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HCW last won the day on January 29 2012

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About HCW

  • Birthday 04/01/1958

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  1. Talk about slick. It was clear that Rosalie'a agenda from the moment she came on the scene, that she was there for one reason - to take over the joint. Few people know that it was ROSALIE, not LCM that began the process of getting rid of people from HQ that she could not control. I would even go so far as to guess that it was she who gave the idea to Craig that led to all of the mark & avoid BS. While the ministry was reeling in the turmoil and "smoke" from Gear's Passing of a Patriarch, Rosalie was busy, getting rid of people from the departments she ran. The first one was about TWO YEARS before "the big purge." She had the "Safety Dept" in full police regalia, gun & all, escort a staff member out of the building because he confronted her with a list of things happening @ HQ that were "off the Word." He showed her specific scriptures to back up what he was saying. She fired him on the spot. I got canned about a year later.. about a year after that people were lined up in the hall outside the trustees offices and fired, one by one.... Now... Guess who's in charge...
  2. I think Sky was referring 8 million in megachurches.... At any rate, not to be argumentative... I wonder where you guys are getting your numbers from??? Did a little snooping around last night and the 8mil "total" people in megachurches seems way low. Plus I distinctly remember that the total number of TWI's non-member "membership" peaking out at an estimated 300,000 - not 200,000. Sure there were all kinds of breakdowns, active, inactive, totla who were actively, but now inactively not here... Stuff like that, but I'm just curious about the number thing, no biggie. However. The MAIN reasons, TWI was considered a cult were that it had a single, charismatic leader, and its beliefs. The fact that VPW denied the deity of Jesus really ruffled lots of feathers in the eyes of mainstream church leaders. That single belief ALONE is enough to get your group the cult label, even today. The trinity (one God, coexistent in three persons) is the central, foundational belief on mainstream Christianity. Simply put, if you don't believe that Jesus IS God, you can't play in that sandbox. In the extreme, I've heard of at least one high ranking person in a major faith-based (truly) worldwide relief organization lose his job specifically due to his "refusal" to believe in the deity of Christ. I didn't hear the details, but on the surface, that struck me, from a high level viewpoint, the same as LCM's culling of staff, crops, and everybody else, who refused to agree to "stand with the trustees" (i.e. adhere with the organization's core beliefs. Another major "black eye" that vpw gave the mainstream church was the dead are not in heaven thing... It was the belief system he proposed, he ostracized TWI all by himself.... Analogy: If a person runs around vandalizing church buildings, burning Bibles and the like - damaging some of the most precious possessions the church has.... Then the church as a whole labeled him a vandal, and those who joined him in his vandalism, a "cult of vandals"... Would they be a "cult" or not? Even if they did some good... what would "the church" consider them?
  3. Interesting point. I would submit that TWI is actually NOT a church. Since leaving "the ministry," I was surprised to find out how common non-profit businesses are around here... Many organizations legally cook their books to qualify as 501c3's. One of the biggest 501C3 scams going on in the Dayton area, in my view, is charter schools. Schools have been popping up around here like weeds. They are owned largely by 501C3 corporations and a lot of them are located in any type of building a company can buy or rent space in. My son attends a great one, funded well enough that they bought land and built three buildings in the area. But. I'm personally aware of at least three that have failed in the past few years. People were charged criminally, & schools shut down cause the owner didn't do it right, skimmed too much $$'s without rolling enough into legit school programs (providing educational services to children). Word on the street here is to be very careful about what charter school you put your child in, cause the school might not be there next year! Another interesting parallel point. Being a city slicker, while living in New Knoxville I had no idea how farms worked as a business. Not that I'm now pretending to be an expert on how farm business financing works, but I was amazed to learn that basically farmers can farmers rely on cash flow of the farm to fund their family's needs, the family is sorta meshed into the business of the farm. Family is the employees, and farmer & wife take a salary from the farm's income. Things like the family vehicles are actually company cars for the farm. Utilities, etc, are accounts payable. I thought it was neat how the farm paid for their life-style and they needed the $$$'s from the harvest, or seasonal selling of animals, etc. As long as they can sell their crop at reasonable prices, on schedule tey ould be ok financiall. Plus. Their farms have reached a critical mass as a business that will fund itself for perpetuity. I lernt that them dumb ol' farm boys wuz pretty darn smart after all. They live comfortably, not extravagantly, but they never lack for the essentials. The bigger the farm, the "larger" the life-style. Lean harvest seasons only mean that they give up a little of the "extras." (A few less beers at the summer festivals - stuff like that.) Farms that run closer to the belt could be ruined by two or more years of low harvests, but that almost never happens here. For lots of folks around here in Dayton area, "entrepreneurs" try to find "something" they can do to make a substantial salary while operating a non profit. I used to be like "Why would you want to run a NON profit business?" Aha! They profit personally while the business "breaks even." - They live off of cash flow. Some don't even actively participate in the day to day function of the business. They simply take an executive level salary as CEO of the company that owns the business. They hire professionals to run the business and they "oversee" it. What would be profit at the end of the fiscal year, they roll back into the company's capital improvement fund for the company's needs. Too much $$'s? hire some staff, expand the business. Company needs vehicle(s) furniture, office space, telecommunications, etc. They drive a company car, get phones and internet service on corporate accounts, etc. A pretty sweet gig if you can swing it. Goal was to get it to a critical mass so it could sustain itself, and their extravagant life-style. TWI is NOT a church. I say this for a number of reasons. I attend a church... for 14 years. Lets do a non binding, unofficial, point by point comparison. Agree? or disagree, ok? My church actually has a membership role, of which I am a member. TWI says they have NO membership... followers are NOT members. Our members get a vote in every major decision ( ie. major purchases that the church makes.) TWI's non members get NO vote... in anything. My church publishes every dollar that the church brings in - every week - in the church bulletin. Every person (member or non) has free access to that information (last week we brought in $87 THOUSAND 415 dollars). Our total attendance for the week (as recorded, but everybody doesn't record their attendance) was, 3,514. TWI doesn't publish figures like that (I've heard their total non-member, "followership" is around 3,000. (We cover one small city area, Dayton, OH, they cover the "whole world.") My church has ministries that actually help people. We save lives, feed hungry people in our city, region and other parts of the world. (I THINK the Bible says something to the effect that they church, ekklesia, should do stuff like that, you know to follow Jesus?) eg. Next year we will pack and deliver our 1 MILLION-th meal (in 3years) to a small country in Africa. These meals literally save people's lives. (We have partnered with an organization called "Children Against Hunger" and to my knowledge have produced more of these meals than any other single church in the country.) TWI hurts people and enslaves them. During an economic period in the US when most churches are either shrinking or remaining flat - my church is growing at a substantial rate. Last Easter we asked our people to do a special offering we called "An Easter Miracle," hoping to raise $175,000 (average $300 per family) to finance building a headquarters for The Luke Commission in Swaziland, Africa. They need a base of operations for their work ministering to people there medically, and every other way they can help. (Google them, you'll be amazed by their work. Signs, miracles and wonders follow them - regularly.) We also support over 80 missionaries around the world. Twi is - well you know they Marked and Avoided 0ver 80% of their most trained and experienced leaders. World wide they have grown DOWN to about 1% of what it was in its hey day. BTW. The miracle offering.. That weekend we raised over $300,000. Our people are happy to give to our church. We let everybody know what we do with all their money. We have an annual church council meeting where we vote on issues, and every member gets a vote. AND our CFO briefs everybody on, and every member gets a copy of the church's financial statement. I'll stop there, because Jesus defined what a church is when he said what churches should do. TWI does none of that. I think you get the point. 501C3 organizations ALL have a business that they perform that they fill out the proper spaces on the proper papers to "qualify" as such. My Church is a 501C3 too. We actually do bring in more money than our budget calls for - every year. We are required by law to do certain things with the money that the law determines are acceptable things to do with it. Some of it is allowed to be funneled back into the organization in certain legal ways. As long as the ledger says what the law requires, the IRS is fine with our books - IF & when we get audited. One year, we had about $15,000 extra bucks. We gave it back to our congregants (not just members - anybody who wanted could come forward & pick up an envelope with certain amounts of $ in it). Another year we used our excess (tens of thousands of $$$'s) to fund projects for each of our 12 partner churches we help support. Things like remodeling, etc. Whatever they asked for, until the buck ran out. What we do is what churches do. (We also go above & beyond what most churches do - but the reasons we do the stuff we do are in an old book... I think they call it the Bible, or something like that. How much of THAT does TWI do? (Maybe stuff like that is why we're growing??? and TWI is - - well they're NOT growing...) And, not to mention - we actually teach THE BIBLE to people. TWI teaches - - well they teach their product. This is my long winded way to compare TWI to a church, one that arguably actually IS serving God by serving HIS people. TWI draws an VERY similar parallel to the way that farms in the NK area are run... AND the way 501C3 organizations are run. - The bad ones. ALL 501C3's legally provide salaries for their officers. In TWI the only members ore the 3 trustees (expanded to the board of directors to spread the cash around). They reached critical mass long ago. Their investments, money made by freewill offerings of the "followers," is enough to fund their operation into perpetuity. Like other farms in the area, during lean times they simply scale back their operation, get rid of the "extras" so they can stay afloat. Like 501C3's they have a product, a business that they conduct by shaping and molding it to fit the applicable laws. THAT is why they filed to become a "church" in 2007. It was simply the closest thing on the list of 501C3's that they felt they could "qualify" for. The Wierwille boys, Harry, the other one (forgive me, his name eludes me) and Victor learned how to run a farm from their Dad, just like most every other NK boy of their generation learned from their Dad. Harry Wierwille used that model and basic business plan structure to set up The Way, Incorporated, International. TWI is NOT a church, it is an organization, a corporation with its business "goal" to move its product "The Word" - Over The World. "The Word of God is The Will of God" is its corporate slogan. The Prevailing Word is nothing more than a tagline - Its no different than McDonald's using "I'm Lovin' It" or BMW's "The Ultimate Driving Machine," Lexus - "The Relentless Persuit of Perfection." TWI's "Word" is no more "prevailing" than I am actually "lovin' McDonald's "it," BMW's cars are "Ultimate", or Lexus is actually relentlessly in persuit of "perfection." (What is THAT anyways?) Those companies simply hired a guy like me & asked them to come up with something they felt was a cool way to to speak of their product to attract customers. TWI did the big purge and other subsequent purges (M&A), liquidated their properties, cut programs like the ROA, cut the staff, ordered people to stop having babies, stuff like that simply to get their accounts payable down under the level where their investment income can cover. I would guess that they currently operate at a level they feel is a sustainable loss yearly. They have little to no desire to grow the business, because without huge expenditures like the Rock of Ages, the properties, Airplanes, executive travel, staff salaries, etc. too much money would be too hard to keep from becoming profit they couldn't "hide" legally. The last time the IRS investigated them, they actually TOOK the non profit status. It took a few years in the late 1980's and over a MILLION DOLLARS (I remember Craig yelling about the cost of legal fees) for the lawyers to win it back in court. Problem is, the legal definition of a church is so loose - and "churches" are so prolific, and their missions so varied, and protected by the laws of our great country. It would be pretty hard to legally determine them not to be a church. They did that 2007 filing to protect the business and secure the scam. They absolutely are NOT a church. My guess is that's why they maintained the Way Corps and their version of the WOW program - so they can qualify as providing their unique brand of educational services. The Way Mag, the books they publish, the classes they run...all support materials for their "bible" curriculum. Their curriculum, being "based on" the Bible "qualifies" them to be a church, so they went for that for whatever added tax benefit. PLUS, being a church releases them from the need to meet state requirements for being an actual school. Their teachers don't have to be state certified, mett state standards, etc. TWI is a charter school. (Without the charter.) THAT would be my guess.
  4. The people outside of TWI are the majority... being in "the ministry" involves such a small minority of attitudes and behaviors. It is actually more normal that people WOULD be reasonable than not, especially in the context of a school where the vast majority of people who work in schools do so because they actually WANT to HELP kids. Imagine that. As I see it, problem is that the abusive behavior inside TWI is so prevalent that it seems to becomes the expectation that the "natural" response of any authority figure would be "shoot first, then ask abusive questions later." Said abusive questions are designed primarily to squeeze information that will surely be used against you in their kangaroo "courts" of legalistic BS. A good friend of mine is a HS principal. So often when I see him he's been "the guy" who has had his work day filled with handling situations like yours. He frequently feels saddened by the consequences he's often forced by situations to hand out to children who've made mistakes under his care. He even goes so far as to lift kids in prayer at our church functions. Works himself to exhaustion trying to help. My daughter is currently a HS teacher. She often calls me and laments about how much she wants her students to do well, etc. Truth be told, I'm more surprised when people AREN'T reasonable. The unreasonable ones are the minority. Once again. topics like this one illustrate the damage done by the small minded, wannabe's in TWi who passed themselves off as "leaders." Even outside of the church, (maybe ESPECIALLY those outside of the church) most people who are leaders are actually pretty reasonable.
  5. Accreditation? Interesting... TWI went through (or at least they told us they did) that process with the Kansas Board of Regents (or whatever governing body's name is) for the programs @ Emporia... Somehow though, when we graduated TWCorps the degree was from the INDIANA campus... ??? I always wondered about that.... I was one of the "renegades" who at the time REFUSED to "go WOW" first (BEFORE going to college out of High School). I was very concerned about the legitimacy of the educational part of TWCorps Program. I had a degree coming INTO TWC. I told VPW personally that the best choice, for ME (first) and the ministry (second) was for me to get my degree prior to WC training, (which I saw as a SUPPLEMENT to my core education). I just never bought into the idea that "one year as a Word Over The World Ambassador was like 10 years of life experience" and would better prepare you for college. I wonder where all the records on this whole issue are?
  6. HCW


    Agreed. As I'm getting older and putting more and more time (and distance) between myself and TWI's ideas about "the accuracy and integrity of God's Word" I find myself more and more concerned about the few or even single grain of truth that I might find in ANYTHING I hear ANYBODY say - - than I am about "how accurate it is" overall. I mean, the more I learn about the Bible, the LESS scholarly I feel about it. I even have a regular, very nice Biblical conversation w/ a Jehovah Witness friend of mine who comes to my door. Even though I couldn't agree less with their view of who is & isn't going to heaven, we focus on things we can agree about. He's not gonna change my faith affiliation, nor I his. BUT we both enjoy studying and talking about the Bible. Maybe I'm just gettin' old, but I actually enjoy the differing perspectives as people speak about the truth. I learn from them & find myself growing in a lot of ways that we were strangled from via our exclusionary practices in TWI. I even find similar exclusionary thinking in many churches. Didn't the Bible say "whosoever will may come...?" Didn't Jesus say, "I'm just happy that they mention my name?" Or did he say, "You better be scientifically accurate and mathematically precise...." or you don't get in?
  7. HCW


    I would respectfully submit that Jesus NEVER read any symbolism INTO the scriptures. It might be "better" said that he extracted truth (or the message) FROM the scriptures and used symbolism that his audience of the day could relate to. As far as what is or is NOT O.K. to do.... That has always (from the beginning of human relations on this planet) been determined by what AUTHORITY one chooses and attempts to submit to. Provided one attempts to accept GOD as primary authority, that person therefore should accept the scriptures as having authority. The scriptures clearly speak to the the concept of anyone PRIVATELY interpreting them as being "wrong," or NOT O.K.. Even a casual reading of the scriptures can allow one to find Jesus telling "us" to do as he, himself did. (..."the works that I do shall ye do also..." Therefore if we were to first understand the scriptures well enough (as he did) we could then do as he did and extract the message resident in scriptures and communicate said message(s) in parable form so that our audience can relate to the message. I would also submit that we SHOULD relate the scriptures (at times) in similar forms as Jesus did, to communicate Godly truths, as he did to audiences, as he did. This would require that one studied the scriptures as Jesus did and got to know them as he did. Unfortunately. Far to FEW of us do that. In studying Jesus' words from the Bible, as they relate to the rest of the Bible, it can be found how AMAZINGLY WELL he understood the ENTIRE canon of scripture written prior to his birth. He knew how things related one to the other and could readily extract "symbolism" from the scriptures in order to communicate his messages in ways that stick in people's minds. ALL language is symbolism. Even dry, clinical, "literal" accounting of facts relating to an event or message. A rose in any language is still a rose. The differing sounds of the words from one language to another does not add to or distract from its beauty or smell. The words themselves are just symbols used to describe it. If one understands the symbols (the language) he can discern the message. Parables are nothing more than a compounding of the concept of language where a group of words "paints" a "picture" used to communicate an idea. One word can communicate as well as a whole parable... I.e: "stinky" brings a specific idea to mind to those of us who understand English. If a person doesn't understand the language he won't be any more able to extract an idea from one word than another who is fluent with the language, but doesn't understand the parable. No difference. Problems arise, however, when an individual INJECTS his PERSONAL (private) message INTO scripture and thereby CHANGES the message resident in the scripture. In so doing the individual becomes his own AUTHORITY, rejecting the authority they SAY they accept from GOD via the scripture. Jesus NEVER did that. He made HIS life fit with the authority he submitted to (GOD) and is so doing he dedicated HIS entire life to teaching US how to BE Godly by showing us THE WAY to do it. That is how HE BECAME the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. We, and most unfortunately, the ones of us who SUPPOSEDLY dedicate OUR lives to teaching and showing others HOW to live as Jesus did... for the most part, DON'T do as Jesus did. WE "do err, because we DON'T know the scriptures, nor (or therefore we don't) know the POWER of God." Its never "wrong" for us to do the same as Jesus did.
  8. On moving on.... First let me say this, Gee Brainfixed, that for a "nut job," my first impression of you is that you communicate more openly and honestly than most NON "nut jobs" I've known in my 51+ years on this planet! The things you wrote are certainly thought provoking and stuff that makes for a great discussion. That being said, I would venture this guess - - that you are actually much further down the road to SUCCESSFULLY moving on from your TWI experience than you think, perhaps moreso than many who've been far less "fouled" by their own TWI experience. Please remember that how you see yourself; how closely you can BE the self that you see yourself as is perhaps the greatest measure of personal freedom. I think personal freedom is what we all seek, subsequent to our individual TWI "adventures." To me, the most exciting thing about needing to move on and reinvent oneself after TWI, is that you GET to reinvent yourself - - in your OWN image. It is incredibly exciting that you can simply choose what kind of brainfixed YOU want to be.... Simply fix YOUR brain on who and what YOU want to be... and GO FOR IT! From my perspective, the central problem w/ TWI was, is that THEY influences so many of US re re-invent (and to the extreme in your case, pretty much totally invent) ourselves and build these false versions of self in THEIR image(s). In so doing, sooooo many have been injured, emotionally, psychologically and even physically... notwithstanding those whose deaths can be totally laid at their charge. BUT. Now the we're OUT. We ARE free to choose free to utilized the greatest gift God gave mankind, freedom. I've been out over 20 years, after having been about as deeply IN as it gets in TWI. I basically did "it all," up to and including working at HQ for 8 years. I knew all of the TWI principals personally, including the founder, as my job required years of frequent professional interactions with him and other executives. I say that in terms of introduction and to say I have intimate knowledge of TWI that goes back some 30yrs. Nuff said. What I did to move on was that I walked away. I walked away and didn't look back. I closed my Bible and challenged God, "If this stuff IS true and you really ARE there, then we'll just see... how much of this stuff REALLY lives in me and how much it DOESN'T." Then I set out on a private journey to learn about myself. I took as much time as necessary to evaluate EVERYTHING I think. Every thing I believe, and WHY do I believe THAT? From things as simple and SAFE as: Is blue really MY favorite color? I asked myself, Have I ever looked at, say, GREEN and even considered, objectively, that I MIGHT like it BETTER than blue? Or is there something in my life that caused me to THINK I liked blue as MY favorite... Maybe something like, My Mommy really liked her favorite blue dress and I love my Mommy, so I then made the shade of HER FAVORITE blue dress MY favorite color. And. IF that IS true, am I really OK with that... NOW? The process was extremely cleansing. I had never even HEARD of Drambuie.... yet how many people adopted it as a "favorite" worthy to include in their private home stash? Why? Because "he" liked it - - it was "his" favorite. In taking this mental inventory, I was able to both find and then throw out unhealthy mental associations... and even some healthy ones... just cause I didn't want them any more... It was just like looking through my closet and throwing away my leisure suit - - it just doesn't fit anymore, although I loved it "then" and had a great time that night, dancing to "Play that Funky Music White Boy!" Getting rid of the unhealthy didn't have to be an angry, arduous process. It can be fun! Cause one can actually say, "I hate the jerk, but he DID have good taste in liquor! I actually like this stuff!" THEN you can decide whether YOU want to keep it, and drink it... or give it to your NEW friend who saw it in your bar... or use it to BURN YOUR leisure suit.! Whatever you do do, do do it because it is what YOU want to do. It becomes exhilarating. The heinous manner that they kicked me out in placed me in a position where I had little choice but to throw myself into moving forward, moving on, but I stumbled into letting go of the whole thing, TWI lingo, friends, meetings, teachings, the whole shabang. After a while, I'd run into friends and realize the friendships were true and others that ONLY existed behind the curtain that is TWI relationships. I learned to become OK with myself, my deepest, darkest faults, as well as my greatest qualities & talents. Now I'm happy, as free as I am, recognizing how free I might not be.... when & where, at least I know myself, for myself. My life isn't all I think I wanted or thought it would be, but its mine. I'm a constant work in progress becoming the man I think GOD wants me to be, I utilize MY talents that HE gave me. I've gone on to do some things I've "always wanted to do cause during the process I remembered, "Hey, I want to do that!" BUT. for all of the work, there is a huge component of moving on that involves simply "dropping it." Some things you just drop in the street, so to speak, and walk away from it like throwing trash out the window while driving down the highway, you can look in the rear view all you want but as you move on the stuff gets further & further away. Its up to YOU to decide which things to work on, & which to throw out the window. NOBODY can decide that for you; however we can perhaps help you with insights from our experiences. You are well on your way! If you feel I can be of help, feel free to let me know. I'm sure many here feel the same way! Welcome!
  9. They sure don't. When I was "in" I used to always wonder why the ministry never did anything for anybody. Pretty much everything TWi ever did "for" anyone was to "get them in the class." As far as I know TWi never gave one red cent to any type of charity. Amazing. Isn't it.
  10. Yup, saw the auditorium too. Drove down Wierwille Rd., turned left on Shelby County Rd. Could hardly believe what I was seeing so I turned around & came back for a double take. I actually stopped for a few moments & looked back into the trailer park.... Looks like a "trailer park." They took the "Victor Paul Wierwille" off of the auditorium sign. Actually renamed the building. Speaks so loudly to their current intentions, I'd say... how much "kinder & gentler" is that? The sign looks unkempt, actually shocking, put me in mind of one of those doomsday scenario movies. The building looks, more dreary than I remember. It had an "abandoned" feel to it - was a bit weird, especially seeing as they still use it. Your question brings back memories.... I actually did the design for the sign; helped build that building, literally, pounded a few nails, swept some construction dust, stuff like that. Part of my job was to document the building project from the designs on paper, through the groundbreaking and every construction phase. Even stopped in on the architects regularly & threw my two cents in on their design plans (it was really only work about 2 cents :-). We put all of the best the ministry had to offer into that building. The best architectural designers available worked with the best auditorium design consultants in the country to meet the specs that we'd come up with. The building was to be the "perfect" place to speak God's Word from. Decades of experiences to draw from; doing SNS services in the BRC and countless venues, meeting rooms, convention centers & the like around the country and other parts of the world really helped. ... Not to mention years of doing Way Productions everywhere from the smallest living room to mansions, parks, every type of auditorium one could think of, to the BRC; and countless "Saturday Night Doo's" at that little church in New Bremen - - "The Way Cultural Center." We put everything we had collectively learned about putting on a production, years of likes & dislikes of every place we'd been along with (paid) consultation from some of the best minds in the "auditorium building," building business into that place. I looked at it sort of like the grace administration's, our 20th century, version of "the temple." TWi called in many of the best artisans in the ministry to decorate it. We even used this theory of "color/music harmony" we'd been working on for years (the paintings in the lunch room at Emporia were earlier ventures into it) to come up with the color schemes, particularly in the main auditorium. From the wood from the hand carved auditorium doors, to the huge map in the lobby, to the painting of VPW, etc. everything in there had specific biblical/scriptural significance. Even VP's pose in the picture to the "Timothy" statue in the lobby - - all of it was done with great care by supposedly, our absolute best artisans in each field required for the building. It was thrilling, felt like Old Testament stuff coming to life. There was a constant flow of people in from the field to "work on the auditorium." For it to be "the best" the best worked on it. Eg: The main auditorium was designed acoustically by some sound expert dude, so that a person could stand at the lecturn and need not be amplified for the furthest person in the highest seat in the balcony to hear him. It originally had a wireless headphone system installed so that people attending who needed translation could sit anywhere w/o having to plug in headphones. "Not one bad seat in the house" was VP's directive for the design. The stage is deep enough and wide enough that "any" traveling broadway show could be produced there. They built it with the concept in mind that we could, and would approach major touring acts of any type to have them add New Knoxville, Ohio (!???!) as a stop on their tour. We could offer them "the finest auditorium facility between New York & Chicago" and a full house for every performance. While we were building it, we did special "Saturday Doo's" for local executives, ViP's, & honored guests, etc. (those were some times when I'd drive VP & his guests in his Lincoln) - - they'd sometimes get a classy dinner & show thing where some of the New York, Broadway folk, Branded, (when they were at their best), etc. came in to do some really great Way Prod performances. We did multimedia, live tapings of the TV Show (High Country Caravan)- all this great stuff leading up to the grand opening of the "Victor Paul Wierwille Word Over The World Auditorium." VP sold community leaders on the idea that TWI would get world class performers & shows that they would normally have to fly or drive to some big city (like Chicago) to see... we'd get them right here in their own back yard. That went a long way towards improving community relations. In his last few years of vitality, the auditorium was his last big hurrah. Local people really liked the shows, sometimes there were more locals there than staff folk. Then VP got sick, faded away & LCM took over. After that we got LCM and "Athletes of the Spirit." HQ was abuzz w/ auditorium this & that, it seemed like forever. It was exciting to be a part of it, it was the "next HUGE ministry thing" the new centerpiece of TWi... the "WOW Auditorium." I was caught up in what it represented, this huge undertaking an amalgamation of all the best we, the ministry's artisans had to offer. Once it opened WayProd did a couple of Saturday Night Doo's leading up to to the grand opening it seemed like a "warm up" of sorts & build up of our production building chops in the new building. One show in particular called something like "PFAL, Our Life-Style" was this HUGE HIT! EVERYONE who saw it absolutely LOVED it! That show was "squashed (at the trustee level) like a fat bug on a windshield" and swept under the rug "quicker than a greased pig in a barrel of hog fat." (reference intended) After maybe like, ONE performance it was GONE. All who were in it were told not to speak of it. No tapes were ever shown of it & it became firmly entrenched in HQ's "more than abundant" rumor mill. Rumor had it that Craig didn't like it because it took away focus from "Athletes." Deeper rumor was that it was so good that it made "Athletes" look like "Muppets on Amateur Hour." At that time we had some really heavy hittin' performers in Way Productions. K@n McC@w was running WProd @ that time & he's a musical genius "par excellance." Scuttlebutt on the show was that it was "one of the most spiritually right on things we'd ever done." Further rumor was that K@n had put together a SUPERB show worthy of all the WOW Aud. hype & LCM was jealous cause "K@n's show was better than his." I don't know for sure, I didn't see it. What does all this have to do w/ the topic "We Bumped into a Lifer?" WE WERE ALL LIFERS. Those of us who put our lives, heart & soul into that auditorium, pretty much to a man - - were "Lifers." Myself included. I moved to New Knoxville, Ohio after graduating the 11th Way Corps with absolutely NO intention of ever living anywhere else. Geez. I went INTO the 11th WC with full intent to become a lifer @ HQ. I felt I was a "God Inspired Professional" and was willing to devote my life & God given talents to further God's purposes. You know, the ol' utmost for His highest thing, servin' at "the root." At times I felt I'd "died & gone to heaven on earth" during the years I worked @ HQ. I worked tirelessly: many times round the clock, developing myself spiritually & professionally (I even pulled a 'B' in GREEK class in the Corps!) so I could honestly BE world class. My greatest desire, professionally, was to be able to put our publications up against ANY publication in the world and have them be "on par w/ the BEST." We actually did it. I was about 15 or 16 years old, an aspiring art student when I saw the "America Awakes" airbrushed album cover art. Excited, I asked David Craley (the Way Mag editor) at some ministry function, "Who did the cover art?" He told me the guy's name and that he was an unbeliever they hired because we didn't have anybody in the ministry who could do that kind of work at that level of quality. I said. "Then I'll do it." I finished high school, went to & graduated art school & studied under a world famous airbrush artist (who just "happened" to teach at the school I chose). Then went WOW at Mr. Craley's suggestion, came to HQ to work in Way Publications & now have illustrated more Way Mag Covers than anyone in TWI history (pre POP, as far as I know). We actually did it. The Way Mag won secular awards. Our printer won printing industry awards for its printing quality. We then decided to "bring the mag home" and print it ourselves in the OSC. In a year, we went from a one-color duplication shop to become rated as one of the "Top 100 In-Plant Printing" 'four-color plus' operations in the country. When we put our stuff up against the best secular stuff, we won awards. I married a local NK girl, bought a little house on an acre of land in the country & settled in to raise family. My plan was to be a "lifer" doing "artwork for God & His Minisrty." Many, many of us who worked @ HQ late '70s through the early 80's were there "for life." That was when the term "lifer" proliferated. Then it all fell apart, even as we were building it. Now what they have there are lifer's, "lovingly encouraging" M&A folk to "come home." Home? HQ has not been "home" Come back to what? A dingy, dank looking, shell of "what once was & could have been???" A place where the blacktop cracks, weeds abound-chocking the once manicured grass lawns, significantly beautiful trees have died, lives have lost & ruined? The hand painted murals have faded, the hand made lobby art, (two stories tall ceramic relief map of the continental US with 1ft diameter embossed brass seals of each of the 50 US states) surely has layers of grimy dust on it. (That was a gift to HQ from "The Way of the USA" believers to honor the auditorium. It has what look like sound waves repeating outward from the spot on the Ohio map where HQ is to signify God's Word emanating from that point through the entire US to the whole world (Word Over The World Auditorium, get it? :-) It took two & 1/2 artist/ceramicists (I was the half, cause all I ever did was hang around w/ them while THEY worked, doin' a little grunt work moving tiles around, checking kiln temps & saying stuff like, "Yep. That color doesn't work. Oh, that one's better.") ...it took them/us about two MAN-YEARS to make that map, I'd love to know how much that thing alone is worth - custom formulated glazes to get the right browns, blues, & greens et al. Come back to TWI? To the Auditorium? The facility with world class intent and potential wasted... that place? Oh you mean the place where they sing mind numbing lyrics dressed in circa 1980 outfits and some Ken doll looking wannabe "performer" moonwalks and break dances with 20 yr old outdated moves in a Navy blue (or was it "funeral black") business suit? I don't think so. I/ WE were "lifers." I feel free to speak for so many of us when I say "Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift." They threw US out! THANK YOU!!! Those folk, sorry to say even some of my dear friends, are "lifers" on a dead boat. They have missed the boat so badly, the ship is not even on the horizon for them to see how far off the mark they are. It truly IS sad. Sorry for the lengthy post, These things start out to be "one short little comment." Really they do. BTW. In case you wondered. I'm still living out my "God Inspired Professional" dream. Yes. I'm still doing artwork (hopefully world class) for "God's Ministry." However. Now I've come to learn that "GOD's Ministry" is not the ministry work of one particular "church" or one group. Its not the ego-driven desire or lusts of one man. God's ministry is the work of THE church. The "church" I attend, we have a ministry to the country of Swaziland, South Africa. Its about as big as New Jersey, (I think) yet it has the highest incident rate of HIV/AIDS on the entire world. In fact, "this lovely little country" is (or should I say WAS) actually statistically on track to be extinct as a nation of people within a generation, should HIV/AIDS continue on the path its on. WE have decided to do something about it. We feel we are called of God to be His hands & feet in His effort to save the people of Swaziland from disappearing from the face of the Earth. I serve on our Swaziland Communications Team, as part of our Swaziland Ministry. Last Saturday we held our 2nd Annual Swaziland 5K Run/Walk fund raising event. Its just one small part of our overall comprehensive effort that IS ACTUALLY SAVING PEOPLE's LIVES. We help orphan's and widow's and others who simply need some help from those of us who have abundant resources, whereas they have little. This is abundant sharing. Been there, done that? Here's the t'shirt: Talk about your "lifers." How about an 11yr old kid with three younger siblings who is now "Head of his household" because both of his parents died last year from diseases related to HIV/AIDS. He's a "lifer." I'm now a "lifer" whose helping God give that kid his life back. Part of our "work of the ministry" to Swaziland is to help finance his schooling. Our In Community, By Community (ICBC) plan (among other things) finds and identifies orphans & families; recruits & trains widows who are more than willing to become "house mothers" to raise the children. ICBC identifies, recruits & trains pastors who then live IN their community and oversee their local church and the orphan homes in his community. Our church here in the US supplies funding, we send construction groups who build the pastor's home & build & maintain the orphan homes. We come along side them & supply whatever other support we can be for THEIR efforts to educate, and provide for themselves. We don't tell them what to do. we are not their leaders, coordinators, or even mentors. We are their PARTNERS. Our theme for our Swaziland Ministry is "partnering today. preserving tomorrow." I came up with that theme, one night sitting at this same computer while in prayer, asking God, "Hey God, what can we call this thing?" I designed the T'Shirt & my company provided the printing for the shirts. I also expanded the them for the 5k Run to say, "running today. preserving tomorrow." Folks love it. God loves it. I'm a lifer in His, God's ministry.
  11. Maybe you guys know I still live in Dayton, Oh. Occasionally things like work, & visiting my kids' side of family, etc. take me in the vicinity of HQ. This particular time "things" took me right down "Highway 29". Just for grins/nostalgia/curiosity's sake I decided to do a drive by of TWI HQ grounds. I was shocked. They speak of "kindler/gentler" & yes, my encounters with what were once some of my closest friends, "brothers & sisters" from my in-residence days have been "all of the above." However, they just don't seem to see how EVERY encounter with them is the same. Each follows similar bullet points and they never end the encounter without "the close." They "lovingly encourage" you/us to come back, things are better now, so much better. What shocked me though was the deteriorated shape of the grounds themselves. The ROA field is overgrown with, dare I say it, WEEDS. The smooth, pristine blacktop where the largest tent in the world once proudly stood is filled with cracks. The murals are gone from the OSC. Painted over. The circle of exotic trees round the fountain near the Wierwille home - - gone. The whole place wreaks of "bygone days." Per New Knoxville's standards, TWI HQ is a slum. Various units were in differing stages of disrepair. Seems they don't have the manpower, or perhaps they lack the desire to take care of the place - - the international home of what they say is, "God's Ministry." I felt bad for the grass. It deserves better.
  12. Thanks Sky. You bring up some great points too, really solid thinking & observation. ...And the vast majority of "most of us" were just kids then. I was first exposed to TWi sometime, I think it was late summer, early fall of 1974 I was around 15 with all of the incredible insight of a smart teenager. (!) I also think we made some general assumptions about VP - perhaps based on the dichotomy of "our" age(s) vs his & the differing stages of life. "We were basically kids & we thought he was mature, adult, fatherly & accomplished. After all, he was "Dr." "The Groovy Christians of Rye New York" thing was around 1970, & the whole west coast thing before that w/ Jimm!e Do*p & company... young people, teens, 20-somethings for the most part. As TWi history played out, we come to find out that VP had already done probably irreparable damage to the ministry in its "toddler years." A good bit of the core ministry leadership came out of those two groups of young people. I don't know a whole lot about the riff that happened out on the west coast & most of the players; our paths seldom crossed through the years. However, it could be said that they & we, who came along around the era you mentioned. Skyrider, built TWi on a huge crack. It was only filled w/ spackle. I don't think the wounds that happened then ever really healed. I was a part of the "next wave" of staffers. I was schooled & had a degree & some actual talent suited for the job @ HQ. Prior to that time a good bit of staff positions were filled by "people with a heart to do" what they were doing. One of my constant peeves about HQ was how we, as a corporation, were like the "Maverick" character from the movie "Top Gun." The corporation wrote checks with our mouth that our performance couldn't cash. Yeah, as we grew there were certain departments, individuals who had the chops to compete with "the best" in the world at what they did, but overall... I don't think so. Coming from a real metropolitan area, having rubbed shoulders with, been taught by, worked for & interned with REAL world class professionals; I knew what they looked like. When I came on staff I aspired to ONE DAY BECOME, a truly God Inspired Professional, I wanted to grow & develop into a world class operation for God. However, just because we mailed & shipped our stuff around the world, that fact alone didn't make it "world class." Point being, the "man VP knew to be" knew that at best TWi was a work in progress, a fantastic idea with huge potential. "He" had to know that the true order for the day was to be patient with the growth of the ministry, not rushing things as it were to build "God's Ministry" as a Godly corporation. We had a real opportunity to do something really big. Problem was that to do it right, as you said, he was nearly 60 in '75 when HQ was a bean farm & we were still doing ROA at a smelly fairgrounds in Sidney.... not world class conditions. In our youthful haste, we overlooked Way too much. We projected our own dreams of what TWi COULD be and started living it as if we were, but we weren't. As people fell off along The Way, we mimicked VP's angry arrogance I said THEY were wrong. Look at what time has told... VP had little patience where it really mattered. I believe God have been happy to bless a venture like that. Its sad.
  13. Sure. I've got some thoughts.... but first, Thanks for the kind words. One thing I've always tried to contribute to these forums discussing TWI is to de-mystify it. Things were very different in the earlier days (pre 1980's) around HQ than out in the field. It was a lot more "real" in the sense that, whereas people respected VP, et. al. there wasn't as much of the demi-gogging worshipping thing there. There were always folk around who had very eye-open Its funny you should mention LCM, Geer, Howard Allen... All of those guys were known around HQ to be real jerks at times. Others were known & respected for having kinder, gentler personalities. Donnie W. was very laid back, mellow & nice for the most part, at least that was my experience w/ him. The extreme worship thing blew up as the ministry started growing exponentially after the first ROA. I wouldn't say those guys were "following in VP's" footsteps. When they were acting like jerks it was because they had it in them to be jerks. If anything they were acting in parallel to whatever VP may have been doing. VP was EXTREMELY high strung. He acted like a REALLY high strung person does when he's in charge. Since he was the boss, he did what he wanted, when he wanted. Much like a child does when they throw a temper tamtrum over the littlest thing that doesn't go their way. I think the concept of "attributing his outbursts to narcissistic tendencies" is giving him a little bit waaay too much credit in a manner of speaking. Frankly, I think the point is better said by saying, "Man, VP was a REAL jerk at times. No lofty ascertaining of the situation necessary. Just a real world statement. He acted like a spoiled brat at times, whenever he wanted to. Why? Because he was the boss, that's why. He bullied a lot of people, a lot of the time. A lot of people were afraid of him because he'd "ream the hell out of you" in public... even over things that weren't such a big deal. Nobody wanted to be humiliated in public. Although "everybody want to be around hime when he was on fire preaching the word. Almost nobody wanted to be around him when he got mad. It was really easy to get him mad sometimes. Sure, some other people acted like him because he did it, but mostly they did it because they had it in themselves to do it. People used VP's weaknesses as an excuse to exploit their own weakness, lack of tact, lack of decorum, or just plain laziness & lack of people skills. Mrs. Owens started teaching Christian Etiquette - - because we needed it. An interesting thought, at least to me... is the perspective on TWI from the locals. The locals NEVER worshipped VPW, not for one stinking moment. Why? They KNEW him, that's why. They grew up with him. I only lived on grounds for the first year I was on staff, '79 - '80. Then again while I was in residence for 1 block, final year in 11th Corps. The rest of the total 8yrs on staff and almost 15yrs in the area, I lived off grounds, with the locals. No Waybrain out in the communities (except when the Wayfers venture out). My oldest daughter actually IS a New Knoxville native. I married a NK girl & lived there long enough to be accepted as part of the NK community, I had season tickets to the HS Basketball game, (seats 4th row @ halfcourt), went to Fall Festival every year, just like everybody else. Everybody knows everybody in those small towns. Its wierd to bigger city folk (myself included at first), but we can "smell a wafer a mile away." Why? cause after you've lived there long enough, you know everybody, everybody knows you, you know "everyone" who comes to visit, you know basically why ANYBODY who ever passes through passes through AND basically where anyone's going WHEN they drive by... You even know how a kid is GOING TO behave in school, because you know his parents, both of them, divorced or not. You know basically how much money everyone has, cause you see them buying their stuff, or see the stuff they had shipped in or brought back from their trip to New York or the Bahamas. You know what house they used to live in before they bought the bigger one, which you knew they would buy when you knew they got their raise, or their new job; or they lost their job. You know cause there are so few people around. You can't help but hear stuff, & say stuff yourself. That being said, the TWI bull-crap sticks out like a sore thumb when you just stop for a minute, a second even and look at it from REAL world eyes. They look, act & talk different than "we" do. Example: VP was intelligent, he could be very nice, but he had a mean, jerky streak. He had a chip on his shoulder. He never wanted to be & act like NK boys do. NK people got mad at him & he wanted to get back at them. He gave the town "the finger" in a lot of ways through the years. (not being so much akin to local traditions, "we" [outsiders] didn't see that, but the locals did). Donnie got mad at his Dad for being a jerk to his Mom. The town got mad at VP cause he didn't follow the traditional path that NK boys do. (You don't start no worldwide ministry on the family farm & bring in "crazies from all over." You just don't do that 'round here.) BUT. VP wanted (in traditional NK fashion) Donnie to follow in his footsteps in the ministry. Donnie said NO & gave his Dad "the finger" when he left, went to college away from the area & started his adult life in another state. VPW was upset about that & for years begged Donnie to come back (unsuccessfully). After Harry & Ermal died Donnie reluctantly agreed to come back, however, as Vice President. Donnie ran the day to day corporate operations of the ministry. The whole thing of replacing old-timers in staff positions w/ "God Inspired Professionals" was Donnie's thing. He wanted TWI to be "the best corporation in the world." Freeze frame right there. Check this out. Mercer County in Ohio (where Celina is), is, per capita the richest county in the state (because of agriculture). New Bremen has Crown Equipment Corp. (a world leader in manufacture of lift trucks, check your local warehouse, there will be a Crown forklift of some sort there.) Minster has Minster Machine (a world class machining company), etc, New Knoxville has Hoge Lumber, (world leader in bowling alleys & stuff like that). The forts man on the moon was from Wapakoneta. All thhose towns surround Nk. Donnie wanted TWI to be bigger & more than "all of the above." Each of those little towns compete w/ each other, always have, always will. When VP talked about hanging out w/ corporate execs at the Indy 500 & stuff while they "bragged about how big" their companies were - - He was talking to and about THEM; the local guys who own those places as well as others. He wanted to say "mine is bigger than yours" to them. (Ambassador one was one of the biggest corporate jets of its day. You can't stand up in the cabin of a lear jet, which is what Crown & those other companies have. BTW. The former ambassador one pilot was flying for Crown, last I spoke to him. AND Crown bought TWI's mega luxury hangar at NK airport. (poetic justice?) Vp hacked his son off by what he did to his Mom - - for the sake of the ministry. When Donnie got old enough, he took that ministry from his Dad, used it to set himself & his family for lifetimes & ran it into the ground. He built it & set it up financially so that it is "self propagating, self sustaining, etc." All that lingo came from Donnie, not VP. The money to run TWI will never run out, as long as they do the minimum to keep the door open it'll "run forever." The "innie-est" insiders have money for life. Your money, your freewill offerings (sweet gig if you can get it.) Other folk were (and still are) just cannibalizing off of it. Unfortunately there were many thousands who involved themselves w/ TWi for the right reasons all along the way. God's Word was our "product" at TWI. Minster sells Machines, New Bremen sells forklifts, Celina sells "farm stuff" St. Marys hosts industries, TWi sells GOD. Problem is, God is NOT for SALE. He don't like what we did either. Whose "fault" was it? I wondered for years just what the deal with TWI was. Now all its coming together for me and it can be summed up in these few scriptures: If TWi was of God ever, it would BE of God, now and still. There are so many out there who know so much more about the old days than I do. I know just enough to know that there have always been cracks in the TWi ministry. There have always been good and Godly people in TWi. In my opinion God blessed VP and TWI for a while because His Word IS true and at least some of us actually had it in our hearts to teach it accurately with integrity. After the dust settled w/Vp's death TWi got rid of us, all of us who wouldn't leave on our own, some were escorted off the grounds by armed guards (some of whom I trained in some basic martial arts). However; regarding VP.... VP's heart wasn't "broken" if anything, it was destroyed by his own sin. It was his fault, He knew that. Why else would he have gone around as he did having Harve sing that dreadful song. "I wish I were the man I know to be." I don't think he was "Dr. Evil," just sinful. Like I said before, "Woe unto him."
  14. Shooting Ermal's funeral was one of the first of the "VPW's personal projects" I'm constantly blabbering about my having done. It was during that time & some of the private moments when VP spoke his feelings; of course Ermal's death reminded him of the loss of Harry. He talked about what those guys meant to him & made some transparent "telling statements" that helped me get to know the real VP. During the whole time he said, "I don't think I'll ever be the same without my brother Harry, now that Ermal's gone too..." then he broke up in tears a little, Then went on to say something else. Craig had been pretty much the undisputed "alpha dog" of the the Corps, but the first few WC groups were "hippies." Kinda grungy as it were. When the 7th Corp came along HQ was abuzz about how they were the "best Corps ever," & clearly Chris was everything Craig was and more. The buzz was really similar to the sciptural account of Saul & David, where the people said, "Saul (Craig) killed his thousands, yet David (Chris) killed his ten thousands." Whereas Craig had that loveable goofy "Okie" kinda charm. CG was smooth, polished, ultra-organized & sophisticated. CG made being the "top guy" in his Corps group look easy.... whereas Craig had had to to work at it. It was obvious that "this farm ain't big enough for the both of us, dude." ... was in the air. ... so they could establish their own kingdoms Ambassador One pilot ...is a smart guy. I'll never forget seeing VP drunk @ staff Christmas Party that first year on staff. .. lost a lot of respect for him that day.
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