Do you remember Noble Bowers?
Can’t say I do, but for some reason, I know the name, dunno why, maybe I heard him speak at Twickenham or something.
You speaking about “staged events” reminds me of a young brother I remember giving his first Ministry School assignment. But maybe the sheer embarrassment of it means it ought to go into Englishmans “What made your skin crawl” thread.
This fellow had always been a bit semi-detached from the truth, so although me and my oh-so-faithful-pioneer-cronies knew him, he wasn’t in our circle. He had been a bit of an outsider, but then started going out with a girl – Elder’s daughter – and was making an effort at getting on in the truth. He was about eighteen, I guess, and this was his first talk.
Someone had clearly told him to make a BIG intro in order to get the audience’s attention. And so…
“Now we have Brother Keith New, the theme is for his assignment is “Imitate Jehovah’s Merciful Loving-Kindness” Brother New…”
Keith takes to the stage , arranges his notes, not noticeably nervous or anything, looks up and then and absolutely SCREAMS, and I mean BELLOWS:
“THAT BROTHER JUST MAKES ME SICK! A COMPLETE FAT HEAD! DID YOU HEAR WHAT HE SAID?? THAT BROTHER IS A TOTAL DISGRACE!! I WISH HE WAS DEAD, I HATE HIS GUTS!!!!”
Toe-curling embarrassment as the silence echoed round the Kingdom Hall. For a second there I thought it was some kind of reference to the TMS servant who had introduced him. But…
Keith rearranged is features into a pious, faithful face, and continued at a much lower volume and in a kind of caring tone:
“Have you ever felt this way about one of your Brothers? Do you sometimes allow your feelings to get the better of you? Turn with me to the second book of…..” ..and blah-blah-blah.
But I don’t suppose anyone at all was listening to his talk. He had certainly got everyone’s attention, but I for one was more embarrassed after I had realised the effect he was going for, than I was before.
He was counselled privately about it afterwards he told me, and explained that it was just nerves, he went too mad.
A meeting or two later there was a general admonishment from the stage “not to use gimmicky introductions or stunts that embarrass the congregation” in our platform parts, and everyone knew who was meant.
Still, Keith wasn’t such a hopeless case. He married his sweetheart in the end PLUS - he got out of the truth before I did, so, who’s the donkey?