Sunday, August 9, 2009

Yearbook Experience - Bible Considered 'Anti-Soviet'

*I'm doing a double post today since I missed posting a yearbook experience yesterday...but make sure you read the last story at the's so funny.

(photo & experience of Nadezhda Vishnyak, pgs 120, 121 & 123 of the 2008 Yearbook)

Sometimes the brothers were put on trial just for possessing a Bible. Says Nadezhda Vishnyak: "My husband and I were not yet Jehovah's Witnesses, but the truth had deeply touched our hearts. Once, the police came to my workplace and took me away in my work clothes. Pyotr, my husband, was also picked up from work. Before this happened, our house was searched, and the police found a Bible and the booklet - After Armageddon-God's New World.
Pyotr did not think that they would arrest me, since I was in my seventh month of pregnancy. "We were accused of acting against the Soviet authorities. We told them that we believed in the Bible, which was a much higher authority than the Soviet powers. 'The Bible is God's Word, and that is why we want to live by its principles,' I said. 'When the time came for our trial, it was only two weeks before I was due to give birth. Between hearings the judge allowed for breaks so that I could go for a walk outside accompanied by an armed soldier. During one of those walks, he asked me what I had done. I had a wonderful opportunity to witness to him.'
The judge declared that the Bible and the literature that had been confiscated from us were 'anti-Soviet.' I was pleased that not only had my husband and I been accused of being anti-Soviet but also our literature and even the Bible! We were asked where we had become acquainted with Jehovah's Witnesses. When we said that it was in a labor camp in Vorkuta, the judge angrily shouted, 'Look at what is going on in our camps!' We were convicted, and both of us were sentenced to ten years in corrective labor camps.
Pyotr was sent to a camp in Mordvinia, in central Russia. I was put in solitary confinement. In March 1958, I gave birth to our son. During these difficult times, Jehovah was my best friend and helper. My mother took in our son and cared for him. I was taken to Kemerovo, Siberia, where I was interned in a labor camp. After eight years, I was freed before I had served the full term of my sentence. I remember that in the barracks, the forewoman loudly announced that I had never made any 'anti-Soviet' remarks and that our literature was exclusively religious. I was baptized in 1966 after I gained freedom."

(photo & experience of Boris Kryltsov on pgs 123, 126 & 127)

Bibles and Bible literature were particularly precious in prisons and camps. In 1958 at a camp in Mordvinia, the brothers were holding meetings regularly. So that the camp foremen could not suprise them, several brothers were appointed to stand guard within calling distance while one group was studying The Watchtower. If a foreman appeared, the nearest brother would say "coming" to the next brother standing guard and so on until it was heard by the group meeting together. Everyone would scatter, and the magazine would be hidden. But often the foremen would appear out of nowhere.
Once when the brothers were caught off guard, Boris Kryltsov decided to distract the foremen and save the magazine. He grabbed a book and ran out of the barracks. The foremen chased after him for a long time, but when they finally caught up with him, they saw that the book in his hand was a volume of Lenin. Although he was given seven days in solitary confinement, he was happy that the magazine had been saved.

Seeds Of Truth Sown In Moscow
The preaching of the good news of the Kingdom in Moscow began with a small group. Boris Krylstov was one of the early few who zealously preached in the country's capital. He recounts: "I worked in construction management. Along with a group of brothers and sisters, I tried to preach informally. On learning what I was doing, the KGB searched my apartment in April 1957 and found Bible literature, whereupon I was immediately arrested. During interrogation, the inspector told me that Jehovah's Witnesses were the most dangerous people in the State. He said: 'If we let you go free, many Soviet citizens will join you. That is why we see you as a grave threat to our State.' 'The Bible teaches us to be law-abiding citizens,' I said. 'Also, it says that we must keep on seeking first the Kingdom and God's righteousness. True Christians have never attempted to seize power in any country.' 'Where did you get the literature that we found during the search?' asked the investigator. 'What is wrong with the literature?' I asked. 'It discusses Bible prophecies and doesn't cover any political issues.' 'Yes, but it is published abroad,' he answered.
"I ended up in a maximum-security prison in the city of Vladimir. I was searched thoroughly, but to my suprise I was able to take into the camp four issues of The Watchtower, hand-copied on thin paper. It was clear that Jehovah had helped me. In my cell, I recopied all four issues. I knew that besides me, other Witnesses were there, and they had been without any spiritual food for seven years. I passed these magazines along through a sister who was in charge of mopping the stairwell. As it turned out, associating with the brothers was a tattler, who told the prison wardens that someone was passing along Bible literature. They immediately began to search everyone and take all the literature away. Soon they came to me and found literature in my mattress. I received 85 days in solitary confinement. Nevertheless, Jehovah continued to care for us as before."
An Officer Recognizes His Bible
It was extremely difficult to bring literature into Camp 10, let alone a Bible. It appeared to the brothers that bringing God's Word into the prison was almost impossible. One brother who was in this prison for a few years says: "For Jehovah, nothing is impossible. God heard our prayers. We asked for at least one Bible for a hundred Witnesses in this prison, and we ended up with two!" (Matthew 19:26) How did this happen? A colonel was recruited to work as a prison educator. But how did a person without any Bible knowledge "educate" the Witnesses? He somehow managed to obtain a tattered Bible, and before he left on vacation, he asked an elderly Baptist prisoner to rebind it, after telling the foremen not to confiscate it from him. The Baptist boasted to the Witnesses that he had received a Bible, and he agreed to let them borrow it to take a look. When the brothers got their hands on this precious treasure, they quickly took it apart at the seams and distributed the pages to all the Witness prisoners for copying. Over the next few days, all of the Witnesses' prison cells turned into a hand-copying workshop of sorts. Two handwritten copies were made of each page. One of the brothers recalls: "When all the pages were gathered together, there were now three Bibles! The colonel received his newly bound copy, and we got our two copies. One copy we used for reading, and the other was put into the 'safe,' a few ducts containing high-voltage cables. We made special places in these ducts. Since the foremen were afraid even to go near these, no one ever searched there. The high voltage was a reliable watchman for our library." However, during one search, the colonel found himself looking at a page of the hand-copied Bible. When he realized what had happened, he was bitterly disappointed and exclaimed, "This is part of the Bible that I myself brought into the camp!"

...that story is so great. haha