Because of the bad weather yesterday my morning class got cancelled so here I am.
That was a lot of comments yesterday and I will try to get to them all and I am sorry if I miss any, okay?
Donald asked who was the head of our church and I did laugh! Pastor Jeff does a lot to make sure that no one thinks he is in charge or anything. He says his job is mostly helping people who need and ask for help and the rest of the time he tries to mind his own business. Being a pastor is a part time job for him and he has another job to do which is nothing to do with church. I asked Steve about all this once and he said not a lot changes in the church so it doesn't need a bunch of committees and all and then each of the three big congregations make up their own ideas on finances for the church funds. Our congregation has enough money put aside to take care of everyone in the church for about a year and Christie told me once that the goal is to have enough money to buy everyone a new home if they need it. Eventually they want the fund to be able to pay everyone some money every month to help them out.
Steady mentioned that the church controls the lives of the members and that is true that it does. But I don't think that is a bad thing and I don't think the kind of things the church controls makes it a cult because the church wants you to do things to make your life better and not to do things to do anything for the church. Like when a couple gets married the church wants them to be free of debt except for a mortgage on a house and then you have to have a house to get married. They don't want you having kids in an apartment and then taking more time to get a house. Then when a couple wants a second wife they have to be totally debt free and most of the families in our church are couples only because of this. Steve, Shari, and Christie were able to do this because when they sold their homes they had enough to put it together to buy this place and make it debt free. I asked Pastor Jeff about this once and he said they do this to make sure that money is not a reason for any family problems.
The marrying fast thing is done with second wives and third wives. They mostly do this to sort out the serious people from the people who are not serious. Like when I came here it was pretty clear that if I stayed I was expected to be married to Steve or go home in a month so I didn't cause any trouble in the house. I mean you can cause trouble just by being there and not being married. Imagine a family where they basically have a second or third wife who refuses to act like a wife and just her being there can cause trouble. So if you want to do this you do it. Like jumping out of an airplane you don't put on a parachute and then fly up in a plane and then stand in the door and look at the view? If you do all that you have to do the rest of it or go home.
You have to be married after about a month if you want to do this but they do let you put off your wedding night for a while if you want. I wanted to have a real wedding night so I went ahead and did that and I will say now if I was doing it over again I would have waited a while. But that was my choice to do it right away.
Fallen Star asked about Macy and the rules don't apply to her because she is not here to get married to Steve. She is here to get her head together and have some peace and she is doing that. She and Steve keep a lot of distance and also Shari does not want a 4th wife. I am starting to really like having Macy here and would like her to stay but that is just me being selfish and I have to think that other people have to have a say in this too and I need to respect them.
CM asked about the money and property things in the church. Basically everyone has an equal share in the money and property of their family and if they decide to leave they get to have that share to get them started again some where else. People who leave are not forbidden to visit or have friends here and they get to take what is theirs when they go and that is fair. If you don't like this then no one wants to force you to stay and you will find that a lot of people will come help you leave if that is what it means to make you happy. They really are a lot of great people!
About the children I noticed right away that most of the kids will go to college and then start lives away from the church and a lot of them end up in other churches and no one bugs them about it. Like Stephanie got married and is staying in the church but her sister Lauren seriously wants to be a doctor and we are planning on that for her and it means she will be gone to medical school and all for like 12 years and she will probably not live like this.
I LOL'd on the thing about talking about church doctrine! We do it all the time! We don't really have some serious set of rules that says you have to do more than just believe in Jesus really. The big rules are about making sure you take care of your family and the stuff about what you believe is mostly up to you and we talk about it a lot. Christie told me she asked Pastor Jeff about 'organized religion' one time and he laughed and asked her to tell him when she found one because everyone in any real religion has to have their own ideas or then what they believe is not true in their heart. Like we have no rules about evolution. You can think what you want about it and people argue about it but no one gets kicked out of the church if they say the earth is billions of years old and not just a few thousand years old.
Pastor Jeff told me before I got married that the way we live is a life that leads us to God but that discovering and accepting God is something everyone has to do on their own. So there are big rules about how we live but not a lot of rules about how we believe.
Una mentioned the secrecy but that is to protect us really. When I first came here I made the mistake of sharing too much information to someone and ended up with a stalker coming here to the house to try to "rescue" me. It was pretty scary and since then I am very careful not to say too much so we don't have to worry about that.
Sort of on that topic is I get a LOT of people wanting to come visit and take pictures or do documentaries and we even had a TV network want to do a reality show on us and the answer is always no. The sheriff's department up here knows about us and leaves us alone but if we made a big deal and went on TV we'd be daring some social worker to come here and take the kids away and investigate us and after what happened to the people in Texas we know to keep to ourselves. Maybe someday we can be less about the secrets but for right now that is how it has to be.
About Donalds last comment we don't have anyone ruling our church. It's basically three congregations with their own pastors and a few small congregations with lay leaders and then a separate finance committee that the pastors and lay leaders are not allowed to be on. The church started as a commune a long time ago and everyone I ever talk to says it is still like a commune in a lot of ways. The people in Oregon actually all live on the original commune and everyone else mostly lives in their own houses in different areas.
To end this I asked Christie about some of this as I was writing and she said we are not a cult. She says when you want to leave what cult has people come help you get your stuff together, helps you move out, helps you find a place, and then gives you money to help you get started? So I don't think this is a cult.
I hope you all have a great day!
Penne in pesto with fermented garlic and mussels