COMMENTS ON MOMENTUS FROM AN EX-AREA SPONSOR
The first Momentus training in Indianapolis started on Thursday at 10:00 am and went through Sunday night. With more than 50 participants, it was the largest training done by Mashiyach to that point. The "trainer" read a prayer from Francis Frangipane's book The Three Battlegrounds. It starts out, "Lord Jesus, I submit to you. I declare according to the Word of God, that because of Your power to subject all things unto Yourself, the weapons of my warfare are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds . . ."
That in essence is what the Momentus training is about, the pulling down of "strongholds" in your life that prevent you from being the type of person that you say you want to be. For me, and a lot of former Way people the "stronghold" that needed to be pulled down was using the abuse that we received during our involvement with TWI as an excuse not to lead "Christian" lives now. In some respects, and for some people, I suppose it worked. In others the results were disastrous.
I freely admit that at first for me it appeared liberating. I was excited about the "deliverance" people, myself included, received during the training. At the grad meeting a week after the training I signed up to be on the team of the next training in February. I was Team Captain in the April and July trainings. My husband and I became sponsors for the September training; we sponsored two more trainings (and lost about five to six thousand dollars doing so) before severing ties with Mashiyach. Perhaps half the area sponsors were ex-Wayers, as was founder Daniel Tocchini. He wasn't deeply involved, and his wife was totally against TWI and would throw away anything they received from them in the mail and "forget" to give Daniel their messages when they called.
One thing of great value happened for me as a result of my association with Mashiyach. I realized that just because I was victim does not mean I can not overcome that and move on. But, to deny that I ever was a victim, as Mashiyach insisted, victimizes me again. For example, when I told one of the trainers about how Way founder V. P. Wierwille took advantage of me sexually, he responded, "So you had an affair with him." I responded that I had not thought of it in that way but that I would consider it.
But now I totally reject the idea that I ever had an affair with VP, and reject the Momentus idea that there are no (adult) victims.
Several people met to discuss this, including ex-Way leader John Lynn, who asked me for some details of the incidents with VP. I told him that I could not remember very many details and that I really struggled with that because it is hard to forgive someone for something you do not remember. He said he believed that I couldn't remember because I had most likely been drugged. He said he was aware for some time prior to leaving TWI that leaders had been drugging young girls.
These scriptures are up on posters throughout the training: Luke 10:27, John 13:34-35 NIV, Ephesians 5:1-2, I John 4:20-21, I John 4:16-18. Other scriptures that are up at times during the training are: Luke 6:27, Matthew 7:4, NASB, II Corinthians 3:18.
The training is about loving others. It is about looking into your past and seeing what it is that stops you from loving others as scripture commands. There are six "principles" of the Momentus training: responsibility, repentance, service, action, urgency and excellence.
The principle of responsibility ("Why do you observe the splinter in your brother's eye and never notice the great log in your own?") essentially came down like this for me: You are responsible for the abuse you received at the hand of TWI leaders because you allowed them to abuse you. "The limits of tyrants are prescribed by those whom they oppress", is a favorite quote of MT trainers. To emphasize their point, a book was written by three of the trainers named, Killing the Victim, Before the Victim Kills You. At one point I heard one of the trainers say that there are no victims (except for children who were sexually abused). I did my best to adapt this stance for my experience and myself but it did not work.
I believe that in order for me to move on in my life, I need to forgive the people who have abused me. However, if I was not a victim and they are not responsible for what they did, but rather, I am responsible for having allowed the abuse, what is there for me to forgive?
I believe that their prospective on victims and responsibility is a major reason why some ex-Way leaders promoted the Momentus Training with such vigor, because it would absolve them from responsibility for what they did to others. I do not know how ex-leaders could feel no guilt for anything that happened to anyone in TWI, because, to this day, I do.
As team captain and then sponsor of the Momentus Training, Mashiyach held my husband and I responsible for everything that went wrong with any training. For example, a few people who took the training had to be either heavily medicated or hospitalized after the training due to the emotional intensity of the training. As sponsors we were blamed (although they avoided using that word) for not coaching the team on whom to enroll in the training. No responsibility was taken by the trainer for what occurred during the training that would cause such a response.
We were coached by Mashiyach to screen people who applied for Momentus, however, they applauded big enrollment efforts on the other hand. (The more participants, the bigger the "gift offering"). So many ex-Way people are drawn to this in my opinion because they are so accustomed to doing what a Way leader tells them that they just do what their leaders tell them to do. John has a big mailing list of ex-Way people. I have seen him pull it out and just make call after call to sign people up for the training. That is NOT how people are supposed to be enrolled by MMI's usual standards. But this was how they first started to really move the Momentus Training, so they just let John go on the one hand and then asked us to contain him on the other.
I feel that the Momentus Training is a very powerful experience and I know that I benefitted from that experience. However, what is missing from Mashiyach's perspective is that people who were in TWI were brainwashed and, in some cases (possibly my own), drugged. To demand of people that they take responsibility for the abuses that were done to them under such circumstances is a travesty. It is little wonder that some people simply could not handle the shame heaped upon them during the trainings.
I exhort them and you to honestly consider the possibility that some of us who associated ourselves with The Way International were brain washed. Read some books about brain washing techniques and accounts of people in similar cult situations and see if you recognize anything. Momentus is not trying to brainwash people and does not believe brainwashing is possible. However, after reading about brainwashing, I think some of the exercises in the training could be considered brainwashing techniques. However, the goal of the training is self- government and his ministry is not set up in such a way that having a cult following is possible.
But the training is not for the faint hearted. It is painful a lot of times to look into the past to see what keeps you from loving others. That is why Momentus' views on victims are so strong. They maintain that people choose to be victims and therefore are not true victims. I say people are victimized but they do not have to let it stop them.
When Momentus maintains that you are responsible for the abuse you received, for some people it is just too much. I think the reason they are so emotionally torn is because most of its message is true. We do need to move past former hurts and love others. I know of no Christian who does not believe this. Trouble is in laying the blame for being victimized on the victim. I have heard trainers say many times that a victim opens the door for abuse to occur. That may be true in a lot of cases, but those who abuse are still responsible for their actions. As I have heard it said, "Just because I lay down does not mean you have to use me as a doormat."
Another problem with the training is that it is shame based. For example the ground rules are used a lot during the training to shame people if they break one. While it may be effective, your only recourse is asking forgiveness and there is no means of restitution available in the training, so the feelings of shame remain.
MARSHA ROBBINS, 1998
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