Random thoughts on a variety of subjects
What is a very interesting and an important part of this equation, which I forget from time to time in thinking about the perplexities of how these people have followed a person who is obviously a maniac (or a devious manipulator), is the economic dependency factor which often really is the (often overlooked) engine which powers any controlled environment where people are willing to let go of their minds and spirits and reasoning capacities. It’s all very similar, actually, to what happens in many marriages, where, usually the woman, ends up surrendering her all to another person’s will, because he is the “bread winner” and he provides the ongoing security, and later she realizes that his (often increasing as the years go by) tyrannical behavior is a sort of hell. But, she can’t consider leaving, because by then she is far too dependent upon the income and accumulated assets for her to depart (having long abandoned her own self providing skills) and now with a couple of kids, launching out “into the world” would just be too daunting a prospect.
It was often the drive (or pull) that steered people to the 60’s communes… the hope and dream of a secure existence without having to face the challenges of making it out there in a work-a-day world.
Wayne is in many ways like the “lord” of a fiefdom in the feudalistic system of the middle-ages, where they had their communities of serfs bound to the feudal lords, primarily because the lords had the only right of the ownership of land and exclusive royal grants to the means of income. Those feudal lords controlled the means of livelihood for their people, who were, in effect, slaves to him, although somehow thinking of themselves that as part of his fiefdom they were more like a family. Those lords frequently took quite a bit of sexual license with the young maidens of the community (Wayne was not original in that) and, in fact, in some feudal cultures the lord had the privilege (or duty) to de-flower all young women prior to their being eligible for marriage.
Several factors describe this controlled state of dependency. First, Wayne’s ownership of a rent free, payment free place to live, puts him into a unique position of power which compels an allegiance from anyone fearing making it outside the protection of a financial support source. Housing is the primary consideration in being “on your own.” Many people surrendered all of their assets to Wayne as part of the requirements to be a part of the “kingdom.” Those people were immediately even more bonded, because they were “stripped” naked as it were of everything they had accumulated. Second, being able to provide the funds for the purchase of food and other provisions seals the bond (or bondage) and makes leaving, once you become used to the circumstances, a very difficult choice.
Fifty people not having to work (other than their own self-maintenance tasks), describes a society of dependence on whomever is controlling the purse strings. Sure, there are some elderly members contributing their social security checks, but the bulk of those 50 (as pointed out by another poster here) are not senior citizens. There is some hidden wealth, and some not so hidden, as the land itself is owned outright.. and it is tax free, because they are a religious group.
For a while in the Strong City encampment, people were able to work (and some permitted to reside) outside the compound, but it seems that during that period, various of the younger members begin to “get wise” and leave. Probably when Wayne realized that his control was slipping, he knew that he had to tighten the chains of dependence and so he put a stop to the outside work (and cut off further people joining).
Wayne financial resources might be vast (his budget there, according to one of his posts to the group is over $15,000 per month) from the years of tithing when the LOR group was huge and spread all over the world. Plus, I think that there are some people in far off lands who may have been influenced by his claims to divinity, who are sending him money with the hope that if he is indeed the Messiah that they will be included if they continue their financial support. Wayne’s control of those surrendered assets would also have enhanced his wealth, plus he was able to sell off about 700 acres (keeping 300) of his prime investment land when the market was high. He is the wealthy ruler with all of his subjects totally depending on him for their livelihood.
All of these younger people (like all the virgins) are in a very unique position, having never even seen the outside world and they would all have a even more of a view much like Lakeisha Sayer (Healed) to just regard “the world” as evil. Having everything provided for you and being able to live actually like the idle rich is a compelling preconditioning which would make a person far more receptive to ideas that their benefactor has some kind of special divine mission.
While financial dependence doesn’t explain it all… it is the foremost factor for many of the people. Put Wayne Bent in a church with everyone working normal jobs and certainly he could have followers (look at some of the mega-churches)… but, his ability to create an alternate reality where he defies the basic principles of sexual propriety which characterize the Christian religion (and others too) would be virtually eliminated. Isolation and total dependence is the ultimate enabler of domination of will and spirit and reason.