I had posted some comments on another thread about good and bad Witnesses in response to a request, but I think I waited too long and the thread died before anyone read post. I'd like to start a new thread just to share some of my experiences, particularly at Bethel. Here's the previous post:
I did time in Bethel from 2/74 for about 2 and a half years. I remember the "New Boy" talk, which was delivered by Knorr. I remember his welcoming comments about how this was our home. But not a few sentences later, he told us that we couldn't as much as hang a picture on a wall of our room without permission from the Home Overseer. I remember him emphasizing, not so much that we maintain our promise to serve for 4 years, but that he wished that we make Bethel our life time goal. He pointed out as examples several brothers that had done that, among them, his right-hand boy, Fred Franz. It didn't take me long to realize that a lot of the ways things were done at Bethel were directly influenced by him (Knorr). For example, it's my impression that Knorr had a vision of what a Bethelite's appearance should be. I was "strongly encouraged" to shave my mustache off, even though it was basically left up to one as a matter of conscience (as if it was really a choice). I really don't know what the reason was. I just know that if you didn't, you were then branded a B.A. (bad attitude) and were not given "privileges". That view might have been associated with the "clean image" that Knorr had in mind or perhaps with the fact that he felt that others in the "world" looked like that (had mustaches), especially in Brooklyn Heights.
I stayed there long enough to witness the repeal of the "four-year sentence" and was able to leave after 2 and a-half years without reproach. But not before I had the "education" of a lifetime. I was rather sheltered and naive and because of my time at Bethel, I had a very fast and hard awakening.  The majority of time I spent at Bethel was so traumatic for me that it has taken me years just to be able to talk about it. "Talk" is probably not the right term since I have never talked to anyone about my stay there. I have recently written an account of my entire experiences as a JW and would like to include a paragraph that discusses some issues found in this thread. Sorry for being so verbose:
At Bethel, the "Brothers" were very conscious of our looks to the point that it was discouraged for us to wear blue jeans during our personal time on the street, mostly because the homosexuals in the area seemed to wear them too. On one occasion, I remember being in my room at the as yet not remodeled roach-infested Towers Hotel. There were no direct phones since the Watchtower Society had not yet purchased the hotel and was only renting several floors while the deal was being completed. There were, however, hall phones that connected to the main hotel switchboard. If I got a call from my family, at 124 Columbia Heights (there was no way to call the hotel directly for a connection to me), the switchboard at Bethel would call the Towers Hotels main switchboard. The hotel attendant in turn would ring the hall phone on my floor. Someone would pick it up and knock on my room door. I would go to the hall phone were I would be informed that I had a call at the front desk at 124 Columbia Heights. I then would have to get dressed and run a bit more than 2 long New York City blocks so that I could get my call. On one of those occasions, I happened to meet brother Knorr who was also headed for the front door to enter the main lobby. My clothes and hair were in disarray since I arrived running on that cool breezy morning, after being in bed, having finished the night shift at the factory. What impressed me was his look of disdain and disapproval. I think he almost said something to me. If he had, I would have fired right back. All I could think of was about the sacrifice I was making being there at Bethel, not for him, but for Jehovah, and the hard work and inconvenience I was going through, and the roaches and bed bugs I had to endure at the Towers Hotel. I think I would have definitely pointed that out to him as something that would out-weigh his reason for disapproval. By the time I got to the phone, whoever called had gotten tired of waiting and hung up.