Another JW "friend" bites the dust

by TerryWalstrom 24 Replies latest jw friends

  • TerryWalstrom

    Just got word one of my favorite friends died a year ago! Only now have I heard about it.
    He remained a devout Jehovah's Witness--so--he could not/would not speak to me. I loved him very much.
    We were in prison together.
    He was my mentor. He was an intellectual firebrand.
    When I was assaulted, he's the one who went to prison authorities and snitched. (I refused to do it.)
    It was he, Tollie Padget, who gathered six of the toughest looking JW's and surrounded my assailant and gave him a good talking to. (I smile at that...we were there as non-violent folks, you see. Words were our only weapons.)
    Tollie showed me what a Great Teacher was all about.
    I patterned myself as closely as possible after him.
    Tollie was 3 years older than the rest of us. He was a college graduate with, I think, a degree in Physics.
    He had given up Science to become a JW. He attended the now defunct JW Missionary school, Gilead. He served in Chile until health problems sent him home in El Paso where he died.
    What a guy!
    Four years after we were paroled, the END of 6,000 years of human existence was supposed to happen--immediately followed by the Thousand Year Reign of Christ.
    (Spoiler Alert: it didn't happen.)
    I turned away from the cult and pursued the Art career end of things. Tollie didn't flinch.
    Just think about that, will you?
    His religion predicted THE END and he remained another 40 years thinking it was going to come "soon."
    I called Tollie on the phone about 2 or 3 years ago.
    I heard rumors he was mentally free of the religion.
    He was happy to hear my voice.
    We chatted for about fifteen minutes until---
    He said something or other--it was the statement of a devout True-Believer!
    Oh, no.
    I made an excuse to go and promised to e-mail him.
    You see...
    I just didn't want to have "THAT" conversation with him.
    You know, the one where I'm an Apostate and he has to disconnect from me because I'm going to die at Armageddon?
    I wrote him instead and included a copy of my prison biography--(with a chapter on Tollie).
    I invited him to read it and we'd discuss things---If he so chose.

    He did not.

    Now...he's gone. So many of my band of Brothers are dead and gone. They died waiting on the bus that doesn't come.


    Wherever you are, Tollie my good friend--I love you.

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  • sir82

    Sorry for your loss.

    This appeared on another thread, and is fitting here. It is maddening to think that 50 years later, there are still hundreds of thousands of JW kids who think exactly like this:

    The May 22, 1969 issue on page 15 stated:

    If you are a young person, you also need to face the fact that you will never grow old in this present system of things. Why not? Because all the evidence in fulfillment of Bible prophecy indicates that this corrupt system is due to end in a few years. Of the generation that observed the beginning of the “last days” in 1914, Jesus foretold: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.” – Matt. 24:34.
    Therefore, as a young person, you will never fulfill any career that this system offers. If you are in high school and thinking about a college education, it means at least four, perhaps even six or eight more years to graduate into a specialized career. But where will this system of things be by that time? It will be well on the way towards its finish, if not actually gone!
  • zophar


    Sorry for you. I'm sure he loved you as well, thought control only goes so far in matters of the heart. He sounds like a brave soul and good friend.

  • TerryWalstrom

    Excerpt from my book, I Wept by the Rivers of Babylon:

    This commences as Tollie approaches the prison authority to report my assault:

    "What are you trying to tell me?" Lt. Bennet's voice filled the room.

    His office stood pristine with surfaces shining and perfect like the polished mirrored glaze on the lieutenant's shoes.

    His motto was: Get to the point or get the hell out! Impatient and insistent; he listened anyway.

    Inmate Tollie Padgett's folder lay open on the desk before him.

    Padgett was another JW, one of the inmate leaders of the 40 incarcerated non-combatants and a bit older than the rest, a college graduate.

    Padgett had written a "cop-out" form requesting a personal hearing.

    Inmate request forms served as the permanent record of inquiry and communication between inmates and staff.

    Prison is bureaucracy, especially a federal prison.


    Bennet appraised requests, all of them. He was the final arbiter, the court of final inquiry and the warden's prime minister.

    Padgett was bid to sit down in a chair the color of despair.

    "One of the Brothers was attacked by another inmate. . ."

    "Which inmates are we talking about here?"

    (It is never safe to snitch names; there is an unwritten code of zero tolerance.)

    Officers asked anyway to see how each man negotiated, persuaded, lied or begged. This was an x-ray for character and honesty.

    "Inmate Terry Walstrom, Y-11857, was the victim and I don't know the name of his attacker. I can tell you which building and what room the perpetrator is in, though."

    Bennett leaned forward instinctively as though a thought had crossed his mind.

    "Exactly what went down and why isn't your ‘Brother’ in here telling me himself if he is an injured party?"

    Padgett pursed his lips and glanced thoughtfully to the side.

    "He's—I guess, not talking—at least, not in any detail. He doesn't exactly know what to do. The perpetrator pretended to be interested in hearing about what we Jehovah's Witnesses believe. He used that to lure Brother Walstrom into one of those storage warehouses behind Mess Hall. He grabbed him from behind and threatened him."


    "Threatened what?"

    This sort of incident was more uncommon than people on the outside would ever believe.

    Inmates could find anything they want inside the fence. It isn't necessary to use force. Something was awry. Prisoners quickly learned how to barter and negotiate. The price, if right, brought everything but freedom.

    "My guess—this other inmate wanted to force sex on Brother Walstrom. This happened yesterday around this time."

    Bennett grinned sardonically and shifted back in his chair. He turned toward the window and looked out across the compound. It was noon, or, a little past.

    Inmates were scurrying around like toy soldiers on patrol. Bennett put his arms behind his head and clasped his hands for thoughtful support.

    "You guess? You either know something or you don't. Why are you wasting my time?"

    Padgett could sense he was about to be tossed out. This was the time to get right to the point.

    "I know this Brother; I know his temperament and character.”

    “Something terrible happened. He isn't talking because he doesn't know how to deal with what happened. He is very likely ashamed and filled with rage. I would be!”

    Bennett listened dispassionately. JW's were boys among men.

    What did they expect?


    "Well, now, when he is ready to tell me what did or didn't occur, I'll be all ears."

    Bennett threw a meaningful glance Padgett's way. It was a dismissal.

    Rising anger took hold as Padgett walked toward the office exit. He pivoted and faced Bennett.

    "Sir, if the Brothers are being molested it is your responsibility to investigate!”

    Bennett flinched imperceptibly. His face suffused with blood.

    Then, he gained icy control and made not a move or a sound. That was his own tactic and he wouldn't rise to bait.

    "Really? You boys aren't Bennett’s Witnesses are you? What the hell does Jehovah do all day?"

    Padgett stared briefly, then exited. He and the other guys would take care of it.


  • blownaway

    Its a strange situation that former JWs lose friends and family before they lose them. So in reality you lose them twice once they pass away. Then to rub salt in the wound you go to a funeral, if you are even invited and get to hear a recruitment propaganda speech. God do I hate this cult.

  • TerryWalstrom

    I said the same thing before. I lost him before I lost him.
    I get a double-whammy.
    The families at JW funerals very seldom weep.
    In fact--it's used as a platform for recruiting and giving a campaign speech.
    At least, when I mourn a dead JW, I know (one way or the other) I"m never going to see them again.

  • Diogenesister
    The families at JW funerals very seldom weep.
    Its seen as spiritual weakness by the more extreme jws.

    "Why you should be happy for your loved one! Thier sufferings are over....its all cotton-candy and fluffy kittens from here on in!"

    Its quite remarkable that a scientist could read those goofy magazines and not see something a miss. I mean I can possibly see one falling for the Bible back in the day, and so possibly for the jw spin on it. But the magazines??? The daft stuff about getting a criminal's personality if you took his organs in a transplant. Or the heart being the seat of the emotion. Scientists aren't philosophers and so its not uncommon that they fall for logical fallacies, but Watchtower contains lots of kooky scientific stuff, too. You would think that might pique their interest, wouldnt you?

    Im sorry your friend didnt read your book, Terry. That he didnt learn how much you meant to him and how much you respected him, and im sorry for your loss.

  • TerryWalstrom

    Tollie taught us all (in prison) to go back and read the early books from Russell and Rutherford. That area of JW "knowledge" was an abyss. Almost nobody (except the elderly) had an inkling of the upheavals in the early years.
    Tollie intellectualized all the flaws. His intelligence worked against him in that respect. He could think up a way Jehovah's spirit could be guiding events.
    Rutherford was a raw material and just the kind of Old Testament judge to fight through the war years and prevail--so he thought. Russell and Rutherford were seen as less than perfect sinners molded and shaped to accomplish a task.
    "David was beloved of God and he stole a man's wife and sent the guy off to die." Jehovah uses the worst of us to accomplish the best."

    Delusional but inspiring :)

    JW history, through Tollie's eyes. was a shaping from raw materials and an incremental cause and effect process of cleansing.
    Tolli saw tests of Faith as a way we get to know what we're made of.
    Some of us were born to fail and die at Armageddon. By testing your devotion and dedication and Love for Jah--you discovered whether you were a "vessel fit for destruction" or a worthy vessel.

    On the one hand, I admire that ingenious stupidity. On the other hand, I sure would love to have re-bonded over the duration of his last years.

    I'm still looking for two other very close prison Brothers and I can't seem to find. (The ones I did locate were dead.)
    Ron Clayton from Oklahoma and Joe Pruitt. I think he too was previously in El Reno prison and transferred to Seagoville from Oklahoma.

    Here's what makes it difficult. These guys would be about my age (71).
    How many folks that age are technophobes?
    Plenty. So--the chances of them surfing the Worldwide Web are slim to none--or--of them having an electronic "footprint" I can follow.

    If you know either of them--Please let me know. It's never too late unless they've planted you in the garden.

  • Diogenesister
    David was beloved of God and he stole a man's wife and sent the guy off to die." Jehovah uses the worst of us to accomplish the best."

    Now that has occured to me, too. Or rather did.Sure is interesting, your friends philosophy - he sounds a mild mannered, humble man fo sure.. In upside down bible world the " good"(priests)were bad and the bad(tax collectors)were "good". So why not so in the modern era? Surely a humble mind would not judge the "wretched"as unworthy??

    Its precisely this thinking that allows elders to target paedophiles in prison to convert and lead triumphantly into the heart of the congregation. After all hasn't Jehovah judged them a "worthy vessel"( which is a sinister concept to begin with - that there are vessels already judged fit for destruction).

    Would you like me to ask on reddit if anyone knows these fellow friends of yours? It has a large active readership - over 20,000

  • zeb


    I extend my condolences.

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