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Shellon

Expressions of Freedom

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I called my firstborn and asked her what was going on in her head that week, was I looking at her yet right through her, I'm sorry!

She said her heart was 'bumpy' and she felt lost and alone and confused why her dad would be there one minute and gone the next, how he could pop his head into her room when he arrived home and say "hey how's it going, turn that shi+t down, I'm gonna lie down then we'll hit the mall" and the next minute I'm yelling for her to take her sister into the dining room, don't come out no matter what she sees or hears but call her Aunt first and tell her that something is wrong with dad, we don't know what yet, get here.

She said after they told us he was dead at the hospital, she left the building. Didn't seem like there had been enough time for her to go out and come in before we had conversations with doctors and family. During the week when so many people were camped out at our house, she said she snuck out her window alot. She said when she ventured into the living areas to look for me, I was no where to be found or talking to someone or on the phone. She added that she heard me on the phone agreeing to have her dad cremated and knew enough of what that was and she couldn't come out and listen anymore.

Ow

------------------------

I don't know how long my dad and Bob Moynihan argued in my kitchen and I know they asked me a few more times to decide about my dad speaking at the service. My mom stayed silent, rocking our toddler. Everyone was out of character that evening.

Somewhere in this time period, I received an invitation from the Board of Trustees (Craig Martindale, Don Wierwille, Howard Allen) to have my husband's cremated remains buried in the Way Woods, at the edge of the campfire area. Given how much he loved the Way Woods and how many times he'd sat at that campfire; fire going or not, he just liked it, it was not a stretch for me to accept their invitation. I also had the issue of not having really given much thought to 'what the heck are we going to DO with the remains' and I knew I'd have bills I'd have to figure out from hospital over what his insurance might pay, ambulance, funeral home expenses and God only knew what TWI might charge me to do whatever the he!! it was they were doing.

Saying yes to releasing my husband's remains to TWI, to Bob Moynihan, was not difficult. What I'd give now to have had a crystal ball back then..............

The job that had caused us to move there offered life insurance, health insurance and my husband was classic "we don't need that stuff, nothing is going to happen, we'll believe God" and didn't sign the paper, didn't sign them and did NOT sign them. I bugged him, often, why not get it, we've never had that stuff before, we have kids! The deadline was June 1 and on May 31, I stuck the papers under his nose, said "sign this now" went into his home office, made a copy and put the papers in his briefcase, on top. Eight days later he would have a massive heart attack in our home, leaving me and our children with no income, a hefty emergency services bill and I would find out two weeks after his death that I was the "Responsible Surviving Spouse" for nearly $13,000 owed to the IRS that I had no knowledge of until that moment.

I had no way of knowing that the signing date on that paperwork would later bring about accusations that I was also responsible for his death.

Edited by Shellon

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Somehow the day of the Memorial Service showed up, it was a thursday. It felt like we'd lived three years in the 4 days since he died.

It was pre-arranged by someone that the girls and I would receive an escort by Moynihan's right hand man P*ul B#ook$, who showed up at the given time they'd told us to be ready.

My parents were waiting for my brother to arrive and wouldn't come with me and their grandchildren and things felt extremely tense. I asked my driver (that sounds strange) to wait, lets stall the service for awhile, surely my brother would arrive any minute. I was told that was not an option, we had to go and "your family is not invited anyway, Shell, you knew that".

No, I didn't know that. I guess I was to assume that since the bruhaha in my kitchen the night prior, my dad and by default my mom, had been uninvited. If they ever were actually invited in the first place. And my gay brother.....HA! no way, I did know that one was going to be a huge hiccup, but I also knew that neither he nor I would be making any grand entrance or announcement; he'd just go to his brother in law's funeral; this is America after all.

This brother had held up our wedding for over an hour. We realized at the last minute that we didn't have enough adult beverage and he offered to go, we had about an hour to spare, I was sobbing in some closet somewhere with my dad, my mom was wandering around chewing out anyone she thought might look like they had an ounce of TWI in them and Samantha, who was 2, was dancing; no problem, run for more booze, brother.

He got lost somehow on the way back, we didn't have cell phones and he couldn't remember the name of the venue. I was not getting married without my brother there, it flat and simply was not happening. I kept peeking my head out the closet door and upon finding he'd still not shown up, hollared "We'll wait". Wait we did and the 6 P.M. wedding finally heard the first notes of "Here comes the bride" about 7: 15 when my baby brother had found his way.

I was not coming out of the closet until my gay brother was at my wedding, dammit. biglaugh.gif

I had no reason to consider that I could not repeat this years later at the memorial service of my husband.

I tried refusing to get in the big 'ol black car, I stalled, I accidently forgot things and had to go back in the house. He didn't arrive and the man told me that we had to go. But not before he put his arm around me and told me he wanted me to know something. He said "Bob has all of his rewards".

And so we went to the service, my parents fuming mad in my living room, my brother lost again for all I knew and my children more so.

I have fuzzy memories of pulling up to the Limb home but we were sort of hustled into Moynihan's office, where I sat; the girls with me. He told me the general program and did I want to add anything else, had I changed my mind about speaking. I had not. He told me what song we were to walk into the living room to, where three chairs would be in the front row and the there would be sandwiches and punch and coffee afterwards. Before he left the room, he told me there would be a sort of receiving line where the girls and I were to stand "by the tall lamp" and greet each guest who wanted to offer their love and condolences and speak kind words of a man they'd just met within the last 6 weeks.

I got the giggles during "When the roll is called up yonder" because Bob hated that song; hated the word yonder in a hymn for some reason y'all.

They did the usual, stories about a man they didn't know, songs from Sing Along The Way, Moynihan was the only one who spoke. Probably alot of pretty words about The Hope 'n stuff.

We found our way to form the receiving line, alot of holy kisses given and words of comfort like "you're young, you'll find love again" and "He was such a wonderful man of God" and "You're so lovely, you won't be alone for long, God knows this".

People say stupid things rather than just shut up huh?

Again, my upbringing, finishing school and christian ettiquete over 36 years had trained me very well to keep my face shut, smile where necessary, say thank you alot and keep going no matter how loudly I wanted to shout things like "I don't recall you ever meeting him, how do you know if he was a wonderful man of God", not to even begin to mention the inappropriate comments about me finding love again AT MY HUSBANDS FUNERAL.

Someone shoved a plate of food in my hand, which I deposited onto someone else's plate when I thought they weren't looking, the juice given me fed the Moynihan's fern, Samantha disappeared again and Kelly was entertained until it was time for Moynihan's man to return us home where I had to face my parents and hopefully my brother.

He was there and he was livid.

Edited by Shellon

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Someone had taken my babies to their aunt's house and someone else had deposited me at my house to change and arrive at aunts house later, I guess. Interesting, now, since I still had no wheels.

My parents each shot me a look of absolute and total disappointment, unlike any I'd ever viewed on their face where I am concerned and no words were exchanged. My brother, on the other hand said one word to me; "talk".

The hard part for my baby brother was that I had no answers to give him, not even one. He had obviously just spent about 2 hours with our parents and we'd known each other long enough for me to know that if there is one way to pizz him off it's hurt our mama.

I had enough remorse to fill the state of Florida but it was ineffective.

I had more questions than he might ever dream up, but it didn't matter.

I had pain I was carrying around that threatened to consume me, but it wasn't for him to fix.

I had confusion that already had consumed me, but I was used to that.

What else might I say to this man I had grown up with, who loved me as much as he did, who had just taken vacation from his job and life to come and be with his sister who's husband had just died?

The fact that I had nothing hurt him as much as the betrayal he'd already seen that day and so many before it.

I left my family sitting there in my house and went to whatever after funeral gig my sister and brother in law had put together for "family" and when I got home, my parents were gone.

Edited by Shellon

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Now we had Fathers Day 3 days after the memorial service.

Yeah, now what? How do we celebrate that one? (And it was not fathers day where we'd met all of Florida's "believers", of course, it had been Mothers Day in May.)

But here we were, the holiday to celebrate Fathers and my children's father had just died, exactly one week prior.

Someone decided, and this one might have been me, that we'd go out for breakfast and "celebrate". Tough to believe it was, actually me since I hate breakfast, but there we were in a Big Boy place for Fathers Day. My brother was gone by then and my youngest brother in law was still there. My oldest was more lost since Fathers Day was something that the two of them had enjoyed for 14 years and always spent together, without me even. Their thing was to see how gaudy and tacky of a gift she might find for him and they'd shoot hoops, go eat, go fishing, just hang out; it had been their thing and I wasn't her father so I loved it, wanted nothing to do with it, necessarily and now I had to do something. I was, from now on, to be some sort of father figure in their lives?

Crap.

However it did start a new tradition for us that lasted nearly 10 years. I bought them each a gift in thankfulness for making their dad a father. And this was the day, too, that I began to work up a really big pi$$ed that would last for a very long time and carry me through alot of situations, sort of propelling me along on the days when I wondered if I should.

Three weeks later was Kelly's 2nd birthday and our fellowship wanted to throw her a birthday party; I was to bring the gifts and the cake.

Three days after Fathers day, Moynihan and someone else, I have no idea who, showed up at my house with information that would rock my world further and set about a course that I am still not off of. They had been in touch with Headquarter regarding my "situation" and wanted me to know that the TWI legal department had offered to take over the financial affairs. I did what I always did and said "sure, ok, thanks"

God I was exhausted.

Edited by Shellon

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You see, I was used to this, this was my normal. I was raised to sit still, stay quiet and do what I was told. My parents, both successful professional business people, both raised in homes of strength and strong values, didn't waste that on us; they taught us to do whatever we had to do to survive and raise as little fuss as possible while doing it.

The problem with this theory was that I had come from the womb, I think, screaming to be heard, busting to not take whatever was dished out to me and yet knew I couldn't, somehow; the two never matched up but I learned fast that if I kept my busting to myself and accepted what was told me, life was just easier; it just was. It fit really well in the slot of raising as little fuss as possible.

This was and still is all very good and well in situations like formal balls that I attended in elite country clubs or when visiting royalty or other such hoopla; I was well trained and prepared and I can rise to whatever occasion is presented me. But while I'm doing all that, I'm only thinking of getting home to my comfy jeans and raggedy t-shirt with a book and a cup of coffee.

It makes no sense to me either. But it was the reality and so long as I was a good girl, so long as I stood where they put me, so long as I complied, so long as I answered correctly, so long as I went in the direction they pointed, life was generally comfortable and safe.

I never fit. So I was, of course, a perfect fit for TWI, aside from the fact that I'd made promises to a man 'til death parts us' and by God I was not breaking that; I just wasn't, end of story.

He!! yeah I was ideal for TWI. In my childhood, my youth, my early adulthood, my marriage and TWI, no one had to fight me, no one had to convince me that I needed to stand, go, act, or speak the way they'd said.

Any of you know someone in your world who you don't necessarily think about as weak or a victim, they just are~? It's not written on their face anywhere, it's just ............there. Then one day they do some weird incredible hulk shi+ and everyone around them is agape and actually afraid. Chances are pretty good, too, that the hulk will quickly go back to being the quiet easy mild mannered one as soon as is comfortable for everyone else. It makes life easier and causes as little fuss for others as possible.

It's a really odd way of doing things and I'm not proud of it, at all. I really do not think that TWI or others had some meeting that had any kind of "Shellon is a 90 lbs weakling, we can kick sand in her face all stupid day and she'll ask for more". Bullies and manipulators know, instinctively, where the victims are and they've honed their powers of persuasion and ugly.

I never want to disappoint, I never want to hurt, I never want to offend, I just want to be flippin' polite and kind and gentle. It's easier and less invasive to others' lives and space and time.

It just never fits me, it's always ! too tight; always. Balance and boundaries are beautiful things, yes?

Edited by Shellon

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I keep thinking about the opportunities that were afforded me and it kinda makes me cry with a smile at how well intentioned people really are while they're asking you so politely to bend over but you never consider to ask "you're using lubricant, yes?" You assume they're kind enough to remember that little detail and assume they've taken your best interests into mind and he!! it's rude to ask. Then it's rude to cry out and ya do whatcha gotta til they are finished and you can scurry away and quietly (always quietly) attempt to repair the damage to your soul. Then you make sure you never have your back to the door so you are ever vigilant for their return. You KNOW you can not answer their knock, pretend to not hear it, whatever...... but the cost will be even greater when they bust in the door.

Holyshi+, that was my life in TWI.

And maybe yours.

Edited by Shellon

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Someone had authority to get into our personal finances, Lind?, and within about a week Moynihan showed up again and said "you're got problems". No shi+, really??

Tax season was something I had learned to not participate in, it was fodder for marital arguements and I stayed out of the way. Also there was plenty of instruction on how to work under the table, set up business's that couldn't be sued and not giving the Government what they said was owed them.

One of the individuals who taught my husband how to do this spent some time in a Federal Prison for this exact thing and while it was being taught in my home, I knew something stunk, I just didn't know how to verbalize it since I was not at all educated or informed in business stuff. I stopped saying "something stinks" after awhile, handed over any receipts I had and stayed out of the way.

I had a 13 grand tax bill that TWI lawyer found, what was I going to do with that, tell us now please. Since I, of course, had nothing more than confusion, it was presented to me that the TWI attorney would go to Tax Court in my stead, he'd petition for "ignorant spouse" defense and also ask for penalties and fees to be reduced if not evaporate. Heck yeah, I accepted that.

In the meantime I was packing our home to reverse the move and find our way back to Little Rock, Arkansas, starting the second week following his death. There wasn't time to wait and rest and think, the company he worked for had sent me notice that the job benefit of our rent payment was only effective until July 15 since the recipient had died, thus my notice of eviction was attached.

I had a yard sale and sold most of his tools and sports equipment such as fishing poles, gave away all but one box of his personal belongings and got our lives down to much more manageable stock.

Then the Limb Coordinator of Florida, Mr. Bob Moynihan, had a meeting with his Limb lickers to hold my just dead husband up as an example of what happens when believers don't believe God, have weakness and fail to adhere to the promises God offers. "Do you see, we told you!"

I was not invited.

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Shell,

I don't have words to express my feelings of how I feel for you and your story..

I will say that your life is close to mine of how once your in twi the control is deep.

I do not wish to derail your post. Please share more..

copenhagen

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I can't even think of anything to say, except I can identify with a lot of what you have written. TWI isn't the only "Christian" organization that pounds women into the ground, but they sure as hell are one of the best.

You are one helluva lady, I'll say that much.

WG

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Amen Watered Garden they are one of the best, aren't they? I hate, most, the days that I feel somehow a little responsible 'cuz I did nothing to stop any of it. That, however, is for me and my own conscience and shrink to work out.

Should I have adhered to my marriage promise such as I did or should I have taken my chances and our daughters and ditched? Should I have gone the way of a lawsuit later when invited to do so, but thus dragging those same daughters through that process?

I don't have the answers to those questions.

Copenhagen, I do understand and I shall be here if and when........

==============================

I didn't know about the meeting I spoke of until perhaps 3-4 years later, I think someone told me in Waydale Chat and while it stung; he!! it hurt bad, it didn't surprise me at all. Moynihan might be a bully but like most, he's not a stupid bully. It's probably good I did not have knowledge of the meeting at that time; I was really never sure what might tip me over the edge.

We were going "home", back to Arkansas so I was on phone with folks back there getting housing so that we'd have a place to land and not have to be guests of anyone. I rented yet another house without seeing it, but didn't care; it was ours. The company that was evicting me had paid for our U-Haul to florida, and given our circumstances I asked them to pay for our return U-Haul, to which they agreed but not until I convinced them I really needed to get back there and even then, after their promise, the day I went to pick it up, it had not been secured. They had "forgotten". More time spent straightening that out, arrangements were made for a driver in our Florida fellowship to take it while towing my piece of crap car behind it and my brother in law purchased three airline tickets for July 18, 1997.

Then a storm hit Little Rock and one of the trees in the yard of our new place fell through the house, essentially cutting it in half. The instructions were that no one was to tell me and if I called to see how the setting up was coming along, lies were to be told and told well. When I called to set up the gas utility, that was when I found out, as the customer service lady said "that address hasn't been repaired yet and is still not habital" so they had to come clean.

July 17, the staring people packed our belongings into the U-Haul, we spent the night at someone's house, couldn't tell you who and Moynihans were to pick us up at dark thirty the next morning to dump us off at the Orlando Airport.

Someone had packed our airline tickets in the U-Haul.

I still, 12 years later, have no idea how THAT happened, since I'd had those tickets in my bag, but they were on their way to Arkansas and our flight was leaving in an hour. The company had deposited Bob's final paycheck into our joint account, so I spent that on three more tickets at the counter, holding my breath about the money, since the IRS was staring at me, the other signer on the account had just died and I was fast learning to trust no one.

While I was somewhere between Orlando, Florida and Little Rock, Arkansas, my mother and step father's house burned to the ground; thankfully they were not home at the time.

We arrived, an escort was provided to our new home, where I found our fellowship, the one we'd been in before, putting the final touches on our just repaired house and my coordinator said "hello, start cleaning the walls, we're running behind".

You know what I did, don't you?

Welcome Home.

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When I was attempting to make a sound decision about my job at the local High School last year, one of the legal counsel I confered with gave me this site as to pointing me in the general direction of "hostile environment"

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-hostile-work-environment.htm

It didn't benefit me in terms of what to do, but it kept it simple enough for someone like me who needs to see concrete information. Plus the environment at work was so often like trying to manuever in TWI and not being sure where to stand, what to look at and how hard I might have to duke it out with someone. TWI, without question, provides hostile environment.

What did occur to me back then in 1997 when we'd finally settled in our new house for the most part is that nothing would ever be the same. Not because I was now a widow (I hate that word so much) and a single mom, but because as much as I hated TWI's term of "my head" now being dead. For me it wasn't so much that I was now the head of my household or that I had to make all those daily decisions, but that I had to do it all alone. More alone than I'd even remembered being.

I think that was the moment of invisibility. God showed me some picture, literally, of a fruit market where I was in the middle, surrounded by fruit but I had no limbs with which to reach. But I did have a mouth with which to speak and I got it, very vividly and clear.

There was another meeting; crap I came to hate meetings. This one was with yet another Limb Coordinator, To* Mu!!ins and my fellowship coordinator and 2-3 others, all men. And me.

They had been putting their heads together (smirk) to figure out 'what do we do with Shell now' and they wished to share their findings with me.

They would be my head, a collective of several men who would each have a need specific duty where they'd serve in my family. I understood, didn't I?

Oh yeah, I understood alright. I thanked them profusely (why do I think of a hemorrhage there?) of course.

By this time, also, my oldest Samantha had begun looking for a family that loved her, anyone who she thought might support her and provide her the comfort she needed. She was closer to her dad than to me; she and her dad were great friends, as much as father and daughter might be and they shared a great and sweet bond that had been ripped out from under her and she was in a great deal of pain.

Drugs became her comfort and hiding place. Any drug, just so long as it dulled the pain or allowed her to go away from it.

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A widow is a woman who's husband has died and she is without an adult son, therefore no guardian.

That was me, yup, uhhuh. 36 years old with a brand new title. Widow. ew and yuck too. Widows weren't 36, they were 90, what the he!!?

So, indeed, the men in the church circled me and decided they'd cover me and my daughters, assist in the decision making process of my home and family and be my head.

This got much more interesting once I got my footing regarding the Life Insurance Money, which took me a long time since money and I are rarely on the same speaking terms and I avoid said discussions when and where possible.

I filled out their paperwork to get the insurance check, the autopsy report was complete, death certificate issued, signatures placed in all the right places and they said "check to be issued in 45 business days, Mrs. North".

I did not want that money. Simple as that, I didn't want it, was not going to watch my mail box for the little slip that said I had a certified letter waiting for me, was not going to discuss the money and refused to answer 'what are you going to do with the insurance money' questions. I wanted my husband, not money.

What money?

This was made even more interesting for me when TWI someone said that I, of course, would Abundantly Share from the money, yes?

What money?

"You are obligated to give at least 10% of that to the ministry, Shellon. 15 - 20 % would be well received"

What money?

yeah, you get the idea, right? If I didn't have the money, if I didn't see the money, if THEY didn't know I had or saw the money, the starers would leave me alone about it.

The check arrived, of course and I held on to the Post Office notices for about a week, avoiding the picking up of the "award". Yeah, award. I called my mother, all three of my brothers, I called an attorney. I wanted someone to tell me something like 'you don't have to accept the money. Yes you are the beneficiary, yes it is in your name, but no, you can ignore it and it'll go away'.

Then I got practical, since we were still without a vehicle, rent had to be paid every month, I had to keep fruit loops on our table, baby needed a new pair of shoes and I had done nothing about work. I realized that if I collected the money, TWI would know it like they seemed to know everything else and it would be one more thing I had no control over, again.

And the TWI lawyers contacted me about the final balance due our Government after tax court.

Crap.

Edited by Shellon

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twi == time, money and control..

I am getting mad, life ins money and child support should not go to twi..

Shellon your story is very is breaking my heart...

I will not derail you have engaged please go on.

copenhagen

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Derail all ya want, I don't mind, really. wave.gif I know ya get it ! Someday I want to read your story too..

I'll not disclose the amount of the insurance "award", of course but all I could do was go pick it up, then I was scared shi+less to have it with me.

hahaha, this is so silly now...

I couldn't just put it in the bank, I couldn't stick it in my wallet, I couldn't put it in the freezer with the other gold bars and millions. wink2.gif I was a wreck ! So I didn't cash it for another week. What if and what about and oh crap, that's me.

I was reminded again that my ABS was "due" on the money, where was it, what were my plans. I finally crawled into a bank with the check and whispered to the teller "I have some money I need help with".

I hoped the bank's idea was the best way to go, crossed my fingers and toes and left after about 3 hours with that nice lady. I wrote a check for my ABS to TWI the following sunday; exactly 10%, not a penny over, p f f f t t t t.

I took cash to a dealership, put it on a salesperson's desk and pointed to a red Grand Prix and said "I want that one".

This was as exhausting as chasing the TWI tail !

A coordinator in TWI, locally, asked what I'd paid for my beautiful grand prix and chewed my a$$ for not negotiating a better deal, a lecture that I sat and swallowed, then went to the bank the next day and stopped payment on the ABS check. Something had clicked in my brain somewhere deep and valid, finally.

I sat at my kitchen table, paying some bills like any other bill paying time, looking out a huge picture window and got really ! piszed off; I mean I was MAD! As suddenly as it had all started 16 years before, it occured to me that I was not any longer bound by marriage vows and I could leave.

The taking of control was not something I can describe, it was not a matter of 'cool', it was serendipity, it was a chorus over my head, it was strength fortitude I was not familiar with and I had allowed myself to have some power in my life. But I was also still alone in this journey.

I sat on this for a couple of weeks, uttering not a single word to anyone, not sure how I was going to do this, what it might cost me, no idea how difficult it might be and was it possible that staying where I am was just easier, much less painful, certainly.

Then a Limb Coordinator told me that my 16 year old daughter was "almost ready for him".

There was every answer to any question about how was I going to pull this off.

I had to, there no longer was a choice.

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Please tell me those money grubbing bastards never got a dime of that money...

Tell me the bank stopped the check..

I am getting a will next week with ORDERS of who gets what..

please go on.

copenhagen

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Then a Limb Coordinator told me that my 16 year old daughter was "almost ready for him".

WTF does this mean? The way you were treated was unbelievably pathetic, yet it was typical for TWI.

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Nope, copenhagen, TWI did not get a dime of the money; the stop payment order worked, then I did another one just 'cuz I assumed they would try another way to cash it.

I did get a scathing letter from the finance department, not that nice letterhead one got when one Tithed an unusually high amount, but a personal one about my lack of household cooperation and relying on worldly avenues to resolve issues and what an embarassment for our ministry. Then my limb coord. took over their no lubrication practice, inisisting I re-issue a new check immediately.

It felt REALLY good to insist, my own self, that I was not going to do so.

That was actually when the un-announced and often middle of the night visits to see my budget book began since they could no longer trust me to oversee my finances myself.

Nottawafer, that part of the story is where the limb leader and I were at a function, some outdoor TWI picnic thing and he wandered over to me as I was standing watching the kids play. He sort of ........nestled is the only word I can think of, up to me and said "Your Samantha is sure getting to be such a beautiful girl, isn't she" to which I thanked him and said yes she is. He said she was "almost ready for him".

I was in no way not clear on exactly what he meant; he had a rep as thinking Martindale had every right to take every and any woman he liked and "girls too if he wished and God saw fit". I had no question, not to mention the man was quite the arrogant, pompous aszhole. He went for what he wanted and from what I could see on the outside of his life, at least, he got it.

I began a plan to get the he!! out of there that would take me another 4 months, have me sneaking around like a common criminal and finding out I did, indeed, still have enough strength and guts to do what it took to take care of my family, to get us to a safer place, away from those that now seemed to wish to own more than just my soul.

I was leaving TWI and the cost would be my husband's family, my daughter's security and trust and while my freedom loss would be shifted to different area, I comforted myself that it wouldn't be turned over to those who might give me the choice between it and my daughter(s).

Doing what I had to do to get things done had never been as tricky as what it was about to be.

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You stopped payment on the check! Twice!

:eusa_clap: :eusa_clap: :eusa_clap: :eusa_clap:

One of the two places you could kick those SOBs where it would really, really hurt!

Edited by Watered Garden

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YES, not a dime then the threats to get the money..What does that tell you about a group. Your

love just died and they see a a way to get paid.. THATS taking care of people. :realmad:

I admire your courage to share and look foward to more. :eusa_clap:

I know you adressed early on no names but I wish I knew who this P.O.S. limb @sshole was

and I also wish I had 5 mintues alone with him. I also have daughters growing up in the way

and believe me I have thought about this crap..

Please keep going..

copenhagen

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The stuff I'm going to write in this story now is .........odd and for those readers that enjoy paranoid people's behavior, you'll be entertained. I can only say that I was 100% alone in the world, I didn't feel like there was a soul on the planet that I might trust, I didn't know who knew what and I had seen women with husband's lose their babies and I couldn't risk phucking anything up.

I was accustomed to being awakened at any time of night, or perhaps a visit in the afternoon for "lets see your budget books". I had two of em; one for me with real life stuff and one for them with the stuff they wanted to see.

Remember now, they were my head and what's wrong with a man saying to his mate "lets go over the budget puddin"? See it? I knew that denying them could look like guilt and I knew that not anwering the door would be futile, I had a toddler, of course I was home. They saw a budget book that I had written things in on a regular basis, it had different color ink, receipts stapled and side notes. Once in awhile I'd add some frivilous spending just to make it look real.

The other book was the real life goings on in my finances; the utility, rent, food, clothing.

I moved the life insurance to five different banks in the little rock area, to safe deposit boxes, not accounts, hoping that it would 1) give me more privacy and 2) be harder for one of their lawyers to get at, remember I had only recently given them permission to get into my finances to clean up my inherited IRS mess. If it was 9 am and I needed to go to the bank, I knew the limb coordinators general schedule and if it was his 'going to have coffee' routine time, I'd stay away from the branch in his neighborhood, etc. If I took money out, I never stopped anywhere else for a couple of hours and I hid cash at a non-way friends house.

Sigh.........nutso way to live, no? And maybe extreme, yes. But I saw clearly that I had no choice but to be very very creative and I honestly believed they would get their hands on any dollars they could and punish me somehow with it; maybe it was intuition, maybe it was fear, I couldn't afford to spend any more time deciding which.

I couldn't think of any place I could move in my exit out of TWI, except back to my hometown, where at least my parents lived, knowing that even if I'd hurt them, they'd still take my sorry azz in. Especially when I said "I'm leaving the ministry".

I had stayed in touch with a friend from Jr High School and in our recent conversations, she'd mentioned she was marrying, so I called her to see if they'd be living in her home or his and if his, would she rent me hers. We agreed on a rent price, I sent her 6 months worth and began to come up with a way to prepare to move without it looking like I was up to anything.

I paid off the IRS, I found out who had purchased the "lost" airline tickets and reimbursed them, I paid all utilities, as an estimated rate, for 4 months, so there would be no need for forwarding addresses for awhile, I paid my current rent for 3 months, telling the landlord that my mom had sent $ and asked me to pay ahead, cuz she knew the limb coordinator and I knew she'd tell him.

When I was ready with one box of our crap, I'd put the box in a garbage bag, save it til trash at the end of the driveway day and carry it with the regular trash. A friend was down the street at same time and he'd come and grab the one with the red tape on it, looking like a dumpster diver. The box inside would be addressed to Oregon where my brother lived, then when he'd get it, he'd re-address it and send it to my new landlady in Michigan and she'd put it in the house I'd rented ahead. I sent other boxes to a friend in Oklahoma, another in Texas, yet another in South Dakota and each would follow the same procedure. I probably sent 15 or more boxes of our stuff this way.

I finally closed every bank safety deposit box I had but did so over a 5 weeks period, sent my mom $ to open an account in Michigan with me as signer, then we later changed it. That gave me an ATM card that wasn't connected to where my current address was. I had Social Security survivor benefits sent to my mom's address who'd then deposit them there.

It was NUTS

I finally was ready to tell Samantha that we were leaving, she would be moving again and not only moving, but back to my home town; a place I had told her plenty of times was dull and boring and I'd never live where family was again. I'd waited to tell her until the day before I was going to tell our leadership, cuz I didn't trust her to keep her mouth shut.

I was in my master bathroom when I dialed the Limb Coordinators number, all but the final digit, over and over. I knew what was going to happen, I knew he'd cream my wheaties, I knew I'd have to listen to at least some of his raging about what a horrible mother I was. Finally finishing the dialing, he answered, I asked him to put his wife on an extension and I made my big announcement.

The silence lasted four years, until he said all I'd known he woud, telling me I was surely killing my children, I was again disobeying God and I was about as bad as he'd ever seen in terms of not being willing to get along in the household. He was most disappointed in my behavior, but "not surprised" given my history of insubordination and unwilling heart to be a strong woman in the ministry. "You know I know you are a trouble maker, don't you?". His wife tossed in some here and there and reminded me that this time was it, I couldn't just come back when I wanted and did I understand how I was letting more people down than just my daughters, how dare I and such like that.

I finally said something brilliant like "I'm sick of just warming a seat cushion in fellowship with my asx" and said goodbye. I knew the calls would start in about 20 minutes and I was not disappointed. In laws, fellowship 'friends', Don Wierwille. I finally stopped answering the phone when it occured to me that I was no longer in their ministry and didn't have to answer their questions anymore.

The next morning the visits started, at one point, my driveway got bottle necked with those coming and going in their attempts to straighten me out. We never answered the door and I'd anticipated this by keeping Samantha out of school, calling in sick to Kelly's daycare, stocked up enough milk, eggs, toilet paper and coffee to lay low for awhile.

My mom and brother were coming from Michigan while my other brother was coming from Oklahoma and they were going to help me finish up, load a U-Haul and we'd get the he!! out in about a day. I planned everything around their arrival date and knew I'd be out of there soon.

The day before my brother and mom were to leave to drive to me, my step brother was killed in a drunk driving accident.

Edited by Shellon

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Shellon,

I started reading your story yesterday. I am so sorry for what u & ur daughters have been thru. Thank God u finally left The Way International & its stranglehold. Thank u for ur honesty.

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All we could do was wait, now. There was such grief and loss in our family that, while it gave our minds a new focus, it was somehow heightened by the reality that this loss shi+ was getting too frequent; we were all afraid to move in too many directions and TWI fed on this. I listened to alot of voice mail messages that included things like "once again, you're seeing the price of your disobediance, your unbelief, you lack of willing submission to the household, first your husband, now your brother, your children will be next".

My three year old was used to hollaring, when the phone rang, "DO NOT ANSWER THAT" after my lead of doing the same for a couple of weeks now. And we didn't; if it wasn't a telemarketer or my mother with perhaps an arrival date, it was immediately erased.

My girls were 16 and 3, sequestered to our little house, their mother grieving and angry. I woke one morning to find Samantha's bed empty and a note telling me what I might do with living like this. I knew I couldn't call on anyone to assist me in my search for her; it was just me and while not finding her, she did turn up later in the day, as angry as when she'd left, but thinking about her little sister, missing her. This would be a pattern with her for three more excruciatingly painful years.

It was about 3 weeks before my mom could leave my step dad long enough to come to Arkansas to get us, so my other brother came from Oklahoma and we planned our departure. Holding of breath was definately recommended and I wasn't sure I might hang on much longer anyway. We loaded up our belongings in record time in a U-Haul and pick up truck, a pizzed off teenager and adventurous toddler in my car and left in the middle of the night when it was hoped minimal eyes would be on the house. Not even potty stops were allowed until we'd crossed the "thank you for visiting Arkansas" line, me in the lead at that point. My Oklahoma brother stayed in our empty house until day break so as to deal with any last minute things, take keys to landlady and fend off any lookyloos.

All was well, we were outa there and I'd never been so glad to travel, unfettered. We arrived to our new home in Michigan the next night and began unloading right away. Then it was just my daughters and myself. We were free, we were away from those that would control our moves and thoughts and lives. I was on my own, not only a single mom, but an only parent and I had no idea what I was doing or what I'd just done.

We took one day off to unpack and sleep, then I enrolled Samantha into the local High School, Kelly into the local Headstart preschool and I finished off that day collecting information from Baker College to enter their Human Service Program.

The phone calls from family and TWI "friends" began in earnest, since one that I'd trusted with our new phone number blew that and gave it out. Changing that number and going with an unlisted number remedied that. But now my children began to feel the aftermath of losing their paternal grandmother and aunts, uncles and cousins; people that at least Samantha had literally grown up with.

I was finally alone, I was finally safe (or was I?) and I was finally at a place where the decisions I made were mine alone. Again, what would be the cost to my babies? Had I just made the biggest mistake of their lives?

The transition was difficult.

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