I was involved with The Way International for 12 years, helping on a volunteer basis in numerous projects to establish new fellowships, run classes, develop coffee houses, and coordinate advances. I also participated in two notable programs: The Word Over the World (W.O.W.) missionary program and The Way Corps leadership training program. I did not realize it at the time but these were really part of an indoctrination process designed with the express purpose of getting me to accept a certain set of beliefs uncritically.
I left TWI in 1986 amidst the vying for power by top leadership and the general air of malaise that seemed to have touched everyone after the founding president victor paul wierwille had passed away. The reason I left was over the mounting questions and doubts that came to mind as I looked into how and why this house of cards came to be.
I think anyone that has ever been involved in an abusive, deceitful and exploitative organization like The Way International will have to deal with grief and loss if they ever decide to leave the group. There are five stages of grief that were first proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying”. The 5 stages of grief and loss are: 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them.
Below are some quotes from various sources that have inspired me to pick up the pieces and move on with my life. Some of them represent a commitment I’ve made to never let myself get fooled again in such matters of doctrine and practice. Some quotes are food for thought...and some are just funny - which is always good medicine for the soul.
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Freedom of the mind requires not only, or not even specially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities..... Allan Bloom... The Closing of the American Mind
The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.....Edmund Burke
Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.....Mark Twain
Things are never so bad they can’t be made worse…Humphrey Bogart in the movie “The African Queen”
At the end of the day, it’s not the love of one other person that matters. It’s the love of life...from the movie "Before Midnight"
What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is its exact opposite....Bertrand Russell
Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought...JFK
Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is collected and used....Carl Sagan
Against logic there is no armor like ignorance... Laurence J. Peter
If it were all truly known and planned and determined, life wouldn’t be worth living, just a giant to-do list waiting to be crossed off…Helen Mirren
The objective of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives....Robert Maynard Hutchins
The human qualities of the raw materials show through. Naivety, error, contradiction, even (as in the cursing Psalms) wickedness are not removed. The total result is not ‘The Word of God’ in the sense that every passage, in itself, gives impeccable science or history. It carries the Word of God; and we (under grace, with attention to tradition and to interpreters wiser than ourselves, and with the use of such intelligence and learning as we may have) receive that word from it not by using it as an encyclopedia or an encyclical but by steeping ourselves in its tone or temper and so learning its overall message…
We might have expected, we may think we should have preferred, an unrefracted light giving us ultimate truth in systematic form – something we could have tabulated and memorized and relied on like the multiplication table…But there is one argument which we should beware of using...God must have done what is best, this is best, therefore God has done this. For we are mortals and do not know what is best for us, and it is dangerous to prescribe what God must have done – especially when we cannot, for the life of us, see that He has after all done it....C.S. Lewis...Reflections on the Psalms
Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail....Ralph Waldo Emerson
There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun...Pablo Picasso
If the quality of your life is not what you wish it to be, it is probably because it is tied to the way you think about your life. If you think about it positively, you will feel positive about it. If you think about it negatively, you will feel negative about it…For most people, most of their thinking is subconscious, that is, never explicitly put into words…The problem is that when you are not aware of your thinking you have no chance of correcting it. When thinking is subconscious, you are in no position to see any problems in it. And, if you don’t see any problems in it, you won’t be motivated to change it…most people are in many ways victims of their own thinking…Richard Paul and Linda Elder…Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life
No man is exempt from saying silly things; the mischief is to say them deliberately....Michel de Montaigne
Just remember, we're all in this alone....Lily Tomlin
As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul.... a Jewish Proverb
Cancer is probably the unfunniest thing in the world, but I’m a comedian, and even cancer couldn’t stop me from seeing the humor in what I went through....Gilda Radner
I have always felt that laughter in the face of reality is probably the finest sound there is and will last until the day when the game is called on account of darkness. In this world, a good time to laugh is any time you can.....Linda Ellerbee
Laughter connects you with people. It’s almost impossible to maintain any kind of distance or any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter. Laughter is a force for democracy......John Cleese
The question of how to live the best possible life had once been the central question of philosophy. It certainly had been what thinkers like Aristippus, Epicurus, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle had foremost on their minds. And in ensuing centuries, it was the fundamental question of a great variety of philosophers, from Humanists to Deists to Existentialists.
But in recent Western philosophy, the how-to-live question has pretty much taken a backseat to the questions of epistemology (how can we know what is real and true?) and logic (what are the necessary principles of reason and rational discourse?). With a few gratifying exceptions, contemporary academic philosophers leave the whole how-to-live business to daytime TV talk show hosts, smartly dressed motivational speakers, and pop gurus who tend to favor flowing robes. According to the academics, seeking an answer to the how-to-live question is definitely not the enterprise of any self-respecting modern philosopher….Daniel Klein…Every Time I find the Meaning of Life, They Change It
The phenomenon of changing minds is one of the least examined and – I would claim – least understood of familiar human experiences…Howard Gardner…Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own Minds and Other People’s Minds
When I try to put my finger on just why truth is important to us, what comes most readily to my mind is a thought that may perhaps seem unpromisingly banal but that is, nevertheless, unquestionably pertinent. It is the thought that truth often possesses very considerable practical utility. Any society that manages to be even minimally functional must have, it seems to me, a robust appreciation of the endlessly protean utility of truth.
After all, how could a society that cared too little for truth make sufficiently well-informed judgments and decisions concerning the most suitable disposition of its public business? How could it possibly flourish, or even survive, without knowing enough about relevant facts to pursue its ambitions successfully and to cope prudently and effectively with its problems?...Harry G. Frankfurt…On Truth
It does seem that bull$hitting involves a kind of bluff. It is closer to bluffing, surely, than telling a lie…Lying and bluffing are both modes of misrepresentation or deception. Now the concept most central to the distinctive nature of a lie is that of falsity…Bluffing too, is typically devoted to conveying something false…the essence of bull$hit is not that it is false but that it is phony. In order to appreciate this distinction, one must recognize that a fake or phony need not be in any respect (apart from authenticity itself) inferior to the real thing. What is not genuine need not also be defective in some other way. What is wrong with a counterfeit is not what it is like, but how it was made…Harry G. Frankfurt…On Bull$hit
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it…Aristotle
The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend…Henri Bergson
Reason obeys itself: ignorance submits to what is dictated to it…Thomas Paine
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“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness"...Matthew 23: 23 - 28 ESV
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits"… Matthew 7: 15-20 ESV
“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" …Matthew 6:22, 23 NASB
John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”... Luke 9: 49, 50 ESV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it…
...Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory—the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father. John testified about him and shouted out, “This one was the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is greater than I am, because he existed before me.’” For we have all received from his fullness one gracious gift after another. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came about through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known… John 1: 1-5, 14-18 NET