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Old 08-28-2012, 02:12 AM   #6
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Default Re: Testimony from Europe

Dear GraceOfChrist,

A regular reader of this forum sent me a copy of your testimony posted here and I felt I could not stay silent. So much of what you've said rings true with what I've experienced in the past, as well as very recently. Especially your question about whether you could marry a zealous sister of the recovery.

I grew up in the LC. I became a Christian and was baptized around the time I was 12. As a child of an elder and full-timer, most of my life revolved around the LC. During my teen years I attended several of the "Summer School of Truth" conferences. It was there where I began to question the practices of the LC.

There was so much I didn't understand about the practices. We were forced to pray read in a very set pattern. If you didn't participate, you were singled out and told to. We would have to stand on our chairs and shout "Praise the Lord" at the ceilings as loud as we could. After messages if there were no people getting up to testify willingly, they were publicly volunteered. As a young teen I stayed silent, too afraid to voice my questions and unsure if my questions would mark me as an unbeliever.

After a couple of years (my last "Summer School" I believe) I finally found the courage to ask what was up with these practices. I asked a brother why, if God is all knowing and all encompassing, did I have to shout things that weren't in my heart at Him? Would HE not know I did not mean the things I said, that I was saying these things to satisfy the brothers? I was quickly told that I did not understand, and that this was the way you exercised your spirit. I will admit that at the time it was mostly teenage rebellion, but it did puzzle me. I asked a few more times, different brothers in different localities over the next little while, and no one could answer my question to my satisfaction. It was always "that is the way you exercise your spirit." I too had questions about why everything was "Brother Lee this, Brother Lee that." Despite having found the courage to question some practices, I never found the courage to ask one question - is Witness Lee infallible? Regardless of anything or everything he knows, is he not still just a man? Even to my young eyes it was apparent to me that he was held in reverence and could not be questioned.

For the next few years I'd go to conferences, if only to stay in touch with friends. With that as my only motivation for staying it is probably needless to say I eventually left the LC for good in my early 20's. Again mostly out of rebellion but also because nobody could answer my questions. I'd seen friends from the LC go off to young people's trainings and come back whipped into a frenzy, spouting catchphrases and doctrine. "Brother Lee says..." I couldn't talk to them - socially or spiritually. There was only one way. One. Any variance was wrong. My questions, apparently, were the result of not being in my spirit even though I would ask for clarification on their stance.

I realize I'm focusing a lot on the negative here and have to say it was not all like that. There were joyous times, real heart-felt testimony and messages I remember. I still think about some brothers who I looked forward to hearing a message from. But I've opened a floodgate that has been closed for a very long time and it is hard to filter at the moment.

For ages I did not meet anywhere - I'd turned my back on God and lived like it. I knew He was with me, watching over me, but I paid no attention. There were times when my conscience would flare up (lots of them actually) and I'd turn back to the Lord briefly before I'd resume living my life my way.

Fast forward through some very difficult times, and I've found myself seeking again (there is nothing like personal tragedy to bring you back to the Lord.) I've attended meetings here and there with different groups, finding none to my satisfaction. I'll always find something wrong. "A good message, but..." "Enjoyed the hymns, but..." All this despite knowing my thoughts and conceptions are the result of overexposure to the LC and how things are "supposed" to be done.

A short time ago, I met someone in the LC I had known previously and we fell for each other. This is where your testimony hits me. I read your post not 30 minutes after hanging up after a heated discussion with this someone. Despite all of my misgivings, I'd agreed that I'd at least attend the Lord's table meetings with this person. Over the course of a few months I've attended several LC meetings and have found that nothing, really, has changed. Though like you, I did notice that no one brings a bible anymore. And also like you I did enjoy the hymns, but immediately after the singing stops my guard goes up. Every verse of the hymn is still pray read or shouted ad nauseum. Screaming and shouting. I'm not saying it can't be genuine, but it feels so rehearsed and pre-meditated most of the time. I was shocked to hear that there are no longer messages as well. And the prophesising, just parroting what was said previously - or so it felt. That is not to say I did not enjoy some of the speaking. There were some testimonies that were extremely enjoyable, full of life. But still, to me, so much feels like programmed response and performing for the elders.

I asked this person why things were being done the way they were being done, and immediately got a programmed response. A lot of the terminology I remembered from back when I was in, but new ones as well. All these phrases, the repetition of meaningless words. They are unfortunately easy to spot, even if you donít know the new ones. I asked why there are no bibles. I was told they weren't needed, that the verses they needed were in the morning revival books. All the saints reading the morning revival books across the globe was described to me as being necessary for the ďoneness.Ē I asked what would happen if you testified based on something that wasn't in the morning revival books. I didn't get a straight answer. I asked if Witness Lee is no longer on this earth, does that mean there is nothing more to be learned from the word? I asked why only his teachings were taught? I was assured that he had found what was needed out of the bible. Despite telling this person I did not have a problem with their meeting in the LC, I was still told I was being negative and attacking unnecessarily. For asking simple questions. When I told this person that I was genuinely seeking just not through the LC exclusively I was told that the LC is Godís movement on earth. Period.

I, too, apologize for going on so long. But I needed to get this off of my chest. And thank you, brother, for your testimony. Iím not especially learned in the word (although I am working on that) but your experience in the LC sounds so close to what Iíve experienced on and off over decades that I felt I had to pour it out.
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