Jim, as far as writing MM q and a all I can say is that their teaching is that people who left the group are untouchable basically. If they suspect it is a former member they will not respond.
And if there is anything in a note that alludes to any involvement or any family member left in the group, they will not respond.
We were all taught how to ignore formers when in the group. That probably has not changed.
Just wanted to give an update based on information from a recent visit by a relative to family members living in Lake City (I know that sounds convoluted, but I am trying to be vague in case any MM members check this forum). My relative attended Sunday services, and was interested to note that neither Meade or Marlene were in attendance. When this relative asked about that fact, was told that Meade had been unable to attend for the past 7-8 weeks. I can only assume that Marlene was not there because she was tending to Meade. No one should be surprised, of course, given Meade's advanced age. However, given his past statements that he had been told that he would live to see Christ's return as well as his imperviousness to illness, it is once again amazing to see how MM members can find ways to overlook and rationalize the contradictions that are staring them in the face.
As near as I can tell, Meade has been a figure head for some time now, but even so, it will be interesting to see what happens if he is completely incapacitated and/or when he dies. Any theories on how this will all shake out? I have been out of the picture since the early '80's. Some of you who have left since then, and especially within the last 4-5 years, will have a better idea ow what to expect than me.
There could be numerous things going on.
My last meetings, possibly 1998, the Meades sat in a back room and watched by camera that floats around the room from the ceiling. I heard they use it for watching people to see who is awake or sleeping, because sometimes people would be publicly rebuked for not paying attention. The Meades said that camera was for the protection of the members due to infiltration of media, newspaper, spies, etc....
So they may have been back in their room watching. They also take lots of luxurious trips and do amazing shopping sprees abroad or other cities.
Then the idea you felt about his health could be true as well. However, anytime Meade was tired or not feeling up to par, the congregation was blamed for it for not doing right.
Anyway, off the top of my head those are the reasons I can think of.
As far as who will take over, well Marlene of course. She holds all the power anyway, don't be completely fooled that it is just him. When she married Charles, I understand things changed drastically and she began the Charles Meade worship far more than it was previous. I entered the group when Marlene was already Sister Meade.
They have set up a system of leaders, alot of the faithful preachers all these years, Marlene's son in law Charlie Sparks, and also some of the kids that grew up in the church have taken the lead.
I have been away from Florida for 8 years, and out of the group for at least 14. I did go back once after being kicked out, when they had open invitation to the new building. I asked the Meades permission to come. I was really concerned that maybe I was deceived and had to find out for myself.
After a couple of these revival meetings, some of the members found out I was friends with another person that left the group and they kicked me out again.
That was my validation that I really was going to be ok, because I went in with a pure heart and open.
Some of the things I heard people say and do, and that damn camera, just made me feel like I was in a cult...lol
So when they kicked me out the second time, I was free.
They kicked me out the first time supposedly because people saw me working with my carpet layer husband wearing his jeans instead of a skirt. And earrings maybe too I had on. Well after about falling 3 flights of stairs with a heavy roll of carpet due to a skirt, I wore jeans on hard jobs like that.
Judgement and arrogance is not the way to heaven, or whatever the afterlife holds. It only keeps people clogged up inside. It took me years to get over being so damn judgemental and arrogant. I learned that from the group.
But like I said somewhere before, I do not hate the Meades. I have an odd love for them, and take what truth they did give me.
The one thing I feel strongly after being in a group like that, and my journey beyond MM, is that religion sucks! Not people that love their Gods, or Christians, or Pagans, but religion always seems to have a heirachy.It aint just MM.
Like I said, I was being intentionally vague in my earlier post. I think I feel comfortable in saying that the MM members in question indicated that it was because of poor health that Meade was missing. They did not say anything about Marlene, so perhaps she was in the back room as you suggest. Or else, as I mentioned earlier, she was home tending to Meade.
I am curious about the camera you mentioned. I did not notice it at the handful of meetings I have attended in the "new" building. Of course, I wasn't really looking for one, either. How noticeable is the camera from the seats in the auditorium? Pretty spooky that people would accept being spied on like that, although it does not surprise me in the least.
Conradpancake, I totally understand your vagueness and it is totally ok. And I was not totally speaking to you, but just speaking my mind in general over what I have observed prior to MM, in MM, and after MM in religions.
Sometimes that just comes out of me and I do not mean it to be offensive.
It has been several years since I have been so I am giving the information I experienced in the past.
The camera was pretty noticable and would go back and forth from the middle of the ceiling where the people sat.
And the spying with the camera was accepted because it was presented as a protection of the people in case media reporters were coming in to spy.
In truth, the group has streamlined to be a bit less culty.It was very culty when I attended, but as time went on, women became a bit more liberated and I have a feeling that there were so many rebellious teens that some battles had to be chosen.
So maybe the camera is not there anymore.
And if Meade is truly ill, I just hope that people will be free and that he might realize the mistakes made all these years so they will not be continued.
I should add that I found this thread by accident looking up something else about MM with another former member.
When we saw Jane's post back in 2005, we were happy since she had been a good friend of mine in the group. However, some rumors started that were not true to dissolve our friendship. All lies and untruths from what I heard was going around.
So Jane if you see this, I sent you a pm, although it is not showing up in my sent items so maybe I did something wrong.
I would love to talk with you. If you read my former post, it will give you enough detail about a situation that you will know who I am if you choose to contact me:) You have been in my thoughts often over the years.
Just a few comments, FWTW:
Conrad: You made a comment on Meade saying that he'd live till Jesus came. That's definitely true, but I think it has been erased from the acceptable record, kind of like the USSR used to do when someone was demoted. They haven't really circulated tapes in a long time, as best I know... maybe since the late 80s. It seems that truth became fungible to them a long time ago.
dreamseeds: Yes, Bob is a good man; Joni was a good woman. How his father has treated him is disgraceful. His sister was badly treated too. And, I quite agree, Marlene will grab power at any cost - that's what she does: Seize dominance, power, and control any way she can, no matter who is hurt, manipulated, etc. All is false, all is to make others submit.
A key part in group members waking up is denial. The old ones know what the tapes said; what the preachers used to say... and they pretend it never happened. As I say, I just don't know how many have held their heads together through the years. The less honest ones have achieved status by denying anything bad and championing the upper levels of the group at all costs. Not only have they pursued denial, but they have prospered from it. Some of them may never break out, and will die praising their abusers.
Thanks Ref. I looked back over this entire thread and saw some questions I do not think got answered. Pete and Linda split up and she died a several years ago I beleive of a heart attack.
Scott and Valerie I think split up and left the group.
The group has had some rocky roads with people and illness for sure, in fact after I left the groups I was considering becoming a midwife because I was so sad by some of the things I had heard and seen while in the group.
I became an herbalist instead:)
Anyway I was touched by these older posts because it brought back emotion for me.
I went to see Joni Meade before she died and to this day I wonder how anyone in their right mind could reject Bob and Joni. But that is another issue.
I do know Sam (of the Sam and Mary post) did speak kindly to Bob after Joni's death so I feel Sam is still a pretty good hearted guy and not totally afraid what people think of him.
I became friends with John Cooke, the brother of Gary. After Alice left the group, John and Alice came to Lake City for her birthday to see Gary (I think it was her 80th) and I drove around in the car with them and saw that Gary was being protected by other members of the church. I knew it would be that way but I guess John wanted to give it a shot.
When Alice passed away, Gary said she was going to hell and refused her funeral. John held up well despite the pain of his mother not only passing, but how she wanted so badly to reconnect with Gary. I really respected John for caring for Alice who was such a dear woman.
Then Gary passed in a car accident. I remember feeling like life was whirling.the Meade's lost 2 family members within a year, and I wondered if they played it off as an attack of the devil. If the same situation would occur in anothers life, they would have blamed the person who suffered.
I dunno, maybe I am talking about nothing important here. Again, going back in the thread did hurt my heart some, simply because I knew those people and also can understand how these people feel with loved ones in the group.
I still have former stepkids, a former sister in law with neices and a nephew in the group I have not been able to see in years, so I can understand. I lost most all my friends when I left the group. The only ones I had relationship with were ones that left already, like Jim and several others who were very precious to me and at the time, were a lifeline before i thought I was condemned.
However, I also saw some of the same religious patterns happening within our own circle of ex Meade people, and basically left religion behind in time as I just observed and sought truth for myself.
Cults are freaky and sometimes as time has healed my wounds, I can hardly remember being in a cult, until I read things like family and friends and former members here and then that memory opens up again.
I do wish the best for you all here on this forum. Sorry to blah blah, but I felt a bit emotional
I understand your feelings. Weird stuff, huh?
I had some odd moments early-on, realizing that among all my old companions - with whom we all swore allegiance to the truth, no matter where it led or how high the cost - that I was the only one who remained devoted to truth. The rest had bowed to authority and to pressure. They became members of a hierarchy - a collective. I was back outside the camp.
Personally, I spent a lot of years never thinking about the group. Now I'm paying a bit of attention again, as it seems ready to go through a transition... of what kind, I do not know. But, some of these people were once dear friends, and I'm quite a few years removed from the group and am not much affected by dealing with the subject again.
Do what works best for you. Life is long, take each step in its natural sequence. If it's better for you to leave this alone for several more years, do it. Do whatever is healthiest for you.
Very best regards,
Charles Meade has passed away. Private ceremony today, I assume to quickly put him in the mausoleum without too much public notice. He died while in the local VA hospital a couple days ago.