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Remnant Fellowship 21: 53 Standing Ovations and I Move to Brentwood!


nelliebelle1197

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I found an HBO Max free trial and watched all three episodes of The Way Down. It was all so much worse than I thought from just reading about RF and Gwen on FJ for years, and my opinion was already in the basement. I have a newfound respect for the former members who have recounted their experiences here, as extricating oneself from a culty, high control organization is hard. 

The very worst part of it all, for me, was the segment on the Smith child abuse/murder case. I cried at the suffering the boy must have endured. That father in particular seemed to hate the poor child. The medical examiner's diagram of the child's injuries was horrific, hardly an inch of his body was unscarred. Yet Gwen's smug ass and other RF sycophants had the nerve to be up in court supporting them, paying legal bills, talking about how loving these shit-ass parents were. Nobody with a shred of decency or love would stuff a child into a box and slam the top down like those assholes did. If nothing else, the abusive child rearing practices taught and encouraged by Gwen, the intolerance for normal child behavior, the emphasis on having godly appearing children, usurped humanity. I didn't think I could hate Gwen more, but this did it. Good riddance.

It was all just so weird. Joe's ex Natasha seemed so very normal in comparison to strange-ass Gwen. Her use of Holocaust victims as support for WD's promulgation of disordered eating as a diet was also repulsive. The hypocrisy of being a woman cult leader enforcing the patriarchy was also disgusting. There was only one queen bee and there would never be another one if she had anything to do with it. Rules for thee but not for me, no divorce except the one God has ordained is OK for me. Excuse me while I go vomit. That woman's inflated sense of herself was downright irrational.

Joe was lazy with no talent and had capitalized on his looks all his life. He too was not worth a dime, lobbing that false child sexual abuse allegation at Natasha. Totally out for himself, he married that blond cadaver looking woman because he knew he could fake religiosity and have a ball spending the cult's money. Every drunken video of them was so cringe, not a shred of natural interaction between them. One of the former RF members did say that Gwen's flip on divorce so she could conveniently marry Joe was part of her deconstruction, as she put it, Gwen could "miss her " with that noise.

I'm getting angry just writing this, so I'll stop here although there's much more I could say. The sudden death of so many on the leadership team was a severe blow to RF, and I truly don't think it will continue. The crash proved they aren't special no matter how they pushed that narrative.  Michael never wanted a leadership role, and Elizabeth doesn't appear to have properly grieved the loss of her first child, yet alone all of this. She can't handle being suddenly thrust into the top position despite all the rationalizing trying to avoid the crash being considered a tragedy. RF denies the realty of death, not healthy at all. Speaking of healthy, it was startling to see earlier photos of Elizabeth where she was so much better looking.  I would have been worried sick if my child dropped so much weight like that, but in a cult where thinness is next to godliness, Gwen was probably proud of her. So sick, all of it, just sick. Gwen was a pathological , power-hungry predator with religious delusions that made her even more dangerous. Time to go look at kitty pictures now. 

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1 hour ago, Nonbeliever said:

I have not watched the third segment of the documentary yet. I know of the Smith situation and the subsequent investigation from following the news at the time. Can someone please comment on how much detail is provided about the abuse and whether a sensitive person should avoid it? 

Fast-forward through it. ❤️ 

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Did Gwen teach baby training? Something like the teachings of Ezzo(that has led to babies starving to death) seems right up her alley.

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11 minutes ago, formergothardite said:

Did Gwen teach baby training? Something like the teachings of Ezzo(that has led to babies starving to death) seems right up her alley.

I’m not sure what exactly that is and honestly I’m scared to google it. She had a series of lessons about feeding children spiritually and physically but since I wasn’t a parent I never listened to it

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1 hour ago, Destiny said:

If you followed the story, I got the feeling that most of what was discussed was public knowledge at the time.

Very helpful, and sort of what I figured, so thanks.

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54 minutes ago, formergothardite said:

Did Gwen teach baby training? Something like the teachings of Ezzo(that has led to babies starving to death) seems right up her alley.

Seems like Gwen had her own twisted take on most things and I doubt that she would ever say she taught “like” anyone. But from what I know from family members it sounds a lot like Growing Kids Gods Way (Ezzo).  That shit is whack and Gwen’s is even further out there. I don’t hate many people, but what she persuaded people to do in the name of religion regarding child rearing will be tragic for generations and for that I really come close to hating her. I hope for her sake God is truly forgiving and gave her a chance to repent as she passed on. But honestly I wouldn’t be super sad if she rotted in hell for a bit. 

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Random thoughts:

In the first episode of the documentary where Gwen was being recorded for a deposition she was so measured in what she said and so...calm.  A sharp contrast to her hype public persona in front of the congregation.  I guess she needed applause and to be in control in order to be "herself". 

Joe just seemed so creepy- how did the other leaders not realize that he had never had a real job?!I 

I think the beginning of the end had to be the over-the-top wedding.  How anyone thought that was OK is beyond me.

 

 

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31 minutes ago, rabbitholejulie said:

I think the beginning of the end had to be the over-the-top wedding. 

Not to mention that completely fake engagement video -- particularly Gwen's fake gasp as Joe starts proposing to her.

Talk about willing suspension of disbelief. 

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I’m glad the documentary didn’t focus heavily on Gwen’s grandkids. They mentioned her family and showed group pictures, but they didn’t name any of the kids bedsides baby Henley who died. And they blurred out the face of Joe and Natasha’s daughter. Probably at the request of Natasha. I just think so many of these kids are already suffering, they don’t need to be the focus of the documentary too. Which was a good decision. Focus on the leaders. 

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5 hours ago, hoipolloi said:

Not to mention that completely fake engagement video -- particularly Gwen's fake gasp as Joe starts proposing to her.

Talk about willing suspension of disbelief. 

Both the engagement video and and the wedding video are like a movie- a very weird movie.  RF has a strange preoccupation with  weddings- to the point that a wedding counts as a church service.  ???  

I like, "willing suspension of disbelief"

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9 hours ago, rabbitholejulie said:

Random thoughts:

In the first episode of the documentary where Gwen was being recorded for a deposition she was so measured in what she said and so...calm.  A sharp contrast to her hype public persona in front of the congregation.

Joe just seemed so creepy- how did the other leaders not realize that he had never had a real job?!I  or US??

Seeing the documentary really shed light on all of this.  The whole thing was utterly creepy and I will never forget how finding this out made me understand why I knew something was so 'off.'

 

 

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16 hours ago, RFCult72 said:

Seeing the documentary really shed light on all of this.  The whole thing was utterly creepy and I will never forget how finding this out made me understand why I knew something was so 'off.'

 

 

Gwen and Joe were conning each other.  I would love to know if they figured that out at some point- I'm remembering one of their shows where he was by himself...

 

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1 hour ago, rabbitholejulie said:

Gwen and Joe were conning each other.  I would love to know if they figured that out at some point- I'm remembering one of their shows where he was by himself...

 

I think they figured it out but I will never know for certain..

 

Edited by RFCult72
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I think the last “Gwen and Joe” show they did was titled “Who is Joe Lara” where David Martin was playing the role of moderator voice asking them questions.  He asked them, “Are the two of you soul mates?” Gwen responded that she didn’t believe in soul mates and went on about Adam and Eve while Joe was making faces and almost rolling his eyes.  I think they were both upset with each other and she devised the title for that show and the  questions to be asked in response to her irritation with him.  Maybe reading into it too much, but maybe not.  I guess only time would have told their story like time does, unless it runs out.

Edited by CRAnn
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1 hour ago, CRAnn said:

I think the last “Gwen and Joe” show they did was titled “Who is Joe Lara” where David Martin was playing the role of moderator voice asking them questions.  He asked them, “Are the two of you soul mates?” Gwen responded that she didn’t believe in soul mates and went on about Adam and Eve while Joe was making faces and almost rolling his eyes.  I think they were both upset with each other and she devised the title for that show and the  questions to be asked in response to her irritation with him.  Maybe reading into it too much, but maybe not.  I guess only time would have told their story like time does, unless it runs out.

I saw that one.  The soul mate question had Gwen blabbing on... Joe looks like he is in pain. LOL  Also, did you see that part where Gwen says she will fly anywhere with Joe and that he is so safe, so safe when he flies.  Wow

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12 hours ago, CRAnn said:

I think the last “Gwen and Joe” show they did was titled “Who is Joe Lara” where David Martin was playing the role of moderator voice asking them questions.  He asked them, “Are the two of you soul mates?” Gwen responded that she didn’t believe in soul mates and went on about Adam and Eve while Joe was making faces and almost rolling his eyes.  I think they were both upset with each other and she devised the title for that show and the  questions to be asked in response to her irritation with him.  Maybe reading into it too much, but maybe not.  I guess only time would have told their story like time does, unless it runs out.

What's interesting is that in one of the Life with Gwen and Joe shows (the one about husband as protector-linked below) there is a clip of Joe (at about 5;51) reading his vows to Gwen and he says that she is his soul mate. So when I think about him rolling his eyes in response to HER response to that question, it makes me wonder...was he irritated with her because they had concocted this narrative and she blew their cover? 

 

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On 10/10/2021 at 10:35 AM, rabbitholejulie said:

In the first episode of the documentary where Gwen was being recorded for a deposition she was so measured in what she said and so...calm.  A sharp contrast to her hype public persona in front of the congregation.

When I saw the tiny clip in the promo, Gwen's meek, little 'I do' reminded me of the way Elizabeth Holmes said the same thing so sweetly and innocently at the beginning of her deposition.

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4 hours ago, freefromthin said:

What's interesting is that in one of the Life with Gwen and Joe shows (the one about husband as protector-linked below) there is a clip of Joe (at about 5;51) reading his vows to Gwen and he says that she is his soul mate. So when I think about him rolling his eyes in response to HER response to that question, it makes me wonder...was he irritated with her because they had concocted this narrative and she blew their cover? 

 

Thanks for posting this video.  Full of so much info!  Lots of talk about how Joe keeps that house secure. (wouldn't GOD protect Gwen from burglars?)  And those vows sound phoney (I am sorry to seem judgemental but GAG). And Gwen needs some blush. (I'm sorry!!!)

Edited by Baxsmom
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13 minutes ago, Baxsmom said:

Thanks for posting this video.  Full of so much info!  Lots of talk about how Joe keeps that house secure. (wouldn't GOD protect Gwen from burglars?)  And those vows sound phoney (I am sorry to seem judgemental but GAG). And Gwen needs some blush. (I'm sorry!!!)

I've always thought that as well. He has this breathy tone that makes it seem so dramatic, too. 

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18 hours ago, Baxsmom said:

Also, did you see that part where Gwen says she will fly anywhere with Joe and that he is so safe, so safe when he flies.  Wow

Wow! I missed that. But That is for sure a big red flag that says he is def NOT safe to fly with!

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20 hours ago, Baxsmom said:

I saw that one.  The soul mate question had Gwen blabbing on... Joe looks like he is in pain. LOL  Also, did you see that part where Gwen says she will fly anywhere with Joe and that he is so safe, so safe when he flies.  Wow

Gwen took such a risk with Joe.  A financial risk for sure- divorce in her circumstances was a huge hit, especially since her husband was with her from the beginning of her business.  And to risk her reputation...I guess she really believed that God sent her Joe.

One thing that the documentary didn't touch on is that Joe went from being a handyman to being her bodyguard.  I doubt she had a bodyguard before Joe...so Gwen really stuck to the narrative of him being her protector.

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50 minutes ago, CRAnn said:

I just want to say how grateful I am for FJ and also for the HBO documentary.  I went back and read all the RF threads here and I cannot say how many times I have watched all three episodes of the documentary.  Both have served as an intervention for me.  
 

I was never an RF member, but have been off and on Weigh Down for 22 years and have probably bought everything Gwen ever sold.  For every person who joined RF, I wonder how many others like me have supported Gwen over the years.  
 

Though their “regional representatives” reached out to me many times and I came dangerously close to them one time… I ultimately pushed them away because I was at that same time in domestic violence counseling and ready to leave my abusive husband of 23 years.  It was 2004 and I was certain Gwen would have discouraged me from leaving him even though he was physically and every other kind of abusive.  I remember sensing danger and not wanting to step out of one abusive relationship and into another.  Thankfully the domestic violence counseling taught me to be on the alert for that possibility.  
 

I left that marriage and never took another call from the Weigh Down staff, BUT still… off and on “followed” RF and WD over the years.  Lately I’ve learned that intuitive eating coupled with intermittent fasting actually works better for me than Weigh Down, and  I’ve always known Gwen was wrong about having to be “all in” to keep weight off.  But the emotional pull to her “message” has been stronger than meets the eye.  

Just glad FJ exists because it’s like a beacon of light.. a very real, glaring light shining right into sleepy eyes sometimes, but a LIGHT!  

 I am very touched by your bravery.  Getting out of an abusive relationship is so hard and I am happy you are safe.  Also, I am very glad you dodged the RF bullet!    

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8 hours ago, CRAnn said:

Just glad FJ exists because it’s like a beacon of light.. a very real, glaring light shining right into sleepy eyes sometimes, but a LIGHT!  

I’m in awe of your strength and bravery. Thanks for being willing to share your story with us. 

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Hearing from Gail Wilson and the other women in the documentary who were pressured  by RF to remain in marriages and whose children were used as pawns against them…. I  don’t have words.  May Ted Anger and other RF leaders who participated in those actions reflect on what their actions actually meant in peoples’ lives.  
 

There are reasons why church members need to be taught to lead and need to grow into positions of leadership, but the ultimate problem with Remnant was Gwen herself…  her lack of humility evident in her inability to set pride aside and let a group actually lead… not to mention that the authority “doctrine” she espoused gave too much authority to the church.  

Now the problem is the so called leadership group’s inability to understand that THEY need to lead RF foreword, including determining who or who all among them have the ability to teach.  Surely Elizabeth and Michael should be heal from all they’ve been through.  How can they do that while the so called leadership stand by waiting for them to be the next Gwen.

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