Somebody posted the contract on ExJWReddit: https://i.redd.it/1u8808gy6ni01.jpg
It appears to be signed by Howie Ernest Rutledge. Im assuming this is Howie Rutledge Tran, former assistant to the GB?
Yes. All bethelites sign them, prob missionaries too... my name is on one somewhere. It
That one about "not accepting secular employment without permission" is routinely ignored by the special pioneers around here, as far as I know. All of them work. Or maybe they got "permission", who knows.
Can't really blame them - their stipend does not lift them above the poverty line, even with the extra "perks" (insurance coverage, gasoline reimbursement, clothing allowance, etc.).
Yes, that was me. I was Howard Ernest Rutledge, but my legal name is now Howard Tran, also known as Howie Rutledge Tran. This was the new "Vow of Obedience and Poverty" that we had to sign in 2002 (I don't remember signing one before this one and I had been at Bethel since 1995, so already 7 years in when I was required to sign this one). It also came with a 3 page letter explaining this vow. I made these documents available online with a number of others. Cheers!
I signed one in 1994. They had been around for a while, it may have been updated when they had you sign that one. Im sure some of the folks who were at bethel before me can chime in on whether or not they around prior to but i recall hearing they were.
Basically it was for tax status and to prevent anyone from claming they deserved to be paid after the fact. Its all cya bethel style.
To punks original question, 100% legit, and now we have the poster in question verifying ;)
Yes, sounds very likely Morpheus, we probably all signed a similar one as part of our new member stuff. But yes, as I remember it, they made a big deal of us signing this one in 2002, and it came with a 3 page letter, and a special talk about it after the Monday Watchtower study.
I am curious about point "6" in the vow
6. To turn over to the local organization of the Order all income received from any work or personal efforts in excess of my necessary living expenses, unless released from this vow by the Order;
My question: would this include any income derived from an inheritance?
Howie: This was the new "Vow of Obedience and Poverty" that we had to sign in 2002 (I don't remember signing one before this one and I had been at Bethel since 1995, so already 7 years in when I was required to sign this one).
Would this new 'vow of poverty' have anything to do with the restructuring that occurred in 2000(1?) when the WTS cut loose the "Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses? It seems as though it was then that the CCJW structured itself into a 'mainstream' religion, likely to take advantage of being a 'religion' under the charity tax laws
Taking a "vow" when entering the religious "order", Bethel, or other forms of "special full-time service" was not new. Like Morpheus said, he remembers signing one when he entered the Order in 1994, and I'm sure we all had to sign something to make it legal (I entered the "order" as a Bethelite in 1995) but I do not remember being allowed to retain a copy of the earlier one.
But, in 2002 they made a big deal of having us all sign this "vow", regardless of how long you had been in Bethel service already. They sent copies of this vow to our Bethel rooms with a 3 page letter (all of which I made available a few years ago online with a number of other documents from my years at Bethel). Then that Monday night there was a lecture about this vow & accompanying letter after the "Family Watchtower Study". I really do not remember why the new emphasis was placed on it at that time. Maybe someone else who was there in 2002 might remember better. It may have been in conjunction with the restructuring of the various corporations and the one that had oversight of our religious order, which I believe took place about that time. It may have been that when the new "order" was formed overseeing "special full-time servants", a new vow had to be signed by all. Probably something mundane like that. Cheers!
A vow of poverty was mentioned in the Proclaimers book
Also, taking vacation time releases one from the vow for that time, for example to do paid work outside bethel - so take a vacation day, claim the inheritance, then go back the next day.
I mean how criminal and slave holding is THIS statement > " To turn over to the local congregation of the Order ALL income received from ANY work or PERSONAL efforts in excess of my necessary living expenses , unless released from this vow by the order. "
Jesus Christ ! WTF ? This is worse than indentured servants ! At least some of them got land in the late 1600's or early 1700's to show for their efforts ! This is horrific, I swear. There is absolutely nothing wrong whatsoever with calling WT Society leaders slaveholders in my opinion. It's disgusting. Pisses me off