europe in 1978 for 5 weeks, and traveled with the Schroeders for a portion of the way. I worked at the Athens branch office for nearly a week on that same trip to work on an assignment from Dean Songer.
But my research for Brother Schroeder would lead to some problems and contradictions. I discussed some of them with my roommate. When I asked my roommate about them he invited me to meet with Brother Lengtat, and this helped me see a lot more about what was going on, and how we got to these doctrines. I ended up reading most of our old publications while at Bethel, partly for Schroeder's assignments and partly to figure things out. I studied twice a week with Rinehard for about two years. I ended up with a lot more friends in the Writing Department (who I would also see and speak to when I was doing research for Bert Schroeder).
Many of these friends were starting to get into trouble and were about to be dismissed. I left Bethel in the Spring of 1980 to get married to a pioneer sister who Fred Rusk had studied with. Fred Rusk brought many members of the Governing Body and Gilead Instructors to meet this sister when he and his wife studied with her. And many of them went to the same congregation. Rinehard told me about Carl Jonsson's manuscript and I saw it when I was talking to Fred Rusk in his office once. Schroeder had a partial copy with him when we went to Europe in 1978.
In 1980, I had to meet with Dan Sydlik (GB member) to talk about my own doctrinal views because so many of my friends were in trouble. I thought I might be dismissed when I was called to his office. But I knew he himself had spoken about disagreeing with things in the past (like parts of 1914, and all of 1918, 1919, 1922, 1935) so we kind of laughed off the problems, promised to be very careful, and I asked about his advice on my upcoming marriage instead.
Rinehard was supposed to give my wedding talk, but things were getting to difficult for him, and another two of our friends from Writing gave the talk: Fred Rusk and Jim Napolitano. Rinehard remained very low-profile, and I haven't heard or spoken to him for at least 8 years.
I was in a very odd position, by having friends on both sides of the controversial questions which were being raised especially between 1977 and 1981. A brother in my congregation was a Bethel elder who did everything he could to get me dismissed in 1982 but he couldn't get any traction. Brothers from Bethel warned me about him so I was very careful even though he made sure I was assigned every part on Organization and 1914, etc. He even had the Circuit Overseer just happen to drop by when it wasn't his week for the visit to show up to listen. Bethel elders were asking to work in field service with me. I was still giving Sunday public talks in several congregations around NYC, and noticed that I was being followed by Bethel elders. So I wrote a letter to the Service Department about my intentions to step down in 1982/83, but it was intercepted by a member of the Writing Department who was questioned about it. He told us he wouldn't turn it in, because he was sure we would come to our senses very soon. This allowed me to technically remain a JW and continue to go through the motions with friends and family, and still communicate with various Bethelites. But my parents shunned me for a few years anyway, because I had already shown them the letter and it took them a while to understand what happened with it. At this point I only go to meetings or assemblies when I'm curious to research audience reactions to a revised doctrinal issue, or in a couple cases, when I'm visiting my parents.
Although I haven't served in any capacity in the congregation for over 30 years, I did handle a Witness funeral in Manhattan a couple years ago (2013) because it had been scheduled for the same day that most of the brothers were at the Annual Meeting. I already had a PDF of the 2013 Bible to be released later that day, so I have a feeling I'm the first person to give a talk using only the 2013 Revised New World Translation.
Barbara Anderson asked me about creating the website, ad1914.com , and she had a lot of good ideas for it and had already collected two or three of the personal experiences that show up on the site. I knew enough people to get several more, and it turned out to get a lot more attention than I ever expected.
Thanks for this reference, TJB. I'll have to spend some time looking it over, and thanks, Gilgamesh, for the background and info. Your experience takes me back, and your site looks insightful.
I spent a good few hours there yesterday, reading and reading. Good material, really interesting stuff. I have book marked it as one of my preferred sites to visit
Thanks for the heads up on it.