Chapter 26 New Boy 50 years a Watchtower slave
By their love
So Steve move out of the room. I guess I wasn't friendly enough. Maybe he found a roommate who was more NPG friendly. I got to keep the room, that’s how it works there.
I got a new roommate. He was my old buddy Jack Sutton, one of the guys from the laundry. He was from Phoenix and I was from California. So we decided to decorate our room in a western motif. We had some old western posters on our walls and a poster of a bull fighter and a bull in old Mexico.
Anyway one night about 7:00 p.m. we get this knock on the door. It’s is Curtis Johnson the newly appointed home servant to the Towers. This Guy looked and talked just like the Nazis guy in the movie "Raiders of the lost Ark." The guy with thick black glasses and the shit eating smile all the time. He was bald headed and 5 ft. 4” a real tweeb. The perfect company man.
We said. "You are welcome come in."
You could tell he felt very uncomfortable. "No thanks, brothers, I'm here to talk about your room.
“The decorations in your room."
"OK, what about them?"
"We don't like them."
"Who is we?"
"Well, the Bethel office."
"Really!" He said as he was twitching.
"We don’t like your bull fighting poster on your wall. A tour group might think we like killing animals."
"Brother Johnson, no tours come through the Towers Hotel and beside we don’t even look at the picture that way."
"Never mind about that, we want it down!"
“Alright." We said." We‘ll take it down."
We never said when we would take it down though. So when we moved out a year later to a different room, we took it down then. I’m sure our file was noted.
I'm afraid we haven't seen the last of our dear "brother" Johnson. More on him later.
Most of us went to Bethel, thinking we wanted to make it our life long career. What better place to be right before 1975, when god was coming back to kick some serious ass? That dream ended for the vast majority after just few months there, when they found out that something was very wrong. Otherwise why would anyone want to leave the spiritual paradise, they claimed it to be? With only 2-5% staying after their four year commitment had ended, and a very big percentage leaving before their time was even up. The average stay there in 1974 was only about eight months. It was not a happy place, they were leaving in droves.
When I went there they were calling in guys who had pioneered from one to two years. By the time I left they were calling in guys who had never pioneered. Since they were having a hard time getting people there they tried the “One year program.” They brought in a hundred new boys that all signed a one year commitment. Guess what? Most of these guys left at their one year mark or before. There was just a small percentage of people who stayed after there one year was up. It was just like Nazis Germany at the end of WWII when they were calling up kids and old men.
So getting a girlfriend and having sex, was looking better all the time. Hey! The Governing Body were doing it and most the bethel "heavies" were doing it. We wanted sex too.
Just why do you think Knorr got married? Did he get married for companionship? No! There are over 1,500 "brothers" back there he could have that with. He could do things with them, sit around and talk about the bible or go to a movie or play chess. There were plenty of "brown noses" for that. Did he get married to have children? No! It is forbidden to have children at Bethel. Did he get married to be with that one special person forever? No! He was going to heaven and she wasn't. So why did he get married?
It sure looks like good old fashion S.E.X.......to me.
Strange that most of the Governing Body were Germans at that time. Knorr, Franz, Swingle, Suiter, Henschel, Groh. Fekel, Schroeder, Potzinger. Sorry no women and no blacks. White, German, Pennsylvania Dutch in most cases. Hard men with hard hearts.
Even the Germans like sex too. I found that out after Knorr’s new boy sex talk.
So he and his buddies were able to enjoy that privilege. I say privilege, because not everyone was permitted to have it. Knorr came up with the new rules for having sex at Bethel, after he surprised the whole Bethel family and came back from a vacation married to Audrey in the early nineteen fifties.
New rules now. If you want to get married and stay at Bethel, you needed a total of fourteen years of full time service. So you were forbidden to get married for any reason for 4 years period, no matter what. Now you can add another six years go if you wanted to stay. Plus the other person need four years of full time service in also.
I didn't say forbidden did I? I guess I did. But the Bible clearly states at 1 Timothy 4:1-3. "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits, hypocritical liars, They would forbid people to marry."
So that can't be right. I forgot the old double standard rule kicks in again, at this time! Just another Bethel Catch 22.
They would say, well you signed an agreement! Yes, you’re 19 years old and you should have known what you were signing, right? It most states a contract isn’t even legal until you are twenty one.
Some would say. Well, you could always leave before your time. Yes, if you didn't mind the reproach and the shame of being a “short timer” you could do this.
There was also the punishment aspect. So they punishment you for leaving Bethel and getting married? Yes, the punishment for leaving before your time was up was this. You could not pioneer for six months. So how is that a punishment? These loving brothers were brilliant who thought this up. Check this out.
If you couldn’t pioneer you would lose your 4-D classification. That’s means in 1970 you would go back to a 1-A classification! It was the height of the Viet Nam war. So if you got called up to the draft board, guess what? You were going to jail!
Why would you be going to jail? Because of being a conscientious objector the only option for a Jehovah Witness male would be prison.
So the bottom line was that if you left before your time, you could be heading to a real prison.
Not the one in Brooklyn Heights.
Of course they could have thanked you for the two or three years of service you did spent there.
That’s not there style. No, it was get your prison uniform ready and grab your ankles.
All this caused plenty of hardship, shame, heart ache, and even death. Plus all the unhappy marriages and all the unnecessary trips some poor souls had to make to the hookers on 8th Ave. Only a few guys did that though.
But really don’t you think, a loving organization would have people’s best interest at heart? As in, "Oh......brother we are sorry to hear you are having a hard time here at Bethel. So you would like to leave? Go, my friend and be in peace. May god be with you, and thank you for the time, you did spend here with us and of course, you can pioneer if you like."
But that sounds like something Jesus would say.
Did I say loving organization? Let me think....Yes! I think it says somewhere in the Bible. "By their love you would be able to recognize them."
Boy isn't that truth? There was no real love there. It started at the very top and worked its way all the way down to the local the local Kingdom Halls. Yes, there is a pretense of love but at the real core there is something altogether different.
All the double standards, unwritten laws and bull shit. It was just too much for most of us. I say most of us because, there are some there that love it. They fit right with the cold hearted bastards that were running the place.
NewBoy, pioneers before going to bethel got drafted and had to fight the draft board before bethel took them if they had applied to go to Bethel. Bethelites were not drafted as far as I know. I think the Bethel ID card said minister of religion. Being in Bethel also resulted in a way to beat the draft and them machines or in the Laundry were better than the jungles of Vietnam. I didn't know that a person lost their minister of religion classification if they did not pioneer after leaving bethel.
In order to get a 4-D classification you had to be either a pioneer or a Bethelite. If you left before your time you were neither.
I know pioneers who got drafted while pioneering before going to Bethel and Bethel wanted nothing to do with them until they resolved their draft and then they could go to Bethel.
Yes true. You had to have a 4-D classification in order ton go to Bethel. You could loss this classification if you short timed because you were not allow to pioneer for six months.
Hey, Keith. I am enjoying your series greatly. However, I'm sure I've missed several along the way and would like to catch up. Have you posted an index of hyperlinks to all of them somewhere?
ps: I've searched for "chapter new boy" but that only returns a few of your chapters, plus some irrelevant links.
Yes true. You had to have a 4-D classification
I don't know. Every male 18+ had to register for the draft but not everyone was drafted until they hit the lottery. So, someone with with a 1A or was it 4 A classification could be accepted and work at Bethel, but should they be drafted, because they were in fact a minister serving at Bethel, got the 4D, but since that 4D was based upon their being in Bethel to begin with, leaving could invoke being drafted, I suppose, unless as you say, they continued full time service by pioneering.
I know WT did not want JW to use Bethel as a defense if they were being drafted before going to Bethel.
I registered for the Draft when I turned 18. I began pioneering in 1966 and all I had to do was show my Draft Board the letter from the Society stating that I had been accepted as a Pioneer Minister and they gave me the 4D classification. The 4D was given to ministers of religion and divinity students. My wife got pregnant in 1968 so I had to quit pioneering. But all I had to do was take a letter from my wife's doctor confirming the pregnancy to the Draft Board and they gave me a 3A classification which exempted me from the draft for the time being.
However, if there was a national emergency on the scale of World War II, then it was possible I could be drafted.
Back in those days all young single male JWs pioneered and kept their 4D classification as long as they stayed in the Pioneer service. But if they got removed as pioneers, they could be drafted.
There were several other JWs that I knew who didn't pioneer and served time in prison.
JWs didn't have to go to prison, they could have accepted alternate service and performed work in hospitals or non-military government service. But the Watchtower leadership of that time considered alternate service to be compromising.
I knew one JW who quit pioneering during the Vietnam War. However, he never notified the Draft Board of his status change. The local Draft Board never found out and the guy stayed free and never went to prison. As far as I know he's still an active JW.
and all I had to do was show my Draft Board the letter from the Society stating that I had been accepted as a Pioneer Minister and they gave me the 4D
Was that the same in every state? Because I know brothers that pioneered and got drafted and could not go to bethel until they cleared it up. And back in the day you couldn't go to bethel unless you pioneered first. I know bros that got accepted to Bethel but had problems with the draft and until that was solved they could not go.
Back in those days all young single male JWs pioneered and kept their 4D classification as long as they stayed in the Pioneer service.
100 hours a month was not easy.
The draft ended in 1973 and I don't remember pioneer bros getting 4d after that when they registered. I only remember Bethel requiring that bros register but I don't remember 4d was required. What do you say NewBoy?
Very interesting posts Anasthasius and NewBoy.
I remember the bell going off in the morning to get up and go to breakfast, 19 distinctive dings. It rang a couple of times and if you waited till the last bell, you found yourself running to the table and sitting just before the gb spoke (hopefully).