Many 2x2s and ex-2x2s focus on the doctrinal problems of 2x2ism. A few others focus on the abusive nature of the organization. But even less actually focus on the business model - and yes it is a business. All churches are businesses. It's just that all normal churches are Non-Profit Businesses, instead of For-Profit Businesses.
Ask yourself - is 2x2ism a non-profit? Is it registered as a non-profit? No it is not. All normal churches are registered as non-profits, because not registering as a non-profit means the IRS will tax you as a For-Profit business. 2x2ism is not registered as much of anything, except when registration can be used to petition for immigration visas as a 'legitimate' religious organization or attempt to get military service waivers for its ministers. Does 2x2ism have financial records that it shares with its members? No it shares nothing. It's 100% secret. It's financial assets are all hidden. No non-profit behaves like this. Non-profits must file financial statements annually which are available for all the world to see, such as this.
The 2x2 business model is one of the most incredible systems I have ever seen. It is a For-Profit global business scheme that is comprised of a series of independent business units. Here is how it works. Each business unit consists of a group of 'development officers' who's entire function is to solicit money from innocent people. But instead of calling them 'development officers' as most churches would, the 2x2s call them 'Workers'. Does it surprise you that these Workers are not trained in seminaries or any other religious training? They don't need to be, they are not in the business of spreading the Gospel, they are in the business of taking money. They are Working alright, working at taking money. The innocent people they take money from are called Friends. Isn't that a nice word instead of what these types of people are normally called (suckers). Have you ever thought about the 2x2 propaganda that they "don't take collections"? It's true they do not pass a collection plate in the meetings. But have you ever asked yourself why? It's pretty obvious when you understand how the whole thing works. It's the classic con job. The 'Workers' insist there are no money collections taken in their 'meetings' in order to gain the trust of their 'marks'. That's the first step in the con, gaining the confidence of the 'mark'. Then the 'Workers' explain about their great 'sacrifice' to be homeless and penniless for you the sinner. You feel like you have been given an undeserving gift, a gift that you must reciprocate with some small token to show your gratefulness. It's no surprise that then privately the issue of the 'needs of the kingdom' are brought up, and money is handed over from the mark AKA Friend AKA sucker to the 'Worker'. The Workers can keep a small amount of their 'take' for themselves, but most of it is sent up the ladder to the regional overseers. What is unique about the 2x2 business model is how small the commission the Workers can keep for themselves - next to nothing. This is because in other organizations the 'development officers' have to pay for their own housing and living expenses out of their earnings. But in the 2x2 model, not only are the 'Friends' being fleeced for money, but the 'Friends' are also charged with covering all the living expenses of the 'Workers' by providing them housing, transportation, food, etc. This is brilliant! 2x2ism has figured out a way to offload the majority of its expenses directly onto the suckers it is fleecing! Amazing!
How much money are we talking about? Annually, more than $150 million per year. There is accumulated wealth of well over $1 Billion. Here are some numbers:
Lets assume that there are 160k friends and that the average given to the workers is a low $100 per year - yeah some don't give any but some give at least that each week and even more come convention time - so that's $16m total income. We'll be generous and assume there are still 2500 workers of whom 500 are on rest at any given time and say they're each given $500 annually from the common pot and we'll round that up to $1.5m in direct expenses. Say another outlay of $10k for each of 450 convention - several cost more to put on even with donations of food etc. but many more would require much much less than that - and that's another $4.5m in direct expense. We'll also be generous and say that each pair of workers holds one gospel meeting per month in a rented hall that costs $500 - some don't pay at all but some do - so that's another $500k in direct expenses. Food and transportation and clothing and the occasional trip home and medical and lodging are all provided and even those younger workers whose older companions don't share the cash inflow sometimes have to get by with just that but lets say theres another $2000 per worker in discretionary spending per worker per year so that comes to another $5m. So lets round that up to $11.5m per year expended and leaving $4.5m cash left over each year that should go back to the overseer/trustee accounts each year. I think its way more than that, but lets assume its just that.
+ 16,000,000 income
- 1,500,000 worker start-off cash
- 4,500,000 convention expense
- 500,000 gospel meeting expense
- 5,000,000 worker discretionary spending
= $4,500,000 Excess profit from operations goes to Overseers annually
And the excess annual income is even before adding income from the messier areas of inheritances - whether cash bequests or entire estates left to the workers individually or directed to the overseers to be placed in trusts - and funds donated by newly recruited workers. Both have been going on since the early days and tho that's income that comes in regularly I think its harder to estimate averages. Some don't leave anything to the workers and some just leave a small amount but some have left their entire estates - I know of one family where the children were left with nothing other than a few mementos and the overseer got all the properties of the wealthy parents. Some workers turn over all to the overseer and some give away to relations or others they know. Individual workers get cash and other gifts apart from their 'ministry' functions too - even some junior workers I knew got some surprising generous gifts.
Let's see what sort of inheritance/bequethments 2x2ism gets:
160,000 friends is about 80,000 2x2 households, 150K average household net worth, 2x2s give 1/3 of net worth to Overseers.
$50k x 80k households = $4 Billion in assets will be Willed to Overseers!!!
Assuming that most of those households are retired folks equally distributed between the age of 65 and 90, then each year for the next 25 years as they folks die,
Overseers will take in $4 B / 25 = $160 million per year!!!
Here is an actual legal clause crafted by the California Overseer for 2x2s to put in their Wills. It does not state the assets are to go to a Trust. It says the assets go directly to the Overseer. Imagine that! And it doesn't even name the Overseer, so anyone could show up at the reading of the Will and say they are the Overseer. The document even mentions that your lawyer will find this clause too vague! Imagine that!! Of course it's too vague, you are basically saying, "If someone shows up at the reading of my Will and says they are the 'Overseer', then give them all my assets".
All of the money that is sent up the ladder to the Overseers of each region (business unit). The Overseers then pass that money on to a few select 2x2 members who manage it. These select members pretend to be just ordinary 2x2 folk, but in fact they are not. They are the financial controllers of the entire 2x2 enterprise. They are 2x2 Royalty. If you have been in 2x2ism for a while and have gotten to know a lot of people in it, you will have gotten to learn who the 2x2 Royalty are. They use the monies that 2x2ism pumps into their accounts for their own investments and businesses. All of this money was obtained illegally. It is not a registered non-profit. It is not tax exempt. It does not file taxes. It is all hidden monies. In other words, it is money-laundering. The money is not held in bank accounts, because that would be far too obvious for the IRS to pick up on. Instead the money is run through the business enterprises of these 'royalty' 2x2s. Used to buy real estate, etc.
Why do I know that it is an illegal enterprise? Because of how the money is handled. Let's follow a typical money transaction. The Friend gives cash to the Worker. If the Friend gives a check, the Worker will endorse the check to another Friend in exchange for cash - the reason is to make sure all the money never enters the formal banking system where it can be tracked. The Worker keeps all this cash on hand until a personal interaction with an Overseer (convention, special mtg, etc), where it is handed over to the Overseer. The Overseer then hands this cash off to a Royalty 2x2 member. The Royalty 2x2 cannot deposit this money in a bank account of any kind. Even if a legal Trust was set up, the money could not be deposited in it since the money would then set off alarms with banking authorities and tax authorities. They would have to pay tax on it -perhaps even 35% tax. If 2x2ism was a legit organization, they would put this money in an account, and then they would have to pay tax on it. They would quickly realize that they don't like losing 35% in tax, so they would incorporate as a legal non-profit so that they would not have to pay tax. But in becoming a non-profit, they would then insist on all donations to them be made by check to the legal name of the non-profit so that they could comply with federal tax and anti-money-laundering laws, and 2x2 members would be given tax receipts for their donations. However, 2x2ism is not registered as a non-profit nor is it giving out tax receipts, so that means that the money cannot be deposited into a bank account by the Overseer or by a 2x2 Royalty member. Where is the money being stored? The 2x2 Royalty member uses the money in their own personal businesses and investments (real estate, etc). This way the dirty 2x2 money is mixed with legitimate business money and disguised so that the tax authorities are not tipped off. This is classic money-laundering. After the money has passed through the legitimate business, it is then able to be deposited in bank accounts.
You might be thinking, "It's all just gift money from the Friends, and the Friends paid taxes on that money, so why would the Workers have to pay taxes on it". You yourself probably have received gifts of money and never declared it to the IRS. The trouble is the size of the gift. Imagine if you were depositing cash in your bank account of $10,000 or more every month (Overseers take in a lot more money than that). Now imagine that you are a drug dealer and you are making those same deposits. The bank doesn't know if you are a drug dealer, it just knows that you are making large cash deposits, and that you have no other real income in that account from a traceable source. The bank then will red flag your account and report you to the authorities for potential money-laundering. You see, it's not that you received a money gift, it's that you have frequent large money gifts from an untraceable source, which sets off the bank's alarms. What I am trying to get at is that it's not just a tax issue, but it is also a banking anti-money-laundering issue. Imagine what the FBI would think when they investigate someone for potential money-laundering, and the person says "I'm an pastor in a non-registered church with no name and no organization. This money I receive is all just gifts from people who like me. Yes, it's all cash gifts, but that's their choice." The FBI will start to laugh and have you in handcuffs so fast that your head will spin. And it is because of this that the Overseers cannot allow all that 2x2 money to go into the banking system. And because the money is not going into the banking system, then for certain they are not paying tax, and for certain they are laundering it with the Royalty 2x2s.
You might be thinking that the 2x2 ministers themselves file tax returns just like everyone else. No they do not. Overseers specifically instruct 2x2 ministers to NOT file a tax return. Why would they do that? Even if you don't have much income, it's a a good idea to file a tax return in order to create a paper trail for the IRS, and perhaps to qualify for any unearned income tax credit. But no, they are told not to file. The reason is that filing would create a way for Federal law enforcement to track them. What are they going to put on the tax form as to where all the money they got came from? They don't have a legal employer. They are free-lance contractors for an illegitimate organization - exactly the same as how a mafia runs.
In summary, follow the money flow. Only criminal enterprises would go to such extreme methods to avoid registering as a non-profit. Think about all those sizable bequethments from dead people - just how exactly is that money getting into the accounts of an overseer? Simple. The bequethment is a check made out to a local 2x2 member, a regular inheritance type of deal. That local 2x2 member then gives the cash to the overseer - the money is now outside the banking system - and it goes to the 2x2 Royalty member for money-laundering. An Overseer and some 2x2 Royalty have already been criminally charged in Australia for money-laundering, see here.
One of the biggest scams that the 2x2 ministers use is to defraud elderly 2x2 members by gaining control of their assets via Power of Attorney and then by moving the victims's assets to accounts of 'elders' or overseers. This has happened many many times. A 'helpful' 2x2 elder will offer to be PoA for the victim, and will convince the victim to not mention this to the victims next of kin - this is quite easy if the victim has no 2x2 children. Later when a next of kin discovers what has happened, the victim is too ashamed to say anything, even if they are competent to understand what happened, and the relatives are led to believe this was all the victim's wishes.
One thing to keep in mind is that nearly everyone in 2x2ism is living in fear, and so they can be manipulated by higher-ups for basically anything. The 'elder' who has PoA on an elderly member is most likely is being blackmailed by someone higher up to get him to do these scams. Perhaps he messed with little kids. Perhaps he is a closet homo. Or just the fact that his name is on one scam, means that the higher up can rat him out if he doesn't do more scams. These people use blackmail to keep the whole thing going and to keep people from going to the authorities. The regular 2x2 sheep won't even speak up because they have been conditioned to think 'worker' = God, and therefore anyone who suggests 'worker' (or even fellow 2x2) did something wrong, is themselves the bad person for making this suggestion. If the sheep don't side with the 'worker', then the threat of shunning is enough for them to get back in line. Sometimes even heavy handed things happen to keep people in line such as 'suicides'. The 'suicide' victim in this particular case was the lieutenant of the UK overseer - alleged to be the wealthiest overseer in the world. Ask yourself, how easy is it for an adult to drown themselves in a bathtub? It's nearly impossible because even if the person goes unconscious, at the slightest intake of water into the lungs, the body will shoot out adrenaline to wake the person and have them flailing about to get out of the water. The only way to drown oneself in a bathtub is to first overdose on drugs or to electrocute oneself in the tub. Or of course, have someone hold your head underwater so that your involuntary flailings are unsuccessful.
A key difference between 2x2ism and other cults is that most other cults (Scientology included) are actually registered as non-profits, which means that they have to spend all that money they take in. That's why most other cults have huge campuses, visible real estate assets, publishing companies, etc. They need to do something with the money. 2x2ism, because it is not a non-profit, can sit on all that cash and is not forced to spend it on visible hard assets. And since 2x2ism is not a non-profit, then it should be paying tax on all that income - but it is not, instead it is money-laundering all that income into the personal businesses of a few Royalty 2x2 families.
The fact that 2x2ism has hundreds of millions of dollars socked away, and never spends a cent on doing real charity work, and yet keeps taking money from its 2x2 members at every chance while pretending that 2x2ism is penniless organization, tells you that 2x2ism is most certainly a money oriented machine that cares only about enriching the Royalty 2x2s at the top of the pyramid.
The beauty of this business model, despite being illegal, is that if one of the 'Workers' commits a crime such as sexually assaulting a child, the victims of the crime are unable to successfully sue for damages from the Worker since the Worker himself/herself has no personal assets to seize. In a normal organization, the victims could sue the organization as well. But in 2x2ism case who do you sue since you don't even know who controls what or where the money is? Beautiful. This is exactly how organized crime is set up. Thankfully in the US the Dept of Justice can use the RICO act to pierce the organizational structure.
Do you remember that Alberta 1995 fiasco with 2x2 Overseers setting up a Corporation in AB? What tends to get overlooked is that they set up a for-profit Corporation, not a non-profit. Think about that for a minute. Why would they do that? Why would they willingly set up something that would force them to pay income tax? The reason is that a corporation has shareholders, people who it can pay out its earnings to. A non-profit cannot pay out to shareholders. Notice on the AB incorporation papers who the shareholders are - Overseers. They were looking for a legal way to enrich themselves. Perhaps the cause of the entire Alberta scandal was that the Overseers wanted to keep the assets (mineral rights I think) for themselves instead of handing it off to the 2x2 Royalty. Don't you find it interesting that the incorporation papers were made public - by whom? How did they even know to look for them? It's a needle in a haystack situation, so how did this information slip out? Obviously it was purposefully leaked. And what sort of person would know about it and then decide to leak it? Someone who stood to lose a lot of money - a 2x2 Royalty person.
From looking at Alberta Worker Lists on the TellingtheTruth site we notice something very interesting. The two 2x2 ministers seemingly most on the frontlines of carrying out the Great Purge of 1999 were inevitably sent off to other countries as punishment for how bad they handled it. Jim Knipe went to Argentina, and Gwen Fipke is 'overseas'. That's a very important thing to understand. Knipe and Fipke were just carrying out orders from higher up, and so when it all spun out of control they were cast aside as fallguys. This tells you something very interesting about what the true priorities are at 2x2 Inc. We all know what happens when a 2x2 minister commits a felony crime such as child sexual assault - they get sent to another field, but still in the same country, perhaps just a few hundred miles away - where they can still solicit donations. That means that they can still interact with their parents, siblings, and friends pretty much as before. Notice what happened to Knipe and Fipke, they were sent thousands of miles away to countries they don't know the language. That shows you what sort of 'infractions' by a 2x2 minister are worse than others. Clearly causing a mass exodus of money-donating 2x2 members matters a lot more than committing a felony crime.
Speaking of western Canada, do you remember the scandal of an overseer who attempted to transport $30,000 across the Canada/US border in a briefcase in the 1990s? This is a very good example of a situation where the money laundering almost got caught. First off, why didn't the overseer just wire transfer or use a check with the money instead of trying to transport such a large amount of cash? Remember that he would have had to convert it from Canadian Dollars to US Dollars at a bank before hand in small batches in order to not tip off the authorities. And by converting it like he did, the cost of conversion (the FX rate) would have cost him quite a bit. So economically speaking, transporting the cash was a stupid idea. But because he was money laundering, there was no other option. And the reason we know it was money laundering is because of what happened when he tried to cross the border. At the border the officer told him to declare any amount of cash he had greater than $10,000. The overseer refused to declare the money. It is not illegal to transport large amounts of cash across borders, but it is illegal to not declare it. Declaring it is just a matter of filling out a small form for the Border Officer - putting your name, passport ##, address, etc on it. Aha! But the Overseer refused to do this simple thing. Why? Obviously if he did fill out the form, then Federal law enforcement would have evidence of his transporting cash. So instead, the Overseer turned his car around and returned to Canada, where he gave the money to some 2x2 members instead to take care of, while he then attempted a second crossing of the border without the cash. That's the smoking gun right there. There is absolutely no reason to behave like this unless you are trying to hide something.
Not too many people think about it, but what does 2x2ism do with its old 'Workers' AKA development officers when they can no longer solicit donations? These are people who gave their entire lives for a system and when they finally 'retire' they don't have any savings to pay for their retirement. And how do they pay for their medical care in the USA? You'd think that all those donations given by 2x2 members to 2x2ism would be used to help these old expired ministers. But no it's not. Instead a scam is used. Since they have never actually worked, they do not qualify for Medicare - free health care for old people. They also do not qualify for Social Security - old age pension. So how do they get by? Simple, by fraud. It works like this: At some point before they hit 65, they are 'employed' by a Royalty 2x2 family business. They don't actually work there, but they are put on the payroll. This way they can accumulate the much needed 10 years of work 'credits' with the Social Security Administration in order to qualify for pensions and old age free healthcare. It's a fraud. If they don't use that fraud, then they try another - the Medicaid fraud. Medicaid is free healthcare for the poor and indigent in the US, 2x2 ministers claim that they are poor (despite all this money the Overseers have) to qualify. Some enterprising 2x2 members then set up nursing/care homes for these old 2x2 ministers, taking in the US governments's cash into their business. It's also a great place to launder some of the off-the-books 2x2 money.
Have you ever wondered why 2x2 ministers travel to poor countries? Why are they sending 2x2 ministers to poor countries? There aren't enough 'suckers' in those countries to make it even break even. It's widely known that all of the 2x2 ministers in poor countries are only able to be there because of donations from 2x2 members in rich countries going directly to them. The 2x2 ministers in these poor countries don't live in the homes of the 'friends'. Why is that? Strange, no? In fact they live in quite nice apartments paid for by donations from their 2x2 member acquaintances back home. Very strange isn't it. Once you start to understand that 2x2 is a business, it all comes into focus. These 2x2 ministers in poor countries are used for a number of 'special assignments':
1) They serve as a 'support team' for pregnant 2x2 female ministers from rich countries who need a discreet way to get rid of the baby. (have evidence)
2) Offshore banking fiduciaries. Offshore banks do not like to have accounts with US citizens. So non-US citizens are used as 'fronts' to open the accounts for Royalty 2x2s. (educated guess)
3) R&R locations for high profile 2x2 ministers (mostly male) who want to 'let their hair down' without any prying eyes. Notice how many are in Thailand. (have evidence)
4) Organ trafficking. Poor countries are widely known as sources of kidneys and other organs for customers in rich countries. 2x2 ministers facilitate this transaction. (educated guess)
5) Diamond and precious stones trafficking. The 2x2 ministers serve as 'mules' to move assets from rich Royalty 2x2s out of the US and away from IRS's prying eyes. (educated guess)
It's important to notice that there are very few male 2x2 ministers in the poor countries - which is exactly the opposite of what one would think (sending lily-white female virgins to dangerous places). There is a reason for this - the male 2x2 ministers are needed back home in the rich countries to manage the 'Friends' AKA donors, especially the old ones regarding bequethments. Would you send your 18 year old naive daughter to a poor dangerous country where she doesn't speak the language, doesn't know much of anything about the world, etc.? No you would not. But it happens all the time to these young female 2x2 ministers. Why? It's obvious. They are the most expendable of the 2x2 ministers. They have the least amount of power. If they ever try to blow the whistle on what goes on, they are easily marginalized and shunned because they are female (in a male dominated cult) and they have very few connections back home to believe them. And they are also the most gullible, easy to give a nonsense rational for something offside and they will believe it.
And just how do these 2x2 ministers even go to third world countries? Don't most of these countries require a visa or don't many of them explicitly prohibit religious proselytizing? Well, the 2x2s have found a way around that - another scam. They apply for student visa's to 'study the language', and then once in the country start going after converts in an effort to get them to bequeath their property to 2x2 'ministers'. Of course, not to local 2x2 'minister', but to the big shots from US/Canada/Aus/etc. Do you remember the Vietnam scandal? That's exactly what it as all about.
Have you ever wondered why there were/are such different rules of conduct between different regions of 2x2ism? No TVs, no divorce, no alcohol, etc in some areas while completely permitted in others. We have heard that this is due to the decisions of the different regional Overseers. But ask yourself, doesn't it seem strange that these Overseers would meet together and not come up with a common consensus of what was condoned 2x2 behavior? Having such very extreme differences in condoned behavior across regions seems like a very bad idea don't you think? People do talk after all, especially when the 2x2 ministers are preaching that 'One Way, Always the Same, Never Changing, etc'. The reason that there was no consensus between the Overseers about these issues is that the Overseers are not like bishops of a normal church, but instead the Overseers are the CEOs of their own totally independent organization for each region. They rarely ever meet with one another. In fact, it's widely known that in the US, the Eastern Overseer and Western Overseer hated each other - no kidding, they were not brothers-in-Christ, they are competitors. They each want to take over the other Overseer's regions. It's exactly like different mafia families fighting over territory. It's all for money.
Have you ever wondered why do 2x2s not agree with the Trinity? Why do they take such a hardline on this. It seems strange....until you understand what accepting the Trinity would mean. It would mean the end of their 'Jesus showed us a life for us to pattern after' concept. By removing the 'Jesus as a pattern' idea, that would end the need for 'daily dying'. In other words, accepting the Trinity would mean that suffering to be 'true to The Truth, The Way, the Workers' would be unnecessary. This is exactly the same reason why 2x2ism will not permit a doctrine of 'Grace'. And it is this 'suffering in The Truth to be like Jesus' that keeps 2x2 members in their bondage to the 2x2 Overseers and system of spiritual abuse - to be cash cows for the 2x2 Royalty.
You might be thinking, "are all Workers in on this big illegal scam operation?" No. Almost all of the 'Workers' are truly just that - workers - people diligently running around doing their job of soliciting money and thinking they are doing 'God's Work". It's only the people at the very top - the Overseers and some carefully chosen heirs to the Overseers - who know what is really going on. And it is only they who interact with the true Big Bosses - the 2x2 Royalty. The Overseers are sort of like the CEO, COO, CFOs of the organization - they run the day to day operations, they get some plum perks, etc. But it is the 2x2 Royalty who are the owners, the shareholders, the ultimate beneficiaries of this illegal operation. Given that 2x2ism is a large illegal scam operation, it seems pretty clear that all of the 'Workers' can be criminally charged for their part in it. I wonder how many of them realize that while they were innocently duped into their roles, that they could do prison time for their activities in soliciting and defrauding people. There is a statute of limitations I believe, so many of the folks who stopped being 'Workers' years ago will probably not be charged.
The young person who joins 2x2ism's 'ministry' (and it's not a ministry, it's a con artist scam) must sell all of their belongings and give the proceeds to 2x2ism's big bosses. The new recruit has no home, no income, no vehicle, no savings, etc - they are completely at the whim of their 'bosses'. It's a life only a hair's breadth away from being homeless and starving. This creates some VERY perverse behavior from the 2x2 ministers. They must have 100% obedience to the 'big boss'. What a tyrannical system - worse than even any Totalitarian political system ever devised. To try to leave the 2x2 'ministry' on your own, you must have people outside who will help you - give you a place to stay, help you with money, etc. Imagine being sent to a foreign country where your support network is even less. Another interesting aspect of this job is the 'scandal' leverage that is used by the 'big bosses' against the 2x2 ministers. It is estimated at least 50% of 2x2 ministers have been involved in a sexual liaison with a 2x2 member (adult or child). Not to mention the numerous financial scandals. The entire edifice is a nest of dirty little secrets that are 'leaked' whenever the 'big bosses' want to punish someone. These implicit threats of exposing the scandals is what keeps so many 2x2 ministers from speaking up - even after they have managed to escape from 2x2ism. And because of the success of this mode of control, all sorts of situations and conditions are set up where the 2x2 ministers will be entrapped in a scandalous activity - precisely to achieve leverage over them. Why do you think known homosexual older male 2x2 ministers are frequently paired, not with other homosexuals, but with eager-to-please young male 2x2 ministers? So that inevitably a sexual event occurs which then can be used as leverage against both of them.
Are you thinking, "What can I possibly do about this?" Well, you actually don't have to leave 2x2ism, you can just stop giving money. Stop giving the 2x2 ministers ANY money. The Overseers will have to start paying the 2x2 ministers. Stop giving money for conventions, let the Overseers pay - they have the money afterall. Make it be known that you will not be giving anything in your Will when you die to 2x2ism. Help your friends and relatives to stop giving also. Soon the fact that you are not giving money will be noticed and you will be spoken to. Take that opportunity to explain that you will start giving when 2x2ism is setup as a legal non-profit and publishes its financial records for all to see. I mean, even those 'false churches' do that for pity's sake.
There is a lot of discussion about doctrinal problems of 2x2ism, problems about the legalism, etc. But rarely does anyone get to the heart of the matter of what is wrong with 2x2ism - the organizational structure, a structure which facilitates all the other problems folks see.
When I talk about the problems of the organizational structure of 2x2ism, I am referring to more than just its hierarchical structure. There are many organizations (corporations) which are hierarchical, and most run reasonably well, some even excellently. It is not hierarchy by itself that is the problem. The big trouble with the 2x2 structure is the COMBINATION of the following:
1) Appointed Hierarchy with no clear process of what are the requirement to be appointed. And not even clear who exactly is responsible for what exactly.
2) No rule of law (no written 'constitution' which delineates the rules and roles). Rules change, rules are bent, rules are ignored. Roles have no boundaries.
3) No method of seeking redress. No formal process of how to appeal a bad decision of an authority figure.
4) No transparency regarding unwritten rule making, decisions, money handling, etc. Basically money goes in, and orders come out. Don't ask who, when, why, what, where, or how.
5) No contact or communication allowed with other religious organizations. This facilitates 'group think'. Even the RCC encourages it's priests and members to talk to non-RCCs.
6) No 'Board of Directors' comprised of various representatives from the different parts of the hierarchy to control/hire/fire the 'CEOs/Overseers'.
So, what is the above? In technical terms it is despotism. This is pretty much how North Korea is set up. For religious groups, the technical term is a cult. Aside from the Absolute Control these structure create, they also create a schizophrenia/anxiety conditions in the members as the 'rules' are constantly shifting beneath their feet. These types of organizational structures are obviously unhealthy, but more importantly in order for them to exist, they require very strict punishment of anyone even beginning to question things. Dissent can spread like wildfire through these types of organizations, so it must be stamped out fiercely - hence the excommunications and shunnings.
What's that? You don't think 2x2ism fits the above model? Let's test it and see if that is true. Who are the top leaders of 2x2ism? The Overseers. How did they get their job? Not sure. Were they elected by the Friends? No. Did the Friends elect representatives who then elected the Overseers? No. Do the Overseers have term limits? No. Do the Overseers have complete authority over the Workers in their territories? Yes. If a Worker disobeys an Overseer, what happens? The worker is punished (re-assignment or expulsion). Can the Worker appeal the decision of the Overseer? No. The Overseer's authority is absolute. Do the Overseers have a written constitution (bylaws) which govern what they do and do not have authority over? No, there is no such thing. Overseers have complete authority over workers - even down to determining their hairstyles. Do the Overseers of the various territories meet to discuss matters? Yes. Is anyone else allowed at those meetings? No. Are minutes of the meetings published for Workers or Friends to read? No. All the money which Friends contribute to 2x2ism, where is it? Don't know. Are there open financial records of all the money that 2x2ism has? No. Are there written rules about doctrine of 2x2ism? No. Is doctrine different for 2x2ism in different parts of the world? Yes. Widely different? Yes - no drinking in some places, drinking in others; no divorce in some places, divorce in others; no TV in some areas, TV in other areas, etc. Are 2x2s encourages to investigate Christianity doctrine from other sources than Workers? No. Christian reading material is forbidden. Do the Friends have any vote in any matters of 2x2ism? No. Do the Friends in a local area have a vote on who they want as an elder? No. Do the Friends in a local area have a vote on who they want as Workers? No. Do the Friends have any vote in who they have as Overseer? No. If there is a disagreement between Workers and Friends, how is that disagreement resolved? Workers are always correct, Friends must obey Workers not the other way around.
But wait you say, 2x2s have the Holy Spirit and so they will never do bad things. The Overseers will never do bad things. The Workers will never do bad things. Whoops, that's not true. Too many examples of many mistakes by Overseers and Workers (child sexual assault being just one of them). So if the Overseers/Workers are sinners just like you and I, why would you want to give sinners UNLIMITED power over others? Power which cannot be challenged unless you want to be kicked out of 2x2ism. That seems very dangerous and stupid to give such power to people who will make mistakes. Wouldn't it be better if there was an org structure which stopped the mistakes before they got rolling too far along? Of course there is no such thing as a perfect org structure. But what I am talking about is org structures which either enhance or reduce human fallible behavior. It's important to realize that org structures are very influential on how humans behave. There is an entire field of study about how org structure influences human behavior - called Organizational Psychology. It means that people DO NOT make decisions independent of org structure - instead the org structure has large impacts on the decisions they make. The most famous examples of this involve sadistic behavior among some prison guards - otherwise nice normal people in their daily lives, but given the opportunity to abuse someone because their job allows it to be possible, in fact do things which are seemingly out of character. The point is that an org structure which assumes everyone will behave ethically and 100% in the interest of the organization is an org structure which is doomed to fail. If you want people to avoid behaving in a certain way, you need to put controls in place so that they are not provided the opportunity to behave in the undesired fashion. That is after all why we have laws and punishments. www.simplypsychology.org/zimbardo.html
If 2x2s like their org structure so much, why don't they advocate it as the org structure for governing their country? The checks and balances that were expressly written into the US Constitution? Toss them out. The Constitution itself? Toss it out - no need for 'rule of law', let's have rule of the Overseers. Appeal Courts? Toss them out - the judges never make mistakes. Trial by Jury? Throw it out. Again, why involve the common people in the process, they don't know anything. Let's just get rid of courts altogether, better to just have informal meetings of the leaders to decide who should live or die. The meetings of the leaders? Definitely keep that secret, never print any meeting minutes or allow it to be recorded. Travel abroad? Prohibited. Visitors from abroad? Prohibited, except if paired with a 'minder'. Books, TV, Films, etc from abroad? Never, we have all we need here, do not need to learn from anyone else. What if someone gets asking questions that we don't like? Exile them. Seriously, this is exactly what the 2x2 organizational structure results in if it were used to govern a country. North Korea. And you think this is a good system? Whether at a country level, a state level, a municipal level, or a church level, this is a terrible system. Only a lunatic would agree to live their lives with such a system. That's why I seriously wonder if 2x2s suffer from some sort of mental illness.
It is exactly because of the org structure of 2x2ism that is there is a huge deficit of freedom of speech and thought within 2x2ism. As mentioned, there is no mechanism to ensure that controversial ideas can voiced without fear of reprisal (expulsion or shunning). There's no question in my mind that if 2x2ism had complete freedom of speech and thought, exclusivism would die in a week or two. And conversely without that liberty various prejudices, notions and wrong ideas can grow because coercive strategies prevent their destruction. The desire to purge outside or destructive influences is done with the best motives in mind. But that end justifies what kind of means? The justified means should only be counter-argument, counter-preaching. Idea versus idea. Not the complete shutdown of discussion which might be considered controversial. Read J.S. Mill's On Liberty about why freedom of speech is so important - it's not so that everyone gets a say, it's instead to ensure that all ideas get a chance to be heard and weighed for their merit by all. It's also to get one to defend their beliefs against the new idea, and in the process get a better and deeper understanding of their own beliefs. Thirdly, it is to fire up passion for your own beliefs as unchallenged beliefs become dead beliefs. Again, 2x2ism is despotism.
Despite what you think about the Roman Catholic Church, it does have a lot more laity input into the daily workings of the parish than you might imagine. I know it seems strange, but there is a wide spectrum of different parishes in the RCC, all driven by local laity input. All of the mainline Protestant churches have a lot of laity control of the parish - including the hiring and firing of priests. Just to look at Anglicanism, which is basically a microcosm of containing both RCC (high church) and Calvinist (low church) styled parishes. In the mainline church I attend, the laity (the Friends in 2x2 lingo) has control over finances, maintenance, hiring/firing, etc, and even so far as to restrict what things the priest can discuss in his sermon. By control I mean that the laity votes on committees, votes on a board of directors, etc. If you are paying member, you have a vote. The parish is nearly 100% laity driven. The priest is a spiritual advisor and nothing more - not a marriage counselor, not a money manager, not dispute resolver, not a child rearing expert, not a fashion advisor, not a entertainment advisor, not a friendship veto, etc. And these priests are considered spiritual advisors because they have been formally trained at very reputable institutions to do so. We do not hire untrained people to do spiritual work. This type of laity control over the parish is unheard of in 2x2ism.
And yes, despite your protests to the contrary, it is your 2x2 problems (particularly your org structure) which define you. Improve your org structure and alot of your other problems will solve themselves very quickly. You've had 2x2 Friends and Workers running around for more than 100 years claiming that the Bible explicitly states that minsters must travel in pairs, something that even a 85 IQ could figure out was complete nonsense with one reading the the 4 Gospels. You tell me just how such a ridiculous claim was able to exist for so long (still does) in your organization as front and center doctrine. There is only one way to have such a ridiculous belief go unchallenged for so long, and that is to have a despotic org structure which prohibits outside interaction and questioning. Ask yourself how so many (not all) of the other churches avoided many of the problems that 2x2ism has committed. Many have avoid exclusivity. Many have avoided dumb dumb interpretations of Scripture ( Matt 10, Trinity, Grace). Many have avoid spiritually abusing its members. Many have avoided legalistic nonsense about behavior (dress, tv, radio, etc). Many have avoided being unresponsive to the issues raised by its members.
These are all things which are called 'no-brainers'. Meaning that it takes a very bad org structure to commit these kinds of mistakes. And 2x2ism committed those types of mistakes. All of your problems, from the big to the small, are baked into your org structure. Build a house with a bad foundation, and your house will be full of problems - that's 2x2ism in a nutshell. You definitely did not build your house on the Rock of Peter. Like the foolish man in the parable, you built your house on sand, and now it is all coming crashing down. www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%207:24-27
Ok, so you admit 2x2ism has a bad org structure. Now what? Can you ask the Overseers to change the org structure? You can, but they have no interest in changing it. You can ask the Workers to change it, but they have no say in the matter. But here is what you Friends can do:
1) For each house meeting group, have an election for the position of elder. Have the election every 2 or 3 years. You can separate the physical location of the meeting from the position of 'elder'.
2) For each 'field', have an election for the position of 'worker'. Tell the State/Province Head Worker that your 'field' will no longer accept Workers in your field unless they have been elected by the 'field'. You can elect any Worker you want - even ones who are not yet Workers. Any Worker who knew that a majority of people in a particular field wanted them, would be very happy to be there.
3) For each 'field', elect one person for the position of 'comptroller'. Have elections for this role every 3 years, with a maximum of no more than 3 terms (9 years for one person). This person will open a bank account in your 'field', and all money donations from Friends in that field are to be deposited in that account. The comptroller will be responsible for presenting the bank statements to a meeting of all the elders once a quarter (90 days). The Workers in your 'field' will be given ATM cards for that bank account, cards which have daily/weekly/monthly limits on them - limits set by a meeting of the elders.
4) For each 'field' elect 7 people (not related to elders) who are responsible for resolving disputes in the field. Election every 3 years, max 3 terms. Any Friend who believes they have been improperly treated by Elders or Workers can ask for a 'hearing' of this Dispute Board. The Dispute Board meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend, though only the Board and the folks directly in the dispute can speak. The minutes of the Board Meeting are recorded and distributed to anyone who wants to see them.
5) Each house meeting group should have at least one ecumenical meeting per year. That is, the members of the house meeting group should have one inter-faith meeting with folks from a different denomination each year. Just a small 2 hour get together with food to exchange ideas about each others' churches and Christian fellowship.
6) Have the elders in your field write a Doctrine Statement - things that you all agree about your faith, including what is not allowed. All the Friends in the field then vote to accept/reject the Statement.
7) Have the elders in your field write a Constitution for your field - things like the roles of Workers, the roles of Elders, how people get those jobs, how they are removed, etc. These should be the Bylaws of your Field. All the friends in the field then vote to accept/reject the Constitution. Once you have a Constitution, you now have an agreed upon process for what to do and what not to do.
These are all things that you can do right NOW at your local house meeting level. You will never make changes by writing letters to Overseers or Workers. Folks have been doing that for over 100 years, and it has got nothing done. You need to do it yourselves. If you make these changes, it will spread like wildfire through the whole 2x2 system. Once the changes are in a majority of fields, then the fields can make big changes to the org structure of the Overseers/Workers. Big changes. But you have to start at the bottom - the local level where you are in control.
By the way, read the book Animal Farm. It's a nice novel about 2x2ism. Take the sheep parts to heart.
Many people upon learning that 2x2ism is comprised of a lot of lies and falsehoods, become angry. They feel duped. They are angry at 2x2 ministers. They are angry at themselves. They are ashamed of themselves for being duped. They feel guilty. They want to leave 2x2ism, but they don't want to lose their family or friends. They are confused. They feel lost outside of 2x2ism.
These are all normal natural thoughts and emotions. But if these thoughts and emotions aren't directed in the right direction, unhealthy things can happen. It is tempting to just go along with the status quo - go to meetings, play nice, keep your thoughts to yourself, etc. This is called Denial, and it is extremely unhealthy. Perhaps you will hear people tell you to 'just get over it' or 'move on' or 'forgive' - all of this is bad advice. Anger left unexpressed, held in, turns against you and becomes depression. Shame becomes insecurity and self-loathing. Not only will you suffer psychologically, but your physical body will also suffer. It's very important to deal with these things properly. Left untreated, it can potentially metastasize into very serious mental illnesses and personality disorders.
The very first thing to understand is that you have been spiritually abused. The very nature of the exclusivity doctrine of 2x2ism makes it spiritually abusive. Are you familiar with what spiritual abuse is? Examples of it, I mean? It's important that you understand exactly what events you experienced were spiritually abusive. There are excellent write ups here and here about 2x2 specific spiritual abuse.
Spiritual abuse, like any other type of abuse, is trauma. It will cause various forms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is far more common than people realize. PTSD takes on many different forms of symptoms (depression, anger, anxiety, etc) but at the root of it is trauma. In other words there is anger because of a hurt because of an injustice done to the victim. It's very important to get to the root of this injustice and figure out how to deal with it.
Many of you, in addition to being spiritually abused, might also have been emotionally, physically, or sexually abused by your parents, siblings, spouse, other family members, 2x2 ministers, etc. Perhaps you don't even know that you were abused, it was passed off as 'discipline'. Maybe you were in a bad accident of some kind, maybe you lost a loved one, maybe you suffered from a painful sickness, etc. All of this is trauma, and all of it needs to be treated so that you can avoid becoming very psychologically and physically unhealthy. When people suffer from PTSD, they develop coping strategies to help them get through life - most of these coping strategies are not healthy, things like drinking, smoking, illegal drugs, legal drugs, sexual promiscuity, workaholic, obsessions, raging, lying, abusive behavior, emotional deadness, overeating, eating disorders, etc. If you have any of these coping strategies, perhaps you didn't even realize that you were doing these things, you will need to recognize this and treat it as well.
The healing process has quite a few steps:
1) You must first educate yourself as to what sorts of trauma exist because at this stage you don't know what is normal and what is not. You can do this by reading books about trauma/abuse. I recommend: 'Toxic Parents', "Healing the Scars of of Emotional Abuse", "Soul Survivors", "The Body Keeps the Score", "Why Does He Do That","The Verbally Abusive Relationship", "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse ", "Churches that Abuse". There are also some excellent write ups about spiritual abuse on the Liberty Connection site with good recommendations for books.
2) As you read through the books about abuse, you will start to piece together how your background might be similar - what was abusive and what was normal. As a 2x2, part of the spiritual abuse was isolation from the normal society (this is called neglect). You will have also been robbed of a sense of identity other than being a 2x2 - you probably do not embrace your National identity or your Western Civilizational identity. As you explore your background and the way it made you feel at the time, you will be able to identify the trauma. For myself the 2x2 specific trauma was the following:
1) isolation from normal society, no concept of what life was like outside 2x2ism, was afraid of the 'worldly'.
2) no TV or radio, so could not relate to kids at school, was afraid of being teased by kids if they found out.
3) little access to books other than bible readings assigned by 2x2ism.
4) was afraid that leaving meetings meant destined to HELL. Was told I would be struck down by lightening.
5) no real friends because of isolation
6) didn't know anything about popular culture - always felt like an outsider, a fraud.
7) wasn't allowed to play sports, so no ability to relate to others about sports.
8) scared that other kids at school would find out I was part of this crazy no-name church and tease me.
9) no connection to the culture of our civilization - knew nothing about history other than 2x2 nonsense.
10) no appreciation for the great things of our civilization (classical music, art, opera, philosophy, classical literature, history, etc).
3) Now that you have a framework of what is 'normal' and what is not (abuse), write down all the things which you think were a problem in your background . Write your autobiography about your experiences of the abuse and how it made you feel/think. You can post it online if you want or not. The writing process will help you to organize your thoughts, to stop you from second guessing yourself about the past. Combined with what you learned from the books about abuse, you can now see the links between events in your past and current thoughts and behaviors you have.
4) Now it's time to find a therapist who specializes in trauma. Perhaps even a Christian one. A good type of therapy for PTSD is EMDR, so try to find a therapist in your region that is trained in EMDR. You will focus on the feelings you had during the trauma events and EMDR will 're-program' your thoughts and feelings about those events. You should also read as much as you can about EMDR so that you can understand how it works. Some other type of therapy are Internal Family Systems, Dialectical Behavior Therapy. You should also watch some of the interviews with Christian therapist Patrick Doyle.
5) As you use therapy to heal those open wounds, you will start to lose the need to use your old mal-adaptive coping strategies. The faster you get rid of those things the better, because they are crutches that have terrible side-effects. If you are a substance abuser (alcohol, drugs, etc), get enrolled in a 12 step program such as AA. You will also need a lot of physical exercise, 30 mins of cardio 4 times a week. Exercise is a huge part of recovery. I recommend the very simple and can be done indoors with very little space, 30 Day Shred. Yoga has proven to have both exercise and therapy benefits. In addition, you need to start eating healthy foods - go see a nutritionist or search the web. If you have chronic body pains, there is a good chance it is from the PTSD. Here is a great book about how to get rid of those chronic pains.
6) Get yourself as far away from 2x2s, 2x2ism, talk of 2x2s, etc as possible. If you suffered abuse from other people (family members, etc), also get away from them. All of those things are a trigger for you, they will just re-traumatize you. You need to heal. If you discover that your parents or siblings were causes of your trauma, you need to have no contact with them until you are healed and they have changed behavior. If they do not change behavior, you cannot be around them.
7) Surround yourself with loving normal people. Get the crazies out of your life. Join a church - a normal mainline one such as Episcopal/Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, or Roman Catholic. Become involved in their committees and groups. If you are inclined to be a non-believer, join a church anyways - you need the community, the loving people. Take any doctrine or theology courses they offer so that you can learn the basic concepts of what Christianity actually is, because 2x2ism definitely did not teach you that. The biggest mistake ex-2x2s make is in thinking that they can understand the Bible all by themselves, without ever considering the opinions of others who have spent their entire lives learning about the Bible. You need help, don't be a prideful ignoramus! Enroll in a Roman Catholic RCIA course. Start reading the Daily Office (or here) as it methodically goes through all the OT and NT readings over a 3 year period. Perhaps try the book, You Can Understand the Bible. Read GK Chesterton's The Everlasting Man. Read CS Lewis Mere Christianity. Listen to great works of sacred music. Here is a list of essential Christian books. Try watching some of the Journey Home series from EWTN. Watch some of Bishop Robert Barron's lectures or books. How about watching or listening to Fulton Sheen? Perhaps listen to a Christian service webcast everyday. Dig deep, there is a lot to learn.
8) Educate yourself about the history of your civilization so that you don't feel so adrift identity-wise. You can start by taking a course in the Foundations of Western Civilization at a local college or online. Watch Kenneth Clark's BBC Civilisation. Take a course on How to Look at Great Art and How to Listen to Great Music. Read the Western Canon of the Great Books! There are hundreds of wonderful courses you can watch or listen to in your home/car/etc from The Great Courses, courses which will give you a classical education. Including many courses about religion and Christianity.
9) Take control of your own life. It's your life to live, not someone else's. Live it the way you want to, and tell the rest of them to go to hell. Focus on the 5 key aspects to a healthy life: Deep Relationships, Parenting/Mentoring, Meaningful Work, Lifelong Learning, and Spirituality.
10) If you have a spouse in 2x2ism and you don't want to be in 2x2ism, please read How to Deal with a Divided Home. If you have relationship or parenting trouble, there is a lot of great books to help out! Start with the basics, How to Win Friends. Try Parenting With Grace. Here is a great website for moms with many books and readings for how to parent properly in a Christian way. If you are a child living with your parents and want to get out of 2x2ism, please Helping 2x2 Kids. If you are a 2x2 minister and need help getting out of 2x2ism because of lack of support, please visit this site or this site.