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The Local Church in the 21st Century Observations and Discussions regarding the Local Church Movement in the Here and Now

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Old 05-07-2020, 12:03 PM   #1
Freedom
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Default What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

I saw the following video a little while back (it was linked in Jo’s letter) where Minoru speaks about stagnant growth of the LC in the US:
https://youtu.be/tTihYDJxLmQ?t=4209

To summarize, he states that the LC started out with 30 members in Los Angeles and by 1975 has reached 4,500 members. He estimates there to have been around a 52% annual rate of growth during that period. Then he says that by 1985, the LC had reached 8,500 members in the US, representing 6% annual rate of growth. Then lastly he estimated the current membership in the US in 2018 to be 25,000 which he says represents a 3.7% annual rate of growth. Assuming the membership numbers are accurate, it does paint a pretty grim picture.

Obviously, numbers aren’t everything. Regarding the LC, however, the thing that is a bit interesting about their numbers is that it is easy to see how the initial growth likely played into the whole narrative about their group being the so-called Lord’s Recovery. I know for certain that they have pointed to that initial increase as a measure of their success. So if that is their standard, then by the same token, the subsequent decline and stagnancy should serve as a form of feedback for them. The types of questions that members should be asking themselves is that if their group is what they claim to be, then why isn’t there much to show for it? Why don’t they have very much impact in society at large? Why would the Lord limit himself in the U.S. to some fringe group that represents less than .0010% of the U.S. population? In other words, when the types of claims the LC makes for itself are viewed in the context of its current state, it makes those claims all the more absurd.

For the LC, this issue of stagnancy is one of few issues where they are willing to admit that there is something wrong. In the video, Minoru attributes the stagnancy to the so-called turmoils that took place as well as external opposition in the past. So it would seem that they both acknowledge the problem at hand and know why the problem occurred. However, if people like Minoru claim to know what is causing the problem, then it would make sense to ask why the problem is still occurring. If they know how to fix it, why haven't they. Let’s put it this way - the so-called turmoils led to massive membership losses over the years. It's easy to blame things on that, but do they ever talk about if there could have been alternative outcomes? In regard to the external opposition, the LC now has the full support of the CRI. So the question they really should be asking themselves is why public perception of the LC hasn't changed in spite of all the support they now have.

Aside from all the so-called turmoils, the LC seems to ignore a much more pressing problem. The problem I am referring to is just basic member retention. The LC likes to blame everything on the so-called turmoils or whatever, but that’s only a small part of the bigger issue. Most of the time when members leave it can either be an issue of 1) the LC didn’t meet their needs and they decide to move on, or 2) something happened and they decided that it was in their best interest to leave. The LC can't really do anything about people who don't feel like the LC is a fit for them, but there have been so many lost opportunities over the years where people leave because of things that leaders had the power to change for the better but didn't. Because the LC continues to insist that there are no valid reasons to leave, it compounds the problem by putting even the ex-members who never had any disdain for the LC in the position of having to assert their right to leave the group or sometimes having to go so far as to cut off contact in order to distance themselves. Each ex-member then becomes a potential PR liability for the LC. They don’t know who is and isn’t going to speak out or steer people away from the LC. But the way that the treat people who leave basically ensures that ex-members will have nothing good to say about the group.

When members do leave because of real problems, all too often, there was the opportunity for an alternative outcome. For example, the LC has admitted on many occasions that the church kid retention rate is really bad. Many church kids get subjected to control, manipulation or extreme legalism, and not surprisingly, many church kids leave as soon as they can. So many leave with a very distinct negative impression of the LC. If the LC can’t even make the effort to put a stop to that kind of stuff that causes people to leave, they’re never going to reverse the downward trend. It just isn’t going to happen. When there are reoccurring issues related to control, legalism, etc., that means there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Wishing it will go away isn’t going to make it go away.
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Old 05-07-2020, 02:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

They are blinded. Minoru still talks to the leading brothers about showing up in a new city and "taking the city by storm!"

Whatever that means, and as if that has ever happened before.

Minoru thinks he is some kind of army general. He's really just leading a group of starved, gasping souls.

They have stepped inside the box of Witness Lee and gone to work building up walls all around themselves for decades, so all they see are their own four walls and they think that is their entire world.

They are deluded, plain and simple.

We are talking about a cult here. (We have threads on that c-word, so I don't want this thread derailed by talking about it).

One that has a hierarchical submission structure.
One that follows one man as the unique man who was God's mouthpiece.
One that threatens its members for reading contrary information.
One that severs all gifts within the body related to speaking or writing if it is anything different from what their "oracle" said.
One that keeps members unwittingly in constant fear of saying the wrong thing, talking to the wrong people, reading the wrong thing, or "touching death".
One that threatens God's wrath upon you if you leave them.

I've talked my face blue in the past to saints about problems and how to address them and the loss of church kids and the lack of love, but those things aren't important to them. I think more and more people within the lower ranks are starting to smell the dead rat, at least based on my conversations, which is just an anecdotal conclusion, of course. Their constant harping on authority is dis-affecting even the most all-in members. But they are The Recovery Which Is Constantly Under Attack and can never point the blame at themself. And for all their inward focus and inward navel gazing, they simply cannot look inward and see their problem is just themselves.

If you close the doors and lock down the facility so that everyone can only breath Witness Lee's air, you will get stagnation.

But they are so deceived they will speak information contrary to their own experience. New members leave because they realize the extreme focus on "the ministry" is abnormal, and then current members will say, "oh, they had a problem with, like, our only following one man or focus on the ministry or whatever" as if it's a ludicrous observation, even though that very thing is what they have literally lived themselves for years.

It's mind control. Thought control. Cognitive dissonance. Hypocrisy. Fear.

It's inherently un-recoverable without new information being fed in to the ranks to wake them up.
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Old 05-07-2020, 04:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

The old adage about mushrooms -- "kept in the dark and fed manure" -- has obvious application when considering why LC members stay or leave. What worked for centuries with oppressive regimes -- lies and hiding the truth -- can no longer be counted on. The internet information age has changed all that.

My own story proves that. I survived the storms and chaos of the late 80's, with Philip Lee molesting sisters, WL covering for him and slandering all those who spoke up as leprous rebels, because I was a "mushroom." I was kept in the dark, and fed WL manure. Simple as that. I was not alone. Hundreds or thousands were with me in that "cave."

After the rays of sunshine, mostly via internet accounts, finally reach those cave-dwelling "mushrooms," each member responds differently. Ingalls wrote his fact-filled account and left, maintaining his joy in the Lord. Some find greener grass in poor poor Christianity. Some struggle even believing in God. Many 2nd gen saw this played out in the Midwest and shook their head in disgust: How can you talk oneness and then have this nasty divorce? What's wrong with worshiping the Lord with guitars and skits? How can you condemn Christianity when you are worse? Etc.

The problem with the Recovery lies primarily with its deceptive leadership. They talk love, but spew hatred. They talk liberty, but enslave its members. They talk "local," but weild controlling headquarters. The hypocrisies and the disconnects just abound systemically throughout the Recovery. The decades' worth accumulation is now far too much to hide.
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Old 05-07-2020, 06:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

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Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
I've talked my face blue in the past to saints about problems and how to address them and the loss of church kids and the lack of love, but those things aren't important to them. I think more and more people within the lower ranks are starting to smell the dead rat, at least based on my conversations, which is just an anecdotal conclusion, of course. Their constant harping on authority is dis-affecting even the most all-in members. But they are The Recovery Which Is Constantly Under Attack and can never point the blame at themself. And for all their inward focus and inward navel gazing, they simply cannot look inward and see their problem is just themselves.

If you close the doors and lock down the facility so that everyone can only breath Witness Lee's air, you will get stagnation.

But they are so deceived they will speak information contrary to their own experience. New members leave because they realize the extreme focus on "the ministry" is abnormal, and then current members will say, "oh, they had a problem with, like, our only following one man or focus on the ministry or whatever" as if it's a ludicrous observation, even though that very thing is what they have literally lived themselves for years.

It's mind control. Thought control. Cognitive dissonance. Hypocrisy. Fear.

It's inherently un-recoverable without new information being fed in to the ranks to wake them up.
The LC finds itself in an increasingly hypocritical position. They will give messages lamenting over the lack of increase, then in other instances, they go back to giving the same old messages on authority and submission and making sure everyone knows that the LC is a “narrow way” with no room for personality, gifts, opinions, ministries, etc, etc.

A big eye-opener for me was when some local elders started making a big deal about getting an increase. As expected, the effort didn’t amount to anything in terms of an increase, but they sure did succeed in getting everyone to feel like a failure. One of the elders even went so far to say that if we were going to home meetings and not bringing “new ones” then we were wasting our time. I actually stopped attending the home meetings because of that (mostly in order to make a point about). By that time I didn’t take anything they said seriously.

So this actually brings me to the main reason that I started this thread. Let’s take for example the situation that I just described. It is a classic example of a hard-line LC elder who pushes something, and in doing so ends up driving people out of the LC. Don’t get me wrong, my intention here isn't to look back and wish that things had been different. And actually that kind of stuff ended up being a blessing in disguise in the sense that it served as a bit of an awakening. But when looking at the issue from the perspective of the LC members and the problem that they are trying to deal with, it’s not really that complicated of an issue. The problem is more apparent than they even realize.

What about instances like when an elder tells a young couple in college that they need to drop their relationship? Or what about when a college graduate gets chewed out for not wanting to go to the FTTA? What about when a serving one goes off on a young person for wearing a hat in the meeting? These are all things I actually saw happen in the LC, and in some case it literally amounted to some overly-zealous LC member who was trying to "follow the ministry" undoing months or even years of work in a matter of minutes. Can people in the LC truthfully say that they don’t take issue with this type of nonsense? Do they even care that that perhaps it undermines everything they work so hard for? In essence, it is a simple issue and even simple changes could likely go a long way. But they’re not really interested in that, and you have to wonder what world they are really living in. Their leaders like Minoru certainly aren’t living in the real world.
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Old 05-07-2020, 06:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
The old adage about mushrooms -- "kept in the dark and fed manure" -- has obvious application when considering why LC members stay or leave. What worked for centuries with oppressive regimes -- lies and hiding the truth -- can no longer be counted on. The internet information age has changed all that.

My own story proves that. I survived the storms and chaos of the late 80's, with Philip Lee molesting sisters, WL covering for him and slandering all those who spoke up as leprous rebels, because I was a "mushroom." I was kept in the dark, and fed WL manure. Simple as that. I was not alone. Hundreds or thousands were with me in that "cave."

After the rays of sunshine, mostly via internet accounts, finally reach those cave-dwelling "mushrooms," each member responds differently. Ingalls wrote his fact-filled account and left, maintaining his joy in the Lord. Some find greener grass in poor poor Christianity. Some struggle even believing in God. Many 2nd gen saw this played out in the Midwest and shook their head in disgust: How can you talk oneness and then have this nasty divorce? What's wrong with worshiping the Lord with guitars and skits? How can you condemn Christianity when you are worse? Etc.

The problem with the Recovery lies primarily with its deceptive leadership. They talk love, but spew hatred. They talk liberty, but enslave its members. They talk "local," but weild controlling headquarters. The hypocrisies and the disconnects just abound systemically throughout the Recovery. The decades' worth accumulation is now far too much to hide.
Interestingly enough, these so-called fellowship sessions seem to be targeted at the demographic of FTTA trainees, graduates, "young working saints", etc. Those who probably don't know so much about what went on in the past. And maybe longtime members don't know all the details either, but they at least might have some skepticism or indifference to these calls for increase.

I have heard stories from people who are still in the LC about the "new way" and funny enough they basically indicated in a covert way that it was all just a bunch of hype. Things like going door to door baptizing people and then never hearing from the person again. In essence, when people have gone through decades of that kind of stuff, they either become indifferent to it or they stick around because they derive some kind of value from the environment, friendships, or sitting through the same old recycled 2-3 hour messages time and time again.

People like Minoru must realize what is going on. But they also have a lot to hide, all the dirty stuff that they can't admit has happened. They just keep digging the hole deeper and deeper.
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

Minoru Chen has been giving "rah rah" speeches like this decades now. Those who have known him for all these years are not the least surprised by his motivational stuff. After all, he's a multi-millionaire and has lots of time on his hands. Oh, Minoru is not Ronnie Chan loaded, but he's doing ok for himself with this 3.7 million seaside home in the exclusive area of Corona Del Mar. (apparently this is just an investment rental, he doesn't actually live there). Far as is known, Minoru actually lives in a slightly less opulent McMansion in Irvine, valued at about 2 million. (Still spiffy enough for that Saturday evening prophesizing meeting, I can assure you!)

Don't fool yourself my friends, all of the Blended Brothers are fully aware of the downward trend for about 25 years now. The vast majority of FTT grads are Asian imports (Chen kind of admitted such in his little talk). The Lord's Recovery is bleeding out 2nd generation white kids at a rate that will make them unrecognizable to all of us who came in the LC during the heyday of the late 60s - early 70s in about 10 years or so. Maybe sooner.

I fell off my chair laughing when Minoru waxed so eloquent about how the poor increase was due to "the first rebellion in the Recovery". Then of course it was that evil book "The Mind Benders" that stopped them in their tracks! Right. A book that sold, what? A few thousand copies slowed down God's One Move On Earth?
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:01 PM   #7
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Old 05-07-2020, 09:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

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Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
Interestingly enough, these so-called fellowship sessions seem to be targeted at the demographic of FTTA trainees, graduates, "young working saints", etc. Those who probably don't know so much about what went on in the past. And maybe longtime members don't know all the details either, but they at least might have some skepticism or indifference to these calls for increase.

I have heard stories from people who are still in the LC about the "new way" and funny enough they basically indicated in a covert way that it was all just a bunch of hype. Things like going door to door baptizing people and then never hearing from the person again. In essence, when people have gone through decades of that kind of stuff, they either become indifferent to it or they stick around because they derive some kind of value from the environment, friendships, or sitting through the same old recycled 2-3 hour messages time and time again.

People like Minoru must realize what is going on. But they also have a lot to hide, all the dirty stuff that they can't admit has happened. They just keep digging the hole deeper and deeper.
I see people every day in the news who believe lies with apparently all of their heart. Their entire belief system about many subjects has no foundation in any actual facts, but that doesn't bother them a bit. They dutifully believe what they are told. They get paid well to believe what they are told, and then repeat it to others. They have mental filters constantly in place to allow in new info to support those lies and filters to prevent any truth from interferring.

Same with those like Minoru who lived thru the New Way storm. WL told them what to believe, he provided them with the narrative. None of that was true, factual, or accurate. So what? The MOTA told them so! When he spoke, they were all ears. They allowed WL to interpret for them everything that happened. Once that story was cemented in their psyche, a stronghold was erected to fortify what WL told them. All contrary info must henceforth be silenced. The ostrich must bury its head in the sand, as Francis Ball told us.

We once had a poster here with the tag line, "a man hears what he wants, and discards the rest." Sounds odd, but it is true. Perhaps much of it is a survival mechanism because the truth can be quite scary at times. It is just God's mercy that our own minds have cracked open occasionally to let some light and truth in. Some go their whole lives closed up. Christians can close up too.
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Old 05-07-2020, 09:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

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Don't fool yourself my friends, all of the Blended Brothers are fully aware of the downward trend for about 25 years now. The vast majority of FTT grads are Asian imports (Chen kind of admitted such in his little talk). The Lord's Recovery is bleeding out 2nd generation white kids at a rate that will make them unrecognizable to all of us who came in the LC during the heyday of the late 60s - early 70s in about 10 years or so. Maybe sooner.

That's why there is a concerted push these days to mine the college campuses for the "typical American students" (i.e. white kids). I've heard through the extended LC grapevine that the locality having the most success gaining those kids does it by throwing away the LC cultural quirks and tossing aside the ministry and staying far away from Witness Lee. In other words.....they look a lot like "typical Christianity" in their events and meetings with new students. This of course cannot get out in a widespread way, and is seen as borderline "negative".....or else the gig would be up that Witness Lee and the ministry are The Great Big Turn Off of the 21st century to the "typical Americans" they want to replenish their ranks with.
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:09 AM   #10
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

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That's why there is a concerted push these days to mine the college campuses for the "typical American students" (i.e. white kids). I've heard through the extended LC grapevine that the locality having the most success gaining those kids does it by throwing away the LC cultural quirks and tossing aside the ministry and staying far away from Witness Lee. In other words.....they look a lot like "typical Christianity" in their events and meetings with new students. This of course cannot get out in a widespread way, and is seen as borderline "negative".....or else the gig would be up that Witness Lee and the ministry are The Great Big Turn Off of the 21st century to the "typical Americans" they want to replenish their ranks with.
A hallmark of cults is that they're okay with two personas, or faces - one that outsiders see, safe for initiates and novices, and then there's the "real" group with special in-group readings, terms, practices and relations. If you do well on the outside, and look like "good material", you'll get invited inside the privileged sanctum.

There's a term called Potemkin Village - meaning a false arrangement that's used to throw off inspecting outsiders, and alleviate their concerns. The Potemkin Village is full of well-stocked granaries, shelves are full, people are clean and smiling. Over the ridge and out of sight live the rest of the citizens, discouraged, sick, hungry and disheveled.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potemkin_village

In the Potemkin Village LC, you can do what you want. (Maybe... electrified guitars! -'gasp') But in the real LC they'll start mentioning "restrictions". That's when you know you're in - the screws are starting to turn. To attract you in they'll "fake it"; then they'll want to know if you can "take it" - and into the Wedding Feast you'll "make it"... if you think I'm silly read the Open Letter by the Casteels. That's how they go after "typical Americans" now: create a fake LC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Casteel Letter
We continued on in the church life. A team had been started in our locality close to the time of us moving there. We even bought a house that prioritized having a good layout for the saints and new ones over some of our own family’s needs. When we moved we were ready and eager to enter into the work of taking care of new ones from the campus. We soon learned that our locality was “taking the slow way” approach modeled after the church in Lubbock, TX and that the community saints were not to be involved in the new ones direct care. The slow way in our locality involved using the King James Version with the new ones rather than using the Recovery Version. It also involved slowly introducing carefully selected LSM excerpts from Witness Lee that left out many controversial matters and did not cite the source, leaving out Witness Lee’s name and the publisher, Living Stream Ministry. Witness Lee’s name and LSM would be introduced at a certain point once the new ones were “ready."

We pondered the fact that LSM endorses not properly citing works in the name of gaining new ones considering that LSM itself says, “Any quotation taken from LSM publications should be given a proper citation”

In our locality, only the full-timers and saints specifically handpicked were to have interaction with the new ones. The main way the local saints could be involved was making food for the new ones and dropping it off on the campus. Prayer was encouraged as the primary means to take part in God’s move. There were specific instructions included in the e-mails as to what words you could and couldn’t use with the new ones when you dropped off the food... Here’s an excerpt from one e-mail I received regarding our slow way approach:

“Based on the fellowship shared last Lord's day and since we are touching new contacts on campus that have not been to any church meetings and have had limited contact with any saints outside the Bible study, let us be exercised and sensitive if and when we interact with them. Certain practices and terminology have not been introduced openly to the group, but will be in time, either in the small groups or home meetings. For example, the opening prayer for the time is not filled with "amens", the students are not familiar with term "saints," "church life" or "locality" yet. We pray through our service during this time many will come into our homes and into the church life.”
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:44 AM   #11
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Default Listen to your critics. The fruit doesn't lie.

An inquiry into the lack of increase in ANY assembly of God's people should begin here:
Matt. 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

And there's this:
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

A lack of increase should cause those "in charge" to take a look at the fruit of their ways. A lack of increase should cause those who practice and preach authority, authority, authority to take a look at the fruit of their overbearing authority...the fruit of their brand of "authority".

Historically, those "in charge" have a proclivity to look at only what they believe to be their "good fruit" and deny or dismiss or blame the pain and suffering of their congregants on the congregants themselves. In other words, they have a "shoot the messenger" mentality---yet they can't figure out why there is a "lack of increase?"

If you really want to know why there is a "lack of increase", listen to your critics. They know. They've been telling you for years. If you had listened to those the Lord sent your way over the last 50 years, you might not be here today scratching your heads, wondering "what's going on?"

This brings us to a somber warning: Beware of false prophets.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

And again:
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

The lack of increase may be a form of cutting down and casting away of the tree.

28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

I love these 2 verses! The people recognized his authority, not because he incessantly hammered them with it, but because they were astonished at his teachings and they recognized the difference in what Jesus said and what the "blended scribes" said.

Read all of Matthew 7. It's amazing.

Nell.

Last edited by Nell; 05-08-2020 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:51 AM   #12
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

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I see people every day in the news who believe lies with apparently all of their heart. Their entire belief system about many subjects has no foundation in any actual facts, but that doesn't bother them a bit. They dutifully believe what they are told. They get paid well to believe what they are told, and then repeat it to others. They have mental filters constantly in place to allow in new info to support those lies and filters to prevent any truth from interferring.

Same with those like Minoru who lived thru the New Way storm. WL told them what to believe, he provided them with the narrative. None of that was true, factual, or accurate. So what? The MOTA told them so! When he spoke, they were all ears. They allowed WL to interpret for them everything that happened. Once that story was cemented in their psyche, a stronghold was erected to fortify what WL told them. All contrary info must henceforth be silenced. The ostrich must bury its head in the sand, as Francis Ball told us.

We once had a poster here with the tag line, "a man hears what he wants, and discards the rest." Sounds odd, but it is true. Perhaps much of it is a survival mechanism because the truth can be quite scary at times. It is just God's mercy that our own minds have cracked open occasionally to let some light and truth in. Some go their whole lives closed up. Christians can close up too.
I was always impressed by that line in the old S&G song (bolded above)! It's so true. And just because we know that (at least on some level) it doesn't mean we are able to protect ourselves very well from what is not true! We are all weak in the flesh and all prone to hypocrisy. Without a Savior we are all doomed to this, no matter how hard we try. As Jesus said, if it were possible even the elect would be deceived! (Matt 24:24)

I see it all the time in politics. Those who are conservative will swallow almost anything bad about the left, and visa versa. It's sad and frustrating to watch (OK, maybe a little amusing too). And if you point out one side's own hypocrisy to them, the retort often is, "Well maybe, but we're not as bad as those folks on the other side - not by a long shot!"

It's like a close brother, Tom, once told me. He conveyed an argument with another brother and it went like this: "The other brother said, 'Might you be deceived?' To which Tom replied, 'Well of course, that's the nature of deception! However, I don't think so . . .'" (I still get a smile when telling that one!)

So what's to do? Same answer - WE NEED THE SAVIOR! Look to Jesus (The Brass Serpent)!
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:02 AM   #13
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In the Potemkin Village LC, you can do what you want. (Maybe... electrified guitars! -'gasp') But in the real LC they'll start mentioning "restrictions". That's when you know you're in - the screws are starting to turn. To attract you in they'll "fake it"; then they'll want to know if you can "take it" - and into the Wedding Feast you'll "make it"... if you think I'm silly read the Open Letter by the Casteels. That's how they go after "typical Americans" now: create a fake LC.
There's always the danger that some will think the Potemkin Village LC is preferable. In other words, they'll refuse the two-tiered approach, and want to make the whole LC acceptable! No restrictions! What!?!

Then the divisions will start - the "pure remnant" who want ''the original vision of our brother" versus those willing to adapt to the 21st century. Here's a quote from a spinoff of a high-demand pseudo-Christian group, after their Guru died.

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Originally Posted by Eternal Church of God
Church of God, The Eternal is a remnant of the Worldwide Church of God still teaching the original doctrines first proclaimed by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong.

We accept these doctrines as the divine revelation of Jesus Christ to His Church of the last days, given through the inspiration of a chosen servant; teachings that were blessed by God, producing an annual growth of 30% over four decades, with incredible blessings in the lives of those who practiced the same in faith.

What makes this remnant group truly different from the 300+ splinter groups of our parent organization? No one else believes what Mr. Armstrong originally taught about Truth—that it comes only by revelation to a chosen servant, and even that servant has no authority to change what Christ gave! Read it for yourself.
https://www.cogeternal.org/
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:27 AM   #14
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In the Potemkin Village LC, you can do what you want. (Maybe... electrified guitars! -'gasp') But in the real LC they'll start mentioning "restrictions". That's when you know you're in - the screws are starting to turn. To attract you in they'll "fake it"; then they'll want to know if you can "take it" - and into the Wedding Feast you'll "make it"... if you think I'm silly read the Open Letter by the Casteels. That's how they go after "typical Americans" now: create a fake LC.
I find it surprising that these types of things are able to gain traction in the LC. It’s basically an admission of sorts that the more extreme aspects of the LC as well as WL/LSM related things are highly suspect when it comes to public perception of the LC.

What makes it particularly ironic, however, is that people have already tried sounding the alarm before about the extremities of the LC. Everything from questioning the way WL is viewed to the exclusive use of LSM materials. And people who dared to do so have been kicked out because of doing that.

But in this case it seems that they are going to at least allow it for now. Maybe because they are becoming more and more okay with having some sort of facade. Probably as long as the ‘real’ form of the LC still exists in the background they will be okay with it.

I think if this becomes more widespread it’s going to severely backfire on them. In that excerpt from the letter, notice how all the “community saints” were being set aside, almost as if they were viewed as nothing more than a liability. How long before more people start saying enough is enough.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:59 AM   #15
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If you really want to know why there is a "lack of increase", listen to your critics. They know. They've been telling you for years. If you had listened to those the Lord sent your way over the last 50 years, you might not be here today scratching your heads, wondering "what's going on?"
The LC really fails when it comes to listening to the various forms of feedback that they have available. Even in the video, Minoru admits the problem, but he wastes no time in misattributing it to things that just really don't have anything to do with the problem.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:49 PM   #16
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I find it surprising that these types of things are able to gain traction in the LC. It’s basically an admission of sorts that the more extreme aspects of the LC as well as WL/LSM related things are highly suspect when it comes to public perception of the LC.

What makes it particularly ironic, however, is that people have already tried sounding the alarm before about the extremities of the LC. Everything from questioning the way WL is viewed to the exclusive use of LSM materials. And people who dared to do so have been kicked out because of doing that.

But in this case it seems that they are going to at least allow it for now. Maybe because they are becoming more and more okay with having some sort of facade. Probably as long as the ‘real’ form of the LC still exists in the background they will be okay with it.

I think if this becomes more widespread it’s going to severely backfire on them. In that excerpt from the letter, notice how all the “community saints” were being set aside, almost as if they were viewed as nothing more than a liability. How long before more people start saying enough is enough.
There is some push-pull in this regard. Some leading ones are like "we shouldn't be ashamed of who we are", "just be what we are", "don't hide our rich heritage". Note that they don't say "this practice is deceptive", but more of a "wear it loud and proud, we are the best".

Others more in the field recognize "being what we are" is problematic because of Google. Any college student these days trying to choose what club to join on campus is going to go immediately to the internet to see what others have to say. And here is where the blame-shift comes in. In their minds, the problem with this isn't that people might find out about what the LC is. The problem is that people might find out about what people say about what the LC is. In other words, "because of the books and the libel and the cult accusations and the lawsuits" they need to hide who they are. They don't say "we need to hide who we are because we have these strange, unchristian, aberrant teachings and practices." The blame is on others who have called these things out in the past. Hence, no avenue for change.

As per usual, they won't even recognize it as a facade. They just come up with a divine and mystical term "the slow way" to legitimize the deceptive practice, and continue on in blindness. And it's shocking how quickly new students who are sophomores/junior/seniors come on board with joining in the deception. The "better than them" elitist attitude comes very quickly. They also quickly learn themselves to hide the name and emphasis of Witness Lee from new freshmen they are contacting. It's sobering to have seen it.

Community saints are definitely a means to an end. They are just used and discarded. Their function in the body is to focus on the students, who are the 'actually important' members. The sad thing is, the students they drool over will just become the disaffected members beginning about 8 years later. The students are brought in under such hyper-focus on them that there's a decent let down when they are then tossed aside after they graduate from their special status.

You can speak and speak and speak about the needs in the church and some very simple ways to help, but literally nothing will ever change.
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:40 PM   #17
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The sad thing is, the students they drool over will just become the disaffected members beginning about 8 years later.
I wish every HS and college student in the LC could read this sentence and stop for 40 seconds and consider its implications. But they're unfortunately under the thrall of hyper-spiritualised love-bombing and have no time for such sober reflections.
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Old 05-08-2020, 02:44 PM   #18
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There is some push-pull in this regard. Some leading ones are like "we shouldn't be ashamed of who we are", "just be what we are", "don't hide our rich heritage". Note that they don't say "this practice is deceptive", but more of a "wear it loud and proud, we are the best".

Others more in the field recognize "being what we are" is problematic because of Google. Any college student these days trying to choose what club to join on campus is going to go immediately to the internet to see what others have to say. And here is where the blame-shift comes in. In their minds, the problem with this isn't that people might find out about what the LC is. The problem is that people might find out about what people say about what the LC is. In other words, "because of the books and the libel and the cult accusations and the lawsuits" they need to hide who they are. They don't say "we need to hide who we are because we have these strange, unchristian, aberrant teachings and practices." The blame is on others who have called these things out in the past. Hence, no avenue for change.
This is a good point. People like Minoru haven’t been out on the front lines for years. They get to stand up at a podium and say whatever they want to say, and that all happens within a controlled environment.

When I was involved with some of the campus work, I never once saw anyone get scared away by anything that people say about the LC. I did, however, see multiple people disappear because something about their contact with us made them feel uneasy.

I remember one time we were having a welcome dinner at the beginning of the school year. There were quite a few newcomers and I heard a few of them whispering to one another asking why everyone kept saying ‘amen’ over and over. Not surprisingly, none of these newcomers ever came back again.

Another time at the start of a new school year, some of the church elders told us very strongly to not tell any of the newcomers where we “went to church” and so we made sure not to do that. The only problem was that question was just about the first thing some people wanted to ask (being that they were looking for a Christian community to be a part of), so our evasiveness in answering that type of question was an immediate red flag.
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Old 05-08-2020, 05:52 PM   #19
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I wish every HS and college student in the LC could read this sentence and stop for 40 seconds and consider its implications. But they're unfortunately under the thrall of hyper-spiritualised love-bombing and have no time for such sober reflections.
Sadly, the ones who are most active in the LC are the ones who fall victim to this. As a church kid, some of my peers could care less about the LC (and left as soon as they could) but there were also some who actually took it seriously and were enthusiastic about it. Some of them were short-terming in the FTTA while on the breaks in college, made every conference and training, you name it.

Ten years later most of these same people were either out or just trying desperately to survive in the LC. With those who did manage to survive, I saw the types of problems they ran into. Some would move a locality, only to find out they weren't needed there, so then a year later they're moving somewhere else. Then the new locality has different issues, so it's on to the next locality.

I think a lot of us could probably point to some period of time in the LC where the environment just seemed intoxicating, there was a lot going on, we felt valued, wanted, etc. Then at some point that stopped. Maybe after moving somewhere else, graduating from college, or whatever else it was. Once all the 'fun' subsides, that's when people begin questioning their involvement. And it's not unreasonable either (I'm not saying the environment has to be fun or exciting). The point here is that if the LC is incapable of meeting someones needs at any given stage in their life, then it ceases to serve any purpose for that person.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:40 PM   #20
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The point here is that if the LC is incapable of meeting someones needs at any given stage in their life, then it ceases to serve any purpose for that person.
And the LC response would be to shame you for thinking of your needs rather than God's needs. Except God didn't create us to starve us.

One issue is, I think, in the LC, "the church" is something different than the people. For all their years of looking down on Christianity for thinking the church is the building, and although the words are correct that "we [the people] are the church", somehow that truthful statement has deviated and "the church" seems to have become something separate from the people itself.

I know of cases where dear saints were gutted by the leadership "because it's the best thing for the church". How can lacerating a part of the church and losing that part of the church from the pain of the gutting be the best thing for the church? Because somehow, in the LC, "the church" is something different from the people. I don't know what it is in their mind, or even if THEY know what it is. But it ain't the people anymore.

It's like....."the church" has become "the protection of the ministry and the pretending that everything is fine and that we are not a controlling group".
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Old 05-09-2020, 05:17 AM   #21
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I know of cases where dear saints were gutted by the leadership "because it's the best thing for the church". How can lacerating a part of the church and losing that part of the church from the pain of the gutting be the best thing for the church? Because somehow, in the LC, "the church" is something different from the people. I don't know what it is in their mind, or even if THEY know what it is. But it ain't the people anymore.

It's like....."the church" has become "the protection of the ministry and the pretending that everything is fine and that we are not a controlling group".
Interesting. Did not we in the Midwest get lacerated? For the good of the body???

For decades I heard, "The church is not for the ministry, but the ministry is for the church." Repeat often enough, and we were supposed to believe it. But in every situation, the church only existed to support the ministry. The church was constantly forced to change to suit the ministry. Unbearable contradictions like this over time just grate at the soul. The church was constantly sacrificed to accommodate the whims of the ministry. Every church and every saint was thus expendable.

Like the government, the ministry has become this huge bloated self-serving organism, deemed "essential," while all others are deemed "non-essential."

Going back to your comment about "lacerating," this can also take another form. How many times did I see the "ministry" draft (think steal) key brothers from LC's in order to force that LC to be more dependent on the ministry? I hated that. Was not that one of the deeds of the Nicolaitans?
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Old 05-09-2020, 06:40 PM   #22
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

I want to switch gears a little now and use a LC Q&A session as a case study. In the LSM publication entitled A Timely Word, the very end has some questions that are answered by WL (circa the late 80’s ‘turmoil’). WL gets asked the following question:
Some of the saints may hear some rumors or some gossip. They may not become negative themselves or cause some trouble, but the symptom in many cases is that they become discouraged. They lose their heart for the church life. They lose their confidence in the Lord’s recovery. There are many cases where this causes them to question the leadership in their church or the ministry among us. This last training on Leviticus was a real medicine, a real balm, and a real help. But I am concerned that many of us may have certain cases in our church where brothers or sisters are not negative, but they heard some gossip or rumor, which may be totally unfounded. There may be some element in what they heard that causes them to question. They themselves are not opposing, and they do not form a party. But they lose all their enjoyment, they lose all their heart, and they lose all their confidence. In many cases they do not even express what they heard, but there is a kind of withdrawing from the church life and a withdrawing from the service. This is a real weakening to these saints. How can we help this kind of brother or sister either in a public way or a personal way?

Before we get to how WL responds to this question, I think it is interesting to consider the implications of the question itself. First off, this question is regarding those who leave the LC in a ‘quiet’ way, those who don’t voice their concerns or anything like that. If we separate ex-members into two categories – those who left vocally and those who left quietly, it goes without saying that the vocal ones are the biggest targets to get called whatever names or derogatory terms that people in the LC could come up with. So it makes perfect sense to operate under the assumption that taking the ‘pacifist’ approach to leaving would be the preferred method by the average LC member.

So in my mind, what this question is really about is basically a covert attempt to make the point that when people leave the LC, they are afraid to speak up because they know that the LC leadership loves to shoot the messenger. Let’s say someone leaves in a vocal way. It does provide an immediate form of feedback for the LC, but they don’t want to hear it. But ironically, when someone leaves quietly, no one knows what happened. Sometimes even the person is involved in various areas of service - lets say they play piano in meetings, they serve with the college students, etc., and then one day they are just gone. They stop answering phone calls, nobody knows what happened. Obviously that's very concerning, so it's perfectly reasonably that everyone would want to find out what happened.

But at the same time people in the LC very well know that the issue is more complex than the typical explanations like the person has become ‘dormant’, so nobody wants to be the one to try to initiate contact or figure out what’s going on, because if they become the new messenger, then they are the ones who get shot instead. It really makes for a bizarre situation.
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Old 05-09-2020, 08:34 PM   #23
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To me, the question itself is just a deflection. It puts the focus on the status of the ones hearing the rumor "which may be unfounded" (note the tricky wording keeping it ambiguous whether the rumor is true or not), rather than on the truth of the rumor itself. The question really should be "when we hear rumors about the leadership, what is the process to determine whether or not it is true? Whether or not actions should be taken? How will we know the situation is being handled correctly?"

Once the truth is known, then you can help the saints with their reaction to the truth.
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:44 AM   #24
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To me, the question itself is just a deflection. It puts the focus on the status of the ones hearing the rumor "which may be unfounded" (note the tricky wording keeping it ambiguous whether the rumor is true or not), rather than on the truth of the rumor itself. The question really should be "when we hear rumors about the leadership, what is the process to determine whether or not it is true? Whether or not actions should be taken? How will we know the situation is being handled correctly?"

Once the truth is known, then you can help the saints with their reaction to the truth.
During time periods like the late 80's, I don't know what percentage of those who left did so quietly vs. vocally, but the actual concerns that led members to leave in either of these cases were the same concerns underlying concerns.

It seems that WL had a tendency to approach these types of situations by either not acknowledging the problem at all or he would scold anyone who was speaking up about "unfounded rumors" without providing the opportunity to get to the bottom of the so-called rumor.

I think that when the average rank and file members sees this type of pattern happening it often becomes ideal to make the decision to leave quietly and just move on. So the LC then finds itself in a position where it is bleeding members and many of them never explicitly stated their reasons for leaving. Leadership knows what the concerns are, but instead of addressing those concerns, they blame the people who leave. Or they blame current members for not having enough increase.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:50 AM   #25
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One of the elders even went so far to say that if we were going to home meetings and not bringing “new ones” then we were wasting our time. I actually stopped attending the home meetings because of that (mostly in order to make a point about).
I brought it up previously of my experience. Intending to invite a young family I knew to a home meeting and being told "there's no room". Yet for another young family already "in the ministry", there is suddenly room. Sends the wrong message.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:14 AM   #26
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The Lord's Recovery is bleeding out 2nd generation white kids at a rate that will make them unrecognizable to all of us who came in the LC during the heyday of the late 60s - early 70s in about 10 years or so. Maybe sooner.

I fell off my chair laughing when Minoru waxed so eloquent about how the poor increase was due to "the first rebellion in the Recovery". Then of course it was that evil book "The Mind Benders" that stopped them in their tracks! Right. A book that sold, what? A few thousand copies slowed down God's One Move On Earth?
The Lord's Recovery race demographics of late 70's/early 80's, what would you think it was? I'd venture to say in Southern California white majority and Chinese/Chinese-American second. It's been said as a result of the late 80's turmoil there was a "white-flight". I didn't know the context of that statement. I can tell you in my visits to Southern California over the last 20 years, the demographics have changed significantly. Predominantly Asian and Hispanic. I've considered could culture towards "authority and submission" play a role?

Speaking about "The Mind Benders" book I suppose back then just referring to the title gave unintended marketing. Out of those few thousand copies sold, how many were meeting with the local churches?
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:31 AM   #27
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The problem with the Recovery lies primarily with its deceptive leadership. They talk love, but spew hatred. They talk liberty, but enslave its members. They talk "local," but weild controlling headquarters. The hypocrisies and the disconnects just abound systemically throughout the Recovery. The decades' worth accumulation is now far too much to hide.
The problem with the deceptive leaders and the messages they promote influences the rank and file brothers/sisters meeting in the local churches. The animosity towards former elders is influenced. Ones who don't share that feeling may experience doubt. "How is it everyone is fine with this speaking, but I'm not?" It's apparent my thoughts and feelings aren't welcome here and decides to leave.
How different would it had been with a leadership that spoke grace and their actions exemplified grace? Maybe fewer people would have left, but there would have been other underlying factors leading to people leaving.
Mixed messages over immorality, making ministry publications focal point of local church fellowship, and simply racial/gender/age demographics will cause ones to leave in favor of a church that better suits their needs.
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Old 05-11-2020, 10:58 AM   #28
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I brought it up previously of my experience. Intending to invite a young family I knew to a home meeting and being told "there's no room". Yet for another young family already "in the ministry", there is suddenly room. Sends the wrong message.
In the LC, it always seemed like there was some kind of there was some kind of push, whether it be preaching the gospel, trying to get an increase, shepherding, recovering 'dominant' ones, etc, etc.

But then it seemed that when anyone tried to act on what was being spoken, all the sudden it got qualified in a much more specific way. Let's say someone brings a friend to the meeting and the person asks too many questions about LC practices. Then all the sudden it gets clarified that it's better to not bring people to meetings who might be a 'problem'.

Or lets say that after having been encouraged to do so, someone reaches out to people who haven't been meeting in a while. Then they get told that they should have brought the matter up for 'fellowship' first.

In so many of these cases, what they are exhorting members to do is not actually what they want, or at least is not something that the LC is capable of accommodating. Going back to Minoru's call for an increase, if such an increase were to take place in the LC on any measurable level, it would mean accommodating people from all walks of life, personalities, opinions, etc. It would mean being willing to go places where there isn't a college campus nearby. The LC just isn't willing to make these kinds of changes.
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Old 05-11-2020, 11:13 AM   #29
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That's what makes LC's a ministry churches and not local churches. Those who share a vision for the ministry, it becomes a seamless transition. As to say "we love those who love the ministry".
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Old 05-11-2020, 11:37 AM   #30
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Just as another example, with the recent pandemic, basically all churches have had to start live-streaming their services so that anyone can watch regardless of location (and I think a lot of them had already been doing that previously). But by contrast, I've seen LC members talking on FB about having meetings on zoom. Everything is password protected (invite only). Anyone who isn't already affiliated with the LC wouldn't even have the ability to know about or participate in their meetings.

It's actually a bit striking to think about that. Of course, the LC has never really been the type of place where there are a lot of visitors at random, but more and more, it seems that the environment has become such that they don't want that at all. They don't want anything to be introduced into the environment that would throw off their formula.
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Old 05-11-2020, 12:34 PM   #31
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Hmmm, that's interesting. Wonder if that's the reason for it, that is, that they don't want anyone outside viewing the messages. Doing it on Zoom might also allow some interaction. There's a Tuesday Zoom Bible study I've been on that allows some interaction
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Old 05-11-2020, 01:41 PM   #32
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I have looked at a few prominent localities websites recently to see what they do. While on some of them there is mention of coronavirus and an exhortation to join the virtual meetings (others had no mention), there were no links to those meetings or instructions how to join zoom gatherings. Since they don't stream their meetings or have them up for watching later on, it means there is literally no way to check them out online before contacting them. The local churches have so few people walking in off the street they don't even consider newcomers or outsiders when their entire meeting format changes. They often are only concerned with sending out the internal announcements to the existing saints and have literally zero thought about how to make sure outsiders who may be interested in the church could find out about how to join in. It's quite telling.

Talk about keeping your "light" under a bushel.

The church in NYC website did have a video for the opening word, and this is not to knock the brother sharing, but he was pretty robotic and cardboard. I'm sure he's a dear brother and all, but he looked like he was just channeling his FTTA training in how to inflect his voice to sound deep. He reminded me of numerous other brothers his age who speak just the same way. And it's not a style of speaking that draws you in, that's for sure.
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Old 05-11-2020, 04:54 PM   #33
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It is telling indeed. For so long the LC has been blaming their lack of increase on whatever excuse they can come up with. With this current situation, their actions tell the real story. It's not much different than the exclusive brethren not wanting to have windows in their meeting halls so as to prevent anyone from the outside from looking in.
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Old 05-11-2020, 07:21 PM   #34
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Hmmm, that's interesting. Wonder if that's the reason for it, that is, that they don't want anyone outside viewing the messages. Doing it on Zoom might also allow some interaction. There's a Tuesday Zoom Bible study I've been on that allows some interaction
I think that it is standard practice for video conferencing to be password protected or require a link. But in the case of the LC, what I find to be interesting is the choice to hold their primary meetings in that format. I don't have any problem with them wanting their meetings to be 'mutual', but that type of format can only accommodate so many people and depending on the number of people involved, what might be perceived to be 'mutual' isn't actually mutual.

I am a "church kid" and grew up in the 90's, so I can still remember a time when the LC recorded tapes of every meeting. That was before there were prophesying meetings and they had one or two brothers speaking. When people missed a meeting they would be sure to listen to the tapes afterwards. But nowadays, if someone misses an LC meeting, what is there to catch up on? Did they really miss anything? Everyone just reads and recites/parrots the same HWMR booklet, so there's really nothing to miss.

So what that translates to is in their meetings, there is really nothing for newcomers to hear or even participate in unless they know what's going on already. It's really sad.
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Old 05-12-2020, 06:07 AM   #35
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

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I have looked at a few prominent localities websites recently to see what they do. While on some of them there is mention of coronavirus and an exhortation to join the virtual meetings (others had no mention), there were no links to those meetings or instructions how to join zoom gatherings.
I saw this recent E-meeting from the former LC in Toronto.

During the Midwest quarantines, Toronto separated itself from both Anaheim and Cleveland, having endured lawsuits and all manners of evil along the way. This is a message a decade after their exodus was completed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDwC1kwRzxc
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:43 AM   #36
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A lack of increase should cause those "in charge" to take a look at the fruit of their ways. A lack of increase should cause those who practice and preach authority, authority, authority to take a look at the fruit of their overbearing authority...the fruit of their brand of "authority".

Historically, those "in charge" have a proclivity to look at only what they believe to be their "good fruit" and deny or dismiss or blame the pain and suffering of their congregants on the congregants themselves. In other words, they have a "shoot the messenger" mentality---yet they can't figure out why there is a "lack of increase?"

If you really want to know why there is a "lack of increase", listen to your critics. They know. They've been telling you for years. If you had listened to those the Lord sent your way over the last 50 years, you might not be here today scratching your heads, wondering "what's going on?"
If it's asked inquisitively or rhetorically, do elders/co-workers really want to hear an answer?
Just as Nell said, "listen to your critics". I would say there is a "Drip! Drip! Drip!" effect causing attrition and lack of an increase.
  • Daystar
  • Max
  • Philip Lee
  • April 1986 ITERO - Elders Pledge of Allegiance
  • Doorknocking Flow
  • Rosemead
  • Concerns of John So, Bill Mallon among others
  • Full-TIme Trainings
  • Quarantine of TItus Chu
It may not be a whole lot at a single given time, but add it up over the years of 1973-2006 and it's many who had left. Some will point out as Nell had, "look at their fruit". Some have have left for something simple as feeling overburdened and peer pressure to provide hospitality for bi-annual trainings.
Of course, should the elders/co-workers ask, they don't want to hear answers I've given.
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Old 05-12-2020, 11:05 AM   #37
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It may not be a whole lot at a single given time, but add it up over the years of 1973-2006 and it's many who had left. Some will point out as Nell had, "look at their fruit". Some have have left for something simple as feeling overburdened and peer pressure to provide hospitality for bi-annual trainings.
Of course, should the elders/co-workers ask, they don't want to hear answers I've given.
So this forum has about 450 members (right UntoHim?). And the lion's share of members here are essentially against the practices of the LC. This is for a variety of individual reasons and most are not meeting with the LC. So let's say that brings it down to 400 (assuming about 50 members are still meeting with the LC). What would you say the portion these 400 members are of all disgruntled ones out there are? I'd say the largest percentage we might represent is just 10%. But I suspect that representative percentage to be much smaller, say 2-5% perhaps. Therefore that's as much as 20,000 people - or more - who have left that we on here represent!

The math may be fuzzy to be sure, but the point is we on this forum represent a much, much larger group of those that have some issue that caused us to leave the LC.
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Old 05-12-2020, 12:25 PM   #38
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If it's asked inquisitively or rhetorically, do elders/co-workers really want to hear an answer?
Just as Nell said, "listen to your critics". I would say there is a "Drip! Drip! Drip!" effect causing attrition and lack of an increase.
  • Daystar
  • Max
  • Philip Lee
  • April 1986 ITERO - Elders Pledge of Allegiance
  • Doorknocking Flow
  • Rosemead
  • Concerns of John So, Bill Mallon among others
  • Full-TIme Trainings
  • Quarantine of TItus Chu
It may not be a whole lot at a single given time, but add it up over the years of 1973-2006 and it's many who had left. Some will point out as Nell had, "look at their fruit". Some have have left for something simple as feeling overburdened and peer pressure to provide hospitality for bi-annual trainings.
Of course, should the elders/co-workers ask, they don't want to hear answers I've given.
I think there are two avenues of attrition in the LC, which you seem to have touched upon.

I would describe most of your bulleted list above as "severing an artery" (save the FTTA). That's one way members are lost en masse. Something significant happens, the ones who know the truth or see the reality leave in large numbers, and the LC faithful term it a "turmoil".

The other way I would best describe as hematidrosis, or bleeding through the skin (actually through sweat glands/pores). It's just the kind of constant loss that happens daily, weekly, monthly as row after row of saints across the churches reach the disillusioned point. It's not the "there was a turmoil" or "there was a coverup", but it's the "I'm just unhappy here and I can't handle it anymore".

There are pervasive issues in the LC that manifest in the spikes that get an official label. It's like being covered in boils or blisters, and the turmoils are just the ones that burst. Well, that's a gross analogy. Maybe a better one is a seismograph.....there are always rumblings in the earth, and it builds until you get the earthquakes.

Anyway, if the underlying issues were addressed, the turmoils wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) occur.

I think the historical stuff doesn't hold as much sway for the church kids who are now leaving as adults, or for the new ones who are caught and then the honeymoon period fades away. It may be that learning about the historical stuff is the final piece of the puzzle, or is the straw that breaks the camels back, but they would already been well into constructing the puzzle, or well into the camel being overloaded. They would already be suffering under the inauthentic relationships, the strange coded language, the same old dry cardboard being spoken at each meeting/conference/training, the lack of love, etc. Those are some of the things I can think of currently causing people to bleed out.
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Old 05-12-2020, 01:32 PM   #39
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I think the historical stuff doesn't hold as much sway for the church kids who are now leaving as adults, or for the new ones who are caught and then the honeymoon period fades away. It may be that learning about the historical stuff is the final piece of the puzzle, or is the straw that breaks the camels back, but they would already been well into constructing the puzzle, or well into the camel being overloaded. They would already be suffering under the inauthentic relationships, the strange coded language, the same old dry cardboard being spoken at each meeting/conference/training, the lack of love, etc. Those are some of the things I can think of currently causing people to bleed out.
In my own case, it was my experiences and frustration in the LC that led to me reading up on the history. The LC might say that people become 'poisoned' after they read what is out there, but it seems more often than not, that is just the final step on the path out of the LC.

When people get to that point where they are willing to read everything they've been told not to read, you know they must already be disillusioned enough to not really care anymore.
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Old 05-12-2020, 02:41 PM   #40
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In my own case, it was my experiences and frustration in the LC that led to me reading up on the history. The LC might say that people become 'poisoned' after they read what is out there, but it seems more often than not, that is just the final step on the path out of the LC.

When people get to that point where they are willing to read everything they've been told not to read, you know they must already be disillusioned enough to not really care anymore.
My experience is that the Lord just sort of dried things up regarding the LC. I think things were already just getting pretty dim in the locality we were in, and then I got a job which transferred us a couple thousand miles away to the middle of the Mojave Desert. There was a LC about a hundred miles away, but by that time I really wanted some space from them.

I still thought the LC was "it" however. It took a few years more of drying out before I contacted John Ingalls somewhere around 1991 or 92 (I don't remember how I knew to call him - perhaps it was someone in the Scottsdale group told me). By then I was ready to hear what John had to say, and he sent me a copy of his new book about what the Lord had showed him concerning WL/LSM. It distressed me as I knew I didn't want to go back to the LC, but I had also swallowed the idea that "there was nothing else out there of any value." So finally, in desperation, He was able to lead me to writings that clearly demonstrated the experience/enjoyment of Christ as their main focus (e.g., Piper), which were not part of the whole LC world. Praise God!!!
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Old 05-12-2020, 02:54 PM   #41
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In my own case, it was my experiences and frustration in the LC that led to me reading up on the history. The LC might say that people become 'poisoned' after they read what is out there, but it seems more often than not, that is just the final step on the path out of the LC.

When people get to that point where they are willing to read everything they've been told not to read, you know they must already be disillusioned enough to not really care anymore.
Yeah. For me it was similar. I couldn't get help from anyone inside the LC about my experiences and frustrations so I went searching online, thinking to myself "SURELY there are other church kids or saints struggling with the same things and talking about them online".

This "poisonous" website I stumbled across could have been better described as "the first time in my life things make sense".

It just occurred to me how strange it is to have a group of people that apparently has all these "opposers". Does it not occur to anyone inside the group that the "opposers" words have merit? Do they literally just think that there are all these random people out there who make up things about the LC? It just makes no sense.
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Old 05-12-2020, 05:20 PM   #42
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In my own case, it was my experiences and frustration in the LC that led to me reading up on the history. The LC might say that people become 'poisoned' after they read what is out there, but it seems more often than not, that is just the final step on the path out of the LC.

When people get to that point where they are willing to read everything they've been told not to read, you know they must already be disillusioned enough to not really care anymore.
This was true for me. I never once looked for information, nor saw the 'negativity online' for myself until I got shunned. At that point, I realized, what the heck is this? Weird unchristian behavior at best, something of Satans' strategy at worst. That is the point I started looking for answers, and discovered shunning is a tool they use....just like a cult does! Go figure.
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Old 05-12-2020, 05:57 PM   #43
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This was true for me. I never once looked for information, nor saw the 'negativity online' for myself until I got shunned. At that point, I realized, what the heck is this? Weird unchristian behavior at best, something of Satans' strategy at worst. That is the point I started looking for answers, and discovered shunning is a tool they use....just like a cult does! Go figure.
Hey, speaking of shunning, I wonder if those who've left the Amish thing have a web forum like us? (of course, because of their anti-technology practice, probably few Amish would know about it)

Jus' sayin'
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Old 05-13-2020, 11:24 AM   #44
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It just occurred to me how strange it is to have a group of people that apparently has all these "opposers". Does it not occur to anyone inside the group that the "opposers" words have merit? Do they literally just think that there are all these random people out there who make up things about the LC? It just makes no sense.
The usage of terms like "opposers" or "negative ones" is very deliberate, and shifts the focus away from the actual concerns at hand.

When I think about all the times that I heard people in the LC talking about the so-called opposers, never once do really remember questioning why there would be so many people out there staying stuff about the LC. It was just more of fearing the unknown. Thinking that such people were out to get us and wreck havoc on the LC.
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Old 05-13-2020, 11:34 AM   #45
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This was true for me. I never once looked for information, nor saw the 'negativity online' for myself until I got shunned. At that point, I realized, what the heck is this? Weird unchristian behavior at best, something of Satans' strategy at worst. That is the point I started looking for answers, and discovered shunning is a tool they use....just like a cult does! Go figure.
While in the LC, it was never that clear why people left. People who were extra vocal about their concerns would be accused of being 'divisive'. Or sometimes the ones who voiced concerns were told that they should have addresses their concerns in a different way. People who left due to various abuses were accused of making things up. And it so many cases what it boiled down to was just blaming the victim.

The real 'poisoning' is related to the toxic environment that the LC allows to persist in spite of all the feedback they have. I wonder if they will ever be able to admit that.
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Old 05-13-2020, 12:07 PM   #46
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While in the LC, it was never that clear why people left. People who were extra vocal about their concerns would be accused of being 'divisive'. Or sometimes the ones who voiced concerns were told that they should have addresses their concerns in a different way. People who left due to various abuses were accused of making things up. And it so many cases what it boiled down to was just blaming the victim.

The real 'poisoning' is related to the toxic environment that the LC allows to persist in spite of all the feedback they have. I wonder if they will ever be able to admit that.
There just seems to be so much paranoia in the LC surrounding people leaving or saying anything imagined as negative. This really is a problem for them - the hypersensitivity to anything even remotely outside the LC norm. Of course, certain selected scriptures are used to justify this. But really, like Gamaliel related in Acts 5:38-39, they should let this silly practice go - if it's of God it will remain!

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Old 05-13-2020, 12:38 PM   #47
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There just seems to be so much paranoia in the LC surrounding people leaving or saying anything imagined as negative. This really is a problem for them - the hypersensitivity to anything even remotely outside the LC norm. Of course, certain selected scriptures are used to justify this. But really, like Gamaliel related in Acts 5:38-39, they should let this silly practice go - if it's of God it will remain!

And in many cases, if it's of God, it will flee the LC and remain with God.
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Old 05-13-2020, 12:38 PM   #48
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There just seems to be so much paranoia in the LC surrounding people leaving or saying anything imagined as negative. This really is a problem for them - the hypersensitivity to anything even remotely outside the LC norm. Of course, certain selected scriptures are used to justify this. But really, like Gamaliel related in Acts 5:38-39, they should let this silly practice go - if it's of God it will remain!
It's interesting to think about how in the LC, we were absolutely convinced that being 'negative' or expressing one's opinion would hinder what God is trying to do. When if fact it's completely the opposite. If something is true, if it is worth following, then it should be able to hold up to all kinds of scrutiny.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:20 PM   #49
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There just seems to be so much paranoia in the LC surrounding people leaving or saying anything imagined as negative. This really is a problem for them - the hypersensitivity to anything even remotely outside the LC norm. Of course, certain selected scriptures are used to justify this. But really, like Gamaliel related in Acts 5:38-39, they should let this silly practice go - if it's of God it will remain!
The scary part would be to find yourself opposing what God himself is doing.

Acts 5:39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice,
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Old 05-14-2020, 10:33 AM   #50
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

Ya know, I think the one thing that hasn't been mentioned on this thread is that the numbers of counted members in all of Christendom has been shrinking for some time. This brings to mind a wonderful little movie we saw a couple years ago called, "All Saints." Anybody see this? It depicts the true story of All Saints Episcopal Church in (of all places) Smyrna, Tenn. It's about a small group of Christians whose numbers had dwindled dramatically over the past couple decades. A brother was sent there from the diocese to close it down, since they could not justify supporting it financially any more.

This is the case with many, many churches, not just the LC, right? Many groups are desperately trying to get their numbers up by all sorts of marketing methods.

Concerning the movie - it really is one of the best Christian movies I've seen - this brother gets a speaking from the Lord not to close it, and the rest of the movie is about what unfolded after that (and not quite what you'd expect). All Saints movie
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Old 05-14-2020, 01:06 PM   #51
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Of course the reasons for the lack of increase in the Local Church of Witness Lee are drastically different than for most of the other church groups and denominations. Most churches are not experiencing a lack of increase because the members are forced to follow the person and work of one man. Most churches are not experiencing a lack of increase because of wacko teachings like Witness Lee was the only one speaking as God's oracle on earth, that the church is the 4th part of the Trinity and that man is becoming God in life and nature. Most churches are not experiencing a lack of increase because the members live under the fear that if they leave their little sect they will get cancer or get into some terrible car accident. Most churches are not experiencing a lack of increase because their founder and leaders teach that "Judaism is satanic, Catholicism is demonic, and Protestantism is christless".

Uh Oh, Debbie strikes again

-

PS. The movie sounds good to me!
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Old 05-14-2020, 04:32 PM   #52
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Of course the reasons for the lack of increase in the Local Church of Witness Lee are drastically different than for most of the other church groups and denominations. Most churches are not experiencing a lack of increase because the members are forced to follow the person and work of one man. Most churches are not experiencing a lack of increase because of wacko teachings like Witness Lee was the only one speaking as God's oracle on earth, that the church is the 4th part of the Trinity and that man is becoming God in life and nature. Most churches are not experiencing a lack of increase because the members live under the fear that if they leave their little sect they will get cancer or get into some terrible car accident. Most churches are not experiencing a lack of increase because their founder and leaders teach that "Judaism is satanic, Catholicism is demonic, and Protestantism is christless".

Uh Oh, Debbie strikes again

-

PS. The movie sounds good to me!
-
Yer like such a bummer, dude! (I was inspired to answer that way as we're talking about Jesus People on another thread)

Yes, different groups may be loosing members for various reasons. But that also doesn't completely negate that some of the lower LC numbers might be influenced by the larger post-Christian world culture that is so very pervasive now. But granted, the whackadoodle stuff in the LC is perhaps the bigger reason.

And yes the "All Saints" movie definitely was good and threw me a curve at the end I didn't see coming at all (actually, it was God who "threw them a curve"). BTW - it got a 95% ratings over on the Rotten Tomatoes movie review website.
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:09 PM   #53
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Yes, different groups may be loosing members for various reasons. But that also doesn't completely negate that some of the lower LC numbers might be influenced by the larger post-Christian world culture that is so very pervasive now. But granted, the whackadoodle stuff in the LC is perhaps the bigger reason.
Although this thought did come to mind when starting this thread, I think I would I would categorize it as two separate issues. Mainly because the LC just doesn't have enough in common with what is going on in other Christian groups or the types of struggles other groups are facing. Or I should say that the LC has an even bigger hurdle to overcome, they have to be able to effectively address people's doubts about Christianity and they also have to get people to drop their concerns about the peculiarities of the LC environment.

When the LC was starting out in the U.S., WL had all kinds of criticism to offer about Christianity, denominations, etc. While some of it may have been based on valid points, the intention was always about using it to position the LC as something better. In more recent times, the LC has started using the same type of criticism to shift the focus away from its own shortcomings. It should be noted though that some of the criticism that WL offered could very well be factors we would point to in the decline of various groups, particularly the traditional mainline denominations. But if the LC had it all figured out, then why didn't people ever see it as a desirable alternative?

One of the things I am trying to get at here with this thread is that Minoru claims 25,000 LC members in the U.S., and that’s a drop in the bucket compared to just about anything else. For example, there are quite a few megachurches in Southern California that have 10,000 members or more. And actually these types of groups are a relatively recent phenomena, so the potential for growth is obviously still there. It’s just not what is happening in the LC.
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Old 05-14-2020, 07:38 PM   #54
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What I don't understand is that they never seem to take a second and think, "Wait, could what these people are saying be true?"

Like, "Hm, person #279 has accused us of being a cult. That's the 279th time that's happened, maybe I should take it seriously. What makes a cult a cult, anyway? *looks up characteristics of cults* Oh...boy.....yeah, I can see a few points kinda sound like us. What should we do about those points, because we sure don't want to operate like a cult!"

The fact that they DON'T do that very rational thing, and the fact that they DO threaten their members with negative repercussions if people go off and read stuff like that.......tells me that the leadership in the Lord's recovery has full well read the characteristics of a cult and sees the truth and doesn't want it to be found out and also has no desire to change for the better.

The only thing I can conclude by the actions of the co-workers is that they know they are operating a sham. You better believe DCP and the ones who write the defensive articles read word-for-word the stuff that's out there about and against the LC. They only scare the members because they can see it all matches up.

Which, to me, can only mean that it's willful deception.
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:06 AM   #55
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The only thing I can conclude by the actions of the co-workers is that they know they are operating a sham. You better believe DCP and the ones who write the defensive articles read word-for-word the stuff that's out there about and against the LC. They only scare the members because they can see it all matches up.

Which, to me, can only mean that it's willful deception.
When the DCP wrote an article on Daystar, after news of it broke on FaceBook, they omitted WL's son Timothy. According to ones who were there, Timothy came to WL and wanted to start a business making motor homes. WL then actively promoted the idea to LC members as a money-making investment, that it would create jobs, and fund LC activities.

DCP confirms that Daystar was ostensibly created to fund the gospel outreach and support church work. But many who were there knew the role of WL's immediate family, and their initiation of and direct benefit from the company. Yet DCP never mentions this, whilst repeatedly touting what it calls "facts". To me this shows deliberate misrepresentation. They push some facts, and hide others, and try to skew the truth to minimize damage caused by this long-hidden fiasco recently coming to light.

Even when they're forced to address something, they try to evade.
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Old 05-15-2020, 02:13 PM   #56
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The only thing I can conclude by the actions of the co-workers is that they know they are operating a sham. You better believe DCP and the ones who write the defensive articles read word-for-word the stuff that's out there about and against the LC. They only scare the members because they can see it all matches up.

Which, to me, can only mean that it's willful deception.
For a long time, the DCP and others have simply denied or refused to acknowledge a lot of what has been said about the LC. With the ever increasing audience that social media is reaching, that is no longer a viable strategy.

Recently it seems there's been a bit of a pivot. All the sudden their line of reasoning has become "well we aren't perfect, so don't worry about our mistakes." But that is an even bigger deflection, because the issue has never been the simple fact that mistakes were made.

So whatever is really going on in the LC, it's enough for even ex-members to call it a cult. It's not just outsiders with no affiliation to the LC, it's people who were once members who are readily categorizing it that way. When all the DCP is willing to say is that mistakes have been made, doesn't do anything to address what people are saying about the LC.
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Old 05-16-2020, 06:52 PM   #57
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When the DCP wrote an article on Daystar, after news of it broke on FaceBook, they omitted WL's son Timothy. According to ones who were there, Timothy came to WL and wanted to start a business making motor homes. WL then actively promoted the idea to LC members as a money-making investment, that it would create jobs, and fund LC activities.

DCP confirms that Daystar was ostensibly created to fund the gospel outreach and support church work. But many who were there knew the role of WL's immediate family, and their initiation of and direct benefit from the company. Yet DCP never mentions this, whilst repeatedly touting what it calls "facts". To me this shows deliberate misrepresentation. They push some facts, and hide others, and try to skew the truth to minimize damage caused by this long-hidden fiasco recently coming to light.


Notice how they have nothing to say about Timothy Lee or Phillip Lee, but when it comes to anyone who has spoke out, the DCP is more than happy to reference an article about how that person served jail time.


Even when they're forced to address something, they try to evade.
In their Daystar article, they also go on the attack against one of the people who spoke up about what happened. It's a classic example of an ad hominem attack.

People should take note that they make no attempt to address the issues of Timothy Lee or Phillip Lee. Instead, they make reference to an article about how one of the people who spoke up served jail time (for something completely unrelated).

The whole issue with something like Daystar is LC members donated their money, and then it was suddenly gone without explanation. Yes, it was a 'mistake' but more than that, there was never any attempt to really make things right. It has been said that when WL was questioned as to what went so terribly wrong with Daystar, his answer was that the saints have "now lost their virginity."

WL's answer speaks for itself. He admitted that he did something wrong without really admitting to anything more. If the LC can't come clean about this kind of stuff, then they need to stop trying to figure out why people don't trust them.
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Old 05-17-2020, 03:07 AM   #58
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It has been said that when WL was questioned as to what went so terribly wrong with Daystar, his answer was that the saints have "now lost their virginity."
Btw, what an absolutely appalling thing to say. Just vile, when you consider the betrayal of trust and financial exploitation involved, of those loyal and devoted to him.

Another detail that gives it away that they know what they are doing and it is deliberate, comes from the link at the top of this thread. MC discusses the book that declared them to be a cult. Instead of illuminating the audience on some traits of cults, and explaining why this definition does not fit them, he deliberately makes a case to them being compared to a cult seem extremely unreasonable. He did this by mentioning that the chapter devoted to the LC was next to the chapter on Jim Jones, and outlines the tragic and complete destruction of the members of that very extreme group.

If he was sincere, he might explain that not all cults kill all their members, and cover what defines a cult and why they think this conclusion about them was wrong. Instead his approach does nothing to educate the people but rather avoids the claim by exaggerating the idea of what a cult is, to make it seem like a ludicrous claim to make against them.

That looks deliberate, for sure. They know the sham they are runnung, and how they square that with their own conscience is something I don’t want to be able to understand.
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:23 AM   #59
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If he was sincere, he might explain that not all cults kill all their members, and cover what defines a cult and why they think this conclusion about them was wrong. Instead his approach does nothing to educate the people but rather avoids the claim by exaggerating the idea of what a cult is, to make it seem like a ludicrous claim to make against them.
When the Mindbenders and Godmen books came out, we were told that "cults have church-like characteristics."

That actually put our hearts to rest. We were also forbidden to read the books.
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:36 AM   #60
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If he was sincere, he might explain that not all cults kill all their members, and cover what defines a cult and why they think this conclusion about them was wrong. Instead his approach does nothing to educate the people but rather avoids the claim by exaggerating the idea of what a cult is, to make it seem like a ludicrous claim to make against them.

That looks deliberate, for sure. They know the sham they are runnung, and how they square that with their own conscience is something I don’t want to be able to understand.
Not all cults kill their members. Some slooooowwwwllly squeeze the life out of them. It's actually much more profitable- a dead cult member can't contribute to the Guru's family and associates' needs.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:35 AM   #61
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Btw, what an absolutely appalling thing to say. Just vile, when you consider the betrayal of trust and financial exploitation involved, of those loyal and devoted to him.
Some of the old-timers in the LC will talk about the "good ole days" or elden hall, and based on the types of testimonies from that time, the LC was probably doing some things right at that time. Then not long after that time period, a fiasco like Daystar happens. Talk about a betrayal of trust.

When Daystar happened, it definitely served as a rude awakening to many who were all in for the LC. Even more than that, I think once people came to terms with the fact that they had been exploited, it also really called into question the aspects of their experiences that had been perceived as positive.

By the time books like the God-men or Mindbenders came out, it's probably safe to say that there were already a good number of ex-members out there who wouldn't have anything good to say about the LC. Put within that context, whether these books were fact or fiction is pretty much irrelevant. Even at that time there were so many questions surrounding the LC and so many former members. Books like that were bound to come out at some point or another.

If the LC expects to reverse this trend of decline, they have to come to terms with the fact that their publicity problems stem from these types of internal issues that go unhanded or mishandled. I think that if WL had come clean about Daystar, we wouldn't be here talking about it 40 years later.
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Old 05-17-2020, 11:15 AM   #62
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Some of the old-timers in the LC will talk about the "good ole days" or elden hall, and based on the types of testimonies from that time, the LC was probably doing some things right at that time. Then not long after that time period, a fiasco like Daystar happens. Talk about a betrayal of trust.

When Daystar happened, it definitely served as a rude awakening to many who were all in for the LC. Even more than that, I think once people came to terms with the fact that they had been exploited, it also really called into question the aspects of their experiences that had been perceived as positive.

By the time books like the God-men or Mindbenders came out, it's probably safe to say that there were already a good number of ex-members out there who wouldn't have anything good to say about the LC. Put within that context, whether these books were fact or fiction is pretty much irrelevant. Even at that time there were so many questions surrounding the LC and so many former members. Books like that were bound to come out at some point or another.

If the LC expects to reverse this trend of decline, they have to come to terms with the fact that their publicity problems stem from these types of internal issues that go unhanded or mishandled. I think that if WL had come clean about Daystar, we wouldn't be here talking about it 40 years later.
Interesting thought, that is, if WL had "come clean" . . . It's always the subsequent cover-up that really gets people in trouble, isn't it? But sweeping problems under the rug merely causes them to fester and grow, and then it really upsets people so much more.

Personally, I didn't even know about Daystar until coming to the LC in Columbus in the early 80s. The Ohio churches, as has been discussed before, were a little removed and insulated from the west coast stuff. So it just seemed like a distant event that had little bearing on us. Of course, that was just the initial tip of the iceberg. But once again, the Lord came in to rescue and saved me out of things before they really hit the fan (in Columbus in the late 80s).
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Old 05-17-2020, 11:35 AM   #63
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When the Mindbenders and Godmen books came out, we were told that "cults have church-like characteristics."

That actually put our hearts to rest. We were also forbidden to read the books.
This is one of the things that really raises red flags about the LC. They think that they get to define and dictate to members whether or not they are a cult. It doesn't work that way.

When I think about my own experience in the LC, I can think of a number of specific examples where I witnessed or experienced cult-like behavior. Everything from them trying to arrange marriages to authoritarianism and public humiliation. So many people have described similar experiences. The LC can make whatever claims about itself that it wants to, but at the end of the day, people have had questionable experiences in the LC, and those experiences can't be denied.

Even despite what kind of environment the LC propagates, I'm not out to call the LC a cult (and I don't think that doing so would serve any real purpose). The issue that the LC needs to come to terms with is that if there are all these people out there who describe experiences in the LC that would fall under the 'cult' category, then it's not simply coincidence or people making false claims about the LC. The real issue is the LC insists on doing things a certain way and then when people start screaming 'cult', the LC wants a get out of jail free card instead of distancing itself from the behavior that causes that perception.
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Old 05-17-2020, 11:46 AM   #64
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Even despite what kind of environment the LC propagates, I'm not out to call the LC a cult (and I don't think that doing so would serve any real purpose). The issue that the LC needs to come to terms with is that if there are all these people out there who describe experiences in the LC that would fall under the 'cult' category, then it's not simply coincidence or people making false claims about the LC. The real issue is the LC insists on doing things a certain way and then when people start screaming 'cult', the LC wants a get out of jail free card instead of distancing itself from the behavior that causes that perception.
Here Here! Well said! Again, it's the denial - the sweeping it all under a rug.
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Old 05-17-2020, 12:01 PM   #65
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Interesting thought, that is, if WL had "come clean" . . . It's always the subsequent cover-up that really gets people in trouble, isn't it? But sweeping problems under the rug merely causes them to fester and grow, and then it really upsets people so much more.

Personally, I didn't even know about Daystar until coming to the LC in Columbus in the early 80s. The Ohio churches, as has been discussed before, were a little removed and insulated from the west coast stuff. So it just seemed like a distant event that had little bearing on us. Of course, that was just the initial tip of the iceberg. But once again, the Lord came in to rescue and saved me out of things before they really hit the fan (in Columbus in the late 80s).
I found out about Daystar through what I read here, and that I think what made it so concerning was not so much what actually happened, but knowing this was the kind of stuff that they've been sweeping under the rug.

As a church kid, I was really made to believe that I was part of something special, that we had such a "rich heritage" etc, etc. When I realized that my experience didn't match up to that kind of talk, the first inclination was to try to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Then as I discovered all this past history, it really helped fill in the missing piece of the puzzle. What I mean by that is I stopped blaming myself. I mentioned earlier in this thread that in my locality, the elders really put us under a lot of condemnation for not bringing people into the LC, blaming us for the lack of increase. Then I come to find out about events like Daystar. Probably hundreds to thousands left at that time. Then it happened again in the late 80's. Then again with the midwest 15 years ago. Added up, the losses are massive.

Not only does the LC sweep these things under the rug, but any discussion of these things is off limits. So what you have is leaders who show no regard for the loss of thousands of members over the past couple decades, yet they are more than happy to go off on members for not having enough increase. It's completely absurd once you know the real history. Also, knowing all these things helps clarify where the movement is really headed.
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Old 05-17-2020, 01:10 PM   #66
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Personally, I didn't even know about Daystar until coming to the LC in Columbus in the early 80s. The Ohio churches, as has been discussed before, were a little removed and insulated from the west coast stuff. So it just seemed like a distant event that had little bearing on us. Of course, that was just the initial tip of the iceberg.
Not sure when I first heard of Daystar, but it seemed like no one in Ohio got involved. (Another reason why Anaheim hated TC.) When the topic did come up in hushed tones, it was like "a failed motor home business out in SoCal ... OPEC oil embargo ... cost of gasoline ruined the industry ... and EVERYONE GOT THEIR MONEY BACK."

Oh, thanks, got it.

As recently as 5 years ago, an ex-LC elder repeated to me that no one lost money in Daystar. "But I read that many lost a lot of money..." "I told you everyone got their money back!"

But how would he know? He was just repeating what he had heard. Why is it that TC was always reluctant to hitch his wagon to any Anaheim program, yet when the dust settled, TC would honor WL, but blame all of his lieutenants for the fiasco? You would think that one day one of the Ohio elders would have woken up and said that "something don't smell right here."
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:58 PM   #67
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As recently as 5 years ago, an ex-LC elder repeated to me that no one lost money in Daystar. "But I read that many lost a lot of money..." "I told you everyone got their money back!"

But how would he know? He was just repeating what he had heard. Why is it that TC was always reluctant to hitch his wagon to any Anaheim program, yet when the dust settled, TC would honor WL, but blame all of his lieutenants for the fiasco? You would think that one day one of the Ohio elders would have woken up and said that "something don't smell right here."
In one way or another, LC elders learn that their good-standing within the movement is dependent upon their compliance as well as only speaking 'positively' about things that they might disagree with.

I saw this time and time again. I can think of a number of instances where the elders were uncomfortable with whatever the latest push was, but ultimately caved in, fearing the outcome if they were to not go along with it.

I think the following post highlights just how quickly things went south for someone who sought to speak truthfully about Daystar and WL.

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Thanks for asking about my "excommunication". In an attempt to help a young brother that I brought to the church in OKC who was under condemnation for his personal failings I told him all have sinned and come short of the glory of the Lord and even our dear Bro. Lee had done illegal acts and the Lord had forgiven him and was still using him. This helped the brother and we prayed and he left. The next day he apparently shared his testimony with another brother who immediately reported to James Barber that I had said Bro. Lee had done illegal acts. James called an emergency meeting of the elders and called me to come meet with them. Upon arrival James informed me that what I said was a lie and unless I repented I would be excommunicated. Of course what I had said was the truth regarding Bro. Lee committing illegal acts was absolutely true and I had been intimately involved in helping Francis Ball prepare his legal defense had he been caught (in retrospect what I said about Lee repenting may have been wrong) but suffice it to say I was in a real quandary. If I am to stay in Fellowship then I must say what I said was a lie when in fact it was the truth. I did not have the peace to uncover the sins of Bro. Lee even though I knew he was guilty so I reflected inwardly and said Lord I choose You and the Spirit of Glory fell upon me. I said nothing in my defense and James pronounced my excommunication and the other elders nodded in agreement(two of whom I had brought to the church the other two appointed by Benson. Only James had spoken and thus I was excommunicated from the church in OKC that had been birthed in my heart and started in my home
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:21 PM   #68
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In one way or another, LC elders learn that their good-standing within the movement is dependent upon their compliance as well as only speaking 'positively' about things that they might disagree with.

I saw this time and time again. I can think of a number of instances where the elders were uncomfortable with whatever the latest push was, but ultimately caved in, fearing the outcome if they were to not go along with it.
Your post Freedom, made me consider perhaps LC elders knew whatever the latest flow may be is nothing but folly. Yet the comply and go along with it as lip service, but are not truly 100% behind it. Just to show they gave it a try.
PSRP comes to mind.
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:53 PM   #69
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Your post Freedom, made me consider perhaps LC elders knew whatever the latest flow may be is nothing but folly. Yet the comply and go along with it as lip service, but are not truly 100% behind it. Just to show they gave it a try.
PSRP comes to mind.
I saw recently that their latest thing is called "ministry propagation" and they have a whole website dedicated to talking about promoting the sale of ministry books, how run a church bookroom, etc.

As the different type of promotions get more and more absurd, it seems evident that any reasonable person would see right through it. I suspect many LCers do. I know with things like PSRP, despite how much it was promoted, it never really caught on. No one really spoke out against it, but just rejected it by not participating.
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Old 05-18-2020, 08:56 PM   #70
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I saw recently that their latest thing is called "ministry propagation" and they have a whole website dedicated to talking about promoting the sale of ministry books, how run a church bookroom, etc.

As the different type of promotions get more and more absurd, it seems evident that any reasonable person would see right through it. I suspect many LCers do. I know with things like PSRP, despite how much it was promoted, it never really caught on. No one really spoke out against it, but just rejected it by not participating.
My "favorite" (note the tongue cemented in my cheek) thing to come out of LSM recently is what they call the "Ministry Digest".

The website (https://www.lsm.org/ministry-digest/) says the goal of the Ministry Digest is:

1. to help the saints enter into the riches of the CWWL, and
2. to provide ministry content for the churches in their corporate weekly pursuit.

So....it's a separate book to help the saints get into a set of books. It's books on books. And I thought the HWMR contained ministry content for their corporate weekly pursuit? Are you saying they need ministry content beyond the weekly HWMR and beyond the actual ministry content busting out of all their bookshelves? It's ridiculous.

The best part is there is an actual subscription for it: effortless cha-ching!

How the saints don't see through it all yet is absolutely beyond me.

I also recall a number of years back there was some kind of little propagation meeting during one of the trainings.....one of Kerry Robichaux's young sons was tapped to stand on stage and promote a mini pocket version of the Life-Study of something. Exodus, maybe. As if the standard size was what was preventing the saints from reading it.

The main topic of conversation after the propagation meeting? Not what was promoted, that's for sure. It was how much Kerry's son's stage-mannerisms and tone were a mirror imitation of his dad. Did the wowee-zowee mini-Life-Study thing take off? Not that I recall. They just keep digging stuff out of their trash cans and spray painting it. Sigh.
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Old 05-19-2020, 05:16 AM   #71
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So....it's a separate book to help the saints get into a set of books... they need ministry content beyond the weekly HWMR and beyond the actual ministry content busting out of all their bookshelves?
The new ministry content is to help you get into the old content. It's also a weak cover for the fact that there's actually no more new ministry content being produced - the Great Man is gone, the Seer has been entombed, and the Age of Revelation is over. (We're still waiting for any Bible verse showing us how an age of human history turned, just like that). Kind of difficult if you're a book publisher with nothing new to say.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:43 AM   #72
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My "favorite" (note the tongue cemented in my cheek) thing to come out of LSM recently is what they call the "Ministry Digest".

The website (https://www.lsm.org/ministry-digest/) says the goal of the Ministry Digest is:

1. to help the saints enter into the riches of the CWWL, and
2. to provide ministry content for the churches in their corporate weekly pursuit.

So....it's a separate book to help the saints get into a set of books. It's books on books. And I thought the HWMR contained ministry content for their corporate weekly pursuit? Are you saying they need ministry content beyond the weekly HWMR and beyond the actual ministry content busting out of all their bookshelves? It's ridiculous.

The best part is there is an actual subscription for it: effortless cha-ching!

How the saints don't see through it all yet is absolutely beyond me.
That especially can be said for the people who have been around for awhile. A lot of them already have most of the books to begin with, so I guess they don't mind buying things twice.

The thing that LSM just can't seem to come to terms with is that all the books are already available for people to purchase if they want to. If books really just aren't selling they might just want to take a step back and consider why that might be the case.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:51 AM   #73
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How the saints don't see through it all yet is absolutely beyond me.
I also had a comment on this. Yes, why don't they see it? I've come to realize that this is pretty much just human nature. We all fall into a certain pattern of beliefs and habits which seem to serve us well. And even when they start to not serve us well, we humans tend not to give up ideas and habits very easily. They are what we know and are just comfortable. This applies to all sorts of things.

Many mindless habits and patterns serve us well - daily teeth brushing, for instance. In the extreme, we'd all go a little crazy (at lest I would) if things were completely new and different all the time (chaos), so we like to have solid, established patterns to follow. And this then builds up a strong system of thought over time, one that's very hard to penetrate. This is why people in one political camp have so much trouble believing anything that is even a little different from their set beliefs, and will often vilify those in the other political party at the drop of a hat! I find this both frustrating and a little amusing . . . (i.e., amused at our fallen human condition - thinking we know so much)

But praise God, He is the One that can shine light to penetrate these strongholds!
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:40 PM   #74
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I also had a comment on this. Yes, why don't they see it? I've come to realize that this is pretty much just human nature. We all fall into a certain pattern of beliefs and habits which seem to serve us well. And even when they start to not serve us well, we humans tend not to give up ideas and habits very easily. They are what we know and are just comfortable. This applies to all sorts of things.

Many mindless habits and patterns serve us well - daily teeth brushing, for instance. In the extreme, we'd all go a little crazy (at lest I would) if things were completely new and different all the time (chaos), so we like to have solid, established patterns to follow. And this then builds up a strong system of thought over time, one that's very hard to penetrate. This is why people in one political camp have so much trouble believing anything that is even a little different from their set beliefs, and will often vilify those in the other political party at the drop of a hat! I find this both frustrating and a little amusing . . . (i.e., amused at our fallen human condition - thinking we know so much)

But praise God, He is the One that can shine light to penetrate these strongholds!
I think that it could be said that many LC members are dependent upon something that the LC has to offer. Meaning even if they are 99% percent disillusioned with the whole thing, they keep coming back for more of whatever it is that's keeping them there.
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:04 PM   #75
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I think that it could be said that many LC members are dependent upon something that the LC has to offer. Meaning even if they are 99% percent disillusioned with the whole thing, they keep coming back for more of whatever it is that's keeping them there.
"friendships". Social interaction. Belonging. Food.

The pull is strong.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:13 AM   #76
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"friendships". Social interaction. Belonging. Food.

The pull is strong.
The most powerful force of the LC is it's mental conditioning of members against other believers. They really believe, "There is nowhere else to go."

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Because even if they do somehow manage to walk through the doors of a "denomination" or "so-called church" one Sunday, or a few Sundays in a row, they still have to contend with the ingrained judgmental attitude that can be hard to beat.

"Oh, their music is contemporary"
"Oh, they just have one man speaking"
"That graphic on the screen feels like leaven"
"They didn't mention God's economy even once"
"That pastor seems to be drumming up emotion rather than the reality of Christ as life"

And on and on and on, and it makes it almost impossible to just sit there and take it in.
I left the LC and reflexively went straight back into mainstream Christian fellowship. I had been meeting there before and didn't want to lose that connection. But I would (in my head) judge everything I saw and heard. "Oh, that's not God's economy" after a sermon that had brought the house into God's presence. And so forth. I did nothing but pick nits. All of it, mind you, warranted. Christianity is, in fact, pretty awful. But it's where the believers are.

And the LC, unable to see or appreciate its own defects, and existing solely to point out those of others, is far worse. You could have the best local expression imaginable in a community church or un-named fellowship, and you'd think, "Oh, they're not meeting on the local ground", ignoring the fact that "the local ground" really means "affiliated with the ministries of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee." No, ignore the beam in your own eye and find the mote in the other's.

The LC members are so pickled in this brine that they struggle to find any alternative life. Even when they admit the glory is gone from the LC (I daresay it never was there, but was a chimera) they stay.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:10 AM   #77
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"friendships". Social interaction. Belonging. Food.

The pull is strong.
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The most powerful force of the LC is it's mental conditioning of members against other believers. They really believe, "There is nowhere else to go."
aron is simply projecting his own mindset on the entire movement. I understand it, because I was also affected that way. Nothing, however, is quite that homogeneous.

I was in the LC's 30 years. I saw that diversity. I knew many members who never spoke in the meetings. They were there because of momentum, social or family relations. Many members paid no attention to endless doctrine in the meetings. Many never went to trainings. They loved the social outings and special events. The church-life to them was family and "friendships". Social interaction. Belonging. Food.

For them there was no mental conditioning.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:12 AM   #78
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aron is simply projecting his own mindset on the entire movement.
No, you're right. I should have put in a number of qualifiers.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:27 AM   #79
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I was in the LC's 30 years. I saw that diversity. I knew many members who never spoke in the meetings. They were there because of momentum, social or family relations. Many members paid no attention to endless doctrine in the meetings. Many never went to trainings. They loved the social outings and special events. The church-life to them was family and "friendships". Social interaction. Belonging. Food.
One really has to wonder – if LC members were surveyed and answered honestly, how many would fall into this category?

Another point is that not all the members in such a category started out that way. Some of them were highly active and then just got to a point where they could care less about hearing the same recycled messages over and over. Some people leave because of that and some don’t, but really it’s all the same realization the people come to – they see right through it.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:51 AM   #80
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One really has to wonder – if LC members were surveyed and answered honestly, how many would fall into this category?

Another point is that not all the members in such a category started out that way. Some of them were highly active and then just got to a point where they could care less about hearing the same recycled messages over and over. Some people leave because of that and some don’t, but really it’s all the same realization the people come to – they see right through it.
I remember standing in line at Arby's for a quick lunch with a local full-timer. He commented that Christianity was so easy -- just an hour on Sunday morning -- and how all of our saints were so committed to the Lord.

I thought huh??? Have you never thought of how many of our people are just an hour a week? Can't get some of them to do anything, at times.

I've since then visited many a church. I can say emphatically that no church can survive if every member was just an hour-a-weeker. Every church has a committed core that lives church 5-6 days a week. And every church has quiet, occasional visitors. Just the way it is. Prolly not when a bunch of saints migrate to startup a new church, but wait 10 years. You'll see.

Instead of boasting in your burning church, let us boast in Him alone.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:17 AM   #81
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I remember standing in line at Arby's for a quick lunch with a local full-timer. He commented that Christianity was so easy -- just an hour on Sunday morning -- and how all of our saints were so committed to the Lord.

I thought huh??? Have you never thought of how many of our people are just an hour a week? Can't get some of them to do anything, at times.

I've since then visited many a church. I can say emphatically that no church can survive if every member was just an hour-a-weeker. Every church has a committed core that lives church 5-6 days a week. And every church has quiet, occasional visitors. Just the way it is. Prolly not when a bunch of saints migrate to startup a new church, but wait 10 years. You'll see.

Instead of boasting in your burning church, let us boast in Him alone.
So many of the things that the LC thinks that they are "getting right" in comparison with other Christian groups is all just based on their own assumptions and what they imagine other to be doing (since they don't actually interact with them).

I remember sitting in a meeting, a brother stands up to share and then he pulls out a flyer he received in the mail from a community church in the area inviting people to an event they were hosting. He then went on to criticize them and spoke about how in the LC there aren't any 'gimmicks'. The whole time I was thinking to myself if people in the LC need to criticize other groups in order to paint a picture of the LC being something superior, then that's really sad.

If the LC could just take a step back and look at its own condition, they might see what's really going on.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:49 PM   #82
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So many of the things that the LC thinks that they are "getting right" in comparison with other Christian groups is all just based on their own assumptions and what they imagine other to be doing (since they don't actually interact with them).

I remember sitting in a meeting, a brother stands up to share and then he pulls out a flyer he received in the mail from a community church in the area inviting people to an event they were hosting. He then went on to criticize them and spoke about how in the LC there aren't any 'gimmicks'. The whole time I was thinking to myself if people in the LC need to criticize other groups in order to paint a picture of the LC being something superior, then that's really sad.

If the LC could just take a step back and look at its own condition, they might see what's really going on.
Have you seen the movie "The Village?" It was well done with notable actors. It kind of resembles the mindset of LC'ers -- they alone are holy and preserved, and everything outside is terrible and evil. Yet it's all a fantasy, but you would never know unless you ventured out.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:02 PM   #83
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Have you seen the movie "The Village?" It was well done with notable actors. It kind of resembles the mindset of LC'ers -- they alone are holy and preserved, and everything outside is terrible and evil. Yet it's all a fantasy, but you would never know unless you ventured out.
I haven't, it sounds like something worth watching.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:53 PM   #84
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The most powerful force of the LC is it's mental conditioning of members against other believers. They really believe, "There is nowhere else to go."



I left the LC and reflexively went straight back into mainstream Christian fellowship. I had been meeting there before and didn't want to lose that connection. But I would (in my head) judge everything I saw and heard. "Oh, that's not God's economy" after a sermon that had brought the house into God's presence.
They say "there is nowhere else to go". There are plenty of places to go. The catch is having to start all over building church "social interactions". It's easy to go meet at a church where you know at least one person.
I wonder if "that's not God's Economy" is a programmed default answer when it comes to non-LC fellowship. I've heard the same response from others when it comes to various known or unknown minsters.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:33 PM   #85
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I was in the LC's 30 years. I saw that diversity. I knew many members who never spoke in the meetings. They were there because of momentum, social or family relations. Many members paid no attention to endless doctrine in the meetings. Many never went to trainings. They loved the social outings and special events. The church-life to them was family and "friendships". Social interaction. Belonging. Food.

For them there was no mental conditioning.
Ohio, yes I could see that too. Parents in the same locality since 1979. Now with all my siblings living considerable distance away, I'm thankful for the social interaction my mom has. In their retirement years it's the social interaction that beneficial for my parents.
I would say there is mental conditioning. That is conditioning in relying on "what the brothers say". Just as with the current event, also in the local churches it is adverse to think for yourself and to decide for yourself. Instead outwardly in the local churches brothers and sisters are like sheep not exercising their cognitive faculties.
Brothers and sisters are conditioned not to fraternize with former members, but to avoid them out of fear of being poisoned. Seems not that different from other sectarian groups like the Exclusive Brethren.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:29 AM   #86
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They say "there is nowhere else to go". There are plenty of places to go. The catch is having to start all over building church "social interactions". It's easy to go meet at a church where you know at least one person.
I wonder if "that's not God's Economy" is a programmed default answer when it comes to non-LC fellowship. I've heard the same response from others when it comes to various known or unknown minsters.
In the locality that I grew up in as well as some of the nearby localities, there were a lot of instances where people had many family members including extended family in the LC. Lunch in someone's home after a Lord's table meeting might double as a family gathering unless others got invited.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:41 AM   #87
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In the locality that I grew up in as well as some of the nearby localities, there were a lot of instances where people had many family members including extended family in the LC. Lunch in someone's home after a Lord's table meeting might double as a family gathering unless others got invited.
That situation would be even more difficult to meet anywhere else. One could grow up in the local churches, have their brother, sisters, nieces, and nephews in the nearby localities. It becomes an expectation to meet and raise one's children in the local churches. It upsets the applecart to one consider leaving and two breaking free and meet with a non-LC church. what does that do to the family/relative dynamic? One is suddenly a "rebel"?
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Old 05-29-2020, 01:20 PM   #88
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When I look at the LC and where it’s headed, the outlook seems pretty dismal. One of the things that I think contributes to that is the fact that they have so many members that are just there because they’re there. Maybe some of them grew up in the movement, others are there because it’s all they’ve known. At any rate, if the LC is everything that it claims to be, then why wouldn’t the members be all that much more eager to bring people in or tell people about what they are part of? The answer is self-explanatory, but it seems LCers don’t really ever take a moment to think about that.

Before I left, I had a conversation that I had with a LCer. I basically said that I didn’t have a problem participating in the LC, but I would not want to invite anyone, because I didn’t feel comfortable with the environment or how it might come across to people. That person responded to me by saying “well that’s really sad.” People who stick around in the LC obviously don’t have a problem with being there and doing whatever they’re doing. But that doesn’t automatically translate into wanting to introduce or recommend it to others. I wouldn’t think that many of them would want to vocalize that either.

Especially with LC leadership, they seem to have the mistaken notion that they are offering something so good that people are going to want it no matter what. Obviously, that isn’t what is happening. But even if they were offering something that people might want, just think about all the things that people have to be able to get past first. Things like shouting, saying amen after every sentence, limitations on which musical instruments are allowed in meetings, being forced to speak in meetings, etc. There are just too many obstacles for people to get past for the LC to realistically think that it can reverse the problem of stagnancy. The LC has so many cultural quirks that fall into the unnecessary category, and each of those things is a potential barrier. Even moreso, many of those things have led to the loss of current members.
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:00 PM   #89
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I think this is why they pour themselves into the campus work. Mining the hordes of naive young people looking for a place to belong in a totally new environment. Even with their dumping so many resources into that, the growth rate is still 0. Without the influx of naive, unsuspecting students, they would be shrinking rapidly.

They have learned to acknowledge some of the weird stuff. I think they will explain the "amen" thing to new students by pointing to a verse. I have heard college students complain some that current Christian songs are never sung in the local church. They will transition from initial meetings in third-party locations to meeting halls by saying things like "some of the members of the club meet with a church nearby", making sure to always keep it vague and general rather than, you know, that whole open and honest thing. The new students pick up on the subtle things pretty quickly, going along with them in order to belong, i.e. hiding Witness Lee's name, not mentioning certain things. It's crazy.

The problem is, the existing members believe it. They believe they are "the church" to the exclusion of all other churches. They believe they are on the right ground. They believe they have a special unique ministry. They believe they are the special chosen within the special chosen.

When you speak to others outside your movement while maintaining that belief of your movement, it's not an attractive quality.

I agree the problems you mentioned (shouting, amen, instrument limits, forced to speak) are a part of it, but I think they are a smaller percentage compared to the harder to swallow problems. The bigger mountains are only reading Witness Lee, putting down other Christians (new ones often have issues with this because it means they are putting down their family), focusing on Witness Lee, not participating in the rest of what Christianity is doing, elitist mindset, restricting themselves to Witness Lee, conforming to outward standards rather than growing through inner transformation, not caring about those who can't repay, following only Witness Lee, and the palpable inability to ask real probing questions and noticing you don't get a straight answer. Did I mention Witness Lee?

But since the co-workers get their status from their proximity to Witness Lee, and they are the ones who set the direction, tone, and content of the churches, it will never change without an outside agent.

All you mentioned, as well as all I mentioned, do fall into the unnecessary category, as you said. They also fall into the legalistic, commandments of men, putting burdens on saints' shoulders, unscriptural, and in some cases, abusive category.

The whole thing is a mess, with some hospitality and lovefeasts frosted on top.
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Old 05-29-2020, 04:32 PM   #90
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I agree the problems you mentioned (shouting, amen, instrument limits, forced to speak) are a part of it, but I think they are a smaller percentage compared to the harder to swallow problems. The bigger mountains are only reading Witness Lee, putting down other Christians (new ones often have issues with this because it means they are putting down their family), focusing on Witness Lee, not participating in the rest of what Christianity is doing, elitist mindset, restricting themselves to Witness Lee, conforming to outward standards rather than growing through inner transformation, not caring about those who can't repay, following only Witness Lee, and the palpable inability to ask real probing questions and noticing you don't get a straight answer. Did I mention Witness Lee?

But since the co-workers get their status from their proximity to Witness Lee, and they are the ones who set the direction, tone, and content of the churches, it will never change without an outside agent.

All you mentioned, as well as all I mentioned, do fall into the unnecessary category, as you said. They also fall into the legalistic, commandments of men, putting burdens on saints' shoulders, unscriptural, and in some cases, abusive category.

The whole thing is a mess, with some hospitality and lovefeasts frosted on top.
Yes exactly. When you think about who the LC is really catering to, it's just mainly the ones who are really into what the LC has to offer. They get their "7 annual feasts", their ministry books, their up-to-date-speaking, etc. It's really a stretch to think that anyone else could possibly be interested in that, and even moreso to think that people could be coerced into becoming interested in those things. There are even current members who aren't all that into it.
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Old 06-02-2020, 09:36 PM   #91
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But since the co-workers get their status from their proximity to Witness Lee, and they are the ones who set the direction, tone, and content of the churches, it will never change without an outside agent.
Direction, content, and yes tone is top down. Tone of the locality is influenced by the lead elder. However the tone of his speaking is, most of the locality will follow suit. If he wants to minister grace, the locality will likewise be steered towards grace. However if a lead elder speaks condemnation of those who left, likewise the locality will be steered to speak harshly of those who left.
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Old 06-02-2020, 09:39 PM   #92
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There are even current members who aren't all that into it.
I'm sure of it. It's more of a time to get reconnected socially. Ministry speak is a lot of lip service. Sure you could invest in the latest ministry publications and never read. There are people and relationships more important.
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Old 06-02-2020, 09:50 PM   #93
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Direction, content, and yes tone is top down. Tone of the locality is influenced by the lead elder. However the tone of his speaking is, most of the locality will follow suit. If he wants to minister grace, the locality will likewise be steered towards grace. However if a lead elder speaks condemnation of those who left, likewise the locality will be steered to speak harshly of those who left.
Yeah, true. Until a co-worker comes riding through town, and that lead elder all of a sudden becomes a genuflecting simpering sycophant carrying out the co-workers' orders at the expense of truth and love.
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Old 06-03-2020, 06:15 PM   #94
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I'm sure of it. It's more of a time to get reconnected socially. Ministry speak is a lot of lip service. Sure you could invest in the latest ministry publications and never read. There are people and relationships more important.
Sometimes I wonder what the LC will look like 20-30 years from now. The older members existed in a time before things like the FTTA, campus work, etc. Whatever factors can be attributed to them coming into the LC and staying there for decades are completely different than what the current generation sees.
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:52 AM   #95
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

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Sometimes I wonder what the LC will look like 20-30 years from now. The older members existed in a time before things like the FTTA, campus work, etc. Whatever factors can be attributed to them coming into the LC and staying there for decades are completely different than what the current generation sees.
I wanted to add some more on this. When the LC was starting out, people joined for various reasons, but it is likely they could at least point to specific reasons for having joined the LC. Today on the other hand, some people are in the LC simply because that's where they grew up, or maybe others joined because they met some students on their campus and liked all the free meals, etc. In other words, I think it would be harder nowadays to find people who belong to the LC because of some particular LC teaching or doctrine that they identify with.

My theory is that if the LC were to make the wise decision to distance itself from things that WL taught or to interact more with mainstream Christianity, it wouldn't be nearly as big of a deal to the younger members than it would be to someone who has been in the LC for 40 years and is 100% convinced on the ground of locality doctrine. Realistically, those are the types of changes that would need to take place if the LC is going to survive or be anything more than some fringe group that people are suspicious of.

Here is a striking thought - what if most of the FTTA graduates and those in similar categories have stayed in the LC afterwards mainly because they've already invested so much of their time in the LC? What if that's the only thing holding them back? The way I see it is that the LC has gone on far too long thinking that they are something special and thinking that their environment/teachings are drawing people in and keeping them there. What I am suggesting is that there are probably lots of reasons LC members stay there that really have nothing to do with what the LC is all about.
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:23 PM   #96
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

The LC has been trying to implement the same formula for decades now, and it's all been a big failure. They've blamed it on "evil books", the "turmoils", etc. In the 80's WL claimed that the "new way" would fix the problem. Then when that didn't work out, he blamed people for not practicing it right. The blame-shifting just goes on and on.

At the very heart of the LC is the notion that they have what people need and want, and in their minds, that seals the deal. No need for change, no need for reevaluating anything. End of discussion. The state that the LC finds itself in is the one and only outcome of that kind of mindset.

If they could look at their situation even the least bit objectively, they might realize that they're nothing more than a fringe group that people could really care less about. That's not to say that they never had anything beneficial to offer or that there weren't any well-intentioned members. Actually they probably had a lot going for them in that regard. The problem is they made assumptions about their status that proved to be wrong long ago, and they are still operating off those assumptions. The result is continual failure and increasing obscurity.

As an example, let's say someone does a google search for churches in a city where an LC is located. There's probably a good chance the LC there doesn't even have a website, and if they do, it might not have been touched in 10 years. Even the ones who do have a maintained website are really geared more towards current members rather than someone who might be browsing churches in the area. By contrast, with mainstream Christian churches, I could easily google a church and find a professionally maintained website with all kinds of information, social media links, and videos of their services, etc.

I remember a meeting where there was a newcomer, he was an older gentleman who was a bit hard of hearing. He asked why there was no audio system, because he couldn't hear everyone who was standing up and speaking. Frankly, I don't think most of us could hear what people were saying half the time. But that kind of stuff never crossed anyone's mind. I could go on about this kind of stuff this all day long. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but what I'm trying to say is that the LC doesn't give much of a thought to how they are presenting themselves to others. They think that doesn't matter.

LCers reading this thread might excuse this as just focusing on "outward things" or whatever, but that is a misconception. What I'm saying is that they can't expect anything to happen without a little effort on their part to make that happen. They assume a special status and think that good things will follow. Meanwhile there are so many other churches out there making every effort to give people reasons to want to be a part of their group and feel welcome. It's just a night and day difference.
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:55 PM   #97
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Default Re: What a Lack of Increase Really Means for the LC

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I wanted to add some more on this. When the LC was starting out, people joined for various reasons, but it is likely they could at least point to specific reasons for having joined the LC.
People joined because the Lord was there! Ask them. They will all say the same thing. God was real in the LC.

That does not mean God was only in the LC's and not in other churches.

That does not mean that God is still there like He once was when we joined.

That does not mean that these members were never deceived over time.

That does not mean that these members were never hurt by their leaders.
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