What are the thoughts on the changes made by the society in the 1996 Watchtower [new light] where one can then accept alternate army service where before you would have to be sentenced to do this. I feel many were sent to prison needlessly or even executed. This was not a matter of conscience as the watchtower claims.
Alternate military service pre and post 1996 witness policies. Please comments.
Growing up knowing I might go to prison caused alot of stress in my life. It would of been nice if I could have done alternate service as a option. I was lucky because the Vietman war was coming to a end and I got a high lottery number. When it comes to CULTs all young people are sacrificial lambs to the cult god. Still Totally ADD
This was the first thing that caused me to question my beliefs. It was also how I experienced learning this change.
I was a young twenty-something year old ministerial servant working in the Accounts Department at a Circuit Assembly. Our circuit contained a major university and one particular congregation that had many former students of that university in it. The Elder in charge of Accounts was attending that university during the Vietnam War. This was before he became a Witness. When he was called before the draft board he elected alternate service and was placed in the US Post Office where he continued to work at the time of this assembly.
I remember we were in the upstairs Accounts office watching the program. When this topic came up I could see this Elder develop a 1000 yard stare. He became still and quiet. I don't recall his exact words, but he said something along the lines of "How many brothers needlessly went to prison over this?"
It struck a deep chord with me.
Thanks for the great comments. I am still in but mentally out. Trying to plan my exit. Its amazing how the blinkers come off when you do real research and start thinking for yourself. I want to help other family. My youngest daughter left when she was 16. I have her to confide in. I would appreciate some suggestions.
I was at work in the 80s when staff were discussing among themselves the issue with alternate military service in South Africa where we lived. The brothers were sentenced to years of community service. They were disgusted and I felt guilty because I could not defend this stand.
I too was called up (conscripted) for the Vietnam war.
I was told not do alternative service but to say this was MY idea. Another of those' personal mission' bullshit ideas.
Re south Africa. The wts made it quite plain they were handing over willingly the bros service reports to the SA authorities. This was done I am sure to force bros to do more and more in the fs.
Funny isnt it they have to be crucified to get cong records of paedophiles out of the head office but fs reports are handed over.. no problem..
This south African thing was the start of my leaving.
For me this flip flop was a game changer for me as well , coming straight off the back of the generation change in 1995. Looking back , for me it was the start of really wondering if I had "the truth".
Ray Franz has a lot of background information about this in his books. For years it was a source of deep debate in the Governing Body - at times a majority of the GB voted to lift the ban , but not the 2/3 majority required. The fact that even a majority of the GB didn't believe in it while hundreds of JWs needlessly suffered is quite staggering and even in the months after they had formally decided to scrap the policy but not yet made it public in the Watchtower , JW teenagers were still being sentenced. One wonders if this had been an issue in the USA whether this might have focused their minds a bit more.
The WTB&TS / JW`s / GB , have a lot to answer for .
And I hope one day they do .
Just some things they have reversed / modified there policies / beliefs / doctrines on., that have affected the lives of the rank and file in a detrimental way .
Against vaccinations to protect from common diseases.......putting childrens lives at risk
Against Organ transplants ,saying it was akin to cannilbalism.........,shortening peoples lives
The no blood policy that has resulted in.......... untold deaths of both children and adults.
No alternative service allowed for refusing to participate in the armed services resulting in many youths being sent to prison and some depending where in the world they lived ...........,for many years in prison.
Broken marriages due to their unbending rules
Breakups of families between mothers fathers sons and daughters because of there shunning policy that splits and divides families simply because of believing or not believing in the JW religion .
That`s all I can think of at the moment i`m sure you can come up with some more
Edit to add: I have a vague memory of a Greek brother back in the `60`s I believe that refused military service and he was sentenced to 5 years in jail which he served and was then re-sentenced again after further refusing military /alternative service for another 5 years in jail. And i`m not quite sure whether or not he was sentenced again for another 5 years .
I`m pretty sure it was featured in one of the yearbooks or somewhere i just can`t remember .
What a waste of a young persons life.
Good reminder about South Africa Zeb. Correct me if im wrong, they handed over the reports to prove the teenagers were practicing witnesses. I think some of the elder dads signed off on this even sending in false reports otherwise the kids would land up in normal prison with "Die gestravtes" in Afrikaans or criminals.
If you could prove you were a bonified jw then you wore a blue overall and were kept separately with other jws. before the govt. changed policy and sentenced them to community service I think in the 90s.
Yes wasn’t this a story in Crisis of Conscience, that this change nearly went through a decade or so earlier, but they were just short of 2/3 majority, Lloyd Barry was away on a zone visit/holiday or something crazy like that, and thousands of JWs continued to go to prison needlessly.
Can u post links from literatures for all these? Prison was greek fashion till 2000 lol. After that alternative service was an option for JWs. In Greece for all male citizens is mandatory to join the army.