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Patriot

How Can They Still.....?

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Just for this post....

Let's set aside the argument whether TWI was legit or corrupt from the beginning.

My deep confusion is with many of the very long-standing staff or leaders in TWI today.

Let's take it from, say the 70's, 80's and 90's.

They saw the way TWI was in the past. Huge groups of people. Huge events. Huge WOW and

Corps training groups. Classes all over. Secular recognition (although not usually positive)

as a rapidly growing ministry (cult). Every state having work in it. Huge international and

military outreach works. Generally speaking, a lot of 'stuff' going on.

To say that things today are a shadow of what they once were is a huge overstatement. I'm pretty sure

that even those TWI long-time insiders would agree. So what keeps them there? Are the same guys playing

piano & organ? Same angry guy yelling at everyone doing AV? Do they not remember the past 'glory' and honestly

wonder 'why not now?' What is it they 'really' think?

So, is it

  • The Kool-Aid effect has never worn off?
  • They are living in fear of leaving 'the true household'?
  • They are afraid of leaving the lifestyle they are accustomed to (can't be the pay)?
  • They are afraid of losing the status, position, prestige that they now have (can't be the pay)?
  • They really believe the apparent 'dry spell' will eventually subside, and the former 'glory will return?
  • They are afraid of leaving what they are used to, and for some, being paid for, and not knowing what to do for a job?

So, in essence, they've seen the difference between before, and current. What are their thoughts?

Anyone? Anyone? Buller?

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Stockholm Syndrome

IMO, that's too pat an answer.

I think it's all of the above possible reasons you gave, Patriot. Different people have different reasons. A few of them might have even bought into the "we're the faithful remnant" crap that RFR has peddled.

Since you referred to the low pay a couple times, I assume you're talking about people at HQ. (As for the person sitting in someone's living room studying the Bible and singing songs, I still run into people who are "out" but in a splinter group who don't [or won't] believe bad things about twi or VPW because they don't want to "think evil.")

I left HQ staff in early spring of 1986. I resigned, and I was never so happy to leave a place in my life. I hated the mandatory meetings, Rosalie's micromanaging, the rampant hypocrisy, etc. I never regretted getting out of there.

In contrast, a couple years later, when I had severed my ties with twi completely, I had a long talk with someone who was still "in," a friend who was a member of the president's cabinet and had held very high positions. He was fully aware at how flocked up things were and what Rosalie was like. But he, who was younger than I was and better educated and better equipped to change careers, said, "If I left, how would I support my wife and child?" I was astounded. It was the fear in the heart of that man!

Re: the low pay: If you're debt-free and living in that neck of the woods, you don't need much money to live comfortably. My rent in NK was very reasonable for a nice apartment, and my utilities were next to nothing. Lunch in the OSC was mandatory (gag, gag), so I only had to buy food for 2 meals a day.

For people approaching retirement age, as the older staffers must be, if they've stuck it out this long they probably think it's an okay gig. But they'd better not get sick, or they'll become someone else's "burden," and off they'll be sent with no retirement fund, no social security check, nada.

For those who have the type of personality that allows them to tolerate mandatory meetings and syrupy-sweet smiles from a "president" whose grins hide daggers, and all the other BS, twi is just the place. God bless 'em. All those things gave me a headache and a heartache.

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IMO, that's too pat an answer.

For people approaching retirement age, as the older staffers must be, if they've stuck it out this long they probably think it's an okay gig. But they'd better not get sick, or they'll become someone else's "burden," and off they'll be sent with no retirement fund, no social security check, nada.

That is a very valid fear. Many Americans are already facing this problem right now, especially those approaching retirement age but have been laid off with no pension or medical insurance. Some have lost housing too. I know three former coworkers who at 60 with a ton of experience and education cannot find any employment beyond part time retail jobs. Often they've been passed over for much younger people who can stand for hours and lift 50-pound boxes. And they are praying Christians, but the answers are slow in coming.

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Those who are getting money from TWI...they're one thing. It's like Shamu the killer whale...after many years,

fearing they may turn them back out to the wild oceans to fend for themselves. It's a real fear!

But what must they think about the current state of TWI? Maybe some of these folks are sincerely, really great people.

Even if they have no plans to depart (the 'spiritual rust' and maybe family ties will keep them there), what must they

reason or think...knowing the past it was growing, flourishing, and at least registered on the radar for outsiders. Now

even the outsiders are just former insiders (including ourselves). Do their hearts break, thinking of what is compared to

what used to be? Are they optomistic, still believing things are great, and are unaware of the state of things?

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Maybe they succumbed to the delusion that when they are old, grey, and possibly sick that twi would actually take care of them in some fashion..

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That whole "positive believing" doctrine really screws with your sense of reality when practiced for a lifetime.

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Partially off topic, partially on topic. This I suppose, is a tangent. How many of you (and by extension, them) read Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach in high school or early adulthood?

We all face fears, more so when faced with challenges to our livelihood and security. But if we live our lives as always reaching for a higher purpose, some door eventually opens through which we can walk

and build and grow and have greater impact toward a higher purpose.

I think LindaZ painted a fair picture of what many may face. Do they have fears about what if situations? Or do they have something toward which they can stretch out and become? Or be like the bird who learns to fly and in doing

soars over the landscape and can see opportunity from a higher perspective?

For me, it's genuine involvement in polical campaigns and races, issues and candidates. Develop messages and messaging that inspire positive political action.

But it could be anything worthwhile. Establish a manufacturing business for items of which you've had a passion for years.

The possibilities are endless. <3

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From my experiences, I think it's very individual. I knew people on staff who were still buying the party lines, operating on group think and cliches, and it was if any independent thought was off limits. I knew others who stayed because they didn't have any other viable income options. The folks that have been there the longest get paid higher, have 401k, a lot of vacation days, etc. So there is some incentive when you have nothing else. I am sure there are other reasons as well. There are people who come on staff after retiring from their careers and love it. So I guess it takes all kinds.

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I don't care...they're stuck there.

And they ... don't ... care - they're stuck there.

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How about this? They simply feel appreciated. When I left twi I definitely did NOT feel appreciated like I had back in the early and middle years. I think it would be a crap shoot to try to stay in twi and feel appreciated at the same time. But how much impact does feeling appreciated have on the job? In a relationship? On a bowling team? In a church?

You don't really have to be in a big group to feel appreciated. No matter how large the group is, you probably see the same number of people in the same rotation day to day, week to week, don't you? Yes, those fears and insecurities might keep people from leaving every so often, but without feeling appreciated, those fears wouldn't have a leg to stand on. IMO.

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But how much impact does feeling appreciated have on the job? In a relationship? On a bowling team?

On a job- I think it has a lot of impact. Contribute to a company's success.. it seems some kind of appreciation would encourage one to continue in the same manner..

A corporation's greatest assets are not the stockholders.. it's the few who really get some work done, day after day without complaining.

But here I think is where the comparison between twi and other corporations fail..

they don't have any real stock, or share holders.

no public accountability to ANYONE..

they are supposed to be a religious, non-profit outfit. Funded mainly by donations

Supposed to be run by qualified, dedicated individuals.. both paid, but mostly volunteer labor.

so decade after decade, they've made their staff feel quite unappreciated. They have gone as far as to make those who donate likewise feel unwanted, and unappreciated.

I NEVER received one single "thank you" for anything I ever donated..

No matter how large the group is, you probably see the same number of people in the same rotation day to day, week to week, don't you?

In an organization that extends a little genuine appreciation for staff, volunteers and to those who donate, perhaps.

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How about this? They simply feel appreciated.

Umm....let's not ignore the obvious. Many staffers are way corps and are assigned there. Otherwise, TWI is having all sorts of trouble getting people to come on staff. They have had to eliminate many, many positions through attrition in order to get departments to function at half speed. Appreciated? Nah.

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Staff positions/jobs at the Way in the 60's were much different than they evolved into later -

Families like the Randalls, the Allens, Owens - they weren't running down to the Lima Mall every night to witness to people and sign 'em up for PFAL. They lived on the farm there or near by and came in every morning. It was a job, with hours, weekdays and weekends. There was a larger commitment of time than a 40 hour work week yes but they had a a private life and a "work life". They worked there, lived there in most cases and came and went on the property 24/7.

Late 60's and most of the 70's that was still true - the "Staff" didn't go to meetings every night, all weekend. As the size of the operation expanded people lived locally and had private and work lives.

You didn't hire on at the Way unless you wanted to be involved in the effort more than a punch in and out 40 hour week. You wouldn't work there unless you actually wanted to do other things - help with classes, events, etc. However, you lived and worked and had your family with some distinctions between the two.

That obviously changed over time, VPW intended to develop the mish mash of "Corps/Staff" employees he eventually assembled - which really got to be a commitment of all of one's time and resources, all the time.

He had a way of separating out the long tenured staffers from the flow of those coming in and out in the Way Corps, if you went to work there in residence or after, fine if not you probably weren't going to have much contact with them. Frankly I think it was to keep the oldies happy, he liked them and didn't want to upset the apple cart, at least for a few years there, but it was a very small group of staffers that met that criteria.

Only a certain kind of person is going to do that for their whole lives. Oldsters, like Joe and Linda C maintain a lifestyle that's blended but that revolves around ministry activities. That's what they want to do, that's their lifestyle. (or was - just as example - for decades).

It's possible to be committed to goals and ideals without being in the same place, doing the same things with the same people, everyday of the week. Some people will have to do that, some of the time but for an entire lifetime? I believe it's healthier for everyone involved to have change and diversity.

I'd assume that anyone who's gone there and been there for any length of time is someone who wants that lifestyle of total immersion. It's not for everyone, under the best of circumstances let alone those of the Way's.

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IMO they are sold a load of cr@p0la about being "the true remnant". This is why they tolerate the decline of the ministry and the lack of numbers. All it takes is one little old bespectacled white hair making some comments along those lines down her nose, and they are brainwashed again.

I bought into that for a while. The few, the proud, those that have maintained their commitment, etc., etc.

What freed me from it? God. I used to believe all the party line they back up from the OT - you know, the "pay your vows" verses, and the "they have sworn and they will perform" from some military battle speech in the OT. Then I actually read the teachings of Jesus where he instituted a new teaching in grace, where instead of vowing all these vows, just say what you mean. Thus I was free to develop the opinion of "NO", and free to say it freely. Then I started taking back my life, and God started restoring the years the locust had eaten. I don't think another person or church was involved in that process. Just me and God. He let me know through my prayer life and study that I didn't have to be beholden to Pharisees due to some stupid vow. There's a higher law now, brought in by the teachings of Jesus Christ. It's just as revitalizing as being saved by grace not by works.

Sorry for all the verse paraphrasing, but since this isn't the doctrinal forum, I kind of feel like if I included all those it would seem like a teaching. And I ain't teaching, just telling a story of my life.

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IMO they are sold a load of cr@p0la about being "the true remnant". This is why they tolerate the decline of the ministry and the lack of numbers. All it takes is one little old bespectacled white hair making some comments along those lines down her nose, and they are brainwashed again.

I bought into that for a while. The few, the proud, those that have maintained their commitment, etc., etc.

What freed me from it? God. I used to believe all the party line they back up from the OT - you know, the "pay your vows" verses, and the "they have sworn and they will perform" from some military battle speech in the OT. Then I actually read the teachings of Jesus where he instituted a new teaching in grace, where instead of vowing all these vows, just say what you mean. Thus I was free to develop the opinion of "NO", and free to say it freely. Then I started taking back my life, and God started restoring the years the locust had eaten. I don't think another person or church was involved in that process. Just me and God. He let me know through my prayer life and study that I didn't have to be beholden to Pharisees due to some stupid vow. There's a higher law now, brought in by the teachings of Jesus Christ. It's just as revitalizing as being saved by grace not by works.

Sorry for all the verse paraphrasing, but since this isn't the doctrinal forum, I kind of feel like if I included all those it would seem like a teaching. And I ain't teaching, just telling a story of my life.

With me, God showed it to me in Jeremiah 17:5. I had made some foolish promises during the Momentus training, and they had thrown ALL the "you gotta keep your promises" verses you can imagine at us, along with several more! God showed me that all I had to do was repent of making those foolish promises, and I was free of them!

I am certain that one of the reasons John Lynn is stuck in his rut is because he has not accepted the Lord's release from his foolish promises.

Love,

Steve

Edited by Steve Lortz

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Socks said:

I'd assume that anyone who's gone there and been there for any length of time is someone who wants that lifestyle of total immersion. It's not for everyone, under the best of circumstances let alone those of the Way's.

I thought I wanted that, until I found out just what I was getting immersed in.

I didn't mind serving beyond the hours of my regular job. I expected that when I asked to be on staff.

It wasn't all the mandatory meetings, per se, that turned me off. Had they been meetings filled with evidence of God's inspiration and love and power, those meetings would have been uplifting and exciting. But 99 out of 100 were just plain mind-numbingly boring.

It wasn't the low pay, either. As I said before, the cost of living in NK was extremely low.

What I hadn't foreseen was that I was getting immersed in a truckload of bull$dang. Sorry for the vulgarity, but it's an apt description for the hypocrisy, micromanagement, and legalism that were going on at twi HQ at that time.

Much to my surprise and disappointment, VPW was neither oblivious to nor simply passively allowing all that crap to happen. He was, in fact, promoting to top positions of responsibility and authority the people who were masters of hypocrisy, micromanagement, and legalism.

Socks, I think you nailed it. VPW kept the old timers happy by extending much, much more grace toward them than he did to the rest of us.

Johniam mentioned feeling appreciated. For the first couple years I felt appreciated. I had a good dept. coordinator, and he shielded us from much of the BS. Then Rosalie took over our dept. and it was quick slide downhill into the steamy, smelly stuff from there!

Even when Rosalie was smiling that smile and speaking in that Southern-lady drawl and saying nice words, I never felt appreciated under her reign. Not for a minute. I felt used, criticized, looked down upon, and unhappy. So I walked. Others apparently weren't as unhappy as I was. God bless 'em.

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Reading this took me back to the very first time I went to Headquarters with my fellowship coordinator. This was back in the 70's. She was trying to convince me that I should apply to be on staff. I remember we stayed in a mobilehome with a couple of other people. And basically, I just remember having a lot of fun. Meeting people, hanging out with others in their mobilehomes, attending some weekend activities which were fun. I left with a great impression of headquarters. But, I was hesitant about applying because I had only had the class for a couple of months. So I didn't.

But, I never knew what really went on there if you were a staff person. And it wasn't until years later when I discovered what was really going on behind the scenes of the ministry in general, and at headquarters. Then it took another like 7 years before I REALLY knew what was going on.

It all looked good to me in the beginning....but I was only getting the outside view and not the inside one. What was that thing....the label on the can? I was looking at the label and not what was inside....but when I did I was shocked. And after I left I was still shocked....but also shocked that I was so naive, or something to have been hoodwinked like I was.

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Something comes to mind.

In the last weekend of April in 1985, I went to HQ with 2 other guys who were apprentice corps like myself. We stayed in a big house in St. Mary's that a lot of believers lived at. This was one week after VPs last SNS teaching.

It was OK. They had a party at the house. Some of the people who lived there were staff. But I got the definite impression that most of the people who lived there were not really happy; they were just riding out whatever they were doing; going through the motions. It was weird.

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Slightly :offtopic:

I'm glad I left before the Administration of the Rivenbark. I'm afraid if I hadn't, it would have spoiled my appreciation of Brenda Johnson on The Closer!

Love,

Steve

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Yeh, that was always the way it seemed Linda.

Long standing employees deserve some consideration, some shwag, all of that, sure, I get that and didn't have a problem with it, I mean none of these people were raking in barrels of money every month as you note. Shelby Co. rent, food and utilities were reasonably priced.

But as you probably remember we idealized certan people, made them to be "pillars of the church", the core of the core of the corps of the whatever.

Like George Jess - I really liked George Jess, "Mr. Jess", thought he was a very interesting and insightful person. But he was, technically and formally, the "Corps Coordinator" for years - and I don't think he ever said more than a 100 words at any one time and that was only when there was a formal event that called for him to address the Way at some level.

Sage presence - sure. Deep thinker, I thought so. Yes, I'm sure he prayed long and hard for all of us and I appreciate that.

But leader? Hmmmm....dunno. Not so sure that he really did much of that. It was more like a gesture to a very nice man to put him in that position, I thought.

I joked once that maybe VP lost a bet and the winner was Jess, to always have a position as "Corps Coordinator". Least till Craigdale got the job.

If he did more than I saw it would have been nice to know about it. He was the "sower" guy, the guy of legend, spreading the seed and planting. Ah, yes. With a hat. And a salary. And a job. And a rake. And a bag o' seed.

So yeah, funnnnnnnny memory - back in the day when the 1st corps were running to "the stop sign" every morning - which was just under a mile, big whoopdy doo right? - and they were vaunted as being an uber - corps body, followed by the uber-er 2nd corps who could do it twice or something equally under impressive.........back then.......Del D used to use Randall as the example of a guy who was in "great shape" but wasn't "skinny as a rail" - which was great news for all of us who like Del could grow a gut pretty quick - I think his point was something about how being in good health didn't have that much to do with actually being in good health.

You'd have to had known Randall - he was a great guy, and I mean that. 100 per cent good dude. But he was as in shape as a box of Snickers candy bars. But he was Del's Poster Man for being healthy - and he promoted that to the Corps with a straight face.

Which was....well, it was probably better than Craig's Super Athlete of the Jock Boy syndrome - but he figured out soon enough that the higher you sat in the Way's echelon, the less number of times you had to keep running to that Stop Sign at 5:55 am - you just could THINK you're spirituality into existence by the sheer power of your own beLIEVing! :biglaugh: :biglaugh:

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mrs. owens had special oldie privileges which i was got to be a part of -- she was able to watch all the boring meetings on her TV in her trailer -- so i delightfully sat there (and could always say later that i had attended the damn meeting -- be it corps or staff). it was hard to hear anyting on the tv though because she was always talking through it -- gossip about everyone who was on the tv. it was entertaining.

--

Jeremiah 17:5

what does that say?

--

i have more to add, but i don't know if i feel like it -- well just a little bit

i had great times on staff, but more horrible than great

vince was a total bich from hell

many more things

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<snip>

But as you probably remember we idealized certan people, made them to be "pillars of the church", the core of the core of the corps of the whatever.

Some of those "pillars of the church" were wonderful people. Others, not so much once you had a close encounter with them. 'Nuff said.

Like George Jess - I really liked George Jess, "Mr. Jess", thought he was a very interesting and insightful person. But he was, technically and formally, the "Corps Coordinator" for years - and I don't think he ever said more than a 100 words at any one time and that was only when there was a formal event that called for him to address the Way at some level.

I really liked him, too. One of my fondest memories was pruning the apple trees at Rome City with him and a couple other people in the dead of winter. We'd prune for a while, then go warm ourselves by a pot-belly stove in a little shed.

Sage presence - sure. Deep thinker, I thought so. Yes, I'm sure he prayed long and hard for all of us and I appreciate that.

I think he probably did.

But leader? Hmmmm....dunno. Not so sure that he really did much of that. It was more like a gesture to a very nice man to put him in that position, I thought.

Oh, I don't know, socksness. There's such a thing as leading by example, which I think he did. He was never my Corps coordinator, but when I was around him he exuded peace and grace and kindness and wisdom. Not bad traits to imitate. It sure beat the heck out of learning how to scream so loud that your spittle hit the 10th row. :rolleyes:

mrs. owens had special oldie privileges which i was got to be a part of -- she was able to watch all the boring meetings on her TV in her trailer -- so i delightfully sat there (and could always say later that i had attended the damn meeting -- be it corps or staff). it was hard to hear anyting on the tv though because she was always talking through it -- gossip about everyone who was on the tv. it was entertaining.

I really liked Mrs. Owens, and I think she was one of the oldies who deserved special privileges after all her years of serving in twi for peanuts and putting up with every new batch of kids who came along. She was a hoot.

Mwaaaah, Exsie! :wave:

<snip>

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