Teegarden, Tom

First, a brief summary.

I was born Out  — Professed in 1968 at age 28 — Went Out: about age 40 — Went In again: about 1995 — Went Out for good: about 2000.

Those are the bare facts.   I’ve hesitated to post the more detailed version it as it lacks the drama of some bios that I have read – no abuse or church-related scandals, etc. So I wondered if my story would have any value but I have finally decided to share my story hoping that it might help someone else.  If so, then it is worth sharing.

I was born in 1940 and grew up on a farm in southern Montana in the 1940-50s.  We lived far out in the country and I had no real exposure to religion as a child; we just weren’t church-going folks.  However, throughout my formative years, I always had a feeling that I was lacking something and wanted to be closer to God.  But I had no contact with regular churches and definitely no interest in organized religion.

I married just out of high school in 1958 and we had 4 children in the next 8 years.  I graduated from college in 1962 and taught mathematics in Billings public schools for the next 28 years.  When we moved to California in 1988 I taught in a small college there for 15 years.  I have always valued education and with my math and science background, I have had confidence in what the sciences have taught us.  Later I wondered if my education and the tendency to accept logic and science over blind faith and obedience may have been a small part of the spiritual problems that I had.

Regarding the 2×2 faith, my wife, Donna, was raised by her professing grandmother who had heard the ‘Truth’ from  sister workers, Nellie Williams and her companion in the 1930s.  Gram professed and never wavered in her faith; she was a great lady and her faith seemed to make her complete.  She was one of the finest people I have met and her many extended family of children and grandchildren [most of them non-professing] certainly agree.  She was greatly loved and admired.

Donna professed in 1965 when she was 24 years old. We had 3 children at that time.  She professed through two workers who, incidentally, were both later excommunicated—John Starkweather and Truitt Oyler.  At that time, I wanted no part of religion in any guise.

In 1968 that all changed. I was 28 and my nephew drowned at age 24, and it hit me very hard; it was my first real and close experience with the death of a loved one.  I was ready to seek for answers and depending on how one views my situation at that time, I was either vulnerable and desperate for just about anything religion that happened to come along—or else—as the workers told me, I was ‘needy’, ‘searching for truth’, and ‘ready to hear the ‘True Gospel’.

In any case, I attended Gospel meetings [held for me mainly] and professed that fall at age 28.  The sister workers were Bonnie Robinson and Donna Benjamin.  It was a very moving and emotional experience.  For the first five years or so as the faith opened up to me I was ‘in the clouds’ so to speak and it was wonderful!  Many changes came to us and our home: first the meetings on Sunday; I was taking a little part from the very first one —  and I soon settled into the Wednesday Bible studies, Gospel meetings, Friday night singalongs, etc. routine.

Then we went to my first convention and  -Wow- what a revelation — all that preaching with no contradiction [or so I thought at the time] –  all that knowledge of the scriptures [or so I thought at the time] — it all reinforced what we had already learned; that we had found the ‘pearl of great price’ — and that it came to us at great price — the cost of human lives [worker’s sacrifice].  This was subtly driven home as you all know with each meeting it seemed and I just marveled at it all!  And the convention details itself—no swearing, trash or alcohol, modest dress and so forth — it all impressed me a lot.  Just the magic of hundreds of people in harmony to miraculously produce the delicious meals and with everyone so helpful, cheerful and all.  I thought it was Heaven on earth, so to speak.

So I was thoroughly indoctrinated and very zealous for the first 10 years or so.  But as the years went by, however, I gradually began to see things in a little different light and discovered little things that didn’t add up.  I asked my main mentor, Bonnie Robinson about most of them and she answered them as best she could and she usually said enough to semi-satisfy me, at least for the time.  I certainly wasn’t in a questioning mode then and whatever she said was accepted as God’s truth.   Because of my lack of knowledge of the Bible, I interpreted everything as presented by the workers as God’s Truth and was very trusting.  But the thing that she couldn’t help with was the fact that the peace we were promised just wasn’t quite there.  I thought it was for a long time but finally had to admit that it was self-delusion or wishful thinking or something like it. Why, I wondered? Well, it had to be me, didn’t it? After all the ‘Way’ was perfect, etc. so if there was something lacking, then it had to be me—lack of faith perhaps, unwillingness perhaps, or possibly pride and worldliness, etc 

I began to find out that both the workers and the ‘friends’ weren’t quite as perfect as I thought; there was nothing major or shocking – nor unexpected, really, for we are all humans and even the disciples weren’t perfect.  But there were little things; for example I was shocked to find out that some workers ‘dropped out’ of the work.  It seemed it was always for health reasons of some sort which is certainly understandable in what one would expect to be relatively rare cases, but as time passed, it became obvious that many more workers left the work than health reasons would seem to necessitate.  And in one case, we knew that it was because the workers, John Starkweather and Truitt Oyler, had started to preach ‘false doctrine,’ but we never found out what that doctrine was.  

I began to see that anything that might have been controversial or raised questions was ignored- by both the workers and the friends, including me.  When we visited with the friends, the facade of ‘everything is perfect’ was kept up very thoroughly and I thought that that ‘silence’ was the way to obtain spiritual peace and a closer walk with God.  That was the example I saw in both the workers and the leaders of the church in our area. Refusal to be analytical in thought wasn’t encouraged of course and so it took a long time for me to allow the little germs of thought of real questions to rise to the surface.

Another time a brother worker was moved to a different state and we were told it was something to the effect that some of the friends weren’t comfortable with this worker being around their children.  Nothing more was said and nothing was asked. I trusted the Worker’s decisions completely!  They were God’s mouthpieces; how could we question?

 Nothing was radically wrong that I could identify; no obvious coverups or scandals — just an absence of information and little contradictions that became more and more bothersome over time.  Again, I emphasize that I took any doubts or questions that I had as a lack of faith on my part and the work of the devil. I internalized it all as my failure; after all the Way was perfect, wasn’t it?  Oh, I already said that above didn’t I? But that is the point!  We were taught so thoroughly that ‘It is a lot easier to remove the people from Egypt than it is to remove Egypt from God’s people’.  

One thing that bothered me over time: the fellowship was supposed to be based on love but I saw the harshness of some parents in disciplining their children and to my mind, it wasn’t loving.  There were several incidents both at meetings and at convention; over time I became bothered by them.  

Once in a Bible study, a visiting worker interpreted some rather obscure verses in the Old Testament that were just the opposite of what I had studied and had expressed in my part earlier in the evening. I was really embarrassed and went home and studied more—and the worker just wasn’t correct. Finally, I asked another worker about it and his/her response was something like ‘Well, he [she] just got a little mixed up’. I wondered how one who is the mouthpiece of God could just ‘get mixed up’.  I was shocked, but of course, I just went on. It tells you how locked in I was but what other choice was there?

Of course, we were indoctrinated to accept the theory that in order to truly be saved and become one of God’s children, it is necessary to hear the Gospel from the true ministry—that is, the ‘workers’ [i.e. the original “Living Witness Doctrine” theory].  As you well know, this was reinforced in many different subtle ways at many different times until it became accepted 100% at least by me.  But related to that exclusivity premise, one thing that always bothered me after I professed was the millions of lost souls.  Accepting the premise that God really loves each of us, I couldn’t understand why he would create a system of salvation ‘from before the creation of the world’ that results in the millions  – nay – billions of people that have lived and are living today that go to an unsaved eternity, while only a very very few are ‘saved’. 

Of course, when I asked questions the answer was something like, “God is just and we can trust in God to deal with those who didn’t have or haven’t had the privilege of hearing the Truth”, which I took to indirectly imply that those of us who did have the privilege to hear the Gospel from the Workers had a great responsibility to act accordingly.  Talk about subtle pressure!  Many years later I inquired again about such things to a worker friend of ours, Shirley Doolittle; details are below.

When I was about 40 years old, I began to struggle more and more spiritually.  It just seemed that no matter how hard I tried, every meeting would hit me between the eyes as to how lacking I was in either works, spirit, or attitude.  The workers and friends were sympathetic, I believe and tried to help me but no matter how hard I tried to measure up, I just felt more and more inadequate. When I first professed, the meetings were very helpful, I thought, but now meetings seemed to be more ritual than anything else; far too often, I felt the friends were doing lip service more than anything else; there was rarely anything beyond the mundane.  Same phrases, same prayers, etc. I began to come away from meetings as empty as before.  Of course, at the time, I chalked it up to my lack of spirit.  Eventually, I sensed that others had similar disquiet but were able to quell or hide those thoughts and feelings, knowing that their ‘salvation’ depended on their ‘keeping faithful’.  I wish I knew how many times I heard that phrase when one ended his or her testimony, “I just want to be found more faithful!’ 

 I don’t know if it is a quality to admire but I finally had to be honest with myself and acknowledge the truth.  There was something seriously wrong.  I still thought the ‘rocky ground’ of my heart was the real problem but I also knew the ‘truth’ wasn’t quite what it advertised and as much and I felt I was a great failure to my wife, my children and the friends and workers. I just couldn’t take it anymore. 

So I eventually quit taking part in meeting and that fed my failure cycle.  By about 1980  I stopped going to meetings completely and then I really felt even worse!  Such a feeling of failure!  And guilt – oh, the guilt!  After all, I had a great wife and mother, and we had 4 precious children who looked to their dad [hopefully] as an example.  And here the dad ends up dropping out— some example!

I tried very hard to be a good example. Too hard at times! Once I even remember gently chastising one of the kids at the supper table for calling a policeman ‘a cop’.  Somehow the term ‘cop’ struck me as vulgar and not very Christian or something.  Anyway, I believe I became so darned ‘religious’ that I became afraid to step on an ant, so to speak!  I felt guilty reading the newspaper or a book or magazine if it wasn’t related to my job for example.  I tried not to pay attention to the World Series that had always meant a lot to me.  Attending school events where I taught were sometimes conflicted; I was asked to take tickets to a football game or something and I was always wondering how I could ‘remove’ myself from such things. 

I took my Bible in the car and studied it during my prep period at school.  I left the radio off the music stations on the way to school; couldn’t contaminate myself with Neil Diamond or Carly Simon, etc. could I?   Anyway, I always internalized my difficulties as that I wasn’t properly separated from the world and that to make progress in becoming one of God’s true children, I needed to continue to remove the things of the world.  So it evolved into no more TV, radio, baseball scores and a thousand other things.   And the box I was in got smaller and smaller.

In case you haven’t guessed, I became pretty depressed although I didn’t know it then.  Just an overwhelming sense of failure. Of course, the TV was first to go soon after I professed.  And I could tell how pleased the workers were when we did that without their prompting, etc.  Then, for the most part, the radio and reading ‘worldly’ books came next.  That was hard for I have always loved books and reading.  No one forced us to get them out of the home. Most of the pressure to ‘conform’ came from within I thought but we were continuously and subtlety pushed in that direction by convention sermons, gospel meetings, etc. and as I mentioned above, I knew that the workers were pleased at every step we made.  But no matter what I did, that ‘peace’ was elusive and eventually I felt like I was squeezed further and further into a corner of that box and finally had no place left to go.

Then there was Christmas!   Special Meetings in Montana were in December and of course within a year or two after professing I was able to contrast the Special Meetings with the ‘worldly’ Christmas traditions, etc. I found I felt like I thought we should make some changes in our family re: Christmas and I just knew that God expected more from me, now that I really knew the “Truth”.  So Donna and I talked about the issues and made the changes we thought were right. The kids were from about ages 4, 6, 8, and 10  when we began to make these changes.  And so the conflict at Christmas time was a prime example of where I felt that to become more acceptable to God I should further remove myself from the world and also my (worldly) family of brothers, sisters, etc.

 The fact that the church elders didn’t have a Christmas tree, that the workers didn’t observe Christmas traditions, etc, helped to gradually convince me that if we too became less ‘worldly’ in observing such Pagan traditions, etc, then our family would see the blessings of God and that our children would see the real truth and blessing as a truly separated family [and part of God’s separated family].

So over the next year or two, we just did away with the Christmas tree and most everything else associated with the traditional Christmas season.  We quietly discussed it with the kids and they were okay with accepting what mom and dad thought best.   We did continue to exchange presents, as the worker that we asked about that gave us the okay —something like, there isn’t anything wrong to give a gift …… 

As you probably can guess, however, those changes didn’t bring the peace we [I] anticipated.  Within another year or two, I began to dread the holiday season knowing the conflicts that were sure to arise.  Do we send Christmas cards and do we make sure they do not reference the birth of Christ or have crosses in them, etc?  What if the kids want to go Christmas caroling?  What about the Christmas program at school? 

Christmas was still a time of joy and wonderful family times and it was about when our kids were about 12, 10, 8 and 6 that the following incident took place.  I have never forgotten it.

My Christmas Story

We lived in a split-level home and there was a little storage area under the ½ stairway to the lower level.  After we stopped with a Christmas tree, the kids cleared out that area under the stairs and took our old Christmas lights [I certainly wasn’t using them] and strung the red and green lights around that little area under the stairs. Sleeping bags were laid out and our eldest read stories to the younger ones in the ‘hideout’.  Of course, I inspected the area to make sure it was safe from an electrical fire, etc.  The Christmas tree lights gave a cozy atmosphere to the confined area and they spent many hours down there.

But what I remember so clearly is the terrible conflict I felt.  Here were my 4 kids, trying to bring a little Christmas cheer into our home and I just didn’t know how to handle it.  I remember once crying long and hard when I left their little hideout. I was so conflicted. I just didn’t know what to do!   I thought I was doing the right thing but it sure didn’t feel like it.

Perhaps it sounds trivial now but at the time it was very difficult to feel like I was disappointing my children so much and yet trying to set a good example. It was an example of the subtle power of suggestion to conscientious professing people who try to ‘live up to the standard’.  

Even today when I think of those years, it is difficult not to feel pretty bitter for those years of childhood that were ‘lost’.  Instead of Christmas being a happy time it became a time of great internal conflict for me.  I doubt that it was damaging to the children in any way but it was sure hard on me.  It is to their credit that they were so understanding; I never remember them griping or complaining about why we did or didn’t do something.  And as adults, they have never questioned why we made some of those decisions.

My experiences such as those described above seem almost trivial and compared to the terrible experiences that others have had – the physical abuse, the sexual abuse, the lying and covering up, that I have hesitated to share my tiny story.  But the heartaches that each one has suffered take on many guises and I suppose none of us can measure the pain in another’s heart.  

A couple of other ‘ex-2×2’ people encouraged me to share my story; comments were basically that others may have similar experiences and it might be helpful to know that they are not alone.  So it is with that thought that I submit my story.

But the eventual result was that I became depressed and then became depressed about being depressed — God’s people are supposed to know the “Peace that passeth all understanding” — and I had had so many privileges and with my understanding and supportive wife and wonderful family, it seemed that my struggles were even more unseemly.  It seemed so ungrateful to live in America where we have freedom and can worship ‘in spirit and in Truth’ — and to have conventions and the privilege of knowing the True Gospel! 

What a feeling of desperation as I sunk lower and lower.  And so it went. I struggled more and more.  Down and down I went. Finally, my regular physician diagnosed my depression and I began medication. The first antidepressant was “Desyrel [Trazadone]” and I don’t know if the medication was marginally effective re: depression, but I can say it was like a knockout drug. I could barely function at school from day to day and began to alternate between nights of sleeplessness and then days of such sleepiness and sluggishness that I could barely function at all.

Over time, from then to now, I have been on several different antidepressants trying to find help.  Both my wife and I wondered whether my spiritual troubles were brought on by my depression or whether the religious discouragement brought on the depression.  I don’t know if either is correct but I think they can be a deadly combination.  I think they complement each other very well!

Throughout the years, Donna really has always been my compassionate caregiver and she did everything she could for me; I can’t say enough about what she endured and in understanding and adjusting to my mood swings, etc.  She was really a great example of the type of woman her Gram was and that is no small compliment. 

Move to California

Sometime about 1986, Donna finally stopped going to meetings too. I think it was somewhat to bring peace to our marriage, among other things,  I had always tried to be sensitive to her background, spiritual life, etc., and as a result, our communication rather deteriorated as you can imagine.  I couldn’t really discuss much of what I was going through because I thought it might hinder her spiritual life and I didn’t want that on my conscience.  Anyway, in 1988 I retired from teaching in Montana and we moved to California and sort of ‘started over’ — outside of Truth.  I loved California;  life was a lot easier not being reminded of the ‘Truth’ [and failure!] every day!

In California, I grew to enjoy my job of teaching college math very much and my self-esteem recovered a lot.  I was respected in my work and felt good about things in general.   I still took minimal antidepressants but along with my job satisfaction and a more normal daily life, I seemed to stay on an even keel – more or less.  However, we had no spiritual life, and eventually, I began to be curious about the ‘Truth’ in California.  Was it really the same spirit etc as we had known in Montana?   I wondered what going to a meeting would feel like, and one year I decided to go to Buttonwillow Convention for just one meeting.

Wouldn’t you know, there were two sister workers present at Buttonwillow that year that had been with us in Montana and they recognized me of course.  Bonnie Robinson [who I had professed through] and Nancy Layman [Philippines] were glad to see me and I to see them.  We had a good visit and the convention atmosphere was pleasant for me.  The ‘failure’ feelings weren’t there – at least not that night.

Donna and I soon went back to gospel meetings by John Vandenberg and Larry Smit, and we both made a new start in the ‘truth’– about 1995.   I tried not to be as serious about everything and again for a couple of years or so, it went pretty well; but eventually the pressure of professing and some of the same feelings of inadequacy along with a lack of peace and more inconsistencies and ‘problems’ with the ‘Truth” combined to result in my ‘losing out’ once again.  I saw the same sort of disciplined but not very joyful lives that I had seen in Montana.  A form of thankfulness was evident – in each and every meeting – but it seemed that the thankfulness was about the workers, their sacrifice, etc.  I didn’t identify it as such at the time.  I was still ‘captured’ into one-way thinking – ‘worker sacrifice’, etc.  But again the meetings became tedious with the same cliches, the same phrasing, etc.  And a lot of role-playing by the friends who tried as they all do, to keep the image of the truth to be perfect and to be what the workers expect.  So I became empty again, as far as my spiritual life was concerned. 

Eventually, I became bothered enough to write a letter to a sister worker and long-time friend, Shirley Doolittle, to ask a few questions. Before I summarize part of that letter and its follow-up, I might mention that I had long wondered about the plan of God in the following way.


  1. God’s plan for salvation was “from before the foundation of the world”, etc.  
  2. God loves each man and woman – and has from the very beginning.
  3. It is not God’s plan that any should perish [go to Hell].
  4. Estimates are difficult to come by but assume that there are perhaps 500,000 professing people in the world now [saved] and the world population is about 7,000,000,000 total —  that calculates out that the percentage of people saved is therefore about  .0007 or .07%.

Question:  Now supposing that we are WAY off in the estimates above.  Well, the world population IS about 7 billion; no big error there.  The only other estimate is the number of professing people in the world.  Suppose my assumption is off by a factor of 2 – a very BIG underestimate.  Then the percentage becomes 1.4% [that is  .07 x 2].   So let’s be generous and estimate about 1%, [more or less] of the world’s population is saved.

Now the first question I asked Shirley D.:  Why would God set up a system that would damn 99% of those that he loves to a lost eternity [hell] and save only 1%?  I could understand that percentage if Satan set up the rules, but he didn’t– God did.  God created the earth and the way to salvation.  And if you study the rates of growth [math nerd again speaking], then God is losing the battle every day – and has for centuries.  I mean, just estimate the number of new ‘saved’ people in California per day and then compare it to the people born in California that same day [or year for that matter].  I doubt that there are 7 newly saved persons for every 10,000 born!   And do the same thinking for any other state or any other country or any other time period that you care to think about. 

A second question:  If God can ‘arrange’ for a seeking soul to come across the path of the workers [as we have often heard] and hence bring the saving gospel to that poor needy soul, then why is it that the new professing people in any field that I have ever been in or heard about, turn out to be relatives of already professing families.  It stretches one’s credulity beyond the maximum to accept the idea that of all the millions [dare I say billions] of people on earth, that the only honest souls ‘worthy’ of hearing the Truth almost always turn out to be relatives of folks already saved. Hmmmm.  

It’s almost as though Salvation is related to DNA!  Not quite what the Bible teaches!

Well, I sent these questions and a couple of others to Shirley, and she eventually wrote me back with a very nice letter and basically said she couldn’t explain the points I had raised.  She said she was sending the questions on to Jack Price who was overseer in California at the time – and that he would respond.  Well, needless to say, I heard nothing from him.  Later, he came to Bakersfield and was in the home where we went to meeting; he knew I was troubled but made no attempt to visit with me.  I never did hear from him.   So much for seeking the one lost sheep! 

But by that time I had pretty well fed up about going to meetings and so for the last 15 years or so I have been ‘OUT’ of the fellowship. Donna continued to profess for a while longer and I still felt that I shouldn’t discourage her.

The Breakthrough

We retired back to Montana and in December 2009, I decided to add some notes to some pictures that (the worker) Leo Stancliff had given me years ago in California.  Leo was one of the workers interned by the Japanese in WW II in the Philippines and he had made some drawings of the internment camp.  The pictures were copied and I ended up with some copies. Since I am a WW II history buff, I was interested in documenting them and went to Google and searched for “Leo Stancliff” to get the details of the camp, the rescue of the internees, etc.  And WOW!! I found Leo’s name all right but also in the Google Search list, there were many websites dealing with 2x2s, etc.

So I started reading on the Telling The Truth website.  I read about William Irvine, and in the first 15 minutes and I was informed about so much more; what a revealing and to me, freeing experience!  My first thoughts were that perhaps bitter and ‘sour’ exes were spreading lies on the web but I soon dispelled that theory.  Details below.  

Anyway, early in my online reading that morning, Donna came into my office and said something like ‘What are you learning?’  Well, there it was on the screen before I could hide it and really didn’t want to, and as a result, she also learned about the history, sexual abuse, excommunications, etc.  

I taught probability and statistics, so I am quite suspicious of data, particularly data from the Internet.  So I really had a ‘Prove it to me’ attitude when I found Wm. Irvine, etc.  But thanks to the objectivity and quality of the TTT site and other sites as well, I soon found enough real evidence to leave no doubt about the validity of what we found.

While I can’t speak for Donna, I do know that we both are forever changed by finally finding out the REAL TRUTH.

For myself, finding websites, particularly TTT was not only a revelation of real truth but has been a great relief to me. Many of my questions and feelings of failure and inadequacy make more sense as I have learned a bit about the legalism of the sect and I understand a lot more about the control and psychological indoctrination that was [and still is] instilled over time by the workers. What a relief to find that at least some of the doubts and questions I had were valid. 

I hasten to add however that I never had any personal ‘bad’ experiences with the workers or friends.  The few workers that tried to help me through the years were always kind and cordial and conscientious in trying to help their troubled ‘saint’.  I respect most of the workers I have met; I have no doubt about their sincerity and their dedication to what they believe is right.  However, it must also be mentioned that our family was always a ‘docile’ one and by that, I mean the workers’ words and suggestions were ‘right’ without question and I was always so convinced of that, that I was never one to ‘rock the boat’ or really question anything very critically at least not outwardly.  I kept up the facade as best I could for a long time.  I know now that I was guilty of ‘worker worship’ for want of a better term.  The workers could have told me the sky was polka dot green and I would have believed them, so to speak. I could say more about this but I suspect that most readers know full well what I mean.

Now that I know that I’m not alone in my problems with the truth and that some of my doubts were well-founded, it has helped.   And when I learned about the [shocking!] excommunications of the folks in Alberta and Europe and how they were hurt and trampled by the ‘Truth,’ it somehow validated my experiences. I am not proud that I find satisfaction in knowing that the Way is as phony as it is, but to be honest, I do to some degree.  Anyway, although I took myself ‘out’, I can only imagine what others have gone through who were forced out or went out through painful experiences—especially those with most of their family still ‘in the way’.  

So that is where I am now.  I am not happy to say that I don’t have any faith in churches at all; I never had an official faith before professing in 1968 and after my experiences with the “Truth”, it is hard for me to feel that there is anywhere else to go spiritually.  Having been in the 2x2s, it seems to make it hard for me to ‘move beyond’.   As I told Donna, at least for me, ‘the ‘Truth’ leaves nowhere to go!  But I know that is part of the indoctrination about the ‘only one right way’.  I know many other exes have a different view and I respect their views completely.

So it seems that the ‘Truth’ left me sort of, well, flat.  You know, sort of like a steam roller has gone over you!  I think I am still sort of numb spiritually and I can’t imagine being otherwise.  Too much hurt, too much, too much, too much that I can’t seem to get rid of.  How could I risk ‘trusting’ again?  I think that once I was pretty close to a real breakdown of some sort when that first ton of bricks hit about 30 years ago and it is my guess that makes it that much harder to begin to ‘Trust’ again.  [Sounds like I was divorced and am now head-shy of a new relationship].  Hmmmm.  Come to think of it, perhaps a painful divorce is not too far from what some of us go through in separating from the Way.  At any rate, it seems very hard now to even think of letting my faith be ‘developed’ —-  only to risk being shattered later.  

Right now, I know I don’t have that kind of courage or whatever it takes to go in that direction.  

The way I see it now can perhaps best be understood by using a simple analogy:  

Suppose I shopped at a store—Walmart perhaps—and bought a shovel.  I took the shovel home and found out it didn’t work and so I went back to Walmart to return it.  When the Customer Service representative asked me why I was returning the shovel, my reply would be   “Because it is “not as advertised!” That is my answer to what I feel about the so-called ‘Truth’.

The worker that I professed under, Bonnie Robinson, is gone now but if I could look her [or any other worker] in the face and if they asked me why I ‘dropped out’ I would now say because it is not as advertised. What you brought to me was a legalistic and isolating sect that is borderline cult-like in the way that the workers separate people from the real world under the false premise that it is that separation and ‘sacrifice’ that saves one. In short, the peace that you promised was a false peace and all the rest of the promises made were based on false premises.”  

Finally, I will quote from one of the posts on the TLC website that summarizes my thoughts very well. In discussing the failure of the 2×2 ministry to address the many problems:

“Most of these issues resolve in the face of education. That’s why the reverse [change] will seldom if ever happen. The denominational preachers are almost all educated at least to some extent. Their knowledge of religion, history of the Bible and of the history of Christianity as expressed through the various churches will exclude them from ever becoming members of an organization that denies its own origin, denies that it owns property, denies its founding fathers, denies that it has a name, denies ministers the right of marriage and family, and is totally unwilling to face the dysfunction these denials bring about…and then has the unmitigated gall to refer to themselves as the ‘truth’.  [Emphasis is mine]

I can’t say it better!!  Thanks for reading.