Chapter 1 My Bethel Experience First Posted 9 Years Ago A Walk Down Memory Lane
I when to bethel March 21,1970. At the time you had to be a pioneer for two years to apply, by the time I left in 1974 they were calling people in who had never pioneered..........average stay was 5 months (they had signed up for 4 years)..........the reason they left was......well, it was hell.
One of the reasons was, Knorr hated bethelites, but he loved the Gilead students and why? Because when they screwed up they were thousands of miles away!........Just before I got there, they had kicked out over 30! Homosexuals (at one time) ....The would kick out 1-2 bethelites a week. He always had nothing but problems with bethelites.. He would say "I can replace any of you, with a 25 cent stamp".............. Before I went, people tolded me that at bethel, Knorr was called "Pa Pa". I never heard that term used in 4 years I was there, I did hear people call him "King Knorr" They said the place was full of love...........instead it was run like the military .......by a bunch of Germans, Knorr, Suiter, Henshel, Franz, Swingle, Larson, Wheelock, Wiesgerber.........very unfeeling an cold group of people.
The only place that wasn't cold was the laundry in the 119 building. Over 100 degrees in the summer months, with no A/C, in was in a basement with no windows. Some of us would have to take salt tablets or we would pass out from the heat. I took them, because I worked on the clothes dyiers (add another 10 degrees) I also ironed and steamed sister's clothes. I also worked in "check in" were we sorted all the "brothers and sisters" dirty clothes......Great job for a 20 year old "brother" sorting all those bras and panties. LOL......We called the guys underware "Twinks" because if you opened them up, there was "a surprise in every package" Some days we would fold underware all day..........the rule was a pound a minute.
I worked there for 22 months..........it was the penal instution of the home. Sometimes if a "bother" turned in his 30 day notice (before your time was up) they would send you there, to sweat it out. Or if you messed up in other departments like the waiter crew, they would sent you there, if you screwed up...Like my friend Gary Kennedy who was sent there after he destroyed $300 worth of plates in one crash......He was a "happy-go-lucky" type who really didn't fit in.
They wanted him out!.........so they put the scews on. My overseer Ken Dowling had a meeting with the check in crew and said "We were to report anything Gary said (that wasn't the party line) to him" He latter said to me and I Quote "Gary will DIE at armageddon because he doesn't do what I tell him to do".."You do believe that? brother Casarona"............."ERRRR........YES sir" I said.......I was 20 years old and would have done anything for the church leaders, even turn in my own mother. They give you (when you get there) the bethel handbook "Dwelling together in Peace and Unity": Where it says that your bethel overseer is basicly appointed my God.....What eles would you say? We were to report anything we heard or saw to the "brothers" in the bethel office (Gestopo) You really didn't know who to trust and everyone was a possible informent.........With the rightious new boys being the very worse.
At my first table in the upper dinning room, Houston Roberts was my table head. Some tables were fun, this one was boring, the table head would set the mood for the table. IF you missed too many breakfasts (morning worship) he would turn you in. He had the personality of a bowl of "creamed spinish" He had been at bethel for 10 years and was waiting to get married. His girl friend sat across from me and had been there for 3 years..............they had 1 more year to go before they could have sex.......The rule then was 14 years in full time service, before you could get married and stay at bethel.......ah the love.
As for the food, everyone talks about. Breakfast was O.K. most of the time it was Ice cold after Knorrs ranting's. Lunch was the best meal of the day and dinner sucked. Hardly anyone went to dinner a hundred guys out of maybe 1300 went down to dinner....not because we weren't hungry....the food was bad, left overs or squash stuffed with mystery meat. Most the time there just wasn't enough food ......If you sat on the table with 7-8 hungry guys, by the time the plates come around to you, the food was gone..........You pass the plates out again wait 5-10 mins. to come back.......they would pass the plates around the other direction,....... get to you and quess what? nothing left, now its pray time and there is no more food after the pray. You had 15 mins. to eat.........None of the big shots ever went to dinner and why?.......It sucked! Chapter two tomorrow.
I remember the days of visiting Bethel and sitting at my friend's table rather than at the visitors table. We did not take a heaping part only enough to go around but then...maybe they were being nice to me. Head and foot of table brothers to spy on you. Unhappy wives, not a smile. It was better at the Farm. I worked as a temporary worker for 2 years. Bethel was homophobic, one under every rock...no concern about lesbians, not enough sisters to be a problem. Bethel elders telling me that homosexuality was a worse sin that adultery. Makes sense coming from men that accept polygamy as acceptable for God's people, the Jews.
My last exposure to Bethel saw my friends worried about spies there, housekeepers that searched your rooms, co-workers who didn't like you that tattled, even making up things to gain position. I know of 2 Bethel sisters that got pregnant to force their husbands to leave.
I saw a 22 year old sister marry an 80 year old anointed Bethelite with status. I played piano with one GB in the Tower lobby and answered bible questions of another. It killed my desire to marry a heavy brother and stay there. I came home and stopped going to any meetings....I felt like a ton lifted off me. Yes, there is no God at Bethel.
BetHELL is where a lot of people ''wake-up'', of sorts. A Hellish like experience, to say the least.
I've heard alot of stories about bethel in the mid 70s. Really sounds like it was a bit of the wild west. And they have all commented on how if, for any reason, they fell into disfavor, they were sent to do laundry as punishment.
Great NEW BOY!! 😀
Yes Bethel killed my faith as well. I loved to go out to different congregations though, telling missionary experiences. After a while we started to make them up! 200-300 box a night thanks to the impressed publishers. I bought my car from that money when we came back in Europe leaving that s#it behind.
"Gary will DIE at armageddon because he doesn't do what I tell him to do".
This is the JW attitude. They should put that one on a plaque and make it the text for the year. They love this one. Oh...can you feel the love!
I was there form 1992 to 1994, I loved and hated it. I loved it well over serving where the need was great, now that was peer hell so anything was better than that but now looking back it was fairly missed up I was just so glad to be around at least some people who like me. Pioneering where the need was great everyone hate me as I was just just an elder's wife and got in the way of their using my husband more.
Hold up, I need to clarify something here, they put young men, or any man at that washing the sisters knickers & bra's? I'm sorry it has to be said' that is f....king outrageous. What on earth were they thinking, I am truly shocked by this revelation. Is this going on today?
Just one correction New Boy: The press room was hotter !!! We had to keep the presses hot for the machines to run correctly. Plus the ink and paper dust mixed in. I was at Brooklyn Bethel 72-73 and the Farm 73-76. You might have met me...Ricky Righteous. Ha Ha. Do you remeber the rant Knorr went on about bicyles? Someone left their bike in the lobby of the 117 building.
I once saved the life of sister Dechecka. I was in the lower dining room and she sat next to me. Some holier than thou km student prayed for about 20 minutes. She past out and landed in a bowel of cheerios with milk. I grabed her by the hair and pulled her to safety!
Another time in the press room (building 1) there was a brother, fellow press operator who wore overalls that were threadbare, had the press grab his clothing and rip it off. He did not wear underwear. The only thing he was wearing was his shoes! A tour was going by at the time. I grabed some of the paper cut offs to cover him. I always wondered what the tour group talked about when they got back to the congo.
I was suprised by the amount of extramarital affairs brothers and sisters would have. On a few occasions I found couples making out in the house keepers closet, yikes. There was a high profile one of a brother in dispatch running off with a gilead student. New Boy, do you remember who that was? The problem was the fact that many of the young couples were from small town USA and now they found themselves working close with some charming good looking brother/sister.
My room mate was gay, Joel Reed, I was not but he and I got along ok, he went his way and I went my way. The press operator that I was an assistant operator was very gay. Press #2 He died of AIDES two years after leaving.
New Boy I can relate to your experience and probably met you when I was there.
Good Stories Mann337! But sorry my friend the laundry was much hotter I worked both places I ended my Bethel stay in the press room on Hoe 10.