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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Congregation, Doctrines, Documentation, Religion, Scriptures, Truth

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Child Abuse—Is there a problem?

News reports claim that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the official name for the organization that governs the Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide, has been engaged in covering up child abuse within the religion on a massive scale.

But are these reports justified? Is this a case of an innocent religion being unfairly maligned because of the actions of one or two bad apples in their ranks? How many victims are there? Do the Governing Body know about these issues? What’s really going in the multiple courtroom cases that Watchtower has been fighting across the world?

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Child Abuse—Is there a problem?  is a painstakingly researched documentary that draws together evidence from sources spanning the past twenty five years…

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Angela Mari
Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience

Hyperthymic Novelty—On Generosity: An Enhancement

“What will happen to life when science identifies the genetic basis of happiness? Who will own the patent? Do we dare revise our own temperaments?…”

I once met a physics teacher who immediately recognized me as the main character in the play he was nearly finished writing.

“Absolutely EVERYTHING I remember is realLithium just added a layer of fantasy on it (which I could perceive even at the time).”

Born to Be Happy

After reading an article “Born to Be Happy“, I found myself emailing Hagop Akiskal, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the International Mood Center at the University of California at San Diego whose “work on dysthymia, cyclothymia and hyperthymia challenged the concept of personality disorders, led to the development of a new instrument (Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris and San Diego (TEMPS-A)), thereby contributing to the worldwide renaissance of the temperament field.”

“Information may travel at light speed, but meaning spreads at the speed of dark.”

But being told that I was “hard wired for happiness” seemed a bit over simplified and “hard wired” seemed an insult to this interaction-designer-wannabe-cognitive scientist studying neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.

On “Rewiring the Real

“Digital and electronic technologies that act as extensions of our bodies and minds are changing how we live, think, act, and write. Some welcome these developments as bringing humans closer to unified consciousness and eternal life. Others worry that invasive globalized technologies threaten to destroy the self and the world. Whether feared or desired, these innovations provoke emotions that have long fueled the religious imagination, suggesting the presence of a latent spirituality in an era mistakenly deemed secular and post-human.”

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Documentation, Religion

Child Checks Victoria on Children Check

A child in Victoria, Australia pooled his pocket money together with three other buddies in order to pay $69.70 to launch a private criminal prosecution against the Jehovah’s Witnesses of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in February.

The Victorian and Civil Administrative Tribunal heard a religious vilification complaint against the Watchtower by Mr. Unthank in May, after the Watchtower said people who left the Watchtower, as he had, were ”mentally diseased”. Continue reading

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Culture

This Was Water

My momma has drunk water in years, and David Foster Wallace died of suicide.

There were these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says,

“Morning, boys, how’s the water?”

And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes,

“What the hell is water?”

“The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude, but the fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance…”

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Culture, Documentation, Ethics, Religion, Truth

Hitler and The Watchtower

“Did Hitler receive letters of protest from church officials concerning the outrages perpetrated by the National Socialists, or Nazis? There were some, but such letters were few and far between. In the Moscow archives, however, Eberle found a file containing a number of letters sent to Hitler by Jehovah’s Witnesses from different parts of Germany, protesting against the conduct of the Nazis.” — Watchtower 2011 Oct 1 p.14

See also: “Have You Been Lied To?” Continue reading

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Documentation, Religion

No Social Networking Until You Have A Plan In Order

 

“I shall use subliminal mind control to take over the world …. [A subliminal message] is a recorded message perceived only be the subconscious human mind. I have recorded such a message. [The message is:] Citizens of the world. You are under my control. You will do whatever I say! … If people heard this message enough times, they would succumb to my control and we could take over the world … the only problem: how to get his message repeated worldwide airplay … Country music! … I will go to Nashville and become the biggest country music star of all time. Everyone will hear my record and my subliminal message and I will take over the world!

My parents have twice ‘disowned’ me for being disfellowshipped from the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses under the ecclesiastical authority of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. (for profit corporation) and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (non-stock, not-for-profit organization).

I spent a year in emotional silence — speaking only to people I’d meet or work with, but none of my family or friends — when I was 20 years old after divorcing my abusive husband whom “the organization” gave me no help to escape. They disfellowshipped me, after ignoring repeated attempts for help.

That was the Mooresville congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. That congregation was so bad that it wasn’t just me being abused and punished by the ‘elders’, but it was also my girls friends. S, T, A, and me. Four women married, abused, and rebuked for it.

Then I was reinstated a year later, and thus given family support again. But for what? Our love was broken. I no longer believed that my mother loved me “unconditionally” as she would say. It was clearly a conditional unconditional love. A fact she still cannot conceive of today.

I moved west and kept moving, matching the distance to my family’s heart with distance in miles on the map. I spent six years in Seattle where I was disfellowshipped again.

My mother has no idea who I am as a person. I was emancipated as a minor at 15 years old when I left her home. (It was simply a legal function to protect my ability to care for myself while traveling and done in accordance with my mother’s guidance.)

She has no idea what I do, how I care for myself, and who I am.

This is an email from my mother which one day will shame her.

For now, I have to get back to work, “Social Networking”… Continue reading

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Ancestry, Religion

Enemies

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life.

I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families.

Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”?

That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God.

Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.

That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
and silence atheist babble.

Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

He makes the magicians look ridiculous
and turns fortunetellers into jokes.
He makes the experts look trivial
and their latest knowledge look silly

who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense,

“‘How can you say,
“We know the score. We’re the proud owners of God’s revelation”?

Look where it’s gotten you—stuck in illusion.

Your religion experts have taken you for a ride!

Your know-it-alls will be unmasked,
caught and shown up for what they are.

Look at them!

They know everything but God’s Word.
Do you call that “knowing”?

The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORDE, what kind of wisdom do they have?

It’s written,
I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head,
I’ll expose so-called experts as crackpots.
So where can you find someone truly wise,
truly educated, truly intelligent
in this day and age?

Hasn’t God exposed it all
as pretentious nonsense?

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God,
God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb
—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him. But  you’ve  seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you. The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets  us  in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.

What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.

Listen, dear friends.

Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently?

He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges.

This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God.

And here you are abusing these same citizens!

Isn’t it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind?

Aren’t they the ones who scorn the new name—“Christian”—used in your baptisms?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

The mark of the beast is coming.

The beginning of religion was the first lie.

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Ethics, Religion

Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time

Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time, Carissa Phelps

Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time, Carissa Phelps

An astonishing story of triumph and a fierce determination to give back.

Carissa Phelps was a runner. By twelve, she had run away from home, dropped out of school, and fled blindly into the arms of a brutal pimp, who made her walk the hard streets of central California. But even when she escaped him, she could not outrun the crushing inner pain of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. With little to hope for, she expected to end up in prison, or worse.

But then her life was transformed through the unexpected kindness of a teacher and a counselor. Miraculously, by the time Carissa turned thirty, she had accomplished the unimaginable, graduating from UCLA with both a law degree and an MBA. She had left the streets behind, yet her path would eventually draw her back, this time working to help homeless and at-risk youth find their own paths to a better life.

This is Carissa’s story, the tale of a girl who lost herself and survived, against all odds, through the generosity of strangers. It is an inspiring true story about finding the courage to run toward healing and summoning the strength to light the way for others.

Author Carissa Phelps Shares Her Story of Perseverance

http://youtu.be/nYhtAWPgOt8 Continue reading

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Psychology, Religion

Christian = Love

America's Most Wanted Pedophile former Watchtower's Jehovah's Witness Frederick McLean

America’s Most Wanted Pedophile former Watchtower’s Jehovah’s Witness Frederick McLean

A Pedophile’s Paradise Fredrick McLean, a former member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization, is wanted for sexual assaults on multiple children entrusted to his care over a 20 year period.

Frederick McLean, 57, was charged in San Diego Superior Court in January of 2005 of four counts of child molestation and one count of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14. Investigations into the assaults found that McLean lures his victims into trusting him, and then uses that trust to molest and manipulate his victims. Investigators have identi ed numerous victims and believe McLean may be seeking new victims. McLean has been described as being very intelligent and methodical; planning everything he does to the smallest detail. He may have over $100,000 in cash at his disposal. McLean may have changed his appearance to aid in his  ight from justice. Investigators say McLean is considered armed and dangerous.

Is Frederick McLean hiding in your spiritual paradise?
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Music

Society

Into the Wild

It’s a mystery to me
We have a greed with which we have agreed
You think you have to want more than you need
Until you have it all you won’t be free

Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me

When you want more than you have
You think you need
And when you think more than you want
Your thoughts begin to bleed

I think I need to find a bigger place
‘Cause when you have more than you think
You need more space

Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, crazy and deep
I hope you’re not lonely without me

There’s those thinking more or less, less is more
But if less is more how you’re keeping score?
Means for every point you make your level drops
Kinda like it’s starting from the top, you can’t do that

Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, crazy and deep
I hope you’re not lonely without me

Society, have mercy on me
I hope you’re not angry if I disagree
Society, crazy and deep
I hope you’re not lonely without me

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Culture, Religion

Called to be Counter-Cultural?

He quickly learned that much of his time was spent being against something, instead of being for anything. And he’s not alone.

WHEN WE DEFINE OUR LIVES BY WHAT WE ARE AGAINST, WE END UP LIVING HORRIBLY UNCREATIVE LIVES.

It’s a celebrated virtue in many Christian circles to be known as “counter-cultural.” We are often content to place the prefix “anti-” in front of a word and believe it is a way of stating what we are for. But I wonder if, by choosing to arrange our lives around what we stand against, we are limiting who we are called to be. If we always react against culture, the very things we rise up against will become our central point of reference for morality—which means we won’t get very far.

It’s easy to define yourself by what you are against. It’s figuring out what you are for that presents a real challenge.

— Are Christians Called to be Counter-Cultural? by Relevant Magazine

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Infinite Minds

What if we could create infinite minds?

by Raya Bidshahri at TEDxYouth@Winchester (by TEDxTalks)

If You Believe,
they believe we can live forever,
without our bodies.

Or we could believe in God.
Imagine forever with senses.

You are living in #ScienceNonFiction

 

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Religion, Truth

My Life in Jehovah’s Spirit-Directed Organization

“…Later, at the suggestion of a friend of the family and with the approval of the school principal, the parents decided to put the youth in a clinic for the mentally ill, thinking that psychiatric treatment would make him abandon his faith.

The clinic personnel took the boy 60 miles [100 km] away in a car and injected him with huge doses of insulin and other drugs until he lost consciousness.

Upon awakening, he was completely disoriented, did not know anyone, and suffered partial amnesia. After many studies the doctors could not find any mental disorder in him. But the clinic went ahead with the treatment.

When conscious, the boy prayed continually to Jehovah not to abandon him and begged him for the strength to endure. Jehovah did protect him, and eventually he was released from the clinic.” — Watchtower March 1, 1992

Jehovah’s Spirit-Directed Organization

Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?

The phrase “spirit directed” occurs as many time in the scriptures as the phrase holy spirit-directed organization” occurs in the Watchtower’s literature—not once.

While the Watchtower never claims to be a “holy spirit directed organization” the literature shows 23 references to their being a “spirit-directed organization”, and the references to “God’s spirit-directed organization” are only found in the baptismal candidate questions (quoted above) used as of the 1980’s.

“Only if the individual answers in the affirmative and also understands that his dedication and baptism identify him as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization can he acceptably undergo water immersion. — What Prevents You From Getting Baptized? w89 1/15 p. 13 par. 18

So we know that the Watchtower claims to be a spirit-directed organization, but has never claimed that it was “holy spirit-directed”. 

It claims that it is God’s spirit-directed organization, yet Paul acknowledged that there are many gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship these god’s.

“There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords. But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.” — 1 Corinthians 8:5,6

Since we cannot be certain that this is an organization which is directed by holy spirit, as the Watchtower themselves has never claim to be holy spirit-directed, then we must wonder which god does this spirit-directed organization belong to?

The Watchtower is clear that it is Jehovah’s Spirit-Directed Organization. To make this point clear, the conclusion is simply that the Watchtower is not directed by holy spirit, it is directed by Jehovah’s spirit.

Serving God vs. Jehovah’s Organized People

Regarding “God’s Channel”: “Jehovah is using only one organization to accomplish his will.” Where is the scripture to back up the last assertion in the paragraph?

 

Jehovah has a people on this earth, and he expects us to serve him along with them. This brings us to the fourth requirement: We must serve Jehovah with his spirit-directed organization.

How, though, can God’s organized people be identified?

According to the standards set out in the Scriptures,

  • they have real love among themselves,
  • they have deep respect for the Bible,
  • they honor God’s name,
  • they preach about his Kingdom,
  • and they are no part of this wicked world.

(Matthew 6:9; 24:14; John 13:34, 35; 17:16, 17)

There is only one religious organization on this earth that has all these marks of true Christianity—Jehovah’s Witnesses!”

—What Does God Require of Us?
The Watchtower 1997 1/15 p. 22

 

The Watchtower sets up Jehovah with his spirit-directed organization above all other religious organizations on this earth, claiming that only Jehovah’s Witnesses have the marks of true Christianity. They claim that all other religious organizations and Christendom are  “Babylon the Great” as depicted in the book of Revelation.

Paul warned that the man of lawlessness “will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” — 2 Thessalonians 2:4

 

Certainly if Jehovah’s Witnesses feel superior to all other Christian organizations on earth, it follows Jehovah’s spirit-directed organization openly “opposes and exalts itself over everything that is called God or is worshiped”.

The Watchtower’s world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, have been referred to as “Brooklyn Bethel” more than 500 times in the Watchtower literature (see WT DVDROM).

According to the Insight on the Scriptures book, “Beth’el” means “House of God”, and defines temple as “A divine habitation, sacred place or sanctuary, either physical or spiritual, that is employed for worship.”

Thus, in as many words, The Watchtower has defined itself as Jehovah’s spirit-directed organization openly “opposes and exalts itself over everything that is called God or is worshiped” and has set itself up as Bethel (God’s House or temple, his divine habitation), proclaiming itself to be God.

The Insight on the Scriptures book continues regarding the temple, “This “man of lawlessness” is an apostate, a false teacher, so he actually seats himself only in what he falsely claims to be that temple.”

The Insight on the Scriptures book concludes regarding “the man of lawlessness”, “by his lying teachings contrary to or superseding, as it were, the law of God, … he is a hypocrite, a false teacher claiming to be Christian, he “sits down in the temple of The God,” that is, what such false teachers claim to be that temple.”

The Bible pointed to the rise of Christendom’s clergy, describing them collectively as “the man of lawlessness” and “the son of destruction . . . whom the Lord Jesus will do away with . . . and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his presence.”—2 Thess. 2:3, 6-8.

According to the Watchtower, “True Christians have been separated out from the “weeds” of Christendom.” — Jehovah’s Witnesses do not consider themselves part of Christendom, but “invite others to “go up” to the exalted worship of Jehovah God.

“Apostates can present yet another threat to our spirituality.

The apostle Paul foretold that apostasy would arise among professed Christians. (Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Thessalonians 2:3)

In fulfillment of his words, after the death of the apostles, a great apostasy led to the development of Christendom.

Today, there is no great apostasy taking place among God’s people [Jehovah’s Witnesses]. Still, a few individuals have left our ranks, and some among them are bent on defaming Jehovah’s Witnesses by spreading lies and misinformation. A few work with other groups in organized resistance to pure worship. In doing so, they side with the very first apostate, Satan.

Some apostates are increasingly using various forms of mass communication, including the Internet, to spread false information about Jehovah’s Witnesses.

As a result, when sincere individuals do research on our beliefs, they may stumble across apostate propaganda.

Even some Witnesses have unwittingly exposed themselves to this harmful material.” — Watchtower 2000 5/1 pp. 8-12

The Watchtower itself warns, “If anyone who professes to serve God relies on his own ideas instead of adhering to the Bible… he becomes “mentally diseased.”

It’s about to be 100 years from 1914.

What was 1914? As far as anyone can see, literally, it was nothing.

The Watchtower—today—claims that it was the year Christ returned, invisibly, to earth and inspected Christendom finding the Watchtower as the sole ‘faithful and discreet slave’ (Matthew 24).

[Editor’s note: this teaching has changed again. They are now just “the slave” appointed and claim that they are faithful, though Christ has not returned to say so, and reward them.]

It gets complicated though, because in 1914, we believed he came invisibly in 1874, and that 1914 was to be the end of the last days.

It wasn’t until the 1930’s that the Watchtower’s new Jehovah’s Witnesses started teaching that he came in 1914 instead of 1874, although obviously he still came invisibly since no one knew he had come and gone—which begs the question, how did the appoint the faithful and discreet slave?

“It is vital that we appreciate this fact and respond to the directions of the “slave” as we would to the voice of God, because it is His provision.”— The Watchtower June 15, 1957 p.370

The Faithful Slave

Apparently there was much confusion there too, as Russell was believed to the be one and only faithful and discreet slave even after he died. But we don’t believe Russell was the slave, otherwise he’s dead and then what? It shifted over time to become a corporation under Rutherford into the form it’s taken as a “governing body” today.

Now, what about that ‘faithful and discreet slave’ versus the ‘evil slave’ parable? Well, the governing body is made up of imperfect men and that’s why we have to be ‘patient with the organization’ ‘waiting on Jehovah’.

In the 70’s while my dad was serving at Beth’el (meaning literally, ‘house of god’, in this case Jehovah) there were two relatives on the governing body, Raymond Franz and his uncle Fred Franz.

The Evil Slave

Raymond studied the scriptures while Fred ran the place. Raymond was assigned responsibility for producing “Studies in the Scriptures” and loved every minute preparing the material for publication.

However, what he learned from the scriptures disagreed with what the Watchtower taught, and still teaches today. His decision to stay true to the word of God, rather than Jehovah’s organization deemed him “the evil slave”.

Here’s where you have to stop and reason.

If none of these men were alive and present to be appointed ‘faithful’ in 1914, then how can the governing body be the faithful slave?

And if you can’t take it on a case-by-case basis man for man over time, then how can you remove one man from the body and call him evil, but the rest ‘the faithful’?

Wasn’t it Christ who was to appoint and reward his faithful slaves, and to judge the evil?

My dad is an ‘organization man’.

My dad vehemently defends the Watchtower as God’s organization.

I tried to ask him what if the Watchtower and the holy scriptures disagreed, but that didn’t end well.

Suffice to say he reflects Rutherford’s attitude when asked about correcting the name of God, since it’s not “Jehovah” as Jehovah’s Witnesses teach:

“At the Yankee Stadium, when giving his speech introducing the New World Translation, the Society’s president said: “…the translation committee has used the form ‘Jehovah’ because of its familiarity and because it preserves the four original letters [YHWH] of the Hebrew name. In God’s own time when He reveals the correct pronunciation of his holy name, we will gladly make the accurate correction.”—See The Watchtower, September 15, 1950, page 317 ¶ 14.

When I first tried to talk to my parents about Matthew 24 — its such a simple and easy to understand chapter! — my mother said she could ‘see me being an apostate‘.

I countered with my only hope—”please, explain to me when I’ll see my daddy again?”

You see, I was raised with a Catch 22. I had to be good enough as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses to obtain to eternal life in God’s kingdom on the paradise earth, where then I could see my daddy again, as he would be resurrected since he ‘died faithful’. (Never mind that we would both have to survive the attack by Satan at the end of the thousand years, where despite having died faithful, and been resurrected as a faithful one, my daddy or I might still succumb to Satan and die twice, three times if you include the ‘spiritual death’. Compare Hebrews 9:27)

I recalled growing up that he would come back some time during the thousand year reign based on “the last will be first, and the first will be last”. However, I had just finished reading the scriptures through for the very first time on my own, reading The Message version (read free on www.bible.com).

I had read Revelation 20:5 and it seemed simple, succinct, and it covered everything.

“And the rest of the dead don’t come to life until the thousand years have ended.”

My parents argued their “Reasoning from the Scriptures“, but the short of it is they do not believe the scriptures as written, they use man’s reasoning instead. (Mark 7:8)

Yet, this prophecy, the only book of scripture inspired by Christ himself, comes with a very explicit warning:

I give fair warning to all who hear
the words of the prophecy of this book:

If you add to the words of this prophecy,
God will add to your life
the disasters written in this book;

if you subtract from the words
of the book of this prophecy
,
God will subtract your part
from the Tree of Life
and the Holy City
that are written in this book.

He who testifies to all these things says it again:
“I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon!”
I shifted back to Matthew 24.

I was begging them to explain to me how it is that we contradict what Matthew 24 says so simply—all will see him!

How is it that we believed he came invisibly then???

I also pointed out that if the appointing of the slave happened in 1914, then the judging and rewarding hasn’t happened yet — thus, the slave was appointed to feed, but had not been found faithful, discreet,—or evil!

What was ‘the faithful and discreet slave’ doing calling themselves ‘faithful’ if Christ himself had not judged them so?!

Matthew 24 parallels the same events in Revelation of the four horsemen — so isn’t the first horse that looks like Christ, but is clearly depicted as different than Christ (later in Revelation) actually the anti-Christ?

Doesn’t he ride out and conquer Christians enslaving them into his kingdom, the kingdom of the false Christ: Christendom?

Isn’t that what Matthew 24 says happens, which is also attested to by the second letter to the Thessalonians who were commended for their learning, but warned not to listen to the teachings of men over that of God’s own word, or his son, the Word?

At the Watchtower’s Annual Meeting 2012 they changed the teaching.

I remind my mother that to turn “apostate” doesn’t mean to turn your back on religion or the Watchtower, it means to turn your back on God, and the one whom he sent forth: the way, the truth, the life.

“Veritas Via Vitae.”

Please know that it took great courage for me to finally find my voice: Having been silenced for years from speaking to those I thought were my ‘true’ friends and family I turned to writing.

However, living in an atheist society and surrounded by dogmatic “IRL” friends, I kept my faith to myself.

Having been taught that “there is no where else to go” because all other religions are false religions, I no longer had any spiritual association.

It never occurred to me to find out who, among my “IRL friends” were Christian. After all, back then if someone were to ask me if I were a Christian, I’d reply that I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (And what is that but another denomination of nominal Christians in Christendom? Ah how we love our divisive sects!)

Jessica, Lindsey, Ashley, et al, it’s hard to believe that it’s been eight years since I’ve had a hug from one of my ‘friends’.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

It’s been eight years, we were friends before Facebook came along.

However, my family members ‘unfriend’ me as if somehow that can change the fact that we are family. Now, you get to make the choice. You guys are it. The only ones who know me of all the people listed as my ‘friends’ on Facebook. You get to choose to love me, or ‘unfriend’ me.

I do not believe the Watchtower organization is directed by holy spirit any more than any other organization on the planet. “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one”, the scriptures say, and no where does it say that He (neither God, nor his Son) would come down and appoint any organization. Even still all that slave was to do was to feed faithfully and discreetly while waiting for the master to return.

He doesn’t urge “come out of her my people” just so you can hurry into the Kingdom Hall instead.

As far as I can tell, God’s Kingdom, nor Christ’s has come to earth yet.

So just whose Kingdom are you meeting in?

The Last Supper, Seattle, December 1, 2004

The Last Supper, Seattle, December 1, 2004

 

I woke up.

There’s a story there, it’s the reason I chose the specific example at the outset… But I can’t write everything from the past 33 years of my life in one blog post. 🙂

However, I’m going to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, with the help of my Father, his Son, and the holy spirit.

It’s going to be fun.

You know the best part? You can unfriend me, and you can still come read the stories, on my Facebook or on my blog.

I have set everything up to be public.

Thanks for reading this far if you have.

That night of the ‘Last Supper’ happened also to be my 25th birthday.

We were there to ‘celebrate’ our last night out together before my getting disfellowshipped, not to celebrate my birthday.

I’m 33 now.

“Oh, sweet thing
Zion doesn’t love you
And Babylon don’t love you
But you love everything
Oh, you saint”

When I was 30 I went to Burning Man, a week long art festival. As I stood among all those people in the desert it was hard not to think of the Israelites in the desert dancing before the burning calf.

Outside the tents, on the festival grounds
As the air began to cool, and the sun went down
My soul swooned, as I faintly heard the sound
Of you spinning “Israelites”
Into “19th Nervous Breakdown”

“Babel” by Mumford and Sons

‘Cause I know that time has numbered my days
And I’ll go along with everything you say
But I’ll ride home laughing, look at me now
The walls of my town, they come crumbling down

And my ears hear the call of my unborn sons
And I know their choices color all I’ve done
But I’ll explain it all to the watchman’s son,
I ain’t ever lived a year better spent in love

‘Cause I’ll know my weakness, know my voice
And I’ll believe in grace and choice
And I know perhaps my heart is farce,
But I’ll be born without a mask

Like the city that nurtured my greed and my pride,
I stretched my arms into the sky
I cry Babel! Babel! Look at me now
Then the walls of my town, they come crumbling down

You ask where will we stand in the winds that will howl,
As all we see will slip into the cloud
So come down from your mountain and stand where we’ve been,
You know our breath is weak and our body thin

Press my nose up, to the glass around your heart
I should’ve known I was weaker from the start,
You’ll build your walls and I will play my bloody part
To tear, tear them down,
Well I’m gonna tear, tear them down

‘Cause I know my weakness, know my voice,
And I’ll believe in grace and choice
And I know perhaps my heart is farce,
But I’ll be born without a mask

“O’ Sister” by City and Color

Oh sister
What’s wrong with your mind?
You used to be so strong and stable
My sister
What made you fall from grace?
I’m sorry that I was not there to catch you

What have the demons done?
What have the demons done?
With the luminous light that once shined from your eyes
What makes you feel so alone
Is it the whispering ghosts
That you feared the most
But the blackness in your heart
Won’t last forever
I know it’s tearing you apart
But it’s a storm you can weather

Oh sister
Those lines etched in your hands
They’re hardened and rough like a road map of sorrow
My sister
There is a sadness on your face
You’re like a motherless child who’s longing for comfort
What’s running through your veins
That’s causing you such pain?
Does it have something to do with the pills they gave to you?
What is eating at your soul?
Was it the whispering ghosts that left you out in the cold?

But the blackness in your heart
Won’t last forever
I know it’s tearing you apart
But it’s a storm you can weather

Oh sister
My sister

“Demons” by Imagine Dragon

When the days are cold
And the cards all fold
And the saints we see
Are all made of gold

When your dreams all fail
And the ones we hail
Are the worst of all
And the blood’s run stale

I want to hide the truth
I want to shelter you
But with the beast inside
There’s nowhere we can hide

No matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom come

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Curtain’s call
Is the last of all
When the lights fade out
All the sinners crawl

So they dug your grave
And the masquerade
Will come calling out
At the mess you made

Don’t want to let you down
But I am hell bound
Though this is all for you
Don’t want to hide the truth

No matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom come

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

They say it’s what you make
I say it’s up to fate
It’s woven in my soul
I need to let you go

Your eyes, they shine so bright
I want to save that light
I can’t escape this now
Unless you show me how

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

I’m letting the demons out.

I’ve held the truth inside for too long.

And you know, “the truth shall set you free”.

Too bad we grew up thinking “the truth” was our religion, eh?

“God is love.”

What is Jehovah?

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Ancestry, Cannabis

Bubby

Randy at Hell's Point, Pokagon, Labor Day 2012

I am proud of my mother.

She challenged the authority when they told her that my uncle had six months to live.

In her heart, she knew better. In six weeks he was dead.

My mother didn’t fight the authority, there was no point. Either way, he’d be dead. Yet, my mother took her belief seriously. She rearranged her priorities, so that she could be with him not wanting to miss spending time with him while he still breathed.

My mother shared her belief with those of the family who would listen, and some believed what she, in faith, said. Because my mom is something of a natural nut, some chose to believe the word of the medical authority over what she so strongly believed.

My mother called us together, asking the family to gather, to spend time with him. The doctors had decreed his six months in July, my mom come and see him Memorial Day. I questioned my mother, asked her, is it Labor Day you mean? More than her words, I knew what she meant, what her belief would mean.

Schaadt's in Hell

Those of who believed, who took the health nut my momma seriously, took heed. The family all gathered, and the other side of the family hosted, the ones who take my mom seriously. Amid music and singing, children playing and sunflowers, my aunt and uncle (of that side of the family) offered Uncle Randy relief in the form of a weed. Though it’s not an appropriate natural remedy in my mother’s belief, it was thanks to God’s creation that he was able to join in the merriment, raising a guitar to his knee. Before that day, I never he knew that he could really play.

Uncle Randy

Later I confessed to my mother that she must know that the pleasure thanks to the leaves of a weed. I urged her to urge his caregiver to implore his doctor to prescribe him the prescription, mans form of God’s gift by the hand of their own authority. My aunt, the caregiver, and my mother agreed, though the need was plain to see, relief shouldn’t be obtained in the form of what they’d call “weed“, they apparently don’t approve whether relief is by a pill form prescription or by what he’d breath, or eat. I’d never make it home fast enough to see about sending him cookies.

That was the last day I’d really see him, that day watching the last of his life—more so than any other day I’d ever seen—as he laughed and he played and he drank and even sang. That night, still relieved, apparently was the last and only he’d really sleep. Later I here he spent hours dead to the world, but even a caregiver, I imagine if I am bold, will note the difference between succumbing to death and breathing easy in sleep.

All this is to say, that I’m proud of my mother and that though they’d say that he’d have six months in this life to remain. My mother, though others would think her insane, ignored the authority and in her campaign we thus would win the last few days we’d never get back again. Those who’d doubt totally missed out, but my mother made sure we had all the time with him that we could spend.

I think of my mother happy that she’d challenge authority. What they said she simply couldn’t believe. They say that ‘faith is the assured expectation of things not yet beheld’, and it takes faith to believe.

Had my mother held to her faith, and urged us to believe, I wouldn’t have seen my uncle and get to say goodbye, in not so many words, before he’d leave.

My dear parents, my sisters and my brother, I’m glad we all listened to our mother, listened to her, trusted, had faith and believed—even though we weren’t raised to question authority.

Momma didn’t try to fight the authority, and neither will I.

Momma at the Lake, Labor Day 2012

I believe that we’ll all obtain life, given the lives we live, when we die. The difference is simply the reward you’ll obtain, by what words we heed while in this life we remain. I think of Nikki, who momma’s words didn’t heed, she heard but didn’t listen, and by doubt missed out because it was the doctor’s she chose to believe. She said she’d see him later, and though in this life she was wrong, I imagine that one day the band will get back together, and we all will be there to sing along.

Grandpa, Me, and Uncle Randy

I hope that you’ll respect me, as I take my leave from believing what I was taught is the authority. I asked them questions they couldn’t answer, so I’ll believe what I read. The Word became flesh so that we could believe, and God left us a written record for us to read. He planted faith among us, a tiny little seed. Buried like our uncle and father, all it takes now to raise from up under is to read and believe! I will not try to uproot you from the soil you know, recalling God’s creation: seed, sun and water—we reap what we sow; a man planted, a man watered, but it was God that kept making it grow.

Then God said,

“I’ve given you every sort of seed-bearing plant on Earth And every kind of fruit-bearing tree, given them to you for food. To all animals and all birds, everything that moves and breathes, I give whatever grows out of the ground for food.”

And there it was.

God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good!

It was evening, it was morning—Day Six. — Genesis 1

 

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Ancestry, Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Religion

We fly away…

I am emotional. I feel betrayed. I was raised in faith that the Watchtower was God’s organization. I believed that my mom and dad knew the answers that one day I’d come to learn. I just felt slow and stupid and that eventually I’d get it. I trusted. I had faith. I believed. I knew my parents were smarter than me. I had read it in the poem that hang on his bedroom wall.

I now learn that while they can’t answer me from the scriptures when will my father live again they will deny the scriptures as they are written as truth.

“And the rest of the dead do not come to life until the end of the thousand years.” — Revelation 20:5

Despite that verse, and the one which precedes it which clearly defines who will partake in the first resurrection (which is immediately followed by this verse—”And the rest of the dead do not come to life until the end of the thousand years.”) she’d say that “apparently” my father, and all other loved ones, such as my uncles and my best friend, will come to life again during the thousand year reign.

“But who will they rule over?”, she asked.

I attempt to offer the answer, it lies therein, in the next verse—
“the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog” the ones who Satan’d deceive, let alone the man on earth who would yet thus believe and come to reside, as the scriptures say, in the holy city.

My parents tell me there will be only 144,000 in heaven, you see.

And thus on the earth the great crowd should be.

I wonder and am confused, what mystery she believes? (Revelation 17:5)

The 144,000 are in heaven, yes, we agree.

The great crowd, regardless—where is it?!—where will Gog and Magog be?

My parents won’t answer, and a answer will not be.

They offer confusing theories, the efforts or effects of their personal theology.

“The dead are not dead”, he says, “don’t you see?”

Or is it that he says that they are dead, but only spiritually?

And ‘the Son of Man which every man will see’, well not, every man will “see” he’d have me believe?

The man who says he was the Son of God would ask me to believe, and he asked in the first century, “what if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?” apparently now the truth that we should seek is “what if you would see the Son of Man descending to where he was before he was where it is that he still is or would still be?”

Oh, I sigh, I ask and cry, “You men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?”

My parents would say that though they dropped their jaws, and gave good pause so the Lord would sent his angels to mark the day, that it not matter, despite the manner, they not believe “This man, who was received up into the sky will come back in the same way as he was seen going into the sky.”

No, we’d not see, it’d be seen, no not all all.

It is not green eggs, no, it is not green eggs and ham, at all.

It was not for us but for the few he’d call, those men that they’d say of that long since past long ago day, some day once before no, never, not seen, it was one day when some one said he say him, somewhere near 1919. He came invisibly, known only once he came though their inner chamber doors; yet we shouldn’t worry, as though it were a desert, no not in desert no wilderness, nor should we go seek him, no it was in Brooklyn that as a thief he broke in.

My heart is like a child’s, like a king’s it’s been broken.
I have no throne, my crown is sore and of my ego there’s not much left to be worn,
But a princess I’d be—in the kingdom of heaven—my heart still plays make believe.

I give it all, I swear I would. I understand, I’d dare I could, Paul he’d be a man after that which is me—My Dad, my mother, my sisters and my brother, my family—please take them, take them before me?! My life, my life, I’ll give it, pray, I pray, please, oh please, not them but me! My body you’ve beaten, battered and abused, my mouth you smote and my faith you moved. My fear was shattered and my soul I cared not, who knows what I know, and who needs what I’ve got?

My father, my Father, before both I bend my knee. I beseech you I pray in my scattered soul, that thing which I not know if man need, my heart has been thrashed, and my heart thus does beat. Take my shame, give me blame, or lift from below?—I can’t breath. My eyes lay but for a moment on your son, and my heart stirred, ashamed I chastised myself, for your son I am beneath.

Why make me wonder I already know. You know my mother told you so. I look good in red, that’s what she said. And you know I’ve always wished to be worthy of wearing white. Your woman of revelation, adorned in skies diamonds, my mother think I’d be better off in colored jewels. You both tease thus, it seems I must, admit the scriptures are my muse?

But in seriousness, somberness, in undertone day and night. You know it is, from child’s breath, to adult fright, I’ve read you in delight. I had faith though life not make me believe. My spirit broke, then I found myself on bended knees. I lay my head to the ground, where once long ago I was found. It against that flesh that I find myself, the dust of which I am, the dust which I deserve.

Why make me dream, drowning me in stars? Why test my heart, and send my mind so far? I have no family in heaven, my father beneath my feet sleeps. My mother’d not believe me if I told her it’s me you’d seek. She thinks its the devil, and thus shame has won, how it is that I’d tell her, it is the best that I’ve done?

What shall you do to make them believe? What is it that shall come to make the world see? I care not for my life, but he that gave his for me. How is it that you lived without him? A perfect man, your child, your seed? My father knows not of the pain of which we call my life, he never came to know that a man called me his wife. As I stood before that man, for your mother and father you must leave, that man told me that I must forget—for him you must not grieve. How jarring it is this moment to try to say where all the other words thus in poetry lay—he said it he said it he said it callously, he said ‘get over it’, and that he said it I still can’t believe.

I’m done. I’m done. I’ve said all I can say. You’ve empty my heart, and I’ll hit send and pray.

I think of my father, and then you sent Muppets and clowns my way. I adore my childhood, and my life I wouldn’t trade.

I imagine another live would be one less boring than mine. I still can’t said I would trade it to live next to the divine. The roses smell sweet when not genetically altered, and you know it is not less than often that before earth’s herbs I’ve faltered. Rosemary I rub in my palms to breath its fragrance given next to the busy street, basil I adore and roses maybe more, though my scent I still seek. Do you have smells where you dwell, or could I have herbal retreats? Is it true, I heard once you drew a vision a man knew not to seek… upon a stone he struck his head and in slumber he did sleep. Though his eyes were closed his spirit rose, in wonder it did peak. He saw the stairs, or a ladder who cares, it was heaven it did seek. Angels came and went and the night was spent and of it the scriptures do speak. I laugh and wonder, could it be a man should go asunder so he might find on the other side an elevator ride, one like no other? (Genesis 28:10-19) I know, I know, in case she should read, yes the man who first before him must proceed. That death he gave and wine we drink, in life will live and death in we will breath.

Ecclesiastes “The Teacher”

In anguish, Solomon says in his heart,

“Who knows the spirit of man,
whether it goes upward,
and the spirit of the animal,
whether it goes downward to the earth?”

Why? Why had it entered Solomon’s heart that might might “go upward” as opposed to the “downward to the earth” that he knew of the death of animals?

A Prayer by Moses, the man of God.

Why is the prayer of Moses in the psalm referring to “flying away“?

Lord, you have been our dwelling place for all generations.
Before the mountains were born,
before you had formed the earth and the world,
even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.
You turn man to destruction, saying,
“Return, you children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are just like yesterday when it is past,
like a watch in the night.
You sweep them away as they sleep.
In the morning they sprout like new grass.
In the morning it sprouts and springs up.
By evening, it is withered and dry.
For we are consumed in your anger.
We are troubled in your wrath.
You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
For all our days have passed away in your wrath.
We bring our years to an end as a sigh.
The days of our years are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty years;
yet their pride is but labor and sorrow,
for it passes quickly, and we fly away.

Why is it, by the way, that you’d believe that a generation can be anything other than what the scriptures define? There are so many little studies I did in child like curiosity and learned so many little things. Check every single reference to lifetime and you’ll see, a generation is forty if a life for the mighty would eighty be. Christ died and prophesied that a generation would see, and then thus it was that less than that it came to pass and thus they came to see. Why should I though all I know who believed have thus died believed what was not taught? Is it not man who over whom man it is that injury is wrought?

I apologize. While there might be some meter or rhyme, I haven’t the slight clue how to communicate it in writ. I offer you thus what you might imagine is puss, but I hope instead you see wit.

I am a gift from God, think no more of myself from sod, of where a seed dost thus lay. However this wheat should be no more neat than in thus death it stray. For in that if it be true then thus it is that I do a seed a harvest display. I long ago since died, and each time I think it the last that I’ve cried, but as your child I’d lied, and thus I lay my heart humbly before you this day.

I, Angela Marie Niblick Benson Baxley, and of all other aliases both present and formerly, am of sound mind and judgement of body.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” — 2 Timothy 1:7

I seek love and self-discipline, and the power to overcome weakness in speech.

But first, I shower.

Good night.

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Psychology, Religion

Pedophilia: A Letter to my Mother in Support of Candace Conti

I compiled all this because my heart ached realizing how you’d judged Candace, and her mother—whose name is Kathleen Conti—”it was her mother’s responsibility”. You judged but you did not know the facts.

Candace Conti

Candace Conti

You raised me to think of Candace as my sister. My heart goes out to my sister. Looking at her face she even reminds me of my own sisters.

I don’t know if Candace is in association with the Watchtower any more. I imagine not. It doesn’t matter, to me she is my sister. I pray for her, in hopes that her belief in our heavenly father was not tied to the Watchtower as mine was. I hope she knows that the actions of those “imperfect men” do not represent that of her Father. I hope that if they disfellowshipped her, like others I know have been for going to the authorities and/or media, that she knows that this is not her Father rebuking her, but a corporation who is protecting their ass—er—assets. Short sighted, they are concerned with man, rather than God. Continue reading

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Babylon the Great
Religion, Scriptures

Babylon, The Mother of False Religion

PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS A PERSONAL WORK IN PROGRESS!

The Kabbalah mystery religion which originated in ancient Sumer, thus putting its beginnings in the same remote epoch as the mysteries of Egypt and the Hindu Vedas. Babylon succeeded Sumer, and transmitted the teachings in turn to the Hebrews, along with many other elements of their religion, which are therefore still familiar to us today from the Book of Genesis. The word “Kabbalah” comes from a Hebrew root meaning to receive sacred teachings. Continue reading

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Religion,

this block of wood

Life is infinitely stranger than anything the mind could invent.
— Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle

I couldn’t invent the story of my life if I tried, it’s hard enough figuring out how to write it. Life has been non-stop and I just can’t seem to figure out how I’d ever explain it all — I imagine with the tools now I can basically rig up a wedding photo montage with music introducing the couple style experience if I could just compile all the images (curate them) and add the details like the music, atmospheric settings, etc, and if technology could only get as good as the ideal—it being fully recorded for full sensorial experience upon playback, upon editing.

Unlikely adventures require unlikely tools.” — Mr. Magorium

Continue reading

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Culture

A California Teenager Goes Undercover to Investigate Life Among the Moonies

By 1977, with a fledgling community of committed and dedicated people, and with a sound teaching that inspired us to live our ideals, the Unification movement in California had grown rapidly. Our first challenge was to become ourselves a model of what we wanted the world to become. The love-ethic presented in the Divine Principle demanded a life of prayer, study, and service to others. We sought within our community to be caring, creative, and loving people, and upon this foundation to work actively for the sake of God and humanity.

We called ourselves “The Creative Community Project” and used a former fraternity house on Hearst Street as a place to teach the Divine Principle at luncheon and dinner programs. We were inspired by an ideal and wanted above all to communicate that ideal to those around us who, so it seemed, had very little commitment to anything other than self-interest.

Most people we encountered had only the foggiest sense of ethics, so we felt great meaning in sharing with them, through our dinner discussions and lectures, the significance of our own ethical ideals. Those who were serious and wanted to pursue those ideals further were invited to workshops at Boonville and, later, to other country retreats. — To Bigotry, No Sanction: Reverend Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church by Dr. Mose Durst

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay area, Scott Keeler, 18, knew what every other teenager knew. As one of his classmates put it, “There’s this place you can go if you’re fighting with your parents. They’ll take care of you.”

But unlike most of the others, Keeler also knew that the “place,” Creative Community Project, was owned and run by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon‘s Unification Church. As student body president at Alameda, Calif. High School and reporter for his school paper, Oak Leaf, Keeler decided last spring to go underground and investigate the Moonies.

Using the alias Dirk Schwerte, he quickly discovered that Moonie recruiters were on the lookout for unattached teenagers.

“All anyone has to do,” he says, “is put on his backpack and walk down to Fisherman’s Wharf.” Though no mention was made of Reverend Moon or his church, Keeler was invited to the Moonies’ San Francisco headquarters. Here is his account of his bizarre experiences:

Creative Community Project is a large white Victorian house on Washington Street. I felt my stomach in my throat as I jabbed the doorbell. Before I could ring again, the door swung open. “Come on and join our circle,” said a young man with a fixed smile. He offered his hand. I cautiously took it and sat down. He squeezed my hand, smiling and staring at me.

Later a low-protein, vegetarian dinner of rice and broccoli was served. I noticed that all the first-time visitors had acquired a new Moonie friend hanging close by their side. “Come on, let’s go over and pull up some rug,” said a young man, putting his arm around me and beaming. His name was Bob. I noticed he didn’t have any food.

“Aren’t you eating?” I asked.

“No, I’m fasting this week. It’s spiritual fasting. Some of the people in our community do it.”

An hour and a half later Bob was still sitting beside me and holding my hand. We were being lectured by a Moonie leader named Sherri Sagar when there was a loud crash at the front door. A man was shouting “Jeannie!” and trying to force his way in. Suddenly at least 25 Moonie reinforcements flooded the entry, trying to push him back out. “Where is Jeannie?” he shouted. “Jeannie! Jeannie!”

“There’s no Jeannie here,” insisted one of the Moonies. “You’ll have to leave.”

“What do you mean?” shouted the man, clinging to the door molding. “She came here last week, you bastards! What have you done with her?”

The Moonies kept pushing, peeling his fingers from the door, and finally shoved him outside. We could hear him shouting after the door was closed and locked.

“What was that about?” I asked Bob.

“Just somebody being negative,” he said. “People attack us because they don’t understand what we’re doing.”

At the end of the evening everyone clasped hands and formed a circle. “Okay!” said Sherri Sagar. “I hope you all liked what you saw tonight and will come up to our farm. We have cars leaving tonight. But before everybody goes, we’re going to do a mass Choo-Choo!” The newcomers shrugged and exchanged glances. “Got it?” she shouted. “It’s easy! Just shake your partner’s hand until we’re through. Ready? One, two, three—Choo-choo-choo! Choo-choo-choo! Choo-choo-choo! Yea, yea, pow!” We newcomers began to laugh, but the Moonies just smiled. “What’s the matter?” they asked.

The Dodge van was packed with 15 people heading north to the Moonies’ farm at Boonville, Calif. The lecture about the farm had sounded appealing—being out in the country, by a cool creek, with people you liked. Sitting beside me was a Moonie named Joanna. She was 20, already married and divorced. “I’m so inspired now that I’m in the Family, I never want to leave,” she said. “There’s so much meaning here.”

No one had mentioned Moon or the Unification Church yet. I decided to take a chance. “How long have you been in the church?” I asked. Joanna’s eyes became distant. For a moment I thought she wasn’t going to answer. “How did you know about the church?” she asked finally. “Most people don’t know this early.”

I told her my cover story, and she seemed satisfied. “Well,” she said, smiling again in the darkness, “it’s good that you’re so open. Most people don’t understand and say bad things about us and the Principle.”

“What’s the Principle?” I asked.

“Well, it’s…” Then she stopped. A man on the other side of the van was looking at her with intense disapproval. “You’ll get that in the lectures,” she said finally. The stranger smiled and nodded. I nodded back.

“How are you feeling, Family?” shouted David, our leader, the next morning. “Great!” everyone yelled.

“Is everyone ready to have the best weekend of your life?”

“Yes!”

Dr. Jack was our exercise leader. “Now let’s do 25 regular jumping-jacks and 10 free-style.” We began bobbing up and down in count with Dr. Jack. I started wondering whether I was 8 or 18. After exercises we were separated into new groups, each recruit accompanied by a Moonie. Eight of us sat on the grass in a tight little circle with blankets and songbooks.

“Okay,” said Dr. John, our group leader, supposedly an M.D. from New Zealand. “Let’s start off this fantastic day by giving your name and sharing a little bit about you.”

When my turn came I talked about Dirk Schwerte, but emotionally I was telling about Scott Keeler (“My mom and dad are divorced. I keep mostly to myself. A lot of people call me a sissy because I don’t play sports…”). “That was really fantastic,” said Dr. John at the end of the sharing. “It shows how open you can be up here in the fresh air.” He laughed as we all clasped hands, and we laughed too. I was beginning to feel so warm and comfortable I wondered why I had ever suspected there was anything wrong with these people. I felt intensely guilty about deceiving them.

The first lecture was a 70-minute presentation of ambiguous references to God, cosmic principles and spirituality. Oriental symbols were put on a blackboard but never explained. After the lecture broke up, we went back to our groups. “Does anyone have any questions?” asked Dr. John. I raised my hand. The other recruits still did not know these people were connected with Reverend Moon and his church. I wondered what would happen if I mentioned it. “You know in the lecture when you talked about God being everywhere?” I began. “Well, is that what the church believes?”

Dr. John dropped his smile. The other Moonies stared at me. A fellow recruit named Paul looked bewildered. “What church?” he asked. No one answered. My eyes locked with Dr. John’s for what seemed a long, uneasy time. “That’s a good question, Dirk,” he said slowly. “Who can answer that?” His eyes never left mine.

“Ah, yeah,” Bob began uncertainly. He talked and talked and didn’t tell us anything.

It was time for volleyball. “Everybody hug in close,” commanded Dr. John. “We’ve got to be positive and chant so loud every second that we’ll love-bomb ’em right out of the game!”

“Yeah, yeah! Great! Yeah!” Every Moonie in our huddle was screaming. I forced a smile and chanted along with everyone else: “Win with love! Win with love!”

“Follow the game!” shouted Dr. John. “Keep your eyes on the ball!” It got easier and easier to chant as I followed the ball with my eyes. I began to lose track of the words I was repeating over and over. I felt I could do anything. A smile spread across my face as I heard our voices echoing off the surrounding hills. Suddenly I fell, and it took me several moments to realize I was on the ground. A Moonie was standing over me. My breath had been knocked out, but I went on chanting “Win with love” in a whisper. I couldn’t stop and it scared me. “Are you okay?” he asked. I picked myself up and checked my watch. We had been playing for more than an hour and had finished two games I couldn’t even remember.

The next evening I walked to the van to return to San Francisco. I said I was sorry I had to go, and I was. “Where am I ever going to get love like this on the outside?” I thought to myself. I was almost crying, and I went up and hugged Dr. John.

“Look, Dirk,” he began slowly, “can’t you just call your mom and tell her you’ll be home in a couple of days? You can call her right now.”

“Sure, just call her now,” said Bob. “You like it up here, don’t you?”

“Well, yes, but…”

“Good,” said Dr. John, “because you can go up to Camp K with us tonight. I’ll drive you myself. Why don’t you tell your mom now?” Stepping forward, they closed in on me in a way I didn’t like, and I took a step backward.

“Hey,” I said finally. “I told you, I have to go. I’ll be back when everything’s straightened out, okay?”

A few days later I did go to Camp K, a converted Girl Scout camp in the Napa Valley where the Moonies continue their indoctrination. Before I went there, I spoke with several authorities on the Unification Church. They warned me that the Moonies were trying to isolate me from the outside world and to keep me from critically examining what they were saying. “If you’re good,” one of them warned me, “they smile and love-bomb you. But if you argue, then they descend on you.” Later one of the Moonies told me the church teaches that you don’t have any responsibility to your friends or family; your only duty is to Moon.

Unification Church members are smiling all of the time, even at four in the morning. The man who is full of love must live that way. When you go out witnessing you can caress the wall and say that it can expect you to witness well and be smiling when you return. What face could better represent love than a smiling face? This is why we talk about love bomb; Moonies have that kind of happy problem.

By the time I got to Camp K, I was beginning to understand some of the things I guess I hadn’t wanted to see before. At Boonville I had become close with a girl named Maureen. At Camp K they deliberately split us up. That’s when I realized they were playing with people’s lives. Any one-to-one sexual activity is absolutely forbidden. Couples are selected for marriage by church officials, often before they get to know each other. After I left, I seriously thought about kidnapping Maureen and having her deprogrammed. It took me about two months to reach her. I told her who I really was, and she got very defensive. She said, “I’m not leaving here. I’m better off here than on the road.” I knew I had to let her go.

In all, I spent three days at Camp K. Then I went back to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco to continue researching my article and to photograph Moonie recruiters. While I was there I ran into Dr. Jack and another recruiter who knew me. They demanded to know who I was and what I was doing. I told them.

“Give me your film,” Dr. Jack demanded quietly, moving close.

I told him I wouldn’t.

“Give me the film,” he insisted.

“No,” I said, trying to hold my ground.

“Give it to me,” he droned. “Give me the film.”

I grabbed my camera, wrapping the strap around my arm and gripping the lens barrel. I almost gave in from fear, but then I exploded.

“No!” I yelled. “Forget it! I’m not going to give you the film!” People in the park turned and looked at me.

“Scott Keeler?” asked Dr. Jack. “Alameda?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“We’ll be in touch.”

My Daddy escaped the Moonies camp with a new friend in tow. They met again at the NIblick’s Hessen Cassel.

Works Cited

A California Teenager Goes Undercover to Investigate Life Among the Moonies.” : People.com. N.p., 24 July 1978. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.

Heartbreak and Rage: Ten Years Under Sun Myung Moon: a Cult Survivor’s Memoir” Neufeld, K G. College Station, TX: Virtualbookworm.com, 2002. Print.

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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Religion

An Apology to My Mother

Mom, I know that I’m scaring you. And I’m sorry for that.

I don’t know how to explain with words what I’m going through.

I can however share with you what I’m fascinated by, and perhaps you can judge whether or not I’m “okay”.

I’ve been studying the Bible for months now, and I’ve perservered despite the fear that what I would learn might mean that I would separated from my family. I miss you guys so much. You seem nearly as a conceptual thing to me as “daddy” is. I understand what that relationship is supposed to mean, but it’s not something I’ve experienced. Likewise, I don’t really know how to be a sister or to be a daughter, it seems so long ago that I was a part of a family. I’m not sure I ever knew how to interact like I belonged.

Here’s a night in the most recent nights of Angela:

I’m an experience designer, so know that it’s an “experience”. I’m giving you my recipe as it were. I could send you the “Notability” file for instance which recorded me and the background (music in this case) while I studied the Watchtower. You can go along as I highlight and respond, and can hear the music that I was listening to and how I interacted in my study with God.

So. First, it starts with Faith. Continue reading

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Religion,

Vic on Jobs

Just a blurb about one of our ‘brothers’ in the valley; Vic is an elder at his local Kingdom Hall, this is the “religious services” referred to in the article (below).

Steve laughed. He said, “Vic, unless the Caller ID said ‘GOD’, you should never pick up during services”.

I used to work near him, and directly with someone he deeply respects at Microsoft… and I always wondered if he knew who I was. I’m pretty sure I was just someone’s girlfriend, if he knew I existed at all. “This little light of mine…” Sometimes the person you stand next to shines brighter than you do!

In any case, I saw this post and was moved to find out that whether Jobs believe in heaven or hell—or thinks he’s just dead—at least, he took respect for worship and faith with him to the grave. Continue reading

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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Culture, Documentation, Ethics

Ku Klux Klan

Ku Klux Klan

“You Have Been Paid a Social Visit By The Knights of The KU KLUX KLAN Don’t Make the Next Visit a Business Call”

A KKK business card… No. I’m not kidding.

 

Tara Tiger Brown faved this

Tara Tiger Brown PRO 8y

STFU. Where the hell did you get this?

Angela Glass PRO 8y

Somebody stopped by my brother-in-law’s work.

My biology partner in middle school was a card carrying member. Our school was shut down for a day when it was vandalized with racial slurs on weekend.

They still have rally’s all the time in Mt. Holly, a little town just outside Charlotte.

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Culture

The Bible as Literature: Paul, Dying as to Sin


“We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.”
– Romans 6:6

What was meant by Paul’s referring to ‘dying to sin’? I believe this was a transformation of self, of personality, and purpose. It is the putting away of your old personality when accepting Jesus Christ as the savior and becoming his disciple. It is taking on a new personality and trying to leave sin behind as you pursue a righteous course of life.

It is hard to be good. As Paul said, “For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my [physical] members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” – Romans 7:22–24. As we can see Paul was very concerned with God’s law… but he mentions the law of the physical members, this referring to imperfect mans physical inclinations. Though he tried very hard, he was incapable of completely overcoming the sinful inclinations within his mind. Continue reading

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Culture

The Bible as Literature: Jesus’ Death—Two Perspectives

In comparing Matthew and John’s account of Jesus announcing his approaching death it is interesting to see the stark differences in their perspectives. John’s account is of a loving shepherd with his sheep easing them into the thought of what is to come and the reasoning for why these things must come to pass. He is painted as “Jesus the way, the truth and the light”. In contrast, the Jesus of Matthew’s account is much more a martyr. Let’s look a little closer at Matthew’s account so we can analyze the additional meaning written into John. Continue reading

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Culture

The Bible as Literature: Daniel—Stories and Visions

Chapters one through six of Daniel’s book are written about Daniel in the third person- Daniel did this, Daniel did that. Then we take an abrupt turn from chapters seven through twelve into the apocalyptic visions. Now Daniel is the speaker who refers to himself in the first person.

In the first six chapters the stories told are of Daniel and his friends and their experiences while in exile. They are prepared for State service and choose vegetables rather than the delicacy’s of the king tables. Nebuchadnezzar has a bad dream about an image of a beast. The boys are thrown into a fiery furnace, but survive by the hand of an angel. Nebuchadnezzar once again has a dream this time of ‘seven times’, a tree (his kingdom) and his going insane. Then there is Belshazzar’s feast, with the mysterious handwriting on the wall that appears. Finally there is infamous Daniel in the lion’s pit. Continue reading

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Culture

The Bible as Literature: Job—Afflicted and Relationship Challenged

Job was an upstanding man in his community, a good guy who didn’t seem to do wrong or harm anyone. “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil.” (Job 1:1) People came to him for advice and he was well liked by all, from children to the leaders of the community. He had it all. “This man was the greatest of all the people of the east.” (Job 1:3) You might say he lived a charmed life, or at least this is what Satan thought as he gazed upon the earth. Like Greek gods sitting above the expanse of the earth playing chess with humans as pawns, Satan challenged Yahweh saying that if Job didn’t have it so good he wouldn’t continue to serve him loyally. In effect, that Job was only loyal because he had it easy and was spoiled by God. Yahweh agreed to remove his favor from his servant so his loyalty could be tested. Satan pulls out all the stops, taking away his riches, and even his sons and daughters in an effort to get him to curse God or turn away from him. Continue reading

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Culture

The Bible as Literature: The Prophets—the Great Day of Vindication and Restoration

First, I will review each of the prophet’s oracles and what they feature in their foretelling the great day of vindication and restoration. Next, I’ll compare the similarities and differences between the prophecies. Finally, as instructed, I’ll wind up by offering conclusion about what these prophetic traditions say about the envisioned time of God’s blessing on Israel. Continue reading

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Culture

The Bible as Literature: Joab to David—Was He Friend or Foe?

Joab was an able army general, a great army organizer who was resourceful and decisive. He was also ambitious, opportunistic, vengeful and cunningly unscrupulous at times. David was king of Israel and Joab was at the head of David’s army of men.

David trusted Joab as the leader of his army, and continued to entrust him even when his actions betrayed disloyalty to him and his direction as king. It seems through the writing of the author of 2 Samuel that Joab was loyal as long as it served his purposes and goals, and he was just after whichever man might give him greatest benefit as a leader based on their possible kingship of Israel. Continue reading

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Culture

The Bible as Literature: The Stiff Necked Israelites

The Lord set the Israelites out as his people apart as a people special and apart from the nations among which they lived. However the Israelites were not so easily convinced, and demonstrated again and again how they were indeed ‘a stiff necked people’. Their behavior reminds us of an indignant young toddler who just will not listen and believe when we say that something is bad for him. Just as you would punish a young toddler to keep him safe from harm, perhaps from burning his hand upon a hot stove, the Lord punished his people and tried to reason with them through signs, miracles and plague.

The Israelites drug their feet when it came to establishing faith in their God and proving righteous to him because they simply lacked faith in Him. The people were a shortsighted people concerned only with their immediate well being and what it was that they might see immediately before them. When in Egypt under slavery they were upset with their being enslaved, however when freed by the Lord through the hand of Moses they complain about being rescued just to die in the wilderness and they would have been better off left as slaves in Egypt. Continue reading

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Culture

The Bible as Literature: Joseph’s Deceptions

Joseph’s jealous brothers threw him into a pit after conspiring to kill him, considered selling him to the Ishmealites, instead leaving him in the pit to be kidnapped by the Midianite traders. As such it’s amazing to believe that Joseph would still hold love in his heart for his brothers. And maybe that’s the real basis for this story… Continue reading

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