A Wasted Life

by Grunt 5 Replies latest jw friends

  • Grunt

    Wasted life. That is how I see a life spent believing and pushing a lie. I was looking for something to do with counting time for publishers and put that in my search on the WT CD and one of the things that came up was the life story of a man who had given his life to Brooklyn thinking he was giving it to god. His story is called:

    "Advance to Maturity."

    It began with a family in a log cabin in Minnesota, a young boy with his three brothers, Mom and Dad. They were happy years, he loved to fish, loved the land, who would ever have thought Brooklyn New York Cults posed a threat? But they did. He began attending a hall and then was invited to do what he loved, help his uncle farm. Life is looking pretty good. But "good" poses:
    "Obstacles to Spiritual Advancement

    In 1944, I moved to the area of Malta, Montana, to live with my uncle. We had something in commonwives who had left us after six months of marriage. He was glad to have me help him with farming and cooking, and we shared our profits fifty-fifty. My uncle said I would be heir to his 640 acre [260 ha] farm if I would stay with him. Those were the boom years for farming, and how I loved it! We had a bumper crop every year, and wheat sold for as much as $3.16 per bushel.

    However, my uncle didn't like the idea that I attended the meetings of a small congregation of Witnesses in Malta. On June 7, 1947, without my uncles knowledge, I was baptized at the circuit assembly of Jehovahs Witnesses at Wolf Point. There a Christian brother invited me to become a pioneer, or full-time minister. Although to use my life in such a way was my hearts desire, I explained that my uncle would never permit me to devote that much time to the ministry.

    Shortly afterward, my uncle opened and read a letter addressed to me from a friend who urged me to become a full-time minister. Madder than a hornet, my uncle gave me an ultimatumquit preaching or get out. That ultimatum was a good thing because I loved farming so much I dont know if I would have left on my own. So I returned to my family in Minnesota, all of whom were now baptized and associated with the Detroit Lakes Congregation."

    So he gives up the life he would have loved plus a free farm to become a bookseller for the Judge and company.

    "Although my family gave other excuses, I believe the real problem was their desire to become rich. They could see the economic benefits of investing more time in farming and less in preaching. Rather than become ensnared by the desire for wealth, I made plans to pioneer. I knew that it would not be easy, and I even thought I couldt make it. So in 1948, I put myself to the test by intentionally applying to begin pioneering in the worst part of the yearDecember.

    Jehovah blessed my efforts. For example, one day it was 17 degrees below zero [-27 C.] Fahrenheit, not counting windchill. I was doing my usual street witnessing, shifting my hands frequentlyputting the cold one in my pocket while holding the magazines with the other until that one would freeze and merit its turn in the pocket. A man approached. Commenting that he had noted my activity for some time, he asked: "What is in those magazines that is that important? Give me those two so I can read them."

    I kept reading waiting to see where Jehovah blessed him, but the blessing was placing those two magazines

    The boy really is "advancing" to maturity though, he is now mature enough to stab his family in the back too:

    "Meanwhile, I could see that association with my family was putting my own spirituality in danger, so upon request to the Watch Tower Society, I was given a new assignment, in Miles City, Montana. There I served as the company servant, now known as the presiding overseer. Living in a seven-by-ten-foot [2 by 3 m] trailer, I supported myself by working part-time in a dry-cleaning business. Occasionally I was hired for what I loved bestharvesting."

    Doing dry cleaning in Montana, while everybody else was doing what he loved, farming. He could've been farming on his OWN farm for free, a gift from his uncle and a help to his uncle but instead wants to hand out the company propaganda. Living in a seven by ten foot trailer doing dry-cleaning instead of being on the land like he loved

    He heard a talk at a convention and wanted to do more so he went to Bethel. Once again he gets it right across the teeth from the cult:

    "I sent in an application and was accepted as a member of the 17th class of Gilead, which commenced in February 1951. The schools location on a farm in upstate New York was beautiful. How I wanted to work on the farm after class hours, perhaps in the barn with the cows or out with the crops! But John Booth, the overseer of Kingdom Farm at the time, explained that I was the only one who had any experience in dry cleaning. So I was assigned to do that work."

    Looks like he would have noticed the pattern by now.

    It wasn't like they were bragging on him there and telling him what a good job of dry cleaning he was doing or that they appreciated his sacrifices. Nope.

    No applause for our boy. Look at this:

    Gilead was not easy for someone who had only a fifth-grade education. Although lights were to be out by 10:30 p.m., I frequently studied until midnight. One day one of the instructors called me into his office. "Carl," he said, "I can see that your grades are not very good."

    Oh, no, I thought to myself, theyre going to ask me to leave.

    However, the instructor lovingly gave me some counsel on how I could make the best use of my time without studying so late. I fearfully asked: "Am I good enough to stay on here at Gilead?"

    "Oh, yes," he replied. "But I dont know if you will qualify for a diploma."

    I suspect he was doing too good of a job at dry cleaning to get rid of him. Until of course they had an assignment nobody else would want, like this one:

    My worst subject was Spanish, but I was counting on an assignment to Alaska, where the cold weather was what I was used to back home. Besides, Id be able to preach in English. So you can imagine my surprise when midway through the course, I received as my assignment Ecuador, South America. Yes, I would have to speak Spanish, and right on the steamy equator!

    Still, even after deserting his uncle to run his farm alone, turning his back on his family for dumping the cult to make some money for themselves, he does manage to do one more cruel thing. Rat out and old friend that had dumped the cult:

    "One day an FBI agent visited me at Gilead School. He asked about the son of the company servant who had left our organization in Detroit Lakes. The Korean War was under way, and this young man claimed he was a minister of Jehovahs Witnesses and thus exempt from military service. I explained that he was no longer one of Jehovahs Witnesses. As the agent bid me farewell, he said: "May your God bless you in your work."

    Later I learned that the youth was killed in one of his first battles in Korea. What a sad consequence for one who could have advanced to maturity in Gods organization!"

    Strange that he felt no guilt over the death of the boy. I wonder if he ever missed his friends and family? Maybe his wife left him for a reason.

    Having accepted that lousy assignment probably assured him of a diploma.

    Finally, our happy graduation day came on July 22, 1951. Of course, none of my family were present, but my joy was complete when I received a diploma because of progress I had made.

    In his words:

    "Disciple-making seemed slow for the first 25 years or so. Our Bible teachings were quite different from the unscriptural traditions of Catholicism, and our adherence to the Bibles instructions on faithfulness to one marriage mate was especially unpopular."

    We'll skip a few years, past the slow period you know. He finally makes it back to see his brother who knowing how he loves the land takes him up for a view and even offers to share it with him:

    In the late 1970s, I returned to the United States on a vacation and spent a few hours with my brother Frank. He took me in his car up on a knoll from which we could see a long way over the Red River Valley. It was beautiful, with the ripening grain waving in the wind, an ocean of heavy-headed wheat. In the distance the tree-lined Sheyenne River was discernible. The enjoyment of that peaceful beauty was interrupted when my brother began his usual line.

    "If you werent such a jackass running around there in South America, this could be yours too!"

    "Frank," I cut in quickly. "Just stop it right there."

    "He didnt say another word. A few years later, he died suddenly of a stroke, leaving behind three gorgeous ranches in North Dakota with a total of more than a thousand acres [400 ha], as well as my uncles 640 acre [260 ha] farm in Montana to which he had become heir."

    Yep, saw his brother a few hours and spoiled it with a fight. No appreciation for what his brother was offering him, no sadness mentioned over his death, just talk about his farms. Anyway, he sums it all up with this:

    "Now, at the age of 80, I work harder to get in 30 hours a month in the ministry than I did to fulfill my 150-hour quota in 1951. Since 1989, when I learned I had prostate cancer, I have taken advantage of my recuperation time to read. Since that year, Ive read the Bible through 19 times and the book Jehovahs WitnessesProclaimers of Gods Kingdom 6 times. This way I keep advancing spiritually."

    Advancing to Maturity. What a life. What a sad joke on this man, his family and all those he finally managed to mislead in South America. This story was supposed to inspire. I wonder if anyone else saw the sad life this man led? No wife, no children, no family, no farm, wrong jobs, wrong part of the world, wrong language, wrong climate. Everything he asked for denied, everything he avoided forced on him. Still pressured at 80, still blind at 80. A life of betrayal to family and friends and pushing lies that destroy other lives. He did so much more damage than good. His was, in my opinion, a wasted life.


  • Satanus

    At age 80, he thinks reading the bible through 19 times makes him spiritual. He must be a mental midget, but he is too good hearted. Sad.


  • The Alchemist
    The Alchemist

    What a sad and pathetic life this man led. It would be worse for him to wake up now and relise what a fool he had been. It was difficult for me and I was only in my thirties, You made some good concluding points. Dave

  • biblexaminer

    I know a dear sister who is right now lamenting her wasted life. She is so torn up, but cannot leave the Borganization. Her relatives are hostages. What a shame. Wasted till now and planning to waste what's left.

  • ugg


  • blacksheep

    Old, no wife, no family, no friends to speak of (sold out the ones he had and seems to have a "they got what was coming to them" demeanor), suffering from prostate cancer, struggling to put in a fraction of the preaching time he once put in with ease....only a JW can make such a pathetic life sound heroic.

    Thanks for printing this. You know what, I've been away from it so long. Growing up I used to hear such tales of Kingdom Heroism, and deep down scoff. I found them pathetic even then, as I do now. Normal people find little redeeming in this man's life, but those with warped views of reality must get something out of it.

    Sounds like the classic riches-to-rags tale (and happy for it) the society wants to promote. They revel in wasted lives, as long as with their last crawling breath, they are still proclaiming "God's Kingdom" (i.e. the WT doctine). At least this guy THINKS he's being blessed, I guess....

    At the same time, they often scoff at and minimize people who truly HAVE made tremendous contributions, tangibly improved their lives and the lives of others, displayed a generoisty beyond belief. Or they overlook the incredible things some have done, to focus on pecadillos, or any human frailty they may exhibit. (Kind of like, the "faithfulness to one's mate" comment--or something to that effect contained in the story. Sort of like, the person could have saved the lives of thousands/millions, made some incredibly discovery, or accomplished something which improved the lives of countless people. But if he had an affair, all's nuil and void....)

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