60th Anniversary today - I was baptized 9-01-56
Such a lovely post Bonnie and so very encouraging to me personally.
Thank you for your post. I felt the same way about leaving, if not now when? I thought for sure I would miss it. But I don't, I feel a calm peace that the obligation is not there. I am happy for you that you do have some family you are out with. We are the only ones awake In our family...any advise on how to help family see things our way? I hate seeing them wasting their precious time and life...
Thanks for sharing your nicely written and well laid out story Bonnie. In regard to your daughter, where there's hope there's hope. I've seen certain hard core JW's have an about face when something finally happens to them personally to wake them up.
I knew Ray Franz personally, he was my instructor in Bethel and I sat beside he and his wife at meal times. Iknew at that time something was bothering this lovely man deeply, yet he carried out his duties lovingly and was the epitome of what a shepherd of the flock should be. I can tell you that after knowing him and having been at Bethel, everything he wrote in his book is the absolute unembellished truth. I'm glad you started your foray into the real story about the JW religion by researching his story.
Glad you have your husband and sons....we'll hold out hope that your daughter will soften or come around one day.
Thank you for sharing your story Bonnie.
I liked you story. It is the same time period as when I was baptize Aug. 1955. A small assembly in southern California held at Ganesha Park down by Pomona Calif. I still have the lapel badge. You didn't have to answer any questions or tell any one, it was just between you and God.
Let me till you a little bit about my 50+ yrs. it hard to do in a few paragraphs so I'll just high light a few things
We(mother, sister and I)moved from the Midwest(Indian Territory) To a small town in central Calif. (It was only about 12 miles out side of town that James Dean was killed on his way up to the Monterey Peninsula we went out a week or so later to look around there was nothing to see) This is where we came into contact with Witnesses 1953. A guy (jw) moved in to town and we became the best of friends we went to high school together and all the large assemblies in Los Angles and the small circuit assemblies around central Calif. he was the best man at my wedding and I was his. He was killed in the early 70's .I Also went to a lot of R&B dances at the boardwalk in Pismo beach.
There was no work in that area so after high school we moved up to the San Francisco bay area
This was a great place to grow up and a great time. It was the 50's Rock& Roll, witness party ever week end ,the beach at Santa Cruz. My friend from high school came up and spent a lot of tine there too. This place had it all. I also hung around with some great guys we all were witness and knew what the limits were. No one ever told us what we could or couldn't do. I was the WT conductor for awhile I told them I thought I was to young. I also went around to the congregations in the area giving talks but sometimes we also went up to North Beach in San Francisco to look around.
Went to New York for the big convention in 58 The next year(I got to tell you this) I met the best girl she wasn't a witness I didn't care no one has ever told me what to do even in prison. I went with her for a year and got her to marry me.She surprised me and got baptize so we were married in the hall.
Two years later they came and got me and put me prison. My wife moved down to Tucson to be close. She was only about 18 at the time I was able to sell some land to help her while she was there They had visting ever Sunday and she was always there. Sometime we were the only ones. Went to the Rose Bowl in 63 had a good reunion with the guys from prison.
I was living in northern Calif. when we went though the 1975 thing. Had two sons by then and I stopped going for a while because of 75 and some odd articles in the magazines they retracted them a little so I want back.
A few years later we (wife and I) went back to the Midwest(Indian Territory) to see if we could help a small cong. and to see if I could talk to the Indian people. we had a lot of success I'm now sorry to say.
Went to Utah was there for some time. It was fun talking to the Mormons. While I was there I went to Moab for a quick build hall a bad experience it was the worst work I have ever seen I don't tell anyone I worked on that hall. I did do some work on Robert Redford's Sundance Ski Resort and on his house It was while he was preparing for the movie Horse Whisper. It was while we were there that my wife got very sick and still is. We had to leave for her heath we moved to Las Vegas that's when I began to take a hard look at this religion There had been times in the past when things just didn't feel right I remember at an assembly in ok.city I just got up and left I couldn't listen to it any more or there would be times during the WT study when I would have to go out side for awhile. I now began to see things that had been there all along. I gave up my elder position and quite no more meeting or service. The last meeting I went to I ask a couple elders to go in the back I talked to them and left. A short time later they changed all the cong. around moving every one to a different hall. I may have got lost in the mix We left Las Vegas. a few years later. My wife and I have moved to Arizona. I was a little worried how my wife was going to take all of this. but like I said I married a great girl we're doing OK.
Interesting story Stuck in the Middle37. I really enjoy reading the stories of those that have left after being so many decades in, specially those that went through the mid-70s fiasco. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much for all your comments. I remember my baptism day vividly. Not sure why my parents weren't there. As I mentioned, I was baptized in a lake. The high school where we had the circuit assembly didn't have a pool, so we were shuttled to the lake.
Toes Up: Yes, I still miss my daughter after all these years. But she is happy with her new family (she was re-married about the time of my mother's death), and her husband's family are all fanatical witnesses. Also she is about the same age as one of my cousin's children. My cousin's husband is a super-duper elder and all of his children are either elders or married to elders...even many in their congregation can't stand them. But my daughter is good friends with most of them.
Raven: Thanks for your encouragement. Seems like leaving the borg was harder on me than my sons. They were convinced once I showed them the information about the WT's involvement with the UN. My only concern was my one daughter-in-law as she has a lot of witness relatives. But she returned from a district assembly (can't remember the year) and showed me her notes that the speaker said that the organization was more important than family. She said, "I don't think so." For some reason her relatives are not shunning her, not even her father and mother who are quite active. She just doesn't discuss anything with anybody.
Desirous of Change: Even after I began investigating, I didn't stop right away. It was very slowly and I attributed it to all the time I was spending helping my parents. Although suspicious my daughter wasn't sure until one day after she and her husband returned from a circuit assembly. My father was an invalid by that time and I felt I had to stay home and take care of him rather than hiring somebody. You could read my story about that on this link:
Great Teacher: Regarding my comment that hardly anyone was coming to visit, my father and I both looked out the window one day and saw a carload of witnesses visiting the homes of his neighbors next door and across the street. But they couldn't find their way over to his house to visit my parents...probably because they couldn't count their time?
Sanchy: Clyde and I found out that we needed to find other interests. We joined our local Moose chapter and got involved in several other activities. We also try to socialize with many of our neighbors and looked up and visit with some non-witness cousins that we used to ignore. Also I continue to work part-time...I'm in sales and actually enjoy what I'm doing.
Fat Freek: Interesting story about Ed Dunlap. It makes me sick the way he was treated. We should have gotten out when you did. I was 14 years old when I was baptized and thought I had a very intelligent decision as I was securing my reward to live forever. Also I was not dedicating my life to an organization, it was to Jehovah and his son, Jesus Christ. Anyway, I need to figure out how to read your private message. So you have a 60th anniversary coming up too!
Suavojr: The hardest part of the shunning was not only my daughter, but my father turning against me after all the years of care that I gave him and my mother. I know my daughter would accept me back if I would just "return to Jehovah." I think that's a form of blackmail, don't you?
Millie210 and All or Nothing and Listener: Thanks for your posts and encouragement. I admit that sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night wondering how I could have gotten so involved. I still miss some of my old friends, but like I told Clyde, they haven't changed, it's me that has changed, and I just don't want to be around them any more.
Pete Zahut: You're right I felt the same way when I started reading Crisis of Conscience. I remembered so many things that he mentioned. Example: I read a news story in the Awake! that Mexico were now allowed witnesses to go from door to door and use the Bible. Even at the time, I asked myself why didn't we hear about this before? Why didn’t we send out letters of protest like we did when there was persecution in Malawi? Every paragraph I knew Ray was telling the absolute truth.
But I will add, I didn’t want Clyde to know I was reading the book. Not for the usual reason. I was afraid, he would start talking and get himself (and maybe me) disfellowshipped like the couple I read about in our local newspaper whose children started shunning them. But one day he found the book, and he was OK. He only said it confirmed what he already believed.
Stuck in the Middle: You’re right. We didn't have to answer any questions prior to baptism. Yes the 50's was a great time for witness teenagers. Lots of parties, no emphasis on chaperones, but we behaved ourselves...mostly. I didn't know of anyone who committed "fornication." But back then fornication only referred to having intercourse with someone to whom you weren't married, now it can mean almost any kind of touching. I was also at the 1958 International assembly, all eight days. Don't know how the older ones stood it. I went to Milwaukee in 1963, 7 or 8 days. I assume you went to prison because of the Alternate Service stance that they took back then? That still infuriates me. Glad you're doing OK now.
Hope I didn’t miss anybody
Here’s another link you can check about a loaded question my daughter asked me.
Anyway, I need to figure out how to read your private message.
Simply click on the envelope at or near the top of the page next to your avatar. The next page opens and my message header is probably the topmost one. Click on it and it should open.
Hey, Stuck In the Middle!. Isn't it amazing that there are at least 3 of us, on this very thread, that were baptized within 3 months of each other in that year 1955? Wouldn't it be great if the 3 of us could share our war stories? Then, again, this forum is a wonderful avenue to do such things.
Camden, AR, USA
ps: drop in on me and wife Judy and we'll break cornbread together along with a plate of purple hull peas.
I Think that by 1955-56 there were some baptismal questions.
This thread seems to confirm it:
Hecce; How are you?
I should have been more detailed, I was trying to be brief. I was referring to the pre qualifying questions that a person must go over before baptism. They're found in the back of the Organization book, New book now I think There were about 124 I believe. 3 elders reviewed them with you, then meet together to see if you qualified for baptism. I went over them a lot with people.
Yes, I think they always had the two at baptism they weren't a problem. Look at the information again and the referral to JW FACTS. Need more information let me know.