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Old 02-07-2015, 10:54 AM   #1
Awoken
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Default Waking Up

Hi fellow Christians,

I'm a Christian currently living in the northeast. I am, at least for now, still (at least from others' viewpoint no doubt) active in the LC, since I am just beginning to wake up from a serious belief in LC dogma and am still trying to get on my feet spiritually. After some experiences that whacked me over the head and woke me up enough to start seriously considering my surroundings, I started to do a lot of research on past LC history (including reading "A Thread of Gold", various testimonies from prominent ex-members, etc). I will, to the best of my ability, give my own short testimony below, awkward as it may be (this will probably be really long-winded, but I feel a need to put this down in words somewhere, sorry!).

I was introduced to the LC movement through a close friend who grew up as a "church kid", although her parents are very down-to-earth people and are not at all actively involved in the movement. I was an agnostic when I met this girl and she was not involved in the LC at that time, so we actually were dating and even ended up living together (in sin, I might add). Before that I had "touched the church life" through some home meetings, and although I enjoyed the atmosphere and the focus on Jesus, and I even began believing He was real, I was not really convicted enough to change my lifestyle. Eventually as we began to get involved in the LC together, I was baptized and began to feel strongly that I needed to repent. Since my friend's parents were not willing to allow us to be married until I have finished my college degree, I decided I was no longer willing to live together and moved out. I still firmly believe this was actually God's leading, and am happy I listened. At around this time I also began to get heavily involved in the local meetings and began cultivating my zealousness for the central LC dogma, which I wholeheartedly believed every word of.

I live in a state where most of the membership "fell" during the Titus Chu drama that happened before I ever got introduced to the movement, although I did not learn about it until a fears after my inception to the LC. In retrospect the way the movement's history is so shrouded in mystique seems bizarre, but I did not see anything strange about it from the inside. Anyway, the city in particular I live in is located in between several other LC localities, but the membership is rather small although there are a few couples here who are very devoted to LC doctrine. Actually I believe these people are genuine Christians and when I consider their situation, I get knots in my stomach because I do not believe anybody I came into contact with in the LC understood what they were doing. These are caring, loving people who are just involved in something unwittingly. That's the real danger of deception; it doesn't involve a lack of sincerity or the absence of good intention on the part of the deceived.

Anyway, moving on: what particularly opened my eyes to the sheer wrongness of LSM's approach to Christianity is intimately tied to my personal experiences (no doubt this would be disregarded within the LC as 'individualism'). As an agnostic and prior to believing in Christ, I had been cultivating a pornography addiction for most of my teenage/adult years (this is pretty shameful to write down, but it will be necessary if I want to speak the truth). The thing is, in the LC, I never really heard a gospel of repentance. The "repentance" taught to me in the LC didn't have anything to do with not sinning or changing my behavior, it had to do with "repenting" from not believing that W. Lee's view of Christian doctrine and staying in "spirit" was the absolute truth contained in the Word. I fully subscribed to the LC notion that there is a special class of Christians called "overcomers", who will get to reign with Christ during the millenium, and then a second group, the "non-overcomers" - which I took to mean those who were backslidden and hadn't fully repented of sin yet and/or those who weren't participating in "building the New Jerusalem", i.e. absolutely following the LSM/Local Church viewpoint and participating in the "real building" and "central line of life".

So, even though I have CONSTANTLY felt a need to fully repent of sin ever since believing in Christ, I could never understand why I couldn't fully deal with it. I even had a discussion with the elder who baptized me about this once and he told me, "Maybe this will never go away." The teaching that was fed to me was that I needed to stop focusing on "behavior change" and "legalism", focus on "the building", and keep "eating Christ", and then everything would just eventually magically be taken care of for me. And, for the better part of three years, I believed it.

For the past few months or so, though, this need to repent has begun to bother me so much that I started reading much older "non-sanctioned" Christian material regarding overcoming sin: Of the Mortification of Sin by John Owen and the works of Ichabod S. Spencer. These made it so clear that repentance from sin was crucially important to leading a genuine Christian faith that I began to seriously question "the gospel" as presented to me by W. Lee and company.

As I found myself reading through 1 John in the Bible at around this time, I also began to seriously question the concept of a special class of Christians called "overcomers". 1 John 5:4 (Everyone who has been born of God has overcome the world), along with John's description of those continuing to walk in darkness versus those doing the will of God, simply did not allow me to reconcile this viewpoint with the idea of the "1000 year darkness" for "sinning Christians" promoted by Lee (and, I believe, Nee). I have since heard this idea referred to as "Protestant Purgatory" and I now believe this is exactly what the idea really is. Because I was not considering the struggle with sin to be a life or death matter, but only a matter of "discipline", I was not really willing to repent. I mean, after all, even if I DO have to go through 1000 years of "discipline"... I still have eternal life, right? That's what Witness Lee says, so it must be right.

As my view of "the gospel" began to nag at me, so did my view of the belief systems in the Local Church. I have, of course, been severely bothered (to the point of feeling physically ill) with the thought that "I am in my mind, not my spirit!", "I am being rebellious!", "What if this means I have spiritual leprosy!?", etc - ironically, not because of the lack of repentance from sin, but because of the fact that I was beginning to question the gospel according to Lee. I have been aware for a long time of forums like this one, but I considered even looking at them to be taboo and a sign of divisiveness, leprosy, etc. Lately, though, with questions constantly surfacing about my real beliefs, I felt a need to go and do research. So I did. I started looking up the history of the LC, the early days, the various "turmoils", and so on. I discovered that at some point in the past a letter had even gone around where all the church elders declared Lee to be God's oracle and deputy authority of this age, and that they gave him unquestioning support. What!? I think that really hit me over the head; it seemed so impossible to deny this was man-worship that I couldn't reconcile it with the truth of the Bible. I also began to see the incredibly obvious superiority complex that seems so obvious about the LC from the outside, but which I just couldn't discern from inside the mess.

Ironically, what really "opened my eyes" spiritually was a word from the same friend with whom I initially came into contact with the LC. She still remains my close friend and I have felt on several occasions that God spoke to me through her. She is one of the only people I have felt relatively comfortable sharing my problems with, largely because of our history together, probably because I do not feel like I am being judged by her. When I mentioned I felt a need to seriously repent of this sin once and for all to her, and couldn't understand why I was still unable to do it, she said something to me that crashed through all of spiritual smog and LC blindness. "Maybe God needs you to give something else up too, and you're just not ready yet."

I don't know where this came from, but it began to dawn on me that I have been so blindly following MEN, the teaching of a man, and even considering these things to be the same as God's Word, that indeed it really may have been a mercy to me that I could not repent from a particular sin yet. Why would God allow this to stop bothering me, when I am doing something which is so blindly in contradiction to His Word? It called to mind something that had stuck in my mind while reading "Of the Mortification of Sin" by John Owen:

"Now, it is certain that that which I speak of proceeds from self-love. You set yourself with all diligence and earnestness to mortify such a lust or sin; what is the reason of it? It disquiets you, it has taken away your peace, it fills your heart with sorrow, and trouble, and fear; you hast no rest because of it. Yea; but, friend, you hast neglected prayer or reading; you hast been vain and loose in your conversation in other things, that have not been of the same nature with that lust wherewith you art perplexed. These are no less sins and evils than those under which you groanest. Jesus Christ bled for them also. Why dost you not set yourself against them also? If you hatest sin as sin, every evil way, you wouldst be no less watchful against every thing that grieves and disquiets the Spirit of God, than against that which grieves and disquiets your own soul. It is evident that you contends against sin merely because of your own trouble by it. Would your conscience be quiet under it, you wouldst let it alone. Did it not disquiet you, it should not be disquieted by you. Now, canst you think that God will set in with such hypocritical endeavours, -- that ever his Spirit will bear witness to the treachery and falsehood of your spirit? Dost you think he will ease you of that which perplexes you, that you may be at liberty to that which no less grieves him? No. Says God, "Here is one, if he could be rid of this lust I should never hear of him more; let him wrestle with this, or he is lost."

Upon coming to this realization, I now feel as though over the past week or so the "scales" have begun to fall away from my eyes. I thank God that He did not leave me in this blindness and self-righteousness and pride, and in blindly following the "commandments and teachings of men". Of course this experience has been incredibly painful, confusing, and tumultuous. I am incredibly worried for my friends who are involved with the LC, particularly the one I have described above. I also personally helped bring in a very genuine and earnest family of believers, a mother/daughter, who were preaching the genuine gospel very strongly before they came into contact with the LC. I also ruined a living situation with a Baptist brother in Christ I was formerly staying with because I was so convinced that he was in "Babylonian Christianity". I owe him a serious apology, and I hope to accomplish that today (I have plans to go see him to take care of some practical matters).

Part of what is really confusing about the LC is that some of their practices and ideas are very good. Their "each one has" philosophy of participation I still consider to be a huge step above the clergy-laity system. The problem is that this genuine Biblical belief is leavened with man-worship and man-following to such a degree that any benefit of genuine building up and spiritual oneness is lost. I read recently in an account from a former Lee follower a very interesting thought: those building the Tower of Babel were "one" in their building, in their lingo, in their intent, and in their work; and yet God hated it. It was something of men, by men, and for men. This, I believe, is the kind of "oneness" that you can find in the LC. Of course there are many genuine believers who really love Christ who have been deceived, and this seriously concerns me. The good things presented to them - and I have to admit there are many good things, even good teachings from W. Lee himself - have blinded them to the fact that the reality that is so often touted has completely left. Within the LC there is such an unquestioning loyalty to the LSM and the men who run it that it has effectively become the will of the "Body", and anybody thinking differently is automatically assumed to be spiritually leprous or individualistic. How about what Peter said to the Pharisees? Acts 5:29: Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than human beings!"

I am going to show this post to the brother I alienated today if possible, and I also really need to begin considering how to deal with my relationship to the LC group here. On the one hand I feel a desperate need to preach the genuine gospel to them, on the other hand I do not want to alienate them to the extent that it is impossible to reach them. I also have been considering going to the family that I personally caused to get involved in all of this and lay this whole mess out before them, including material for them to research so they can come to an informed decision. The mother in particular I do not think has been blinded to the point of being unreachable. On the other hand if I make this move I am almost certain it will result in my expulsion/being labeled as a rebel, which would make it more or less impossible for me to reach anyone else. I am torn because this involves very serious spiritual danger, and either way could be a huge mistake.

It's weird because on the one hand I am learning how to talk to God again in a simple way, telling him my problems and worries, and feeling like I really have His presence. On the other hand I am so full of worry and concern for the other LC members that I have found it nearly impossible to think of anything else all week, largely to the detriment of my college education. I was praying fervently for those I am close to a day or two ago, and I felt at that time I really began to understand what it means to participate in the sufferings of Christ. It has nothing to do with "self-denial" the way it is taught in the LC - it has everything to do with love for others, even being rejected by others at the expense of your own well-being. I am terrified of how to go on but I feel like I must press on and keep moving forward.

Anyway, this is my current testimony, jumbled and confused as it is. Your words and help would be appreciated in this difficult situation.

Your brother in Christ.
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:32 AM   #2
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Anyway, this is my current testimony, jumbled and confused as it is. Your words and help would be appreciated in this difficult situation.

Your brother in Christ.
Welcome to the forum brother Awoken. You speak a language we surely understand. Your convictions have helped to convict my heart too, as the word says, "Awake sleeper, and arise from among the dead, and Christ shall shine on us."
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Old 02-07-2015, 01:24 PM   #3
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That's the real danger of deception; it doesn't involve a lack of sincerity or the absence of good intention on the part of the deceived.
A very perceptive observation for such a young man! Welcome to the Forum Awoken. Thanks for giving your testimony.

You appear to have quite a bit on your plate, especially considering you are right in the middle of your college studies. I would advise you to take it a little slow with all the various people you want to get caught up with, maybe with the exception of the ex-roomate who you might need to spend a little time with to repair that relationship.

As far as dealing with the various saints in your locality, I would take it very slow, and pray for wisdom and grace and follow the words of the apostle Paul to the Colossians: "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." I know this is quite a big chore for someone in your position, but you've already come a long, long way in such a short time, and I think you will be overloading your heart and mind if you try to "save" everybody all at once!

Again, welcome to the Forum and we look forward to your participation
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Old 02-07-2015, 01:30 PM   #4
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Thanks brothers. I definitely look forward to participating here.

Grace!
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:05 PM   #5
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When your conscience is controlled by where you are vis--vis "the ministry", versus sin, it is arguably warped. You are then of men and not of God. Of course human relations are important, but the base of our conscience is our relationship with God, not Headquarters (Jerusalem, Rome, or Anaheim CA). We too easily become man-pleasers, thinking, in so doing, that we are God-pleasers. Any group dynamic has this peril, but in cloistered religious sects the danger is magnified tenfold.
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Old 02-08-2015, 06:22 AM   #6
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Default The captivity of the charismatic experience

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So, even though I have CONSTANTLY felt a need to fully repent of sin ever since believing in Christ, I could never understand why I couldn't fully deal with it. I even had a discussion with the elder who baptized me about this once and he told me, "Maybe this will never go away." The teaching that was fed to me was that I needed to stop focusing on "behavior change" and "legalism", focus on "the building", and keep "eating Christ", and then everything would just eventually magically be taken care of for me. And, for the better part of three years, I believed it..
I would be interested in your take on the charismatic experience as it is currently manifested in the LCs. Mine is several decades old now so it may have changed a lot. (I still see some LC saints socially but the "meeting" scene is long over). I will tell you why I think it's relevant.

Lately I've been reading about the "New Apostolic Reformations" movement; notably the Toronto Airport Experience and the Lakeland Revivals, plus some in the Mid-West (KC) and western states (CA). The supposed need for God to raise up these "new apostles" seems to coincide with the massive ego-stroking possibilities for these ministers to re-label themselves as such, when some of these supposed apostles clearly have life issues which should even disqualify them for local leadership.

But the charismatic experience gives them an opening. The overwhelming sensory flood which accompanies the Pentacostal experience makes the subject open to suggestions that they wouldn't ordinarily be receptive to. Suddenly flaky ideas become possible, and even real, as the mob shouts them repetetively, or people are fainting and quivering around you. And, looking back, this was a big part of how I got "caught" and stayed in the LC scene even as stuff happened that rubbed me wrong.

First, for me, was the elevating of men. Jesus warned against it, Peter warned against it ("lording it over the flock"), James warned against it, and so on. Yet I saw it. I saw people posing for pictures next to Lee's chair and podium, at trainings, like they were at Mount Rushmore.

Second was the despising of the poor, weak, sick, and needy. This was clearly and openly done in training sessions that I attended, and in no way did the trainers appear to be "going rogue" -- they were clearly stating what had been intimated all along: go after the "good material." Jesus taught to give to those who couldn't repay you, but the FTTA trainers bluntly told us "don't waste your time". I saw this, and was bothered, and even protested, but because I was "sold out" I eventually became silent when my conscience stirred. Why?

I believe it was because of the weakening of the soul, by the so-called charismatic experience. We didn't practice tongues in LC meetings, but the shouting, repetetive chanting, arm-waving, jumping up and down, running around, yelling at each other, hysterical screaming, weeping, etc was so sensorily overwhelming that the natural defenses simply collapsed. Then, if they said something like, "The age of spiritual giants is over" and now we have to gather in memory of the last "giant" Witness Lee, we'd do it. Even if it really made no sense, historically, culturally, scripturally, logically.

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Hi Anyway, this is my current testimony, jumbled and confused as it is. Your words and help would be appreciated in this difficult situation.

Your brother in Christ.
Obviously there's a lineage of charismatic experience in the Bible. The tombs opened and the dead appeared on the day of Resurrection. Tongues of fire danced above the disciples on Pentecost. The earth quaked and the chains fell off of Paul and Silas as they sang in the Philippian jail. Etc. But my reconciliation of the two (emotional vs. rational), is that there innately exists light in the Word of God. Those who diligently seek Him there, which may include any of a dozen approaches (singing, praying, reading, studying, musing, testifying, conversing with others, etc) will find that the light comes.

If you look at the Great Awakening and the Wesleyan Revival, those preachers didn't really follow the "charismatic" formula (though some of their contemporaries, notably Whitefield, did). What they did was present a compelling thought-reality derived from the Word which challenged the seemingly impregnable constructions already in place (the hyper-Calvinism of the "Old Lights" in New England and the essentially pre-Reformation Church-ism of the Anglicans), which alternative reality caused the hearers to have emotional responses (weeping, shouting, etc).

My simple point here is this: it's okay to be logical. To be rational. To think. If you do this while abiding in the Word of God you may get taken somewhere special. Your emotions will follow. And the "charismatic" experience which once caught your soul finds its proper place, as part of the human experience. Look at the disciples in the NT: how many times it says, "and they were astonished beyond measure". It's okay to be amazed. But don't yield your God-given faculties. Because God isn't done speaking, in His Word, and we need all of our faculties at our disposal. Not just some of them.

My testimony, and living, is arguably just as "jumbled and confused" as yours or someone else's, even after posting my thoughts here for a while. But I remain firmly convinced that there is a rational part of us, that we need to cultivate even as we admit that it's not fully formed (it is distorted by deep, un-expressed forces that emerge, behaviorally, as sin). The charismatic experience submerges that part of us improperly. At first it feels good, like the first euphoria we felt when drinking booze. But eventually it becomes a snare. We chase the "high" of experience even when other parts of us are crying for attention.

Part of my recovering rationality, here, was admitting that my thoughts were not always clear, trustworthy, and wise (other posters helped point this out!). It allowed me to go back to the Word, anew, and find Christ again. For me that was sort of like Robert Frost's "road less travelled". It made all the difference. There is emotion in the Word, but it is of the heart of God. Love, truth, patience, forgiveness (and yes, holiness and righteousness). In the person of Jesus Christ we can see logic untrammeled by emotional neediness. We see emotions from the Father's heart. Etc. To me this has become the basis for everything. And I'm just beginning, I know this. But it's every bit as compelling as an LC conference with all the pomp and emotionalism ("we need to see this", and "we must do that") And really, it's all been part of the same journey.

As Yoda said, "Trust the force, Luke."
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Old 02-08-2015, 06:39 AM   #7
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Aron, thanks for that eminently thoughtful post. Believe it or not, I was just thinking about that very subject of the charismatic experience this morning. There is definitely something there. The problem is that, as you detailed above, it was/is thoroughly abused within the LC. I don't think today's LC is totally different from the one you remember, although perhaps a bit more structured. When I went to conferences and such, those who went up to testify were encouraged to basically repeat ver batim points from the Witness Lee-authored and Blended Brother-regurgitated outlines, but we were supposed to do it while "touching our spirit".

I actually think there is something to this whole "touching our spirit" and knowing what the spirit is. After all, John and Paul could both clearly discern their spirit. But the problem is that W. Lee basically just said it was enough to be "in spirit" (which I assume is the basic premise of charismatic teachings). But what does the Bible say: discern every spirit. Just because you are "in spirit" does not mean you are contacting the spirit of God. I remember that a sister in the LC once remarked to me that she was glad she couldn't literally "see" the spiritual scenery around her because the spiritual warfare would undoubtedly terrify her. Now a part of me shudders to think of this statement, because I think the spiritually scenery within the LC would indeed be terrifying, considering that LC is basically the North Korea of Christiandom.

Anyway, I agree with you and also want to develop this kind of fellowship with others. Charismatic experiences may be beneficial but they really need to be tempered with discernment or you'll inevitably end up with outcomes such as the LC, Branch Davidians, etc.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:08 AM   #8
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Awoken ... the truth shall set you free.
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:12 AM   #9
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Awoken ... the truth shall set you free.
I agree, but that's a pretty vague statement without any supporting context, and the medium we're using to communicate with each other doesn't help much with that. Could you clarify?

(I feel like I could be taking this in an over-defensive/passive-aggressive way when that was probably not how it was actually intended.)
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:41 PM   #10
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Hi bro a Awoken. I'm basically a newby here, but I've been a believer for a long time and have spent the last 8 or so months leaving the so-called Lord's recovery along with my family. The Lord really can use all things. He used the LRC to bring me back to a focus on Jesus as my wonderful Savior. Oh how wonderful it was to be saved from drugs and certain suicide in 1970! Oh how wonderful a Savior is He!
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:46 AM   #11
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I agree, but that's a pretty vague statement without any supporting context, and the medium we're using to communicate with each other doesn't help much with that. Could you clarify?

(I feel like I could be taking this in an over-defensive/passive-aggressive way when that was probably not how it was actually intended.)
While I agree that the response might be more like what Pontius Pilate said "what is truth?" I do think that if you begin to look at the source of the statement and not only the single verse, but its surroundings you might begin to see what it could mean.

Jesus said "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." So we see that the truth will set you free. But first you have to come to know the truth. And the truth is not simply found in digging around in the Bible, or even in this forum. It comes as a result of holding to Jesus' teaching.

So where are Jesus' teachings and what are they? Love God. Love others (all others even the unlovable and the willful sinners). Pursue righteousness (hunger and thirst for it). Seek first the kingdom of God.

Nowhere does it say to wait for enough dispensing. Even abiding has a predecessor (read the whole passages in John, not just the key verses or parts of verses).

This is far from a complete listing of what brings the truth. But as it comes, it will set you free. Free from condemnation by God or by man. Free from bondage to sin. Free from the bondage to wrong beliefs about God and the church. It will not be overnight. Even if you leave the Local Churches, whay they taught will not leave you as quickly. You will be finding its influences for a long time. I was there for 14.5 years and now almost twice that long later I still find little bits in my thinking.
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:57 AM   #12
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Default The captivity of the charismatic experience

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I believe it was because of the weakening of the soul, by the so-called charismatic experience. We didn't practice tongues in LC meetings, but the shouting, repetitive chanting, arm-waving, jumping up and down, running around, yelling at each other, hysterical screaming, weeping, etc was so sensorily overwhelming that the natural defenses simply collapsed. Then, if they said something like, "The age of spiritual giants is over" and now we have to gather in memory of the last "giant" Witness Lee, we'd do it. Even if it really made no sense, historically, culturally, scripturally, logically.
Great points aron. I was "caught" in 1976 in a gospel meeting in Cleveland where I was encouraged to stand with others and "release my spirit." That night changed my life.

That event, in and of itself, was spiritual, healthy, reviving, and positive in every way. I stood up, shouted praises to my Savior, pumped my fist, lost my face, and was completely filled with the Spirit of God. That one "charismatic" experience shaped my entire life. Had I sat on my seat clinging to embarrassment, a very real possibility, I would have left that meeting in shame, and never gone back.

So far so good. I wish every young believer would have such a dramatic infilling, overwhelming experience of Jesus. And I was not alone. Many other young people like myself were similarly caught since back in the days at Elden hall. What subsequently happened to many of us, and not just to me in Ohio, became destructive to our life-long walk with the Lord -- Witness Lee took credit for what happened. Over time, Lee and his cohorts convinced us that he alone was responsible for our being filled with the Spirit.

Think about the consequences of that delusion. Lee was now indispensible to our experiences of salvation, and should we ever leave him, we were "wrecked" for life. It would be nearly impossible to continue our Christian life with another church without Lee.

For me, this explains why so many ex-LCers leave the faith when leaving the LC. Our Christian life had been improperly defined according to some charismatic "high," and Lee was the "reason for that season." We may have left the LC's due to their unbearable hypocrisy, yet we may still be convinced that the joys of our faith were inextricably tied to Lee and his ministry. Not able to live out the rest of our lives with such joyless failure, many of us become willing to look anywhere else for it. It's not easy to live out one's life being hounded by the memories of being a dismal failure and leaving "God's eternal purpose."
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Old 02-09-2015, 07:26 AM   #13
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Great points aron. I was "caught" in 1976 in a gospel meeting in Cleveland where I was encouraged to stand with others and "release my spirit." That night changed my life.

That event, in and of itself, was spiritual, healthy, reviving, and positive in every way. I stood up, shouted praises to my Savior, pumped my fist, lost my face, and was completely filled with the Spirit of God. That one "charismatic" experience shaped my entire life. Had I sat on my seat clinging to embarrassment, a very real possibility, I would have left that meeting in shame, and never gone back.

. . . .

Our Christian life had been improperly defined according to some charismatic "high," and Lee was the "reason for that season."
It would be easy to understand these two parts as in contradiction to each other. But they are not, except for what is behind them.

Ohio's first experience was an encounter with Christ. But over time, those encounters were replaced, both currently and somewhat by attribution to the past, as being encounters with the truth being taught by Lee. Oh, there was some truth in it, but it was the "by Lee" part that was preeminent. It overshadowed even the real experience of Christ. We began to attribute its source to the teachings we got from Lee rather than the Christ who is the only possible source. And once those were surrounded by false "experiences" that did simply come from Lee, it is nothing short of a mess. You can never deny the real experience. But it is sometimes so hard to find amidst the faux experiences and is even seen differently because of the faux experiences. (Of course the experience is never faux or false. But what we attribute it to may be.)
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:31 AM   #14
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We began to attribute its source to the teachings we got from Lee rather than the Christ who is the only possible source. And once those were surrounded by false "experiences" that did simply come from Lee, it is nothing short of a mess. You can never deny the real experience. But it is sometimes so hard to find amidst the faux experiences and is even seen differently because of the faux experiences. (Of course the experience is never faux or false. But what we attribute it to may be.)
These are great points, which I personally feel are very important for ex-members to realize. If we cannot identify who must get the glory in our life, then we will forever live in confusion. Awoken realized this when reading about the 1986 "Loyalty to Lee" allegiance letter. He should also take note of how Lee's loyal sycophants pressured and threatened many into signing it.

Regardless of what current leaders preach, Lee loved the glory of men. As with our politicians, don't tell me what they said, because I only pay attention to what they do. Lee, like the Pharisees and Politicians, taught one thing and did something else.
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Old 02-09-2015, 09:39 AM   #15
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Lee, like the Pharisees and Politicians, taught one thing and did something else.
Are you saying that Lee was happy to put burdens on his followers that he could not bear himself?

I'm shocked!! (NOT!)
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Old 02-09-2015, 01:35 PM   #16
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Gold teeth and a curse for this town were all in my mouth.
Only I don't know how they got out, dear.
Turn me back into the pet I was when we met.
I was happier then with no mind-set.

And if you'd 'a took to me like a gull takes to the wind.
Well, I'd 'a jumped from my tree
And I'd 'a danced like the king of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would 'a fared well.

New slang when you notice the stripes, the dirt in your fries.
Hope it's right when you die, old and bony.
Dawn breaks like a bull through the hall,
Never should have called
But my head's to the wall and I'm lonely.

And if you'd 'a took to me like a gull takes to the wind.
Well, I'd 'a jumped from my tree
And I'd 'a danced like the king of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would 'a fared well.

God speed all the bakers at dawn
May they all cut their thumbs,
And bleed into their buns 'til they melt away.

I'm looking in on the good life I might be doomed never to find.
Without a trust or flaming fields am I too dumb to refine?

And if you'd 'a took to me like
I'd 'a danced like the queen of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would 'a fared well.
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Old 02-10-2015, 12:16 PM   #17
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Regardless of what current leaders preach, Lee loved the glory of men. As with our politicians, don't tell me what they said, because I only pay attention to what they do. Lee, like the Pharisees and Politicians, taught one thing and did something else.
Reading your post Ohio reminded me of an account from the late 70's. When the Max/Sal tapes were being circulated, Witness Lee identified one brother as being the source....so he sent John Ingalls to give a word to the brother. The brother told John if Witness Lee wants to tell him something, Witness Lee can tell him in person...Needless to say nothing further happened.
My point like Pharisees and Politicians, Lee kept his hands clean from any direct involvement.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:41 PM   #18
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Reading your post Ohio reminded me of an account from the late 70's. When the Max/Sal tapes were being circulated, Witness Lee identified one brother as being the source....so he sent John Ingalls to give a word to the brother. The brother told John if Witness Lee wants to tell him something, Witness Lee can tell him in person...Needless to say nothing further happened.
My point like Pharisees and Politicians, Lee kept his hands clean from any direct involvement.
Yeah, I remember telling someone, "If he wants to say something to me, he can say it to my face."

The response was just a smile, because of course that was not going to happen. Indirect/proxy communication is just part of their culture...not interested in dialogue...
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Old 02-12-2015, 07:34 AM   #19
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I believe it was because of the weakening of the soul, by the so-called charismatic experience. We didn't practice tongues in LC meetings, but the shouting, repetetive chanting, arm-waving, jumping up and down, running around, yelling at each other, hysterical screaming, weeping, etc was so sensorily overwhelming that the natural defenses simply collapsed.
Question: why the high? Why does God give us the overwhelming experience? "His glory broke upon us when we saw Him in the church"...? Why does God use this experience? And how do we tell the real one from the counterfeit? How do we 'scan' the spirit in question?

Certainly there is the ecstasy presented. The day of Pentecost was a real phenomenon, shared by many, viewed by others, dutifully recorded by the careful scribe Luke. but why the ecstasy?

To answer that, as well as address the issue of "real vs. counterfeit", look at Paul's words: "Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled in Spirit". The "being filled in Spirit" is analogous to the physical "being drunk with wine"; both are euphoric experiences. Pain is gone, fear vanishes, worry and anxiety and resentments flee as if they never existed. A great sense of peace, well-being, joy, love, pervade the human "vessel".

Then, the bright cloud passes, and the initiate is left where they were, with nought but the memory. They begin to chase the high, just like a crack addict or a meth head. Looking for the next hit.

All well and good. That is arguably a characterization of the Christian journey. "Wait in Jerusalem" until the Spirit comes, then revel in ecstasy, then off to find the next high.

Lee caught us in this paradigm, I argue. He made his ministry the source of the high. But the only one getting high was him. Selling books. Later, coffee mugs, posters, and so forth. If he'd been smart, he would have put a few outlines on the side of his Daystar motor homes, and sold them as spiritual wares. "Daystar for America". Tell people you'll become God, driving around the interstates.
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Old 02-12-2015, 07:53 AM   #20
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Question: why the high? Why does God give us the overwhelming experience? "His glory broke upon us when we saw Him in the church"...? Why does God use this experience? And how do we tell the real one from the counterfeit? How do we 'scan' the spirit in question?

Certainly there is the ecstasy presented. The day of Pentecost was a real phenomenon, shared by many, viewed by others, dutifully recorded by the careful scribe Luke. but why the ecstasy?

To answer that, as well as address the issue of "real vs. counterfeit", look at Paul's words: "Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled in Spirit". The "being filled in Spirit" is analogous to the physical "being drunk with wine"; both are euphoric experiences. Pain is gone, fear vanishes, worry and anxiety and resentments flee as if they never existed. A great sense of peace, well-being, joy, love, pervade the human "vessel".

Then, the bright cloud passes, and the initiate is left where they were, with nought but the memory. They begin to chase the high, just like a crack addict or a meth head. Looking for the next hit.

All well and good. That is arguably a characterization of the Christian journey. "Wait in Jerusalem" until the Spirit comes, then revel in ecstasy, then off to find the next high.
I'm not so sure about the conclusion implied in your initial question.

Sure I got those highs too, actually power rushes up the back of my head. They were as good as any I had with drugs. Whew! that felt good! out of sight! and I'm completely straight!

After being saved, I never lived for the next high. They were just an incredible confirmation of how real Jesus was. He was a life giving spirit. And how!

I have met many Christians who never had the ecstasy. Some were so mental about the Lord, it was unbearable. The early disciples were not that way. Their Jesus was alive. They were witnesses of the resurrected Christ. They walked by the Spirit. Jesus was real to them. But I doubt if they lived for the next high.
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Old 02-12-2015, 09:33 AM   #21
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I'm not so sure about the conclusion implied in your initial question....The early disciples were not that way... Their Jesus was alive... I doubt if they lived for the next high.
Let me re-cast my poorly presented argument. First some background, then an observation, then a hypothesis.

I had a substance-abuse issue, before becoming a Christian, even after trying to become a Christian. One time I remember telling a pastor in a Charismatic group of my difficulties, and he said that I needed to get "baptized in the Spirit", so after the meeting they all laid hands on me and I waited for the power rush. Nothing. I remember one of the people around me saying, essentially, "Oogah boogah boogah!!" (they practiced speaking in tongues). I never heard any language like that. Didn't sound like an angel either.

Eventually I had my baptism of the Spirit in the Local Church, yelling O LORD JEEEEZUSSS!!! and so forth. Wow - problems all gone!! Spirit arrived! Wonderful! Like Awoken I eventually found myself dry, and once again struggling with old behaviors. The Local Church elders didn't really want to engage it on face value. They typically waved it off. They didn't want to hear about it. Not part of the plan. (Maybe that's why they want "good building materials. No problems to deal with).

Years later, I was reading of the "New Apostolic Reformation", and watching videos of the glassy-eyed parishoners lining up to be "slain" by the touch of the so-called apostle, and I began to wonder if this was a similar phenomenon. Certainly the some of the "new apostles" I viewed, and read about, were hucksters: manufacturing "experiences" for the gullible. I could see that. Some of course may be real, but a LOT of it really got my "counterfeit alerts" buttons flashing. They did an abysmal job presenting the Word of God, they were proclaiming "riches" in the material sense, they manipulated "healing", they would make "oracular" pronouncements based on nothing but a feeling they had. Subjective, anyone? Some of them were caught in gross sin. But they couldn't stop being "apostles"!! They were hooked on the rush of being "the man", so they'd go find a new group to stand in front of. And still the sheep would line up... amazing.

So I got thinking, why would God allow these overwhelming experiences? The OT has some variant of "then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily", and the NT has variants thereof also. Even Jesus, they said of Him, "He is beside himself" (Mark 3:21). The ecstatic experience has its place, but what is its purpose? So I proffered a hypothesis: that is God's incentive for us to keep going. To get through the "dry" patches. "We were eyewitnesses of His glory", wrote the apostle John - he never forgot it. We (I hypothesize) want "the bright cloud of glory", and apparently God wants it for us, too.

But the merchandisers usurp that craving and package and sell counterfeits. Eventually we settle for a coffee mug or a poster on the wall. A talisman of the experience, long since passed.
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Old 02-12-2015, 09:50 AM   #22
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Default Re: The captivity of the charismatic experience

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Question: why the high? Why does God give us the overwhelming experience? "His glory broke upon us when we saw Him in the church"...? Why does God use this experience? And how do we tell the real one from the counterfeit? How do we 'scan' the spirit in question?
Maybe the question really is . . . .
"Does God give us the overwhelming experience?"
Is the fact that it is overwhelming often a sign? One that says "BEWARE!!"

Just another question.

And is the idea that there should be the highs the reason that we are now having problems with the "dullness" of Christianity. And think that the older traditions and liturgies are simply "dead religion." Just because they don't give you overwhelming experiences.
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Old 02-12-2015, 03:34 PM   #23
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Well I admit my bias up front. I found a kind of bustling excitement in the Local Church Movement (LCM) that I didn't get at Podunk Community Church. Instead of marking time, it seemed like a happening place. Certainly meetings were engrossing. A lot of singing, declaring, praying, loud "amens".

But over time it waned for me. I began to see that problems weren't getting addressed. Just shout "O Lord Jesus" and everything will be resolved. Judging others who were not in "the Recovery" - that started to bother me. Being alienated from other believers, assuming that they were all "darkened". Lack of care for those who need, both within and without. Elevating of men. Quarreling with other ministries. Etc.

And the excitement, looking back, began to appear shallow and contrived. Like those people at the Charismatic revival meeting: they're excited because they are supposed to be excited. But there's really nothing behind it besides some crass manipulations and people allowing themselves to get sucked in.

Today I was thinking about how this works in the world. Everybody is looking for something new, and exciting. Something to get worked up over. The entertainment producers constantly are trying to come up with something that appears novel, even if its really the same old schtick. The teeny boppers who faint in front of Frank Sinatra, shriek in front of the Beatles, or squeal when Justin Bieber points at them during a show are fully convinced that their experience is unique, when its actually a repetition. It's the same old contrived hokum, but people want it so they invest themselves.

Anyway, I'm just considering the spiritual corollary, that the counterfeit excitement of the flesh and euphoria of the soul has some counterpart behind the veil. Like Moses when he was the lost sheep-seeker - he was a failure by most accounts, having once been a prince of Egypt. Now he was semi-destitute, and an alien in a strange land. But he was determined to find that missing sheep, and God saw something good there. Moses suddenly saw a novel sight that made him turn aside. I was just thinking of the God who places "signs and wonders" in front of us, to turn us from our way. The "charismatic" experience seems to be related to this phenomenon, in some way. But chasing spiritual highs as an end in themselves, or signs and wonders as evidences of God's continued favor, becomes yet another illusion.

Certainly Lee was aware of the need to continually produce novelty. And he tried. But we have a God who is always new. We don't need to do anything.
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Old 02-13-2015, 07:48 AM   #24
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Everyone wants excitement. It's one reason romantic love is so popular with the masses. But romantic love is not the glue that holds good society together. Another more basic, quieter, perhaps more mundane love does that.

I've long appreciated C.S. Lewis's wisdom when it comes to love. He noted that the raging fire of initial romantic love (which husbands are constantly chided for losing) is unsustainable, and fortunately so, because it would burn us out. In its place, rather, grows a humbler tender affection and appreciation which, from time to time, fittingly blazes back into the old fire.

LCers, to use the analogy, were always trying to pump up the "romance" while disregarding the more common, everyday affections which actually constitute a loving life. They burned themselves out and never found comfort in the pace of a more mature married life with the Lord. That's why they are always hearkening back to the "good old days."

Like someone said, life is a marathon, not a sprint. LCers were always trying to turn it back into a sprint.
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:08 AM   #25
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Like someone said, life is a marathon, not a sprint. LCers were always trying to turn it back into a sprint.
To go back to my analogy of popular culture, it's like a Justin Bieber concert. They want to whip you into a frenzy. Then, when you're unstable and easily suggestive, they tell you you're becoming God, by your yelling and shaking.

Folks, life is not a techno concert. At some point you have to stop taking ecstasy, turn down the lights and volume, go out and get a job, pay the rent, and stand in line at the Kroger. (Actually God occasionally likes yelling and shaking. Look at those whom Jesus touched! Many made quite a fuss -- "Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion! For great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." But what are you seeking: the kingdom or some kind of psychic rush?)
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:00 AM   #26
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Like someone said, life is a marathon, not a sprint. LCers were always trying to turn it back into a sprint.
In other words, LC leaders were always willing to sacrifice the long-term profit for some quick and easy short term gain. But, what the heck, if Jesus is really coming tomorrow, wouldn't He overlook a few shortcuts on our part in order to "gain Christ."
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:22 PM   #27
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This discussion really hits the nail on the head for me. Reestablishing balance after participating in this kind of organization does take time. It takes a few years. But it does happen sooner or later, methinks.

To the discussion of spiritual "highs" and "burning" zealousness, I would add the "revolving door" dynamic in the recovery. By "revolving door," I mean the tendency for people (especially young people) to fade away from the "church life," and then return to the meetings, where fanfare and emotional consecrations await. And how many times does this cycle then repeat itself...

This in-and-out cycle is part of the paradigm many of us were caught in. And I think it's just one more aspect for us to unlearn. Because it's not balanced.
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Old 02-18-2015, 05:17 AM   #28
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... how many times does this cycle then repeat itself...

This in-and-out cycle is part of the paradigm many of us were caught in. And I think it's just one more aspect for us to unlearn. Because it's not balanced.
Yes -- if you get a kid to cry for his sins at age 12 or 13, and to scream loudly at age 14 or 15, then you have an emotional "hook" in them. Then, they may eventually get sick of all the fakery and quit, but quit to what? They find unanswered questions and contradictions in "the world"; without oversight they're lured into sin-binging in the lusts of the flesh; they chase empty pursuits, dawdle in loneliness... then the 20-something comes back to LC meetings and tries a fresh consecration. As if the fault, originally, had been with themselves! They confess that they'd been too immature to get the rich ministry of the age. So they plunge back into the church life, for a time...

Like a druggie who couldn't handle the sickness of it all, and quit. "For good, this time"... Then, they couldn't handle life on life's terms, so back to the drugs, for temporary relief. Again and again, like Charlie Brown, and Lucy putting the football in front of him. "This time it will be different"...

LC kids are arguably ill-equipped to handle life apart from the LSM ministry/LC church life crutches. So even if they have the impression that it's not "the glorious church life", what are they going to do? Where's a better alternative? They don't have any search strategies in place. Certainly LSM constantly negates any searching, because "you are home in the LC" and everything else is constantly criticized as empty or worse. So, they go back to the LC. Try again.

I think the "Charismatic experience" deeply reinforces this. If you can get them psychically "high" (read, "burning in spirit") then the roller-coaster will always lure them back. Doesn't matter if the Maximum Brother is corrupted, if the elders are yes-men and lackeys, if the "ministry" is recycled endlessly, if the true history is whispered and covered up. Where else are you gonna go to get high?
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Old 02-18-2015, 09:49 PM   #29
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I think the "Charismatic experience" deeply reinforces this. If you can get them psychically "high" (read, "burning in spirit") then the roller-coaster will always lure them back. Doesn't matter if the Maximum Brother is corrupted, if the elders are yes-men and lackeys, if the "ministry" is recycled endlessly, if the true history is whispered and covered up. Where else are you gonna go to get high?
Yes. It becomes a false choice.
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Old 02-18-2015, 09:49 PM   #30
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Yes. It becomes a false choice.
But a compelling one.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:23 AM   #31
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Hi fellow Christians,
I posted this topic when I was lost and in a very dark place. The Lord, in His mercy, has recovered me. For anyone who comes across this, may the Lord be with you, and I pray that you are not stumbled by what you find here. This place is a trash heap of nonsense. Nothing good grows on this tree. Grace be with you, the Lord is faithful to those who are called according to His purpose. I will not return here. May you all be turned back to the Lord and recovered. He is love, and there is no darkness in Him.

Much grace,
A saved brother.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:54 AM   #32
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Awoken,

I am so happy that the Lord has recovered you! I only wish you could have shared the good news without going with the "trash heap of nonsense" blast. That puts a little damper on the whole sharing in your joy kind of thing. Why must Local Churchers always feel the need to burn their neighbors house down, thinking that it will make theirs look better?

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Old 09-06-2019, 01:13 PM   #33
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Awoken,

I am so happy that the Lord has recovered you! I only wish you could have shared the good news without going with the "trash heap of nonsense" blast. That puts a little damper on the whole sharing in your joy kind of thing. Why must Local Churchers always feel the need to burn their neighbors house down, thinking that it will make theirs look better?

-
I guess he got woke.
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Old 09-06-2019, 02:32 PM   #34
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Awoken,

I am so happy that the Lord has recovered you! I only wish you could have shared the good news without going with the "trash heap of nonsense" blast. That puts a little damper on the whole sharing in your joy kind of thing. Why must Local Churchers always feel the need to burn their neighbors house down, thinking that it will make theirs look better?

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I'm curious to know if Awoken is referring to his post or this forum being "a trash heap of nonsense."
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:57 PM   #35
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Ahhhhhh.....this thread is the perfect example of the LC. Awoken comes here during a hard time, he receives support and sympathetic responses, only for him to return years later to spit on our faces.

May we be turned BACK to the Lord and be recovered? Yikes......talk about condescending. It seems you have drunk the lie once again that you can only follow the Lord in the LCs.

You're right He is love. That's how we know your parting post was not of Him. You are right there is no darkness in Him. But there's a whole lot of darkness in the local churches. Search YouTube for hallmarks of spiritually abusive groups.

Thanks for providing such a clear example of why so many leave "the recovery".

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Old 09-07-2019, 02:08 AM   #36
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In LC terms, Awoken has been 'shepherded' and 'detoxified' and the 'poison' has been flushed out.. We can sense the extent of the 'love-bombing' carried out
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:37 AM   #37
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Default Re: Waking Up

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In LC terms, Awoken has been 'shepherded' and 'detoxified' and the 'poison' has been flushed out.. We can sense the extent of the 'love-bombing' carried out
I have always felt that actual personal pain is needed in order to leave the LC's, otherwise their program has sufficient "vaccinations" and "antioxidants" to protect its members from "illness." For many members, the pride of belonging and LC friendships far outweigh any intestinal "irregularities."

The mission of this forum, contrary to any LSM speculations, is not to take down the LC's. That is actually what LSM attempted to do to some Midwest LC's. The mission here is only to provide information and support for those in contact with the movement.

As such, Awoken can "Love it or Leave it." That is his choice, and all of us here are fine with that.
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Old 09-07-2019, 03:24 PM   #38
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Default Re: Waking Up

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I have always felt that actual personal pain is needed in order to leave the LC's, otherwise their program has sufficient "vaccinations" and "antioxidants" to protect its members from "illness."
You probably hit the nail on the head. Sounds like Awoken met a crossroad where he had to choose between the red pill and the blue pill and he perhaps, unfortunately, decided on the latter.

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

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The red pill, together with its opposite, the blue pill, is a popular cultural meme, a metaphor representing a choice between the "red pill", representing a life of harsh knowledge, desperate freedom, and the brutal truths of reality, and the "blue pill", representing a life of luxurious security, tranquil happiness, and the blissful ignorance of the harsh realities of life, basking in an (essentially dishonest) illusion. The terms, popularized in science fiction culture, are directly derived from a scene in the 1999 film The Matrix.
Many of us who have left the LSM matrix have experienced some degree of loneliness, mental anguish and lingering torment, but perhaps it's just the small price we had to pay for freedom.
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:53 PM   #39
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Default Re: Waking Up

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You probably hit the nail on the head. Sounds like Awoken met a crossroad where he had to choose between the red pill and the blue pill and he perhaps, unfortunately, decided on the latter.

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

Many of us who have left the LSM matrix have experienced some degree of loneliness, mental anguish and lingering torment, but perhaps it's just the small price we had to pay for freedom.
BearBear, it's great to see you again!
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