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Getting Real : Speak your peace

Freedom to Doubt

from ErikMagnusLehnsher - Sunday, November 13, 2005
accessed 1212 times

Well this reads like a shitty blog entry but it is what it is.

Adjusting to life outside TF has on its face been fairly easy for me. Since leaving I’ve been busy and to be quite honest I’ve been very, very happy. I was listening to Track 10: “The View” off of Modest Mouse’s “Good News for People Who Love Bad News”. The following lyrics caught my attention:

"As life gets longer, awful feels softer,
and it feels pretty soft to me.
And if it takes shit to make bliss,
well I feel pretty blissfully."

"If life's not beautiful without the pain,
well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again.
Well as life gets longer, awful feels softer.
And it feels pretty soft to me."

My life in its entirety has been no fairy tale, but as the fictional President Starky in Kevin's Costner's "The Postman" was quoted as saying: "Thing are getting better, getting better all the time". I don't know if it's technically possible to hate some experiences and at the same time absolutely love the experience of life but that's the way I feel. Maybe I've been the beneficiary of extremely low expectations that were drilled into me regarding life in "The System" but being a systemite has been about 100 times better than I ever thought it would be. I could expand upon this with a sing-along Vandari variation called "Every days gettin' better since I left The Family" but I'll get right to the point...after one more quick detour.

The other day I was discussing my plans to see "Jarhead" this weekend (masterful film, IMHO). My good friend promptly informed me that he would not be seeing it because Swofford (the author of the book and subject of the movie) was a piece of shit and his book was blatant liberal military-bashing. Like many good, red-blooded Republicans, he boycotts a LOT of things. In the course of our discussion I managed to get him to concede that he had neither seen the movie nor read the book BUT he corresponded with Marines in a conservative newsgroup and was taking their word for it. I love the guy and I could tell it was a sensitive issue as he's had a lot of relatives that served in the military and watched some deal with injuries that lasted a lifetime so I ended the discussion before it got too tense.

I could completely appreciate his concerns regarding disrespect for veterans (though I wasn't ready to agree that this film constituted disrespect) but I still felt sickened by the thought of drawing a strong conclusion about a book or a movie that I have never read or viewed. He, of course, was unaware of my experiences growing up with little education, reading very few books and only watching movies on a short approved list. The type of loyal, unquestioning acceptance of information that he was exhibiting is something I was once so familiar with, yet it is now an anathema to me. It's not so much that don't WANT to naively accept information at face's that I am physically and mentally INCAPABLE of doing so.

My most cherished freedom as a systemite and the subject of this article: The freedom to doubt. Some of us realized at a very young age that figuratively the Emporer was, in fact, not wearing any clothes and developed deep reservations about TF leadership and doctrine. I was too observant as a kid to not develop questions in the back of my mind about double-standards, bullshit logic, etc. but as a sincere koolaid-drinker I tried to be strong...tried to keep the doubts out of my mind (and off my OHR's). If you're a painfully philosophical wannabee intellectual like myself you'll appreciate that "bringing every thought into captivity" was not only completely unnatural but it was an exercise in futility. When you're the type of person who loves information, likes to analyze and see things from different angles, leaving TF was like realizing that your mind had been locked in a cold, dark room and operating at about 10% power. It was like being relieved of this lugubrious task that was damn near impossible and often mentally exhausting. I revel in the ability to question everything, to do my own research, draw my own conclusions and let my mind go where it wills.

When you leave TF, you basically have to re-assess everything that were ever taught and begin a process of individualization as you discover your own identity. I don't know how far along I am in my process but I am enjoying the ride. I'm curious to know if my recollections of frustrating efforts at resisting "doubts" while within TF are shared by others here.

Reader's comments on this article

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from Friday
Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 04:58

“The freedom to doubt.”
It is part clearly an intrinsic part of a necessary process, and when denied or suppressed, will only haunt you later. There is a book on this very issue, which I found very helpful. To be found here:
“Some of us realized at a very young age that figuratively the Emporer was, in fact, not wearing any clothes and developed deep reservations about TF leadership and doctrine.”
One thing is to observe the emperor does not have any clothes, another to ask why he does not wear any clothes, and still another to question how come he is the emperor.
(reply to this comment)
from GetReal
Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 08:12

I just let TF a year ago and it is so true that freedom to do what ever you want is like a invisible force driving me to better and better. I didn't do that bad in the cult but come to think of it I didn't do anything at all.Any one in the family reading this , get out NOW at least for a year .Freedom is like a drug once you have it you simply can't stop taking it.
(reply to this comment)
from PopNFresh
Monday, November 14, 2005 - 17:56


Great article!

I watched Jarhead on veterans day and have to say I was very impressed. It's a very strong movie with not to much political propaganda.

Freedom to doubt is one of the best things I've gained since escaping TF. I was a doubter from age 12 but I concealed it well to avoid suffering the severe punishment and humiliation inflicted on murmurers and doubters.

The first college class I took was psychology. It was there I learned about critical thinking. Realizing that there was so much more to life made me appreciate it more. While life sucks sometimes, most of the time it's better than I've ever expected.
(reply to this comment)

from Baxter
Monday, November 14, 2005 - 14:52


Rock on mate!

I must read 'Jarhead'. i didn't know they made a film out of it.
(reply to this comment)

from Phoenixkidd
Monday, November 14, 2005 - 13:21

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Eric I completely agree with you. My main doubt in The Cult was is Jesus really coming back?? By 1998 I pretty much figured out he wasn't coming, in fact there may not even be a "Divine" Jesus with interest in rescueing his poor chosen ones out of this wicked world. By the end of 1998 I grew so frustrated with my main job, Witnessing, I had no "glorified" ministry, and I took a look at the copyright of one of the DTD tapes dated 1985. I thought, Geez, I've been selling these tapes for over 12 years! I've gotta find a way out. I just wanted to be able to watch the movies I wanted to watch, buy the clothes I want, and eat fresh food instead of rotten stuff from provisioning. ANYTHING ELSE IS A BONUS. I was to that point of desperation when I landed in Japan with no money, desperate to get back to the States. It's been a rough ride, gotten my stuff stolen once, and had 2 people cheat me out of money, basically because I was way too generous. But over the last 7 years I can say it's been worth it, and I just wish I had gotten out sooner!

I still have hardly a penny to my name, but I have everything I need, and my job isn't too bad! Working for Mammon is definitely easier than working for JESUS!!! Praise Mammon!!
(reply to this comment)

From mammonworker
Monday, November 14, 2005, 14:02

I don't know about easier, but at least mammon pays his employees!(reply to this comment
From Phoenixkidd
Tuesday, November 15, 2005, 10:04

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Ok, you gotta be kiddin me. I remember carrying a bag of tapes that weighed about 20 pounds, dressed in nice clothes, sweating it out in a tropical climate, getting on a bus and standing for 2 hours each way to my witnessing locations. In the States the worst part was the total rejection and embarassment you would feel, when people found out you weren't part of an established church or religion. In Japan it was numbing cold, postering or taping on the streets, asking for a few yen, and having people wonder why I didn't speak Japanese better. I will serve Mammon anyday over Christ. (reply to this comment
From Baxter
Tuesday, November 15, 2005, 13:29


Oh, the memories!

(reply to this comment

From ErikMagnusLehnsher
Tuesday, November 15, 2005, 20:33


My memories of tapenessing on a spring day in 1989 are described in the following poem of questionable quality and comedic value: to this comment

From EyesWideShut
Monday, November 14, 2005, 19:33

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I loved this article and completely agree.

Our parents talked about being born again, about all things becoming new, and about burning their bridges. Well, I did the same things--in reverse. It was as though I'd worn dark sunglasses, with blinders, all my life, and had taken them off for the first time to see the full spectrum of color in the world.

Looking back, I find it difficult to put that special time into words. As an artist, I cherish the memory of those days of awakening, that coming into my own and allowing the child in me to come out and play. I drew on that energy. I remember my nerves singing like electricity lines. I was so eager to share my “coming out” with everyone I met.

It passed so quickly though—like the perfect days of spring. There was something amazing about those first few months after I decided to leave. A rawness, an excitement, a passion. In retrospect, it feels like I was in love with this new person I was discovering inside of myself. The memory feels the same as the memories I have of being in love, and when I remember those feelings, I smile to myself.

I could become anything I wanted, just as soon as I learned about all the things a person might become. I could say no to anything, just as easily as I might say yes, yes, YES!

Now, I'm living the life I worked so hard for in the first years. I feel the day to day normalcy of mental health that I longed for, and some times felt slipping away. I fit in; I have sorted a lot of shit out. There is no angst about the core issues any more. What’s real? What is truth and how will I know when I find it? I'm sweating the small stuff now, and find myself reminiscing about the good old days when I struggled to make it through the next 10 minutes; to put one foot in front of the other. I have, in effect, become a perfectly satisfactory “systemite”, thank you very much.

Sometimes I feel numb. Comfortable and numb. Usually, though, when I feel numb, I remember what I felt in the Family most of the time, and numb suddenly doesn't seem so bad. Numb is good. I can do numb. NUMB ROCKS!!! Numb and coke, please, with a touch of lime.

Lying in bed wondering why God doesn't hear the earnest cries for help--you can have it. Wanting to kill myself--I can do without that too. Working myself into a hallucinating frenzy of dedication over a dead Jewish carpenter come pussy mongering bear and closet fag—so yesterday.

Do I miss some of what was? Yes, but not enough to make me dive into the shit searching for a few kernels of corn (thank you Uncle Ricky for that poignant analogy). Do I appreciate the good that came from it all? Yes. Does that matter? I think so.

Things have changed back there, my old friends have changed, and they’re still “climbing that [bloody] mountain”. That way of life has continued going on as it did before, morphing and returning back into itself and sticking to itself, digesting it’s victims as it slogs along—the dreaded blob!(reply to this comment

From Blast from the Past
Tuesday, November 15, 2005, 20:46


I wonder if there is ANYBODY who had U. Ricky as a shepherd and didn't have that "...A few kernels of corn" analogy burned into their subconscious.

What's funny is how well it describes The Family. (reply to this comment

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