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James' Story

I'm a 38-yr. old black man, I was raised as a jw from about 5- gave up college scholarships to pioneer for months and I went to bethel served there about 7yrs

I truly enjoyed bethel

Got to learn so much about the org

I hooked up with a Former DO while I was there who was my mentor- he works the Service desk now in Patterson

He trained me how to be an Excellent Society Man as he stated:

"Love the bros. and learn Organization Procedures like the back of your hand"

He would say all the time: "You may not be liked by some but you will ALWAYS BE RIGHT":

Because you can back up everything you say from one of the Society's publications he would say

When I left bethel as a MS I had a collections of Shepherding Material that I had put together and he had given me that was about as good if not as good as the one the avg. CO has in the field

It consisted of 2 large 3 ring binders with copies of all kinds of KM and wt articles dealing with youth, marriage, jobs - almost everything you could encounter as an elder --I had it at my FINGER Tips-

IT WAS ALL indexed so with the flip of a few pages I could REF at anytime --- this was before the Society sent out a "how to Index" sheet

I had it all in this binder: "WHAT THE SOCIETY'S VIEW ON A MATTER WAS"

We used to call that being a "Good Society Man"

I settled in a Congo with 4 former bethelites

I made 5th elder

We ran the Congo like Bethel

Everyone loved it --things were done on time all the time just like we learned at bethel

It was called by some in the circuit as LITTLE BETHEL

We used to have friends from nearby Congo who would come just to see our Service meeting and School

No person was allowed on the platform unless they had rehearsed their part Sunday before an elder- just like they do it at the assemblies

I WAS APPOINTED AT 27 AS AN ELDER-----was on the District program at 29 and started working in the Chairman's office at 30

I was one of the youngest guys up in the "SKYBOX"

While all the friends sat on hard seats in Richmond and the Capital Center in MD for the convention my wife and I was up in the Skyboxes with AC chilling out

While other friends could not get a cool drink of water at their seats

We had a MS who would run down to the food stands and bring us up our food and drink, which we enjoyed thruout the ENTIRE program

My wife never stood in line to use the bathroom we had one in our skybox

As they say at bethel

I was on the FAST TRACK.

FOR MANY on the net I see their exp. and they felt they were cut short or dealt with unkindly by the elders AND FRIENDS, yes they felt that they got DOGGED, yep THE SHAFT

Or they were just the outcast of their Congo

So when they come to the net they are mad as Hell

That was not the case for me-- I was loved and well respected

Almost ALL of our CO's were former bethelites and they always made sure that any former bethelite got parts on the Circuit and District program

Not much was the result of "God gave him that assignment"

MORE LIKE ---"Who you know"

The CO's just like giving parts to all the former bethelites--- as one CO told us

"I know you guys are trained"

So for me I was happy as a lark, fine wife, ok job, well respected elder who was on the fast track

So why in the world would I as one of my bethel buddies put it:

"Bite the hand that feeds you"

Well it all started back in 95 when The Boys in Writing Dropped the Generation doctrine

One night 3 couples all former bethelites we were sitting around talking about it and it's implications on what we teach

You see bethelites have always to some degree questioned the org more than most Local bro do

Then The Writing Dept dropped the Separating of the sheep and Goats

Then They dropped the "Alternative Service" rule-- WHICH USED TO STATE that you could not take any substitute job in place of going to the army - if so you would be DFed)

(I had a very good friend an older Elder when I was in New York who went to Prison for 3yrs instead of working at the hospital due to that rule.

He has had some problems since being in prison, now I have NEVER ASKED HIM AND I NEVER WILL but from everyone I know who should be in the know -

Tells me that this bro was raped repeatedly while he was in prison as a 19 yrs old kid and I will never ask him directly about it.

I stated that to say this:

When they changed the alternative service rule he called me up and he broke down and cried

The Society has tried to present this as "their CONSCIENCES WERE JUST VERY STRICT IS WHY THEY WENT TO PRISON"


As he put it ---during the Vietnam War all the young bro were getting draft letters

Him and his mama went to the elders to get advice and they shared with him the Current position in the wt---- where basically it stated if you are Loyal you will not take the alternative job--GO TO JAIL OR BE DFED---POINT BLANK--

So as he put it ---IT was not a conscience matter ---he thought he was being loyal to god

To this very day he has slowed down and step aside as an elder

He still wants to hold on to WT world, but he is a crushed man

So after the last elders school I told my wife I can't take it anymore


And judicial matters is mainly what we talked about.

IF YOU COULD SEE the elders flock book and you look up in the back of the index the word "LOVE"


Just think the most important book elder carries and it does not have one subject line on LOVE

Then I bought me a computer and went up on the Net

I felt that if I have the truth it will stand the test

Well after trying to defend the Boys in the Writing Dept

I realized how little I knew about wt history.

So I stop going into chartrooms and forum --I just found sites where there was no commentary just wt history- and READ AND READ AND READ

I ordered Rays' book and I read both in 10days

Then I cried for 10 more DAYS--smile

ALL THE hopes and dreams I had as a result of the wt begin to crumble right before my eyes

You see I personally know almost every bro Ray mentions in his 2 books

I used to laugh and talk with all of those guys at bethel

I looked up to them as being used by Jah in a mighty way due to the heavy responsibility they had at bethel

We used to call them "Bethel Heavies and we called ourselves BetheLITES"


cleaning- painting dept , etc = bethelite

Writing dept, Convention office, Executive office = bethel "heavy"

WELL at that point I knew what I had to do - being an elder at the time I knew how the Program works for apostates/anyone questioning the boys in writing.

So I started giving up my assignments one at a time

HVC, Circuit acct overseer, SEC in my hall, STOP Giving public talks outside of my hall and finally I stepped down as an elder

I told the body of elders I was so busy with work that I could not do a good job as an elder and it's not fair to my bookstudy , Congo etc. for me to continue to serve at this time

The night I turned in my Flock book was the last time I stepped in a Hall-

And we used to get a lot of phone calls from jw we knew

In fact folks all over the country esp former bethelites called when they heard I stepped aside

Then just recently we built a home in another state and moved

A completely new area and we love it

My wife and I are now back in college and we run an IT biz

So we are busy and we are making all new friends and it's hard at times my father-in-law has decided to leave as well as my mom is on her way out

My mother in-law refuses to even talk about it, but is starting to warm up a little----------my dad was never a jw

My mom told me that 10 yrs ago she knew something was wrong and she was afraid to say anything to me because I was an elder: a "SOCIETY MAN"

She said I knew you would tell my elders and they would df me

So she never said anything to me or my wife about her views on the org all those yrs

DAMN I could have gotten out sooner


So I have a very rounded view of the Org and how it operates that the Avg. jw will never see

And how sad

- At this point for us we have decided to take a break from the bible and religion after over 60yrs of wt world arguing with folks over whether Jesus died on a "Telephone Pole or Light Pole"

We feel we need a break

I didn't mean to ramble on and on

But I felt that sometimes when you put a life exp behind a handle it makes all the difference in the world

For me I had the support of my wife

Due to wt dogma we have no kids

Along with all the former bethelites in my old Congo

3 of them are shooting for the traveling work since they are out of bethel




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