This book, “Slave and Citizen” written by Nathan Irvin Huggins, subtitled “The Life of Frederick Douglass” (copyright 1980) was an inspiration to me during the first few months of leaving WOFF. The investment was only 49 cents. The benefit was immense. I picked the book up at a used book store. It was a relatively quick read of only 185 pages. My emails and notes show I read this book in September of 2008.
The book outlines the life of Frederick Douglass from his birth to his death at the age of 77 in 1895. He had risen from slave to being a Statesman and Ambassador to Haiti for the United States. He advised President Lincoln and had many other accomplishments. The intriguing part to me was his life beginnings and how he learned to read.
In 1825,… Frederick was sent to live in Baltimore, MD to the house of Hugh and Sophia Aduld. There is the city he caught his first glimpse of freedom. Mrs. Auld took time to teach Frederick to learn to read the Bible. He was a quick learner and Mrs. Auld was excited to show her husband. Her husband not happy at all, in fact he was enraged. “Hugh Auld with course and brutal language told his wife that slaves should never be taught beyond their station. ‘Not only was it illegal to teach them to read, but it would spoil the best n[igger]r in the world.’ A slave, ‘given an inch, he will take an ell,’ he said. A slave should know nothing but the will of his master. ‘If you learn him how to read, he’ll be running away with himself.” The text goes on… “Frederick … on the other hand learned the most important lesson of his youth: there is something unnatural about slavery;…” (page 5, emphasis added)
I read this passage in September 2008, about 60 days of being out of WOFF. Those were frightful times as I was struggling with the notions put in me while in WOFF. Those who leave are “under a curse, Judases, digging themselves a deep hole” as some would say. So, this passage woke me up! The reason that Information control is so heavy at WOFF, is because, “If you learn him how to read, he’ll be running away with himself.” Teaching slaves to read was illegal. Of course members are allowed to read- their Bible. In the cases of students: textbooks are monitored and censored. Allowing members to read ANYTHING they want is illegal at WOFF. Otherwise, those dutiful, hard working, tithe giving members will get ideas and be running away with themselves!
After I read this I sent an email to a dear friend. In the email, I share how I read this between 3:00AM and 5:00AM and could not sleep! It all made sense. Keeping members from the newspapers, TV, magazines, most every book and other sources of information; keeps them “in their place”. (if I may be so bold to use a WOFF phrase!) Also, as Frederick Douglass learned, “..there is something unnatural about slavery.” It is unnatural to not have access to the free flow of information. The choice to partake or not partake should be up to the individual, unhindered in any way.
“A common form of information control involves blocking out any critical or negative points of view.” Some cults simply forbid members to have access to any non-cult material such as newspapers, magazines, television or radio, and the Internet…”. These words from “Releasing the Bonds” by Steven Hassan (copyright 2000) make it very clear. Religious cults as well as other mind control groups, attempt to control the information available and thus “keep their members from running way”!
One main “breach in the dam of control” for me occurred when I searched the term “shepherding movement”. The similarities between the religious move of control in the 70’s and my life experiences at WOFF were too stark to ignore! That started the process of my “running away”. If the WOFF experience had not been so blatantly like the stories of control I was reading about; I may still be at there, today. Here are some links to the type of information I read:
There are plenty of other sources for this subject.
To my good WOFF readers: you may think that you have free access to all the information sources that you want. You just don’t “want to read the newspaper or watch television or freely surf the Internet”. I remember that rationalization tool. Is it really true or are the consequences of admitting to partaking of the “forbidden” too great for you to risk a violation? Remember– “there is something unnatural about slavery”. In reality, you had to give up your freedoms to continue to be a part of the group. Isn’t that “spiritual slavery”?
So, to the newest members: did you realize that in order to keep the job or housing you were given that you would have to give up your freedoms in so many areas? Has the spiritual bondage been too slow in developing for you to notice? How is that “..freedom in Christ” working out for you? My critics from WOFF say I don’t use enough scripture. For them:
“My precaution was] because of false brethren who had been secretly smuggled in [to the Christian brotherhood]; they had slipped in to spy on our liberty and the freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might again bring us into bondage [under the Law of Moses].
Galatians 2:3-5 ( Amplified version)
Please, consume the information on this site responsibly. Be sure to tell every member that you know at WOFF about this blog. It could very well save their life. There are readers at WOFF. I KNOW for sure and will share that post. Holocaust teacher: Are you reading this one?
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