Selfer Chart with Comments

Contributed by Tammi McQ., comments by M. Irons, larger view here


This chart was widely distributed sometime in the 1990's in conjunction with an often-given course of instruction on how to deal with the self life. Betty gave these workshops, and Dan Notti, perhaps others as well. I was still in the Assembly just as this teaching was beginning to take hold. It is an adaptation of material taught by Charles Solomon in his Handbook to Happiness. It was initially introduced into the Assembly as the answer to special problems faced by individuals who had a background of sexual abuse, which included difficulty trusting God and authority figures, unwanted intrusive thoughts, nightmares and depression. The standard Assembly haranguing on denying the flesh had not been working very well for these folks.

I am not an expert on Dr. Solomon's books, but I was sent by Betty to one of his Exchanged Life conferences. I came away convinced that his material would be very helpful for certain individuals. It seemed to me at the time that Solomon had a detailed program for how deal with besetting sins or the results of deep inner wounds using basic truths of the Gospel to renew the mind. But Betty seized upon the Solomon material as a tool for mind control, not just a way to meet certain people's special needs.

Looking for the first time at this chart after being away from the Assembly for many years was an odd experience. After I read the top portion from left to right - "My Problem...the Selfer's Prayer...Praise God I'm Here" - my first reaction was, "I don't identify with this sequence at all, because I don't have a 'PROBLEM'." That was a nice moment, realizing that my life is good and I am happy in faith. Then it dawned on me that in the Assembly I always had a PROBLEM (even when I felt I was "rejoicing") because there was constant pressure against my well-being and the well-being of my family and loved ones. That was just the normal state of life in such a high-demand authoritarian totalistic group. Betty had recognized that Solomon's charts could be adapted to deal with everyone's problem.

Now I understand why some people still feel that the Solomon charts helped them, and others remember them with a cold shudder. Even though I no longer agree with everything Solomon says (a topic for another article), his basic approach is sound--renewing the mind by a cognitive-behavioral approach using biblical truths. Some folks were genuinely helped by this. But using Solomon's charts and The Selfer's Prayer to get people to submit to Assembly requirements and have a better attitude was wrong and cultic. The bottom half of the page, "Overcoming Is a Choice", charts life in the Assembly: There was always a Point of Conflict (i.e. all those times where one had to deny one's true self and one's personal relationship to God to submit to Assembly requirements and counsel), and failure to choose correctly would lead to Death (no matter that you were a born-again believer). The charts and the Selfer's Prayer became tools for control.

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