Blast from the past…
Article by Bill Fairchild
Since I left that disorganized and disintegrating mess I have learned an important rule of therapy, which is that the person who causes abuse on someone else should never be the same one who then is charged with healing the victim of his abuse.
You solicited comments, so here are mine. I am no longer a member, a hireling (non-ministerial employee at HQ), deacon (trainee in being corrupted by power), nor a local church elder (non-employed cheerleader). At various times I was all four of the above.
The Good Samaritan story told by Christ has many lessons on many levels. The first lesson: our former alleged “church” certainly bears a moral responsibility to heal those whom it wounded, just as in this story the thieves who stripped and wounded the hapless victim have the ultimate moral responsibility to pay for their victim to be thoroughly healed. (Ex. 21:18-19 “And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, (or with a Bible) or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed: if he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit; only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.”) The second lesson: since we cannot expect unregenerate thieves ever to do such a thing, the only place from which healing can come is someone who is not personally morally responsible for causing the evil in the first place (more about this later). So the story tells us of the cowardice of two different types of religious leaders who should have had compassion on the victim even though they weren’t morally responsible for healing him. The third lesson: if we receive any healing at all in this unfair life, it will most likely come from complete strangers who happen to be virtuous.
In 1995-1996 one of the church’s countless new trial balloons being floated was that the ministry should help to heal the remaining members of the spiritual abuse they had suffered. This sounded good at the time, since it was reasoned that ministers had been long-time members, they had been spiritually abused themselves, and thus they would be ideally suited to perform the spiritual healing necessary. Since I left that disorganized and disintegrating mess I have learned an important rule of therapy, which is that the person who causes abuse on someone else should never be the same one who then is charged with healing the victim of his abuse. Can you imagine a father who rapes and molests his daughter for 10 years trying to counsel and give therapy to his daughter? They should stay as far apart as possible, assuming the father had not been deservedly executed for his monstrous crimes and was still alive. In your Samaritan story, an analogy to this rule would be that some judge found, incarcerated, and ordered the thieves to be responsible for the healing of their victim. They would certainly have no incentive to do a good job, even if they could be found. They should definitely pay for it, though, if they could be found and forced to pay. Otherwise they should be thrown into prison and not let out until they pay the uttermost farthing.
That’s what should happen with the current Gang of Four in Pasadena. Throw them all in prison, have a court seize the entire church, sell all the assets, pay all the debts, and then distribute the proceeds among the ex-members and/or members who request refunds. Then the members who want to can hire their own personal therapists (trained people who were NEVER associated with the Worldly-wise Scam of Armstrong) with the refund they get.
I, too, have fantasized about being repaid some of the $250,000 or $300,000 I “donated” to the WSA over a 30-year period. I never suffered financially from tithing way too much as most did, since I always made so much money in my career that I could afford to be ripped off as we all were, yet have enough for my family. But still it feels nice to dream about somehow being repaid or made whole by the phonies still infesting the highest organizational levels of the WSA. I am too realistic to get my hopes up, however. The money was thoroughly misspent and wasted long ago, even though Ralph Helge would correct me and say it was “spent”. The only possible way anyone can be repaid even 5 cents on the dollar is to sell off all the assets (buildings built with the “Building Fund” for which most of us made extra-special sacrifices to contribute), pay off the debts, and then divide what remains among all those in the class action suit. Helge would argue that this will cause tax repercussions for all of us receiving any such improbable repayments. This is true, but at least we would have some of our money back. It would also cause an untenable legal precedent to be set for all other churches, who would have to resist our class action suit vigorously as friends of the court. Instead of fighting the WSA legal department, we would have to take on the legal departments of all organized religion. So don’t expect any refunds from the WSA.
One of the things that really struck me in 1996 as I was finally leaving the WSA was that no one made any attempt to counsel me or heal me of my spiritual abuse even though that was the officially stated new policy. The church’s “leadership” was only concerned with learning new things (reminiscent of the Greeks in Athens), trying new forms of worship, adding new “truth”, etc. etc. Even though one of the new directions was allegedly to try to heal members of their abuse, no one ever really did this with me. Once I made my massive dissatisfaction known to my local pastor, he had much more important things to do than to try to help me. So what else is new?
Speaking of rape, the first visceral reaction I had when I finally wised up and left was that I felt as if my mind had been raped for 30 years. You can bet I’ll not be getting any spiritual abuse therapy from my former rapists.