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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Date: July 09, 2013 12:29AM

Heljay? Is your response to me or to johnanchovie? :) Thanks!

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: ghxqjshv0 ()
Date: July 09, 2013 03:46AM

Both! I haven't figured out how this all works but I find myself - for various reasons - afraid to express my feelings and identify online, though anyone who knows me, will know it is me. I am happy to tell you what I know. There was a great deal wrong that I believe most casual CPer's did not know. And sometimes I debate in myself how bad some of it was. Chuck, the deceased playwright, founder and director, was formally with the military overseas. His wife, Dorie, worked for the state department in the foreign service. They met on a liner en route. Chuck made propaganda films for the military. The point being, he understand how to train people, or some say, manipulate them, very well. I understood from him - and I was in leadership many, many years - one of the devil's advocates, he used to call me - that he was a "benevolent dictator" because committees like those in churches would drag everything down and nothing got done. He hated committees, that's for sure. I heard from a neighbor with a spy organization that CP was used as a "front" for some covert operations and was listed in their database. My source is highly reputable and intelligent. Is it true? I don't have proof. It is only POSSIBLE, not provable, that he Chuck, his wife or perhaps some others were fronting for spy purposes. That does not make it a cult. What does it make it? I don't know. Some of it was border line illegal. His claims to be a graduate were false and proven false. He was obviously not as high in character as he claimed to be, but I never felt I could be overly critical for I am not perfect, BUT it gave me less confidence in him as a leader.
We always ran new recruits to late hours and up early and gave no breaks. Chuck hated weakness. He loved watching his plays. The evil part would be when he demanded people say good things and nothing bad about his plays and gave you the warm glow if you had a super comment and if you weren't giving those affirmations to the plays after a performance - you were in trouble, especially the leadership. Approval was required.

One time a friend found an error of a date and time in a play and was told by his daughter Bobbi, that it was not wrong because Chuck was right - no matter what. We were all horrified. WHAT? And it was never changed.

Again, I'm not sure it is cultish but the ego problem was waaaaay out of bounds.
Probably it is a horrible example of personality driven going bad... and as he brought his family in, he made sure THEY had health insurance and no one else was given any. He told us to get our parents to pay (we were adults, unlike many new recuits.) He wanted people to be rich and independent. He wanted his kids in all the key leadership positions... whether they qualified or not. He didn't do them any favors either. But cult? More narcistic.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: johnanchovie ()
Date: July 09, 2013 05:03AM

Again both very interesting postings.

As I mentioned earlier, I find the similarities between Hubbard and Tanner fascinating.
Hubbard too was in the intelligence field having been assigned there to mainly data collation while serving in the Navy. I am just putting that there, I am not going to go off on a conspiracy rant, but if I knew how to investigate that coincidence, I would.

There is a point narcissism stops and cult manifestations begins. I certainly did not believe I was in cult, both times. During the course of my flirtation with Bhagwan Ranshi I certainly did not believe that I was orbiting a cult.

I am too lazy right now to do it, but you put the three leaders together and list their personality traits and authoritarian manifestations and 'management style' you would come up with an interesting comparison. But then I sure that if threw Dick Cheney in there too, you find he differs very little either. It is the group manifestation coupled with the leader's personality manifestations and use of language used to describe him, the reverential awe in which he is held, titles bestowed.

Both Chuck and Hubbard were and still are, referred to as 'Our Founder'.

I think part of the recovery that, well a least I am engaged in, involves more than just the deconstruction of the system, but naming exactly what it was I was involved in.

I have a friend that I have been doing a lot of work with. She was serially abused by a relative when she was twelve. She is only now, and with great difficulty, beginning to see that he was rapist and pedophile. It is an unbelievably difficult step to take, it is the shattering of an illusion, a story that she has told herself all these past twenty years.

These things are not mutually exclusive.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: Davronin ()
Date: August 18, 2013 04:42AM

I toured with Covenant Players Australasia for 18 months between 1988 and 1989. I was 18 when I joined. The rule of thumb being the minimum age of entry. However, CP'ers were taken as young as 17.

Firstly, I finished my covenant(?).

I had never met tanner ( yes, last name basis and no caps and that is all that man will ever get from me ).

I'm going to take sleep deprivation a step further. It's already been widely discussed here how an infectious cult developed around tanner regarding his sleeping patterns. About how many seized on this as an opportunity to win favor with him. Indeed, many of the cp veteran unit leaders relentlessly enforced this on their own units.

What I don't understand is how one of covenant players dirtiest and well kept secrets has not been mentioned here. That is to say that many of those who did go "persona non grata" did not do so by choice. Rather, they left because of a condition related to irregular diet and lack of sleep: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. If one takes the 6 or so that I joined C.P. with in 1988, 2 would go on to become incapacitated by this disease. While not a reliable benchmark, one reaches the conclusion that 1 in 3 or four were affected. Of the group affected, some managed to hide it well, some were protected by their own leadership positions and could therefore get away with leaning on those beneath them. Those who could no longer struggle under the yoke of this disease, left, disgraced.

But this isn't why I am here. The revelation that actually aided me in my decision to leave at the end of my covenant was a story that was told to me by a unit leader during my final mission in 1989. It was about a female covenant player in the United States who had been raped by a pastor whilst staying in his home. It was a crime that went unreported and unpunished because Covenant Players had zero tolerance for "dirty laundry". Therefore, if this woman had reported the crime, it may have brought C.P. into disrepute with that particular denomination. This would have been unthinkable to the CP hierarchy. I won't go into how, because of this silence, this 'pastor' may well have go onto create further victims. Or what it says about transparency, integrity and common decency. Or how CP simply refused to look out for their own when it actually came to the crunch.

These two main issues remain my primary obstacle in assuming contact with most former C.P.'ers. While we supposedly spread the gospel through the medium of drama, we also burnt people out and left them with a life-long and particularly debilitating condition. Yet, worst of all, we let a sex-offender go loose and never be brought to account.

On a lighter note ( heh ), there was a culture of yelling and screaming. I got yelled and screamed at lots. There were times when I probably deserved it. Moreover, it still has its uses in the workplace even today. I'll even cop it for the right kind of money ... However, from these people? Christians? In a missionary organisation? From people whom I'd had no respect for in the first place? ( Bearing in mind that "respect" is something that is earned ). It took me a year before I started standing up for myself - because if anything, CP did give me a particularly useful skill - the gift of the gab. And when the time came that I started to question, the summer training time of early 1989 became a memorable fiasco of mind-games, petty torments and, at times, blatant intimidation. I remember also developing an intense dislike for Americans ( I got over that particular prejudice a long time ago ).

Time has healed me. But many of you here need help. Nate Phelps, after escaping the clutches of Westboro Baptist Church, sought help by means of a psychologist who also had a degree in theology. Maybe this would be a good place to start for some of you?

I have much more to tell - but when thinking seriously about this "much more", they were merely conflicts of personality and ideology. Something also commonly found in the workplace.

As for me, blind faith is what flew air-planes into the World Trade Centre. Blind Faith is what shot a little girl in the head for wanting to go to school in Afghanistan last year. Blind Faith is what holds up colorful signs that say, "God hates Fags" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers".

Trust no man - or supposed deity blindly. Ever.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Date: August 18, 2013 06:30AM

I wonder about something. Chuck told lies about his education, yes? Well how do we know he told the truth about his military experiences and all the "Oh! Chuck was in Military Intelligence" people gushed about.

I highly doubt CP was used as a spy front, as one poster suggested. I also doubt the "reputable" part of where this info came from. If the source was reputable, why are they blabbing about "secrets"?

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Date: August 18, 2013 06:49AM

Hi Davronin,

Oh my god. I had no idea. After the first shock though, reading what happened, yeah, it makes sense doesn't it? CP all the way! That no one turned in that pastor, that what happened was swept under the carpet. I can't even imagine what they said to that poor girl to shut her up. And my injury that was never tended to seems waaaaaaay small now. (My thumb was kicked in. Still, 25+ years later, gets stiff and bothers me to this day)

I never thought of the possibility of people getting ill with CF, thought that now you mention it, it makes a lot of sense too. I wonder if Mark had it. If I had been subject to such abuse I would have gotten it as well--I developed a horrible case of Mono a year or two after CP, not related to my experiences there.

The yelling thing--- so many people in "leadership" positions in CP got "little-dictator" syndrome. They thought highly of themselves due to their appointed positions and thought they were entitled to observe and correct others about anything anytime. It was a widely accepted attitude there. I encountered that a few times myself. And sometimes just the remarks people would make about non-cpers they would see day-to-day was just so full of hubris, it disgusted me.

Glad you got over your prejudice of Americans. :) What an awful introduction to my country! *sigh*

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: Davronin ()
Date: August 18, 2013 10:01PM

Hiya Mrs L. Schwalbe-Larson ( I'm assuming Lynn as I googled your name. Nice photography on your fb page btw ),

I'm David.

I received quite a few bitter letters from former C.P.ers during the early to mid 90's. I won't repeat, verbatim what was said to me - those words belong on those pages between them and I. So it is with care, and without going into too much detail, I'll tell you about one young lady. A particularly beautiful and vibrant woman who was sent home with and double dose of C.F.S. and a knee injury. Before her Covenant was up too ...! She actually got in touch with me at a particularly bad place in my life. Great woman and a friendship I did not deserve at the time. This sticks in my mind with great intensity.

However, I am now 43 and I know from a great resource of knowledge, that it's all about your body chemistry. I developed a wonderful dose of clinical, chronic depression during my final mission. 90% of your emotions are chemical. When you are a fundamentalist christian, that 90% of emotions, if something is not right with them, must only mean that god is pissed at you. This is where I'm going to lose many of you who are still christian here, but this is the truth: Your entire spiritual experience has been based around neurons deep in the midline of the brainstem where serotonin is produced and, astoundingly, your thyroid - the primary non-brain chemical administrator of what basically amounts that 90% ... THAT IS ALL.

This is what also led me away from Covenant Players - and wider christianity. And into what christians call backsliding. But each month between mid 1989 and 1990, my entire world got darker and darker. I did not know who to turn to or where to turn to. My church ( bless their little hand-clapping pentecostal hearts ) where about as useless as a knife in a gunfight. Their simple and somewhat emotional faith could not help the likes of me.

It ended in tragedy ( but something I take full responsibility for ) in mid 1990. In a fit of rage I murdered a man over nothing. But I'm not going to blame C.P. for this - I let myself into that situation. I joined Covenant Players against the strong advice ( and therefore authority ) of my own pastor. I allowed myself to adopt their regime. I made MYSELF sick. I did not try to get help because Paul in Romans talks about god abandoning us to vile affections. I had been deceived by the predestinarian notion that god hardens the hearts of those he wills and draws to him those he chooses. I thought he had hardened my heart because I had left Covenant Players. I thought he had abandoned me to vile affections ( not homosexual ones for those of you who are aware of that passage in Romans heh ).

But this simply wasn't true. In much the same way drug abuse, over weeks, months or years will create terrible mental illness and/or criminality, I left myself wide open for the same thing.

Well, I was released from prison 12 years ago after serving 11 years of a 16 year sentence. I hold down 1.5 jobs, have a place of my own and am family oriented. Not a day goes by, even all these years later, when I don't think of my victim. Or how I am now the same age he was when he died. I try to live a life as worthy as I can in this knowledge.

True change comes about by abandoning the fear and deception of christianity and its ghosts. Oddly enough, however, I thank C.P. for the gift of the gab. I use this daily in my role both as a trade unionist and working in a PUB!! ( My part time job ). I have saved people from getting fired and have helped resolve workplace disputes - something, when considering my chequered, screwed-up life that I take GREAT pride, satisfaction and relief in. Bad people can become good WITHOUT deities and the cruel deceptions of learned, articulate orators ( aka whatever it is that stands behind a pulpit ). Yes christians, I went to the other side all the way and became an evil, nasty socialist. And proud of it. These things affected greater change in me than any jealous, childish and genocidal judeo-christian god could ever hope to attain.

I see what you are saying about little dictator syndrome, Lynn. But let's put things in context. Not long after I got out of gaol, I lasted 6 weeks at KFC because many of the staff were yellers and screamers too. This brought on terrible flashbacks both of C.P. and prison which culminated in my breaking the nose of a supervisor one night. I then just walked out on them. Luckily he didn't lay charges against me. I would have deserved it! :-|

Bottom line, yellers and screamers are to be found everywhere in life. They are there to be brushed aside with the contempt they deserve.

Well, much has changed since then. I have a much thicker skin and, as long I remember to take 3 small pills a day, I am fully functional, rational and contributing member of society.

Keep your chin up Lynn - life is good. Remember to eat well, sleep well and exercise. All this contributes to how you feel - that 90%. Watch your mental health - and if you think you are down and that downness is not going away, go see your doctor.

Thanks for letting me tell my story Rick Ross people.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Date: August 19, 2013 03:51AM

Hey David, :)

Thank you! I do a lot of photography. But since I had my settings on Facebook set so that people I don't know can not find me via google or any other search engine . . .well, could you please tell me how you found me and if it was a direct hit, as in the google hits had my name and facebook, or was it a possible hit that then lead to Facebook? Thanks ahead of time! I'm a private person, as much as one can be on the internet these days, and any leads that I can then happily snuff out would be appreciated!

I used to think I was somehow wrong with my negative feelings towards CP. One of my team mates who was a really great guy, never saw what I saw as far as the bad stuff going on, and most people didn't. (at leaset that was what we were lead to believe).I was glad to find this site when I did! I had already worked through things on my own by then, but its still nice to know i wasn't completely delusional, lol, and it's nice to help others here as well! I used to have the notion of infiltrating CP as a reporter and publishing my findings, but i didn't want to go thru the agony of dealing with performing and everything else that went with it!

Regarding depression, I am also convinced it is hereditary, which follows thru with the chemical makeup being passed from parent to child.

At the same time I developed Mono(it lasted well over a year and the recovery longer), My Mom developed CFS and my brother, half way around the world from us, got mono AND CFS. Simultaneously. Which still fascinates me. My Mom, me, my two brothers and maybe my third too, all have various forms of clinical depression. My brothers also have ADHD and compulsory syndrome. I have the barest whisper of a touch of that, which since it is so very mild, I can brush it off. I have Atypical Depression (cause I am such an atypical person, ie weird. thank heavens). So yeah, seems you sensed I had something of the sort and you are spot on.

The Mono was a looonnnggg time ago, so no worries. I still and always will have the lovely depression to deal with and now that I am a huge 52 years old(how did that happen??) I have menopause adding into the mixture!! WooHOOO!

When I was in CP, I was a Roman Catholic. (Grew up Protestant, various forms, became RC in college). Boy did that ever lead to some---ummm--less than nice behavior from some of the members!, peaking of Fundamentalists! I'm neither at the moment, neither RC or Protestant, or Fundy for that matter. But I won't go into that here. ;) I still am a very spiritual person, but I do understand what you are saying though I think it is more complex than the chemicals and receptors, or lack thereof. Which would be an amazing discussion! But way off topic!!

The idea of God hardening people's hearts is so freakin twisted, and yeah I know many who believe in the predestination bit as well, one person I know is a Calvinist and he firmly believes in that idea that God has already chosen people and if you aren't one of them, you are out of luck. Pfft . . .

Obviously not condoning what you did, BUT I also respect you for the fact that you have taken full responsibility for it and it seems to me that it is in a healthy way, ie you are not dragging yourself further down by beating yourself up over something you can't change. Its done. And respect also for getting your life together after prison. I have never dealt with that, but I know enough to understand that it is stacked against you when you get out. (Also it took some guts to say that here. Or you're nuts. Bit of both?) God I just did the math! You were just a kid when that happened, weren't you? :( Poor thing, the past young you. *sigh* But I know, it's the past.

Your jobs sound excellent and fitting too! They are very a like, the two. Do you do behind the bar at the Pub then?

(I don't what it says about me, but I started cracking up when I read that you broke that guy's nose)

I know many who believe in deity and deities. :) I believe in a creator/maker myself, and I think that there are those who have healthy relationships with deity/ies, and those who have unhealthy ones. Personally I feel that a lot what is written about G/god/s /esses/etc is messed up, literally due to the middle man. The bible is an amazing example of this. And I still feel it is an amazing book as well, lots a good stuff in there. Like some good friends of mine say, don't blame the religion, blame the man.

If you are on Facebook, send me an invite. Just let me know its you.

Nice talking to you!
Lynn

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: johnanchovie ()
Date: August 19, 2013 07:21PM

Please, Lynn, understand that I am not suggesting that CP had anything to do with intellegence or governmental gathering of information. I was merely listing the similarities between the persons of Tanner and Hubbard.

I would be very interested in knowing if any of you could give me your impressions of Gail Grabtree and Pam Denison-Cowser. I was very fond of both and indeed very close to Gail whien worked together in Germany, then out of the Unterguppenbach office.

There was an incident of rape while we were based in Furt near Nurenburg. But this was taken to the police and the offender arrested. Mind you, the man was a Bangladeshi factory worker, a Muslim so there was no need to balance the reputational and the political against the application of criminal justice.

What surprises me is that I see that Gail and Pam are still very 'in', looking at the reported fundamentalist/cultish entrenchment that has ensued over the years since I left, I find the fact that they are still very mech there and indeed in positions of leadership, distressing. Both had enquiring minds and were not afraid to challence, not afraid to look into broader fields of knowledge if would help inform their efforts. So why have they gone down the blinkered cultish, road?

I noted that while Lanin Thomosma is no longer working as a Covnenat Player - he runs a coffy bar in Connecticut or some such place - he is on good enough terms with them that he has writted two books that serve as manuals for touring units. I have not read them, resist buying them as I am not sure I want to financially support anything that bolsters the sorry organisation and its people.

John

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Date: August 20, 2013 05:17AM

Uh John? You weren't the one who suggested this, it was Heljay.

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