The People of the Sign Paperback – October 9, 2012
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I met the author, Wade Fransson, in 1994 when he was a minister in Germany and I was there on business. We lost contact with each other for 25 years, and now have reconnected through his writing and my reading of this book. Wade and I were in the same fundamentalist church, I went through many of the same experiences he did, but our lives were certainly far from identical. When we learn a lesson there is often pain involved, since lessons usually require learning from our mistakes what not to do or how to do things better. Reading this book was cathartic for me in many deep, personal ways. Wade has given us all a great example in this travelogue of his life in how to recognize the subtle hints that may show us whether we are doing the next right thing, sometimes small things and sometimes making major changes in our lives.
His writing style is very good, keeping my interest, giving hints of future events, and looking back on all he has done and profiting by the introspection. Fluent in Swedish, English, and German, and very knowledgeable in French and Russian, he has traveled much in Europe and the USA and has wisdom for us all if we are willing to learn.
I am looking forward greatly to reading his two other books.
Some might accuse Wade of "whitewashing" stories of life in the WCG, but not everyone is one of the walking wounded. It is a fact that some were sorely mistreated by either College professors or their local minister. It really depended on where you lived and who your Pastor was.
Wade took a calculated risk in revealing some his personal struggles and hang ups. I am saddened that some have criticized him from that perspective. All I can say is: "Walk a mile in his shoes.........don't criticize or accuse......vilify or abuse..... till you walked a mile in his shoes....."
Wade does an excellent job of summarizing the beliefs and practices of the WCG. He also relates some of his negative experiences without bitterness or rancor. If you want an inside and balanced view of the WCG from that era, this book is for you.
After an abusive childhood, he walks into adulthood carrying the baggage of that awful childhood. However he honestly faces his past, himself, his actions, & motivations with a raw honesty that is both courageous & at times frightening. For anyone facing similar challenges from their past, or facing any kind of spiritual crisis or questions, you may well find Wade's journey to be inspiring. It may touch a place in your soul, as it did for me.