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The Internet (anti-way sites) disarmed me


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New topic.

Needs its own thread to keep from derailing "Rosalie F. Shumate" thread.

It's not the people here, it's the people who've read what's written here. (Not just GSC, but its predecessors especially)

If I wasn't clear before, when I was a teenager, and beyond. I was blamed. By multiple un-related sources. Because of the internet.

I was associated and marked for The Way International's sexcapades and other activities.

By Family

By friends

By the people closest to me

By the friends and family of people I met

By strangers in parking lots who saw the ROA bumper stickers

What did *I* do? What choices did *I* make?

What did *MY* leadership do? *I* should be ashamed? VPW and LCM and Rosie did god-knows what, better stay away from *ME*

The internet disarmed me, before I could build a safer life. Away from The Way. (And believe me, I waited and waited to turn 18. But *WHAM* the internet. I did not expect the inquisition. I just wanted to get away.)

I don't believe I'm alone on that. You don't think there's some kids out there today taking dang for this? Expected to defend their parents, and the only thing they know, and the hands that feed them?

Some things should have remained a mystery.

Rocky's response:

"Wow... you presented some interesting philosophical questions.

They bring back and remind me of some of your earlier comments on other threads and help clarify your reasons for the obscure wording.

It's reasonably easy to recognize how, from your perspective, those things should have remained a mystery.

OTOH, life isn't always what we'd like it to be. As author M Scott Peck wrote, in the first line of his book The Road Less Traveled, "Life is difficult."

He goes on to explain that when we recognize and realize that, we learn to cope with the difficult times.

I've mentioned the role Peck's writing played in my recovery from twi in comments on gsc before.

I doubt we'd be able to resolve your philosophical questions in a discussion on gsc, but I commend you for bringing the subject up.

It may or may not help to also consider that progress, especially technological innovation, cannot be stopped."

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Much the same argument could be made regarding people who, by no fault of their own, have family ties to people who have committed heinous crimes against society. It's unfortunate and we can empathize with them but we can't change the reality of history to accommodate them.

edit: I know that sounds cold but it is what it is.

Edited by waysider
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Much the same argument could be made regarding people who, by no fault of their own, have family ties to people who have committed heinous crimes against society. It's unfortunate and we can empathize with them but we can't change the reality of history to accommodate them.

Yeah....that implication by association is in all of life, isn't it?

Not sure if there is a direct correlation to what Bolshevik addressed

but my family and my high school and college friends relegated me to

"the cult-commune status" because of wierwille's abusive tactics.

Then, when deprogrammers amplified this information (before internet)

with *dissenters who documented their experiences and went public*

.....the headwinds were against me.

Heck, even during my 1970s WOW-years some of our neighbors thought that

men and women living together (ie shacked up together) was strange as

we carried our bibles to and fro. On several occasions, our neighbors

said that they thought we were some fringe group with sex parties.

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Much the same argument could be made regarding people who, by no fault of their own, have family ties to people who have committed heinous crimes against society. It's unfortunate and we can empathize with them but we can't change the reality of history to accommodate them.

edit: I know that sounds cold but it is what it is.

No you can't accommodate, and nobody is asking to change history. IF the motives are to help, one would think tactics would change as well. IF the motives are destruction for destruction's sake, well, keep feeding information to the angry Mob.

TWI hemorrhages all by itself, (which is a pattern of many cults from its day, is my understanding), does the internet damage twi, or damage everyone else?

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No you can't accommodate, and nobody is asking to change history. IF the motives are to help, one would think tactics would change as well. IF the motives are destruction for destruction's sake, well, keep feeding information to the angry Mob.

TWI hemorrhages all by itself, (which is a pattern of many cults from its day, is my understanding), does the internet damage twi, or damage everyone else?

Actually, as a blogger and former journalist, the motivation for many people is simply to tell the story. Get the word out. Their own stories, good and bad.

As to whether twi is the only cult that gets exposed, definitely not.

Just today, I saw a tweet with a link to a story about a cult in Tucson, AZ that has been "affiliated with" the University of Arizona. I suspect the affiliation is simply that the group has permission to meet on campus.

"Back in March, I posted about how Faith Christian Church, which has operated on the campus of the University of Arizona for decades now, was essentially a criminal-led cult.

"That was according to 30 former members and employees (and their parents) who said it took a long time to get over what happened to them. Carol Ann Alaimo and Emily Bregel of the Arizona Daily Star wrote this at the time:

Their stories include reports of
hitting infants with cardboard tubes to encourage submission, financial coercion, alienation from parents, public shaming of members and shunning of those who leave the church or question its leaders.
Some say that since leaving, they’ve spent years in therapy for panic attacks, depression, flashbacks and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

From the Arizona Daily Star:

The University of Arizona is investigating a religious group that more than 20 former members and staffers describe as a cult.

Faith Christian Church, which is led by a self-proclaimed former criminal, has operated on the UA campus for 25 years. It is initially welcoming, then slowly imposes control over most facets of members’ lives, an Arizona Daily Star investigation found.

The Star interviewed 21 former employees and church members — most of them UA alumni — and nine of their parents. Their stories include reports of hitting infants with cardboard tubes to encourage submission, financial coercion, alienation from parents, public shaming of members and shunning of those who leave the church or question its leaders. Some say that since leaving, they’ve spent years in therapy for panic attacks, depression, flashbacks and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Methods the church has used, as described by former members and staffers, meet all five warning signs for “religious practices gone awry” listed on the website of the UA’s University Religious Council.

“The best word I can think of is ‘insidious.’ It starts off subtle,” says ex-member Scott Moore, 32, who graduated from the UA in 2005 with a degree in agriculture.

Moore says his self-esteem hit rock bottom after he joined Faith Christian in 2000 at age 17. Church leaders’ criticism and authoritarianism caused him near-constant anxiety during his five years as a member, he says.

Some ex-members and their parents say the UA should have acted long ago to investigate the church and the campus ministries it lists as affiliates: Wildcats for Christ, Native Nations in Christ and the Providence Club. But the university must abide by an Arizona law requiring all state agencies to “neither inhibit nor promote religion,” says Melissa Vito, the UA’s senior vice president in charge of student affairs.

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Then yesterday, the Arizona Daily Star updated the March 2015 story,

The holidays weren’t always happy for Doug Pacheco, but this year he feels blessed by a season of forgiveness.

For years, Pacheco says his family suffered because of his unquestioning devotion to the leaders of Faith Christian Church, which encouraged corporal punishment of infants, unquestioning obedience to church leaders and mandatory tithing even by families in financial distress.

He shared his story last spring as part of an Arizona Daily Star investigation into the Tucson-based ministry that’s been recruiting members on the University of Arizona campus for more than 20 years.

Twenty-one former followers described the church as a cult that targets UA students and inflicts financial, spriritual and emotional abuse.

New parents were trained to start spanking babies soon after birth to rid them of “rebellious” spirits, the former members and staffers said. They often used cardboard dowels from wire clothes hangers to hit infants who wouldn’t sleep, then switched to other implements as children grew, they said.

Pacheco, who joined Faith Christian’s predecessor church and left in 1990, said he and his then-wife accepted the church’s teachings. When the Star’s initial story ran in March, Pacheco — now remarried and living in Indiana — emailed links to the story to each of his children, now 33, 31 and 29.

“They knew just by me sending that article that dad is facing up to something here,” Pacheco, 58, said in a recent phone interview. “I got to call each of my children and tell them I loved them and apologize to them.

“Each of them said, ‘We love you, we forgive you, we’re with you.’ Ever since that time, my relationships with all three of them has just improved.”

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But how is exposure helpful?

The update story in the Daily Star has a lot more background, including insight on recognizing problem groups and helping people who have been impacted by them.

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The update story in the Daily Star has a lot more background, including insight on recognizing problem groups and helping people who have been impacted by them.

I read the article, but looks to be in the context of a college campus.

To "escape" a cult you need to play things close to your chest.

I think secrecy plays a huge part to establishing new networks, support, and a new life. I don't blame people for not coming forward, or never coming forward (as was mentioned in the article).

Hindsight 20/20, I would have been a lot more secretive with people outside TWI. (My mind was focused on pushing TWI away.) Even casually mentioning TWI to "outsiders" was a mistake.

(I notice the article mentions finances. Tax the churches).

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I established a few connections prior to exit. I don't know if they were really much better.. maybe just stepping stones along a (strange) way..

my marriage did not survive.

The connections in this world seem to be fairly loose.

Divorce seems to be a killer of connections in this society.. for whatever reason.

For the man.

I was half-way through a college degree and finished the time in a rooming house with others with worse issues..

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"To "escape" a cult you need to play things close to your chest.

I think secrecy plays a huge part to establishing new networks, support, and a new life. I don't blame people for not coming forward, or never coming forward (as was mentioned in the article).

Hindsight 20/20, I would have been a lot more secretive with people outside TWI. (My mind was focused on pushing TWI away.) Even casually mentioning TWI to "outsiders" was a mistake."

In retrospect, I can understand this and agree 100%. I've even heard of (non-cult related) people inventing whole, new, innocuous personal histories to mask embarrassing baggage. I don't blame them at all. It's nobody's business but their own.

Edited by waysider
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To "escape" a cult you need to play things close to your chest.

I think secrecy plays a huge part to establishing new networks, support, and a new life. I don't blame people for not coming forward, or never coming forward (as was mentioned in the article).

Hindsight 20/20, I would have been a lot more secretive with people outside TWI. (My mind was focused on pushing TWI away.) Even casually mentioning TWI to "outsiders" was a mistake.

I get that. As a young person growing up in twi, you may not have had the knowledge/wisdom (please don't take offense) to tell those non-twi people that you really don't buy into what the cult believes.

In Tucson, for young adults on a college campus, it's much different than in small town NK.

I heard also (different subject), that Pope Francis endorsed the idea of taxing churches that don't help the needy.

I think that's a great idea.

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I get that. As a young person growing up in twi, you may not have had the knowledge/wisdom (please don't take offense) to tell those non-twi people that you really don't buy into what the cult believes.

In Tucson, for young adults on a college campus, it's much different than in small town NK.

. . .

No, it didn't dawn on me. (Did it matter what I thought? Remember Ephesians 6:1 applies until you're 18 30 45)

Once some people's eyes had seen a website, some folks were quite harsh. (This was the time of the Allen lawsuit)

As far as non-twi family members, I was a pawn in a bigger game. The websites just fed them ammo in a battle that started before I was born. (I was denied support at times for being wayfer.) People had files and printouts ready to go on the offense. (These people were my parents' age mind you)

I was not from NK, if that was ever implied.

I arrived in NK later, trying to sort this all out.

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No, it didn't dawn on me. (Did it matter what I thought? Remember Ephesians 6:1 applies until you're 18 30 45)

Once some people's eyes had seen a website, some folks were quite harsh. (This was the time of the Allen lawsuit)

As far as non-twi family members, I was a pawn in a bigger game. The websites just fed them ammo in a battle that started before I was born. (I was denied support at times for being wayfer.) People had files and printouts ready to go on the offense. (These people were my parents' age mind you)

I was not from NK, if that was ever implied.

I arrived in NK later, trying to sort this all out.

Did it matter what you thought? Not necessarily. From a practical perspective, however, if you are wanting out of twi as a minor near the age of majority, what you can communicate about your personal affinity for the cult can make a difference in how people respond to you when they learn of your family connection.

I apologize for referencing NK, if that's an issue for you. I figure that whereever you were, the people knew about twi. That's what I was referencing.

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. . .

I apologize for referencing NK, if that's an issue for you. I figure that whereever you were, the people knew about twi. That's what I was referencing.

No issue, I didn't want to mislead.

You meet a girl, her mom wants to know about what church you go to.

You make friends, why must you disappear every Tuesday and Thursday night? (If you're with your friends, leadership lets your family know you haven't been present every Tuesday and Thursday night . . . and now you've got your family in trouble with leadership.)

People just find out . . . and did the internet make life more difficult? Exponentially.

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I established a few connections prior to exit. I don't know if they were really much better.. maybe just stepping stones along a (strange) way..

my marriage did not survive.

The connections in this world seem to be fairly loose.

Divorce seems to be a killer of connections in this society.. for whatever reason.

For the man.

I was half-way through a college degree and finished the time in a rooming house with others with worse issues..

I can empathize with this. I did the homeless-divorced-father thing for a time. It's like camping. But you have a job and pay taxes and someone else's mortgage. :biglaugh:

But the internet did not affect that situation, thankfully. Homeless divorcees are an accepted part of society. :biglaugh:

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There is a lot that is simply missing in this thread . . . I'm not sure is productive to dive into.

The thread was started because I reacted to what I perceived as smear tactics. I don't think those are productive (not that I'm not guilty of doing that as well). I'm not saying they are false, I don't know how true any of it is, I never will.

Shining a light on HOW cult leaders and followers manipulate and how your own mind and choices play into those are always helpful for moving forward . . . there is still TWI to deal with going forward, same as 10, 20, 30 years ago.

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There is a lot that is simply missing in this thread . . . I'm not sure is productive to dive into.

The thread was started because I reacted to what I perceived as smear tactics. I don't think those are productive (not that I'm not guilty of doing that as well). I'm not saying they are false, I don't know how true any of it is, I never will.

Shining a light on HOW cult leaders and followers manipulate and how your own mind and choices play into those are always helpful for moving forward . . . there is still TWI to deal with going forward, same as 10, 20, 30 years ago.

Sure, we can reference academic material but really all any of us can do authoritatively is tell the stories of our own experiences and those we have observed.

Unless I'm missing something.

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Sure, we can reference academic material but really all any of us can do authoritatively is tell the stories of our own experiences and those we have observed.

Unless I'm missing something.

Not sure if I'm picking up sarcasm, is something being hinted at? . . . (I was meaning to be somewhat rhetorical in the prior post.)

I hope to be able to work with Wayspeak to get things done with Wayfers, would that be in the academic material? I'd prefer to hear some success stories. I've witnessed "the internet's" destructive power as well as TWI's. Unfortunately, the facts mostly lead to negative . . . is there just nothing to learn?

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Not sure if I'm picking up sarcasm, is something being hinted at? . . . (I was meaning to be somewhat rhetorical in the prior post.)

I hope to be able to work with Wayspeak to get things done with Wayfers, would that be in the academic material? I'd prefer to hear some success stories. I've witnessed "the internet's" destructive power as well as TWI's. Unfortunately, the facts mostly lead to negative . . . is there just nothing to learn?

Didn't intend any sarcasm.

I'm thinking now that perhaps I'm just not reading your intent, unless you specify it as such, to be addressing only people you believe are still in twi who might be reading this thread. Even at this point, I'm just guessing that's what your trying to do.

Be it far from me to say what it will or won't take to reach any individual to actually get them to give serious consideration to the fact that they've made life choices that they might want to refute now or in the future.

However, before I even left twi, I was (in the mid-1980s) finally buckling down to get my bachelor's degree. I took Sociology 101 as an elective. The one thing I remember most vividly now from that class 30 years ago is that for adult humans to change values (in general) takes them experiencing a significant emotional event.

Because I now write about politics (on my personal blog), I can see the application to people's political values. Arguing rational and logical points on any given issue (extremely) rarely causes any voter to change how they look at a candidate or an issue. That's why politicians (especially demagogues) use emotions like fear to motivate.

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Didn't intend any sarcasm.

I'm thinking now that perhaps I'm just not reading your intent, unless you specify it as such, to be addressing only people you believe are still in twi who might be reading this thread. Even at this point, I'm just guessing that's what your trying to do.

Be it far from me to say what it will or won't take to reach any individual to actually get them to give serious consideration to the fact that they've made life choices that they might want to refute now or in the future.

However, before I even left twi, I was (in the mid-1980s) finally buckling down to get my bachelor's degree. I took Sociology 101 as an elective. The one thing I remember most vividly now from that class 30 years ago is that for adult humans to change values (in general) takes them experiencing a significant emotional event.

Because I now write about politics (on my personal blog), I can see the application to people's political values. Arguing rational and logical points on any given issue (extremely) rarely causes any voter to change how they look at a candidate or an issue. That's why politicians (especially demagogues) use emotions like fear to motivate.

I'm not interested in changing minds. Getting people out of TWI is a fool's errand. . . . Managing Wayfers is the real challenge.

You could argue, (we're far beyond the 1980s), keeping some people in is best for everyone. (Like if you're 95 and still smoking, there's no point in quitting, the shock will kill you).

The internet was mostly new when it affected me. It aimed for TWI, but I'm not sure anyone knew what the actual target was.

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Not sure if I'm picking up sarcasm, is something being hinted at? . . . (I was meaning to be somewhat rhetorical in the prior post.)

I hope to be able to work with Wayspeak to get things done with Wayfers, would that be in the academic material? I'd prefer to hear some success stories. I've witnessed "the internet's" destructive power as well as TWI's. Unfortunately, the facts mostly lead to negative . . . is there just nothing to learn?

I've never heard of any success stories. Sorry.

My belief is that people have to see it for themselves. It seems that any kind of criticism of the way triggers a defense mechanism that only reinforces way loyalty - I assume the opposite of what you are after.

I think there is definitely something to Rocky's point that some dramatic event is often needed to trigger a change in beliefs. For me, I think it was the Allen Lawsuit that jarred me into thinking critically, or more specifically to start valuing my own perspective and stop thinking like a peon. It was however another 8 years before I would eventually leave the way because of the strong compulsion I felt to reform it.

I have family still deeply involved in the way and it is a source of frustration and pain for me. I don't know if there is a path to reason with them about it. I haven't seen one.

I'm not interested in changing minds. Getting people out of TWI is a fool's errand. . . . Managing Wayfers is the real challenge.

You could argue, (we're far beyond the 1980s), keeping some people in is best for everyone. (Like if you're 95 and still smoking, there's no point in quitting, the shock will kill you).

The internet was mostly new when it affected me. It aimed for TWI, but I'm not sure anyone knew what the actual target was.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by managing wayfers?

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I've never heard of any success stories. Sorry.

My belief is that people have to see it for themselves. It seems that any kind of criticism of the way triggers a defense mechanism that only reinforces way loyalty - I assume the opposite of what you are after.

I think there is definitely something to Rocky's point that some dramatic event is often needed to trigger a change in beliefs. For me, I think it was the Allen Lawsuit that jarred me into thinking critically, or more specifically to start valuing my own perspective and stop thinking like a peon. It was however another 8 years before I would eventually leave the way because of the strong compulsion I felt to reform it.

I have family still deeply involved in the way and it is a source of frustration and pain for me. I don't know if there is a path to reason with them about it. I haven't seen one.

(see post #21)

The in-or-out of twi idea is not a real solution.

You can take the Wayfer out of The Way, But . . .

They need to be managed in the context of greater evils than TWI.

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. . .

Can you elaborate on what you mean by managing wayfers?

Followers of The Way are like walking wrecking balls.

I remember when I was "in", as a teenager and early 20s, I was able to do some directing. Wayfers (the older ones at least) could be convinced of anything if you said things a certain way. Did you ever do that?

If the language could be better understood and used properly . . . couldn't damage be mitigated?

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Followers of The Way are like walking wrecking balls.

I remember when I was "in", as a teenager and early 20s, I was able to do some directing. Wayfers (the older ones at least) could be convinced of anything if you said things a certain way. Did you ever do that?

If the language could be better understood and used properly . . . couldn't damage be mitigated?

I don't really remember directing any wayfers. Honestly, I remember trying really hard not to. I always felt they gave too much weight to my opinion for the simple reason of a leadership title. Was usually encouraging them to make their own choices and own them.

What kind of damage are you talking about? If the Wayfer is the wrecking ball, who is getting wrecked in the analogy? themselves, other wayfers, outsiders?

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