Gathering Minds

Penance In Purgatory

This is a ‘come clean’ sort of report where I divulge a bit of information about myself and my actions regarding the Free Zone America (fza.org) website. Though the website has been long laid to rest there is some information which I would like to be made known in regard to a particular chain of events.

The Privacy Statement as presented in 1998:

Privacy Statement

FreeZone America strongly believes that electronic privacy is crucial to the success and encouragement of those interested in personal spiritual freedom. To that end, we adhere to the following privacy policies:

  • All correspondence is treated confidentially
  • No more than the minimum amount of personal information will be collected from you in the course of providing any services that you request
  • We will not distribute your personal information in any form
  • You always have access to your personal information
  • We do not use system logs or other records for any other purpose than to perform routine system maintenance.
  • We are not responsible for the content or privacy practices of any linked site
  • We aim to create a safe place for our visitors. We encourage you to share in that aim.

By 2000 the Privacy Statement had been quietly removed. What happened?

The forums on the website suffered a particular problem and it had to do with the so-called ‘FreeZone’1. What these people would do is post in a negative manner using all sorts of identities, pushing their own agenda. The forums became a hot bed of subterfuge with it’s main target focused upon one person - Virginia McClaughry. My answer to this was to provide Virginia an avenue of straightening this all out. I do not know if it was she or I who came up with the solution of exposing poster’s IP addresses in order to track who was posting what. The point being that doing so violated my own privacy policy.

We do not use system logs or other records for any other purpose than to perform routine system maintenance.

In fact, I did use systems logs for other purposes than to perform routine system maintenance. Even though that purpose was to expose those who sought to undermine Virginia, and as a by-product the website forum, the fact remains that I violated my own policy. In order to correct that I quietly removed the Privacy Statement.

But that was after the fact.

It does not matter that only those who abused the forum had their IP’s revealed, the fact remains that I broke the privacy policy. This is like breaking one’s own word and is the sort of thing that will come around and cause repercussions. I knew this then and acted accordingly.

One can justify my actions by saying that only the trouble makers had their IP’s exposed and justifiably so. While that may seem proper it has nothing to do reality. In getting caught up in dealing with Virginia’s treatment by the rabble-rousers I completely forgot about the Privacy Statement. By the time it was pointed out to me it was too late to modify it or expand upon it - the damage was done. Not damage to the rabble-rousers but to my own integrity.

To fix that I would no longer administer a public forum and would withdraw from the public scene. And so I have.

In withdrawing one no longer becomes either a piece or a player in whatever game one is attracted to. In fact, this is my customary stance anyway so the end result of my previous actions made it possible for me to avoid falling off the deep end of conviction. Thank goodness!

In hindsight the Privacy Statement was more of a delineation of my own human characteristics than it was a true statement of purpose and plan. While the human may jump to conclusions it is not my nature to do so and so I am content in the penance of withdrawing the human factor and bringing forth the ever present spiritual nature.

My nature is to track the balance of nature. This is what the website and forums were about and for that there is no penance. In the trap of cause and effect tantalizing tidbits come to be throw and strewn about on the Road to Rome. But I am not on that road.

Thanks for listening to my tale.


  1. Although I label this as ‘FreeZone’ it is not limited to such.