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.
First for the record, here are the publications which contain pictures of my husband and me – or just of me:
- 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
Thank you for your honesty. All Jehovah’s witness have spoken to us since April 2012 watchtower article on shunning
I meant Not spoken
Very informative. It is clear now that none of the gb ever wrote anything. For an org that puts women down it is remarkable (and hypocritical) that it is too keen to use womens intellect to give the message. Its a damn wonder they don’t blame the ‘writers’ when some policy goes belly up and they have to change course.
Like the Old Man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, the GB is nothing more than a front, a self-proclaimed, self-appointed spiritual “Slave” whom arrogantly takes credit for producing inedible “spiritual swill” masquerading as genuine “spiritual food”, creating illusions and false hope to mislead non-thinking JWs while punitively exercising strict controls over its members. Thank you for sharing some of your experiences while at Bethel. Note: my brother, Dominique Repolt, slaved in the 8th floor bindery from July ’71 to July ’75. Was very good friends with Timothy Galfas who later performed his marriage ceremony at the Bethel Kingdom Hall. Similar to your comment about “publicity”, he once said that at Bethel “your keep your eyes and ears open but your mouth shut”, a military style “don’t ask, don’t tell”! He referred to his leaving, after 4 years of hell, as “making parole”, providing an inkling of his deep ‘love’ for the place. Thank you again Barbara for your tireless efforts in keeping us informed, shedding light on the sinister darkness behind the Tower’s walls. Live, love and laugh as often as you can!
A lovely but sad story Barbara and I’m sorry that your family has shunned you. As an active JW and elder I had no idea you could be disfellowshipped for just questioning the WTS policies. I agree with you 100% that their Child Abuse policy (or lack of) is horrendous. The official U.S. branch policy letter to the Aussie Branch (available on the Royal Commission site as evidence so it can in no way be classed as apostate material/lies) saying that an elder or servant would not necessarily loose his privileges if he had abused children in the past made me furious. I know how I would act if I came across such scum, no matter what the WTS say. The safety of the flock comes before any WTS policy. I for one am a decent human being and having no professional training in psychology or counselling victims of the abuse, I would encourage them to go straight to the police and even offer to accompany them to give them my full support, no matter what the consequences for me would be. I think current witnesses need to be directed to the site of Royal Australian Commission for the Prevention of Child Abuse so they can see for themselves the scope of the problem.
Thanks for all the articles you’ve written and hard work in researching them. I know you did it for the good of the brothers & sisters and I for one appreciate them. It is very sad to see how there are such double standards on the part of men who claim to be God’s representatives. Look at Sam Herd who’s still wearing his Rolex. It may well be a gift but that falls under “showy display of ones means of life” and stumbles me far more than me wearing a beard would “stumble” the GB!
Anyway, I’m a firm believer that Jehovah God WILL bring about Armageddon and thanks to him being able to read hearts will see that all those good people in the entire world will get to live in a paradise earth forever, whilst those falsely representing him or abusing their power get their just punishment.
Chin up Barbara. Hugs. AJ
Nice letter Average Joe…. it’s too bad that more elders don’t have your views on the relationship between conscience and mindlessly, robotically following the rules of men. This type of balance would result in huge improvements in the so-called “Spiritual Paradise”, a misnomer if there ever was one! Thank you for sharing!
Dear Barbara and Joe, greetings 🙂
Thank you for sharing this valuable insight. Love and peace let be with you !
Thanks for sharing this Barb! Also for all the work you have done and do.Much more for courage to stand up for truth ! I hope that one day your son will realize what all this was about and find the way back to you.This fight is not in vain because it’s fight for the truth and truth set people free !!! This apply to Average Joe as well ! agape to all
HI, I´ve been an “inactive” JW for 12 years now. I´ve been curious enough to read “apostate” material on the Internet just recently. I have some questions though. My first and foremost question is: If the WT Organisation is just out for its member`s money and if the goal is to get even more money from getting more people becoming JWs, then WHERE does all of that money go to??? Do the GB members eat caviar and drink Champagne for dinner? They all live in Bethel, or do they live in mansions with swimming pools? I asume most of them don´t even have children so that one couldn´t say that their children will inherit all of those millions of Dollars and live a good life in the Caribbean later (or even now). I just don´t understand the GOAL of the GB if they don´t really use this money for themselves (or their children). I always thought that ALL of the contributions go BACK into supporting the preaching work and maintenance of the buildings world wide, and into printing the publications. Since all other work is volunteer work the workers don´t get paid. Please explain how the GB live and what they personally spend on themselves, if you can. I am very confused since this is all new to me what “apostates” are writing about the organisation. I´ve been one of those that accepted everything the “faithful and discreet slave” published without any doubts. I am inactive but up till now I still believed that JW have the truth about the Bible and the future. But now I really want to know the “truth”. I am really really troubled. Thank you in advance for your answer.
Dear Linda,I’m not insider as Barbara even my comment doesn’t intend to replace her response.
But as active JW born to the religion 3 & 4 generation I have some idea where the money goes.The “creature” we created eats them all.And the creature is org with all facets good and bad.Overhead,administration,litigation and layers fees of shameful pedophilia cases included….etc…millions needed for that on annual bases
I don’t think that GB members prevision or current does live lavish life style in opulence which may be seen in some other religion leaderships , world of business or politics.
Maybe some of GB guys have their “bad” lapses time to time on the other side nobody probably never seen report of personal expenditures of these guys.But for sure they have great life all inclusive good acre and vine included.:-)
So simply because there is no transparency in finances of JW not at least towards own members or general public it hard to figure out where the money goes.If assuming in good faith all “revenue money” are predominately spent back on org. portfolio and expanding and building new head world quarters etc…
But maybe one day we will be shock and some scandal will shake faith of many.never say never…. hope not.
This is just my humble personal opinion on the matter I have been thinking like you about it many times before.
Maybe other will have more inside.
This is not a question but a comment. My eyes got really big when I saw Harry Peloyan’s name mentioned in this article. We attended the same congregation in Brooklyn. I really admired and respected him. His talks were mesmerizing. He was so charismatic. I really miss him.
I got all choked up seeing his name.
Hi, my name is Joel. This short email is in response to your comment at the and that says: “I realize that I’ll never be able to unravel the mysteries of life…” I personally believe that you will with the help of that book. I would be very happy if I could get a response, but I am already used not to! Kind regards, I enjoyed all your articles! Joel