Thanks Everyone. I appreciate the warm welcomes. I honestly have no idea how many people are left there. They keep that stuff pretty close to the vest. I can say though, that when I went WayD in '99 there were probably 50 to 60 people going out on the field from Gunnison, the West of the Mississippi group. The last WayMag I saw had pics of the folks going out and the groups were significantly smaller, as in the 5 to 10 range. Also, a development that would affect the numbers involved is the split that was the final straw for us. Yes, there has been another split up. A number of WayCorps had apparently started a group to discuss some grievances that they wanted to address to address to Rivenbark about how she was running things and how people were not seeing signs, miracles, and wonders. And the teaching from HQ had become uber stale. Ok, so I'm trying to remember and I may have some of details wrong, but this is what happened to the best of my recollection. This group began calling themselves Revival and Restoration, because their original intent was to reform TWI not leave it. I believe they first sent a letter outlining their "challenges" and solutions, and their intent to be respectful and work together with the BOD to figure it all out. I think they did call for the resignation of Rivenbark though. Anyways, Rico Magnelli, I think, had a meeting with her after the letter was sent where she summarily dismissed everything and, If my recollection is correct basically fired him. The letter was signed by some names you might know like Fort, Roberts, Moynihan, Horney, and Carter, to name a few. Anyways, this group had a list of grievances, including financial transparency, BOD accountability, and punishment of way corp for questioning Rivenbark etc. There were quite a few accusations. Anyways, our branch coordinators, whom we loved very much, were dropped in a backhanded way of just not being given an assignment. Also, the folks who had been our area coordinators for only a year, The Stiles were dropped for questioning Rivenbark. So this group has broken off from TWI and has reformed. Last I knew they were still calling themselves Revival and Restoration. My husband and I had been eyeing the door for some time, so we took it as our opportunity to leave. I still love many people involved in both groups, but I am not interested in being a part of any of them. I've had my fill of authoritarianism. I have the letters and other emails describing what went down. Maybe I'll go back through them and refresh myself, idk.
I know some of you said you left around the time I joined, which was only a couple of years after "the fog" in 1990. When I first joined my fellowship was a very relaxed sort of hippyish deal. I smoked my first joint there, and had sex with someone in that fellowship for the first time. As time went on it became more and more controlling, and much more conservative. At one point we were instructed that it wasn't wise to go anywhere alone. Also, we were supposed to let the state leadership of any group know if we were even just traveling through their state so that we would be "spiritually covered." My husband and I, who were in our early 20's, were thoroughly reamed out at a meeting in front of everyone of course, that we attended on a trip we were taking because we hadn't let anyone know we would be in that state on our way to our destination. There was a "homo hunt" at the rock of ages in 95. Martindale became obsessed with homosexuality and in included in his version of the foundational class The Way of Abundance and Power that the thing that Eve partook of was a lesbian relationship with Satan who appeared as a woman, and Adam accepted it. (They subsequently just left that whole thing out of the foundational class they recorded after he was kicked) I often wondered if it was because of the alleged relationship between Donna and Rivenbark. When everything went down with LCM we were instructed not to look up anything to do with anything about the ministry or any of the people involved on the internet. Of course, this was to "protect us from the fiery darts of the wicked." After LCM left, everything became super boring and repetitive. Say what you will about him, but LCM was at least charismatic and entertaining. Rivenbark has a quieter gentler form of control and abuse. Over the years people tried to get us to move to HQ, but I was always struck at how robotic and fake anyone who went there came back. We actually did end up deciding to go into the way corps in 2003, and had all of our paperwork in when I ended up accidentally getting pregnant with our first child. Thank God for that. By the time we were eligible again, my husband had decided it wasn't for him. Shortly after I found out we were pregnant we moved back to my home state because I wanted my kids to have their grandparents close, and my father was dying. I was a new mom and I was traveling the hour and a half to visit my dad as much as possible and my fellowship coordinator had the audacity to "encourage me to spend more time with the household that I was." At that point I had started to see how much the ministry had come between my family and myself and I was trying to heal those relationships. I basically told him that my father was dying and I was going to get every minute I could with him and that I would never again put the ministry before my family and he would just have to get used to it. That was the first time I ever remember standing up for myself. from there it took 14 more years to officially leave.
That's the short version of everything. It wasn't all bad, but I'm still working through things. I feel like an idiot at times for letting some of the stuff go on, or being involved with some of the things I was. For the last couple of years since leaving I have thrown myself into other things. I think I just needed some distance. After appearing on a podcast to talk about my experiences a few months ago, I have started to realize I need to work through some of this stuff now. I appreciate your listening. I'm sorry if this jumps around and is choppy. I find myself a little lost for words when it comes to some of this stuff, which is very unusual for me.