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shazdancer last won the day on November 13 2012

shazdancer had the most liked content!

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About shazdancer

  • Rank
    Do I have kids or did I read it in a thread?
  • Birthday 03/08/1957
  1. When you left, what did you find?

    I found the parts of me that were vulnerable to falling into abusive relationships, and the parts of me I wanted to keep. Sometimes they are the same thing. But at least now I can forgive myself and move on from abuse, instead of endlessly trying to "believe better."
  2. Anyone see the Frontline segment on the Amish?

    Hi Jim. I don't often swing by the 'Spot these days, but I did see this post and so I watched the program online. I have met the woman who left the church in the film. She and her husband have a good life together. She has written 2 books about her experience, and she helps others who want to leave the Amish church. She is very respectful of those who want to remain in, but it just wasn't for her. She craved education and choice, two things that are not readily available to Amish young adults, especially not to women. She also experienced abuse from family members. One of the difficulties in the Amish community, like TWI, is that there are not enough checks and balances on behavior. If the church elders are corrupt, there is no one to stop them. The inequality between all men and all women (not just husbands and wives) is also a problem. If a woman complains, she tends to be blamed. Like the Amish, TWI also tried to control its members (mostly those more committeed, such as WOWs and Corps) by restricting their behaviors, but without having them contained on a campus, it was largely impossible. Every society tries to regulate its own to the betterment of the society. Religious groups add the need to be more attuned to things of the spirit by their behavior. But it is sad when societies are constructed to benefit only a subset of the group at the expense of the rest. All people are fallible, including members of the Amish, or TWI, or any other group. But when there is no just way of dealing with evil acts, there is problem at the heart of that society.
  3. It was a "donation".

    According to their nonprofit status, "donors" to PFAL should only have been able to deduct the portion of the donation that was beyond the cost of materials. When I took PFAL, the cost was $65, roughly the retail price of the books and syllabus, so it should not have been advertised as a donation or tax deductible. Ooops.
  4. TWI: Spiritual Surveillance

    Then, Sky, maybe you'll get a kick out of this. We had graduated as Recognized Corps (1 year in-res), but were sent to Phoenix instead of a staff assignment because hubby was drinking and there was a Limb leader going there who would undershepherd him. The guy who was supposed to help him refused to, and only lasted 6 months. So we basically had zero help, or even supervision. Two Limb leaders later, I get called in to meet with him -- I suppose he was trying to get a handle on what kind of leadership types he had. He wanted me to fill out a set of those 15-minute schedules. I looked at them, then handed them back to him and refused, saying I was Recognized Corps and not required to do that kind of thing. He said something like "Dr. didn't really want there to be a Recognized Corps," but I just said that was our understanding when I went in. I tried to be polite, but I also had no interest in doing something so inane with someone who didn't even know me. Silly.
  5. leaving cult with or without your spouse

    Once I realized that my marriage was based on his false pretenses (he never intended to love like Christ loved the church, Gal. 5), and once I realized that God didn't call anyone to an abusive marriage, but to one of peace (I Cor. 7:15), I had no religious qualms about getting out of the marriage. It wasn't easy, but it was one of the smartest choices I ever made. The alcoholic ex-husband continued to drink, continued to abuse, and emotionally destroyed the next person he married (according to her daughter). He didn't destroy me or my kids.
  6. leaving cult with or without your spouse

    The additional pressure with being in a fundamentalist Christian group is that a woman leaving her marriage is seen as sinning against God. "Husband is head of the wife" and all that. Mentally and emotionally, it is also difficult if all her friends and confidants are in the church. No one to give perspective, no examples of women with successful, happy, and peaceful lives outside of the belief system she is surrounded by.
  7. leaving cult with or without your spouse

    PM'ed you. -- Shaz
  8. two mints in one

    John, perhaps the question here is "what is a 'true believer?'" For one example, in the Catholic religion, most American Catholics have long since adopted the use of birth control other than the rhythm method, but would still call themselves Catholic. Every doctrinal point does not define them, but at the core, they consider themselves Catholic. Rome might wish they were more devout, but basically they are happy to have the flock show up at Mass once in awhile and throw a buck in the plate. The same goes for most other religions. Not every Mormon wife wears religious undergarments, not every Baptist believes every non-Christian goes to hell, and so on. TWI, on the other hand, became much more insistent that their followers adopt every bit of the dogma, even when the articles of faith seemed to change from month to month during the Craig years. (Original sin, tithing, allegiance to the MOG, and debt come to mind.) Worse, the organizational structure seemed to support ratting out anyone who did not conform, and those who were ratted on were kicked out, sometimes without so much as a shred of evidence. During the Weirwille years, I knew of plenty of believers who didn't buy every piece of the doctrine. Heck, I didn't, either. But I was willing (for a time) to stay with the organization, because overall, where else was I going to go where anything close to this doctrine was preached? So I and many others stayed, hoping to make changes from within, or to reason with people one at a time. So the basic difference, socially, between TWI and other religions is one of tolerance. I find it interesting that the "kinder, gentler" TWI kicked in when it was clear that a rigid stance threatened to destroy the organization. Can't have that -- too many people on the payroll.
  9. Isolation.....and lives derailed

    I actually agree with johniam in part (don't faint, John ;) ). If you were in a Twig back in Wierwille's day, you were pretty much left alone. Even WOW Ambassadors and Fellow Laborers weren't controlled much at first. But the closer you got to the MOG, the more cult-like it became. At first, there were only a few Corps grads or clergy running things, so their impact on Joe Believer was minimal. Too many people, too few dictators. But as more and more "leaders" moved out from root locales, they brought with them what they thought was the right way to run things, which was to emulate the micromanaging MOG.
  10. Cop Outs: Wierwille's Tone of Ownership

    Sky, if you tell the story of the microcosm well, people will understand that it stands for the macrocosm. No need to shove a moral down people's throats. :) Why were 190 clergy assigned to HQ? IMHO, because they should have been the most loyal to Wierwille, so he was hoping to have better control over his staff -- he wanted yes-men, not people with actual needs. (Which is why he shut down the Senior Corps.) If he'd played it right, he would have had minions to care for him and do his bidding in his old age even if he wasn't the board president anymore. Remember, narcissists tend to be lazy. What he didn't count on was that clergy actually thought of themselves as leaders, able to make decisions and get "revelation" on their own, from Craig on down. He also didn't realize that the top clergy didn't like him much. No surprise -- he was demanding, insulting, capricious, a drunk, and an adulterer. No wonder he went off to Gartmore when it became apparent that he couldn't control the mess at home, a mess of his own making.
  11. What-would_you_do_if

    I've had an interesting life, no doubt about it, some of it very rough. Did the dance thing for over 25 years, hard work but rewarding. Got to where the body wouldn't let me do that anymore, so went to grad school and am 8 years into my second career, doing well. Left the drinker on "the field" where they sent us, later married another TWI-er who was messed up (I just can't pick 'em), divorced him , too. Raised my kids alone. They are grown up now and are AWESOME, and smart, funny, well-liked, and kind. No question, life is so much better out of TWI. I met some very good people, and I met some jerks. Now, I got out in '85-ish, so I wasn't "in" during the Craig years. (I was like, "WHO is the new prez? You're kidding! Seriously?") So I'm talkin' about TWI under Wierwille. LIFE IS BETTER OUT -- MUCH, MUCH BETTER. And my kids are reaping the benefits of being raised mostly out. They are not tied to having to live up to the whim of a cornfield preacher in Ohio or his legacy.
  12. New Internet Info

    Preacher, you may be wrong about the Berne Convention and copyright, where it pertains to PFAL. Wierwille's words were put into fixed form in the Power for Abundant Living book, which certainly was legally copyrighted. By making a derivative work out of his words (internet recording) and distributing it widely (over the internet), you would be in violation of copyright, and the fair use argument would not apply, as you would be inhibiting TWI from making money from his words now or in the future by plastering them all over the internet. And weren't all copies of PFAL owned by TWI, not sold or given away? So aren't you publishing a stolen tape? Oopsie.
  13. Twelve step program

    Newlife, a nice explanation of what AA is, and how some people "get" the program and others don't. An active alcoholic is completely absorbed by drinking. Frank, you said it well when you talked about being changed at the moment you uncorked the bottle. I used to say that my ex could drink me under the table, but I would still be the same, and he would be different from the first drink. His own brother called him Jekyl and Hyde. Twinky, I think that's really the point of AA, to break into the addicted personality, which is completely self-absorbed with the addiction, and turn the person to someone/something greater. The first step in AA is for the addicted drinker to admit powerlessness over alcohol, because up to that point the drinker was trying to make it somehow possible to continue drinking and have it be okay. Everything was serving alcohol. The pure physical addiction of an alcoholic who is ingesting a lot of booze can kill a person who quits cold, so I would not recommend that such a person just stop alone. But recovered alcoholics are usually aware and know what to ask, so a drunk who stumbles into a meeting is not apt to die. Twinks, you might like to attend what is called an "open meeting," where newbies and nonalcoholics can get a sense of what a meeting is like, ask questions, and get some literature to read. I hope it helps.
  14. What-would_you_do_if

    Fer sure, OldSkool. Kinda hypocritical, wasn't it? But I should have thanked him. Instead of thinking that TWI was a great ministry with a few overly-zealous types in it, I learned that it stank from the top down. I agree. And since I knew my own heart, I knew right away that Wierwille wasn't full of "heavy revvy," like he wanted us all to think he was. He was full of something else.
  15. What-would_you_do_if

    I was very angry, but not at first.... My husband got a job right after our Recognized Family Corps year as a chef (his trade), and I was refused a place in the Way Productions dance group (my trade). I sucked it up. My husband got kicked out of working at HQ when he revealed he was still an active alcoholic. I got kicked out with him, though I had done nothing wrong. In the middle of the night, without my input (and my input was later refused), we were "assigned" as far from my family as we could possibly get. My parents hardly got to see their first grandchild. I sucked it up and went. The leader who was supposed to help my husband refused to help him. Instead, I was left with a sometimes violent man. I sucked it up, and wrote a letter to the "man of God," who had written me (and everyone else) to ask why I hadn't gone to the Rock and Corps Week that year, and how had he failed me? I told him how. I received an answer from Mr. Wierwille, self-proclaimed "father in the Word." He scrawled in the margins of my letter that I was "bitter." THEN, I got angry. I knew I wasn't bitter, I knew I had done everything he had told me to do, and done it willingly. He had broken his word to get my husband help, and had abandoned me and my young children. I had always promised myself that if TWI stopped standing for the Word, I would stop standing for TWI. (It was much later, and thanks to WayDale and Greasespot, that I learned TWI was never about the Word of God.) The time had come, after 12 years of faithful service, and I left. I will admit that it took still more years to separate the wheat from the chaff of TWI in my life, but I never second guessed my decision to leave. I should have made it sooner.