Jump to content
GreaseSpot Cafe

Why I Wrote My Story -- "Insanity on Steroids"


skyrider
 Share

Recommended Posts

Why I Wrote My Story -- Insanity on Steroids

 

Five years ago, I put in writing here at GSC my experiences from those last ten years with The Way International.  The reasons why I wrote my story were.....1) to send a warning to all those involved in twi and others considering taking classes from this cult, 2) an attempt to differentiate between Scripture-based Christians and twi's lockstep loyalty of servitude, and 3) to expose twi's incremental steps to overthrow one's will and consent.  There are no fences with concertina wire to hold them prisoners, but there are very-real doctrines of fear and deception interlocking to prevent escape.

Insanity on Steroids

The strongholds of twi's prison are constantly praised and enforced by 1) Twi's MOG-doctrine and 2) the pfal class.  In twi-mythology, wierwille was "the man of God" (to the whole world) who was called to teach the word like it hadn't been known since the first century.  Secondly, the pfal class contained the essence of "the Word" that students were to stand on and never allow anyone to talk them out of it.  Both elements, like rebar and concrete......keep twi's foundation "solid."

No twi-imprisonment would be possible without the way corps.......like guards and walls, to keep the inmates from escaping into nearby communities, jobs/careers and family.  Wierwille devised the corps program knowing that his (stolen) pfal class was not enough to keep people involved.....enforcers would be needed to keep them marching forward.

Why was Martindale chosen as the second President of The Way International?  What did wierwille say was the reason for choosing him?

I have often cited that wiewille's corps leaders were abandoning him as early as 1978.  Thus, he began to write "personal" corps letters in an attempt to strengthen that corps household bond.  It didn't work.  More and more corps were waking up to the fact that this "lifetime of Christian service" was in reality a life of twi-servitude.  And, underneath the surface.....many corps were making plans of their own.  When wierwille died in 1985, the full measure of that seething pot came to a boil.  Let the splintering begin.

Martindale was chosen to lead twi, according to wierwille.....because he ALWAYS OBEYED.  Full stop.  Period.  Wierwille gave no other explanation......and THAT should have sent chills down our spines in 1981.  According to vpw, martindale wouldn't ask how high he was to jump, he just jumped.  Always.  That was the criteria for being chosen as the cult's ..... twi's next president. 

·       Geer took measures to undermine and sabotage twi's trustees.

·       Martindale seemed to actually believe he was the new "man of God."

·       Don and Howard wanted to keep the trains (and money) rolling in.

·       Rosalie (and Donna) were cunningly planning a coup.

·       John Lynn and others saw opportunities to start splinter groups.

With Geer's paper, The Passing of a Patriarch, it is quite easy to see the bold strokes of a power-grab.  Wierwille's death caused a flurry of activity and now, Martindale's peers were not going to accept his leadership as Chief Bottle Washer.  Tumultuous times ensued and an euphemism "the fog years" was inserted to describe those ugly, back-stabbing years.

No matter which leader or ex-leader you chose to associate with......they ALL had the baggage of cult-doctrine.  Corps leaders, all of them, had gone thru an indoctrination program.  Perhaps, the best choice would have been to keep one's distance for at least 10 years and see where the chips fall.  I did not make that smart choice.  I chose to stay involved with twi......and hence, those 10 years seeing Insanity on Steroids.

Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20.

With hindsight 20/20.....all of us here at GSC know now each choice involving Corps Leadership or Ex-Corps Leadership was fraught with error.  Some of us chose to stand with martindale.  Some chose geer.  Some chose lynn.  Some went back to a local church.  Some chose to be left alone (smart choice).

Thankfully, I only stayed until 1998.  Other corps, and many corps coordinators (Moynihans, Forts, Horneys, Magnellis)......stayed until 2016/2017.  Another 18 years being micro-managed by Rosalie Fox Rivenbark!!!  And, one of the things that I find so amazing is that NOT ONE OF THESE CORPS LEADERS (cough, cough) have come clean.  They STILL actively follow the path of wierwille-doctrine giving (subtle) allegiance to wierwille and his plagiarized teachings.

With that in mind.....it makes it all the more important that our stories are out there!!!  Splinter leaders are no different that their mother-cult.  Same indoctrination path to idolatry.

·       How many have heard our warnings and changed course?

·       Lives, marriages, families, and careers have gained stronger footing.

·       Body blows have been given to twi and splinter groups.

·       Possibly, hundreds of thousands abs (millions?) have alluded twi's grasp.

·       Even 100s of indoctrinated corps have bailed in the past 15 years.

·       GreaseSpot Cafe continues to ROCK.....woohoo!!!

Five years later, all the aspects of my life are better.  Actually, pretty damn good (knock on wood).  My critical thinking skills have skyrocketed and I spot manipulation and bullschit a mile away.  I can't imagine what my life would be like had I not taken that challenging LEAP TO FREEDOM.  Nor, can I imagine the hurt, guilt, and limitations that it would have imposed on our kids.  Thank God for the scales falling from my eyes.  Cults herd people into a chasm of dependency......mentally, physically, socially, and financially.  They prey on your weakness and close the gates to your escape.  Sure, you're around other "like-minded" sheep/cattle.....but are you being prepared for the slaughterhouses?

Cults thrive on dependency and silence.  Subjugating and institutionalizing people are their hallmarks of oppression.  Those corps leaders who remain silent are complicit in the evil.

So, keep telling your stories. 

 

.

Edited by skyrider
  • Like 2
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, skyrider said:

Why I Wrote My Story -- Insanity on Steroids

 

Five years ago, I put in writing here at GSC my experiences from those last ten years with The Way International.  The reasons why I wrote my story were.....1) to send a warning to all those involved in twi and others considering taking classes from this cult, 2) an attempt to differentiate between Scripture-based Christians and twi's lockstep loyalty of servitude, and 3) to expose twi's incremental steps to overthrow one's will and consent.  There are no fences with concertina wire to hold them prisoners, but there are very-real doctrines of fear and deception interlocking to prevent escape.

Insanity on Steroids

The strongholds of twi's prison are constantly praised and enforced by 1) Twi's MOG-doctrine and 2) the pfal class.  In twi-mythology, wierwille was "the man of God" (to the whole world) who was called to teach the word like it hadn't been known since the first century.  Secondly, the pfal class contained the essence of "the Word" that students were to stand on and never allow anyone to talk them out of it.  Both elements, like rebar and concrete......keep twi's foundation "solid."

No twi-imprisonment would be possible without the way corps.......like guards and walls, to keep the inmates from escaping into nearby communities, jobs/careers and family.  Wierwille devised the corps program knowing that his (stolen) pfal class was not enough to keep people involved.....enforcers would be needed to keep them marching forward.

Why was Martindale chosen as the second President of The Way International?  What did wierwille say was the reason for choosing him?

I have often cited that wiewille's corps leaders were abandoning him as early as 1978.  Thus, he began to write "personal" corps letters in an attempt to strengthen that corps household bond.  It didn't work.  More and more corps were waking up to the fact that this "lifetime of Christian service" was in reality a life of twi-servitude.  And, underneath the surface.....many corps were making plans of their own.  When wierwille died in 1985, the full measure of that seething pot came to a boil.  Let the splintering begin.

Martindale was chosen to lead twi, according to wierwille.....because he ALWAYS OBEYED.  Full stop.  Period.  Wierwille gave no other explanation......and THAT should have sent chills down our spines in 1981.  According to vpw, martindale wouldn't ask how high he was to jump, he just jumped.  Always.  That was the criteria for being chosen as the cult's ..... twi's next president. 

·       Geer took measures to undermine and sabotage twi's trustees.

·       Martindale seemed to actually believe he was the new "man of God."

·       Don and Howard wanted to keep the trains (and money) rolling in.

·       Rosalie (and Donna) were cunningly planning a coup.

·       John Lynn and others saw opportunities to start splinter groups.

With Geer's paper, The Passing of a Patriarch, it is quite easy to see the bold strokes of a power-grab.  Wierwille's death caused a flurry of activity and now, Martindale's peers were not going to accept his leadership as Chief Bottle Washer.  Tumultuous times ensued and an euphemism "the fog years" was inserted to describe those ugly, back-stabbing years.

No matter which leader or ex-leader you chose to associate with......they ALL had the baggage of cult-doctrine.  Corps leaders, all of them, had gone thru an indoctrination program.  Perhaps, the best choice would have been to keep one's distance for at least 10 years and see where the chips fall.  I did not make that smart choice.  I chose to stay involved with twi......and hence, those 10 years seeing Insanity on Steroids.

Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20.

With hindsight 20/20.....all of us here at GSC know now each choice involving Corps Leadership or Ex-Corps Leadership was fraught with error.  Some of us chose to stand with martindale.  Some chose geer.  Some chose lynn.  Some went back to a local church.  Some chose to be left alone (smart choice).

Thankfully, I only stayed until 1998.  Other corps, and many corps coordinators (Moynihans, Forts, Horneys, Magnellis)......stayed until 2016/2017.  Another 18 years being micro-managed by Rosalie Fox Rivenbark!!!  And, one of the things that I find so amazing is that NOT ONE OF THESE CORPS LEADERS (cough, cough) have come clean.  They STILL actively follow the path of wierwille-doctrine giving (subtle) allegiance to wierwille and his plagiarized teachings.

With that in mind.....it makes it all the more important that our stories are out there!!!  Splinter leaders are no different that their mother-cult.  Same indoctrination path to idolatry.

·       How many have heard our warnings and changed course?

·       Lives, marriages, families, and careers have gained stronger footing.

·       Body blows have been given to twi and splinter groups.

·       Possibly, hundreds of thousands abs (millions?) have alluded twi's grasp.

·       Even 100s of indoctrinated corps have bailed in the past 15 years.

·       GreaseSpot Cafe continues to ROCK.....woohoo!!!

Five years later, all the aspects of my life are better.  Actually, pretty damn good (knock on wood).  My critical thinking skills have skyrocketed and I spot manipulation and bullschit a mile away.  I can't imagine what my life would be like had I not taken that challenging LEAP TO FREEDOM.  Nor, can I imagine the hurt, guilt, and limitations that it would have imposed on our kids.  Thank God for the scales falling from my eyes.  Cults herd people into a chasm of dependency......mentally, physically, socially, and financially.  They prey on your weakness and close the gates to your escape.  Sure, you're around other "like-minded" sheep/cattle.....but are you being prepared for the slaughterhouses?

Cults thrive on dependency and silence.  Subjugating and institutionalizing people are their hallmarks of oppression.  Those corps leaders who remain silent are complicit in the evil.

So, keep telling your stories. 

:eusa_clap:

As always a very incisive, concise and to the point post, Skyrider ! I wish you would put that entire post in your About Me profile. Anytime you and folks like WordWolf provide a clear and comprehensive narrative of TWI stuff I copy and paste it in a Word doc – I’m kinda proud of my collection -  I have detailed files !    :biglaugh:    but seriously – it would be helpful to some Grease Spot newcomers who may be overwhelmed with the superabundance of information scattered on various threads…folks could go directly to your profile and get a good summary right off the bat.

 

…anyway…some things your post got me thinking about:

 

Skyrider:The strongholds of twi's prison are constantly praised and enforced by 1) Twi's MOG-doctrine and 2) the pfal class.  In twi-mythology, wierwille was "the man of God" (to the whole world) who was called to teach the word like it hadn't been known since the first century.  Secondly, the pfal class contained the essence of "the Word" that students were to stand on and never allow anyone to talk them out of it.  Both elements, like rebar and concrete......keep twi's foundation "solid."

No twi-imprisonment would be possible without the way corps.......like guards and walls, to keep the inmates from escaping into nearby communities, jobs/careers and family.  Wierwille devised the corps program knowing that his (stolen) pfal class was not enough to keep people involved.....enforcers would be needed to keep them marching forward.”   The more I come to Grease Spot, the more I realize the essence of a harmful and controlling cult-leader like wierwille was not so much in what he taught as in what he DID….and it makes “good criminal sense” that wierwille couldn’t have done it alone with just the PFAL class – he needed clueless facilitators (the way corps) to make the job of being a harmful and controlling cult-leader a whole lot easier.

Joe Navarro, a former FBI Counterintelligence Agent and the author of “What Every Body is Saying” wrote an August 2012 Psychology Today article titled “Dangerous Cult Leaders: Clues to what makes for a pathological cult leader”. He said the two questions he gets asked most frequently by students of criminology and psychology are: How do you know when a cult leader is bad, evil or toxic?  and   when is a cult leader pathological or a danger to others?    Navarro said those are valid questions in view of the historical record of suffering and hurt caused by various cult leaders around the world – Navarro said:

“They all have or had an over-abundant belief that they were special, that they and they alone had the answers to problems, and that they had to be revered. They demanded perfect loyalty from followers, they overvalued themselves and devalued those around them, they were intolerant of criticism, and above all they did not like being questioned or challenged. And yet, in spite of these less than charming traits, they had no trouble attracting those who were willing to overlook these features…

…These personality traits stand out as the first warning to those who would associate with them, but there are many others. Here is a collection of traits of cult leaders that give us hints as to their psychopathology. This list is not all-inclusive nor is it the final word on the subject; it is merely my personal collection based on studies and interviews that I conducted in my previous career…

If you know of a cult leader who has many of these traits there is a high probability that they are hurting those around them emotionally, psychologically, physically, spiritually, or financially. And of course this does not take into account the hurt that their loved ones will also experience…

…Here are the typical traits of the pathological cult leader (from Dangerous Personalities) that you should watch for:


1.    He has a grandiose idea of who he is and what he can achieve.


2.    Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance.


3.    Demands blind, unquestioned obedience.


4.    Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.


5.    Has a sense of entitlement—expecting to be treated as special at all times.


6.    Is exploitative of others by asking for their money or that of relatives, putting others at financial risk.


7.    Is arrogant and haughty in his behavior or attitude.

 

I have quoted only the first seven traits – Navarro’s article lists fifty traits (that’s 50 – a big five O) you can read the entire article here  -   Psychology Today article about dangerous cult-leaders   . When I read the article and looked over the list of 50 typical traits of a pathological cult leader – it’s sad and unsettling to realize that most of them are a spot-on reflection of wierwille

I believe the real shocking and treacherous aspect of pseudo-Christian groups like The Way International is how their trap is already primed for unsuspecting victims who are much more likely to be attracted to traditional  belief systems like Christianity – something many people are familiar with – compared to something like Scientology. That’s why I said earlier to understand the power of harmful and controlling pseudo-Christian cults we should look more at their methods than their seemingly innocuous statements of belief. The trick is to see how these harmful and controlling cult-leaders put their “theories” into practice – by twisting Scripture…misinterpreting Scripture…misapplying Scripture to facilitate…to justify…to excuse their bad behavior and exploit others…

...on another thread someone said he had no desire to go into the way corps program because of the attitudes fostered in it. And this person who still thinks very highly of wierwille said creating the way corps program was a mistake on wierwille’s part. I agree. But that wasn't the only mistake he made. Lots of other mistakes are to his "credit" - like PFAL, Christian Family and Sex, The Advanced Class, the WOW program, The Way College program - University of Life, starting his own ministry  The Way International, plagiarizing like it was going out of style, sexually molesting women, creating the concept of lockbox to keep the mouths of victims shut, demonizing any who opposed him or tried to expose his immoral behavior...etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...of course – it depends on your viewpoint - To quote wierwille from the small book “Lifelines” containing many of his revealing statements: “nothing happens without leadership”. True that ! If you’re into developing a harmful and controlling cult – creating the way corps program was sheer genius!

 

I don’t recall many places in the Gospels where Jesus corrected the teachings of the religious leaders – it seemed like he did more to call into question their bad behavior. But the account in   Matthew 23 NIV  is fascinating to think about:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

Jesus did not challenge their observance of the fine points of the law – but he did oppose their negligence of the weightier matters – the moral principles underlying all the laws.

It makes me think of wierwille in PFAL, being such a stickler for “the accuracy and integrity of The Word…that it means what it says and says what it means…” but that was merely the labeling on the package of very processed food…students of PFAL who eventually went on to go in the way corps program were privy to the double standard that wierwille established – and perhaps many way corps like myself probably didn’t even see it as a double standard – how wierwille appeared to be so prim and proper, folks assuming he had very traditional, morally conservative beliefs and behavior that was portrayed in PFAL and in open meetings to the general public – like the Rock of Ages. And yet faster than Clark Kent changing into Superman, was wierwille in closed gatherings with just the way corps; wierwille played it fast and loose doing whatever he wanted in a careless, irresponsible thoughtless, deceitful, and immoral manner. Look up on the stage! It's a turd! It's insane! It’s a drunkard slouched in an easy chair sipping on Drambuie and chain-smoking Kool menthols! It’s a dirty old man showing porn videos and telling dirty jokes! “No – renew your minds, kids – it’s just our father in The Word being himself”.

 I think one of the best ways to teach others is to show them how something is done. Some may think fondly of wierwille as “the teacher” from PFAL. But that was just acting in front of the camera. Wierwille’s forte was teaching the way corps how to be hypocrites. I believe he was the expert.

He didn’t just rely on pontificating about anything , spewing out pious platitudes, and boring teachings about “the greatness of God’s Word” – no sirree Bob! He showed us (adults  and  teens !)– by example – that it was possible to remain as cool as a cucumber while you’re up in front of a bunch of Family Way Corps trainees  showing them a disgusting perverted porn video. Most of us were shocked, unnerved and flustered by wierwille’s flagrant disregard for anyone’s feelings, social mores or the inappropriateness of what he did. And to add insult to injury, after the video was over – wierwille sat there all smug in a comfortable chair drinking his Drambuie, looks over the stunned audience and casually says, “I’ve so renewed my mind that stuff like this doesn’t bother me.” ...wierwille used “renew your mind” like a trump card to cause feelings of guilt in those who were offended by his behavior – like we are the ones with a problem and are being unchristian-like…that was freakin’ amazing ladies and gentlemen! It was like a tenth manifestation or something. Here was “the teacher” of PFAL who was all “rah rah it’s the Word, the Word and nothing but the Word…it means what it says and says what it means” in the PFAL class, now being all “I can do any fvcking thing I want and tough $hit if you don’t like it.” I don’t think I’ve ever had a better teacher on how to be a hypocrite than wierwille, all praise be to $hitty idols and whatnot. :evilshades:

Like I said before – with harmful and controlling cult-leaders, it’s more about their methods than their publicly stated mission.

 

In   Matthew 23 ESV   Jesus confronted the duplicity of the religious leaders.

1.Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2. “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, 3. so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6. and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7. and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others…15. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

Most of Matthew 23 resonates with me on so many different levels. Corresponding to verse 2 of the religious leaders sitting on Moses’ seat was wierwille, among the way corps he was considered the highest – and really the ONLY authority to instruct believers in The Word…and yet wierwille did not practice what he preached. Anything he did do in public that appeared to be Christian-like was a show to be seen by others… they love the place of honor… and being called rabbi by others…wierwille always demanded to be called “Doctor” – though it was just a title he got from a degree-granting mill – what’s that? any institution that offers qualifications which are not accredited nor based on proper academic assessment see this link  Pikes Peak Bible Seminary   . (also see above traits of a pathological cult-leader). So besides being a patchwork plagiarist, he was a preeminent poser… For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves…and like the scribes and Pharisees, wierwille’s activity was squarely aimed at converting others to his twisted ideology – behold the way corps program – the wierwille-clone factory.

Edited by T-Bone
revision from an insane editor on steroids...I mean stereo...he was sitting on top of the RCA Stereo Console and typing like there was no next administration
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, skyrider said:

Five years later, all the aspects of my life are better.  Actually, pretty damn good (knock on wood).  My critical thinking skills have skyrocketed and I spot manipulation and bullschit a mile away.  I can't imagine what my life would be like had I not taken that challenging LEAP TO FREEDOM.  Nor, can I imagine the hurt, guilt, and limitations that it would have imposed on our kids.  Thank God for the scales falling from my eyes.  Cults herd people into a chasm of dependency......mentally, physically, socially, and financially.  They prey on your weakness and close the gates to your escape.  Sure, you're around other "like-minded" sheep/cattle.....but are you being prepared for the slaughterhouses?

Cults thrive on dependency and silence.  Subjugating and institutionalizing people are their hallmarks of oppression.  Those corps leaders who remain silent are complicit in the evil.

So, keep telling your stories. 

This reminds me of Amber Scorah Scorah's story about escaping JWs.
 

Obviously, TWI isn't so unique, but cults (including twi) aren't benign. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, T-Bone said:

:eusa_clap:

As always a very incisive, concise and to the point post, Skyrider ! I wish you would put that entire post in your About Me profile. Anytime you and folks like WordWolf provide a clear and comprehensive narrative of TWI stuff I copy and paste it in a Word doc – I’m kinda proud of my collection -  I have detailed files !    :biglaugh:    but seriously – it would be helpful to some Grease Spot newcomers who may be overwhelmed with the superabundance of information scattered on various threads…folks could go directly to your profile and get a good summary right off the bat.

 

 

Thanks T-Bone.......I took your suggestion and put info on About Me profile.

You, Rocky, WordWolf, Waysider, Chockfull, OldSkool and others......sure give me lots of good information to read.  Thanks.  :wave:

 

 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Skyrider, 

Thank you for sharing your story in such detail. I admire that. The more background and insight about TWI that's presented here from eye-witnesses and thoughtful former members, the better.

Over the last five years since I published my memoir, Undertow (about my 17 years in TWI) not a few former members have contacted me to share their stories. They themselves can't speak out for various reasons, but they validated many things I wrote about in my book. It's up to those of us who can speak and write to sound the alarm.

Let's hope more brave former followers get up the gumption to share their TWI experiences, info about Wierwille's abuses, plagiarism, manipulation, and the resulting harm to so many which continues to this day,  some of it through offshoots from the original Ohio-based organization.

Wishing you and everyone here at GSC a happy and safe holiday season.

Cheers,

Charlene L. Edge

https://charleneedge.com

 

 

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My official involvement in TWI was brief. My emotional involvement is another story.

I was introduced to The Way in late December 1986. It took a lot of persuading, but I finally sat through the class nearly two years later. By then I had sat through dozens of hours of teaching tapes and Way music was part of my regular diet. I even taught a couple of times: Before I took the class!

I was not abused in or by The Way. No one hurt me. No one stole my girlfriend or wife. I parted with my money voluntarily.

i left because I was loyal to those who were fired en masse in the spring of 1989. Leaving The Way did not affect my worship life one whit. I was of the belief that we who were cast aside were the ones who were truly most loyal to the Word as taught to us by Dr. Wierwille.

In the decade that followed, I got married and became a fellowship coordinator at our offshoot in the Bronx. I got divorced and had a crisis of conscience. I tried hard to stay true to Biblical principles no matter who taught them, and to reject non-Biblical principles (again, no matter who taught them). I ceased being loyal to any particular group, defending and challenging various offshoots at various times. I also began attending mainstream churches after I moved to Florida.  

After my divorce, I discovered this online community of former Way believers. In my naiveté, I guess I must have come off as quite arrogant and inflexible. Honestly, I was not emotionally prepared for the realization that people had such a wide variety of experiences. I think I grew with this site, both in my understanding and in my flexibility, at least when it comes to doctrine.

Today I am not a Way believer. I am not a believer in any supernatural religion. I am a humanist: I believe it is incumbent on man to identify and seek to solve the problems we create, so that our progeny can live in a future worth living for. I can work with anyone who has the same belief, whether that belief is driven by an underlying belief similar to mine or by the belief that a Higher Power demands it of us. So be it.

I am writing this (and opening this thread) because I wanted to articulate a simple truth: The "members" of this web community are not an ideological monolith. The only thing we have in common appears to be that we sat through some version of a class that The Way called "foundational." Some of us experienced more. Some of us, far less.

We are not all here because we were hurt, though some of us were.

We are not all here because we are bitter, though some of us are.

We are not all here because we hate God or the Word. Some of us love both with all our hearts. Others would no sooner hate God than Godzilla, for all their ability to demonstrate their existence.

We are in various states of personal recovery. Honestly, I'm here out of habit. I've been done with this stuff for years. But now and then I am called upon to explain some of the things I wrote when I was young, idealistic, and enthusiastic about my faith. What about the Blue Book review and Actual Errors? The Blue Book Review (look it up) is a sincere effort by a sincere Christian to weed out truth from error in the works of VPW. Actual Errors, while limited in scope and purpose, was apparently QUITE influential despite itself. It was, at its heart, a defense of the class and the collaterals: A defense against an effort to exalt them above the Word we purported to believe. It was never intended to be an attack on PFAL. It was intended to be a recognition of the obvious: That PFAL was not perfect.

That discussion died out years and years ago. But not and then it comes back up, and my name is attached to it. So now and then I remind people what it was all about. From the horse's mouth, as it were.

Anyway, back to this thread: There is no single "why I left the way" experience. There is no single "why I'm still out" experience.

We are individuals. We are here to give a reason for where we are today. 

Just ask us.

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/14/2021 at 7:36 AM, penworks said:

Skyrider, 

Thank you for sharing your story in such detail. I admire that. The more background and insight about TWI that's presented here from eye-witnesses and thoughtful former members, the better.

.......

 

 

Thanks Charlene.

Having spent all these years on Waydale and GreaseSpot starting thread after thread (300-400?)......I decided that it was time to piece together in chronological order my thoughts and twi-experiences of those last 10 years before exiting (escaping).   Of course, I had to reach back into the "wierwille-days" and wierwille doctrine to give the full meaning and impact of how it evolved into the cult that it is today.

While writing my experience, I was becoming frustrated and impatient.  Although there were no time constraints on my postings, I was pressuring myself to keep pace with daily posts.  It was grueling and.....knowing that I really needed to reach back and detail my deprogramming experience....gripped me with an emotional turmoil and trauma.  For nearly 35 years, I had locked away those painful memories of being held captive against my will.  Even with my postings, I doubt that I've conveyed the deep significance that it harbored my personal core.  

But the chewy caramel center of Insanity on Steroids was the three-years of ongoing mandates to full-time corps.  Martindale did not trust the corps to lead without his constant barking.  Since all corps were on payroll.....this gave the cult extra-ordinary control over the corps, the employees.  In weekly corps meetings, verbal abuse ensued and our privacy (via written reports) was being invaded down to 15-minute time intervals.  Insane.

Anywho......here's hoping others, with less pain, will tell their stories.

Your book Undertow is a riveting account and great read.  

 

.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Part of the cult mentality I recall, is Johnny Townsend's admonition to twi followers about simplicity and keeping one's life and mental activity simple. Perhaps it sticks with me because life really IS full of complexity. With Wierwille's brainwashing directives to not read anything outside of his private interpretation of The Word (how's that for a contradictory bit of insanity?), I didn't record (journal) when I first realized the importance of paradox. But the true joy of my retired life these days (besides doting on grandchildren) is reading and learning more of what I could not have done had I remained in the cult.

One of the books I have open in front of me right now is Brene Brown's Atlas of the Heart. It's a masterpiece. Here's a poignant excerpt:

Can two seemingly contradictory thoughts both be true?

Competing emotions and contradictory thoughts are messy and can feel uncomfortable, vulnerable, even irritating. But it's important to remember that this push-pull is a reflection of our complexity, and if we're willing to stay with it and stay curious, complexity is one of our greatest teachers.

The problem starts when we don't have the skills or experience to tolerate the uncertainty and ambiguity and we give in to the cravings for neat, mutually exclusive categories. There's nothing more limiting than tapping out of tension and oversimplifying the thoughts and feelings that have the power to help us understand , who we are and what we need. -- Brene Brown, p70, Atlas of the Heart, 2021.
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A representative contradiction of twi is that people in the cult DO benefit from the sense of belonging. But they limit both themselves and God when they (when I used to) are (be) unable to tolerate realization of that need for belonging together with the very important and very human deep curiosity that comes with being human. Why can they not cope with that paradox/contradiction? Perhaps because of the fact that, as Skyrider said in the OP for this thread,

On 12/12/2021 at 9:40 AM, skyrider said:

There are no fences with concertina wire to hold them prisoners, but there are very-real doctrines of fear and deception interlocking to prevent escape.

Btw, what was it that Wierwille told us about fear? Who was he quoting when he taught us that "fear is sand in the machinery of life?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking of Insanity on Steroids, and I hope this isn't too far off of the topic, but I found another book while perusing my local public library's website. I've reserved a copy of the book but thought that an excerpt of this non-fiction title, newly available, might be pertinent to those of us trying to figure out how and why we had become vulnerable to Wierwille's message, his subculture, his (what we now know as) dark persuasion. Some have called it brainwashing.

I tried to get that excerpt by way of copy/paste but because I was looking at an Amazon preview, that didn't work. I took pics of the two pages and posted them to Twitter and then tried to insert them using the Other Media button. That also didn't work.

But I was able to copy a blurb from the Amazon page where one can buy the book.

A harrowing account of brainwashing’s pervasive role in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries

This gripping book traces the evolution of brainwashing from its beginnings in torture and religious conversion into the age of neuroscience and social media. When Pavlov introduced scientific approaches, his research was enthusiastically supported by Lenin and Stalin, setting the stage for major breakthroughs in tools for social, political, and religious control.  
 
Tracing these developments through many of the past century’s major conflagrations, Dimsdale narrates how when World War II erupted, governments secretly raced to develop drugs for interrogation. Brainwashing returned to the spotlight during the Cold War in the hands of the North Koreans and Chinese. In response, a huge Manhattan Project of the Mind was established to study memory obliteration, indoctrination during sleep, and hallucinogens. Cults used the techniques as well. Nobel laureates, university academics, intelligence operatives, criminals, and clerics all populate this shattering and dark story—one that hasn’t yet ended.

-----

and very briefly, the preview states:

Brainwashing, coercive persuasion, thought control, dark persuasion--all these terms refer to the fact certain techniques render individuals shockingly vulnerable to indoctrination. [...] But it wasn't just the military and intelligence agencies that employed the technique (continued below)

Edited by Rocky
somehow, the strikeout formatting got triggered and didn't get turned off
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 ; many cults stumbled upon its use as well. 

-----
We've been describing these things by sharing our own stories here on GSC for two decades. Now, a retired psychiatrist has spent time studying the phenomenon and its history.

Ultimately, my point is that this book, Dark Persuasion, seems to codify and validate our experiences as such.
 

Notably, the Foundational or Power for Abundant Living class: for example refusing to answer people's questions or even allow the questions to be articulated until the end of session 12... but did anyone remember the questions by then?

The WOW Ambassador program, coercing people who had never met to live together for a year and enforcing that commitment with SHAME.

Then the ultimate indoctrination program, the Way Corps subjecting people to prolonged sleep deprivation and either being targeted for or witnessing horrific verbal abuse sessions any time a person made even the tiniest mistake or dared to challenge program leaders.

These were among... as Skyrider so eloquently spelled out at the top of this thread, the reasons he wrote his story: 

1) to send a warning to all those involved in twi and others considering taking classes from this cult, 2) an attempt to differentiate between Scripture-based Christians and twi's lockstep loyalty of servitude, and 3) to expose twi's incremental steps to overthrow one's will and consent.  There are no fences with concertina wire to hold them prisoners, but there are very-real doctrines of fear and deception interlocking to prevent escape.

Thankfully, tens of thousands HAVE succeeded in their personal journeys of escape from this insanity. Those who remain in it, perhaps cling to the emotional need to belong, wrapping themselves in rationalizations to justify their continued subjection to the cult.

Edited by Rocky
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/16/2021 at 9:39 PM, Rocky said:

Speaking of Insanity on Steroids, and I hope this isn't too far off of the topic, but I found another book while perusing my local public library's website. I've reserved a copy of the book but thought that an excerpt of this non-fiction title, newly available, might be pertinent to those of us trying to figure out how and why we had become vulnerable to Wierwille's message, his subculture, his (what we now know as) dark persuasion. Some have called it brainwashing.

.......
 

Thanks Rocky.

I need to check it out.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although many are reluctant to go into length and depth on their story......older threads contain snippets.  

Whether in the form of humor, sarcasm or irony (etc.)........they give us a glimpse of what happened.

You know you are in a cult if

 

Quote

topoftheworld quote:   2007

You know you're in a cult when........

You eagerly join their leadership training program, thinking it's to learn to be God's best by training with God's best, only to find yourself working menial jobs, falling asleep in mind-numbing classes, and eating food you wouldn't fed your dogs.

You actually look forward to piling on every piece of clothing you have to stand on the freeway in the freezing cold with your thumb out to hitchhike to another location that you must be to in a certain amount of time or face the wrath of leadership.

You find yourself abducted on the way to one of these blessed locations and having unspeakable things done to you, only to refuse to file a police report because you have to get to where you are going or face the wrath of leadership.

You return from this experience, only to be told by leadership that you have failed due to lack of believing, and they will decide whether or not to kick you out. You then spend the next year and a half on pins and needles, never receiving counseling for the experience but instead feeling like God's worst among God's best.

You finally near the end of this training experience, only to be told two months before graduation that you are truly worthless and have no business being there, causing you to run away in shame and leaving all your belongings and "friends" behind.

You then spend the next twenty years surviving and attempting to build a life (albeit one outside the protection of the household) all the while knowing you're a worthless piece of crap as a human being-they said so, so it must be true). You make no close friends and build no lasting relationships-after all, who would want to be involved with damaged goods and a worthless piece of crap?

You then discover Greasespot Cafe, and discover it was all a lie-and now you don't know anymore who you are.

Yes-the joys of being in a cult.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was in such a deep mental rut when a WOW sat next to me in a cafe, as I sat  eating lunch at the counter. He was very friendly, something I needed at that time in my misery. I don’t recall much of our conversation, but he made such an impression that I wanted to come to his home and learn more about God. I was attending college and winter break was just beginning, so I told him I was going home, but to contact me when Spring quarter began. To my surprise, he got ahold of me when he said he would. That in itself made a positive imoression on me.

i was raised a Catholic and attended parochial schools, which taught me what a horrible person I was. I hated that feeling and my high school graduation was the last time I attended any Catholic services, other than weedings, etc. However, the effect of what a horrible person I was lingered on with me. Being absolutely comvinced I was going to hell, my mental state was in disarray. This WOW convinced me I would not go to hell becuse of Romans 10:9-10. That set me free in so many ways—A new life was upon me.

As a result I went WOW two years in a row, and couldn’t wait for God to work miracle because of me holding forth the word. Excitement turned into ftustration, becsuse instead of seeing any miracles, daily life became quite  boring. No miracles, just day to day humdrums; study, work, witness (not much of that though), fellowship.    

After 20 or so years, I finally I left the Way, but still  tried to make sense of religion.  The harder I tried to see how  religion was of any benefit to me, the more it made no sense. Finally able  to cast the idea there is some God  who us watching over me and only desires the best, I was able to find peace. Realizing I am no more, or less, than anything else in this world, I can follow the path of a human being, and contribute what I can to this planet and universe.
 


 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for posting this part of your life story, Raf. I'm grateful for it. It's a lovely way to share with us the complexity of your life, of all of our lives.

Charlene

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depending on the depth of pain and trauma of one's twi-experience.....coming forward, and telling one's story can be extremely challenging.  For me, it took years to piece together twi's subtle power of spiritual abuse.

  • The MOG-doctrine ..... wierwille engineered a circle of enablers to promote him as "the man of God."
  • PFAL class .... was hailed as THE class that taught all the keys to biblical research and how to walk with God.
  • WOW commitment ..... removed you from support systems of family, friends, coworkers, further education goals, etc.
  • Way Corps Training .... an indoctrination program that resulted in *a covenant of salt* to wierwille's ministry thru lifetime.
  • Way Corps Commitment .... you can NEVER leave your "salted commitment" or God will remove His protection.
  • Ongoing, Weekly Corps Meetings .... who signed up to attend weekly corps meetings FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?
  • Overlords / Tyrants .... twi's directors will NOT allow corps to retire without slandering their "failure to stop twi-servitude."

 

Quote

Repressed Memory Now I know why it's taken me all these years to piece this timeline together repressed memory......

I've been blocking out those years of trauma and stress to protect my identity, my sanity.  Piecing this timeline together year-by-year......is grueling.  It's painful. With each memory, comes more memories.....and I find myself only skimming the high points (ie...the low points) of this turbulent time.  I could name names, I could give more examples......but does it really matter?  If I hadn't thrown away all my corps notes and way mags.....they would have triggered a mountain of repressed memory.

Laced throughout these 174 pages on "About the Way" forum......I've been starting lots of threads, but never connected all those dots.  Well, this thread is the concluding summary of nearing 18 years of posting on Waydale/GSC.  From my childhood roots to brushing shoulders with all four twi-presidents......1) wierwille, 2) martindale, 3) rivenbark, and 4) JYDL.......I'm connecting the dots.

And, still there's more.....that I'm leaving out.  My spouse was/is deeply connected in all this, as well.  She started working at hq in the fall of 1970.  My wife is a corps grad, from an earlier corps than me.....and yes, at this point, I still choose to speak in anonymous terms regarding her involvement.  From her years of involvement and insight, I've got dozens and dozens of things I've never posted........yet.

 Even though I'm well aware that WayGB and dozens of staffers know who I am (and many GSC posters know me as well) .......I still covet internet anonymity.  I'm sure many of you feel the same way. 

But the "trustees" of this evil.......need to be exposed.

 

.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...