Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
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17-02-2014, 02:30 PM
Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
I was reading Atheist Universe by David Mills today and really enjoyed his first chapter, in which he answers the kid of typical questions he's been asked. I guess this falls under the "Ask me anything" genre of threads on this board, but I figured I'd subject myself to it, you know, for fun.

So go ahead. I intend for this to be about faith and the lack thereof, although if you want to ask me about other subjects, feel free.
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17-02-2014, 02:34 PM
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
(17-02-2014 02:30 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  I was reading Atheist Universe by David Mills today and really enjoyed his first chapter, in which he answers the kid of typical questions he's been asked. I guess this falls under the "Ask me anything" genre of threads on this board, but I figured I'd subject myself to it, you know, for fun.

So go ahead. I intend for this to be about faith and the lack thereof, although if you want to ask me about other subjects, feel free.

Did you mean to put this in the Introduction section? If not I can move it.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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17-02-2014, 02:37 PM
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
Wherever you feel it's appropriate.
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17-02-2014, 02:55 PM
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
Sample question:
How did you get sucked into a second cult? Didn't you learn your lesson after the first one?

A: Not really. When I was born, my parents were Jehovah's Witnesses, so I considered myself part of that group. I was never initiated into it. I took it for granted as "The Truth" because Daddy said so and Daddy is always right. Period. Growing up as a child of the Watchtower Society is a peculiar (and rather joyless) experience. You know the drill: no Christmas, no birthdays, no Halloween, etc. Not a whole lot of fun, let me tell you.

I also didn't "leave" voluntarily. Not really. My parents separated when I was 12, and it was before I was baptized. In the Watchtower Society, baptism is your real initiation into the fold. You're not really an independent member until then. So, since that never happened to me, there was really no exit process. I just stopped going, as did my parents (divorce is frowned upon, to put it gently). A real Jehovah's Witness would say I never left the organization because I was never in it. He would have a point. My only retort would be: I want my Christmas presents and my Halloween candy, you joyless son of a bitch.

Anyway, I suppose I was a typical teenage searcher when I was lured into The Way International, my second cult. So no, I did not learn my lesson from my experience as a Jehovah's Witness because my process of entering an leaving my first cult was atypical. Once I left The Way and its offshoots, I was more adept at recognizing the warning signs of a cult (a bit more intense and antisocial than the "warning" signs of any religion).
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17-02-2014, 03:00 PM
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
(17-02-2014 02:55 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  Sample question:
How did you get sucked into a second cult? Didn't you learn your lesson after the first one?

A: Not really. When I was born, my parents were Jehovah's Witnesses, so I considered myself part of that group. I was never initiated into it. I took it for granted as "The Truth" because Daddy said so and Daddy is always right. Period. Growing up as a child of the Watchtower Society is a peculiar (and rather joyless) experience. You know the drill: no Christmas, no birthdays, no Halloween, etc. Not a whole lot of fun, let me tell you.

I also didn't "leave" voluntarily. Not really. My parents separated when I was 12, and it was before I was baptized. In the Watchtower Society, baptism is your real initiation into the fold. You're not really an independent member until then. So, since that never happened to me, there was really no exit process. I just stopped going, as did my parents (divorce is frowned upon, to put it gently). A real Jehovah's Witness would say I never left the organization because I was never in it. He would have a point. My only retort would be: I want my Christmas presents and my Halloween candy, you joyless son of a bitch.

Anyway, I suppose I was a typical teenage searcher when I was lured into The Way International, my second cult. So no, I did not learn my lesson from my experience as a Jehovah's Witness because my process of entering an leaving my first cult was atypical. Once I left The Way and its offshoots, I was more adept at recognizing the warning signs of a cult (a bit more intense and antisocial than the "warning" signs of any religion).

What is The Way?

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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17-02-2014, 03:04 PM
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
(17-02-2014 02:55 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  Sample question:
How did you get sucked into a second cult? Didn't you learn your lesson after the first one?

A: Not really. When I was born, my parents were Jehovah's Witnesses, so I considered myself part of that group. I was never initiated into it. I took it for granted as "The Truth" because Daddy said so and Daddy is always right. Period. Growing up as a child of the Watchtower Society is a peculiar (and rather joyless) experience. You know the drill: no Christmas, no birthdays, no Halloween, etc. Not a whole lot of fun, let me tell you.

I also didn't "leave" voluntarily. Not really. My parents separated when I was 12, and it was before I was baptized. In the Watchtower Society, baptism is your real initiation into the fold. You're not really an independent member until then. So, since that never happened to me, there was really no exit process. I just stopped going, as did my parents (divorce is frowned upon, to put it gently). A real Jehovah's Witness would say I never left the organization because I was never in it. He would have a point. My only retort would be: I want my Christmas presents and my Halloween candy, you joyless son of a bitch.

Anyway, I suppose I was a typical teenage searcher when I was lured into The Way International, my second cult. So no, I did not learn my lesson from my experience as a Jehovah's Witness because my process of entering an leaving my first cult was atypical. Once I left The Way and its offshoots, I was more adept at recognizing the warning signs of a cult (a bit more intense and antisocial than the "warning" signs of any religion).

I grew up around the Witnesses... My mum was a baptized member (and hated it), my dad an atheist. It was never forced on me, but my mum was pressured into taking me to the Kingdom Hall by her family and other members.

They pretty much unofficially disfellowshipped her after she married my dad... Declaring her "lost".

Yeah, they are miserable bastards.

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17-02-2014, 03:11 PM
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
Is there evidence Tacitus independently verified (by standards we would accept today as authoritative) that Jesus was in fact crucified by Pilate? Smile

No, seriously, was there another religion you almost considered before you realized you were an atheist, and are there religions you respect?

Check out my atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
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Atheism promotes critical thinking; theism promotes hypocritical thinking. -- Me
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17-02-2014, 03:17 PM
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
What is The Way?

The Way International is an obscure little cult out of New Knoxville, Ohio. Founded in the 1930s by Victor Paul Wierwille, it features a blend of charismatic evangelicalism and Jehovah's Witness-style theology. For example, The Way teaches that Jesus is not God and that the dead are unconscious awaiting the return of Christ. In those ways, they are similar to Jehovah's Witnesses. But The Way also teaches against legalism (we are not under the law, but under grace). They also teach that every believer is able to produce all nine manifestations of the spirit.

An explanation is required: Most of Christianity teaches that there are nine "gifts of the spirit" enumerated in I Corinthians. These are speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, working of miracles, gifts of healings and "faith." According to The Way, these are not nine gifts at all, but nine manifestations of ONE gift, the gift of holy spirit.

Unlike Trinitarians, followers of The Way believe the Father alone is God. Jesus is his son, whose existence began at his birth (or conception. Let's not quibble). The Holy Spirit is one of two things: another name for the Father, or the gift of divine essence imparted to believers once they accept Christ and become born again.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying EVERY Way believer is expected to speak in tongues (and does it), interpret and prophesy. And they are taught how.

At the time of my involvement, The Way ran a series of classes called "Power for Abundant Living," aka PFAL.

The foundational PFAL class culminates with each believer speaking in tongues.
By the end of the intermediate class, each believer learns to interpret and prophesy.
The advanced class (which I never took) goes through the remaining manifestations.

Unlike most Pentecostal groups, The Way teaches that the person speaking in tongues is the same person who should be interpreting. You don't interpret someone else's tongue. You interpret your own, by inspiration from God.

It's really a subject worth exploring on its own, but the short explanation is really simple:

Way believers are taught how to fake speaking in another language through a process known as free vocalization, which any first-year acting student can do. Interpretation and prophecy are exercises in extemporaneous speaking. You are taught to speak without predetermining what you are going to say (SURE you are not predetermining what you are going to say). Nothing magical about it at all, but we were believers, so we gave the glory to God. Never mind that we faked every non-word in tongues and every real word in interpretation and prophecy.
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17-02-2014, 03:31 PM
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
(17-02-2014 03:11 PM)WillHopp Wrote:  Is there evidence Tacitus independently verified (by standards we would accept today as authoritative) that Jesus was in fact crucified by Pilate? Smile

Who? Angel

Quote:No, seriously, was there another religion you almost considered before you realized you were an atheist, and are there religions you respect?

Upon reflection, my deconversion was more of a decompression. After a childhood in the Watchtower Society and an adulthood affiliated with The Way and its offshoots, I began attending regular evangelical churches (never buying into their definition of the Godhead but always feeling that we were joined by more doctrines than we were separated by disagreements). My realization that I was an atheist came after a long process of trying to make sense of the Bible. Affiliation with a group never really factored in that decision.

I can't say there are religions I respect. I respect individuals' rights to embrace a religion, but the religions themselves... no.
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17-02-2014, 03:34 PM
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
It's interesting that you came from the JWs and turned to something that has so many similarities.

I really never believed though I was forced to do all the Catholic stuff. I searched for another faith after I was an adult because I thought everyone had to follow one of the religions. I kept looking around and realized that I couldn't buy into any of them. It was a relief to realize that I didn't 'have' to believe or even pretend as though I did.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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