This is me (yourself) writing to you from the future. Don’t ask how this is possible; you’d never understand it. Just trust me (yourself) that future technology has advanced to the point that we can send email to be delivered at the time we specify (even if it’s in the past.) [Though, of course, the U.S. Postal Service still inexplicably takes over a week to get snail mail delivered — unless you spend a little extra to send it Priority Mail, in which case it takes two weeks; some things never change.]
Although the Governing Body says we’re not supposed to use this back-dated email feature to contact people B.A. (Before Armageddon), I’ve decided to risk the consequences because of the critically important message I need to impart to you and those of your time.
First off, let me tell you that — believe it or not — you survived Armageddon! After one of those fiery boulders hurled from heaven destroyed your city block, you staggered — barely alive and badly burned — from the remains of your home. Just as you emerged from the rubble, a large raven gripped your skull and began pecking at your eyeballs. But you managed to frighten it off by screaming “Jehovah!” Then you ran to the nearest Kingdom Hall (still perfectly intact, of course) and got in line to answer the 80 questions (which, not surprisingly, you answered in record time and with a perfect score.) You swore the oath of allegiance to the Watchtower and Jehovah, and were re-baptized.
Because of your known penchant for computers, and the fact that you were one of the few educated people to survive, you were assigned to the one computer system that hadn’t been destroyed. Your first task was easy: write a computer program to keep track of the number of bodies being buried by region. Most of the input would come to you as hand-delivered slips of paper from all over the world: much of it illegible or untranslatable. But you made reasonable guesses and printed out colorful graphs of the bogus data for the GB to pour over and congratulate themselves on the work being done.
Once the massive burials and body-burnings were complete they turned their attention to housing. You assisted by writing a program to keep track of materials and needs, producing the brilliantly titled “Materials and Needs” system.
But you had to hire a staff of ten people to manage that system because you were yanked off it and put full-time (and over-time, I might add) on something of much greater importance: the STS (Sin Tracking System.)
It seems the GBE (Governing Body: Earthly) were informed that the GBH (Governing Body: Heavenly) expected them to handle the investigation and reporting of sin. The GBH would merely review the evidence and issue their verdict and sentence. The verdicts were invariably guilty and the sentence was always death. The executions were carried out by the elders in the sinner’s congregation, or — in rare cases of squeamishness — by a Circuit Overseer. The types of execution varied. They would use whatever means were most handy: typically hanging. A plan was in place for millennia to construct a humane euthanasia facility, but the idea was always squashed by the argument that “we should not be humane to those Jehovah wants us to kill.”
The STS was to act as a repository for the names of sinners; the sin(s) they committed (with dates — when available); names of witnesses (if any — the “two witness rule” having been deemed inapplicable in the New Order); and in the vast majority of cases a transcript of the accused’s confession. A status would then be assigned: Waiting to be Reviewed, or Reviewed with a Verdict. Finally, we’d enter the sentence and date of execution.
Your job was to write the STS system, maintain it, hire a staff to input the data, and personally ensure that the GBE received timely reports. At first they met weekly to review the data. But it soon became so overwhelming in volume (when the back-stabbing and false accusations began) that they had to meet daily. They became just like your current U.S. President Oh-bomb-all [I think I remembered that name correctly, at least phonetically]: privately reviewing their daily hit-list and deciding who should die.
I have to go; Sin Watchers are making their rounds — I’ll explain in tommorow’s email, and bring you up to date.
As promised, my future-self sent me the conclusion of his email today:
No one has ever seen or heard from the GBH. Supposedly the GBE receives thoughts from them; just as Rutherford claimed to receive thoughts from angels. There are those who secretly doubt the existence of the GBH. Some of these doubters have been found out and have appeared on the STS list.
This all went on for a very long time until the power plants broke down and no one knew how to bring them back online. Then you had to hire a larger staff to start entering everything by hand on paper files.
But, given enough time, things were slowly rediscovered and reinvented. Eventually we had power, and computers, and even a sort of Internet (tightly controlled and censored, of course.) STS was rewritten so that local elders could enter people onto the Sinners List directly to expedite things, and instead of a printed report, the GBE rubber-stamped the death sentences on a computer screen.
As decades passed and we regained more technology, the GBE set up micro vidcams everywhere (called “Jah’s Eyes”), with a huge staff of “watchers” who logged all sins. Eventually the watchers were automated by artificial intelligence programs (“AI-Watchers”) written to detect sins and dispatch a type of mini-helicopter drone to zap the sinner.
There is a project currently underway to replace the drones with implantable microchips which can be remotely triggered by the AI-Watchers to deliver a massive shock to the sinner’s heart. This is being promoted as the SIYH chip, which stands for “Sin in Your Heart” and is pronounced “sigh”. You’ve already received your summons to appear for an implant. Many have committed suicide when they have received theirs; preferring to die rather than live in fear of the AI-Watchers’ whims. The GBE claims executive immunity from the chip, which has outraged many.
You may wonder why we haven’t decimated the population by now with all of these executions and no new births. Well, the fact is, Jehovah forgot what the Watchtower had printed: he never did resurrect anyone, nor did he remove the maternal instinct or our desire for sex. So, babies have been born (parenthood is one of the leading causes of getting on the Sinners List) and we are still faced with the ongoing torture of having natural desires that are thwarted and punished.
Recently you joined the Sinners’ Rebellion. Yes, there was some violence in local congregations as part of this rebellion — and no you still don’t condone violence. For your part, you introduced a virus into STS so that whatever name was input would automatically change to either the name of the informant or the name of a member of the GBE. This has effectively ground the executions to a halt.
But you are the lead suspect in this “sin of sabotage,” so I know it won’t be long before the punishment will be meted out. There simply aren’t enough people brave enough to rise up against the GBE. You waited too long to act, and are now filled with fathomless depths of guilt.
So, here I sit — or rather, you sit, far in the distant future, guilty of aiding and abetting the deaths of so many. How I wish I had died in Armageddon. That’s why I’m writing to you: whatever happens don’t yell out Jehovah’s name, and don’t get baptized! Death is preferable to the fearful, joyless, loveless existence we endure in this dystopia on the other side of Armageddon.