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Why were we vulnerable?

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Rascal:

I was looking to know Jesus better and I thought they led me to him.

Now, after decades of reviewing the "whys" I think VP said maybe 50 things that were great (stolen but great) and I never questioned the next 150 things because the first 50 were so awesome. (Number pulled out of the air to make a point -- I do not want anyone getting anal about the number and dragging her thread down that path)

One thing I have been looking into is the prophet needs to speak, the teacher to teach, and I am glad they have the guts to do it and not be so afraid to make a mistake that they do not talk. HOWEVER, there is a responsibility as a "hearer" and we neglected that.

I should have NEVER become so enamored by the 50 things I liked in TWI that I stopped questioning, fighting, or accepted things that were truly unreasonable. God tells us to test the spirits, to check the fruit, take things as advice - not edicts and to use discernment-- he never said blindly follow anyone. Was I tricked? Yes. But not by God. By the a- hole who mishandled the Word and by shunning MY responsibility of being a good "hearer"

I am older; more seasoned and know the Bible better now. I will not give up my discernment for anyone. No matter who it is... guess that is why he went after the young people....

When a Christian group leads you away from Jesus --- RUN!!!!

Edited by Dot Matrix

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Anyone have any thoughts regarding my post here? I'm really quite curious what you guys think about this.

The Honest answer is lots of them would.

We like to think our kids are well informed and in may respects yes they are . They are also very skeptical about the world around them. But they are just as vulnerable as we were.

Every one wants to be loved

and accepted

and everyone wants to be the person that knows the answers.

Honestly they still get involved in drugs they still have premarital sex. they still make bad decisions

and they still join cults and get themselves in dangerous situations every day.

Would they jump in as fast as us perhaps not.

but yes they would fall for it.

They fall for stuff already.

edited to add

One other thing to remember is most of us got involved by being told about it by a friend.

I wasn't witnessed to I was invited by two friends.

Yes I know that is what witnessing is. But it is not an in your face kind of thing it is a hey we are having fun doing this want to come along?

That is why I know it would work again.

Edited by leafytwiglet

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The things that attracted us to The Way are timeless.

A need to belong, personal relationships, desire to know what life is all about, desire to serve God, etc.

The difference today, I think, is that kids are more skeptical and world conditioned than we were.

We were coming out of a generation when kids were largely naive.

I think it's like a con game that changes its form to suit the audience or one of those urban legends that sounds as believable today as it did when we first heard it 40 years ago because the '57 Chevy has become a Cadillac Escalade in the modern version.

Side note:

I was witnessed to by a twig of complete strangers but the people in the twig had known each other prior to TWI.

One took an immediate special interest in me. (Date and Switch) I wish I had seen through that.

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Anyone have any thoughts regarding my post here? I'm really quite curious what you guys think about this.

Re: what you said about what would attract them...

It would have to be custom-tailored to reel in THEM.

vpw succeeded in "hijacking the hippies" because he had a plan designed to

fool THEM- not the people they'd be in a decade, the people they were

THERE and THEN. That same plan wouldn't work on anyone else.

As to rising anomie, that's one consequence of the silicon age, but it includes

its own cure as well- it's possible to get to know hundreds more people and

make face-to-face friends using the internet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomie

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Bottom line, I think that we were all looking for something. It seemed like we learned to morph twi/pfal into whatever an individual needed. Find that need and market the class as the answer.

As youngsters with no guidance, we dared hope that this was finally the answer to a life of difficulty. God had finally found us and now everything that the world, our parents, life had done to us was going to be overcome.

Peace was promised.

Bolshevik, the kids that were brought into twi were treated grievously. I certainly agree with you. I haven`t yet figured out if the youngsters that sought refuge in twi that became your tormentors did so because they were damaged in the first place and never got the help that was needed, or if in following the guidance and teaching, we became warped, cold, and abusive.

I don`t know, not everyone turned into a creep, maybe twi was a haven for bullies, for people with personality disorders, bad behavior was explained away with valid sounding, seemingly bible based, God endorsed reasons.

I am truly sorry for what you guys endured Bolshevik. It was unconscionable. I just hope that you can understand, not all of us saw or embraced the evil, that the evil of twi was very carefully disguised.

If wierwille had jumped out in person and said BOO! Take my class and you will be required to serve in my ministry for the rest of your life, you will face privation, your children will be abused and grow up to hate you, your women expected to serve in any capacity, your money required to support our lavish life styles, you will pick up and move every 3 years you will give up college and career that interferes with your ability to serve....you will be expected to give 15 % of your income the rest of your lives...you will submit to outragious abuse, humbly accept face meltings, have your families divided and destroyed at a leaders wjim....and IF you should ever object or your usefulness exhausted...you will be thrown out...cast away like garbage.

He had to be a little more subtle than that. As evil as twi became, as reprehensible as each of our actions were....I hope that you can understand that not everyone, I`d say even most of us started out with the most noble of intentions....some were strong enough going in to maintain their identity and integrity...they paid the price for it.

We were deceived pure and simple. The kids paid a heavy toll for that, it is a burden we parents will always carry.

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Another big part of the reason, for me anyway, was that we didn't know of any alternatives. There was just enough Bible to make it seem legitimate, but no other Biblical views were presented, at least not honestly or accurately. Some of us really believed it was the only place to get the "rightly divided Word" and for a while were even willing to overlook the bad stuff for the sake of that.

I often heard people who grew up in a church (catholic, baptist, etc.) say that they were attracted to teachings at twig fellowships because they made more sense. Much energy was spent talking about how other religions don't make sense, implying that twi's teaching did.

Is that how you really felt? Did PFAL provide a real sense of enlightenment, or real intellectual satisfaction (so to speak)?

Did this type of talk really have more to do with previous experiences in churches that were disappointing than the quality of twi's "doctrines"?

Also, I know the internet wasn't accessible back then, but was there information in libraries that could verify twi's claims?

Edited by Bolshevik

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Most people who are born in broken homes these days later come to existential angst which leads to nihilism, and they gain a disdain for religion as a whole. This also accounts for the rising statistics for teen suicide. I wonder, if there were a group similar to TWI that sprung up today, how many like myself, being 17, 18, 19, 20-ish, would join it.

Thoughts?

Wow, you're painting with a very broad brush there. I know some kids who are better off after their parents divorce. I know of other kids who are not well prepared for adulthood even though their parents stay together.

As for what would happen if TWI sprung up today? Well the culture is different, so the trappings of the cults are different. Some kids today are led into bible believing cults by their parents. I think the one in Wasilla Alaska has some pretty strange beliefs.

There will always be people (well meaning and otherwise) who want people to follow them blindly - and there will always be people who are willing to for a time. In some cases that time will be short, in other cases long.

Just my 2 cents and 1 for inflation.

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I often heard people who grew up in a church (catholic, baptist, etc.) say that they were attracted to teachings at twig fellowships because they made more sense. Much energy was spent talking about how other religions don't make sense, implying that twi's teaching did.

Is that how you really felt? Did PFAL provide a real sense of enlightenment, or real intellectual satisfaction (so to speak)?

Yes. It was presented in such a "folksy", simplistic manner, it seemed to be easily understood.

Did this type of talk really have more to do with previous experiences in churches that were disappointing than the quality of twi's "doctrines"?

Yes, again. But remember, for many people, there was limited church experience with which to compare it. (Myself included.) To many of us, the concept of Biblical Research was completely foreign.

Also, I know the internet wasn't accessible back then, but was there information in libraries that could verify twi's claims?

No. In fact, part of Wierwille's gimmick was that this was supposedly proprietary information that contradicted the conventional materials one might find in a library. So, he was already telling us that if we were to "research" other sources, we would likely find "erroneous" information. He was a master of obviation.

OBVIATION

Edited by waysider

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I often heard people who grew up in a church (catholic, baptist, etc.) say that they were attracted to teachings at twig fellowships because they made more sense. Much energy was spent talking about how other religions don't make sense, implying that twi's teaching did.

Is that how you really felt? Did PFAL provide a real sense of enlightenment, or real intellectual satisfaction (so to speak)?

Did this type of talk really have more to do with previous experiences in churches that were disappointing than the quality of twi's "doctrines"?

Also, I know the internet wasn't accessible back then, but was there information in libraries that could verify twi's claims?

I can only speak fro how I perceived it in the late 70's early 80's from my point of view and what people who were in Corps were doing and saying.. at least the ones I came into contact with.

None of us (who joined TWI) were biblical scholars most of us were young.. I would venture to guess about ages 15 to 28... with some older people around but the majority were in that age range.

We had minimal exposure to biblical teaching before TWI. This would be sunday school or bible study.. with people of our same level of expertise...(I am sure there were a few churches out their teaching actual bible study but nothing that even remotely came close to the greek and hebrew terms and the amount of flipping back and forth thru the books of the bible to get a meaning of something.

IF you went into the corps you were then trained in the manner of study VP wanted them taught.

Anyone who found information that was either proof of wrong TWI docrine or who just asked a question about it that might reveal error was brow beat or out right booted out.

If you were a new PFAL grad and said you wanted to study it for your self and spend some time really looking into it you were laughed at and or told that you didn't need to do that. "Dr has already done it for you"

I was told this on more than one occasion(this would be at least once a year or more from the moment I finished PFAL) because GOD forbid I should actually spend some time looking at the greek words and looking up more passages than what was written out in PFAL. How dare I question "DR" I know I wasn't the only one who got this line of baloney. I heard it said to Corps people who were working on some (???) corps research projects??? any way it irritated me as TWI was supposed to be a research ministry as well as a teaching ministry. (just so you don't get the wrong Idea I was not trying to argue against PFAL. I was just trying to look at the stuff we were already taught and maybe have a little more information on it. IT wasn't like I was out their arguing about it or anything like that I just really wanted to read it and understand it for myself.)

being a stubborn idiot. I would just continue my bull in the china shop attempts to study the bible.

Anyway that is my experience with it.

and what waysider said which answered your question much more succinctly

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I often heard people who grew up in a church (catholic, baptist, etc.) say that they were attracted to teachings at twig fellowships because they made more sense. Much energy was spent talking about how other religions don't make sense, implying that twi's teaching did.

Is that how you really felt? Did PFAL provide a real sense of enlightenment, or real intellectual satisfaction (so to speak)?

Did this type of talk really have more to do with previous experiences in churches that were disappointing than the quality of twi's "doctrines"?

Also, I know the internet wasn't accessible back then, but was there information in libraries that could verify twi's claims?

Well, for me. . . I didn't want to go to church because most churches said I had to change my wicked ways. Not too many in TWI told me I couldn't do what I wanted. God loved me and grace covered. . . I knew the magic words. . . in the name of Jesus.

I heard "over and over" again how the churches had their idolatry and wrong understanding. . . But, I already knew that. . . I was God's best, special, elite, chosen to hear the only truth, super hero, who replaced Jesus and if I believed hard enough could raise the dead. . . child.

However, I could rarely buy food as a WOW.

It did appeal to the intellect. . . and ego, but not much heart transformation. At least not for me. . . I was special.

We knew the word. . . Jesus was absent. . . and while the cat is away. . . . the mouse takes over.

PFAL provided me with an identity. . . God's best. . . . If that was the best He could do. . . . we are all in trouble. . . higher up you were. .. the "Better" you were.

Why. . . . . just look at the top of the tree.

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Bolshevik, for me...it was a bible fellowship. I had no idea that it was something that I needed to go to search for information on.

Joyful Noise came through with a concert...it seemed like a really fun group of really cool christians.

One of the wow`s that was witnessing to me was killed as our pfal class began...for a kid who had not experienced death...it was real easy to buy into the schpeal that Satan wanted to stop the movement of the word.

I wanted to strike back...the only way I knew was to cling that much harder to that which he was trying to scare me away from.

Yeah niaeve...dumb...but like I said...I was 17 with NO adult guidance. I completely trusted these guys...and saw nothing at the local level to indicate all was not as it should be.

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I agree with some that it was the best of both worlds - I could continue to sin, yet be under the protection of God. That was a great deal.

I met some nice people - most of whom I have no contact. I met some butt-faces - none that I have contact with. TWI did not alleviate my basic cynicism towards religion - it only added to it. And the more time I put into "proving these things are true," the less I believe.

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. . .

Yeah niaeve...dumb...but like I said...I was 17 with NO adult guidance. I completely trusted these guys...and saw nothing at the local level to indicate all was not as it should be.

That's probably true for some.

It is my understanding that many also fought off their parents' concerns about twi.

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Well..yeah what 17 yr old doesn`t? Thing is...my Mom grew concerned....but by the time she knew something was going on, it was far too late. I had already been taught how Satan would use anybody to try to trick me away from the word.

Friends family, anybody who didn`t know the rightly divided word were all suseptible to influence.

Bol, I think that the majority of the people I met while in twi were a lot like me....lost lonely kids that thought they found a family and home,who thought they had found a noble cause to fight for. We had a purpose after a life time of dissapointments.

I might have met two total arse holes in 10 years. There were a few incidents that raised my eyebrows, but you remember we were taught not to question, not to think evil...we were taught to tightly control our thoughts so that satan couldn`t trick us like he did Eve when she consisdered...No I am not saying it was fair to you kids, I am not saying that we weren`t naieve and foolish.

I just don`t think that there were that many that went in with eyes open to the evil and willing to embrace it. We were young folks that had needs...twi exploited those needs and then once we were lured away from family and friends, schools, careers, they had full input into our understanding, identity, and development of our thought processes as we moved from teen to adulthood..

Nearly everyone I met was idealistic and kind. Some of them the finest people I have ever met. Most of us had no notion that what we had devoted our lives to was corrupt. Most of us never concieved of a life that didn`t involve twi.

I think that it is a testament to twi`s toxicity and the uselessness of their doctrine that so many fine unsuspecting people were lured in and changed into the legalistic and at times hard hearted, mean people that so many of us became.

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Another aspect that has occurred to me is that we were physically removed from our support systems.

WOWs were sent hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles from home to live in strange towns, in unfamiliar cultures with people who were at times of dubious character. Way Corps and Fellow Laborers lived in communal settings, isolated from mainstream society, with no phones, no television, disconnected from reality. The only support system we had was each other. There was no internet. Rarely was there enough money (or free time) to make a costly long distance call home to family or friends. What would you tell them, anyway? You weren't even sure yourself what you were seeing, how could you describe it to an outsider? Being physically removed from a support system is something I don't think you can ever grasp if you have never gone beyond local involvement, regardless of how many voluntary work details you may have been involved with.

Physical isolation------That was a big factor in our vulnerability.

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. . .

Physical isolation------That was a big factor in our vulnerability.

like a college dorm?

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like a college dorm?

No. In a college dorm, you are still connected to the outside world.

I can't speak to the Corps living experience but I can speak to the Fellow Laborer living experience.

There were about 50 of us. We lived in a block of 3 bedroom townhouses, about 30 minutes from Limb HQ. We slept 2 or 3 to a bedroom. No pets. No extraneous belongings. Most of us kept what we had in foot lockers that served double duty as tables. Beds and dressers belonged to the program. The only living quarters at limb HQ was a farm house that the limb leaders lived in. There was another building that we called the BRC. It was, at one time, a party house (banquet facility). Limb was set on a rural property. We had a large garden where we all worked and grew much of the vegetables we ate. Watered Garden could probably tell you more of the garden specifics. We all met every morning at 5:30 as a whole group in one of the basements for prayer, mannies and announcements. If you were on breakfast detail, your day started at 5AM. Next, we ran "to the tree and back" which was just under a mile, down a dark country road. Then, we ate in our "houses" as house families. Every house ate the same pre-determined breakfast. Usually, it was familia, oat groats, wheat berries, and such. After that we left for full time secular jobs. No part time jobs allowed. We were to use those jobs to witness and sign people up for PFAL. If the job was such that it wasn't conducive to that, you were supposed to find another job that was. And, remember, there weren't many jobs in our rural area. Any leads we got, we turned over to local twigs. We were not permitted to socialize or date outside the group and could not leave to go into town without special permission. More in next post.

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Continued:

After work, we all met at limb HQ. Someone from each house was responsible for going back to their house and preparing a pre-determined dinner for their house and bringing the meal and place settings to limb HQ. Every house made the same dinner. We had a food co-op that handled all the logistics of the meals. Participation was mandatory. I think it cost $6 dollars a week. (Minimum wage was something like $2/hr.) If you didn't pay, you didn't eat but you had to sit at a table. No one was allowed to loan you the money. We ate as a branch, at folding tables. Each table had a host and hostess and we followed proper etiquette. We had half an hour to eat dinner. Then, we worked the rest of the evening, either in the garden, doing property maintenance, working in the food co-op, etc. Next, we drove back to the complex, where we met in twigs that were comprised of people who were not in our houses. That lasted 30-45 minutes. Then we went back to our houses and washed dishes, prepared breakfast for the next day, had household meetings etc. ( Houses were cleaned on Saturday afternoons and laundry and personal chores were done on Sunday afternoons.) At midnight, it was lights out, no talking. There's more but that's the general picture.

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Another aspect that has occurred to me is that we were physically removed from our support systems.

WOWs were sent hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles from home to live in strange towns, in unfamiliar cultures with people who were at times of dubious character. Way Corps and Fellow Laborers lived in communal settings, isolated from mainstream society, with no phones, no television, disconnected from reality. The only support system we had was each other. There was no internet. Rarely was there enough money (or free time) to make a costly long distance call home to family or friends. What would you tell them, anyway? You weren't even sure yourself what you were seeing, how could you describe it to an outsider? Being physically removed from a support system is something I don't think you can ever grasp if you have never gone beyond local involvement, regardless of how many voluntary work details you may have been involved with.

Physical isolation------That was a big factor in our vulnerability.

One's support system was addressed in PFAL..........remember wierwille saying, "For the next three month put away your reading material and things that distract you and delve into these truths of the more abundant life. And, I guarantee that if you do this......you won't even know yourself after that." (paraphrased)

No questions asked in pfal.........NOW, put away your material and critical thinking skills --->

Go wow.......now, the physical isolation. Meager wages brings confinement.

Go corps.....physical isolation and indoctrination. Peer pressure to submit.

Work on staff.......live on grounds, meager salary, phones in hallway at dormitory, isolated in rural setting, keep 'em busy, twi propaganda at lunchtime, discourage emotions, shut down and conform, etc.

Yes...........physical and mental and emotional isolation is real.

<_<

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Yes...........physical and mental and emotional isolation is real.

<_<

And this is something that is missed by people who do voluntary service, such as a "work weekend".

Somewhere in their mind, they know they are going back to their family, friends, support system, when the weekend is over. They will have the freedom to openly discuss and evaluate the event without concern for retribution.

The actual amount of labor they may provide that particular weekend is really quite irrelevant.

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And this is something that is missed by people who do voluntary service, such as a "work weekend".

Somewhere in their mind, they know they are going back to their family, friends, support system, when the weekend is over. They will have the freedom to openly discuss and evaluate the event without concern for retribution.

The actual amount of labor they may provide that particular weekend is really quite irrelevant.

ABSOLUTELY !

Imagine.................a 20 year old corps girl, after a year of isolation on the wow year, goes inresidence. Eight months of isolation, eight months of indoctrination.......and wierwille come to teach. The fervor spills across the campus as corps line the circle drive and wildly cheer his motorcoach arrival. Special way production numbers are rehearsed. Special food is served knowing wierwille will attend the supper meal.

At supper, the corps coordinator pours adulation on wierwille and the applause is deafening. Wierwille speaks and talks about God's special calling for each of the corps. Within two hours, wierwille is teaching Romans and expounds on grace and freedom in this administration. At times, he speaks slowly and deliberatly.......talking to his keeds. The teaching ends with a special, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus" rendition.....and wierwille sings along. As wierwille walks off-stage, the corps coordinator has a special announcement. In 20 minutes......a pajama party with wierwille.

Everyone comes back in pajamas and robes. Soft music and wierwille sips his coffee (and drambuie) and shares a little about how God called him to this unique ministry......yada, yada, yada. When the lights go out, and time to sleep...... wierwille slips off to his motoroach.

Then, in the subtleness of darkness, one of wierwille's aides whispers to this 20 year old girl.......wierwille would like you to come to the motorcoach. Feeling surprised, overwhelmed and elated, she quickly responds. With liquer on the table, wierwille is waiting as she enters............

Isolation..........indoctrination..........adulation............expectation.....

.....realization............further isolation.

:evildenk:

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Would this girl want her kids to follow suit?

I doubt that many of us were thinking that far into the future.

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I doubt that many of us were thinking that far into the future.

Which is nothing short of ironic as these decisions affect "crowns".

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