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  1. 2 points
    Upon seeing this pop up on my phone, my first thought was "Oh good- maybe now all those overwound people at HQ can relax."
  2. 2 points
    Well, In December I finally bought the book (Kindle version). Last night I finished reading it. Here's the review I posted on Amazon and on Goodreads. I love it. But that doesn't say enough. I love the historian that Tara Westover has become.I love her insights on the religious and emotional dysfunction in which she grew up.I love the way she portrayed the spark that drove her to crave education. Because THAT is what humans do and have done for thousands of years.I love the frankness and humility with which she told her story. I only wish I had that humility and curiosity when I was younger.How many of us grow up in dysfunctional families? IDK. Mine had its share. I'm confident my daughter would say so too.How many of us have experienced religious fundamentalism? Of course, Westover disclaims her memoir as having anything against Mormonism. It's clear in her story that her family's take on religion was different than many even in their own church.I've experienced religious fundamentalism too. But not as a child. In my case, it was after I left home, while I was a young adult searching for meaning. It was a different flavor of Christian fundamentalism. I'm thankful that I outgrew it too. I've been on a quest to learn many things about life since.Because of my experience with a fundamentalist sect and when I and many of my friends left it, I relate and empathize with Westover's narrative on belonging and family and the emotional tension she had to cope with in deciding what to do about those issues herself.I enthusiastically recommend Educated to anyone interested in learning, in belonging, or in stories of emotional growth. --------- One point I didn't make in the review but will try to do so here is that many Greasespotters may have a sense of having wasted years of their lives in TWI. I get that. I used to believe that too. But your experience in TWI, good/bad/indifferent, is part of what makes you you. If you spent a big chunk of you life in TWI, it's a big part of what you have to give for the rest of your life to those you encounter. You will likely want to restructure what you think that experience meant/means now, but it can be valuable insight for ministering to others. Peace.
  3. 2 points
    When the rapture does take place, the world will not know it because so many people who CALL themselves Christians will still be here.
  4. 1 point
    Hello, RW67! I hope you enjoy your visit. You're certainly welcome to stay. We have information to answer all sorts of questions, and we socialize as well. (Scroll down to the Games forum to see us hanging out.) I had some thoughts about some things you said, I hope you don't mind me responding to them. "I was first introduced to TWI in the early/mid-2000's in Bowling Green, OH at BGSU. I was invited to attend fellowship / bible study, but had no idea it was TWI. They didn't seem to like to call it that, or a church, etc. I noticed a lot of the people I was meeting were only close friends with other members. They had friends, but their closest friends were all members. " The time says a lot about the interactions. In the 70s into the early 80s, things were pretty much in their heyday at twi. Once we hit 1985, we got into "the fog years." In 1985, vpw died, and some leaders tried to speak up about abuses and corruption. That didn't get any results, so they took off. lcm- vpw's successor and President of the group at the time- described himself as wandering around in a fog for a few years. Around 1989, lcm drew a line in the sand, and demanded a personal oath of loyalty to himself from each twi leader. (One phoned him to say that it sounded like that was what he was demanding, and lcm more than confirmed it.) This resulted in about 80% of the group's leaders leaving or being kicked out for refusal to swear this oath, and about 80% of the group that was around a year before left with them, leaving twi a fraction of what it was before (20% and dropping.) lcm spent the next few years ineptly flailing around and thinking any fool thought he had was directly from God Almighty- leading to orders that made the group bleed money and hemorrhage more members. Eventually, he was kicked out by his wife and rfr for a number of reasons, most of them kept secret, and none of them actually explained to the rank-and-file. (They found out anyway by coming here.) The 2000s were pretty much the dry toast version of twi. rfr has no personality, and can't bring in someone WITH personality because she'd live in fear they would replace her. So, the place gets less skilled and less relevant, and more boring, every year. So, the 2000s was rfr era, micro-managing at hq, and boredom everywhere, while rfr lived off the ministry. twi'ers, by the 1990s, pretty much only associated with outsiders to recruit them or as needed, and socializing was kept to a minimum. By the 2000s, outside socializing was disapproved of, but some people flew under the radar. I think it's fascinating that they never wanted to use their group's name. I've seen that before, and, yes, it's a warning sign you're dealing with a cult, or a scam. But I repeat myself. "I noticed a couple things though. I felt like some of them didn't fully agree with everything, but they were too concerned about screwing up their group of friends all associated with TWI. " Involvement with twi, for much of its existence, can be characterized by what insiders are afraid of. They're always afraid of being kicked out and losing their only friends, their family, and what they're told is their only hope of pleasing God. So, they swallowed their disagreements and were able to stay in. "I remember "messing around" with a girl who was very involved in TWI. She was paranoid people in her "branch" would find out, so anything we did had to appear like it was innocent. The funny thing is, I messed around with another girl in TWI also, while one of my friends did as well. It was all the same. They were all doing things that went against their cohorts, and they were all keeping it secret from each other, even though they were all doing the same thing. " An ex-Mormon once told me a joke about how inviting a Mormon along to fish will mean they will drink all the beer- unless you invite TWO Mormons along, in which case neither of them will drink ANY beer because they'll be scrutinized by each other and unable to have a drink. twi seems to have developed to that point as well. Want any fun? Better have it in secret. "Eventually a guy I was working with at BGSU invited me to come along. It spooked me off though. They acted very open in public, but in the fellowship, it seemed like the views were a lot more strict and not as accepting of traditional beliefs. Then they spoke in tongues. That did it for me. I thought they were freaks and hypocrites. I didn't believe that BS. I remember feeling like they were watching me though. It always felt cult-like, but without being one of those obvious cults. They could plausibly deny being a cult through the ministry but the whole structure and conditions have all the hallmarks of being a cult." Being a cult makes it easier to pass for a cult. :) When socializing/ "witnessing", the group will try to pretend they're fun, alive, relevant. Once you show up at a meeting, you'll find it's more boring than any church you left (or, at best, just as boring.) Everyone there is scrutinized, and the meetings are rigid and dry. It amazes me how often twi'ers will refuse to advise people about "mannies" before they attend their first meeting (speaking in tongues, etc.) That backfires when people have no chance to get used to the idea before seeing it. But it makes sense if you don't see PEOPLE but only see recruits, and only see them as RESOURCES. BTW, whether "mannies" are of God or faked in some way is a subject we've discussed here a number of times, with people on both sides of the issue. (I was on the "it's real" side before the discussions, but changed positions when the other side made too much sense and had things to say for which I could not find a sensible refutation. But either position is permitted here- this is not a cult, after all. ;) ) I hope you enjoy your stay here, for however long that is.
  5. 1 point
    Wayne Clapp also did a fantastic breakdown on this topic and zeroed in on the greek words for 'eternal' and 'everlasting'. In a nutshell, John 3:16...two options for mankind 1/ everlasting life or 2/ perish (be no more)...thanks Mark !
  6. 1 point
    Twi's Headquarters: Manufactured Process To someone unfamiliar with twi (or cults), the concentrated glut of activity at a "central complex" is strikingly strange. Hundreds upon hundreds of staffers working at a *headquarters compound* in offices, trailer units, service outbuildings, barns, grounds maintenance and an auditorium in the woods was deemed the "spiritual epicenter of the world" by its founder victor paul wierwille. How did twi evolve into this? wierwille resigned (fired?) from van wert church in august 1957. rented house in van wert and still sent "greetings from International Hdqs" promoted and planned [1959] to move operation to the wierwille family homestead 147 acres and a remodeled farm house in 1961 in rural, western Ohio From 1959-1967 wierwille tweaked, taught and targeted church people into classes In late 1967, the pfal class was filmed [plagiarized from B. G. Leonard's class] Summer camps, classes and programs were the baby steps of this Manufactured Process Wierwille's International Headquarters (cough, cough) was operating on a shoe string and a prayer from 1961-1971. And, it wasn't until wierwille's wholesale power-grab of Heefner's and Doop's movements [Way East / Way West] and demanded that ALL MONIES FLOW TO WIERWILLE'S HDQTS that this inflection point was reached. The dynamic youth ministers, Heefner and Doop, were blindsided by vpw's thugocracy and narcissistic bullying. Suffice it to say that books could, and have, been written to explore and explain the deceptive and destructive ways upon which twi was built and evolved. The peak years of their Manufactured Process were 1981-1985. Shortly after Sound Out '84 in Nashville, TN, my wife and I left hq and went to Canada on a field assignment and it was exhilarating to get away from this glut of in-house subservience. At those peak years, I was the Warehousing Department Coordinator...... and carried the responsibility of overseeing the organization, work flow, safety, and evolving potential of the warehouse facility. This cult warehouse transitioned from a forklift workplace to a fitness-for-living workout facility in the evening to a daycare facility during Sunday teaching services. The reason I equate all of this to "manufactured process" is/was because it NEVER made any sense in my mind that 550 staffers should be centralized at this "headquarters" when our stated objective was to **move the word over the world.** If I remember correctly, there were some 190-210 clergy at hq in every department imaginable.......1) way builders, 2) food services, 3) grounds, 4) finance, 5) divine design, 6) shipping/receiving, 7) way publishing, 8) photography, 9) way productions, 10) bless patrol, etc. One of the clergyman, Ken Str0ther (5th corps) lived alone in the way woods in a make-shift A-Tel. Why? How could this possibly be God's will (cough, cough)? Did wierwille sanction this? Why was this acceptable or allowed? The double standards and favoritism at hq wreaked thru its sanctimonious pontifications. How many churches have armed security guards and trained guard dogs on duty 24/7 for protection? How many church pastors have congregates who are assigned to housecleaning and nanny positions? Does the publication of tapes, magazines and literature emanating from a central hub "move the word" or is this the fabricating illusions of a narcissist? [Note: For years (and maybe still), Twi's magazine featured artwork of composition-people sitting under a tree reading the bible or other settings. Not pictures of real people. Fabricated people of different racial backgrounds. The same generic technique that Scientology uses.] If all of this is "manufactured process".........would it be fair to say that it's also MANUFACTURED SPIRITUALITY? Yep. Cults thrive on isolation, illusion, immersion and indoctrination. People are seduced when the isolation from others builds the illusion of believability and the immersion conceptualizes the activity warranting the indoctrination that welds the process complete. Cult leaders NEED groups in tandem with a manufactured process.
  7. 1 point
    By 1981,1982, twi was in transition from the BRC to the Auditorium.........and was utilizing the OSC lunch room for Corps Night teachings and Sunday Teaching Services. To best accommodate wierwille and other teachers/emcees, a makeshift backroom was constructed that extended out into the warehouse. Like all things (it seemed) at headquarters, this slapped-up project was "temporary".........and remained a permanent feature for years to come. It was still there in 1995 when I last attended the roa. And, I would imagine that it's STILL there......an ugly, protruding wart out into the warehouse. I can't help but laugh........with some $68 Million in assets, you'd think that twi has a better handle on things, no? And, that Auditorium that they built.......with all its bells and whistles of a production rehearsal room, orchestra pit, welcoming lobby and lavish balcony... What productions?.........except, the Swinging Ladies of The Way. LOL What orchestra?.........it scattered to the winds within a year of the Auditorium opening. What welcoming lobby?.........the cold, icy glares of armed security watching at the doors. What lavish balcony?..........the one that no one sits in, because they can't fill the bottom rows. Heck, they can't even get enough sign-ups of advanced class students each year to justify running that class. What a pathetic waste of human and financial resources. I suppose they'll teach ........read a sermon on "Joyful Giving" this coming Sunday as the staffers sleepwalk thru another service.
  8. 1 point
    I recently discovered this article that relates to cult brain. It describes a scenario much like Wierwille in the PFLAP class instructs students to reject anything other than what lines up with his fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible. Of course, many of us on GSC have discussed "waybrain" over the last nearly two decades. ... religious fundamentalism—which refers to the belief in the absolute authority of a religious text or leaders—is almost never good for an individual. This is primarily because fundamentalism discourages any logical reasoning or scientific evidence that challenges its scripture, making it inherently maladaptive. ----- The single most important thing I may have learned over the last 32 years is that God is bigger than any notion of humankind, written or imagined. How does this relate to Wierwillism? Well, the cranky old potentate(s) [Either Wierwille or Martindale, those were the only two I interacted with] of TWI was never allowed for discussion or disagreement. It was ALWAYS their way or the highway. As I can see now, that puts God into a very small box and twi followers into even smaller boxes. It's increasingly obvious that religious fundamentalism is having a profound negative impact on society. But I won't get into that in detail here.
  9. 1 point
    Apologies to those who grew up in TWI (i.e. Bolshevik and others) who endured noxious fundamentalism and survived. In the spirit of putting perspective to our dysfunctional cult background, I present to you, Educated by Tara Westover. It may be important for me to reiterate that I'm not excusing the oppressiveness and abuse inherent in the social structure of twi, nor am I suggesting it wasn't so bad. I do suggest that there's always worse. More importantly, Ms. Westover shows remarkable determination to overcome her upbringing in an isolated family in Idaho. Most importantly, Tara's story is a memoir of hope. Amazon.com Review An Amazon Best Book of February 2018: Tara Westover wasn’t your garden variety college student. When the Holocaust was mentioned in a history class, she didn’t know what it was (no, really). That’s because she didn’t see the inside of a classroom until the age of seventeen. Public education was one of the many things her religious fanatic father was dubious of, believing it a means for the government to brainwash its gullible citizens, and her mother wasn’t diligent on the homeschooling front. If it wasn’t for a brother who managed to extricate himself from their isolated—and often dangerous--world, Westover might still be in rural Idaho, trying to survive her survivalist upbringing. It’s a miraculous story she tells in her memoir Educated. For those of us who took our educations for granted, who occasionally fell asleep in large lecture halls (and inconveniently small ones), it’s hard to grasp the level of grit—not to mention intellect—required to pull off what Westover did. But eventually earning a PhD from Cambridge University may have been the easy part, at least compared to what she had to sacrifice to attain it. The courage it took to make that sacrifice was the truest indicator of how far she’d come, and how much she’d learned. Educated is an inspiring reminder that knowledge is, indeed, power. --Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review
  10. 1 point
    I think my time with TWI has enabled me to reach depths of empathy, understanding and compassion that are far more than I had before. I don't think that this means of learning that is what God would have had in mind, but He's enabled me to make some lemonade from the lemons. My time with TWI and the years afterwards wasted my professional qualifications, but even so, I've managed to turn those into things for good to help others. The time that was wasted was in the prison of years of self-condemnation after TWI had M&A'd me: my fault, through absorbing poor teaching. A waste? Only if you don't use your experience to grow and to help others. I'm sure this author is a tremendous example to others of succeeding against the odds, and of refusal to compromise on what she needed, on her pursuit of her reasonable ambitions. And I'm sure that many with a non-cultic background will shake their heads and not understand.
  11. 1 point
    Since we're going there: Greasespot has fewer posters than in prior years because 1. We shut down the political threads that brought people hear to tear each other's heads off. 2. The Way International shrunk. The need for a rebuttal site shrunk accordingly. 3. People were told over and over again to "get over it." The vast majority of us did just that. Greasespot became smaller for the same reason troops withdraw from a region when the war is over. Because it's over.
  12. 1 point
    Can we all agree that this topic, however it started, has become almost entirely doctrinal since TLC's act of necromancy? I mean, you can almost make the case it belongs in the European forum, but About the Way? not seeing it.