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Why did you take "THE CLASS?"

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I took the class because I had always wanted to understand the Bible (and therefore God) better, but I found the churches I tried were inadeqate at best and hypocritical at worst. (and I tried a LOT of different churches)

A close friend, who seemed to be on a similar quest, found twi and was so excited that I was easily drawn in...

Silly us.. we thought we had found something that was neither inadequate nor hypocritical when we found The Way International... um.... yeah...

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I took the class because I had always wanted to understand the Bible (and therefore God) better, but I found the churches I tried were inadeqate at best and hypocritical at worst. (and I tried a LOT of different churches)

A close friend, who seemed to be on a similar quest, found twi and was so excited that I was easily drawn in...

Silly us.. we thought we had found something that was neither inadequate nor hypocritical when we found The Way International... um.... yeah...

I can sympathize! I have been everything from Episcopalian to Mormon and found much the same. Back in the late '80s, I even ran into some group that was much like TWI in some respects. Going door to door, they claimed to be a "Bible Study" group, and a bunch of cute college girls were bopping around with them. At the first meeting, it was a friendly little event where we just read and discussed the designated chapter. One of the girls was sort of flirty and shared her Bible with me. By the third meeting, all the girls had vanished. There were only three guys who sat down with some kind of guidebook and told me firmly what the "correct" interpretation of the Bible verses was. When I mentioned some book I was reading on Biblical scholarship, they snapped "This (the New Testament) is all you need. God doesn't want you to read anything else. Everything you need is. Right. Here." Needless to say, that was my last meeting.

Come to think of it, I had a similar experience in TWI. At one of my first fellowships, the "lesson" was something to do with Jerusalem. Afterwards, while everyone was socializing I mentioned something I had read about Biblical archaeology and Jerusalem. The Fellowship looked at me like I was speaking Swahili. Later, the Fellowship Coordinator ranted that I "wasted everyone's time" and "no one understands anything you say". With 'friends' like these, who needed enemies?

At the Foundational class, I bought a couple of VPW's books and the Branch Coordinator and his wife seemed shocked. I think this was one of the things that convinced them that I was "hooked". But I'm a bibliophile and I have quite a few books just for their weirdness factor. And there was plenty of weirdness to go around there!

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quote: When I mentioned some book I was reading on Biblical scholarship, they snapped "This (the New Testament) is all you need. God doesn't want you to read anything else. Everything you need is. Right. Here." Needless to say, that was my last meeting.

quote: Later, the Fellowship Coordinator ranted that I "wasted everyone's time" and "no one understands anything you say".

Not exactly putting their best foot forward. Can't blame you. At my first fellowship we smoked pot after twig was over.

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Not exactly putting their best foot forward. Can't blame you. At my first fellowship we smoked pot after twig was over.

I think my group could have used a little of something. I encountered the peculiar attitude in TWI that no matter how badly you were treated, it was still a privilege to be allowed to associate with them. Sometimes they would do things that even they seemed to have trouble stomaching and they would reassure each other with phrases like "The Word isn't always nice." and "No one said the Truth is easy". I remember when the Martindale scandal broke, we had an "emergency" meeting. The Fellowship was asked to vote on whether or not we would continue in TWI. But it was sort of like a Communist election: the result was never in doubt and no dissent was encouraged. One of the Big Fish in the small pond looked at everyone challengingly and declared "Well, I'm sticking. Everyone makes mistakes, and you can't judge someone by a mistake." Hmmmm, I thought. You guys sure do apply that principle selectively, don't you?

Just before I bailed, I overheard the Fellowship Coordinator wringing his hands and exclaiming "I just don't understand why we can't attract people. What are we doing wrong?" Man, oh, man....

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quote:

I think my group could have used a little of something. I encountered the peculiar attitude in TWI that no matter how badly you were treated, it was still a privilege to be allowed to associate with them. Sometimes they would do things that even they seemed to have trouble stomaching and they would reassure each other with phrases like "The Word isn't always nice." and "No one said the Truth is easy". I remember when the Martindale scandal broke, we had an "emergency" meeting. The Fellowship was asked to vote on whether or not we would continue in TWI. But it was sort of like a Communist election: the result was never in doubt and no dissent was encouraged. One of the Big Fish in the small pond looked at everyone challengingly and declared "Well, I'm sticking. Everyone makes mistakes, and you can't judge someone by a mistake." Hmmmm, I thought. You guys sure do apply that principle selectively, don't you?

Just before I bailed, I overheard the Fellowship Coordinator wringing his hands and exclaiming "I just don't understand why we can't attract people. What are we doing wrong?" Man, oh, man....

LCM said in 1994, the year many extreme control measures were started, "This is going to be done right if I'm the only fellowship coordinator in the ministry"!!! He also said to his leaders they had to have "sawdust in their veins" when it came to dealing with people about this stuff. He also said that some people think charity means the love of PEOPLE in the renewed mind in manifestation. He thought it was possible to love God that way yet treat people like crap at the same time. Doesn't it say somewhere in 1 John that if you can't love a brother who can be seen, then how can you love God who can't be seen?

I would NEVER have stayed around if my first fellowship had been like yours, pot or no pot. When I left, the leaders tried to cause division between me and my wife. After 18 years I had tried to give twi the benefit of every doubt, but this time I had a knee jerk reaction. My attitude was 'this is wrong, this is not negotiable, therefore twi is now expendable'. I second guessed myself a bit, but the knee still works fine. Not seeking "knee replacement" in this regard. I guess knees are supposed to jerk once in awhile.

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LCM said in 1994, the year many extreme control measures were started, "This is going to be done right if I'm the only fellowship coordinator in the ministry"!!! He also said to his leaders they had to have "sawdust in their veins" when it came to dealing with people about this stuff. He also said that some people think charity means the love of PEOPLE in the renewed mind in manifestation. He thought it was possible to love God that way yet treat people like crap at the same time. Doesn't it say somewhere in 1 John that if you can't love a brother who can be seen, then how can you love God who can't be seen?

I would NEVER have stayed around if my first fellowship had been like yours, pot or no pot. When I left, the leaders tried to cause division between me and my wife. After 18 years I had tried to give twi the benefit of every doubt, but this time I had a knee jerk reaction. My attitude was 'this is wrong, this is not negotiable, therefore twi is now expendable'. I second guessed myself a bit, but the knee still works fine. Not seeking "knee replacement" in this regard. I guess knees are supposed to jerk once in awhile.

You're quite right. That's exactly why I bailed without further ado as soon as I saw the lay of the land. It was very clear that The Girl was firmly in the grip of TWI and TWI leaders were willing to step on anyone to get their way. Staying around would have accomplished nothing but making myself a target for more abuse. After I walked away I never spoke to any of them again. I went on the principle that if something feels wrong, it usually is. As the song says, you have to know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em.

Funny thing was, about two years later, her best friend showed up at a community event where they knew I worked every year. She came up to my booth, and without preamble, asked me if I had spoken with The Girl. My reply was rather, ah, curt. My guess was that The Girl had bailed. I hold no grudges and I hope that she did actually get out of their clutches.

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Why did I take "the class".

to me it is still the same. I was looking for a family. Have I found it, or haven't I? I really think it was all an illusion, unless someone here can prove me wrong.. not that it really makes any difference.

what was I looking for..

to me it wasn't "The Girl". Though I can completely understand this..

what I find what is the word..

despicable? That is too mild. You were willing to prostitute your own offspring, to bring more "followers" into the fold..

no, despicable does not describe it..

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I think I know what you mean, Ham. "The Girl" (or "The Guy", as the case may be) was only part of a bigger package. At least for some people. It was part of that desire to be an interactive member of something bigger than the individual members. (ie: a family) For our generation, The boy-girl relationship symbolized that. For a lot of people it still does. But, back then, there weren't as many lifestyle choices as there are today. In the blue-collar environment I was raised in, it was pretty much expected that you would get out of school, get married and start a family of your own. And, that's how it pretty much was until everything changed by leaps and bounds in the late 1960s. But, by then, I was already out of high school and it was harder to change a lot of preconceived notions. So, "The Girl" represented an opportunity to pursue a lifestyle I had been conditioned for. Of course, for some people, it was just another way to "pick up chicks". For those people, though, I don't think their stays in The Way were typically long-lasting.

Edited by waysider

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I think I know what you mean, Ham. "The Girl" (or "The Guy", as the case may be) was only part of a bigger package. At least for some people. It was part of that desire to be an interactive member of something bigger than the individual members. (ie: a family) For our generation, The boy-girl relationship symbolized that. For a lot of people it still does. But, back then, there weren't as many lifestyle choices as there are today. In the blue-collar environment I was raised in, it was pretty much expected that you would get out of school, get married and start a family of your own. And, that's how it pretty much was until everything changed by leaps and bounds in the late 1960s. But, by then, I was already out of high school and it was harder to change a lot of preconceived notions. So, "The Girl" represented an opportunity to pursue a lifestyle I had been conditioned for. Of course, for some people, it was just another way to "pick up chicks". For those people, though, I don't think their stays in The Way were typically long-lasting.

You're quite right. For me The Girl was part of a larger package. For me, she had nothing to do with any societal issues: I simply liked her. For the first two months I knew her she never even mentioned TWI. When she did, I assumed that if she were part of this group, they had to be good people. (My error.) I had hoped the "package" was simply decent people who treated you right, with the honest and genuine spirituality that they claimed. Now, when The Girl wilted under pressure from her parents and TWI leaders, who then blatantly changed history, it was still not fore-ordained that I was leaving. If everything else had been upright and on the level, and I got something out of it, it may have been different. But the whole "package" turned out to the rotten to the core: The Girl, who may or may not have intentionally been "bait"; her hypocritical and domineering parents; the leadership from the FC to the Branch C, who were openly manipulators; to the rest of the members, who goose-stepped along with the band. On top of that, we had the whole wacky system of TWI itself, from the spiritual Pyramid-Scheme-for-Jesus to the "two-by-two" nonsense.

The whole situation with The Girl was only the initial symptom of a much larger and more virulent sickness.

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On 4/26/2011 at 2:13 PM, JavaJane said:

I took the class because my mom had gotten involved with TWI and was gung-ho for "the Ministry.". Didn't really have much choice, but I was ok with it because I loved reading Bible stories as a kid.

I had a limb coordinator's wife who told me she took the class because she wanted to be right. At the time it sounded like a good reason, but now it just sounds weird. I don't care that much about being "right" and having the correct answer in black and white for everything just seems... Well... Pompous.

I'd like to hear some viewpoints from people who weren't "raised in The Word ™" as to why you took the foundational class, and why you stayed afterwards. Were there warning signs in the class that you ignored? And which class was your foundational class?

I took the Video PFAL class in May of 1978.  I took the class because I believed the class would help me get my life together.  Now I'm learning that much of what I learned from the class was wrong.  If I had only known this 40 years ago, I would never have taken the class.

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On 4/26/2011 at 7:04 PM, waysider said:

Date and switch. By the time I found out, midway through the class (audio tape), I was hooked and stayed to finish anyway. Then, the local leadership put me to work right away so I kept pretty busy for the first 3 or 4 years doing local meetings and classes and so forth. Somewhere during that time frame I took the advanced class. It was extremely depressing to discover there were no great spiritual lessons waiting to be discovered there. Maybe the most depressing two weeks of all the time I spent in "the ministry". Next, I went into Fellowlaborers of Ohio. It was there I began to see that we were living a life of delusion. I better stop there for now.

Way, I too thought the AC was a lot of garbage!  I wasted my time and money on it!  

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On 4/27/2011 at 6:47 AM, OldSkool said:

It was sold to me as the wonder class. It would solve all my problems. I was gullible enough to believe that crap, back then anyway.

OS, yes I believed that also.  What a foolish young girl I was!

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On 5/19/2011 at 10:44 AM, DocHoliday said:

Thanks, Waysider. Truth is truly stranger than fiction! Oh, that's right : she told me that the Adversary would try to prevent me from completing the class, and that she would be there to "help" me when the Adversary threw "stumbling blocks" in my path. They were correct that I would complete the class with her accompanying me. But on the other hand, it was a big contradiction for her to "help" for the Class, then tell me to take a long walk on a short pier when it was over! After the class I received a nasty email from her mother, telling me that I would never speak to her daughter again. She said point-blank that the only reason her daughter had spoken to me in the first place was to "lead me to Christ like the Apostles."

I subsequently called the Branch Coordinator out on this. I told him that apparently the only reason she had dated me was to lure me into TWI. Two interesting things happened. First, TWI's "official position" was that we had never "dated", but he did not dispute this or even mention it at all. (I guess it all depended on the definition of the word 'is', oh, sorry, wrong date!) Second, he suddenly became a wimp. It was apparently one thing to be big and strong when you were standing with five other men in front of a crowd, but another thing to talk to someone one-on-one. He hemmed and hawed a bit, then very weakly said that he had known her for years and he "[didn't] think she would do that sort of thing". This was fascinating because what she did was obviously with the approval (and perhaps direction) of her parents and TWI, as they had all pretty much told me. But now, he was basically putting it in her lap. There was no talk of meeting with all parties and resolving the issue like I had been told was the case when "problems" arose.

I told the BC that if the Apostles had brought people to Christ by dancing, dining, going to concerts, etc. then Jerusalem must have been a totally rockin' place. Party on, Dudes!

Doc, the last paragraph in your post is great!!  Who knows; maybe it did rock!!

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Guess there were 2 reasons I took the class: it seemed like a natural follow up to my quest thus far and I wanted to continue hanging out with this special group of folks who seemed to have all the answers and were truly happy.

 

Was raised Roman Catholic...but never considered myself a religious or spiritual person...but maybe curious...I was a seeker - looking for answers; I looked into psychic phenomena, Edgar Cayce, Eastern Religions, transcendental meditation ....and along with that I would smoke pot and occasionally drop acid with my friends....our conversations would get into those things and a lot of other stuff too - whatever else my friends were into.

 

one late night after I got home I was freaking out on LSD and asked Jesus Christ to help me...oddly enough I mellowed out real quick and figured that was a miracle or sign or something. Honest, I did not have any orange juice or listen to the Allman Brothers. :biglaugh:

 

Sometime after that I was dating a PFAL grad and she got me going to a Twig out on Long Island...Twig Coordinator was Sammy P - a genuinely kind and laid back person -and a great musician too . I still remember his version of Blind Faith's "can't find my way home" - the opening line was something like "come boldly to his throne..." yeah - it was now a come to Jesus song but like I said , being involved in this Twig seemed like a natural follow up to all my searching.  I still hold that time , his song version and all those folks in fond memory - it was all before The Way International became such a dominant force in my life...

 

Sammy got me signed up for the class. He asked me to pick one of the "benefits" on the back of the Green Card...I chose "enables you to separate truth from error" - now I would finally have some answers I could sink my teeth into...or so I thought...and the rest, as they say is misery...I mean history of my 12 year involvement with TWI. But hey, my experiences weren't all bad....and here's a plug for Grease Spot - I think my participation here has done more for my critical thinking skills than any empty promises of PFAL.

 

I still cherish the good things in life...the good people I met along my journey (before, during, and after TWI) , I still enjoy studying scripture AND the freedom to think what I want about it all. I met a great gal in my WOW family - and we're still together! 

 

All this stuff really happened to me. But it feels odd how I'm trying to present this all in a logical and orderly fashion to explain why I took the class - but at other times i look at my TWI experience and even other things as a little bit crazy ...mixed up ...or something...do you ever feel like that? I think our minds crave order, to make sense and find meaning.

 

I mean it sort of makes sense to me now but when I step back and read my own narrative Grateful Dead's line from "Truckin' " comes to mind "what a long strange trip it's been"...hey I've caught glimpses of that on Netflix ( like their sound guy - was it? Who built their speakers and made his own acid...ok, forget about the acid     :nono5: -  but imagine some 500 speakers - a wall of sound over 32 feet high on stage) Tonto has been checking it out....guess I'll have to catch up. 

 

Keep on truckin' Grease Spotters!

Edited by T-Bone
Blu-ray bonus features

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2 minutes ago, T-Bone said:

Guess there were 2 reasons I took the class: it seemed like a natural follow up to my quest thus far and I wanted to continue hanging out with this special group of folks who seemed to have all the answers and were truly happy.

 

Was raised Roman Catholic...but never considered myself a religious or spiritual person...but maybe curious...I was a seeker - looking for answers; I looked into psychic phenomena, Edgar Cayce, Eastern Religions, transcendental meditation ....and along with that I would smoke pot and occasionally drop acid with my friends....our conversations would get into those things and a lot of other stuff too - whatever else my friends were into.

 

one late night after I got home I was freaking out on LSD and asked Jesus Christ to help me...oddly enough I mellowed out real quick and figured that was a miracle or sign or something. Honest, I did not have any orange juice or listen to the Allman Brothers. 

 

Sometime after that I was dating a PFAL grad and she got me going to a Twig out on Long Island...Twig Coordinator was Sammy P - a genuinely kind and laid back person -and a great musician too . I still remember his version of Blind Faith's "can't find my way home" - the opening line was something like "come boldly to his throne..." yeah - it was now a come to Jesus song but like I said , being involved in this Twig seemed like a natural follow up to all my searching.  I still hold that time , his song version and all those folks in fond memory - it was all before The Way International became such a dominant force in my life...

 

Sammy got me signed up for the class. He asked me to pick one of the "benefits" on the back of the Green Card...I chose "enables you to separate truth from error" - now I would finally have some answers I could sink my teeth into...or so I thought...and the rest, as they say is misery...I mean history of my 12 year involvement with TWI. But hey, my experiences weren't all bad....and here's a plug from Grease Spot - I think my participation here has done more for my critical thinking skills than any empty promises of PFAL.

 

I still cherish the good things in life...the good people I met along my journey (before, during, and after TWI) , I still enjoy studying scripture AND the freedom to think what I want about it all. I met a great gal in my WOW family - and we're still together! 

 

All this stuff really happened to me. But it feels odd how I'm trying to present this all in a logical and orderly fashion to explain why I took the class - but at other times i look at my TWI experience and even other things as a little bit crazy ...mixed up ...or something...do you ever feel like that? I think our minds crave order, to make sense and find meaning.

 

I mean it sort of makes sense to me now but when I step back and read my own narrative Grateful Dead's line from "Truckin' " comes to mind "what a long strange trip it's been"...hey I've caught glimpses of that on Netflix ( like their sound guy - was it? Who built their speakers and made his own acid...ok, forget about the acid    -  but imagine some 500 speakers - a wall of sound over 32 feet high on stage) Tonto has been checking it out....guess I'll have to catch up. 

 

Keep on truckin' Grease Spotters!

T-Bone, great post!!  I think one of the reasons I took the class was to discover answers to the mysteries of life.  I took the class almost forty years ago, and I am still learning the answers to those questions.  TWI for sure didn't answer my questions.

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I took the PFAL class in 1978. I was stationed in Germany and on the verge of divorce. My wife was stateside and we recently had a baby. I was ‘witnessed’ to by a Military WOW husband and wife who invited me to their house for dinner the next evening. Let the love bombing commence. After a a couple weeks, the seminar they had been repeatedly referring to was coming up soon and they told me it ‘only’ cost $100. They told me it would teach me the things I needed to heal my marriage. I sat through endless hours of staring at a table upon which sat a cassette tape player playing the monotone drone of VPW’s voice. I was envious of the person who flipped the note cards with the verses VPW referring too. The WOW ambassadors stood on the sides of the room with squirt guns, just to keep us alert. Hi carb snacks during breaks, which were few and far between. As soon as PFAL was completed and we were blabbering with the ‘tongues of angels’ — the crew started hitting me up to take the Advanced Class. I made $325 a month at that time. It was expensive finding God.

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47 minutes ago, Pamdalarryum said:

I took the PFAL class in 1978. I was stationed in Germany and on the verge of divorce. My wife was stateside and we recently had a baby. I was ‘witnessed’ to by a Military WOW husband and wife who invited me to their house for dinner the next evening. Let the love bombing commence. After a a couple weeks, the seminar they had been repeatedly referring to was coming up soon and they told me it ‘only’ cost $100. They told me it would teach me the things I needed to heal my marriage. I sat through endless hours of staring at a table upon which sat a cassette tape player playing the monotone drone of VPW’s voice. I was envious of the person who flipped the note cards with the verses VPW referring too. The WOW ambassadors stood on the sides of the room with squirt guns, just to keep us alert. Hi carb snacks during breaks, which were few and far between. As soon as PFAL was completed and we were blabbering with the ‘tongues of angels’ — the crew started hitting me up to take the Advanced Class. I made $325 a month at that time. It was expensive finding God.

Pam, "finding God," was very expensive.  I also took it back in 1978; a hundred dollars was a lot of money back then.  The class always made me want to fall asleep; what a boring class!!  Not only was it boring, but I think ultimately it was worthless to me.

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On ‎4‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 7:41 AM, Pamdalarryum said:

It was expensive finding God.

Hilarious!  Yes, definitely expensive in Way-style finding God. 
Not just expensive in money terms, either.  In shattered lives and relationships.  Did your marriage improve, or completely fall apart?

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On 4/26/2011 at 9:01 PM, excathedra said:

so i could be sitting here almost 40 frikkin years later talking about it

Ohhh, Ex. Me, too. Sigh.

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Yeah. Sumbitch witnessed to me and was convincing.

In seriousness i blame myself and no one else

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On 4/22/2019 at 1:04 AM, Twinky said:

Did your marriage improve, or completely fall apart?

At first it was better. We had our second child while we were in Germany. About a year later, she returned home to the states three months before me. She was ‘friends’ with a guy she met at a fellowship she was attending. We tried to make it work but when we went to ‘counseling’ for guidance at the 1981 ROA, we were discouraged from trying to save our marriage. She married the ‘friendly’ Corp grad shortly after the divorce. It is what it is. I am no longer angry but one of our kids has some issues around all of it. We are healing to this day. My ex and I are on speaking terms for the kids sake, and all have grown up to be good people. Thanks for asking.

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I'm sorry about that, Pamdalarryum.  Great example of "more harmony in the home."  TWI counselling, ha ha ha. 

I suppose the only decent thing out of it was that the Corpsman married your wife; it wasn't the usual "date and switch" where a marriage was broken up and both were left hanging.  Very difficult for you when it came to looking after the two children.  Well done, you, for the way you've coped with it all.

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