The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God
 How Were You Framed?
(The Power of Paradigms)
By Joanne A.

 Those of us who have left the Worldwide Church of God often refer to the time when we were in, and after we came out of the Cult. This reveals two different frames of reference in our thinking. This is due to the way we "see" the experiences "now" as compared to "then." This is simply called a paradigm shift. Needless to say we all have experienced the sense of freedom and joy of being released from the stronghold that the Cult's teachings had on us. That is the POWER of a paradigm.

I want to share some thoughts on this subject because I believe it is critical to our learning how to cope in life and learn to deal with the many "realities" that exist in today's world. For those who want to continue to expand and experience the fullness life can offer, we need to be flexible in our thinking. That does not mean to have no values or basic "place" in our mind we call home

The term paradigm came to my attention years ago when Stephen Covey wrote the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People". I still recommend it highly. Paradigm comes from the Greek. It was once used scientifically, and today it is more commonly used to mean a model, theory, perception, assumption, and frame of reference In a more general sense it is the way we "see" in terms of perception, understanding and interpreting.

An easy example is to look back on our childhood and see the way we were raised. Each family has its own traditions and customs and traits we grow accustomed to. There are social, economic, religious, and ethnic differences each of us carries on into the rest of our life. These are the many different "lenses" we "see" through. Many of these become our prejudices, and color our reality of the world. We begin our lives thinking that we are "right" the "best", and that all others should change to be like us. Then when we grow up, we find out that is not the way it is. To have harmony in our home, neighborhood or community, we either adjust or become an outcast. To have peace, we need to learn to understand other people and their views.

Just switch back for a moment and see how WE did all this when we got hooked into a belief system we thought was the TRUTH. That paradigm was rigid, no compromises. We were "framed" to view all things through the teachings of HWA and his model of the bible. We were re-framed from what we once believed. We either conformed, or became outcasts. The stigma of "losing Salvation" hung over us if we left the group. Of course none of us ever planned on leaving. We were the True Believers. None of us can deny the power of that framework nor the hold it had on our perceptions of life and death; good and evil; right and wrong etc. That is the power of a paradigm!

As new information came our way, or we began to question the way things were done; our paradigm began to re-form. We stretched our logical thinking until we began to see things in a very different way. A new frame of reference appeared. Then it became safe to leave. If we are to survive this life, we need to be able to continue to "see" in new ways. Once we understand paradigms, we needn't let them have power over us .We can learn to use them to understand another's place of reference, and how they think when it is different from us. Psychologically we will always come back to a belief system that offers us safety, comfort and hope. There is no right and wrong.

The reality is that we all see the world NOT as it is, but as WE ARE, or as we are conditioned to see it. The point is to recognize that each of us is different, and respect these differences. It is our differences that make for a colorful and interesting world.

It all depends where you are sitting, or your frame of reference. This is how we are all different from each other in HOW we see things. When we describe what we see, we in effect, describe ourselves, our perceptions, our paradigm. In the heart of everyone lies a spot called "common ground" How we find it is through the understanding of paradigms.

For us, our common ground, even though we are scattered worldwide, is the shared experiences of being in the Worldwide Church of God. While being the same, it, in many ways, was different. That depended on location, ethnic background, and sex. Also, how each minister administered his area. Just as two or more people see and experience the same incident; they may view it differently. They are all right. It is not logical, it is psychological.

A freethinker and skeptical person is flexible and able to move in and out of paradigms easily. The result is to gather knowledge and understanding of people and the world along the way. We begin by looking within ourselves. We change from the inside - out. It is a process of renewal based on natural laws that govern human growth and progress. It begins with our perceptions.

As a side note if you want to understand more about the psychology of influence and the framing process see the link www. influenceatw

Reframing is also a term used by counselors to help people put traumatic experiences into a different perspective in order to facilitate the healing process In order to get rid of the ghosts of the past we need help to face them. Another good site to seek help is www So much can help us move on to a healthier life.

There are three quotes that I would like to leave with you.

"We must not cease from exploration and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time." By T.S. Elliot

"A man's mind stretched by a new idea will never return to its original state." By Oliver W Holmes

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." By Albert Einstein

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