Thanks for all the work you have been doing for so long to help people who have been traumatized by TWI.
I don't want to share my entire story, but rather highlights of things that have not gotten that much ink.
First of all, about myself: I took the PFAL class in the Spring of 1972 while a freshman at Indiana University. In rapid succession I took other classes including the Intermediate, "Fishers of Men," "Dealing With the Adversary," and, in the summer of 1973, the Advanced Class (at H.Q.). In May, 1973 I married someone with whom I had taken the Foundational Class. In 1975-76 I went WOW. In 1979 I went on Region/Limb staff in New York. In 1981 I went into the 12th Corps (forgive me if I have my dates wrong.) In 1982/83 I did my interim year at H.Q. I graduated in 1984. My wife and I moved to H.Q. in 1984, where I worked in the Bookstore, then Permanent Records, and finally, Payroll. I left H.Q., TWI, and my wife in July, 1989. I went back to graduate school to complete my interrupted education in 1990. I now have a wonderful life, a wonderful family, and a wonderful church.
I have several points to make which I seldom see mentioned:
1) In 1975-76 (my WOW year, and 200th anniversary of the country) V.P. Wierwille stated that if we don't move the Word over the USA by 1976, the country would be overrun by communists, or illuminati, or somebody. (Maybe some of you remember more exactly.) If anyone thinks we "got the Word over the USA" by the end of 1976, please let me know why you think so, and how we did it.. The trick in that situation was that he never defined what it meant to "get the word over the USA." In other words, he could later say that it meant getting one believer in each state, or broadcasting a radio message that reached all over the USA, or whatever he wanted. He couldn't be wrong. I remember quietly putting that issue (along with many others) on the "back burner" when it failed to happen.
2) In the fall of 1979, when I had first started on Region/Limb staff in New York, we got an urgent call from H.Q. A secret meeting was set up for the Limb leaders in the Northeast Region in a neutral location (Howard Johnson's). During that meeting, we were told that Dr. Wierwille had predicted (prophesied) that if we didn't move the Word, the Illuminati ( or commies, or whomever) were going to take over the USA. We discussed things like destroying lists of names, establishing "second locations" where we could flee, getting guns and ammunition, and stockpiling gasoline. My job, as a result of this meeting was to: store drinking water under the porch of the limb home; store gasoline, in 5 gallon containers, under the porch of the limb home, make calls to find out how we could get a second gas tank put into the limb leader's station wagon, and to burn all records of members and twig leaders. (We were to keep only region, limb, and branch leaders' names and addresses.) The assumption was that as soon as the commies landed, they would be headed straight for The Way of New York's gray rented house that served as the offices for the Northeast Region. Once there, they would steal all names and addresses and go after those people since they were the only ones who were going to stop the invasion. Never mind the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff-these guys were going after THE WAY!!
So, like good Way believers, my wife and I prepared for "the holocaust." (The Way's words, not mine.) We sold the Standard Oil stock that had been given us for a wedding present and bought canned, dried foods to sustain us while we were living in our "2nd location" during the "holocaust." (As far as I know, she still has that food, which I hope she's enjoying. Triticale flakes, anyone?) Our home at that time became a warehouse of dried food. The limb leaders in our region made a bulk order. One day a truck from Texas pulled up to our rented house and unloaded tons of this stuff. I never asked the question then, but now I wonder what would have happened to all the branch leaders, twig leaders, and normal believers who weren't told about the coming invasion?
Needless to say, the "holocaust" never happened. No explanations were given. Nobody told us what to do with our nearly $2000 worth of dried food, or the .22 rifle I had bought. (I'm not a real fan of guns, and the .22 was a concession to the advice that everyone needed to have a firearm.)
3) Much has been spoken about the sexual abuse by V.P. Wierwille, and L.C. Martindale, as well as region leaders and limb leaders. I don't discount that in any way. I found out only too late, and I continue to find out how widespread and devastating it was. I want to mention how much it affected those of us in the lower ranks of believers. While 'on the field," I was relatively insulated from the negative influences of H.Q., and what was going on in the upper echelons. Sure, I had my questions about V.P. and his apparent egotism, but I never dreamed of how far it went. In 1982, I served my Interim year at H.Q. That was my first experience with the sexual promiscuity that was rampant at H.Q. Someone in my office became friends with me, and even though I was married, came on to me. I should not have been surprised, because during our first year in the Corps, as a married couple, we were "set up" with a single woman for a Corps "do." Apparently, single women were in such a sorry state, that out of the love of God, as a married man, I was supposed to take my wife and another woman to the event. There was nothing sexual implied, just that we should bless this poor single woman who didn't have a mate.
At this first "do," we were divided up into "Knights and Ladies" (appropriate enough), and "Vikings and Wenches"? That night I happened to sit across from a "Wench," G.S. As I found out much later, she had been sexually abused by Dr. Wierwille, and a few years later, she would tell me in a bar while I was drunk and listening to a "believer" band, that she "guaranteed I would sleep with GS before the Rock of Ages that year."
After we graduated from the 12th Corps, my wife and were sent to H.Q. While on staff I was quite surprised by the number of married people who had a "best friend" of the opposite sex, and how much time these people spent with that friend. Through all of this, I assumed that I was the one who didn't "get it," that I was the one who was "under the law." After flirting with danger with some of these women, I finally allowed myself to "do as the Romans do while in Rome," and I had more than one adulterous relationship. (I take full responsibility. No matter how much The Way teachings twisted my mind; I always knew that adultery was wrong.)
My point here is that adultery did not only occur among the highest levels of leadership. Whatever is happening "at the top" always filters down through the lower levels, even if it is not taught. The message seeps through that "Anything done with the love of God is permissible."
I am now remarried very happily. I am involved in a mainstream protestant church-very happily. I am nearly over (after 13 years of being free) the influence of The Way International.
Very Sincerely, R. G.
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