Do they have their own version of the bible? My sister-in-law has a “The Way” bible that’s written in simple language—-a very dumbed down version of the New English Version bible.
I always wondered about the phenomanon of talking in tongues too. When I was in high school, I lost my best friend to a fundamentalist pentecostal church. She said that the church taught that in order to recieve the holy spirit, you had to speak in tongues. That was proof that you recieved it.
She stopped hanging with me when I wouldn’t go to her church that her whole family got involved in. The minister even convinced them to sell their house for the church. They ended up living in a one room shanty that her father built himself.
My parents were in The Way until I was about 7. I still have family who are “ministers”, or whatever they like to be called, in it (in Wichita, actually). I remember the speaking in tongues and how ridiculous I thought it all seemed. I remember going to big conventions in Ohio and hearing about how the gays go to hell, and then weeping hysterically with my sister because we have gay family members and it scared the crap out of me. I remember that everyone seemed creepy and mean. Also, when I was a kid, for a long time I thought that The United Way was the same thing, and I never wanted them to reach their fund raising goals. :wink:
I don’t know if you still post here or not. If you do, I have a few questions to ask you about The Way, Intl. Rather than blast them out not knowing if you are even here to read them, I’ll just send this ping out to see if anything comes back.
Actually, if anyone else has been or is a member of this organization, I could just as well ask you the things on my mind…
I am still around, but do not get to my computer as often lately. To answer the above, you must have been in The Way during the Craig Martindale administration, because he was pathologically obsessed with hating gays, even more than Fred Phelps et.al. are now. I got out around the time Wierwille died, and did not have to go through the “mark and avoid” purges of Martindale. Yes, I also have been to Rock Of Ages in New Knoxville once, but that was in 1981 or 1982.
The thing about all groups like this is, they eventually collapse from within, or due to external pressures. They do not have the depth of character, support, or people to withstand it when things go wrong. If a person can exit from them, after a while they will recover from the crap shoved down their throat.
None of that happened, because I got out before the Nazis took over. I also moved back to Wichita, and had not been that connected with the people here. This was before the “mark and avoid” Martindale era, which means that I probably got lucky. The other reason is probably that I did not have any money, so they could not vaccuum my wallet.
I understand that things became very bad when Idiot Martindale took over, and that the things you wrote about did happen. The best thing I can tell you is this: EVERYTHING YOU LEARNED FROM THESE PEOPLE IS WRONG!!!!!!!! Gays are NOT the spawn of Satan, you will not burn forever for “breaking fellowship” or whatever term they used. Everyone in the world is not automatically damned, except for “believers.” Speaking in tounges is nothing, not a sign of anything. You are not even using a language, just a series of unrelated syllables. Stories you hear of other people having miraculous instantaneous healings, SIT in actual languages the person never studies, “coincidents” which lead people to greater wealth and status, “believing equals receiving” are all BULLSHIT-designed to keep you in their power.
Power For Abundant Living is right—power to keep you paying, excuse me, “abundantly sharing,” so that Wierwille, Martindale et.al. can live abundantly. These people drove the finest cars, had their pick of Way Corps women, always dressed impeccably, and it was all on YOUR dime! What did YOU ever recive? What did you “believe for” which ever came about, exactly the way you “believed for it?” I will tell you what: NOTHING. Nothing, that is, that is not explainable by simple life occurances. In other words, if you “believed” for a BMW, and did not actually earn the money and go to the BMW dealership and pay for one, YOU GOT SQUAT.
I hope that this will help you to realize that, even though you are not with them now, their hold on you will continue to influence and frustrate you for some time to come. It took me about 10-15 years to completely flush their ideas and influence out of my mind. I look back on them now with contempt, mixed with pity for myself, because I was so naive at the time to be suckered in. If you need to talk, please post, and I will do what I can to help you.
I was not ever in this organization. I was in a similar organization that focses on family values but sucks the parents into heavy time commitments so that they cannot actually be with their family. Mormonism. I am interested in your struggle because of the phenom I see in Mormonism in that those who are shown how its founder was obviously a charlatan will not, cannot leave it. It’s like a tractor beam holds them in. It took me 7 years off and on doubting myself, feeling intense guilt for trying to leave what the rest of my family “knew” to be ironclad truth. It was horrible. I would leave, feel depressed and anxious, go back for a couple years to give it another try only to leave again 18 months later because I just could not swallow the format any longer. Nevermind Joseph Smith’s dubious character. Nevermind the really stupid swirling controversey re: polygamy. (polygamy is the holiest form of marriage… right) If “families are forever” why can’t I actually BE with my kids? Why do I have to leave them all the time? Why do I have to spend my vacation time down at scout camp looking after other parent’s children for an entire week? Shouldn’t I spend my hard earned vacation days with my own family.
Anyway, once I get started on this, I don’t stop unless I mentally catch myself and severe the stream of consciousness.
I understand your struggle, because I was raised Catholic, and subsequently left that, as well as being sucked into and walked out of The Way. There is a big difference between leaving something you have known your whole life, and something that you just fell into as an adult, like a bad marriage.
In the first, you are basically having to doubt and then reject a basic core of not only your, but your family’s and community’s values and orientation. EVERYTHING you were taught growing up becomes suspect, analyzed, and then ultimately rejected. This can leave people feeling very rootless, floating, and often is what prompts them to “return.” It is sort of like deciding to stick with the devil you know, rather than brave the unknown alone. I say alone, because nobody will do this with you. Your parents, extended family, old friends, etc will either not understand you, or will not be supportive because what you do is a threat to them, as well.
In my experience, this is what I went through when I left the Catholics, because when I was in my late 20s, early 30s, , I did try to “return” a couple of times, but it did not work out. I guess for me, the devil I knew wasn’t something I wanted to stick with. I found myself thinking “yeah, but…” all the time when at Mass or other times, and that just doesn’t make for a congenial time. The Way International was like a “bad marriage,” because it looked good at the start, and gradually became twisted. I finally got out, and had to deal with the ramifications for years, but that was completely different from the other. Bad marriages do hurt, and have long-lasting effects, but they are experienced and seen in the context of adulthood, as something that “happened to me.” The former is different, as it is a denial of all that you are, and were taught.
So, when dealing with your Mormon family and friends, remember that they really have no concept of what you are doing, because to them it is as if you are saying “I don’t want to be American any more.” It is confusing, because either they do not recognize your doubts, or they reconciled themselves to them ages ago. Besides, because Mormonism is such a small, insular community, you are really seen as a traitor to the group. Baptists who become Methodists, or Presbyterians who become Congregatonalists do not have this view that they are abandoning the family, because Protestantism is so vast, there is much room to move about and still be accepted. In Mormonism, you either are, or you are not. This applies whether it is LDS or RLDS. Either way, you are either a Saint, or you are a Outsider (inject proper term here).