“Have another beer and forget the whole thing”
I saw Debbie Stillman on tour in September 1972 standing there in the ink room. It was love at first sight.
My strange Bethel courtship started with me trying to meet Mike Stillman's sister, Even though he worked in the ink room next to my elevator, we were not good friends, he was just a little to "country" for me and on the self-righteous side too. They say. "There is nothing more dangerous in combat then a new guy with a map!" Well, there was nothing more dangerous at Bethel then a self-righteous new boy.
Anyway one beautiful September Saturday morning, in 1972, we were walking to the factory, Mike happen to be walking with me, and he looked around and said. "God, I would give anything to get out of this city on a day like today." I said. "Well, I have a car and no place to go, you have a place to go and no car."
He wasn't quite sure of me, but next thing I knew, we were on our way to Rhode Island. It was him and me and four of his nerdy friends.
Needless to say, it was a great weekend. Debbie who had just turned 19 was happy that her brother finally brought someone home with him, who wasn't a complete hillbilly, like his other friends.
She lived in Newport Rhode Island with her mother, Elaine and step father, Ben Reagan. They had just moved to Rhode Island from Louisiana. One of the reasons was, they wouldn't make Ben an elder down there. So they moved to where the "need is greater" in the hope that Ben could finely get promoted. Plus they could be closer to their son, Mike. At the time Rhode Island had the worst ratio of Jehovah's Witnesses to normal people in the USA.
Ben Reagan was a real winner. He looked and acted just like "Gomer Pyle" only dumber. He would walk around and say things like "Your fat, I'm fat.....we’re all fat." Or he would say. "I know one thing about Debbie, she is tired." He would say that about 30 times a day. He would pat everyone on the head, like a small child. I'm not sure what that was all about? He was definitely three clams shy of a clam bake.
Of course a year later, they had made this mental giant an elder. I'll never forget the day I was sitting in the living room with him and he gets this phone call from some poor black sister that was in his congregation. She had been crying her eyes out because her worldly husband had just beat her up.
This is what Elder Ben said to her. "Well, you must have done something really wrong for him to get so mad. Just have another beer and forget the whole think.”
I just sat there, I couldn't believe it. This guy couldn't pour sand out of boot if the directions were written on the heel. Yet, this guy was leading the flock of God.
So, Holy Spirit is what puts these guys in power? After Bethel, I knew that was definitely wasn’t true.
Her mother Elaine, was another winner. She was as cold as ice and was a major hypochondriac. I think she was allergic to everything, including air. Naturally she was the one who brought the Jehovah’s Witnesses teachings into their family. Just like my crazy, hypochondriac mother brought the religion into our family. The crazy ones think it’s a great idea.
Debbie who loved her real father Bob, would get her face slapped anytime she would even said his name. Bob left her psycho bitch mother back in the 1950's and married another woman. He was of course dis-fellow shipped. It was his only way out of his nasty marriage.
Debbie and her brother had wrote Bob a letter, when they were just kids, saying they had no desire to see him ever again! That was their mother's idea of course, sweet woman that she was.
After we got married in 1974. We got some "New Light” at the Taunton dog track, district convention that summer. The society said, you could now have limited contact with dis-fellowshipped ones.
In September we decided to drive to California to see her real Dad. She hadn't seen him in over ten years.
Debbie was so excited to see her real Dad, who she loved so much. I found him to be a very sweet and kind person. Nothing like Debbie’s psycho mother. It was strange sitting in his living room showing him and his wife the pictures of our wedding. The wedding he wasn’t even invited to go to.
In 1976 he and his wife came to Rhode Island to see us. He had a great time together and it turned into a fun summer. In 1978 he came to Louisiana for a visit to see his first granddaughter Kelly.
All good things come to an end. A few years later, in 1979 "The light got brighter” once again. In 1979 the society said we are going back to the "old way" or the old light which was not the "new light" they got back in 1974. Yes, the "new light" would of course cancel out the old “new light” of dealing with dis-fellowshipped ones. We were all told we had to go back to the old way of dealing with dis-fellowshipped people by shunning them.
One day in the 1981, Bob called us up. He said he wanted to come up to Oregon for a visit, to see us and his only grand kids, my children.
I said. "Come on up Bob, we would love to see you!" Debbie grabbed the phone out of my hand and told him. "That he wasn't welcome now and that he couldn't come up to visit anymore." All because of the "new light."
Debbie who wouldn’t talk to him anymore, did send her father a subscription to the Watchtower and Awake magazines but for some odd reason the magazines didn’t replace the companionship and love he could have got from his family. Because a few years later one morning, we got the phone call.
Robert Stillman with no family to love him, blew his brains out with a 38 special. Yes one more casualty of the Watch Bible Bible and truck society.
”By their love you will know them.”
With over eighty thousand people getting dis-fellowshipped a year, how many thousands of lives has this cruel shunning policy taken?
The whole dis-fellowshipping and shunning policy was something Knorr dreamt up. March 1, 1951 we all got the new light on it. So the first of hundreds of thousands of people started to get dis-fellowshipped in 1952. It didn’t even exist in the first seventy five years of the organizations history. The word itself "dis-fellowship" doesn't even exist in the Bible.
That "new light" is funny stuff. Sometimes it gets brighter then dark again. Then bright again, but one thing that new light is never, it is never wrong!