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snowbirdRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!


I agreed because this thread reminds me so much of good ol' boys standing around their pickups, chewing their quids, and reminiscing about bygone days when the Negro and women knew their places,

The policies and mentality of the WTS are not that far removed from the Old South Plantation system, e.g., an elite few, self-serving overseers, minimally trained workers, obsequious spies, and total information control.  Did I leave out anything?

Sylvia

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1914BSRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!

It was a sickening experience, and the fact that many young guys who were part of it were pretty much trapped into it, and then began to rebel against the brainwash, sometimes by jokes or whatever, is a very liberating thing.

It was a sickening experience, and the fact that many young guys who were part of it were pretty much trapped into it, and then began to rebel against the brainwash, sometimes by jests or whatever, is a very liberating thing.

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james_woodsRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!

1914bs:  jests.  Or whatever. LOL.

Wow - I am kind of hurt that a couple of the ladies here kind of seem to be attacking these ex-bethelites who were good enough to make up this great thread and remind everybody of the rotten corpses behind the whitewashed tombs.

This has nothing really to do with male chauvenism per-se; if it existed at bethel, and it did, - that was the doing of just a handful of the elite, like Knorr or Freddy or Schroeder or such.

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Seeker4Re: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!
skally, I won't patronize you.

I'll just tell you how I feel, like you just did.

Humor can often be a 1000 times MORE effective than hatred and anger in destroying that which needs to be destroyed. Showing how foolish something is can be devastating. There's a reason that The Emperor's New Clothes is an ancient fable. There is a great truth to it.

And I'll also say that Snowbird comparing the posters on here to racists and misogynists is way out of line.

You two should probably have followed your first instincts and not read the thread, considering how it seemed to hit such an angry, raw nerve. I'm not sure what's going on here, but a bunch of old friends sharing stories from their lives is not exactly a racist, woman hating plot.

S4
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sfRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!

I did not read the entire thread.  That should have been obvious by the level of my anger.  I read 13/14 and 15. 

And I'm sure a few lurkers are glad I did!

Oh, and you are very much patronizing me:

Humor can often be a 1000 times MORE effective than hatred and anger in destroying that which needs to be destroyed

I stand by my statements seeler4. You are free to do so with you own as well.

Good day.

sKally

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james_woodsRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!

Well, am I glad that we got that over with.  I hope.

Back on topic, for a great story about a volunteer visitor to Bethel in the old days, you have to read Seven006 and his account of "Freddy Brown Shoes". 

A truly excellent view of life on the inside, from someone who was seeing it from the perspective of a true professional in the graphic arts business.

I will see if I can dredge up a reference link...

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GamalielRe: Re: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate book
I believe that I know pretty much how you feel, and I believe that Tom and Randy and Warren and others also know how you feel. I think a lot of us former Bethelites still come across as a little too enamored with their own life as a Bethelite. We are "unrepentant". It still sounds like we are proud of our relationships and friendships with some of the same people that we can also see as "evil" from another perspective. So how can we still "revel" in the memories?

I'm responding mostly to these comments by sf:

"As you men all recall your glory days, has it dawned on you the horror and confusion so many of us as innocent and helpless children, were going through and/ or ABOUT TO GO THROUGH, as a direct result of twisted doctrine and lethal policies, due to our parents FOLLOWING YOU?"

For me, these were my days of growing up. I grew up in Bethel, a dysfunctional family. I was naive. I was too easily impressed by those I believed were spiritual leaders. But I survived. And I look back on "how I survived" without remorse. I lost nearly all my friends. I was heartbroken about so many people I loved that I couldn't speak to anymore. During that time I had a JW literally spit at my feet even though we were formerly close in our congregation.

My own parents, of course, stopped speaking to me for about a decade. I mean completely stopped! Years after leaving the JWs, I was nearly killed once when a car ran up on a sidewalk to throw me across the intersection. A year or so after recovery, I attended a funeral for a non-JW uncle, and when one of my parents started to apologize for their silence during that terrible episode, the other parent shot a scolding look that kept BOTH parents out of my life again for another few years.

I also know that, like many others, I lost several years of normal social growth and educational opportunities. I quit High School when I was still 15, to begin pioneering for a few years in advance of 1975. I missed education terribly and didn't start up again until a year after I left Bethel - 8 years of my life that I'd never get back. Raised as a JW I could probably count another 20 years mostly lost in service to an organization. I also helped bring several families into the organization that I can never help back out. I tried, by calling a couple of them and it just seemed to make it worse. Someday, I might hear that one of their children died from the organization's myopic view of medical treatment. Or, almost as bad, they live their life wasted in service to the "machine" that built itself up around a magazine (and vice versa).

But Bethel is a lot like serving tours in the army. Impressionable kids who think too little of their sergeants (and too much of the generals and presidents who got them there) STILL have many great memories of their time with the friends they made. Kids may end up going into the service of some imperialist and/or fear-mongering national organization, or it might always be a "just war", but the kids don't know the difference. And more importantly, does even the murder and mayhem of war erase all the good memories of what we did and how we coped with our own naive incompetence? Or how some were fortunate enough to be put in circumstances that helped us find our way out? Does it change the people we knew as friends?

I am still thrilled every time I hear of another Bethelite who makes it out of that place with few visible scars. I know what they and all other former JWs lost. Some Bethelites may appear to have lost very little from the time they spent there. But a lot of them more obviously lost much more because Bethel represented a path of a "life investment" that precluded other careers. Many cases were much worse than mine, but I know how close I came to disaster. I didn't use my spare time at Bethel to prepare for a life outside, because I thought it was my life's career. I ended up attending all the meetings of TWO congregations, and I used my spare nights to finish the Aid Book and a hundred other Wt publications. When I thought that this still left me enough free time, I auxiliary pioneered a time or two. Fortunately, this stupidity burned me out soon enough. It made me look elsewhere for spirituality.

That said, I agree with the danger of seeing these days as "glory days", when we were in the heady height of our youth. It's possible to forget that it was all "loss". I don't actually forget that it was loss, but it's probably not easy to convince others. Still, I don't fret over it. What's done is done. I'm sorry for supporting it, but I didn't know any better and I'm not beating myself up for it. I choose to remember the good times along with the bad, accentuating the good times.

I'm not saying we don't filter our own memories, consciously or otherwise. But I didn't become a different person after leaving. When I was in Bethel, this caged bird "sang" in there, too. Maya Angelou might have said it was a coping mechanism that would have caused difficulties for others to interpret. ("I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings." 1969.) But I think, for me, it's a lot simpler. I'm like the "Bird Man of Alcatraz" remembering BOTH the birds and the cage, but I choose to LIVE with the better memories.

Betty Botter is my true literary hero. I like to repeat the following to myself (5 times, fast):

Betty Botter bought a bit of bitter butter. But, said Betty Botter, if I use this bitter butter, it will make my batter bitter. So Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter and it made her batter better.
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Seeker4Re: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!

Me too, James!

I know Dave's story. The whole story is linked here often, and is a great one. Interesting how his visit to Bethel was such an influence on his leaving the Witnesses. Sort of like AwakenedatGilead finding that Gilead is what proved to him that the Witnesses didn't have the truth.

S4

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GamalielRe: Re: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate book
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TheListenerRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!

This is one of the single best threads I have ever read and participated in.

I will suffer no guilt for reminiscing with others about our shared history.

I have read each page of the thread and have seen no posters make light of how much importance brothers and sisters out in the congregations placed upon Bethel and how that did affect the lives of millions.  It is certainly disgusting that the WTS directs individuals lives to such a high degree.  But, that doesn't preclude those who have escaped the machine from reliving shared experiences.

The simple fact is these things happened, and by retelling these true tales the mystique that Bethel is a spiritually magical place can be exposed as a falsehood.

For any of us who grew up with Witness parents who thought beating the crap out of us was scripturally acceptable or who cajoled us into joining the school at very young ages and guilted us into being different at school over the holiday issues and used our family vacations to visit bethel and work where the need was greater and used any available extra money to grease the palms of bethel heavies this thread can be as liberating as it can be enlightening and frightening.

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biff mcflyRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!
I guess I also am mystifed by the anger by our two posters. Even the Treblinka survivors enjoy talking about the time spent together in the camps. It's cathartic, that's all. We escaped from the evil empire and now we enjoy discussing our shared experiences and contacts amongst ourselves. I think the anger is misplaced and misdirected personally.
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sfRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!

Look, it's my interjection.  Why give it any thought at all?  It isn't your thought or feelings to begin with.  So move on brothers.

sKally

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daniel-pRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!
SF and Snowbird, wtf?! Your anger is mis-directed. We were all in at some point, and also believed the WT hook, line, and sinker. Just because the Society encouraged the publishers to look up to Bethelites doesn't mean ex-bethelites share some sort of blame for that. It's not like the ex-Bethelites here were controlling the organization--far from it. Some were overseers of printing press facilities, others were dishwashers. If you think anyone here is in some way responsible for the trauma you went through or are going through you need to take a big step back and think a minute.
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yesididRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!

Don't worry about skally.

She cant help being judgmental any more than the GB can.

I sometimes wonder if they get lessons from her. 

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sfRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!

I take back the sarcastic "brothers" comment.  I'm sorry.  THAT was not fair.

I believe that I know pretty much how you feel, and I believe that Tom and Randy and Warren and others also know how you feel.

I was pretty sure of this,  It is why I could be as honest as I was/ am.  I'm fairly fond of Randy.  So I am sure it may puzzle many what the hell I am going on about.   I cannot spend time trying to explain my rage to those "many".  So I DO appreciate that you MAY know how I feel.  {You actually could not possibly}

 I don't hate him or you "brothers".  I seriously wanted though, for you to stop and flip that coin over and see it as we saw it.  I didn't appreciate, for a second, ever being involved in this organization.  I never had the choice.  Until I was 18.  I can't help how what you all are reminecing over is something that makes these feelings surface, again.

Yet I did need to state it.  And you can bet a few lurkers stated it it as well.

So please allow me this.  Or not.  The pain of scars will always be raw when touched.  If you have a scar on your body somewhere, hit it, right now....doesn't feel too good , does it?  The WTBTS has caused absolute pain and misery in my family nucleus since the 60's. 

Somehow, as children are hurting right now in this org, I don't see how there could be any happy times TO remember.  But that's just me.

 sKally

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daniel-pRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!
You're right, not only could I not possibly know how you feel, it's also pretty impossible to know what the hell you're talking about. You're angry at the organization. OK. Why are you angry at former Bethelite ex-JWs talking about their experiences? Don't you know ALL OF US went through painful times and have had to get through this? You ask us to "allow you this"--well, allow others to process their past.
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Tom CabeenRe: Re: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!
1914,

OK, I stand corrected. I;ll give you the guy with serious flatulence, but there ain't no way God is going to pelt the world with the ends of giant Q-tips! :-)

Seriously funny, i'll admit, but don't quit your day job!

Tom
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Tom CabeenRe: Re: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!
Hi sKally,

I probably don't know you. But you may not know me and what many of us went through. You may have gone through some much worse things than I did. If that is the case, I am sorry you did. But the fact that we had some good times while at Bethel was not because we did not care about badness or because we did evil things.

I was not responsible for the teachings of the WTS. Even though I ran their pressroom and participated in perpetuating their teachings in many other ways, my conscience is perfectly clear. I was taught these things by my parents, and I accepted them as true. When I came to see that they were not, I left them behind. I never taught anyone something I did not believe to be true. (I know plenty of people who did, though.)

It was not fun for me to grow up as a JW in the 1950s. I got beat up and made fun of many times because I was not allowed to salute the flag, stand for the national anthem, etc. etc. Even teachers made fun of me. That is one reason I loved Bethel. For the first time in my life, I was not an outcast. I met some wonderful men and women there. I loved them then and I still do, even the ones who are still JWs. I assume that they are not evil people, just misled like I was.

After over a decade of service at Bethel, my wife and I decided to leave Bethel. We doubted the WT chronology. We wanted a family and we just didn't trust WT chronology enough to stay "until the end". We had absolutely no money, nor any of the things we needed to set up housekeeping. I had to borrow $300 from my father in law just to move from New York. When we left Bethel, we had no friends who were not JWs. Yet after we left, we received almost no help, financial or otherwise, from either family or our JW friends. We were later both disfellowshipped for no good reason at all and as a result have been shunned by those same friends and families for nearly three decades. I had to start from scratch at age 30, get a real job and learn to support my wife and kids, without a college education. We had some tough times. But we had good times as well, and we made good friends.

I have changed my attitude about many things since I was at Bethel, and more still since I left the WT organization. But when I left, I decided I would not allow that little group of people to continue to control me by molding my life around what I was then due to their influence. I learned from the experience and moved on. I am not an "ex Witness" any more than I am an "ex high school student". I do not spend time thinking of what my life would have been like, if, for example, I had accepted the full scholarship I received and gone to college instead of Bethel. I cannot change the past.

But I am not ashamed of the time I spent at the WT headquarters, nor for having had a good time with good people. I have thoroughly enjoyed this walk down memory lane. The good times I had were not good because of the badness of WT doctrine, they were good in spite of it.

May God bless you,

Tom
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compound complexRe: Re: Re: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!

Thanks, Tom and sKally, for your much-appreciated thoughts. Your closing words, Tom, about being good people IN SPITE OF the organization reminded me of Bob Lang, whom I knew in passing.      

CoCo                                       

 

                                                             A "Man" in Spite of the Organization

                                                  http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/6/142719/1.ashx
      

                                              What does it mean to "keep Jehovah's organization clean"? 

  

 [...] It means that those men will continue to apply with all due vigor whatever policy may be current and they will disfellowship anyone who does not adhere to that policy ... The main concern is to be obedient to Society policy. The feeling is created that 'if the organization tells us to do it we will not be held responsible by God if it is a mistake.' That same mentality has prevailed among men of many lands and in many periods who have excused themselves of guilt in serious injustice by the claim that "they were simply following orders from their superiors." Even the world's courts have rejected such an excuse. How much more should Christians reject it!

   The binding, restricting effect that this concern for organizational submission can have on person's minds was illustrated to me by an experience related by Robert Lang, then the assistant Bethel Home Overseer at the international headquarters. He had been transferred to a different congregation in the New York city area and he said that at one of the first meetings he attended there the elders approached him for advice. It seems that a young woman, the sister of one of the ministerial servants, was disfellowshiped and was still attending meetings. She had a small baby and brought it with her to the Kingdom Hall in a baby carriage. The Hall itself was on the second story of a building and the stairs were long and steep. The young woman would back up the stairs, pulling the baby carriage - with the baby in it - up the stairs as she went. The question the elders asked was whether it would be proper for the disfellowshiped woman's brother to assist her in getting up the stairs! Some thought so, others said, no, being disfellowshiped she should be considered as if she were not even there. To his credit, Lang said, "I don't know what the rule is on this, I only know one thing: if I'm around when she starts pulling that carriage up the stairs, I'm going to help her! When I think of what could happen if she were to stumble and lose control of the carriage ....'

   The most frightening thing about this is that adult men did not feel they could be guided by their own hearts and minds in a circumstance so obviously calling for human kindness. The pressing concern for them was - not the danger to the infant's life - but WHAT THE ORGANIZATION POLICY ALLOWED in such cases [emphasis: RF]. They gave evidence of having become emasculated men in matters of ethics, of right and wrong.

   Franz concludes by stating that Robert Lang was for him "the kind of person he was, not because of the organization, but in spite of the organization."

IN SEARCH OF CHRISTIAN FREEDOM, Ray Franz, pp. 404, 405.

 

 


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wschroederRe: Warren Schroeder from Bethel on Freddy, Kline and the apostate books!

I see a couple recent posters who are less than pleased with the discourse/tenor of this thread. I don't understand how you expect to change the context and re-paint my life at Bethel.... that's something that JW's try to do. I thought it was my story.

I often laugh at the movie scenes when the boss says "you're fired", and the employee retorts, "you can't fire me because I quit". It's about the control, whether of the boss, or the employee.

Some exJW's seem to have issues because they lost control.... and they can't seem to find it back after many years. Seems like a lot of wasted time considering the options.

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