In Reply to: of course... posted by ray on December 11, 2002 at 13:33:04:
Yeah, well, if a Family member is still in the group and still using group resources to make a living, then yes, I do hold them to a different standard then ex-members because they are still actively saying that the group is fine and supporting it with their tithes.
the huge difference is that ex-members have said, by leaving and usually verbally, "I was wrong, and the group is wrong." And they usually express some remorse. That's a huge difference.
In a court of law, if someone commits a crime but admits their wrongdoing, demonstrates remorse, accepts responsibility and tries to promote healing, such as in victim offender mediation, of course the court is going to approach the sentencing differently from someone who is only sorry they got caught and refuses to admit wrongdoing or confron the harm they have caused.
Let's face it, if RF quit the group and renounced it, he wouldn't have a business, as they are all Family members and resources. He's be all alone. So his continued success as SSU depends entirely on his good standing in the group.
So sorry, I feel there is a huge chasm between people like RF in, and those who have left. sure it might be tough for those in, some feel trapped. I accept that. But RF does not fall in that category. He could quit any time he wanted to. No dependents, a smart guy who could find work real fast. He's not there because he has to be, he's there because he chooses to be.
And I feel that if we empathise too much with these trapped Family members, we belittle the enormous price ex-members have paid for leaving the group. It was hard as hell for everyone to leave -- incredibly painful. But for various reasons, they were willing to go throught that spiritual and material valley of death. Yes it's hard, it has not been easy for anyone. But each of did it to some degree because we could not stand the wrongness of it all any longer.
And many of us have paid a huge price for that decision, starting over in middle age, or noyt having any skills, like many SGAs, and resorting to the sex trade.
So yes, I feel sorry for people in who feel trapped. But many are not trapped, and wear the uniform of an officer, and promote the Family party line, or at the very least, don't speak out against it. And that uniform makes them a target for censure and exposure.
My rant is about the issues, Ray, nothing about you. My idea of a forum is where we can think through and debate these issues. You are brave to keep posting. A diversity of views is going to hopefully cause us to all think and grow strnger.
But to recap, I feel a double standard between how we view current members, especially those who profit from the group, and exmembers is valid. Going briefly to a theological lens (Please, please don't banish me to journeys), even God looks at unsaved and saved sinners differently. He loves them both equally, but the unrepented sin of the unsaved is a barrier to God's redeeming love.
Hope this is not too long. I like, you Ray, have other things I should be doing. But some of these posts are so damn interesting.