Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Another theme of life in the COG/TFI is "denying yourself." I so desired to be accepted and well-thought of by the others in the group that I started this practice upon joining. Well, of course, that was one of the requirements for being a member - give up all you have, so this characteristic wasn't unique to me.

I gave everything I had, including my meager savings, to the group, where the "colony" (group home) leader clearly had no appreciation for the value of what I gave, although he took the nicest things for himself. 

To illustrate this, I will list a few examples. He took apart my lamp/clock/radio so that he could "make it quiet" as it made an ever-so-slight whirring sound as the digital numbers changed. (He destroyed it.) My hand-woven tapestry wall-hanging was used as a mat in the basement (distribution literature) printing room floor. While being used by others - all things became communal property, naturally - my beautiful classical guitar was irreparably cracked in half due to too tightly wound strings and being set up outside against a folding chair where it fell. I'm sure other members have similar stories they could relate.

My mother would kindly take me out shopping for clothes when I was first in the group - no doubt with ulterior motives of trying to understand her wayward daughter - and upon returning to the COG home, the first thing I did was give them all away. (Obviously, I was not considering my mother's feelings at all. Too late to apologize now. She died in 1977.)

This ended up being my MO. Don't think about yourself or your own needs. Give to others. I can't help but think that this was a method I used to try to please others, craving appreciation and acceptance. As time went on, it became my natural reflex.

I unwittingly went without, "preferring others" and often this seemed to go so far as "casting my pearls before swine" (like in the case of my initial joining). This carried on through the years and is further exemplified by the time my young son won a bottle of beautiful Tiffany perfume in a lottery. I thought it would be nice to give it to our visa sponsor here as a token of our appreciation. Her reaction? "Oh, you don't like it so you gave it to me, eh?" On the contrary, I loved it, and that's why I gave it to her. I guess that concept didn't compute - how could it without the indoctrination I had had?

As you can imagine, my wardrobe was a mishmash of ill-fitting, second-hand clothes for all my years in the group - with not a thought given to the effect my appearance would have on others. After all, my eyes were on my so-called "work for the lord" and not on material things.

I spent too many years naively "denying myself and taking up my cross daily," and I doubt it won me any karmic brownie points for unselfishness.

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