“Gary will die of course”
So after he was sent to the Laundry, Ken Doweling had a talk to all his key men there and told them basically to watch for anything Gary said or did that was against company policy. In other words it was snitch time and we all needed to do our part.
As, I said I liked Gary and started hanging around him, at work and after work too. I guess Ken Doweling noticed this and pulled me aside one day. It was one of the few conversations we ever had together. This conversation would change my direction at Bethel. It also showed me some months later how the Watchtower Bible and Tact Society is really run. In September of 1971, I was allowed to look behind the curtain and see the great and powerful OZ and who he really was. The conversation went like this.
“Brother Casarona you seem to be a hard worker. This laundry needs hard workers too. However I’m a little concerned about who you been hanging around with lately. You know there can be bad associations even here at bethel too.”
“Yes sir, I know.”
He pointed over to Gary who was working in check in. “Gary has a hard time respecting authority and following the rules here at Bethel. If he doesn’t change and obey me in every way, he will die at Armageddon. You do believe that don’t you brother Casarona?”
I know some Bethel overseers thought that way, but to say it out loud. I set there and all I could thing about was what the “Dwelling together unity” booklet said about Bethel overseers being the supreme authority in all matters.
I sold my soul to the company store that day and lied.
“Yes sir, of course.”
“So you must report to me anything he says or does that is against society policy.”
I hated Ken Doweling after that. I hated myself after that too. I had to question myself and the things they asked us to do there. How far was willing to go. Was I willing to turn in my own friend just so I could look better in their eyes?
I was taught growing up in the congregation, not to have “fear of man” yet it was at the Lord’s house, I would truly learn what it meant to be in fear of men.
It’s sad that to this day the organization and their leaders believes that they are the direct representation of god’s will on Earth. That if you are not in alinement with their rules and regulations, you will be cast out and everyone knows what happens to those who are cast out of god’s organization. Death at god’s own hand at Armageddon.
I told Gary what our overseer had told me. He was of course crushed. It seemed to make a difference though and he started to make a better effort to comply and fit in. Who knows maybe he really thought Ken Doweling words were true somehow.
Months drifted by and I was assigned the steam press. I worked there by myself ironing brothers and sisters clothes all day long. Plenty of time to think.
Ken Doweling was a short stocky bald headed guy with glasses. He was definitely no ladies’ man. However, I had never met anyone before that had more self-confidence than him. He totality was in love with himself. He loved to flirt with the Bethel sisters and Gilead students who were assigned to work in the laundry. He of course wanted to make sure they knew that he was the overseer and in charge there.
One day he was standing by the 119 elevator with one of his “key” men. A sister who was blessed with ample cleavage walked by him. After she was gone, I heard him turn and say to his friend.
“That sister is like a cow in heat. She wants it bad!”
Again, maybe people think things like this but to say it out laud to someone else? These were just a few of the many things he had said and did to the brothers in the laundry.
It was time for this attitude to be brought to light.
So, Ron Teleson the assistant Laundry overseer, Jack Sutton, James Pipkorn, me and a couple of other brothers from the laundry knew the powers that be would want to know about this misuse of power by one of their overseers.
Our assistant overseer approached an ex-circuit overseer and told him what was happening in the laundry. The older brother said a lot of these things like this were happening all over Bethel with their overseers and the misuse of power. He said someone should set up meeting and say something. So he and two other ex-circuit overseers felt the same way. It was time to do something. They were the three Freds. Their names were Fred Barnes, Fred Fredeen and Fred HIilmo. Great men who had of vision of truth, righteous, and fairness. Alas, but those things had no chance in the gun fight with the "Good old boys club" that was the real power at Bethel.
The word went out. They asked anyone that had a problem with an overseer to come to the towers library. Over a hundred brothers showed up and started telling their stories. Oh, my god. You couldn’t believe some of the nasty things some of these overseers were getting away with. So after all was said and done. Fred Hilmo said, “We needed inform Knorr about all of this.” So he requested a meeting with brother Knorr to inform him of what was going on. Just like the “Dwelling together in unity” booklet said we should do.
Knorr said "We should have a meeting with all the overseers and the brothers (rebels and trouble makers) to have a discussion about these matters"
You know what he was planning to do. He was going to play Jehu and bring us altogether so fire could come out of heavens and consume all of us! He was going to “clean the house of god” not of the wrong doers, nope just the people that were trying to report it.