60th Anniversary today - I was baptized 9-01-56

by Bonnie_Clyde 21 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Bonnie_Clyde

    60th Anniversary – I was baptized 9-1-56

    My parents weren’t witnesses at the time, but my witness uncle studied with my brother and I. I think the only reason my parents let him was because my brother was having mental issues and were hoping it would help him. My father surprised me a few years later, started studying and was baptized in 1961, later appointed an elder. He told me it was because of my good example. My mother dragged her feet for quite awhile but was finally baptized in 1967. However, she never was fully engaged as she only went in service by tagging along with my father, and she refused to give talks in the ministry school .

    I was fairly popular and remember being invited to teenage parties all over the circuit, there seemed to be plenty of witness brothers available), and that’s how I met Clyde. I wanted someone who was very theocratic, and at age 22 he had just been appointed to “Assistant Congregation Servant” (a title they gave the person second in command in the congregation), so I felt he met that requirement. However, he was a little different than a lot of guys, he had a tendency to think “outside the box”…maybe that’s why I found him so attractive….plus he was good looking.

    During all this time I pioneered like a good little witness girl, but had to stop when I got pregnant with my first child. Back then, pioneers had to report directly to the Society, so I wrote a letter explaining why I wasn’t able to get my 100 hours per month in for 3 months in a row…not only my pregnancy, but we only had one car and Clyde needed it for his work, and I couldn’t always get rides from the other publishers.

    I still remember the shock when I went to the meeting, and a letter was read from the Society that I had been removed from the pioneer ranks. Nobody notified me ahead of time, and I never got any thanks from the Society or anybody for the 2-1/2 years I gave to Jehovah (actually the Organization). I remember a special pioneer sister visiting our congregation that night came up to me afterwards to tell about a young couple in their congregation who had a new baby and both were still pioneering…talk about guilt!

    Even then it took a few years to realize how much I had wasted my life. I had chosen to pioneer instead of going to college. My parents had funds set aside for college. I had an application, but one of the heavies in the congregation heard about it and stopped in to counsel me. I wish my parents had insisted but they didn’t, they weren’t witnesses yet, but maybe I would have rebelled if they had...don't know what I would have done.

    Life with my husband would have been much easier if I had more education and could have relieved some of the financial burden of his providing for our family. Years later Clyde began to feel the pressures of congregation and family responsibilities. So when they started the elder arrangement in the early 70’s, he declined which shocked everybody…but he continued as ministerial servant. However, over the years he began to gradually slow down even missing quite a few meetings. I stayed strong, however, because I felt the congregation was a protection for our children. This put a strain on our marriage, but we survived.

    Even though I was disturbed about the 1975 fiasco, I still believed in the generation doctrine. But I couldn’t understand why people were now denying that the Society had ever said anything about 1975. I read the article in Time magazine (1982?) about Franz and felt that he was a good man for sticking to his convictions. Also read an article in our local newspaper about a witness couple who were disfellowshipped for reading Ray’s book, “Crisis of Conscience”, and their witness children would not longer have anything to do with them. I knew one of the children.

    Later, I remember the shock when Clyde talked to me about his feelings about the Faithful and Discreet Slave. He said they were giving more glory to themselves than to Jehovah. He pointed out that Matthew 24:45 didn’t say they for sure they were faithful and discreet. He said I had to read verse 46, “Happy is that slave if his mater on arriving finds him doing so. That was a big “IF”. He also said, if they were God’s appointed servants, then why were they always changing doctrine? He read James 1:17, “With Him there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow.” He said Jehovah never changes, why is the organization always changing? He also said there had to be dissension at Bethel. I asked what made him think that. He pointed out that one article would point us in one direction, then another article would say just the opposite. I couldn't disagree.

    I remember my dismay when I read an article in 1998 about “Feelings of Having Suffered Needlessly.” It mentioned brothers who had been imprisoned because they wouldn’t accept alternative service, and then the Society had changed their stance. They compared it with the change from the old law of Moses to the new law, and it was commendable that they suffered even though shouldn’t have had to. That didn’t make any sense at all.

    That was the year that I finally went on the Internet. I didn’t know where to start but I typed in the words, “Franz, 1975, Jehovah). I was mostly interested in what happened at Bethel that made Raymond Franz leave. Found out much much more than I bargained for, as I never thought about leaving the “truth.” Even when I did, it was a slow fade. I kept thinking I’ve been a witness for 42 years, I can’t stop now. Then I thought…if I don’t stop now, when???

    My parents were aging, my mother started developing Alzheimers. My father was still alive and very committed to taking care of her at home. I was the only other relative available to help out, but I was working full-time, it took a lot out of me. I spent most evenings at their house, often spending the night, and most of the weekend. That prompted an elders’ visit as to why I stopped reporting field service time. They said I could at least report 15 minutes! I explained my circumstances, and one of them said that I had to remember that there are people out in the territory that had no “hope.” I didn’t say it, but I should have said, “My parents sit in their house hoping that somebody from the congregation would just stop by to visit.” It’s amazing how friends can disappear when you get too old to be of use to the congregation. I thought, if my father is an elder in the congregation, lives only one mile from the Kingdom Hall, and my parents rarely get a visitor, then what chance do my husband and I have, living 10 miles from the KH.

    I don’t have time to tell you all the agony I went through when it was discovered that we weren’t going to attend meetings any more. My mother had already passed, but my father, brother, daughter, nieces, and all my witness cousins turned against me.

    The bright spot in this story is that our two sons, their wives, and my husband are all out, and we are very close knit. The hardest loss was our daughter. She has had almost no contact with us in over 9 years…doesn’t respond to letters or emails…refused to attend her brother’s wedding. BTW, none of us are disfellowshipped. Still I have to say, that the last 10 years have been the best ones of my life. We are free and we can enjoy our sons and their families (they live close by) without interference from the WT.

    Don't know if anybody is interested, but my baptism in 1956 was in a lake. Do they ever baptize in lakes any more?

    Love, Bonnie

  • ToesUp

    Thank you Bonnie. I really enjoyed your post.

    I am so sorry your daughter is shunning you. I know that hurts. It is good to hear that you are happy and the majority of your immediate family is close knit and out.

    It is amazing how unloving and cruel the organization can be to the members. So many things that you mentioned in your post are the exact things that made us take our exit 3 years ago. We left together, along with our children. We are happier now. Why is that? We were always told that we would be miserable. Not so.

    Enjoy your life and freedom away from a controlling and abusive organization.

    Hugs to you!

  • The Searcher
    The Searcher

    You've proven that there is life after the org!

    Well done!

  • raven

    Wow thanks for the post Bonnie, I always find it interesting to read other stories- all stories are different yet so similar in our ties with the cult.. Its so nice to hear after many years out you are doing well a long side your children and husband- It's so hard to make way after finding out about the truth about the truth.. I hope that I can find the light at the end of the tunnel as you have! Thank you for your experience!

  • DesirousOfChange

    The greatest revenge is living a happy & successful life!

    Sounds like you are getting your revenge!!

    Thanks for sharing your story. That is the kind of thing that keeps me hanging around this place! I particularly related to:

    I kept thinking I’ve been a witness for 42 years, I can’t stop now. Then I thought…if I don’t stop now, when???

    Tell me why the 1975 fiasco wasn't enough to wake all of us up?? Like you, we hung in there for another 40+ years....................DOC

  • scratchme1010

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  • GrreatTeacher

    Hi, Bonnie! I just want to say that I enjoyed your post.

    So much dedication and no appreciation from the Society for all your years of hard work. You are only as good as your last hour reported.

    You are to be commended for taking care of your elderly parents. Alzheimers is a cruel disease, both for the patient and the caregivers.

    I wish you a happy retirement and many more years with your loving family.

  • Sanchy

    Thank you for posting Bonnie. You, like almost all of us here, are remarkable in that you and your husband were strong enough to break free from the chains of a very controlling religion. That is an incredibly difficult thing to do. Thank you for sharing.

    My wife and I have begun fading from the congregation, but our entire family is shunning us. We are as alone as can be in this world, since we both work from home and had no association beyond the congregation. Our only consolation is that we have each other, this forum and most importantly that both of our little children (6 months and 1.5 year old) will grow up free from the tyranny of this oppressive regime masquerading as a religion.

  • FatFreek 2005
    FatFreek 2005

    Hi Bonnie,

    I was astounded to learn that you were baptized within days of my own dunking. I just looked it up, the date I mean. It was the first Saturday of November, the 3rd. My 16th birthday would be on the 7th. I was still 15 years old and remember that it was an indoor pool. The venue was Westerly, R.I., and it was a circuit assembly. I believe it was bro Edward Dunlap, the District Overseer, who gave the Sunday public address.

    Look him up, it'll only take a few seconds. A prominent brother, giving some 70 years of his life before getting out of Watchtower in the 1980 Bethel purge.

    Randy Watters, in Bethel at the time, recalls what shocked everyone there.

    "I remember the day Dunlap was going to be DFed (or at least announced as such).

    I was at my table in the dining room at 124. I was literally shaking, and as a table head that was unnerving to me. I wondered if anyone else knew what I felt. My heart was pounding like a drum. My pulse could be seen in my arm. I was so paranoid I thought I was gong to pass out. I looked around, but everyone was preoccupied with the announcement. I don't even remember who the jackass GB member was who read it off. People were weeping, it was surreal. Never before in 5 years of Bethel had I seen this.

    Cabeen had told me the night before that they were going to read off his DFing. So I knew it would be big. After that it was really hard for me to go to breakfast, as I couldn't eat. What was fun and clever, being Martin Luther at the Wittenburg door, was suddenly real life, and people were getting "killed." I wanted out."

    Your getting out with Clyde together is remarkable -- and wonderful. I got out in 1977 so it'll be 40 years at the early part of next year for me.

    ps: I need to share something with you, but privately. You'll see why when you read my private message.

    Len Miller

    (later edit: What a dunce -- me, that is. I just noticed that you were baptized in September. Sorry for the confusion.)

  • suavojr

    Thanks for sharing, stories like yours helps me have hope in my situation. I have to ask myself when will I stop with this crazy JW lifestyle?

    It must be heartbreaking to be shunned. This doctrine together with the suicidal blood teaching and the two witness rule are the most vile.

    Stay strong!



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