Crompton, Robert

Robert Crompton. I was brought up in the Jehovah’s Witnesses and from an early age I let that world define my lifetime goals. I was a Group Study Conductor, Special Pioneer, Theocratic Ministry School Overseer and public speaker. All this before I was twenty years old. Then following a moment of insight it all fell apart for me. I was disfellowshipped person. Almost overnight, it seemed, I had gone from being a high flyer to a non-achiever.

I began to lay some of the foundations of my new life right away but it took a long time. I bought a bike, joined a club and enjoyed a couple of seasons as an amateur racing cyclist. I joined a theatre group and dabbled in acting. Then I picked up my old love of learning which had been kindled at school but taunted and stifled within the Watchtower, and took some some part-time courses in psychology.

At thirty years old I went to Lancaster University where I studied philosophy and linguistics. I followed that with a short spell in town planning. Then I had what seemed at first to be a really crazy idea. I should enter the ministry but I was determined from the outset that I would accept no limits whatever upon my right, indeed everyone’s right and even duty, to think and believe or disbelieve freely and without pressure to conform. This brought me to the Methodist church and in due course I offered as a candidate for the ministry.

Following a long and thorough vetting process the Church accepted me for ordination training and sent me off to Cambridge to read biblical studies in the University for three wonderful years before dropping me into a church in County Durham. For my post-ordination studies which every minster is expected to undertake, I registered as a part-time post-graduate researcher and began the work which eventually led to my break-through into the world of the published author with Counting the Days to Armageddon, a history of the Watchtower movement.

Since retiring I have spent a lot of my time writing. I have published seven books and always my writing brings me back to the people, the places and the situations that inspire me.


Leaving Gilead

An Excerpt from Leaving Gilead

Introducing Susan Ridley who is rather too bright to be a proper Gilead girl


Yes, okay, lots of grown-ups believe in God and Jesus and angels and maybe that was all right though she couldn’t think why it was any different from fairies, but her family believed in other stuff as well like the coming of the Lord and the Great Climax before next Tuesday and demons and eschewing things and how terribly wicked other people were, especially those who believed in God but in the wrong way. And they had these phrases they were always using that made them sound like they were reciting things from silly Gilead pamphlets, which they were, of course. Phrases like, ‘in these perilous times’ and ‘the machinations of the devil.’...

The demons thing got to its absolute stupidest when Susan was thirteen. Some idiots started to put it around that things, objects, could be demon-possessed. It was the wise old men of Gilead who started it, of course, but there were plenty of others with the right sort of Gilead-mindedness to fill in the details. The most susceptible objects were things like antiques or any second hand goods which could have been owned by people who dabbled in occult arts. And children were a special target for the demons so, naturally, their toys were the obvious places for evil spirits to lurk.

She might have been able to cope with this if it had just been other people at Gilead Hall who took the hunt for hidden demons seriously. But one Friday afternoon when she got home from school Alan was in the back yard tending a bonfire which was nearly burned out. She didn’t think much about it at first but when she went up to her room she saw that Pookie, her teddy bear who always sat on her pillow, was missing. Straight away she went downstairs and into the kitchen where her mother was preparing vegetables.

‘Where is Pookie?’ she demanded. Her mother carried on peeling carrots and replied in a wearied tone, ‘Susan, you are thirteen. You ought to have grown out of playing with dolls by now.’ ‘Mother! I don’t play with dolls. I never did. Pookie isn’t a doll. He’s a teddy bear and he’s special. I’ve had him since before I can remember and I want to keep him.’ ‘Well it’s too late. It’s gone on the bonfire. You know very well that these things attract the attention of demons. Consider yourself very blessed because your dear brother had the foresight to rescue you from harm. We have to be as cautious as serpents in these perilous times.’

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Shadows of Gilead

An Excerpt from Shadows of Gilead

Introducing Vic who is far more talented the Fellowship of Gilead will let him be

So there he was, ponced up in his suit and a tie like a complete dipstick and feeling as nervous as mush. Nigel was there in the front row looking very smug because he had already done several of these readings and was actually quite good at it. And he probably thought Vic was going to make a pig’s ear of the thing. Which, of course, he did. Completely and utterly... 

...he stood at the speaker’s desk trying to brace himself to do the reading. Brother Robinson was was sitting right in front of him looking grim because he was the one whose job it was to say what the “students” had done okay and what they had done badly and how they could do better next time. He looked as if he was getting a bit impatient with Vic’s hesitation but before he could say, “Go on, boy, get on with it,” Vic started. Exodus chapter eight. The plague of frogs, a truly lovely story.

He rushed out the first two lines at a gallop and then hesitated. He drew in a few deep breaths and carried on. Slowly this time. Like reading a list of very unfamiliar words. Not a sentence. A list. One word. Next word. Er, another word and he wasn’t doing too badly even if it did come out like he was reading a list of words that could be rearranged to make up a story. Then he got stuck on “Pharaoh” which he actually knew but it never looked right.

“Pharaoh,” prompted Brother Robinson wearily.

“Pharaoh,” repeated Vic and carried on with the next few words until he came to “frog” which was an easy one and he had done it already because it was in the heading before the reading actually started, but this time it looked wrong as if it shouldn’t be there and anyway what he had in his head now sounded wrong. Frog, frog , frog but what if it came out as frig? Brother Robinson looked like he was thinking what a stupid little twerp this kid was. So Vic closed his Bible and walked back to his seat without trying to finish the reading and without looking at anyone and especially not at his dad.

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