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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: needinganswers ()
Date: September 19, 2018 12:40AM

Hi, im new here and seeking answers about covenant players teachings on marriage and children.
im in a relationship and the lady was involved with CP for a few years around 2005

she did not want kids and doesnt ever see herself living with a boyfriend or getting married ever , says she will be alone .

Is this the teaching of CP maybe ?
your thoughts or knowledge on these matters would be appreciated

Thank you

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: canyonrunner ()
Date: December 08, 2018 09:49AM

Hi Needinganswers. I was in CP in the mid 1980's. The "teaching" was nothing officially discouraging marriage or kids, but it was made clear that they would not necessarily put you on the same team or even pull you off the road when you had a baby. The needs of the "mission" other words, your life was theirs to spend as they saw fit. Looking back, I see that as a degree of disrespect to the individual bordering on sheer contempt.

I don't know if that is the cause of your situation or not. I would like to gently suggest you seek pre-marital counseling from a health care professional, rather than a religious figure because of the cult-like issues of C.P., a truly neutral point of view may do better at addressing these issues and not clouding things with an unintentional bias.

To coffiecup007 and joyous, I still have nightmares 30 years after leaving. The one recurring theme is that somehow I am back in and once again, and once again I am financially destitute and lacking in tools to effect my escape. It is just in the last year or so that once in a while in the nightmare I actually find a way and can make good on my plans to get away. In the intervening years I have had some pretty crappy jobs, one where a shouting match with my supervisor happened daily and came to fists on several instances when he would start throwing punches. Heck, he even threw a hatchet at me once! I have never dreamt of that job, not even a good dream or a neutral dream, much less a nightmare! What kinda place/group/ministry leaves you with nightmares? I don't even have nightmares of the childhood sado-sexual abuse I suffered. But CP nightmares? Yup.

Anunnaki, don't go back. The guilt you feel is the evil fruit of a poisoned tree watered with guilt and growing from the sick soil of mind control techniques they use with abandon in their "training" exercises. If you feel your desire to serve is valid, then bloom where you are planted. If you are not serving with your life now, changing locations isn't really changing what you are doing.

If any of you, or anyone else, wishes to correspond privately about this, please send me a private message. Any and all questions will be answered with honesty and candor.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: Feelin groovy ()
Date: December 11, 2018 01:39PM

To have children or not... not a newer dilemma. My husband and I were married (by Chuck, natch) in 1973. He told us we would be best served by waiting 5 years before having any children. It may have been a "suggestion", but our son was born 5 years and nine months later.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: HistoryLover ()
Date: March 04, 2023 02:42AM

Hoo boy, that was a wild ride, reading through all those comments. I was in CP from 1995 to 2000. I got on a plane 3 weeks before my 18th birthday and flew out to California to "serve the Lord", but really I wanted to get away from my own disfunctional, abusive, f*cked up family.

I didn't see it as a cult at the time. I remember someone (Marcy Kisby) who was in it a couple years longer than I was at that stage kind of commenting on how some of the lifers had a cult-like adoration for Chuck, but it didn't occur to me at the time - as a naive and trusting teenager - that Chuck had set up this group to have all this power and a steady stream of adoration with very little pushback.

Looking back now, if I could do it all over again, I'm really not sure if I would. It kind of did what I needed it to do at the time - got me away from my family, let me travel the world (even if I was stressed out all the time about how to earn enough money to survive the summers in CPCC or afford a plane ticket to visit my family). I don't think, as a kid growing up in a poor household, that I would have been able to travel all over Europe for 3.5 years. I didn't have the money for college and it would have been wasted on me as an evangelical Christian who could only view the world through that paradigm. In that respect, CP was like the military for a lot of poor American teenagers who didn't have a lot of other options.

I think the most dangerous aspects of CP was the danger we were put in, especially women. I can't believe I got in cars with strangers and went to their homes to stay, blissfully unconcerned about how vulnerable I was. Thankfully I was never assaulted in my years in CP, but in the last couple of years I have thought more and more about how it could so easily have happened. And it would have been swept under the rug.

I remember my training in California before my first tour. The female instructors (Linna Shea and someone else) spent all this time telling us how to hide our used sanitary products in a hosts bin and not one single word was said about if we felt unsafe, what we should do. I suppose they didn't want to freak us out, or admit this was a possibility, and what advice could they really give us? You're in an unfamiliar place, don't have a mobile/cell phone (I think they were only for really rich people then), what could any of us have really done? Especially since we were all Christian women, socialised to be nice and sweet and don't make waves.

It kind of sickens me how many years I wasted there, but I'm more upset by how many years I wasted believing in God. Like others have mentioned here, I do still have nightmares about being back in CP. Usually along the lines of I've got very dim job prospects, or something else in my life has fallen apart, and in the dream I think -well, CP would always take you back. I wake up feeling horrified by this thought. The thought of not having my own space, of having to spend all day performing or PRing, then talking with hosts and learning lines late at night. Rarely ever a moment to yourself to think your own thoughts.

I had some decent-ish team leaders, and one truly evil narcissist (Dianne Colbert). She screamed and yelled at us and then bought us 'presents', just like an abusive spouse giving flowers after hitting their partner. She worked us into the ground, all for her ego. And she never got called on it at all, because the money she sent to BIO and ECO was sorely needed. I know that could happen in any job, and I've worked in a job since where I had a boss that shouted and threw things at us, so I know it's not just CP. The difference is when I left the horrible job in the secular world, I didn't have a guilt trip about 'breaking a commitment', like I would get in CP if I walked out on a mission.

The summers were definitely a haze of sleep deprivation and sub-par food. I'll never forget one January in California my host home was about an hour away from Sepulveda, and I would be collected around 7am. This one particular morning I was so sick, with one of the worst colds I'd ever had still to this day. My van load of other people pulled up and I stumbled out and said I was too sick to go, and I was quickly told to suck it up, throw on some clothes and get in the van. I wish I had a backbone then, but being a Christian I obeyed authority even when it was detrimental to me.

It's all well and good for Chuck to talk about how little sleep he needed, but he had drivers ferry him to and fro. He could sleep in his luxury van, or in his office during the day when we were attending classes, rehearsing, building sets, sewing costumes, etc.

I think it was better in Germany, or at least my host homes were closer, and it was easy to walk to the village and get food or just get off campus for a little bit.

The dress code was wild too. No blue jeans!!! Because he didn't want the company associated with hippies. Oh man, he was stuck in the dark ages on that one. Not that I particularly cared, I've always been more into long skirts and dresses, but it was just so arbitrary.

Some of the plays were awful - preachy and boring, and dull to perform and watch. Those Stanley Blodgett plays were cringey, and some of the shorter ones were non-sensical. I'll never forget one that was premiered in Germany one January. It was an anti-racism play where one character just droned on and on about 'people you think are white, but who are actually Black/Indian/Hispanic'. I had to prop my eyelids open during it and I felt sorry for all the future school children who would be subjected to this tedium.

Does anyone else feel a bit of embarrassment now when you meet someone new and you talk about your past jobs - do you readily mention CP or do you call it something else? I think because I've deconstructed my faith and am an atheist now I don't want to tell too many people about it, unless I also get the chance to tell them I don't believe in that stuff anymore. If it comes up I mostly just say it was a travelling theatre company that I toured with, but I try not to say the name unless it's really necessary.

I can't imagine they've got that many people in it anymore. I just looked up their official Facebook page and it seems they have very small teams touring very large areas. Like one team with only 3 people will tour 4 large states. I feel like those who want to stay in it should almost go back to the very beginning and tour large areas in large groups. Do the plays that require a larger cast or something. I mean, I wouldn't be sad if it finally came to an end, but I can't see any of the Tanner sisters going working somewhere else. This is all they've ever known.

At any rate, I'm glad to see there are other people who have relatable experiences to my own.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/2023 02:45AM by HistoryLover.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: mobile ()
Date: March 16, 2023 01:51AM

I have so much of the same experiences with CP and Charles Tanner. One day I hope I can come terms with everything I witnessed/experienced to share with on this forum.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: HistoryLover ()
Date: March 16, 2023 02:42AM

mobile Wrote:
> I have so much of the same experiences with CP and
> Charles Tanner. One day I hope I can come terms
> with everything I witnessed/experienced to share
> with on this forum.

I hope you can too, mobile.

They didn't prepare us at all to leave. Of course, they didn't want to lose any of us, so why would they do an exit strategy. I'll never forget the last host home I was in at the end of my tour in South/North Carolina/Northern Georgia. My team leader and other team member left, and my host was going to drive me to the bus station at 2am to get the bus home. I was talking with my hostess and told her it was my last mission (I actually went back for 1 more, but I didn't know I was going to do that at the time), and she asked if they prepared any of us for going back to the real world. I said no, it hadn't even occurred to me any preparation would be needed as a naive 21-year-old. She gave me a book that she had when she left her own mission field, and I read it all that evening before leaving. If not for my hostess letting me read that book, I would have had no idea what to expect emotionally over the next few months of being back home.

I feel they definitely should have provided some aftercare. Leaving the mission field and adjusting to 'normal' life is a pretty well-known phenomenon and the main leadership should have recommended some books to read, or maybe an online support group for people to join. I know those have developed naturally along with the rise in social media, but I feel they had a duty of care to us, especially since it was a religious organisation claiming to be a ministry. How about ministering to the needs of the people who served the ministry when their time is up? But the lack of aftercare tracks with Chuck not wanting anyone to leave.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: Vocabuverse ()
Date: November 29, 2023 05:50PM

This is an old thread! I was in Covenant Players for only a few months in 1998.

It was one of the worst times in my life. I was already a pretty messed up kid to be honest, looking for some answers and not really prepared for adulthood.

I ended up in Sydney Australia after a friend from church encouraged me to join CP.

I was only interested in acting but when, upon my initiation, they found out I could sing they placed me in a special Unit that did music as well as plays.

I remember taking the covenant oath and receiving a medallion thing as a symbol of my covenant.

The first week or so was OK... I enjoyed going from one city to the next and seeing parts of Australia I'd never been to before. I got on really well with at least one of my unit members.

Personally I found the adoration of Chuck to be
weird and the plays were in my estimation cheesy at best and cringy at worst. Especially when going into schools with them.

Where it all fell apart for me was, being a vulnerable and confused 19 year old, I was not ready for the Unit Leader who came from the States and took over our Unit. She was an absolute bully. She berated me often and made me feel extraordinarily worthless and defeated. This really added to the stress of learning scripts and staying in strange people's homes.

To be honest I've blocked a lot of my memories of those days. I just remember not being emotionally equipped to deal with this domineering woman who would be my friend one minute and then belittle me in the next. I was constantly nervous and anxious.

When the time came for me to have a break for a few days, where I got to spend time with my brother in Sydney I told him about my experiences and he encouraged me to leave. So I didn't rendezvous with them after that weekend.

After that they hounded me for days. The head office left a barrage of messages on my brothers answering machine imploring me to return. I wasn't psychologically fit to engage with them, the Unit Leader had broken me down pretty good.

Looking back now as a 40+ year old I realise much of my experience was tarnished by a controlling bully, not exactly a cult... but the leaders should have recognized her for what she was.

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