KEYWORDS: lord, family, people, time, home

Way Things Really Are in WS!, The

Maria, Peter

By Maria and PeterCM/FM 3309 8/00

Dear Family,

1. God bless you! We love you! In Part 2 of the "Action Series," "Putting 'Skin' on the Era of Action" (GN 903), we shared with you some of the changes and upgrades WS is presently going through in order to help serve you, our precious Family, even better. Many of the changes have begun to take place; others are yet to come.

2. As part of the era of action, we'd been planning on writing more about WS and its members to answer the most frequently asked questions and to address the numerous rumors that regularly make the rounds. We had no sooner started working on a GN of this sort when some of our disgruntled former members started circulating false and misleading accusations against Peter and me and WS. We addressed a number of those issues in "None of These Things Move Me" (GN 906). In this GN we hope to answer other questions‚ address and lay some rumors to rest, and hopefully give you some further insight into what does and doesn't go on within WS. We pray that our explanations, as well as hearing from a number of our young people firsthand, will let you know more about those who give their lives to serve you, so you will feel at peace about them and their service to you.

3. This GN will be in question and answer, or rumor and rebuttal, format. Several weeks before I began working on this GN‚ I sent a number of these questions and rumors to our young people—both those who live with us now or who have lived with us in the past, as well as those in other units. I let them know that if they wanted to answer some of these for themselves, from their unique perspective, they were welcome to. Several responded‚ and their viewpoints are also included. Please note that these comments from young people were written quite some time before they read this GN or "None of These Things Move Me," and before the recent letters from our former members began to make the rounds.

4. Please read this GN with an open heart and mind. Be willing to realize that the stories, accusations and rumors you may have heard are not 100% accurate. While some may have elements of truth, others are complete falsifications and simply aren't so.

5. Before getting into the questions and answers, Peter and I would like to thank you for the trust that you've placed in our hands, just as you did in Dad's and my hands for 25 years. You have followed by faith—faith in the Lord, faith in our love for you and the Lord, and faith that we do our utmost to serve you to the best of our ability. You send your tithe in each month, trusting that we will use it wisely for the benefit of the Family and our mission to reach the world. You read and accept the GNs as the Word the Lord has given for you. You follow the directions and counsel the Lord gives in the GNs. You do this by faith.

6. That faith is one of the major causes of desperation in Peter's and my life. Besides being dedicated to following the Lord as closely as we can, not failing or hurting you is one of the major weights we bear every day. We are faced with making decisions daily. We know that many of these decisions will have an effect upon each man‚ woman and child in the Family. Knowing this makes us extremely desperate with the Lord to get things right. It causes us to go slow in our decision-making, to be prayerful‚ to counsel with others, and to receive confirmations in prophecy, even at the risk of being criticized for being too slow in our decision-making.

7. For 30 years I have done nothing else but serve you, first with Dad and now with ­Peter. Peter has done the same for the last 24 years in WS, 21 of which were with Dad and me. While you have dedicated yourselves to reaching and feeding the lost, we have dedicated ourselves to feeding and shepherding you.

8. It's not an easy thing to care for a flock as large and diverse as the Family, to make sure every age group is getting what it needs in the way of spiritual nourishment, to ensure the complete administrational structure is running properly so you get the services you need, to make sure we stay afloat financially, to find where the Lord wants us to go and how He wants us to get there, to take in, consider and pray about the many suggestions which are sent to us from you, to try to find the general solutions to solve the problems that face us as a religious organization, and the many other tasks we're responsible for.

9. Every decision we make does not please everyone, and some of them you might disagree with. But we want you to know that every decision‚ every pub that is sent out, every financial question, every rule, has been desperately prayed about and has been brought to the Lord over and over. These decisions, which we know affect you, are made in prayer and counsel, with the overall Family's best interests at heart. We fear the Lord too much to make decisions or give direction based on our own ideas, likes or dislikes.

10. This is an attitude which we try to impart to everyone who works in WS. We hold those within WS to a high spiritual standard because they serve you, and therefore need to be dedicated to the Lord and to the Family. As I said earlier, you, in faith‚ put a lot of trust in Peter and me, and you extend that trust to the members of WS as well. You are trusting us to make sure that those who help us serve you have the right attitudes, the right spirit, and are giving their best to you and the Lord. We value and thank you for that trust.

Love, Mama

Former WS members
and their samples

If some of the people I've met or heard about who have left WS are any indication of what WS is like‚ or if the weird stories they tell about what goes on in WS are true, then it's pretty bad.

11. (Mama:) Let me start by explaining that there are varied reasons why people leave WS. Some leave because the Lord shows them that it's time for them to move on to another ministry, others because the job they were doing comes to an end. Some leave because they no longer want to sit behind a desk or live in a behind–the-scenes Home. Others go because they no longer feel they can uphold the spiritual standard required of WS personnel. Some leave because they want to leave the Family altogether. In some cases we ask people to move on because of their spiritual problems; other times we suggest they go because they need a change. Every person who moves on from WS goes for a reason that is particular to him or her.

12. Most of those who move on have good things to say about their time in WS. Some don't. Again, it depends on the person, the reasons for their leaving, and their overall attitude toward the Family.

13. Some of our folks who worked in WS have moved on. Most of them have good things to say about Peter and me‚ their co-workers‚ and their time in WS. On the other hand, certain ones who had some serious spiritual problems while in WS spoke disparagingly about WS. Many of the weird stories have come from these few former-WS people, many of whom have since left the CM Family. Unfortunately, in some cases prior to their departure from the Family, they sowed a lot of confusion and did a lot of damage to people's faith. Many Family members automatically assumed that what these people did was the way things are done in WS, or that their actions reflected our lifestyle‚ because WS is where they came from.

14. To set the record straight, these few former-WS folks who have been very bad examples left WS because they no longer wanted to uphold either the WS or the Family standard. We're sorry to have to put it so bluntly, because we love them and don't want to hurt them. We hoped that their adjustment could be as easy as possible and that they would find a place of fruitful service in their new location, and perhaps become more willing to make the personal changes the Lord was asking of them. We're sorry that they've been a poor representation of the majority of our WS members who are very dedicated missionaries—just like the majority of you, our precious Family—except that they have different ministries, those of sitting behind a desk in order to service you and get the pubs into your hands.

15. There are cases where some of our folks have had to leave WS, not because they weren't willing to uphold the Family standard, but because the Lord was calling them to another place of service. So by no means has ­every person who left WS been a bad sample or caused a lot of problems and confusion on the field. Unfortunately, however, the faithful ones are not the ones who make big news. The problem lies with the few who have gone out and been bad samples of Family members and of Christian behavior.

16. Another thing to understand is that once someone makes the decision that they no longer want to yield in something the Lord has asked of them‚ or they no longer want to obey in certain areas, it's easy for their spiritual life to go downhill very quickly, which has happened in the cases of some former WS people. Please don't judge the whole of WS by the sample of very few people who left because they didn't want to work on overcoming the weak areas in their lives or they no longer wanted to keep the Family standard.

17. I want to explain our general policy regarding WS personnel: Just like any Home on the field, or any worldly company, for that matter, there are some folks who take initiative, pull their weight, and are dependable and in sync with the company and where it's going. Then there are other folks who lag behind, wait until they're pushed before they do something‚ and don't uphold the company standard. Just like any smart company would do, and just like you do in your Home, we like to hold on to the workers who are willing to put in the hours, work well with others—and in the case of WS, move forward with the new moves of the Spirit and stay on the cutting edge of what the Lord is asking of the Family. Being willing to fulfill that last stipulation is one of the requirements for being in WS.

18. While we try to give our WS members as much leeway as possible in their personal decisions, the way they prefer to work‚ etc., there is a place we have to draw the line—and that is when they are no longer willing to accept shep­herd­ing or make progress in the things the Lord has asked of them. At that point, we encourage them to find another place of service where the minimum level of commitment is lower‚ and where they can have more independence, or be free to do what they wish without affecting the Family as a whole. As I said earlier, this is not the case with everyone who leaves WS; the majority who move on do so because the Lord has laid it on their hearts to do so. But some have been encouraged to go, as I explained above.

19. I feel sorry for those who leave WS, as often the Family holds them to a higher standard or expects more of them than others. They figure that if these folks have been in WS they must be more spiritual, or somehow better or closer to the Lord. When they find out that these former WS folks are normal people, with normal problems just like everyone else, they get critical or judgmental of them, sometimes making their disappointment obvious.

20. What you should try to understand is that once someone leaves WS, if they don't have an official title or representation that they're being held accountable to, then they're just like everyone else, except that they've had the blessing of having closer oversight and more training. In some cases‚ they've lived with us personally and have seen Peter's and my sample firsthand. But even that doesn't make them any more likely than you to succeed or to believe or to have faith, because that's entirely a matter of personal choice and commitment. Just because someone has lived in WS does not give them an edge on believing the Word, hearing from the Lord‚ or living the New Wine. Each person in the Family who receives the Letters has an equal shot at being close to the Lord.

21. So it's wrong and unfair to expect each person who comes from WS to be a perfect sample. I hope they are good samples, and the Lord hopes they're good samples, but you should realize that when you see someone who has come from WS‚ you're looking at a person just like you, who makes personal choices, who has strengths and weaknesses, their own set of bad habits and idiosyncrasies, and who is responsible to the Lord for their own spiritual life. They can do well or they can do poorly. They can choose to believe by faith, get on board and stay on board‚ or they can doubt, disobey, and slide down into the mire of unfruitfulness. They have to make those decisions just like you do. Just as some people on the field make it and fly high, while others don't and are always lagging behind‚ not doing well or being the blessing they could be, it's the same with those who have been in WS.

22. Usually when WS members move to the field, they go through a transitional period which can sometimes be a bit difficult, much like when you move to a new mission field. Life in WS is different than field life in that the majority of WS members work at desks in a quiet, more or less orderly environment with few outside distractions. Moving to a field Home, with all of its excitement, activity, witnessing, visitors, etc., is an adjustment which is sometimes difficult to make. Sometimes the adjustment period is a bit bumpy for these ones, but usually it's short-lived and most former WS workers become a blessing to the Homes they are in. We've been very proud of many of our former WS workers who have filled great needs in their new locations. Most have been a blessing to the Family where they are now‚ and are good samples of sold-out and committed Family members.

23. We're sorry that some people leave WS and go out and act in a non-Family manner. We know it hurts the Family and especially the Homes who take these people in. We've had some young former WS members who moved on, and after doing so, basically left the Family in spirit, but not in body. They took drugs, preached against Family doctrine‚ gave the wrong impression that they held positions of great importance within WS, told lies and exaggerations about WS, and in doing so confused a lot of other young Family members. These young people had to make a choice at the time of S2K; some left the Family, others may have repented or changed, and if not, they have probably left by now or will be leaving. Peter and I are very sorry if these, or any former WS members‚ have caused you problems. However, the fact is that every WS worker is an individual, and while we try to shepherd them the best we can, once they leave WS, there is little we can do to give them further shepherding.

24. The thing that I find sad is that once these people left WS, the shepherds of the Homes they joined seemed to feel that they couldn't shepherd these folks. They apparently felt that because these folks were in WS, they were "untouchable" when it came to shepherd­ing. The young people somehow gave the impression that they knew more or had some special status. For the record‚ when people leave WS, their shepherding is in the hands of the Home teamwork. They do not have any special standing; they are all normal Family members.

25. It would be wise to remember that if a former WS member has serious spiritual problems in your Home, then there is a good possibility that these spiritual problems manifested themselves while he or she was in WS, and that perhaps this is the reason he or she is no longer in WS. Rather than thinking that something is wrong with WS, perhaps you should consider that something is wrong with the person, and that WS used some wisdom in finding another Home for them with shepherds who can continue to help them.

26. As you know from life in your Home or area, there are problems. Some people aren't happy or content, and they go around saying things that are untrue, that are embellished‚ that aren't reflective of how the Lord or someone who is in the spirit would look at things. You may have had someone spread untruths about you‚ and you know that it's possible for a situation to be presented in a very misleading fashion, or for a story to be entirely twisted from the way it really happened. Sadly, some of our former WS members who were not wholeheartedly accepting of the Word or fully committed to the Family have expressed their views about WS in this way. And it has caught the interest of many listeners, because it's novel—something new to talk about—to hear the supposed "inside scoop" about WS. It's a good story, but unfortunately not always the right or accurate picture, nor reflective of WS and its members.

27. As you know‚ those in WS were recently asked to pray about their place of service and whether they felt the Lord wanted them to continue on as part of WS. Each person sought the Lord and made their personal choice and commitment according to what the Lord personally showed them. While the great majority of WS members felt led to continue on in WS, a number of folks felt the Lord's call to another place of service. Over the last few months, over a dozen WS members and their children have moved on to other jobs and fields outside of WS. We are very thankful for their faithful service and we pray they will be a great blessing in their new Homes and locations.

Mama and Peter—blind leadership?

Mama and Peter are out of touch and don't really know what's going on in the Family.

28. (Mama:) I'm sorry some people feel this way. Of course, this complaint has been around for quite a few years now‚ and we've addressed it before. Even when Dad was with us, some people thought that he was out of touch with the needs of the Family, or that what was really going on was lost to him.

29. There isn't a lot more we can say to con­vince you that we do know what's going on in the Family. We receive a flood of reports from CROs, VSs, and other shepherds—a majority of which are about problem situations and problem people—and countless personal letters from individuals on the field about their local ­situations.

30. Maybe you feel that Peter and I aren't clued in on all the negative or bad things that take place in the Family because the GNs ­focus on the positive, on spiritual matters, and not so much on the nitty-gritty‚ in-your–face prob­lems that you run into daily in your Home. Well, you're wrong. We not only know about the good in the Family, but we also know about the bad and the ugly. It's certainly out there, and it saddens us.

31. The Lord has shown us to focus on the spiritual principles that can help you to solve your daily problems. Hashing over the sad ­stories and bringing out the problems before all won't help fix the situation or get at the root of the problem unless the spiritual problems are taken care of. And that's what we've been doing for years now—giving you the Word and the answers that can solve your problems and take care of these very sad stories and downright bad situations that we've heard about.

32. Believe me, we are aware of the unloving, unprayerful, unwise and hurtful things that sometimes, sad to say, go on in the Family. These things should not be so, but unfortunately, due to personal choice and lack of yieldedness to the Lord‚ and selfishness and disobedience to the Word on the part of individuals, there's not much that Peter and I can do about it. We do what we can to hear from the Lord about some of these situations, counsel the shepherds involved or refer the problem situations to them to take the necessary action, but from there we have to leave it up to the individuals involved and trust that the Lord will do what we can't do—and that is to get involved in every problem, mistake, or hurtful situation.

33. The Charter gives individual Family members and Homes substantial authority to deal with problem people or problems in your Home, and with that authority, the responsibility to deal with such local problems has also shifted into your court. Even when we hear about such problems, the onus remains on you to take the necessary steps to remedy them, in conjunction with following the Word that the Lord has given on the subject.

34. I understand that if you keep coming across bad situations and your faith in the Family and our Family members has been hurt because of the unchristian samples that you've seen, it's only natural that you'd think that Peter and I don't know what life in the "real world" is like. You may figure that because the GNs are positive‚ and the Lord and we commend you for the progress you're making, for the witnessing that is being done, the victories won, etc., that we think everything is rosy and peachy. We don't.

35. However‚ please keep in mind that you don't necessarily see the whole picture. For the most part‚ you see and hear what goes on around you, and probably other news from your friends or family around the world via e-mail and letters. Bad news travels faster than good news. Gossip and negative situations are often zipped along the Internet faster than anything else, but that doesn't mean that the preponderance of Family members and Family life is going downhill.

36. There are good and wonderful things happening in the Family‚ and the majority of Family members are doing positive and constructive things and striving, to the best of their ability, to follow the Word and do the right thing. We know this, because we hear about it and people write us about it. Sure, everyone makes mistakes‚ and at any given time there are less-than-perfect and even downright bad situations taking place. But that doesn't and shouldn't negate the tremendous amount of good, loving interactions, Christian behavior and sacrificial giving that goes on in the Family.

37. Peter and I are privileged to hear more about the Family than anyone else. We hear news from every corner of the globe, so I think it's fair to say that we have a much better overall perspective of the Family than you. And if you were in our shoes and looked at the whole picture and makeup of the Family, you'd see that the good far outweighs the bad.

38. I think many Family members have a tendency to get familiar with all the good things in the Family, how the Lord blesses and protects us, and how good we have it. It's easy to become numb to the victories, miracles, and positive progress—because that's what our lives are all about. That's normal, so you figure that's how life should be. So you can easily turn your focus instead to the bad‚ the negative, the unloving, the hurtful‚ the things that are wrong and shouldn't be happening. Once you do that, your perspective becomes warped, because you don't have a "just balance" in your view of the Family.

39. Peter's and my main job is to give the Lord's Words to the Family. We've published a slew of GNs for you on countless problem ­areas. Why? Because we thought they would make interesting reading? No. It's because we know what the problems are. We know that some Family members have problems with selfishness, lack of love, hurtful actions‚ bad attitudes, gossiping, unyieldedness, self-righteousness, inordi­nate desire and hunger for the things of the world, and the list goes on.

40. We've addressed some of the same problems over and over in the GNs, and we'll continue to address more of the Family's current problems and lacks, and find the Lord's solutions. But it's up to the individual Family members to make the choice to change, to receive and believe the Word, and to put it into effect. However, just because problems persist, that doesn't make Peter and I out of touch. Even if we haven't pinpointed a specific situation or named you or the person in your Home who has a certain problem, we've given the Lord's Word on it. We've told you how to get the victory yourself, or how to help someone else get the victory.

41. On a day-to-day basis, from the reports that come in and the personal news we hear from you, Peter and I feel quite in touch with the heartbreaks and the needs of the Family. We pray for you‚ we seek the Lord for you, and we publish His answers. We can't answer every­thing at once‚ so we do what the Lord shows us is most timely.

42. You have a lot to do every day‚ and you don't get it all done, right? But just because you can't complete your long to-do list, much less your wish list, that doesn't mean you're unaware of the needs of your children, their education and spiritual training, your sheep and their need for deeper Word studies, the follow–up course you need to put your provisioning contacts on, the training of your JETTs and teens, the time you should invest in your marriage or working relationship with those in your Home. You do what you can, and you have to trust the Lord for the rest. Peter and I have to do the same.

43. We also have the blessing of receiving the Lord's insight and counsel regarding the needs and problems of the Family‚ but we don't just depend on that. We actively seek and solicit news and input from the CROs and the VSs. Many Family members who are not in leadership also write us personally. We appreciate receiving all the input we can get. We're not closed to hearing about what's going on in your Home, even if it's not good news. We want to be able to pray for you and help pull down the Lord's answers for you.

44. In the final analysis, it comes down to trusting the Lord. You need to have enough faith in the Lord to know that He's not going to fail us as a Family. He's not going to let us, your shepherds, become distant and out of touch, or be misled about what's going on in the Family. You need to believe that He's going to speak to me and Peter, and lead and guide us. And the way the Lord does this is through speaking to us in prophecy‚ and also by the many reports, personal accounts, our own personal visitation and news we receive from each field, which help us to know the state of our flocks. (For more on this, see "Problems and Solutions, Part 2," ML #3070:134-177, Lifelines 23.)

WS workers: Outta touch,
can't relate?

WS is out of touch and can't relate to life on the field.

45. (Peter: ) Your fellow Family members who are part of WS love you very much. They sacrifice to remain behind the scenes to work for you, but that doesn't mean that they don't stay abreast of what's going on in the Family. They aren't clueless or out of touch. They are your faithful prayer warriors, and they feel for those of you who are going through very difficult times or who are stuck in bad situations. They pray for you and they hear from the Lord for you. As we said earlier, Mama and I receive many reports and letters about things that are happening all around the world. When these situations need prayer, when appropriate‚ we share the need and ask those in WS to pray. This is a regular occurrence, so those within WS are pretty in touch with what's happening on the field.

46. It's true that our WS members are removed from frontline field life, but their battles haven't stopped. The Lord works on each of them to keep them close to Him, and He makes sure that they're able to do their job well and properly for you. It may have been awhile since they got out tools or went DTD, provisioning or helped at a CTP, but that's not their job right now. The Lord has given them a new job, and if they were still doing all the same things that they did daily while on the field, they wouldn't be able to do their present job of serving you.

47. The simple fact of the matter is that some jobs in WS are exactly the same as those on the field and some aren't. For example, we have cooks, shoppers, childcare personnel, teachers, handymen, drivers, shepherds and teamworkers, just like most other Homes. Besides those who do these jobs‚ we also have those who work on either publications, administration or computer and Web work. It's these jobs that differ from the jobs most Homes do. For some in your Home, the majority of their workday is spent caring for the children or doing household duties. That's the same in our WS Homes. For others in your Home, their workday might be spent on outreach, follow–up‚ DTD, CTP or other outreach ministries. In our Homes the workday for many consists of either doing pubs work, computer programming‚ or other service jobs for the Homes worldwide. In either case, whether on the field or in a WS Home‚ each person's workday is spent doing their ministry, whatever that ministry is.

48. One of the main differences between a field Home and a WS Home is financial. On the field you need to bring in income to support the Home, whereas WS Homes receive a monthly budget. This has been a cause of criticism from time to time, with people claiming WS is out of touch because they don't have to "beat the streets" to bring in finances; they don't have financial pressure.

49. Like I said, those in WS have a different ministry, one which is a full-time job. The fruit of their work is the pubs and other services which you receive. If they needed to be responsible to raise their budget each month‚ it would mean that fundraising would take the place of their present ministries, and their services to the Family would greatly diminish. Mama and I believe that these services—Family administration‚ the multitude of pubs you receive, and all the rest that WS does to serve you—are import­ant and needed. We therefore feel it serves the best interest of all the Family for those working in these jobs to commit their full time to doing them, and therefore they need a monthly budget. Their budget, I might add, covers the basics and little else. When unexpected expenses arise, they undergo a financial pinch just like you do, and have to tighten their belts and cut corners like everyone else.

50. However, the fact that they get a budget doesn't mean they are out of touch with what it's like to fundraise or to have to come up with rent money, etc. With the exception of two or three people who grew up in WS, everyone else has at some time or other been on the field and has been responsible to contribute toward the finances of the Home. We've all felt the financial crunch, have prayed for income‚ have hit the streets and have seen the Lord do financial miracles.

51. Piper (21): This notion that WS is out of touch was the first thing I found to be untrue after arriving here nine short months ago. Many in WS are in contact with their friends and family outside WS and therefore receive insights to many different facets of Family life. On top of that, I've found that by talking to the shepherds here, they knew much more than I did about situations I was privy to on the field. This is because they receive accounts from people on both sides of an issue, thereby giving them a balanced assessment of what's taking place.

52. To believe that WS faces no problems of its own, or ones that don't relate to what people go through on the field, is a complete untruth. Many of the difficulties that WS workers face are similar to what folks on the field go through. I was on the field just a while ago, and can testify that what I see people go through here on the front of personal battles, relating to others, having the faith for new projects, and maintaining desperation with the Lord, is the same, and at times even greater, than what those outside WS face. The Lord keeps us desperate so that we'll continue to seek Him, and it's been stated many times in prophecy throughout countless GNs that the keepers of the flame are often attacked by the Enemy in greater mea­sure due to the part they play in providing the Family with the Word they need. Not only this, but the many ways in which the Family is able to relate to what is pubbed in the GNs is because someone here had to go through the same situation first, and sometimes to a greater and more extensive degree.

53. Though we may not always feel fi­nancial pressure, we do face many other pressures in the form of deadlines, greater security measures, as well as the compelling urge to provide those we love and know in the Family with the best poss­ible service. And if in any way we're slacking off, the Lord and our shepherds will let us know about it!

54. Yvonna (23): I think that whether on a mission field‚ home field‚ or in WS, it's possible to get out of touch with life in the Family as a whole. It's a constant fight to keep the vision. Each Home I've been in had its specialized ministry as well as its struggles, whether finances‚ provisioning, unreliable Home utilities or something else. We each have different battles, but we're all fighting the same war and we're all part of the same team. We have to trust that we're each going to do our best. If we can't trust each other, then at least we can trust the Lord that after taking all this time to begin a good work‚ He's not going to pull a lame move on us.

55. Not long ago, I settled a little into a "localized perspective." I got very into the things that involved my life. I saw my Activated pubs ministry from the technical angle rather than as a vehicle for witnessing. I realized that I was beginning to lose the broken heart for the sheep that I once had, and that personalized touch.

56. One morning during my prayer time the Lord said: "You can do more than layout and graphic design; you can witness through your work. You can become a prayer warrior for those who are doing what you admire most—personal wit­nessing and feeding and following up day after day. Your work will get so much better because you will see the faces of those you're producing the material for. It will be your vehicle for witnessing. Think of the lives it will change and pray for a perfect portrayal of the message and the spirit—and I will answer you. The Family wit­nessers can become your life, your passion, as you pray for them and produce materials for them."

57. All that to say, though it is poss­ible for those in WS—or anywhere—to get so focused on a ministry or Home or area that we lose the "global vision," the Lord is pretty faithful to bring along things that keep us in the groove of Family life. And even though we can get "out of touch" sometimes, the Folks and those in Family administration are certainly well aware of what's going on in the Family. When I first came to WS I was surprised at how many field situations were prayed for‚ and from all corners of the globe.

58. It's kind of unfair to use blanket statements for any of us in the Family, especially people you don't know. We're all individuals, each personally accountable to the Lord, and whether in WS or on the field, we're part of the same organization.

59. Caitlyn (20): Before I came to WS (one month ago) I was working at a CRO office, and we often heard this same comment directed at us from folks on the field. The strangest thing is that the Continental Offices and WS units process your TRFs each and every month and read them‚ pray over them, and answer them. They hear the "inside scoop" on life in the Family.

60. From what I've seen, it's often Family Homes on the field who are out of touch with "life in the Family" and don't really know what's going on in their areas or what other Family members are doing. Sadly, sometimes they get discouraged, thinking that they're "alone in the fight‚" so to speak, or that the Family isn't what it used to be.

61. We are all in this together, and we want—just as much as you—to be happy and fulfilled, serving the Lord in the greatest capacity that we are able.

62. Kayla (25): If you mean that we're a little rusty (okay, some of us are very rusty) in leading someone in the salvation prayer, or giving a Bible class, and that it'd take us a month of classes to learn to fundraise again … yes‚ I guess you could say we're a bit out of touch with that portion of what many of you experience on a daily basis.

63. But if you mean we don't have the Family spirit; if you mean we don't have inspirations, devotions, communion, prayer days, say "Praise the Lord" and "God bless you," read the GNs, fight to apply the GNs to our daily lives, struggle to live the Law of Love, experience illnesses from mild to serious, fight to understand the other generation, struggle to minimize System influences, have jealousy battles‚ have kids we weren't planning to, worry about our younger brothers and sisters‚ get prayer from the Home for longstanding NWOs, miss our loved ones in faraway places, cut back on luxuries to save the Lord's money, get corrected by our shepherds, and other­wise blow it from time to time … well, I think we qualify as a regular Family Home.

Are the GNs padded or fabricated?

Mama writes things in the GNs that are not true‚ just to give a certain impression. Case in point: A new young person arrived to WS and was surprised to see so many young people. When someone said, "But it's been in the GNs and Grapevines that we have a lot of young people in WS," the person replied, "Well‚ yes, but we thought they were just saying that."

64. (Peter:) Mama sees the GNs as her personal communications with you, passing on the Lord's Words and her counsel. She's very careful in what she says and how things are said. She doesn't want things to be unclear or misunderstood, and she doesn't want to give a false impression either. She doesn't tinker with facts or figures, or put a spin on the messages the Lord gives, or her commentary, that would detract or mislead. She takes her responsibility of passing on the Lord's Words and truth to the Family very seriously.

65. Those who work with Mama on the pubs can testify how important accuracy and honesty are to her. There are times when we can't publish hard facts or numbers for the sake of security. There are also times when things relating to where we live or anecdotes about Mama's and my life have to be slightly altered for security. But in such cases, Mama is very careful not to pub anything that's not true. If the alteration for security causes the story or anecdote to border on being untrue, then she won't publish it. Mama considers honesty to be very import­ant. She's careful about being honest in the big things and in the little things as well.

66. Caitlyn (20): I know it's been pubbed that there are a lot of young people in WS, but I still kind of thought, and have heard many others say, that it's all made up or largely exaggerated that there are lots of young people in WS‚ just to make everyone think that WS is really "merging the generations" and working together, but in fact are not.

67. I'm a young person who just came from the field, and the first thought that struck me when arriving was, "Hurrah, I'm at a teen camp!" Ha! Well, there aren't gazillions of young folks, but it's true that there are lots! No exaggerating about it.

68. I had also heard from many people that there are no guys in WS—mostly just a lot of girl secretaries—and that if there were any guys in WS they would be real nerdy and ugly, etc. (Excuse me while I just die of laughter for a moment!) WS has got guys—QUALITY guys—some of the greatest I've come across yet!

69. I also had the impression before coming, and I know this is a common one, that WS is full of ultra-spiritual people who are not normal, who are totally perfect, never sin, etc.! The truth is that everyone is really normal here. I can't stress it enough. I thought I would be "the worst person in the Home" when coming—I probably am, ha!—But I know everyone here is a sinner. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone is human. The only reason folks here are able to stay behind the scenes and carry the incredible workloads that they carry is because the Lord has anointed them for the tasks, and if He asked you to do it, you could too!

70. Louise (24): I do so wish that everyone in the Family could come and live in our Home, even for a week or two. I think it'd be a lot of fun—especially for us, since we've all seen so much of each other and so little of everybody else. It kind of sounds dorky to me to sit here and say, "Yes, everything in the GNs is true"—but what else can I say? I'd say come see for yourself, but since you can't, hope you can take our word and Mama's word for it. By the way, I really live here. Nobody made that up.

71. Kevin (27): My first impression upon arrival at WS recently was that everything written in the GNs and Grapevine about WS is absolutely true. Mama and Peter aren't saying certain things to give the Family a false impression of WS.

72. For example‚ when they say that WS is full of normal Family members, they are not just making that up. The people around me come from all walks of Family life, and there are a huge variety of personalities. Some are more the type that prefer to be at a desk writing computer software or calculating stats and finances. They are content to serve the Lord where they are. Others are the outreach type that would love to be living in the jungles of Zaire or passing out lit on the streets of Siberia wearing 14 layers of clothing. But they too are content to serve the Lord where they are. It's a sacrifice, but this is their calling.

73. When a GN says that people here have their battles just like you do, they are telling the truth as well. WS members have battles about many of the same things you do, though there are certain battles that are specific to WS life‚ specifically for those who love to witness full-time. But battles are still battles, and whether or not you're in WS, they need to be overcome in the same way—through love, humility, and prayer.

74. When a GN says that people here have weaknesses, they are not telling a lie. We all have weaknesses that we must work to overcome. People here get discouraged‚ become tripped off, are critical, stubborn and unloving from time to time—no more or less than the average Family member. And just like everyone else, these weaknesses must be overcome. And this can be a slow process in some cases—just as it can be for the average Family member. I should add that overcoming these weaknesses is considered important, but it's certainly not what we're in WS for. We're here to serve the Family first and foremost, and we hope that by overcoming our weaknesses we will be able to serve more effectively.

75. When a GN says that the Folks are frugal and do not live with a higher standard than the average Family mem­ber, they are being completely honest. They live a simple life‚ just like Dad did. They are comfortable enough, but not too comfortable; they eat well enough, but not any better than most Family Homes; they have their basic needs met, but these are basic indeed.

76. If I were asked to describe the Folks with one word, my first and foremost choice would be "sincere." Mama and Peter do not have a hidden agenda, neither for themselves‚ WS, nor the Family. They spend most or all of their day helping the Family implement what the Lord has shown them, and they do it with sincere love for us all.

77. I'll be honest and say that for better or for worse, I am not the type of person who takes things at face value; sometimes I have to see some sort of proof for myself in order to fully believe. But I'll say right now that from having known the Folks personally, I'm absolutely convinced of their sincerity. There is no doubt in my mind that they live their lives and put in more hours than most to lead the Family, and their ultimate goal is to win the world.

78. Jenna (25): The things printed about WS are the truth. Of course there's more to it‚ but hey, you couldn't give me the full picture of your Home via writing alone. There are some things you have to see for yourself to understand or grasp, but the things that we say or explain about our day–to-day life are the truth.

79. It's hard to believe that people could figure that we're just making some things up. Once you feel that way, how do you know what to believe and what is "made up?" Would be awfully confusing to me.

80. Jon A. (24): I've been in WS for the past four years, but I just recently moved to Mama's house. Before moving to Mama's house, my expectations were that things would be as the GNs portrayed them, and since coming here‚ nothing that I have seen has made me differ from that opinion. Things are as they are portrayed. And I think if you would visit Mama's Home, you would feel the same.

81. Evye (21): Whatever is pubbed is how it is, really. What more can I say? It's the truth. If there's something not import­ant for the entire Family to know about (for example, personal Home issues, rela­tion­ships between so-and-so and so-and-so, and so forth), we just don't pub it. So if it's in a pub, it's really the way it is. Why not tell the truth?! What's there to hide? ­Nothing!

Prophecy—leading the Family
by the nose?

I believe in prophecy, and I believe God does speak. But it's gone too far to the point where it's controlling our lives.

82. (Mama:) I understand how you could feel this way. It's taken us as a Family several years to become accustomed to a greater dependence on prophecy‚ especially how the Lord is pouring out His Words in such abundance—on every conceivable subject! Peter and I are very thankful for it, as are many of you. However‚ some people have adjusted more easily than others to how much prophecy is now part of our lives.

83. Accepting and allowing prophecy to have such a big place in our lives requires yielding. It necessitates trusting your life into the Lord's hands, and you've got to wholeheartedly believe the Lord's promises that "all things work together for good," and that He knows what's best for you. You also have to lay aside your own carnal reasoning and admit that you need the Lord's help. Relying on prophecy at every step—as the Lord requested of us in the "Ask Me Everything" series—is humbling and shows your weakness and need for and dependence upon the Lord (Rom.8:28; GNs 872-874).

84. As far as prophecy controlling your life, let's put things into perspective. There are numerous unbelievers in the world today who say the Bible is a book that controls people's lives, that it manipulates and coerces people into doing or not doing certain things or behaving in a certain way. There are many people who say that Dad's Letters were coercive and made people do or believe certain things or behave in a certain way, and most of his Letters weren't prophecy. Now there are those who say the same about prophecy. The fact is, God's Word does have very definite things to say about behavior and belief‚ and those who don't like God's point of view often cry "coercion," "control," "manipulation."

85. God is very definite about right and wrong, about sin, about the things we should and shouldn't do. He wants people to act in a loving and unselfish manner. He doesn't want us to harm ourselves or others. He also wants us to grow spiritually, and since we've made the choice to serve Him, He wants to instruct us in how to best do so, which He does through His Word.

86. As Christians, and especially as Christians who have devoted our lives to serving the Lord full-time as missionaries, we should welcome the Lord's interaction in our lives. We should want to do what the Lord wants us to do, which He conveys through His Word, the Bible, the GNs, and in personal prophecy. If we don't want to follow what He tells us‚ then why are we serving Him? If we only want part–time or convenient Christianity, then active service in the Family isn't the thing to do. But if you have chosen to give your life to the Lord and to be His servant, then you need to read and receive His Word in all of its forms‚ and apply it to your life—even the parts you may not like or that aren't easy to live. That's not coercion on the Lord's part—it's love on your part. You love Him and have given your life to Him and you want to live the way He wants you to, thus you follow His Word.

87. We do not publish prophecy in the GNs in order to control your lives, or to manipulate or coerce the Family into doing a certain thing or behaving a certain way. We publish what the Lord tells us because that's the way He has chosen to convey His Words, guidance, and di­rec­tion for the Family. It's true that sometimes His Words do give guidelines or say you shouldn't do this or that, and as His followers we should want to obey to the best of our ­ability—not because He's holding a big stick over our heads to "coerce" us to do so, but because we love and trust Him and know that what He shows us to do is for our own good or the good of His work.

88. If you look at prophecy negatively, then yes, it could seem to you like prophecy is dictating what you should and shouldn't do. But it's not just prophecy. If you look at the Bible negatively, the same could be said of it. For that matter, if you look at society's laws you could say the same. Any rules or guidelines from any source—be it the Word of God‚ the customs of society, the laws of a country, or the bylaws of a company—can seem restrictive if you don't choose to follow or obey them. If you don't want to obey the Word/customs/laws, then you will most likely feel restricted by them and think that other people have power over you, because they can curb your activities or otherwise hamper your plans. The sinner feels restricted by the teachings of the Bible and the criminal feels restricted by the laws of the country; that's just life. But that doesn't mean that the Word or the laws are coercive.

89. I realize that there are some of you who feel that we use prophecy too much, or that it's intrusive in your life. To you I say, if you're able to set aside your present thoughts, discontentment‚ and even feelings of resentfulness toward prophecy, and see its many benefits and realize what an incredible gift from the Lord it is, I think you'll find that your life will change in many ways. You will be happier, you will grow more quickly spiritually, and you'll be sharper in the spirit and more in tune with the Lord, because you'll be fully embracing one of the most important new weapons for these Last Days.

90. I can't convince you of the need for us as a Family to use so much prophecy. I've already given you the Lord's Words about it, as well as my personal thoughts on the subject in many GNs. If you still have a problem with that, you will need to ask the Lord for a new outlook. Ask Him to help you put on glasses of faith and to see things as He sees them. Don't let the Enemy get you looking at prophecy through his viewpoint. Of course he wants to tear down your faith in prophecy. If he isn't successful at that‚ he'll try his best to make you doubt the need for so much prophecy, and will be sure to draw your attention to anything that involves prophecy that isn't to your liking, or that you feel cramps your style, or that raises any questions in your mind.

91. As I see it, prophecy has helped the Family in numerous ways. It's given each of us a direct and clear connection with the Lord. Even if you have a hard time with the amount of prophecy or are still struggling to apply the "Ask Me Everything" concept personally, you can't deny the wonderful gift that Jesus has given you in being able to hear His voice at any time, on any subject. The Lord has also poured out wonderful truths and mysteries of the spirit world through prophecy, which we probably wouldn't have gotten any other way.

92. You may feel that the downside of prophecy is that someone in your Home can get a message from the Lord for or about you or something that involves you, and then what can you say about it? Someone else is controlling your life through prophecy. To narrow it down‚ prophecy is controlling your life. Well, you have to remember that you're not bound to obey every prophecy that is received for you personally. That's made very clear in the Charter. You can ask the Lord things too, and you're responsible to get personal confirmations and to make sure that what you do with your life and service for the Lord is what the Lord wants you to do personally. You shouldn't feel bound or think that once a prophecy has been gotten by someone for you personally, that you can't ask the Lord further about it and receive your own confirmation from Him. If someone has gotten a prophecy for you and you don't have the faith to act on it, or you don't believe it's what the Lord is lead­ing you to do, according to the Charter you're not obligated to carry it out. (See also "Under­standing Prophecy, Part 1," ML #3275:125-139‚ GN 875.)

93. (If there are, however, prophecies received for or about your Home, and your Home Council votes on a matter related to them‚ then that's a different story and you are obligated to accept that Home decision even if you personally feel otherwise. Of course‚ you can always bring up a matter for further discussion, prayer and another vote. More on this is coming in an upcoming "Understanding Prophecy" GN.)

94. Peter and I pray very desperately over the prophecies that are published in the GNs, we receive numerous confirmations, and we believe that these are the messages that the Lord has given to the Family for our overall instruction, guidance and edification. We hope and pray that you're applying them to your life and utilizing the counsel and instruction in the GNs to the best of your ability. Naturally, the application of the GNs may vary depending on the situation. For example, a GN which emphasizes a certain style of outreach might be very applicable in some countries but might not apply in a practical manner in China or another restrictive country. Those reading the GN in China would be expected to pray about whether it can be implemented there or not. In such a case‚ the Lord might tell them to apply the principles of the GN but to not put the specifics into action. Each Home and area needs to be Spirit-led in the implementation of those GNs which give specific instruction.

95. Peter and I do not connive or conspire together about ways to control the Family through prophecy. We don't have a set agenda, rig prophecies, or alter them to suit our purpose or what we think is best. Sometimes the prophecies even take faith for us to believe. We are very desperate about the prophecies that we receive and publish, and we continue to seek the Lord and receive counsel and His confirmations until we know that we've found the Lord's will. Prophecy isn't meant to control your life or the Family at large; it's meant to be a light, to be a guide, and to give you the answers to your questions‚ the solutions to your problems.

96. I feel that the bottom line with prophecy and why you should be thankful for it, accept it, and try your best to do what it says is because prophecy is the Lord's Word. Prophecy is the Lord speaking—or Dad, a spirit helper, etc., as the case may be. When the Lord speaks, we should reverence His Words and appreciate the time He's taking to speak to us personally. We shouldn't be irreverent and disregard what He's saying, or get familiar with it. And we certainly shouldn't feel like He's being such a bother, meddling in our lives too much, or giving us counsel regarding matters that He shouldn't be interfering with.

97. As a Christian, you've made the choice to give your life to God‚ to believe Him, to do your best for Him, to let Him use you to be a vessel of love to others. By choosing to be in the Family, you've gone a step further and you should feel, like the Apostle Paul did, that "the love of Christ constrains you." You're supposed to be laying down your life on the altar of God's service—letting your light shine so that the poor people who are in darkness can see the Lord's love and light through you.

98. If that's your goal, then why would you not want to hear the Lord's Words, even all day long? If He's willing to stoop to your level to instruct you, encourage you, even give you counsel on mundane decisions, such as where to go witnessing, what flannelgraph to teach the children, what type of meal to cook, what to tell a sheep on the phone, etc.‚ then why wouldn't you be willing to listen? You should be happy to—overjoyed, in fact—and realize that you are privileged to have at your disposal a tool that guarantees that you will reach your goal of being a top-notch missionary!

99. If you're giving your life for the Lord, why hesitate to take the help that He offers? If you really want to go all the way with the Lord, then you should grab on to prophecy and not let go! I'll be the first to admit that there are mysteries, questions, and things that we don't fully understand about prophecy‚ but that shouldn't stop you from using it. It's for your benefit, not to bog you down or hinder you. Latch on to it!

100. Rusty (24): When I first came to WS, I didn't use prophecy much. In fact, I really hadn't used it at all. When the "Ask Me Everything" series came out, it was a bit of a hard saying. Since my ministry is handyman and staff, I didn't really grasp the need to always "check in‚" since my work was physical. I was used to working by inspiration and just asking for the anointing rather than instruction. I was used to being my own boss. So to go from that to asking the Lord about the specifics of carpentry or a repair job was like having to hold an adult's hand just to cross the street! The whole thing seemed a little too extreme, so though I embraced the concept, I didn't fully apply it in my life, which resulted in many mistakes.

101. I like to figure things out. It's kind of a passion for me to be able to understand things fully, so whenever I make a mistake I try to trace it back to the very beginning of where I went wrong. Believe it or not, all of the major mistakes I've made here can be traced back to "little" decisions—lack of checking in with the Lord to be sure I'd completed the job just right and left nothing undone, or going with my first idea rather than asking the Lord for any input or getting a confirmation on my plans before proceeding—all of which had ­major repercussions, some taking months to get sorted out. I started being a little like Joe the mechanic: "Should I call the boss? No, I can fix it myself."

102. When I look back, I see that I did get a check to stop and ask the Lord whether or not it was His will for me to do that thing right then and there, but being the impulsive person that I am, I didn't stop and ask. I had my plan set and everything seemed to be okay. I checked in with others and they all thought that it was fine too, but I didn't check in with the Lord. Sure, I would pray! I always pray before I do anything, but it was more the "rubber stamp" type of prayer, asking for His blessing rather than guidance and instruction.

103. It's taken a lot for me to form the habit of asking Him about everything, especially when I feel capable of doing something. The truth is that most of the things that I screwed up, I was cap­able of doing. But the Lord blew on it. When you feel strong and capable in yourself, then it's a lot harder to ask the Lord everything. And those are two things that I hated to feel—weak and incapable. I now have to use prophecy in every aspect of my life‚ because if I don't, I know what will happen! And if these tests are just "warm–ups" for the Endtime, just think what it will be like when your life is on the line‚ and not just your work!

104. Some people may feel that it's Mama and Peter who are calling the shots and trying to tell the Family what to do through prophecy, but they're not—it's all the Lord. It's up to each of us to find out what the Lord wants us to do. That's the goal. Prophecy isn't promoted so that WS will have more control over the Family; it's encouraged so that the Family will be more controlled by the Lord. So ­really, the degree to which prophecy controls your life is up to you, but in these Last Days there is a certain standard that's required if we're going to make it in the Family. The Lord has made it as easy as possible for us to use prophecy and the other new weapons—now it's up to us to decide what we'll do with them and how much we'll use them.

105. Bethy (27): I have grown accustomed to hearing from the Lord about the smaller details of life, along with the major ones. Now when I don't hear from the Lord on something, I don't have the full assurance that I'm doing the right thing and what the Lord wants me to do. If that's prophecy "controlling our lives‚" so be it. I like the feeling I get when I know something is the Lord's will, because He told me so. It's a feeling of peace and assurance, because I know I'm doing the right thing, and then I don't have to worry. And who wouldn't want to be right and know that they're right?

106. Darren (24): Hello?! Have you read your Bible lately? "Believe in the Lord your God. So shall ye be established. Believe in His prophets. So shall ye prosper. Man shall not live by bread alone‚ but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Neither have I gone back from the commandments of His lips. I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

107. "Incline your ear, and come unto Me. Hear, and your soul shall live. And when He putteth forth His Own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God … I will put none of these diseases upon you. Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

108. "Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the Earth. And what shall I more say? Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

109. "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. … He that prophesieth speak­eth unto men to edification, and exhortation‚ and comfort. … I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied. For greater is he that prophe­sieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. … For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air. … Wherefore tongues are for a sign‚ not to them that believe, but to them that believe not. But prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. … Let all things be done unto edifying."

(2Chron.20:20; Mat.4:4; Job 23:12; Psa.19:10; Isa.55:3; John 10:4; Exo.15:26; Isa.55:2; Rev.3:10; Heb.11:32a; Rev.19:10b; 2Pet.1:19-21; 1Cor.14:1-26.)

110. Chandra (20): For me it was the fear that I no longer had ultimate control of my life that made me hesitant to use prophecy. Whether in my personal life or in my work, I like to be able to make my own decisions. I prefer suggestions rather than direct orders‚ and I had this mental block that prophecy ruled out that option, infringing on my right of free choice, because if the Lord said it, you had to follow.

111. I've always believed in prophecy, even as a little child, but after seeing it misused in several instances I questioned whether it was a gift for everyone or only a selected "spiritual" few. I never felt I fit that classification, so I wrote off the possibility of even receiving the gift of prophecy. Instead‚ I determined I could sufficiently make my own decisions in life because I was levelheaded and rational, and I didn't need this "dominance of prophecy" to dictate my decisions.

112. But it didn't take long for me to hit bottom, and it wasn't a small fall either. The Lord let me collapse physically, emotionally and spiritually before I realized how nothing I was on my own. It was during that time of utter nothingness in myself that I let go of my fear of losing control, and my gift of prophecy became a reality, because I felt so alone at the time and didn't know who else to turn to for answers. Prophecy became my lifesaver.

113. My biggest fear was always whe­ther I was tainting what the Lord was saying with my own views‚ especially when my opinions flowed so well with the prophecies I'd receive. Expressing myself in writing was never difficult. In fact, writing comes a lot easier than speaking, so it took forever for me to get over the mindset that it is the Lord speaking and not just my own thoughts I'm relaying. A friend once told me that if we are desperate for the Lord to speak, willingly laying aside our own opinions on the matter‚ then we should learn to accept whatever comes as from the Lord, without going through the analytical deciphering (something I'm prone to do). I believe that's true.

114. I don't consider myself a very spiritual person, and it's sometimes difficult for me to accept what the Lord says, especially when it contradicts my outlook on a situation. But I know that prophecy is real, it does work‚ and anyone can use it, because the Lord showed little ignorant me how to use it, too. I still have apprehensions when the Lord gives defined specifics, but having seen a few of them become reality, it has increased my belief in prophecy.

115. I can't think how I would survive if I didn't have prophecy as a pillar in my life. For me it's the steady re­assurance that the Lord's in complete control, because if I ever need an answer, He gives it to me. In short, prophecy rules!

116. Kayla (25): I can attribute every success of the past four years—in my love life‚ my work, and my friendships—to specific, personal prophecy. For the times I failed, suffered heartache, or blew it badly (usually when I lapsed in hearing from the Lord), I can attribute the speed with which I got glued back together, dried my tears, and bounced back onto the road of my destiny to prophecy—those priceless encouraging words the Lord willingly gives. The peace I've gotten from knowing I'm doing what pleases Jesus in every situation (well, I'm still growing in "Ask Me Every­thing") is so worth the sacrifice of my love for independence. And you know what? Jesus has blessed me so much for giving Him a say in so many aspects of my life.—Not just airy, invisible blessings, either—real, tangible blessings, in the supply of my needs and even my wants.

117. So it's just a win–win situation: Jesus blesses us with specific guidance when we ask Him specific questions, and He also blesses us for asking Him in the first place!

No real love or acceptance

Mama is more interested in people being "on board" and "in the spirit" than she is in simply loving and accepting them for who they are. She tries to put people in a mold and make them into what she wants them to be.

118. (Mama:) You all know from reading the Letters that I certainly do emphasize the need and encourage each of you to be on board with the latest moves of the Spirit, following Jesus closely, and utilizing the new weapons that He's given us as a Family. But my goal is not to put everyone in a mold or to make them into what I want them to be! My goal is to help you, dear Family, to understand what the Lord is asking of each of you‚ and to encourage you in that direction. I know that that's the only way you're going to find true happiness and blessing, because that's what the Lord has said.

119. Of course I want you to follow the Lord. Of course I want you to be loving and kind to your brothers and sisters. Of course I want you to forsake your pride and self-righteousness, and to learn about humility, love, weakness in yourself‚ and the importance of unity. Of course I want you to utilize the gifts of prophecy, ­loving Jesus intimately, praise and prayer. Of course I want you to be fully on board in the spirit, because then you'll be able to move with the Lord, go where He's going, and reap the benefits, which means more personal happiness for you!

120. I don't agree with people who say that the most important thing to me is for people to be "on board" or "in the spirit." If I were to choose only one thing to pass on to each Family member—or anyone in the world for that matter, besides salvation—it would be for each Family member to know how deeply the Lord loves you as an individual. It would be the mess­age the Lord gave in the Letter "I Love You—Just You" (ML #2985, Lifelines 22). That's what I feel is most important—knowing the Lord's love and letting it motivate you to share it with others, thus being a good example of a loving Christian—above being on board with the new weapons or the new moves of the Spirit.

121. When you apply the new weapons and recent counsel the Lord has given us as a Family, it enhances your love for the Lord, your understanding of His love for you, and helps you to be more loving and inclusive of others. But even if you put aside the new weapons and all the wonderful jewels that the Lord has poured out to us in the past several years, the foundation of the Lord's love for us, our love for Him‚ and His commission to share that love with ­others remains. I pray that each of us is being a good reflection of the Lord's love to those around us.

122. The Lord's love for us and our love for Him, and consequently, our love for each other, is the foundation and building block of the Family. That's what Dad founded the Family on. He had enough love to reach out to the lost hippies of his day, and that all-encompassing love is what started the Revolution and the Family. And it's the love of each Family member that has propelled the Family on. What mattered most to Dad, and what matters most to Peter and me, is that we are a Family of love. Our theology and belief system, including and especially the Law of Love, is founded on what Jesus said are the two greatest commandments—to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. That hasn't and won't ever change.

123. The thrust of many recent GNs has been love, kindness, consideration, compassion, under­stand­ing‚ and true, unselfish and sacrificial giving. This should pervade every area of our lives, and shows the importance we place on love and caring for one another. Those of you who are living the Law of Love know that there's nothing "be warmed and fed" about that kind of giving and sacrificial love for others. And that love comes as a result of living and obeying the Word in every other area, which is why it's so important and stressed.

124. Peter and I love you very much, dear Family, and we hope that you feel this love in our Letters and in our prayers for you. We are thankful for each of you‚ and we accept you and your love for the Lord, us, and your fellow Family members‚ and we thank the Lord for you. It's also our job to challenge and motivate you, to spur you on to do the very best you can, both in your physical job of reaching and winning the world for Jesus, and spiritually‚ to help you grow and progress, and avail yourselves of the counsel and instruction the Lord is giving.

125. We know that if you follow the Lord and abide very close to Him, you'll be happy and fruitful. But the choice is yours‚ and we're not trying to force you into a mold or make you be a certain way. It's not a "trip" of mine or Peter's to force Family members into being a certain way, or to push everyone to a certain level of spirituality. However, the Lord does have plans for you as an individual, and for the Family as a whole, and He passes on His instructions through us, which we then give to you and encourage you to follow and obey.

126. Evye (21): Mama has never once attempted to put me into a mold‚ and I can't imagine her doing that to anyone. I've had the opportunity to find this out for myself. See, I am the real "whacko, artsy type" and fall into the category of people that many people try to reshape and get into a mold. So if this were true, I'd know about it. But it's totally a rumor from left field.

127. Mama and Peter are the very nicest people I know. They love people more than anyone I know too. Mama has so much faith and sees so much potential in everyone‚ it's incredible. I wish I were more like her. She can see good in others where no other person in the entire world could ever see good. She knows how to draw out who you are and have you use it for good.

128. Mama is so positive about people—Peter too. I know that they love me for who I am, and because of that they want to see me use my full potential. I owe a lot to Mama and Peter having faith in me and loving me for who I am. They really do, and I can't understand why at all. It's because of their faith in the Lord in me, because of their acceptance of who I am and because of their selfless love that I am serving Jesus and so fulfilled today.

129. Francis (31): Well, if this were the case, then I would say that either Mama has failed miserably with me, or I have failed miserably‚ because I know that I'm a far cry from what Mama—and the Lord—would like me to be. I do try to be "on board" because I believe in what the Family is doing and the way the Lord is leading us through Mama and Peter. As far as being "in the spirit," I guess it depends on your definition of that, but I don't feel very "in the spirit" a lot of the time. Mama knows me pretty well, including my many faults‚ and she puts up with them and accepts me for what I am. I know that there are things that she wishes I would do differently‚ but she's been very patient with me. I've been slow to change in some areas, and in other areas I might never change—it's just my personality quirk.

130. Mama does encourage people to stretch and do their best, both spiritually and physically, but she doesn't force them‚ or berate them when they don't. As long as I'm trying my best to serve the Lord with all my heart, Mama puts up with me, and I'm very grateful to her for that. She's a good shepherdess with a real love and concern for her sheep, and is very conscious and understanding of the individuality of each of her sheep and how they can't all fit into the same mold.

131. Louise (24): Of course Mama is interested in people being on board and in the spirit. Mama wants us to be the best Family members we can be. Frankly‚ that's her job! How could she be the leader of the Family if she were any other way?

132. On the other hand, she's one of the most tolerant and accommodating people I know. Not that she'll be tolerant of major spiritual problems, but when it comes to individual likes and dislikes, preferences and even personality quirks, she knows how to "flow."

133. One very sweet thing about Mama is that while she often gets an idea in her mind and wants to get some­thing done and wants you (as in me) to do it, she's very sweet and non-pushy about it. She knows that there are some types of writing or editing that I really dislike, or that asking the Lord a certain type of question is going to be a huge ordeal for me. So she'll usually do one of two things: She'll say, "I'd like to have you do this but I know it's not your favorite, so I'll try to find somebody else.…" Or if she can't find somebody else, or really, really wants me to do it, she'll be a wonderfully personable motivator and sales­woman and talk me into it‚ ha! When she does that, though, she's very reassuring that, "Don't worry, I'm not going to ask you this all the time," and she really doesn't. She's very good at finding out what people like and giving them work that is suited to their personality and gifts and preferences. All within reason, of course. Mopping floors has never been my favorite, but they didn't take me off the dish schedule just because of that—but you get the idea.

Prophecy in shepherding = coercion

I've heard that prophecy is overused in personal shepherding. It's used wrongly, in an attempt to coerce people into toeing the "party line" and doing what Mama wants them to do. If you're having problems, you're given a stack of prophecies on the subject and then are forced into a corner. You have to either give in, pretend to go along with things, or stand against the prophecies—God's Word.

134. (Mama:) Yes, we do use prophecy to help personally shepherd people. But we do not use it as an instrument or tool with which to coerce or force people into doing what "we" want them to do.

135. For the most part, our Home's teamwork are the ones who personally shepherd those living in our Home. Peter and I don't usually get involved with the little details that come up daily in regards to people's personal lives and problems, but in some cases, we do. However, whether it's our Home's teamwork or Peter and me shepherding someone, we all feel the need to receive the Lord's input about the situation. We all admit that we don't know what to do, what is best, how the Lord sees the situation, and thus we have to go to Him to find out. How that is perceived as being "so bad" or being to the detriment of the person receiving the Lord's counsel depends on your perspective and belief in prophecy.

136. It's often a sacrifice and a gesture of love for someone, especially one of our busy Home shepherds, to take the time to hear from the Lord about something someone is going through. Granted‚ the counsel they pass on from the Lord is not always just what the person wants to hear. But you'll have to hold the Lord responsible for that, not the channel who was prayerful and seeking to help by receiving the Lord's counsel and instruction. The decision to receive and believe the prophecy is, of course, up to the individual as stated in the Charter.

137. As shepherds, we are responsible to pass on the Lord's Words to you, the Family, and to our immediate flock, regardless of whether it's what you would consider great news or not. If someone has gone awry in their spiritual life or is heading down the wrong path, it's our job to lovingly point that out. Rather than go to the person and tell them just in our own words what we feel the problem is, we owe it to them to get the Lord's perspective on it. Our own views on the situation could be wrong or unbalanced, and often the Lord explains to us‚ in prophecy, another side of the situation, or gives us more understanding, sympathy, or background on why the person is struggling or battling. That is a great help and helps our counsel to the person to be more precisely according to the Lord's will.

138. When the Lord confirms that we do need to talk with an individual about something in their life, we often ask the Lord to explain it to the person Himself, since He is so loving, gentle, tender, and understanding of our human frailties and weaknesses. I believe that most people, if presented with a choice to hear about their mistakes or an area they've fallen short in from a person or from the Lord, would choose to hear it from the Lord, because they know that He loves them, cares for them, and is the only One Who can give the rock-solid counsel that will help them to progress and gain victories. Of course‚ we don't leave all the shepherding up to the Lord. Our WS shepherds get in there and talk with the person‚ hear them out, pray with them, encourage them, and help them in every way possible.

139. Louise (24): Prophecy is definitely used in personal shepherding. But most of the prophecy that's "used‚" as it were, is personal prophecy—as in I get it personally for myself, not that someone else gets it personally for me. I've been given numerous encouragement/birthday and so forth prophecies received by my mates here either at Mama's request or on their own initiative. But besides those, I could count on one hand the times (in the four years that I've been here) that Mama or another shepherd has received a "shep­herd­ing" prophecy for me without my requesting that they hear from the Lord for me.—Yes, in other words‚ correction. But I needed it. It wasn't coercive, it was just telling me things that I either was unaware of so didn't think to ask the Lord about myself, or things that I knew already but wasn't paying enough attention to. Sometimes we need a little help to "see the light" about certain things that we don't see for ourselves‚ or do but don't take seriously. Whe­ther another person tells me, or whe­ther the Lord tells me, I'm happy for a little constructive criticism.

140. Amanda (22): I've been in WS for a little over three years, and in those three years I can't remember Mama even once giving me a prophecy of correction. (Any prophecies that Mama or anyone else has given me have been very encouraging and instructional, but not ­really correction.)

141. When things go wrong or I have battles or blow it, it's my responsibility to pray and hear from the Lord my­self and get His counsel, instruction or correction personally, and I like to share these with Mama and my shepherds so that they're aware of what I'm battling or going through. Sometimes my shepherds will suggest that I pray about something that I'm going through or something that's happening in my life, but they never coerce me or force me to do anything through prophecies that they've received for me. Sometimes I wish that my shepherds would get more prophecies for me to tell me what the Lord wants me to do so that I wouldn't have to stir myself up as much, ha! But I know it's good for me to be desperate for the Lord's Words for me personally, and it keeps me close to Him. The Lord is always faithful to show me ways to improve, lessons that I need to learn, areas that I can grow in, etc.

142. Since being around Mama, I've grown to depend on prophecy as a wonderful means of personal shep­herd­ing. I love it‚ and can't imagine what my life would be like without it. I wouldn't have it any other way.

143. Evye (21): To tell you the truth, I often wish my sheps would have the time to get more prophecies for me. We're all so busy, so it's seldom that I'm given any sort of personal prophecy from them, unless it's my birthday or a prophecy of encouragement, etc.! I would rather go on someone else's faith—that's just my nature, because I don't like making decisions and stuff. But they always just point me to the Lord and tell me to get His answers, and in the case that I need correction‚ they tell me to hear from the Lord about it. They take what the Lord tells me too. They're really good about that. They ­really don't push any agenda on me at all! But I just wish that they had more time to overuse prophecy with me, ha!—Fat chance of that.

Quirky WS channels—
getting prophecies for me?

I've heard that the people in WS or the "inner circle" are weird, quirky, living in a bubble, out of touch, old-fashioned, and don't understand field life. If they're Mama's channels receiving the prophecies for the GNs, then how can I base my faith or life's decisions on that?

144. (Peter:) Our folks in WS are no more weird or quirky than you or the average Family member, and they're anything but old–fashioned. We have all kinds of people in WS, just the same as any Family Home, field, or area in the world. Granted, there are a few folks in WS who have unusual personalities or might be considered different than most. But isn't that true for many Homes?

145. As far as living in a bubble, being out of touch, or not understanding field life, I'd say we have a pretty good cross section of folks who have seen, experienced‚ and been through an incredible variety of experiences during their time in the Family. We have all kinds. In addition‚ in recent years there has been an influx of new members to WS, both of the younger generation and the older‚ which has infused new blood into the WS ranks.

146. It's happened on occasion, when we get together for a special meal or activity, that we end up telling testimonies of personal experiences during our time serving the Lord. It's pretty amazing what our folks in WS have been through. We have real missionaries here, and a good selection of folks who have lived and served the Lord in all parts of the world.

147. From time to time, members of WS visit different areas of the world, attending meetings or visiting Family Homes on occasion. This modern day and age of technology and advanced communica­tion also facilitates our "keeping in touch" with the field. Many WS members correspond with the CROs and a variety of others on the field.

148. Our WS folks also have their fair share of spiritual battles and trials‚ as well as physical battles. Interestingly enough, the Lord seems to allow our folks to experience and be faced with a variety of battles and tests‚ similar to what our Family worldwide experiences. So there are many avenues and ways our folks here at WS stay in touch with the needs of the field. But all this aside, it's the Lord that sees to it that our folks stay up to date and in touch with the needs of the Family.

149. One of the most important requisites for receiving prophecies for the GNs is to meet the requirements for being a clear channel (See ML #3036, Lifelines 23; FSM 317; ML #3134, Lifelines 24; ML #3275:76-83, GN 875; ML #3304:180-189, GN 905.) Those in our Home who help as Mama's channels receive very close shepherding and spiritual oversight, which helps to assure they are meeting these requirements. They are also determined to stay close to the Lord and yielded to Him so that they can be a help to you, dear Family. All the messages published for you in the GNs go through His chosen Winetaster, Mama, and we ask the Lord for numerous confirmations. Our Husband knows what the Family needs, therefore being in tune and in touch with His Spirit is the best way to be in tune and in touch with the needs of the field.

Royal money-making scam

One of the main reasons Activated is being promoted is because WS leadership wants to make big money, and then Mama will most likely write a GN with supportive prophecies explaining that it's time to disband the Family. Then Mama will take all the money and disappear somewhere with Peter.

150. (Mama:) I must admit, this one really cracks me up! Peter and I are not waiting for the Family to make a bunch of money so that we can take off with it and disappear. If that was our intention, or the intention of WS leadership, then we could have taken off with the Family's tithe a long time ago by simply not giving out the missionary gifts, the budgets to the Offices‚ NPCs, LIMs, Pubs units, and all the other Family projects that are supported each month by your tithes. I think that the fact that this hasn't happened in the last 30 years that Dad and I‚ and now Peter and I, have been running the Family, is answer enough to this question.

151. Peter and I are totally committed to the Family. Our greatest desire is to see the Family grow by leaps and bounds, fulfilling the calling and com­mission the Lord has given us, and in return, receiving the happiness and blessings that the Lord has promised. In order to keep the Family operational and all its necess­ary services functioning well, as well as forging ahead with the Activated program and enlarging our tents, we have to put every dollar and cent of the money available to the Family to good and wise use. There are no excess funds around, other than what little we keep in the Family's reserves‚ nor are we hoarding or scheming a way to take off with Family money. We do our best to manage Family funds prayerfully and without waste, and our criteria for this is to make the tithes you send in so faithfully return to you in services, tools, and the Lord's Word.

152. Dad's fiscal policy was always to use the tithes and any other funds which are sent in by the Family to benefit the Family through paying for services the Family needs, such as publications, administration, mission gifts, etc. In other words, the funds which come in go right back out to the Family. Dad didn't want the money for himself, and neither do we.

153. The Family was Dad's life and blood, and it's Peter's and my life and blood too. It's what we've given our lives to for the past 30 years. If we were interested in making money, we would have found something else to do a long time ago. While we enjoy the Lord's wonderful care and blessings, heading up the Family isn't easy, as you know from the Letters, and it's certainly not worth the sacrifices involved for money's sake.

154. Just like so many other topics, we hear questions and receive criticism on both sides of the issue. Someone writes in and says the Activated program was started to make money that Peter and I can run off with, while others say that we have millions upon millions stashed in Swiss banks. I guess if we did, then those who think we're going to run off with Activated money would start worrying that we're going to run off with the millions we supposedly already have. Oh my!

155. Folks‚ the fact is that if anyone wants to make big money, the Family is not the place. There are no accounts anywhere with millions. I wish there were, because if that kind of money existed, we could do so many more good and wonderful things for the Family. We'd love to have the funds to give a monthly gift to every single parent; we'd love to pay for area schools; we'd love to subsidize more missionaries on poor fields; we'd love to set aside funds to help those of you who are getting on in age. We have tons of ideas on how to use the funds the Lord gives us to help you‚ and if we had those funds available today‚ that's exactly what we'd do. The Lord has said He'd make us a financial power, and we don't exactly know what He means by that; but when that day comes, you can be sure of one thing—those funds will be used to help you and your ministry of reaching the world, just like the funds we have today are.

156. Concerning Activated, the Lord has promised that with your help and active involve­ment in collecting subscriptions‚ Activated will re­coup the initial investment that has been required to set up this follow-up program. You have to invest in any business, and we believe that Activated is the most solid and worthwhile investment of all—that of feeding the Lord's sheep. That's the whole purpose and goal of the Activated program.

157. We do hope that Activated will eventually make a profit and become a source of financial support for Family missionaries. But believe me, that profit won't be going into Peter's or my pockets, but rather to yours. As you read in Part 3 of the Action series (ML #3308‚ GN 908), the Activated desks have decided that those of you who send in subscriptions will receive the income, minus expenses, from any tools those subscribers buy. In other words, your Activated desk will be selling tools for you and your Home will receive the funds. Besides that, if any profit is eventually made by the Activated desk, it will be used to benefit you in some way.

158. Activated wasn't launched in order to make big money, nor is its structure a money-making business. Its goal is to feed the sheep and pass on the hungry ones to you, so that you can continue to feed them and so they will eventually help you to reach others with the Gospel. Those are the same reasons why you should be pushing it in your Home—to feed the sheep.

159. Kayla (25): This one wins the prize for "Truly Wacky Rumors." If Mama and Peter wanted to make big money for themselves, I certainly don't think they'd wait—with tongues lolling—for our sacrificial, extremely small and scattered missionary group to come up with it for them. Please try to think up rumors that make just a little more sense. Mama and Peter are not buying furs‚ Ferraris and yachts on the sly. They wear forsake-all clothes, eat-in 99% of the time, and live, sleep, work, confer, exercise, etc. (apart from Peter's travels) in two small rooms! Their self-effacing‚ self-sacrificial lives are no illusion.

160. Chandra (20): I always feel very bad when I hear of these supposed WS schemes. There is so much within the GNs and tools that are sent out to the Family that demonstrate how much Mama and Peter love the Family. I thought it was very apparent that the sole purpose for Activated was to feed the sheep and benefit the Family as a whole.

161. People who can allow their minds the liberty to accept such ridiculous lies need help. Mama and Peter are the two most selfless people I have ever met in my life. I hurt for them when rumors such as this are allowed further than the initial thought in one's mind.

162. Korie (26): It's heartbreaking to think that anyone could imagine that Mama and Peter have selfish, ulterior motives behind the work they do daily to serve the Lord. I don't even see a fraction of all they do—the prayers they pray‚ the extra-extra lengths they go to, the multitudes of things they do that really are just no fun—but they do it because Jesus asks them to, and with such love in their heart. The only way anyone on this planet could go through the strains, the physical discomfort‚ the outright attacks of the ­Enemy, the very large personal sacrifices they make time and again, could only possibly be "the love of Christ constrains them."

163. In the time I've spent here in their Home, there has not been even one teensy tiny thing that has shown me otherwise; each day my admiration for them just grows. Guess it would be hard to really grasp it, if you're not face to face with it, but with a little imagination‚ putting yourself in their shoes‚ with their day-to-day struggles‚ the many weights that are thrown on their shoulders, you could get a bit of an idea.

164. Francis (31): One of my main jobs over the last year or two has been to help with the setup and implementation of the Activated program. So I can attest to the fact that it's not a money-making venture. Its purpose is to feed the sheep, plain and simple. The financial benefits that the Lord has promised through the Activated program will come primarily through more people being followed up on by the Homes, becoming friends, disciples or supporters‚ which will make it easier for the Homes to support themselves. But that's going to benefit the Homes on the field, not WS. And easing the financial burden of the Homes is one of the goals that we hope will be accomplished through the program. WS has given financial gifts to help get Activated rolling, and continues to support the program. But if the Activated program feeds the sheep, wins more fellow-laborers (whether live-in or live-out), and helps the Homes be better supported, then it's worth it!

Those "poor young people" in WS

Living in WS must be really awful, especially if you're a young person.

165. (Mama:) There was a groundswell response from the young people to this observation‚ so I'll let them answer the question for themselves.

166. I will say, though, that over the past few years a large number of young people have joined WS, and while they've gone through their adjustments and battles, they're a lively bunch, and with the exception of those "bad days" that everyone has from time to time, appear happy in both their work and their play.

167. We've had to adjust some in order to give the young people allowance for the types of recreation and fun that they enjoy, which can differ from the activities that the FGAs like. For the most part, the FGAs and SGAs blend together quite well and can enjoy the same things. But young people do have unique traits and needs, and we try to fill these as much as possible and provide them with the fun, diversion and activity that they need as well. They put in the hours and work hard, so the Lord blesses them in this way.

168. I'm sure many of you know what it's like to have a young person in your Home who doesn't want to be there, who is miserable, bummed, and dragging their feet. It's not at all pleasant. The young person is unhappy, and that makes other young people and adults alike unhappy. If WS were such a dreadful place for young people, don't you think they would have left by now? Conversely, if they were really that miserable, you can bet we wouldn't have kept them around! Here's what they had to say about it:

169. Piper (21): No. Living in WS is not awful. Those who like it, stay; those who don't, choose to leave. WS is the first place where I feel I've finally found my calling and a fulfilled purpose in giving out the Word to the Family.

170. Louise (24): Well, I happen to ­really like it. Call me odd‚ but I wanted to come to WS since I was about 14. I just knew in my heart that it was where I'd find my calling—and sure enough, I have. I didn't get as far as worrying about what kind of environment I'd be living in or who I'd be living with before I came, figuring that if I was happy in my work, that was the most important thing, and the rest would be okay too. But I've been more than pleasantly surprised to find that not only am I fulfilled in my work, but I live with a great bunch of people—people who are not only dedicated to the Lord and the Family and on board with the moves of the Spirit, but people who are new bottles, who know how to enjoy life and who are fun to work and live with.

171. Bethy (27): The thing about WS is this: If it's the Lord's will for you to be there, it's the best place in the world for you‚ and you'll be happy. There may be certain hardships or sacrifices that pertain to being in WS, but it's just like any place or field you might find yourself in. There will be difficulties, and those you left behind in order to fulfill the call of the Lord may very well question why you want to be on that far-off mission field having to make certain sacrifices and having to go without certain things. But why are you there and why did you go in the first place? Most likely because the Lord called you there. Are you happy there, and have you found fulfillment in being in the Lord's will and service, no matter what hardships you may have encountered? If so, then you can understand that if the Lord has personally called you to be in WS, it won't be awful. Rather, it'll be the best place for you and you'll be the happiest you can be, because you're in the Lord's will.

172. The Lord obviously doesn't call everyone to WS, just as He doesn't call everyone to China, Africa, Thailand, or any other field that is different than others‚ or where more sacrifices may be required than on other fields.

173. Darren (24): I didn't know what to expect when, after I had accepted the invitation to WS, I found out I would be joining Mama and Peter's Home. I had no idea what I was going to be doing, or what sort of people I would be meeting. You get all kinds of emotions and imaginations running through your mind when you're faced with the reality of such an invitation.

174. But to my relief, I found that people in Mama's and Peter's Home are pretty much like any other Family mem­bers I've met in any Home I've ever lived in or visited. They cook food, wash dishes, have get–out, do laundry, take care of children, have trials, talk with their shepherds and best friends‚ listen to music, etc. In short, in almost every way, besides the WS-specific ministries being worked on here, we are your regular Family Home.

175. While at times Mama and Peter live on a different schedule, the rest of us wake up in the morning‚ have breakfast, have united devotions—a time of prayer and praise, and sometimes united reading—go to our ministries, break for lunch and prayer‚ have quiet time, go back to our ministries, break for dinner and prayer, and then work some more, or have fellowship time (or parent time, as the case may be) or some extra Word time (or, on designated nights, a movie) and then head to bed.

176. Oh yes, and of course we fit in our get-out sometime during the day too. Some prefer taking it in the morning, doing aerobics videos or taking a walk. ­Others prefer waiting for the organized "game of the day" where we play a variety of sports, depending on how many people show up.

177. As to whether it's boring or awful living here, well‚ I think it's greatly up to your own frame of mind. While we have plenty of highlights in an average week (united get-outs, free-day outings‚ movie watching, a special meal, the occasional party, etc.), there is also a lot of work to be done‚ whether you have a desk job, care for the kids, cook, etc. And again, I don't think it's any different in a regular Family Home. No matter what you do or what Home you're in, if you have a specific ministry and you've been working in that ministry for any length of time, it can become routine or even boring to you. But that's when you just have to "shtick" and keep going—as well as pray and stay desperately close to the Lord for the inspiration to give that job your all—especially when you know that it's the ministry the Lord has called you to.

178. Like any Family member anywhere, we can choose what we want to focus on. We can focus on the routine of our work and home life and get bored, discouraged, or weary. Or we can focus on what the Lord is doing—the bigger picture of the souls we're helping to save—and stay in the Word and close to the Lord, and so stay inspired and envisioned for days, weeks, and even years of doing the same thing.

179. So all that to say: Look, we're just normal people! We get fed from the same Word you read—even if some of us do help prepare it. We read the same prophecies from the same GNs that you have—even if some of the people we live with were the channels the Lord used to give that message. We have personality clashes and trials and tests, and have to go to our shepherds, the Word, and the Lord for His solutions just like you do—even if some of those messages and solutions do have to be published for the benefit of ­others.

180. It all boils down to the fact that‚ as Dad said so long ago, "the only things you can be sure of are the Lord‚ hard work, suffering, constant change, and joy." And here in WS, we have all of the above!

181. Kayla (25): Yes, living in WS is ­really awful—nobody should come to WS! Here are the reasons I can immediately think of (while chained to my desk until dinnertime). <grin>

* I "have" to spend my days fulfilling the unique and special calling the Lord has given me.

* It's not enough that I'm good at my job—I "have" to be on board spiritually too, and then benefit from the spiritual blessings and added success that comes along with that.

* When New Wine comes out, it's not enough to just read it—I'm expected to live it too.

* I "have to endure" living with people who have the same vision and goals, who love Jesus and are dedicated 100%.

* I'm "forced" to mingle with people who are smart, funny, sociable, original, and tops in their fields.

* The main goal of my Home—a goal which I'm also "forced" to embrace—is to serve our worldwide Family in whatever way poss­ible.

* There's no getting around it—I "have" to work for Mama and Peter—some of the most humble, sacrificial and self-effacing people I have ever met.

* I "have" to hear of the needs of our wonderful Family‚ which I also "have" to participate in praying for during our devotions, mealtimes, daily vigils and on prayer days.

* When it's my birthday‚ from three to five people send me encouraging birthday prophecies which I'm "obligated" to read. Sometimes they even deposit a small gift outside my door, which I'm "forced" to open and acknowledge.

* I'm encouraged to hear fresh from Heaven every day, for my work and my personal life—and then I "suffer" countless benefits, including good relationships and success in my work.

* At Christmas and other special occasions, I "have to endure" fun parties—and if that weren't enough, I'm "coerced" to eat whatever delectable snack is prepared.

* My work overseers and shepherds are continually looking for ways to "make me" be more efficient and productive—and as a result, happier and more fulfilled.

* I'm not "allowed" to use simple pencil and paper for my work—I "have" to use updated computer equipment.

* Once or twice a year, we're all "forced" to go on excursions or outings to interesting places.

* I'm not "allowed" to be a frustrated and lonely eunuch; even when I didn't have a boyfriend‚ I enjoyed the company of others—sexual and otherwise. (And I still do!)

* I live among people who are some of the most fitness-conscious I've ever met, and as a "terribly irreversible" result, I've actually taken get-out regularly for the last few years.

182. My left pinkie's cramping up, gotta quit typing now … you get the idea. Never come to WS, and if you see someone who claims to be happy in the horrid living conditions I've described above, immediately run the other way—you may be mentally contaminated.

183. Caitlyn (20): I too thought this before coming to WS. I pictured WS Homes as being tiny, dark‚ cramped quarters, each person "hibernating" in their office cubicle, slaving away on their computers‚ never seeing the outside world, NEVER having any fun. Ha! Whatta joke!

184. Since coming to WS I've found things to be completely the opposite. I've never had such fun! Life is a joy because every single person knows that the Lord has called him or her here, and the Lord has shown them that this "behind the scenes" ministry is the best way they can help you, our dear Family.

185. All I can say about WS being "an awful place" if you're a young person is that maybe if it wasn't the Lord's will for you to be here you'd find it pretty awful‚ as that's how things get when we're out of the Lord's will. But the Lord has me here for now and I'm extremely happy and really enjoying it. You may be wondering if all the folks in WS are sort of the low-key type, not super into having a lot of action, excitement, or fun. But in fact I was surprised at the amount of action-loving people there are in WS. Most everyone loves to have fun activities and kick back after work. Yes, in WS we work hard‚ but we play hard too, and we know how to party! Yeah!

186. Keith (24): Some have said that we in WS "suffer," and that life in WS as a young person is a real drag and boring. Ha! I'd say, to the contrary, life is fun. But it's not because we have wild parties, or because of the fun activities or things we do. Neither is it because we break all the rules when it comes to alcohol limits, or because we are "controlled" by Mama and Peter. (Those "alcohol" and "control" rumors aren't true, by the way!) Parties are great and we love to have fun, yes, but the lasting and abiding fun comes because we're serving the Lord, because His work is something that we as Family members are committed to and enjoy doing.

187. I guess since WS is somewhat of an "unknown entity" and those of us who work behind the scenes are not visiting other Homes constantly‚ it's easy for folks to speculate and conjure up ideas of what life is like to try to satisfy their curiosity. But I'd like to try to set the record straight and say that it is true that we in WS are simply Family members. We're not special. We don't have added benefits and exemptions from the Charter. We live the same rules you do. We are guided by the same Letters, the same goals, and the same Charter as you. We're just like any other Family members trying to do their best for the Lord.

188. To be honest, it sort of hurts to hear people making up these stories and conjuring up unfounded rumors about the way we serve the Lord. I mean, come on! We're trying to serve the Lord just like you! We'd love to be out there on the frontline of the mission field witnessing and winning souls just like you! We wish we could be reaping the harvest and fellowshipping with each one of our friends and relatives while we do it. So to hear that instead some are spreading such weird and crazy rumors really bothers me.

189. Do we have constant orgies? NO! How do you think the pubs get to you? Are Mama and Peter planning to take off with all the money from Activated? What a joke! Mama and Peter are some of the most giving people this world has ever known. They would readily give up their own room, the clothes on their backs, or any of their personal possessions, not to mention their time‚ to help another person in need. We have to try to protect them from such needs at times because we know they would jump in there and try to help and give all they had to help us, when their major job is you, our dear Family. They love you and they weep for you. They pray for you. They constantly send us prayer requests for you and for the dear ones who are battling heavy battles. And to say that they're just in this for their personal gain or that they're storing up billions of dollars in some bank just so they can cut out and live it up is total rubbish!

190. As for the rules that some have contested and feel that Mama and ­Peter are trying to use to keep everyone in the Family—we should realize that those rules are for our benefit, not just theirs. You and I know that we need direction and guidance. We also know that if we don't like or agree with the rules, we're welcome to leave. Have Mama or Peter tried to keep folks in the Family against their will? The informed answer would be a definite no! Just look at the numbers. The rules that have been set down are for our good and to help us do a better job and not hurt each other or the work of God. We need rules just like any association, organization, or company does in order to keep it coherent and pressing towards its stated goals.

191. As an SGA in WS, I'm very happy with the ministry the Lord has given me. I'm thankful for the faith and trust that Mama and Peter have placed in me. And I want to do my best to serve the Lord and our Family, don't you? Let's quit the uninformed rumors. If you've got a question—ask! We don't have a lot of time to reach the lost waiting out there, so why waste our time spreading rumors? Let's spread Jesus! You want the facts? Look around your Home—we're like you! We're your brothers and sisters, your mates, your friends, your co-workers.

192. Chandra (20): The speculations that surrounded WS and the life a young person lives there haunted me when I was making my way here not even a year ago. The tales of life within the closed doors of WS became wilder as my departure day came nearer. At times it was hard to come to terms with the path my life was soon to head down when some friends and family mocked my decision to follow what the Lord had asked of me. But I finally concluded that I couldn't determine the way my life was headed by mere imaginative fallacies of other people. I had to make my own decision.

193. Coming to WS, I believe, was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. And I don't think I'm being naïve by saying that either. Saying WS is an awful place to live is a false declaration. I know‚ because I live here. In any environment, personal decisions and choices reflect our happiness—for the individual and the collective Home. A comment to the effect that WS is an awful place could be offensive to each of us young people who live and work within WS.

194. Just because our work and life­style in WS is shrouded somewhat with a veil of mystery, it makes little sense to concoct statements telling of the "wretched life young people in WS live." Please! By saying that, you're implying that each of us young people in WS is ignorant! Why would anyone want to live in an environment that was awful? Would you? Well, neither do we.

195. The truth is: WS is a fine place to live. Our way of working may vary from that of a normal field Home‚ but so is our line of work. And just like any place one lives, you have to do your part to flow with what's happening; otherwise, you're bound to have a bad time. But everyone knows that's not only a WS feature—that goes for anyone in any Home, on any field. You only get out of a situation what you're willing to put in. And seeing as I plan to be in WS for as long as the Lord wants me to be, I'm going to be giving it my all.

Lesbians, threesomes and sex!

I hear there are a lot of threesome dates and woman-with-woman sex happening in WS. I've heard that the women in WS are lesbians, and that Mama is a lesbian!

196. (Peter:) I want to start by asking you a question. What business is it of yours what the sexual preferences of others are, if they're within the Charter guidelines? Do you like it when people talk about, or gossip about, or even ask about your sex life or sexual preferences? It amazes me that people who would be horrified if they found out others were talking about their sex lives‚ so freely talk about the sex lives of others.

197. Secondly, I want to point out that we have the Charter, which defines and deals with lesbianism, which is female homosexuality. Let's take a look at what it says

Q. Female homosexual relationships are not permitted.

You will notice that this is worded differently from the male homosexual rule in the Offenses Warranting Excommunication section. The Bible specifically pro­hibits male-with-male sexual activity, but there are no passages forbidding such activity between women. This rule is meant to reflect that difference, as we do not entirely prohibit all female-with-female sexual activity, unlike the rule regarding males.

As Dad said, it's fairly natural for some females to be affectionate and loving towards each other. It would therefore be acceptable for two sisters to hold hands or be arm in arm, or have their arms around each other, kiss‚ caress or hug each other closely, even sexually. Whereas any sexual overtures between two men is prohibited. Of course, such female–with-female cuddling would need to be conducted in the non-public areas of the Home, just as any other sexual affection would.

Although such affection between women would be permitted, an actual lesbian relationship, in which the two partners were deeply involved to the exclusion of others‚ is prohibited. The definition of homo­sexual is, "Relating to, or having a sexual orientation to persons of the same sex." And as Dad has said, it is not natural for women to only desire sex with other women; such female homosexual relationships would not be considered as natural, and as such are not permitted.

Although many may consider affection between women distasteful, we must remember that love is what should guide us. We must be understanding of the needs of others, so if two women have the need for affection between themselves, since it is not Biblically forbidden‚ we should be loving and mature enough to understand.

Any such female-with-female activity must be with mutual consent, and no one should be coerced or feel pressured into participating. This is not a license for those who feel the need for such affection to try to actively search for those who will participate. Only if there is a mutual desire and agreement between two women may they be affectionate with one another.

*When a girl has never had any normal desire for a man, I begin to wonder if it's a spiritual thing. It is certainly not normal or natural as God intended, therefore such lesbianism is a perversion (ML #292:5).

*But two [women] can be very close friends without having to necessarily express it that way‚ although why not? (ML #292:61).

*Where it is real love and affection of any two people for each other, that's a different story. But this carnal lust of the flesh, ... totally only for women, that's not of the Lord (ML #1748:17).

(From "Sex and Affection Rules," pp. 306-307 of the Charter.)

198. In FSM 287, "Charter Questions and Answers" Part Two, the following question and answer is given:

Lesbian Relationships

Q-47: The Charter only makes one reference to woman–with-woman sex. The Sex and Affection Rules, L, pg.139, says "female homosexual relation­ships are not permitted." Does this also apply to occasional dates between two women so inclined, or to women who are in a threesome marriage?

A: Under the Charter‚ outright lesbian relationships are banned. However, the same is not true of two girls cuddling, or a woman having a threesome date with a man and another woman, etc., if they so desire. Therefore, the clause of the Charter cited above was deliberately worded to only prohibit lesbian relationships.

199. As is explained above, a lesbian is a woman who only or primarily wants to have sex with other women, or who prefers sex and relationships with women to sex and relationships with men. If WS had women who were lesbians, then we would be breaking the Charter. The fact is that none of our women in WS are lesbians. And believe me, I have it on good authority that Mama is not a lesbian, ha!

200. In WS, just as in any Home, people's sex lives are their own business as long as they don't break any of the Charter rules. What WS people do in their bedrooms is up to them; we don't get involved unless it causes some friction within the Home, such as in regards to jealousy, etc.

201. Sexual freedom is part of our religion, and therefore some of the women in WS, both FGA and SGA‚ enjoy threesome dates occasionally (involving two women and one man). Whether there is interaction between the women is up to them. They are free to have such contact, just as any Family person is‚ without interference from Mama or me.

202. The fact that some people in WS have threesome dates once in a while does not mean that WS is promoting them as the new thing; it simply shows that Family members are free to engage in whatever sexual activity they choose, as long as it doesn't contravene the Charter. It's a private matter and it takes place in the privacy of people's bedrooms, not in public places. From what I have heard, threesome dates are not unique to WS; they occur on the field as well.

203. Chandra (20): I'm a young woman in WS. I'm not lesbian, and I don't know any who are. The inter­actions and closeness we share within WS naturally draws everyone closer together‚ and people are affectionate with one another, but it's not like sex is the haunting presence of WS.

204. Sex is not a foreign concept. Living the Law of Love is something we do practice, and with the correct attitude it does give you a certain amount of freedom. But it has to be done in the right spirit. Whatever is planned or organized is prayed about, and the Lord's thoughts on the ideas are a must.

205. Though we may be a little freer than the average Family Home I'm fam­iliar with, it doesn't make WS a sex haven or orgy site. Living and working closely together brings a certain bond of love between all, but we are definitely not advocating sole women-with–women, or an emphasis on women together. But we are also not ashamed to take part in the freedoms that are ours under the Law of Love.

206. Piper (21): Lesbian women, from my interpreta­tion, are women that are same–sex oriented and who seek to exclude males from relationships and sexual interaction. I have never felt as loved by so many women as I am now. Though a single‚ I have had the privilege of knowing intimately a number of women here, and have found it a fact that they are very inclined towards the beauty of the male body and intellect, and they make it very known through their day-to-day interactions.

207. I work with women in my office who care for me. I dance with people on dance nights who are as loving to me as a wife might be, and I regularly have dates with girls who take it as a pleasure to show the Lord's love in that form. I have experienced threesome dates too and can testify that it is a pleasurable experience. I don't have to put in here that threesomes are not against the Charter, and from a personal viewpoint, when the Lord is being loved intimately at the same time, there is nothing more fulfilling.

208. Kayla (25): About threesomes, hmmmm. Are our sex lives any of your business, as long as we're staying within the Charter guidelines? I rather think not. However, to satiate your curiosity just a little, I'll talk about me. How's that? Let me draw a deep breath…


210. Pant, pant‚ pant. There, I said it. Actually‚ I'm laughing. It's not a big deal at all, when done in the right spirit and when the Lord is included. The few I've had were fun!—Natural, normal (I see that grin of disbelief on your face), great—and totally within the Charter. Like having a mini-party, really. They lack the intensity of one-on-one dates—you have something to drink, play some games maybe, then … you want details? Well, perhaps not—I'm sure they won't get published, ha!

211. And by the way, in case you're wondering about this, every woman I know in WS—myself included—who has participated in threesomes has frequent and fantastic one-on–one sex with the great, masculine, sexy men we are blessed to live with. We can't get enough of 'em!

212. Louise (24): When I first came here, the thought of doing anything with another woman totally fritzed me! Reading the brief mention from Mama of affection between women in a GN shortly before I came to WS nearly made me change my mind about coming, ha!

213. I haven't encountered any lesbians since coming here, but I have discovered, along with some of my fellow SGA females‚ that threesome dates with another girl and a guy can be very sexy and a lot of fun. Most guys like it, so I figured it was worth a try. At first I did it almost as a dare to myself, just to see if I could and would do it—not just to do something bizarre, but because I felt that it would help me loosen up and be freer in the spirit in general. And I do believe it had that effect. After a few times it grew on me, and now feels quite normal and natural. It's not that I'm doing it all the time‚ but I have paired up for threesome dates with a few of my closer female friends, and it's been very liberating, uniting, and, well, great! Of course, men are still my favorite! But I think being free and open-minded is a good thing when it comes to sex.

214. Caitlyn (20): Though threesome dates may happen as a fun occasional alternative, they aren't the norm, and I know that they are for sure prayed about beforehand, and have gotten the Lord's approval. Even so‚ what's the big deal? I mean, there's nothing wrong with threesome dates if they're done in the right spirit, and it's your desire. Besides, I know they don't just take place in WS! (Gasp!) Personally, I feel like "never have‚ never will" about threesome dates, but if others would‚ I say, "Hey, whatever floats your boat! Go for it."

215. Before coming to WS, I was told by a number of people that a lot of WS women are lesbians, and that I needed to "watch out," etc.‚ but so far I haven't come across any, ha! Seriously though, we all know that the Charter prohibits lesbian relationships, so no, there are no women in WS who are lesbians! I don't know, maybe some girls in WS feel comfortable having some sexual interaction with other girls occasionally and do, but it's a private matter and up to the individual, and really isn't any of our business. So ­really, why should we care?

Continued in GN 911

Continued from GN 910

Is WS breaking Charter rules?

People in WS don't have to abide by the Charter like field Homes do regarding such things as the alcohol rules, sex with outsiders‚ the sharing age guidelines, etc.

216. (Mama:) Peter and I and all WS members abide by the Charter guidelines just as you do.

217. As for alcohol, everyone in WS is issued the weekly alcohol quota as outlined in the Charter. Someone oversees this quota as well as that which is served at special occasions. We stick to the alcohol rules just like field Homes do, but that's not to say that no one has ever had an extra bottle of beer or glass of wine occasionally—that does happen from time to time, as it does on the field, but it's not the practice.

218. We don't allow hard liquor in our Homes as per the Charter. Once in a while some of our folks have had a drink while outside of our Home that has been over the 20% limit, just like many of you have. No one does it consistently or often; if they did, it would be considered a Charter infraction and would be cor­rected. Those who have done this usually confirm any such plans with the Lord as well, and heed the advice and cautions He gives regarding such occasional outings.

219. WS does abide by the age guidelines for sex and sexual activity/contact that are outlined in the Charter, Peter and I included. An older SGA and a 20–year-old in our Home received a three-month partial excommunication after deep kissing on the dance floor. We very much believe in following the Charter rules and do so, the same as we expect all of the CM Family to do.

220. Over the past 5 years, we have granted a couple of experimental exceptions within WS to young people, permitting them to have sexual interaction even though their ages weren't Charter-legit. We made these exceptions with much prayer and counsel. After a couple of months, in both instances, we either withdrew the exception or the need for it was no longer present. Since those exceptions were granted‚ nearly four years ago, there have been no more exceptions granted, and our conclusion was that it's wisest not to make such exceptions.

221. If anyone in WS were to have sex with an outsider, the same penalty would be given them as any Family member. Those in WS abide by the "no sex with outsiders" rule like everyone else does.

222. In the last 10 years we have granted a handful of exceptions to Family members (all in field Homes) to the "no sex with outsiders" rule. These exceptions were made with a great deal of prayer and counsel. A number of people have asked for exceptions for one reason or another, and generally they are not granted, but in a few extenuating circumstances the Lord showed us it was important, and His will, to allow an exception.

223. The above exceptions don't fall into the category of those in WS not obeying Charter rules. According to the Charter‚ Peter and I have the authority to suspend the Charter, or to grant such exceptions to it. These cases fall under this clause, and have nothing to do with our overall WS policy, which is to obey the Charter rules and uphold them.

224. You probably know individuals who have been placed on partial excom for crossing the Charter's sexual boundaries or age limits. Having had that experience within our Home also, as I mentioned above, we've found it helpful to announce and remind everyone of the limits and specifically who is underage, and what activities that rules out on occasions that might lend itself to such slips—no deep kissing, no touching of the breasts/genitals, etc. I'm sure it's a little embarrassing for those who are underage, but it's a lot less painful than being on partial excom.

225. Amanda (22): When I came to WS, I was a little bit surprised at how strictly WS abided by the Charter rules. I thought that since WS was the governing body of the Family‚ they'd be at liberty to bend the rules, but that's not how it is at all. I'd say that WS keeps the Charter rules more diligently than any other Home I've ever lived in. If Family Homes around the world have to abide by the rules‚ then we do too. Why should we be an exception? I was even partially excommunicated (in WS) for kissing someone out of my age range. We definitely do abide by the rules outlined in the Charter.

226. Louise (24): Uh, well, in fact we do follow the Charter here. Of course, there are some parts that don't apply to us like they don't to a Service Home, like all that stuff about voting in your own Home shepherds and establishing your own Home goals—but that's in the Charter too‚ so we knew what we were getting into.

227. I think there was somebody who once had sex with an outsider a few years back—and who was put on partial excom as per the Charter. He didn't do it again, and the rest of us didn't do it at all. [Note: This incident happened several years ago when a member of another unit was visiting relatives and had unprotected sex with a former girlfriend. This man left the Family a few years afterwards.] As for the alcohol rules, between you and me I've often wished we could make exceptions for ourselves, as I'm one who would like to have a drink every day. But, as a secretary who has been involved with answering reports of Charter contraventions on the field and seeing how far things can go when someone starts out with just a little bit of "bending" of the rules, I'm personally convinced of how important it is that we in WS, who are responsible to help the rest of the Family be aware of the Charter and stick to it, do so ourselves.

228. Jenna (25): We wish! … But this just isn't true. We do abide by the Charter rules—alcohol and sex ones included. And I would venture to say that you may have a little more liberty than we do in some of these areas. Don't get me wrong; we have FUN, but we have to keep a pretty tight ship in order to be what the Lord wants us to be.

229. Evye (21): I don't know who spread this wacky comment around, and I wonder if they actually believe this or if maybe they're just trying to get some slack so they can be a bit more slack. It certainly is a bit of an "off the wall" accusation if you think about it. I mean‚ why on earth would we allow ourselves to break the Charter when one of the main reasons we are committed to living in WS is because we want to help the Family be the place we all want it to be and do our best for the Lord, which the Charter helps bring about?

230. Bethy (27): As far as alcohol rules go, I've heard we even have a more strict policy than most field Homes. There is a "ration deacon" in our Home‚ and they give everyone their bottles of beer, or wine in a little bottle with their name on it. We don't have a "free for all" on the alcohol cupboard, and it's measured out carefully. This also keeps costs down, and we are certain we aren't going over the limit at all.

231. At special occasions and ­parties, if there is a punch, it's clear how many cups people get and it's carefully measured down to the last drop, ha! You don't want to go over, but you want to make sure you get your full share! But there isn't allowance for or provision made for going over the alcohol consumption.

232. Before the new alcohol rules went into effect (limiting the amount we drink at a special occasion and the number of special occasions), we didn't ration so carefully what was consumed at special occasions, and consequently had a few experiences with people drinking too much‚ crossing boundaries, and getting put on P.E. for it as a result. No one's perfect here by any means, but we do have to keep the rules, or we suffer the consequences just like any other Family member.

233. Jon A. (24): No, WS keeps all the same rules that everyone else in the Family does—including alcohol, sex, etc. That doesn't mean that in the last four years I haven't ever had an extra beer over the limit. But it's definitely not WS policy to do so. Everyone in WS tries, as I know most Family members do, to abide by the Charter rules, because we all value our place and wouldn't want to jeopardize it.

System novels rampant in WS?

People in WS read a lot of System novels‚ including Stephen King.

234. (Mama:) There are people in WS who read an occasional novel. I've heard of one instance where one person started to read a book by Stephen King, but quit because it was having a bad influence on her spirit. I would hope it hasn't happened other than that, but I don't know as I'm not aware of every personal detail about every person in WS. It's certainly not the standard we promote. If someone reads a novel‚ it's my understanding that they try to pick something good. In the WS unit that works closely with Peter and me, which Gabe and Amy shepherd, the policy on novel reading is that if someone wants to read something, it has to be approved and voted on, as per the Charter guidelines. In our Home we've made an exception to this rule, as some folks have to read material per­taining to their work or for research, and we simply don't have time to get involved with it all. If they want to read a novel‚ they are responsible to hear from the Lord about it and get His OK, and if they get off track, they receive shepherd­ing.

235. The fact of the matter is that the people in our Home‚ and in WS as a whole, are too busy to spend much time reading novels. They're also very aware of the responsibility they have to take time in the Word, to feed their spirits, and keep their minds and hearts clean, so that they can hear clearly from the Lord and be led of Him and His Spirit in their work on the pubs or their other ministries to serve the Family. Like any other Family members‚ those in WS are expected to minimize ungodly influences and to accept shepherding regarding any worldly input they take in—whether from movies, ­novels, the Internet, or else­where.

236. Kayla (25): I bought a Stephen King novel a couple of years ago. It was "The Stand." I hadn't seen the five-hour movie, and reckoned I'd enjoy the book more anyway. I even prayed about reading it‚ but didn't wait long enough to hear out all the Lord's reservations to the idea. I got through about half of the book, just reading one hour every Sunday (that was one stipulation I gave the Lord time to get in). Then I had to quit. At the time I was a chronic negative thinker, making slow but (I think) steady progress, so the effect of this System input was obvious to me—I was spiraling downwards mentally, becoming asocial with my friends, and falling back into that negative mindset that is so engulfing as to be almost unexplainable, yet nearly tangible enough to be cut with a knife.

237. Okay‚ so I learned. I stayed away from System novels completely for a long time—and if you're like me and love to read, you'll agree that this was a great feat. I began to receive a spirit story—well, more like a spirit book—and an exciting one at that. This miracle, coming through my fingers and onto my computer screen day ­after day, was enough to keep me away from the "bar," since the Lord said System novels would affect my channel and make it impossible to receive this story. Since I received that book over a period of two years‚ that turned out to be an effective safeguard.

238. I finished the book in February 2000, and I have to admit, having gone so long without reading any novels, I succumbed and read a novel by a Christian writer. … Okay, I read another novel too, by a secular writer. I don't plan to make a habit of that … in this new era of action and the post–S2K life I've committed to, there simply isn't time for novels—no time to read them, nor to scrub-up spiritually after I've read them.

239. I'm planning to receive (in prophecy) another book, and another one after that, and … hopefully by the time I'm done receiving all the books I'm going to receive, I'll be browsing the libraries of Heaven.

240. Jon A. (24): I've been a pretty poor reader my whole life and haven't read many books. Recently I asked for prayer that I could have better concentration when I read and that I would be more fed by my times in the Word. Over the next couple of months my reading improved, and I started to find that I actually enjoyed reading. Around that time I decided to read a novel‚ because I never had the interest to finish any of the books I started, due to the fact that I didn't like reading in the first place. Anyway, I started reading a novel and ­really got into it. I thought it was a great book, and I got interested in reading more books. And for the first time in my life, someone had to tell me to stop reading. :-) I found out that there were guidelines to book reading that I never knew about, since that wasn't something that I was into. Suffice it to say, there isn't tons of novel reading going on. Everyone has way too much to do. There are a couple of books floating around, but they've been prayed about by the people reading them, and it's not done in excess.

"I am the Word" syndrome

I met a young person who used to be in WS and worked on a pub for young people. They said, "I didn't need to get in the Word when I was in WS, because when I was working on the pubs, I was the Word."

241. (Peter:) That's probably why that ­person was in WS and isn't anymore! Mama really encourages everyone in WS to take their Word time and personal prayer time every day‚ just as she encourages each of you to do so in the GNs. We count on people to stay close to the Lord and have their Word time. It's very im­port­ant, especially if you're working on pubs. When we have a pubs push or we're having meetings and it's a busy time, we still don't cut our Word time, and we tell everyone to make sure they're taking the time they need with the Lord.

242. People who work on pubs are working on the Word, but it does not take the place of their personal Word time and communion with the Lord. It's not at all the same. It's a little hard to explain, but it's like the difference between cooking a meal and eating a meal. You can spend several hours cooking the meal and you might taste the food a little here and there, but you don't get fully fed or get all the goodness and nutrients from the food until you sit down and eat it.

243. Bethy (27): This comment gives me such a laugh. It seems very obvious to me why that person isn't in WS anymore. He/she must not have thought the Word was important enough to read and absorb, believe and do, and therefore became weakened to the point that he/she was unable to work on the Words anymore.

244. While it's true that you often work with the Word in WS, it certainly doesn't count as Word time. It is very stressed that we take Word time and personal time with the Lord that isn't part of work. Much is expected of us as far as our spiri­tual standard and relationship with the Lord.

245. It's a sacrifice in some ways‚ as if you work on putting together a certain pub‚ it may be a publication that others in the Family read and count as Word time (I'm not talking about the GNs, which certainly do count as Word time, but other publications), but because you're very intimately involved with all the details of the pub, it's very much "work" to you. So you wouldn't sit down with it for some feeding Word time like others might.

246. Whatever pub we may be working on putting together, it doesn't matter how much time we spend on it, or how many prayer and prophecy sessions we may have over it, or how many times we've read it over—it doesn't count as Word time‚ it's work! We have separately scheduled times when we have our Word and personal prayer and prophecy time, so that we stay connected to the Lord and keep our spiritual standard strong.

247. Louise (24): Ha! Now that's funny! I'm glad I'm not the Word, because if I were, you'd all be in big trouble! While we do pray and hear from the Lord on a variety of subjects at Mama's request, and in that sense we help receive the Word for the Family, we realize that we're just channels, and that we need a lot of Word time in order to be good channels!

248. Piper (21): That concept is wrong‚ very wrong. Though we do spend extra time during our work asking the Lord questions and receiving answers through pro­ph­ecy, and though many of us are directly involved with reading, receiving, and pipelining the pubs that get to you, the Family, for various pubs like the Zine, linkUP, etc., nothing takes the place of our quiet time with Him. Many a time we have to stop our work and take extra moments to tank up with Him individually about areas in our life other than our work. We do this to be better channels for you and to stay close to the Heavenly vision.

249. To put a little skin on this idea, I and a few others are responsible to lay out the Zine and conceptualize different things in pictures, graphics and the like. Though it's fun to receive these inspirations in order to best present the testimonies therein, the Lord has made it very clear that I need to spend two hours in the Word daily in order to fully make use of the power He gives. Though it was a struggle‚ as deadlines are short and the work is long, ever since I have done this, He has not failed to come through with new and renewed inspiration and ideas. I can't say it's me; I can't place myself as the Word for you. But I know that the only way we can continue to be the people you need in WS is by spending time with Him in the Word daily, and by applying it to our lives as He asks.

250. Darren (24): Of almost anything, this strikes me as a downright heretical comment—pardon the term and any mental imagery it may bring to mind. I don't know who said this, but there are no young people in WS today working on any pubs who have manifested this sort of attitude that I know of. It sounds to me like whoever said this was probably suffering from delusions of grandeur at that time, or else trying to overcompensate for an in­feriority complex.

251. Yes, some of us do work on the Word in the form of the Blade, Zine, linkUP‚ etc. In fact, all of us here contribute in some way to the work on the Words. No matter what our ministry in the Home may be‚ we are here so that Mama and Peter can keep on pouring out the flood of pubs to the Family. Most of us hear from the Lord a lot in prophecy, and some of these prophecies are then published for the Family.

252. But it's all the Lord's Word, and every one of us here has a responsibility to the Lord and to you, the Family, to stay desperately close to the Lord, and pray that our channels and link to the Lord remain as clear and pure as we can possibly keep them. Of course, it's the Lord that has to do it, but we have to do our part as well, and it often involves a good deal of breaking and lesson learning—and A LOT of personal Word time, time spent seeking the Lord, praise time and prayer time.

253. We can do nothing without the Lord, and this is often more painfully obvious when you're working on preparing a pub than if you're cooking a meal, singing a song, or doing something else that's perhaps a little more mechanical—especially when that pub is going to go out to the whole Family. It's a big responsibility, and not one that any of us take lightly, or would be foolish enough to claim personal credit for.

254. Whether we do editing, computer graphics and design work, or finalizing‚ if we don't do our part to personally stay close to the Lord and keep our hearts and spirits right with Him, that pub could suffer from our spiritual condition. So we've pretty much all gotten to the stage now where we're spiritually perfect giants who are always close to the Lord and never get off track—NOT! No, really, it all comes back down to the fact that it's only Jesus. He gives us the anointing and spirit help that we need to make "our" pub turn out the way He wants it to, even though each of us is but a frail human vessel with feet of clay (figuratively speaking). But this doesn't mean that we don't need to take Word time or make the effort to stay close to Jesus and be desperate for Him just like everybody else.

255. Caitlyn (20): The key words here are "was in WS!" I don't know who this person is or why they would say something like that, but I do know that we in WS have Word time like anyone else and make a special emphasis to read the Word apart from any work on the pubs that we may need to do.

256. As far as being a channel and getting prophecies that may be printed for the Family in a pub‚ it's a very big responsibility, and I've observed that no one takes it lightly. Everyone wants to be sure that they're clearly hearing from the Lord, and pray desperately beforehand that they will be able to do so—and it is the Lord that comes though because of the channel's desperation.

Forced to live the Law of Love

The way the Law of Love is implemented in Mama's Home is twisted. People are forced to share, and there are a lot of jealousy battles that cause hurt. Even in Mama's Home it doesn't really work.

257. (Mama:) Nobody in our Home is forced to share sexually. If they want to share, they do; if not, they don't. Most do so, and some choose to share from time to time with those that they aren't that attracted to, because they know that person has a need. No one forces them to; they do it out of love‚ and I'm proud of them for it.

258. As far as putting people in a position where they are forced to endure jealousy battles, it's simply not done. I know firsthand what a difficult battle jealousy is to fight, and I wouldn't want anyone to suffer it. Does that mean that no one is ever jealous? No, of course not. Sometimes jealousy is unavoidable even when the circumstances are really good and the conditions of the Law of Love are being met, because the Lord is working in that person's life. Jealousy does often strike when people step out to begin sharing and living the Law of Love. A key factor is that the individuals involved must have the personal conviction that jealousy is worth overcoming, and they must be willing to fight it and overcome, to seek the Lord and persevere to victory.

259. A number of our folks in WS have battled jealousy, some for quite a length of time. But in each case, they were personally committed to defeating the attacks of jealousy. They personally wanted to get the victory, and thus, though it was difficult and there were tears and heartache at times, we fought through together and each one has come through victoriously. That's not to say that no one ever has any jealousy battles. They do occasionally, but the victories have been much greater than the battles.

260. Those jealousy battles did not come about because the implementation of the Law of Love was twisted or wrong. Of course, not ­every move made by those in our Home in this regard is perfect, and sometimes people are not as prayerful as they should be, since we're only human. But overall, the battles came because the Enemy was attacking, and because it's human nature to be jealous. Though overcoming jealousy was a long road for some, it was also worth it‚ because now they are free from the bondage that jealousy can wield. They find life more enjoyable, they are less suspicious, and they are able to more freely share and enjoy the blessings of the Law of Love.

261. The Law of Love does work. Granted, it takes time‚ work, humility, love, prayer, overcoming, being freed from your hang-ups, confessing your mistakes, admitting that you're weak and need safeguards, the help and guidance of others‚ and most of all, yieldedness to the Lord and others. But it does work, and the beautiful end result is a sweet unity and closeness that we have been enjoying in our Home for the last few years. We still have things to learn and a ways to go, but it's made a tremendous difference.

262. Louise (24): Everyone in our Home is perfect‚ is an expert in the Law of Love, is considerate of everyone at all times, and no one ever has jealousy battles.

263. Oops! Rewind. A few little typos there!

264. Yes, we're imperfect; yes, people make some mistakes; and yes‚ there are jealousy battles. I've had them myself, unfortunately caused a few, and watched most of my closest friends go through them. But by far the biggest yes here is that, yes, we live the Law of Love—and, yes, it works, and quite well. I think it's fair to say that everyone has their "needs" met in that department.

265. If making the Law of Love "work" means that no one ever has any un­toward emotion toward another human being‚ well, we may as well quit right here. But if a Home where the general atmosphere is one of unity and trust qualifies as "working," then you'd better believe it works here. We love each other and we feel close to each other—close enough to tell each other the truth and to work out the problems that do come up, which they always will because we're human, and humans were ordained to make mistakes and learn from them.

266. I've had a few dates with people that may not have been my preference, but I was never forced. It was my idea, because I knew it was the right thing to do. Not the right thing because it would give me brownie points with Mama, but because I knew that person needed some attention and affection, and because I knew they'd be happy to get it from me. As a single, I'm thankful for those who have given to me—particularly the wives who have shared their mates, since we have always had more girls than guys in this neck of the woods—and it makes me love them all the more.

267. Francis (31): I don't know who said this, but it wasn't someone who has been in our Home. I haven't known of anyone who was forced to share. Years ago there may have been "sharing schedules," but not since I've been here. (Of course, some people do decide to regularly have dates on certain days of the week, but that's something between themselves and not decided on by the shepherds.)

268. As far as jealousy battles, yes, some people have them, just like people in any Home, whether there's sharing or not. But it isn't a big issue and people aren't forced to share. In fact, you can't share without your mate's consent‚ according to the Law of Love, and no mate is pressured into it.

269. My experience with the Law of Love in this Home has been very good. There's a lot of genuine care and concern for each other‚ which is the foundation of the Law of Love. Of course, there have been some difficulties along the way, as in any relationship‚ but overall I've felt a lot of the freedom of the Spirit, which has been very refreshing!

270. Amanda (22): When coming to Mama's Home, I was a little apprehensive about living the Law of Love. I hadn't been extremely sexually active before coming to WS, so wasn't sure if I'd feel comfortable with all the "free love" and "sexual sharing" that I was sure I'd find. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that everything was very relaxed and simple in regards to living the Law of Love. I found that I could go at my own pace and wasn't obligated to have dates with anyone until I was ready. I went for over three months without having any dates, and when I finally did, it was because I wanted to and I was ready to dive in and enjoy myself and the wonderful guys in the Home.

271. My dates have never been sched­uled or "ordered" by the shepherds; it is just between us parties involved. Having sex is a voluntary thing and I've never been forced by anyone. Of course there are battles too, but having battles while living the Law of Love doesn't mean that the Law of Love is wrong. It's just the Enemy fighting us living it, because it's such a beautiful and wonderful gift from the Lord. I've seen positive fruit in my life—and in the lives of those that I live with—because of the Law of Love, and I'm very thankful for it.

272. Kevin (27): The way the Law of Love is implemented in the Folks' house is the best I've seen yet. Every day is proof that it really can and does work. No one has ever stood behind me with a stick forcing me to have sex with anyone, and I have not seen this done to anyone else.

273. There seems to be a misconception about WS leadership. Some people apparently have the idea that there are two or three people in each Home who run around all day telling everyone who to have sex with, what Word to read‚ when they have to go to bed, what kind of food they can eat, what color their toothbrush should be, and when it's time to change their under­wear. While it's true that WS Homes, including Mama's Home, have Home shepherds‚ these dear people spend 95% percent of their time being servants of all. I really mean that.

274. There are no big-shot leaders in WS. There are people who oversee the work in their respective areas, but in many cases they are not the Home shepherds and engage in little, if any‚ actual personnel shepherding. Then there are the personnel shepherds who spend a lot of time each day just listening to people's battles and ­trials and trying to help provide us with a more comfortable living and working environ­ment, in between all their other work.

275. Going back to the Law of Love and sex, as with other aspects of our lives, every member is expected to decide for themselves who they would like to have sex with, if anyone at all. People here do have sacrificial dates from time to time, and I know some who have done so on a regular basis, but I also know for a fact that this was completely their decision. We arrange our dates and sexual encounters on our own, and if we have questions or would like to seek counsel‚ then our shepherds are there to help.

276. Some of the few times a Home shepherd would be found meddling in people's sex lives would be if, for example, they suspected someone had a sexual need but was perhaps too shy to ask. They may be able to offer this person some suggestions of someone of the opposite sex who is also in need, or perhaps help them overcome their shyness. Other times shepherds might need to get involved would be if someone were to disobey the Charter rules and go outside the age range, or if they were continually taking advantage of the Law of Love to satisfy their own lusts, to the hurt of others, for example. In these cases it is their duty to offer counsel or even correction, if necess­ary. And this is not a duty that applies exclusively to WS shepherds—it is the duty of all shepherds to care for their flock, to be sure people are well cared for and not being repeatedly hurt by other people's unloving actions.

277. Thankfully, people here handle the Law of Love quite well, and for the most part are considerate of the feelings of others. But this is not because WS members are an elite group of people who have been chosen for their eagerness and propensity to follow the Law of Love. We are quite literally normal Family members from a variety of areas and backgrounds. Some have been in WS for years, and ­others‚ like myself, have only been here for a comparably short time.

278. And guess what? The Law of Love and sharing really work! I've seen it in action with my very own eyes and have participated in it with my very own body‚ and the results are by far worth it. Jealousy battles do pop up from time to time, but even these seem to dim when placed against the wonderful unity and loving interaction that exists here as a result of living the Law of Love and applying it to all aspects of our lives, both sexual and otherwise.

279. Jenna (25): Nobody is forced to share. That myth can be discounted by the fact that there are people who have gone for months without sharing, by their own choice and preference.

280. The Law of Love is not implemented in a twisted way‚ and believe it or not, it does work—amazingly well. But yes, there have been jealousy battles‚ and yes, they do cause hurt. I've had my fair share. But I've come through it, hurray! Anybody who tries to live the Law of Love, no matter in what situation or with what shepherd by your side, is most likely going to experience some measure of jealousy battles, unless you're an alien or one of those equally rare non-jealous types.

281. I'm sure most of you can relate to finding yourself in a spot where you are struggling with jealousy, not because you wanted to or chose to, but because the guy or girl you like likes someone else, or someone else really likes them. What can you do about it? Nothing much. You live through it. And if you choose to fight the jealousy, give unselfishly, and live the Law of Love—though it can seem to take an eternity—you can actually gain a pretty permanent victory over it. And since as creatures of Earth, we're bound to fall in love again and again and thereby go through this tough process, I count it very worth my months and months of jealousy battles to have gotten the bulk of that bummer behind me.

282. Evye (21): Maybe this is bad to say, because it's pretty personal and all, but to tell you the truth, I didn't have one date during my first two years in WS. I've been here three years now, and this last year I've certainly been turned on to the "joys" of having dates and how much fun they can be. Once I got more into the groove of it (and certainly no one forced me into that) and gave up certain mind blocks that sex is only something you do with someone you're madly and passionately in love with, I found dates and sex to be so much fun.

283. Before coming to WS, I had this impression that by agreeing to work in WS I was agreeing to have lots of dates with people I didn't particularly want to do anything with, and that I would ­often be asked to have dates with others. I don't really know why I thought that—I suppose because of rumors and stuff—so I came with my stomach in knots on that one, because I didn't know if I could yield in my heart so much in that area. Still, I knew it was the Lord's will that I come to WS.

284. About a dateless month or so after I'd arrived‚ I was on a walk with some­one who was both my friend and shepherd, when he asked me if I was into the whole dating thing and where I stood on that one. I told him honestly that I wasn't really into it at all and that I would prefer not to do anything if I didn't have to, but that if I did have to, I was willing. He had such a laugh over that one. He was like, "Are you kidding! That's so funny! We'd never ask you to do anything you don't want to do." He never said one negative comment about that. He was fine with it. He was more like, "Oh, okay. Whatever your faith is on that matter‚ sure." He didn't ask me about it again. He told me to do whatever I had the faith for and not to worry about doing anything else, as long as I was carrying the right spirit and attitude.

285. But sure enough, when you see others having so much fun and you start to notice these really cool blessings of ­extra love and great personalities that others have, not to mention seeing others so happy and having a great time with others‚ that was incentive enough for me to have a change of attitude and be able to enjoy myself now too.

Four mysterious female prophetesses

Someone told me that there are four older women at Mama's Home who are really weird, and all they do is sit around all day and get prophecies—and that is what the Family is run by.

286. (Mama:) No, the Family isn't run by four weird women. It's run by the Lord and Dad, me and Peter, with the help of our CROs and VSs and personal helpers. I happen to know that the person who started passing around this rumor hasn't been to our Home, doesn't know who lives with us, and doesn't know who receives prophecies at my request.

287. Receiving instruction from the Lord in prophecy does play a big part in our running of the Family, and Peter and I hear from the Lord every morning, and throughout the day as ­often as we need to. We're desperate with the Lord because we know ultimately we're responsible for the Family. We're very thankful for the faithful helpers the Lord has given us, whom we counsel with regularly‚ and for our CROs and VSs, who are also valuable counselors.

288. We're also very thankful for those in our Home who are channels for the Lord's Word. Virtually everyone in our Home has the gift of prophecy and helps by receiving mess­ages from the Lord. Some of these messages are used in GNs, but not until both Peter and I have personally gone over them, along with those who help me with the GNs, and those who read the GNs in the "locals" stage as explained earlier. So I'm afraid that the "four weird women" rumor is just that—a rumor.

WS security freaks

WS is paranoid and overly worried about their security. It's not really an issue, and they don't have to be selah.

289. (Peter: ) While Dad was alive, we had reliable information that there were people in the world who would have been happy to kill him‚ or at least try to have him arrested or do him damage in some way, and therefore we followed fairly strict security guidelines in order to keep him safe. Though he's not around anymore, some of the same people who disliked him so much don't like Mama and me either, and would be happy to do us harm, or at the least, hinder our work on the Words.

290. Mama and I are not primarily concerned for our own safety. We have the responsibility to guard the flow of the Lord's Words to you, our Family. If we set our WS units out in the open and let the Family, and thus the world, know where we live, we run the risk of having the media, former members‚ antagonistic parents and anti-cult people‚ among others, show up at our door, either to cause us trouble of some sort or to take up our time trying to show us how wrong they think we are. In either case it would distract us from the job the Lord has given us to do. This is what we're trying to avoid and the reason for the security measures we have in place. We don't think that there are evil people lurking behind every tree waiting to nab us‚ but the Lord has told us to abide by the safeguards He's given us.

291. One of our European media repre­senta­­tives just wrote us with the following comment: "From dealing with the media and knowing what's going on with European governments, I'm very thankful you stay selah and safe, as I know there are enemies out there who would like to do you harm if they could find you. There is also the factor of being on the mountain away from the crowd and able to concentrate, as in 'I Gotta Split.' So I don't personally have any questions about it whatsoever, but other people do. The fact that we do have vicious enemies isn't something that most Family members seem too aware of."

292. Another reason WS units remain "behind the scenes" is because doing so facilitates us doing our job most efficiently. If our WS units opened their doors to the Family at large, we would undoubtedly become distracted from our most important job. Instead, we'd be receiving zillions of phone calls, having visitors over, and would end up getting involved in personal or local problems, Home and area affairs‚ counseling people, holding meetings, being invited to parties and area get-togethers, etc. Actually, it sounds like a lot of fun! But I can guarantee you that you'd be getting less GNs, less pubs, and less tools for your outreach. We simply wouldn't be able to keep up our present output, and the Family would suffer as a result.

293. We want to have as much contact with you, our Family on the field, as possible, and over the last few years we've tried to loosen up as much as possible, telling you what we could about our Home, other WS units, and the people in them. We still can't be completely open, though, in the sense of letting everyone know our locations‚ or having lots of Family members visiting our units, because the more people who know where we are, the higher the risk of this information falling into the wrong hands. We do re-evaluate our security measures from time to time, and we are happy to eliminate any that aren't necessary. If someday the Lord tells us to be completely open, we will be, but He hasn't yet, so we continue to follow the guidelines He's given us.

294. Rebecca (26): I would love to be in direct e-mail communication with my family and loved ones‚ or just be able to pick up the phone and call another Family Home when I feel like it. I love witnessing openly in the name of the Family and explaining to people about our worldwide work and the life that we live for the Lord. I miss not being able to do that.

295. I don't think anyone in WS relishes the security guidelines. But I do understand the reasoning behind why we can't be more open. It's not that we believe there are people who would come in with machine guns and mow us all down if they found out where we lived. But we do have detractors who don't like what we're doing as a Family. And because they know that WS provides vital services for the Family—namely producing the pubs and being the administrational head of the Family structure—if they were to find out where we lived, there are undoubtedly some who would try to cause us trouble.

296. It would be very easy for someone to disrupt the work by stirring up trouble with the neighbors, landlords, or media. When that happens, you have to spend time trying to sort it out, and sometimes the damage is irreparable and you have to move in order to be able to live peaceably.

297. I've been through some moves during my time in WS, and suffice it to say, it's not easy, as I'm sure you all know. The work doesn't stop coming in during the time you're trying to find a house, clean and set it up, move, and close down the other house. There are certain departments which have to keep working, but for the most part only the very timely stuff gets done‚ and the rest gets stacked up. On top of that, it's a big financial expense. We have to move often enough as it is‚ and if it was common knowledge where we lived, you can be sure that our detractors would be making things difficult for us wherever we are.

298. I personally understand and have conviction about why we have to have security guidelines in place. I don't believe WS is paranoid. Some of the stories I heard about WS security before coming were very scary, and I didn't know if I was going to survive. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that the rules that are set down are few, and very reasonable. Not being able to have more contact with the Family is a sacrifice. It's not easy. But I agree that it's necessary in order for us to do the best job we can for the Family—which is why we're here—and to me, that makes it worth it.

299. Louise (24): Thankfully, we're not as selah as WS used to be before all us young'uns came along. I mean, okay, we can't tell you where we live, but other than that‚ there's not a whole lot that you don't know or couldn't know—and what you can't is for a good reason. I think we all know there are plenty of people in the world who hate the Family, who hate Mama and Peter, and who'd love to cause them and their Home and the Family a bit of trouble if they only could. So I'm happy to forgo being able to tell my family and friends outside WS a few little details of my life and what the weather's like around here, so that they can keep getting the GNs and scads of other pubs. I don't think it's such a big deal.

300. Bethy (27): The security policies we have in place are something I'd venture to say that newcomers often have difficulty adjusting to in the beginning. A WS lifestyle is rather different in the day-to–day work than a normal field Home. So, even though it's not so much a matter of security, getting used to working at home at a desk can be a big switch for someone who is used to going out witnessing every day. Also, when we go out we aren't always in situations where we can witness, and certainly not witness as the Family. So it's an adjustment.

301. It's quite honestly rather difficult to be selah and not have much con­tact with other Family Homes or your personal family and friends. There are reasons that WS units remain selah, and even if we don't fully comprehend all the reasons for it, it just has to be accepted by faith.

302. But one thing that sure is encouraging, for me at least, is to see the ways WS has changed in its security policies over the years—from being more tight and restrictive to now being much more open. Many policies that had been in place for years were taken a good long look at and discarded if they were no longer necessary. So although certain security guidelines remain in place that may seem awkward, at least you know that all these things have been looked at and assessed and WS is willing to change them should they become obsolete. It gives you increased faith to accept some of the guidelines that may be more difficult for you personally.

303. Francis (31): I hope it's not too sacrilegious to quote from a movie, but "it's not paranoia when they're really after you," ha! It's true that WS is concerned about its security. Some people might call it paranoia, but that's very subjective, and I would disagree. Paranoia is irrational; WS' security measures are not.

304. There are a lot of people in the world who don't like what the Family is doing, as evidenced by the persecutions we have faced in the past—and those are not a figment of our imagination. Those people who hate the Family would like to stop or hinder us, and what better way to do that than to strike at the top. It's not that we're doing anything wrong and we're worried that if it was known where we live that we'd get raided and thrown in jail. But if our whereabouts were known, our enemies and detractors would try to hassle us and we'd have to spend time and effort handling that‚ which would detract from our work for you. Plus, if we were being hassled by those working against us, we'd have to move again unnecessarily, and that would cost a lot of time and money.

305. It's much easier to concentrate on the work at hand—and we've got plenty of it—without having to deal with everything that comes from being in an open situation. It's not fun to have these security measures, and those of us in WS wish we didn't have to. It would be nice if everyone could just stop by and visit, but the reality is that we wouldn't be able to get as much done for the Family if that were the case.

306. We're not imposing these rules and restrictions on ourselves because we enjoy it, but because every time we've prayed and asked the Lord about it, He's confirmed that they are necessary so that we can do our best to serve you.

Do WS parents help their kids who leave the Family?

Why can't the FGAs in WS support their kids financially if their kids choose to leave the Family?

307. (Peter:) WS is not able to support former member children/young people of its WS workers with the Family's tithe money, though we do try to help parents to place those under 18 with relatives, or in the best situation possible.

308. If WS were to support WS workers' children that have left the Family with the Family's tithes, then why shouldn't WS support all Family members' children that leave the Family? We all realize that this would not be possible‚ as it would take most, if not all, of the Family's tithes to do so. Your tithes are designated to support WS units, CRO offices, LIMs, NPCs, etc., which in turn provide you with the pubs that you need, outreach tools, Family leadership, etc. The remainder of your tithes are returned to you in the form of missionary gifts. (See "Mama's News and Views, Part 2," ML #3049:61-76, Lifelines 23, for more on this subject.)

309. We know that those of you on the field who have underage children who choose to leave the Family do all that you can to help them get set up and adjusted to life outside the Family. Parents in WS also try to do that, and endeavor to communicate with and support their children in spirit and in prayer.

310. But past that, it's not feasible for our FGAs to help their children financially, as they are unable to do any fundraising to support their children since they have full-time ministries serving you‚ our precious Family.

311. Mama and I encourage our WS workers to do what they can to help and be a support to their child who is leaving the Family. If the child or young person has another parent on the field, often they are able to help the child get set up. If both parents, or the only parent to a child is in WS, then the WS parent would have to find someone else responsible to make sure their child is cared for, or travel to do so themselves.

312. One of our long-time WS workers, whose 16-year-old daughter recently decided to leave the Family, has been in touch with his former mate and his System relatives, helping to place her. He recently traveled with his daughter in order to help her get settled and familiar with her new guardians‚ to help her obtain a driver's license and get her registered in high school, etc. This does require time and expense, as those of you that have been involved in these matters know, but it is important to see that our underage children are in good and safe environ­ments, as much as possible.

313. We pray that all our young people who choose a life outside of the Family will be happy and move forward in their lives. Once the parents involved have done their part and helped them to get established as much as is feasible, we trust that the Lord will supply and care for them while the parents continue their full-time work for the Lord.

Food issues—indulging and splurging

People in WS are allowed to be vegetarians. They have special diets and spend money on special foods, etc. They eat a lot of candy, junk food, and drink lots of Cokes. They splurge on alcohol. They say they're not extravagant and that they're very frugal, but that's not really true.

314. (Mama:) The meals that are cooked and served in our Homes daily are healthy, well-balanced‚ and nutritious. They're in line with the Charter guidelines and Dad's good teaching over the years. I won't say that nobody in WS ever eats any junk food—and I could name a few who I know eat an occasional candy bar, grab a bite of junk food or a soda while out—but most people are pretty conscien­tious about what they eat. In fact‚ many of the young people in our Home are quite into health and take pride in eating healthy‚ shunning processed foods, and having a hefty daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

315. Our shoppers don't buy junk food, candy, or soft drinks, though we do have birthday party snacks, such as ice cream or chocolate from time to time, or get occasional "sweet treat" ingredients that would fall into the "junk food" category. Overall we try to keep such intake to a minimum, and encourage folks to experiment more with healthful, sweet snacks‚ which we've had some success with.

316. Without a doubt we spend more money than most Homes do on our food and household budget, but that's because we can't provision. Our shoppers try to shop around for the best deals they can get, and we generally buy whatever staples and proteins are locally inexpensive. We do make a definite effort to be frugal, and we don't spend your tithe money extravagantly.

317. There are a number of people who have special dietary needs because of health problems, and we try to provide for those—or find substitute foods for them. We have a few people who have bad digestion‚ are lactose intolerant (meaning they can't have any dairy intake), or people prone to heart attacks who need to stay away from red meat and dairy products. As for vegetarians, there aren't any currently in WS that I know of, although a few young people in our units have tried it out. (See message from Dad in an upcoming "Issues" GN about vegetarianism.)

318. Piper (21): People all over the world in the Family are allowed to be vegetarians, if they so choose. There is nothing for or against this principle in the Charter, so long as people keep themselves healthy and a blessing around the Home. As far as diets, yes, some people do have special diets such as eating fruit for breakfast and fresh vegetables when we have them, but they do this for health reasons, weight loss, etc.

319. As far as the rumor that we eat a lot of junk food, soft drinks, and so on, though people are not perfect and it's up to each individual to keep the health standard as outlined in the Charter, no one that I know here has an excessive desire acted out in consumption of junk food. In fact, people usually fall to the other side of the spectrum‚ mainly for health reasons and the "figurative" (as a play on words) benefits.

320. Darren (24): There are some people here who have special dietary needs. They can't eat certain foods, for example, tomatoes or onions‚ because of the way their body reacts to these foods. But everyone else eats the food that is prepared for all, and nobody is spending money to get specialized foods for themselves.

321. I'm not aware of any "vegetarians" amongst us, although I know of some people who, for the sake of their diet, only serve themselves vegetables and starch for one meal, and protein and starch for the next. This is apparently a very beneficial way of eating, as far as getting the full value out of all the food groups you consume in a day. But most of us still help ourselves to decent servings of our regular meals, which are always healthy, well-balanced, and deliciously prepared. God bless our cooks!

322. As far as candy‚ Cokes or alcohol goes, we have occasional ice cream at parties, or fast food while out on business.

323. Chandra (20): When I first came to WS I had a few qualms about the food—it was so healthy. I can't verify any special diets or anyone who spends lots of money on special foods. In fact‚ WS is one of the few places where cooking has been an absolute pleasure because I'm not faced with bulimics barfing up the food, or complaints about the contents of the meal. The only specialized dishes are for those who, for health reasons‚ are unable to eat specific foods.

324. We definitely eat healthy foods, and our alcohol consumption does not exceed Charter require­ments; we go by the same stipulations as far as intake goes. Our standard in WS does not conflict with anything that is mentioned in the Charter. We stick to all the rules.

325. Caitlyn (20): We in WS eat much of the same things that most of the Family eats, varying according to where we live. If someone wants to have a special diet‚ it's definitely encouraged to hear from the Lord about it beforehand and get His confirmation on it. But as far as I know, everyone eats pretty normally except for a few more sensitive tummies who have a hard time eating certain things, and so have substitutions instead. As far as spending lots of money on food, I have to honestly say that I ate better food (as in more variety, expensive, etc.) in the Home that I came from, as we were blessed with partaking of some of the area provisioning and didn't have to buy a whole lot. In WS we eat simply and not extravagantly. We have to spend money wisely on food (and everything else), and cut back on things when cash is low.

326. I can honestly say that we eat very healthy, minimizing or cutting out the processed foods and unnecessary sweets. As far as overdrinking, it doesn't happen—enough said!

327. Elliot, FGA: I've been working in business and finances for nearly all of my 30 years in the Family. I was an accountant in the System. When I joined the Family and gave my life to the Lord—even though at that time I didn't want to do accounting anymore—the Lord asked me to do it, and I've been very happy and fulfilled in being able to serve you, the Family, with the gift that God gave me. Throughout these 30 years I've worked for many different people, leaders, and with lots of other behind–the-scenes personnel. I've lived in many places. I've traveled around the world just abiding in the ministry that the Lord has given me.

328. Recently I had an opportunity to visit Mama and Peter's house. I've visited a few times before, and lived with them for a short period years ago, so it wasn't something new for me. But after having not seen them and their unit for five or six years, I have to say I was taken aback when I walked into their house and saw their setup and how tight the quarters were and efficiently utilizing all the space that the Lord had supplied for them. I was literally taken aback and astonished at their way of life. My gut feeling after I saw how they lived was to say to myself deep inside my heart, "God bless these people. They really sacrifice to serve the Lord and the Family."

329. I'll give a few examples. Nearly every room had two people doubled up for living and working quarters. In other words, the room had a divider down the middle of it‚ or down one side of it, where a second person had his or her little bedroom and desk on the other side.

330. SGA Rebecca's office was under a stairwell. There was a door there, and you'd walk in and find this little cubbyhole. It was artistically set up and it was pleasant inside, but nevertheless, when you looked at her desk and behind her chair and around the corner, you saw that she was underneath a staircase. It's the type of nook where you usually store luggage‚ but in this case, dear Rebecca was stored under there, doing her work happily and contentedly.

331. There were two ways to go upstairs—a staircase at one end of the house and another at the other end. One day I went up the staircase at the far end of the house and discovered SGA Yvonna's office in the hallway, next to the stairway railing at the top on the landing in a partitioned-off section that you have to walk by. That was her office. It had a door on it‚ and in her case, the partitions went almost up to the ceiling‚ so it was kind of like a private room. Of course, if you were out in the hallway you could hear her working and typing, and she could hear you walking or talking anywhere in the vicinity.

332. It really took me back when I went into Matthew and Francis' office. I know that they counsel a lot with Peter and they have meetings and pray together, meeting face to face and counseling about the Lord's business, so I expected them to have a nice office. I didn't expect it to be extravagant‚ but I did expect it to be nice. Well, I can't say that it wasn't nice—it was nice. Matthew had a small office with his desk and a couch. The couch was for when Peter came in‚ and the three of them could sit together and talk. In one corner of Matthew's office was a doorway which led into a bathroom, and guess what was inside the bathroom?—Francis' office.

333. This bathroom had been remade into an office by one of their ­handymen. A desk had been built over the toilet, stretching from one end of the bathroom to the other. The handyman did a very good job of using every cubbyhole available. So whenever I had to visit Francis, I went into that bathroom. I sat down on the edge of the bathtub, which was behind his back, and that was my seating place—sitting on the edge of the bathtub while I had small confer­ences with Francis or looked at his ­computer on things we were working on together.

334. So that was my experience when recently visiting the Folks' house. In all my life in the Family‚ I have seen hardly any extravagance in World Services or behind the scenes. I've seen frugality. During this last visit, I was taken aback and thought‚ "Boy, the Folks really live frugally. God bless these people who are sacrificing to live like this in order to get the job done." It's not that they always live in conditions like that, but in that particular situation they put ­every square inch to use in the house that the Lord had given them.

335. Another time when I was visiting the Folks' house, I had to live in another building off their property which was about a block away. So the Home shepherd gave me their cell phone number. They also had a house phone, of course, but for different reasons they needed to have some cell phones. He gave me a five-minute explanation explaining how much it cost per minute to call on the Home's hard line phone and how much it cost per minute to call on the cell phone‚ and that I should only call on the cell phone if it was really necessary and couldn't get through to the other phone.

336. I thought, "Boy, this guy has determined how many cents per minute one phone call is cheaper than the other, and made a clear point to instill in me to not use the cell phone unless really necessary." Of course, if it was necessary, they would use it, but the phone of choice was the hard line because it was four times cheaper. He was counting pennies, and that really impressed me.

A loveless, rule-filled Family

Our Family no longer is based on love, but just on rules.

337. (Peter: ) It's really based on both. We have the Love Charter to outline the rules and standard the Lord expects of the Family, which He wants us to implement with love. Individuals actually have more freedom than before through the guidelines of the Charter, but it's up to each person to follow them in a loving manner—that's the responsibility of each individual. We need some rules and guidelines in order to run the Family, but that doesn't mean we're no longer guided by love.

338. I've traveled to almost every continent and visited a lot of the Family, and from what I can tell‚ we're a bunch of pretty loving people. We have some problems, yes. We have people who are letter-of-the-law types or rule keepers or selfish and self-centered, who aren't as loving as they could be. But the greater majority of the Family is striving to live in love—and they're doing a good job of it.

Dispute over Dad's death

I heard that Dad died of alcoholism, and not a natural and peaceful death‚ as the GN about his Homegoing states.

339. (Mama:) That is completely untrue. In the last few years of Dad's life he stopped drinking all alcohol.

340. As you know, Dad was very upfront with not only his staff but with the entire Family, and he shared with all of us about his drinking problem in the Letter "My Confession" (ML #1406, GN Book 1). Dad shared everything—his life, all his material possessions, his joys, his burdens, his love for the lost, the Word that the Lord gave him, and even his personal tests and trials and prayer requests. He often asked the staff to pray for him, and the Family as well, in the Letters. In fact, he opened his personal life to others more than anyone else I have ever known, because he was so humble and depended so much on the Lord.

341. Dad was delivered from drinking in his later years because of the Family's prayers and his own desperate prayers. One time when he was very sick with shingles (a form of chicken pox which attacks older people and is extremely painful), he was in real agony. He was very desperate for healing, as he felt he might die, and even though the sickness had nothing to do with drinking‚ the Lord used this opportunity to tell him that he must stop the use of all alcohol. He did, from one day to the next. He wasn't drinking much before then, but from that point on he stopped entirely.

342. I remember one time quite a while ­after that, on an airplane, the stewardess asked if he wanted some wine and he had her pour him a glass. He took a sip, put down the glass and later had the stewardess take it away. I'm sure he was tempted‚ but he didn't drink, and until the day he went to be with the Lord he never drank again.

343. He died peacefully as the Lord had promised him he would‚ with the Family gathered around his bed. He died naturally and without pain or because of any serious illness or heart attack. The Lord took Dad Home to Heaven peacefully and quietly while he was sleeping, just like we said in the GNs about his death.

Screwed-up loyalties

There's no privacy or confidentiality at Mama's house. People's loyalties are all screwed up. They claim to all be married together, but they don't even know what simple friendship and loyalty is.

344. (Mama:) We are all married to each other in the spirit, as per the "One Wife" ­vision‚ and the people in our Home are close to each other in many ways. One of these ways is that people feel free to express their thoughts and feelings to me and Peter, to their shepherds, and to each other, to various degrees.

345. Admittedly, the idea of what is "confidential" or "private" varies from person to person—as does the concept of friendship and what it means—but most people in our Home, if asked not to repeat something told them in confidence, will not do so.

346. I wouldn't say that we have a big problem with gossip or people spreading things about others behind their backs. There have been times, however, when out of true concern for one of their co-workers‚ someone has told me about their personal conversations or interactions with someone. While they respected their friend's privacy, they were even more concerned about their friend's well-being, and felt that by getting counsel from a shepherd they could be of help to their friend or co–worker—which I believe to be true.

347. Louise (24): People are people, and people have different strong points and weak points. There are some people, even here, who I prefer not to entrust my secrets to because they aren't the most discreet; whereas I value privacy very highly. I think most people here do. You generally don't have to worry that your date is going to go and either brag about or tease you the next day. If you tell your shepherd something, they're not going to go joking about it with their teamworkers. If you write something personal to Mama and Peter or send them a personal prophecy, they will ask your permission before sharing it with anyone else, and always give you the option of taking your name off of it.

348. As for simple friendship and loyalty‚ well, it's not a simple topic. Some friendships are simple, but the ones that matter most often aren't. It's such a delicate balance being faced with the battles or problems of a close friend‚ because there are times I know I can't give them the help they need. Generally my first tactic is to try to persuade them to go to their shepherds themselves and share their heart/questions/battles/doubts or whatever. That usually works.

349. But now comes the big loyalty question: What if they don't? Well, there's no pat answer, in my opinion, because each case is different and you have to ask the Lord what's really going to help and what's going to hurt. But the truth is that there are times when loyalty in the Lord's eyes comes down to that awful word that we all hate—reporting on someone. One of my friends here did that to me once, and while at first I resented them for it, to this day I trust them a great deal. I know they were doing what they knew to be right and were concerned about me. I know that as a general rule that person is very respectful of confidentiality and will not go repeating things that I've told them in private.

350. Amanda (22): Mama is very respectful of my privacy. If I tell her something that I don't want others to know about, she'll keep my secret. If she ever wants to tell someone else, she'll always ask my permission first. And as for her knowing everything private about me: she doesn't know all of the details, because she doesn't have time to hear every itty-bitty thing about my personal life, but I wouldn't mind if she did. Of all the people in the world, Mama is someone that you can trust your heart to.

351. Jenna (25): It's true that many people are very open and comfortable with Mama and Peter, myself included. Many of us make them personal tapes or write notes‚ share what's on our heart, our observations‚ etc. But there is also privacy, and many things that are kept in strict confidence. These things are handled with love and prayer, and though our shepherds may share our battles with Mama and Peter, or vice versa, that's in order to help us, and they do it carefully and in love.

352. I have told very personal things to Mama and Peter that have stayed right there. There has been a time or two when I've told something kinda personal to Mama‚ and later found out that she told someone else. At first I was a little miffed about it, but when I really thought about it, I know she didn't do it intentionally. First of all, she told someone who it would either benefit or who could help me. Second, with the astounding amount of information that goes in and out of Mama's ears each day‚ it would be humanly im­possible for her to not make a mistake every now and then on that score. So I don't mind.

353. We've all had a best friend who's let one of our secrets out to someone else. When it comes down to it, you know how much you love and trust your friend‚ and if they slip every now and then, you forgive them. It's the same with Mama and Peter. They have more than proven their confidentiality and wisdom to me, so I'm plenty willing to trust them with my secrets.

354. I have found some of my best and most loyal friends ever, since coming to WS. People here have values, know what friendship means, and value it highly. I'm sorry for whoever wasn't able to find this same kind of friendship—maybe they were looking for the wrong kind or weren't being the right kind of friend themselves.

355. Evye (21): It's sad that someone would think these things. Do they think we're from another planet or something? I mean, if anyone really thought about it, this would sound silly to them too. We're here of our own choice. Doesn't that say something for anything? Who would of their own choice remain in a "dog-eat–dog" type place? This is a stupid rumor, and to think that someone would actually believe that in­sults my intelligence. There's plenty of privacy! Con­fidential­ity is thick enough to spread around here too.

356. Living in WS is like living in any other really great Family Home, except that our ministries call for a bit more privacy so that we can get our work done with few distractions. I haven't been here all that long—I was as field a field person as you can get until three years ago, when the Lord called me here. So I should know what I'm talking about. I personally have never felt so fulfilled in my whole life as in WS—and I would have to credit that largely to the fact that there is so much trust and we know where our loyalties lie here—with Jesus, with Mama and Peter, with our Family worldwide‚ and with each other.

357. It's rare that someone will gossip here. I think that is so cool. You know that you can trust that if something private that has happened to you or that you have mentioned is ever shared, it's usually only retold for the sake of helping someone else who's going through it. And if you ask for something to remain confidential‚ it will remain so.

Anorexia within WS

Do the young people in WS have eating disorders? We saw someone from WS who seemed to be anorexic.

358. (Mama:) No, the young people in WS, as a whole, do not have eating disorders. We have had two young people over the years with problems along this line. The first, who is no longer in WS, became anorexic, but with lots of prayer and daily help from her peers and shepherds was able to pull out of it. During the last year, another SGA girl also reached the point of anorexia. She battled with this for many months, during which time her shepherds were very concerned and tried to help her‚ but she couldn't see or accept that she had a problem, which is typical of anorexics. Though this dear girl was living in another WS unit‚ her condition got so serious that the Lord put on Peter's and my heart to write her and alert her to the very delicate state her life was in.

359. Despite the months of help her shepherds tried to give her, it took quite some time for her to see the light herself and make the choice to change. No doubt many of you parents and shepherds can relate to this. There's only so much you can do to help when the person involved isn't willing to change or doesn't recognize their need for outside help. You have to continue to be desperate in prayer and regularly ask the Lord what you can do, and how He wants you to help them, because the Lord is the only One Who can do the miracle and help them pull out of it. All your prodding and pushing isn't guaranteed to do the trick, but at the same time, you can't just leave them to themselves and not speak up about it. You can't let it go and leave them to fend for themselves, or they might die in the process.

360. We've heard of a number of cases where anorexia and bulimia have afflicted our Family young people‚ which is why we've published both Word and System material on the subject. It's a spiritual attack—one in which the Enemy warps and twists the person's mind, causing them to physically see themselves in a distorted and unhealthful way. It's very, very sad, and also extremely serious, even life-threatening if it continues.

361. Thank the Lord, due to desperate prayer and this girl's choice to yield her mind and body to the Lord, she's pulling out of it. However, it has been a very intense battle, and probably the most trying experience of her life. She's doing well, but the steps of progress are tiny, because the Enemy doesn't want to let go. He almost had her life in his hands.

362. She was at the point where her heart had slowed so much that it was in danger of stopping entirely. The doctors told her that any get-out above walking for 15 minutes a day would probably trigger a heart attack. Her body became so unhealthy that the doctors couldn't even draw blood to take a test—none would come out. Her vital organs were in disarray and extremely weakened, not to mention how skinny she had become. You can imagine the shock it was for her to hear a doctor say that she might die! But thankfully‚ those extreme factors helped to wake her up and gave her enough conviction to make the choice to change her habits and lifestyle in order to live.

363. Now she's fighting every day—for every teaspoon of food, every sip—and she's winning. God bless her! The fight isn't over yet, but she's on board and determined to make it. Please do pray for her‚ and let her lesson be a warning to you of the seriousness of anorexia and eating disorders.

364. And shepherds, you must do all that you can to help our young people who are afflicted with these problems. Their lives are at stake! God bless this girl's shepherds, who persevered with her for months, even though for a long time there were no results or victories forthcoming. They kept taking it to the Lord, continued talking with her, working with her, trying to guide and direct her, and also sought professional help. They didn't leave her to her own devices or give up on her, even when she wasn't agreeable or receptive to their counsel or concerns. And in time, with the Lord's help and desperate prayer, the initial victory was won.

365. When I explained to this dear girl that we'd be explaining about her battle with anorexia‚ she wanted to write a note to all of you herself. God bless her for doing the humble thing and testifying of her continued fight for victory.

366. Dear Family, I love you so much! To start off this note I want to say that every­thing Mama has written about my condition is true, fair, and dare I say‚ almost too sweet. As you've read, I have been quite unyielded to the help and counsel of my shepherds over the months. Even though I have paid for my unyieldedness by going so far afield with this anorexia to where I reached the point of death‚ still, they didn't need to keep holding onto me, helping me, talking with me, praying for me and encouraging me to change. I don't deserve the help, time and prayer that Mama and Peter, my shepherds, family and friends have given me. It's only because of them and the Lord's mercy that I'm still alive today.

367. I hope that anyone who saw me on my recent trip to see my parents or have since heard about me via the "grape­vine" can accept my heart­felt apologies for any questions that my appearance may have planted in your mind about WS, or even just about anorexia. I wish that there was more I could say than just "I'm sorry," but there really isn't. Even though they're two very small words, they do mean a lot and I truly am very sorry. I pray that you can forgive me. Anorexia or any other eating disorder is something that is certainly not condoned nor allowed within WS. It's only because of my dis­obedience to the counsel clearly laid out in the Word‚ and allowing the Enemy to get such a grip on my mind‚ that I reached this state.

368. I know that anorexia is something that you hear about and it seems so very stupid. Yes‚ to someone looking at it from the outside, it makes no sense. I know, because I've been on both sides. The temptation to say, "Just eat that plate of food and stop being such a whiner!" is very great, and it takes a lot of love and patience to deal with an anorexic—but at least it's better than being the anorexic! If you're thinking that it's worth becoming anorexic to get thin‚ think again! I felt worse about myself, more self-conscious, sad, depressed and miserable than I ever have. And it's because the more weight you lose and the less food you get to your brain, the more warped your thought patterns become. Or to put it bluntly, the Devil's hold just gets stronger and stronger.

369. I have many more physical problems because of anorexia that Mama didn't list here because they're not as important as the others. But I would like to add a few more just so you can see that it doesn't only affect your heart. Even though through prayer and trying to eat better, my heart rate has normalized and I'm getting healthier, there are many other harmful things that anorexia does to your body, and it's not that I'm a weak person! I was formerly a very healthy, robust, energetic person that never got sick at all! Anorexia has affected my digestive system to where my stomach is in almost constant pain; sometimes I can't even stand up. My hair is falling out. I probably can't ever have kids. I am very weak, and the list goes on.

370. If you are currently dieting or are thinking about going on a diet, I beg you to please think about it prayer­fully. Seek the Lord, counsel with your friends, parents or shepherds about it‚ as dieting is how it can all begin. Even if you don't ever become anorexic, dieting can still become an obsession. It makes you self-centered and no fun to be around. It also takes your mind off the Lord and others, which will make you miserable and unhealthy. It's not worth it.

371. To anyone who may be battling with anorexia or if you're being tempted with it, I want you to know that the most important thing is to hear from the Lord and to commit your heart to Him, because He's the only One that really can understand and help you. He can give you guidance for every day and every minute.

372. It's a very hard thing to go through. Please don't think that just because I reached the point of death that it was any easier for me to pull out of it. Yes, I had no choice, but the reason why I almost died is because I let myself get to the state where the Enemy had come pretty close to having total control over me. I used to always think that I was in control and I would never let it get to me like that. When people would tell me that I was sickly‚ too thin, etc., I'd just laugh them off. It's only by the Lord's mercy that I started having terrible stomach pains and had to go to the doctor, and thereby realize what physical state I was in.

373. Back to what I was saying: Don't compare with me or think that I had it so much easier because I got shocked into changing. It's not easier; it's harder once you've gone that far. Please learn from my sad example that this is no laughing matter. The end goal of anorexia is death, and if the Devil can't kill you, he sure makes you wanna do it yourself sometimes.

374. Yield your mind to the Lord by praying constantly, asking for prayer from others, asking for others' help and support, and being honest with yourself that you need help. Then you'll be on the road to recovery. It takes desperation, and you can't get that on your own sometimes—it takes a lot of prayer. Ask the Lord to speak to you and He will! It's your only hope!

375. I love you and pray that in growing closer to Him you can shed the weights of "body image" and all the lies that the Devil tries to flood your mind with. The fight sure isn't over for me, and I could use any prayers you can send my way. If any of you who are battling with this would like me to hear from the Lord for you, please don't hesitate to jot me a note. I know how hard it is sometimes to see anything clearly when you're in the midst of the battle. I love you and am praying for you.

WS buying expensive properties

A rumor is going around Europe and the US that WS has been spending big money to buy property and houses. I heard that FCF has purchased a house and property.

376. (Peter: ) It's interesting to me that some people have written questioning why WS would buy properties while others have written questioning why we don't. The fact is that it has been WS policy over the years not to buy property. Dad never felt the need to purchase property, and considering how often we've moved, it's not really practical. Of course, if the Lord showed us to do otherwise‚ we would, but He'd have to make it very clear that it's His will.

377. As those who write and say that we should buy property suggest, it would save WS money in the long run to buy rather than rent. This is true, but there are both pros and cons when you purchase a house and property. In purchasing, we'd save money, but we'd also be tied down to that house on a long-term basis, and we'd sacrifice the freedom to move quickly if the need should arise.

378. It's not against Family policy to purchase properties. We know of a few cases where Family members have done so, including a large service Home in the U.S. They apparently outgrew their former rented house and needed to find larger accommo­dations. A situation recently presented itself where they could make a down payment on a suitable house and then pay monthly payments which were only $100 more than the rent they were paying for the house they just moved out of. The decision to take this step was a Home decision. WS was not involved and did not provide any funds towards it, although in their situation we feel it was a wise move, as it saves them money, gives them a place which fits their needs, and was what the Lord led them to do.

379. Generally speaking, our counsel regarding the purchase of property is that it's best not to do so, as it usually involves taking out a loan, paying interest, taxes, insurance and a lot of legal red tape. Having said that, each Home has to make those kinds of decisions themselves, as a Home. In some cases, such as the one mentioned above‚ the Lord showed them over and over to do so, making it obvious it was His will. Each situation is different, and you must pray and hear from the Lord as a Home on such matters.

380. Regarding Family Care Foundation, we have been informed that they are purchasing a property‚ since they expect to be operating from their present location for some time‚ and their monthly mortgage payments actually worked out as being less than paying rent. For the record, FCF is a separate legal entity‚ is not part of World Services, and they make their own financial and other decisions. WS had nothing to do with their decision to purchase a house, nor the financing of it.

381. Following is an excerpt of a past GN which explains their situation:

382. The Family Care Foundation has been set up … as an independent legal entity, completely separate from the Family. It has its own board of directors and makes its own decisions, as required by law. The Foundation's goal is to raise funds from donors and by other means, which can then be used to sponsor those who are doing missionary and other public service type work, such as CTP work, both in the U.S. and abroad. The Foundation has its own mission statement and operates as a nonprofit corporation under California law and in accordance with strict IRS rules and guidelines governing tax-exempt organizations. … Those whom the Lord showed to start this Foundation have spent a great deal of time completing reams of legal paperwork involved in creating it, and now have teams involved in concrete fundraising activities. Their goal, as a public service charity, is to raise large sums of money that can then be used to eventually help fund charitable projects world­wide that fall within their mission statement. We're praying for them in this effort and fully support them in this exciting new venture. We ask that you do the same by praying for them and their success. (From "Where We're Headed!" ML #3136:125,126, Lifelines 24; written 7/97)

Ploy to keep people in "the cult"

Mama and Peter are trying to keep as many people in "the cult" as possible, through the many rules they impose.

383. (Peter:) The Family isn't a cult, it's a missionary organization. Anyone who has read the GNs knows that we are not interested in keeping people around who don't want to be part of us. Don't get me wrong‚ we're very happy for each and every Family member. We admire you, we love you, and we need your help to do the job the Lord has given us to do. But if someone doesn't want to be in the Family, we'd just as soon encourage them to go and do what's on their heart and find their own path, if they'll be happier that way.

384. We do have rules in the Family, like any organization does, and some might say we have a lot of rules. But since we are a religion‚ a missionary organization, a communal living group, and in a sense a society within a greater society, of course we are going to have some rules, even quite a few. Every religion has behavior rules, just like we do. Every organization, whether missionary, business or political, has rules that must be complied with. Any group of people who successfully live communally have rules, and every society needs rules and laws. We're not particularly unique in having rules; every organization has them.

385. Our rights, responsibilities, and rules are laid out in the Charter. I have found that most Family members are quite thankful to have things clearly spelled out in the Charter. We seldom, if ever, get anyone writing in saying that they want to do away with the Charter. People don't seem to be dissatisfied with the procedural rules, or rules regarding voting, finances, discipline, etc.

386. Of course, we do get questions or com­plaints from time to time about some of the behavior rules. The fact is, any church or religion has behavior rules, and you won't be allowed to be a member of any church unless you keep their rules, and in this we are not unique. Overall we are quite liberal by church standards, as many allow no drinking, no dancing, and certainly no sex outside marriage.

387. As a Christian religion we do have some rules of behavior to adhere to. I know that not everyone likes them‚ but what you need to try to understand is that the purpose of every rule we have is to help us in our work of winning the world to Jesus. The behavior rules are in place to help keep us on track spiritually and to keep us healthy and happy, and therefore to help us do the job. These rules aren't about control; they're about doing our job. They're about helping us to be better Christians, to keep us from getting sucked into the System. Anyone who doesn't want to keep them isn't forced to stay; they are perfectly free to go elsewhere and find a religion or organization which has rules they like.

388. I don't see how someone can think that all of our rules are designed to keep people in the Family, when the rules clearly state that anyone who wants to go can do so. It seems that if someone wanted to lure people to stay in some kind of "cult," they'd do away with all the rules and make life appear as appealing and cushy as possible. But we don't operate that way because the life of a missionary isn't a cushy one. We have a commission from the Lord and a job to do, and in order to do it, we need people who understand that they need to keep their spirits strong and healthy, which is what these types of rules are for.

389. Only the people who really want to be in the Family are willing to follow the rules. Of course, we're open to reviewing the rules‚ and we do make changes from time to time. When a rule no longer seems necessary, or the Lord shows us to do something different, then we're open to changing it.

390. Piper (21): Personally, I think there is more freedom through having rules and guidelines. Having the Charter enables you to act freely and sleep better at night, knowing no one is out to "get you" in the group; you'll not be taken advantage of, or if you think you are, you're free to report it. These rules are literally for our protection and well-being. The Children of ­Israel needed the rules that were given to them in the desert, and as evidenced by their activities when Moses descended off the mountain, they received them none too soon!

391. We are an outfit of individuals who want to give our best to the Lord, love one another as freely as possible, and who want the freedom of accomplishing the great work we have to do. Those who are interested in doing the above are the ones who will see that the Charter has set them free to let them decide how they want to govern their lives. That's my personal opinion and how I feel about it, and I think that those who are in this Family to give to others and not just to be a member of this grand and beneficial "social club" would also agree with me.

392. Caitlyn (20): This doesn't really make sense, as you'd think that if they wanted to keep as many people in the Family as possible they'd make fewer rules, not more! Mama and Peter aren't trying to keep anyone in the Family if they don't want to be here. They've said many times that if you don't want to be here, PLEASE LEAVE! Because the worst thing in the world is trying to work side by side with someone who doesn't want to be there with you!

393. The Family is for those who want to serve the Lord in all-out, full-time, "do or die" service. I think everyone needs to stop and realize that it doesn't matter so much if we're a group called the Family or if we're in our individual little families going at it alone! Our ultimate goal should be to love the Lord and serve Him to the best of our abilities. It just so happens that most of us have found the Family to be the best place to accomplish that.

394. Darren (24): I believe the absurdness of this "allegation" becomes fairly obvious when you read the S2K Letters. From the earliest days‚ Dad was always for quality over quantity when it came to discipleship‚ and this is a standard that I believe Mama and Peter are just as eager to uphold.

395. Of course Mama and Peter are eager to encourage as many of us as possible to keep on in our service for the Lord. They know the trials and tests that come to the "live ones" and encourage us to keep fighting, to hold on‚ to get the Lord's promises and counsel on how each of us can continue to make it if we look to Him. But it's not because they're eager to boost numbers or even hold on to our present member­ship.

396. In my own experience of having lived with both Mama and Peter (and I believe those of you out on the field who have also had a chance to meet and speak with Peter can say the same thing), they have always shown great concern for my personal happiness, as well as for my link with the Lord. It hurts them to hear of Family members, especially young people, who are dissatisfied, unhappy‚ or discouraged with their lives in the Family. They've done everything they could think of to improve our quality of life—not in a desperate move to keep us in the Family, but out of their genuine concern to make sure our needs are being met. They instituted the Charter, which gave us young people a lot more freedom than we had before. They inspired us to produce our own music and write our own novels with the help of the spirit world. They got people working on the massive CVC project to show us young people that we really have been getting a decent education all along. They let us make our own music videos, design our own pubs, produce our own tools, pioneer and shepherd our own Homes, etc.

397. Of course, along with these greater freedoms came a whole new field of weaknesses particular to us young people, and it's been Mama's and Peter's responsibility to address these weaknesses and seek the Lord about them. And‚ yes, certain rules and guidelines have had to be enforced. But it's all for the sake of making sure that we're both happy with our lives in the Family as well as fulfilling the responsi­bilities we all have as members of the Lord's elite Endtime troops—and not to "keep us in the Family."

398. Kayla (25): That's a joke, right? Seems like they'd do away with all the rules if they really wanted to keep as many people as possible. I just read the latest Grapevine stats: 800 people in the last 12 months decided not to stay in the CM Family. Guess there weren't enough Charter rules for them. <grin>

Do WS departees receive big bucks?

People who leave WS get lots of money when they leave. It's a wrong investment of WS' money and it's unfair.

399. (Peter:) We do not give extravagant amounts of money to those leaving WS, though we often do help those leaving with their fares and with some landing funds, if they need it. When someone has served in WS for many years and then decides that the Lord is calling them to go to the mission field, we feel it's only fair to help them financially. In the majority of cases, we pay their way to the field of their choice. While they usually only need help with their fare and some landing funds, some have been given a gift or loan, or a combination of the two, toward getting relocated and set up, and in one case purchasing a vehicle, etc. Other times we've let people take their computer or some other piece of equipment with them, especially if they were planning to contribute their work from the field. Any gifts or loans are given specifically for relocation or essential needs, such as housing, legal work, etc. We don't hand out "departing cash" for the individual to do with as they please.

400. Some WS members who have moved on to the field or an office situation have been able to settle immediately in an established Home, and therefore didn't require any financial help, other than their fare. However, for those leaving WS who have needed to change fields, acquire visas, return to their home country to work on legal work‚ etc., we have given some financial assistance. Such decisions have always been made with counsel, prayer, and the Lord's confirmation.

401. Those who have worked in WS for many years generally have no contacts or supporters on the field, at least no recent ones, and as such have to start afresh, so we feel that a parting gift toward their relocation is necessary and that their faithful service has earned it. Of course, we encourage them to provision, to ask their relatives for help, and to pursue any other avenues of possible support. If they're able to get outside help to pay for their fares and/or landing funds, then WS doesn't need to give them any financial help, and in such a case doesn't. Since those in WS Homes can't do fundraising from their Homes, it would be impossible for them to fundraise without first leaving WS, and even to leave they would need funds for their fares.

402. We're sure you'll agree that it would be very unkind and unchristian of us to plop some­one, or a family with children, on a new field without any support or a landing gift in order to help them get on their way and survive during their adjustment period. We also try, as much as is possible, to help those leaving WS find a place of service where they feel they'll be happy and fulfilled.

Young people leaving over
pointless rules

Things have got to change for the young people in the Family‚ since many are leaving in order to experience life and love and other freedoms in the world that the Family doesn't allow for. Family leadership is narrow-minded and blind to the needs of the young people, and to the fact that people are human and can't live their whole lives by someone else's rules—many of which they don't agree with or which there isn't any point to.

403. (Peter: ) Mama and I and the rest of the leadership of the Family realize that some changes need to be made within our structure in order to challenge our young people and better meet their needs. We are counseling and praying about ways to do this, and we're open to suggestions. However, even if certain rules or procedures change, the nature of the Family and our mission for the Lord is such that our lifestyle will never appeal to everyone, young or old. Those who want to be in the Family join or stay with the understanding that there will be things about our way of life that they may or may not like, things that require sacrifice, or circumstances that don't give them opportunity to try out or experiment with all the things they're interested in. The Family has a specific purpose, and it can't encompass or accommo­date all the freedoms available in the world.

404. The Family is a place for people who want to serve the Lord and preach the Gospel according to the methods and teachings the Lord has given us, and who believe that doing so is worth the sacrifices or difficulties involved. While Family life has numerous physical benefits, many advantages are spiritual and may or may not be recognized in the physical.

405. We would like for the young people who want to stay in the Family to be fulfilled and happy, but we have to admit that it will probably never be the most "fun" place for young people or the spot where they'll find the greatest personal freedom in their lifestyle, because it's a life for disciples of Jesus‚ which is a life of service to others.

406. As for our rules, we're open to changing those that are unnecessary. But the fact is that there will always be rules that some people don't like for one reason or another. Every organization has its rules which enable it to accomplish its purpose, and we're no exception. Business corporations have rules, and you have to abide by those rules if you want to keep your job. If you're a doctor or nurse, there are rules that you have to abide by. If you break those rules, you'll lose your job at least or be sued or put in prison at most. If you're a lawyer, you have to abide by the code of ethics‚ and if you don't, you'll be disbarred. If you want to join the military‚ you have to abide by some of the strictest rules in the world.

407. The rules in our Family aim to keep us focused on preaching the Gospel, winning the lost, training our children, and doing the best job of it that we can. Each individual has to make the choice of what is more important to him/her: the Family's goals or the lifestyle and freedoms the world offers.

The Family is disbanding,
and rigged stats

The Family is falling apart/disbanding. The stats published are false or made up, and the testimonies in the Grapevine and Zine are written by those who work on the pubs.

408. (Peter:) I'm sure there are thousands of you out there—our faithful contributors who provide the material for the Grapevine, Zine and FSM—who can testify that the testimonies we publish are from you, our Family on the field‚ and are not written by our pubs teams. Believe me, we're doing well to get it together and printed, and would never have time to write all that!

409. About the stats, if I wanted to invent our stats, I think I'd probably make them a lot higher in most categories, ha! It's not that I'm disappointed with the Family's fruits or success—although I do believe the Lord wants us to do more and go farther—but really, if the purpose of stats was purely as an aid to motivation or manipulation rather than to provide factual information, I think we could do a little better, don't you?

410. I don't doubt that there is probably an inaccurate stat from time to time, either because of someone wanting to make themselves or their Home look a little better or because of a technical or human error in the compiling‚ but I think if you'll take a good look at the numbers yourself, you'll come to the same conclusion we have—that they're as accurate as we can get them. The stats we publish are sent to us by our CRO offices, who compile your TRF information. We don't make them up, alter them, or tamper with them. You are the ones who provide the stats.

411. As for the Family falling apart, even if we were just a few Homes in a couple of countries following Dad's vision and the Lord's fresh Word, we would still be the Family. And I have it on good authority—the information that you faithfully send in, which we do appreciate you taking the time to do—that there are a lot more of us left than that!

412. So no, the Family isn't disbanding or falling apart. The tree is being shaken and some people are choosing to pursue other lifestyles and careers, but that's always been the case throughout our 30-plus-year history.

413. Nat (26): I've been working on the stats for over a year now, and I can certainly say that this rumor is totally un­founded and erroneous. It takes a lot just to process the stats that we receive—it would be close to impossible to make up any stats. If one looks closely at the stats that are published‚ you can see that it would be very difficult and time-consuming to make all that stuff up without making it look obviously fake. In my opinion, the diversity and fluctuation of the figures from one month to the next speak for themselves and give an accurate picture of what the Family is doing.

414. The whole reason for stats is to be able to accurately measure the fruit of the Family. There would be no sense in trying to "fool ourselves" by presenting a false picture of what the Family is doing. The stats that you see published are sent in by each Home, processed by your CRO offices, and then sent to WS. I then compile the stats and produce reports which are sent to Family leadership and are published for all the Family's information. Nothing is made up along the way, nor does "WS leadership" mess with the numbers in any way; they get the stats at the same time that the Family does‚ just in more detail. No stats are 100% accurate, and once in a while there are errors, but those are minimal and don't affect the overall picture that our stats paint.

415. Before I worked on WS stats I had spent many years filling out the TRF in the different field Homes I lived in‚ as well as working on "creating" those stats by getting out and witnessing. I know what a big job it is for each of you who fill out your TRFs and try to get your stats as accurate as possible. It's very unfair to all of you who spend your hours and days witnessing and reaching the lost, and deserve all the recognition you can get, for someone to come along and say that the stats, which are a record of your fruit, are conjured up out of thin air. They are what they are because of your faithfulness to obey Mark 16:15. Don't let anyone take that away from you!

416. Chandra (20): I suppose as the Zine editor I could take personal ­offense to this viewpoint, but I don't see the need to make hoopla over something that has no relevance to the truth. I'm sure everyone knows someone who's contributed to these mags in the past years. I know when I was on the field I would scour both mags to find if anyone I knew had an article in them, and even had several of my own pubbed. With that you have a rebuttal to this argument; you have the accounts of people you know published in the Grape­vine and Zine pages. If you need any backing to the factuality of it, you can ask them.

417. To generate Family "hype material" in WS would not be easy and certainly wouldn't be productive. On the work front it would require too much time, not to mention coming up with some pretty outstanding happenings. I, for one, don't have that wild an imagination. There are so many far–out events actually happening on the field! There's no need to falsify them or augment a minor occurrence into some­thing outstanding.

418. The Family has happenings to relate that a secular magazine would be envious of. With 13‚000 missionaries in over 100 countries, we have no lack of material, which is why these two mags per month put out over 40 pages worth of testimonies. If WS was to come up with that much material, a major portion of our time would be used up in inventing it, and we'd have little to no time for the other work that must be accomplished.

419. On the Family disbanding side of things, this is an exaggeration once again. I have had many of my friends, and most of my personal family, choose other walks of life. But I refuse to believe because some members are leaving that we automatically declare the Family is on the decline. We lose some and we gain some—it's part of the sacrifice of living for the Lord. We still have the majority sticking it out, our accomplishments still rank high‚ and that's because we have a great Family who are continuing to give their lives for the Lord.

420. Check out the people in Family Homes—they have their problems, quirks and difficulties, but they're giving their lives for the Lord to reach the lost and to make a difference. They deserve all the commendation available, and that's what the Grape­vine and Zine are all about—letting you know we have a Family that's making a difference. It's the truth. There's no reason to invent testimonies; just take a look around!

421. Piper (21): I have had many of my friends leave the Family, and I would agree that it's sometimes easy to feel this way, especially if those close to you make decisions that lead them out of the Family. However, now that part of my ministry enables me to read statistics, testimonies, and to watch videos of what the Family is doing and accomplishing around the world, I must say two things:

  1. Though there are people leaving the Family, those who are staying are doing better than ever, and make me proud for the job I have in helping them.
  2. There is no way we could make up the complexity of situations and miraculous answers of supply‚ provision, protection‚ and spiritual guidance that He's daily giving to those on the field.

422. Jenna (25): I almost passed out upon reading that someone out there actually thinks I would be capable of making up all those testimonies, writing those varied "views on issues," concocting so many different Home names and slotting teamworkers, married couples, SGAs, YAs and kids—all with names and ages—within Homes around the globe, magic­ally making sure they don't conflict with actual real living Family members who might actually be doing real CTPs, follow-up ministries, or outreach! I'm flattered!

423. The truth of the matter is (please wait for a second while I dig up some "true" stats) that since January 1, 2000, 1,996 files have come in to the Grapevine. That averages out to 332.6 files per month‚ or about 10 a day. Why, oh why, oh why would I bother to write anything up? You all FLOOD me with material, for which I am extremely thankful! And please don't stop!

424. If I were writing the Grapevine myself, why would I write more testimonies from some areas than others? (Thank you, dear Family in Pakistan and Thailand, for being our most faithful contributors!) How would I go about soliciting the photos that go along with some of the articles? How would those actual living Family members (who many of you know personally or have heard about by name) let me get away with inventing their outreach methods or testimonies—or worse yet‚ their Home problems or battles—and tagging their name on it? How would I know the names of all the cities and small provinces throughout the world, the climates, cultural differences‚ local names of people, food, housing, etc. I wish!

425. We could do an experiment, and I could author Grapevine 100—our four-year anniversary issue—and we could survey all our Grapevine readers to see if they could tell the difference. Of course, I'd have to start concocting now, which would mean no Grapevine 96, 97, 98 or 99. I have a feeling nobody would make it through that issue, and the only response I'd get would be a slew of "letters to the editor" with the subject line "Re: Lousy Anniversary Issue." At this point, I'll pass.

426. I have pulled a couple bona fide errors, for which Grapevine readers have—oh yes—chided me. I clearly ­recall one time when I butchered someone's article, and got back a bit of a reprimand for it. Well, Grapevine space isn't endless, and I thought I did a decent job of keeping the main points in … but obviously I didn't. From then on‚ I've been‚ to say the least, more careful along those lines. Thank you, Gerson! My sincere apologies to you and appreciation for your tact! I've learned my lesson.

427. If I could visit every Home in the Family, besides enjoying the fellowship and getting the scoop on all that's going on‚ I would thank each one of you for sending in contributions to the Grapevine—and all our pubs. I count it a privilege to edit and get out your news.

It's those "weird" FGAs …

We know the young people are okay; it's the adults in WS that are weird.

428. (Peter:) That's quite a blanket statement, and a very untrue one. Many of the adults in WS have been serving the Lord in this way for years—really giving of themselves to serve the Family and reach the world in a sacrificial way from behind the scenes. They deserve a lot of credit for their faithfulness and diligence and love for others—including you—because in one way or another you have partaken of the fruits of their labors.

429. Adults in WS are much like the adults that you know and live with. They love the Lord and are doing their best for Jesus, but each one has a different personality. Some you would get along well with and even be close friends with; others you might find a little "quirky" or different. But isn't that how it is everywhere in the Family? Someone that seems a little eccentric to you might be just the one that someone else gets along with real well. It all has to do with the compatibility of your personalities.

430. The adults in WS try their best to be outgoing‚ loving, and friendly. They work at bridging the generation gap and drawing close to those of the younger generation. They endeavor to stay close to Jesus, and thus He helps them to stay young at heart, happy, and fun to be around. But just like it is anywhere, you get along better with some people than others. It's the same in WS.

431. Some adults in WS are very talkative‚ others quiet. Some are funny and comical, ­others serious. Some are outgoing, others shy. Some relate well to young people, others don't excel in that area. Just like adults everywhere in the Family, there are differences in personality and character, but it's not fair or accurate to make a blanket statement about the adults in WS by saying that they're "weird." Every FGA in WS is doing their best to be what the Lord wants them to be, and each one is very special in their own way.

432. Some of you have met FGAs from WS during their travels, and can testify that they're nice, normal, fun-loving people. Take James, Misty, Gabe, Amy, Matthew, June, Blake and others, for example. If you've met them‚ did you consider them weird? To the contrary, you probably found them interesting, outgoing, friendly, concerned, loving and fairly "normal." The other adults in WS that haven't had a chance to travel and meet the Family are similar in many ways.

433. Everyone is different and unique in their own way. But the adults in WS are no more "weird" than the adults in your average field Home. They just have different ministries and callings. They should be applauded for their sacrificial giving and service to the Family behind the scenes.

434. I wish that everyone in the Family could meet those who serve you in WS, to find out how things really are‚ and how normal everyone is.

435. (Mama:) A few months back, Peter and I took all the young people in our Home on an excursion. The following week, we had a special activity and meal with the FGAs. Prior to our time with the FGAs, one of the SGA girls compiled personal notes and words of appreciation which the young people wrote up, directed to the FGAs. A couple of the young people also received prophecies of encouragement and commendation for the FGAs.

436. Over the course of our meal, we read aloud these prophecies and the personal notes, poems and comments, in tribute to the FGAs. Several of the FGAs said later that this was the highlight of our time together.

437. I'm including some of the SGAs' personal notes and comments for you to read below, because it testifies to the sweet and close bonds between the generations in our Home. It should also dispel the notion that the FGAs in WS are "weird‚" since as you know, young people aren't known for their insincere flattery. I'm sure you'll agree that these comments are heartfelt, and I hope it encourages you to strive for the same unity and appreciation of each other. (By the way, these were written long before I began working on this GN.)

438. One of the things that I appreciate the most about the FGAs here is that they put up with us so well and all of our antics. It's just amazing to me! A couple of times when we've been out playing basketball, some of the locals have said to the FGAs, "When I get to be your age, I hope that I'm as good as you." I know that they were referring to their playing skills, but I think that they also saw the unity that we have with the FGAs and our acceptance of each other. I only hope that when I get to be their age that I can be as accepting and outgoing as they have been with me.

439. I think it's natural to look at those who are older than you and picture yourself at that age and try to think what you'll be like then. Sometimes you even compare and think, "I wouldn't do that; I'd do things differently." But looking at the way the FGAs are here, it gives me something to look forward to and strive to be like. Each one is a sample of living the New Wine, and even after so many changes and moves in the Family, they're still new bottles and flow with the change.—Whereas with some of us, myself included, it's a little bit more difficult as we're still getting broken in!

440. Role models are what I see in each of you. I look at you as individuals whom I can love and admire, not to mention years of accumulated experience that I can thrive on.

441. You're an illustration of giving and sac­rifice. You've all given up innumerable cherished loves and dreams for the Lord to be a collective blessing to the Family; a factor, in my opinion, that is often underpraised.

442. I hope that one day I'll have as much to testify of as each of you does, because I have come to understand that each of you holds a wealth of wisdom and a comprehension of life that one doesn't come by easily‚ as it's often discovered through opposition.

443. Thanks for sticking it out even when things were rough. I can't back this with much personal experience‚ but every promise the Lord gives says it's worth it; there are eternal dividends. And here's my little contribution to all that He's said as well: You're making a difference in my life!

444. As much as we young people like to think that all cool things in the world originate from either ourselves or other young people, when I get serious and think about the fun stuff that's happened since I've been in WS‚ or the great "pleasures of life" that I've learned to enjoy since entering the great "rabbit hole," though it's painful, I have to admit that most of my discoveries were shown to me by FGAs, or that some pretty good ideas and encouragement and support were theirs also. Sure we young people may enhance‚ twist around or jumble the ideas about a bit, thereby claiming the credit to ourselves, but it just goes to show that those out of the SGA age range know how to party‚ live life, eat, drink—and have fun! I've been honored to have such great teachers around me. Thanks for all the fun and laughs you've given. I treasure each moment.


—By an SGA

It's hard to say what I admire most

In our dear FGAs.

There are many things of which they could boast

By the time they reach their age,

And yet, in true humility, they don't.

It's hard to list what I appreciate

In these veteran disciples

Who dropped out of the worldly "plate"

To read their MO and Bibles,

But even that is impressive enough.

And when it comes to how they've helped

Or what they've done for me,

This baby kid would have never yelped

If they hadn't been so free,

But they were‚ and I did.

And what I've learned from them since then,

Oh, dare I even start?

To walk, to talk, to count to ten,

And that was just the easy part.

From there, the list goes on.

It's hard to know just what to say

To our dear FGAs,

(Not that you're hard to talk to

Even in this day and age.

Let me see‚ how do I put this?)

Okay, here goes, it's just a try.

To all you FGAs:

I hope I'll be as young and bright

If ever I reach your age.

And let's hope that'll be in Heaven.

445. I feel I can be myself around the FGAs. I'm not being scrutinized, but am accepted in many ways as a peer. It may sound strange, but in many ways I feel like I am—or want to be—a peer, 'cause I enjoy their company so much‚ and feel I can get along well with them. There's not this uneasiness, comparing, fearing opinions, different odd emotions, and such that I can some­times feel when with others of my own age group. They're just easy to be around.

446. I've just scribbled down a list of the people I consider my best friends--they're people I'm able to get right down to the gut of an issue with. My best friends are people I can tell anything to and share the deepest, darkest secrets and the most complex speculations with, and I know they'll still love me—even like me—even if they don't happen to agree with me.

447. Guess what? FGAs outnumber SGAs on that list. Some of my best friends are from the ranks of the first generation. While I can thank one kindred SGA soul for pulling me through at a time four years ago when I was depressed and more serious than I'd ever been about giving up the fight, there are several FGAs who have stood in the gap at times of serious emotional breakdown in my life—and listened to my woeful phobias with amazing tolerance, even though they must have seemed never–ending!

448. All that to say, I think you FGAs are great! Though it's not possible to get on "best buddies" terms with each one of you‚ know that I respect and admire, most of all‚ that you've stuck all these years in humble service for the Lord. That in itself encourages me to hang on in this sometimes bumpy, sometimes scary, but mostly thrilling ride that we're on together.

449. Dear FGAs, what I admire most about all of you is your yieldedness to the Lord and His new moves. All of these years you've bent and changed according to what the Lord was doing and requiring of you. Your good sample gives me faith and encourages me that if you could flow with the Lord's changes then and now‚ I can and should too.

450. Thanks for having faith in us and trusting the Lord that He'd work out all of our "wrinkles," of which there are many, and make us more useful vessels for His service. Thank you for your support through thick and thin. It means the world to us, and we wouldn't be here if it weren't for you (literally)!

451. We love you so much and thank the Lord for you—our wonderful parents, teachers‚ and friends! xoxo

452. I've been blessed to have an FGA friend who has opened her life to me. She's shared intimate secrets and things that have helped me immensely. She's expanded my mind and helped me focus on the truly important things of life. She's as wonderful as an SGA friend—in fact, better, because I have the assurance that not only can I be myself, have a total blast, but also learn something new, and stay within the perimeter of the Lord's Spirit—and because of that, His blessing on our friendship has made it one of the best I have ever known.

453. I admire‚ probably most, how you've kept on for the Lord, year after year, truly putting Jesus first, sacrificing many personal desires. When I'm having one of those real difficult days where I feel I don't know how I'll make it through till the evening—let alone have the strength to get up and live another day, and yet another—just thinking of you gives me courage. I think, "Well, they've kept going far longer than I‚ and through tougher things than I'm experiencing now. Perhaps I can keep on going a bit longer."

454. I'm very thankful for the precious friendship I have with many of our FGAs. When I'm talking with one of them, I don't think of them as being an FGA and that I'm an SGA‚ because we're such good friends. I feel like they're as thankful for me as I am for them—and that means so much to me. Being able to talk "friend to friend" with them has helped me pull through more times than I can count, and I think I can safely say that in part I owe my continued service in WS to them—along with the Lord, personal prophecy, and Mama and Peter's unconditional love.

455. Well, dear Family, Peter and I pray that these answers are a help and blessing to you. Probably some of you were surprised to hear some of these rumors as well! We hope that you have a better understanding of WS and your WS servants, and that you'll be able to judge for yourself the veracity of such rumors or accusations.

456. We love you, and are so thankful for the wonderful job you're doing for the Lord. We're proud to stand alongside you.

Love in Jesus and Dad,

Mama, Peter, and your WS staff