Tuesday, October 22, 2013

'Journey to God's House' by Brock Talon

Journey to God's House: An inside story of life at the World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses in the 1980s

Book Description:

A naive young man named Brock Talon journeys to the World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses in New York City, seeking a spiritual paradise. But things are not at all what he expects.

Once there, he encounters a creature called The Hanger Man, a blubbery dude named Big Tex and a cute girl with epic breasts. He also chances upon the music icon Michael Jackson, an oddball named Mr. Coffee and various other denizens of that unique place called Bethel.

Join Brock as he rubs shoulders with the powerful leaders of the faith, explores the mysteries of Armageddon, investigates the secrets of paradise and wrestles with the conundrum of sex, romance, drinking and sin.

This nostalgic tell-all from the 1980s is an adventure that will keep you laughing and crying, as well as inspire you to reflect upon your own personal journey to God's House.

Book Reviews:
Brock Talon's book is one of a kind, and the most enjoyable and entertaining book I've ever read about being a Jehovah's Witness. - John A. Hoyle (WatchTowerWatch.com and AAWA.com)

Anyone that has ever been a JW or knows one should read this. Very funny and brutally honest account of what it's like at Beth-hell... - Eric Bottorff (YouTube: JWStruggle's Channel)

Read an excerpt:

Journey to God's House 

An inside story of life at the World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses in the 1980s

By Brock Talon

This book is a memoir. It contains the author's present recollections of his experiences since childhood that have been described to the best of his ability, without any purposeful intent of altering factual occurrences. Certain names and identifying characteristics of people represented may have been changed. Certain incidents may have been compressed or reordered. Certain conversations may have been paraphrased.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.

Brock Talon Enterprises

Copyright © 2013 Brock Talon

Thank you for purchasing this book. Dedications

This book is dedicated to all Jehovah's Witnesses, past or present, who have borne experiences similar to mine. It is my hope that in reading the story of my journey you will take solace in knowing that you are not alone in yours.


This book is also dedicated to my wife, who listened intently to all the original stories of my journey, gave me feedback on them, and encouraged me to complete this work.



The stories you are about to read are true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Well, sometimes the guilty too.

Brock Talon is not my real name. As an ex-Jehovah's Witness, I did not want to use my actual name because writing this memoir of my own journey could actually cause me trouble.

Yeah, it's like that.

You see, Jehovah's Witnesses do not appreciate people telling inside information to outsiders about what it is really like to be a many decades long member, and sometimes they can be quite vindictive about it. This is especially true if you have been a part of their elite class, and lived and worked at the center of their religious world in the Brooklyn, New York headquarters like I did. It is this headquarters that we called Bethel, meaning "House of God", that is also the center of my journey depicted in these writings.

By not using my real name I can also be frank about my own shortcomings and embarrassments. I can tell the tales that I would not have otherwise been brave enough to relate.

I do not bear animosity for the people depicted in these pages, but neither will I give them a pass on the distressing things I experienced at their hands. This is simply about me telling my own story as I remember it, unfiltered, pulling no punches. Still, these stories are not all negative accounts either. That is because I want to tell about the good and the bad I experienced living as a young person in that extraordinary place called Bethel.

Since this narrative is set in the early 1980s, it lends to a unique perspective on things, especially regarding how the culture of that day intertwined with and affected the life of the average young Jehovah's Witness. It also affords me the opportunity to look back many decades with 20/20 hindsight as to how well the moral values and prophetic utterances of the Jehovah's Witness faith fared over the years.

These eye-opening accounts are written for everyone. They will be entertaining and informative even if you have never been a Jehovah's Witness, or if you know very little about these unique people. So if you are not all that well informed about Jehovah's Witnesses, then these chronicles will help give you insight on what makes them tick.

These stories are also for current Jehovah's Witnesses, and even ones who no longer practice the faith, as well as anyone who may think they know all there is to know about this religion. If this is you, trust me, you probably don't know everything. After all, how many of you actually lived in the headquarters at Bethel, or know someone who left that "Holy House of God" and is willing to tell you what it was really like to have lived there, without whitewashing it?

My guess, however, is that those souls who have lived at Bethel like me, are the ones who will appreciate these accounts the most. For those fellow soldiers, I think they will laugh and cry along with me as we all reminisce about our "journey to God's House". Let's get this out of the way: you simply don't matter I was a young man flying in a jet plane on my way to work and live at the World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York, back in the early 1980s. I was thinking about Dig Dug, the newest video game that just came out. I had been trying to get a high score on it at the arcade near my home, but I never got the chance to play it very much. Little did I know, I would never play it again in that particular arcade because by the time I returned home, it would be closed, and Dig Dug wouldn't be the hot new game to play anymore. I'd be jobless and broke anyway, so it wouldn't matter much since I'd have no quarters to feed the machine. Such is the way many Jehovah's Witnesses return from Bethel: unemployed, penniless, alone, disoriented, and trying to figure out what to do next after their journey to God's House was apparently over.

Yes, I was a Jehovah's Witness. We were also known as "Witnesses" or "JWs". We Witnesses named our headquarters Bethel, which translates in Hebrew to "House of God". Being asked to work there was the ultimate privilege a young Witness could aspire to. There simply was no higher calling for anybody raised in the Jehovah's Witness faith. Every religion has a special holy place which is revered and where its believers plan to make the occasional pilgrimage: Islam has its Mecca, Judaism its Wailing Wall, Catholicism its Vatican, and hedonists the Playboy Mansion.

We Witnesses had Bethel.

Sure, we could be missionaries or we could work as special "servants" sent out to lead other JWs. However, Bethel service was the most prestigious "privilege" of them all. To work at Bethel was the Holy Grail of JW assignments, better than all those other things. There were various satellite Bethel locations in different
countries, but the crown jewel location was in Brooklyn, New York, where the ultimate leaders of the Jehovah's Witness organization lived. We called our leaders "The Governing Body", or sometimes simply "GB". These dozen or so older men ran the religion and every person in it from Bethel with an iron fist, as they claimed a direct authority from Jehovah God Himself. Millions of Jehovah's Witnesses followed every word written and spoken by these men. Bethel was the place where all of the literature was written and most of the literature was
printed that supported the Jehovah's Witness faith. It's where all of the doctrine and dogma was enforced for the entire world. So here I was, headed to meet these giants... to get to know them personally and to work with them side by side! An awesome proposition! This would be like a young musician working with his childhood music idols but only better, because music idols don't get their mojo straight from God Himself. Being at Bethel made me a "Bethelite", the coolest thing you could be.

Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness, I was fairly ordinary by general Witness standards. My guess is that to those who are not JWs, all JWs are pretty ordinary to begin with. I mean, you very seldom hear about JWs who make much of themselves in the world. When they do, they are like Michael Jackson or Prince who make far too much of a spectacle of themselves. It seems to be either one extreme or another when it comes to JWs and how the rest of the world sees them.

Actually though, there are some famous Jehovah's Witnesses who many people do not realize were Witnesses at all. Take President Eisenhower for example. He was raised a JW, but later left the faith. This was the case with Geri Halliwell from the music group Spice Girls and the comedians the Wayans brothers as they too left the faith of their youth. However, among those who stayed true to their faith, at least as far as I know, are the Williams sisters of tennis fame, the musicians George Benson and Larry Graham, as well as the Latin singer
Selena. So, you see, it is possible to be famous and to be a Jehovah's Witness (or ex-Witness) without having to necessarily be a strange bird.

As for me, I don't think I was particularly strange, nor was any member of my family. We were all pretty ordinary. My father was not an Elder in our congregation, so this meant we had no real standing in our faith. An Elder was someone who held a measure of power in the congregation as a leader of it, and power is something my family never saw. My mother never "pioneered" either, which is what a lot of the women did in the JW faith to give them standing. Pioneering was when a person dedicated a large amount of time to the door to door preaching work JWs are famous for. By and large, women did this more so than men. The name "pioneer" is meant to evoke the days when people opened up new territories in the early time of our country. This was done by the brave, rugged people of our nation's early history. Nowadays, the only new territory JW pioneers might open up is taking up a seat in the new coffee shop on the local street corner. Their pioneering would be accomplished by the many coffee breaks they would take while trying to artificially stretch out the time they
were required to report to the Elders, who in turn would report that time to Bethel. I remember back when I pioneered, the lengths we would all go to bide our time while "out in field service" doing our preaching. It's comical to me now when I look back on it - we really just made up time to report, often doing nothing in particular but driving around. It's not that I could blame us for just passing the time, we were bored because the work was tedious. Most of the pioneers I knew didn't really seem to give a hoot about the people they were preaching to, although they tried hard to fake it. They really only looked to claim that preaching time on their timecard to keep their status as pioneers. Why do I say that? Well, I remember when the Jehovah's Witness leaders changed the rules saying you could count your time as "field service" time if you spent any time with a "weak" Jehovah's Witness who was inactive in the faith. So, counting this time was not just about trying to preach to strangers anymore because now you could count time talking to JWs who had stopped attending JW meetings. Suddenly, the number of visits to see these "weak and inactive" JWs by many
of the "strong and active" JWs shot up all over the world. Before that, when it came to those losers who stopped attending JW meetings, it was pretty much "out of sight out of mind" as far as most JWs were concerned.

However, once Witnesses could count that time on their timecards, well, suddenly the "love" kicked in and the visits to those lost souls started happening with earnest.

My family didn't have any other relatives in the JW faith, nor did we have a long history of being JWs with many generations passing on the baton to other generations. No, we didn't have any of those things. These things were considered prestigious by Jehovah's Witnesses, so my family basically had peon status. Non-JWs may not realize it, but there is a pecking order among JWs. My family unfortunately had a very small beak.

My own personal background was fairly nondescript as I was a JW who spent much of my time chasing girls and getting into trouble with them. (Yes. JWs get horny too. We just didn't do as much about it as everybody else.) Due to this, not many people in my Kingdom Hall thought I would amount to much in the Witness world. A Kingdom Hall (sometimes just called a "Hall") was what we called the building we worshipped in. We didn't call it a church because the Bible was clear that the word "church" referred to people, not a building. So, like
everything else JWs did, we bucked tradition and called our building a Kingdom Hall since it was a meeting hall where people talked about the Kingdom of God.
(Interesting note: Even though JWs claimed that the Bible was clear that "church" meant people and not a building, we never used the word "church" in any way whatsoever. We didn't like that word because, well, everybody else used it, so we didn't. We Witnesses always had to be different.)

Things changed as I got older and I wanted to be a better Witness. I wanted to grow up and be serious about my faith. Mainly though, I simply didn't want to die at Armageddon in a hail of fire and brimstone which I was sure would be my fate if I felt up just one more "nice" Witness girl. So, I applied myself to following all the right Witness rules like keeping away from girls' bra straps. I kept my nose clean, did all the right Witness things, and soon I was accepted to go to Bethel. Wow! I had beaten the odds and triumphed over the naysayers who had doubted my spiritual conviction!

At this point, I was a very happy young man sitting in a coach class seat on my way to New York City. I was thinking about the wonderful hero's send-off I received from my home congregation where everyone was proud of me for getting accepted to work at God's House. They threw me a party and baked cookies for me. They gave me presents, sage wisdom, and unasked for advice. The girls in the congregation said they would miss me and would write to me. My parents, however, showed mixed feelings, as they thought I was going through a "phase" and would soon come to my senses. They never were that "into" the JW religion to begin with, and quitting college to go to Bethel was ill-advised as far as they were concerned. Yet publically, they feigned pride
in what I was doing as that was the politically correct thing for them to do as a Jehovah's Witnesses. As for me, I thought I was finally starting to make something of myself spiritually after years of struggle and screw-ups. I
felt I was no longer a boy who never amounted to much as a Witness. It appeared that life was now going good for this Witness boy.

I had not traveled all that often back in those days, so the plane ride was a little uncomfortable. It was also strange to have packed away all my worldly belongings into four big bags. I remember asking myself, "Is that all I own?" I was thinking about my car that I sold because, after all, I couldn't afford to keep it and couldn't use it at Bethel. After praying, I got up, crammed myself into the little restroom on the airplane and looked at myself in the bathroom mirror. There I saw this unfamiliar looking guy without a mustache staring back at me. The
powers that be at Bethel told me to shave my mustache because, well, that's what you did there to be "extra" clean cut. JWs are clean cut to begin with, but we Bethelites evidently had to be even more so. So, I shaved my mustache, one that I had grown since I could grow one, feeling a bit like a naked sheep must feel after being freshly shorn. I thought back on how I also got rid of a lot of my stuff before I left home, giving my sibling some of it, and selling or giving away other stuff.

I also thought about the girls I liked back home who I probably would not be able to pursue any longer. "Well, maybe that is a good thing," I thought, trying to convince myself that totally keeping away from females would be the right thing to do. Little did I know that Bethel was not a good place for this kind of thinking, since it was visited every week by hoards of females looking for eligible males. As you will soon see, this proved to be a special burden on a guy like me trying to be good.

For my stay at Bethel I had some money saved, mostly from selling my car. I knew I had to make my money stretch for who knew how long due to the fact that Bethelites were paid very little. Bethelites basically worked for free at God's House. Heck, I even quit college to go there, which might have hurt me most of all. You see, Witnesses actually look down on other Witnesses who go to college. If I was going to be asked to go to Bethel, I needed to show "them" that I was a serious JW by avoiding worldly and selfish pursuits like college. I told myself that all of this was the right thing to do because if I didn't go to Bethel now, I would never go, and I would regret it. If I didn't go now, I would just screw up and be lost. I wanted to be a better person and I wanted to help others in an unselfish way which was new for me. Up until then, my life had been pretty much about me.

I believed that the people at the World Headquarters were going to see after me, love me, nurture my spirituality, and make me a better person. Besides, they would also save me from myself so that I wouldn't die an unrepentant sinner. All Witnesses seem to live in constant guilt and worry about their future; I was no
different. I thought Bethel would fix all that because, after all, it was God's House.

So, it was done. I was going. No looking back.

Someone from Bethel mailed me a welcome letter and asked if I needed to be picked up at the airport. I thought this was a good idea, so I called the main office and made arrangements for the pickup. I gave a description of myself and was told someone would be able to easily find me at the airport if I held up a Watchtower magazine and stood in a particular spot. My plane finally landed in New York. I got all my bags together and trudged over to the designated spot. Sheepishly, I held up a copy of the world famous Jehovah's Witness Watchtower magazine with a feeble smile. I waited and waited. My smile started to fade as my arm got tired. The Watchtower began drooping. One hour passed... then two.

After a number of hours, I had to drag my big bags around to find a cart. I couldn't find one. Dismayed, I dragged my bags to a pay phone. (We didn't have cell phones in those days.) I called the Bethel offices but couldn't get anybody on the phone who I had spoken to before as they were all out or busy. I told whoever was on the other end of the line that I was waiting at the airport. They responded to me that they knew that, and that I should just hold on and somebody would be there to get me.

So, I schlepped back to that spot and waited another hour or so.

Nobody came.

I was starting to really get upset by then and it was getting late in the day. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I dragged all my bags to a taxi. I didn't have much cash on me, but now I was forced to pay for a taxi to Brooklyn from LaGuardia Airport. I finally arrived at Bethel. I paid the driver most of my cash and dragged my bags into the main building of the headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses, also known as 124 Columbia Heights.

When I finally got to the front desk, I was exhausted. Still, managing to summon up a smile, I spoke to the lady before me, "Hi. I'm Brock. I'm here!" ("Ta-da!" I said in my mind.) The lady there just kind of looked at me over her half-glasses like an irritated schoolmarm and asked, "What was your name again?" So I told her yet another time, "I'm Brock... Brock Talon, the new Bethelite." Ta-da! I thought surely they were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the famous Brock Talon, right? Everybody back at home knew me, so why didn't these people? After all, Bethel invited me to come, so how could they not know me and not be expecting me when I arrived?

The lady looked through some papers for a bit and shook her head. I was starting to feel anger now. What the heck? Didn't they have any record of me? The lady could see I was getting upset and then told me to hold on.

She shuffled some more papers and then went and spoke with someone in another room. When she returned,she finally said something like, "Oh, yes, hmmm," and then called another person. She smiled for the first time, uttered a bland, "Welcome brother," then gave me a key and some papers. She told me to follow the "brother" who appeared out of nowhere. JWs call each other "brother" and "sister" by the way, but I sure didn't feel like anybody's brother at that time. I felt more like an uninvited guest telling a surprised friend at his doorstep that I was moving into his house.

This "brother" put my stuff on a cart and led me through some tunnels, the walk felt like it went on for miles. There were people scurrying all about, nobody really smiling or noticing me at all. I realized then that Bethel was a maze of buildings, all owned by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York. This was the legal entity that controlled all the property and belongings of the Jehovah's Witness religion and was often nicknamed "The Society" or sometimes called "The Organization". The maze of buildings we called Bethel that this legal
entity owned was connected by tunnels beneath the streets of Brooklyn. The tunnels made getting around Bethel easier, especially in inclement weather conditions. However, the tunnels had a bit of a dungeon like feel. Since everybody in the tunnels were all Jehovah's Witnesses, most of them Bethelites, there was no need to smile or pretend to care about anybody they saw there. They all just scurried about like ants doing what ants do. You wouldn't see ants stopping to tell each other, "Hey Mac. How's it going at the hill?" "Oh, very nice thank you. I'm on my way there with this beetle leg. How are you handling
that dead cricket?" No, ants didn't bother with that chit chat, and neither did Bethelites.

So, here was my very first impression of Bethel, and it was kind of weird... kind of cold. To add to this oddness, the guy escorting me didn't talk much. He was robotic, and I remember wondering if everybody at Bethel was like this guy. After observing the clinical activity in the tunnels, I was beginning to think they were. We finally got to the building where I would live, which would have been many blocks away from where we started had we walked through the streets of Brooklyn rather than navigating the tunnels. We then had to take a long elevator
ride to an upper floor of that JW owned residence building aptly nicknamed "The Towers". We finally got to my room. Brother Robot now said simply, "Here's your room." Looking back on this scene, it sort of reminds me of the line from the song Hotel California: "We are programmed to receive. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…"

Well, we got my bags into the room and he left with no real words spoken between us. The door closed behind him with a thud.

I was alone.

Now, I was young and not all that experienced in life, but I did know this: I had felt more welcomed simply checking into a hotel on a vacation. It was a shock that Bethel basically processed me like I was nobody. They didn't even pick me up at the airport when they promised to and didn't greet me when I arrived. Up until that moment, I thought I was somebody. My feelings were quite hurt by all this, as I guess I expected much more fan fare at my arrival, similar to the attention I got when I left home. It would only dawn on me later that I was
only one of many thousands of young men working at Bethel at any given time, with dozens arriving each week replacing the dozens who leave each week. So, from their perspective, I actually was not that special at all. I would come to find out that I would just be another worker drone to them.

I looked at my bags and all my remaining material possessions lying there in a heap. I glanced out the window at an alien cityscape and heard the strange cacophony coming from the street. I finally realized that I was in a place where I didn't know anybody. It struck me too that I would be away from all my family, friends, pets, and familiar places for good. I had given up everything to be here and I suddenly missed everything that I left behind. The enthusiasm I had felt for Bethel when I left home was suddenly replaced by trepidation. Given all I
had sacrificed up to this point to get here and the pitiful reception I was just shown upon my arrival, I wondered, "Was this how I would be welcomed by everyone? Was this how I could expect to be treated from now on?"

As all of these emotions swept over me, I just sat on the bed and began to cry.

Enjoy your birthday cake son; it's going to be your last 

Let me back up for a bit so I can tell you how I got to be a Jehovah's Witness in the first place, how I began my journey to find where God lives, and why I eventually made my way to the place called "The House of God".

When I was just a little guy back in the 1960s, I used to ask my mother all kinds of questions about many things. When I asked her how God can walk on the clouds and why He doesn't fall through them, she didn't know. Her church did little to teach her about the Bible, so she bought me some of those Seventh-day Adventist Bible story books you can find at some dentist's offices, and she read them to me. Those books would tide me over for a time and I loved them. Still, often times the more you learn about things, the more you realize how much you don't know. Some answers just lead to more questions. One day, I asked my mother another particularly puzzling question, probably something like how old God was, and she wasn't sure how to answer it.

The answer wasn't in those books either.

On that fateful day there came a knock at the door, and lo and behold, it was a kindly older Jehovah's Witness woman who was offering a "free home Bible study". My mom jumped at this opportunity. Soon, the entire family was studying with Jehovah's Witnesses, which at first seemed safe and was pleasant enough. Jehovah's Witnesses are very nice to the people they are "studying" with. It isn't until later, once you learn and accept "The Truth", that things start to get intense and a bit unpleasant. JWs nickname their religion "The Truth" because of
a little blue book they used to give out and study many years ago. This book was entitled The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life. After a while, JWs just called what they believed "The Truth", implying of course that everything else was not.

Well, about the time my parents became more serious about The Truth, I was coming up on my 6th birthday. At about the same time they planned my birthday party, they learned from their studies with that kindly older JW lady that celebrating birthdays was wrong. They learned from her that only wicked, self centered, worldly and pagan people celebrated them, certainly not "true Christians". You see, JWs call anyone who is not a JW worldly, because they are of the "world of Satan", while JWs are not. JWs also call anyone who is not a JW who claims to be a Christian a liar, as they are really part of "Babylon the Great" the "World Empire of False Religion" and are in fact a dupe of Satan. The only "true Christians" are JWs.

My parents were just learning all the new JW rules about sinful things like birthdays, and were in a quandary because they had already promised me a birthday party. So, they kept their promise and invited my friends over. They gave me a hat and balloons and a cake with candles. But, as I was having my party, my parents told me that I should enjoy it, because it was the last birthday party I would ever have.

It turned out that my parents becoming Jehovah's Witnesses would be a last for me in many things. It would be the last time I would celebrate Christmas, Easter, Halloween, The Fourth of July, and pretty much any holiday after that. It would be the last time I would salute the flag, watch a movie with a ghost in it, or use the word "luck". The number of restrictions that Jehovah's Witnesses put on their children, and on each other for that matter, is simply mind boggling. I cannot possibly tell you all of them here, but needless to say, life drastically changed for me as my 6th birthday party came to a close. I just didn't realize that fact yet, because at that moment I was just a clueless kid in a pointy hat with a kazoo happily eating birthday cake.

Looking back on it now, I realize that I had a hand in my parents becoming Jehovah's Witnesses. Had I not been so darn inquisitive about things like how many animals were actually on the ark and why God didn't make room for the dinosaurs on it, well, I might have not ever seen the inside of a Kingdom Hall.


Jehovah's Witnesses work very hard to make you a regular at the Kingdom Hall. They want you to become one of them, and will study the Bible with you using their special Bible literature for as long as it takes for you to get baptized in The Truth. Ironically, once you are baptized as a bona fide Jehovah's Witness, it actually becomes quite easy at that point to get booted out of the religion altogether!

One of the things Jehovah's Witnesses are infamous for is "disfellowshipping". This is done when you have sinned in such a way as to require punishment from the congregation. Then, the JWs all band together to kick you out of the congregation and refuse to speak to you, even if they were to happen to meet you on the street by chance. This is done out of love for you in order to save your miserable hide in the long run by shaming you into repentance, as well as to protect the rest of the congregation from your sorry example. It is the worst
possible fate for a Witness because you are cut off from all of your JW friends, and also from your JW family as well. You see, if you are disfellowshipped (nicknamed "DF'd") then even your own Witness mother will not talk
to you!

Now, as you might expect, JWs are pretty much sequestered from everyone in the world to begin with, because they are told everybody else is worldly and wicked and will die at Armageddon. So, they are instructed to keep their distance from everyone else, and have no real ties to anybody because of this, even other family members who are not JWs. But that also means that if a JW is DF'd, then they are 100% completely alone in the world because they had previously cut all non-JWs from their lives. Also, as a JW, you don't even know how to act around people who are not JWs. You are handicapped in pretty much every imaginable way; so once DF'd, you find yourself a stranger in a strange non-JW land. This is a terrifying proposition to the average Jehovah's

I bring this up because one of the surest ways to get DF'd is to commit a sexual sin. Natural heterosexual encounters, a young unmarried man with a young unmarried woman for example, is called fornication, and if you did it more than once as a JW you most likely would be DF'd for it. The Bible strictly forbids fornication, along with adultery, greediness, drunkenness, reviling, extortion, lying, thievery, cowardice, faithlessness, and more. But for some reason, Jehovah's Witnesses have a special aversion to sexual sin. I could never figure out why sex was a worse sin compared to the others.

I can give you a number of examples of why I say this by simply contemplating the sins listed in the Bible that Jehovah's Witnesses use to disfellowship their own. For example, 1 Corinthians 6: 9,10, says: "Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God."

Also, consider Revelation 21:8, which reads: "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with
fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

Jehovah's Witnesses point to these scriptures to show that fornicators, or those involved in a variety of sexual sin, deserve this disfellowshipping punishment. OK, fine. But what about the other sins listed in these same scriptures? Do Jehovah's Witnesses take these sins as seriously? Let's consider: Revilers: Persons who use abusive speech, who scorn or use profanity against another
I grew up seeing brothers in the JW congregation revile people all the time. I've even seen some Elders act in this manner. It was well known, for example, that even a few of the presidents of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society itself were given to bursts of anger and to reviling. They often treated the Bethelites like cattle by yelling, cursing and name calling. Still, this kind of behavior was ignored because, well, that's just the way these people were. If they had bad tempers, we were expected to be forgiving of our brothers who took the lead but had that kind of abusive speech. They were only human after all. They didn't mean to do it and really had good hearts, right?

For the record, I've never once heard of a single JW being DF'd for being a reviler. Not once. But I've seen over the years many who practiced it, including Elders and Ministerial Servants, that is, the people who lead the individual Jehovah's Witness congregations.

Greedy people: Persons showing intense selfish desire for things, especially related to food.

I've seen Elder's wives who were huge 400 pound monsters and who gobbled up everything in sight like Jabba the Hutt on a binge. Yet these ladies were never deemed by other JWs as "greedy" at all. No sir. You see, it
would be explained that they had a "glandular" problem, so it was overlooked.
For the record, I've never heard of a single JW being DF'd for being greedy. I have, however, known far too many who were not just greedy regarding food, but in other ways too, like with money. Still, this was simply never enforced in a JW congregation. I defy anyone to show me an example of some JW being DF'd for this particular sin.

Drunkards: Persons frequently or habitually drunk

I've seen many a JW couple who loved to have that wine every day, often times glass after glass until they were all giggly and silly. Were they punished as drunkards? No. You see, it was deemed that this was not drunkenness, it was just being "happy". No punishment was given to them for this either. It didn't matter that they might have received a DUI conviction on their records; it was to be overlooked as long as nobody
complained about it in the congregation. As a matter of fact, most young Bethelites themselves drank far too much, which I will tell about more later.

Now, I admit that I have seen a few JWs DF'd for drunkenness. However, this was rare and only in the most extreme of cases, and it certainly was not just because somebody got drunk once or twice. I always thought this issue was particularly odd because to a Jehovah's Witness, should a person get drunk once or twice, on occasion that is, they would never think to label this person a "drunkard" and punish them for it. But should a person have sex outside marriage once or twice, they would immediately be labeled a "fornicator", punished,
and then whispered about for years.

Thieves (swindlers): Persons who take what is not theirs or cheat others out of what is theirs.

I've seen Elders and their wives (or others in a congregation) "borrow" money and not pay it back. This wasn't usually deemed "stealing" if those people happened to be "in need" and had a hard time paying it back. The other JW was expected to just accept losing that money out of "love for their brother". Also, it was almost always forbidden to ever take another JW to court and sue them. Even if you were the injured party in such a situation, you could get into trouble yourself with the congregation Elders for suing another brother. It was thought to be disgraceful to the JW faith to have one Witness sue another Witness. So, you were expected to "work it out" with that brother or sister who borrowed money from you. In the end, if they didn't pay, well, too bad. You usually were expected to eat the loss and live and learn.

It was very rare that a brother was DF'd for cheating another or for stealing outright for that matter. It might happen from time to time, but I never saw it much, except, ironically at Bethel. You see, if a person in a regular congregation got cheated or stolen from, the general attitude was that the injured party should forgive that person and "work it out" with them. But should somebody cheat or steal from Bethel, well, they were immediately ejected from Bethel. Also, pressure would be put on the person's home congregation Elders to do
some sort of congregational judiciary action against them once they got home.

Liars: Persons who do not tell the truth or who bend or twist the truth

I've seen JWs who were compulsive liars as well, yet nothing was done about that at all. Often times this habit was just laughed at as they were deemed "colorful people". Those forgiving Jehovah's Witness leaders in the congregation would say things like, "Oh, you know how so and so is. Don't take him so seriously… ha ha." So, again for the record, I've never heard of a single JW being DF'd for being a liar, although I've known many who practiced it compulsively.

I could go on with the other "deadly" sins too, like the cowardly, the faithless, and so on. For the sake of time I'll just move on.

In conclusion, JWs don't enforce any real punishment for many of these sins that I just mentioned. I saw all kinds of these particular sins practiced by JWs I knew in many of the congregations I attended over the years. I saw these sins practiced all the time without any real repercussions for them. It was evident that many JWs did things that the Bible clearly said we should not do, things which were listed in scriptures right next to the words "fornicators" (or "the sexually immoral") but these non sex related sins were most often times just ignored,
brushed aside, or at most, addressed in a milquetoast way.


Now, this "ignoring of sin" was especially true if a person had power or standing in the congregation. Even sex sins could be forgiven if you were the son or daughter of an Elder. These privileged people always got more chances than the nobodies like me.

I once knew an Elder's son who was my age who was a Ministerial Servant in our congregation. This meant he had some status and privilege (think deacon in a church). Eventually he married. A few years after he was married, it came out that he had slept with his wife's mother before his wedding day. Not only that, he also kept this going for a short time afterwards, so he kept on having sex with his mother-in-law who was a pioneer in the congregation. Finally, after some time, he broke off the adultery, but these two prominent JWs did "practice" this
sin for quite a while.

Still, the Elders in his congregation didn't DF him. In fact, they didn't even take away his congregational privileges. This was unheard of in JW circles as usually you would get some sort of punishment for that kind of serious sin. These Elders figured that he felt bad about what he did since he did stop doing it. Also, they
reasoned, he had worked hard in the congregation since stopping his ongoing adultery with his mother-in-law.

Well, this thinking by the Elders broke all the JW rules I knew of. In most Kingdom Halls the offender would have at least been "privately reproved" (which was a sort of probationary period put on someone) and he would
also have lost all of his congregational privileges, at a minimum. The fact that he slept with his own mother-inlaw didn't even faze these Elders. Neither did the fact that he did it many more times than once. It turned out, however, that his father was the highest ranking Elder in his congregation and he ran it with an iron fist. The other Elders just went along with this weak decision. You see, I often found that nepotism runs deep in the typical Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall. This last story is a perfect example of that.

Now, compare that to what would happen to somebody like me. Should you find yourself a teenage boy or girl and not be the child of an Elder, and then have the gall to have sex, well, that wouldn't be tolerated. You would be warned once, and if you did the sin again, DF'd. If it came to the Elders attention you had done this sex thing over a period of time, then you would be labeled a person who "practiced sin" and DF'd on the spot without any hesitation.
So, the DFing equation in the Witness world is simple: "Sex sin" + "Being a nobody" = "Your disfellowshipped butt"

Well, that was my fear - being disfellowshipped. I didn't smoke dope or cigarettes. I didn't gamble. I didn't fight with other kids or revile them. I never lied to anyone or cheated in school. I neither drank alcohol, nor cursed. I
got straight A's in school and never caused my parents one bit of trouble in any way. I made my own bed, made my own lunches, had a part-time job and made my own money to buy myself clothes and other things I needed.

I was moderate in all my habits and exercised regularly. I helped out other brothers and sisters in the congregation when they needed me to, and was nice to everyone who came across my path, JW or otherwise. I worked in the congregation running microphones during the meetings, and helped clean the Kingdom Hall on a regular basis after the meetings and on weekends. My teachers liked me, my neighbors thought I was a nice kid, and I was kind to all my pets.

However, I had one very fatal flaw: I loved women and I loved sex. I liked everything about women and they liked me back. I was "cursed" as a JW because I had a naturally good physique which I enhanced by working out. Also, I was considered to be of above average in looks by most, even handsome by many, and not just by JW girls, but by worldly girls too. It was easy to get attention from Witness girls because the Witness world was relatively small. In that world, I could be the proverbial big fish in the small pond. But I could also get attention from non-Witness girls as well, and this is where the danger was for me. I always craved attention from the opposite sex, and I always seemed to find it. That meant as a JW I was always finding trouble.

Well, this wouldn't do. As a JW, this surely was a straight ticket to destruction. I was always terrified that I would be DF'd. Heck, even if I wasn't caught and punished by the Elders, then Armageddon would come and God would bring the end of me. I would be thrown into the Lake of Fire, penis first.

That little boy with his last birthday cake at 6 years old would grow up into a guilt ridden Jehovah's Witness teen, worried of being labeled a sexual deviant just because he liked girls.

As a result, he tried his best to be what he thought was the JW equivalent of monkhood, that is, to volunteer to go to Bethel to get his spiritual act together and avoid women in order not to suffer the terrible fate of damnation
by sex.

As you will soon see, this became an eye-opening and life changing event for that little boy, now grown into a young man physically, but still young at heart and emotionally naive. That little boy was about to grow up in ways he never dreamt of. This would happen by completely changing his life, leaving everything behind, and working and living at God's House.

In turn however, this life changing journey would take a terrible toll on his psyche.

Excerpts from the book: 

Let's get this out of the way: you simply don't matter 

Since everybody in the tunnels were all Jehovah's Witnesses, most of them Bethelites, there was no need to smile or pretend to care about anybody they saw there. They all just scurried about like ants doing what ants do. You wouldn't see ants stopping to tell each other, "Hey Mac. How's it going at the hill?" "Oh, very nice thank you. I'm on my way there with this beetle leg. How are you handling that dead cricket?" No, ants didn't bother with that chit chat, and neither did Bethelites.

Epic Breasts 

Now Mary was a nice girl and cute enough, though not beautiful. But then again, who cared about that? After all, she had those epic breasts. When we spoke alone in the congregation, we were never really alone, there was me, Mary, and her boobs, who were always butting in on the conversation; I tell you, those breasts were rude. They also seemed to be trying to jump out of her blouse... I loved and hated those breasts.

Just beat it! 

The circumstance of my meeting him was a bit odd: It was in the men's restroom. I went into the restroom to do my business and in there was this small, frail, pimply faced black kid with scraggly hair. I really didn't notice him at first, but there he was, small as life, frightened to leave.

The Hanger Men Also Die 

I began to fix my next hanger and tried to engage Brother Hanger Man in some conversation to pass the time.

He just grunted at me. He seemed ticked off. At first, I just thought that maybe that was what old guys acted like when their age spots got so big they looked like human leopards.

My GB can lick your GB 

Fred Franz was only the fourth president of The Society… just turned 90 years old and somebody asked him, "Brother Franz, how old does a man have to be before he loses interest in women?" Brother Franz answered in his very old man's voice, with a sly grin on his face, "Well, I don't know. You'll have to ask somebody older than me."

Question The Society and your tongue will rot in your mouth

Me? I worried about Armageddon. Jehovah's Witnesses spoke of it often. Sometimes they depicted it in their literature, usually with buildings and cars falling into the earth, flames shooting out everywhere, people fighting with each other, and church steeples toppling from lightning strikes straight from heaven, with death everywhere. Sometimes, JW literature quoted Zechariah 14:12 "their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth." 


Brock Talon is an author with a distinct voice and style all his own. He writes from his personal experiences in a way that makes it seem as if you are living them yourself. So pack your bags, make room for your imagination, and take a journey with Brock.

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