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The Way Corps: Victims or Oppressors?


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"I was hungry and thirsty for love without the slightest idea where to find it." -- Acts 29.

I think this issue has been bubbling just under the surface of GSC for years. Not being Corps or ex-Corps, I have no dog in the fight. But a bunch of posts over the last couple of days have really got me thinking about this, so I'm going to throw this out there as a conversation starter.

TWI is an institution. That is, it is an organization with a structure. I think a majority of us got involved in TWI out of a genuine hunger and thirst for righteousness. Unfortunately, we came to an organization that had its own agenda. Those who wanted to go WOW or Corps did so, I think, out of a genuine desire to serve. But "service" was defined by TWI, and especially in the case of those who went Corps, those who wanted to serve became an arm of the organization.

Understanding that we are each ultimately responsible for the things we choose to do, at what point to we stop looking at Corps as "marks" and "victims" of TWI's agenda and start looking at them as enablers, facilitators and perpetrators of it? Or is that the wrong question to ask? Am I using the wrong words? Can you phrase it better?

I am torn between looking at Corps as the epitome of TWI's victims vs. the epitome of what made TWI oppressive in the first place. For me, a conclusion is not required. But as I said, I thought it would make for an interesting conversation.

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Responding to this: "I am quite certain this forum thread will be offensive to some (depends on your circle quad) because some folks out there held corp folk in highest esteem (in some ways I still d

I think this is an important topic. Thanks for bringing it up. Disclosure: I am a grad of the 2nd Corps who knew Wierwille personally. I was a limb leader's wife for a time. I was on the research team

I haven't had this much fun since the mid-2000's, when we used to get trolls routinely. Always insinuating, always deflecting, eventually disappearing (occasionally returning with a different screen

Understanding that we are each ultimately responsible for the things we choose to do, at what point to we stop looking at Corps as "marks" and "victims" of TWI's agenda and start looking at them as enablers, facilitators and perpetrators of it? Or is that the wrong question to ask? Am I using the wrong words? Can you phrase it better?

I am torn between looking at Corps as the epitome of TWI's victims vs. the epitome of what made TWI oppressive in the first place. For me, a conclusion is not required. But as I said, I thought it would make for an interesting conversation.

Well......if I landed from Mars and started reading GSC yesterday,

then maybe, I would fluctuate between the two polar extremes.

BUT.....as a young follower caught up in the machinery of twi

........and a class-based system that didn't allow questions

........and scriptures that were cherry-picked for the season

........and wierwille's entourage and motorcoach fanfare

........and twig-manifestations to exhibit you bought the product

........and the multi-level marketing ploy of selling soap

........and the withholding of information [i.e. = fraud]

........and use of intimidation, manipulation & exploitation

After some 7,000 posts on Waydale and GSC to expose the wierwille mystique,

I would have to cast my lot that the corps were victims. But hey, what do I know?

Disclaimer: I was a corps grad. :evildenk:

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Well RAF, I intend not to be political but I think it's the both of em: Corp folk are both victims and oppresors.

It's not quite that simple: you know the overlapping circle diagram - some are totally victims and some are totally oppresors and then you have those corp who fall in the overlap (indoctrinated to oppress) and the other overlap (indoctrinated but don't oppress).

Now this discussion can revolve around the corp folk themselves (oppresors/or not) or the folk the corp affected (victims/or not), it's more convoluted than that RAF.

As a non corp person, I can only see half of the pie and that piece of pie was rotten, while in twi and on the field and sadly I have probably dragged that perception onto GSC. Yet, it's reality or perception or both.

This is not science but I think alot of that pie (especially the overlap portions) can be determined on GSC by the forums the corp folk post on.

You can think about that last statement I wrote but I personnaly think it's absurd because time changes people, the over lord and "twi pressure" forum changes that. Prior to posting on this thread I recommend reading those two threads.

Oh, yes, if you were a betting person, you could pick out the corp folk throughout the forums to include the doctrinal. Imagine, not a year here and I bet I could get a 70% test score on picking out the corp folk and I was not in the corp. Try me.

Now, I am twi 40 ago, for this purpose I best say 30 years past since I can only relate to corp folk from my era - that the 70's show.

I am quite certain this forum thread will be offensive to some (depends on your circle quad) because some folks out there held corp folk in highest esteem (in some ways I still do) and some loathe corp folk just like I do.

What I like most about corp folk is that mostly but not absolutely can validate the teachings of vpw and that includes all the things he took from folks like Bullinger, etc. but you would have to post on the doctrinal forum to do that which seems below some corp folk level.

Yes, I recently learned about levels here on GSC, I was elated to learn I was down there in doctrinal being spoon fed, I am ignorant having not sat at the feet of the master so ask and listen on the most stupid things I am allowed to ask; guess I caught the elevator.

You see, one of the primary things a person leaving twi wants to know is what is crap and what was true.

Don't even tell me you don't owe me, you do, I spent thousands of $ supporting/sponsoring 4th and 6th corp folks and thousands in ABS that went to HQ,that paid salaries of you folks at HQ. If any of you were in those two corp or were getting paid working at HQ, you really do owe me. Don't get snotty with me.

I would love to hear from the corp folk: were you a Victim, Oppresor, both or neither; you see, there are plenty of reasons for folks coming onto GSC to not open their mouths, talk about intimidation.

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It's not either/or, in my view

It depends on what the Corps person did and with what attitude they did it

It depends on what individuals did with the power and authority that they had over other people

From what I read here, some of you Corps grads were on the receiving end of mental abuse that I can't even imagine...but I also observed Corps grads dishing it out and who were (apparently) willing participants in the top-down abuse that originated with Wierwille, and I was lucky enough to know Corps grads who were good people who did nothing but "bless" the lives of those they came in contact with

But you didn't have to be a Corps grad to be a victimizer, to be an abuser of power

I did not go through the Corps (I signed up, participated in Apprentice Corps meetings etc, didn't get my money together and never tried again) but I am not proud to say that I was party to and complicit in abuses as were other non-Corps people. A couple of people who I categorize as those whom I would most like to hit in the face with a hammer were not Corps...you just can't make a blanket statement about a whole class of people

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Responding to this:

"I am quite certain this forum thread will be offensive to some (depends on your circle quad) because some folks out there held corp folk in highest esteem (in some ways I still do) and some loathe corp folk just like I do.

What I like most about corp folk is that mostly but not absolutely can validate the teachings of vpw and that includes all the things he took from folks like Bullinger, etc. but you would have to post on the doctrinal forum to do that which seems below some corp folk level.

Yes, I recently learned about levels here on GSC, I was elated to learn I was down there in doctrinal being spoon fed, I am ignorant having not sat at the feet of the master so ask and listen on the most stupid things I am allowed to ask; guess I caught the elevator.

You see, one of the primary things a person leaving twi wants to know is what is crap and what was true."

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

I was never in the Corps. I was in a program called FellowLaborers. FellowLaborers, for those who don't know, was sometimes referred to as the bastard stepchild of the Corps. We were in-rez at Limb Hq for 2 years and followed the same set of principles as the Way Corps. We lived communally in a block of rental townhouses. (~50 participants/8 townhouses) One of the major differences between the Corps and FellowLaborers was that we were NOT allowed to have sponsors. We had to hold down full time secular jobs, in addition to our duties as FellowLaborers, and pay our own way. We had a housing fund, which covered rent and utilities, a "Manna" fund to cover the cost of our food co-op (can't pay=can't eat), a "household fund", which covered the cost of incidentals for our townhouses (6 to a townhouse), such as toilet paper, dish soap and various other exciting things. We also had personal expenses such as laundry, personal clothing, gasoline and the like. We had to ABS and were technically required to sponsor someone in the Corps. (I say technically because no one ever had much left over for such a requirement so it was virtually winked at if someone couldn't cover their pledge.)

OK, with that out of the way, here's my point. People who weren't in the program seemed to think we were being exposed to some kind of in-depth Biblical insight, studying the meat of the word and all that kind of jazz. Well, the truth is, we probably read the Bible even less than you folks in the local twigs. Who had time? We were too busy weeding our communal garden, making mayonnaise from scratch or mixing huge batches of familia. We had no time to spend on any "in-depth" research. We read and reread and re-reread the same old stuff everybody else read (blue book, PFAL collaterals,etc) When we had our weekly teaching night, it was hit or miss on subject matter and usually pretty much focused on how much we had "screwed up" the previous week. We were never quite good enough.

We weren't special. We weren't elite. People in our hometowns may have thought we were but, truly, we were not. We were just a misguided bunch of schmoes, trying to make it from one day to the next, with precious little time or wakefulness to ever look at the bigger picture.

I can't speak for the Corps experience. I suspect there are fundamental similarities.

So, please, stop thinking program participants have an inside scoop and can bring a more profound and scholastic understanding to the discussion, especially on doctrinal issues. Some can, of course. But, that's because of what they have to offer as individuals, not because the programs made them excel.

I hope that made some sense.

Edited by waysider
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Waysider, that deserves a thread all it's own.

Reading your post I was thinking, "I wasn't part of fellowlaborers, only know about it because of Waysider's posts . . . but as I read them the feeling is familiar"

Fellowlaborers is like Corps is like Way Disciple is like Staff is like Wow is like Twig/HHF four days a week plus witnessing nights is like following the demanding schedule required of folks taking PFAL for the first time . . . etc.

I've transitioned between a number of those. People treated me different when moving up the ladder. But I wasn't different, not in a good way. At some point I realized there was nothing more to gain pushing forward.

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I just decided to look up a guy on facebook from the old days, before I decided to "move up the ladder". Something on his wall/page or whatever that thing is called said something along the lines of "Don't even bother to contact me unless you hold the teachings of VPW in highest regard."

Yikes! You tell me..... victim or oppressor?

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I just decided to look up a guy on facebook from the old days, before I decided to "move up the ladder". Something on his wall/page or whatever that thing is called said something along the lines of "Don't even bother to contact me unless you hold the teachings of VPW in highest regard."

Yikes! You tell me..... victim or oppressor?

We have no Facebook friends when it comes to The Word.

Then again, nobody can go beyond what they've been taught conditioned to believe. SIT, lame dog, SIT.

That would require considering other views, which can be uncomfortable, and fear is sand in the machinery of life.

So how to we remedy this? Wouldn't want to be caught dead lion.

And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip VPW that he would come up and sit with him.

Acts 8:31, Over-spiritualized Version According to Convenient Usage.

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Victims or Opressors... maybe a little bit of both.

Businessmen, or more properly crooks, running a church like a business.. conning and being conned.

Some of them came out of the corps as pretty darned ruthless.. coniving.. contract and promise breakers.. generally, try to pay you half (or even less) of what something was worth.

Trade their spirituality for a pot of beans..

Many were cheap sonsabitches. Always arguing about the price..

Probably because of what was done to them. Many sold businesses, abandoned careers for this supposed higher calling, only to find the rules and objectives constantly change.

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Victims or Opressors... maybe a little bit of both.

Businessmen, or more properly crooks, running a church like a business.. conning and being conned.

Some of them came out of the corps as pretty darned ruthless.. coniving.. contract and promise breakers.. generally, try to pay you half (or even less) of what something was worth.

Trade their spirituality for a pot of beans..

Many were cheap sonsabitches. Always arguing about the price..

Probably because of what was done to them. Many sold businesses, abandoned careers for this supposed higher calling, only to find the rules and objectives constantly change.

..

Not only did the rules and objectives constantly change, but also the standard was so much lower than they could have imagined. I believe that most of them decided to go into the corps because they wanted a higher calling at least on some level. I can't imagine how it must have felt to realize the level of baseness that was actually pervading, for those who saw it.

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Was the corp an ego trip for some, yes, of course it was, I sponsored some of those folks and some went into the corp because they had left everything as a WOW and could not "go home" so it was the next step, yes, I knew some of those folks too and some were one and the same.

So, if you go into a program based upon your ego or nowhere esle to go: what are the expectations, basically, as varied as the persons' capability to renew their mind (and I ain't talking the twi renewed mind thing either).

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..

Not only did the rules and objectives constantly change, but also the standard was so much lower than they could have imagined. I believe that most of them decided to go into the corps because they wanted a higher calling at least on some level. I can't imagine how it must have felt to realize the level of baseness that was actually pervading, for those who saw it.

Excellent point, krys.

For me, this is what I saw:

1) Just before in-rez, I was a branch coord at adv class.....and vpw was seething over three 8th corps guys research

2) The initial 6 weeks were MORE pfal rehash.....really???

3) On corps nights, early on.....wierwille started calling out "cop-outs" who left twi

4) Corps coordinators pushed this unbridled adulation of wierwille.....ugh.

5) Regimented scheduling, very little private time......20 men in bedroom [Owens Hall]

6) Roll calls at each meeting.....monitoring that every corps is present

7) Got a not-so-subtle reprimand for spending time with a College Division girl

What???? College Division is sub-par??? Why the caste system? The pecking order?

Many times, I had to fight back thoughts of just getting in my car and driving away.

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Excellent point, krys.

For me, this is what I saw:

5) Regimented scheduling, very little private time......20 men in bedroom [Owens Hall]

With inadequate ventilation! ;)

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Was the corp an ego trip for some, yes, of course it was, I sponsored some of those folks and some went into the corp because they had left everything as a WOW and could not "go home" so it was the next step, yes, I knew some of those folks too and some were one and the same.

So, if you go into a program based upon your ego or nowhere esle to go: what are the expectations, basically, as varied as the persons' capability to renew their mind (and I ain't talking the twi renewed mind thing either).

MRAP, wannabe Corps didn't necessarily intend to give up anything. They may well have really wanted to serve, and serve more effectively. It may be that they'd had a good twig or branch leader (there were some!) who was inspirational. Or maybe they'd just really wanted to serve God better in the communities where they found themselves - personal and professional.

Once in rez, however, the usual trick of moving the goalposts took place. It got to be, "a dog returning to its vomit" if you wanted to return to your community or especially (gasp) to your profession. After all the training and hard work they'd put into getting us to this superior spiritual elite (cough), for us then to throw it away by going back to where we came...

Now some might have returned to exactly where they'd been but others wanted to minister more effectively in their communities. For myself, I have a lot of hard-earned and dearly gained professional experience in a "caring" type profession - I liked working to fight for people's rights and to stand up for the "little man" who was not treated well by people or organisations with a lot of money or power. People in real need. What a great inroad into people's lives I'd had. And I hoped to be able to bring them to the real Hope.

I can't even begin to tell you of the disgust that was heaped on me when I started to apply for work after being in rez. Clearly if I'd gone to flip burgers at MacD's that would have been more acceptable.

There were talented and skilled people in all walks of life that had entered the Corps. Were they given an opportunity to serve in those kinds of roles? No!!!!! What a waste!! Yet these could have been great opportunities to reach out to the needy and desperate. Yeah, like TWI really meant what it said when it said that stuff on the green card. (We really need a vomit icon in the emoticons!)

My experience in this wasn't unique. But you could return to your old community if you were from an elite group that was influential or likely to bring in big money or bring in "big" names or you were part of one of the families that were highly connected in TWI.

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......... But you could return to your old community if you were from an elite group that was influential or likely to bring in big money or bring in "big" names or you were part of one of the families that were highly connected in TWI.

There was always a trophy mentality in The Way. "If we could just get (big sports/music/film star) to take the class, people will be lining up to sign The Green Card."

It's a popular sales technique. We see it all around us. Some big name, popular star uses a particular product so "it must be good".

They got special treatment in The Way. It was part of the marketing plan.

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There were talented and skilled people in all walks of life that had entered the Corps.

Were they given an opportunity to serve in those kinds of roles? No!!!!!

Yes.....skilled people in all walks of life that had entered the Corps.

But, apparently......wierwille had a unique selection process for GROOMING his "choice of leader"

that would be inflicted upon us. Just look at who wierwille pushed upon us, Martindale and Geer

.....what skills did THEY have? NONE except sold-out yes-men who would do wierwille's bidding.

Say all you want about the way corps.....but WIERWILLE greased the rails for bullying ilk

to rise in this manipulative cult. The subliminal messaging was staring all of us in the face!

Wierwille advanced the men who had the same stripes as wierwille.

Within a few short years, the "talented and skilled" corps discerned the ugly game that wierwille

was playing.......and good, solid corps went back to their skills, professions and communities.

The unspoken rule was If you can't say anything nice about wierwille, keep your mouth shut.

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Yes.....skilled people in all walks of life that had entered the Corps.

Within a few short years, the "talented and skilled" corps discerned the ugly game that wierwille

was playing.......and good, solid corps went back to their skills, professions and communities.

The lucky ones, that is.

Edited by waysider
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The lucky ones, that is.

Yep...."the lucky ones" slipped away early.

Generally speaking, one needs to step back and view the NUMBERS OF CORPS GRADS EACH YEAR.

By adding the numbers of regular AND family corps grads, one could get a perspective of

just how quickly these numbers added up....especially on the bullying side.

From 6th corps to 15th corps = 300 corps grads per year

Family Corps grads = 100 per year [approximate]

Added together = 400

Apply the 80-20 rule [80% good versus 20% groomed to bully]

and you can easily see that "80 yes-men" added per year as "leadership."

The brown-nosers became the top lieutenants in wierwille's command.

It didn't take but about 8 years for the tail to wag the dog.

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I intend no disrespect, what I have seen lacking on this thread is any actual "testimonial" from corp vets as to their being either a victim or an oppresor. It would carry a bit more weight if some partial ID were provided.

I have made it well known my WOW status and waysider has made no bones about his Fellow Laborers affiliation but there are so many posters on GSC that are done so in the shaddows, the ellusion of inner circle knowledge about twi.

It appears that past corp folk want to live in the shaddows, providing minimal personal info but yet, speaking from a pulpit of authority. I only think that those corp folk are ashamed and don't want to be identified; I most ashuredly understand that reasoning, yet, I also find that quite absurd: honesty on one part and mystery on the other.

Frankly, I see this thread that addresses internal GSC matters as a step towards more enlightenment but also think that the intent of the thread will not be accomplished. I don't think there is some sort of mysterious code of silence but why all the silence, a deafening silence.

Yes, the mystique of the corp continues.

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I intend no disrespect, what I have seen lacking on this thread is any actual "testimonial" from corp vets as to their being either a victim or an oppresor. It would carry a bit more weight if some partial ID were provided.

I have made it well known my WOW status and waysider has made no bones about his Fellow Laborers affiliation but there are so many posters on GSC that are done so in the shaddows, the ellusion of inner circle knowledge about twi.

It appears that past corp folk want to live in the shaddows, providing minimal personal info but yet, speaking from a pulpit of authority. I only think that those corp folk are ashamed and don't want to be identified; I most ashuredly understand that reasoning, yet, I also find that quite absurd: honesty on one part and mystery on the other.

Frankly, I see this thread that addresses internal GSC matters as a step towards more enlightenment but also think that the intent of the thread will not be accomplished. I don't think there is some sort of mysterious code of silence but why all the silence, a deafening silence.

Yes, the mystique of the corp continues.

What?

I don't see you posting your real name, rank and serial number? What makes you think anyone owes you those personal details?

The information you demand is on the forum. Just because people don't jump when you bark the orders doesn't mean they've been hiding anything.

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