Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Radical Forgiveness

A book recommendation from longstanding AW correspondent and occasional Journal columnist Dennis Diehl:
Radical Forgiveness

More information about the program is available here.


Corky said...


Dennis said...

It's baloney to the ego and the false self. It's baloney to the painbody we all have consisting of all the accumlated baggage of life including the wounds of religion. It is threatening to both ego and painbody to think it won't get to feed and grow even bigger if letting go ever takes hold in the life of the true self.

Many fear the loss of personal identity if they lose victimhood or a chance at whatever we think fairness and justice is. However who one is is not their job, former job, affiliations, former affiliations , hurts and pains in life. That is just the story of our life and it could have gone ten thousand other ways with different outcomes and issues.

I have practices radical forgiveness a couple times in personal issues in life and it frees me. To forgive is for the forgiver, not so much the forgiven as often they don't care what you think or do.

Since the emotions are the body's reaction to the mind, many DIS-Eases are anger based and what eats you...can eventually eat you in the form of cancers and heart dis-ease.

"Forgiveness is a choice, an internal process. Forgiveness is a gift you receive because you’ve chosen to focus on other goals in your life, such as – better relationships, great health, a positive self-esteem, self-discovery, etc. Once you’ve traveled far enough down the painful road of un-forgiveness you will make your way to the healing process and this is where you find love and inner peace. Forgiveness means:

1. Accepting what happened,
2. Letting go of your negatively charged energy so that you stop attracting undesired experiences into your life again and again,
3. Changing your perception and shifting your paradigm, and
4. Removing the toxic influences in your life and flushing out the toxins from your mind, body and soul.

I use to find it very difficult to forgive. I believed, as most believe, that if I forgive I am condoning, tolerating and even trusting my trespasser. I felt this would make me susceptible to more abuse. What I have learned is that forgiveness is about freeing myself from the jail of my own mind and even my own heart. Because I had even built a prison around my heart – no one could get in and I surely did not allow myself to get out.

I tortured myself for days on end repeating the same madness of my abuse over and over again in my head; the anger growing inside me with each passing year until I created the most perfect physical ailment ever from all the repressed feeling I had in my body. I also attracted a relationship that mirrored to me what I thought about the most. It was in that perfect space when I could not escape what was inescapable (myself) that I sought spiritual guidance to help me travel through my healing journey. It was here that I found my self, my truth, my light, my love and my all. It was here that I was able to let go, let the Divine and get on with my life.

Forgiveness is a sign of positive self-esteem; something you do for you. When you decide to forgive, you open yourself to true unconditional love – not only of others but also for yourself. "
Trinity Nieves

As those who pontificate about how God created everything in six days or theistic evolution to make them feel good about what they need to believe, won't read "Evolution, What the Fossils Say and why It Matters." so few will consider reading and considering Radical Forgiveness as a way to be more emotionally, spiritually and even physically healthy for the time we have left.

Perhaps one or two will see a bigger picture here for them and grow through this story of the WCG in our lives.

Anonymous said...

LOL! What a total crock of HOOEY!!!!

Anonymous said...

Baloney isn't clean...

Baashabob said...

Corky said...


Is that regular baloney or beef baloney?

Anonymous said...

It sure sounds like psychobabble to me. Of course, it IS a good idea to let go of our grievances. That part is good and true. All the rest of the BS about our being "spiritual beings" etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum? Yup, it's baloney.

Gavin said...

Yeah, well, different strokes for different folks. A lot of this is about temperament and what clicks with who. If it's helpful - cool, if it's not, what the heck.

Charlie said...

Good to see Dennis posting again!

Purple Hymnal said...

1. Accepting what happened,
2. Letting go of your negatively charged energy so that you stop attracting undesired experiences into your life again and again,
3. Changing your perception and shifting your paradigm, and
4. Removing the toxic influences in your life and flushing out the toxins from your mind, body and soul.
Forgiveness is not a good descriptor for this process, Dennis; while I agree with the process you outline above, I disagree with calling it "forgiveness", and I radically (heh heh) disagree with the whole "painbody" self-blaming theme that works for you, by way of Tolle.

But, hey, to each their own. And to echo Gavin's sentiment, a Gnostic blog that I read off and on sums it up nicely IMO:

Respect the Wisdom found in books,
But don’t be afraid to come up with your own.
If it’s good and valuable and useful,
It will stick.
If not,
It won’t.

Respect the Wisdom found in tradition,
But don’t be afraid to come up with your own.
If it’s good and valuable and useful,
It will stick.
If not,
It won’t.
Source.Makes sense to me.

larry said...

To err is human, to forgive, divine.

It is difficult to forgive someone who has deliberately attacked and injured you personally, because they wanted to. I don't think it is incumbent upon the injured party to forgive under those circumstances unless,....the party that caused the injury apologizes and asks for forgiveness. In that situation, Christians are obligated to forgive.

On this board, there are a number of folks who feel that they have been injured or are deeply offended. However, when it comes to whether or not the offending party, deliberately, with malice and forethought, intentionally hurt them personally, that just doesn't pass the smell test most of the time.

It is important for the injured party, as Dennis has so eloquently espoused, NOT to be consumed by bitterness, anger, and a desire for revenge.

Corky said...

Baashabob said...
Corky said...


Is that regular baloney or beef baloney?Neither, it's religious baloney and it is much the same thing as placing all your troubles on the shoulders of Jesus . . . boo hoo.

Charlie said...

Larry, among others are constantly missing the point that myself and a few others are apparently trying to make with little success.

I will try to be much more plain right here:

Many of us have explained in graphic detail the effect that armstrongism has had on its victims, *especially* those born into it, however what we find unforgiveable is that it is still taking place, in the same way, using the same justifications, with total disregard to the consequences.


Maybe GCI's doctrine has changed Larry, but you still see nothing wrong with what the WCG did, so you have in effect, not changed.

larry said...

The point I am making is that whatever offense you suffered was HIGHLY unlikely to have been personally directed at YOU, with the intended purpose of making YOU miserable. Therefore, it is forgivable, and you should view it as such. Fatal accidents happen all the time, but they should not be equated with premeditated murder. People are hurt all the time by misguided folks with good intentions. It is tragic, but does not rise to the level of evil. That requires malevolent intent.

Is this clear? Now, the problem lies in the very first sentence of the above paragraph. Do you perceive the "injuries" that you suffered as deliberate or accidental?

Anonymous said...

I think those who have been away from WCG the last 10 years or so are completely missing the point Larry and others are making.

Yes, the old WCG did horrible things, and even in the early years of the transformation the leadership did make quite a few errors and were less than humble in cases.

The transformation of the WCG into a grace-filled church was indeed a transition both in doctrine and in attitude. While some of the same leaders remain from 15 years ago I can asure you they are not the same. Just like I hope you and me and others who were influenced by HWA have become more loving, forgiving and Christ-like as we've grown older.

I would hope that people wouldn't assume that I'm just like I was back in high school. Don't make the same assumptions about the current leaders of the WCG/GCI.

I can honestly say that I haven't seen in cases of abuse going on in the WCG leadership in the past 7 years. Yes, I do see some incompetent (but caring) pastors who shouldn't be in those positions, but you would be hard-pressed to find a more humble group of servant-leaders anywhere. The abusers of old are either gone or the hearts have been transformed. And if you've been away the past 10 years you haven't seen that.

Gavin said...


If what you say is really true (and I accept that you believe it sincerely) there are two questions I'd want you to answer.

(1) Why say this anonymously? Why do members rarely stand up tall and say - loud and proud - here I am and this is what I'm willing to stand up for?

(2) Why, after all this time, is the hierarchic structure untransformed? I'd grant you that a five-year period may have been necessary to transition away from the ugliness of the past - justifying a temporary "hands on" policy that restricted membership involvement. But that could only be excused if their goal was to bring the church and its members to a place where it and they could dispense with the scaffolding.

Five years has turned to ten, and we're into the second decade...

I'd like to agree with you, but the church's pleas still ring as hollow as they did all those years ago.

Charlie said...


Please read this part of my earlier post again; "however what we find unforgiveable is that it is still taking place, in the same way, using the same justifications, with total disregard to the consequences."

Now pay attention this time:

It is not about me, the individual. It was targeted at ALL and the impressionable and trusting youth in particular, and in the legacy splinters, STILL IS.


I could care less about GCI or Joe Jr at this point in my life. It is armstrongism and his followers I find morally repugnant.

Perhaps others do care about the bearded one. For me, when Joe Jr had the ushers pass out credit card slips for the offering at the first FOT he was PG, that was it. I was done. I think it was at that moment that it began to ring through to my brain that it *was all about the money* always was and always will be. I attended sporadically for a while, even went to a few United and Hulmes sect's services, then I was done with it.

Anonymous said...

Charlie -

You admit that you've been separated from the WCG for at least 10 years. AND that you went to the Hulme and other groups that are highly legalistic and controlling.

I'd like to hear how youth are "still" being abused. Yes, maybe it's happening in the Hulme group that you attached yourself to, but I know of nothing going on in the WCG that would give you reason to think that sort of "abuse" you claim is still happening.

And re: credit cards -- I put 90% of my spending on credit cards. I rarely use cash and love to be able to donate that way. Remember that Tkach was the one who boldly and plainly said that tithing was no longer a teaching of the church! In the 15 years of his leadership I have not once received a letter from him begging for money - or to "dig deep" or "sacrifice financially for the sake of the work". It's simply not his style.

Leonardo said...

Charlie wrote:
" was at that moment that it began to ring through to my brain that it 'was all about the money' always was and always will be."

I frankly admit that it took me a LONG time (decades) to realize this as well.

Yet, in retrospect, to be totally honest, I had regular mental red warning flags waving around like crazy all throughout my years in the WCG, but for the most part I foolishly ignored them because I wanted the whole WCG/HWA scheme of ultimate reality to be true.

I think as "true believers" we just didn't want to face up to the painful reality that HWA was, in spite of his dogmatic sense of absolute certainty, dead wrong in many of his ideas and teachings. But it all SOUNDED so wonderful, and faithful COGer's have a distinct history of ignoring things they feel might threaten the dream. It’s called faith, or “enduring unto the end” or whatever.

They fear the fundamentalists version of Pandora's Box: that if they dare question just one foundational article of their faith, then they'll logically have to seriously examine the next one, and then the next, and pretty soon the whole set of their cherished theological dominoes all set up in neat little rows might all come crashing down.

Better to live with the easy fantasy, than go down the difficult and slippery slope of rational inquiry.

In my view, that's why folks like Larry and Anonymous keep trying to defend these guys – it’s little more than desperate attempts to keep the fantasy going. But sooner or later the COG mental ponzi scheme will become clear to all but those who simply REFUSE to admit they've been duped, the diehards who are just too arrogant to admit to error and who will mindlessly hang on "no matter what" – the Rod Merediths, Gerald Flurries, Dave Packs, and Ron Weinlands of the world.

I know someone who clings with great tenacity to all the classic WCG doctrines as taught by HWA, yet still follows (and regularly tithes to) Joe Jr. because, in his mind, that's where "God's Government" is being administrated from - in spite of the fact that this fellow disagrees with most of what Joe Jr. and GCI teaches, and sees him as a religious huckster who's inherited a nice flow of easy money.

But this guy just adamantly refuses to admit that he's been duped for the past 35 years - it would just be too painful and humiliating for him to admit this. So he keeps deluding himself by playing the "God's Government" game, not realizing that, in the end, all he's proving is that he's yet another naive source of easy money for religious gurus like Joe & Company.

I think there are many well-meaning people who follow various COG ministries, yet so many of them seem completely oblivious to the money-making nature of the Church.

Deep down, in their quite moments, do at least some of them really understand this, and yet just can't bring themselves to admit they've been duped? Or somehow do they sincerely believe God is still behind it all, in spite of all the rotten fruit and failed prophecies generated through the decades by the WCG and all it’s nutty spin-offs?

I don't know, because I truly don't know their deepest inner motives.

But one thing I DO know: religion has always been, and will continue to be, one of the greatest con games and cripplers of the human mind in all of history.

Byker Bob said...

The WCG dissident underground diapora often provides living proof of something which Joel Osteen often says: Forgiveness is not only something we do for the other person, the one who wronged us. It is also something we do for ourselves. It releases us from the negative energy required for us to maintain our anger or to harbor grudges.

The sites which are dedicated exclusively to preserving anger against HWA/WCG are no longer of any value whatever to me, or to some other of my fellow time travelers. They lock one into a very bad place. I believe that there are some very severe psychosomatic illnesses which are very prevalent amongst ex-WCG people who have not learned to forgive and forget. Not the least include depression, anxiety attacks, and borderline personality disorders.

We may disagree on the methods by which we obtain healing, but can we all at least agree that healing is desirable, and should be diligently sought after?


Purple Hymnal said...

Not to belabour the point, but I have updated the About page over on ISA. If you will allow me the liberty, I will quote a chunk of it here:

"This site is no longer about anger, and my posts have never been about anger, or fuelled by anger (despite what some might choose to think). That is a misconception on the part of the religious, who would like you to (mistakenly) believe that all atheists are amoral misanthropes. This site exists to prove that mistaken belief is not so.

The posts on this site are about justice, for all the lost souls of those who could not speak at the time, and perhaps cannot speak any longer. Justice, and closure, for one lost soul still trying to navigate its way through a universe it may never be completely familiar with."


Anger? No. It’s about turning up every rock and peering under every stone. It is about bringing the effects that church had on its most vulnerable members, into the light of day. For everyone to see.

Including ourselves.
And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Worldwide Church of Fraud said...

Anonymous said, “In the 15 years of his leadership I have not once received a letter from him begging for money - or to "dig deep" or "sacrifice financially for the sake of the work". It's simply not his style.”

MY COMMENT – Anonymous, that is because little Joey Tkach’s business model was to intentionally downsize the WCG, liquidate most of the church’s fixed assets that he INHERITED from HWA which were financed by the tithes and offerings of members for over 50 years so it would provide a substantial lifestyle to him and his small group of cronies. Little Joey Tkach doesn’t have to send out letters threatening members with eternal damnation because their hearts aren’t in the work as measured by the amount of money people are sending in to Pasadena. HWA already did that nasty work for little Joey Tkach.

I am sure little Joey Tkach is a multi, multi-millionaire thanks to tens of thousands of good people like my parents who faithfully tithed and gave to the WCG for decades. They did so because they believed in the Church doctrines as preached by HWA and believed God was working through HWA as God’s modern day Apostle. My parents did not provide tithes and offerings for decades so this little twerp Joey Tkach, Jr. could be a multi-multi millionaire.


Anonymous said...

"I think as "true believers" we just didn't want to face up to the painful reality that HWA was, in spite of his dogmatic sense of absolute certainty, dead wrong in many of his ideas and teachings"
Has anyone compiled a list of 'Bible illiteracies' perpetrated by HWA?

Mel said...

To me, understanding is more, ...ummm..."understanding", than forgiveness.

It's a very valuable understanding to realize that it's to be expected that there are often predators(of the religious kind, and other kinds) who will take advantage of us to the extent they can.

Maybe understanding what Dennis is saying about "forgiveness" is a matter of semantics. I'm not sure.

I'm aware that Tolle's (and other new-ager's) teachings are largely comprised of common sense notions wrapped in esoteric packaging.

I swear, I know a gal who got carried away with a certain package of new age teachings, and she thought she was tapped-into the most profound 'spiritual river of insight' imaginable.
I asked her what was the greatest insight she'd had from that 'teaching' she was devoting so much of her energy and life to.
She told me that she had had an amazing spiritual breakthrough, as a result of her countless hours of following the spiritual teachings.

Her "breakthrough", as she told me, was "to wear comfortable shoes"


Could it be that what the author of Radical Forgiveness is putting forth is simply, "Hey, don't get too hung up on being pissed at those who have disappointed you."?

That's common sense.
No need for esoteric packaging, or appealing to one's sense of 'being above others', as so much of new age teaching does.

I was seriously involved in new age stuff for a time.
I'm now glad I no longer believe that any of my "special heart centers" are "completely and totally open".

Today, I just use the common-sense notion that I ought to try to be open-minded when conversing with others.
There's nothing really esoteric, (or worth a room full of somewhat-brainwashed people clapping for you doing it), there.

In retrospect, I think there's a "klunkiness" that drifts one away from reality, in trying to assign restrictive new-agey definitions to what are actually more fluid nuances of peoples' behavior.

It's ironic, considering what is promised by so much new age teaching.

Dennis said...

"New Age" of course, is a very old concept and reflects the scientific fact that there is such a thing as the progression of the Equinox through the signs of the zodiac.

Taurus the Bull was the "Easter" symbol of the equinox around 4000-2000 BC whic is why the iconography is Mithras slaying the Bull when that age ended and the age of Aries, the Lamb began around 2000 BC to the death of the "Lamb of God" Jesus, at it's end. It was not coincidence that Abraham happened to find a ram in the thicket at the beginning of the Age of Aries in the OT, to offer in place of his son. Like the demise of the Golden Calf in the Wilderness at the Hands of Moses, a symbol of the then fading dominance of Taurus. The Bible itself is rather new agey at times with Malachi telling us "The SUN of righteousness shall rise with healing in his wings (rays)"

When Jesus said, "Behold I am with you, even unto the end of the AGE, the author could just as well have been noting the fact that Aries was ending with the Sacrifice of the Lamb and the New Age of Pices the Fish was beginning .

Pices , the fish, is the symbol of the Christian Church and with the "fishers of men" motiff and has lasted for the last 2000 years . It is Pices now, not Aries the Lamb actually that occupies the Easter slot at the Spring Equinox.

Next of course, and just around the corner is the Age of Aquarius as the progression continues and Aquaries, the Waterman will occupy the Equinox position at Easter. I suspect a change in religion over the next 2000 years going from blood and fish to something to do with water. That's just me but the record is clear.

Tolle teaches well the practical truth that NOW is all anyone has to actually live in. Many live in the past in their anger and depression but it's all in their head and no longer real. Many live in the anxiety ridden future that no man, not even Ron Weinland , can know. NOW is all there is to actually function in and acceptance along with not feeding the pain of the past or the anxiety of the future is sensible living. He also is good in showing the role the ego plays in keeping the false self and the pain in our lives going and going and going to define itself.

A client's husband just ended his life because he lost his 13 golf courses in Myrtle Beach. He identified with his stuff and when he had no more stuff he had no more self. This of course is simply not the way to think.

At any rate, forgiveness is for the forgiver and was endeavoring to be helpful to those who might see the bigger picture how to process a life experience without letting it define and consume us forever more.

Dennis said...

If that didn't help..try this...


Corky said...

Dennis said...
If that didn't help..try this...

...well, there goes any hope that we might "amount" to anything.

I knew we were small compared to the universe and there were stars bigger than our own sun but holy s**t!

Dennis said...

The Corkster said:

"I knew we were small compared to the universe and there were stars bigger than our own sun but holy s**t!"

Yeah..when I was younger, I pretty much knew I would rule space because I read the booklet, "Who Will Rule Space."

Now I'm pretty sure I won't because it looks like it is doing just fine taking care of itself.


Mel said...

Remember the booklet, "Who Will Rule the Space Between the Ears of my Church Members", by Thus Sayith the Herbie?

Ok, maybe that was just a dream I had....