I first met Mark Sanderson in 1985. That is when my wife and I moved to San Diego and began attending the Central Congregation on Adams Street; incidentally, just about a mile from JF Rutherford’s winter mansion called Beth Sarim.

Mark was just out of school and immediately went off as a special pioneer to Newfoundland. If I recall he started full time preaching while he was in high school. But as it turned out he was back in Southern California for a visit, which is when we met him. He was special. 

His parents were the finest folks. His father, Doug, was a very kindly elder. His mother, Grace, was Canadian. She had been a pioneer in Quebec back in the 1950’s, when Jehovah’s Witnesses were viciously persecuted by Maurice Duplessis. Grace told us that she would take her toothbrush with her when she went out in service because she never knew when she was going to be arrested and have to spend the night in jail. 

Because Mark was visiting he didn’t have a car. He wanted to visit an old anointed brother up in Hemet, Melvin Sargent if I recall, up in the mountains south of Los Angeles, so he asked us if we would like to drive him up there. So we did. We and another brother, Tony, drove up and attended a Sunday meeting and then we were entertained at the brother’s house afterwards. As I recall this brother, like Mark, was a collector of Watchtower memorabilia. 

Some years later we heard the buzz in the congregation grapevine that Mark had started “partaking.” Then he was invited to Bethel. I remember about 10 years ago my wife remarked that he would probably become a member of the Governing Body. She was right. 

Congratulations, Mark!

Although I am happy for you I can’t help but think that your appointment at this late hour is analogous to being assigned to the wheel room of the Titanic about the time the iceberg came into view. We wish you the best!


(I looked through a bunch of old photo albums, thinking that we had taken some photos of the Hemet trip, but couldn’t find them.)