A lifelong JW friend who was like a sister to me, sent me an "interesting" email about Beth Sarim. She thought it was wonderful to see the old photos and so interesting to see how much brighter the light has gotten and she shared it with all her JW email contacts.
I on the other hand was shocked that as a life long JW, a former Bethelite and as someonene who tragically lost a loved one over the blood transfusion issue, couldn't believe that I had never heard of this Beth Sarim nonsense before and wondered what else I didn't know about this religion and it's crazy founders.
A google search ensued and all the missing pieces about the religion that I had wondered about but had dismissed, began to fall into place. The rest is history.
I often wondered if anyone else who received that email from my friend, had the same reaction as I did. When that friend later discovered that my wife and I were no longer Witnesses, (5 years after our last meeting) she said she loved us dearly but if we were leaving the organization, she would no longer be able to remain in contact with us. She asked me what happened to make us want to leave the truth. I told her that her email about Beth Sarim gave me the go ahead to do a google search to find out more and to verify it's accuracy and that's when the JW house of cards came crashing in.
Let me tell you...she was horrified but I assured her that we were the same moral and decent people and this would have happened eventually anyway. She said that out of loyalty to Jehovah, she would have to cut off contact with us. I told her that loyalty to Jehovah and loyalty to the Watchtower organization were two different things but she didn't see it that way. We made several attempts to visit her and her husband after that but phone calls and emails weren't returned.
About 9 months ago she was killed in a freak accident and we attended her Memorial which ironically was not too far from Beth Sarim. (we visited the Beth Sarim site while we were there) It was our first time in a Kingdom Hall since Memorial of 2008 and it was strange and bittersweet to hear the old JW speak again.I sniffled and sobbed through the whole thing especially when one of the old kingdoms song was played at the end. It was such a terrible loss and under the circumstances never to have been able to say goodbye.
Her family was delighted to see us and we were invited to the dinner after her memorial and they were truly glad that we came. Other than the family, we didn't know anyone else in attendance at the memorial. Everyone assumed we were JW's and treated us as such. It was heartbreaking that she wasn't there with us like it used to be and such a shame that we never got to speak to our dear friend in the last few years of her life because of her loyalty to a man made organization.