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TWI is NOT a supermassive black hole

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The Way International is NOT a supermassive black hole – though they do exert a sneaky "gravitational force" that keeps trying to pull you back in. 

This thread is all about the deceitful and manipulative ways that TWI uses to get new recruits as well as the underhanded methods they employ to retain them.

Anyone that gets within their sphere of influence might get sucked in if they are unaware of what hides behind the treacherous attraction. TWI is almost like a  black hole  a region of space-time exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing — not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light— can escape from inside it. Once you are sucked in to a cult it’s usually harder than hell to get out. And even after you’re out it might take some time to unravel and abandon the complicated mindset and habit patterns…and if you still enjoy reading the Bible like I do - - there’s also those familiar little “pop-ups” that come to mind when reading certain passages – wierwille’s phrases that were practically ingrained in my head through repeatedly listening to the PFAL class.

But it all begins nice and easy - there is the love-bombing, talking up the benefits of the class, the excitement of being part of something bigger than myself. Given enough time and circumstances, I think the newness…the romance or honeymoon fades away.

A follower slowly awakens to what they really married into – a legalistic, abusive, deceptive, manipulative, and exploitative organization. Now a different set of “mysterious forces” come into play. Lest you become tempted to “turn your back on God” (aka the ministry that taught you “the word”), by this time The Way International has already taken the necessary steps to wring a lifetime commitment out of you. If there’s anything to the theory of  graviton particles  - which speculates that they mediate gravitational interaction - then perhaps TWI’s “graviton particles” are the subtle implications of certain teachings that lay the groundwork for fear, guilt, and a host of other manipulating mechanisms. They set up followers to be compliance oriented.

Recently I was thinking about the love-bombing thread as well as the other manipulative tactics that The Way International used to rope people in. Coincidentally I was listening to (repeatedly…uh oh :biglaugh:   ) a cover of Muse’s 2006 song “Supermassive Black Hole” done by 2 Cellos and featuring Naya Rivera  (known for her breakthrough role on Glee). I love the music – it’s addictive…and goes perfectly with the theme of the song…thundering overpowering instruments that portend some catastrophic event.

The song is about a toxic relationship – the person realizes the attraction to someone else is mostly based on a bunch of lies – and the person has a fatalistic attitude about it – like the immense power of supermassive black holes that wield incredible influence over their galaxies – to get sucked in was inevitable…trapped in a toxic relationship - with no foreseeable way to escape. I usually focus on the instrumentation of a tune – but the more I listened to it I kept wondering what did they say in this line or that  – so I googled the lyrics and You Tube and after much constellations I felt expired to write this post  (take that Norm Crosby fans    :rolleyes:  ). The more I looked over the words to the song the more I saw similarities to being in a manipulative cult.

I thought this particular clip would be entertaining and helpful since it has the words across the bottom:

 

I think the sentiment in this song is applicable to anyone who’s been in TWI for a while and has become aware of their tactics of deception and manipulation; as seen in some of the song’s phrases I’ll comment on:

“…You caught me under false pretenses…the queen of the superficial...how long before you tell the truth” folks get sucked into TWI by the love-bombing , the sales pitches for supposed benefits of their classes, the fabricated stories of phenomena, exaggerated or embellished stories of success as well as the sweet veneer of Christianity.

how long before you let me go?” – the feeling of being trapped and thinking of TWI as almost like a custodian of my fate. Whatever they say will happen to me are the supposed consequences of my believing - something to be feared ...nice little trick though - it really was a self-imposed mental prison - but I was not aware that I was the only one that could let myself go free...I can't really leave until they say it's ok to do so...which they never will, of course...especially if you were in the way corps - it's a lifetime commitment to Christian service.

Ooh, you set my soul alight” – is an interesting choice of words; it can have a double meaning – perhaps the songwriter meant it as such to convey the twofold tension in the attraction – I dunno – just guessing here …anyway …the word “alight” could mean to set the soul on fire - to be filled with passion or have an immense desire to achieve something – I think of when I first got involved – I was naïve and idealistic ...thought I could change the world with what I knew from PFAL …

but “alight” can also mean to settle down or perch – as if the soul was in flight – on a journey – but has now settled down inside this supermassive black hole…I can relate to that too. I believe I’m on a journey through life – and my time in TWI was an unanticipated detour…or maybe it was more like a layover…12 fvcking years sitting at a crummy two bit airport.

Glaciers melting in the dead of night and the superstars sucked into the supermassive” the inevitability of succumbing to overwhelming forces…whether it’s slow and almost imperceptible like glaciers melting…the honeymoon phase of cult involvement – personal boundaries are softened, personal preferences and goals are slowly dissipated - giving way to the greater good – i.e. what does the ministry need me to do?...-           

If you’ve entered one of their programs (The Way Corps, WOW, Fellow Laborers, etc.) the indoctrination process was a lot quicker - like a superstar being sucked into a supermassive black hole! As my father-in-law (who was in the Seabees) would often say when there was something that needed to be done or maybe he just wanted something done “get with the program”. Part of the indoctrination process of any of their programs also reinforced blind obedience..."going with the flow" is allowing gravity to take over...it's all downhill from there :evilshades: 

== == == == == == == 

Toward my later years in TWI, I think one of the strongest “gravitational pulls” that kept me in line was a fear of what would happen to me if I left…”tripped out”. Many of us have heard wierwille’s go-to passage for instilling fear in followers. In John 13   Jesus predicts his betrayal during an evening meal with the disciples, then “As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.” (verse 30) wierwille twisted the double meaning of “it was night” - stating unequivocally that the only alternative to the ministry that taught you the rightly divided word was oblivion...so when I thought of my future – I would never picture myself ever leaving the ministry. The possibility of tripping out was not an option as far as I was concerned. Thinking of a scenario like that was almost like entertaining thoughts of suicide. My life, my dreams, my identity, my hopes were all wrapped up in the ministry.

I dare say, the opposite of what wierwille said may be closer to the truth. Wierwille/TWI   ARE  the oblivion - a supermassive black hole - once you are sucked in – you are unaware of reality…oblivious to what matters because you are stuck inside a grand delusion – wierwille’s delusion…a real oblivion – a realm that is void  of truth and reality – a parasitic vacuum that sucks all the resources out of anything that gets within its gravitational pull. “Even light cannot escape” ? – well, I wouldn’t go that far in applying this analogy – but I will say this – thinking about wierwille’s scripture twisting to suit his own agenda - very little light or truth was able to escape his lips…and woe unto anyone who accepts his viewpoint…As Jesus once said “If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6: 23). In other words, if you think wierwille has enlightened you – then you really are in a heap of supermassive darkness. New York Translation: you’re totally fvcked, dude !

 

One of the many great things about Grease Spot is that it truly is a light for those wanting to escape the dark netherworld of The Way International. Grease Spot tells the other side of the story…this has been another slice of my story…I was wondering if anyone else has anything to add…feel free to chime in…need a little direction?

What was it that first got you thinking there might be a life for you beyond TWI?

Besides any strong social bonds with family and friends in TWI – what was it that kept you from leaving when you first began to realize the ministry was not what it seemed?

Were you ever afraid that bad things would happen and your life would fall apart if you left?

If you’re still involved with TWI I would like to say there is still hope…there’s always hope…perhaps you’ve read things on other threads that resonate with you…have you thought about leaving? What is it that’s holding you back from taking the first few courageous steps to leave?

 

Edited by T-Bone
revision
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20 hours ago, T-Bone said:

The Way International is NOT a supermassive black hole – though they do exert a sneaky "gravitational force" that keeps trying to pull you back in. 

This thread is all about the deceitful and manipulative ways that TWI uses to get new recruits as well as the underhanded methods they employ to retain them.

Anyone that gets within their sphere of influence might get sucked in if they are unaware of what hides behind the treacherous attraction. TWI is almost like a  black hole  a region of space-time exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing — not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light— can escape from inside it. Once you are sucked in to a cult it’s usually harder than hell to get out. And even after you’re out it might take some time to unravel and abandon the complicated mindset and habit patterns…and if you still enjoy reading the Bible like I do - - there’s also those familiar little “pop-ups” that come to mind when reading certain passages – wierwille’s phrases that were practically ingrained in my head through repeatedly listening to the PFAL class.

But it all begins nice and easy - there is the love-bombing, talking up the benefits of the class, the excitement of being part of something bigger than myself. Given enough time and circumstances, I think the newness…the romance or honeymoon fades away.

A follower slowly awakens to what they really married into – a legalistic, abusive, deceptive, manipulative, and exploitative organization. Now a different set of “mysterious forces” come into play. Lest you become tempted to “turn your back on God” (aka the ministry that taught you “the word”), by this time The Way International has already taken the necessary steps to wring a lifetime commitment out of you. If there’s anything to the theory of  graviton particles  - which speculates that they mediate gravitational interaction - then perhaps TWI’s “graviton particles” are the subtle implications of certain teachings that lay the groundwork for fear, guilt, and a host of other manipulating mechanisms. They set up followers to be compliance oriented.

...........

 

Yeah..........it is nauseatingly gut wrenching to look back at that cult exploitation with eyes wide open.

Thankfully, I didn't stay in that cult for 40 years, or more............like many in that R&R group.  Then, there are those like that new poster who stated that he was in twi for 14 years and a Geer group for 18 years!!  These splinter groups take a slice of cultism, home-brew it........and just as manipulative. 

Dealing with tree suckers..........  "Sometimes a tree starts looking more like a shrub, with a bushy clump of young stems sprouting from the base or from a spot on the trunk. Those stems are called suckers, because they zap water and nutrients from the main tree. As suckers are unhealthy for trees and they are unsightly, it’s important to know how to eliminate them and when possible, how to prevent them in the first place."

  • Same with way tree suckers........
  • Eliminate them........from your life
  • Prevent them in the first place.....do not attend

How many more "tree suckers" are going to sprout up from the R&R group?  Five? Seven?  Ten?

It is ALL so sickening........ my wife is in contact with a corps grad who left twi some 20 years ago and she still gravitates to a splinter twig that meets twice a month.  There are corps grads out there who STILL cleave to pseudo-pfal jargon and "teach twig" like it was 1974.   Ugh.

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Interesting slant from science, T-Bone!

As for me, I eventually wised up and left TWI. I can say in all truth that I was in their "inescapable" gravitational pull for quite some time.

I remember LCM remarking: "If you ever forsake this ministry, God won't even spit in your direction." (The way I see it, I never really liked the idea of God spitting on me anyway.) :nono5:

And another of his quotes: "If you leave The Way, you'll be a grease spot by midnight!" Well, guess what? I did leave them --- and HERE I AM...a Greasespot! :biglaugh:

And the coffee here is delicious!

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Skyrider – that link on tree suckers was an interesting tie-in with the way tree – made me take another look at the word horti-CULT-ure  :spy:  …seriously though interesting info – it listed 2 reasons a tree might start growing suckers: because it’s under stress, or because a graft has failed…I must be in a silly and creative mood tonight cuz I was mentally juggling some of these ideas from your post and got to thinking of a literal way tree sucker – someone gullible or easily deceived by The Way International, and who is always under stress because they never receive any nourishing sap from the lying, thieving tree they are grafted to…I also like your line “and teach twig like it was 1974” – I’m inspired to re-write a Prince song:

they  say P’fal’s a big zero

and Party over, but folks at the door

So tonight I’m gonna teach twig like it’s 1974

(glad I don't get paid for my songwriting :evilshades: )

== == == ==           == == == ==

 

Spectrum 49 – I figured you’d appreciate an analogy from science...which reminds me, I hope you keep developing the interesting ideas in that paper you’ve shared here…Lot’s of great stuff in there – thanks for sharing it ! I think another deleterious effect of TWI’s gravitational pull was how the fascinating and unique ideas of thoughtful and creative folks were not appreciated and so weren’t allowed to “take off” within TWI's "universe" (could not break free of their gravitational pull)....there's a lesson in there somewhere - - don't let TWI keep you down   :anim-smile:

Like I was explaining to Skyrider, sometimes I’ll play around with ideas – how the idea for this thread was formed - a while back I caught some TV show about supermassive black holes and I think Neil deGrasse Tyson was narrating some of it – fascinating stuff and read up some more on them after the show…one of the many interesting aspects of supermassive black holes is that they are integral to the development of a galaxy  - matter of fact, one is at the center of our galaxy -  see here  and here   

...then I started thinking free-form style – imagining the incredible forces these “big boys” exert on their galaxies…the power to influence…then to how ideas influence us and shape our belief system…makes me ask “what’s at the center of my world – the core of my beliefs?”…since I’ve left TWI and reawakened the curious and adventurous part of me I seem to have also developed an urge to reevaluate on a regular basis my belief system  especially as it touches science and how I interpret  the Bible…uhm…er…I don’t mean to alarm anyone right now - but it seems to be getting darker...as if I’m drifting toward the event  horizon of a black hole - - no wait …it’s way passed my bedtime - - musta closed my eyes for a minute…sorry about that…time to go to bed…night all. :wave:

Edited by T-Bone
needed more space-time continuum
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On 3/22/2018 at 3:28 PM, spectrum49 said:

Interesting slant from science, T-Bone!

As for me, I eventually wised up and left TWI. I can say in all truth that I was in their "inescapable" gravitational pull for quite some time.

I remember LCM remarking: "If you ever forsake this ministry, God won't even spit in your direction." (The way I see it, I never really liked the idea of God spitting on me anyway.) :nono5:

And another of his quotes: "If you leave The Way, you'll be a grease spot by midnight!" Well, guess what? I did leave them --- and HERE I AM...a Greasespot! :biglaugh:

And the coffee here is delicious!

49, I for one, am glad you found your "way," here!!  I love your posts; they make me laugh, and think!!:wave:

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Sky and T-Bone:

See? It's easy to have fun here (and maybe get a "few jabs" in at times...LOL). Nevertheless, there's great learning behind all the rhetoric and jokes at GS, huh? :jump:

I also (as you're both aware) am intrigued by the intertwining of things among the natural and supernatural realms.

T-Bone: As you know, even light itself cannot escape a black hole. But we're far more than just "any old light", as that which exists in the natural realm. We're a bit more special (and powerful!) than all that. (Consider Jesus' remark, that "he considers it not robbery to be equal with God"...think of that for a bit!)

So (of course) there really was a way out of The Way for us after all --- Ha! Ha! Because the "super massive black hole" surrounding HQ (to try holding us in) was not gonna hold in some TRUE LIGHT like us! (And God as light is certainly more than a mere collection of wonderfully arranged photons!) :biglaugh:

But now --- to be more on topic:

Some time ago, I was thinking of some principles from botany and how they relate to The Way Tree. Interestingly enough, consider about how the leaves nourish the tree using photosynthesis to turn energy gathered directly from the sun into a special kind of sugar called glucose.

These nutrients are then transmitted to the root via the other parts of the tree, which (in turn) redistributes this "new light" (in glucose form) throughout the tree, so it may flourish properly.

And we simple rank and file members of The Way Tree tried to emulate this at times, attempting to introduce some "new light" (we had gathered from the light source via the spirit, as it were) to try nourishing the Root --- aka: HQ. But alas, the following was how it really worked within TWI:

You might remember how The Way Tree evolved so as to eventually not include the leaves: simply because those weren't considered that important compared to THE (almighty) ROOT, Trunks, Limbs and Branches! Now there's something to consider from science!

SO: No wonder that tree is dead! But it seems to live on somehow, despite everything. Perhaps (in keeping with current pop-culture) it's a zombie tree:evildenk:

And do keep in mind something Jesus prayed once: "thy will be done upon earth, as it is in heaven". Do ya think God endorses the idea that the physical laws governing the universe (which he himself designed) should flow in harmony with that in the spiritual realm?

All for now: Spec :rolleyes:

Edited by spectrum49
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Hi Greasespotters!

The ideological crux behind the entire “Way Tree” revelation hoax is the following grandiose lie: “Each Twig is self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing”. The book “The Twelve Traditions” was published by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1946. It sets forth the administrative structure and “procedural protocol” regarding how each AA Chapter is to be governed. Here it is:

The Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics AnonymousEdit

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Long FormEdit

“Our A.A. experience has taught us that:

  1. Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.
  3. Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.
  4. With respect to its own affairs, each A.A. group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. But when its plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted. And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect A.A. as a whole without conferring with the trustees of the General Service Board. On such issues our common welfare is paramount.
  5. Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose — that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim. We think, therefore, that any considerable property of genuine use to A.A. should be separately incorporated and managed, thus dividing the material from the spiritual. An A.A. group, as such, should never go into business. Secondary aids to A.A., such as clubs or hospitals which require much property or administration, ought to be incorporated and so set apart that, if necessary, they can be freely discarded by the groups. Hence such facilities ought not to use the A.A. name. Their management should be the sole responsibility of those people who financially support them. For clubs, A.A. managers are usually preferred. But hospitals, as well as other places of recuperation, ought to be well outside A.A. — and medically supervised. While an A.A. group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied. An A.A. group can bind itself to no one.
  7. The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies; that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then too, we view with much concern those A.A. treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated A.A. purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional. We define professionalism as the occupation of counseling alcoholics for fees or hire. But we may employ alcoholics where they are going to perform those services for which we may otherwise have to engage nonalcoholics. Such special services may be well recompensed. But our usual A.A. "12 Step" work is never to be paid for.
  9. Each A.A. group needs the least possible organization. Rotating leadership is the best. The small group may elect its secretary, the large group its rotating committee, and the groups of a large metropolitan area their central or intergroup committee, which often employs a full-time secretary. The trustees of the General Service Board are, in effect, our A.A. General Service Committee. They are the custodians of our A.A. Tradition and the receivers of voluntary A.A. contributions by which we maintain our A.A. General Service Office at New York. They are authorized by the groups to handle our over-all public relations and they guarantee the integrity of our principal newspaper, the A.A. Grapevine. All such representatives are to be guided in the spirit of service, for true leaders in A.A. are but trusted and experienced servants of the whole. They derive no real authority from their titles; they do not govern. Universal respect is the key to their usefulness.
  10. No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues — particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.
  11. Our relations with the general public should be characterized by personal anonymity. We think A.A. ought to avoid sensational advertising. Our names and pictures as A.A. members ought not be broadcast, filmed, or publicly printed. Our public relations should be guided by the principle of attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us.
  12. And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all.”

When I was in-Rez with the 4th corpse in the fall of 1973, 3 Of The new “Advanced Studies” classes were videotaped during our first year. They were “The Renewed Mind”, and “Dealing With The Adversary” by Walter Cummins, and “The Way Tree” by John Townsend. During the taping of The WT, dictor had nite owls in the BRC. During one of said Nite owls, I DISTINCTLY remember him telling us that “The Way Tree revelation”  was “inspired” by the “A.A. structure”. He never said how he came across those writings. You’ll notice also, that small little phrases like KISS———keep it simple stupid—, are also to be found throughout the halls of AA. Plagiarism was a way of life for DP! LOL!

The Way Tree “revelation” was nothing more than a plagiarized business plan for an MLM scheme called PFAL. And, as EVERYTHING else in dictor paul’s minus-tray, it was stolen almost word-for-Word, and concept by concept from another source and that source, (AA), was never given proper credit publicly. To say that there was ANY part or piece of TWIt that was in any way “original”, is as ludicrous as saying “the Earth is flat”. And, just as accurate!.............peace.

 

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Edited by DontWorryBeHappy
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3 hours ago, DontWorryBeHappy said:

Hi Greasespotters!

The ideological crux behind the entire “Way Tree” revelation hoax is the following grandiose lie: “Each Twig is self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing”. The book “The Twelve Traditions” was published by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1946. It sets forth the administrative structure and “procedural protocol” regarding how each AA Chapter is to be governed. Here it is:

The Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics AnonymousEdit

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities....(SNIP)

(SNIP) ...When I was in-Rez with the 4th corpse in the fall of 1973, 3 Of The new “Advanced Studies” classes were videotaped during our first year. They were “The Renewed Mind”, and “Dealing With The Adversary” by Walter Cummins, and “The Way Tree” by John Townsend. During the taping of The WT, dictor had nite owls in the BRC. During one of said Nite owls, I DISTINCTLY remember him telling us that “The Way Tree revelation”  was “inspired” by the “A.A. structure”. He never said how he came across those writings. You’ll notice also, that small little phrases like KISS———keep it simple stupid—, are also to be found throughout the halls of AA. Plagiarism was a way of life for DP! LOL!

The Way Tree “revelation” was nothing more than a plagiarized business plan for an MLM scheme called PFAL. And, as EVERYTHING else in dictor paul’s minus-tray, it was stolen almost word-for-Word, and concept by concept from another source and never publicly gave credit to that source. To say that there was ANY part or piece of TWIt that was in any way “original”, is as ludicrous as saying “the Earth is flat”. And, just as accurate!.............peace.

 

  1.  

Thanks for sharing that, DWBH

one of my favorite film critics and writers is Roger Ebert (he passed away in 2013) had some good things to say about AA in his book and he was very candid about his struggle and recovery from alcoholism Life Itself: A Memoir  and there is an interesting related article on the website that still bears his name My Name is Roger and I'm an Alcoholic  

here’s an interesting excerpt:

“* Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

* Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.

The God word. The critics never quote the words "as we understood God." Nobody in A.A. cares how you understand him, and would never tell you how you should understand him. I went to a few meetings of "4A" ("Alcoholics and Agnostics in A.A."), but they spent too much time talking about God. The important thing is not how you define a Higher Power. The important thing is that you don't consider yourself to be your own Higher Power, because your own best thinking found your bottom for you. One sweet lady said her higher power was a radiator in the Mustard Seed, "because when I see it, I know I'm sober." “

I love how Roger explains it’s NOT important how you define a Higher Power – the critical thing is that you don’t consider yourself to be your own Higher Power…I think one of the subtle influences of TWI was that it instilled in me a little bit of a god complex...I'm not kidding! I used to think if I came away from a teaching or some pump-you-up meeting feeling all superior in a  if-god-be-for-me-who-can-be-against-me kinda way then "I really got delivered at that meeting"   :biglaugh: - that's gotta be like an event horizon for the god complex state of mind or something i dunno...gosh we really weren't a very humble bunch of folks back then now were we?  :rolleyes:

…I swear the older I get or is it the more distance I put between me and a certain mindset I used to have – maybe it’s a combination of the two ( I’ve been experiencing life in a REAL world since ’86) - that I don’t get all hung up in how someone defines God…even wonder if I’m developing some “Christian agnostic” tendencies  :biglaugh: – I mean I’m familiar with the basic tenets of the faith…I’m conversant with basic theology…I enjoy reading a number of different translations – but beyond that…beyond the five senses – I’m not sure of anything…yeah God and the cosmos got a WHOLE LOT BIGGER after I left The Way International.

One of the reasons I’m glad I’m not in TWI anymore is that I don’t have to pretend I’m having such a deep personal relationship with God Almighty while I’m at Twig Coordinators meetings – gotta keep up appearances dontcha know   :biglaugh:

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DWBH: My God! I never realized that even the concept of The Way Tree wasn't original --- I think I've heard it all now!

By the way: "My name is Mel...and I'm a Wayaholic. Although I haven't been to a Way fellowship in over 10 years, I know in my heart that just one sip of their Kool Aide again --- and my life would certainly be over!" :biglaugh:

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1 hour ago, T-Bone said:

I love how Roger explains it’s NOT important how you define a Higher Power – the critical thing is that you don’t consider yourself to be your own Higher Power…I think one of the subtle influences of TWI was that it instilled in me a little bit of a god complex...I'm not kidding! I used to think if I came away from a teaching or some pump-you-up meeting feeling all superior in a  if-god-be-for-me-who-can-be-against-me kinda way then "I really got delivered at that meeting"   :biglaugh: - that's gotta be like an event horizon for the god complex state of mind or something i dunno...gosh we really weren't a very humble bunch of folks back then now were we?  :rolleyes:
 

…I swear the older I get or is it the more distance I put between me and a certain mindset I used to have – maybe it’s a combination of the two ( I’ve been experiencing life in a REAL world since ’86) - that I don’t get all hung up in how someone defines God…even wonder if I’m developing some “Christian agnostic” tendencies  :biglaugh: – I mean I’m familiar with the basic tenets of the faith…I’m conversant with basic theology…I enjoy reading a number of different translations – but beyond that…beyond the five senses – I’m not sure of anything…yeah God and the cosmos got a WHOLE LOT BIGGER after I left The Way International.

One of the reasons I’m glad I’m not in TWI anymore is that I don’t have to pretend I’m having such a deep personal relationship with God Almighty while I’m at Twig Coordinators meetings – gotta keep up appearances dontcha know   :biglaugh:

I'm confident you're not kidding. That's sorta what I was getting at when I recognized and commented that Mike is a dogmatist. [one who asserts positively doctrines or opinions unsupported by argument or evidence.]

Great insight T-Bone.

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1 hour ago, spectrum49 said:

DWBH: My God! I never realized that even the concept of The Way Tree wasn't original --- I think I've heard it all now!

By the way: "My name is Mel...and I'm a Wayaholic. Although I haven't been to a Way fellowship in over 10 years, I know in my heart that just one sip of their Kool Aide again --- and my life would certainly be over!" :biglaugh:

:biglaugh:  Spectrum - you crack me up - I love it !

35 minutes ago, Rocky said:

I'm confident you're not kidding. That's sorta what I was getting at when I recognized and commented that Mike is a dogmatist. [one who asserts positively doctrines or opinions unsupported by argument or evidence.]

Great insight T-Bone.

Thanks Rocky !

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I was reading up on how a black hole is formed; as the Black Hole link states “Black holes of stellar mass are expected to form when very massive stars collapse at the end of their life cycle. After a black hole has formed, it can continue to grow by absorbing mass from its surroundings. By absorbing other stars and merging with other black holes, supermassive black holes of millions of solar masses may form.

I found another website that was a little more descriptive and this really got my imagination going on how else I can abuse    :biglaugh: I mean   use my supermassive black hole / TWI’s “gravitational pull” simile. It was   here that I read “Black holes are formed when a really big star dies out. When that happens, the outward force of the star's nuclear fusion cannot overcome its gravity, so it collapses. If the star has more than about four times the mass of our sun, nothing can stop the star's collapse, so it becomes smaller and denser until it becomes a singularity. The singularity's gravitational force is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape it. This is called a black hole.

...I dunno maybe I’m just impressing myself with the poetry or how picturesque this simile has become - more so than the logic or technical stuff   - so being how this is all just my 2-bit philosophizing all out of proportion  :rolleyes:  – I  got to thinking along the lines of what makes a person a narcissist - - maybe a collapsing star isn’t too far off the mark...As the above Psychology Today link states:

 “People with narcissistic personality disorder believe they are superior or special, and often try to associate with other people they believe are unique or gifted in some way. This association enhances their self-esteem, which is typically quite fragile underneath the surface. Individuals with NPD seek excessive admiration and attention in order to know that others think highly of them. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder have difficulty tolerating criticism or defeat, and may be left feeling humiliated or empty when they experience an "injury" in the form of criticism or rejection.” …I am no expert in psychology or personality disorders but I have often wondered (without considering any genetic predispositions or other factors) why wierwille was so driven to attain recognition…

...he wanted everyone to call him “doctor”…he plagiarizes a lot of other folks’ work to call it all his own…fabricates a story of God supposedly speaking to him and then making it snow on demand. I think as his ego grew bigger – he became more self-absorbed – and like a dying star, whatever energy there was that might have been harnessed to serve others, could not escape outward – the gravity…the attraction to the self was too great to allow it. Now imagine - in a weird and Twilight Zone way – a supermassive-black-hole-of-an-ego. Its gravitational force becoming so strong as to exert considerable force to pull in a handful of people…hundreds of people…thousands of people...with a supermassive a$$hole for a leader  :evilshades:

I think when it comes to nefarious leaders, often religion can be used as a very effective tool of manipulation. Some folks can have very strong feelings about their beliefs. I think wierwille’s ministry was a thinly disguised exploitative organization. It had a veneer of Christianity. Perhaps that is a little more palatable than how Jesus described the hypocrites of his day – see Matthew 23 .

Now all this got me thinking about where do manipulative leaders derive their power. In doing some research on the Internet, I came across an article Using Religion for Power 

and one post by Abagail really captivated my interest by what she said:

Through my own research on the topic of the temple and priesthood of Amen, I found that the Pharaoh was seen as the true son of the god. When the king was made Pharaoh, it was the god claiming him as his heir. The priests of Amen also held sway over the people because they perpetuated an image of themselves as heroes to the downtrodden. In fact, religion held so much power at a point in Egyptian history that the priesthood of Amen rivaled the power of the Pharaoh. Even when the Pharaoh turned to a different main god, the general public still held strong to Amen-Re. Religion is a powerful thing, but the power derives from the people; the Pharaoh and the gods only had as much power as the people let them have through their strong beliefs in the gods.

 

That one line really stuck with me “the Pharaoh and the gods only had as much power as the people let them have through their strong beliefs in the gods.” That makes me think of the “idols of the heart” mentioned in Ezekiel 14:3 - which eventually becomes a stumbling block as the rest of the verse indicates... An idol of the heart is invisible. No one knows it’s there  - maybe not even the person who has this idol within their heart. You see, I never really thought of wierwille as an idol of the heart – but when I think back on how much I admired him...revered him as head and shoulders above any other great persons I could think of...I mean, I had such respect for his life and work – that God chose wierwille to teach “the word” to modern man. I considered his classes and books like keys to unlock all the great truths of the Bible...I was so young and gullible when I first got involved in TWI... Guess it took 12 years of spinning my wheels and gaining some life experiences that got me to start wondering what was the stumbling block in my pursuit of God and the Christian lifestyle.

…but let me clarify – I did not think he was god or took the place of god – I think what  I was doing was more along the lines of what’s prohibited in Exodus 20: 3 “you shall have no other gods before me”.  ...For me, wierwille was like an interface between me and God...being guided by his interpretation of the Bible was how I thought I could connect and communicate with God. Nothing wrong with a desire to connect and communicate with God - - but now I see that following wierwille's "spiritual" leadership was a very dubious means of achieving that...so now I say to all you God lovers out there who can hear my post (huh? - - oh never mind - musta clicked on an old commercial or sumpin') - cut out the middleman - and go direct :dance:

That brings me back to what I said in my first post: “…the feeling of being trapped and thinking of TWI as almost like a custodian of my fate. Whatever they say will happen to me are the supposed consequences of my believing - something to be feared ...nice little trick though - it really was a self-imposed mental prison - but I was not aware that I was the only one that could let myself go free...I can't really leave until they say it's ok to do so...which they never will, of course...especially if you were in the way corps - it's a lifetime commitment to Christian service.” ...There's a little lesson from The Wizard of Oz for all of us: Dorothy had the power to escape the supermassive black hole all along; and even in space Toto still needs his daily walk. :rolleyes:

Yup I think you got that right, Abagail “the Pharaoh and the gods only had as much power as the people let them have through their strong beliefs in the gods.

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Wow T-Bone --- what a post --- that sure got my neurons flowing! About the supermassive black hole: I GET IT! To me, it's a perfect analogy of a narcissist, just as you described. (VP sure "sucked a lot of people" into his realm, huh?)

Now, just a little more about black holes in general: (And please don't tell my wife!) I consider a black hole to be my favorite thing in the universe --- and for good reason: My wife is black:biglaugh:

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Ya know, Spectrum...I’ve found that things usually  go well in my neck of the galaxy when my wife thinks she’s at the center of it. Perhaps that is indeed the reality of the situation- I mean ...since I’m a whimpy white dwarf I do feel strongly attracted to her.

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1 hour ago, T-Bone said:

 

Ya know, Spectrum...I’ve found that things usually  go well in my neck of the galaxy when my wife thinks she’s at the center of it. Perhaps that is indeed the reality of the situation- I mean ...since I’m a whimpy white dwarf I do feel strongly attracted to her.

Sorry to hear you're feeling a bit "whimpy". Perhaps it would be better to fondly remember the time when you were a red giant? (Just trying to help!) :biglaugh:

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Hey spotters.  Cool stuff.  

The black hole / white dwarf stuff may seem like it is on the outskirts of imagination, but just reading through this thread it is pretty powerful.  I really never thought about the gravitational pull of a narcissist that much before, but it is very real.   Many of your top leaders in business are this way - reportedly Steve Jobs from Apple and Larry Ellison from Oracle are two more modern or recently modern examples.  You really would have to categorize all Way Presidents in this fashion also.  Groomed and bred with a low concern for others welfare and a high concern for the importance of their own position, they were raised to exploit.

I think it is really interesting to consider the gravitational pull of a black hole on personal relationships too, like TBone talking about spousal relationships.  Definitely friendships too.

DWBH - I also never fully appreciated the implications of the Way Tree having its origins in AA.  If you think about it, that kind of sums up the outreach efforts and strategy for the Way - the Way tree teachings and the Vision and Direction document that surrounds it.  That is all based in AA - helping recovering alcoholics.   Keeping people in a disease for life, producing works to show deliverance, meeting attendance required, managed, monitored.    The Lord Jesus Christ is once again, remarkably absent.

So many angles of realistic evaluation and comparison for our past experiences.  And to me all of it is another positive mental construct to remove the subtle anti Christ influences of the Way out of my mind.  

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, T-Bone said:

 

Ya know, Spectrum...I’ve found that things usually  go well in my neck of the galaxy when my wife thinks she’s at the center of it. Perhaps that is indeed the reality of the situation- I mean ...since I’m a whimpy white dwarf I do feel strongly attracted to her.

T-Bone, I think you are a very smart man!  :biglaugh:

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Spectrum 49 – ya know, I did feel really big when I was in TWI – I think my ego swelled but that wasn’t a swell ego…and Starkist wants tuna that tastes good - not tuna with good taste…I still have a picture of what I looked like in the prime of my TWI days when I let all that pseudo-knowledge go to my head – just glance over at my avatar

 

Chockfull – great post! And what an intriguing point you mentioned with - “the gravitational pull of a black hole on personal relationships too, like TBone talking about spousal relationships.  Definitely friendships too”  

…that is something I very briefly touched on in my first post – the question near the end: “Besides any strong social bonds with family and friends in TWI – what was it that kept you from leaving when you first began to realize the ministry was not what it seemed?”

The reverse of my question could address other situations. What strong social bonds did some folks defy to stay in TWI? What if the wife and kids want out and the dad wants to stay in? I think I may have a long suit in loyalty and commitment – though they were terribly misplaced when I was in TWI. I put the ministry ahead of everything else – even wife and kids! Never had much time or energy left for them at the end of my work day / ministry “tasks”…Must be almost a damn miracle they didn’t just pack up and leave me! I know the ministry tended to suck the life and love out of most folks who were really involved.

...and remember wierwille’s great divide-and-conquer phrase “when it comes to the word, I have no friends”... My wife and I lost some very close friends when we left.

 

Grace – alright, so you’re on to me…please don’t blow my cover  LOL

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2 hours ago, T-Bone said:

Spectrum 49 – ya know, I did feel really big when I was in TWI – I think my ego swelled but that wasn’t a swell ego…and Starkist wants tuna that tastes good - not tuna with good taste…I still have a picture of what I looked like in the prime of my TWI days when I let all that pseudo-knowledge go to my head – just glance over at my avatar

 

Chockfull – great post! And what an intriguing point you mentioned with - “the gravitational pull of a black hole on personal relationships too, like TBone talking about spousal relationships.  Definitely friendships too”  

…that is something I very briefly touched on in my first post – the question near the end: “Besides any strong social bonds with family and friends in TWI – what was it that kept you from leaving when you first began to realize the ministry was not what it seemed?”

The reverse of my question could address other situations. What strong social bonds did some folks defy to stay in TWI? What if the wife and kids want out and the dad wants to stay in? I think I may have a long suit in loyalty and commitment – though they were terribly misplaced when I was in TWI. I put the ministry ahead of everything else – even wife and kids! Never had much time or energy left for them at the end of my work day / ministry “tasks”…Must be almost a damn miracle they didn’t just pack up and leave me! I know the ministry tended to suck the life and love out of most folks who were really involved.

...and remember wierwille’s great divide-and-conquer phrase “when it comes to the word, I have no friends”... My wife and I lost some very close friends when we left.

 

Grace – alright, so you’re on to me…please don’t blow my cover  LOL

T-Bone, moi??  LMAO!

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18 hours ago, T-Bone said:

(snip)

...and remember wierwille’s great divide-and-conquer phrase “when it comes to the word, I have no friends”... My wife and I lost some very close friends when we left.

That reminds me of something humorous: I was a good little wafer, because I had no friends outside of the household. Upon leaving, it became quite clear to my wife & I that we had no friends at all:biglaugh:

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Picking back up on some things I talked about in my first post – of the complicated mindset, habits, etc. – which kept me imprisoned - by my own thoughts! These little nefarious mental “tidbits” were actually TWI-biased – and I had absorbed them! They were perhaps the graviton particles that gave certain TWI leaders something to “grab onto”. Without those in my head – TWI’s “gravitational pull” is inoperative.

Earlier in this thread Skyrider and DWBH mentioned The Way Tree an idea wierwille copied from AA…I was thinking about all this stuff within the context of manipulation – which is really about control. I am not familiar with AA nor have I ever suffered from substance abuse – so I’m only speaking from what I think is the main idea behind AA – which is to help one gain back control over their own life.

There is a difference between developing self-control versus being manipulated by someone else – simply put, with self-control you are in the driver seat - as pilot and navigator rolled into one. That’s NOT to say when you’re being manipulated you’re not in the driver seat – but perhaps it’s more like listening to the directions from a malicious GPS Navigation Device while you’re driving. The GPS does not force you to follow its directions but in regards to being manipulated – you may feel compelled to follow its directions.

This powerful inner urge to “do as you are told” (even if it’s just in the form of a suggestion or casual remark) often develops from long exposure to the general mindset of TWI followers – a set of assumptions, attitudes, thought processes, certain inclinations, habits, biases and worldview .

All that bears heavily on our decision making...as the link says - “Chocolate or strawberry? Life or death? We make so many quick decisions unconsciously; others we agonize over. We choose actions and form opinions via mental processes which are influenced by biases, reason, emotions, and memories.

So, it doesn’t have to be a visible chain- of-command process – where I am told by a leader what I should do in a certain situation. Rather, given enough time and experiences, the priorities of the ministry’s hierarchy have been absorbed into my thinking process…sort of like an embedded manipulation program. It could be activated by trigger words, phrases, and teachings spoken by others – or more or less spontaneously – from within - as I’m confronted by a situation and need to decide what course of action I should take.

I had just got off the WOW field and then got married. We asked the Limb coordinator of the state (where we wanted to live) – where he would need help in establishing new fellowships. He mentioned a few cities. So we chose one and moved there. After living there for a short while, I remember discussing with my wife about going back to finish college and getting a degree. However, “spiritual concerns” seemed to outweigh any reasons to go back to school: we volunteered to establish fellowships in a city suggested by our Limb leader (didn’t want to let him - or God - down by being distracted with school stuff)… and as any TWI follower who is worth their salt knows - “worldly” knowledge is not as important as “spiritual” knowledge anyway  :confused: …perhaps thoughts of the recognition my wife and I would get – being known as the couple that started “the word” moving in this city were in the back of my mind also.…so of my own accord I decided not to return to college – a decision based upon a faulty TWI-centric thought process.

 

…Another thing that struck me as a little ironic – wierwille was “inspired” by the Alcoholics Anonymous structure - – an organization with the stated primary purpose for its members as to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. Somehow wierwille managed to mimic that a$$-backwards  :CUSSING:  - - developing a

ministry that encouraged behavioral addiction - which “is a form of addiction that involves a compulsion to engage in a rewarding non-drug-related behavior – sometimes called a natural reward – despite any negative consequences to the person's physical, mental, social or financial well-being.”

…the “rewards” of having a TWI-centric thought process are highly valued by some – being known as the person who ran the most classes in your area, recognition for being very generous to the ministry – financially, time / resources, whatever…getting a way corps nametag as a “spiritual” status symbol…being assigned to lead a branch, Limb – whatever so as to be in a position of influence and power…my point is not to impugn genuine people of influence (past or present) who by their example and hard work, actually provide a much needed service to fellowships with their unadulterated love, compassion and good biblical counsel.

I think the need or desire for recognition is a natural thing – nothing wrong with that – but when the reward of recognition itself starts becoming more important than the achievements or service – I think something is out of whack…maybe that’s along the lines of behavioral addiction – I dunno.

 

Oddly enough – after reading a bunch of stuff about AA - it was interesting to find an article about why some folks think AA is a cult see here 

...Like I said – I have no experience or knowledge of AA but – considering how each local chapter is supposedly self-governing I could see the possibility at a few locations of things getting out of line with their primary purpose…I was intrigued by some cult-like characteristics in that article on the AA:

Cult trait: “The group displays excessively zealous or unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology and practices as the Truth, as law.

Cult trait: “The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example they must get permission to date, change jobs, marry — or leaders prescribe what type of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to disciple children and so forth).”

 

....A lot of this stuff is new and fascinating to me – so please excuse any oversights or inaccuracies – and feel free to correct or elaborate on any point of my rather oversimplified approach.

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2 hours ago, T-Bone said:

 Alcoholics Anonymous structure - – an organization with the stated primary purpose for its members as to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.

T-Bone, I do have experience by having a family member heavily involved, and also a friend.  Their secondary purpose is not so broadcast, but is understood, sort of like the police quotas on tickets.  It is: once an alcoholic, always and alcoholic, so you'll always have to come to AA meetings.

I never understood what the benefit is of this, other than control over other people.  I never learned anything that would suggest there was any monetary benefit, but there may have been.

So, it seems VPW didn't really get their method so bassbacward after all.

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8 hours ago, Taxidev said:

T-Bone, I do have experience by having a family member heavily involved, and also a friend.  Their secondary purpose is not so broadcast, but is understood, sort of like the police quotas on tickets.  It is: once an alcoholic, always and alcoholic, so you'll always have to come to AA meetings.

I never understood what the benefit is of this, other than control over other people.  I never learned anything that would suggest there was any monetary benefit, but there may have been.

So, it seems VPW didn't really get their method so bassbacward after all.

You’ve got a point there, Taxidev - thanks!

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On ‎3‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 12:43 PM, T-Bone said:

(SNIP)...

Toward my later years in TWI, I think one of the strongest “gravitational pulls” that kept me in line was a fear of what would happen to me if I left…”tripped out”. Many of us have heard wierwille’s go-to passage for instilling fear in followers. In John 13   Jesus predicts his betrayal during an evening meal with the disciples, then “As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.” (verse 30) wierwille twisted the double meaning of “it was night” - stating unequivocally that the only alternative to the ministry that taught you the rightly divided word was oblivion...so when I thought of my future – I would never picture myself ever leaving the ministry. The possibility of tripping out was not an option as far as I was concerned. Thinking of a scenario like that was almost like entertaining thoughts of suicide. My life, my dreams, my identity, my hopes were all wrapped up in the ministry.

I dare say, the opposite of what wierwille said may be closer to the truth. Wierwille/TWI   ARE  the oblivion - a supermassive black hole - once you are sucked in – you are unaware of reality…oblivious to what matters because you are stuck inside a grand delusion – wierwille’s delusion…a real oblivion – a realm that is void  of truth and reality – a parasitic vacuum that sucks all the resources out of anything that gets within its gravitational pull. “Even light cannot escape” ? – well, I wouldn’t go that far in applying this analogy – but I will say this – thinking about wierwille’s scripture twisting to suit his own agenda - very little light or truth was able to escape his lips…and woe unto anyone who accepts his viewpoint…As Jesus once said “If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6: 23)....(SNIP)

 

I wanted to revisit something in my first post, that touched on the religious exclusivism  generated by wierwille – as Wikipedia states “it is a conviction about its finality and its absolute priority over competing views”- this mentality energized the sneaky gravitational force  upon anyone near wierwille’s sphere of influence. By that I mean more of a proximity in frame of mind rather than physically close. This was accomplished by various indoctrination programs (WOW, Way Corps, Fellow Laborers, etc.).

Perhaps a good rebuttal to wierwille’s stringent exclusivism is an account in Mark 9, verses 38 and following  Where a disciple (John) told Jesus they had forbidden someone from casting out devils in his name because he was not following their group. But Jesus said don’t forbid him because he who is not against us is for us.

From this account in Mark 9, some study Bibles and commentaries make reference to Numbers 11 of Eldad and Medad who had the spirit of God put upon them and were prophesying in the camp – and it appears that some folks were up in arms over that – which may have been because Eldad and Medad were expected to go to the tent or tabernacle to prophesy…maybe it was along the lines of "that's not how we do things in our special group" , I don’t know…but anyway, both Numbers 11 and Mark 9 address the issues of intolerance and narrow exclusivism – not just in the heavy-handed tactics of abusive cults but perhaps in denominationalism as well...Intolerance and exclusivism has the potential to maintain a powerful hold on followers of any group…in my humble opinion, when the influence of a group approaches a near-stranglehold effect on the soul – you’ve got the makings of tyranny. Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

Freedom of the mind requires not only, or not even specially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities..... by Allan Bloom from The Closing of the American Mind

== == == ==

Identifying the tendrils of manipulation is necessary in order to work on eliminating them; many things are involved – like reevaluating existing attitudes, biases, habits, goals, what motivates you…indeed, within these there are no visible guards or prison bars that one can plainly see, analyze and then form an escape plan…the manipulative tactics are embedded in the mind…I’ve found a tremendous help to recognizing and pinpointing these treacherous little ba$tards (manipulative ideas) is in simply thinking out loud – talking to someone about them – writing about it – working to articulate them. That’s one of the reasons I come to Grease Spot. It’s a great place to tool-up on critical thinking…reminds me of something I read:

For most people, most of their thinking is subconscious, that is, never explicitly put into words…The problem is that when you are not aware of your thinking you have no chance of correcting it. When thinking is subconscious, you are in no position to see any problems in it. And, if you don’t see any problems in it, you won’t be motivated to change it…most people are in many ways victims of their own thinking…from a book by Richard Paul and Linda Elder Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life

That’s the problem when you hold to TWI’s mindset – you’re not aware of the obstacles it presents to cognitive thinking. That is why exposing the cognitive dissonance is mission critical to surviving a cult…so get it out in the open…write it down…share with someone, the thoughts, ideas, feelings, experiences, and memories you have that seem to keep you weighted down in fear, worry, regret, frustration, etc. and please remember to use wisdom and discretion of course, with what you share online in public forums.

And I don’t mean to make this sound like a cakewalk – as if becoming aware of these devious thought patterns is enough. To draw on my previous analogies of physics – think about  how does a rocket overcome gravity   ...A rocket has to have enough power to thrust itself skyward and by achieving escape velocity it is able to push away from the Earth’s gravity...That’s not to say it takes rocket science to escape a cult…just some thinking, planning, commitment and energy on your part. Here's to a successful launch - :beer:

So, to escape from the “gravitational pull” of a cult we may have to make a concerted effort to push away. How? That depends on your situation. For me, it meant resigning from my position as an area coordinator…after which I still attended fellowships in my area…which became increasingly awkward the more I reevaluated TWI doctrine and practice…there was tension and frustration as I was wanting to alert others of things I started to realize but also along with all that I was practicing some restraint since I knew I still had so much to figure out…after several months of walking this weird “tightrope” at fellowships, I quit going but kept in touch with a few folks who felt as I did and were processing things they heard about from others as well.

And just to clarify, I’m not suggesting a person has to go cold turkey to escape the effect of TWI’s authority – rather, it’s more about what goes on when interacting in social settings…I think of that polarizing phrase from wierwille “when it comes to The Word, I have no friends” - which was like a Litmus test for who you chose as a friend...I recommend you throw out wierwille's twisted bit of advice…Hey, if you’re out but have some friends still in TWI – and things are still cool between you and them…if they’re not trying to love-bomb you back into that supermassive black hole…if it’s a live-and-let-live arrangement by all parties involved – then party on  - who knows… down the road you may inspire some of them leave.

Edited by T-Bone
formatting, clarity and adding links

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