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  1. My official involvement in TWI was brief. My emotional involvement is another story. I was introduced to The Way in late December 1986. It took a lot of persuading, but I finally sat through the class nearly two years later. By then I had sat through dozens of hours of teaching tapes and Way music was part of my regular diet. I even taught a couple of times: Before I took the class! I was not abused in or by The Way. No one hurt me. No one stole my girlfriend or wife. I parted with my money voluntarily. i left because I was loyal to those who were fired en masse in the spring of 1989. Leaving The Way did not affect my worship life one whit. I was of the belief that we who were cast aside were the ones who were truly most loyal to the Word as taught to us by Dr. Wierwille. In the decade that followed, I got married and became a fellowship coordinator at our offshoot in the Bronx. I got divorced and had a crisis of conscience. I tried hard to stay true to Biblical principles no matter who taught them, and to reject non-Biblical principles (again, no matter who taught them). I ceased being loyal to any particular group, defending and challenging various offshoots at various times. I also began attending mainstream churches after I moved to Florida. After my divorce, I discovered this online community of former Way believers. In my naiveté, I guess I must have come off as quite arrogant and inflexible. Honestly, I was not emotionally prepared for the realization that people had such a wide variety of experiences. I think I grew with this site, both in my understanding and in my flexibility, at least when it comes to doctrine. Today I am not a Way believer. I am not a believer in any supernatural religion. I am a humanist: I believe it is incumbent on man to identify and seek to solve the problems we create, so that our progeny can live in a future worth living for. I can work with anyone who has the same belief, whether that belief is driven by an underlying belief similar to mine or by the belief that a Higher Power demands it of us. So be it. I am writing this (and opening this thread) because I wanted to articulate a simple truth: The "members" of this web community are not an ideological monolith. The only thing we have in common appears to be that we sat through some version of a class that The Way called "foundational." Some of us experienced more. Some of us, far less. We are not all here because we were hurt, though some of us were. We are not all here because we are bitter, though some of us are. We are not all here because we hate God or the Word. Some of us love both with all our hearts. Others would no sooner hate God than Godzilla, for all their ability to demonstrate their existence. We are in various states of personal recovery. Honestly, I'm here out of habit. I've been done with this stuff for years. But now and then I am called upon to explain some of the things I wrote when I was young, idealistic, and enthusiastic about my faith. What about the Blue Book review and Actual Errors? The Blue Book Review (look it up) is a sincere effort by a sincere Christian to weed out truth from error in the works of VPW. Actual Errors, while limited in scope and purpose, was apparently QUITE influential despite itself. It was, at its heart, a defense of the class and the collaterals: A defense against an effort to exalt them above the Word we purported to believe. It was never intended to be an attack on PFAL. It was intended to be a recognition of the obvious: That PFAL was not perfect. That discussion died out years and years ago. But not and then it comes back up, and my name is attached to it. So now and then I remind people what it was all about. From the horse's mouth, as it were. Anyway, back to this thread: There is no single "why I left the way" experience. There is no single "why I'm still out" experience. We are individuals. We are here to give a reason for where we are today. Just ask us.
    5 points
  2. I didn't meet John, personally. I do remember rather vividly, though, a teaching of his on grace. He was a pitcher, presumably for his college baseball team. "There I was -- up by a run in the bottom of the ninth. By SOME STRANGE TWIST OF FATE, the bases were loaded with nobody out. I struck out the next two batters with six BLAZING fastballs. At that point, the first baseman told me that with two out, he wouldn't be holding the runner on. Of course, I knew that. After two pitches to the batter, I could see the runner at first with a big lead, so I completely forgot what the first baseman had told me. I wheeled to throw to first, and life went into slow motion. I couldn't throw to first, because the first baseman wasn't there. I couldn't hold on to the ball, because that would be a balk and bring the tying run in. So, I threw it to the RUNNER. Reflexively, he caught it, then dropped it like a hot potato and started running. The umpire called him out for interference. Game over. Grace: being completely in the wrong but coming out smelling like a rose." Rest in peace, John. George
    4 points
  3. John Lynn was certainly dedicated and laser-focused on things that mattered to him. Whether it was biblical research, books that he authored or basketball at Emporia......John wanted everyone within earshot to enter into his world of interests. He was our Emporia Campus Corps Coordinator my last year in-residence and would turn our noon lunchtime into an hour of teaching. Other times, he had stories to make us laugh. I agree with those who suggest keeping this as a memorial thread. Critiquing someone's life's choices publicly upon death is what twi-leadership would do.... especially when way corps died. It was grating and disturbing, not comforting and supporting. This is a time to comfort and eulogize a man who was deeply dedicated and passionate about life. May the God of all Comfort bless the Lynn family and loved ones in their sorrow.
    4 points
  4. A. A complicated man with a complicated legacy. In many ways, the embodiment of my post-TWI determination not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. He truly believed, as many of us once did, that we were privileged with something extraordinary but imperfect, and he dedicated his life to improving it. Along the way he embraced and promoted some indefensible stuff, and he defended it with a stubborn passion that would be admirable in the service of a more worthy cause. When he met me, I felt broken. He did his best to heal my heart, to restore the sense of spiritual family I lost at a time of personal crisis. He refused to judge me or condemn me. I admire his dedication. As it gave way to stubbornness... let his legacy be a warning.
    4 points
  5. We didn't see eye to eye. I wish his family well. I did like his sense of humor. And he led the charge against the way. Opened the eyes of many.
    4 points
  6. So glad for all of the previous insights!!! Was thinking this a.m. that in '74 I took PFull-of- class at a family camp in NY, then Renewed mind class camp, and a week later took CF&S at an Ohio camp. (The Wow's in southern VA had not signed up anyone else but myself and a co-worker who I talked in to accompanying me to the P-fil camp that year.) Thus, I was hood-winked into plenty of error and idolizings, along with some good Bible, sure. But being clobbered over the head and fire-hosed with vpw's doctrinal slants, and being introduced to such nit-pickings as how many crosses or cock crows there were (2 Timothy 2:16- avoid pointless discussions)... This was soon followed with more grooming in CF&S and as I wrote in a personal journal- "SO, there i was hooked in... and two weeks later, i was being further groomed as one of the young women who would be privileged to be raped by your young bucks." Am still in therapy and several support groups for various life traumas, and I WILL heal from this!! (Just decided to join a local church which is sooooo much safer, respectful, doctrinally diverse, truly loving, etc etc etc. Onward! And thank you again GSC-ers for the support, insights, and Truth!!!
    4 points
  7. Good morning, GreaseSpotters! This is Charlene chiming in thank Rocky for posting this link to what is in fact my FINAL public talk. For what I say about that: Visit: Charlene's Last Public Cult Talk | Charlene L. Edge (charleneedge.com) I'm here also to thank Pawtucket for risking so much, giving so much, putting up with so much as he's hosted this venue for so many years. Aren't we lucky we can meet here to share our stories, get info, and offer each other support! Cheers to you, brave ones!
    4 points
  8. I like to think I wouldn't have gotten involved, either. Truth is, though, it was 50 years ago. I'm not the same person now that I was then. Don't beat yourself up over decisions you made so long ago.
    4 points
  9. vpw was determined to make a profit on everything twi- related. If it cost something, he'd try to get it free, or try to get it on the cheap if that was impossible. When he filmed the pfal class, he "bought" the desk for the set, then returned it for a refund, lying and claiming something was wrong to get a refund. Run a class? It's always at someone's home, so we pay no rent, and twi peons supply all refreshments out-of-pocket. All books were charged full retail despite having been printed and bound in-house, all audio tapes were made of a truly inferior quality, a level you couldn't buy in retail stores. Its mission program- wow- was run at a profit- the wow had to pay a fee to go out, and no funds were released to house them or otherwise run the program. Its leadership program- the corps- was run at a profit- with each student charged lots of money to participate, with other people chipping in the rest. In all other organizations, the group carries part or all of the expenses for such programs. On top of that, the corps WORKED. They were charged money, were housed in tiny "residences" and paid for the privilege of working for free. If there IS a God, vpw will have to account for all of that.
    4 points
  10. VPW said it. That settles it. I don't believe it.
    4 points
  11. According to someone I trust for reliable information......twi is starting to reach out and solicit/summon ex-corps grads to come back. Apparently, there is a growing demand for Limb coordinators. Huge swaths of states do NOT have adequate or no leadership. Seems that few are willing to take on the task and challenge of running a state. What could possibly be the reasons? A non-salary position......and confrontation from the bod-leadership every week? The grueling paperwork and reporting back to distant overlords? Enduring a no-upside situation.....and neglecting wife/kids in the process? Being micro-managed by hypocritic Pharisees? At the smallest mistake, having your name sullied thru the mud at corps meetings? If you think about quitting.....you will be on the blunt end of character assassination? Also, it was said that the board of directors is implementing some of Bob Moneyhands' suggestions from that letter. Yes, Bob (and others) did suggest that the no-debt policy should be tossed. Yes, Bob (and others) did suggest that corps who were wronged should be invited back. Are they going to start up a "research team" again? I'm positive that twi knows who I am......and has photocopied hundreds of my GSC threads. I will not be getting a phone call......thankfully. It wouldn't matter if they apologized for Martindale's and Lally's 1998 Character Assassination on my life and reputation. They publically lied about us to keep us from exposing the sullied underbelly of Martindale's sexual predation and twi's whitewashing this information. Rosalie knew. They all knew. No matter.........I ain't going back. Never. Ever.
    3 points
  12. I hate to be the one to break it to you, Mike, but..... you overrate your significance on this board. Things don't revolve around you, nor do we wish you'd suddenly start posting again when you take a break. This SHOULD be comforting- as in, there's less pressure to perform, but more likely, it's LESS comforting for someone who's still searching for converts to his belief system. BTW, being on the spectrum would remove a lot of the stigma of your refusal to converse in a civil manner like everyone else, since you might be unable to see the difference. That wouldn't be an "attack", it would partly excuse you for previous incidents.
    3 points
  13. Why I Wrote My Story -- Insanity on Steroids Five years ago, I put in writing here at GSC my experiences from those last ten years with The Way International. The reasons why I wrote my story were.....1) to send a warning to all those involved in twi and others considering taking classes from this cult, 2) an attempt to differentiate between Scripture-based Christians and twi's lockstep loyalty of servitude, and 3) to expose twi's incremental steps to overthrow one's will and consent. There are no fences with concertina wire to hold them prisoners, but there are very-real doctrines of fear and deception interlocking to prevent escape. Insanity on Steroids The strongholds of twi's prison are constantly praised and enforced by 1) Twi's MOG-doctrine and 2) the pfal class. In twi-mythology, wierwille was "the man of God" (to the whole world) who was called to teach the word like it hadn't been known since the first century. Secondly, the pfal class contained the essence of "the Word" that students were to stand on and never allow anyone to talk them out of it. Both elements, like rebar and concrete......keep twi's foundation "solid." No twi-imprisonment would be possible without the way corps.......like guards and walls, to keep the inmates from escaping into nearby communities, jobs/careers and family. Wierwille devised the corps program knowing that his (stolen) pfal class was not enough to keep people involved.....enforcers would be needed to keep them marching forward. Why was Martindale chosen as the second President of The Way International? What did wierwille say was the reason for choosing him? I have often cited that wiewille's corps leaders were abandoning him as early as 1978. Thus, he began to write "personal" corps letters in an attempt to strengthen that corps household bond. It didn't work. More and more corps were waking up to the fact that this "lifetime of Christian service" was in reality a life of twi-servitude. And, underneath the surface.....many corps were making plans of their own. When wierwille died in 1985, the full measure of that seething pot came to a boil. Let the splintering begin. Martindale was chosen to lead twi, according to wierwille.....because he ALWAYS OBEYED. Full stop. Period. Wierwille gave no other explanation......and THAT should have sent chills down our spines in 1981. According to vpw, martindale wouldn't ask how high he was to jump, he just jumped. Always. That was the criteria for being chosen as the cult's ..... twi's next president. · Geer took measures to undermine and sabotage twi's trustees. · Martindale seemed to actually believe he was the new "man of God." · Don and Howard wanted to keep the trains (and money) rolling in. · Rosalie (and Donna) were cunningly planning a coup. · John Lynn and others saw opportunities to start splinter groups. With Geer's paper, The Passing of a Patriarch, it is quite easy to see the bold strokes of a power-grab. Wierwille's death caused a flurry of activity and now, Martindale's peers were not going to accept his leadership as Chief Bottle Washer. Tumultuous times ensued and an euphemism "the fog years" was inserted to describe those ugly, back-stabbing years. No matter which leader or ex-leader you chose to associate with......they ALL had the baggage of cult-doctrine. Corps leaders, all of them, had gone thru an indoctrination program. Perhaps, the best choice would have been to keep one's distance for at least 10 years and see where the chips fall. I did not make that smart choice. I chose to stay involved with twi......and hence, those 10 years seeing Insanity on Steroids. Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20. With hindsight 20/20.....all of us here at GSC know now each choice involving Corps Leadership or Ex-Corps Leadership was fraught with error. Some of us chose to stand with martindale. Some chose geer. Some chose lynn. Some went back to a local church. Some chose to be left alone (smart choice). Thankfully, I only stayed until 1998. Other corps, and many corps coordinators (Moynihans, Forts, Horneys, Magnellis)......stayed until 2016/2017. Another 18 years being micro-managed by Rosalie Fox Rivenbark!!! And, one of the things that I find so amazing is that NOT ONE OF THESE CORPS LEADERS (cough, cough) have come clean. They STILL actively follow the path of wierwille-doctrine giving (subtle) allegiance to wierwille and his plagiarized teachings. With that in mind.....it makes it all the more important that our stories are out there!!! Splinter leaders are no different that their mother-cult. Same indoctrination path to idolatry. · How many have heard our warnings and changed course? · Lives, marriages, families, and careers have gained stronger footing. · Body blows have been given to twi and splinter groups. · Possibly, hundreds of thousands abs (millions?) have alluded twi's grasp. · Even 100s of indoctrinated corps have bailed in the past 15 years. · GreaseSpot Cafe continues to ROCK.....woohoo!!! Five years later, all the aspects of my life are better. Actually, pretty damn good (knock on wood). My critical thinking skills have skyrocketed and I spot manipulation and bullschit a mile away. I can't imagine what my life would be like had I not taken that challenging LEAP TO FREEDOM. Nor, can I imagine the hurt, guilt, and limitations that it would have imposed on our kids. Thank God for the scales falling from my eyes. Cults herd people into a chasm of dependency......mentally, physically, socially, and financially. They prey on your weakness and close the gates to your escape. Sure, you're around other "like-minded" sheep/cattle.....but are you being prepared for the slaughterhouses? Cults thrive on dependency and silence. Subjugating and institutionalizing people are their hallmarks of oppression. Those corps leaders who remain silent are complicit in the evil. So, keep telling your stories. .
    3 points
  14. Nearly 7 out of 10 Americans have at least one dose. Nearly 6 out of 10 are fully vaccinated. Boosters are available for certain groups but not everyone at this time. Children 5 - 11 can be vaccinated now at the schools around here. Most people are getting vaccinated. Apparently there is controversy about the difference between treating worms and a viral disease. Made more controversial by the complete lack of clarity as to why this is a controversy.
    3 points
  15. Going for my booster jab tomorrow. Yes, I believe God to keep me safe - and to keep others safe. I believe I have a great natural immune system, to which loads of fresh fruit and veg, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle contribute. I also believe God gave me the common sense to take reasonable precautions. I continue to wear a mask in shops, etc, and gel my hands wherever possible (even though these actions are no longer legally required) - and (though I'm needle-phobic), I get necessary inoculations. No way am I giving this virus to any of the many very elderly people that I know. (Don't want it myself, either.)
    3 points
  16. This mRNA technology sounds like it's going to open the door to many new solutions, so that's fascinating. However, joining a cult like The Way is like a type of addiction. There is no vaccine except education. Social distancing might help since it can reduce contact with potential recruiters. The internet however, is still a place where one could be indoctrinated. One could practice social media distancing as well.
    3 points
  17. I'm going briefly off-topic here to alert readers that the Covid information posted above is glaringly incorrect and, quite frankly, dangerous. Okay, back to the topic at hand.
    3 points
  18. Not for a moment do I think it's fair game to go after grieving family members.
    3 points
  19. Ah, but a DIFFERENT thread is a memorial. I was going to leave that thread completely alone. I had no PERSONAL dealings with JAL, and thus no memories to share. I also wasn't going to make a new thread JUST to call out dangerous teachings. However, since this one was started, I consider it fair game. :) It's one thing to go out of your way to do a character-assassination on someone. Somebody leaves twi, and immediately the spin doctors grab the microphone and begin a smear campaign with vague connections to reality. The person was a model Christian up until the moment before they left twi, NOW they're scum! It's another to point out that someone-who made himself a PUBLIC FIGURE and worked hard to do so- has disseminated dangerous misinformation to the public. For this post, Í'm going to skip the dangerous "Momentus" push he did where people were hurt, and the dangerous "personal prophecy" movement that ruined lives and wrecked marriages. I'm JUST going to go by the video that was linked, and what he said about the global pandemic, during its height. Only going by this one video.... A) He said masks are useless against COVID. That's false. That was known `100 years ago with the "Spanish Flu" and it's true now as well. He said all the authorities speaking up were wrong and that if you listened to the "right sources", you'd know that. No mention of WHO those right sources were, can't fact-check if he's correct, of course. At that level, he's floating a rumor. B) He said COVID was no worse than a flu. Outside the US, this isn't a political thing in many countries- it's acknowledged this is a worldwide killer. Again, no sources for his outrageous claim. C) Claim the CDC said many of the cases (he said "MOST") of the cases were due to comorbidities, so that meant that COVID wasn't to blame there. That shows an ignorance of basic epidemiology. With an "opportunistic infection", something occupies and wears down the immune system, and something else- which normally wouldn't be dangerous- gets in and does a lot of harm or kills someone. So, if there was no COVID, the "co-morbidity" would not have been a significant issue. So, his own words there, for those with a layman's grasp of medicine, show he doesn't understand what he's passing along. He may believe it, but that doesn't make it true, and it doesn't make it harmless. D) He said it's worse to wear the masks than to risk catching COVID. E) He said the isolation protocols have been keeping people from attending church. He hasn't gotten around that much. Virtual church-going got REALLY popular during 2020. F) He said "most" vaccines- with COVID the context- are "HARMFUL", No medical authority has embraced this, and they keep refuting this. All the medical experts rushed out to get vaccinated as soon as was possible. In fact, many people who got on the media and claimed there may have been problems with the vaccines were all quick to get vaccinated. Again, no source, just another rumor he floated. G) He said the US death rate for COVID was 0.0 something death rate. He said he doesn't "worry about it at all", and repeated that the masks were useless, and tells nurses not to bother with them. He mentioned "the true science" with no mention of where one can look it up. So, hidden (OCCULTED) knowledge where he refuses to cite his sources. All of that, if followed, runs between "highly-suspect" (hidden sources) and potentially fatal (skipping the vaccines.) In a lot of the world, this isn't about politics, it's about PUBLIC HEALTH and bipartisan support for measures were common. In countries where this was a political football, the body counts for COVID shot up (like Brazil.) Comedian Gabriel Iglesias is in poor health. He's morbidly obese, has diabetes, and other health problems. He caught the Delta variant of COVID, and took 1 day of bed-rest. He was fine afterwards- because he got BOTH vaccination doses. If one follows JAL's counsel on COVID, one runs the risk of getting the disease, and possibly dying, or possibly passing it along to other family members and friends. Places where vaccination has been up are often maintaining social distancing and mask-wearing, and otherwise are returning to normal- as much as one can while doing both. The places where the highest rates of people getting COVID and dying of COVID correlate directly to places where people remain unvaccinnated. That's a problem for 3rd world countries that can't get vaccines, and that's a problem in the US in counties where people say their personal freedoms are being infringed upon. I agree with what Arnold Schwarzenegger said on this. Your personal freedoms have responsibilities. JAL had the courage of his convictions, and practiced what he preached- which, apparently, led directly to his death. At least he was CONSISTENT. If this post ends up getting chopped up by staff, I'm sorry. I tried to stick to the medical facts and as clear of politics as I could manage.
    3 points
  20. I never knew John personally, but I know quite a few people here did. To them and to his family and friends I offer my condolences.
    3 points
  21. Thanks for your words Raf. Im a bit emotional this morning after hearing the news and (for once...lol) really couldn't string the words together in an apporpriate manner to express what you said. I really liked him on a personal level but I just couln't follow him into another ministry when asked. I wish I could have done more for him on a personal level but stubbornness is a key word here. I respected him and my heart goes out to his loved ones.
    3 points
  22. Make sure you take your Vitamin D. (Most people have a deficiency due to lack of adequate exposure to sunlight). It maintains your immune system. There is an abundance of scientific data detailing its importance. A doctor can run a blood test and make recommendations on proper dosage.
    3 points
  23. That whole "Great Principle" thing made no sense. God can't communicate except to what he is, i.e. spirit? But somehow that spirit that he "created in you" can communicate to your mind?
    3 points
  24. Oh gosh, I will also add that I do not believe I was / others were totally a victim of circumstances (unless they were children; I experienced traumas thruout my childhood that did make me more vulnerable to adulthood abuses, but-)- to a degree, I put myself in the position of being groomed, of taking unwise risks, etc, as other victims have. Thank goodness we accept what responsibility is rightly ours so we can heal, recover, gain boundaries, warn others, and move on.
    3 points
  25. Well, am recently back from the CFFM 25th Anniversary "Reunion" weekend in Tipp City OH. A Very Wonderful Time for the most part, especially (for me) hanging out Saturday night singing lots of the old songs together, a healing time of joy and time traveling back to the GOD-blessed inspirational "I belong here" times, which a part of me still cherishes apparently. So there we were in the hotel lobby, some folks older and wiser most likely, but still enjoying "Daddy's Arms", "Eagle Inside", ETC together. Why not?? I just wept afterwards... Cleansing, delivering, connecting to the past with a new more whole me... Validating GOD'S good moving and Jesus' excellent working I think, in spite of EVERYTHING else that began to unfold later. (I am very loosely connected to CFF; attend some weekend conferences in OH, and went to annual Family Camps in NH until Covid; enjoy teachings on their website occasionally.) I am specifically writing about a few other things too- Tonya Schroyer, love her to death!, handled The Way several times briefly- shared again about being full of condemnation etc when she finally got out, but also said "We were taught well". And "I had a good beneficial time in the Way, I know some ppl didn't"... But let's remember that his tombstone read "I wish I were the man I knew to be." Then later four folks were honored with ordination among them Sarah Wierwille Guigou, and she spoke: "I love my father... Some people need to be grateful and remember that if it weren't for him, they would be dead. People stopped the move of the Spirit, (God did not stop working as much as He could)." I stopped to think how the youngest daughter of vpw would feel, what she may have experienced hate-mail-wise, how she was kept from visiting her mother, or attending her funeral I believe. HOWEVER, having learned about the many powerful sexual abusers getting away with all of the cover ups, the knee jerk reactions of victim blaming and doubting, the deep suffering of the victims on various fronts and levels, and the general IGNORANCE of people re: trauma and PTSD, I would have worded my statement a little differently if I were Sarah.- I would have added "I know my father hurt and abused many people, and some of them are still suffering from the traumas they experienced in the Way. For this I am deeply sorry, and if there is anything I can do to help with their healing, I am available. Victims need to be heard, and their experiences validated." The angry hurting side of me wants to help her add more, if I may- "My father was a lying, cheating, f____ing B_ST_RD. He abandoned his family. He betrayed my mother over and over. Yes his tombstone read "I wish I were the man I knew to be", but that was mostly a sanctimonious, hypocritical, self-pitying, facade. I pray for God to have mercy on his soul, and trust that He will bring justice for every single victim of my father's lust and power abuses. Amen." Thank you again for this safe place to process and voice these things!! Maybe I should connect with someone at CFF about this so that I am not just venting here without actually addressing things. But I know blasting ppl doesn't work... Asking Qs is probably the way to get ppl thinking but not sure if that is really needed for myself or them... I have already written to Kevin Guigou and he was kind, so maybe that is enough for now. AND I talked with Sarah as well two years ago without laying any specific blame on vp, but therapeutic counseling is not her forte, which is fine. To God be the Glory, great things He is doing, and Lord I/we have an eagle inside!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God bless!
    3 points
  26. Thinking back at some of the places I worked, fear was used a lot. Like fear of getting fired or doing something the wrong way, or somehow shamed. TWI went further than that, trying to get deep in your mind and life and be afraid of every thought.
    3 points
  27. Funny he said that in the class but promoted fear through the way tree, turning the tree upside down and killing the leaves. As Bolshevik said somewhere back a few posts, fear was institutionalized. The no fear thing was all about getting you through the 12th session anyway. After that you were fair game.
    3 points
  28. So the idea is that if specific things come together than things happen. And these things that contribute to the outcome, and the outcome itself, are, or can be known. Some kind of scientific or philosophical formula that is supposed to work. Here this idea is being applied to the human mind. This is the premise of PFAL. And this is why it fails. The defining of free will, and emphasis, is overstated for one. That you can present ideas, factors, thoughts, scripture, truth, lies or other things and get a specific outcome every time. Oh! but wait! if the outcome does not happen than you must not be believing, or FREE WILLING to believe one or more of these ingredients. Like some kind of cookbook. God was left out of the class, and taken over by things that we are supposed to do and believe. Somehow the message of not by my own works is lost.
    3 points
  29. Back to process a little more with you kind smart supportive ppl. The deep meaningful attachments to past way leaders are the toughest I find, to handle. I know it is like family members that one is contemplating breaking contact with (to varying degrees) due to toxic behaviors, etc. E.g. the minister, G.E., a Very Good Friend, who married my (now ex-)h and me, and was honored and excited b/c he had just been put on full time staff as our Branch was growing; we were his first of three couples to marry that spring; G.E. then dedicated both of our children in the hospital after difficult deliveries; and he virtually gave his window cleaning business to my h. ALL of the weddings, ALL of the showers, ALL of the baby dedications, ALL of the meetings, ETC ETC ETC in our closely-knit fellowship that our branch coordinators supported... Then came the Loyalty Oath; agreeing with G.E. and becoming Geer-ites; being marked and avoided by 1/2 of those dear friends... ALL of the following havoc- divorce, trauma with the kids, etc etc. Now thanks in large part to wonderful posters here at GSC, I am finally and fully identifying vpw's terrible abuses, wrong doctrine, and my naivete/misplaced trust, and how the demise of the way ministry was inevitable. I just became a full partner (member) in a local church b/c it is much safer, open, and more soundly based than the way EVER was. B/c of the PTSD I still have from the unsafe attachings, it is all part of the recovery process, apparently, to evaluate how much to interact w/ old way friends when the opportunity still pops up from time to time. FB is a great way to say Hi, like things, restore some of the connections from a distance. Guess I will still play it Very Safe, and carefully pick and choose what happens IRL; and be ready to exit if I trigger from anxiety (flight), or want to explode (fight) if someone starts defending vp, e.g. Oh BOY! The Best Part about this Whole Process has been learning about how my Father, my Comforter, and my Jesus are fully functioning as Safe Present Nurturing Guiding places/beings to Fully Attach to and Trust In!! Just sayin' for anyone who has taken this spiritual path... THANKS MUCH for listening!! Best to all here!! Onward!!
    3 points
  30. Hello. If you want to socialize, we have game threads still going in the Games forum, and you are still welcome to join. "From 2002-2008 I was an advocate here that we return to PFAL to see how much we missed the first time(s), and to see how much we forgot or drifted from. I am convinced that 99% of all the woes reported here are due to us all NOT GETTING IT RIGHT the first times." You also outright contradicted the Orange Book in a few major issues- like vpw claiming we could get to the originals and how we could do that, and you saying we could NOT, and vpw saying something like 90% of Scripture means just what it says, and you saying the meanings are hidden, and vpw saying the class (book, once edited) was a class of KEYS and was to UNDERSTAND Genesis to Revelation but not to replace them, and you said it DID replace Genesis to Revelation. You said a lot of things, and usually switched to vague, uninformative wordings in order to obscure either a lack of substance or outright contradicting pfal while explaining pfal. Most of us here were around to see all of that, but a few new people may have missed it. For those people, I'd like to add that I in no way exaggerated what he said nor misrepresented it. Most people who have passed through these metaphorical doors are convinced that the problems were due to vpw violating the Bible and fair moral and legal codes while claiming he was our spiritual leader, and teaching his disciples to be two-fold the child of hell that he was- although, frankly, few matched in in that respect. Most actually cared about people, and only a tiny handful were that sociopathic or that fanatical to match him. You reluctantly agreed he wasn't perfect, but credited that to him being "OVERgifted" probably due to him being "born with an overabundance of brains and brawn" and "where he walked, the earth shook." (Seriously, those were his words, not mine.) You said the keys to getting it right were the hidden keys to pfal you knew and none of us did, and that the failure to get it right wasn't due primarily to pfal being a flawed product. "In those years I was only able to get a very small few of the GreaseSpotters to view things this way. The few of us came back to PFAL, this first wave of us, found it to be better than when we originally enjoyed it. " There were fewer people in your new group than in the "Heavens Gate" comet watchers, or so many other groups convinced they were there primarily due to some secret they know. The US is loaded with people who think they know "the secret" to what's really going on. Thousands of people believe that. The great obscurity of your product, and the requirement that one have fond, nostalgic twi memories seriously limits the target audience of the public. " I predicted back here at GreaseSpot then that I was only dealing with the "First Wave" of those returning to PFAL. " Nostalgia arrives in waves with decades. That's true regardless of content. And calling a handful of people a "first wave" shows a disregard for the term "wave." [To be followed with claims he did not, then later claims he was metaphorical in some way and that I failed to understand him, then later claims it was deliberate so someone could "spring his trap." Some of these posts follow VERY predictable patterns- like Mike returning after being refuted completely and claiming that his last visit showed him coming up with answers to everything and coming off unscathed.] "About 2 or 3 years ago I started seeing lots of Facebook Groups being started by lots of pro-PFAL people, and many comments by other pro-PFAL people. " Defining "pro-pfal" can change who is meant by a lot. By some definitions, that would include ME. Also, "many" is a remarkably vague term. "The number of Facebook Groups" is a lot like when twi defined a 5-person graduating class ENTIRELY by which percentage was going on to do what- 20% to do this, 20% to do that, which was 1 person each time. Facebook groups can be of a single person and a tiny, occasional audience. They also OVERLAP a lot- so 10 Facebook groups on this probably include 80% overlap- or more- of their audiences. "Every now and then a nay-sayer chimes in, but it's obvious how ineffective they are." Isn't it amazing how ineffective a naysayer can be, when they show up at a venue with a purpose to which they are diametrically opposed? ""After 35+ years now, lots of people are done comparing the flurry of clone classes that cropped up after 1986, and have found they fall way short of the original." That's not what they themselves are saying- that's your opinion of what they are doing. Their own answers would be quite different, and NOT rely on vpw, pfal, or anything involving a farm outside New Knoxville, in most cases. BTW, out of the supposed 100,000 people who took pfal, there are perhaps a few HUNDRED, at most, who are doing the splinter thing, with another few hundred if you include twi and SOWERS and so on, the groups with the authoritarian leaders and so on. In nearly every case, the audiences are all aging out- and in the other, the soil doesn't have depth. "
    3 points
  31. Am I the only one who thinks Bullinger's Figures of Speech sound a WHOLE LOT like Harry Potter spells? Condescensio! Hypocatastasis! Asyndeton! Polysyndeton! Expecto-Runaroundem!
    3 points
  32. Hello Mike. I've kinda missed you round here. Could always rely on you to make a point that would stir up Cafe denizens. Was wondering what had happened to you. You went away to study PFAL more deeply, I think. Well, no desire from me to study PFAL. Oh, I wish you could read it in the original! Maybe try deep-reading the two principal books that VPW plagiarised? I doubt TWI is really "moving back to the original PFAL class." Far too dated.
    3 points
  33. I recently rediscovered this site and have spent hours and hours reading your posts and your stories. Despite how many years have gone by since you wrote them and since I have been out of twi, I have been moved to tears, outrage, gratitude and sometimes laughter. Although we may not know each other personally, I feel a profound connection with you from our shared experience in twi. Thank you so much for keeping this site going all this time. My brief history with twi: started attending twig in 1973 Fairfax, CA and first took PFAL at a live class (!) at Shaver Lake, CA that summer. I was 17. Took the Intermediate class, went Word Over CA, then Fellow Laborers, College WOW 75-76, 2 years "free" WOW ( NJ 76-77 and MA 77-78.) Was accepted to the 10th Corps, but did not enter. Returned to CA (San Gabriel Valley), took the Advanced class, married another WOW vet, coordinated a twig for several years, had 2 kids, finally had enough of increasing legalism, hard-heartedness, and arrogance from "leadership" and we ended our ties to twi around 1990. As was the case with so many of us, I had stayed in partly from fear of being "possessed" if we "tripped out." I did battle depression for quite a while after we left because we had lost our friends and social network and I didn't want to be "unequally yoked" with "unbelievers" or find a church, since I still believed churches were "whited sepulchres. " Sigh. I offer huge thanks to you all who have posted actual letters and documents from back in the day, particularly the infamous Passing of the Patriarch letter. All I knew about Chris Geer besides that he was at Gartmore then was that Something Big had happened which most of the rank and file were not privy to. I heard snippets of gossip ( "We're not supposed to talk about this, but I heard...") and observed jockeying for position amongst The Bigs, but had no real information. Some time after this, The Way Bookstore published one of their little booklets entitled "The Passing of the Patriarch" which I now know was so heavily redacted it bears no resemblance to his actual letter. The letter I read for the first time a couple months ago, 33 years after it was written. I briefly wondered if releasing that letter to the entire "ministry" at that time might have ushered in what some would call a cleansing revival. Yeah, probably not. "Godly sorrow leading to repentance" was not in our corporate repertoire. Not that the whiny, self-serving drivel I read in that letter would have inspired everyone to get it together. Earlier today I was telling my older son (who will be 36 next month) about some of the things I read in the GSC and got choked up and teary. Because my twi days were so long ago, I was surprised by this, but then I remembered how much of my heart and soul, time, effort, and money I gave to twi for so many years. I now sometimes wonder if there is a God, yet here I was crying that God's people had been so ill used and hurt by people who claimed to be men of God. The last time I took the Advanced class was in the summer of 1984 on the campus of San Diego State University. We stayed in dorm rooms. My roomie and I would make jokes about about certain Way Corps people such as "So and So must have forgotten their AC "retemory" that 'he who shall be greatest among you shall be servant of all'"and similar mockery. Mind you, I believed that many WC were genuinely trying to walk with God and serve the Body of Christ, but there were many more who behaved as though they walked on water and we worker bees should be grateful to breathe the same air and receive their wisdom. Our joking was a way to cope with their attitude. I have regretted not lovingly confronting b.s. when I saw it rather than putting up with it, but I don ' t know that even if most of the "believers" had done so, it would have made much difference. The house that was twi was built on sand and the storm causing its collapse was beginning in fury. That the organization still exists is a wonder to me. So again, thank you so much and heart hugs to you all.
    3 points
  34. Their retirement accounts, of course!
    3 points
  35. One of the most liberating things when I left TWI was the realization the Sh1t Happens.
    3 points
  36. Since our isolated friends seem a bit disconnected from the world, struggling with the strategy and morality to continue on giving their lives to perpetuate an organization founded upon plagiarism and adultery, I thought a recent series might help them out to develop a few missing principles.
    2 points
  37. "I wish I were the man I know to be." victor paul wierwille I wish......... I were........ I know....... Translation: I see myself (a projected image) on a glorious stage as a world-renowned leader knowing there are millions upon millions who crave to hear me teach. When I speak, the throngs of crowds before me listen with reverence silence.........to hear words of majestic importance for their lives. From their subservient demeanor, I am assured that the Lord has called me to this great endeavor, place and time. .
    2 points
  38. Re: Vitamin D3: I've 'heard' from multiple sources that in cases of death by covid-19 the one constant was that the Vitamin D3 levels were low; it appears to be an important element...
    2 points
  39. WOW, this is allowed... so far so good. I had Covid-19 around the end of July... was sick for about a week with all the symptoms (very tired, fever, coughing, loss of taste and smell) stayed home and recovered naturally. Couple of wks later went to the Dr. who suggested that I get a Covid-19 antibody blood test, which I did, and it came back positive. I had antibodies but was told sometime later that there is a "quantatative" antibody test that shows a numeral value.. which is something I'd like to get soon. Right now I've got natural God-given antibodies, so whether or not the vaccine is safe, I don't need to get one. I do continue to take high doses of Vitamin D (10,000 a day) plus Vitamin C, zinc and Ivermectin once a wk for maintenance. This regimen works for me and would be interested to know how folks here are doing.
    2 points
  40. This has been a problem on its way for 30+ years. The late 60s/early 70s numerical growth was fueled by young people who wanted something different than what their parents' churches had to offer. As cultish as we now know TWI has always been, for us young people back then, TWI, at least upon our initial exposure, was exciting. For the children of the first few waves of PFAL grads, TWI was their parents' church and was anything but exciting. Besides, by the 90s there was an evangelical or "full Bible" church on every street corner that claimed to deliver the same "accuracy of The Word" that TWI did...there was plenty of choice, it wasn't just TWI vs. mainstream Christianity any more.
    2 points
  41. I consider John Lynn my friend from the state of Indiana. Sad to hear him breath his last natural earthly life breath. About two months ago on July 29th, I sent John and his wife my biblical teaching book titled: "Our Loving Savior Jesus Christ". As payment John sent me one of his books: "Is There Death After Life?", that I agree with. A good book and in working with two other authors, they wrote a number of biblical teaching books. Simply, John has the hope of a future eternal life with Jesus Christ our loving savior. When Jesus Christ returns as 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 teaches.
    2 points
  42. Way Corps "ministers" are put on a short leash to follow twi's inept bod-leadership. Under this arrangement, corps cannot expect to be enriched by God.... or that "God will meet their every need." That corps promo is nothing short of gobbledygook. Restrictions on every hand bring forth the putrid fruit of man. In fact, many corps grads are assigned to work at headquarters and are given a meager bi-monthly paycheck for their work. The Way International is thus..."meeting their need" or lack thereof. True ministers of the Lord are NOT stuck in the chain-of-command structure. They are independent from bureaucratic constraints. Free to "live and move and have their being" in the Lord, walking with Him. In that context.....yes, God can and will supply. But twi puts people in a box of their own making.....and its a very small box constricting movement, growth and supply. All of twi's classes and programs lead one towards dependence on twi..... NOT dependence on the Lord where he shall be "like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season." [Psalm 1]
    2 points
  43. Great points! Luring people in with great promises is the old get-rich-quick-scheme for suckers who seek to improve their quality of life, fast and cheap. “A get-rich-quick scheme is a plan to obtain high rates of return for a small investment. The term "get rich quick" has been used to describe shady investments since at least the early 20th century” . From: Wikipedia - get rich quick scheme (…just an FYI from a former-sucker: don’t waste your time and money…) Speaking of gurus – popular experts on the law of believing/magical thinking – they feign generosity saying they want to let you in on their little secret…Well, here’s a secret within a secret – the only ones getting rich by the law of believing/magical thinking are the con artists selling books on the law of believing/magical thinking. I remember one of wierwille’s spiels ages ago - using a small part of Proverbs 23:7 as a proof-text of how everything about your life is shaped by your believing: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”…whereas the context of the passage Proverbs 23:6-8 is actually talking about a selfish person who has the goal of taking advantage of others for their own personal gain. Here it is in The Amplified Bible of Proverbs 23:6-8 Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, Or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates]. He says to you, “Eat and drink,” Yet his heart is not with you [but it is begrudging the cost]. The morsel which you have eaten you will vomit up, And you will waste your compliments. And here’s an interesting sermon I found online that also challenges the proponents of the magical thinking slant on Proverbs 23:7: “There is a widely held belief that the following verse “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..” (Prov 23:7 KJV) means that human beings have the power to visualize and shape their reality and then manifest a new creation from the probabilities of their thoughts. Some even believe under the erroneous guise of Quantum Physics, that they can mentally turn thoughts into physical matter in a given place and time, and create their life experience physically, financially, relationally, emotionally and spiritually. However, the Bible says the complete opposite. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa 55:8-9 NIV) In the original Hebrew, Proverbs 23:7-8 is very different. It says “for he is like one who is inwardly calculating." Eat and drink!" he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words.” (ESV) The verse is actually saying that a mean, cheap and stingy person watches every mouthful of food his guest eats in bitter resentment as he counts what it is costing him. It is very clear that it has nothing to do with thoughts changing or shaping reality… … It is true that thoughts are very important because they can INFLUENCE and AFFECT reality, (i.e., one’s health, attitude, behavior, success or failure). They can also create the perceived SUBJECTIVE mental reality by how a person positively or negatively reacts to their surroundings or events, but they cannot create their own OBJECTIVE physical reality and control time and space, or matter or even people….” from: Sermon Central - As a man thinks in his heart, so is he? I think one of life’s great protracted and sublime lessons is that there are no shortcuts to anything worthwhile – whether it’s a career, relationships, self-improvement, whatever…if it’s anything that’s truly rewarding it’s going to take time and effort… reflecting on my own former attitude when I was in TWI, “investing” my thoughts, hopes and dreams in magical thinking and pipe dreams fostered at least two bad habits: 1. Being impatient (listen to the inner-baby whine: “I want it now. Wah, wah, wah. When am I gonna get it. Wah, wah, wah…Who do I have to badger to get what I want? ...uhm…er… oh yeah, forgot about God… hey God, when are you gonna get it for me – I’m only asking for the millionth time! Wah, wah wah.”) 2. The misappropriation of brain power. The number 2 point – the misappropriation of brain power is a big deal. In light of my earlier post which talked about things like self-fulfilling prophecy where our beliefs and expectations influence our behavior at the subconscious level or the placebo effect - a patient’s beliefs effects the “treatment” they experience – that is perhaps the real and often untapped pragmatic powder keg...or rather power keg…with a time-release fuse …. …in my opinion, a good use of brain power is to periodically evaluate our mental habits - are they developing useful skills? Are we focusing our brain power on realistic goals? Do we assess our behavior to see if the things we do over and over again really serve our best interest? …followers of magical thinking might want to take their definition of “believing” down a notch or two – to maybe just some good old-fashioned self-reliance…you know, that pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps stuff…to improve your situation…develop a skill set…whatever, by your own hard work and self-determination rather than getting titillated by some pie-in-the-sky-sales-rep.
    2 points
  44. Please note, and I thinnk this is implied in your statement - but to be clear for those who may wonder, they HATED the changes they had to "endure" since the @llen lawsuit. It wasnt that Rosalie and the gang were quietly waiting in the wings to jump on the opportunity to right the wrongs and change how they operate. Think about it -- all the draconian rules for staff and way corps, all the harassment they used to lay on people -- they hated that they could no longer operate in the manner they did up until 2000 or so before the @llen, and other lawsuits were filed. Rosalie went slap the heck off at a cabinet meeting and said just that - "That she hated all the changes they have had to make" - that is nearly a verbatim quote from 2007. So the only way they will treat people any better than they used to is by threat of losing the thing they covet most -- their positions of power over their followers and their 68 million or so they keep in their coffers. When that was seriouosly threatened and they reaslized they were not above the law then they made only the recommended changes to stay out of court and lose their cult classification. I have also heard Rosalie brag about how slick they have had to become over the entire matter. Her name is Rosalie F Rivenbark where the F stands for Fox and she would literally say "Well, that's because they have been out Foxxed. Again - God's honest truth, I am not embellishing even the slightest point or quote. Well, they out foxxed their followers because if the truth came out on public record via court transcripts then most all of their followers would have to wake up and most would leave. And I mean the truth the @llen lawsuit brought to light that's covered so thorougly in other topics. One would have to conclude that the only reason the adultery stopped is it interferred with their positions of power and easy lifestyle at the top. The thing they covet most is embodied in the 501-c3 corporate status that gives them the way international inc. They will do anything to protect that coprorate entity because it empowers them to operate the way they do and give themselves status, allows them to accept tax free donations, and gives them position amongst the rank and file where they demand all their protocol in how you even interact with them on the most insignificant matters. Silly case in point - In the winter of 2007 we had a huge snow storm at HQ. I had been running several large snow removal crews since 4:30 that morning and I came back to my office for a minute. I had just sat down and was utterly exhausted. Rosalie popped into my office and started asking some questions about the status of this or that, I dont remember exactly what. But she had been standing there for about 15 seconds and I had forgotten to stand when she entered the room and you know what she did? Looked at me with a stern look and motioned me out of my seat and onto my feet. I also want to be clear for the record if nothing else - Im telling about all this publicly not because I am bitter and living in the past or unforgiving or whatever. I have forgiven myself, them, and accepted Christ's forgiveness for being involved with them after I knew how corrupt they really are. However, I will not conceal who they are and how they operate even though some of them are well meaning and sincere in their motives even though they should come clean with themselves if nothing else. If I conceal it I am part of covering it up so I will tell the truth of the things I saw first hand. So this is why I say "They won't take any stance where they will look like a controlling, abusive, pseudo-Christian cult. Their lawyers taught em that." Im not being mean spirited and I suppose could be taken that way, but it's the truth. You want to see them make a stand on corona vaccinations? Let them be legally threaned to do so where their coprorate entity is threatened. They wil make all kinds of statements and use the OSC as a vaccination center. Until then, they will remain conspicously silent.
    2 points
  45. I think it's worth reminding people that twi's treatment of people was so extremely bad that a bunch of LAWYERS took a look at it and said they had to be nicer. What does it say about a church or alleged Christian group that treats its people so badly that they only improve to avoid lawsuits, and on direct advice of their lawyers?
    2 points
  46. Yeah that glazed over stepford wives look is common with those at the top. Those on the outside never see the real people behind all the fakery. They actually teach people in their videos to smile as big as they can so people can see the abundant life they are living. Fake and scripted, and notice they are putting young ministry kids up front now. Most all of the kids who get promoted are reverend and mrs so and so's child. Nepotism anyone? But heck, thats about all they really have to draw from anymore. Rosalie finished off Craigs work of running everyone off that potentially had a backbone. Anywho.
    2 points
  47. Advances the illusion that Wierwille/Martindale/Rosie had a valid and legitimate model for advancing godliness but just somehow made a mistake along the way and didn't know how to right the ship. I don't believe that's what happened either in the beginning or at any time in the course of the cult's history. The social accountability was bass-ackward from the start. The model in the book of Acts seems to have been having leaders be servants of and to the followers. TWI, from the start seemed to make the followers believe that they should treat the "leaders" like gods. That's why everywhere veepee and Loy went, branch and limb leaders collected extra cash from twigs/leaves to buy exorbitant gifts and collected the prettiest young women to present for the pleasure of the MOG. That, to me (NOW) is so obviously at the core of the corruption of the organization's culture. All bow down. To Wierwille be the glory. That's not what they said, but it IS what they did.
    2 points
  48. The whole SP thing was yet another scam. SPs were supposed to provide for your funding and everything else. It was "godly" to support people through their Corps training. And some people who could better have used the money to support their families did help sponsor in-rez corps through the training indoctrination. A lot of money was paid for the training, which included of course the accommodation (free to TWI, they owned the land and buildings) and food (at minimal cost, since they grew quite a bit of it). But the cost for the training... it wasn't training. Your mother shouldn't have touched money that was your compensation. It should have been held in trust for you with two trustees (she'd be one). Maybe you could sue your mom to try and get the money back, if she has any assets, but that'd trash forever any relationship you have. I suppose what you really want is an acknowledgement and a sincere apology. Whether you ever get that will depend on how deeply indoctrinated she remains, after all this time.
    2 points
  49. Hi Annio… …what a courageous and honest post !!! …somehow I missed this thread - so I just wanted to add my 2 cents now… You got me thinking about a few of ways that a double standard played out in TWI. A double standard is a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people than to another group. One aspect of the double standard in TWI is the misogynistic tendencies as you mentioned. In the bigger picture as we all know, this is something not just confined to TWI – but at least in the outside world there have been some brave survivors coming forth and things like the me too movement to raise awareness and empathy and to advocate changes to laws and policies. I don’t ever see that happening in TWI. Another aspect of TWI’s double standard that you and others have touched upon is the role that gender plays in determining one’s “status” within the group and how others should relate to them. Again this is not something peculiar to TWI… “Some believe that differences in the way men and women are perceived and treated is a function of social norms, thus indicating a double standard. One claim is that a double standard exists in society's judgment of women's and men's sexual conduct. Research has found that casual sexual activity is regarded as more acceptable for men than for women” from Wikipedia - double standard And perhaps a third aspect of the double standard in TWI is a more general application of religious-grade hypocrisy – how cult leaders exercise control over followers…see Matthew 23 and II Peter 2 . Those passages lead me to believe maybe the problem isn’t always with a particular doctrine but rather how TWI puts it into practice – and even further, to what degree they enforce compliance. “Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given branch of knowledge or in a belief system. Practice is the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.” From Quora - what is the difference between doctrine and practice In my opinion there’s one big thing that sets apart an abusive religious cult like TWI from other groups. It’s not really about the sixteen thousandth teaching of “You Are Righteous Now” - although I do tend to think some teachings like that can squelch one’s conscience when genuine repentance might be a more appropriate topic. The telltale signs of an abusive and controlling cult are the methods and tactics they employ to instill and reinforce certain ideas and attitudes. I don’t believe the average Way-believer who has never seen anything more than the local fellowship, can really “appreciate” the intense indoctrination process of the way corps program. I thought it was going to be a college-level education in the Bible and shepherding the flock - you know, maybe along the lines of a seminary only much better cuz it was all based on "The Word" - - and I've even heard some corps refer to it as something like the school of the prophets mentioned in the Old Testament I Samuel 19 II Kings 2 and II Kings 4 (some translations refer to them as the school of the prophets, a group of prophets, the company of prophets, or sons of the prophets ) ... But it was more along the lines of a glorified PFAL catechism – with the student body being corralled to think in terms of predetermined questions and answers – - what does it say in PFAL about this or that? we were drilled to know all the material of PFAL frontwards and backwards...we were often randomly called upon to give 5 minute teachings during one of the three meals in the dining room - and then we were critiqued right on the spot afterward; fyi - the teachings that quoted verbatim - with very little deviation - from one of the PFAL books received the highest praise and little or no criticism - I $hit you not! Among other things what really “helped me absorb” this "doctrine" was the sleep deprivation, the work program (cheap labor - often busy-work and usually a big time-waster), the occasional tongue-lashing , being singled out for public ridicule over some minor infraction - after all details are important to God - - and the ever popular threat to throw your a$$ out the door if you didn’t comply with some directive. What is the point of all that? I’ll tell you - in case you didn’t click on the above link to Matthew 23 – I’ll quote verse 15 of it here “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” ....I think ideally the way corps program was designed to make little clones of wierwille. On a side note – if I felt compelled to address doctrine - the biggest issue I have with TWI’s fundamentalist point of view is that it is more than just your typical strict literal interpretation of the Bible (and brushing aside any dubious teachings like the 4 crucified, the unforgiveable sin = being born again of the wrong seed, etc.) TWI’s brand of fundamentalism is also infused with magical thinking which is the belief that unrelated events are causally connected despite the absence of any plausible causal link between them, particularly as a result of supernatural effects – “the law of believing” comes to mind. Another thing you mentioned Annio, at the end of your post really resonated with me. You reflected on the good stuff you got out of your TWI experience. I think that’s a healthy way to deal with life. To NOT paint everything in broad strokes - but to think more deeply about experiences - to learn from mistakes and failures and to cherish any wins. I met my wife in TWI – besides meeting a lot of good people - and that’s where I first learned to enjoy reading the Bible. It makes me think of the duality of life – which is made up of so many different and sometimes opposite elements. That’s reality. One of the many reasons why life in the way corps was often an uphill battle for me was the heavy-handed pressure from top leadership to ignore or even deny reality. I was never salaried by TWI – so my wife and I worked regular jobs ( besides all the responsibilities we had of running a branch or area, running classes and coordinating advances, witnessing, under-shepherding, getting teachings together, counseling, visiting Twigs all over town…and in different towns…with a kid in tow ) and we made our money stretch a long way for the cost of living…sometimes coming up short since we had it drummed into our heads as corps that abundant sharing was the highest priority when budgeting finances. Over the course of some 34 years since I left TWI, I’ve learned that acceptance of reality is a lot easier than a denial of reality. Back in the day, I wasted more time and energy spinning my wheels listening to teachings on believing, making positive affirmations, conjuring up believing images of victory to try and make something happen. I’m not saying be a pushover in life. Acceptance takes some guts to acknowledge what I cannot change or what is beyond my control - but also to step up to the plate when I can do something that’s within my power. Acceptance is how we look at ourselves and others. And rather than have hostility or fear toward someone who is different from me – though I sometimes falter at that – I think it’s better to be tolerant – even open and honest to find common ground – and yes, I still have a long way to go on that one too. Acceptance is being at peace with my own imperfections and failures and not beating myself up every time I fail or disappoint myself. I think what goes along with that is to be thankful for the ordinary things in life – I’ve got a roof over my head, I have food in the pantry, I have a family and friends who accept me as I am - warts and all. I think that stuff keeps me grounded. *** bonus feature on the duality of life: Skyrider started a thread a while back - cult survivors and the duality of life ***
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