The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: cherenuff1 ()
Date: November 30, 2006 09:52AM

[b:551b0d0c7f](Quote from Boanerges)[/b:551b0d0c7f]
Dear NathanA:
As painful as these memories are for we expatriates; it is most painful to me because it was my throat that O~ had a hold of. Yes, he, in fact, meted out his self-styled divine justice on me, which left me voiceless for a week or more. But then, this is only one of several such episodes –to a greater or lesser extent – that he saw fit to exact over the years… to a number of us.
I have been reluctant to enter into this dialogue, until now, because, unlike many of my fellows, the pain of my decade-long relationship with O~ remains with me every day and still denies me sleep on an all too regular basis. Writing to you now forces me to recollect these acrid events and encounters that I would rather not bring the surface; however, after following this discourse for a while I would like to set the record straight for you about the person you have became an apologist for.
Let me begin by saying that I have no financial, literary, theological, or artistic interest in anything that has anything to do with O~ or his surrogate, TFI. Nor do I care to debate theology (I’ll leave that bone to ya’ll). Wendy’s book stands alone as a thoroughly accurate account of her life “on the block” and differs from my personal experience considerable but the roots of our commonly experienced pain are exactly the same and are shared, almost unanimously, by those escapees still alive. Yes, some five or six of the most fragile former members are no longer able to speak to these atrocities!
For reasons I cannot comprehend, you have taken a stand for a person, a place, and a business that you have never met, been to, or participated in. Moreover, you have likewise discounted the experiences of a number of us who spent years under the “authority” of O~.
Unlike my fellows, who have given you tremendous counsel in these conversations, I would strongly encourage you to abandon your home, your family, your possessions, your conformability, “pick up your cross”, and move to the block. Spend a few years under O~’s rod and prove us all wrong. Perhaps, you will be the instrument for change that we were not. Perhaps, you’ll be the emissary that can create a bridge to reunited us all. At the very least, you will come to know what we have all learned to well: the operative definition of what it means to be the “Chief of Sinners”

And, one more thing, we got this new person, Boanerges, who gets involved in the discussion even though he didn't really want to, and Cherenuff1 and NathanA, just ignore it! What is up with that??[/quote]

To paraphrase Zueszor a bit when he responded to NathanA. You need to seek (no pun intended) information on both sides. You have read one book concerning Trinity and have made a blanket judgement without bringing any true discussion to the table. I grow bored with you and until you have actually met people, interviewed people here, I have to say that you are being narrow-minded in your pursuit of this. Why are you here? To me that is trolling. You have out and out written that we are basically wrong in our viewpoints YET you have only read ONE book on the subject. Have you read the 50+ other articles concerning Trinity? Tell you what...perhaps I'll write a book in response to this and send you a copy so that I KNOW someone will blindly believe what I've written.

I'm very glad that you've read 'books' on cult subjects. I'm sorry that I don't deem you qualified to take your word that Trinity is a cult. I've read books as well but I do my hardest not to make a blanket judgement on a group of people without doing some research especially if I aim to defend my thoughts about said book.

As for Boanerges, I will be more than happy to listen to him if he agrees to tell the whole story...not just part of it. He tells the end. What about the beginning and middle? Also, this is an open forum. How do I know he is who he is? I would appreciate an email from him if he will privately contact me so that I know it is really him.

Also for the record, I NEVER said the book or Wendy or Doug lied. I've been through what most of the ex-members were through. What I had a problem with is that what is written is the conclusion of ALOT of stuff that was left unwritten but as I've stated...I will not be the one to tell other's stories...that is for them to tell.

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: cherenuff1 ()
Date: November 30, 2006 09:59AM

There was a story in my country, South Africa, recently that blew me away... everyone knows the the problem is huge. But no one wants to admit it..I couldn't believe it.

Nathan's approach to TFI, and his insistence on not reading the book, is, to me, a parallel to that kind of approach. He argues the case back and forth, but won't read the book, even though he knows it is there....
He's fooling himself if he dismisses the input from everyone on this thread. He's also questioning the excellent coverage by the Dallas Observer if he reads it and chooses not to read Wendy's book. The words "cognitive dissonance" spring to mind. It seems Nathan has to justify many things without his choices making much sense..."

[b:0e27b1a1e4]Cherenuff1, Brad69 has never been to a Bible study either. How come you didn't try to discredit him? He has read Wendy's book and the Dallas Observer article and he has seen the truth.[/b:0e27b1a1e4]

I suppose since he only posted a few times and you have posted many, I thought that I would aim this at you. I've stated my position many times. I've told Nathan that he shouldn't just believe us but to search things out. What is irritating is that Counselor and Zeuszor will not do the same with you or Brad69. I would have more respect for their position if they told you both to search and not to take something as a blanket truth.

To and Nathan are the same. He has had contact with Trinity, and read the many articles concerning Trinity, but he hasn't read the book. have read the book but have not had contact with Trinity, NEVER knew what Trinity was until you came to this forum but refuse to search out further because your mind is made up that this is a cult.

I figured that Nathan was moderated, so should you be. IMHO

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: cherenuff1 ()
Date: November 30, 2006 10:03AM

And, Cherenuff, why on earth would I go talk with people who are currently involved with this cult? I can predict with 100% certainty that every one of them would tell me it is not a cult.

Exactly! My point is made. You have made your decision a LONG time ago when you read a book. You have refused to look at me as a 15 year member and my honest answers to Ricks cult questions. You have blinders on and I will not debate something with you that you know NOTHING about.

Stop trolling and do some research so that I can actually have an intelligent discussion about Trinity with you. (hmmm...I believe that is another one of Zeuszor's sayings toward Nathan.) I think I'll just copy and paste from now on..LOL

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: cherenuff1 ()
Date: November 30, 2006 10:07AM

This is what I find fascinating. I raise valid questions with NathanA and Cherenuff1 and instead of answering, both of them respond by trying to insinuate that there is something wrong with me. quote]

Are you just skimming these posts until your name is mentioned? I've answered you question about...hmmm...10 posts ago? Please look.

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: cherenuff1 ()
Date: November 30, 2006 10:09AM

So what's your interest in Trinity, Seeking? It seems like you had your position set when you first started posting.

Apparently...WE are still waiting for this answer as well.

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: cherenuff1 ()
Date: November 30, 2006 10:14AM

Being a member off and on for 15 years I'll try to answer these questions as they relate to me.

[b:4403e43927]Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader. [/b:4403e43927]

[[i:4403e43927]u]Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability. [/u][/i:4403e43927]- There is a board of directors and I've seen others dismiss Ole's ideas on certain subjects. Lately, he just gives his two cents worth in and most of the time the elders will vote on doing something else. He has been accountable for his actions and I've seen him ask forgiveness from group members.

[i:4403e43927][u:4403e43927]No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry. [/u:4403e43927][/i:4403e43927]
LOL...I don't know how many times Ole has said. "Stop just sitting there acting like sheep. SOMEONE ask a question." Ole loves to debate and gets tired of people NOT asking questions. He doesn't want someone there if they just want to follow blindly. He teaches us to search for the answer if we don't believe what he preaches. The only thing is...if you get into a debate with him he's not going pussy-foot around you. He does get tired of having someone ask the SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I know I get tired of listening to someone ask the same thing over and over again.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927] Ole has some money. Others around here make more money than him. My family makes and has more money than him. The Trinity budget is completely open to anyone and Trinity willingly opens their financial statements to anyone that asks.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]
I have a fear of heights...and elevators. I HATE elevators.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]
People care if you leave. Because they are saddened that they might not see you again. If and when we decide to move, my interractions with Trinity members will be less becasue I've moved away but I KNOW without a doubt that I'll still have my poker nights with my friends, go to the movies or the yearly Christmas party. In my perspective, I don't think that anyone who left is evil. I'm glad they left and found another spiritual home that is a better fit for them. If others think that they are evil then they need to stop. BUT if someone kept complaining about Trinity this and Trinity that all the time then I'd personnaly not like them very much. Also...I've never shunned anyone BUT I HAVE been shunned by ex-members because I still go here...and that hurts frankly.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]
I've heard some ex-members that agree with Doug and Ole and I've heard of some ex-members that don't agree with Doug and Wendy. It just depends on the person.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]
The only record is Wendy's new book and the Observer article. The Observer article was poorly written in my personal opinion because the reporter left out a lot of interviews that were actually pro Trinity and put in interview that were anti-Trinity. I know, I've heard from a lot of people that said they were interviewed yet nothing was put in there.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]Followers feel they can never be "good enough". [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]
I've actually been told that I'm a good mother, good wife, etc. Personally I don't care if I'm good enough of not. I'm fine the way I am and I intend to keep growing in my career choices and spiritually. I may not be 'good enough' in my Mothers eye but she can go jump in a lake...LOL

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]The group/leader is always right. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]
**Snort**, if Ole or Gary or John were always right then I'm richer than Donald Trump. I've personally told some of them they were wrong about things. As for Gary and John...well....according to their wives...they are ALWAYS wrong.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]No..nada...nope. Ole is constantly harping to "find out for yourselves", "don't just take my word for it..SEARCH..get off your lazy butts and find out the truth!" or "READ the BIBLE!" or. "If I'm wrong...argue with me...debate with me...just don't follow blindly!".

[b:4403e43927]Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader. [/b:4403e43927]

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]
Ole...Ole who? LOL. Don't know how to answer this one. The ones that bring up Ole and are obsessed with him are the ones that are keeping this particular message board indundated with posts. I've heard nothing but Ole this Ole that...blah blah.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]Oh me, Ole is just an old man that started a group a long time ago. I agree with his teachings but he is NOT God or Jesus. He's just a man.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution". [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]
I guess we as a group persecute Ole constantly then because I along with many others, criticize Ole at times.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]
If anyone was a clone of Ole it would have been Doug. In my personally experience, Doug was a meaner version of Ole at times. Glad he found another spiritual home because Trinity was not for him.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]
This is funny...when my husband and I were having marriage problems, we went to our pastor and his wife (Gary and Judy), still didn't work, so we tried Ole. After that, we were adivsed by Ole, Gary and others. "GO to a marriage counselor. You two really need help and we apparently can't help you with this." Is this a cult personality? Would a cult leader tell us to actually go and seek counseling and when my husband couldn't afford it for himself, Gary actually paid for a therapist out of his own pocket.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]Don't really understand the question but if I get this right then Trinity has a yearly Thankgiving feast but we aren't going because we will be with our family. Some people missed the Tabernacles feast because they had personal plans. I don't go to Sunday Seders as much because it is the only day that my hubby gets off and we prefer to spend it as 'family time'.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]Hey...did I ever tell you about the girl with the pogo stick....? I think that Trinity prides itself on their sense of humor. We say. "if you can't laugh at yourself then you take yourself too seriously." The Passover skits that we do yearly is nothing but making fun of people (in a fun and good-natured way). Ole just happens to be the butt of most of the jokes.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]
We spend lots of time with my husbands family and their Baptists. They don't agree with some of our doctrine and we don't agree with theirs but we love each other immensely and I'm hoping to move closer to them soon. I have friends that have never visited Trinity and yet I still hang out with them often for Sushi!

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.[/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927] No...Ole can be pretty judgemental and harsh. He can be an ass and he's been told that too. He even admits that he's an ass. Maybe he's mellowed with old age since Doug and Wendy left...who knows. I'm not here for him though...I'm here because I agree with the basic doctrine.

[u:4403e43927][i:4403e43927]Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided. [/i:4403e43927][/u:4403e43927]LOL...I think its the other way around with me. Since I'm a member, the angry ex-members think I'M the bad influence. Maybe not with Doug and Wendy since we've recently emailed but I haven't heard from any others. Kinda miss them too.

That's all I can answer for now. Please remember, this is according to my own personal view on the matter.

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: NathanA ()
Date: November 30, 2006 11:40AM

This forum is really heating up. I said it earlier and I will say it again. My reasons for not yet reading the book, are not because i'm afraid that i'll be wrong, or that i don't want to for that matter. I have not read the book because I have not been sure it is beneficial. Anyone can write a book that is an indictment of someone else. To me it is a matter of conscience. For example, I would not buy a book that said the Jews were responsible for World War II. As far as I know, there is no prerogative that you must have read Wendy Duncan's book in order to post here. Although it is wise to be well informed. The discussion here is whether or not TFI is a cult, and what is the evidence for that? You could say that I am not being objective there, but that is not necessarily the case. I am open to the idea of reading the book, but only when i am convinced there is just cause to. Thus far I have only questioned you and stood firm to see your very best arguements. The most extreme thing I've said is that you fail to recognize the Christ I believe in. I am not intending to be inflammatory to anyone. I am not name calling.

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: counselor47 ()
Date: November 30, 2006 11:42AM


In response to your long justification of Trinity, it feels a bit tedious to go through point by point. I think it would tend to have a he said/she said quality, so instead I will try to respond in a more general way.

Of course you do not think Trinity fits the criteria of a cult. I assume if you thought that, you wouldn’t be there. I did not think it fit the criteria either while I was still there and I would talk to former members like my sister, Pam & Larry, Rick, Powell, etc. I was able to mount just as articulate a defense of Trinity as you did. However, I was not being truly honest with myself. In my heart of hearts, I knew that there were serious problems there.

It was only after I left that I slowly began to gain some perspective on what it was that I had been involved in. Part of what helped me along in that process was how Wendy and I were treated in the process of leaving and shortly afterward. The fact is, I really did try to leave in a friendly, non-confrontational way, but there was no way to do that. Even though I did not want to be, I was cast in the role of an enemy. I honestly do not know if things would be different now if Trinity had handled our departure differently. I might have eventually arrived at the same view, but I think how we were treated speeded the process along.

The fact that people who are still at Trinity defend the place is not convincing. People who are currently involved in the Unification Church defend it, and they do not believe they are in cult, either. The best measure I can think of as to how to think of a group is to ask the former members, people who have left. Of course, among people who leave a group you are always going to have some detractors, even a few “disgruntled” former members. However, the thing that is so striking in Trinity’s case is that it is pretty darn near unanimous among former members who spent any significant amount of time there with more than a casual level of involvement that Trinity is, indeed, a cult. That absolutely would not be true of any group that was not a cult. In any other type of religious group you would have former members saying stuff like, “Well, I don’t really go along with what they are doing, but there are some people that it works for. It’s good for some people, just not for me.” However, to my knowledge, nobody is saying that about Trinity. Wendy interviewed dozens of people for her book, and we’ve talked to even more since the book came out. All, or almost all, of them say that Trinity is a brutally abusive place that did terrible damage to them. Even Nathan A understands what a damning fact this is if it is true, so he challenges our veracity on it. He says we are just making this fact up, because if we are telling the truth about this and it really is as extreme as we say it is, then it has serious implications. Nevertheless, I have more respect for his position than I do yours or anyone who is actually at Trinity. Neither you, Ole, Pete, the Rutledges, or the Buckners have shown the least bit of integrity in how you have responded (or, more accurately, how you have avoided responding) to the important issues we are raising.

Maybe we are making this up. Maybe Wendy and I got this idea that we would write a book about our former friends and make up a bunch of lies so we could sell lots of copies and make some money. If that was what we thought, we were pretty stupid. This has been a lot of work for what looks like a venture that we will be lucky to break even on. Financially, we would have done a lot better just to take a weekend job tearing ticket stubs at a movie theater. Nevertheless, we have accomplished the most important thing in what we set out to do, which was to tell the truth.

By the way, it was not only men who got their feet burned at the fire walking incident. At least one woman (Jackie M.) did, as well.

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: NathanA ()
Date: November 30, 2006 11:46AM

Thankyou for your last post Chernuff, your witness basically confirms what I have suspected to be true. That is in regards to whether or not TFI really has a cult dynamic going on.

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: NathanA ()
Date: November 30, 2006 12:02PM

Oh yeah, and as for Boanerges post. I appreciate you making the effort to recall the incident here publicly. I apologize for not immediately replying. If you speak the truth and have been seriously abused, then I hope I will come to recognize that. I for sure know nothing about the details surrounding the incident you speak of. I admitt that I am skeptical.

I have had someone try to choke me before, and I realize that it is not a pleasant experience. So I hope you won't let those kinds of experiences define you.

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