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What a fool I was...


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I've spent the last four years working on a master's degree in theological studies at the Anderson University School of Theology. The fact that I've been working at it so long is because I've had health problems that have caused delay, and I've had to take a number of courses over again after medical withdrawals. When I started working on the degree, I thought I might be able to use it, along with an acquired proficiency in Greek, to teach at a classical academy... but I seriously doubt whether I'll have the strength and stamina to teach again. After my latest round in the hospital, my social security was switched over from age-related to disability.

So I've been thinking, why the heck am I still working on this degree? and how the heck will it affect my sense of identity (something we've been discussing on another thread), since I probably won't ever be a teacher again? A few days ago, I had an interview with my faculty adviser (for the first time in two years) and I spent some time asking him about his adventures in the SBL (Society of Biblical Literature).

The SBL is like a giant Bible fan club for geeks. But they are professional geeks. After I left the Navy in 1976, I became involved with adventure gaming on a national level to stay connected with people outside of my narrow life. From 1980 to 1987, I was involved with TWI as a larger social context, but I continued to stay active professionally in the adventure game field, and so I had a network to fall back on when I decided to leave TWI in 1987. Since 2008, my social circle has been narrowing again, to the point where it's now just my classmates at the SOT and my surviving family.

So I've decided to join the Society of Biblical Literature as a full member, even though I am not actively doing biblical work in a professional capacity, to extend my social network among like-minded people (though the members of the SBA are as diverse as anything you could ever imagine), and to revise my identity as a person who is still interested in something bigger than myself. I will never, ever again get as deeply involved with a religious "denomination" as I was with TWI, but SBL is more like a fan club and debating society. Nobody is judged at the SBL by the results you come up with, but rather by the quality of your thinking and research.

Yesterday, I was thinking, "If somebody was trying to get me interested in a religious group today, I would ask what kind of standing their researchers had in the SBL." That would tell me more about their attitudes toward the Bible than anything else would. That got me to thinking what it might be like if somebody from Spirit and Truth Fellowship, or The Living Truth Fellowship or Liberating Ministries for Christ International approached me. So today I went to all of their websites, and tried to view them from the perspective of someone who DID NOT have an intimate knowledge of them and how they work, but instead as somebody who just stumbled on them from their Youtube presences.

The experience was disgusting and humbling. They are ALL slick, slick, slick... but they all rely on the ignorance of the people coming to them. They all take advantage of that ignorance by promising knowledge and power, but it's obvious to anybody who has done any real Bible study that their promises are empty and fraudulent.

And they ALL learned it from Wierwille. In the part of PFAL where Wierwille told the story of how he took all his books out and burned them, and then of how God taught it all to him from scratch, he was perpetrating one of his most heinous sins (though it was short of his serial sexual predation). What he trashed with that story was our desire to go and check the things he was teaching against what other, bona fide Bible scholars were saying.

What a fool I was...

Love,

Steve

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I don't know Steve, being fooled does not make any person a fool. Then again, by definition: is that correct? Just me: I don't like that "fool" identity applied to someone who does not deserve it.

Maybe it's the biblical thing or the cards thing (joker - jester).

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The experience was disgusting and humbling. They are ALL slick, slick, slick... but they all rely on the ignorance of the people coming to them. They all take advantage of that ignorance by promising knowledge and power, but it's obvious to anybody who has done any real Bible study that their promises are empty and fraudulent.

I think they have a special kind of ignorance.. j.l., j.s., all the rest..

They are so ignorant they can't fathom how ignorant they are. I don't think they are smart enough to be willfully fraudulent.

Maybe they are driven by blindness and base desires..

survival.

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I am currently teaching seven algebra classes. My grad school experience took two and a half years. Was it worth it financially, probably not. But every decade I feel like I have become something completely different..

I never decided to become what I would be in the next incarnation.. somehow "destiny" or something even more vague pushed me on..

I never thought I would be a window washer.. never thought I would work repairing broken technology.. never thought I'd be a ham radio operator, never thought I would be a mathematician, never thought I'd be an instructor..

I absolutely loath the kind of lunatic I was in the old ministry.. :)

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Steve, bless you man and go for your goal/s. I keep up with learning but not on anything I ever went to school for and/or in my pre retirement professions. I hit up alot of biblical research sites and that includes JS/STF and this site.

It really does not matter your age or if you plan to financially gain from what you are learning, at our age, shoot, take the time to learn. I certainly appreciate reading you posts - something that keeps me coming back to this site.

TWIMC: I realize that anyone associated with a twi off shoot and teaching or doing research is dissed on here but I read the REV by JS/STF and don't have too many issues with it. Just because of past twi association does not exclude someone from doing honest work.

Yes, I understand: there are axes to grind and the desire for retribution runs deep when revenge is a force; too often it's just human nature.

Hey, before anyone/s pile on me, take the time to read the REV by JS/STF and then post your issues in the doctrinal forum.

As I have read in many of the forums: many current/active twi folks visit this site, well, the doctrinal forum is perfect for them if they are truely into understanding and viewing different views. I thank GSC for providing that forum.

I am not advertising for anyone or any organization so take a chill if this post offends you.

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Steve, bless you man and go for your goal/s. I keep up with learning but not on anything I ever went to school for and/or in my pre retirement professions. I hit up alot of biblical research sites and that includes JS/STF and this site.

It really does not matter your age or if you plan to financially gain from what you are learning, at our age, shoot, take the time to learn. I certainly appreciate reading you posts - something that keeps me coming back to this site.

TWIMC: I realize that anyone associated with a twi off shoot and teaching or doing research is dissed on here but I read the REV by JS/STF and don't have too many issues with it. Just because of past twi association does not exclude someone from doing honest work.

Yes, I understand: there are axes to grind and the desire for retribution runs deep when revenge is a force; too often it's just human nature.

Hey, before anyone/s pile on me, take the time to read the REV by JS/STF and then post your issues in the doctrinal forum.

As I have read in many of the forums: many current/active twi folks visit this site, well, the doctrinal forum is perfect for them if they are truely into understanding and viewing different views. I thank GSC for providing that forum.

I am not advertising for anyone or any organization so take a chill if this post offends you.

Your view certainly doesn't offend me... but I still disagree with you on the need to read the "REV by JS/STF" in order to develop an informed opinion on JS/STF.

For me, the criteria Steve L set forth for his view is legitimate and valid.

However, from a strictly logical perspective, perhaps reading the REV might be necessary in order to critically analyze that translation (or whatever you'd want to call it) of the bible.

Then again, I have no dog in this fight, so to speak.

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Rocky, I never said someone "needs" to read the REV in order to form an opinion on JS/STF but since we are now in a post twi era would you not want to evaluate the product of JS/STF prior to submitting an opinion.

I certainly think that you do have a dog in the fight or a past grudge with JS - that's a topic for another of the vast expanse of forums.

Go ahead, read some of the REV and then post a discertation of opinion on the doctrinal site.

Thus far Rocky, you are just continuing to dis on JS/STF: you said about the REV, "translation (or whatever you'd want to call it) of the bible."

If JS is all that screwed up, I want proof because if he is, I will move on. I want current proof from the REV and not some ascertation of past twi involvement - hell, there are alot of us still seeking truth who were in twi or is it just if we were on the payroll.

If JS/STF "is" screwed up, I want to know, if that be the case, I will move on from reading the REV, etc.

I respect opinions from this site but I will not accept opinions of doctrinal translations from folks that are simpley anti to the person writing those research opinions.

Like I said, if you want to post an opinion to the REV, post it on the doctrinal forum.

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So, I guess the posts by both Rocky and myself are in accordance with the theme of this forum: "being fools". If I am a fool for reading the REV, I want to know but I want proof and that proof should not be in the form of: JS is a jerk.

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I think it is more.. J.S. is Unqualified to be an authority in anything, except for Adultery. He made his case in more way than one in that regard.

Ham, if you please, stick to the facts of the research of the REV, if that research is invalid and I accept that research as valid then I am a fool.

Adultery is a forgivable offense and does not exclude one from conducting valid research.

If adultery was a life long hanging sin (disqualification) then much of what we now accept in science and other disciplines would be dis-allowed.

Then who are the fools?

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waysider: you speak in a parable - (yes?) - please explain the meaning.

Sometimes your often humorous quotes run a bit deeep.

A parable? Nah, I don't think so. A comparison, maybe, but no deep, hidden meaning.

You see these guys on the news who tell you about how some con artist got them to fork over their life savings and got nuttin in return. You think to yourself, "Geeze!, it must be embarrassing for that cat to have people looking at him, knowing he was such a fool." You wonder why he puts it out there for everybody to see.... Well, I don't know why.... Maybe he thinks it will keep some other poor shmuck from gettin' screwed like he did. Or, maybe, just maybe, there's something about it that helps him feel a little less foolish for having been such a fool.

(My granddaughter, Clara Belle (Yep, that's her name.) said, "Gosh, Grampa Waysider, How's come you talk like a guy in some old Jimmy Cagney movie?")

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waysider, I got the meaning and thanks cause it was not all in that direction as I was tracking.

I should have just went back to the initial purpose of this thread: who da fool.

Let's not talk about the names our kids give to their kids - new wife: boys are built like pro wrestlers and all have girls names.

How much of our lives are spent explaining our foolishness and bad decisions - "We are all Bozo's on this Buss".

Ham: good night.

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Somebody already posted something about STFI's REV in the STFI subforum.

Thanks once again WordWolf - I had recently read this post by Tazaia.

The reason this discussion needs to go to the doctrinal is to dispute/confirm research by JS in the REV.

I don't care much at all if JS gets high and mighty, if he's right: then so be it.

JS spends more time piecing together research from other folks and gives them credit more than he takes himself for stuff he does, yes, nothing new here in the field of biblical research but it's niece to see it consolidated and referencing the folks.

So, the question, he uses stuff to ascert preconceived concepts - I think so.

Yet, he tends to document contrary opinions by himself and those he accepts and those he disagrees with - like I said, the commentary in the REV is a refreshing read.

Thus far, folks have only dissed on JS and provided no particular thing he has noted in the REV that is BS.

Edited by MRAP
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For the record,

I also think "the Crystal Star" was the worst Star Wars saga book I've ever read.

But you won't find me itemizing by page what was wrong with it.

Most people who agree with me (there's many) wouldn't either-

they're convinced to their satisfaction that it's not worth the energy

to document all the flaws in the book.

Doesn't mean the book is free of major flaws. You just won't find

volunteers willing to pick it up and itemize them.

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I deliberately decided to post this thread on the open forum because it is not exclusively about TWI or exclusively about doctrine though it incorporates aspects of both those things. In some ways, it's about how we view ourselves: how we viewed ourselves then, how we view ourselves now, and how we will view ourselves in the days to come. I think Ham gets it.

We thought of ourselves as great Bible scholars. We viewed anybody who disagreed with us as an ignorant fool, no matter what credentials that person held. But the truth was, WE were the ignorant fools, taken in by a snake oil salesman.

Am I mourning the truth that I was an ignorant fool? No, there isn't much profit in that. What's been done has been done. I'm just being objective about what I was during the time I believed Wierwille. "Cursed is the man who trusts in man, who makes flesh his arm, and who turns his heart from the LORD." Jeremiah 17:5

There's more to say, but my meds are kicking in, and I'm too drowsy to go on right now...

Love,

Steve

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