A Song to Jehovah's Praise - rejected!

by Terry 17 Replies latest jw friends

  • Terry

    As an obedient little JW at age 20, I was serving time in Federal prison in the late 60's, and the 40 brothers inside Seagoville prison decided to stage our own assembly.

    I was the Music servant. (We didn't have Elders back then.)

    The theme of the assembly mimicked the free world assemblies being held outside.

    Long story short:
    I composed (what I think and everyone else thought was) a very good song titled:

    Following the Fine Shepherd as the End Draws Near.

    We rehearsed it (bros who had instruments) and the consensus revealed it was a winner.

    "Jehovah God above, we owe you all our love; you are our shepherd and we follow you.

    Though Satan demands, that we must compromise; we'd sooner face death than be wrong in your eyes.

    Now and forevermore, we fear not Satan's roar;
    You are our shepherd and we follow you. . ."

    However . . .

    Just to make sure we were not "running ahead" of the Society, our version of an Elder, Tollie Padget, had the traveling Overseer (Circuit Servant) who visited the prison once a month, preview and decide the matter of each presentation on our "assembly" program.

    Guess what?

    Brother Bourgeois disapproved only MY song.

    About a month previous, his step-daughter (whom I had dated on the outside) wanted to be added to my Visitor's list, but Brother Bourgeois had told her she could not visit because the incarcerated brothers could be a bad influence. (When I heard this I was apoplectic).

    I wrote him a personal letter filled with scriptures and made the error of quoting Proverbs 18:3 "Anyone replying to a matter before it is heard, it is a foolishness for him and a humiliation."
    I explained that any JW who was willing to give up their personal life and freedom to remain neutral in accord with the WTS policy might well be the BEST influence available for his step-daughter!

    He had his pride ruffled and aroused by my words and he sent me a rejoinder letter that pretty much excoriated me for attacking one of Jehovah's anointed. (Yeah, this knuckle-dragger was "anointed".)
    Go figure.

    This holier than my song Theocratic anointed brother excluded my song because "He had prayed on the matter and Jehovah's spirit had 'told' him it wasn't reverent and respectful."

    So. . .

    that's how Jehovah's spirit-anointed leadership decided matters in at least that one instance.

    About twenty years later, his step-daughter told me her step-Dad had "come out" as Gay!
    He came out after being caught in a compromising situation which was impossible to explain.
    It would be bad manners for me to call this Karma, Baby!
    So, I won't.
    Let's just say, the Lord moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform

    Postscript: Ironic now, but we refused to be referred to as JW's back then because it was an abbreviation (not unlike the tetragrammaton) and as such "did not give full glory" to such a majestic name.
    At least, that's the poop explanation the Elders admonished when they heard brothers in prison were called JW's.
    Lions and tigers and idiots - oh my!

  • eyeuse2badub

    Hi Terry,

    You like many of us that were 'incarcerated' in Safford federal correctional institution now realize what a waste it was to "stand firm"!

    Not one visit from the congregation servants of the CO. They were very 'busy' getting ready for Armageddon.

    just saying!

  • truth_b_known

    I always found that unless the item has the Watchtower trademark on it, the item would never be approved. This of course goes entirely against the Apostle Paul's words when he said that people would have different gifts and we were to be quiet once someone had something to say so we could listen to it. My father, who professes to be of the annointed, was disfellowshipped for sharing what he felt was new information.

    Back in 1992 he was asked at his judicial committee who he believed was the Faithful and Discreet Slave. He stated, "Christ's annointed brothers still on Earth." He was then asked if he believed he was part of the FDS to which he replied, "Yes." He was told it would be announced at the next Service Meeting that he was being disfellowshipped, but not the official reason for it.

  • tiki

    Sad....you guys were faithfully giving heart and soul and were getting stomped on. Back in that day we were idealistic...hopeful....loyal....but we learned reality soon enough. Some sooner than others....me...took a long time.....

    Thankfully it is reduced to reminiscences at this point....

  • Terry

    We were "manufactured" poster boys advertising the "true" religion but I never got a visit request from
    anybody from the congregation other than my best friend who came out to see me one time between 1967 -1969,
    When I returned to the congregation after parole, the word was "How was college?"
    It was seen as a vacation rather than as prison.
    I guess that's how little thought was given.
    I should have spilled the beans about sexual molestation rather than acting as though I had angels with brass knuckles as body guards.

  • eyeuse2badub

    Hi Terry,

    Not sure how you were treated during your incarceration, but the bro's in Safford were given a wide berth and lots of latitude. It wasn't too bad but still it was prison, separated from family. I know of about 8 of the guys that "lost" their wives while in prison. Got married young and those good little jw girls couldn't go without it while their young husbands ":stood tall" for jehober!

    just saying!

  • Terry

    Inside Seagoville Federal Institution (on the outskirts of Dallas) there were two large "congregations" of young brothers.
    That's about 40 JW's from Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas mostly.

    Only one brother, A.C. Williams (as I recall) gave up and told the warden he would enlist in the Army.
    Sidebar: I think many (if not most) of us were admonished by the Judge who sentenced us, "At any time,
    if you change your mind, you can be released from prison and go into the Armed Forces."

    I know of a few others who had been attacked in jail.
    I was sexually assaulted in prison.
    Another brother became a "companion" to a convict which -to the rest of us - looked suspiciously like something else. Randy Wharton was his name.
    Day to day life was constant mental adjustments, ratcheting up, fastening down, an inch at a time.
    I said to myself, "Nothing can stop time from passing and every day is one day closer to getting out."

    In my wildest dreams, my entire sentence - at worst - would last half a year. That seemed an eternity in my head. As it turned out, I went in in 67 and got out in 69 on parole until 73.
    You see, I was twenty years old when sentenced under the Youth Correction Act. The maximum sentence was SIX years. Had I been twenty-one the maximum would be FIVE.
    In research, years and years afterward, I discovered that all of us were fully within our rights to appeal our Draft classifications (many were not acknowledged to be real religious ministers).
    The only help the Organization offered officially was a letter to the Judge - BUT - only if a brother was a full-time Pioneer (and agreed to remain so.)
    Many brothers opted to go into the Full-Time Pioneer work under the proviso in their congregation the Watchtower Society officials would send a letter to be used to exempt them as legitimate ministers.

    I was instructed by the congregation Overseer (Elder) and his assistant never to say to anybody I had received counseling about military service.
    I was like a disavowed mercenary in a bad movie.

    I was engaged to be married before I went to jail. Within a few months I got a letter reneging on our promises.
    I'd hear rumors the Brothers were asking her out on dates quite often.
    I tried not to see this as betrayal.
    That was NOT easy!

    My congregation never sent a letter or postcard of encouragement or even offered my mother a word.
    Mom never failed to visit me. Jw's? Ha ha ha. Don't kid yourself.

  • Still Totally ADD
    Still Totally ADD

    Thank you all for your experiences. As a teenager I would visit a brother at Springfield MO prison. My parents thought it was a good thing to do in training me for prison when my time came. It scared me to death but by the time I signed up for the draft in 1972 the war was starting to grind down. Also I got a high lottery number so I went from a 1A classification to a 1H which as told to me was a holding position. If the war started to heat up again it would turn back into a 1A. I was lucky they never contacted me again.

    My heart goes out to you guys. The one thing that has always angered me is according to the borg we were not allowed to move to Canada. That was not putting our trust in Jehovah. Then in the 1980's those who did were given clemency and allowed back into the US. No criminal record to follow for the rest of their life. Again thanks for your experiences. Take care. Still Totally ADD

  • Terry

    I have had half a century to weigh the days of my prison experience carefully.
    Hindsight pits the man I am against the boy I was.
    In my memoir of prison, I Wept by the Rivers of Babylon, I have a conversation with myself.

    Nobody learns anything from experience except AFTER the experience. Up till that point,
    you go on trust, counsel, admonition, and - I suppose, a certain amount of self-interest.

    The problem with a Jehovah's Witness's "conscience" is that IT DOESN'T EXIST. Not really.
    Why do I say that?
    Because we are not allowed to act in our own best interest. Not legitimately.
    We are only deceived into thinking obedience to Watchtower results in everybody's best interest
    and that is fraudulent.
    I was a Conscientious Objector in name only. I acted against my own best interests under mind control.
    I can say that now. I'd have argued differently, of course, back then.

  • Finkelstein

    A JWS is measured as to their spiritual righteousness by how loyal, obedient and subservient they are to the operations and directions from the main Tower where the highest level of righteousness emanates from to the rest of the flock..

    That's probably why your song was rejected Terry by that " Anointed one ", it was seen as an act of subversiveness by the higher identified spiritual one.

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