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CollateralDamage

30 years is MORE than enough...

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<takes a seat and pulls out a menu>

Hello All-

There's quite a bit to unpack from 30 years. Bare with my rambling thoughts as they all get down.

A third-generation "legacy", I only knew TWI as truth absolute. A child of the 80's, I remember growing up and having The Way being the only way. I took each class in the entire class series the exact week I was eligible, and repeated every chance I could. I only knew LCM as the fount-head of all things godly, and worshipped with (at) him through the birth of the new class. I soldiered on through his fall and stood behind my identity as a chosen part of the faithful remnant throughout the early 2000's. I pursued a degree and lead fellowships, certain I held forth what I knew to be the epicenter of the spiritual world. Once I got close to graduation, the promise of getting a job became VERY real. In a market the began to shrivel, I went from interview to interview, each time putting in hours of deliberate, thoughtful prayer and reflection, certain that the God I knew dwelt in my fellowships and that I was told would never let any wrong befall would come through in the clutch. Each time, nothing. Each time, disappointment. Each time, words came from those more seasoned as "Renew Your Mind", "It's not the spiritually best for YOU!", "God's got something bigger for YOU!". This was the first time I needed to prove God had my back. Long story short, I cobbled together enough to get by, but nothing close to the Eph 3:20 I was told time and time again.

I got married, to an amazing and supportive spouse, who left her church to join up. She realized if she wanted tot be with me, she had to drink the Koolaid, and drink she did. She practically did a keg stand with that Hawaiian punch. Together, we weathered many situations that were far from the rosy scenes painted on STS tapes (or CDs or VHSs). Real life was hard as hell, and the God of the lectern and the magazine was not as quick to come through. There was always an explanation, mind you, but should not have to be this hard. "Maybe we're not studying enough. Maybe and hour daily is just a start.". "Are we giving enough? We're at 20%, but could we do more to prove our commitment to God and not our paycheck". We ABSed our meager earnings, lived in apartments, drove our terrible, leaky, beaten cars, and gladly taught others on how much God loved us and would provide. Any positive event in life was championed as proof of TWI's system. It began to seem like a lens that made all the bad not their fault and any positive thing their cause. Perspective.

Fast forward to a fourth generation being born. Numerous requests from insiders to go on Staff and change from within. By this time, my life had changed. The grind of finally getting (and keeping) a real job meant hard work. I began to feel like everything in the ministry was a motion. Same old collaterals. The articles in the magazine were SOOOO predictable, as were the overly scripted services. Title, personal anecdote, verses, three main points, conclusion, blanket "Let's continue to..." statement... repeat. I felt as if I wasn't learning anything. To challenge myself and scratch my own spiritual and intellectual itch, I started my own studies and digging. ANy time I would bring these up, I was chastised for going solo and delving into what was already researched. I should re-search what is already available. By this time, I could hear an introduction and immediately know which verses would come up. One STS, I wrote on my wife's notes five verses. Sure as dang, each one was ticked in the course of that scripted speech teaching. I stopped taking notes. I stopped putting time into my teachings at fellowships. I started coasting. I could see others going through the same motions. I used to talk about all of the interesting connections and parallels the moment a great teaching was done. Now I saw how quickly others began talking about their week, their boring lives, their.... anything but the bible. Truth was, it was the collaterals being taught again and again and again. LCM was disavowed, never to be mentioned. All that was safe was the collaterals. So that's were everything went, and still are.

Last flash is to the moment I realized how crumby the long-term TWI plan is for those out in the field. Find a menial job, work hard and don't rock the boat. Try to witness but we only need seats for the class- if it's just a connection, move it along. SELL SELL!!!! Find an apartment, move every few years, drive a 5 year+ model car (and keep that cardboard so you don't mess up the driveway). Long-term planning? You don't need that. God's got you. I woke up one day to realize my parents have no retirement and no equity of ANY kind. I didn't want that. I began looking at houses and tried every way to get one without getting a loan. Couldn't do it, so I tried to ask permission. Another post needs to explain this hot mess, but needless to say it was not on the menu. I forged ahead to the disapproval of many.

Kid number two arrives- I stop going to STS. Our last trip, I don't even open my bible. I hear and scrutinize the entire presentation better than I had every encapsulated with my notes. (Oh the notes, but I digress...). On our way home, my wife says "What an electrifying teaching!". I let the air clear for about 5 seconds and say "Was it?". Her face was as white as the audience at any given STS. We then discuss very openly our current role in the ministry and where we saw our spiritual lives. Needless to say, it was the beginning of the end.

We limped along for a few more years, mainly because of the sweet people that genuinely did care about others and the large family/friend connections. This is certainly a fact that cannot be overlooked, but we were killed with kindness and not won by spiritual truth. We eventually decide to skip fellowship for any convenient reason, attend other church services on Sunday mornings, and try on many religions/denominations. It came to a road that lead to us moving and telling our new coordinators we were out. I felt it necessary to go out on my terms, not middle-fingers a-blazing, but with a truthful talk.

We left about two years ago. There were some rough times, including much anger that has not fully gone away. I still struggle with what could have been or should have been, a fact that I can't completely let go of, but am getting closer. I burned my syllabi and collaterals, but still have their haunting memory (and .pdfs! that's a fun post as well!) in my mind. Religion is no longer something I value, and, current spiritual beliefs aside, I was able to emerge with clear and cogent truths I hold to, truthfulness and integrity being paramount.

I have spiritually sherpa'd a few others out of TWI, and gotten immense satisfaction for helping them think and process, not just bad-mouthing their religion. It's rewarding to truly help people, not blanket their needs in retemories or promises of a brighter day that never comes. It's rewarding to see them break the chain of mediocrity and a quiet life of apartments and ABSing to pay for staff cars (another post). I loved helping them and reassuring them the devil will not take them should they decide to take off the name tag.

My bourbon is getting low, as is my battery. Time to refill both. I have lots to say, and not sure how much/when to do it. I have many damning things, but not sure how it could help me or others. I don;t want to go back to the post-exit anger and rage that consumed my evenings (too late for that today! Oh well...), but I think a healthy processing and sharing for those who discover this site (like I did) will help clearer thoughts and heads prevail. I know TWI is not the epicenter of the spiritual world. I know TWI is pyramid of those working the ladder upward. I know TWI is a shell built on a few books and lock-step loyalty. I know that 30 years is far too much CollateralDamage.

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Welcome, Collateral Damage. This is a safe place to explore what you really think and believe. It's good that you and your wife have got out intact and on your terms.

If you haven't been a lurker and have already spent some time quietly reading here, do explore some of the older threads. You will find much that will shock and appall and anger you - and answer some of the niggling questions you never dared ask.

Have a cup of coffee while you're reading:

Great avatar!!

post-1745-053585700 1458895349_thumb.jpg

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High CD!

Do you remember the Athletes of the Spirit coloring book?

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High CD!

Do you remember the Athletes of the Spirit coloring book?

Absolutely! The music was so catchy, I can still hear it. I don't have a copy of the VHS anymore (or the coloring book), but would love to pop it in. SO MUCH SPANDEX AND HOMOEROTIC OVERTONES!!!

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Welcome to GSC.....Collateral Damage

Great post....I linked it to thread entitled Cliches, Collaterals, and Claptrap.

"I have spiritually sherpa'd a few others out of TWI, and gotten immense satisfaction for helping them think and process, not just bad-mouthing their religion. It's rewarding to truly help people,"..... :eusa_clap:/>

.

Edited by skyrider
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Thanks skyrider. It feels good to have a place to put things out there. When your whole network of friends, etc. changes, it's hard to vent and process, let alone let others in. It's nice to let some of that out.

Welcome to GSC.....Collateral Damage

Great post....I linked it to thread entitled Cliches, Collaterals, and Claptrap.

"I have spiritually sherpa'd a few others out of TWI, and gotten immense satisfaction for helping them think and process, not just bad-mouthing their religion. It's rewarding to truly help people,"..... :eusa_clap:/>/>

.

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Absolutely! The music was so catchy, I can still hear it. I don't have a copy of the VHS anymore (or the coloring book), but would love to pop it in. SO MUCH SPANDEX AND HOMOEROTIC OVERTONES!!!

*Dons leotard and begins extremely-awkward and uncomfortable interpretive-welcome-dance*

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Welcome CD! Looking forward to hearing your perspectives. You got in when I got out. To hear firsthand what growing up in twit from 1986 until today has been like. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all fair game around here. Honesty and transparency are valued here. Spewing the old company line and bragging about the dullards and Devils who ran it then and run it now won't accomplish much here. Truth is always liberating. Looking forward to reading you..........peace.

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Welcome to Grease Spot, Collateral D !

thanks for sharing your story - so interesting...one of the things you said really stood out to me "Our last trip, I don't even open my bible. I hear and scrutinize the entire presentation better than I had every encapsulated with my notes." - you did a very bold and daring thing - engaged critical thinking skills after growing up in an environment that stifled such things; i think all that note-taking i did for the most part just kept any questions at bay; it tends toward absorbing rather than analyzing.

something else you said is very powerful too: "I have spiritually sherpa'd a few others out of TWI, and gotten immense satisfaction for helping them think and process, not just bad-mouthing their religion. It's rewarding to truly help people, not blanket their needs in retemories or promises of a brighter day that never comes. It's rewarding to see them break the chain of mediocrity and a quiet life of apartments and ABSing to pay for staff cars (another post). I loved helping them and reassuring them the devil will not take them should they decide to take off the name tag." -

i love that - that's why i keep coming to Grease Spot - to help and be helped - to share my story and my heart that's been freed from such nonsense....and to listen to the experiences and thoughts of others;

Grease Spot is to setting folks free what the Public Ex was to leading folks into captivity.

thanks again for joining Grease Spot - i'm glad you're here

hey, i'm not really a bourbon guy - but i'll join you with a Long Island Ice Tea -

beer.gif/>

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Tremendous insight, CD.

Glad to have you to share your perspective.

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Allow me to welcome you to the Cafe along with my fellow GreaseSpotters. I'm glad you're here and I'm expecting more healing as you and your family continue to adjust to being "out".

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an excellent addition to the Greasespot! Welcome! I am liking your attitude so far. It has been awhile since we have had mucik in the way of recently involved people here. I think Longhunter was the last one, and most of us know very little about the status of TWI at this point.

It will be wonderful as you have the time, to update us on things like how many people are now regularly active in TWI in the USA? Worldwide? What is there in international outreach? Where?

Did Rosalie and Donna ever get married? (just joking)

Seriously, welcome to GSC, pull up a bar stool and do not feel you can only drink the coffee. I understand a liquor license has been applied for.

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Thanks All-

It's tough looking through the HUGE amount of material and trying to find how to add to the discussions already going on. I find a rabbit hole to jump into in just about every thread and the desire to get off thread too enticing! I'll try to look through and post in the proper threads and not make a mess. THERE"S JUST SO MUCH!!! I've needed this outlet. I'm pretty much an open book, so ask away.

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Thanks All-

It's tough looking through the HUGE amount of material and trying to find how to add to the discussions already going on. I find a rabbit hole to jump into in just about every thread and the desire to get off thread too enticing! I'll try to look through and post in the proper threads and not make a mess. THERE"S JUST SO MUCH!!! I've needed this outlet. I'm pretty much an open book, so ask away.

Though staying on topic on a thread can be helpful, at times stream of consciousness meandering on related tangents isn't necessarily a bad thing.

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It will be wonderful as you have the time, to update us on things like how many people are now regularly active in TWI in the USA? Worldwide? What is there in international outreach? Where?

Certainly, you know as well as I do that numbers are uber secretive. I have no way of knowing exactly how many. Here's what I do know to be true:

1.) The last service I went to, I saw about 80ish people in attendance. The same 80ish I saw each and every time sitting in the same 80ish seats. The aud. was a desolate wasteland filled with nametags.

2.) Many regions/areas continue to condense. There are "out to pasture" assignments that those who have fought in the trenches go to retire. I cannot speak to who are filling the roles of the "retiring" positions, as most are younger but not in my circle(s).

3.) The move to social media platforms (Twitter, digital Way Mags) have been implemented to increase the appearance of size/validity with the younger crowd. You'd have to be desperate to open up yourself to the potential ridicule and onslaught that a malicious few could do on Twitter. For those Boomers out there who need reference- Imagine being able to Google "The Way International" and have GSC come up as the first hit. That would be amazing! Well, Twitter and hashtags allow for the most popular/recent tweets to come up. You # correctly, and those curious about TWI could get whatever is being said by whomever most recently. It takes a desperate brand to open up to that much potential bad advertising. An interesting note, they have stayed off of FB for some bizarre reason. There are about 20 smaller groups (at least) that people have self organized, from singles to prayer groups to larger undertakings. There's even those who feel compelled as if it were their mission to post a thought of the day or mini teaching series. That can't be sanctioned. Why let that spin out of control and open up Twitter? Who's running this?????

4.) Same ole' same ole'. Everything looks/feels the same 10-20 years ago (except artwork. Why so bad?). Formulaic magazine articles, doctrine, overly-scripted and read word-for-word STS, Way Prod... There's small tweaks, but big parts are just stationary. Coasting off of long-term ABS investments and a system that has "worked" for decades. Don't rock the base that is left. And the base that's left likes it just the way it is, apparently.

5.) Huge push towards getting my (the younger) generation to take over. I suspect that has to do with the aging out of the boomers and older leadership. However, those in power still seem to have a reluctance to become more nimble, agile, and change. Go figure. But "GO CORPS!" and "WAY D!!!" ads are everywhere in the mag and onilne. I never did get that. Those who are sold out are going to anyway.

6.) The offspring of Corps are either way into it or way out of it. Very little of our generation can stomach just ho-hum attendance or be lilly poinsettias. Not sure where that comes from, but I don't think our attention span is long enough to put up with something we don't REALLY care enough about. We don't have time for that. Others have left because of the stance on gay marriage or the lack of community giving. They feel churches are a better fit. And they are.

7.) Most field corps have jobs, PERIOD. It doesn't really matter how much $$ comes in to a branch, but from the aging base I would say not much, you have to work. It was explained to me in the late 90's that it was essential to ABS because a portion of the area $$$ went to keep the Corps members in that area full-time ministers and not full time employees. They needed to be spiritually ready all of the time to move for God and the stresses of a job could not allow for that. Many peddle their part-time gigs or pyramid schemes to their followers. I remember finishing a DTA class and then being served a hard-sell on a reverse osmosis water system (with magnets!!!) during refreshments. They wanted me to sign-up right there and brought a laptop to do it. What? The company had lots of magnetic garbage that went counter to the DTA session we just finished. Hypocrite much?

8.) Many rules exist, but state to state, region to region, it can be like the Wild West. You never know what flies where and which rules are important. MI has some CRAZY folks following some 70's style fellowships/limbs and lock-step loyalty. East coast has literally CRAZY folks running things. Parts of OH are everything in between. It's a mess in terms of quality and consistency. There are still good folks (AND good fellowships), but good luck.

9.) I need more bourbon. I'll keep looking through the threads and add where i see appropriate. When I was in it, I was really in it. I think we all were. I really wanted to change the world and help people and thought I was the faithful remnant. These (very small and aging) people do too, and it seems without a younger group, it will just die out with its members. There's a big nest egg there, and there will always be a fight to control however much is there, so I never see it dissolving unless unforeseen liabilities drain the nest egg, but TWI will likely always be around, no matter how small, because of the $$$.

*edited for bourbon mistakes

Edited by CollateralDamage
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I don't mind when discussions go off-topic. These are discussions. That's how discussions work. They go in and out of focus. What grinds my gears, though, is when people DELIBERATELY drive them off-topic. Usually, it's to stop people from saying anything critical of VPW (praise be his name.) or The Way.

Oh, and welcome to our little corner of insanity.

Bwaahaha!

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Imagine being able to Google "The Way International" and have GSC come up as the first hit. That would be amazing!

That was precisely what happened for me! I was so desperate (M&A'd by TWI) that I wanted to write a huge long grovelly letter of apology in hopes of being readmitted. I couldn't remember their zip code. Googled TWI and GSC popped up as the first item. The name sounded intriguingly familiar... the reading was horrifying but had a ring of truth... the rest is history. That long grovelly letter never got written. Thank God for Pawtucket and for GSC and all who run the cafe now.

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I can't say it was the first hit but a variation of that happened to me, also. I got on-line, looking for a replacement of my PFAL book and stumbled into this place. Probably the best "wrong turn" I ever took.

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OMG I remember that magnet stuff at HQ.

I somehow inherited the shoe inserts and special water.

Gave me superpowers. You know the feeling.

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OMG I remember that magnet stuff at HQ.

I somehow inherited the shoe inserts and special water.

Gave me superpowers. You know the feeling.

"It's Christ in Shoe!"

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"It's Christ in Shoe!"

lol.

I remember L@dwig was a top seller/pimp for that stuff. Had a bunch of names under him and sold his "business" for a hefty sum, around $250,000. Gotta turn those tricks from ABS.

Magnets in the shoes. No Return for you wafers, the magnets would keep them stuck to their shoes on earth! No rapture for you! :evildenk:

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