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Hello all I'm new here. I'm not an ex Way person or a current Way person or whatever. I'm mostly ignorant of this group.  But I just recently became romantically involved with someone who is, and wants me to take the foundation course I think its called. I've trying to read up on this organization and the more I read the less I like.  I really really like this person and from listening to them it seems like it is a group that was once plagued by a lot of corruption and is now a lot better? Is that true? I know I probably sound like a complete idiot with this post but I'm trying to disguise myself as much as possible. This person's parents are I think somewhat higher up in the org. I just want to understand what the sam heck is going on with this whole thing. I find the "wayspeak" quite confusing and insular so I sort of don't even understand the beliefs. If possible I'd like to speak to someone in private. Sorry if this message is a little mysterious.  I'm a little scared of the Way and don't want to get too mixed up in something I can't get out of.  Any and all guidance would be welcome.

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Stick around here and you can learn from people that have been in The Way and their experiences.  Some good but also bad.  Your romantic interest probably feels obligated to make you into a Wayfer in order to make your relationship acceptable to her friends and family.  Otherwise, he or she will not want to commit themselves to you. Just my two cents.  We Wayfers were always to to "put God first" which really meant put The Way first.  Which means anyone or anything that interferes with total devotion to the "household" is not acceptable.  Good luck.  The best you can hope for is that he or she decides to defect. Could happen but likely not.

 

This reminds me of when I was in The Way, i was in a relationship with a non-Way person.  I wouldn't let myself commit to him because he wasn't in TWI.  He would make one-liner comments that made a lot of sense.  I regret now that I didn't leave then.

 

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Thanks for the reply. I've sort of surmised as such. I've even been looking up the names of their parents and have seen some very vague but scathing comments about them. So now the detective in me is wondering who these people really are.  I know my romantic interest is a legitimately good person who has admitted that there are things they don't like about the organization but that it brings them peace.  I've of course been trying to be a good partner by showing interest in the Way and seeing if I can give it an honest try.  I was raised Catholic but not ever really religious.  The whole "cult" thing aside, I'm very uncomfortable going to a different church than the Catholic one I was raised with even though as I said I'm not really religious.  It seems like the people here have good information and seem logical, loving, and open so thank you for letting me tag along! :)

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What Outie said.

Don't worry about going to a church other than the Catholic one.  God wants people to love him, and that's across all denominations - or none.  God didn't desire division and denominations.  God doesn't even require you to attend church, though he does say it's good to assemble together from time to time.

You may find any Way fellowship very pleasant, to begin with.  Friendly people, and seem interested in you.  But they will gently or not-so-gently pressure you into taking The Class or whatever they're calling it these days.  ("Have you taken the class yet?" and "Oh, there's an answer to that question in the class, about session **.")  The Class version they have now is not what most of the posters here will have taken - but that's not to say that the content and intent isn't the same.  It presents a selective version of Christianity, and God, and there's no opportunity to ask questions during the (usually) taped/CD classes.  If you were to start the Class then drop out, I can pretty much guarantee that your friend would take off and you would be shunned by everyone in the fellowship group.  

As your friend's parents are high-ups in TWI, then your friend was probably more or less raised in TWI and has some strange thinking patterns.  Stay open to discussion with friend, but don't get sucked in to the organization.  It could be that you are the only external person that your friend dare trust, if s/he's thinking of making a getaway.  If that happens, be very patient.  Friend will be in real culture shock.

Collectively, we may know something about the parents (though our knowledge as a group is a bit dated).

You are always welcome to come here and ask questions.  If you think you see a bit of a red flag about some practice or doctrine, don't ignore it but come and ask.  Most of us here wish we'd paid early attention to those red flags, and not shut our eyes and jumped down the rabbit hole.

 

One more thing.  Draw up a seat and have a cup of something and a bite to eat, before you start your adventures.

coffee-3163596_1280.jpg

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When I took "the class" nearly 50 years ago, it was a fairly common practice (unbeknownst to me at the time) to use "date and switch" to enroll new students in the class. After I was  enrolled and pretty much hooked on the organization, I came to find out this person was actually romantically entangled with a leadership figure, while feigning personal interest in me. There are probably quite a few posters here that can tell you similar stories. I'm not saying this is the case in your situation. Ask yourself, though, what sort of organization would be so unscrupulous that they encourage their followers to recruit by methods involving romantic deception? And when I say "romantic deception", you can be sure I'm being generously euphemistic. Feel free to PM me if there's something I can help with.

Edited by waysider
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9 hours ago, ProbablyAnAtheist said:

Hello all I'm new here. I'm not an ex Way person or a current Way person or whatever. I'm mostly ignorant of this group.  But I just recently became romantically involved with someone who is, and wants me to take the foundation course I think its called. I've trying to read up on this organization and the more I read the less I like.  I really really like this person and from listening to them it seems like it is a group that was once plagued by a lot of corruption and is now a lot better? Is that true? I know I probably sound like a complete idiot with this post but I'm trying to disguise myself as much as possible. This person's parents are I think somewhat higher up in the org. I just want to understand what the sam heck is going on with this whole thing. I find the "wayspeak" quite confusing and insular so I sort of don't even understand the beliefs. If possible I'd like to speak to someone in private. Sorry if this message is a little mysterious.  I'm a little scared of the Way and don't want to get too mixed up in something I can't get out of.  Any and all guidance would be welcome.

Hi ProbablyAnAtheist,

I doubt if anything I’d say could be relevant to you now since I got involved with TWI some 46 years ago (1974) - except for some similar aspects you described in your relationship…I was raised Roman Catholic, by late teens, no longer practicing, I met a young girl who was in TWI, we dated for a while, I got much more involved than she did, some 12 years later (1986) started to realize how corrupt it was (as you alluded to) and left, began reevaluating stuff, joined Grease Spot in 2006 – which expanded my horizons on a lot of things…yada yada yada…and now I think I’m a Christian agnostic (I know - I yada yadad over the best part – I should have mentioned the bisque :biglaugh:   ).

Since I left some 34 years ago - I cannot speak to whether or not TWI has gotten better. You might want to do some more reading on Grease Spot that might be more up to date. Look in About the Way forum – Skyrider, WordWolf, Penworks, Rocky and a few others have some very informative threads – that get into the moral corruption, convoluted theology (a weird mix of fundamentalism, spiritualism, Gnosticism, know-it-all-ism… oh and plagiarism :rolleyes:   ), and the cultic mindset of TWI. Besides looking at the titles of the threads, you can also use the search engine at the top right of the page. Sometimes - on long threads or older threads - it might be helpful to click on the last few pages of a thread to read the input of folks who left TWI more recently…If you’re feeling a little froggy you might ask the TWI person you're dating some pointed questions  – but that’s up to you.

Getting back to your situation – I should at least say a few things as I reflect on my experience and how it may relate to yours. When I first met the girl who introduced me to TWI – I was already in a “searching mode” to try and figure out the big questions of life – color me naïve/a visual artist/musician really into the counterculture of the times. Back then the Catholic Mass was mostly in Latin and I rarely cracked open the Bible anyway. So anyone promising to make the Bible easy to understand and answer the big questions of life sounded pretty good to me.

So, contrary to your situation – mine was focused on checking out this Bible-has-everything-you-need-to-know-about-life group. I was not really interested in developing a relationship with anyone at that time. Although I will add later on I went into TWI’s missionary program (W.O.W.) and where I met my future wife; we married, eventually went into TWI’s leadership training program (the way corps) – and from our mutual experiences of 12 years in TWI, we both came to the same conclusion - TWI was really fvcked up.

We’re still together after 44 years and I will say this – in my opinion relationships based on simple things like love, respect, honesty, acceptance, etc. (and some common interests wouldn’t hurt either  :rolleyes: )  will fare a lot better than a relationship based on one’s acceptance of TWI doctrine. Again I don’t know how long term relationships fare in TWI nowadays – but back when I was in, the social dynamics of the group were mostly detrimental to natural, honest relationships whether family or friends…some family members became estranged, some couples divorced, some friendships were broken, some social ties were severed – often because the common denominator was that one party made TWI the MOST IMPORTANT  thing.

I don’t know if that last point (accepting TWI doctrine as the basis for a relationship) is a deal-breaker to either you or the TWI person. If so – I don’t know what else to say – except maybe ask if either one of you is willing to compromise…and I also wonder if you anticipate any pressure or flak from the parents who are higher up in TWI – since you don't seem to be onboard with their ideology.

Good luck

Edited by T-Bone
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Oh wow guys I didn't expect such great responses! I also feel I should maybe clarify my username (ProbablyAnAtheist). I picked it just off the top of my head but now I'm realizing it could be seen as a sort of typical "angry atheist mocking Christians" sort of handle and I just want to say it is most definitely not.  I've never really truly believed in God but I sometimes wish that I did. And indeed I try to behave as if I believed God to exist. The "meaning of it all" has always been a big fascination for me and I admire the way Christians are able to just believe so passionately that this is INDEED the way to live life correctly. I mean there is an abundance of great moral philosophy to be found in the Bible. I just never really connected with the idea of vicarious redemption through vicarious suffering of Jesus on the cross. It never made me feel any better or at peace or anything. Regardless, I try to live my life as best I can which probably means as close to the Ten Commandments as I can get. Just wanted to clear that up in case anyone was feeling disrespected by my username. That was most assuredly not the intent :)

 

The situation I find myself currently involved in certainly seems sticky. This person I'm dating has been my friend for many years prior to this, after years of mutual pining after each other from afar. So I guess thank COVID for bringing us together as we quarantined. We're both in our early 30's. I believe they have taken the advanced class and gone to Camp Gunnison (I think thats what its called), and also hold their own fellowship at their apartment.  I recently met the parents and I was little taken aback by all of the "wayspeak" and just sheer intensity of their lives.  They are in their 60's and have been with the Way for decades. I asked them about some of the terrible events that some of you have been subjected to in the past by the Way and the parents basically said that yes, it was terrible, and that the Way was too tied up in only listening to one leader and that they've been cleaning it up and its way better now.  I'm a little bit more of a skeptical person so I continue to research and listen to podcasts on VP Wierwille and Martindale.  Crazy stuff! I've been streaming Sunday services and watching with my significant other. I just want to show support and let them know I'm not going to judge them. But the services haven't really been all that edifying to me. They all seem just like hour long "loyalty checks" to the ministry and very little on how to be a good human being for both yourself and the world around you.  I sit there waiting for something that makes me feel inspired but all I seem to see is "make sure you do your abundant sharing" and "you just gotta believe a whole bunch!" I'm disappointed. This is a serious relationship for me. We've even talked marriage and children.  So its definitely more than just a fling and thankfully not what Waysider was talking about (very sorry that happened to you!) This person is someone I have known for almost ten years, we've been all over the world together and I trust them.  I just think they've been indoctrinated into something that may be nefarious in some ways.  But they say that it brings them joy and peace and makes them want to be a better person.  And they do indeed seem very bold and wonderful and happy.  Meh I dunno. I hear all the horror stories of the past and wonder what the current climate is.  I'm very much interested in learning about the parents since they've been through all of the time periods people on here discuss, and yet they have decided to stay for some reason.  

 

Again thank you all so much I'm trying to read as many threads as I can. Thank you for being so thorough and welcoming once again!

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9 hours ago, ProbablyAnAtheist said:

Hello all I'm new here. I'm not an ex Way person or a current Way person or whatever. I'm mostly ignorant of this group.  But I just recently became romantically involved with someone who is, and wants me to take the foundation course I think its called. I've trying to read up on this organization and the more I read the less I like.  I really really like this person and from listening to them it seems like it is a group that was once plagued by a lot of corruption and is now a lot better? Is that true? I know I probably sound like a complete idiot with this post but I'm trying to disguise myself as much as possible. This person's parents are I think somewhat higher up in the org. I just want to understand what the sam heck is going on with this whole thing. I find the "wayspeak" quite confusing and insular so I sort of don't even understand the beliefs. If possible I'd like to speak to someone in private. Sorry if this message is a little mysterious.  I'm a little scared of the Way and don't want to get too mixed up in something I can't get out of.  Any and all guidance would be welcome.

Hello.  I'm old here.   :)        "Never-been-way" people are welcome here, both to learn and generally to socialize. 

1) The Way International (twi)  WAS once plagued by a lot of corruption.   It still IS, but it was also.  The corruption was a lot more blatant before, and a lot of it has been exposed.   A lot of it has not.  (This group still says gays are a bad thing, and the current lead, Rosalie (Rosa-Lie, Rozilla)  is one.  Rfr has been in charge and prefers to have others be the visible face while she wields the actual power in the group.      The group APPEARS considerably better.  That's largely due to changes mandated by the group's lawyers, and things changed because they were exposed here.  They're still corrupt and nobody wants to work for them and they underpay ALMOST all the employees.  On the other hand, 1 or 2 people at the top (Rfr, Donna)  have the benefit of VERY generous salaries, but slave labor as well.  (Rfr's long had twi employees assigned to work on her boat and home, cleaning, cooking, etc despite that being, AFAIK, illegal if she's caught.)

2) We understand trying to disguise yourself.  We nicknamed "the WayGB" those employees at twi who have been assigned to read over all the posts here and try to figure out who each poster is.  Some are easier to guess than others.  

3) If you wish to message me privately, you can do so. (I will attempt to answer questions honestly.) 

4) We understand being scared of this group. Just because a lot of the gun-toting nuts aren't there anymore doesn't mean the group isn't toxic and so on.

5) There's many threads you can read up on.    I have a few suggestions.

For terminology, there's "Wayspeak" and "Wayspeak and Greasespot-speak."

https://www.greasespotcafe.com/ipb/topic/4735-wayspeak-greasespot-cafe-dictionary/

 

https://www.greasespotcafe.com/ipb/topic/4734-way-speak-and-greasespot-speak/

There's a general introduction in "The Newbie's Guide to Greasespot Cafe Forums."

https://www.greasespotcafe.com/ipb/topic/24179-the-newbies-guide-to-greasespot-cafe-forums/

Of historical interest are the Greasespot Cafe Documents and Audio Archives.

https://www.greasespotcafe.com/ipb/topic/24519-greasespot-cafe-documents-and-audio-archives/

 

If you're interested in certain time-periods, there's some threads with some overviews (generally ending around 1990.)  The information after is a bit more sporadic because so many people left in 1988-1989, and more left a few years later when craig/lcm  (then-president)  was sued for rape-molestation type stuff.

There's a few threads about specific people, including Rfr.   

There's a lot of threads about the social activities and sociological discussion of same.

There's threads discussing their doctrine, and some of their easily-corrected errors were discussed- and in some cases, defended by people who left the group but still can't shake the conviction that if victor paul wierwille (plagiarizing rapist who founded twi and plagiarized its initial classes)   said it, it MUST be true no matter how obviously it can be shot down once one actually tries.

 

 

 

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Before I forget,  

you can't really understand twi without trying to understand vpw.

(there's several threads about him, this is a severe abbreviation.)

Victor Paul Wierwille was a narcissist and sociopath who concluded that ministry was a relatively soft life compared to his other options, that also got you respect.  He worked with a local Christian magazine, and probably plagiarized their contents for his Sunday sermons.  About a year into his work as a pastor, he FIRST believed the Bible was the Word of God-  according to him.    Over the next few decades, he had lukewarm success, except when he plagiarized.   Someone recommended EW Bullinger's books to him, and he bought them all and began teaching as if he independently came to the same conclusions as Bullinger.   He met JE Stiles, who led him into the modern practice called "speaking in tongues" (as practiced by twi and all its splinters/offshoots to this day.)  He bought Stiles' book and retyped it, claiming he wrote it.  He took BG Leonard's class on the Hoiy Spirit ("Gifts of the Spirit")  and then began teaching it as his own class, "Receiving the Holy Spirit Today" (later "Power For Abundant Living", divided into 3 classes and supplemented with Bullinger and Stiles to fill them out.) 

When he read that there were counter-establishment Christian hippies in California, he went there.(1969-1971.)  He meant to hijack them all into his group if he could, and to try to get some of the "free-love" that hippies were supposedly into.  (He also tried to convince J1m D00p that God Almighty was alright with ORGIES.)   He managed to convince some of them that he had a special connection to God and that's why he knew everything "he taught" (that Bullinger, Stiles and Leonard taught.)  Shortly after that, he began to tell the story that in 1943 God Almighty made a special promise to him that God would teach him if he'd teach others. (The exact claim is in other threads that have discussed it.)     He also added that God confirmed this promise with a miraculous snowstorm.

He got a legitimate Masters in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.  He then went on to get a "Doctorate" from an unaccredited degree mill. twi's growth in numbers can be traced ENTIRELY to the influx of Christian hippies who were legit Christians and recruited people to twi.   vpw gradually added all sorts of adulation for himself- insisting everyone call him "Doctor",  teaching that you stand when a teacher approaches the pulpit/podium to teach,  having them play "Hail to the Chief" when he entered the room, having twi buy a plane and calling it "Ambassador One" (a la "Air Force One"), and so on.    Many pages have been written on him.

vpw taught that positive believing (faith) brought positive results, and negative believing (doubt, worry, fear) brought negative results, regardless of the content of the belief.   He also taught that cancer, having a life of its own, was devil-spirit (demon)  based in origin.    Guess who died of cancer in 1985?  Yes, the man who put forth that he was some sort of Super-Believer, who failed to blast away the cancer cells with his Believing-Vision!  

vpw had personally selected loy craig martindale (lcm) as his successor, despite others being more qualified in one or MANY ways. The sole reason was that lcm was fanatically loyal to him and was convinced vpw's most conniving lies were really Revelation From God Almighty.   Between 1985 and 1989, a number of things happened.  vpw was increasingly ignored in his final weeks. He went to Scotland, to his other fanatically loyal drone, chris geer.  After vpw died, cg confronted twi with "The Passing of the Patriarch",  a 40-page paper that made no specifics whatsoever, but claimed that twi had problems, and they were ENTIRELY due to them ignoring vpw and in effect, killing him by making him sad.     A number of lcm's peers started either to find out about rapes in twi either by vpw, lcm, both, or their cadre and spoke out, or decided they could run a religious group as well as lcm.    For one or the other reason, there were more confrontations in twi, where a few groups split off from twi.  In 1988-1989, lcm DEMANDED an Oath of Loyalty to himself, first from all the leadership, then the membership.  Any answer other than blind obedience meant any leader was kicked out.  This resulted in about 80% of the current leaders leaving, with about 80% of the current membership leaving WITH them.  Some of them looked to geer for oversight, some didn't, but eventually, they all decided to do their own thing.  Since then, there was ANOTHER drop in members when lcm was forced to step down from twi office by lawyers and stuff (the exact specifics are in sealed court documents as to who demanded it, a judge, or the lawyers for twi insisted on it) .   Every once in a while, another handful of current leaders leaves twi and brings some of the current members with them.  

Right now, the actual numbers of twi membership is puny.  There's perhaps as many as 3000 but possibly as few as a few HUNDRED now.   Old members age out and are ignored once twi can no longer exploit them. (Thus, forming their own group as a golden parachute.)   Every once in a while, a handful of the youngsters actually think they can REFORM twi.  But twi was never good then turned bad- and it was designed to concentrate power autocratically.   They think that EVERYBODY who tried before them were somehow deficient, but THEY will succeed.    Ah, the optimism of youth....

There's relatively few people, who are soaked for a tithe.  There's the existing assets, all organized to stay close to HQ.  And there's an organization set up to charge members for everything they do- it's rather profitable in that sense, financially.    The people at the top are enjoying all the perks while they can.

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Hello 'probs an atheist' ! I'll give a slightly differn't perspective...I believe the organization is corrupt to the core and has been for a long time...it's quite perplexing because the Bible they teach, I believe, is STILL the greatest Word evvaa...the problem is they use a lot of it and twist some to manipulate people in the most offensive, horrible way...90 % of original leadership and people have left, leaving a 'skeleton crew'...The Word that is taught (which there are now other groups like CFFM.org) which are a lot more loving and godly to people with it will defs help you to believe in and for God, our loving heavenly Father !

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You know, Allan, that any "good stuff" that they taught, was because it was pinched from genuine God-loving Christians.  Besides that, VPW had "itching ears" and grabbed other bits and pieces from get-rich-quick merchants, and from "spiritualists" and mediums.  All jumbled up together to become their version of Christianity.

And whatever TWI teaches, whether originally Godly or not, is corrupted by filthy and abusive practices.  

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8 hours ago, ProbablyAnAtheist said:

I recently met the parents and I was little taken aback by all of the "wayspeak" and just sheer intensity of their lives.  They are in their 60's and have been with the Way for decades. I asked them about some of the terrible events that some of you have been subjected to in the past by the Way and the parents basically said that yes, it was terrible, and that the Way was too tied up in only listening to one leader and that they've been cleaning it up and its way better now.

Hey, an acknowledgment that all was not well.  It still is not well; "cleaning it up and it's way better now" sounds like denial of what's happened and happening.

There's a lot of crises going on at the moment.  Perhaps you and Friend can volunteer at a local Foodbank, or pandemic helpcentre, or join a neighbourhood help group to assist the housebound, those who aren't allowed out, those who don't have money, etc.  Offer to help at some local church in its outreach to these groups.  Yes - volunteer.  At something that is not a TWI-event.  What does Friend think about that? 

Ask what Friend's parents are doing to help their community - you don't say if they live in the same area and I sense they may live at HQ or close to it.  (If you live near each other, maybe you can ask them to join you at the Foodbank/debt counselling center/collection of prescriptions etc etc.  I can see that going down well, LOL.)  Ask what TWI is doing to help others.  Choose your crisis.  What - and where - are they doing things to help alleviate suffering from that crisis?  If the answer is still "We teach people The Word," well, you know that words and actions that don't match are not Godly.  It's all talk, talk, talk.  No walk, walk, walk.

I can only say that my tiny church puts its actions where its mouth is.  Food parcels for those with too little money to look after themselves and their families; cooking meals to deliver to housebound; visiting; finding clothes or blankets or furniture; caring phone calls to those who can't be visited; comforting the bereaved and "being there" for those who are developing mental health issues - and so on - for those who have little else in their lives and nowhere to turn to.  Individuals help as wider community volunteers, at refuges, foodbanks, marshalling at mass vaccination centers, all sorts.  And all where we're in lockdown and not allowed to visit unless essential and we have to keep 6 or 8 feet apart.  Nobody tries "preaching the gospel," quoting Bible verses, or urging to come to church; but actions have won people and the church is growing!  The church is busier than ever - and normal activities continue as best as possible, with Zoom church, Zoom kids' club, Zoom youth club, Zoom coffee mornings, etc etc.  

Now.  What is TWI doing?  What are Friend's parents doing?  What is HQ doing?

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9 hours ago, ProbablyAnAtheist said:

But the services haven't really been all that edifying to me. They all seem just like hour long "loyalty checks" to the ministry and very little on how to be a good human being for both yourself and the world around you.  I sit there waiting for something that makes me feel inspired but all I seem to see is "make sure you do your abundant sharing" and "you just gotta believe a whole bunch!" I'm disappointed.

No change there, then.  It doesn't get any better, either.

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Welcome to GSC, PAA. The love the Way showed to me was the linchpin that convinced me I had found nirvana. I was going through a very rough time in my life, when a complete stranger sat next to me at a cafe, and began talking to me. He was very kind and understanding to me. He invited me to a fellowship at his home, but Christmas break was just beginning at college, and I told him I would be going home for a month. He assured me he would contact me after the holidays were over, which he did. All (twig leafs, not sure that is the lingo today,) were very loving to me, and without a doubt, pulled me from the dark place I was in. Of course, that alone hooked me, and it was “full speed ahead,” from then on. I was willing to take all the classes they offered and joined all the programs they asked me to. 
However, as time goes on, you are expected to no longer think for yourself, and especially not ask for any “clarification” of anything they teach. The Way International believes they have “the word of God, like it has never been taught since the first century.” They may not state it those exact words today, but believe God gave Victor Wierwille the “right dividing of the word of God.” VPWs interpretation is the only valid understanding of God’s word. That is why they will not allow anyone to question their teachings.

They talk about how the corruption had been cleaned up, but let me assure you, if anyone questioned the corruption as it was going on,  they were “marked and avoided”, which means they were shunned. There is absolutely no room in the way to question a belief, or question the actions of any leader. If you do, you will be kicked out, as dissention is unacceptable  at any and all levels of Way leadership.

It does seem out of place that your love interest is discussing marriage and children with you, at this stage of your indoctrination into the Way. It maybe they have stooped to that level deception.  Or, unless, as someone else suggested, she is planning an escape herself. If that is the case, you will be very important to her mentally and emotionally, as the guilt she will bear, will be overwhelming. 

Welcome to the GSC, and know you have everyones understanding.

 

 

Edited by Stayed Too Long
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