Part Two of Two
by Guest Blogger Troy “Zooman” Cook
When you go out looking for the truth, there’s good odds you are going to find it. Chances are good it may not be what you expected. That doesn’t mean you don’t go looking. I learned that lesson 18 years ago when I hit rock bottom and asked the Lord for help. I had to face down some hard truths about who I’d become. It wasn’t easy, but it needed doing. You can’t run from things, you have to learn to face them.
It was mid July and I was getting more and more information that I didn’t like. Earlier that month, site Head Coach Grimes had been abruptly removed from the site. It was presented that he had decided to move on, but it struck folks kind of odd that his account had been totally deleted. All of his blogs were just gone. People were understandably upset and confused. If he left on good terms, why was his profile gone?
I’d made the decision to reach out to another former Transformation.com member, Michelle T. She’d abruptly left the site the previous year while she was a featured story. I’d asked her a few times before what happened. She refused to discuss it. I was heading to an Austin T.com meeting and decided to call her and ask again. After listening to me explain my concerns for a bit, she agreed to meet up with me to talk. Over lunch we shared our stories. (Read Why I Left Transformation.com by MichelleT here) I was shocked, but at the same time it fit in with other things I was hearing.
We left that meeting not really sure what was going to happen next. I knew one thing, I had to keep looking. As August went past I got more stories and more information. It seemed that Stoney hadn’t just been hitting on my friend. I spoke with several women who he’d approached. It felt like he was using the information from their assignments to target them. This was a pattern I’d seen before when I was going through AA. In other cases he was approaching them as a Christian, using their faith to manipulate them into uncomfortable situations.
As a Christian and as a recovering alcoholic, both things upset me. In AA they made it clear that you were not supposed to engage in relationships with the people you were sponsoring. People are vulnerable when they are working through things and a sponsor is in a position to manipulate them.
I sent a message to the site voicing my concerns. I got a form letter back that didn’t answer anything. I was done. I wanted out. I started deleting my profile information. Only thing was, I couldn’t get my actual profile off. I didn’t want to be a shadow account. I wanted to be gone. I figured there was one sure way to get totally kicked off the site. Start a thread talking about what I thought was happening.
On September 12th I posted a thread on Bill Phillips’ web site Transformation.com. In that post I stated the reasons I was leaving the site. I felt if I mentioned some of the things that were happening on the site that my profile would be totally deleted, which is ultimately what I wanted.
I described how 2 years earlier Bill sent me an email via the site basically getting on me about a remark I jokingly made on a picture he had posted on his profile. That event left a bad taste in my mouth. I also discussed how I believed Coach Grimes was using the site and the 18 assignments to take advantage of women on the site, including a friend of mine based on discussions with her and several other women on the site.
I felt within a few hours I would be removed from the site like many of my friends had been removed over that two plus year period. After my post, I felt my profile would be deleted and possibly someone from the site would contact me to discuss my allegations. To my great surprise, Bill or the powers that be decided to leave my post up. As a matter of fact, Bill was the second person to respond to my thread, offering an apology. He then said how I had reacted out of emotion with my other statements and would like to meet in person to address these accusations, apologize to the people I mentioned and discuss ways to prevent similar occurrences.
At that point in time I thought Bill didn’t know what I had found out about Coach Grimes. I wasn’t speaking from emotion, but from fact, and was hoping that several people would eventually come forward to validate what I was claiming. I did think though, that once the first person came forward to validate what I had to say, the thread would be deleted.
Well, people did validate my claims. The thread rapidly grew to twelve pages. I started to hope there would be some real change. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I’d been deleted, then undeleted and asked to come back on to answer Bill. What bugged me was how people were acting. I’d have folks telling me in private thank you. But they wouldn’t say it in public. There were other people who were supposed to be senior members of the community who just were ripping people for coming out and verifying what I’d said. I was floored that a site that was created to help people change or transform their lives so they could regain their health and spiritual well being could post the statements they did. People were downright mean.
When the post first started generating responses, I had a lot of people email me via Facebook, personal email, my work email and text congratulating me and telling me I had done a noble thing. That it took a lot of courage for me to do that. I got messages that they knew stuff like this was going on and someone needed to speak up. But when the site was shut down for “maintenance” some of the same people starting asking me what was the point of my post and how was this helping others. When Bill’s profile disappeared a few days after that the messages got really ugly. I got messages from a several champions even telling me I needed to work more on these 18 assignments and I had no right to accuse Bill of anything and that these women knew what they were getting themselves into. Soon after that I was removed for good.
What happened to doing the right thing? What happened to getting rid of concealment? What happened?
I sit here and still wonder how it all got to this. From me getting involved in a vision that I believed was being led by a well respected fitness expert. His vision was to bring our country from worst to first in ten years in helping Americans regain and maintain their health. What do I do next?
I just keep doing what I’ve been doing only a little different. I’m involved in a bunch of local area fitness activities including bike events and running charity races. I’ve found a new online community at BFLSpirit.com (TorchSpirit.com) which lets me keep reaching out to help people and doesn’t make people feel scared to speak up. Being the change isn’t about being some guru. It’s helping people find what works good for them, encouraging them, and supporting them.
Just like AA, that change happens one day at a time.
Troy, I’ll tell you again how proud I am of your choice to stand up for what you believe.
Leaving t.con for me was the best decision as well. All the worship going on over there was truly taking away from each individual transformation going on.
Hey Zooman ~ Thank you so much for putting your heart out there. I truly joyneed your story and thank you so much for putting it out there. You are a fabulous leader and I just loved being part of your group at ZoomanGroup. I always thought it was a bit cultish at t.com, but stayed because of the great friends and wonderful support I received from friends like you.I applaud you for doing what you felt needed to be done, you are and always will be the ONE to look up to for guidance, help, support and love. I am so lucky to have you as a friend and will always support, admire and be thankful for our friendship.Keep the faith my friend!Your PBC Friend,Dieanna
Thanks for sharing, Troy. The censorship alone was just srange to me and I felt it big time. You could almost feel Bill lurking in the background, censoring. I heard of things he said to champions, too, about what they can and can’t do or can or can’t say. Freaky. I am still looking for a site not affiliated with a product or guru. That would be a nice find. Have a great day! Janelle
join us at http://www.BFLSpirit.com
Hey Troy! Thank you for starting to share your ourjney here. It means a lot to hear what went on with you, because it was jarring when everything hit the fan in public. You’re an incredible guy, and I’m so sad to see most of the Houston Crew has dissolved and are no longer part of the mission. I can’t help but be sad about that part. Whatever happened behind the scenes, I am thankful to have met you and Michelle and a ton of people who have come to mean so much to me. Personally, you were always a champion in my eyes and always will be. You attracted some of the best people in that ZOOMAN group, people I still look up to this very day. Love your spirit and the generosity of it.
Not sure what I want to say here…as I was removed and every thread and comment etc for knowing Bill’s long list of dirty laundry and techniques and had years of friends gone with that 1 action but yet the years of actions of mine were left unnoticed or cared about for so long by so many as if I had a red x over my chest or the plague..I am so glad so many have come forward and done noble gestures for some..my life will never be in some ways the same but yet it is so much better because I listened to my heart and truths. You have always been a great person and a very special friend and I love what you and Susan stand for….it is to me what transformation in general is supposed to stand for…not what the generic,man made for profit or recognition stand for but true soul and charachter. I have always been proud to call you friend and so many others that walk the walk not talk the talk for some ultimate prize at the end as the real prize will always be being who God intended you to be and to live as God would intend and that is always to be kind and compassionate to others and certainly not to delete people as if they are flies on a fly swatter. People matter and this concept of “Be The Change” is Ghandi’s concept and other great leaders that I never saw act in any manner contary to thier beliefs or sell stories to promote themselves. They just lived the life as a example….I follow good examples of people and i follow you and Susan down the yellow brick road to feed the Boxers and watch the horses play (((hugs)) friend xox,Laura & Baby Reggie
Thanks Troy :<)
Glad you have moved on and forward, and your character and mission to help others has only grown from this. Rock on brother – one day at a time, Paul :<)
I’m glad you wrote this, Troy! =) Stay strong.
I’m very saddened by things that happened there.
On a personal note, Troy, I want to thank you for your story. It brings me peace, relief, and resolve to know that I was not alone in my confusion and suspicions about being spied on, lied to, and manipulated.
I wanted (I think we all wanted) so badly for T.com to be the place it pretended to be. I believe all of us who stayed (despite that nagging, gut feeling that something wasn’t right) did so because it was almost impossible to believe that someone who had such a deep influence on our lives could care only about fame and fortune.
It is still hard for me to swallow that Bill Phillips looks at this whole thing as a big game, but I have finally accepted, that’s all it is.
I also want to thank you from a human level. Your story proves over and over again that truth will always shine brighter than deceit. I believe the reason many of us never said anything when we were booted off, scolded or reprimanded, was because we knew that, eventually, the truth would reveal itself. I realized when it would take some time, but I also knew it would happen, as it has.
The truth has been revealed – in your story, in Michelle’s story, and in every story that others will now be willing to tell because of you. Thank you for that.
Truth is power. As long as any organization conducts itself under the cloak of deception and control, its power is temporary.
In a barrel of good apples, it only takes one to spoil the whole bunch. I, for one, am glad to be out of the barrel and happy you are too!
Love, respect and admiration to you my friend,
Troy, from the minute we met, I knew you were a good one. You have aywlas stood for truth and kindness and I, too, am thankful to call you friend.I think what strikes me most in your story is the sadness so many of us feel, that we were brought together in an environment of caring and support, but caring and support was not the agenda at T.com.It took a long time to figure it out and a much longer time to accept that T.com was not what it appeared to be. In all of it though, I am grateful for the amazing relationships that have thrived outside the T.com environment and I am especially happy to call you my friend, Troy.Thank you for sharing. I look forward to the continuation!
So sad… there was a huge amount of potential for good at t.com. I wish things had ended (or had been able to continue)differently for you and many others.
Gosh the more I read the more I am considering deleting my profile on there. I only go back to check on my girls that are still on there. I have never ever felt the awe and worship that a lot of people do there. Never really felt the desire to travel to CO. I never could understand the coat drive thing where TCOM members were asked to SEND coats to CO. Why not your local chapter? It does get cold here as well. There are just several things that I just don’t feel are right about the site.
Your post is what really brought me the attention of what was going on and I appreciate it!
I never got the fact that you had to give in Bill/T.com’s name. I mean if I donate coats here, it’s just as good as a coat there. The difference is Bill Phillips Transformation.com doesn’t get the recognition. Now some might argue it’s an “accountability” thing. Well if I have to be accountable to give to others…then how genuine is that gift?
I don’t have a problem with the concept. I have a problem with the idea that a transformation has to be combined with a marathon, or with a coat drive. Those are external motivators which aren’t going to help drive an internal change. Because at some level, there’s a desire for recognition and acknowledgement.
You’ve got to do this for YOU. Because it’s right for you. Otherwise it’s hollow.
Exactly Clara, Transforming your life isn’t meaning you lost 100 lbs you ran a marathon, you gave more coats to a good will then anyone else or you posted more comments then others or spent more money to go to an event.
If I can’t afford the event to be there in person, what is wrong with being there in spirit, I sure was there running for Mike in Oct in spirit as I typed on my computer. My heart was there.
I took 4 coats and 3 bags of nice clothes to my local good will, It’s not just people in Co that need things, we have alot of people right hear in Ms that are happy to get those things.
I can comment away on blogs but it doesn’t matter unless I have something to say, so I comment when my heart tells me, this is the right time to say something
I loose wt the best I can, I eat and I work on my problems I do the best I can under each differnt situation, I give with all my heart, I live life to the fullest that is possible for me.
I am unique as each one of us are.
Do your best in everything and be proud and happy with your choices, that’s all that is needed, no competition to be a better person then somebody else,
Always try to be a better person but don’t strive to be better then others, that’s what in seemed that T.com was all about, Do this if you want to be as good as me! bah humbug!
I am proud to be me
Edie, I never could understand the coat drive thing where TCOM members were asked to SEND coats to CO. Why not your local chapter? It does get cold here as well.
Exactly how I felt, I said in my holiday challenge there that I collecting coats from my family and bringing to the local good will. I had a champion message me that I needed to send them to Co. I asked WHY, it gets cold here too.
It was all a thing to build up BP because he got the credit, the people that donated didn’t.
I sponsered a little girl from JC Penny for a wish list for an angel, Some thought that was wonderful but the so called Champs didn’t even mention anything to me.
When I do something, I do it with my heart and soul because I want to not because someone said I need too.
When I feel good inside knowing I did something nice and get treated like so what, so and so did this it sure makes you feel empty. T.com made me feel like a looser and not good enough on matter what I did, that’s not the type of people I choose to associate with. As I said, when I do something, I do it with all my heart and I don’t want some so called Champ making me feel less then perfect because I didn’t do it in the name of BILL PHILLIPS!
Brilliant posts Troy. Never was a huge fan of t.com but created a profile early on. I still am not able to delete my profile. Like many, I never had a good vibe about the site and did not post many things over there. I have met some pretty fantastic people through BFL and for that I am grateful, but you will not see me worshipping Bill Phillips. Never cared for the man, but liked the program (BFL).
Troy,Thank you for telling your story. I felt our group to be an inrnisipg and nurturing place. I enjoyed partnering with you in helping to build a team that brought together fabulous and amazing people. I’m sorry it ended in a way that goes against what Zooman group stood for. I feel blessed to have met and to know you. The friends made in group will be friends forever who I can count on. You are a person of integrity and I admire and have always been inspired by your giving nature. Your Friend Akways, Kathleen