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Old 09-17-2012, 04:30 AM   #3
aron
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Natal Transvaal
Posts: 5,082
Default Re: A sample from the BARM -- Sample Two

Here is another post, from Brad, the brother of Brent.

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When Brent first let me know that he was posting his writings again, concerning our/his childhood experiences in wl's lc, I resigned myself to merely check in every now and then to read what he contributed. Garner a chuckle or two and be on my way. But I was appreciative of the gentleman who wondered if Brent's experience was possibly a Texas / Oklahoma "thing" and not practiced nationwide. Because of his question, I felt the need to add a short personal story. But before doing that, I would only say that from my observational viewpoint (and from over-hearing my father) that each locality receives the "vision" of how they should run their locality from "on high" but ultimately they can choose how they want to implement it.

Thankfully, many of the localities did not hold such an extreme, legalist viewpoint as the groups in Texas and Oklahoma City did. For some reason, discernment was just not in their makeup and when they swung their "sword of faith" it took off many heads. Some unintentionally, but that didn't seem to matter. Caring for the Mother Ship overrode care for the individual.

For the majority of the children that had the sad misfortune to be raised within said group we are forever grateful of the day we left. We all mark it as our "day of salvation". It didn't matter if we were tossed out, fell out, stumbled out, slid out, walked out or ran out. We were just forever thankful that it happened and it was over. After years of mind games and endless training in hyper self-introspection than did nothing more then leave you a mangled mess of nerves, we passionately kiss freedom on the lips every day.

We cherish our freedom and will never allow someone or something to steal that from us again. We identify wholeheartedly with William Wallace in the movie Braveheart, when he cries out for Freedom. We KNOW that feeling. His cry became our cry as we too have felt the life-long crushing oppression and finally chose to no longer allow it to have a hold on us. To those that have claimed their freedom, I salute you! To those that haven’t, "keep on playing those mind games forever."

Afterwards, it takes years to orient oneself to function in the outside world. But no amount of pain or suffering derived from that adjustment was ever worth contemplating going back. I watched ABC's Primetime the other night and they focused on a Mormon polygamist extremist group located in the small town of Colorado City, AZ. Although they are extremist in a different fashion and for a different cause than wl and his lc, the dress, body language, manor of speech, manor of singing, devotion to their leader was all surprisingly and eerily the same. It seems that when a group separates themselves from the whole, they tend to pick up similar characteristics. We laugh about it now, but while we were in the group, we used to make the Amish look good. Now that's just an observation on my part. No clinical diagnosis given at this time. That will come at the end of my story.

As Brent has mentioned, we were raised in wl's lc and starting from Jr high age on, participated in every aspect of it wholeheartedly. I read every life study from Genesis to Revelation, attended every training starting with the book of Hebrews, given in the convention center, prior to the facilities in Anaheim, CA being built. (Which I worked on as well as the facilities in Irving, TX) I owned and read every book wl and wn put out accept for the ones we were told not to read by Nee. (It seems Nee feel off the wagon a few times and lost the vision of God's Economy. So we were strongly discouraged from reading those books. Apparently, in those books, Nee discusses playing chess and other distracting games as acceptable. The shame he must have for saying such things.) I came prepared for just about every meeting and testified as often as possible. Both Brent and I played guitar in the meetings for many years until that too was no longer acceptable. (A little worldly, no doubt.) It didn't matter, we pressed on to the high calling before us. (At least we thought)

I mention all this to set the ground work for my story. Brent had moved off to Austin then on to Seattle starting around 1979/1980. Other than the times I spent helping to build the facilities in Irving, TX, I lived in Oklahoma City. Our father, James Barber, died in Oct of 1984. (If pressed, someday I may tell the reason why James had to leave beautiful sunny Southern California and move us to the lc's version of Australia during the colonial period.)

This was the beginning of the removal of the oppression for Brent and myself. It is considered impolite to say disparaging remarks concerning the dead, particularly if that person happens to be your father, but the truth is the truth. One of the many weaknesses of the lc is the fact that it is strongly based upon the personality of whoever is leading the group think in that locality. Without James' powerful messages being given on a regular basis, the smoke screen began to thin a bit for me.

By the end of 1988 I seriously wanted to do something more with my life and decided to join the Air National Guard. It would still allow me to be home and attend most of the meetings except for one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. This was my decision and I signed up. I later found out that the leaders in the group-think did not like that I hadn't come to them first before making such as "rash" decision. But off I was, none the less. I left for San Antonio, TX in late Sep 1989 for my six weeks of basic training. Forty of us trained together and were housed in large barracks with twenty on each side of a wall. Day and night we never left each others side. I was informed at this point that I snored, rather loudly they said, but I never heard a thing. So I shouldn't have been surprised when I woke up on the floor a few times.

Under this level of tension some of the younger guys begin to show signs of stress. But with an encouraging word, most were able to pull it together and go on. Sadly a few didn't. I kept telling them it was only for 5 more weeks, 4 more weeks, etc..... Strangely, in that environment time seems to stand still. You have no contact with the outside world, no newspaper, or TV. We trained every day, seven days a week and only knew what the sergeant told us. (Sounds familiar doesn't it, except our sergeant showed more heart and soul, more caring in that six weeks then I was ever exposed to during my entire time in the lc.)

I tell you all this to lead up to my point. At week four into our training a young man in our unit, who was seventeen at the time, was pulled aside by our sergeant and informed that his brother and three of his closest friends from high school had slid off a rainy road in Knoxville, TN and crashed to their death. Understandably so, this young man was devastated. There seemed to be no way to console our buddy. It was close to the end of the day when this news arrived and the unit commander, a teenager himself, suggested that after we finished our evening chores those of us that wished to could meet in the Day Room with our friend for a time of prayer.

My first thought was, "now why didn't I think of that?" It was a good idea. But I immediately knew why I hadn't thought of it. I was used to and trained to only pray with those that were "in" the Lord's Recovery. Not these outsiders; these "barely saved" people from "poor, poor Christianity". In fact, I wasn't sure if God would even listen or care about someone outside of His Recovery. Why should He? There was nothing in it for him.

They weren't going to be His first fruits. They wouldn't be attending the Wedding Feast with us. How could they, they weren't in the Lord's Recovery. I had grown up resigned to that fact. I was reminded and scared into submission by that fact. Only those in the lc would be taken by the Lord upon His return. Everyone knew that! All others would, at best, have to wait and suffer a thousand years, wailing and gnashing their teeth, wishing, oh how hard they would be wishing they had become a member of the lc. Tough luck for them. You're either in or you're not.

But I had grown fond of my new friends and after we finished our chores, 18 very young men out of the forty showed up to pray. We stood in a circle holding hands and went around the room, each one saying a little prayer for our troubled friend in need. The prayers were genuine and sweet. Very caring and very dear. Every one of the 18 prayed. And you know what happened........well, I'll tell you, God listened!

God Himself came into that room that very evening. He was as real as you are reading this post. He deeply cared about this poor young man who had just lost so much. We all felt His presence in a very powerful and moving way. My friend was encouraged, he was strengthened and was able to go on and finish training.

As for me, I had ointment placed on my blind eyes. I began to see for the first time that God loves ALL his people. Not just those in the lc. God is so much bigger then the lc. Much bigger then I had been led to believe. I was, in essence, having my salvation experience for the first time. I began to see the big picture. Now, believe me, I didn't see it that way at the time. Later through the "generosity" of the lc I would.

Fast forward a few weeks and it's now Nov of 1989. I had just returned to Oklahoma City for a few weeks before being sent to Wichita Falls, TX to begin my nine months of technical training. I continued to think about the wonderful experience I had enjoyed while in basic training. In fact I was looking forward to sharing that with the Church. It was Sunday morning in Nov of 1989 and the "rainbow booklets" were the "new move" at this time and were receiving the full court press. Now these "booklets" were nothing more then regurgitated life studies that the lsm was putting out because they were always looking for a new revenue source and this was it for the moment. (As I look back, I'm surprised that I didn't catch the similarity between these booklets and Mao Zedong's little red book used in Communist China as a form of mind control. But wait, wl was from Communist China, there is no way he would use the same simple method that his predecessor did? Or would he?)

During the meeting I was informed of there power. In fact, I was told during this meeting, that if you put one in your shirt pocket and someone on the street saw it, they would cross the street just to inquire as to what this lively colorful booklet was you had in your shirt pocket. Upon pulling it out and handing the booklet to the person they would be so moved that they would follow you to the next meeting and become saved. If they were already saved, then they would become saved to a fuller extent. (I've been told that's possible in the lc) Well I patiently waited until the end of the testimonies, not wanting to change the subject at the beginning. (I was aware of such things) I kept watching the clock and as the end of the meeting drew near a pause occurred. I had butterfly's in my stomach but I knew it was my time. Now or never.

I stood up and was greeted happily by the group. I quickly recapped where I had been for the past six weeks for those that didn't know and went into the story of how God had showed up during a time of prayer for a lost young brother. I wasn't but a short way into the story when one of the group think leaders stood up and crossed his arms. I knew from years in the lc that this was the universal sign to sit down. But I had the floor and this was Sunday morning Church in America and I was going to finish my story. The group leader begin to shuffle back and forth letting me know of his growing irritation. But I knew I could continue until the group as a whole being to moan. If the moaning started, it would get louder and louder until it grew to a crescendo of calling out loud "Ohhhhhhhhhh Lord Jesus, Ohhhhhhhhhhh Lord Jesus over and over again. If that happened, I would be done for and have to sit down. But it didn't come. Surprisingly, I still had the floor and was able to complete this wonderful story of God meeting man in his time of need. At this point I know there wasn't going to be any "Amen's" when I finished. The message of control from the Borg was loud and clear. Now at the time I had no idea why the Borg was trying to stop me. Maybe they wanted to end the meeting a little early. Maybe they had a lot of announcements and needed more time. I didn't know. As far as I was concerned, I was sharing an experience of Christ with the Church and "that's a good thing", as Martha Stewart would say.

As I sat down, I was happy and pleased that others were able to hear the good news that God will meet you no matter where you are. That He is "out there" to be experienced and enjoyed by all. Any time, any place. That was glorious news to me. But my joy didn't last long as the group think leader, the head Borg, went into a twenty minute tirade explaining that ANY experience of the Lord outside the Church was a false one. A lie! I kid you not, he said that very thing. He went on to say that in fact, Satan, God's enemy throughout the ages, was behind these type's of experiences. Satan's goal was to lead you away from the real, true experience of Christ which can only happen in his Church. He explained, if you have an experience of God and it doesn't lead you immediately to the Church, it was a false experience. It wasn't God at all. Only a facsimile of him, but it was most definitely NOT God. He wanted to make that perfectly clear. "Sorry Charlie!" Thanks for playing, but you missed the boat big time on this one. It was "all-together.... not-so-very-good". I had not obeyed rule number one. Of course, rule number one, how could I have forgotton. Silly me. He went on, "we should be thankful everyday to wl and the lsm because we no longer need to toil in the sun in order to bring an offering to the meetings. Those days are over. No need to go out and dug up verses you may have enjoyed by yourself during the day, just read the rainbow booklet assigned for you to read that week and come to the next meeting ready to share from it and ONLY from it. Nothing more. Anything else is dross to be burned away by the fire of the Lord.

When this mini-dictator started I was still on a little high myself and didn't hear what he was saying at first and wasn't sure why he was making this point. But as thick as I was, it quickly dawned on me that he was referring to my experience. It was my experience that was false! It was my experience that was a lie. That Satan was using me to spread this falsehood in the Church.

Well, boys and girls, I had just about had enough of this. I know God, and I know He was there that day. I know he cares and loves all his people, not just this handful of Sad Sacks being dictated to by some neo-Communist demagogue. I knew now that my relatives were not evil or "worldly". They were not "barely saved" as I had been taught from infancy. No! They were all dear sweet Christians. It was this sick, maniacal, extremist group that was the one that was WAY off course. So during his ranting, I stood up once again, but this time it was to give a hearty quick wave to the people and the place before walking out of there for the last time. (Can I get an "Amen" out there)

Now, you have to ask yourself, what do you call a portion of the body that separates itself from the whole and continues to grow by pulling from the host body yet rejecting the host body at the same time. I know what I would call it, but I'll let you make up your own mind. You'll be surprised at what you find.

In the end, it is what it is. As Brent has said, "If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, well it's a pretty fair bet you have a duck on your hands". (Somebody call Dick Cheney)

There are many posts on this site that go into the lc's practice of segregation. I only relate my story to fully support and reinforce what Brent has been writing.
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"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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