I have just finished reading this book. I imagined that it was a story about slavery at bethel. How wrong I was. I found it a facinating report on the mind control techniques used in the early days. We tend to think of mind control as a fairly recent thing. It expired (for those who have not read it) that all JW are the slaves, this state being 'scripturally' proven by linking the gibeonites with the mass of rank and file JW who 'became the hewers of wood and water carriers' of the 'spiritual israelites' aka Rutherford et-al. Has any one any comments on this book?. I found it totally different to the other books about JW in that it dwelt more on the mechanics than doctrine. I recommend it.
30 Years a WT Slave
Yes, I read it years ago. It was an eye opener to me that the riots were staged and the people arrested were set up so Rutherford could take the case to the Supreme Court. Rutherford manipulated the secular governments and media like he manipulated his unpaid workers. The Catholic people played right into Rutherford's hands. When Rutherford set up the Catholic demonstrations, the Catholic people showed up on cue to beat the crap out of the Witness demonstrators. Then Rutherford would print that the Witnesses were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus. What a crock!
Rutherford made it very difficult for a sane person to want to be a Witness.
I find it laughable now that the big issues with the Witness people are street vendors and hotdogs. Very funny!
I read this book shortly after I became a JW. It was shared with me by my Bible Study. Unlike today, the Society never made any fuss about JWs who read this book.
Schell told a story that was somewhat true of his era as a JW. Many things have evolved in the organization since then, so that the book seems very out of date. All-in-all, I was not as impressed with his book as with works by other authors. I doubt some of the conspiracy theory comments Schnell made about the Society testing new methods on Germans first before attempting to introduce such to American JWs.
Also, by his own admission, he was not as strong a JW as one might think at first. Some of his material did not connect with me, especially when he got into the Trinity doctrine at the end. It just did not fit.
I read the book twice again 25 years later, when I was leaving the JWs. I made more of a connection with Schnell the second time around. I think his book is sincere, and is a good record of JW life under Rutherford-ism. But, I do not find it noteworthy for today's ex-JWs. I think Franz's books and some others are far superior in historical content, the mechanics as you mention, as well as doctrine.
Did ya know Knorr and Suiter were Rutherford's bodyguards? Ever wonder why a humble little prophet would need a row of cane armed bodyguards at an assembly? :-) Maybe the Witness group was more of a gang than a religion?
I recently read this book
I thought it was an exceelent depiction of the early years and how Rutherford's dream of a huge publishing company has come to be. He details very well how Rutherford put down the spiritual matters to sell books and magazines. Considering the book was written in the 50's I think he shows quite clearly the foundation of what the Org has become today - exactly what Rutherford wanted - a business of selling books with little regard for the feelings or spirituality of the followers
I have never read this book - is the concensus it is worth a read - will I learn anything new already have copies of C o C and ISoCF GTR and Sign of Last Days When - -is this a worthwhile addition to my library?
I liked the book a lot. Showing how rutherford was was believable.
Also, by his own admission, he was not as strong a JW as one might think at first.
Possible, but back then the org was a lot looser than it is today. Seems to me that it was more a personality cult, than a theological system.
Did ya know Knorr and Suiter were Rutherford's bodyguards?
I know my dad read it around ' 67 shortly thereafter left the org, mom said that was the reason why. She still active.
I think if you are interested in the psychology behind the JWs and how it went from a collection of spiritually minded people to a book publishing company it is well worth the read.
As a counselor I found it fascinating to see how Rutherford manipulated the media, the courts and the followers. It provides an insight into Rutherford and his dream of how the society we see today.
I disagree on the opinion that Schnell "was not as strong a JW as one might think at first". My feeling was that he was a real lover of God and Christ and that his conscience bothered him greatly at the direction that Rutherford took the organization. Initially, and for many years I had the feeling he tried to follow the orders and believed for a long time. But it sounded as if he had some lingering doubts that never left. Mind you that might be his perception at the time he wrote the book and his way of justifying his decision to write the book.
I think the book provides a great insight into the lack of love - real love - that the organization now has for the JWs and shows how dysfunctional the beginnings of the organization are
If you build your house on sand....
Thanks for your comments. I have read a number of the books, CoC ISOCF, Apoc Delay'd, Signof times, 4 presidents of JW, GTReconsidered and now 30YAWTS. They all have something to bring to the table and help one to understand better the system. I thought that the 30YAWTS was diffrent in that it did not really dwell on the doctrines, if at all, but rather on the mechanics of the machine - a relentless machine that consumed human beings without regard. I read a book on psychopathic organisations, I forget the title now, but the WTS fits the bill totally. Between 1921-1931 three quarters of the original bible students left, just a Rutherford planned. Without them the newbies would not be influenced. There is a constant churn of new members so the WTS is not really bothered by the scandles and the like because all the dis-affected 'trouble-makers' will leave and the new reruits will take their places, ignorant of the facts or what has transpired and being new and raw recruits, eager to knuckle down amd say yes brother, no brother three bags full brother.