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The Way International is NOT a supermassive black hole – though they do exert a sneaky "gravitational force" that keeps trying to pull you back in. This thread is all about the deceitful and manipulative ways that TWI uses to get new recruits as well as the underhanded methods they employ to retain them. Anyone that gets within their sphere of influence might get sucked in if they are unaware of what hides behind the treacherous attraction. TWI is almost like a black hole a region of space-time exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing — not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light— can escape from inside it. Once you are sucked in to a cult it’s usually harder than hell to get out. And even after you’re out it might take some time to unravel and abandon the complicated mindset and habit patterns…and if you still enjoy reading the Bible like I do - - there’s also those familiar little “pop-ups” that come to mind when reading certain passages – wierwille’s phrases that were practically ingrained in my head through repeatedly listening to the PFAL class. But it all begins nice and easy - there is the love-bombing, talking up the benefits of the class, the excitement of being part of something bigger than myself. Given enough time and circumstances, I think the newness…the romance or honeymoon fades away. A follower slowly awakens to what they really married into – a legalistic, abusive, deceptive, manipulative, and exploitative organization. Now a different set of “mysterious forces” come into play. Lest you become tempted to “turn your back on God” (aka the ministry that taught you “the word”), by this time The Way International has already taken the necessary steps to wring a lifetime commitment out of you. If there’s anything to the theory of graviton particles - which speculates that they mediate gravitational interaction - then perhaps TWI’s “graviton particles” are the subtle implications of certain teachings that lay the groundwork for fear, guilt, and a host of other manipulating mechanisms. They set up followers to be compliance oriented. Recently I was thinking about the love-bombing thread as well as the other manipulative tactics that The Way International used to rope people in. Coincidentally I was listening to (repeatedly…uh oh ) a cover of Muse’s 2006 song “Supermassive Black Hole” done by 2 Cellos and featuring Naya Rivera (known for her breakthrough role on Glee). I love the music – it’s addictive…and goes perfectly with the theme of the song…thundering overpowering instruments that portend some catastrophic event. The song is about a toxic relationship – the person realizes the attraction to someone else is mostly based on a bunch of lies – and the person has a fatalistic attitude about it – like the immense power of supermassive black holes that wield incredible influence over their galaxies – to get sucked in was inevitable…trapped in a toxic relationship - with no foreseeable way to escape. I usually focus on the instrumentation of a tune – but the more I listened to it I kept wondering what did they say in this line or that – so I googled the lyrics and You Tube and after much constellations I felt expired to write this post (take that Norm Crosby fans ). The more I looked over the words to the song the more I saw similarities to being in a manipulative cult. I thought this particular clip would be entertaining and helpful since it has the words across the bottom: I think the sentiment in this song is applicable to anyone who’s been in TWI for a while and has become aware of their tactics of deception and manipulation; as seen in some of the song’s phrases I’ll comment on: “…You caught me under false pretenses…the queen of the superficial...how long before you tell the truth” folks get sucked into TWI by the love-bombing , the sales pitches for supposed benefits of their classes, the fabricated stories of phenomena, exaggerated or embellished stories of success as well as the sweet veneer of Christianity. “how long before you let me go?” – the feeling of being trapped and thinking of TWI as almost like a custodian of my fate. Whatever they say will happen to me are the supposed consequences of my believing - something to be feared ...nice little trick though - it really was a self-imposed mental prison - but I was not aware that I was the only one that could let myself go free...I can't really leave until they say it's ok to do so...which they never will, of course...especially if you were in the way corps - it's a lifetime commitment to Christian service. “Ooh, you set my soul alight” – is an interesting choice of words; it can have a double meaning – perhaps the songwriter meant it as such to convey the twofold tension in the attraction – I dunno – just guessing here …anyway …the word “alight” could mean to set the soul on fire - to be filled with passion or have an immense desire to achieve something – I think of when I first got involved – I was naïve and idealistic ...thought I could change the world with what I knew from PFAL … but “alight” can also mean to settle down or perch – as if the soul was in flight – on a journey – but has now settled down inside this supermassive black hole…I can relate to that too. I believe I’m on a journey through life – and my time in TWI was an unanticipated detour…or maybe it was more like a layover…12 fvcking years sitting at a crummy two bit airport. “Glaciers melting in the dead of night and the superstars sucked into the supermassive” the inevitability of succumbing to overwhelming forces…whether it’s slow and almost imperceptible like glaciers melting…the honeymoon phase of cult involvement – personal boundaries are softened, personal preferences and goals are slowly dissipated - giving way to the greater good – i.e. what does the ministry need me to do?...- If you’ve entered one of their programs (The Way Corps, WOW, Fellow Laborers, etc.) the indoctrination process was a lot quicker - like a superstar being sucked into a supermassive black hole! As my father-in-law (who was in the Seabees) would often say when there was something that needed to be done or maybe he just wanted something done “get with the program”. Part of the indoctrination process of any of their programs also reinforced blind obedience..."going with the flow" is allowing gravity to take over...it's all downhill from there == == == == == == == Toward my later years in TWI, I think one of the strongest “gravitational pulls” that kept me in line was a fear of what would happen to me if I left…”tripped out”. Many of us have heard wierwille’s go-to passage for instilling fear in followers. In John 13 Jesus predicts his betrayal during an evening meal with the disciples, then “As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.” (verse 30) wierwille twisted the double meaning of “it was night” - stating unequivocally that the only alternative to the ministry that taught you the rightly divided word was oblivion...so when I thought of my future – I would never picture myself ever leaving the ministry. The possibility of tripping out was not an option as far as I was concerned. Thinking of a scenario like that was almost like entertaining thoughts of suicide. My life, my dreams, my identity, my hopes were all wrapped up in the ministry. I dare say, the opposite of what wierwille said may be closer to the truth. Wierwille/TWI ARE the oblivion - a supermassive black hole - once you are sucked in – you are unaware of reality…oblivious to what matters because you are stuck inside a grand delusion – wierwille’s delusion…a real oblivion – a realm that is void of truth and reality – a parasitic vacuum that sucks all the resources out of anything that gets within its gravitational pull. “Even light cannot escape” ? – well, I wouldn’t go that far in applying this analogy – but I will say this – thinking about wierwille’s scripture twisting to suit his own agenda - very little light or truth was able to escape his lips…and woe unto anyone who accepts his viewpoint…As Jesus once said “If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6: 23). In other words, if you think wierwille has enlightened you – then you really are in a heap of supermassive darkness. New York Translation: you’re totally fvcked, dude ! One of the many great things about Grease Spot is that it truly is a light for those wanting to escape the dark netherworld of The Way International. Grease Spot tells the other side of the story…this has been another slice of my story…I was wondering if anyone else has anything to add…feel free to chime in…need a little direction? What was it that first got you thinking there might be a life for you beyond TWI? Besides any strong social bonds with family and friends in TWI – what was it that kept you from leaving when you first began to realize the ministry was not what it seemed? Were you ever afraid that bad things would happen and your life would fall apart if you left? If you’re still involved with TWI I would like to say there is still hope…there’s always hope…perhaps you’ve read things on other threads that resonate with you…have you thought about leaving? What is it that’s holding you back from taking the first few courageous steps to leave?