This is my first comment after finding these forums a few weeks ago.
I was born in 1982 into a family that was part of TWI; my parents were part of a twig group in the Houston area. From what I understand, my family and a big chunk of people in the Houston area broke off and started a splinter group sometime in the mid to late eighties. My mom and stepdad kept most of that info from us, but I remember them warning my sister and I not to answer any questions regarding PFAL materiel if someone came knocking at the door.
The day I turned 18 I left and never went back to a fellowship. This caused a great stress between my mother, stepfather, and I and I went nearly a decade without talking to them. Between then and now I have put in work to try to build a relationship with them, but it is a very small slice of my life that I can share with them or that they can share with me without treading into religious waters. Despite that, I felt like I have been on the right track with them showing up for weekly dinners and starting to get to know them a little bit again.
That is, until my sister died last month. It was a horrible accident and she was far too young in her mid 30's. I took on the bulk of the funeral planning, as hospitality and events is my profession. It was really difficult to plan because it forced me to negotiate with them about how much their religion would be involved in the service. We decided on a non-secular event hall, which was easy because they would have had an issue going anywhere with any other kind of religion involved.
The tough part is that they wanted their reverend to speak for an hour of the 2 hour service. I fought tooth and nail to get it down to 15 minutes, which they agreed to. He spoke for 40 minutes. It was so difficult sitting through his angry sermon, where he was talking about drinking blood, speaking in tounges, and then pitching people taking PFAL classes. WTF.
I left so angry. For the first time I started examining how TWI and their offshoot really effected me and the people I love in my life. I grew up feeling extremely emotionally and physically isolated from the outside world, and I am just now (in my late thirties) figuring out how to come to terms with that. I am married and have a good job, but that has taken serious work. I have a hard time really opening up and connecting with people although I yearn for it and work for it daily.
My dad was excommunicated after he and my mother divorced (she cheated on him with their TWI marriage counselor). This probably had to do with my dad being gay :P. He hid his sexuality from my sister and I because he knew it meant we wouldn't get to see him. He never missed a child support check even though he was broke and despite constant pressure from my mom/stepdad and TWI pressuring him to cut ties. Once he finally came out, my mom and stepdad really freaked out because they are convinced he has devil spirits. For just under two decades they have had a cool relationship with each other, only talking when it had something to do with my sister or I.
During the funeral they were cordial during the planning process, but cool during the funeral. Anyone former TWI or current offshoot would ignore my dad and his partner of 25 years. People who he has known for decades just pretended he wasn't there.
After I spoke my heart at the funeral speaking about my sister and her life, I started getting the same treatment. It turns out I offended people by talking about her dad and his partner in the eulogy. That made me feel angry and sad. It also made me feel proud for speaking my mind to a group that didn't want to hear from me.
Anyway, I am sorry for the word soup and I hope that I haven't gone way off topic here. I am just looking for information now. I am researching the people who I know are in their group now. I want to figure out what offshoot they are a part of and where all this PFAL money is going, considering it isn't supported by TWI anymore. My parents hold classes and travel regularly to hold and attend retreats. I am dying to know how big the splinter is that they are a part of. I want to learn more and face this.
Does anyone know of any major offshoots that have a strong presence in the Houston area? Am I allowed to list names in this group to see if any of you know any of these people?
Thank you all. It has been fascinating learning about your experiences.