In 1970 I saw a move that changed my life forever. I could have been kicked out of Bethel for seeing it. Which looking back, would have been a total blessing from god. We were so brain washed we were afraid of being kicked out of hell.
Or at least I could have got a good “service talk” for seeing it. Why? Because it was rated “R” and all rated “R” movies have been condemned by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society for over forty years. It was such a great movie, I went out and book bought the book.
The story was about a bunch of guys living together in an institution and the institution was the army air force. The movie was called “Catch 22” and it was Bethel incarnate.
It started off with two officers talking as they are walking down a runway. As they are walking a plane crashes lands killing everyone on board they don’t even look to see what has happened. Officers and overseers who didn’t give a damn.
People like,“Major, Major, Major” who were promoted not because he was a spiritual person or his qualifications but because he was oldest guy in the department. Who had no idea how to handle people and hated the fact people wanted to talk to him. If you ever had a meeting with him “He would be out, unless he was in and then he would be really out.”
Then of course the insane amount of “Catch 22s” Where they say things they really don’t mean. You know if you find out about any wrong doing please come and “talk to us.” Or we are all equal here, just that some of us are more equal than others.
But the best part was at the end when they were finally going to let Yossarian go home. After they did everything they could to destroy him.
“You can leave here but there’s a catch.” They said.
“There’s a catch?” Yossarian was afraid to ask.
“Yes its catch 22. You can leave here but you have to go back home and tell all the people there how much you like this place.”
Yes, the movie was Bethel with all its insanity.
Then in September 1970, about 6 months after me. Roy my old pioneer partner showed up at Bethel. When he got there he was so self-righteous, he made me sick, he reminded me of me, when I first got there. I told him "I can’t say anything to you right know, come back and we'll talk again in six months" Of course he looked at me like I was crazy.
Poor Roy would fine out soon enough too. He got off to a bad start, they put him in a room in the 124 with Eugene Alcorn, a black "brother" from Detroit, with a real attitude. Roy hadn't even been there a couple of weeks and got a taste of "Bethel Justice." It seems he and his roommate Eugene got into a fight over the radio one night. Eugene had the radio on one night. Roy wanted if off at 11:00 p.m. so he got out of bed and turn it off. Eugene got up and turn it back on. Roy got up and turn it off. Eugene turned it on, you get the idea. Words were said and in the brawl, that followed, the sink in the room got busted. Now most guys would cover for each other. Instead, Eugene went to the Bethel office the next morning and told the brothers that, his white roommate didn’t like black people, He said Roy wouldn't let him listen to his radio, so Roy beat him up and that is why the sink was busted. I never did like Eugene.
They hauled Roy into the Bethel office. How it works at bethel is whoever gets there first with the story, usually wins. Pretty much just like in the in the kingdom halls. The reasoning is this, only the righteous one would naturally report the behavior of the unrighteous one. So by the time Roy got there, the decision was already made. Welcome to the bindery Roy.
Besides the about 48 hours you worked there a week, you would have other duties too.
There was dish duties. Since the waiters worked from about 6 am in the morning to about 4 pm in the afternoon, they needed someone to do the supper dishes. About once a month the Bethel family got that privilege. Funny thing is you never saw any of the Bethel “heavies" do any dish duties.
They we fun especially in the summer time. The worst job was working the dish washing machine on the "Hot end" there was 2 brothers loading the front end and 2 guys taking the 140 degree dishes off the back end. Your hands were on fire. You couldn’t wear gloves or the dishes would slip out of them and break on the floor.
That is where I first meet Dave Borga. He was Jim Pipkorn’s best friend and roommate from Wisconsin. He was the waiter that was in charge that night. He put me on the “Hot end" by myself because we were shorthanded, He could have helped me but he just set up on a counter just laughing. It was like that "I Love Lucy” show where she is in the factory with a conveyor belt, any way that was the last dish duty for me.
Then you had the night watchmen duties. Once every 2-3 years in the home, you pulled an all night watchman duty. It started about 9 p.m. The Watchman would get a day off and you would fill in. It was very creepy. It was dark and you had to walk through all three buildings 119, 117 and 124 (not the 129 no buddy cared about the 129) and their basements too. You did this loop three times in all the buildings and punched the time clock at different locations.
At about 3:00 a.m. in this dark basement of the 124 all of a sudden this guy jumps in front of me and screams! I could have died. I thought I saw ghost of Charles Russel himself. Guess who it was? It was Scott, the night watchmen, he said "he couldn't sleep and wanted to have some fun with me." What a jerk. About 2 years later, he was asked to leave (get kicked out) Bethel. It seemed he liked to sneak into the sisters bathrooms in the 117 in the middle of the night. They only at had one bathroom per floor, Knorr’s Idea on how to save money, I guess. He would lock the toilet door and wait until some sisters came in to take showers. He got quite a free peep show. I guess all those long nights working by himself finally got to him.
Good news, he is an Elder in Salem Oregon now. He was my overseer,e I was assigned to, at a district convention in Corvallis.
There was another guy, while I was there at the Watchtower farm, who was just as weird as Scott. He would sneak into a married couples rooms, in the middle of the night and lay on the floor next to a brother’s wife and copped a feel. Now, you know why Knorr hated Bethelites so much.