- Ken / ReadersSome thoughts ... ramblings ... concurrences ...I'm out 23 years and counting. Left the Tucson cult in 1990 ... I am actually amazed at how much it all seems like just a couple of years ago. (From what I have seen, this is common.)Long standing revelations from this group ... things that keep sticking ... "what keeps coming up"For me the term: Religious Professionals - Ken's done a great job of expounding on this concept, about the complete obsolescence of this concept. This phrase (religious professionals) rings in my head almost daily - because our planet is so flooded with them, and their manipulative influence is so pervasive as to be a negative influence on our society.Atheism & Agnosticism ... purported to be spiritual suicide in Waymanism, and in Contempo Modern Christianity it is portrayed as a negative.So how did we de-evolve to a place of sheepish acceptance just because someone "says so"? What part of us all died in us that just allowed someone else to declare "what is and what should never be"?To wonder aloud "Is there really a "God"? and "Who or what really spun it all into existence?" - this is actually a place of spiritual questioning. Agnosticism and Atheism are really just an answer to a multitude of religious brands. I think the answer Atheism and Agnosticism provide is: "I'll take none of the above, and if the answer truly comes I'll entertain it"These big questions about "what does it all mean?" and "How do we know" - why is that a bad thing? I think it is a normal human emotion or thought to hope that we don't just go to black when we die, that somehow this short span of sentient life has greater meaning in a cosmic sense than just a mere ~70 solar cycles.And if some voice in your head tells you the answer - why is that worse than hearing some dogma from a church? Someone screaming (aka preaching) from a pulpit somehow has more authority on spiritual matters because they managed to convince a room full of people to keep agreeing with them.Christianity founding its arguments upon ancient texts that have some questionable authenticity, and hailed as sacred texts "because someone said so" - this lending of authority by long term branding has led multitudes to believe in it.For example, good marketing of a bad product is very common. MIcrosoft sold a generation of users bad software and created a generation of people who have little faith in computing, where their expectations of failure are common. Apple conversely sold a better product and even charged more, and created a generation of computer users who love their products.For me, I have always been one to say "What if" ... and when someone comes to me and says "this is how it is because we know this or that" - well, I reckon that if the evidence is solid, I tend to believe it.How I allowed myself to override the red flags that kept coming up is a mystery, but I suspect it is related to an admiration of passion.I think our society puts passion on a pedastal, and when we see it in athletes, or in politics, or in spiritual matters, we mentally ascend and our guard is down, we fall for a passionate argument in spite of its possible flaws.Being coerced by fire and brimstone and threats of eternal damnation is a huge cruel marketing trick, and not substantiated even by the ancient texts (The Bible) these CFM/PH people espouse.If you think about it, even the Bible espouses love, mercy and tolerance more than fire and brimstone, but fear is a huge motivator and running people with fear seems to be a better marketing tool for these Waymanites. In fact, they even mock other groups who espouse love and tolerance. This is also used to create an illusion of spiritual eliteness, that those who espouse love and tolerance and a soft approach to proselytizing are somehow effeminate and are even rejected by God himself. (lukewarm).So ... having left CFM so many years ago ... smoked a few bowls ... had a few beers ... enjoyed some cigars ... even helped the less fortunate without expectation of return (like helping them so as to get them to come to my church - because I don't go to any LOL) ...It's a miracle I can even function in society these days, and I do suspect that my involvement with CFM did have some damaging effects on me, but I don't want to give them that much credit. I've always been a bit of a misfit and a maverick, and maybe that's what helped me get out.I think in America, and I imagine the world at large, a huge need exists for mankind to become skeptical again, to drop the blind acceptance of not just religion or spiritual concepts, but even in work and secular society.So if you are still in CFM, and considering leaving, whatever God there is or whoever he/she/they/it are, are hardly interested in destroying you, having created an incredible person in you. If you believe the bible, then the God of the bible has the power to speak with you directly, and maybe you're just not listening. Maybe you're being told to come out from it.Maybe you're right and your pastor is wrong. Maybe the only thing he's right about is how to be louder than you. Maybe you need to be louder.Those questions boiling up inside of you may well be the spirit of god inside you, WHO'S TO SAY? What if what we're saying is actually right?What if everything you know is wrong ... I had to ask myself and the more I thought about it the more sense it made to just say ALL STOP ...So ... I've done my rant ... hope it helps someone out there ...
- cigarscoffeeandbeer said:
[Some thoughts ... ramblings ... concurrences ...I'm out 23 years and counting. Left the Tucson cult in 1990 ... I am actually amazed at how much it all seems like just a couple of years ago. (From what I have seen, this is common.) ]
It seems to vary from person to person, but you are right that it is frequently the case.
I think the reason that the fellowship experience is so etched in the minds of ex members is because it was such a repetitive, all inclusive experience. It became our world, our society, and pretty much everyone that we had any real involvement with. We functioned in the "real world" only as much as we had to, and we brought our fellowship world with us. I don't know if this is still true, but we were told to "witness to everything that moves," and that included the people at work, our families, and anyone else we encountered outside the church.
In the church, we were trained to condition, sanction, and police each other. If anyone started to think out loud, voicing anything but the teachings of Waymanchrist, then they were reigned in by the other members, and often reported to the pastor. Even husbands and wives functioned this way, which is one of the reasons so many married people are trapped in the fellowship. They know that if they leave, it is almost certain that the pastor will turn their husband or wife against them.
One of the reasons that it seems like you were in a time warp for those years that you spent in the fellowship is because of the sameness of it all. I, for example, often have trouble remembering events in my fellowship experience as to whether they took place in 1977 or 1978. I have to think about which job I had in order to discern those two years, and the reason is what I just mentioned. Those years of being a single guy in the Tucson church were just so much the same.
Remembering the whole experience, though, is still not difficult for me, although I sometimes feel like it is looking back on a former incarnation. It was me, but it was not me, but it was still me. Such a strange thing to ponder.
- cigarscoffeeandbeer said:
[For me the term: Religious Professionals - Ken's done a great job of expounding on this concept, about the complete obsolescence of this concept. This phrase (religious professionals) rings in my head almost daily - because our planet is so flooded with them, and their manipulative influence is so pervasive as to be a negative influence on our society.]
In my limited study of the origins of human civilizations, I note that there are certain common denominators that seemed to enable us to come out of the caves to build cities and farms, dig wells, have laws, and generally create a much better life for ourselves than we had before. Religion seems central to this. It has been said that prostitution is the oldest profession, but I have often wondered if the religious professional goes back as far or farther?
It seems, at the beginning of human civilization, certain men, and occasionally women, made the claim of what might be called divine revelation. That is, they claimed a special connection to Deity, or Deities. Along with this claim came the idea that the common people needed them to teach them divine truth. And then came the part that said it was the duty of the common people to financially and materially support these professionals so that they could devote themselves to teaching these divine truths, and seeking out even more divine truth.
As I have pondered this in modern times I have wondered why it is necessary for someone to have this spiritual guru for a lifetime? Some of us went to college and finished our studies. It was assumed, after we got our degrees, that if we wanted additional facts and knowledge that we would now be capable of doing the research for ourselves. Sure, if we had a BA or BS, we could go for a PhD, but eventually we would come to a place where we no longer needed to be students. We would be experts in our field, and if we were of the more advanced sort, we would keep up with the latest studies in our fields. It would be silly to say to a person with a PhD that they still needed to attend college.
In the fellowship there is this superstition that has been handed down by various religions that once someone attains the office of pastor that they are specially equipped by God and that they have knowledge that the common folks just can't have. I remember one idiot telling me, as he had been promoted to the dubious position of a fellowship leader, that I could not understand the things that went on at the leadership meetings since I was not a leader. When an ex leader, years later, told me what those meetings were really like, I had good laugh. There were no divine revelations going on, but simply a vying for power, and of course, favor with Waymanchrist. In fact, Wayman at one point stopped having those meetings citing that they were useless.
Getting back to the idea that once someone is commissioned to be a pastor in the fellowship that they are supernaturally equipped above mortal men, there would be times when some disciple would receive his first church, sometimes without ever successfully pioneering a church. Imagine being a member of that church who had been there for 15 years, studied the Bible, and really knew far more than the pastor. Now you had to take the position that this new pastor really knew more than you, even though you were aware that this simply was not true. I imagine there were quite a few cases where these members of the church were trying to repent of supposed pride for daring to think that the last sermon the pastor preached was unbiblical, and really stupid.
Why wouldn't you get to a place as a Christian where you "graduate"? Why would you always need that religious professional to teach you yet more marvelous revelations? Why couldn't you reach the place where you are studying the Bible for yourself, listening to various preachers on videos and audios, and developing your own faith? The reason is simple. It is not you who needs the religious professional, it is the religious professional who needs you. He has to sell you on the idea that you need him, or his ability to have a fine living will be hampered. Some Chrsitian who has been studying the Bible for 20 years can't survive without a pastor? Really?
For those who simply enjoy going to church, fellowshipping with other believers, and listening to the sermons of a particular preacher at that church, that is their prerogative. But to say you can't survive as a believer without the religious professional is not true. And, there's nothing wrong with going to a church for a season and then going to another church, or taking some time off from going to church at all? Some believers would rather just gather with some Christian friends for discussion of the Bible and leave it at that. Why would that be evil? Again, you have to look at the real motivation of many of these religious professionals. Quite simply, they need customers if they are to make their living as religious professionals. I realize there are some who are not like that, but I think they are very few indeed.
I could endorse the idea of teaching people about a religion. I could even endorse those who teach being paid, according the law of supply and demand. However, I would expect there to be a completion of the course of study, and that the students would eventually be equipped to develop their own beliefs without being eternally dependent on a religious professional to teach them.
- cigarscoffeeandbeer said:
[So how did we de-evolve to a place of sheepish acceptance just because someone "says so"? What part of us all died in us that just allowed someone else to declare "what is and what should never be"?]
This is a real mystery in human beings.
One of the misconceptions about religions being able to exploit and abuse people is that the victims are really stupid. This simply is not the case as many intelligent people have been snared by Wayman's World. Perry and George easily demonstrate this is true. So what is it? As you ask, how did we become these submissive religious drones?
My own analysis is that one of the main factors in this is that human beings are susceptible to those who speak with authority. I know this from my studies in college, and I yet I still fell for it. For example, there were studies done where someone in a business suit, or someone in a lab coat, would get people to do all kinds of crazy stuff. In some cases, they wouldn't even ask the person's name, or for any credentials, but would just do what this impressive guy was telling them to do. In one case, a guy in a business suit walked up to a road crew that was working on repaving a section of the road. This guy in the business suit asked for the foreman, and he told the foreman to stop what he was doing, walked the foreman down to another section of the street, and told him, "We need you to dig a section out 12 feet by 12 feet, and 6 feet deep." The foreman immediately moved his crew over and began the task. One of the real supervisors of the city roads came by later and asked the foreman what the hell he was doing? The foreman then went over the scenario, and when the real city roads official asked him who this guy was who told him to dig this hole, the foreman merely said, "The guy in the suit!" The never found out who that guy was, but it was suspected that he was part of the psychology department at the nearby university.
Wayman gets up on stage, and with a booming voice declares that he is "God's man." It's the same effect, and the things we did at his command and the command of his appointed leaders were even more stupid than digging a useless hole in the ground. These guys just act so sure of themselves that they are difficult to resist. Add to this the teaching that if you do question them that you are embracing a spirit of rebellion, and we become these willing sheep, walking into the shearing and slaughter house.
The other factor is the vulnerability factor. First of all, we need to realize that as human beings we tend to bow to authority figures. Second, we also need to realize that there are times in our lives when we are especially vulnerable to those who have an "answer" to life. It might be we are going through a divorce, or that we are out of work and struggling, or we are lonely, or we are stressed, or any number of other conditions in our lives. Someone comes with the message, "Jesus is the answer," and we happen to be desperate for an answer. Then we go to a church service, and there is that voice of authority. We answer the altar call, we pray the "repeat after me" prayer, and then the church goes into gear to "lock you in."
Then there is the constant conditioning. Submission and obedience is praised, independent thought and free expression is condemned. Acting and talking like the pastor is seen as spiritual growth, while acting like yourself and having a different speech pattern is seen as resisting the Holy Spirit. And so on. So you become more and more homogenized. You don't even think about being yourself any more. You talk and act the way they programmed you. All you have to do is let yourself really think for a month or two and you will be headed for the door, but they get you to the place where you just don't do that.
And so it goes. My enigma is how to snap someone out of that state of mind? It seems that this is only possible if the church member is starting to question things. There's a blip of brain activity and you have to quickly cease it before the next sermon and altar call eradicate it. It's a real game. Often times someone will be listening to you, about to snap out of Wayman's brain haze spell, and then they will suddenly turn on you as "an enemy of the cross." Chances are they went and talked to the pastor, as they are programmed to do. I wonder if there is a phrase or just something you could say that would trigger a fellowship member to see what's happening to them? Seems to vary from case to case.
Well, it is good to be ourselves again. It was a low level experience being clones of those religious men, some of whom were quite retarded. If acting and talking like one of those jerks is spiritual, I'll take being "carnal" any day.