49th Anniversary of my PAROLE from Federal prison
Today is the 49th Anniversary
of my PAROLE from Federal prison. (1967-69)
In French, "parole" means 'word of honor'.
In effect, a prisoner promises the authorities they will be honorable.
In 1967, I violated the U.S. Military Training and Service Act.
About 25,000 Draft age Americans simply ran away to Canada.
I did NOT run. I stayed and gave my 'witness."
in the early days of Christianity, military service wasn’t a moral issue because Jews (and by default, Jewish converts to Christianity) weren’t permitted to join the imperial Roman army.
During World War I, pacifists were imprisoned in places like Fort Lewis, Alcatraz or Fort Leavenworth, or classified as mentally ill.
Not until 1940 were Conscientious Objectors who refused to be part of the military as non-combatants finally offered alternate service as firefighters in Washington State or in menial jobs in psychiatric hospitals.
I was sentenced to work in a psychiatric hospital.
My religious leaders privately counseled me to refuse.
Consequently, I was imprisoned.
IRONICALLY, in Seagoville Federal Correction Institution, I was assigned the duty of FIREMAN.
I also did on-site construction (i.e. destruction of rocks), worked in the Dental Clinic, the Chief Mechanical Services as a draughtsman along with 40 other JW's.
49 years later, I have lost touch with every single one of my fellow JW's. Probably most are dead, disfellowshipped or still faithfully waiting on Armageddon.
I've become an anti-Witness activist and wrote 2 books concerning mind-control in religious cults.
Today's Anniversary is a day of solemn reflection for me.
Amazon book titles: I Wept by the Rivers of Babylon
The Monorails of Mars by Terry Edwin Walstrom)
What a heavy price to have paid in behalf of the Cult.
Glad you're here!
49 years later - still not apology even though they have partially flip-flopped on their stance. This is one of the things that started me on the journey of getting out.
Happy anniversary. It is outrageous that you were not allowed to work in an alternative service role. Is this insane rule still in place? I seem to recall that they now accept alternative service.
Please share again how the local leaders of the cult basically blamed you for going to prison at some later date? I don’t remember the details.
Toward the end of the Vietnam war, my JW brother in law was drafted and given a 2 year sentence (1972-1974) doing community service as a boys basketball coach 2 nights a week at the local Boy's Club which he thoroughly enjoyed. (Ironically, us Witness kids weren't allowed to join the Boy's Club)
It's also more than ironic that you as a JW spent 2 years in Federal Prison and he stayed home, kept his job, got married and played basketball and was considered by his peers, to be "taking a stand for true worship".
Wasn't Jehovah's spirit directed organization supposed to be globally unified? Apparently the definition of "taking ones stand for true worship" depended upon where you lived and if your father was an Elder.
All these years later, none of it matters and no one even remembers. To current JW's, none of the good works you did in the past, count anymore. It's quite sickening to think of the years and opportunities wasted because of being a JW. I can't imagine having a stint in Federal Prison to add to the list.
Sorry this happen to you....glad you're were able to chronicle your experiences on this forum and in your other writings.
I think the alternative service issue is one of their more recent flipflops. Ray Franz wrote about it at length in one of his books and the subject was nearly reversed in his time on the governing body. He was in favor of allowing alternative service, but the old hardliners were not. Then I believe about 10 years ago they started allowing JWs to accept alternative service.
My heart goes out to you Terry for what you have had to endure. Policies like this make 'Jehovah's (so called) Organization' guilty of cruelty and inhumanity on so many levels. The MONSTERS on the Governing Body are their usual self aggrandizing bastards with their current video entitled: "A Successful Program of Alternative Civilian Service in Taiwan." Jehovah's Witnesses is a religion built on the bones and spiritual corpses of many naive and trusting souls who believed the pontifications, speculations, prophecies and rantings of a few men 'taking the lead' that claimed to speak for God and then were cast aside when expedient for those leaders.
crazyguy: Please share again how the local leaders of the cult basically blamed you for going to prison at some later date? I don’t remember the details.
In a conversation with an active JW (who saw fit to actually speak to me even though it should have been obvious I was DF'D) I was told I CHOSE to go to prison and could not blame the WT.
I asked him if a robber put a gun to his head and said, "Your money or your life"--would he turn over the money?
"Of course." He replied.
I said, "Same thing. Same coerced "choice."
He wanted to argue the point.
The point is not philosophical in the least, IMHO. Undue influence happens when somebody uses their power and position to impel you to act AGAINST your own best interests. Often, it is for some "greater good."
Without climbing into Ayn Rand territory, acting against one's own best interest is something each individual has to be clear about before any clear "choice" is really uncoerced.
Where I really went astray was in REGISTERING for the draft in the 1st place. I registered when I graduated High School in 1965. May I remind you, this was PRE-COMPUTER. Everything was analog with few exceptions.
Computers were big, dumb, glorified adding machines.
Had I NOT registered, I'd never have appeared on the Federal Government's radar unless I got a driver's license. And then, only possibly. I didn't start driving until I was 23. Three years before President Nixon abolished compelled registration for the draft.
Getting a JW to understand the coercive nature of the SHUN GUN is a tough struggle. NO matter what, the GB is never attributed responsibility for undue influence using fear of disfellowship (or death at Armageddon) as a weapon of intimidation.
Further, this JW told me I was just trying to save my own ass and didn't really love Jehovah.
That pissed me off.
"If I were trying to save myself--I would have taken Alternate Service as a civilian--you dumb ass!"
That pretty much ended the colloquy.