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There I Was

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Thre I was, August of 1982. I arrived at my parents’ house. Here I was, coming home again. Crazy again. Deja vue. I was in the middle of another full-blown manic/psychotic episode. Whoopee. What a ride. For those who have never been through a manic episode, consider yourself fortunate. It's like being on speed and acid at the same time.

I have since been diagnosed as bi-polar (what a surprise). Anyway, this was my first major episode since 1974, when I had “lost it” on the way to Amarillo. You can see why I hadn’t really thought I’d go off deep end again, since it had been 12 years. But stress is a major factor that can cause these things in those so inclined. So let’s see - in the past year I’d been held up with a gun, almost murdered and continually psychologically beaten over the head by not only Mot and Barq, but Jammit. Oh, and then I was supposed to be going WOW, otherwise known as packing up again to go off to some unknown place and live with people you never met. A total crap shoot with your life. And the emotional side of things, there were the unresolved attachments to Buster and Merkel.

I moved into the room down the hall in the back of my parents’ house. The walls of the room were yellow, which I thought was really significant spiritually. I turned on all the lights in the room to make it “spiritually light”. Then of course my parents told me to turn them off.

Two of my younger brothers were living there at the time. One of them, who posts here as "outintexas", was getting ready to leave for ROA and then go WOW. It was somewhat disturbing for him to have me around, since I was saying things like “It’s really OK to listen to natural music.” I took a pillow off my other brother’s bed and washed it because it was “spiritually unclean.” Oh, I was just so busy, so many things to do. icon_rolleyes.gif:rolleyes:-->

I would also confront my youngest brother about how "he had always had it so much better than the rest of us" in the family. My dad told me to stop saying things like that to my brother because I was disturbing him.

I saw a mental “vision” in my head. There was a skeletal, gray metal structure. It was empty and cold. Out of the structure flowed a “river” of life – people, flowers, spiritual life, joy. It flowed out and away from the cold, boxy gray structure. To me, it meant TWI was dead and the life was flowing away out of it, or would be. Now, that “vision” actually had something to it.

To top it off, I made tapes on a cassette recorder with “significant and meaningful music selections” playing in the background from off the stereo, accompanied by my emotional rantings about the great truths that were being revealed to me. I sent one to Rinse Minagain, and more than one to Buster, along with several letters. I also wrote letters to Merkel, addressed to him at Emporia, since I knew he would be going back in residence.

One day I told my mother I was “going for a walk” and took my camera. I met a mail-man and asked him to take a roll of film of ME. I also took several other rolls of film of all kinds of things. Then I went to the camera shop to get them developed, telling the guys at the counter the exact order in which to develop the pictures.

And then there was the band of metal I found that I put around my head under a hat, the better to attract spiritual energy. In the middle of the night I walked down to the beach and danced around. I was totally manic.

I was also convinced that I was called out to be ordained with ALL FIVE gift ministries! WOW! Surely Dr. W would realize that and I would hear from him.

Oh, and here’s the clincher. I wrote a letter to Dr. W, using the method they had told us, putting a second envelope marked “private” inside the original one. I had drawn some sort of configuration with lines connecting certain TWI people together in some way, which I was convinced God had revealed to me. And because I thought the Devil was after me, I enclosed the remaining gold hoop earring that I still had after I’d lost the other one during my encounter in Mississippi with the unsuccessful strangler. I came to the conclusion that I hadn’t been able to find the other one because the Devil had stolen it during the struggle. The Devil had the earring in his realm somewhere and was using it to have power over me, and the one I still had was counteracting it. So if I sent the one I had to Dr., I would be safe because it would better balance out the powers since Dr. was "spiritually stronger" than me. Well, it made sense at the time....

Merkel called me from the ROA because Bittwy had my last paycheck and Merkel got it from her to send to me. I thought that was really nice. He ended the call saying “I love you.” Ok, so what did that mean, I wondered. We all loved each other didn’t we?

And Buster called. He had received so much stuff from me that the postal service had left him a note saying “We care. You have mail for you that does not fit in your post office box.” And when he went to pick it up there was this big pile of letters and packages of the tapes I made. He was very supportive and nonjudgmental when he spoke to me.

I have often thought that in August, 1982, I could have easily dropped out of TWI. I was kicked out of Corps Week, I had no assignment and I was living at my parents’ house. How easy to disappear. And I would have, if only I had realized that it was OK to leave. But I was too darn loyal. I knew that the “armour of God had no covering on its back.” And if I was being “pursued by the Devil” I needed to stay with the household. If I had known the truth about the evils that were really going on in TWI and seen through the hypocrisy of so much of the leadership, I would have had the strength to leave. But none of that was known yet by many of us. It would be four more years until the “Passing of the Patriarch” and its reverberations, and two more after that before I could see the open door that had always been there.

So I went with my brother to see “Bopp Heartfelt,” the branch leader of San Diego. Bopp had been the branch leader there for years, going back to the seventies. I knew him from then. Now I can say nothing bad about Bopp. He always was just a really good guy. Though I do think my state of mind unnerved him a bit and he never did quite see me the same after that, never did trust me enough later to give me much responsibility in the branch. I just went to see him that dayt to get reconnected with TWI in San Diego. Here’s a picture of "outinTexas" and me in the driveway in Del Mar on that same day.


I still liked Merkel though and was hoping for something to come of it. He still wrote from time to time and said he wanted to see me at the next Corps Week.

I went to an Art/Advertising school that had a year-long program. My Dad foot the bill, as he always had for my educationsl forays. By the time I finished, it was January ’84. I found a job as a “production artist” for a company that made gun instruction manuals for the military. A bunch of us artist-types all sat together in this big room at drawing boards doing illustrations and paste-up of guns to make these manuals. The management didn’t consider my paste-up work to be fast enough, so I was assigned to be a “cell cleaner.” I only made a little over minimum wage. In fact I had been making more at the waitress job I had been working at while I was in the Art/Advertising school. But my mom had been ....ed off at me after I graduated from the Art program because I wasn't looking hard enough for a job in the field I had just studied. She had called me a "32 year old adolescent" because I was living at home and going to school. So I took the first job I could find. Despite the low pay, this job was a lot of fun because my co-workers were clever and funny and we would all crack jokes and carry on while we worked.

Meanwhile Ropert and I switched twigs to one in Escondido, farther north of San Diego. I used the excuse that it was closer, which it was. But really I felt that since the twig leaders weren’t Corps, they would be less threatening to be around. So I went to twig and hung around the branch, not wanting to stay in TWI that much but not aware that I could leave. My twig leader, “Mock” and his wife were nice people who pretty much left me alone, and that’s all I wanted.

Time for my Corps Evaluation came along. I hated those things with a passion. On my way there, Billy Joel was on the radio singing "My Life." Yeah, that was it! Screw everybody, it was time to start claiming "my life!"

In a fit of rebelliousness, I had given myself these great ratings. Then during the evaluation, the DS, the limb leader told me they were a "bit high." And of course by the time I was face to face with him, I was the old meek me. When the subject of my episode that got me kicked out of Corps Week came up, DS told me that the only reason the devil had kept me alive was to get back at Dr. Wierwille, and if it "happened again," the devil would kill me. Inside, my "smart foot" self was thinking, "That's funny, I always thought it was God who kept me alive."

And by the way, there have been through other episodes since, and I'm still here. I'm not aware of the devil killing bi-polars when they go through episodes. Oh, maybe if you're in TWI he does. icon_wink.gif;)-->

One day I decided that I should move out of my parents’ house because they were basically just tolerating me being there. During the iterim at my parents' house, I had moved out for a while to live with a couple in Encinitas, who had invited me to move in with them. They had sold me a car that didn’t run very well and then invited me to leave. When they kicked me out, I moved back in with my parents and my Dad yelled at me when I returned.

So I found a place from the want ads and moved in. It was a dumpy studio in an old house near downtown that you had to go up some outside stairs to get into, but I was glad to have my own place. The studio was a small room with a kitchen off of it and a bathroom. Meanwhile, I was still working at the “art production” job.

As I was moving in, as soon as my phone got put in, I called the branch leader, Bopp, to tell him I had moved. His wife answered. I spoke to her and she told me she would tell Bopp.

Bott Salad, (the Corps guy who ran the Way Home) reproved me later for moving “without telling anybody.” I wanted to tell him that I had told the branch leader’s wife but why bother. It would just be making HER look bad, and I would get reproved for that. I knew the drill.

I also switched twigs to the nearest one to my new place, which happened to be run by “Cliff and Yojanna” from the 10th corps. I had known them in residence because we had been in the same twig at one point. When I drove up to their house for the first time, Cliff came out and gave me a big hug. I felt more at Home in the Way than I had in awhile.

Cliff suggested that I move into a Way home with two other women and at first I didn’t want to. I had my own place, even if it was a dump. But then I decided that it would be “better spiritually” for me to do that, so I moved out of the studio after only two months. I felt kind of sad about leaving it. Sometimes if I’m in that area, I drive by it to see how it looks. The outside stairs have been rebuilt.

So I moved AGAIN, to the Way Home. A returning female WOW vet, “Kripp” was the coordinator. It was a nice town house in a San Diego suburb, but it never felt like home to me. Kripp made a lot of decisions that were mostly for her own benefit. When I was coming home to find Kripp's 9-year-old lying on the floor of my room watching my TV, it annoyed me. So I tried to talk to Kripp about it and she started screaming at me. She also told me I couldn’t hang my towels in the bathroom because they “didn’t match” but hers didn’t either. When it was her turn to grocery shop, she came home with shoes. One time, she left town and said she didn’t have to pay for that amount of time into the family fund because “she wasn’t there.” But later when I was gone for awhile, I asked if I didn’t have to pay, but she said I did. One time I put my name on a soda in the fridge, her friend drank it and they laughed about it. She made me deal with a carpet cleaner to get a deal out of him that I knew he would argue about, while she conveniently had to be somewhere else. One day I tried to hang up a picture but it was in the “wrong place.”

Stuff like that. To this day, I say marriage is easier than a Way Home. The other room mate and I got along pretty well, though, because she was basically mellow.

Despite all those annoyances, it was still a LOT better than Mississippi had been. At least my branch leader liked me. Because of where I'd been, things that bothered other people didn't seem so bad to me.

Like the New Year's Eve at Cliff's where he was teaching and then started yelling at us. Hardly fazed me, though a lot of other people were upset about it.

What's that saying? About the bee who thought vinegar was so sweet because it had been stuck in Sh1t? Something like that.

So there I was, in a Way Home in Cliff’s branch in San Diego. Life in Way World went on. I went to work, went to twig. I was spiritually numb. I was biding my time before I could finally split, though I didn't know it.

On weekends sometimes I’d go to Ropert’s rented house farther north in Vista, and watch the latest Friday night episode of Dallas. I really loved Dallas. I kept hoping that Pam and Bobby would get back together. I’d sometimes tay at Ropert's over the weekend to get away from everything. I’d sleep on the couch under an electric blanket. I'd make a big breakfast for us, and then sometimes cook supper. It was good to get away from the Way Home where there were three females vying for territory. Ropert and I would go to cheap-o movie theaters and sometimes watch double features. I've seen a lot of movies that were made in the mid-80's.

Meanwhile, our other room-mate in the Way home moved out (the mellow one) and Kripp’s boyfriend moved in. Then he moved out and there were only two of us to pay the rent. I was freaked out about that, so I got a second job in the evenings at the same restaurant where I had worked before when I had been going to the Art/Advertising School. This went on for awhile, and then another guy moved in.

Then suddenly, most of us got laid off at the art production job, due to a lack of contracts. We all went out to dinner together to say good-bye. Some of the artists had drawn up good-bye cards and everybody signed everybody else's. If I can find the one I got, I’ll scan it and post it here. Funny how the people I got the biggest kick out of were “unbelievers.”

Found it!


My bubble says "I'm confused and I don't understand." The reason I'm “confused” is because I "watched Dallas re-runs during the week and the new episodes on Fridays". It was a running joke. Guess you’d have to be there.

I also remember that at time I had this job, LCM made a statement that if you “were only working for a paycheck” then you were “out of fellowship”. Deep inside, that really irked me. Like, was anything we did ok? You'd think it would be enough that we were sending TWI enough money for God to spit at us, but it was wrong to earn it by “working for a paycheck.”!

I was starting to feel a deep annoyance with things in TWI. For example, Cliff told us once that we had to get the ABS in the mail FASTER because HA said they were losing money on the interest. Like it wasn't enough that they got our money and now it wasn't coming in FAST enough?

My restaurant job kept me afloat, except that it was an evening shift. OHHHH NOOOOO!!!! Can't have that! Cliff said I had to get a daytime job so I obeyed the “Man of God” by quitting and going to a temp agency.

They sent me to a file clerk job in the Trust Department of California First Bank in downtown San Diego.

It was January, 1985.

Edited by outandabout

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Hey sis! I didn't know half of this stuff!

Please continue...

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Thank you so much, Sunesis.

Amen to what you said!

It's so much the same story for us all, ain't it? With different details.

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I love your writing style. It's so well constructed. It reads so well!!

I love all the details. I love how your details are just enough to give us a taste of what you were experiencing.

I am just taken with your story. I find it most fascinating. I relate on so many many points.

OH MY...LOOSING MONEY ON THE INTEREST! I cannot believe that HA actually had the balls to come out and publicly say that. SH!T!!!

Still anxiously awaiting the continuation of your story.

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I reported to work at my temp job at California First Bank. I was to be a file clerk in the Trust Vault. The supervisor was an "older" (50-ish, which I am now - ha) woman named Priscilla and her supervisor was a woman named Susan. And there was this young Mexican guy named Orlando there that I didn't give a second thought to.

Each Trust file had sections, labeled A-D. The shelves were on tracks that revolved when you pushed a button. I had stacks and stacks of pink forms in front of me that were to go into the "C" files. I guess that's why they needed a temp, because they were behind on those particular pink "C" forms. It was a numeric system, so I separated the papers into stacks numerically, and then sub-stacks, and then filed them. Priscilla seemed surprised that I got so much done so fast. At then end of every week, Susan would ask me to come back the next week.

There was this woman who worked named Laura, who didn't really like me very much. She was talking about having a yard sale and I asked her conversationally, "Is it in your yard?" and she replied sarcastically, "No, it's in Texas!" Later, I walked in on her telling some one else what I had stupidly asked her. Well, one day, she went out to lunch, evidently got drunk, and was gone for the rest of the day, which resulted in her being fired. I got moved up to her desk up at the front of the vault, which was next to Orlando.

Orlando had a little radio next to his desk, and listening to the music while we were doing our menial filing tasks helped the day go by. To this day, those songs that were out in the mid-80's always remind me of the Vault. (i.e "Everybody Wants to Rule the World")

Meanwhile, the couple that I had lived with Encinitas that had previously "kicked me out" asked me to house sit for them for a week. They would pay me to take care of several puppies that were the offspring of two dogs that they had. I was still friendly with this couple. The previous situation hadn't caused any hard feelings on my part. They had moved to a different house in a part of San Diego that wasn't too far from downtown where my temp job in the bank was. So I moved in for a week or so, and fed the puppies who were in the garage, took them out to the backyard to play and picked up their poop. I gave all of them names.

It was during this time that I got a call from my branch leader Cliff late one at night. He told me that Dr. Wierwille had died. Cliff asked me, "Are you ok?" I told him I was and went back to sleep. (I felt a lot like I did when Uncle Harry died when I was in residence. I remember some people were crying but I didn't feel much. Mostly I felt like I should feel more). It's not like I had this great personal relationship with Vee Pee or like I had had one with Uncle H.

Because Laura got fired, her job was available. They hired me, which I was really happy about. (Like my daughter likes to say, “Karma’s a bitch.”) I remember being in Woolworth's thinking, "Wow, now I can afford a new bottle of shampoo." I now had a steady job and the pay was better there than as a temp. Orlando and I would converse throughout the day.

Then we started going out to lunch. "Tecate Sam's" was a favorite place. We would always sit upstairs and I would order a chimichanga. I was feeling more and more attached to him. Somewhere along the line, he signed up for PFAL.

I was on the crew for the class that Orlando was in. He had a motorcycle and wore a leather jacket when he drove it. He invited me out for dinner one night and we went on his motorcycle to a restaurant up the coast. The waitress turned out to be some one I had worked with at my waitress job before and she gave us a free dessert. Orlando was several years younger than me, which sort of made him not “an option to me.

So, now Orlando was a grad of the class, and we were spending time together outside of work. One day I was trying to put a bookcase together in my room at the Way Home I was living in, and he came over and helped me put it together. I was starting to feel this attraction to him but I thought it was weird because he was so much younger than me, as well as being a non-Corps "babe in the Word."

At work, I got promoted to this department called "Systems" across from the Vault. My new position was "Terminal Operator." Unfortunately, my supervisor was a critical, impatient a-hole who was unhappy that I still hadn’t mastered my new job after two weeks. Orlando was across the hall at the Vault still and he was looking really good in that leather jacket whenever I caught a glimpse of him.

Orlando wanted to "buy me a purse." I guess he thought the one was in need of replacement or something. I remember saying that I thought it wasn't really necessary, that we were just friends, that it would indicate a relationship that wasn't what ours was, etc etc. Then he would hardly speak to me for a week and I missed his friendship.

I went back to my car one night after work and as I pulled away from the parking lot, I realized I had a flat tire. I found a phone and called Orlando, who came to me on his bike, fixed the flat, and then drove away without a word.

The next day at work, he left a rose at my desk with a note asking me to go to lunch with him. And he did buy me that purse.

Once evening I was over at Cliff and Johanna's and we were talking about how I hadn't found a husband yet, and they said, "Have you ever thought of marrying Orlando?" As the conversation continued, they indicated to me that it was an ok idea with them. I had been going back and forth about my feelings. At the time, there was this song on the radio, by Air Supply - "I Can't Fight This Feeling" that eventually became "our song." One evening after work, I was sitting in my car before going home and "Desperado" by the Eagles came on, and the line "You'd better let somebody love you before it's too late" really hit my heart.

I knew I had always gone after guys who weren't interested and avoided the ones that were. After awhile, you realize maybe it's not them, it's you. Kind of like what Rodney Dangerfield said, "I'd never want to join a club that had me as a member."

I've been writing this since the dog woke me up and 3:30 . And now it's time to get ready for work.

Edited by outandabout

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Ok, texas, it's Orlando, but I went back to change the Orlandos to Rolando, like I've changed a lot of the other names. I must have missed some.

"I'm confused and I don't understand." Guess I'll go back and make it Orlando again.

And then your question won't make any sense. icon_biggrin.gif:D-->

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i'm gonna be sad when you're finished

exie, that is so sweet!

As for the age difference, uh, er, it's the same as Demi Moore and Astin Kuchner. icon_wink.gif;)-->

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icon_smile.gif:)-->OK, here's the rest of the story: icon_smile.gif:)-->

Orlando did ask me to marry him and I did accept. We went back to Cliff to tell him the good news, and lo and behold, he was suddenly all down on the whole thing. He was being very cold and mean. It was very weird. Cliff said things like, “What will you do if you get into your sunset years and he no longer wants you because you’re so old?”

Huh? Why the change? Well, at that point, our BL was no longer Bopp Heartfelt because he and his wife had gone into the Corpse. Now “Papp Potwell” had come in as Area Leader. Years later, after we had left TWI, I was told by another ex-Wayfer that Papp had wanted our ensuing marriage stopped. I had never known that at the time. But it explains the sudden change in Cliff’s attitude. (that is Cliff went to Pat, Pat got to Cliff etc etc - you know how these things went)

Nevertheless, Cliff eventually gave us his blessing by the time our little meeting was over. I guess we just had to get raked over the coals first.

Meanwhile at work I was with the Boss from Hell who didn't think people should ever make errors. I was under a lot of stress because one day I did make an error that I couldn't correct, got busted for it and sent to the next in-line supervisor. It all worked out okay but the stress was awful.

Orlando gave me a teddy bear that day. By that time, we were engaged and I was also planning our wedding, which was to take place in June. When Valentine’s Day came along, I had so much stuff at my desk from Orlando Boss from Hell said it “looked like a gift shop.”

We attended a limb meeting during this period, and they were showing the “Athletes of the Spirit” video on this huge screen while we were all milling about. Orlando asked me what Craig was doing up there dancing but I figured that in time he would understand more fully the greatness of it all.

We got married in a nice Way Wedding at a gazebo at a hotel, with a reception inside. Cliff and Johanna were best man and maid of honor. Papp Potwell did the ceremony, and taught from the Word about how the wife is to be in subjection to the husband, etc. My brother-in-law (non-TWI) said, “Wow, I like that, the man really gets a good deal!” Here we are on our wedding day:


(Outintexas in front row)

Meanwhile, I had QUIT my job at the bank and had enough to live on for the summer. Orlando and I had moved into a one-bedroom apartment. It was in the same complex that he had been living in with his two sisters when I first met him. We ended up staying at that complex for 16 years. It had a courtyard, a pool, lots of trees and we liked it there. It became home.

We went to San Francisco for our honeymoon. One of the most fun things we did was wine tasting:


And we saw Alcatraz:


We returned home to open our wedding gifts and start our new life. I was happy to have a home that was mine and not a way home or a WOW assignment.

August arrived and it was time to go to Corps Week and ROA!!

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Off we went to the Infamous Corps Week of 1986. The first night we were there, Johnny Townsend was on the stage and he said, “You’re all probably wondering ‘What’s going on?’” I thought to myself “Huh?” I had no idea what he was talking about.

There had evidently been corps meetings all over the country about the current state of the ministry since C Geer had written The Passing of the Patriarch. Its message had affected LCM deeply and had reverberated through HQ and the rest of TWI leadership. Some of this stuff had been discussed at these meetings BUT Orlando and I had been on our honeymoon when the corps in San Diego had met. Cliff had evidently overlooked updating us on what we had missed.

Well, it’s TWI history what happened that Corps Week. The culmination was the dramatic appearance of C Geer, who read “The Passing of the Patriarch” out loud to the entire corps there. I remember wandering around one night, along with everyone else, in shock from seeing TWI start to fall apart. There was some unannounced pizza put out in a tent, and people were just grabbing pieces, and it was all so weird.

I think I got more of an idea of what was going on by conversations I had here and there with people. That was very cathartic. People were actually TALKING about something with an honesty that I hadn’t seen in a long time. I thought at the time that this was all going to be good for TWI in the long run. I still believed in TWI but I had no clue about the depth of ungodliness, corruption and sexual immorality at the top. I thought that all this would “clear the air” and things would get better.

Corps Week ended and ROA began. I woke up and heard the voice from the loudspeaker welcoming everybody to the Rock, and for some reason it really ....ed me off. It seemed so hypocritical. We were just going to go on with the ROA like nothing had happened.

So ROA went on. I had trash detail like I’d had for years, and I rode around on the back of the tractor, jumping on and off collecting trash and replacing trash bags. It’s funny, but I don’t have a lot of clear memories of it all. I just know that that Corps Week was the beginning of the end for me in TWI. To me, it was the perfect opportunity for people to stop the bull$h1t, take an honest look at wrong, and fight for “The Ministry.” But it didn’t happen. I was starting to get it that maybe TWI, “God’s Ministry,” was screwed up.

We went home. I found a clerical job as a temp at a company not far from home. Again I got hired permanently, and I was pretty happy there. My boss was a nice guy.

We were running a little twig. A married couple and a guy named John attended regularly. But I was just going through the motions, coming home from work, dusting and vacuuming etc on the nights we had twig. And then there were twig coordinators’ meetings on Sundays. I remember being at work one day, when I realized that it was a non-twig day, and the incredible sense of relief I felt.

Over a year went by....We didn’t make it to Corps Week and ROA ’87. Somewhere during all of this Papp decided that he wanted to have a San Diego Way Productions group. So he put together what became to be called the “Travellites.” Here we are practicing:


Even being in a band wasn’t much fun. Those guys were good musicians but we just didn’t jell. One night we were supposed to play in Escondido up north but no one had thought to get directions. We did get there eventually, but Papp wasn’t too pleased. After awhile we were disbanded.

Later on I was in another group with one of the Travellite guys, “Mock Tireknees,” and “Steve Stripp.” This one was more enjoyable because I liked singing and they were good together on their guitars. We did a jazzed-up version of Lisa Locheridge Tracy’s “Man of Galilee” and that was fun. But that one disbanded too though I don’t remember why.

One Sunday, after the twig leaders’ meeting, Cliff mentioned that there was this 30-page letter that four leaders who were now out of TWI had written to the Trustees. Then Cliff surprised me by saying that he had copies if anybody wanted to read it. I was a little shocked by that, since in my Way Brain I still believed that anyone outside of the Walls of Zion had to be in the realm of the Devil, so I was too afraid to take go near that letter.

Then word went out that Ralph Dubofsky was coming to town. He was evidently on the outs of TWI at that point as well. This was getting confusing to me, because some of the teachers and leaders I had thought the most of were getting fired or leaving. Ralph was one of the best teachers of the Word I had ever heard. When he taught us Romans in the corps, it was incredible. At a corps meeting, Papp read scriptures about “tailbearers” out of Proverbs, which was his indirect way of saying “Don’t go see Ralph Dubofsky.” So I didn’t.

Then one day the phone rang, and it was Papp telling me that Cliff and Johanna weren’t our branch leaders anymore! They had left TWI and now Papp was our branch leader. I just told him OK, and agreed with everything he said, even though I was in shock.

I can’t say how I eventually decided one day to go to Cliff’s house where he was now having an “Ex-Twi” fellowship, but I did. On the way, I was afraid that I would have an accident or something because I was daring to walk out from the safety of God’s Ministry. When I got there, there were people that I knew from TWI and they all seemed so happy. They didn’t seem guilty or like they were “walking in darkness”. I was starting to feel like Alice walking through the Looking Glass.

At this point, I had an intense mental hunger to find out EVERYTHING that I had been forbidden to know. Cliff had copies of John Schoenheit’s paper on adultery, the “30 page letter”, Passing of the Patriarch and a 3-hour tape by John Lynn. I asked to borrow the tape and Cliff gave me copies of the rest.

After the fellowhip, we all went out to breakfast. My former roommate, Cripp was there, and this couple that had been country coordinators in Japan. I couldn’t believe I was sitting there with all these “defectors". I was sharing things with a woman sitting next to me, who had already been out of TWI for awhile, and she said, "Oh you'll be SO happy once you leave!" If some one had said that to me a few months earlier, I would have thought they were from the pit.

Later, I read the infamous “Adultery Paper” and didn’t see anything scandalous about it that I could tell. It just seemed like a good piece of biblical research confirming a truth in the Word that I already believed to be true anyway. More telling to me was the overreaction it had generated among some of the top leadership.

The 30-page letter was a little too long-winded for me. There was nothing particularly shocking about that either. I know there had been a lot of talk after Corps Week '86 about how the “Trustees haven’t repented of their broken fellowhip" but since no one was being specific about what that was, I never got what people were talking about.

OK, so then I started to listen to JAL’s 3-hour tape. I found it fascinating. I can’t describe what was going on in my head. I was starting to actually think my own thoughts. But I had to go to work, so I couldn’t listen to all of it, but as soon as I was off, I listened to the rest.

Orlando didn’t quite understand what I was going through. He had never been all that gung-ho about TWI anyway, and he hadn’t been as indoctrinated as me, so it wasn’t as dramatic to him that we were in the process of actually leaving. For me, it was like finding out that black was white, the sky was the earth, what is ok isn’t, what I thought wasn’t ok really is...

For every new “anti-TWI” thought I had, I would have an opposite thought pop up from what I’d been taught in TWI. Sometimes it was in the form of something Craig had been yelling about. I even put a line down the middle of a piece of paper and wrote down the conflicting thoughts as they went back and forth. (one side “Me,” the other side “The Way”)

Then I got hold of a tape of Ralph’s meeting when he had come to San Diego, (the “forbidden” meeting with the “talebearer”). He had done a critique of Athletes of the Spirit while he was running the video. I put the audio tape of the meeting in the tape player and popped our copy of Athletes of the Spirit in our Beta video player and sat in our living room listening to Ralph’s critique while watching our AOS video. My Way Brain was getting blown away even more.

Here I was, seven months pregnant and going through this turmoil, but it was a good turmoil, a process of liberation. One of my greatest realizations was that I would no longer have to be in bondage to my lifelong “commitment” to being Corps, which had been a source of misery since I'd graduated.

I was starting to get it. God was God. The Word was the Word. And TWI wasn’t God, or His Word. Therefore, if I walked away from TWI, I wasn’t walking away from God or the Word!

I had become friends with the other woman in our twig, and she also worked where I worked. I tried to express to her everything I was going through, but I could tell she wanted to keep her distance.

And then in the middle of all this, John Lynn came to town. So I went to the meeting and there he was saying these mind-boggling things, like, TWI was “being run by devil spirits” and there were people “six feet under” because of TWI. And it was “a biblical research ministry no more.” Later we all met in Cliff’s living room and John answered actual questions like, where were certain people and who was still in and who wasn’t.

Soon after that, I was sitting at lunch with some co-workers and I mentioned that there was this Biblical group that I used to be in. I knew right then that I was already out of TWI in my head. The trick was to actually get away from it. I sat on our bed and composed at letter to Papp. I said to Orlando, "This is our ticket out!! I’ll mail this to Papp and officially quit!!” He still didn’t get what I was so emotional about.

So I wrote the letter and in it I said there were two main reasons why I had chosen to leave TWI. I had thought through the ABS thing, and come to the conclusion that it had been dishonest to say that the Old Testament applied to the New. I had also realized that TWI was a hierarchy but they were claiming to be a tree. Sexual immorality wasn’t the issue with me, because I had always been blissfully ignorant of that situation. At the end of the letter I said I was thankful for the Word I had learned from TWI, and do not call us.

Orlando and I went to make some copies of my letter on a copier at a grocery store, and I put the original in a stamped addressed envelope to Papp. Orlando drove by a mail box and I dropped it in. I was still scared inside, but at the exact moment I dropped that letter in the mailbox, I FELT a weight lift off of me. It was more than psychological, it was like a physical weight just took off and I immediately felt lighter and freer.

I unplugged the phone because I didn’t want to deal with any confrontations. I still had a few moments of fear and regret, but when I thought it through, they passed.

A few days later I reconnected our phone. Nobody from TWI called.

And we were out.


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Applause aplause!!!! Thanks out n about, what an ordeal for you to share all of this, thankyou!

So glad to read of your freedom. Cathy

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Fabulous sharing outandabout! You articulated so much better than I could about what we all went through in the corps, and deciding to leave. I too felt a great weight leave when I left - freedom - finally! I don't think most people will understand the corps "commitment" we had - that you would rather die than not fulfill your assignment, thus, the stuff we went through and did "for God."

Thanks again!

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