My Bethel Experience Part 3
Don't get me wrong...........There was no one more self righteous, than me at 19. I Moved to Kansas at 18 to pioneer and even printed up cards that said...........
"HAVE SWORD, WILL TRAVEL"---------contact casarona salina kansas------ AAA Which of course meant “Available After Armageddon.”
Oh, I was full of myself! Thought of myself as a spiritual gun fighter. To defend TRUTH, JUSTICE and all the WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY stood for. Little did I know I had no chance of winning my first big gun fight! We have meet the enemy.....and he is US.
There is nothing more righteous then a new boy at bethel. So there you are at the center of the WORLD WIDE WORK...........HOME of the GB....You know you are going to see the "Shakina Light" at any moment........Then it happens ..The lies, the pride, the cruelty, the politics, the favoritism,......You say to yourself.........well it just a few people I'm SURE the "brothers" in real power have no Idea what these overseers are doing.So what do you do?
There is a chain of command.........and one thing you would NEVER do is go over that overseer's head that is called "END YOUR BETHEL CAREER IMMEDIATELY"........most of us who went there, wanted to make it our life's work.
We saw it many times.......Some overseer would pull some shit. Like what my overseer said about a sister that worked in the laundry. He told my roommate that "That sister L.......is like a cow in HEAT she what’s it bad."...............Not a disfellowshipping offense.........but nothing a loving "brother" would say about a sister who needed to have sex.
So the new guy would go to Max Larson in the factory or George Couch in the bethel home and tell him what happen...........After they heard the story, they would get a smile on their face and ask you "So tell me Brother newboy?.................how LONG have you been here?"........the newboy would say something like "Two years sir!" "Well brother Newboy brother Pompous ass has been here 22 years! Thank you for coming by!"
You could then say goodbye to your bethel career.......2 months later he would be on a one of the machines probably a sewing machine in the bindery which is the penal institution of the factory or the laundry which was the penal intuition of the home.
It is a "Good old boy country Club" and you are NOT a member. Not yet. You are not even considered a real member of the family until your 4 years are up. Then your obligation is up. If you still want to stay which most didn’t and 98% left at thazt time or before. Than, when you have eaten 4 years of shit and told them you "LIKE IT" you can become a "Company man."..........and become one of them. Sieg Heil.
So anyway.............back to the gun fight...........Where the self righteous new boys would help clean up the Lord’s house. The stuff my overseer was doing......well the stink was rising to the havens, but what it do? Remember the “Gary’s going to die” thing plus there was all kinds of other strange shit.
Our assistant overseer told an EX CO what was happening. He said ALOT of these things were going on in the house of god and someone should step up and say something. So he and 2 other EX COs felt the same way. They were the three Freds. Their names were FRED BARNES, FRED FERDEEN and FRED HILMO. Great men who had of vision of truth, righteous, fairness but those things had no chance in the gun fight with the "country club boys" the real power at bethel.
They asked anyone that had a problem with and 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 these things that were said. So after all was said....Fred Hilmo said “We need to talk to Knorr about it.” So he told Knorr what was going on. Knorr said "We should have a meeting with all the brothers (REBELS) to have a discussion on these matters"
You know what he was planning to do. He was going to play Jehu on our asses! He was going to “clean the house of god” not of the wrong doers…..just the people that reported it.
I will tell you in Part 4, about the big shoot out known at bethel as "Black Thursday" until then.
Thanks. Interesting. Gives me more insight. Can't wait for part 4.
Keep writing. Good stuff!
You're right...a good ole boys club!
OK New Boy, do you remember Virgil Stutts? He was a press operator on Hoe Row.
How about Norman Dignard of the make ready crew?
George Escobar on the Cotrell?
Joel Young? He was my first room mate.
Ed Kostacheck? Magazine press
I knew Fred Barnes. I dated Francis Philman and would double with Fred and his wife.
Reading your post brings back a lot of memories
Hey man you're still around, your stories are the greatest ! Rest assured they had a major parts in my awakening ! It's Keith right ? Please tell us more !!
I enjoy your story.
I knew Fred Hilmo years later. His wife had died in a tragic auto accident (that involved him falling asleep at the wheel while going to give a Bethel Speaker talk).
He was remarried and busted down to a menial position of installing picture hooks.
Very kind person. The kind of "former great" that you ran across often at Bethel. Nothing new this organization chewing people up and spitting them out.
I also new Hilmo. E Manhattan congregation split into two, (I was a kid) new congregation was Murray Hill. Fred was the first Overseer. Nice guy, ran into him off and on over the years upstate after he ended up at Wat Farm.
I always enjoy the Bethel tales and your doing a great job of showing why I turned down Bethel (I never applied) in favor of pioneering where the need was great.
A small congo in North Western PA....... learned to fly fish for trout........ Kept my book bag and fishing gear ready. Met the future Mrs. Giordano. Gave ego stroking talks all over the circuit. The freedom of it all was heady.