Thursday, March 6, 2014

Jim Turner Author of "Grace in the Dark Places" Dies





In August of 2011 I had excerpts posted of the new book out by Jim Turner, a former WCG minister that detailed his journey out of Armstrongism.  Grace in the Dark Places: Conquering the Cultic Mindset

Today I learned on Facebook that Turner had committed suicide in July of 2013. I then found out that The Painful Truth has listed this as a suicide on it's "Suicide Statistics for the Worldwide Church of God" page.

I don't know the reasons behind the suicide, but many are saying that the demons of Armstrongism were still in force.  For so many, the struggle to break free from the mental abuse the church laid upon everyone is a hard thing to break free from.  The church had made people feel they were never good enough to receive God's love or grace.  Just listen to and look at the sermons of HWA and the church leaders of the splinter groups today!


I posted  the following quote on the original page about the book:

As I began to investigate the chain of circumstances that led to the twists and turns in my life, I came to realize that others would benefit from my experience through recognition of similar traits and influences that brought them to a similar place in life. I was deceived. (pg. xix) I was conscripted into a clever collusion, to which I eventually consigned my body and soul. The torturous and serpentine journey into spiritual confusion that describes my life is complex and indistinct, even perplexing at times.

There came a time when my subjugation expired and I willingly reenlisted, accepting the consequences of my actions. I elected to ascend through the ranks, disregarding the abuse and compromise that attended such advancement. There were vague crossroads, times when circumstances dictated my decisions as well as times when, clearly, I acted according to the fortuitous winds of personal advantage. There were moments of uncertainty when I opted to follow the crowd rather than taking the moral high road that my conscience futilely prescribed. Guilt played a huge role in my actions, a contentious double-edged guilt that often implied that I must follow the dictates of the man whom I had come to believe was the true servant of God while at the same time suggesting that I must buck the crowd and openly acknowledge the abuses.

No one will find, in my exact footsteps, the exact path of his own life. I believe we will find that notwithstanding the deviations in our course, we crossed the Rubicon together and arrived at the same destination. We became members of a cult. We sacrificed our vision through acceptance of that of a charismatic figure to whom we pledged undying loyalty. Inherent to that sacrifice came a willingness to separate ourselves from others, including family and friends, who failed to see the privileged status to which we had subscribed. We became spiritual elitists. Parasitically, we attached ourselves to the one and only true servant of God in hopes of obtaining exclusive positions in the divine appointment.

You can read Jim Turners memorial page and see photo's of his life in the college and church here:



22 comments:

The Painful Truth said...

The saddest part of this service I perform for the public good is to list the deaths of those who found suicide the only way out.

DennisCDiehl said...

Suicide, "the long term solution to a short term problem" is topic little spoken of. I have lost several minister friends to one form of suicide or another. There is the direct way and then there is destructive behaviors and pain covering addictions that finally take their final toll.

I didn't now Jim but from his writings one can hear the pain of a very conflicted and intelligent human being. Sometimes a deadly combination as intelligent people are used to figuring it all out. I don't know why he could not let it go. Sometimes we simply over analyze our life situation and confuse it with our life. Ego death, that is, a personal defeat or embarassment of the false self is often mistaken for "I must die" when it is the false ideas of the self that must and have died. Complicated stuff I suppose.

It is why I cannot get back into any organized religion. It is just too fake and drama filled for me at just about every level. I have had so many ministers tell me outright that they know much more than they could ever share with their church as the locals simply do not have the capacity to understand it and the implications of real church history, origins and politics. They know they have to teach the "Sunday School" version or be out of work. One Episcopal Priest recently told me he'd rather personally be buddhist and agreed with me on the issues I raised with him on origins and such but it did not concern him and was not a factor in the homilies he gave as instructed. He did drive a nice Mercedes however so it's not all bad.

Suicide brings no relief to the person. You don't not just feel the pain of your life, you feel nothing ever again. And you transfer your former pain ten fold to your suviving family.

I personally find personal and inward spirituality of one's chosing to be the safest way to go if one is so inclined. There is no hell, no lake of fire, no devils and demons and no psycho god that can't make up his mind what he wants to be be. They don't exist not just because of adopting a belief system that rejects such , but they actually don't exist. I am not afraid of Bible God. That's a cultic and man made version that has evolved as needed over three thousand years to fit human agendas. Do your homework and free yourself from it's sufficating grip

(minushorny)old EXPCGhag said...

Jim Turner wrote:

There came a time when my subjugation expired and I willingly reenlisted, accepting the consequences of my actions. I elected to ascend through the ranks, disregarding the abuse and compromise that attended such advancement. There were vague crossroads, times when circumstances dictated my decisions as well as times when, clearly, I acted according to the fortuitous winds of personal advantage. There were moments of uncertainty when I opted to follow the crowd rather than taking the moral high road that my conscience futilely prescribed. Guilt played a huge role in my actions, a contentious double-edged guilt that often implied that I must follow the dictates of the man whom I had come to believe was the true servant of God while at the same time suggesting that I must buck the crowd and openly acknowledge the abuses.

Sounds like the music industry...play the game...sell your soul to the devil!

Anonymous said...

Suicide brings no relief to the person. ... you feel nothing ever again. And you transfer your former pain ten fold to your surving family.

Well, I suppose suicide does bring relief. I'm not sure my family would suffer much.

Anonymous said...

Dennis, you are doing a great job here. And I appreciate Gary too, though I think he exaggerates a lot. Is that a matter of style?

Anonymous said...

It is why I cannot get back into any organized religion. It is just too fake ...

bingo!

Joe Moeller said...

Wisdom from the book "The Five Things We Cannot Change" by David Richo...

1. Everything changes - nothing last forever.
Everything ends, every beginning is the start of an end. Relationships end, people die. Seasons turn, things change. Get used to it. Learn to let go gracefully, change and grow yourself.

2. Things do not always go according to plan
The best laid plans often go astray. No plan survives contact with reality. Adapt, improvise, flex, adjust your sails, innovate. Things turn out best for those who make the best of how things turn out. Plans are useless but planning is invaluable.

3. Life is not always fair
Some serious wrongs cry out to be righted but many more are best dealt with by moving on and not getting ensnared in a negative energy cycle.

4. Pain is part of life
There is a cost to everything and suffering may be part of that cost. Pain is not necessarily punishment and pleasure is not necessarily a reward. Pain can be a source of tremendous personal growth. But there is no need to seek out pain to speed your growth. Life will send you your proper measure!

5. People are not loving and loyal all the time
We are social, gregarious creatures. We depend on each other. But people are human and inevitably let us down. Our work as healthy adults is to feel this fear of betrayal and abandonment and deal with it, embrace it, learn from it, grow beyond it, NOT run from the fear. Running only strengthens fear.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

James, keep it up, you are doing a great job!

Byker Bob said...

I didn't know Jim. However, in looking over the photographs on his memorial site, I saw that we had multiple hobbies in common. That's not terribly surprising since his older brother and I hit it off pretty well years ago. Those sorts of interests tend to run through families. The picture of him on his bike got me.

It appears that Jim wrote as much as any of us, trying to make some sense of it all, and trying to perhaps help others in the process. We all know how deep the damages can run.

We're getting this news several months late, but my thoughts and prayers will be with his surviving family.

BB

DennisCDiehl said...

"Anonymous said...
Suicide brings no relief to the person. ... you feel nothing ever again. And you transfer your former pain ten fold to your surving family.

Well, I suppose suicide does bring relief. I'm not sure my family would suffer much."

It does not. There is no relief. Relief is something you feel when relieved. You feel nothing when dead and don't know you aren't feeling nothing. It's just nothing.

Email me if you wish to talk or need to. DennisCDiehl@aol.com I'll give you my phone number. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks or doesn't think of you. It only matters what you think of yourself and as one unique expression of consciousness it can all be very good and authentic even it doesn't match the expectations of others.

DennisCDiehl said...

Good reminders Joe and just the way it is. Perhaps it is the idealists who are drawn to religion or at last who suffer the most when things are as they are and not as we think we'd wish them to be.

I'll share again the best observation, for me, a counselor ever made of my own messy transition of the past.

"Dennis...you have only two choices. Stay in the box you are now in. Everyone comes in the one we got from our parents or church. Few ever explore the box they even came in much less outgrow it. You outgrow your boxes very quickly. You can stay put and everyone will love you and embrace you. However you will be on anti depressants the rest of your life in a quiet anger you will never again be able to express. OR... you can move into the next box, which you already have.....but you will go alone."

That was the only prophecy I ever heard that was so. For a time in the new box, mistakes adapting were made, relationships suffered or ended, I read up on why suicide is a mistaken notion as I found many think of but never say they do, and while not easy, things got lighter and new views on how to cope and thrive were found.

While some never understood the Movie, What Dreams May Come, give it a look. The only unpardonable sin in it was suicide because it denied the process of change at work in one's life and bailed out of the mystery of it all. But even then, rescue was possible and if you get through it untouched, no one can help you. lol

Anonymous said...

Through early morning fog I see,
Visions of the things to be,
The pains that are withheld for me,
I realize and I can see...

That suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please.

The game of life is hard to play,
I'm gonna lose it anyway.
The losing card I'll someday lay,
So this is all I have to say.

The sword of time will pierce our skins.
It doesn't hurt when it begins.
But as it works its way on in,
The pain grows stronger...watch it grin,

A brave man once requested me,
to answer questions that are key.
Is it to be or not to be?
And I replied 'Oh why ask me?'

'Cause suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please.
...And you can do the same thing if you please

Anonymous said...

Being in the Church was a form of suicide - we gave up all the things in our that should have mattered for a bunch of empty promises.

Retired Prof said...

Mulling over what course to take in my life, I rejected suicide. Couldn't see any future in it.

FORMER TUCSONIAN said...

I remember Jim Turner from my early days in the WCG (when I lived and attended the Feast in Tucson). He Pastored 1 or more churches in the Phoenix area. He spoke at the Feast in Tucson several times. He seemed like a real serious guy to me.

He was later transferred to AK. I lost track of him, but didn't think that he went with any of the WCG splinters.

I heard about his suicide not long after it happened, but didn't want to post things right away. I am deeply saddened by his death, and am sorry that so many EX-WCG have tragically done the same thing.

Byker Bob said...

Based on personal experience, if you switch life philosophies midstream, you'd better expect a certain amount of inner conflict, unless you can comfortably drink the Kool Aid from your "new" philosophy. There is language which has been developed to describe this turmoil, not the least of which are religious, such as "test of faith".

In a sense, you've almost got to purge, or uninstall before you can successfully reinstall and reboot

BB

Black Ops Mikey said...

Let's go through this one more time.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says that 90% of all suicides are a result of depression. The stats are in favor of the fact that Jim Turner committed suicide of untreated or unsuccessfully treated depression.

The CoHAM (Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia) attracts narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths (as we have all seen here), cons, nut jobs, those with bipolar disease, depressives, those with paranoid schizophrenia and those with high analytical abilities having obsessive compulsive disorders. Those with the DSM-5 can have a field day (although the IDC is more useful for the billing codes). This sets up many people for a major fail whether they stick with the very sick distorted perceptions or not.

Related to all this is the "Hurray, I'm free!" syndrome where people leave and assume they are OK with unresolved issues that continue to haunt them (some with unrecognized PTSD). Many of these are amateurs not realizing that they still have distorted perceptions without filling the void to ascertain reality and pursue a healthy life style.

Armstrongism screws up the brain terribly (British Israelism replete with triggers for every news program is only one such stressor). People need to leave Armstrongism, but when they leave, they should not assume that their base problems caused / aggravated by the extreme stressors involved (like trying to maintain a life on three tithes of the gross while listening to doomsday messages) are going to go away. It's like a chronic illness such as diabetes in some cases, which when initiated requires a life time of management.

Those who have mental illness need treatment from mental health professionals. To not do so may mean death (as in this case). Just having a "happy attitude" (as recommended by Armstrongist ministers who are acknowledged to have clinical depression, such as those writing in the "Good News" on such topics) doesn't treat the problems and sets people up for failure down the road.

There's one more thing: Armstrongism itself creates a venue in which people who have mental disorders are discouraged from even looking at their problems because it holds them to the idea that the problems are created by demons and / or a lack of faith. Such teachings are anathema and those responsible for the teachings are wrecking the lives of those innocents who need help. There is no excuse for that, particularly since they lie to you and then take your money.

This kind of incident is not the last of its kind and for that reason alone it would be enough to oppose Armstrongism in all its ugly glory.

Unfortunately, the CoHAM continue to wreck lives and wash their hands of the whole thing taking absolutely no responsibility for their horrible acts against humanity.

Anonymous said...

very sad, but I find it surprising. I didn't know him, but I looked through his photos and it was the picture of the dream life. Beautiful children, lots of hobbies, everyone smiling and looking happy. My family is not that photogenic. I guess we don't make much effort to put on happy faces and we don't all get along. I've often thought I should borrow someone else's family photos to put on my desk at work, so people will see me as a well-rounded well-loved kind of person. Was all of that joy and happiness just surface? It is a bit disturbing.

Perhaps he had an undisclosed health condition, like beginning altzeimers, or MS or maybe cancer. I can see not wanting to hang around and suffer a debilitating illness. But then I have known a lot of people with terminal cancer and they seem so determined to live at all costs.

Very sad, and makes me think we should go easy on those often referred to as 'ministurds', they suffer too.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon said:

Very sad, and makes me think we should go easy on those often referred to as 'ministurds', they suffer too.

Thank you. I have always resented the term spoken by someone somewhere with personal bitterness towards theirs and lumping all ministers into the same category which I reject.

Problem is that having been one , it is interpreted as "defending those jerks" so I let it go. Thanks for your kinder view of mostly sincerely mistaken men and women who grew through just like the aveage member.

Anonymous said...

I don't know Dennis but from his writings one can hear the pain of a very conflicted and intelligent human being.

(and I'm not trying to be funny...actually, there are a couple more names from here that I could insert as well)

Byker Bob said...

Hey, anonymous. If you are not conflicted, you are not intelligent. Lack of mental conflict means that you are not seeing things deeply enough, not carefully pondering all of the intricately detailed nooks and crannies.

If you don't feel pain, it means you have lost, or are repressing part of the range of human emotion.

These things become problematic when they reach a state of imbalance. Denial is an artificial and deceptive way of maintaining that balance. It requires greater courage to acknowledge and explore them in the possible face of turbulence. Kind of like riding an old Harley through 60 MPH gusts of wind to get back into the L.A. area from Palm Springs on a summer Sunday afternoon.

BB

(minushorny)old EXPCGhag said...

Anonymous said...

I don't know Dennis but from his writings one can hear the pain of a very conflicted and intelligent human being.

(and I'm not trying to be funny...actually, there are a couple more names from here that I could insert as well)
March 7, 2014 at 8:40 PM

Dear Anonymous,
I am very interested in hearing your expert analysis of the subject matter. If it isn't too much to ask, I would love to know, or should I say WE would love to know the couple more names from here you could insert as well,...??? (and I'm not trying to be funny...actually).