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Old 06-10-2019, 10:56 AM   #1
UntoHim
Grateful Servant
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,605
Default RE: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery


Dear Saints in the Lord’s Recovery,

Greg and I have some very important things to share with you regarding our journey with the Lord’s recovery.

This is one of the most difficult things we have ever had to do and we want you to know before you even read this letter how much we love you and how much we hope to have you in our lives.

The point of this letter is to let you know that we can no longer be a part of the system of the Lord’s recovery.

I know that straight out of the gate the fact I am saying we are leaving the Lord’s recovery is bringing up very strong feelings for you.

Perhaps these are some of those feelings: “How can you leave? There’s nowhere else to go. The Lord is going to judge you for not keeping the oneness. You are leprous. You are rebellious. You must have some kind of unfulfilled ambition. There’s no other way to meet. We have the right way and the only way according to the Bible. Once you see the vision you are kept by the vision. You are casting off all restraint. There’s nowhere else to go. How can you go to poor, pitiful, degraded Christianity? We are Philadelphia. You can’t go to Sardis. If you leave, you will lose the kingdom reward. If you leave, you will lose everything. We are wrecked for this way. We are ruined for this way.”

The list goes on, but those are a few common examples that we think when others leave. I know, because I have thought, heard, and believed many of those things my entire life about others who left.

Before I get into our journey through the Lord’s recovery, I’d like to review my background in it for you. Not that I have to qualify myself, but oftentimes when people leave there’s a thought, “they were hardly even in the church life” or “they were only in for a few years. They must not have seen the vision. They must not have seen the Body.” It truly doesn’t matter if you were in it for 5 minutes or 50 years, but from the viewpoint of it mattering to those who are in, I would like to tell you where I am coming from.

I’m 38 years old and I have been in the church life my entire life. I’m a church-kid. I spent my whole life in this way. I have read much of the ministry, been to the FTTA for two years and migrated to a GTCA city for this way. I had a controlling vision of Christ and the church and that we meet according to the ground of the oneness with only one church in one city. That vision combined with the fear that I had nowhere else to go and all the other feelings I listed earlier is what has kept me up until now.

So how do you get from seeing a vision of having the only way to meet according to the Bible and being in the heart of what God is doing to being willing to leave? How do you get from seeing a controlling vision all the way to being willing to no longer meet with the local churches?

I know that you are probably recoiling in horror that I could leave. Some other thoughts you might be having are, “How can you abandon the one speaking? What about Brother Lee? He was the minister of the age and the wise master builder. He was the oracle of God. He unlocked the Bible for us. He unlocked the truths for us. We have received the riches from him and just need to get into it. You just need to eat more Christ in the ministry. You must not have enough of a vision. You are not being faithful to Brother Lee. We owe him everything. You must not be living in your spirit. You must not be denying the self.” The list goes on here as well.

I also felt all of these things. I loved Brother Lee very much. I had been raised to believe that there was no need to read any other spiritual authors out there. That Nee and Lee had done all the work for us. They both were very intelligent and had an incredible ability from God to weed out what was bad and keep what was good. They could sense what was life and what was death. They had already gone through anything that could be read about Christianity and had combined all the best points for our practice together. We were standing on the shoulders of those who had gone before us.

I mainly read Nee and Lee as Christian authors my entire life. From time to time I would take a peek at other authors, but considered their teachings too low and part of degraded Christianity. Besides, Brother Lee had done all the work for us and I just needed to get into the riches. Also, I didn’t trust myself to be able to discern what others interpreted about God, so the safest way was to just read Nee and Lee. Some authors like Darby were approved by our group, but I never had time for anyone else as I was on multiple reading schedules of Nee and Lee. I also never considered I had a need for anyone else as I already had the best of the best. Brother Lee had received incredible light and revelation from the Lord and had seen the top vision of God’s economy and the High Peak of the Divine Revelation.

Most saints felt that they owed Brother Lee everything. Brother Lee said he gave everything for this way. He was one of the most pure believers on earth and this was embodied in his reported last word of “sacrifice.” His tombstone says “a bondslave of Jesus Christ” having followed only Christ His entire life. Brother Lee and the collective term “the brothers” were considered to be infallible.

Brother Lee was even held in such high regard that we exhumed his body in 2004, nearly seven years after he died in 1997 (http://bit.ly/ReburiedBrotherLee) and moved him to Grace Terrace, a multi-million dollar graveyard purchased for and by the saints so the saints would not have to be buried with Christians from Christianity. In the “Fellowship Concerning Grace Terrace” video we said that, “the saints would not have to be buried in cemeteries that have all kinds of evil things there, and worldly things, religious things which are mostly worldly, but that the recovery could have something set aside for its own behalf” (http://bit.ly/FellowshipConcerningGraceTerrace).

I also felt I had the best of the best in terms of pursuit of the Lord. I knew what God’s economy was and I knew what His heart’s purpose was. I was with a group of believers who loved Jesus, loved the pure Word, and loved God’s people. We practiced only according to the Bible, nothing else. All the Christians out there were a part of something called Christendom that was fallen and degraded. We were completely separate from that. I believed that God had something called His “recovery” where through time He was recovering principles and truths that had been lost. Brother Lee had recovered all the major truths in the Bible. We were being inwardly recovered to how the early church was practiced in the New Testament. I believed that the Lord’s recovery was not a movement that you could join, but a state of being. Christianity had failed God as a whole and God was recovering a group of people who would be the ones to bring Him back.

I felt blessed and happy to be a part of the extremely tiny percentage of God’s people who would be the ones to bring Him back. I was happy that other Christians were “saved” but I needed to spend my entire life with the saints (meaning my group of people, not all of God’s people) working out my salvation with fear and trembling towards the Millennial Kingdom. We didn’t refer to the Millennial Kingdom as a second salvation, but the kingdom reward could be lost in a moment. Everything I did was towards the goal of building the church, preparing the Bride, bringing Christ back and gaining the reward of the millennial kingdom. God could only accomplish these things through the Recovery and we were the only Christians that knew about this way. Our job was to propagate the high gospel, not the low gospel, and once the high gospel had been preached to all the nations, the Lord would come.

I would not listen to anything other Christians had to say about our group because they were blind and in darkness. They didn’t see the truth in the Bible and they didn’t understand the vision that Brother Lee had. The enemy was fighting tooth and nail the High Peak of the Divine Revelation and others calling us heretical, divisive, and a cult showed and proved that Satan and the gates of Hades were fighting against the builded church. Christianity was fully leavened, full of mixture, fallen, degraded, and had nothing to offer us.They had the fallen and degraded clergy-laity system and we had “all can function” and full-timers. They had the pastoral system and we had no pastors and “all saints can prophesy.” They had denominated themselves and taken a name and we only met according to how the Bible said we should with only one church in a city.

They had been thoroughly leavened and we were unleavened and pure. They were building with wood, hay, and stubble and we were building with gold, silver, and precious stones. They had ambitious leaders who just wanted the attendance numbers and the congregation’s money and we had the minister of the age who had given us all the high truths and only cared for God’s economy. They were in a state of complete and utter degradation and we were being recovered. They just showed up on Sunday with the same things being repeated each week and their ears being tickled and we were constantly going higher, deeper, and further in the truth. They had no idea what their purpose in life was, but we knew the mystery of our human life. They were narrow and secluded, but we were general and accepting of all believers. They were floundering and purposeless, but we were part of the recovery of God’s heart’s purpose.

I believed we had the very best way to pursue God and I gave myself completely without reservation to Brother Lee and the brothers my entire life. I 100% opened myself to this man and his ministry. I absorbed what he said as the truth and believed it to be the truth. I did this for years all throughout my twenties and thirties. I gave myself to go to the FTTA for an entire two years to study his ministry. The volume of reading in the training was astronomical with the time allotted, but I did it. I left with an even more solidified vision of what God was doing on the earth today. They told us in the training that they were training an army that could be activated at any time. I cried the last time I took off my training uniform and consecrated myself to God saying “may I never take off Your uniform. May I always serve You and be in Your army.” Greg and I got our uniforms dry-cleaned for a final time after we graduated and have had them hanging in the front of our closet. We have seen our uniforms every day for the last 7 years as a reminder that we are a part of the Lord’s army.

From time to time I had theological questions about God and even questions about things brother Nee and Lee would write. I filed them away in a question box in my mind and would love it when a question would get answered years later through fellowship, a message spoken, or in the ministry reading. The volume of Nee and Lee’s teachings was vast and I had goals of spending my entire life getting into the riches and understanding them. The ministry materials were like an ever-expanding maze that I wanted to spend my life figuring out and understanding. I understood what types of questions were ok to ask with us and what types of questions were not tolerated among us. One could ask general questions about God, but one could not disagree with the brother’s teachings.

From the time I was very young I knew the horrific things that would happen to me if I deviated from this way. As a young person I was told that we would become like Belshazzar in Daniel 4:33 if we went against this way. Belshazzar ate grass like an oxen, grew nails like bird claws, and lost his mind. I knew if you left this way you would come to nothing, become a man of death, and as I read recently in a ministry magazine that I “will even become death” (“The Ministry of the Word,” “The Overcomers,” Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA, 2012, p. 69).

I was terribly afraid of becoming leprous, an ugly and horrific disease. I learned about deputy authority from the time I was a child and that going against anyone in a position of authority was going against the acting God on earth regardless of if they were right or wrong. As an adult, when I had questions about some of our practices, I would whisper about it with my husband behind closed doors while worrying that the ground was going to figuratively open up and swallow me up like those of the rebellion of Korah (Numbers 16). I spent my entire lifetime eaten up with crippling anxiety and severe depression over the questions and feelings I had inwardly.

I saw many of our practices in the local churches not matching up with the Bible or even Nee and Lee’s teachings. I thought the God-Ordained Way was our only and best hope. That Satan had been fighting the new way for years and if only the saints would enter into it, that the system would somehow be reformed. I also knew from the ministry that God had to call the overcomers from Philadelphia and that as a whole the church would fail God and He needed to raise up the overcomers who would represent Him.

Greg and I wrestled intensely with pursuing the Lord after the FTTA. We felt to be quiet, hidden members who were fighting for His interest behind the scenes. I had weekly phone prayer appointments with sisters from various localities on the phone and read the ministry with fervor, finishing book after book. Recently I read the entire resumption portion of Watchman Nee’s collected works (approximately 4,500 pages in 16 volumes). I also read through multiple other titles of Nee and Lee as well as many ministry magazines with the “up-to-date speaking.”

As we continued pursuing the Lord, Greg and I increasingly had more and more questions about our practices and things the Lord’s recovery did that did not line up with the Bible. We knew we couldn’t question Brother Lee or “the brothers” to anyone as our fear of being labeled negative and divisive were too great. We repeatedly heard about the rebellions against Brother Lee throughout the years and the consequence of being quarantined and excommunicated. The ministry continually confirmed that having a thought that was against the brothers was criticism, negative, and divisive. I felt like I had nowhere else to go because of the ground of the church and as a consequence I felt trapped.

I was “wrecked” and “ruined” for the church life and “keeping the oneness” ruled my entire life.

After reading umpteen ministry books to try to find answers and more piled up as future “to reads” Greg and I also started reading the Bible in a consecutive way in the spring of 2015. We set up a schedule where we would read through the New Testament every 6 months. We are now on our 9th time of doing this. In 2018 we added reading through the Old Testament one time per year.

Something started to shift in us every time we read through the Bible. We started comparing what the Bible actually had to say as compared to what the ministry said. The more we read the Bible, the more questions we had related to our practices in the Lord’s recovery. The more I wanted to line up with God’s Word and follow His leading, the more I realized the system I was in did not allow that.

One Lord’s Day in 2016 we had a Lord’s Day meeting in our home. Due to safety concerns with icy weather, the brothers had the saints meet in a couple of different homes that day. During the prophesying time, Greg shared that we were enjoying reading the Bible using the Bibles for America scheduling website. As he shared this, a leading brother in our locality interrupted him, held up his hand in the air for Greg to stop speaking, and said, “we are not here for that. We do not promote that kind of thing.” That exact same leading brother months later in another Lord’s Day meeting told the saints about the app they could download and set up recurring monetary donations through to support the Lord’s work said, “I would promote this kind of thing.”

After that Lord’s Day meeting ended where the brother said “we are not here for that…” and everyone had left, Greg and I looked at each other in stunned silence that a leading brother among us would not want us to be talking about reading the Bible. When we discussed reading Brother Lee and all the saints had their reading scheduled via the Holy Word for Morning Revival it was wonderful, but when we discussed having a reading schedule for the Word of God, we were promoting something.

We knew something was inherently wrong with the Lord’s recovery, but we didn’t understand what.

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” http://bit.ly/LSMCopyrightPolicy.

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. The rules were too much of a burden for us to follow, so we opted out of cooking for the group. Since this was the main way to “serve” with the new ones, this left us and many other saints out of feeling like we had a function with the new ones. 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.”

Eventually, I was asked at a certain point if I wanted to help on the campus, but was too worried about saying or doing the wrong thing with the slow way approach and ended up declining. Greg and I continued pursuing the Lord while quietly observing the situation of the Lord’s recovery.

We wondered, how are the full-timers any different than the clergy-laity system? We are paying a special class of people that have gone to a special training school to do God’s work.

We wondered, how are the blended brothers who travel the world speaking any different than a group of pastors? We are paying a group of men to head up God’s work.

We started to realize that the vast majority of what we say is actually the opposite of what we do and a matter of semantics.

We say that there is no position for you in the church life but really there are local positions, regional positions, and top of the rank positions.

We say that we don’t have politics but there is constant politicking and maneuvering by the leadership and those aspiring to the leadership.

We say that we have no headquarters but all the leadership is lined up under a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation called Living Stream Ministry (LSM) in Anaheim, California that has 12 people on its board of directors headed up by a President.

We say we don’t have organization but there is an entire organizational hierarchy with LSM over the local churches.

We say all can prophesy but that really means all can repeat only the things from the ministry for a couple of short minutes on the Lord’s Day.

We say that we only love Jesus, but we hold on to a different man who is the minister of the age and the oracle of God.

We say that we only hold onto the pure Word, but we hold on to the “pure” interpreted Word and all the words another man and “the brothers” say.

We say that we love God’s people, but actually only love “the saints” who are a minuscule fraction of a percentage of Christians across time.

We say that we are general and inclusive of all believers, but we excommunicate and quarantine you if you don’t follow Witness Lee.


I progressively felt trapped in a system that I couldn’t fully understand. We felt that our only hope was to be an overcomer in the midst of the degraded situation. I prayed for grace and mercy to be an overcomer. I increasingly fell into a spiral of worry and fear regarding our questions. I had been led to believe that I was being judged by God with having health issues for having questions. Even if outwardly I was conformed and meeting with the saints, the mere fact I had questions meant I was going against this way. I felt critical and divisive for wondering about these things.

My personal relationship with God declined in this system. I spent much time praying, trying to exercise my spirit and denying myself, but my conscience was so bothered by all the problems I was seeing in the church life. I could do nothing but grieve and mourn for the situation among the Lord’s recovery. On one hand I was confused and brokenhearted about the condition of the saints and the leadership, but on the other hand I was wracked with guilt for those very same feelings considering them to be divisive and negative. Every negative thing that happened in my life I was led to believe was God’s judgment for my feelings about the brothers. If my child was crying instead of playing quietly it was because God didn’t want me to have any peace due to my negative thoughts. If our car broke down and needed repair work, it meant we were being judged. If my health declined, it was because God was judging my divisiveness. Everything in my daily life became a judgement and curse from God.

It eventually led me to hating this God who was so horrifically judgmental and harsh.

Even though I would confess that I had negative thoughts about the saints, I would have another question one second later and have to repeat the cycle of questioning and confessing to no end. I constantly worried about every aspect of my life believing that like Job, God would take away my children, husband, and finances as a judgment and eventually my own life. I lived in a chronically depressed and debilitated state, having no way to go on with God in any meaningful way. Tiny crumbs of “light” in the ministry were all that really sustained me for years. In my personal journal I would record these bits of light so I could read over them in my darkest hours.

My own husband didn’t fully understand the depth of my despair as he had not been raised in this way. I often felt completely alone on this entire earth. I had times of literally crying myself to sleep I was so miserable just as a human being and as a child of God.

After the birth of our second child at the end of 2018 I spiraled even deeper into depression. I became very sick with postpartum preeclampsia and had to be hospitalized multiple times and ended up in the ICU at one point. Some saints who were in another locality told me that a leading brother there said my health problems were due to God’s judgment for something they did. When I heard that, I felt cursed and like there was no escape from God’s wrath and judgment. I was already cursed from my own life and I also had the generational curses from “the fathers” to follow me. Learning about what that leading brother said led to me ultimately becoming suicidal. I felt that no matter what I did, I was cursed from God. I had to form a safety plan with my husband of if I couldn’t keep myself safe I would reach out for him to check me in to somewhere. There was no way the judgment would ever end and I wanted my life to end to stop this never-ending despair.

I felt helpless and hopeless about my entire life and so many other saints I saw suffering.

I observed saint after saint being wronged. The ones who wronged them were allowed to keep their leadership positions and life moved on as if nothing happened. Any type of speaking up was considered to be critical, divisive, and gossip. We had to keep the sins of our fathers hidden like Noah’s sons who covered his nakedness or else we would be cursed and judged.

A sister I knew was sexually assaulted by an elder and nothing was done about it. She was forced to move away from the locality because she could not bear being with the perpetrator in the meetings. The elder retained his position in that locality and the other elders would not even tell the perpetrator’s wife that he had assaulted another sister.

Another sister I knew was being physically, sexually, and verbally abused by her husband but who could not tell anyone about it. She has been in that abusive relationship for 20 plus years now and her husband sits through the meetings and takes the Lord’s table.

I knew of a brother accused of sexually molesting two of his own children who was allowed to continue being an elder and in a leadership position with the young people.

I knew of young people who had been sexually molested by their young people’s workers and it had all been covered up.


The amount of church kids I knew that had been physically and psychologically abused while growing up was astounding. I knew of church kids who had been kicked and slapped, and many who underwent beatings that involved getting bleeding welts all the way from the neck to the ankles. Countless cases of severe physical abuse in the name of God and “breaking the will.”

For a group that was supposed to be Philadelphia, meaning brotherly love, our group had very little meaningful love for one another. And we certainly weren’t loving towards those outside of us. For a group that was supposed to be so inclusive, we were one of the most exclusive groups I could imagine.

Greg and I would constantly ask each other in the face of all the doublespeak we saw, “how do we go on? How do we go on?” Our best answer was the degradation of the church and the need for the overcomers, but that answer still did not satisfy a deep inner need.

In April of this year I read through the “Ministry of the Word” magazine (“The Ministry of the Word,” “The Overcomers,” Volume 16, Number 12, December 2012) on the overcomers in Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia. Regarding the Roman Catholic Church I read on page 14,

“They may not come out of her into the Lord’s recovery. The Lord may not intend for them to come out…”

I about fell out of my chair the moment I read that. We have always been told that the Lord’s recovery is not a movement and that any believer anywhere could be in the Lord’s recovery. The sentence of not coming into the Lord’s recovery made it very clear that it actually was a movement that you could “come out of” and “into.” If recovery was something that the Lord was doing inwardly amongst all Christians, it wasn’t something you could “come out of” and “into.” Making the Lord’s recovery a movement was repeated on page 29,

“we are not narrow, saying that the overcomers are only in the Lord’s recovery.”

So, the Lord has overcomers amongst all Christians, but somehow their inner being is not being recovered? How could they be an overcomer then?

I believed in the Lord’s recovery as a process that any Christian could be a part of, even if they weren’t meeting with us. I was completely dismayed to see that when we say the Lord’s Recovery we mean only those meeting with us. That we believe that you can’t be part of the Lord’s recovery wherever you are meeting was eye-opening for me.

I continued reading the ministry magazine over a couple of weeks, putting my questions into the ever-expanding “question box” in my mind.

When I got to page 69, I read about a past rebellion we had among us. It said,

“In the Fermentation of the Present Rebellion Brother Lee records his speaking in a time of fellowship that helped us to be recovered out of the last rebellion. We have observed in our history that natural affection and death are absolutely related. This is why a Nazarite was forbidden to touch anything dead. He was not permitted to touch even the corpse of a close relative and thereby allow their death to pass on to him. If some who are close to us are in deadness, we may allow their death to pass on to us because of our natural affection for them. This is serious. We saw in the last rebellion that even co-workers can be deadened. We should not think that anyone is immune. One among those with whom we serve could be in death. If we then maintain our relationship with him by natural affection, we will allow his death to pass on to us. As a result, we will become deadened, and we will even become death.”

As I read, “we will even become death” I had a shiver go down my spine and I identified for the first time in my life, something that happened to me over and over again while reading the ministry, attending the conferences, and listening to the ministry messages.

FEAR.

Severe, debilitating, crippling, and suffocating fear. I didn’t fully understand what I was afraid of. I just knew that I lived a life filled with anxiety, guilt, and fear. I did know that I was very afraid of becoming death itself and I was afraid of having contact with anyone who was dead.

I continued reading.

On page 74 and 75 I read,

“We should have a submissive intention and standing in every way. We should submit to the Lord and to one another. We should especially learn to submit to God’s deputy authority…The deputy authorities in the church are the elders. We must obey God’s deputy authority, whoever or whatever they are.”

On page 76 it said,

“Related to the matter of death, we need to realize that in the same way that there is a trash can in every home, there are negative elements in every church. The “trash can” is the gossip, murmurings, and criticisms, whether they are true or not. Whether it is false trash or true trash, it is still trash. In the same way we should not criticize the elders or the saints in our local church and for sure we should not speak any criticism to others. When we are in the realm of right and wrong, spontaneously there will be criticisms.”

Something clicked in me. I was able to identify the cause of my intense fear. I had been led to believe that by fellowshipping with my husband about the problems in the church, I was gossiping, murmuring, and criticizing and thus going against God’s deputy authority. I knew from the ministry that God’s deputy authority was the acting God on earth and had been led to believe that by asking my husband about problems I saw that I was going against God Himself.

I had been taught this from the time I was a young child. That any type of thinking that could be considered gossiping, murmuring, and criticizing led to all kinds of spiritual judgment.

Page 97 of the ministry magazine even spelled out what would happen to you if you went against Witness Lee’s teachings:

“…We celebrated the completion of the life-study of the Bible through Brother’s Lee’s speaking and the burden of the of the interpreted word, not merely the written Word. The word that we need to keep is not only the written Word that we study, read, and pray-read but also the proper interpretation of the Word. We boldly declare that this interpretation is to be found in the footnotes and the outline of the Recovery Version and the Life-study messages. If we do not pay proper attention to the interpreted Word as the opener of the written Word, we will lose everything eventually. Many saints who have passed through my heart, through my house, and through the church have eventually lost everything.”

I realized now why I was constantly afraid of losing everything including my children, my husband, my business, etc. If I had any questions about Brother Lee’s interpretations and “the brothers” speaking (which I did), we were told over and over through the ministry we could lose everything. Of course “losing everything” was left up to the interpretation of the mind of the reader.

I was in a constant cycle of fear, guilt, and anxiety. For example, a leading brother in our locality “prophesied” one day in the Lord’s Day meeting and told us that God did not need our love. That God needs our service and our time, but not our love. Everyone around was giving this leading one loud “amens” and nodding their heads in affirmation but I had a massive different feeling in my being that said, “God is love! Our whole relationship with God should be based on love!” I could not say amen to what he was saying.

As I talked with my husband about it after the meeting I was terrified by the fact I was going against God’s deputy authority. I would confess to the Lord my sin of being critical and negative and feel that I was an evil person for having those thoughts about my brother. I would then think the thoughts again about God being love and realize I was criticizing and not “thinking the same thing” again and the cycle of guilt and repentance would repeat itself.

And not only was I afraid of losing my relationship with God over my thoughts, I was eaten up with fear of God’s judgment on me over having these thoughts. I constantly worried about God bringing me to naught and causing me to lose everything for not “keeping the oneness.”

As if the stakes weren’t high enough regarding keeping the oneness and never being divisive (meaning no gossiping, murmuring, or complaining even if the things are true), there was also the fear of losing the kingdom reward. I had spent my whole life working towards this kingdom reward and it could be lost in a second.

Page 122 and 123 of that ministry magazine said,

“One of the biggest problems in the church life is the taking account of evil…It is a serious matter to be offended. If we take offense with someone and never forgive that person from our heart, we will lose the kingdom. How serious it is to be offended! Regretfully, there have been some who actually kept a written record of offenses. This is very serious. That may cause them to be in the outer darkness for a thousand years.”

I worried that due to my thoughts against this leading one who said God doesn’t need our love I was going to lose the kingdom reward. I wanted to forgive him from my heart, but what he was speaking was against the God of the Bible I knew and I could not honestly “forgive” him as much as I wanted to. If I was to die with this unforgiven offense, according to the ministry I would lose the kingdom and be in outer darkness for a thousand years.

My experience in reading through the ministry through the years was that the more I read, the more sick I became. The more I took in, the greater and stronger my mental prison became. I only became more depressed, guilty, afraid, and anxious rather than becoming more freed.

Fear even dominated our financial giving. I read in the “Material Offerings and the Lord’s Move Today” HWMR (“Material Offerings and the Lord’s Move Today” The Holy Word for Morning Revival,” Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, 1999, Anaheim, California, pp. 2-69),

“Deliverance from mammon is a part of our salvation…In order for a man to receive eternal life, the kingdom, and salvation he has to be delivered from mammon and to dispose of everything…We must deal with money in an absolute way. Before the Lord, we must continually give away our money” (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 59, pp 67-71).

“After a man is saved, if he has not dealt with money in a clear way, he is not yet fully saved” (The Resumption of Watchman Nee’s Ministry, vol. 2, pp 396-399).

“Suppose a brother earns $40,000 a year, but what he actually needs for his living is much less than that amount. Being rather greedy, he wants to reserve a large amount for himself. He tithes ten percent, or $4,000, with the intention of keeping the other $36,000. This tithing is a good practice. However, it is possible for this brother to follow an even better way. According to this better way, the brother should keep what he needs for his living, perhaps $20,000, and give away the remainder. No doubt, humanly speaking, almost everyone would follow the first way, the way of tithing, instead of the second way, the way of giving all that he can. If the brother decides to tithe and keep the extra $16,000 for himself, eventually he will learn that, in His sovereignty, God has many ways to cause this excess money to disappear. There may be illness, accident, or calamity. If the money does not disappear in this generation, it will disappear in the following generation or certainly in the third generation. God's mighty, sovereign hand will be active to practice a heavenly balancing of the wealth among His people” (“Life-Study of Second Corinthians, pp.419-422).

Throughout the years I was concerned enough for an “illness, accident, or calamity” that we donated much of our savings to the church life. We personally donated over 100k+ in recent years to our local churches and The Lord’s Move to Europe (LME). This was a lot for us considering we only own a couple of small businesses. We have little savings due to being so afraid of money tying in with our salvation.

This year I started breaking down bawling with my husband telling him that my entire existence was just a pile of rules combined with never-ending anxiety. I could hardly handle the pressure any more with seeing all of the horrific wrongs done to fellow human beings in the church life, but nothing being done about it in the name of “keeping the oneness” and “being one with the brothers.” I was eaten alive with guilt over having these feelings and stuck in a constant battle of guilt, confessing to the Lord over my impure thoughts, asking Him to put love in me for the sexual predators, failing in having love for them, feeling divisive, then worrying how God was going to judge me for my divisiveness.

Everything in my life became some type of judgment from God for my feelings and thoughts. I waited for my husband to be killed in a car accident because I loved him so much, but I knew my love was “natural” and “honey” and needed to be removed. When he would be late getting home from somewhere I would be worried at home convinced that he was dead. I hardly enjoyed my own children because that love was “natural affection” and I needed to love them with God’s love, not my own. I tried to exercise my spirit during the day with them, but had been taught that every minute spent outside of my spirit with them was a waste in terms of God’s economy. I worried about my clothes being worldly, my house being worldly, and my hair being worldly.

We have a whole set of rules of how you have to look and act as a brother or sister and anything outside of those rules is “natural” and “worldly.”

I told my husband that I didn’t know how to follow the Lord’s leading with how I dressed or did my hair because if He led me to wear certain clothes that didn’t fit the group norms then it didn’t matter if I had His leading or not. I had to conform to group rules regardless of the Lord’s leading or else be perceived as natural, worldly, degraded, and sinful.

I eventually realized that everything I did and said in my daily life was centered around all of these spoken and unspoken group rules and I constantly felt guilty over my choices. For example, if I wore a shirt that had sequins on it, was it too much? Was it stumbling to others? Were sequins worldly? I was left feeling like I was worldly and thus sinful in nearly every aspect of my life.

My final breaking point was in April of this year after getting a haircut. I got it cut the shortest I have had it in a long time. When I looked in the mirror, I realized that it was too short for the saints taste. I started thinking about what is the unspoken correct length to have your hair as a sister in the church life? There’s a point where it’s too short and improper and there’s also a point where it’s too long and it would be considered strange. We have an unspoken rule of what is too short and what is too long and most of the sister’s conform to that.

My inner conflict was that I felt personally fine before my God to have it short, but knew that many of the people I was around would not be fine with it being short. I became so angry with God who took away every human enjoyment from me through our spoken and unspoken group rules. Music other than hymns was worldly, enjoying God’s creation too much was worldly, decorating my home was worldly, how I dressed, did my hair, what kind of car I had, EVERYTHING was through this funnel of worldliness. I never let myself be fully in any moment because I felt like everything I did aside from being in the meetings and reading the ministry was worldly and a waste of my time.

All of these things came together for me in a final breakdown moment. I could no longer handle all of the spoken and unspoken rules and was beyond sick of feeling helpless and hopeless in my life.

For the first time in my adult life I lost faith in God Himself. I was done with this awful God who only had judgment for me. There was no meaningful love or forgiveness from Him. My kingdom reward could be snatched away for thinking a negative thought towards an elder who told me that God does not need my love.

I was done with God and it shook up my entire existence.

I told my husband that I was done. If he wanted to continue pursuing God, I had no problem with that, but I was finished. I told God I was done with Him. I couldn’t keep up with all the rules for this group of people any more. I was exhausted from depression, fear, and anxiety.

If this is what God led to, I didn’t want anything to do with Him. I had watched many men who I considered godly my entire church life who now looked less godly in their 50s, 60s and 70s than they did starting out. If this was what transformation looked like, I didn’t want it.

On page 77 of the ministry magazine it said,

“When we are with a person, we need to consider whether we feel enlivened, encouraged, bright, and happy or whether we feel depressed, discouraged, and deadened…”

I asked myself how I got to this point with this group of people. We were Philadelphia. We had the High Peak of the Divine Revelation. We were a group of people becoming God in life and nature, but not in the Godhead. We were becoming the New Jerusalem. We were a part of God’s heart’s purpose and were going to be the ones to bring Him back. We had the minister of the age who had released the highest light and revelation to us and I had spent decades getting into and following this.

How could the pursuit of all these seemingly wonderful things of God lead me to giving up on God altogether? Why was I often “depressed, discouraged, and deadened” after being with the saints and reading the ministry even though I was exercising my spirit? Why were so many other saints I knew depressed, discouraged, and deadened? I hardly observed any saints I could really describe as “enlivened, encouraged, bright, and happy.”

The brothers I observed generally were wrapped up in politicking, trying to impress one another, and trying to rise the ranks. The sisters I observed had to spend their lives “serving” the brothers by raising the children and spending their vacation time and money on letting their husband go to multiple conferences and trainings and be in the meetings. Most moms I knew were exhausted and overwhelmed in the church life, not encouraged.

Giving up on God caused me to do some intense reflecting on my life and what led up to that point. I spent much time pondering my entire existence and came to some startling conclusions.

I realized that in my Christian walk with the Lord’s recovery I started out wanting to love God, love God’s pure Word, and love God’s people but came out on the other end of my pursuit loving a man who was the minister of the age, loving and holding onto the interpreted Word from one man, and only loving an exclusive and extremely tiny percentage of God’s people rather than God’s people as a whole.

I now understood that my entire pursuit had been a massive bait and switch and as I reflected on the situation of the Lord’s Recovery I realized many others had undergone the same bait and switch.

I wondered how we got to this point. Surely this was not what those in the glory days of Elden Hall envisioned for their future. Now we had the oneness of “the ministry.” What happened to the true oneness of the Spirit?

I then started asking questions about our history that I had never asked before. I needed to know why so many thousands upon thousands of saints had left the local churches throughout the years and why so many were continuing to leave. The rate of FTT graduates who were leaving and had left was astonishing. Here’s an account from a couple who attended the FTTMA: http://bit.ly/CoupleMistreatedinFTTMA. Why was there so many who left in “rebellions”? I had heard about these rebellions for years and had always believed all of these ones to be divisive and ambitious. We only knew what we had been told from our own in-house publishing company, LSM. We only knew what Brother Lee’s viewpoint was and what information him and the brothers chose to share with us over these things.

I was truly floored to find out that several of the leading “rebellious” ones from the huge 1980s “storm” had the EXACT SAME QUESTIONS AND FEELINGS I now had 30 years later.

Here are the exact 18 points they brought before Brother Lee multiple times in the 1980s (http://bit.ly/eyewitnessbrothers):

“1. There has been a change in emphasis to the building up of the work or the ministry more than the local churches. The ministry has been promoted, exalted, and built up, and the churches have suffered greatly in the process.
2. There had been a great effort and promotion to unite the saints and the churches around a certain leader and organization.
3. There has been much pressure with full expectation that all the saints and the churches will conform to the burden of the ministry and be identical with one another in full uniformity of practice to carry it out.
4. In February 1986 we had signed a letter along with 417 other elders agreeing that we would be identical with all the churches, that we would follow the ministry absolutely, and that we realized Brother Lee’s leading was indispensable to our oneness. Since these matters were not in agreement with the Word of God, we greatly regretted that we had subscribed to them, and I stated publicly that I would retract my signature.
5. There has been an emphasis, at least in practice, on a centralization of the churches and the work.
6. There has been a pervasive control exercised over the church, not so much directly, but very much indirectly, which makes it difficult to go on by getting our leading directly from the Lord.
7. Church history reveals that denominations have begun with the affiliation of groups of saints under one leadership followed by the commencement of a training center. We were also going that way.
8. I greatly appreciate Brother Lee’s portion, but he has been exalted and honored above what is written, according to 1 Corinthians 4:6.
9. Brother Lee and his ministry have been made a great issue and factor of division among us.
10. Our going on and our relationship with the saints and with the church is made to depend on our relationship with Brother Lee. When this is done the ground of oneness is replaced with something else.
11. We have applied the teaching concerning the ground of oneness in a divisive and sectarian way, so that we divide ourselves from other Christians. This is due to an improper attitude and application of the truth. In the local churches we have become narrow and small as manifested in our attitude toward other Christians and in our reception of other saints.
12. Our attitude toward other Christians is one of belittling them and thinking we’re superior. What we need is the reality of oneness, not just the teaching or slogan.
13. The Lord told us in His Word to go forth to Him outside the camp. The Lord is still calling His sheep out of every fold and every camp so that there can be one flock with one shepherd.
14. Our oneness should be as large as the whole Body of Christ. Any oneness that is smaller than this we should leave and not keep.
15. We should all go directly to the Lord for His leading in the church in order to have a local administration, at the same time maintaining a proper fellowship with other saints and other churches. At this point I quoted some sentences from a pamphlet entitled The Beliefs and Practices of the Local Church, published by the Living Stream Ministry. One sentence reads: "In all administrative affairs, the local churches are autonomous and locally governed."
16. There has been an over-stressing and distortion of the teaching concerning deputy authority, which has caused the saints to be fearful to follow their conscience, to be one with their spirit, and sometimes to speak their genuine concerns.
17. There has been too much emphasizing of methods more than the inner anointing, and external big success more than the experience of the inner life.
18. We have no problem with the matters of the "new way.” We wanted to make that clear. Actually these things are not new.”

Greg and I continued asking questions about our heritage.

We learned that Brother Lee started a motor home building business in the 1970s called DayStar (a for profit business) with the help of a 100k loan from the saints in the church in Boston and much money from many other localities. Many of them had no idea what their money was going to. The church in Boston (a non-profit corporation) wrote a 100k loan check to “Overseas Christian Stewards” (an unregistered business with 3 people: Brother Lee, Samuel Chang and K.H. Weigh). The money then went to an overseas business in Taiwan called Phosphorus (a for profit business) run by Brother Lee’s son, Timothy Lee. The purpose of Phosphorus was to produce parts for the Daystar business as well as other production of goods. Long story short, the business went bankrupt and many of the saints lost all of their money. Elders strongly urged the saints to consider it a donation instead of having to be paid back. Some saints were paid back. Many were not. Some lost their entire life savings and retirement and had to work the rest of their lives. LSM then started charging money called “donations” for the semi-annual trainings. Even when LSM went on to be worth millions, many of the saints were not paid back.

The leading brother who wrote the 100k loan check to Brother Lee found out the money was used in ways not originally intended, rather than for the Lord. He called Brother Lee and confronted him.

Listen to the original phone call: http://bit.ly/ConfrontingPhoneCall

Read a transcript of the original phone call: http://bit.ly/TranscriptConfrontingPhoneCall

The brother who wanted to know where the saints money had gone was told by Brother Lee, “that is not your business…I’m not responsible to anyone. I’m only responsible to the government…” Considering Brother Lee allegedly participated in potential money laundering and potential direct violations of state and federal securities laws, his feeling of being only responsible to the government is debatable.

We learned that one of Brother Lee’s sons, Philip Lee, was allegedly involved in multiple sexual improprieties while being in a position of authority as office manager of the LSM office. Multiple cases of adultery and fornication were reported by witnesses spanning over a decade. Brother Lee knew the sexual sins going on from his son and chose to let Philip remain office manager at LSM. And not only did Brother Lee know, he chose to cover it up and let it continue. Some of the elders eventually forced Philip Lee to stop meeting, but he was eventually invited back with an apology letter after they left.

The “rebellious” elders who brought forth all these problems to Brother Lee eventually left or where forced out after reporting what they saw to the brothers and Brother Lee. Many of them resigned their eldership due to not being able to go on with their conscience. The ones who remained were the top ones who proclaimed their allegiance to Brother Lee and LSM.

Greg and I were beyond shocked to learn that decades later the same problems remained and in many ways had gotten worse. We learned that many of the top ones at LSM have been covering up more than we could possibly imagine for my entire lifetime.

Here is a link detailing multiple brothers experiences of trying to help Brother Lee and the Lord’s recovery: http://bit.ly/eyewitnessbrothers

As I learned of Brother Lee’s financial shortcomings, how he was running multiple businesses using the saints money in the name of serving of the Lord, how he helped cover up sexual misconduct at LSM, and how multiple top leading ones had been covering up these things for decades, something crumbled in me.

I was 38 years old and had lived my entire life believing that Witness Lee was one of the most pure men on earth. He was the minister of the age, the wise master builder, the oracle of God, and had spent a life-time of denying his self and only serving the Lord and His interest. In fact, he said it over and over again throughout his ministry of how restricted he was, how pure he was towards the Lord and how he gave his whole life for the Lord’s recovery. And not only did he say it, but everyone else did too. Brother Lee was one of the most faithful servants of the Lord. He had recovered all the major truths in the Bible, had all the light and revelation, and now I just needed to spend my entire life getting into his ministry. I spent my entire youth and adulthood opening myself to this man and “the brothers” based on believing how pure they all were.

In that moment when something crumbled in me regarding Brother Lee and the brothers, my entire life changed. They had always been infallible to me and to have that foundation crumble caused me to examine the entire belief system of the local churches.

I now needed to understand the history of the Lord’s recovery and what had gotten us to the point of only ascribing to one man and his interpretations of the Bible and excommunicating those who don’t completely follow him.

In every other area of belief in my life I had always been able to look at multiple points of view for that belief. For instance, living in a democratic country I could understand our beliefs in the democratic system but could also understand other viewpoints such as monarchies, dictatorships, etc. I didn’t have to agree with other viewpoints and didn’t have to agree with all points of my own countries government. This principle was the same in all areas of my life from what college I went to, what kind of house to buy, what city to live in, etc. I was open to other people’s ideas and beliefs. Able to reject what I didn’t like or believe and able to accept what I had evaluated for myself and what worked for me personally. That’s what humans do.

There was one glaring area of my life that I had never been willing to listen to other people’s viewpoints on and had never been open to hear what people outside of us had to say. That was my beliefs about the Lord’s recovery. I was able to hear multiple viewpoints about other areas of my life, but the area of the local churches I could not and would not listen to what anyone but Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, and “the brothers” had to say.

My husband brought up the point that if what God was doing on earth today as defined by Witness Lee was legitimate, surely it should be able to stand on its own two feet.

If we were able to critically think regarding all other areas of our life, shouldn’t we be able to critically think regarding the Lord’s Recovery? If it was as strong and wonderful as we say it is, shouldn’t it be able to survive some scrutiny? If all these truths are in the Bible, shouldn’t we be able to find them for ourselves in the Word of God?

We continued researching our history.

We learned that many elders, leading ones, and other saints all throughout the Lord’s recovery had been leaving for years. The vast majority left not because they had “unfulfilled ambition” or “wanted to be someone,” but they were genuinely concerned for where the saints were being led. Many who left felt like the church life started as something so glorious but soon became something that did not line up with the Bible. Many had seen so many wrongs that were never able to be righted in the name of having no opinions, no criticizing, and keeping the oneness.

There was and is a massive lack of accountability in the leadership.


I knew Brother Lee felt that he had brought us the highest and the best and I had always believed that. We constantly heard that poor Christianity had nothing to offer God and Brother Lee had brought us all the major light and revelation.

We have even gone so far as to limit the saints in what they can publish.

Brother Lee said in 1986,

“It bothers me that some brothers among us still put out publications. According to my truthful observation, there is no new light or life supply there. They may contain some biblical doctrines, but any point of life or light has been adopted from the publications of Living Stream Ministry. There is nearly no item of life or light that has not been covered by our publications. Based upon this fact, what is the need for these brothers to put out their publications? Because all the publications are mine, it is hard for me to speak such a word. But I am forced to tell the truth. By putting out your own publication, you waste your time and money. You waste the money given by the saints, and you waste their time in reading what you publish. Where is the food, the life supply, and the real enlightenment in the other publications among us? Be assured that there is definitely at least one major revelation in every Living Stream Ministry publication. I was burdened to publish the Life-study messages to stress the matter of life because this matter has been neglected, missed, and even lost to the uttermost in today's Christianity. In most of the commentaries and expositions there is not much life.” (Elder’s Training “The Life-Pulse of the Lord’s Present Move Book 8, p 148, 1986)

This portion was reprinted in 2005 with our “Publication Work in the Lord’s Recovery” pamphlet that was distributed to all the churches. Our history is one of only tightening control over the saints, not lessening it. Here is a brother’s account of attempting to bring control issues to light with Brother Lee: http://bit.ly/BillMallonLettertoBrotherLee

1 John 2:26-27 says, “These things I have written to you concerning those who lead you astray. And as for you, the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone teach you; but as His anointing teaches you concerning all things and is true, and is not a lie, and even as it has taught you, abide in Him.”

How can Brother Lee say about other Christians that “there is no new light or life supply there?” Are we really to believe that out of the millions and millions of Christians that God only gave new life and light to a couple of men since the 1900s?

As we started to ponder these questions, I became truly open to other people in a way I never was before. No longer could I just accept everything simply because I was told to. I knew the Word said that we all had the anointing, but it seemed to me like we were only following “the brothers” who had the anointing.

Why did we need to only have one publication work? Could the saints not read other people’s writings and discern for themselves what was of Christ or not? Were we truly that mindless, that if we disagreed with something printed by our own in-house publishing company we were not keeping the oneness? Where was this in the Bible of keeping the oneness meaning needing to keep the oneness of one man’s speaking? Where was this in the Bible of having to ascribe to only one man 100%? Where was this in the Bible of saints in a church not being allowed to have their own publications?

Greg and I spent weeks researching the history of Witness Lee, Watchman Nee and the Brethren. At this point we feel we have only learned the tip of the iceberg of what there is to learn regarding the history of the Lord’s Recovery. However, there isn’t enough time in the day to learn everything before making some major decisions about how we would like to move forward in our life.

Even if all the stories about Brother Lee’s business enterprises and his son’s sexual improprieties were fabricated, my personal experience with the ministry making me sick is enough for me to be done with such a harmful system. However, I don’t think the stories were fabricated considering Brother Lee admitted to some of the business endeavors: http://bit.ly/ConfrontingPhoneCall.

I implore you to read through the link mentioned earlier for a viewpoint from many who resigned their eldership and who were excommunicated for not being one with “the ministry.” They could no longer go on with the Lord’s recovery due to the feeling in their conscience. Greg and I now both feel the same way: http://bit.ly/eyewitnessbrothers

When Greg and I first started discussing the problems we saw, I was terrified. I kept waiting for the earth to figuratively open up and swallow me alive because I would dare to bring up the sins of my fathers. I was physically ill with all I was learning and could do nothing about. I realized I had spent my entire life helpless and hopeless about any wrongs I saw and now seeing so many more wrongs I was expected to just cover Noah’s sins or I would experience God’s judgment.

We learned about the misuse of spiritual authority all in the name of being a deputy authority and realized we were a part of a system that abused power in the name of serving the Lord. We learned this is a common method of group control in extreme Bible based groups.

Here’s one of many resources to learn about the abuse of spiritual power as a way to control people: http://bit.ly/AbuseofSpiritualPower

My entire thinking for as long as I could remember had been under a cloud of guilt, fear, and anxiety. I had been told by saints to just call on the Lord for my anxiety. To pray more, to eat the ministry and the Word more. Psychology and receiving psychological help was worldly and in the fallen natural realm. I had seen a therapist on and off for years and was wracked with guilt about it, believing that I was worldly, fallen, and partaking of a satanic system that would only bring me away from God. Interestingly enough, my therapist for years had attempted to reveal the destructive ways of the high control religious group I was a part of, but I had always believed that they just couldn’t understand our higher purpose.

I learned that keeping members from receiving mental health help was a common tactic of high control groups and was done in many religious groups in the name of following God: http://bit.ly/ProgrammedtoFearMentalHealthHelp

Here’s a quote from Brother Lee regarding not receiving mental health help:

“All of the church people are so healthy because they are under God's blessing through the church life. Many of the church people can testify that before they came into the church life they were weak and sickly. Many were sick mentally, but after being in the church life they became sober and healthy. This is the blessing. This blessing comes as a result of offering Christ to God through the cross. Sisters, if you want to be healthy, you need to experience Christ and to offer Him to God through the cross. If you live this way for awhile, you will see how strong you will be and how mentally sober you will become. Every young sister who lives this way will be healthy both mentally and emotionally. Most young women are sick either emotionally or mentally. No psychiatrist can help them. However, if you live the church life, the very Christ whom you offer to God will heal you. He is better than any psychiatrist. Do not go to a psychiatrist—come to Christ and offer Him to God. Then you will be healthy, sober, and emotionally balanced. Since the church life is the proper life, it brings in God's blessing. Peace, joy, love, sympathy, kindness, normal living—all are signs of such a blessing of life which comes by the experience of Christ through the cross.” (Witness Lee, Life Study of Genesis, Volume 2, Message 32, Anaheim, CA, 1975, page 431).

The more I learned about high control groups, the more I realized what had been done to us. I was programmed through years of being under the ministry and the brother’s speaking that when others outside of us said we were a cult that it proved we were doing God’s will and it was proof that Satan was fighting against us. I learned that multiple other high control groups had their exact same version of this.

I had always thought our group was truly unique. That no one else out there could understand us because we were the only ones really following the Lord and His purpose. That we were the only ones truly being attacked by Satan and standing for the Lord. I was shocked to learn that there were millions of people all over the world trapped in various systems headed up by corrupt human beings. Multiple religious groups besides us believed they were the only ones being attacked by Satan for their beliefs and that they had the best way to follow God.

See here our similarities with the Jehovah's Witnesses: http://bit.ly/LordsRecoverySimilaritiestotheJWs

We learned that our slow way approach with the new ones was a common bait and switch tactic used by high control groups. Here’s some examples from the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons whose recruits also undergo a similar process to ours: http://bit.ly/JWBaitandSwitch and http://bit.ly/MormonBaitandSwitch.

I was also surprised to learn that being afraid to criticize or speak up about wrongs was not unique to our group and was a common technique used for group control.

Look at this one aspect of “Emotional Control” from Steven Hassan, an expert about high control groups and see if you feel that any apply to us (http://bit.ly/StevenHassanBITEModel):

“Phobia indoctrination: inculcating irrational fears about leaving the group or questioning the leader’s authority
a. No happiness or fulfillment possible outside of the group
b. Terrible consequences if you leave: hell, demon possession, incurable diseases, accidents, suicide, insanity, 10,000 reincarnations, etc.
c. Shunning of those who leave; fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family
d. Never a legitimate reason to leave; those who leave are weak, undisciplined, unspiritual, worldly, brainwashed by family or counselor, or seduced by money, sex, or rock and roll
e. Threats of harm to ex-member and family”

I realized that I was trapped mentally by so many phobias. And the exact moment that I learned that all of my fears regarding leaving the local churches were just programmed phobias, SOMETHING INCREDIBLE HAPPENED.

One moment inwardly I was trapped, helpless, and hopeless.

The next moment, I WAS FREE.

Realizing that all my fears were just installed in my head by human beings caused them to just evaporate in an instant. The God I thought was controlling every aspect of my life was actually a system of men with underhanded methods of control. The God I thought I knew had been misrepresented.

My head had always been filled with more anxiety and fear than I can possibly express and now it is beautifully serene. The unrelenting severe anxiety I have suffered with for nearly 30 years IS GONE. All the power these men had over me in the name of deputy authority is gone.

It truly is the man behind the curtain: http://bit.ly/ManBehindtheCurtainExposed

Moving forward I want to truly love all human beings. Before, I had sung “Glorious Freedom” in meetings while inwardly feeling trapped in something I didn’t understand.

I now feel a true glorious freedom.

John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

Jesus was with all kinds of people when He was on earth. They probably wore all kinds of clothes, had all different kinds of beliefs, practices, and different cultures. Did He think they weren’t fit for the kingdom because they weren’t wearing a white shirt with a specific kind of tie? Today we would reject many of the ones the Lord was with due to not being “the proper building materials.”

We have an entire culture of outwardly conforming to so many practices without being able to be led by the Lord. For example, a new one would come to the meeting with a beard and you would inwardly wonder how long it would take before they came to the meeting clean shaven. Whenever that was, days, weeks, or months later it was seen as an outward sign of transformation. I would wonder if it was truly transformation or just not wanting to stick out so they conformed to the group norms. This principle of conforming to the group affects all areas of our lives- how we speak, the tone of voice we use, how we say amen, how we call on the Lord, how we dress, etc. It is never ending.

When I had my final breakdown (breakthrough?) I told Greg that I was just a pile of rules. Everything I did in my daily life was through this filter of what was ok with the group and what wasn’t ok with the group. What would be perceived as worldly/sinful/divisive/rebellious ruled my every waking thought.

I’m here to tell you: You do not have to live that way. Anxiety, depression, and fear are not healthy or normal feelings you should be feeling when meeting with any group of people. You do not have to continue living this way.

We have walked away from the Lord’s recovery and it is one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done.

We’ve also found entire communities of people who have walked away from the local churches and contrary to what we’ve been told in the Lord’s recovery, they have not come to naught. It’s convenient that when someone who left the Lord’s recovery passes away we talk about it as if they got their judgment from God, but the saints who die in the Lord’s recovery somehow still had God’s blessing. You can’t have it both ways.

Please know that the stories of death and coming to naught are phobia indoctrinations by men to do their best to keep you “in.”

There’s a reason the growth rate in the Lord’s recovery has plummeted since the 1970s and 1980s. One of the main reasons the Lord’s recovery still exists in the United States is due to all the children being born into it. I was one of them. See here a chart of our poor growth rate (starts around the 1 hr, 10 minute mark): http://bit.ly/stagnantgrowth

Many localities practice getting the children saved and baptized at a 6th grade conference. I personally have spoken with church-kids who felt like saying no to getting saved wasn’t even an option. They were in a group, lined up and told to call on the Lord to get saved and then baptized. They felt like their free will was violated. Where is this in the Bible of having to get saved and baptized in 6th grade?

To all you precious sisters: according to the ministry we have no place but to bear children, serve the brothers, cook food for massive groups of people, have some kind of “hidden life” before the Lord, and keep silent about what we see. Please know that having to keep silent in the name of submitting is another spiritual abuse of power: http://bit.ly/silenceisnotspiritual

Brother Lee let us know how he felt about women many times. Here’s an example from the Life-Study of 1 Peter:

“Therefore, as a household servant submits himself to his master, so the wives should subject themselves to their own husbands. This kind of word is certainly contrary to the emphasis of the so-called women’s liberation movement. That movement is against the Bible, for it is against God's ordination in His creation with respect to male and female. Using Peter's expression (3:7), God created the females weaker vessels. What country would use women as the main fighting force in the army? Females are weaker physically and psychologically. For this reason, it is easy for women to shed tears, which are often a sign of weakness. Furthermore, it is easy for a female to be troubled in her mind or emotion. All these are signs that the female is a weaker vessel.” (Witness Lee, Life Study of 1 Peter, Volume 2, Message 32, Anaheim, CA, 1985, page 199).

According to https://www.dictionary.com/browse/women-s-liberation, women’s liberation is, “A movement to combat sexual discrimination and to gain full legal, economic, vocational, educational, and social rights and opportunities for women, equal to those of men.”

Why would Brother Lee be against something that wants to combat sexual discrimination and provide equal opportunities for women? I would hypothesize that the Lord’s Recovery would fall apart without the women. They are the hidden backbone that keeps the entire system going. Who does the majority of the cooking, the cleaning, shopping, and being with the children while the husband travels for never-ending conferences and brother’s meetings?

One of the reasons the growth in the Lord’s recovery is stagnant is that many of the younger generation want nothing to do with an oppressive hierarchical system. Men are more involved in raising their children than they have ever been before. Men care for women’s rights more than they ever have before. Our children are being raised in a society that is more inclusive than it’s ever been for groups of people traditionally oppressed. We still have a long way to go in all these areas, but there is progress. The younger generation doesn’t want much to do with widespread bigotry, oppression, and intolerance.


Moving forward Greg and I want to be open to all humans, not just a select few. If the leading ones would truly repent for all of the wrongs among us, Greg and I would be more than happy to be open to them in our heart.

Unfortunately, Brother Lee, the “blended brothers” and so many elders have known about so many horrific wrongs and have white-washed our history for nearly 40 years. The white-washing continues today with teams of people paid to work on scrubbing the internet. The Defense and Confirmation Project (DCP) exists to suppress much information about us. Much money is spent every year on buying up and maintaining domain names that could be used against us, editing Wikipedia articles about us, trying to get “negative” search results pushed down, and getting “positive” search results about us pushed to the top. Not to mention our litigious history of suing other Christians: http://bit.ly/LawsuitsOpenLetter

We know that by not following Witness Lee 100% we will be excommunicated and quarantined. We will likely lose our entire community. If the saints are truly accepting of all believers, why should Greg and I be excommunicated for having a different practice (being open to other interpretations of the Word other than just Witness Lee)? How can our basis with the saints and other Christians be having to hold onto Witness Lee 100%? We say that we hold onto the items of the faith, but really we hold on to the items of Witness Lee.

We can no longer keep our voices quiet about an organization that has covered up sexual, physical, psychological, and spiritual abuse. We can no longer support a system that suppresses women’s rights and excludes so many groups of people. We can no longer support an organization that builds itself on the blood, sweat, and tears of the saints who have given untold millions of their hard-earned dollars and their volunteer time. Something that for so many had glorious beginnings quickly became something else entirely. We can no longer support an organization that marginalizes the victims and those who bring up legitimate concerns.

The process of leaving has been very painful. I have felt like I was losing my entire identity as I was born and raised in this way. However painful it is, I see so much hope and light in our future.

We hope you start asking questions for yourselves. We hope you take the time to learn about our history from some other sources other than just what is produced by our own publishing company. It’s in LSM’s best interest to conduct “in-house” reviews of itself and have a one-sided view that is presented to the saints. As of 2013, LSM alone was approaching nearly 100 million in assets (http://bit.ly/LSMBoard). There are more businesses structured under and around it than I think we will ever know. Many of the top leading ones have not had a job in the world for the majority of their adult lives. The churches support their living and will support their retirement. I have no problem with people being paid for working (what we call being supported), it’s just the hypocrisy of claiming that we are wholly against the clergy-laity system when we have that exact system ourselves.

It’s in the leading brothers best interest for LSM to continue on. The money made per year from the live semi-annual training “donations” at ~4,000 attendees times $200 per “donation” is approximately $800,000. At twice per year that’s nearly $2 million dollars. That does not even include the thousands of attendees of the video trainings that are charged $100 apiece. Perhaps this isn’t much to some and they certainly could make more, but at the same time it’s not an insignificant amount. Not to mention the money made from individual book sales, standing orders for books, media, rental money from all of the owned facilities, the full-time training tuition, and many more revenue streams that we are likely unaware of.

It’s time for the leadership to have some accountability.

Here is a link about ways destructive groups use to gain control of your life. I beg you to look through these methods and consider the Lord’s Recovery in this light: http://bit.ly/groupinfluence

Here is a forum we have found particularly helpful from many dear believers who have passed through the process of leaving: http://bit.ly/localchurchdiscussions

Here is a book written by someone who used to meet with us and helps answer a lot of questions about what life could look like moving forward, including addressing the ground of the oneness: http://bit.ly/churchlifebeyondthelocalchurch

And for those of you wondering about the Christian Research Institute “We Were Wrong” article (Christian Research Journal, “We Were Wrong” “A Reassessment of the Local Church Movement of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee,” 32, no. 6, 2009), here’s a thoughtful response about that: http://bit.ly/CRIArticleEvaluation.

You are not alone. We are not alone. For every saint currently in the local churches there are untold others that have left and know the truth.

I have much hope for the future and I can honestly say it’s a hope I never had before.

We hope for freedom for so many.

I’m a firm believer that it’s time for so many who have left the Lord’s Recovery and so many who are still in to finally have a voice. It’s time for people to start speaking up about the wrongs they have seen done to themselves and to others.

We can each contribute to something beautiful when we start speaking our truth.

We love each and every one of you and are here for you.

~Greg and Joanna Casteel

*This letter can be freely shared and used however the reader deems worthy for their needs*


Any and all emphasis has been added by website administrator
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:13 AM   #2
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Please post any responses to this Open Letter here on this thread.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:12 PM   #3
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Someone was wondering the when the letter was written....she referenced her child born in 2018, so it is fairly recent, I think
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:27 PM   #4
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Thank you byHismercy.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:49 AM   #5
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Reading thru this family's story, I continually oscillated between sad and mad. I was active in the Ohio area LC's from mid-70's to the mid-00's, and what I read in their account was for the most part different than anything I had ever seen.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:23 AM   #6
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Reading thru this family's story, I continually oscillated between sad and mad. I was active in the Ohio area LC's from mid-70's to the mid-00's, and what I read in their account was for the most part different than anything I had ever seen.
It resonated strongly with me. Especially the part about identifying fear as the controlling force. The LC leadership uses intimidation. They have the freedom to speak horrible things from the podium and nobody can say a word. Because the audience is scared to call it out, they are paralyzed with fear.

I told the story where a Blended was giving a conference and looked down from the podium and started querying a 'local church brother' about his relations with his wife. Unbeknownst to the Blended, the brother's wife had left him. The brother sat there red-faced, while the Blended went on. Nobody in the meeting said anything. (several hundred were present) But if you say anything to the Blendeds about their family life? Forget it! No chance.

What rules is fear. They say there's no hierarchy but some get to 'call out' others without reciprocity. And everyone knows it.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:44 AM   #7
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The other thing I liked about the post was that I've long felt that more females should speak up about the legacy of abuse. Here's what I wrote 6 months ago:

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What were the charges against those in the so-called Sisters' Rebellion, and how were their 'sins' different from the actions of those lauded as the historical torchbearers of "the Lord's recovery"? What's different, other than earlier ones being conveniently dead and therefore useful to a power play, whilst some, being very much alive, were perceived as rivals and threats? Okay, I get that. Anything else, here? Any fundamental differences, or merely the issue of convenience?

And how could we all sit there while RK publicly derided "spiritual sisters" as being "worse than rebellious brothers", and not notice the glaring disconnect between this and his lionized "early pillars"? How did otherwise intelligent and functional people get so mesmerised by the WL mind control programme? Amazing to consider in retrospect.

Convenience creates contrivance - there's your "present recovered truth". And we all sat there: stupefied, stunned and senseless.
The reason females have been pushed down in the LC is simple: it automatically eliminates 50% of the potential threats. Just get them to agree that being female obviates them from rational thought and it is so much easier to reprogram and control them So to see a female saying, "Hey, this doesn't make sense was encouraging.

That and the person writing from the PRC were the best things I've seen all year. It just takes one courageous person to speak up. One little 'Toto' to pull back the wizard's curtain.
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I'd like to focus on one particular "rebellion" as an example of what is at play here. The so-called "Sister's Rebellion". What was their crime? Drawing others unto themselves? Being "spiritual sisters" (RK's derogatory term)? Okay, then why base your movement prominently on the thoughts and activities of Jessie Penn-Lewis, Madame Guyon, Miss Margaret Barber, Miss Elisabeth Fischbacher, Mary McDonough, Ruth Lee et al.... ?
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:45 AM   #8
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What rules is fear. They say there's no hierarchy but some get to 'call out' others without reciprocity. And everyone knows it.
Here it is abundantly clear that the LC management style is not lifted from scripture but from the military and Chinese culture. There is a clearly defined "pecking order" which delineates the hierarchy. The higher-ups alone have the prerogative to "call out" or "dress down" those beneath them.

It wasn't just with LSM, the elders, or the brothers that this "pecking order" was apparent. About the time my wife and I were leaving the "program," another deacon and his wife suddenly visited us. They were both on the verge of tears, almost in a state of shock. They both had been selflessly serving our young people for years. They had just left a time of "fellowship" with an elder and his wife. The elder's wife had tirelessly castigated this deaconess in front of their husbands over basically nothing. It was not about anything she had done, but "it's all about who you are!" All we could do is comfort them and explain that it's just the way things are.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:18 AM   #9
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Someone was wondering the when the letter was written....she referenced her child born in 2018, so it is fairly recent, I think
This letter was posted on 6/9/2019, so yes, very recent.

I was born and raised in the LC, so very much of this letter resonated with me. It is difficult to put into words how frightening and isolating it can be to question this system when you've been born into it, and the authors of the letter did a good job of encapsulating that feeling.

Last edited by RambleOn; 06-12-2019 at 11:21 AM. Reason: Adding a word.
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Old 06-14-2019, 12:03 PM   #10
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It's very hard to leave a cult that you've grown up in.

So kudos to Greg and Joanna for having the courage to walk out. And I hope their testimony encourages others to do so.

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None but ourselves can free our minds ..."
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:57 PM   #11
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The replies to the letter posted on Facebook are quite interesting
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Old 06-14-2019, 04:26 PM   #12
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Hi, ...I just recently began to learn about all the hidden history of the LR. To you all that have been aware of this for a while, how do you evaluate the impact of this letter from the Casteel´s and all the Facebook responses so far? I know there are many other documents from others and letters, etc., but how do I put this letter and responses into perspective?

In other words, does this open FB post with so many saints supporting and confirming with their own experiences seem like something really big is happening and gaining momentum, like the cat is really out of the bag now, or maybe just not yet?

Thanks!
(me? just a brother in the church for years and years looking to the Lord to understand.....)
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Old 06-14-2019, 05:36 PM   #13
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Hi, ...I just recently began to learn about all the hidden history of the LR. To you all that have been aware of this for a while, how do you evaluate the impact of this letter from the Casteel´s and all the Facebook responses so far? I know there are many other documents from others and letters, etc., but how do I put this letter and responses into perspective?

In other words, does this open FB post with so many saints supporting and confirming with their own experiences seem like something really big is happening and gaining momentum, like the cat is really out of the bag now, or maybe just not yet?

Thanks!
(me? just a brother in the church for years and years looking to the Lord to understand.....)
Personal opinion, I don't think the cat has been in the bag for a while. Sure, some people will be shocked to hear of this stuff, but none of it is hard to find if you're interested enough to look. Practically every document the authors of that letter found is searchable on this very site and has been for years. The main service they did is to compile everything into a digestible (dare I say crystallized) format with easy links, and they did a good job of summarizing certain things.

So I think for some this will be a big deal, but for many it changes nothing. They love the Lord and the saints, and they meet on the ground of oneness and that's all there is to it.
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Old 06-14-2019, 06:58 PM   #14
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I think this letter has a few things going for it:

1. It's reasoned and doesn't use inflammatory language gratuitously.
2. It's decently formatted, grammatically pleasing, and easy to follow.
3. It helps that right up front she voiced the programmed thoughts that many would have by default.
4. It's posted on a very public platform. It's not on a "poisonous" website back in the dark forest that all the gnomes are warned to stay away from.
5. It's easy to stay away from a website you don't go to. But by the intelligent design of social media, it's hard to skip past a Facebook post (that involves you in any way) once you see it....even if you "know" it's "poison" when you read it.
6. Although she provided many links, there is more than enough to make people stop and think just from the letter itself. For those still fearful of poison, they may stay away from the links.
7. Facebook comments are a huge drawing factor. People love to read things and then scroll right down to see what other people had to say about it to see if their opinion matches the majority opinion. The volume of confirming comments helps validate the letter.
8. Personally I think it helps that it's current. Past issues and abuses from decades ago, while serious, don't carry much personal impact for the younger generation in the church. Although, they can be the last straw on the camels back, for sure.
9. She clearly articulates many nebulous things that are difficult to pin down unless someone verbalizes them for you. I think for some who read it it will be a fog-clearing wind.
10. Toward the end she briefly addresses sisters directly. I do think many sisters in the LCs are suffering silently in the way she describes.
11. Its overall tone is hopeful and not condemning or critical.

I think there are a few of us who are wondering the same thing, Raptor.......waiting to see the significance and scope of this thing.
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Old 06-15-2019, 06:51 AM   #15
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Hi, ...I just recently began to learn about all the hidden history of the LR. To you all that have been aware of this for a while, how do you evaluate the impact of this letter from the Casteel´s and all the Facebook responses so far? I know there are many other documents from others and letters, etc., but how do I put this letter and responses into perspective?

In other words, does this open FB post with so many saints supporting and confirming with their own experiences seem like something really big is happening and gaining momentum, like the cat is really out of the bag now, or maybe just not yet?

Thanks!
(me? just a brother in the church for years and years looking to the Lord to understand.....)
I'm reminded of the story I once read of a torture and murder of Christian confessors. It was held in public, in the arena, with the local magistrate (praetor) presiding. You see these people held to an unseen God, who was above all, and His manifested Christ who was the Galilean Jew Jesus of Nazareth. To the Roman rulers this was godlessness, and treasonous against the Emperor (and Empire).

So the Christians were herded into the ampitheatre to be mauled and destroyed before all the local inabitants.

As the magistrate proclaimed Judgment, one of the soldiers stepped forward and confessed that he, too, believed. He was summarily placed with the Christians and died on the spot.

It only takes one brave person to step forward. At that moment when the soldier publicly left the ranks of the oppressor and stood for the oppressed, the enslaving power of the Roman sword (fear) was exposed. The whole crowd saw the fall of earthly power (coercion) and the the display of heavenly power (faith).

The LSM ruled the LC by fear for decades, but some brave persons are saying, "Enough" and stepping forward.

Many have not spoken out because of the power of "the ministry" over their lives. College students who rely on parents' funding. Older couples who fear losing touch with their grand-children. Husbands who know that estrangement and divorce may follow. Same with wives. There are real consequences of speaking up - ostracism, judgment, shame. Not to mention "divine retribution" - a thousand years in darkness, or worse.

But people are stepping forward. Here are two on the FB page:

BTW, my husband is also an elder. I had my eyes opened gradually over the last 3 years by a gradual, spiritual, life changing process of healing. The more my joy increased, the more I realized how off things were until I just said, "No thank-you, I don't much care for what you have to offer." This was after being extremely involved in the church life since 1981 & raising my 4 kids therein. I even testified for damages in the law suite against the book "The God Men" because of the persecution I experienced coming into the "church." However, when I started getting healed, I realized that no one I knew, or was aware of, in the church life was getting any real, practical, saving, healing help from the "ministry," others in the church, or even their God, at all. No one was changing & no one was joyful. In fact, no one had anything (spiritual) that I wanted or even wanted to be around at all. I already had all the same knowledge. So I walked away & am so thankful to be free. The Lord is so good, kind, merciful, compassionate, caring, loving and gracious. I am now experiencing more every day what it is to truly know Him (vs religion) and His incomparable love for me.

This speaks to a point I have made before: in the LC they are told that sitting in a meeting under the ministry of Lee, they are "absorbing God" and by pray-reading HWMR and outlines they are "masticating God" and they'll undergo "metabolic transformation" and "become God in life and nature" but if so, why no transformation? As the post says, "No one was changing and no one was joyful". So where is the evidence that you are becoming God? Where is the hopeful sign? I don't see one.

2nd testimony:

When corruption started being exposed in the LSM office regarding W Lee's son around 1988 and the events that followed, all the politics, fleshly behavior, reactions to cover up and defend the status quo, I told the Lord that He brought me into the "Recovery" and if wanted me to leave it would have to His speaking and leading. I spent over a year in desperate prayer giving the Lord permission to have His way in my life. Slowly He started opening my eyes. It shook my entire being. Then during the conference in Pasadena in 1989 the Lord spoke it was time to leave. What I had devoted my life to had become something other than what we claimed. I cried all the way home. My wife was clear as well. Then began the process to coming back to my first love, Christ.

Then to someone who said he was judgmental and should "Look away unto Jesus" (i.e. be quiet) he replied:

dear brother, I was in the local church from 1975-1989. Sometime in the mids 80s when we took the ground in our outpost, I was made an elder with two other brothers. I was as dedicated and zealous as any of the saints. I loved Brother Lee, the churches, etc. I spent my extra time preaching the gospel, including multiple trips to smuggle Bibles to China from 1979-1982. As we used to say Christ is our life and the church is our living. I have amazing memories of my days meeting with the saints.Then sometime in the mid eighties things started to change, become more organized, centralized. I started waking up the morning in fear I was in a Christian cult. Were did those thoughts come from? I figured it was the enemy.

Then, as you can find the history in detail by doing a search, word got out that Phillip Lee was caught in adultery. Many saints were stumbled and leading ones went to Brother Lee. Brother Lee said he would do something about it. Then other leading brothers, especially from Texas, used this as an opportunity to weasel their way into Lee’s inner circle and push out the leading brothers from So. California. The result was Phillip Lee was promoted to head up the Living Stream Ministry office. (This was 30 years ago, so my timing of promoting Phillip may be a little off. May have been earlier.)

This began a difficult time when the saints in Anaheim and surrounding areas started taking sides. Many were appalled that a sinning brother who had past immoral indiscretions was exalted while others had seen the adultery were being silenced. This turned into there is a conspiracy to oppose W. Lee and the ministry. Confusion abounded. Many on both sides reacted in the flesh.

Eventually Brother Lee believed there was a conspiracy and went to war. I was in those elders’ meetings where W Lee was angry, scorched brothers. I saw an ugly side of him that shocked me, a side we never saw in meetings. Then there were big meetings where Bro Lee drew a line and said anyone who was not 100% for his ministry to get out. If you were just 99%, you should leave the “Recovery.”

I was in much inner conflict. Many went on a war campaign to defend the ministry. Suspicion abounded. The atmosphere was toxic. It was the Lord who brought me into the church, so it would have to be Him who took me out. I spent a year in desperate prayer. Then in a conference in Pasadena in 1989, everything came to a head. W. Lee proclaimed he was the commander in chief, the deputy authority, the oracle of God. He was the only one God was speaking through. No other brothers had anything to offer except repeat his words. Then he, figuratively speaking, spoke ill of a dear deceased brother name G. H. Lang who had written a book warning that churches should not be centralized, but be independent while maintaining fellowship with one another. Bro. Lee acted like he threw the book on the ground and spit on it. I was appalled by such behavior. After that meeting, I cried all the way home. Then the Lord said it was time to leave. The word that came to me was “Let no one rob you of your prize: Christ.” I realized my devotion and love to the Lord was often replaced by devotion to Lee and the ministry. It was a mixture .

What I had given myself to had fallen into something sectarian and corrupted. Adultery had been tolerated and even the perpetrator exalted. That's when many leadings ones, pillars in the church: John Ingalls, Bill Mallon, John So, John Smith, Hudson Du, Paul Ma, Joseph Fung, Jospeh Chu, Virginia Say, Ken Unger, Ned Nossaman, Don Hardy, Don Rutledge, to name just a few, left or were kicked out.

This was followed by message after message that the ones who left were lepers and full of poison. Avoid them. Don’t talk with them.

After the concerned saints left, things took off where the local churches in practicality became Living Stream Ministry churches, and everything became centralized.The focus was on the work, expansion, trainings, full timers. On paper there was still the teaching of gathering on the ground on oneness for all believers, but in practice it becomes another sectarian centralized system, though filled with many seeking saints.

I left thirty years ago and have not thought much about the “Recovery” in many years, though I often pray for the saints whom I love. The recent activity and reading the reports of hundreds of young people who have left, some giving up the faith, has renewed a hope in me the Lord may be shaking things. Why? Because He is the Head. My prayer is the saints would come back to the simplicity and purity towards Christ, allow God to shake whatever can be shaken, bring the whole thing back to first love: Christ. You may say I am full of judgment, but the Lord knows my heart. Blessings.


It's important for people to step forward and speak truth to power. Earthly, temporal power often rules by fear. But all power ultimately belongs to God.

Jesus gave us a clear pattern: if someone stumbles you, go to them privately and the Lord can cover it. If they refuse you, bring a witness. If they refuse you both, tell it to the church. Witness Lee and his minions repeatedly refused to hear the private witnesses.
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Old 06-15-2019, 11:57 AM   #16
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...there are a few of us who are wondering the same thing, Raptor.......waiting to see the significance and scope of this thing.
Revelation 2:24,25 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’

The unaware are held to a different standard than those either responsible or silently complicit, but those still unaware are becoming fewer and fewer.
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Old 06-15-2019, 03:45 PM   #17
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

I was listening to a very precious testimony video on YouTube given by a couple, husband and wife, who told of their excommunication from the SDA church following their eye opening revelation that God afforded them through His word.....they came to understand that Jesus is the Son of God. As they wrapped their minds and hearts around this awesome fact ( this was news to them despite being raised in the 'church').....they became excited to share/look into/study this matter with their close friends in their church. That was the beginning of the end for these new believers in the SDA church.

The part that struck me, aside from Gods' awesome ability to reach seeking hearts, was their words about how they were counciled by their elders there. I wrote it down because I was shocked to hear something so familiar coming from another deceived group....they told them to lay down their consciences for church unity, church authority, and the body model-that is-submission to the body. They were forbidden to speak of or share anything they had discovered about who Christ really is....if they would comply, they could remain in the church.

Church unity
Church authority
Submission to the body

All tactics used on me. Funny part is, the Lord used a person I considered a friend, who was a SDA member, to open my eyes and heart to lying doctrine, and expose that cult before I faced my own situation in the LC. He set me up to search the scriptures for the truth, He gave me such a burden for this friend, which I carried until the day she firmly closed the door on any fellowship with me. That was the day the burden left me. I had complete peace about that. But the whole time, probably over about a year, He was teaching me, He was drawing me to His word, His fellowship and light was pouring out on me....and I wonder at that, now. I wonder if it was all to rescue me and the kids from our LC deception. It still blows my mind that Satan was using those LC doctrines to enslave me. I still feel shock that all the cultish ways I was recognizing in other groups were in heavy use in what I considered to be my church, where I thought they had the handle on the truth.

If only they were honest about who they believed WLee to be. I never heard any of that. They know to hide all that MOTA, apostle of the age, Oracle of God, acting God junk.....they know they are elevating Lee above Jesus. That is why they hide it. So Christian's won't flee their group.

And praise God in Christ Jesus!! He is our certitude! Below is a link to their testimony.

https://youtu.be/7CRbMiOWRgA

Last edited by byHismercy; 06-15-2019 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Added link
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:05 AM   #18
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I was shocked to hear something so familiar coming from another deceived group....they told them to lay down their consciences for church unity, church authority, and the body model-that is-submission to the body. They were forbidden to speak of or share anything they had discovered about who Christ really is....if they would comply, they could remain in the church.

Church unity
Church authority
Submission to the body

All tactics used on me.
Same tactics used on Luther, on Wesley. "Don't despise the Body and its Sacrements" became a veil for ignorance and a vehicle for corruption. The church member knows something is quite off, yet is forbidden to think about it or discuss it openly.

The FB post has something like 395 replies in less than a week, so obviously it touched a nerve. Even discounting the author's replies to others, there's been a lot of activity, some rather substantive. People have been waiting for this.

The other thing that's heartening to me is that the letter was penned by a woman. The disconnect of simultaneously lauding the spiritual voices and contributions of ME Barber, E Fischbacher, J Penn-Lewis, M McDonough, P Wang, D Yu et al whilst dismissing and silencing the voices of all contemporary female members could hardly be more glaring. But then again, it's one of those things 'we' don't discuss.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:15 AM   #19
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The FB post has something like 395 replies in less than a week, so obviously it touched a nerve. Even discounting the author's replies to others, there's been a lot of activity, some rather substantive. People have been waiting for this.
Not being familiar with all the dynamics of facebook, could this be the first LC testimony posted there?
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:03 AM   #20
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Not being familiar with all the dynamics of facebook, could this be the first LC testimony posted there?
There was a lengthy post on FB in 2014 about the DYL sect by a disaffected former member, who had quit a promising military career to serve full-time, and rose until the stench of corruption (nepotism & money-laundering) drove him out.

If you do a search under 'donguismo' you'll find the thread on this forum. I think the last post was in 2017. For LSM, DYL's 'crime' was to take a page out of their playbook and declare himself as having the ministry of the age.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:46 AM   #21
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This letter is a breakthrough, not just personally for Joanna and Greg, but in the fight against the LIE that is the "Lord's Recovery."

Joanna obviously loves the Lord with all her heart. She is also very intelligent and a gifted writer. Her letter is well-thought-out, well-written, clear, and convincing. It is not emotional or histrionic. It sincerely and effectively exposes a deeply twisted and evil system.

The insidiousness of the LR has always been based in that it combines good and even breakthrough teachings with very dark means of control. The good stuff convinces followers to turn over control, the dark stuff consolidates and enforces that control relentlessly and mercilessly.

Joanna's letter reminds me of how powerful the deception is, and how subtlety and effectively Satan can twist the minds of well-meaning people he fools into leaving the word of God for someone's "interpreted word."

Keep in mind that we, God's people, are in a SPIRITUAL BATTLE. The evil, controlling aspects of the LR, those things that make it an aberrant, abusive and damaging spiritual group are not, ultimately, intended to glorify Witness Lee, enrich the leadership, spread the "Recovery" or fulfill God's purpose, or any other reasons the deceived and controlled leadership puts forth.

They are intended to imprison strong seekers of the Lord and keep them from God's very best for them.

SATAN ENSNARES LAZY CHRISTIANS IN THE WORLD.
HE ENSNARES SEEKING CHRISTIANS IN CONTROLLING GROUPS.

Satan knows that strong seekers, when they truly discover God's plan for them, will be his ultimate demise. He know he must stop them, and that the world cannot entice them. So he created controlling groups to ensnare them.

The controlling LR system has been engineered by Satan, our real enemy--the one we are called to resist, in life, ministry and especially in PRAYER.


Make no mistake. This is a SPIRITUAL BATTLE. It will not be won just by talking. We must pray. Each one of us, if we care about this issue, must fight the spiritual battle in prayer.

The leaders and sycophants of the LR are deceived, but they are not our enemies. Our real enemies are the evil, invisible spiritual forces behind the deception, and the indispensable way to defeat them is PRAYER. A lot of other things can help: Argument, testimony, encouragement, support, even my silly little MOTA comic. But without prayer everything else will not be enough. Satan never goes down without a fight, and the fight is engaged in prayer.

May we all commit ourselves to pray more about this issue.

Blessings to Joanna and her family, and to all others who refuse to be imprisoned by the enemy's wiles.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:12 AM   #22
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The controlling LR system has been engineered by Satan, our real enemy--the one we are called to resist, in life, ministry and especially in PRAYER.

Make no mistake. This is a SPIRITUAL BATTLE. It will not be won just by talking. We must pray. Each one of us, if we care about this issue, must fight the spiritual battle in prayer.

The leaders and sycophants of the LR are deceived, but they are not our enemies. Our real enemies are the evil, invisible spiritual forces behind the deception, and the indispensable way to defeat them is PRAYER. A lot of other things can help: Argument, testimony, encouragement, support, even my silly little MOTA comic. But without prayer everything else will not be enough. Satan never goes down without a fight, and the fight is engaged in prayer.

May we all commit ourselves to pray more about this issue.
This was just posted on the FB page:

Quote:
Dear ones, I had a deep realization this morning how we need to pray for what the Lord is doing in this days (now that He is answering the prayer of 1,000's of former members praying for the rest of us for decades) How much more freeing does the Lord want to do NOW?! Let us be faithful to intercede for the many more needing deliverance. And just one more thing: 'TIS MERCY ALL- IMMENSE AND FREE THAT GOD DELIVERED ME FROM HIS "RECOVERY". I love HIM and I love you all.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:00 PM   #23
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This was just posted on the FB page:


Dear ones, I had a deep realization this morning how we need to pray for what the Lord is doing in this days (now that He is answering the prayer of 1,000's of former members praying for the rest of us for decades) How much more freeing does the Lord want to do NOW?! Let us be faithful to intercede for the many more needing deliverance. And just one more thing: 'TIS MERCY ALL- IMMENSE AND FREE THAT GOD DELIVERED ME FROM HIS "RECOVERY". I love HIM and I love you all.
I will offer a prayer here:
Dear Father,

You love all your children and have a wonderful plan for them. Because Satan, your and our invisible enemy, is so desperate, he will devise any kind of trap, using any means necessary, to stop it. He will even distort your truth to ensnare your people in a system which falsely claims to be your "best."

Father, I pray against this. I pray you fully expose the devil's deception employed in the system called "the Lord's Recovery." I pray that you protect, free and heal your precious children who have been trapped and held by its systematized error of half-truths, complete lies, false threats and fear-mongering.

Father, you never condemn, but you often correct. Condemnation is vague and full of hopelessness. Correction is specific and full of hope. Condemnation is of the devil. The despair Joanna has faced was 100% not of you, but 100% of the devil. It was not caused by her resisting the truth, but by Satan's terror that she would discover the truth. So Father, I pray in your Son's name that you would send a squadron of angels to protect her and her family. I pray she would have the courage and resolve of a lion to stand against the deceiver. May she overflow with grace, love, faith and hope. Lead her into solid, healthy fellowship. Protect her from temptation. Keep her and her family safe. Do this for all those who are leaving that movement.

I pray, Father, for all the LR people to be set free. I pray that the leadership would fall on their faces in correction, repentance and sorrow. The dam is now leaking. The cracks in it are spreading. May it soon collapse, and may the system of lies and imprisonment it holds up drain into hell where it belongs.

Father, protect your children whom you love. In your Son Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:51 PM   #24
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

The same person I quoted earlier from FB just wrote:

"I believe with all my heart that this is the time. If after 47.5 years the Lord can deliver me, it may be a sign that there are many, many more to follow. Lord we ask you for this!"

Many are being delivered from bondage and oppression. Our times are in His hands. Praise the Lord.
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Old 06-17-2019, 04:29 PM   #25
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We would hear that in the Lord's recovery, there was a "storm" every 10 years or so. The last one was the GLA and Brazil quaratine crisis. That was in 2006, more than 10 years ago. So I was wondering when the next storm would be, as more than 10 years have passed. This message from the sister leaving the recovery after 38 years may be it. Besides this forum, I have never seen, in one venue, so many responses from those who have left. Others are on the verge.
As others have said, prayer is needed to sort out everything and defeat Satan.
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Old 06-17-2019, 04:35 PM   #26
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I needed to clarify that the open letter message is not a storm in itself, but it imay be a factor for a storm to start and grow.
Please, anyone that can express some thing along this line better than me.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:00 PM   #27
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I needed to clarify that the open letter message is not a storm in itself, but it imay be a factor for a storm to start and grow.
Please, anyone that can express some thing along this line better than me.
I'll try.

If this letter from the Casteel's causes devoted LC members around the country to ask questions, and demand answers, from their leadership, concerning abuses of all sorts, including sexual abuse, covered up for decades -- then we may have another "storm."

Note that every past 10-year "storm" has begun this way. None of them were ever really "persecution" carried out by "ambitious rebels." That never happened folks. Read both sides of the story. Of course, LC leadership, even Nee and Lee, would always spin the narrative to their advantage in order to deceive their followers. But mark my word, every so-called "storm" in the history of the Recovery came about because the members of the LC's demanded accountability from their leaders.

This is absolutely what the Blended brothers fear most.

This forum is filled with the stories of ex-members who demanded leadership accountability. Entire books have been written. Each and every time LC leadership has decided to amputate whole sections of the body of Christ -- conveniently called "quarantines," as if it was these members who were sick -- in order to protect their own hides, reputations, and finances.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:44 PM   #28
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This letter is a breakthrough, not just personally for Joanna and Greg, but in the fight against the LIE that is the "Lord's Recovery."

Joanna obviously loves the Lord with all her heart. She is also very intelligent and a gifted writer. Her letter is well-thought-out, well-written, clear, and convincing. It is not emotional or histrionic. It sincerely and effectively exposes a deeply twisted and evil system.

The insidiousness of the LR has always been based in that it combines good and even breakthrough teachings with very dark means of control. The good stuff convinces followers to turn over control, the dark stuff consolidates and enforces that control relentlessly and mercilessly.

Joanna's letter reminds me of how powerful the deception is, and how subtlety and effectively Satan can twist the minds of well-meaning people he fools into leaving the word of God for someone's "interpreted word."

Keep in mind that we, God's people, are in a SPIRITUAL BATTLE. The evil, controlling aspects of the LR, those things that make it an aberrant, abusive and damaging spiritual group are not, ultimately, intended to glorify Witness Lee, enrich the leadership, spread the "Recovery" or fulfill God's purpose, or any other reasons the deceived and controlled leadership puts forth.

They are intended to imprison strong seekers of the Lord and keep them from God's very best for them.

SATAN ENSNARES LAZY CHRISTIANS IN THE WORLD.
HE ENSNARES SEEKING CHRISTIANS IN CONTROLLING GROUPS.

Satan knows that strong seekers, when they truly discover God's plan for them, will be his ultimate demise. He know he must stop them, and that the world cannot entice them. So he created controlling groups to ensnare them.

The controlling LR system has been engineered by Satan, our real enemy--the one we are called to resist, in life, ministry and especially in PRAYER.


Make no mistake. This is a SPIRITUAL BATTLE. It will not be won just by talking. We must pray. Each one of us, if we care about this issue, must fight the spiritual battle in prayer.

The leaders and sycophants of the LR are deceived, but they are not our enemies. Our real enemies are the evil, invisible spiritual forces behind the deception, and the indispensable way to defeat them is PRAYER. A lot of other things can help: Argument, testimony, encouragement, support, even my silly little MOTA comic. But without prayer everything else will not be enough. Satan never goes down without a fight, and the fight is engaged in prayer.

May we all commit ourselves to pray more about this issue.

Blessings to Joanna and her family, and to all others who refuse to be imprisoned by the enemy's wiles.
Wow brother. I am in complete agreement with this. Today I battled inwardly with memories of rejection and feelings of not matching up, mostly coming from interactions with the ones in the LC. Finally the Lord just showed me the enemy in the discouragement within. He wants to crush me entire, and the reason is because I met the true God, Jesus Christ. I received Him that day and now He lives in me. This fact makes me a mighty force in the Lords' army. Satan would love it if I would believe the message I got from the LC. Satan would love for me to be in defeat.....not sharing the truth. Jesus Christ is Lord. He died for to reconcile any who would believe in His death to be purchased by His blood sacrifice, and reconcile us to the Father. Any one out there who doesn't have enough faith in this fact, don't let even that stop you from coming to Jesus. He came to me when the best I had to offer Him was desperation and hope, hope that He could save me. Now He is my faith. He is my love, and He is my obedience. He is my only way to come before the Father. He is the Fathers' pleasure and now Jesus makes me the Fathers' pleasure. Let the control tactics and the exalted ministry be put to shame. Let Jesus the Christ be exalted forever. And yes, let us pray for His light to shine through the enemies deception, in the LC and everywhere.
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:37 AM   #29
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...every so-called "storm" in the history of the Recovery came about because the members of the LC's demanded accountability from their leaders..
When I read the letter from Jo Casteel, I saw a person trying to reclaim their life and thoughts after 38 years of total domination by another.

In the LC, to attempt to think is termed rebellion against God. If you notice something isn't right you have guilty feelings because you must be "off" and your soul is "dark". This makes people borderline psychotic because clearly things are not perfect but they are supposed to pretend they are. If they point out problems they are called "negative" and "leprous" and so forth. The only recourse is a kind of split personality where the "real you" is kept safely locked in a box and the "fake you" is on display for all to see. If you try to bring out the "real you" the negative sanctions are overwhelming.

Earlier I went on the LSM FB page, and they'd put the banners from the recent Chinese conference. One banner was about "Body-revelation" leading to "Body-consciousness" in which "individualistic thought is ruled out". So the Deputy God (DG) can have individualistic thought and start a motor home company with church members' money. Then when the money is gone, DG can say, "None of your business" if the investors want to know what happened. DG can put his admittedly unspiritual son as Office Manager, then when the son repeatedly molests the office help, the DG railroads all those who notice and speak up.

In all this I see individualistic (i.e. selfish) thought from the DG. Yet no one else is supposed to? And if we notice this we're guilty of thought-crime?
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Old 06-18-2019, 05:53 AM   #30
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I needed to clarify that the open letter message is not a storm in itself, but it imay be a factor for a storm to start and grow.
Please, anyone that can express some thing along this line better than me.
Weighingin,

I understand your use of the word "storm" here, but I have another perspective. I think the "storm" began when Witness Lee and/or Watchman Nee began to lie, deceive and misrepresent the truth of God's Word. We are reacting to the storm and we've had enough.

The accusation of causing a "storm" has been used against those of us who are speaking truth to power. Greg and Jo Casteel have spoken truth to power in the most powerful way I have ever seen...ever. The Casteels didn't start this storm, they have finally had ENOUGH (like we did)! The Casteels have pulled back the curtain on Witness Lee, et al, who have practiced lies, deceit and cover-up since Lee's ministry began...really beginning with Watchman Nee. This is the storm.

Worth noting is the spirit and tone of what Jo wrote: no bitterness. She gives account of her personal despair and depression. When she saw the truth, she was set free. She was not embittered by it. She thought it was her own fault. I thought the same thing. Then, the lights came on.

Ephesians 6:12-13 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.


The Casteels, and each of us, need to be armed with the whole armor of God that we can stand in the evil day. Part of the armor is to pray, as Igzy stated. Jo has given us the armor as truth in a clear, concise document that covers all the bases. We can see what happens on FB, but I don't see anyone saying the Casteels are misrepresenting the truth, misrepresenting the ministry of Witness Lee, misrepresenting what's going on in the LC's. Their only response seems to be personal attacks of the "sit down and shut up" type. It's likely this is the only case they can make because they all know something of the truth of the Casteel Open Letter.

I keep reading this Casteel Open Letter ever 2-3 days. Every time I read it, I find something I missed the first 3 times!

Thanks Jo and Greg---

Nell
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:30 AM   #31
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One of the keys to freedom from the LR is to realize that nobody in the movement has any real authority over you.

Yes, if you are in their meeting halls or trainings you need to submit to their rules. That's just common sense. But outside of that, in your personal human or spiritual life, they have no authority. The movement has no authority.

This is true of any spiritual leaders.

This is probably the freedom moment that Joanna experienced, when it suddenly dawned on her that God alone is her Master and he has no deputies.

The LR is all bluster. People are held there by fear. Every one of them is. If anyone tells you they would never leave the LR but they are not held there by fear, you are talking to a liar.

I read something recently that jumped out at me. It said:

FEAR IS A PRAYER TO THE DEVIL


That's pretty shocking. But I believe it is true. To live in fear is to sell your soul to the devil. Don't misunderstand me. Healthy fear and respect for God is scriptural. But fear of a religious system and its advocates is completely bogus. Fear of facing judgement and outer darkness because you deviated from "the ministry" is straight from the pit.

I can prove it. In order to respond to the claims of anyone who says they have the truth, a person by definition must engage his conscience and inner being. This implies that the conscience and inner being are the final arbitrators of everything.

For someone to tell you "believe me and ignore your conscience" is absurd because they are appealing to your conscience to do so. So the conscience must be respected. The only thing that remains then is reasoned, fair discussion. If you believe you have the truth, then make the reasoned case in the arena of public ideas. Don't hide behind walls and threaten your followers and throw bombs over the wall and refuse to address public questions about how you do things. In short, don't deal in fear. Any group that does that, and the LR is one of them, is by definition a cult.

I saw a documentary on Scientology. It is one of the worst cults in the world. But one of the requirements of the group is that members always be "positive" about it. Ex-members recall grinning ear-to-ear and talking about how great things were when they were dying inside and felt like their heads would split open. (When you feel unsettled by the poster boy for Scientology, Tom Cruise, wearing his somewhat maniacal grin, that's what you are seeing.)

But the fact is the LR has many parallels to Scientology and other such groups, because they are all based on the same lie--that some leader is smarter than you and has been put in authority over you and you need to devote your life to obeying him. Whether it's David Miscavige or Witness Lee or Titus Chu or whomever, it's all the same lie. Yes, on the one hand they want you to be "happy," because it's good for business. But they have no problem settling for fear.

God alone is our Master. We respect those he has raised up in the arena in which he has given them authority, which ends at the doorway of the organization they lead, which you can freely leave if your conscience dictates. If they have a problem with that then you know you were dealing with a spiritual abuser and that you made the right decision.

Get that straight and no one can ever control you.
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:15 AM   #32
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Hi, ...I just recently began to learn about all the hidden history of the LR. To you all that have been aware of this for a while, how do you evaluate the impact of this letter from the Casteel´s and all the Facebook responses so far? I know there are many other documents from others and letters, etc., but how do I put this letter and responses into perspective?

In other words, does this open FB post with so many saints supporting and confirming with their own experiences seem like something really big is happening and gaining momentum, like the cat is really out of the bag now, or maybe just not yet?

Thanks!
(me? just a brother in the church for years and years looking to the Lord to understand.....)
Welcome to the forum, Raptor!

I too was active for decades in the LC's. The Midwest quarantines forced me to examine both Brethren history and our own history. The "glorious Recovery" got exposed for what it wasn't. I got to see the "man behind the curtain."

A while back I was surprised to see how many of our 2nd generation had become "social justice warriors." Facebook comments only confirmed that this is more widespread than than I thought. Kind of makes sense. I decided that I needed to understand our current culture war in order to even talk to some of these young people. I do keep social media on a short leash, knowing how contentious it can be.

I suspect that FB has long had regular conversations between ex-members. Joanna Casteel, however, has put into writing the intense inner turmoil which the most devoted members face. In my view most LC leaders just live with the cognitive dissonance and blatant hypocrisies of that system, whereas she was far too genuine and sincere to accept that course of action. Usually guys can "compartmentalize" thoughts better than the ladies, and in this case it's not a good thing.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:45 AM   #33
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

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In other words, does this open FB post with so many saints supporting and confirming with their own experiences seem like something really big is happening and gaining momentum, like the cat is really out of the bag now, or maybe just not yet?
No one can know for sure. But when these kinds of things break, they can move very quickly. Remember the Soviet Union? They kept up the charade and damage control as long as possible. But eventually a critical mass of citizens realized that the Party was wearing no clothes, and it all fell apart.

The wounded Titanic sat slanted in the water for hours, seemingly stabilized, until it suddenly went vertical and plunged to the ocean floor

I believe that's the way it will happen in the LR. Many will finally just get sick of the Blendeds and their clueless BS, realize they aren't wearing any clothes, and stop fearing them. The Internet will play a big role. Members that people know and respect will speak out and make a move. More will be emboldened. The critical mass will be reached.

The human spirit will win out. We were made to yearn for freedom and to chafe under oppression. Eventually enough is enough and the worm turns. That's the Minsky Moment.
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Old 06-18-2019, 12:40 PM   #34
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

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In April of this year I read through the “Ministry of the Word” magazine (“The Ministry of the Word,” “The Overcomers,” Volume 16, Number 12, December 2012) on the overcomers in Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia. Regarding the Roman Catholic Church I read on page 14,

“They may not come out of her into the Lord’s recovery. The Lord may not intend for them to come out…”

I about fell out of my chair the moment I read that. We have always been told that the Lord’s recovery is not a movement and that any believer anywhere could be in the Lord’s recovery. The sentence of not coming into the Lord’s recovery made it very clear that it actually was a movement that you could “come out of” and “into.” If recovery was something that the Lord was doing inwardly amongst all Christians, it wasn’t something you could “come out of” and “into.” Making the Lord’s recovery a movement was repeated on page 29,

“we are not narrow, saying that the overcomers are only in the Lord’s recovery.”

So, the Lord has overcomers amongst all Christians, but somehow their inner being is not being recovered? How could they be an overcomer then?



I've been considering this for a few days now and thought to say something about it. I read that portion of the ministry magazine you referred to, and I re-read the entire comment above. This is a bit delicate. The speaker who gave the message was R.K., Ron Kangas. He said the words “may not” two times. The term “may not” means (to me) that it could happen or it could not happen. I do see his side of the matter. The Lord may want those in RCC, and many, many others (outside the LC) to stay where he placed them. I most certainly believe he can do the work in them. How? It’s his working not yours or mine, or anyone else's. We can mess it up though. Regarding “overcomers”, I do not believe that the WL/LC is the only “church” or place where one could grow and develop to full overcoming maturity. The real freedom to truly enjoy Christ is too limited there. The real riches in life are found in Christ and his Word.

Considering your situation in the LC I understand where you’re coming from. I have been around the WL/LC since 1976. My wife and I raised 4 children there, from birth to college, all 4. My oldest is 42 now. Three of the four are “out” with two of them very damaged by, I would say, “local control”. My children became good, excellent people, but the two will not consider even a visit back. Not happening. I learned a lot from all of them! I saw different sides of certain ones (mostly leaders), that which abhors (angers really) me, because of their being so legal and religious, among other things. I looked back at myself, my history, and cannot believe nor understand how religious I too became, mostly from 1980-2006! or so. I want out of her, as the Lord calls, too!! I will perhaps share more later - I just don’t feel to do so right now.

To Greg and Jo (and all), genuine Grace to you in your journey ahead. The Lord is with you even if you think he's not. He did not bring us this far for nothing.
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:35 PM   #35
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Default Another letter

Another letter posted on FB yesterday, with a link to the Casteel Open Letter.

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HELLO

This post may not make sense or matter to about 90% of my fb friends but if you are curious read on.

REGARDING THE CHURCH LIFE

I just want to take a second to say that I’ve had many wonderful moments with the lovely people I’ve met in the last almost 5 years of my life. Meeting with “the saints” brought many good experiences.

Many times I was in awe of the fellowship, and just the personalities, of fellow believers that I met who were so awesome to me. However, I often did feel like I wasn’t good enough, spiritual enough, mature enough, and overall I just wasn’t happy. I conformed to the way of thinking, dressing, talking , and being, and none of it was me, and I always felt like a fake. I don’t know, even with me feeling that way I brushed it off and kept going, kept meeting, because I believed it was the way. It felt right even when it felt wrong/off.

I’ve always been really good at taking orders, and I’m easily guilted into things, like going to meetings, or conferences/trainings when I really couldn’t afford to go. At this time in my life though I want to learn to be independent, make choices for myself, to learn to trust my own judgement and conscience, and to pursue a way of living that will sustain me. With all of this being said I don’t think I can comfortably attend anymore home meetings.

I still love all the brothers and sisters that I’ve met as they’ve played a huge part in my life as a young adult, I just can’t support the ministry/organization.

Thank you Jo Casteel , for writing this wonderful letter, and for sharing so much more information in the comments on your original post. I am so thankful. I really didn’t know what to do with all of this, but as I’ve been following along in the comments in your post, the more I read the more I can’t ignore it all. It really is not an easy decision. So, thank you for going before me and making it a little easier. I love you so so much!

Below is a very well written letter with valuable information regarding “The Local Churches”, living stream ministry, and “the Lord’s Recovery,” and how it is a cult, and though seemingly so wonderful and delightful, is in fact filled with corruption, and death to individuality and the cares for anything outside of “the Lord’s move on the earth.”

Much love to anyone who reads this letter, especially anyone currently meeting!
There's some mind-boggling stuff on that FB page. Young people (yes, I'm 'old') saying what it's like. Look at their world through their eyes for a minute.

502 comments in 9 days, plus a lot of links. People were waiting for this letter.
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:00 PM   #36
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Smile Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

Thank you, Ohio and Nell for your response to my "storms" statement. I believed the LSm side that the storms were caused by dissenting, ambitious, offended,
rebellious, etc. ones. In recent years, I have seen that there were other factors involved, to say the least. It finally struck me that they were never wrong, if they even considered what these brothers brought up, they never admitted it.
I had thought that the 2006 actions were right. But only within the past couple of years, did I actually see how wrong those actions were, mainly by the results:
division, hurts, confusion etc. Ohio writing about these factors with the quarantine, caused to start thinking critically about it.
Anyways, I just found it interesting that these had occurred in 10-year spans and there hadn't been one since 2006.
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:05 PM   #37
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

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I want out of her, as the Lord calls, too!! I will perhaps share more later - I just don’t feel to do so right now.
tentmaker,

Blessings to you and your family! For us "older ones" life begins today. I pray the Lord encourages and guides you. He still has great plans for you. The adventure is not over and has not even peaked. Keeping praying and believing. Our Father will comfort and keep you. More than you ask or think is ahead!
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:42 PM   #38
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I've been considering this for a few days now and thought to say something about it. I read that portion of the ministry magazine you referred to, and I re-read the entire comment above. This is a bit delicate. The speaker who gave the message was R.K., Ron Kangas. He said the words “may not” two times. The term “may not” means (to me) that it could happen or it could not happen. I do see his side of the matter. The Lord may want those in RCC, and many, many others (outside the LC) to stay where he placed them. I most certainly believe he can do the work in them. How? It’s his working not yours or mine, or anyone else's. We can mess it up though. Regarding “overcomers”, I do not believe that the WL/LC is the only “church” or place where one could grow and develop to full overcoming maturity. The real freedom to truly enjoy Christ is too limited there. The real riches in life are found in Christ and his Word.


Hi tentmaker,

I understand what Jo Casteel's point meant, and I understand what yours means too. I think you both are making separate points about the same sentence.

Your point seems to be about that it could happen or could not happen (in the sense of permissiveness). In other words, Ron's use of the words "may not" might be read as "are not allowed to"....i.e. "They are not allowed to come out of her into the Lord's recovery." But your point seems to be that "may not" in this case isn't a matter of being allowed, but is a matter of possibility, as allowed according to the Lord's intention. He wants those where he places them.

I think Jo's point is that the fact that coming in and out is even possible showed her that "the recovery" is not the recovery work the Lord is doing all over the earth, from which no one can come in or out of, but is actually a "movement" from and into which people can come in and out. The very fact that anyone can come into or out of the recovery means it is not the overall work that the Lord is doing over the earth, but a movement.

Not sure if that helps or makes it worse!

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Old 06-18-2019, 03:57 PM   #39
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

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Earlier I went on the LSM FB page, and they'd put the banners from the recent Chinese conference. One banner was about "Body-revelation" leading to "Body-consciousness" in which "individualistic thought is ruled out".
This is so pathetically manipulative.

We are commanded to love our neighbor and forgive them. The more we love and forgive others, the more God loves us and forgives us. Remember the Lord's prayer, "and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

No where in the Bible are we required to live before man, obsessing over what the other members of the body might possibly be thinking about us. What ever happened to "walking by the Spirit?"

It's no wonder that those in the LC can proudly proclaim they have no rules, no dress codes, yet they all dress the same and get the same haircut. And God forbid that some sister gets it cut too short! They live their lives in fear of being marked out as being "independent, non-Body-consciousness, and individualistic."

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the saints, and love the Lord, or he will cleave to the saints, and despise the Lord. You cannot serve God and man." -- Ohio's practical up-to-date LC paraphrased version.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:36 AM   #40
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Default A FB post

A post by one who was in leadership in the LC, from '72 to '89.

"I would follow up with brother Lee was not a deceiver. God used him. He loved the Lord. In the early days we would leave his Wed night sharing full of joy, desiring more of Jesus. But eventually things changed and many of us would leave his sharing feeling condemned, especially during the perfecting training years. W Lee really did believe God only used one man at a time. He believed the mantle was passed to him after W Nee passed. Also Lee felt he had neglected his children growing up so tried his best to care for them later. This was his downfall for it was used by the enemy to bring in corruption when immoral sin was discovered and not dealt with.

Bro Lee also believed he was the deputy authority, commander in chief, and God’s unique oracle for the present time. His contempt for contemporaries was always apparent. He often put down other leading brothers who had their own ministry that the saints enjoyed. What can we conclude? Bro Lee was a man used by God who seems to have gone too far in his estimation of himself and allowed an empire to be built up around his ministry. Church history is full of such gifted men who went too far. May we learn the lesson to never build up our own empire, stay humble, stay faithful to the Word, keep the Lord first and never allow another to replace Him in our devotion. These are days to be encouraged. The Lord is more real than ever. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom."
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:19 AM   #41
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But WL made a career of warning us of all of these specific dangers in other ministers.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:47 AM   #42
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Bro Lee also believed he was the deputy authority, commander in chief, and God’s unique oracle for the present time.
This is the bottom line. One either believes this about Lee or one doesn't. It is not something that can be proved by any logical means. Believing it is an act of faith. Of course, one's understanding of spiritual things should be informed by the Bible and sound reason. But two people who believe they know the Bible and are reasonable can still disagree on things.

This is why Jesus said, by their fruit you will know them. Examine the fruit of say Billy Graham and compare to Lee's fruit.

Besides some people believing Graham hobnobbed a little too much with the political leaders, Graham's slate is clean. Untold millions touched by the gospel through him. A genuinely holy life so impressive that he was honored by being only the fourth private citizen to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Graham was not a man-pleaser, but he gained the respect of even unbelievers.

Lee clearly had a lot of potential. He had a unique way of producing precise, clear, life-giving teaching. But his megalomaniac and self-serving side produced so many abuses and scandals, and a legacy so mixed and confusing, that people don't know what to do with him, so he has been filed away as a strange quirk of history by most.

My point is that I do not believe that God would expect his people to consider such a flawed person, or any other person for that matter, as some kind of Minister of the Age. It just doesn't make any sense. It's always possible that someone God used greatly can go bad. So, how does one decide when that has happened in the MOTA world? For the LR they have no answer, or their answer is the current leaders will tell you.

Really? That's it? We're supposed to follow this movement blindly because Lee decided he was MOTA and some other people believe it, too? And because of that alone we are supposed to consider any alternative service we give to God as second-rate, tainted and probably worthless?

Does anyone really think that's how God operates? But that is the crazy LR mentality.

Reason doesn't work with these people because the basis of their beliefs is not reasonable. It's a primitive, visceral, ultimately fear-based thing.
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:22 AM   #43
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My point is that I do not believe that God would expect his people to consider such a flawed person, or any other person for that matter, as some kind of Minister of the Age. It just doesn't make any sense. It's always possible that someone God used greatly can go bad. So, how does one decide when that has happened? For the LR they have no answer, or their answer is the current leaders will tell you.

Really? That's it? We're supposed to follow this movement blindly because Lee decided he was MOTA and some other people believe it, too? And because of that alone we are supposed to consider any alternative service we give to God as second-rate, tainted and probably worthless?

Does anyone really think that's how God operates? But that is the crazy LR mentality.

Reason doesn't work with these people because the basis of their beliefs is not reasonable, it's a visceral ultimately fear-based thing.
You would think that LC'ers (like myself) would have learned something from Papal history. Obviously the original leaders in the church in Rome, perhaps starting with Peter, were serious men of God. They loved God, His word, His people, and many suffered for this. Today they have a papal lineage spanning 2 millennium. They were not all bad, especially in the beginning.

Yet Catholic Popes, Brethren Oracles, and Recovery MOTA's had at least two defining characteristics in common. Firstly, they and their minions thought more highly of themselves than the Bible ever permitted. Secondly, they used a distorted oneness of the body of Christ to squelch all opinion to the contrary.

As the Casteel's experience has reminded us, how far will we go to maintain this distorted oneness? Every reformer in history faced this. Every LC'er faces this. How far does blind loyalty take us? How long do we reject the troubling of our conscience? How long do we remain silent in the face of hypocrisy? Obviously Lee's distorted views of oneness were a prison to enslave the minds of the saints.

Jo Casteel's story, along with hundreds of others, shows us that it is the word of God and His Spirit in our conscience which alone safeguard the child of God. The Casteel's will probably lose their church social life, much like the Jewish believers during Jesus' time were cast out of the Synagogue, but is that not the cost of freedom? As one poster keeps telling us, "Freedom is free. It's slavery that's so horribly expensive."
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:38 AM   #44
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Jo Casteel's story, along with hundreds of others, shows us that it is the word of God and His Spirit in our conscience which alone safeguard the child of God. The Casteel's will probably lose their church social life, much like the Jewish believers during Jesus' time were cast out of the Synagogue, but is that not the cost of freedom? .
Yes, all those pressures come to bear on you. Mental, emotional, social, identity, false condemnation. And the only thing that fights against them is that deep sense inside that the whole thing is not required by God. Yet the voices still attack. Satan above all does not care for reason, he only cares to deceive.

Eventually I had to pray, "Lord, I don't care about the LR! I think it's a bunch of crap! If it's the best you've got you can have it! If you want me there you'd better grab me by the scruff of my neck and drag me there, because I'm not going on my own!"

The Lord gently smiled and said, "Now you're beginning to understand."
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:42 AM   #45
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

This FB post was touching:
Quote:
For those of who’ve know me over the past decade, it will probably come to a shock to you that someone as outspoken as me has hidden one of the biggest parts of my life. I was raised in this group. Everything that this brave woman has written, was something that I too discovered, experienced and was bothered by. Her story is my story.

However I have never been able to write about it. And only have only been able to talk about it in a joking way after a few drinks.
This won’t concern most of you. But those of you who know me from before I left, I beg you to read this in its entirety. If you want to understand me, this is how you do it.
I am not backslidden.
I was not poisoned.
I was not too lazy to pay the price.
I did not, not see the vision of the recovery.
I was just not willing to settle.
And although many of these phobias common to people raised in groups like these, still follow me around. I am free and have been for ten years this summer.
Posting this is the bravest thing I’ve ever done.

She posted Jo's letter on her FB page and asked all to read it thru.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:43 PM   #46
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

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This FB post was touching:

She posted Jo's letter on her FB page and asked all to read it thru.
Father, use Facebook to spread your truth, and comfort and protect these precious people who are finally telling their stories.

May more speak out!

Oh, happy day!
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Old 06-20-2019, 10:14 AM   #47
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Bro Lee also believed he was the deputy authority, commander in chief, and God’s unique oracle for the present time.
It is no accident that the very first book published by the BBs after Witness Lee's death was about "spiritual authority" - emphasizing "The Deputy Authority" and "The Wise Master Builder."

This was to set the frame and the emphasis going forward. It was a precursor to the "One Publication" and a culture of the elimination of the individual in whom they somehow still claim the Spirit resides.

To me, this remains the most insidious and invidious aspects of the movement. Once you steal away one's individual responsibility to God, they become open to all manner of manipulation. All other abuses (financial, physical, psychological, familial) derive from this. It is the soil they set.

Jo's letter and many others who leave are simply individuals re-establishing a right relationship with God and/or themselves as autonomous human beings.
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Old 06-20-2019, 10:27 AM   #48
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Jo's letter and many others who leave are simply individuals re-establishing a right relationship with God and/or themselves as autonomous human beings.
Amen! What he said.
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:56 AM   #49
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

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.
I believed the LSm side that the storms were caused by dissenting, ambitious, offended,
rebellious, etc. ones.
That has been an endless narrative. The go-to explanation why so and so left the local churches.
If we operate on facts, where are the facts to support the LSM narrative?
Never have been any.
Rather I suggest the LSM narrative is projection how they feel.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:32 PM   #50
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If we operate on facts, where are the facts to support the LSM narrative?

Never have been any. Rather I suggest the LSM narrative is projection how they feel.
Right - the LSM narrative "This is so" actually means, "I wish this were so". Or, "If this were so, that would feel good. But if it wasn't so, that wouldn't feel good." Voila! Pseudo-reality. Something is summarily declared to be so. There's no independent or objective corroboration given. Just a statement that something is so. The oracle has spoken. End of discussion.

From The Spokesman-Review Dec 17 1978
Quote:
Although Grueller [sic] denies the Local Church is making a concerted effort to discredit Rapoport, ex-members say Rapoport is being represented as a Judas and one who tried to achieve more authority.

Rapoport said his disenchantment with the movement began about 18 months ago when Lee refused to act on his demand that Lee's son, Philip, be removed as head of the Living Stream Ministry after a church member accused Philip of an immoral act.

Attempts to reach Philip Lee for comment were unsuccessful. Witness Lee said his son does not like to answer such charges.
Witness Lee refused to act on Max Rapoport's demand. Why? Because he didn't want to, that's why. He's Witness Lee, the voice of God. That's the sum total of reality in the LC: if the oracle wants to do something he does, and if he doesn't want to, then he refuses. And by extension, "Philip Lee doesn't like to answer such charges" - I mean, who would? Certainly Philip didn't want to face the music. But that's apparently sufficient in the LC -- the oracle's son doesn't want to answer such charges. End of conversation. Kind of like Dad was with Sal Benoît.

"So subjective is my Christ in me..." Yes indeed, so subjective.... Christ is whatever you want Christ to be - how very convenient. And ten years later, someone else found the oracle's son in the same office doing the same "immoral act". Surprised?
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:16 PM   #51
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Default Regarding Plagiarism

1. I recall reading the Publisher's Preface to the Second Edition of the Spiritual Man, supposedly the only book Watchman Nee ever wrote, where the publisher noted that much of the material was merely copied, unattributed, from others. But he said that was a Chinese custom to show appreciation. (I am going by memory here).

Here is the note from the CFP version of Spiritual Man. Watchman Nee's preface:

"I am not the first to advocate the teaching of the dividing of spirit and soul. Andrew Murray once said that what the church and individuals have to dread is the inordinate activity of the soul with its power of mind and will. F. B. Meyer declared that had he not known about the dividing of spirit and soul, he could not have imagined what his spiritual life would have been. Many others, such as Otto Stockmayer, Jessie Penn-Lewis, Evan Roberts, Madame Guyon, have given the same testimony. I have used their writings freely since we all have received the same commission from the Lord; therefore I have decided to forego notating their many references."

2. On this forum someone noted that much of Witness Lee's Life-study was apparently cribbed from a series of 19th-century Sunday School lessons.

Here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
I think perhaps Mr. Tomes missed Mr. Lee's actual source.

Compare:
http://books.google.com/books?id=Mtx...A145&lpg=PA145

Note the reference to "evergreen tree" which does not appear in the Vincent note.

I obviously haven't compared all these references and it doesn't alter the fact that there is an unattributed source or sources involved but this is, to my mind, even more eye-opening.

It looks to me like, at least for this example, the process began with review of Peloubet's Select Notes On The International Sunday School Lessons, a comparison with the Vincent material was done for thoroughness and clarity (that's where the word "destitute" came from, in addition to the St. John's bread point), and then a summarized and enhanced form of Peloubet's note became Lee's footnote on this topic...
and here:

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Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
Is anyone familiar with the matters referred to in these volumes?

http://books.google.com/books?id=aBUAAAAAYAAJ

http://books.google.com/books?id=96tJAAAAIAAJ
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:28 PM   #52
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It is no accident that the very first book published by the BBs after Witness Lee's death was about "spiritual authority" - emphasizing "The Deputy Authority" and "The Wise Master Builder."

Peter, do you know the title of this book? If I could search by year published (I assume around 1997 or 1998) I would go looking myself.

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Once you steal away one's individual responsibility to God, they become open to all manner of manipulation. All other abuses (financial, physical, psychological, familial) derive from this. It is the soil they set.
And then add to this the ever-pervasive "We're not in the realm of right and wrong" and you get very troubling results.
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:43 AM   #53
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We can see what happens on FB, but I don't see anyone saying the Casteels are misrepresenting the truth, misrepresenting the ministry of Witness Lee, misrepresenting what's going on in the LC's. Their only response seems to be personal attacks of the "sit down and shut up" type. It's likely this is the only case they can make because they all know something of the truth of the Casteel Open Letter.

I keep reading this Casteel Open Letter every 2-3 days. Every time I read it, I find something I missed the first 3 times!
One thing that I have felt was a useful perspective in the letter was the idea of informed consent. If someone is going to make a decision about their care, then they need to be informed of the various types of treatments and the costs, benefits, and risks of each.

Suppose a doctor had a financial connection to one type of medication, and therefore hid information about other options, or tried to minimize side effects and risks. Would that be ethical?

And yet look how much hiding goes on in the LC.

1. They hide their affiliation with LSM. "Oh, we are just lovers of Jesus".

2. They hide history. Many have passed decades in the LC, never having heard of the Daystar Motorhome Corporation or the huge negative effect it had on church morale.

3. Bias is sown liberally in all accounts. If anyone tries to critique the LSM that is an "attack" but if LSM points out flaws of others that's fine.
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Old 06-21-2019, 03:44 AM   #54
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From The Spokesman-Review Dec 17 1978

Witness Lee refused to act on Max Rapoport's demand. Why? Because he didn't want to, that's why. He's Witness Lee, the voice of God. That's the sum total of reality in the LC: if the oracle wants to do something he does, and if he doesn't want to, then he refuses. And by extension, "Philip Lee doesn't like to answer such charges" - I mean, who would? Certainly Philip didn't want to face the music. But that's apparently sufficient in the LC -- the oracle's son doesn't want to answer such charges. End of conversation. Kind of like Dad was with Sal Benoît.

"So subjective is my Christ in me..." Yes indeed, so subjective.... Christ is whatever you want Christ to be - how very convenient. And ten years later, someone else found the oracle's son in the same office doing the same "immoral act". Surprised?
Philip Lee's favorite saying: We don't care for right and wrong. We only care for life!

I'm sure WL had been dealing with his boys' SNAFU's their whole life. He was used to doing nothing about it. Standard procedure here. Just wait church, things will all get better, storm clouds will pass over, and everything will get back to normal.
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:01 AM   #55
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Peter, do you know the title of this book? If I could search by year published (I assume around 1997 or 1998) I would go looking myself.

And then add to this the ever-pervasive "We're not in the realm of right and wrong" and you get very troubling results.
In 1988, amidst a crisis in leadership, LSM released Nee's Authority and Submission.

In 1989, Andrew Yu delivered to us this "classic," titled "An Affirmation of the Proper Authority in the Body of Christ."

Neither book provides any instruction on the responsibility and accountability of leaders to their churches.
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:10 AM   #56
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And yet look how much hiding goes on in the LC.

1. They hide their affiliation with LSM. "Oh, we are just lovers of Jesus".

2. They hide history. Many have passed decades in the LC, never having heard of the Daystar Motorhome Corporation or the huge negative effect it had on church morale.

3. Bias is sown liberally in all accounts. If anyone tries to critique the LSM that is an "attack" but if LSM points out flaws of others that's fine.
Do you mean that the Daystar Motor Home Story Book never made it into LSM's peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Affirmation and Critique?
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Old 06-21-2019, 06:01 AM   #57
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Do you mean that the Daystar Motor Home Story Book never made it into their peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Affirmation and Critique?
King David's flaws made it into the official record book. So did Peter's, in the NT.

People make mistakes.

Why make a career pointing out problems with "poor" and "deformed" Christianity, when one's own are covered in silence?

Then using a biased, self-selective historical record, they'll push people to commit to the group, which (they say) is God's heart's desire. This decision is supposedly akin to consecrating oneself to God, becoming a disciple, an overcomer, joining the "army of God" and the "bride of Christ". Yet such a life-altering commitment gets made without information, which has been deliberately withheld. Does that seem ethical to you?

The now-committed members, who are "sold out" and "wrecked" for the cause, eventually sense that something is suboptimal (being dunned for yet more $$, being told that growth is flat, that churches are lukewarm etc), but because of the constant programming to "be one" they don't speak up for fear of being "negative". Critical examination and correction are forbidden. The un-remarked errors continue, occasionally snow-balling like with the Philip Lee situation(s).

We all have bias, self-interest, and "individualistic thought", to quote a recent LSM conference banner... but creating an organization that institutionalizes this selfishness, deliberately hiding historical information, covering it with double-speak, along with brow-beating young college students who are often teenagers, and who even are school-aged children into committment, whence their ability to choose rationally will be further compromised - sorry, "restricted" is the official word - is not ethical.

Jesus alone was holy, righteous, and pure. This kind of organization doesn't represent him, no matter how many times they point out others' failures, or hide behind words like "body" and "proper" and "reality". They'd be better to use words like "hive mind" which would more accurately describe what's happening here.

These are their unethical recruiting methods: start with Jesus, then once they're caught switch focus to the "body" which in turn becomes a publishing and book-selling venture, the "ministry", which itself fronts a fallible human being, the "Deputy God", and his lackeys. But don't reveal the m.o. or recruiting will fall off, along with book and poster sales. Because who'd knowingly enter such a process?

So Daystar Motorhome Corporation isn't part of the official narrative, sorry. It's all about loving Jesus!
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:02 PM   #58
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From The Spokesman-Review Dec 17 1978

Witness Lee refused to act on Max Rapoport's demand. Why? Because he didn't want to, that's why. He's Witness Lee, the voice of God. That's the sum total of reality in the LC: if the oracle wants to do something he does, and if he doesn't want to, then he refuses. And by extension, "Philip Lee doesn't like to answer such charges" - I mean, who would? Certainly Philip didn't want to face the music. But that's apparently sufficient in the LC -- the oracle's son doesn't want to answer such charges. End of conversation. Kind of like Dad was with Sal Benoît.

"So subjective is my Christ in me..." Yes indeed, so subjective.... Christ is whatever you want Christ to be - how very convenient. And ten years later, someone else found the oracle's son in the same office doing the same "immoral act". Surprised?
A side point at that time in Anaheim (I was there 1976-1979), it's not only the parents who remained open to Max that suffered, but THEIR CHILDREN TOO. Friendships were squashed among churchkids by the parents. Very sad.

Anyways, I emphasized a portion of Aron's post. This is the M.O. of elders, co-workers etc when confronted with questions, criticisms, etc. Whether it be Harvest House, Steve Isitt, or direct personal interactions. No response. This is what I have termed as bunker mentality. Brothers have no problems levying their opinions (founded or unfounded). Yet when others do the same which invariably questions the ministry, it's by default labeled as an attack when that's hardly the intention of the individual or individuals.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:57 PM   #59
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From a saint, “My first husband who I met in the church had schizophrenia but we never dated before getting married so I didn’t realize how mentally ill he was. It got so severe he went to the elders and was told “no psychiatrists, no meds. You just need to pray-read more.” He got worse and worse, became totally disabled, couldn’t work and lay for hours in a fetal position. After 20 years of marriage I told him I was done. Sadly he was shunned for years by lots of “saints” because he didn’t measure up.”

This right here is why I am speaking up about receiving mental health help. I have received message after message from saints both still in and those who have left who were afraid to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist due to things told to them in the church life. If LSM no longer endorses this view from Brother Lee they need to issue a public retraction of his statements that are used against the saints.

Here’s a direct quote from Brother Lee regarding not receiving mental health help. I also find this statement to be sexist:

“Most young women are sick either emotionally or mentally. No psychiatrist can help them. However, if you live the church life, the very Christ whom you offer to God will heal you. He is better than any psychiatrist. Do not go to a psychiatrist—come to Christ and offer Him to God. Then you will be healthy, sober, and emotionally balanced.” (Witness Lee, Life Study of Genesis, Volume 2, Message 32, Anaheim, CA, 1975, page 431).

One aspect of high control groups is programming their members to fear receiving mental health help:

http://bit.ly/ProgrammedtoFearMentalHealthHelp

Any other experiences both positive or negative regarding receiving mental health help in the church life? I realize many of you cannot comment due to needing to protect yourself and your families. I received permission to anonymously post this story about a saint with schizophrenia.


__________________________________________________ ______________

I came into the LC thinking all my problems were over -- I was in the church life, on the local ground, calling "Oooh Looord Jeeezuss!!" with all the saints. What could be finer?

Eventually my problems came back. I went to three elders, one by one. And one by one they blew me off. One by one they looked glum when I privately confessed my woes, and in a few sentences they each made it clear that they were not in the business of providing mental health counseling. That's probably one reason that they told us they wanted "good building material" - stable college students from stable homes. Good potential earners with no serious problems. Because the LC is not very interested in your problems. It exposes their inability to actually transform human lives.

To repeat my previous question: if you are "becoming God" shouldn't there be some tangible issue, today, more than with the Baptists and Presbyterians? Where are the Gerasene madmen, now clothed and whole to the astonishment of natives? Where is the sign of your "kingdom power"? I don't really see it in the LC. I see temporary soulish excitement of getting together and shouting repetitively. But people by and large are not getting fundamentally transformed. So "becoming God in life and nature" is an abstraction of the mind, to hold captive imaginations in thrall, while lives slowly fade away.
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Old 06-21-2019, 01:41 PM   #60
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Any other experiences both positive or negative regarding receiving mental health help in the church life? I realize many of you cannot comment due to needing to protect yourself and your families. I received permission to anonymously post this story about a saint with schizophrenia.
I think there is quite a diversity among the saints when it came to mental health issues. Perhaps it was regional, or just local.

The Psych hospital in town has the belief that all mental health problems are biological in nature. The first time I heard that, it sounded good, but what that really meant was they just needed to prescribe the right med for each illness. Once you started down this path, it was lifetime of meds, changing meds, and coping with the side effects. Insurance companies preferred this over actual counseling costs. Most of the saints I knew were very much pro-meds. Prosac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc. were the "saviors" of mankind. In extreme cases meds can help, but they should never be considered a panacea of sorts. At times they have been helpful to family members, and at times they seem to cause more problems.

Personally, I was a messed up kid who probably should have had both counseling and numerous meds. Perhaps that might have delivered me from my days of self-medication, perhaps not. One night before sleeping I had a life-changing visit by the Savior. Changed my mind, my heart, my attitude, my personality. Everything was changed for the better. I was a new creation. Today I still have issues at times like everyone else, and I've been beaten up over the years, but I keep coming back to the Physician and Healer of my soul. Praise Him!
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Old 06-21-2019, 01:59 PM   #61
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Personally, I was a messed up kid who probably should have had both counseling and numerous meds. Perhaps that might have delivered me from my days of self-medication, perhaps not. One night before sleeping I had a life-changing visit by the Savior. Changed my mind, my heart, my attitude, my personality. Everything was changed for the better. I was a new creation. Today I still have issues at times like everyone else, and I've been beaten up over the years, but I keep coming back to the Physician and Healer of my soul. Praise Him!
I was as messed up as any, and perhaps worse than some. I can't say that I wasted my time there, but eventually left in frustration (various reasons inc. lack of transformation). But years after leaving the LC, the Lord showed me something - as I do unto others, God will do to me. If I encourage and console, God will encourage and console me. If I facilitate God's healing, even tangentially, then it will facilitate mine own. It's all about how I treat the other guy (or gal). It's not about "me" but rather about "the other guy". Wow. I never got that in HS, not in the LC, not in college. That came straight from heaven.

In the LC it was all about "making it" - being an over comer and ruling and reigning with Christ in the coming Kingdom Age. But eventually I realised that the "reward" was in doing good to the other person right now, while it is still today. "Now is the hour of salvation." That was how to follow Christ - today. My problems to some extent remain, but when I help others today they get smaller.

And yes, I can seek help, too. And I have. But I'm no longer the black hole of need - everything in, nothing out. When I learned to give and to care I truly began to feel that God was healing me. "When you lose your soul you will find it."
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Old 06-21-2019, 03:29 PM   #62
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I was as sick as any, and sicker than some. But years after the LC, the Lord showed me something - as I do unto others, God will do to me. If I encourage and console, God will encourage and console me. It's all about how I treat the other guy (or gal).
Definitely agree.

LC leaders often have pathetic attitudes towards one another. It's kind of like watching the interactions between soldiers in a war flick back in the barracks -- constant put downs. Does all interaction have to be a burn session? Does all humor have to tear down instead of build up? Can't we bear one another's burdens?
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Old 06-21-2019, 03:36 PM   #63
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On the FB page:

From a saint, “My first husband who I met in the church had schizophrenia but we never dated before getting married so I didn’t realize how mentally ill he was. It got so severe he went to the elders and was told “no psychiatrists, no meds. You just need to pray-read more.” He got worse and worse, became totally disabled, couldn’t work and lay for hours in a fetal position. After 20 years of marriage I told him I was done. Sadly he was shunned for years by lots of “saints” because he didn’t measure up.”

This right here is why I am speaking up about receiving mental health help. I have received message after message from saints both still in and those who have left who were afraid to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist due to things told to them in the church life. If LSM no longer endorses this view from Brother Lee they need to issue a public retraction of his statements that are used against the saints.

Here’s a direct quote from Brother Lee regarding not receiving mental health help. I also find this statement to be sexist:

“Most young women are sick either emotionally or mentally. No psychiatrist can help them. However, if you live the church life, the very Christ whom you offer to God will heal you. He is better than any psychiatrist. Do not go to a psychiatrist—come to Christ and offer Him to God. Then you will be healthy, sober, and emotionally balanced.” (Witness Lee, Life Study of Genesis, Volume 2, Message 32, Anaheim, CA, 1975, page 431).

One aspect of high control groups is programming their members to fear receiving mental health help:

http://bit.ly/ProgrammedtoFearMentalHealthHelp

Any other experiences both positive or negative regarding receiving mental health help in the church life? I realize many of you cannot comment due to needing to protect yourself and your families. I received permission to anonymously post this story about a saint with schizophrenia.


__________________________________________________ ______________

I came into the LC all happy, because all my problems were over. I was in the church life, on the local ground, calling "Oh Lord Jeeezuss!!" with all the saints. What could be finer?

Eventually my problems came back. I went to the elders, one by one. And one by one they blew me off. Years later, post-LC, I went and got professional help.

That's probably one reason that they told us they wanted "good building material" - stable Caucasian college students from stable homes. Good earners, with no problems. Because the LC is not very interested in your problems. It exposes their inability to actually transform human lives.
We've all read the accounts in scripture of Christ casting legions of demons out of people making them of sound mind again. It's indisputable. If he can do that with demon possessed people, what type of challenge does any kind of mental illness present for the finger of God?

It's heartbreaking that these individuals weren't given the proper attention and care that they needed in the LC's but the issue wasn't in saying that only Christ can truly heal mental illness, the root of the issue within the LC's is the dispensing of the wrong Jesus and the wrong spirits and only masking certain issues with mind emptying techniques. And these techniques, rather than confronting personal issues head-on, help one run away from their issues for a short time.

So instead of leadership taking blame for these shortcomings, the blame is passed onto the unwell individual for having a lack of faith. And pride prevents them from further recommending help outside of the church group. As a temporary fix to avoid outside help, the Nee and Lee implemented psychological methods done through certain mystical practices such as pray-reading and other mantra type exercises that pierce the psychic realm but can only, at best, temporarily subdue mental unease. And then these experiences are past off as being of God's Holy Spirit.

In a sense this is really no different then psychiatric help. These types of things have nothing to do with the spirit of Jesus Christ whom doesn't merely patch up our broken minds or help us avoid our minds altogether but he gives us a new mind, the mind of Christ (Ephesians 4:23) .

LC doctrine also substitutes a personal and individual relationship with Jesus Christ with a corporate "Christ" which is termed as "church-life". This in reality is just a synonym for a type of pseudo communal mentality acheived through a collective submission to church authority where one has to lay down their individuality for the greater good of the group and sold as the only way to have a relationship with Christ. I suppose the thought here is that if you "get out of your mind" by blindly submitting to "the vision" you will no longer have to deal with the problems of the mind. But what this does in reality is cause dissociation in the individual.

With that said, I understand the importance and place of psychiatry in today's society. I would never tell someone to avoid this type of help. I'd be a hypocrite if I did so. I know it's a crutch that can help people in desperate situations maintain or regain stability but to go to the extreme of viewing psychiatry and God as different but equal help isn't the correct stance to take either.
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Old 06-21-2019, 03:46 PM   #64
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And yes, I can ask for help, too. But I'm no longer the black hole of need - everything in, nothing out. When I learned to give and to care I truly began to feel that God was healing me. "When you lose your soul you will find it."
It was my hope that the "soul-life" thread would have helped make clear the point that there isn't anything inherently bad about the human soul. Our souls are who we uniquely are and it's the part of us made in the image of God. It's not something you ever want to lose. Sin is the problem, not the soul.

The correct interpretation for "psuche" in the context of Matthew 10:39 is "life" referring to a way of life. Paul had the correct understanding of what Christ meant in 2 Cor 5:17. When a person has faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit comes upon them, it's sin that is directly dealt with and not the soul. The old life that was in bondage to sin is now gone, and the new creation has come.

I'm sorry for the rant, Aron, but I reel whenever I see the human soul viewed in a negative light. It may have not been what you meant but the way you reworded that scripture can easily be perceived the wrong way by some.
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Old 06-21-2019, 03:51 PM   #65
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I'm sorry for the rant, Aron, but I reel whenever I see the human soul viewed in a negative light. It may have not been what you meant but the way you reworded that scripture can easily be perceived the wrong way by some.
I was using the context of the disciples arguing about which was greatest. That, to me, is the Kingdom of Self. The fallen human disposition to make everything about Me, Me and Me.

I was like that, for a long time, both through the LC and beyond, and maybe from this project my own foibles on others, which distorts my ability to see what scripture actually says.

When you lose the "me first" attitude, which the soul seems to gravitate to, then you can find peace, joy, fellowship, love. The LC was, in retrospect, one person's unmet needs (WL) writ large across the assembly. If we fed his ego, we felt better for a time. We were recruited to be co-conspirators, co-dependents as it were. His "me-first" abetted my "me-first" for a time. Then the wine ran out...
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:25 PM   #66
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I was using the context of the disciples arguing about which was greatest. That, to me, is the Kingdom of Self. The fallen human disposition to make everything about Me, Me and Me.

I was like that, for a long time, both through the LC and beyond, and maybe from this project my own foibles on others, which distorts my ability to see what scripture actually says.

That's what I assumed but at the same time needing God, needing salvation, needing His healing, needing Godly Christian fellowship for one's self, are things we should selfishly pursue. It's only the trivial things like what we wear or what we eat that shouldn't concerned us so much.

You remind me of an old friend of mine. He wasn't a Christian but was one of the most kind and giving people you could ever meet. I admired, and often times envied, this part of his character growing up. It wasn't until I came to know Christ and his love that I came to realize my friend's "love" for other's was in reality selfishness cloaked in selflessness. What I mean is that for him, offering and often times forcing his help on others was a type of self-therapy. The praises he received from others provided him with the validation he needed to maintain his wellbeing but there was a darker side to all of it. The truth was that his giving was first and foremost always about himself. He found that the best solution for his low self-esteem issues was doing things for other people. It was a reciprocal type of love.

This may all sound harsh but it's the truth. I don't fault my friend for using his deeds in helping others as a crutch for himself but I no longer admire this type of selflessness. I still, however, admire and appreciate his willingness to help others. From this example, I now understand that it's only from the outflow of God's genuine love in us that can truly change other's lives and not from the outflow of the self-love and self-righteousness in us.

1 Corinthians 13 :

If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

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When you lose the "me first" attitude, which the soul seems to gravitate to, then you can find peace, joy, fellowship, love. The LC was, in retrospect, one person's unmet needs (WL) writ large across the assembly. If we fed his ego, we felt better for a time. We were recruited to be co-conspirators, co-dependents as it were. His "me-first" abetted my "me-first" for a time. Then the wine ran out...
It's our bondage to sin that gravitates us toward the "me first" attitude. Sin is darkness and darkness is a bottomless void with a voracious and insatiable appetite. Ourselves or our souls are subject to this quality of sin before we come to salvation. We can't help it and by no effort of our own can we change that. If we try by our own strength it'll only leads to the type of altruism that I mentioned above.
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Old 06-22-2019, 07:54 AM   #67
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That's what I assumed but at the same time needing God, needing salvation, needing His healing, needing Godly Christian fellowship for one's self, are things we should selfishly pursue. It's only the trivial things like what we wear or what we eat that shouldn't concerned us so much.
Love is the answer. When we begin to see people as God sees them, when we see how much he cares for them we begin to want the best for them and become less selfish. We genuinely care, and being more sacrificial is the natural result.
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Old 06-22-2019, 08:40 AM   #68
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I've been watching the HBO miniseries Chernobyl, which dramatically shows what really happened when and after the Soviet Union nuclear power plant exploded.

The top priority of the Soviets was to suppress and control information. Everything was about lying and threatening and punishing those who didn't go along with the white-washing. In time the disaster became so great that some could no longer pretend, but the Soviet machine still tried to spin things to their best benefit, even as the top leaders had to face the reality of the situation. But the striking thing was how the pecking order, information control and pretending was such an accepted part of daily life there.

Besides the party "true believers" most people realized the system was bad, but had no power to resist. Everyone just went along with it. Shortly after the plant explosion, an elderly party apparatchik gives a stirring but completely naive pep talk to an arguing group of leaders. He tells them that everything will be alright if they have faith in "the state." The inspired group stands and applauds him, ignorant of the radiation bombarding their bodies at that very moment.

I was struck at how it matched the LR culture. The fatal error is that the group, whether the "state" or the "recovery," is more important that anyone or anything, even the truth. It's all about threats and fear and intimidation and keeping people in their place. It's all about people being means to an end. It's all about a system based on lies. The KGB reminded me of the DCP. They too considered their job "a faithful word," when all they were was the intimidating muscle behind the lies.

The LR is Christianity's Soviet Union. So many grand ideas, all more important than the people they are supposed to bless--a relentless machine marching to its final meltdown, which will unfortunately take many with it.
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:54 AM   #69
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I was struck at how it matched the LR culture. The fatal error is that the group, whether the "state" or the "recovery," is more important that anyone or anything, even the truth. It's all about threats and fear and intimidation and keeping people in their place. It's all about people being means to an end. It's all about a system based on lies. The KGB reminded me of the DCP. They too considered their job "a faithful word," when all they were was the intimidating muscle behind the lies.

The LR is Christianity's Soviet Union. So many grand ideas, all more important than the people they are supposed to bless--a relentless machine marching to its final meltdown, which will unfortunately take many with it.
Fascinating analogies.

The Recovery has these "10-Year-Storms" to re-exert their fake authority and re-remind the rank-and-file that "all authority has been given to the MOTA."

Why 10 years? Apparently that's how long it takes to forget this nonsense.

Socialistic communism in the Soviet Union had a lot of good points. There was no income inequality. They all lived in borderline poverty, but they had all things common. Jobs, homes, and health care were human rights they all shared. Crime was exceedingly low. They had no corrupt Christian ministries. Public transportation was available for all. There was no political infighting occupying the daily news, and every candidate received unanimous support from the people.
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Old 06-22-2019, 10:20 AM   #70
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I was struck at how it matched the LR culture. The fatal error is that the group, whether the "state" or the "recovery," is more important that anyone or anything, even the truth. It's all about threats and fear and intimidation and keeping people in their place. It's all about people being means to an end. It's all about a system based on lies. The KGB reminded me of the DCP. They too considered their job "a faithful word," when all they were was the intimidating muscle behind the lies.

The LR is Christianity's Soviet Union. So many grand ideas, all more important than the people they are supposed to bless--a relentless machine marching to its final meltdown, which will unfortunately take many with it.
I too couldn't help but to think of the Local Churches and seeing the similarities between these two systems while watching the Chernobyl miniseries...

Some will be upset with me but I'll go ahead and say it anyway. I haven't yet heard an LC member refer to another Christian outside of the Lord's Recovery movement as a "saint". The one thing that particularly stood out to me while watching Chernobyl was how similar the use of the term "saint" within the LC's is to how the Soviet's referred only to those within their Union as "comrade". Of course all those born of God are His saints but it seems the LC's took that label, exclusivised, and redefined it to only apply to those within the confines of their movement as a type of unifier to a common cause. (I apologize for the broad brush stroke, I don't assume this applies to everyone).

Anyway, I do understand the use of Soviet style of control within religious movements but what I really think holds the LC's together is community by those, like Jo, whom have a sincere and caring heart for those around them.

I believe the control tactics are used indirectly to maintain the naivety of the people so they continue to give their all unaware. This, in turn, is what keeps community together and the "machine" running.

Like Ohio said, the Soviets had some seemingly great ideas but history shows that collapse is inevitable whenever man tries to create a utopia on earth by their own efforts (think Babel, Nazi Germany). Or in terms of Christianity, whenever there is doctrine that teaches dominionism (the ushering in of Christ's kingdom by man's efforts) it too will eventually come to a dead end. In the Local Churches, this is the doctrine of Locality. And continuing with the Chernobyl analogy, this doctrine is their "fatal flaw".

It's only at the Lord Jesus Christ's return will a "movement" or kingdom without end be established on earth.
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Old 06-22-2019, 04:56 PM   #71
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This is from the Wikipedia article on the miniseries Chernobyl. The portion highlighted struck me as exactly how the LR leadership and DCP would have responded to any similar project which criticized the LR:
The miniseries was well-received in Russia. Vladimir Medinsky, Russian culture minister, called the series “Masterfully made” and “filmed with great respect for ordinary people”.... Anna Narinskaya, in Novaya Gazeta, noticed how the series, despite the harsh criticism of the Soviet government, became sympathetic to the common people, demonstrating their feat, solidarity, which even splashed around those who were called apparatchiks. The Communist Party of Russia called for a libel lawsuit against Chernobyl’s writer, director and producers, describing the show as "disgusting". In a statement, party member Sergey Malinkovich spoke of the party’s intentions to lobby TV regulator Roskomnadzor to request that it blocks local access to the series.
Push the lie, suppress information, threaten lawsuits, block the truth. That's the mantra of oppressive regimes, and the LR is one of them.

The moral of Chernobyl is that the nuclear power plant disaster was the direct result of the Soviet Union's policy of suppressing any information which made them look bad, including the RBMK reactor design flaw which led to the explosion. I guess it is fitting that their own lies did them in, except that innocent people went down with them. The same is and will be true for the LR.
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Old 06-23-2019, 04:21 AM   #72
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So here’s my question. With all the FB and LCDiscussions publicity, et al, with the Casteel Open Letter, what is the impact? Is what’s happening “new”? Is this the beginning of a mass exodus that has been on the verge for a long time, or at least an accelerated downward spiral of LC/LSM membership? Did the LC on FB amount to its opening the door to open commentary on the Internet that they had/have been trying to keep shut for years? Is it too soon to call? Wait and see?

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Old 06-23-2019, 05:05 AM   #73
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So here’s my question. With all the FB and LCDiscussions publicity, et al, with the Casteel Open Letter, what is the impact? Is what’s happening “new”? Is this the beginning of a mass exodus that has been on the verge for a long time, or at least an accelerated downward spiral of LC/LSM membership? Did the LC on FB amount to its opening the door to open commentary on the Internet that they had/have been trying to keep shut for years? Is it too soon to call? Wait and see?

Nell
Based on the history of the Exclusive Brethren, Recovery watchmen will merely double down on their expulsions and apocalyptic reminders of God's pending "judgments" upon all opinionated ones. Did you see that brother in Tennessee on the Casteel fb who was quarantined just 6 months ago? He had his 20 year pin. Quarantines no longer require directives from headquarters, but local elders will begin cutting off all undesirable members in order to "protect the body from further damage." Perhaps the pending Summer Training will have an afternoon workshop with Minoru Chen: "The god-ordained organic way to protect the body of Christ from satanic attacks on the internet." Dangerous members, who's only failure will be to ask for accountability or reform, will be like a cancer tumor surgically removed.

Is that what also happened to brother Dan Towle? Now if a well-respected Blended like Towle emerges with a revelatory public statement, that might precipitate the next "storm." The LSM/DCP wordsmiths will have to update their afaithfulword site to include him. Has anyone noticed that their writers never sign their names to anything? To give the impresssion that WL still speaks from the grave?
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Old 06-23-2019, 05:22 AM   #74
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Based on the history of the Exclusive Brethren, Recovery watchmen will merely double down on their expulsions and apocalyptic reminders of God's pending "judgments" upon all opinionated ones. Did you see that brother in Tennessee on the Casteel fb who was quarantined just 6 months ago? He had his 20 year pin. Quarantines no longer require directives from headquarters, but local elders will begin cutting off all undesirable members in order to "protect the body from further damage." Perhaps the pending Summer Training will have an afternoon workshop with Minoru Chen: "The god-ordained organic way to protect the body of Christ from satanic attacks on the internet." Dangerous members, who's only failure will be to ask for accountability or reform, will be like a cancer tumor surgically removed. Is that what also happened to brother Dan Towle?
I would say "business as usual" too, except for the "Facebook Factor". They have lost some of their control that might skew history a bit. TMI so to speak.

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Old 06-23-2019, 09:15 AM   #75
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I would say "business as usual" too, except for the "Facebook Factor". They have lost some of their control that might skew history a bit. TMI so to speak.

Nell
Less than two weeks since posting the Open Letter, with 880+ comments and 31 shares, many of which have their own comments. Probably DCP has noticed.

https://freedomofmind.com/bite-model/

The Bite Model stands for:

Behaviour control
Information control
Thought control
Emotional control

Seems like the "Information control" part has been slipping recently.
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Old 06-23-2019, 03:49 PM   #76
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I would say "business as usual" too, except for the "Facebook Factor". They have lost some of their control that might skew history a bit. TMI so to speak.
They will try to maintain status quo until the bitter end. When the camel's back breaks things will happen very quickly. But you never when the last straw will fall.

The last straw will probably be financial distress. If members in droves stop buying ministry products and LSM's income stream dries up, that would probably do it.

Like in the Soviet Union, it is really all about everyone protecting their rear ends, and rear ends are material.
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Old 06-23-2019, 05:06 PM   #77
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They will try to maintain status quo until the bitter end. When the camel's back breaks things will happen very quickly. But you never when the last straw will fall.

The last straw will probably be financial distress. If members in droves stop buying ministry products and LSM's income stream dries up, that would probably do it.

Like in the Soviet Union, it is really all about everyone protecting their rear ends, and rear ends are material.
People stopped buying the books a long time ago. The revenue stream is from standing orders. Are the churches going to have the courage to cancel those? If they do they'll get cut off.
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Old 06-23-2019, 05:27 PM   #78
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People stopped buying the books a long time ago. The revenue stream is from standing orders. Are the churches going to have the courage to cancel those? If they do they'll get cut off.
I would think the real revenue stream is in the trainings, not the books.
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Old 06-23-2019, 05:28 PM   #79
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I would think the real revenue stream is in the trainings, not the books.
I was under the impression that the "training" was simply a way of mobilizing a sales force and trying to grow market share.
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Old 06-23-2019, 06:28 PM   #80
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I just wanted to encourage you guys and say that the Lord does hear all the cries from the injustices that have taken place in the Local Churches.

I know there are those that were greatly hurt by this group and would like to see nothing more than the earth be rid of them however situations where entire families and individual's faiths are involved can be so delicate and complex that it's just not possible for any one of us to know how to properly navigate through it all. What we want to see happen may not be what the Lord wills at this moment and by pushing forward in our own strength, we can do more harm then good.

It's so easy to get caught up in the trap of continuously focusing on and exposing the darkness that we too risk falling into sin and become entrapped in a perpetual cycle of vengefullness and hatred toward those who have caused us harm. Unfortunately abusive and oppressive religious groups won't be going away anytime soon, save the Lord returns.

God is on the throne and vengence is His. No amount of damage inflicted on the LC's will bring healing but we can take heart in knowing that nothing will escape Him on that last day.

Evil will only increase. In the meantime let us pray for the captives, forgive our enemies with the forgiveness we were given, and reflect the light and love of Christ everywhere we gather in His name, including on these forums. Amen
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:51 PM   #81
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I just wanted to encourage you guys and say that the Lord does hear all the cries from the injustices that have taken place in the Local Churches.

I know there are those that were greatly hurt by this group and would like to see nothing more than the earth be rid of them however situations where entire families and individual's faiths are involved can be so delicate and complex that it's just not possible for any one of us to know how to properly navigate through it all. What we want to see happen may not be what the Lord will's at this moment and by pushing forward by our own strength, we can do more harm then good.

It's so easy to get caught up in the trap of continuously focusing on and exposing the darkness that we too risk falling into sin and become entrapped in a perpetual cycle of vengefullness and hatred toward those who have caused us harm. Unfortunately abusive and oppressive religious groups won't be going away anytime soon, save the Lord returns.

God is on the throne and vengence is His. No amount of damage inflicted on the LC's will bring healing but we can take courage in knowing that nothing will escape Him on that last day.

Evil will only increase. In the meantime let us pray for the captives, forgive our enemies with the forgiveness we were given, and reflect the light and love of Christ everywhere we gather in His name, including on these forums. Amen
"He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
Friedrich Nietzche
Something to consider, though it's most applicable to folks like police officers who have to track down serial killers, part of which involves getting into their mindset. (As an example)
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:53 PM   #82
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Regarding revenue stream, it it appropriate to continue commenting on this thread or will UntoHim say it "Persona non threads." 😀
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Old Yesterday, 07:29 AM   #83
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It's so easy to get caught up in the trap of continuously focusing on and exposing the darkness that we too risk falling into sin and become entrapped in a perpetual cycle of vengefullness and hatred toward those who have caused us harm. Unfortunately abusive and oppressive religious groups won't be going away anytime soon, save the Lord returns.
Jo, Standing up to bullies is not the same thing as being vengeful. The Bible tells us again and again to seek justice for the oppressed.

I've honestly been appalled over the years that more former leaders and people in the know have not had the courage to speak out about this group. If not them then who?

The answer is not to be timid, but to do all things prayerfully.

The only thing required for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.

And "evil will only increase?" That's LR bunker mentality.

Absolutely we should pray for the victims. But how do you think the Lord answers prayer? One way is through the intervention of those with the courage to intervene.

I understand not wanting fleshly fighting. But Paul wasn't always pleasant in his defense of God's church. The Lord is jealous for his people.
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Old Yesterday, 09:17 AM   #84
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Another thing that struck me about the Soviet Union/Recovery parallels was how the leaders of each uphold ideals and institutions over people. People were a means to the end of accomplishing and defending their grand and abstract ideals.

In the Soviet Union it was "the state," "the party," "victory over imperialism," "the working class," even "the good of all mankind."

In the LR it is "the Recovery," "God's purpose," "God's move," "oneness," "the Ministry."

In each's set of ideals, plain old people, especially any individual, are never held up as nearly important as these abstractions.

GOD IS NOT THAT WAY AT ALL

To God, people are all that matter. He doesn't care for institutions or ideals, only people. He cares for his Church because his Church IS his people, and nothing more. Christ died for people, not ideals or impersonal goals.

What struck me in Chernobyl was how the leaders were all about maintaining the State, and people were means to that end. People were sacrificed liberally for the State. But those people didn't really care about the State as an ideal, they just wanted to live their lives. But, ironically, if anyone saved the day in that situation, it was ordinary people who stepped up and sacrificed.

Institutions and governments come and go, but the people endure. No matter how carved up or administered EuroAsia is, the people there will go on with their lives. It is their values and their relationships that make the whole thing work. They are the backbone and reason for it all.

No matter how the Church is organized, it is the people, the believers, that matter. They are what God sees. They are the ones who endure through all the changes in organization. They are the ones it is supposed to all be for. And they are the ones who clean up the messes.

For all the communist faithful's efforts to maintain the glorious State, the Soviet Union dissolved five years after Chernobyl. All that was left was the people.

No matter what glorious Christian institutions come and go, the people remain. That is the Church.
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Old Yesterday, 10:18 AM   #85
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"He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
Friedrich Nietzche
Something to consider, though it's most applicable to folks like police officers who have to track down serial killers, part of which involves getting into their mindset. (As an example)
But in the OP Joanna called the "monster" "the Lord's recovery." Her opening line is:

"Greg and I have some very important things to share with you regarding our journey with the Lord’s recovery." -emphasis mine.

Is it now? Is it really the LORD'S recovery? If it is THE LORD'S, how could anyone leave it, and wouldn't everyone want to be in it?

It is what's being sold. The term presumes it. And everyone calls it that without giving it any hint of critical thought.

The truth is, that, if Greg and Joanna believe that the local church is the Lord's recovery then, their open letter is just a lot of crybaby whining, and they had better go back in, or the cognitive dissonance will be too much for them to handle otherwise.

But if the local church is Nietzsche's monster, or more appropriately, the abyss, then kudos to Greg and Joanna for not becoming a monster in their open letter.
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Old Yesterday, 01:36 PM   #86
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Jo, Standing up to bullies is not the same thing as being vengeful. The Bible tells us again and again to seek justice for the oppressed.

I've honestly been appalled over the years that more former leaders and people in the know have not had the courage to speak out about this group. If not them then who?

The answer is not to be timid, but to do all things prayerfully.

The only thing required for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.

And "evil will only increase?" That's LR bunker mentality.

Absolutely we should pray for the victims. But how do you think the Lord answers prayer? One way is through the intervention of those with the courage to intervene.

I understand not wanting fleshly fighting. But Paul wasn't always pleasant in his defense of God's church. The Lord is jealous for his people.
Peter took a bold and forceful stance against injustice. To Peter his actions in protecting Jesus from harm appeared to be righteous and just but because he was more concerned about the things of men rather than the things of God, Jesus rebuked him.

Witness Lee, from the comfort of a podium, took a bold stance against the "enemies" of Christendom, the Catholic church and the denominations. I suppose that too appeared to be impressive and right in the sight of many at the time. But look where it took the LC's in the end...

Christ said in Matthew that lawlessness will abound. He also commands us to "let the evildoer continue to do evil, and the filthy continue to be filthy" in Rev 22:11. Is this too bunker mentality or is this scripture that needs to be rightly divided?

As to Paul, he didn't so much stand up to the bullies as he did standing up for the gospel. He even explained to us how to do this in Romans 12:19-21.

Examine your heart and be honest with yourself, because the line is extremely fine. I've seen what going down the "truther" or "social justice warrior" path does to a person. For those whom seek to follow Christ, it stunts our relationship with Him like the seeds in Matthew 13 that fell among the thorns.

When you say things like "stand up to the bullies" You make it known where your heart is at. It implies your focus is on people who are all made in the image of God (whether that be Lee, the Blendeds, Titus Chu, or whomever), rather than on the principalities in high places. And Witness Lee wasn't any different except that his focus was on groups of people.

Greg and Jo's letter is effectively their "coming out of the abyss" so to speak. It was the right thing for them to do. However, can adding more posts to their exposé make it even more right?

I agree, if God moves you to speak your peace then do so but find the strength in Christ to move passed this stage so He can work to heal you. Then bring with you an awesome testimony to God for all to see. That is the light that will truly drawn people out of the darkness. Otherwise you may find yourself crawling right back into the abyss just in another guise. And it's my prayer that forums like these don't become that other guise but rather they effectively work in encouraging those coming out of the Lord's Recovery movement in the light and love of Christ.
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Old Yesterday, 02:20 PM   #87
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We agree to disagree.
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Old Yesterday, 02:34 PM   #88
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Peter took a bold and forceful stance against injustice. To Peter his actions in protecting Jesus from harm appeared to be righteous and just but because he was more concerned about the things of men rather than the things of God, Jesus rebuked him.

Witness Lee, from the comfort of a podium, took a bold stance against the "enemies" of Christendom, the Catholic church and the denominations. I suppose that too appeared to be impressive and right in the sight of many at the time. But look where it took the LC's in the end...

Christ said in Matthew that lawlessness will abound. He also commands us to "let the evildoer continue to do evil, and the filthy continue to be filthy" in Rev 22:11. Is this too bunker mentality or is this scripture that needs to be rightly divided?

As to Paul, he didn't so much stand up to the bullies than he did stand up for the gospel. He even explained to us how to do this in Romans 12:19-21.

Examine your heart and be honest with yourself, because the line is extremely fine. I've seen what going down the "truther" or "social justice warrior" path does to a person. For those whom seek to follow Christ, it stunts our relationship with Him like the seeds in Matthew 13 that fell among the thorns.

When you say things like "stand up to the bullies" You make it known where your heart is at. It implies your focus is on people who are all made in the image of God (whether that be Lee, the Blendeds, Titus Chu, or whomever), rather than on the principalities in high places. And Witness Lee wasn't any different except that his focus was on groups of people.

Greg and Jo's letter is effectively their "coming out of the abyss" so to speak. It was the right thing for them to do. However, can adding more posts to their exposé make it even more right?

I agree, if God moves you to speak your peace then do so but find the strength in Christ to move passed this stage so He can work to heal you. Then bring with you an awesome testimony to God for all to see. That is the light that will truly drawn people out of the darkness. Otherwise you may find yourself crawling right back into the abyss just in another guise. And it's my prayer that forums like these don't become that other guise but rather they, not only teach to stand against the principalities in high places, but effectively work in encouraging those coming out of the Lord's Recovery movement in the light and love of Christ.
This is a recurring theme on this forum. Someone on some thread shared about two verses in Proverbs that I thought was instructive. There are two proverbs one after the other, the first says "do not rebuke a fool lest you be like him" which I think is your point. The next says "rebuke a fool lest he be wise in his own deceit" which I think is Igzy's point.

If I recall correctly the way it was shared is that our first response should be the first verse unless that becomes untenable, in which case we must go to the second.

So much of what WL said was quite insulting, and you could be offended at some of the posts on this forum as also being insulting. If possible we don't want to become like that. However, once it crosses the line where believers are being stumbled, abused, slandered, and sued. Well at some point you have to rebuke the fool. Hence the need for this forum.
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Old Yesterday, 02:41 PM   #89
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

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Peter took a bold and forceful stance against injustice. To Peter his actions in protecting Jesus from harm appeared to be righteous and just but because he was more concerned about the things of men rather than the things of God, Jesus rebuked him.
So, in this case, is Peter me, or you?

To help you out, I think the case could be made both ways. And we could go around and around. But that's the last thing I'm interested in.

So let me say, yes, being involved in standing up to the LR can lead to bad feelings. But I've been involved in this effort for a long time, and my experience says that is not happening now. In fact, I'm amazed at (and frankly proud of) the civility I see.

So I'm not sure why out of the blue you thought to warn everyone the way you did. I just thought it needed some pushback. To me the time is to speak out, and I don't think that needs any dampening at the moment.
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Old Yesterday, 04:28 PM   #90
Weighingin
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

To Jo S and Awareness:
I apologize for my abyss/monster quotation, that was overkill. I was trying to respond to your post, but I didn't think it through. I don't write or express
things as well as a lot of you. Maybe I can express my response to your posts by an example.
We need to be aware of both the positive and negative stuff in our lives. When I was working, there were some positive things about my job, yet I was often focused on the negative. I would go home and complain a lot until even my kids were bummed out about my constant talk. So I became a reflection of the negativity that was at my job. Those that have left the recovery, LSM churches,
(what have you) saw, perceived, and experienced some negative things, errors, and other shortcomings in varying degrees.
As another case, when I realized he wasn't the MOTA, I was mad that it took so many years to see this.
Anyways, I'm done for now. Peace be unto you both and all who come to this forum.
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Old Yesterday, 05:23 PM   #91
Igzy
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

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When you say things like "stand up to the bullies" You make it known where your heart is at. It implies your focus is on people who are all made in the image of God (whether that be Lee, the Blendeds, Titus Chu, or whomever), rather than on the principalities in high places.
By the way, this is not necessarily true, and not true in my case, I don't believe. I'm the one who several pages back encouraged everyone to pray, reminding us that our battle is not against flesh and blood. I know the difference.

The Lord and the apostles resisted evil, both the invisible and visible kind. They also ministered to victims. They did all three.

Three areas need to be addressed: Satanic forces need to be resisted by prayer, evildoers need to be exposed and rebuked, and the victims need to be helped and encouraged. Each of these areas are valid and each has a different approach. Let's not confuse them. But none are outside the purview of our commission as long as we are approaching things prayerfully and in the Spirit.

My sense is that something big is about to happen, and it is going to involve a lot of speaking out... for a change. Everyone has to do as they feel led. But I have witnessed enough silent appeasement posing as civility for one lifetime.

It's time for the worm to turn.
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Old Yesterday, 06:27 PM   #92
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Default Re: Open Letter - Dear Saints in the Lord's Recovery

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Originally Posted by Weighingin View Post
To Jo S and Awareness:
I apologize for my abyss/monster quotation, that was overkill. I was trying to respond to your post, but I didn't think it through. I don't write or express
things as well as a lot of you. Maybe I can express my response to your posts by an example.
We need to be aware of both the positive and negative stuff in our lives. When I was working, there were some positive things about my job, yet I was often focused on the negative. I would go home and complain a lot until even my kids were bummed out about my constant talk. So I became a reflection of the negativity that was at my job. Those that have left the recovery, LSM churches,
(what have you) saw, perceived, and experienced some negative things, errors, and other shortcomings in varying degrees.
As another case, when I realized he wasn't the MOTA, I was mad that it took so many years to see this.
Anyways, I'm done for now. Peace be unto you both and all who come to this forum.
Thanks Weighingin. No big deal to me. I'm a fan of Nietzsche. Because of "God is dead," some out here will think he doesn't fit here. But that's only because they don't understand what Nietzsche meant.

But are we out here staring into the abyss? It's certainly staring back at us.
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