Yes, a Bethelite woman provided “spiritual food” to Jehovah’s Witnesses…
Over the last couple of years, many people have asked me to share my Writing Department resumé and basically that’s why I’m writing this. I hope that the knowledge of what I did at Bethel helps Jehovah’s Witnesses to understand that the Watchtower organization misleads the flock by inferring that all “spiritual food” somehow emanates only from men and particularly from the Governing Body.
Oh, by the way, I know without a doubt that while I was in the Writing Department, none of the Governing Body members researched and wrote any articles and books that the Society published. From information I received from insiders, this continued up until at least until the end of the 1990s.
Karl Klein stopped writing for the Writing Department many years before 1989 when I arrived in the department. By that time Fred Franz, blind and ill, was in the Bethel infirmary. Lloyd Barry was the only other Governing Body member who occasionally wrote. His last endeavor was to edit and rewrite a great deal of the work that senior writer, Robert Pevy, penned in the 1988 publication Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! (Now, perhaps things have changed and a few of the “anointed” Governing Body replacement members are actually contributing “spiritual food” to the flock.)
Some might say that many of the articles I wrote were not “spiritual.” However, if you read each of those article’s conclusions you will find references to some scriptures – along with “spiritual” commentary.
Inasmuch as I did perform duties that were assumed to be assigned only to men at Bethel, it is obvious that Witness women do make many more “spiritual” contributions than the Witnesses are led to believe. There were a number of women doing research in the Writing Department as late as 2002. One female researcher was a talented writer who worked for the New York Times before 1994. I believe sisters are still used by some senior writers to do just what I did unless the new Governing Body put a stop to it because of my going public about the secrets of the cover-up of child sexual abuse. When I was with the Writing Department, many of the brothers were not averse to accepting or assigning capable women to write articles to fill a magazine that each of them compiled on a rotation basis.
- Joe and I appeared on the covers of the October 8, 1986 Awake! and July 22, 1992 Awake!
- We also appeared in the May 15, 1989 Watchtower (p. 10, the smallest picture, the one with the blue frame).
I appeared in costume in the following books:
- One picture that is in REVELATION–ITS GRAND CLIMAX AT HAND
- Five pictures found in THE GREATEST MAN THAT EVER LIVED
This is what I did in the Writing Department:
- Assigned by the Governing Body to be the major research assistant to senior Watchtower writer, Karl Adams, for the book JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES, PROCLAIMERS OF GOD’S KINGDOM. During my research for PROCLAIMERS, I discovered many unknown facts about the early history of JWs which facts were included in the book. And remember, this book was once considered to be “spiritual food” for JWs.
- I did all the research (and contributed text) for the 1992 Sunday afternoon District Assembly public lecture assigned to writer Harry Peloyan by Ted Jaracz. The subject was on John 1:1 discussing “Jesus, the ‘light’ of the world,” which was a very “spiritual” lecture. While I sat in the audience at a convention in Virginia listening to my husband give the lecture, I wondered what the elders in the audience would think if they knew that a woman put together practically the entire lecture.
- I did all the research for the October 22, 1995 Awake! article, “Why Is Life So Short?”
- I did most of the research, plus, assisted the senior writer, Eric Beveridge, and was quoted many times in the article “Women Deserving of Respect” in the July 8, 1992 Awake!
- I did all of the research for Awake! editor and senior writer, Harry Peloyan, for the 1993 booklet What Is The Purpose Of Life? How Can You Find It? The original intent was that this booklet would only go to the Chinese-speaking world, and I spent many weeks researching Chinese history and looking for quotes to prove there is purpose to life – something that the Chinese people apparently don’t think too much about. Chinese senior writer, Cyril Chain, also worked with Harry on this booklet. Finally, when the draft was presented for critique, it received such praise that it was decided to publish the information for the non-Chinese world too.
- I helped Sam Buck write some of the following article, “More Living Space For A Growing Family,” Apr 22, 1989 Awake!
- I was still in the Construction-Engineering Department working with the architectural group when Sam asked me to contribute material for an article that would be a report on the successful completion of the renovation of the Standish and Bossert Hotels, which would house Bethel family members.
- I rewrote the following article submitted by a branch writer in Ireland, “Heeding the Warning Signs,” October 8, 1991 Awake! This was the first work I did for Harry Peloyan.
- Under the title of the following article can be found a statement that the article was contributed by an Awake! correspondent in Africa. I wrote the majority of the article before it was sent to a missionary at an African branch for review. After he sent it back, it could then be said to be “contributed by an Awake! correspondent in Africa.”
- April 8, 1993 Awake! – “Millions Are Suffering, Can They Be Helped?”
I also wrote all of the following articles:
- December 8, 1991 Awake! “The Bill of Rights, Why Was It Needed”
- Dec. 8, 1991 Awake! “Students Participate in National History Day”
- Nov. 22, 1994 Awake! Cover Series Articles, “Difficult Children”
I was assigned and did extensive research on the neurological bipolar (manic-depressive) condition and submitted it to Awake! editor, Harry Peloyan. The material was never used because it was decided by the Writing Department Overseer, Lloyd Barry, that an article on this subject could open another “Pandora’s Box” the way the October 8, 1991 Awake! cover series articles (which discussed sexual child abuse) did. By the way, I did not write – nor do any research – for the October 8, 1991 articles.
I continued to research and submit my findings on child sexual abuse to the Writing Department until I had second thoughts about what I was doing and that was at the end of 1996. Why? Because the Watchtower refused to change its policies which harmed so many of its members.
For what it’s worth, in the August 8, 1993 Awake! (p. 31) there is a letter and picture of our son and daughter-in-law. At the time, they were newly married and living at Brooklyn Bethel. The letter was from our son expressing his gratitude to us for having been raised by such good “theocratic” parents. Later, I shared it with Harry Peloyan and he decided to publish it.
Not quite ten years later, our son changed his mind completely about what “great parents” we were and decided to totally shun us. This was after we were disfellowshipped for speaking out about the hidden sexual child abuse problem within the organization. He admitted that I did a “noble” thing trying to protect the Witnesses’ children. However, he did not believe I did the right thing by “going public.” (Apparently, I broke the eleventh commandment – the most important one to Jehovah’s Witnesses: “Thou shalt not go public.”)
Our son was in Bethel for 16 years before he and his wife left to have children. Soon after Dateline aired on May 28, 2002, they traveled to New York to personally ask Watchtower officials for their side of the story. He was told that I “misunderstood the Society’s policies” and by my actions “caused thousands of people to leave the organization, leave the Bible and leave God.” Hence, those who left were going to die at Armageddon and I was responsible.
My son chose to believe what he was told. For that reason he has never spoken to me again.
When I look back at my life from the time I was baptized at age 14, it simply amazes me where that first step led My only desire as a woman in the Watchtower organization was to help people to understand the mysteries of life – in line with Watchtower’s interpretation. After leaving the Watchtower organization at the beginning of 1998, my goal continued to be helping people.
I realize that I’ll never be able to unravel the mysteries of life, let alone help others to understand them. However, what I can do is to help people understand the “mysteries” of the Watchtower Society. Hopefully, in that way I can still help people to “know the truth and the truth will set them free.”
A version of this article originally appeared on Freeminds.org