Heckling and Smoking During Public Talks .
Do they still have public talks before the Watchtower study?
It was always such a hoot, the public talk. The "Chairman" would introduce the speaker to the members of the public. There were however, very rarely any "members of the public" in the Kingdom Hall. The speaker would then prattle for an hour and quote Scripture that everyone present would have read a zillion times. Nonetheless, the faithful would still look up every Scripture that the speaker referred to, even Matthew 24. 14.
At the end of the talk, the Chairman would return to the platform and urge all the "members of the public" to stay for the Watchtower study, failing which they could have a free booklet or a Bible study.
Some of us regarded the public talk as the least important meeting of the week. Consequently we would sometimes turn up just for the WT study and have to endure the gimlet eye of the disapproving PO.
Personally, I always found the public talk to be the least painful of any of the KH meetings. It required little effort, there was no song back then and no prayer. In particular you didn't have to answer anything. All you had to do was to turn up the occasional Scripture whilst in a semi-trance.
In 1965, the WTBTS decided to liven up the public talks by staging mock heckling during the course of the talk. So it was that we would occasionally witness the sight of a long standing brother suddenly up on his feet demanding to know of the speaker what proof there was of the existence of God. The speaker would smoothly answer the "interruption" of the now red-faced brother whilst the rest of the congregation who were not "in the know" chuckled merrily at the fact that Brother Goodfella had totally lost his marbles.
One instance stands out in my mind of the couple who really were "members of the public" and had just walked in out of curiosity. The wife of the couple lit cigarette after cigarette during the talk. The attendants did not interfere at all and after the talk was over the couple just left and were never heard of again.
Yup, I guess I must have attended close on 800 public talks and those instances were the only 2 I can remember.
A number of years ago, one of my co-workers attended a Sunday meeting with my family (after I told him that I could not date outside my faith; I guess he figured he'd get dunked so we could go out together.). At the next meeting I attended, two elders pulled me into the back room to take me to task because my co-worker had spent half the meeting in the men's room, smoking. I was horrified at the time, but later on it seemed pretty funny, picturing this big, pierced, tattooed Scot lurking in a smoke-filled men's room all during the WT study! I think he might have scared a few of the brothers.
In our congregation there was this alcoholic sister who carried a flask in her purse. During the talk she would visit the bathroom and take a few swigs of her favorite alcoholic beverage and then return to her seat smelling like a distillery.
I wonder if the real purpose of the heckler was to wake up people in the audience who were sleeping. I used to fall asleep during all the meetings, but one thing I noticed was that the guys giving the talks would suddenly pick up the pace or increase their volume about 2/3 into the talk. It would always wake me up, and it was very annoying.
we had a CO who in my opinion hated kids.. if a child cried he'd stop talking till the parent (embarrassed to death) got up and took the child out.. silence woke everyone up lol.. i hated this guy... one of my kids cried and i sat there soothing it , letting the ass stand up there glaring at me till finally an elder asked me to take it out.. and i said, i cant leave my other children, perhaps if you'd relieve my husband of his "privelges" to assist me in caring for OUR kids,i'd not have so much problem.. and i said that loudly in the silence....
didnt do any good..i just got yelled at by the husband for trying to keep him from advancing.. like i cared.. i had 3 little kids and was worn out. and tired of boring meetings and asshole preacher men