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Old 09-17-2012, 04:27 AM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Natal Transvaal
Posts: 5,082
Default Re: A sample from the BARM -- Sample One

Here is a testimony from someone ("Brent B") whose father was one of the "leading brothers" in the Mr. Lee's Recovery.


My family moved to downtown LA in 1963, the year of my birth. We moved from the dusty plains of west Texas in a volkswagon beetle and a moving van. My dad was a youth minister at a baptist college and, after reading the inner life works, had somehow been given a reel to reel tape of W Lee. He was hooked and, after a few trips to LA, decided to give up everything for this new way. He later spoke emotionally of how at the last congregation at which he was an ordained Baptist reverend, he declared he was going on to "higher ground." We moved into ramshackle quarters near Watts during the riots. This was at Elden hall, later to be called hall 1. My memory of meetings is vague from that time, but I do remember it was intense and emotional. Downtown LA is a memory I will never forget. I watched my dad preach many Sundays and he was such a fierce lion everyone, including myself, was terrified of him.

But the raucous meetings were at least interspersed with trips to the beach. There the congreation gathered to burn precious possessions. I saw countless valuable items smashed and destroyed that could have been sold to at least support the needy. The most vivid memory I have of this time is when everyone was gathered around a bon fire located in a cave on the beach. We formed a semi-circle around the opening of the cave. In succession, people would come forward to offer an item to the flames. It usually consisted of deeply personal journals, books and photographs. It was a consecration to burn the images of those dearly precious to you. I felt very queasy during all of this. It felt wrong, even to my very young mind, to sacrifice your love for family. It felt sick inside, is the best way I can describe my feelings.

But the best was yet to come. My mom stepped forward to consecrate me and my brother Brad to the flames. She flung handfuls of photographs to the bonfire, mostly 8X10's of myself and Brad. Most fell in the flames, but the wind caught a few. An 8X10 of myself drifted 5 feet in front of the roaring fire and fell in plain view with my freckled kindergarten picture facing the crowd. I was startled.

Within a few seconds, some embers floated to the picture and it caught fire. I watched my picture slowly being eaten by flames as my face dissolved into melting running soot. I can't say I was thrilled about it, but I gulped and pretended it was great. Some years later someone who witnessed the event told me he felt I was to going to be rebellious but the fire of the Lord would eventually swallow me up. I can't say I was all that thrilled with the interpretation of those tongues of fire, but the sick feeling of violation persisted.

In 1970, Our family moved to hall 2 in the San Fernando Valley. For 5 years, I lived in a sister's house in Sepulveda, LA. (More on hall 2 later). For another 2, I lived at a brother's house in OKC, OK, as me and my bro had grown up enough to warrant the gender shift. When I had the misfortune of moving to Austin, TX to move in a communal living situation in my senior year of high school, I shared a converted half-garage with 5 other young men who paid $250 1980 dollars a month for the privelige of sleeping in the equivalent of a walk in closet. On weeknights, we spent 2 hours per evening doing dishes and other household chores for the main plantation household. On Saturday, we spent 6 hours pruning and weeding and tilling a large 5 acre grassland behind the house. At one point, the plantation owner admitted that he had no real need of that property, but that it was good for our spiritual growth and maturity, in keeping with Leeite transformationism. I looked at him askance from that time onward since I considered that something of the Lord's jurisdiction. However, I thanked him for the consideration.

The next year, after enrolling in the University of Texas, some rumblings began as I encountered other Christians and even attended a meeting of Christians on Campus. I was not too terribly impressed, but I had this horrible sense inside my young soul that it was wrong to dismiss and discount all of these believers who were so obviously attempting to follow the Lord.

Some word got back to Don Looper and the plantation owner and I was called on the carpet. In a kangeroo court, they demanded that I repent of my association with this non LC group. Even though I was quite indoctrinated and had an "elder" father, it wouldn't do for them to have an out of control member going around, without authorization, interacting with the enemy. In my young heart and mind, I knew I was bucking the whole system and how dangerous it was to make a stand with the Texas big dogs. But make a stand I did. It is one of the moments in my young Christian life I cherish the most. I flatly stated that it was ludicrous to discourage interaction and congregation with other Christians. I had been reading the bible from a very early age. There was no place for such arbitrary quarantine and self segregation.

They went hog wild. Don Looper almost lost it. I refused to back down and my dad had to fly down from OKC, OK to remedy the situation. One of the most funny scenes I remember from this trial is when we all finally got together in a room with my dad to discuss the situation. Don prayed. Then my dad. Then I prayed! Out of the corner of my eye I saw Don almost fall out of his chair. The unmitigated gall! An accused daring to pray as if he had a position of legitimacy! Yet I continued without hesitation. The trial turned out to be somewhat without resolution as I persisted in my contention that other Christians are just the same and it makes no sense to divorce ourselves from them. My dad had to reluctantly agree, although there was a lot of dissimulation about how we hate the system but accept the beleiver. I agreed with the stipulation of considering what I then had been taught to identify as the dead empty lifeless corpse which was denominational Christianity. Yet I refused to stop talking to non member Christians or attending their gatherings. I was ejected from the communal living housing the next month and I got an apartment.

For the second semester of my freshman year, I attended classes, occasionally went to meetings of both the Lee church and various campus ministries. I was cut off by the Lee church members. I was a pariah. I had a phone number listed, but never got one single call from any LC members. I got a lot of calls from fraternities. I ate steak dinner every wednessday night with the Phi Gi's. They were a friendly if rowdy bunch. I got more humanity from drunken fraternity louts than LC members. Eventually, the years of indoctrination caught up with me and I began to talk a great deal with Patsie Freeman on the phone, as I had visited Seattle the winter before.

I took the bait. I dropped everything after the end of my freshman year and moved to Washington. It felt glorious. There was a mind boggling feeling of euphoria in the air at that time in Bill Freeman's group. The contrast between Texas legalism and Seattle humanism was so profound, I could barely contain my curiosity. Here, perhaps, was a form of the LC where I could adopt and ratify the entire belief system of my youth, my parents and everyone I had ever known or loved my entire life.

Bill Freeman's ministry was an exciting departure from Lee's. I was enthralled with his constant references to historical church thinkers and writings. He spoke of the heart as I had never heard before. There was an intellectual richness to his messages I greatly admired. It was a heady contagious atmosphere. I felt enlivened. His incorporation of Lee's teachings were marginal. The singing was rapturous and I was invited to play the guitar. We went to camps and retreats at outback scenic resorts and talked up a big storm about the Lord coming back to the northwest. I lived in Bagely House, across from Bill's house and study/library. I was later to learn that this consisted of an "inner circle" which was highly coveted. But I had no thoughts of such things. I was liberated from the dungeon of Leeism and free to roam in the open pastures of Bill Freemanland
"Freedom is free. It's slavery that's so horribly expensive" - Colonel Templeton, ret., of the 12th Scottish Highlanders, the 'Black Fusiliers'
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