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Raf

The Manipulation of Language

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We've discussed this before, but I thought I'd resurrect the topic.

A friend is working on a podcast that will touch on how cults manipulate language and why.

My feeling is that giving people a peculiar vocabulary and jargon helps builds group cohesion at the expense of outsiders who use the same words but don't mean the same thing.

Examples, "I'm believing for" instead of "I'm praying or hoping for."

"Religious" as an insult.

 

I'd like to give her more examples unique to TWI.

 

Suggestions?

 

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"devil spirits" instead of "demons"

also "manifestations" instead of "gifts".

Edited by Infoabsorption
forgot

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How about “maidens” for underage sex slaves like Frontczak and Barnard pulled off at their TWIt offshoot in Finlayson, MN. Does that count???

Edited by DontWorryBeHappy

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Advance = retreat

Opportunity = problem

Being negative = identifying a problem

Think positive = ignore an obvious problem

Stand on the word = practice cognitive dissonance

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"Bless" in conjunction with practically any other words - "Would you be blessed to...?" "I was blessed when …" "God blessed me with …" (usually something material, especially money) and of course "Bless Patrol."

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"Move the Word" - still don't know what the h3ll that means except I always felt guilty for not doing it enough.

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7 minutes ago, outandabout said:

"Move the Word" - still don't know what the h3ll that means except I always felt guilty for not doing it enough.

When I was in twi, that meant, "sell the PFLAP class."

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Yeah, "move the word" is code for enlisting new recruits and enrolling new class students, preferably ones without a lot of troublesome personal baggage and lots of disposable cash.

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13 hours ago, Raf said:

We've discussed this before, but I thought I'd resurrect the topic.

A friend is working on a podcast that will touch on how cults manipulate language and why.

My feeling is that giving people a peculiar vocabulary and jargon helps builds group cohesion at the expense of outsiders who use the same words but don't mean the same thing.

Examples, "I'm believing for" instead of "I'm praying or hoping for."

"Religious" as an insult.

 

I'd like to give her more examples unique to TWI.

 

Suggestions?

 

Manipulation of language is not exclusive to cults.  Many people don't realize that's what they're doing when they do it.  It's a Sociology/ Social Psychology thing. 

There are two kinds of people:  US and THEM.     And that's the line of demarcation.   Groups that build loyalty and social cohesion tend to build on things that highlight and manufacture the differences between US and THEM.  So, one of the very first things is the language/jargon.  You can tell who is/was part of a group you're in based on the jargon they use or don't use (unless they're making an effort to avoid using jargon they know, which would be a conscious decision.)   So, there's NEW words, and there's words and phrases that are used in new and different ways,  and there's words which are used a lot and words which are avoided or deprecated.  

 

Ok, we're discussing examples from twi.

In twi, "Christian" actually became a derisive term, a deprecated term.  It was a term used by the unenlightened to refer to Christians, because it ignorantly referred to "Christ-in" without knowing it did so.  (In reality, it did NO SUCH THING.  For group cohesion, however, truth is irrelevant, and group dynamics are what count.)

When rfr gave court testimony, the question came up as to what people were supposed to do if their orders from HQ contradicted legality.  She gave an evasive answer that said a lot to those who knew twi.  (If the thing had gone to a full trial, it would have been fun for the lawyers to question her directly on it-I think they were saving the fun for the trial.)  She said she "expect them to do the Word."  An evasion. However, according to twi,  the most important tenet is to FOLLOW LEADERSHIP, EVEN OFF OF A CLIFF,  and if leadership is wrong, then follow them anyway and "GOD WILL COVER."     So, "do the Word" means "obey leadership blndly even unto painful death."

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13 hours ago, Infoabsorption said:

"devil spirits" instead of "demons"

also "manifestations" instead of "gifts".

Right.  Both of those are specifically expressions used by twi/ex-twi and by nobody else.

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10 hours ago, waysider said:

Advance = retreat

Opportunity = problem

Being negative = identifying a problem

Think positive = ignore an obvious problem

Stand on the word = practice cognitive dissonance

I actually like the connotations of "advance" over "retreat" and prefer it semantically.  However, that doesn't change the fact that almost nobody else uses "advance" that way.  (NYCoC did when I was in college, but that's the only other example I've seen.)     "Opportunity" for "problem" is another good one.  It helps to focus in a more positive light when taking action- thinking you can make a difference tends to make you more successful when you try then thinking you're hopeless when trying.  However, twi made it into catch-phrases and excuses. 

"Being negative" and "thinking positive",  as used in twi, were possibly good ideas if used carefully, but harmful as twi pushes them.  It's of a piece with the Word-Faith movement in general, but twi specifically uses these phrases as waysider said-  ignoring a problem,  avoiding looking at problems, and avoiding PLANNING for problems because you had to "think negatively" to prepare for unforeseen problems.  This was one reason twi'ers never saved money- and they were told to send it to twi instead.

 

"Abundant sharing." twi was never satisfied with a 10% tithe.  vpw tried it early on,  and when he had the chance, pushed for more. People were expected to give 15% or even 20% AS A MINIMUM.  ("Israel gave 10%, God expects more from us.") 

"Plurality Giving,"  Cover all your expenses from your pay period, then take all the money that's left and give that to twi.    That was a phrase, that was a thing. It was even promoted with an "Acts 29" song about it.   vpw really wanted THAT if he could get it.  10% tithe? Pshaw!  If he could get 50-60%, he'd snatch that from anyone's hands he could.

 

"Stand on the Word" often was used FOR cognitive dissonance, but didn't mean that directly.  It was allegedly about following principles in the Bible, but in practice it was about following whatever rules twi set up, and obeying those without question.

 

For that matter, "the Word", rather than "God's Word" or "The Word of God" seems to be another little distinction between US and THEM.

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5 hours ago, waysider said:

Yeah, "move the word" is code for enlisting new recruits and enrolling new class students, preferably ones without a lot of troublesome personal baggage and lots of disposable cash.

Right,

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"you can't change the past" - history belongs to Victor

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Renew your mind = Obey

Obedience = Love

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"it's not who's right it's what's right" = renew your mind

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Holidays-

Christmas became Household Holiday (HoHo)

Valentines became Happy Hearts Day

Easter became Resurrection Sunday

 

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I forgot...  Bless and Treat

How about the "correct" version of create?

Or how we never used the word "Jew" and substituted it with Judean?

Hope was only for the resurrection.  You never "hoped" for anything.  You had to "believe."

Lockbox.

Who could forget that one?

 

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"No condemnation, no condemnation" - Oops, Freudian Slip

"Bless You" - F u 2

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Research really means re-search.

There's a long-winded explanation for that.  Like "God Bless you Abundantly above etc etc etc.".  Just say a lot for friggin ever and put the listeners to sleep.

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Ooh, re-search. Good one!

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Retemories - a branded term for the small flash cards with scripture verses on them. "Believers" don't memorize, they "retermorize". 

Cop Out - a version of the older term that meant to "cop to a plea" or 'fess up. Adopted by Wayfers to mean someone who left the Way, dropped membership, was no longer "standing" or "believing" the "accuracy of the Word". Eventually everyone but a small remnant will, in order to pattern closely what happened to Paul by the end of his life. 

The Best - when good just isn't good enough, everything has to be "the best". A bar frequently not reached, usually because of something you did. 

Blessed - another word for doing fine, feeling good, things are going your way, but with the added weight of God's eternal approval and judgment. All leadership is blessed and if they're not, it's your fault. 

Joyful - spiritually happy. Makes regular "5 sense" happy seem like a dirty word, no one's really blessed being happy, they have to have JOY and be full of it. 

5 Senses - very limiting way of learning and knowing something, unreliable and bad. Never rely on your senses unless it's a leaders senses in which case they're not really just 5 senses, they're the very fabric of God's Presence. 

All 9 All The Time - another way of saying you're "believing" and "walking" with all the manifestations in operation, means you're in fellowship and pretty much golden. A goal, unless you're a leader in which case you're next fart is really a Word of Knowledge. 

 

There's so many more of course. And there's a common theme to many of them. I agree that it's not unique to "religious" cults, and is more a part of humanity's need to recognize who's a friendly and inside the inner circle of trust, like family and your closes associates. Like jokes only you 'n' me understand (wink wink) and the noobs don't get yet, kind of thing. Definitely can be used as a tool of manipulation too. 

 

 

Edited by socks
Sub-question: is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins, is it better to burn out or fade away?
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On 6/5/2019 at 8:57 AM, Raf said:

A friend is working on a podcast that will touch on how cults manipulate language and why.

My feeling is that giving people a peculiar vocabulary and jargon helps builds group cohesion at the expense of outsiders who use the same words but don't mean the same thing.

Examples, "I'm believing for" instead of "I'm praying or hoping for."

"Religious" as an insult.

 

I'd like to give her more examples unique to TWI.

It's all about TWIs tribal idiosyncrasies. We've also discussed the notion of "belonging" in relation to twi. That's inherently tied into tribalism.

The word "tribe" can be defined to mean an extended kin group or clan with a common ancestor, or can also be described as a group with shared interests, lifestyles and habits. The proverb "birds of a feather flock together" describes homophily,[3] the human tendency to form friendship networks with people of similar occupations, interests, and habits.[4] Some tribes can be located in geographically proximate areas, like villages or bands, though telecommunications enables groups of people to form digital tribes using tools like social networking websites.

In terms of conformity,[5] tribalism has been defined as a "subjectivity" or "way of being" social frame in which communities are bound socially beyond immediate birth ties by the dominance of various modalities of face-to-face and object integration.[6] Ontologically, tribalism is oriented around the valences of analogy, genealogy and mythology. That means that customary tribes have their social foundations in some variation of these tribal orientations, while often taking on traditional practices (e.g. Abrahamic religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), and modern practices, including monetary exchange, mobile communications, and modern education.

Tribalism implies the possession of a strong cultural or ethnic identity that separates one member of a group from the members of another group. Based on strong relations of proximity and kinship, members of a tribe tend to possess a strong feeling of identity. Objectively, for a customary tribal society to form there needs to be ongoing customary organization, enquiry and exchange. However, intense feelings of common identity can lead people to feel tribally connected.[10]

The distinction between these two definitions for tribalism, objective and subjective, is an important one because while tribal societies have been pushed to the edges of the Western world, tribalism, by the second definition, is arguably undiminished. A few writers have postulated that the human brain is hard-wired towards tribalism by its evolutionary advantages, but that claim is usually linked to equating original questions of sociality with tribalism.[11]

Tribalism has a very adaptive effect in human evolution.

 

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Raf, when you asked for examples unique to TWI, I thought of the section at the end of Karl Kahler's book, The Cult That Snapped. It begins on page 275. Wayspeak: A Glossary. He has 6 pages full of terms you could check. If you don't have a copy of the book, let me know.

An example would be "undershepherding" meaning "following up on witnessing by pastoring a new person." Also "cop-outs" - former members of The Way.

Also, here are a few things, some are phrases I think are unique to TWI usage, maybe not … but when I use them when speaking to outsiders about The Way, I find myself having to  translate what they mean.

1. advances meant retreats. VPW said we don't retreat from anything, we advance in God's Word. Churches use the word retreat for weekend immersions of fellowship and teachings, but TWI had to be different than churches, even in naming this sort of event.

2. lift - meant offer something or someone in prayer. I remember the first time I heard this it sounded so strange. Lift?

3. witnessing - meant evangelizing, not seeing something happen.

4. off the Word - meant not obeying Way teachings.

5. Karl had this one in his Glossary, too. Wierwille was "our father in the Word" - at least in the Corps, we called him that because we likened him to the apostle Paul. 1 Corinthians 4:15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

 

Edited by penworks

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On 6/6/2019 at 6:37 PM, JavaJane said:

Holidays-

Christmas became Household Holiday (HoHo)

Valentines became Happy Hearts Day

Easter became Resurrection Sunday

 

Halloween- Bless and Treat

All the holidays were wrong because they had pagan origins, so other Christians were wrong to celebrate them.  So, we just renamed them and got to celebrate them just the same?????    Yeah, stupid.   Shows the degree that integrity DIDN'T have.    Jehovah's Witnesses think that and FORBID a holiday. That at least has integrity and conviction.

 

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