So, at age 12, my folks move from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon (they'd moved from New York to LA when I was 1).
Now, for most pubescent JW males, such a move would have engendered considerable angst about the meeting of new "worldly" people, how I'd "fit in" with the new congregation. But, for me? Naw. I was already so deeply involved with my devotion to whatever the WTS had to say...man, I literally ran out to the mailbox and grabbed the latest Watchtower, to immediately glean every last and latest kernel of truth from the brown-paper-wrapped issue of the magazines. And that I was an oddball in the new KH? Didn't matter to me one bit.
And then comes along the Life Everlasting book (as I recall), with its little chart on the back pages, culminating with the chronology about 1975.
If I was a fanatic up to that point (which I obviously was), then talk about adding gasoline to a fire.
I soaked up the eschatology like a sponge. Everything I'd been led to believe about the impending end of the world was only reinforced by that clear and simple Biblical accounting, and, in accord with my mathematical inclinations, and every insinuation that the WTS made along the way, left me with absolutely no doubt that Armageddon was coming in 1975. For example, I clearly remember a conversation with one of the very few "worldly" friends I had in High School (he went on to be a math professor at an Eastern college)-- He asked me: "Craig, what will you do when 1975 comes and goes, and the world does not come to an end?" I answered: "Well then, Bill, I'll have to seriously re-examine my religion." A prediction that came true, in more ways than I could ever have imagined...but not yet.
In the meantime, of course, I pursued my purpose in life with all the more vigor. I was giving public talks (yes, the Sunday talks) when I was 17, and a book study conductor as well. I was a gem of the congregation, with great prospects ahead, indeed.
And then, after a serious cross-examination with the circuit overseer, and after then submitting my application for Bethel, and waiting with great anticipation for several months, I finally received a letter from Bethel saying that I'd been accepted. When I got that letter, I laid on the floor, crying, and thanked Jehovah God for so blessing me as to be accepted to the highest honor any person could have--to serve Him at the headquarters of His earthly organization.
I arrived there on March 9, along with about 40 other new boys and girls (as we were called).
The next phase of my life was about to begin--little did I know what it held in store for me.