Monday, August 10, 2009

Yearbook Experience - Venera Grigoryeva

*this experience reminded me of those cheesy propaganda clips which were playing in the backround of that news story I posted last week. It's so ridiculous the lengths they will go to that it's almost funny!

(experience of Venera Grigoryeva, pgs 214 & 215 of the 2008 Yearbook)

In 1960, at the beginning of my acting career, I was given the leading role in the documentary film God's Witnesses, which was released in Soviet movie theaters. The film depicted "the frightening sect of Jehovah's Witnesses," which was responsible for the death of the heroine, Tanya, whom I played. According to the script, Tanya runs away from the "sect" at night into a blizzard without a coat on. She disappears into the snow, and a voice-over sadly announces, "This was the end of Tanya Veselova." I liked the script and felt honored to join in the fight against Jehovah's Witnesses, although the only thing I knew about them was from the script itself. The film was shown in the movie theaters and clubs of many cities in the Soviet Union. I went to each premiere and appeared onstage after the movie was shown. At that time, Soviet people implicitly believed everything they saw on the screen. So after I would come out, everyone would heave a sigh of relief and say, "She's alive!" Then I described how the film was shot and how the director and special-effects people staged the blizzard, which appeared to sweep me into a ravine and cover me with snow. Once in Vyshniy Volochek, Kalinin (now Tver') Oblast, one theater was packed full, but the evening went a little differently than usual. After the film an elderly man asked me questions that were only about religion, and I upheld the atheistic view of the origin of life on earth. No one mentioned anything about the film. Slipping backstage, I went to the event organizer and asked, "Whom did I speak to just now?" "That's the chief of the Jehovah's Witnesses sect. The theater is full of Witnesses and no one else," he said. That is how, without realizing it, I met Jehovah's Witnesses.
After that I wanted to read the Bible but could not find one. I married a Polish man and moved to Poland with him. In 1977 two sisters knocked at our door, and soon I began to study the Bible with them. I came to love this book, and we became friends with the Witnesses. In 1985 my father became ill, and my husband and I went to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) to be with him. I prayed to Jehovah to help me contact Jehovah's Witnesses there. Finally, I became one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I have been serving as a regular pioneer for 12 years now, and Zdzislaw, my husband, is a ministerial servant in a congregation in St. Petersburg. I know from personal experience that "by means of cunning in contriving error," the film industry can mislead many people. (Ephesians 4:14) When I performed in that Soviet propaganda film, I never guessed that 30 years later I would be one of Jehovah's Witnesses.