Thought Reform
Thought Reform


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Dear Franz

I would like to be able to give you some incisive feedback on your article
but I am afraid that I am not as familiar with the political aspects nor do
I retain enough information about The Way as you yourself.

Instead, as I was reading your article, it brought many memories of details
I thought I had forgotten.  The easiest way for me to tell you about Opus
Dei is to tell you my experience of it.  I have never told anyone the
details as some of them are so incredible that I find it difficult to
believe them myself.

I left school at 15 mainly because of bullying.  Over the summer I had to
think about my future, my mother noticed an advertisement in the local
newspaper about a training course in catering, two years, residential, with
an outcome equivalency of a third year com. chef.  I quite liked the idea of
an intensive course (and of course a chef's uniform seemed quite
appealing!), so I applied for the course.

On the day of the interview I remember being interviewed by the director and
a numerary called RRR-girl, separately.  The only thing I remember from the
interview was being asked about how I felt about my father being disabled.

Within the first few weeks of the training course, I received a lot of
attention from RRR-girl, we talked late into the night (about the saints!)
and I became quite emotionally attached to her.  I remember on my 16th
birthday, RRR-girl and I sitting late into the night when she began to hug
and eventually kiss me.  I do not want you to think that this is one of
those perverse e-mails, indeed, nothing progressed sexually beyond those
acts, but they were repeated and I eventually fell in love with this woman.

Near Christmas of that year, all of the trainees went to a house in
BBBBB-town for a retreat.  Here I decided that I could not
envisage a life without RRR-girl and that I should really have a vocation
(practical solution).  So I "whistled" as they call it (joined the work).
Initially, this was a lot of fun, I received lots of attention and as you
said yourself, they are all so nice.  I was told about the weekly chat, and
eventually about mortification.  I also had to write to Don Alvro to ask his
permission to join.  I think what was so much fun was (apart from hormones)
the sense of belonging to something good, and the fact that it was so
secret, as you mentioned in your article, the secret language of opul dei.

And so my life of prayer, attention, mortification, indoctrination and
liaison with RRR-girl continued for the first few months.  Then RRR-girl
was sent to BBBBB-town (I was in ZZZ-town) and the bubble burst, as they say.
Over the next year I came under increasing pressure to go to QQ-town, a
training centre for assistant numeraries, I knew that if I went there I
would never get out and at this time I had increasing concerns about the
inequalities inherent in the work.

These concerns were mainly founded on my experiences over those 18 months.
Some examples include:

How illogical some of the stories about Mons Escriva were: for example how
he one day decided to put himself and Opus Dei to the test by asking God if
for any reason He thinks that Opus Dei should not continue their work then
to let him know by giving him a sign that very moment!  How, one day he
asked Don Alvro to turn his back whilst he (Escriva) mortified his flesh
(later Don Alvro described seeing splatters of blood and how much a mytar
Escriva was).  The whole concept seemed contradictory, if somebody was a
true mytar, would he show it in public?

How discriminatory the work was in terms of class and sex.  As I mentioned,
assistant numeraries provided the domestic work for both the male houses and
the female, though the men were prioritised of course.  How assistants ate
at a different time and place to the numeraries.  How assistants called the
numeraries Miss instead of by their names.  And eventually to concluding
that (although I was indeed told that my work was just as valuable) that it
was no more than a life of slavery (to an ideology based on inaccuracy and

How I got to know one potential recruit who was an albino and she was not
allowed to become a numerary, I was told that this was because "we need very
healthy people to carry out the work as numeraries" and that albino's tend
to become prone to health problems as they age.

I then began to plot my departure, initially I tried to persuade my director
to allow me to become a super numerary and live outside.  This was
impossible, I was told, it was QQ-town or nothing.  So I choose nothing, and
indeed life after opus dei did seem bleak.  No structure, no values, no
saints and of course no RRR-girl.  Over the next months I was contacted
frequently and asked if I had reconsidered my position yet, whether I was
prepared to go to QQ-town or not.  Eventually I met with my director in
QQ-town and was asked what else I could possibly do with my life, no
education, no money, no prospects.  Despite this forced observation of
reality, I decided that no prospects were better than their prospects and
had no further communication with the organisation.

> as i have also written in my FAQ: i think they are mostly good people with
> good hearts who want to sacrifice them self for a good cause and i am not
> put of by their zeal. instead i fell that i have to help them and tell
> them that they are misguided and that they have been talked into believing
> something is a good cause that is not so bright at all.

You must be bored with this lengthy mail so I will sign off, there was not
one piece of information in your article that I disagree with, indeed I
could go through point by point and offer examples.  Do no be put of by the
zeal of opus dei members and friends.  They are very persuasive, very
powerful and commited to a life of hard work and apostlate.  In any equation
this spells trouble to those who disagree.

I hope you do get to visit zzz-land soon, it is changing rapidly but the real
land is just as beautiful as ever.




> how do you think about that today? do you think she deliberately used this
> hugs and kisses to recruit you or do you think that it was a sign of real
> affection for you? or do you think she had to "struggle" with her sexual
> feelings towards women on her side? (not that i think that this would be
> bad - i am very sceptical what their condemnation of homosexuality
> concerns - but of course it would be a struggle for her if she believes in
> opus dei's rigid sexual morals).

I think my answer to this is perhaps a combination of all.  I think that
RRR-girl may have been a lesbian, my director in a conversation about the
subject indicated that this was not the first time that RRR-girl had been
involved in such a relationship.  I think RRR did have to struggle with her
sexuality but was very much in love with The Work, first and foremost.  I
think that through doing apostolate this relationship arose, I don't think
it is common practise - ie encouraging romantic relationships as opposed to
encouraging emotional dependence with the person who is trying to recruit.
I think people with homosexual tendencies can be attracted to The Work,
firstly because as you say they try to recruit good looking members,
secondly because apostolate involves meeting the potential recruits needs
and in order to do that their needs must be discovered, this involves
forming a deep personal relationship, not unlike the initial stages of a
romantic relationship.  The fact that this is done with a member of your own
sex lends credence to my point.  Thirdly I think this is controlled through
the rigid beliefs about sexual feelings ie the encouragement of physical
mortification for just such feelings.  Finally new recruits are encouraged
to then love their sisters/brothers just as much as they love their
recruiter, leading me to conclude that there is an awareness and
encouragement of a deep personal bond and that their are also contingency
plans for dealing with the individuals feelings after they have joined The

> about which year was that?

This was about 198X.

As usual I have gone on too long and am now late.  I hope this answers your

Bye for now


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