We hesitate to publish stories people (especially women) send us in which they claim that Way leaders were involved in sexual promiscuity, which sometimes included rape, inducement, abuse of power and drugs. We also hesitate to publish anonymous stories or articles, and stories of other spectacular claims such as stockpiling weapons..
There are several reasons we shy away from publishing these stories. First, we don't want to publish any false stories. We don't publish any known lies or falsehoods, even if we think it may help attain a healthy result (like people leaving TWI). Over the years, we believe we've built a reputation of integrity, documenting our information and being careful not to exaggerate. We don't want to damage our integrity by publishing things that seem spectacularly false.
From the practical standpoint, we don't need to make up serious errors in TWI-- there are so many true errors that we don't need to! We would like to collaborate all facts in stories people tell, although that isn't possible, especially since sexual sin is most often a private affair, known only to the perpetrator and the victim.
However, we have chosen to publish a few of the stories we've received, for the following reasons.
First, we have heard so many such stories from so many people spread across the country, that it becomes apparent that it isn't just a crazy person here and there who is making them up. The stories are similar in many ways, which implies a "typical" approach among Way leaders. They also report similar "reasoning" leaders used to defend their sinful actions. The most comprehensive example of this is the appendix of John Schoenheit's paper on adultery which offers a long list of "Biblical reasons" leaders used to defend sexual promiscuity.
Second, we have had a lot of private correspondence with those who wrote the letters we published, and with scores more who do not wish to publish their stories. We don't find that there are scores of women who are dying to get vengeance by printing false stories of being used sexually by leadership. Instead, scores of ex-Wayers come to us with their stories who don't want to face the inner embarrassment of publically describing what happened to them. Most readers would be overwhelmed if they were able to read all the correspondence we've received over the last 20 years from ex-Wayers about sexual indiscretions in TWI (especially among the Corps). It's a traumatic thing for women to write about the tragic things which have happened to them, because it invokes shame and guilt-- both guilt of submitting to leaders and the invalid guilt many people have when they'd been overwhelmed and abused by others.
Third, secrecy protects the perpetrators who used and abused others (especially male leaders who abused females). They want us all to be silent, because they don't want their evil deeds and crimes to become known. So we have a responsibility to speak out in order to heal the victims and help protect those who may become victims in the future.
Fourth, there are indications that certain past and present leaders in TWI are not people of substantial integrity. There is evidence of authoritarianism, greed, plagiarism, defensiveness, manipulation, and abuse of Scripture for selfish purposes. Sexual indiscretions would not be surprising in people who have this type of character.
Over the years, thousands of followers have left TWI mainly because sexual sin was practiced and defended by Way leadership on many levels. We invite other readers to submit their stories, or to confirm the stories we have published, in order to make clear that sexual error has been, and still is, a serious problem in TWI.
John P. Juedes, 1999 www.empirenet.com/~messiah7
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