Monday, July 25, 2005

NYC - Bethel

Of course, our main goal for our visit to NYC was to visit Bethel. Lloyd is still here from 1977, we came in together and has always been so hospitable. He took us all through the 10th and 8th floors of the office on 25 Columbia Heights. We also toured the factory, although it's mostly the laundry since the printing moved to Wallkill.

Lloyd tells great stories and relates history with so much enthusiasm that even I get excited about old people and old dates. For example, he tells about the British who trapped Washington in an old home right next to 124 Columbia Heights. The story goes that they were about to attack on August 24th 1776 when a fog rolled in. The British decided to wait until morning. However, during the night row boats from Manhattan scurried the soldiers across the East River. By morning Washington and his army were safe. The British chased them up Manhattan through New Jersey but eventually he got away. Without the fog, there would have never been a seventh dual world power.

He told us about the early years and the issue the U.S. Government had with The Finished Mystery back in the early 1900s, the ban the U.S. Government placed on the book, and the eventual imprisonment of the seven. What I found interesting is that the reasons the U.S. Government had to ban the book is the very same reason the China government has banned the literature today. Just this last Thursday We heard this very thing from a study Ruth has with a Chinese government student at Kennesaw State University. No government likes to hear that they are not, nor will always be, the world power.

One interesting aspect of Bethel is all the training centers they now have. Here you see Forest training for plumbing. (You'd think he'd know how to flush a toilet.) Other areas were: mechanical drawing, electronics, and HVAC. The tour included a view from the 90 Sands, just across from the factory. Great views.

We learned quite a bit about translation. There are 112 Branches most of which are doing translation. It takes about three years to translate the NWT, one year for the Greek and two years for the Hebrew. Translation is difficult. How can you translate "put away your toys?" Put away can have so many meanings. Putting away your toys has different meaning than say: "Wow, you can really put away some food." or "You shall not put away the wife of your youth." The translation tools software includes an online up-to-date dictionary as well as a search feature that shows how the word or expression has been used. All animal and plant names in the magazines include a parenthetical latin name so as to uniquely identify say a "water buffalo" which can be translated as many different animals. In the NWT, there are 5,500 major words in the Greek and 8,800 in the Hebrew to translate.

Of the 237 countries of the world, we have brothers and sisters in 235 of them. The literature is printed in 400 different languages now.

We just won a 12-year court case in Germany. Even though JWs have been in Germany since the early 1900s, survived through the concentration camps, and number in the millions, the German government has never recognized JWs as a government "approved" religion. When you fill out your tax form in Germany, you can check a box to send any amount to your chosen church, the Catholic or Lutheran Church. Those used to be the only choices. Now, however, the box allows a write-in so that you can contribute to any church of your choice. We currently receive contributions from non-JWs simply because people hate the Catholic or Lutheran church and want to contribute elsewhere.

Lunch was great. There is now a dining room in 30 Columbia Heights. We took a quick peek out at Manhattan from the balcony and then walked down Montegue street. Since Ruth didn't eat much at the dining room we visited Souvlaki's, (soov-loc-key) a sandwich shop that serves shaved lamb in pita bread.

We showered back at the hotel and went out briefly to Barnes and Nobles but I was disappointed. Same books but no over-sutffed chairs to sit on, nor any coffee shop inside. It was a three-story affair with stained carpets and messy shelves. It just was not up to the same standard I've come to know.

An arrow is useless without the bow. Take aim in life before you fire. - Dave