JOURNEYS—RULES & GUIDELINES
exFamily.org provides the Journeys Board primarily as a service for ex-members of The Family International (TFI) who wish to discuss their beliefs—those who still have faith or who are on a spiritual journey, unsure of what they believe. We wish Journeys to be a place where ex-members can feel comfortable discussing their personal issues, seek advice, receive affirmation and find healing from spiritual abuse; a place where questions can be asked and mental chains can be unlocked.
Journeys was originally created for (but is not limited to) ex-members in the process of detoxing from the spiritual atmosphere of TFI, who wish to discuss Biblical issues, including (but not limited to) comparing “genuine Christianity” to “heresies” and spiritual abuse.
While we encourage lively discussions, we must caution participants that respect for those of different beliefs is imperative. The purpose of Journeys is not to preach at or instruct others, but to share our hearts regarding our personal journey out of our cultic experience. Some ex-members have emerged from TFI’s injurious teachings with their faith in God intact, while for others, this is an ongoing process. Some have had their faith destroyed by the group and have put spiritual matters on ice. Yet others have found the answers in rejecting all things religious and spiritual.
Although the majority of participants on our discussion boards may comprise ex-members who relate to Christianity in varying degrees, consideration must be given to the fact that this is a space for dialogue between those of different religious persuasions. As a public forum, responses may also come from the public at large, from individuals with entirely different religious backgrounds, who may feel obliged to respond to the specific content of our posts. exFamily.org aims to provide a safe, non-threatening environment for members, ex-members and nonmembers alike.
In this open environment, skeptics, agnostics, atheists or antitheists who wish to contribute to discussions will be understood to have a belief system (or “system of unbelief”) of their own, and must adhere to these rules and guidelines accordingly.
While we encourage the discussion of doctrine, we ask that you do not repeatedly rehash the same arguments, quoting verse after verse or posting link after link to prove your points. If you wish to engage in prolonged discussions about doctrinal issues that are not crucial to understanding our cultic experience and recovery from it, we ask you to continue such discussions privately in emails.
Please note that regardless of the religious persuasions of its coordinators, exFamily.org is not a religious organization—in the spirit of “separation of church and state,” it is neither pro-Christian nor antichristian and endeavors to be unbiased and fair. Complaints that the coordinators are showing favoritism towards a particular demographic will not likely be handled favorably. Email complaints in that regard may be ignored.
Not a pulpit: Repetiitve exhortations, spiritual imperatives, unsolicited advice and instruction will not be considered dialogue nor discussion, but preaching. Journeys is not a platform for preachers on a “mission” to instruct or proselytize. It is a place to share your experience as fellow journeymen.
No arrogant speech or overassertive dogma. It is perfectly acceptable to share your personal beliefs and to speak for yourself. However, the invalidation of another person’s beliefs as “lies” or the assertion that a fellow poster of a different faith is “not following the truth” or “being dishonest,” etc, will be considered arrogance and dogma, and may result in a limitation of posting privileges or in being banned.
Show courtesy and respect to fellow posters. No angry debating allowed. Phrasing and tone are important. Insensitivity will not be tolerated. Posts with vulgar and/or willfully offensive content or posts aimed at provoking another poster to anger will be deleted. While we allow for the inevitable misunderstandings and marked differences of opinion that may arise from interaction between participants, deliberately hurtful or repeatedly abrasive behavior will result in the deletion of posts, limitation of posting privileges or in being banned.
Dialogue, not monologue: Speak with each other and not at each other. Address the issues discussed, bring up more issues for discussion. Lengthy or repeated one-way communications or exhortations will be considered monologue/preaching and may result in a limitation of posting privileges.
Context is important. Answer to posts in the context of the thread as much as possible.
No unwelcome familiarity or badgering. While we recognize that in any virtual community, it is both natural and necessary that participants achieve some level of familiarity with each other’s views and lifestyles, etc., this familiarity can be misused in the bulletin board medium, as a tool for badgering. In all discussions, refrain from introducing random references to another participant’s previously stated views/lifestyle/etc. in a badgering manner.
No harassment or cyber-stalking. Harassing behavior will result in being banned from all our forums. Cyber-stalking can, for example, be defined as a poster with a vendetta following another poster around on the boards whenever he/she posts, challenging anything/everything about his/her views over a period of time.
No naming of legal names of ex-members unless... If you’re going to cite any legal names, use them in compliance with our guidelines. TFI’s policy has been to expose the faces and legal names of its rank-and-file adherents, while protecting its leadership, who live in hiding under assumed names—exFamily.org aims to reverse that policy. When an individual has left the group and gone on to make something good out of his/her life, associating them with TFI may affect their recovery adversely. Unless you are reporting firsthand accounts of specific crimes that will hold up in a court of law, refrain from causing rank-and-file former members any unnecessary grief through “guilt by association,” by connecting them with TFI—particularly those born into the cult, who did not choose to join.
There is no need for personal attacks. All board users are expected to maintain a level of civility, to stick to the topic at hand and not to make it personal. Anyone with a specific problem with another poster should settle it outside of the forum. Threads of this nature will be deleted and may result in a limitation of posting privileges or banning.
Unintelligible posts or posts which make no sense to the purpose of the site will be deleted.
Avoid mindless rhetoric. If you wish to debate, do your homework.
Politics Free Boards: While we understand that it may be difficult or impossible to make posts completely void of political views and expressions, general political discussions should take place at Soapbox. For example, an analysis of TFI’s or Berg’s political views should not extend to attacks on legitimate political affiliations.
Multiple pen names (handles): The use of multiple pen names is permitted on our bulletin boards, as long as there is no malicious intent for doing so.
Posting under a pen name allows you to express your views and obtain support for your pain, while maintaining control over your privacy and separating your past cult affiliation from your new life and workplace. In addition, if you have a situation where you could be cut off from your friends or family for speaking out against TFI, it is wise to avoid posting with your legal name or former “Bible name.”
As a bulletin board user, you are anonymous to other posters (unless you post identifiable things about yourself or write in an identifiable manner), but we will not allow misuse of this anonymity, such as using multiple anonymous names to:
Posters have a right to anonymity and those interacting with them on our boards should not attempt to “out” them or demand that they identify themselves. Any participants disrespecting the rules on privacy and anonymity will be given a warning. Continued violation of this policy will result in being banned from the board.
Initiating Posts must contain subject matter (the Message box must be filled, and the post may not solely comprise a subject line with no text—which otherwise results in an appendix, “(NT).”
No advertising or linking for commercial purposes to sites and products that may be disruptive to the commercial rights of others—such as pirate software or piracy sites.
No incitement to crime. Suggesting that leaders of TFI should be tried for their crimes is acceptable; suggesting that we deal with them by taking the law into our own hands is not. Any posts with content which can be construed as incitement to commit crime will be deleted.
Interpretation of the above is the responsibility of the coordinator(s).
Complaints, suggestions or questions can be sent to the coordinator: journeys-coord@exFamily.org
Material on this page is © 2002-2009, exFamily.org where applicable