My Bthel Experince Part 19 The Last Chapter..(really) Bethel Overseers
- There were other people who either killed themselves or tried to kill themselves while they were at "the house of God."
One person who did kill himself was Richard Wheelock, Press Room Overseer ......He jumped out of a window at the Watchtower farm one day. It seemed, he was never quite the same after his wife "Willy" died. She seemed to be the only one that he could relate to.......Which would make sense.....because he sure couldn't relate to any of us in the press room..........He would come over to our press and say "Here is the work... get in out".......then just walk away.......He was not the type of person you would really want to talk to anyway......but wouldn't it be nice if just now and then, like every year or two, they might ask you how you were doing?.........You Laugh.......but it’s TRUE......I asked my friend Tom Plank who was the Press Operator of Press # 6 which at the time was one of the three biggest presses at Bethel. He had been in the press room for 4 full years. He told me, that "Brother" Wheelock never once came over to ask him, how he or his family was doing, in 4 years! I didn't care much for “Mr.” Wheelock, he was never really a "brother" to me.
The truth is NONE of my Overseers asked me either! Not in the Laundry, Bindery, Elevator, or the Pressroom. Now I'm sure there were some nice overseers there that did........but I don't know who they were. Even if you worked in a "worldly factory".......I'm sure someone would come over and see how you were doing ever now and then.........But again they would care if you stayed or not.
Oh, they did care about us this one time.......I get this call to come to the bethel office immediately! We were shorthanded at the time in the factory, put I finally got a replacement to work my elevator for me. I showed up at the Bethel office with my roommate Jack Sutton. Our old friends Bob Lang and Curtis Johnson are there. Curtis starts telling us what a "reproach to the organization" our room is, with dirty dishes in the pantry and junk under the beds blah, blah........We listen to him rant for about 10 mins..........That was it!......We did something that you would NEVER do at Bethel...........We defended ourselves! We had had enough, if they wanted to kick us out because are rooms were a mess.......so be it, we didn't care anymore....We told Curtis that if he had a problem with our room why didn't he just come to us like a brother would have, has it says at Matt.18:15. That we Bethelites were hanging on by a thread and we were tired of all this "Nit picking." The whole world was coming apart........and all YOU people cared about was if are rooms are clean enough.” They just set there with their mouths open, with a look of how you dare talk to US that way.
That was it, time to pack our bags............but nothing happen......The only reason they didn't kick us out was because I think they were shorthanded at the time.
It seems everyone in the Witness organization is hung up on what position you are in. "Oh this is brother SO and SO he is a Gilead student.......or he is a Bethelite.........or he is a Pioneer........or he is and Elder........or they are in the Service Department...........or He knows someone that knows someone who was in the Writing Department. They say we are all equal............BULL SHIT........There are more class distinctions in the organization then in the U.S. Army.and you see it in all, in the "house of God" up close.......If you like politics...........you'll fit right in.
A friend of mine from the Press room wanted to leave Bethel before his time was up.......I told him "Ted just leave.......what can they do to you?"......He said "they won't let me pioneer, for 6 months"......."Oh really?" I said......."Do you mean they won't let you go out in field service?"......."No they will." he said....."So they won't let you go in service for a 100 hours a month?"........."NO they will." he said......"Oh" I said "So you can't be CALLED a pioneer"...........God, don't we just love those titles?
There is no fanfare when you leave bethel. Someone buys a 3 dollar box of ice cream at lunch for the whole table and you get a "good bye" card from everyone. The tradition in the press room is they make a handmade card with some jokes about you in it and give it to you.........you shake a few hands and you just leave. No thanks for the 4 years of your life.
I wanted more, I wanted someone in a position of power to tell me something.......Like what the hell was this all about...........So I went to Bob Wallen, he was Knorr’s personal secretary at the time, and he had been one of my table heads in the lower dining room. I really liked Bob and his wife. I said "Bob what was this all about?.............I mean there are somethings going on here that are just not right!".......He said "I know what you mean...........I look at these poor brothers in the bindery.........and I think that there but for the grace of God goes me...........and Keith, I have told the Powers that be, (he motioned into Knorr’s office) that we need to make a FEW changes here..........You, can help us by going back home and telling them how wonderful it is here!"........."What".....I said...Yes he said ...............There is just a year left until 1975 and we really need the help here......So go back home and tell them how great it is here..............or if you can't say anything good about the place......please just keep your mouth shut."
It reminded me of the movie "Catch 22" where they are trying to kill him in the whole movie and then at the end, they tell him he can leave but he must tell them back home how wonderful it is here. They want us to "Just like us!"
Welcome to the Twilight Zone.
Really fascinating series. Thank you for making the effort to write it up.
I wonder how it compares to morale at Bethel now?
thank god i never went to bethell lol
Hi newboy, I am going to have a good read of your experience from start to finish. It looks fascinating- and gives a good insight into bethel life. Regards TE
I relate to that indeed....Sounds very familiar....
This story is like rinse and repeat. Most if not all feel this way when leaving.
Truthexplorer an hour agoHi newboy, I am going to have a good read of your experience from start to finish. It looks fascinating- and gives a good insight into bethel life. Regards TEFor sure, Keith series were the turning point to my leaving the Borg ! I've passed them on to friends often.
I don't know why you liked Wallen. He was in charge of us missionaries, a few kind letters when my wife was ill, he met us once in our assignment but being in the elevator in the Bossert with a couple of guys he did as not knowing us. Afraid of entering in a conversation about my wife's health. I understand that but than get a wordly job.
Yeah, it's all about titles & power over others. Western ideals. (That's all most pathetic humans have.) Yet some claim to be different than say the Catholics. It's all the same; not what Christ wanted. At least the Catholic clergy are educated.
That's a good point Lieu! They know their classics and classical languages etc. ( and know about wines, Cognacs and cigars ;) ).