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Old 03-27-2014, 09:29 AM   #1
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Default History of Recovery in the USA

Steve Isitt's History of the Lord’s Recovery in the U. S. (Part 1)


1. The Beginning of the Church Life: In 1962 the church life in the Lord’s recovery had already begun, but accelerated markedly with the arrival of brother Witness Lee who was fully charged and burdened by the Lord to minister the word of God in this country. He testified that he came with a “particular commission to bring the Lord’s recovery to the top Christian country”. The response to his ministry in the United States was immediate and many left secure jobs and moved long distances to partake of the church life in Los Angeles.

2. The Catalyst for Coming to the U.S.: Although Brother Lee testified that he was commissioned by the Lord to come to the U. S., there were serious issues between him and churches in the Far East that were a catalyst for his coming here. In the late fifties he had created a major problem to the church in Taipei through business failures involving investments from the saints, and his oldest son, Timothy, and he lost a lot of money. This brought a financial crisis to the church in Taipei. All the donations from the church members were used to pay the debt incurred, and still a large amount of money was owed. Due to the desperate situation, Brother Lee coerced the elders to sell a piece of land belonging to the church in order to pay the debt. Because of that action many coworkers and church members were especially unhappy with the debacle. That piece of land had been bought by the church to build a training center and a new meeting place. Brother Lee knew that what he did was wrong and left for the West Coast of the United States in 1960.

After Brother Lee left Taiwan, the church coworkers formed two sides. One side was Brother Lee’s strong followers, while the other group had questions about some of his activities. Those two groups had a strong difference of opinion, which greatly affected the church life and made the work of the church difficult to carry out. Eventually, some of the coworkers who were followers of Brother Lee asked him to come back to Taiwan to resolve differences. In the summer of 1965, Brother Lee came back to Taipei. He decided to get rid of those coworkers who disagreed with him. Consequently, there were thousands of people who left the church. At that time almost 30% of the regular members left, a most serious situation being that about 80-90% of the young members who were college students left the church. Brother Lee’s action in 1965 has been referred to as a “cleansing massacre” to get the church to line up with him only. Others feel that it was a necessary move. At any rate Brother Lee came back to the U. S. and the saints in Taipei were left to pick up the pieces and begin to rebuild.

In other matters in the Far East, toward the end of the 1950’s co-workers in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia had serious differences with Brother Lee because of the absolute authority he exercised, which was hard for them to take. Everything was dictated by him, and he would not take any input from others. It was a “my way or the highway attitude”, according to one brother. In addition some of the affluent church members were very unhappy about his handling of the financial matters. This was due to the fact that a lot of the money had been contributed by them, and Brother Lee handled the finances according to his own thought. The co-workers did not feel they could trust him anymore and because of the differences they had with him they split up.

As Brother Lee left Taiwan in 1960 for the U. S., the church work there was in serious disarray. Also the Philippines work was split off. The Philippines was very important to Brother Lee and several well-to-do church members supported the church there financially over the years. Manila, however, decided to sever relationships with Brother Lee totally in 1960. (Concerning the Philippines and finances, Brother Lee was nearly arrested at the Manila airport for trying to smuggle a gold bar out of the country. He received a warning only, because of his good reputation in the country.)

3. Brother Lee Admits to Mistakes:
Even though it is not common to point to Brother Lee’s mistakes, he himself did so, saying, “I have made many mistakes; even some big mistakes” (Eph. L. S., p. 279, 1978). When he came to the West Coast, Brother Lee knew about some mistakes he made in the Far East. To repeat, when Brother Lee left Taiwan to go to the U.S. in 1960, it was not really that he went there to open up a new land for the Lord’s recovery. Rather, it was because of his own personal failure in Taiwan that he escaped to the U.S. Originally, his stay in the U. S. was due to his strained relationships in Taipei and in other Far East churches.

4. Brothers’ Request in L. A. and Problems in Taipei: In 1962 Brother Lee set up another business for Timothy, at the Seattle World’s Fair. When the Fair was over Brother Lee desired to go back to Taipei but with the problems he had there and with the developments that were taking place in Los Angeles, he did not go back. The brothers in Los Angeles had asked him to give them a conference and out of those meetings they begged him to move to Los Angeles. He did take up residence in L. A., since he really could not go back to Taipei.

5. Brother Lee Repents: Don Hardy felt that the reason Witness Lee had such impact in the U. S. in the sixties was because he had deeply repented of his wrongdoings and was a cleansed vessel to begin his rich ministry of the word in this country. Paul Ma testified to the brothers that Brother Lee spent many hours of prayerful repenting while traveling with him in the early sixties in the U. S. He was seen in the corner of a motel room praying “Lord, have mercy”, “Lord have mercy”, over and over for a long period of time.

6. Witness Lee’s Main Burden: Brother Lee’s main spiritual burden in the U.S. was to reveal Christ as the life-giving Spirit with all His unsearchable riches. This burden began to be discharged in the first conference meetings held in the United States in 1962 in the home of Jim and Betty Reetzke. The All-Inclusive Christ came out of that conference. His focus during the early years was on the experience of Christ as life for the building up of the church.

7. Concern for Weakness in Brother Lee: In 1966 Samuel Chang revealed to a young prospective elder, Don Hardy, his serious concern for Brother Lee and a weakness in his character related to his son, Timothy, and all his seven children. Don was exhorted to keep the matter covered much in prayer. Samuel’s concern was well-founded given the record of the extent Brother Lee would go for his son, Timothy, at the expense of others and the church. His word to Don portended for far more serious developments in the future with Timothy Lee and another son, Philip, who were made heads of businesses for Brother Lee, involving the saints.
What provoked Samuel Chang to speak to Don Hardy as he did was that the meeting place of the church in Los Angeles was being used by Brother Lee to store the stock of unsold expensive suits and shirts left over from his World’s Fair business with Timothy. This was a source of irritation and concern to Samuel.

7.7. Revival in Los Angeles:
In 1969 a revival occurred in the church in Los Angeles that brought in a steady stream of new ones from L. A. and from all around the country, the number of church members growing to over 1000 saints.

8. Migrations: In 1970 migrations went out to Seattle, Chicago, and Atlanta.

9. More Migrations: In 1972 migrations went out to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Phoenix.

10. A Spirit of Migration: In 1973 migrations went out to Minneapolis and Milwaukee. There was a spirit of migration in the recovery and the air was filled with much anticipation and hope as all the churches were “standing on the ground of oneness in the Lord” in their locality and for “the Lord’s recovery of the city and the earth”. Conferences were held frequently around the country by Brother Lee, with only one essential message being given to the saints: to eat and drink Christ for the building up of the church. Life and building was the great theme in the local churches, and eating was “the way”.

11. Reading Material and Impact: Reading material in the sixties and early seventies were the books, booklets and magazine that came from the Stream Publishers, such as The Glorious Church, Release of the Spirit, and Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee and The All-Inclusive Christ, God’s Economy, Vision of God’s Building, and Christ vs Religion by Witness Lee, which had great impact on those who read them. The Stream magazine came out quarterly with rich, nourishing spiritual food for the saints to enjoy and to attract the seeking ones. The Generation was published by younger people for a seeking generation of young people across the country.

12. Daystar Venture: In 1972 a luxury motor home business called Daystar was launched by Brother Lee for his son, Timothy, and also for the saints in the local churches to invest in. The business was presented as a way to pay for migrations and meeting halls and further the Lord’s purpose (while at the same time benefiting his profligate son immensely who was made the president of Daystar). The venture needed huge monetary investments from the saints.

12.5 Timothy Lee Life-Style: Timothy indulged himself in sinful living and boasted of having a woman in every major city in the world (and he was a married man at that). On the Daystar project he was known to have had a prostitute stay with him at the living quarters near the plant in Taipei. Brothers were appalled, to say the least. No action was taken by his father.

13. Training Fees Used to Payoff Daystar Debt
: In 1974 the Daystar business failed. The business plan had been poorly conceived; the motor home was too heavy; the interior was very expensive to build; and the gas crisis of 1973 was the final nail in the coffin to cause the business to fail and file for bankruptcy. Many saints lost money, some forfeiting their life-savings and many becoming disillusioned to the point of leaving the church. Brother Lee found himself in a financial crisis because some of the saints wanted to sue him and the corporation. To help himself he asked Max Rappoport to make a request of the elders to ask the saints in their localities to waive Brother Lee’s debt to them. Many of them did so. Max did so. Ones who were quite angry and wanted their money back, typically, got paid. Philip Lee, another of Brother Lee’s sons, also helped out in the crisis by proposing that fees be charged to the saints who attended the two LSM semi-annual trainings, which some suspect were initially begun for the sake of raising money to pay off Daystar debt. Charging “donation” fees began to be practiced to the dismay of elders close to Brother Lee, who did not agree that money should be procured from the saints who came to the trainings to hear the word of God. But there was nothing they could do. These funds were collected by LSM, not the church, and were indeed used to pay off Daystar debts, whether or not that was the primary reason to begin the trainings.

14. Daystar Illegalities: When the Daystar corporation was set up, a way to sell shares to the saints was not properly established and was in violation of federal SEC regulations. Terry Risenhoover, a brother in the church in Oklahoma City at the time, and the Daystar accountant, told a brother of the illegal situation. When word of this got to James Barber, the lead elder in OKC, Terry was given the choice to repent or be excommunicated. He stayed with the truth and was excommunicated. These violations of the law could have brought criminal penalties to Witness Lee and others in the failed business. Terry thought the violations were due to a cavalier attitude in the principals that “we are above the law” and also a matter of their ignorance about certain matters. An attorney brother conferred with Terry about the illegalities. The treasurer, Max Rappoport, was asked by Philip Lee to make major changes to the tax information to be reported to IRS. Max was amazed at this.

14.5 Anaheim Hall Built in Violations of Law and Discretion: In the early 1970’s land was secured for the building of the Anaheim meeting hall. Saints gave money liberally for the project and morale was high. Workers came from localities near and far. Both skilled and unskilled labor was given freely on weekends and after regular work days. Some even left their employment to be full-time for the construction which went on seven days a week, many workers staying late into the night until the early mornings. It began to be noticed that an attitude was present in the decision-making that “we are above the law”. Questionings arose when the fire code and other code regulations were being violated, and when securing necessary permits were neglected, which were all being excused and reasoned away. Only after repeated visits by inspectors and their threats of penalties were the steps taken to repair the defects they pointed out.

All decisions during the building were made by only one person, Witness Lee. The prevalent teaching and encouragement was to suppress all opinions because opinions were of the flesh, and those expressing opinions were labeled as fleshly or negative. Skilled workmen had real concerns about cost and labor over some of Witness Lee’s indiscretionary moves, yet they were not to express their opinion. Work was done and then re-done with a different twist, according to the whims of Brother Lee, which the brothers would not have cost-justified. Of course, the money was not Brother Lee’s, nor was the time given to the work, his time.

The greatest indiscretion and injustice manifested itself upon the completion of the structure. The entire building was deeded over to Stream Publishing a business entity, later to be renamed Living Stream Ministry. The original intention of the building was to be for the church. But only after a period of time was a smaller fraction of the property given to the “church side”. LSM even used the church premises for a book room, even though the LSM business was located right next door with many and varied books on display and available there. Even after the building was supposedly completed, tearing down and constant renovations continued year after year. There seemed to be no end to the demand for free labor to make constant changes of rooms and walls. Walls that were torn down inspectors demanded to be reinstated to their original position after it was learned that the changes violated the building code. All this extra, hard labor had to be freely done by “volunteers”. Meetings of the church were often interrupted by the noise of hammers and sawing of wood during these “renovations”. The work was carried on during the church meetings because the manager of the business, Philip Lee, who was thought by many to be an unsaved person, supervised this work and seldom attended any church meetings. The small area granted to the “church meeting side” was encroached upon over and over to add to the “business” side until there were not enough rooms for the children’s meetings. Some classes had to be held in the homes and apartments of the teachers or in the public park if the apartments or homes weren’t large enough. Storage rooms for unsold stacks of literature were given priority over the rooms for the children.

The Living Stream Ministry did go on to become a multi-million dollar business that many fear and some attest made Witness Lee and the Lee family very wealthy. What Daystar and other failed businesses did not accomplish, LSM did in bringing monetary riches to the Lee family, according to brothers who were closely associated with LSM.

14.7 Philip and Alcohol: In one of the rooms illegally sealed off from inspectors that later became the tape room, Philip Lee “partied” with young people with whom he sat and drank beer. A brother from Santa Ana in later years said that it was common knowledge in the late eighties that Philip had an alcohol problem. (See # 57.5)

14.8 Migrations Stop: By 1974, the spirit and atmosphere of migration disappeared.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:15 AM   #2
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I would love to see more information regarding Taiwan and Philippines and Hong Kong, from 1955 to 1965. This post is little more than an outline with some commentary. I know that the thread is entitled "History of Recovery in US", but Daystar didn't emerge from a vacuum. More detail, and background, would greatly strengthen this kind of account. With more detail it is easier to detect a pattern. Thanks.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:55 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by aron View Post
I would love to see more information regarding Taiwan and Philippines and Hong Kong, from 1955 to 1965. This post is little more than an outline with some commentary. I know that the thread is entitled "History of Recovery in US", but Daystar didn't emerge from a vacuum. More detail, and background, would greatly strengthen this kind of account. With more detail it is easier to detect a pattern. Thanks.

aron,
I saw this history on the web in 6 parts, so I decided to post each segment sequentially. I'm hoping some like Lisbon, Elden1971, Indiana (the author), and others like you can add, edit, or expand to it.

So, I agree with you, this "outline" needs some details added, but it's a good starting point.
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Old 03-27-2014, 12:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post

aron,
I saw this history on the web in 6 parts, so I decided to post each segment sequentially. I'm hoping some like Lisbon, Elden1971, Indiana (the author), and others like you can add, edit, or expand to it.

So, I agree with you, this "outline" needs some details added, but it's a good starting point.
Yeah, like Witness saying that those that lost money on Daystar "lost their virginity."
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Old 03-27-2014, 06:33 PM   #5
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By 1974, the spirit and atmosphere of migration disappeared.
Not sure that was a bad thing. What exactly is the "spirit and atmosphere of migration"?
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Old 03-27-2014, 06:57 PM   #6
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Not sure that was a bad thing. What exactly is the "spirit and atmosphere of migration"?
A missionary spirit. The feeling that we have something so good we have to bring it to others in other cities.
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:25 PM   #7
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A History of the Lord’s Recovery in the U. S.(2)


15. Biannual Trainings: A significant turn in the recovery was made in 1974 with the introduction of trainings that were eventually held biannually in Anaheim. Brother Lee had the burden to establish the saints and the churches more in the truth of the word by going chapter by chapter through every book of the Bible. He began with Romans. The full exposition of the Bible was accomplished in 1995. LSM charged each trainee $50. The first year there were actually three trainings, the second one being held in Washington, D. C. on the book of John. Irving, Texas held trainings for a while, then Anaheim alone began to hold the biannual trainings.

16. Churches in Decline: The churches, however, had become stagnant for the most part, and the impact was gone. Several reasons have been cited officially for this by Brother Lee, such as, the migrations took place too soon; regions were being controlled by certain leaders; he, Brother Lee, failed to train the elders to care properly for the churches; the elders didn’t just pick up the burden to care for the churches, as they did at Elden. The failure of Daystar, the luxury motor home business of Witness Lee’s, was not given as a major factor of the decline of the churches in the seventies. Others look at it as the reason for the beginning of the decline of the churches. Perhaps a combination of factors needs to be strongly considered that Brother Lee did not do publicly: 1) the building, use, and ownership of the Anaheim meeting hall and the free labor that created the site to launch a business and make a family wealthy 2) the Daystar debacle 3) the lawsuits. All three of these matters utilized the saints with their time, energy, life, and money to accomplish goals for Brother Lee who had mixed motives and dual purposes.

16.5 Lawsuits: In the mid to late seventies legal action was taken against The Mindbenders and God-Men, two books that were laden with defamatory material against the local churches and Witness Lee. Five years of litigation drained money, energy, and time from the saints and the churches, and being on the heels of Daystar, this ordeal contributed further to the churches’ decline. Again, the use of the saints’ money was brought into question. What began as an LSM issue that was to be kept separate from the churches, ultimately became a church burden, something Brother Lee had announced to elders in the beginning would not happen, that the Lord would not be pleased with this. Churches were encouraged to make pledges and were reminded to carry them out. Such actions took place on Sunday night after the Lord’s Table meetings in some localities. LSM and the local churches “won” the two cases but gained a negative reputation in the Christian community for taking fellow believers to court and for their strategy of draining their opponent of their funds to the point of bankruptcy by outlasting them due to endless funding resources from the churches. Their reputation has followed them to this day.

Observation:
In the current lawsuit (2003-2006) filed by LSM and many local churches, the book that is the object of their concern is not “laden” with defamatory material in the specific way the Mindbenders and God-Men were that poisoned public perception of the local churches and made it nearly impossible to make headway with a number of contacts and that caused concerned parents to pull their children out of the church and into de-programming sessions with professional counselors. Today, there are only a few lines in an obscure book that form the basis for litigation over this book that seems to have comparatively harmless effect on the recovery that The Mindbenders and God-Men had. LSM and the local churches have not “won” but lost in two appellate court decisions in Texas. They are now on their way to the supreme court in Texas unless a settlement can be reached before then. They are determined to get the appellate court’s ruling reversed, because that ruling has given a public impression that the cult label is legitimate. If that ruling is not reversed, they have vowed to go all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court.

It is said they might be going to this extreme because of an increase of persecution to underground churches in China associated with LSM, due to the cult label given them in the book and legitimatized by a U. S. court of law. Whatever the reasoning, LSM and the local churches are criticized for using very expensive notable California lawyers, and for spending millions of dollars provided by the saints to affect their end, instead of taking care of an irreproachable testimony and trusting in the Lord’s sovereignty. They also run the great risk of fallout from failure to “win” and the irreversible reputation as a “spiritual bully”, whether they “win” or “lose.” At any rate their intense interest to the subject of defamation against them might give rise to the more important interest in the recovery of their own case of defamation against former co-workers that has been carefully documented and presented to them for fellowship and response.

17. Ministry Astounding: Saints found Brother Lee’s ministry astounding on Revelation and Hebrews in the 1976 and 1977 trainings. Each book required two trainings.

18. Max Rappoport Rise and Fall: Max Rappoport found great favor with Brother Lee in the mid-seventies, who came to the home of Max and Sandee daily over a long period of time. According to Max, he became like a son to Brother Lee and Brother Lee was like a father to him. Brother Lee was concerned for the religious behavior of many of the elders in the recovery, and Max was encouraged by him to go out to “mess them up.” Max did so in his natural man and caused damage to the churches. Word came to Brother Lee about his behavior and insults, such as his reference to life-studies as life-stuffies. Max was soon gone and twice Sandee approached Brother Lee, telling him that Max wanted to meet with him to reconcile with him and the churches. Brother Lee did not respond to her requests, or pleas, saying, “God is sovereign”, and he just let him go. But there was a reason for this that was personal, as “blood became thicker than water”, according to Max.

19. Max’s Undoing: In the late seventies apparently Brother Lee let Max go due to his behavior among the churches. Actually, a major problem had come up between Max and Brother Lee concerning Philip Lee, Brother Lee’s second son, who had become the manager of Living Stream Ministry (formerly, Stream Publishers) around 1974. A report had come to the elders in Anaheim, that Philip was observed fondling a sister in the office of Living Stream (both married). Max took the responsibility to go to Brother Lee with this news and made a strong recommendation to Brother Lee that Philip should leave with his family and go back to Taiwan. His recommendation did not meet with Brother Lee’s approval, and that day, according to Max, was the beginning of the end for him. Because Philip and the sister continued to work together at LSM, the brothers were quite concerned as time went on, and Max took it upon himself to get to the bottom of the story. He went to lunch with Philip and confronted him on the matter, but Philip denied the report and became very angry to the point of nearly causing a fight in the restaurant. The elders then went to the sister and she tearfully admitted the report was true.

20. Max Request for Reconciling Fellowship Bypassed: Brother Lee would later take the opportunity to let Max go, rather than have him in position in Anaheim to put pressure on him concerning his son or to possibly deal with his son directly at some point, as an elder of the church. He passed up the opportunity to bring Max back to be reconciled to God and to the churches. Max much later repented to individual brothers for his mistakes that caused damage to them and to their localities.

21. Benson Phillips and Ray Graver Campaign: In 1981 two brothers, Benson Philips and Ray Graver, who had helped stop Max Rappoport, became engaged in their own high profile work. Philip Lee had continued on as manager of the Living Stream Ministry without interruption to his service. The relationship between him and the churches became heightened when Benson Phillips and Ray Graver began a campaign to promote him as “the ministry office”, along with their promotion of Witness Lee and his ministry. Benson and Ray felt that the saints were indebted to Brother Lee for the ministry and needed to fulfill their “account” to him by becoming more supportive of the ministry in various ways, which included being one with Philip Lee and the office he represented. Brother Lee admitted later that their promotions of Philip were a mistake. Some leaders (not Benson and Ray) repented publicly for their roles in promoting him (Minoru Chen was one). Philip Lee’s record indeed was one of devastation in the recovery that helped lead the churches into turmoil and division. He far exceeded Max Rappoport in this regard. No public repentance came forth from Brother Lee to all the churches for his responsibility in positioning these two questionable men in high positions of influence that enabled them to carry out work that was gravely detrimental to the churches and factors of widespread despair.

Note: Max was a promising brother who the churches needed in his normal place in the Body. Brother Lee publicly expressed regret that he did not take better care of him. (Yet, he also would not accept reconciling fellowship with him.) Max was not political regarding Brother Lee’s son, as others have been, and would not have tolerated Philip Lee and his degenerate behavior a decade later in the office of Living Stream.

21.5 Standing Order for Book Sales
: In the early eighties Philip Lee instituted the concept of having a standing order for books printed by LSM, which was continuously producing books that filled closets and bookshelves that to this day most have probably not been opened. If a book came out, all those that signed up for standing order had to buy it. If four books came out, those books had to be purchased by those on standing order. Sales were booming! Philip Lee, according to anyone’s description of him, including his father’s, was not a spiritual person. He was not at LSM for the carrying out of God’s economy; he was there for carrying out a job that he exploited for selfish reasons and for the Lee name. His previous “job” was that of selling Chinese wives to American men for the wives’ citizenship in the United States.

22. The New Way: In 1984 while the trainings on the books of the Bible were in their tenth year, an extraordinary change took place in the recovery. Brother Lee wanted to address the problem of stagnancy among the churches, beginning in the Far East. It was a very serious problem to him that in many localities the saints had become complacent. He was, therefore, burdened to take a turn and have a new way, which involved several matters and changes based much on Paul’s word to Timothy that God “desires all men to be saved and come to the full knowledge of the truth”. He felt it was not enough for the saints to hear the messages, read them, and then place them on their shelves; he wanted the saints to become constituted with the truths and to ably speak them back to others, in church meetings and as the gospel. Small group meetings were to become 80% of the church life where the truths could be dispensed, saints could be taught, new ones could hear the gospel, and all could be shepherded. Prophesying in the larger gatherings could also be realized to a greater extent.

23. The New Way Letter of Agreement: In 1986 Brother Lee said the key to the Lord’s new move was the one accord among the saints in all the churches. If there could not be a good morale and one accord, there could be no move of the Lord. Thus, he sounded a call to have an army of followers under him as the “commander-in-chief” while brothers responded by constructing and signing a paper stating their allegiance to him and to his ministry. Brother Lee’s desire was to preserve and protect the churches from drifting into denominationalism by not taking his ministry seriously, a ministry fully unveiling God’s eternal purpose and economy.

24. LSM Seeks Europe Cooperation: In 1986 five brothers from LSM went to Stuttgart to hold a conference with the leading brothers in Europe for the expressed purpose of lining up John So and the European churches with the LSM office. This was so even to the extent of expecting the brothers in Europe to report all their activities to the office, to Philip Lee. The brothers in Europe were perplexed by this, wondering why they should be expected to report their activities to a business office. Their refusal to cooperate with such an expectation caused a problem to Philip Lee who consequently would make life very difficult for John So and churches in Europe who would not cooperate with him.

25. LSM Effectively Terminates German Printing
: LSM reacted by stopping the translation and printing process of the Verlag-der Strom in Stuttgart, which had been publishing LSM books and life-studies in the German language for years. Camera-ready material was now to be sent to Anaheim. When over 4000 pages were sent, there was no response from LSM for a year and a half, even after attempts were made to secure communication by letter and by travel to Anaheim. The entire process was shut down due to LSM’s lack of cooperation and non-payment for material and labor to Strom. Witness Lee finally tried to rescue the situation and paid Strom, but it was too late, the printers and translators had been forced to find other jobs. The Strom publishing arm for LSM was soon after liquidated and ceased to exist.

26. Chaos in Europe Created: In the summer of 1986 about twenty-five saints from England went to the Living Stream office in Irving to serve. They were there for about two months, and when they came back they spoke negatively about John So and Stuttgart, repeating the things they heard at LSM. Their negative speaking issued in a chaotic condition in Europe.

27. Stuttgart Young People Disciplined: After attending a training in Taipei in which negative statements about John So and Stuttgart were spoken to the young people from Stuttgart, those Stuttgart young people then went to a training in Irving. On the way they stopped in Anaheim, expecting to receive hospitality before going on to Irving. They were turned down, however, for no apparent reason, after Philip Lee heard about their arrival and request. They had to board a plane again, and go on to Irving, where they were refused entrance to the training. The next day they returned and still could not register, but were eventually issued special red tags and had to sit in a disciplinary section in the back. Becoming angry about the treatment they were receiving, they asked for an explanation for the discipline. They were told to ask John So, who was perplexed also when he heard about it and could only attribute the treatment and condemning statements in the recent months to his refusal to line up with the ministry office in the way LSM expected. (The reason they got into the training was because an angry German brother went to Brother Lee. Philip, of course, created the problem for them, and Ray Graver, had done nothing to help them.)
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Old 03-29-2014, 04:34 PM   #8
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"16.5 Lawsuits: In the mid to late seventies legal action was taken against The Mindbenders and God-Men, two books that were laden with defamatory material against the local churches and Witness Lee. Five years of litigation drained money, energy, and time from the saints and the churches, and being on the heels of Daystar, this ordeal contributed further to the churches’ decline. Again, the use of the saints’ money was brought into question...LSM and the local churches “won” the two cases but gained a negative reputation in the Christian community for taking fellow believers to court and for their strategy of draining their opponent of their funds to the point of bankruptcy by outlasting them due to endless funding resources from the churches. Their reputation has followed them to this day."
I have an issue with this statement. If this historical narrative is to be considered accurate, I think it is more fair to say that Lee and LSM alleged that these two books contained "defamatory material against the local churches and Witness Lee". I can't speak for the Mindbenders, but I vetted the God-Men very thoroughly on this site. I didn't read anything defamatory in it at all.

I would also ask, for those who were around in the LC's at this time, how many actually read either of these books to judge for themselves what they contained? Knowing what I do of Lee and LSM's tactics and how they manipulate the emotions of their adherents these days, I would imagine that these books were characterized as being "full of death" and "a dangerous poison". The events chronicled in the God-Men, courtesy of the testimony of Max, completely exposed Lee. There is no way on earth that Lee would have wanted ANY of his followers to read what was in that book. I think characterizing these books here again a "defamatory" is dishonest.
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:46 PM   #9
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I have an issue with this statement. If this historical narrative is to be considered accurate, I think it is more fair to say that Lee and LSM alleged that these two books contained "defamatory material against the local churches and Witness Lee". I can't speak for the Mindbenders, but I vetted the God-Men very thoroughly on this site. I didn't read anything defamatory in it at all.

I would also ask, for those who were around in the LC's at this time, how many actually read either of these books to judge for themselves what they contained? Knowing what I do of Lee and LSM's tactics and how they manipulate the emotions of their adherents these days, I would imagine that these books were characterized as being "full of death" and "a dangerous poison". The events chronicled in the God-Men, courtesy of the testimony of Max, completely exposed Lee. There is no way on earth that Lee would have wanted ANY of his followers to read what was in that book. I think characterizing these books here again a "defamatory" is dishonest.
NFNL, good points. I like others were warned not to read those books because they were so full of inaccurate information. My elder Philip Comfort was responsible for the lawsuits in the Ohio area.

The books might not have been as defamatory as once believed, but the timing was inflammatory to say the least. In the aftermath of Jonestown, we had a number of saints in Ohio kidnapped and deprogrammed. I too was afraid for my life.

The first time I saw the book MB was at my Mom's house laying on the counter for me to see. The section on the LC's was well worn. Obviously the family had passed it around for everyone to read about me.

BTW, this history in 6 parts is Steve Isitt's written several years ago. I saw it and wanted to post it on the forum. It seemed like a good time since Freidel and Elden1971 have begun to post. Since the time of the writing, we have learned a lot more about LSM. Feel free to add to the story or post corrections.
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Old 03-30-2014, 07:57 AM   #10
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NFNL, good points. I like others were warned not to read those books because they were so full of inaccurate information. My elder Philip Comfort was responsible for the lawsuits in the Ohio area.

The books might not have been as defamatory as once believed, but the timing was inflammatory to say the least. In the aftermath of Jonestown, we had a number of saints in Ohio kidnapped and deprogrammed. I too was afraid for my life.

The first time I saw the book MB was at my Mom's house laying on the counter for me to see. The section on the LC's was well worn. Obviously the family had passed it around for everyone to read about me.

BTW, this history in 6 parts is Steve Isitt's written several years ago. I saw it and wanted to post it on the forum. It seemed like a good time since Freidel and Elden1971 have begun to post. Since the time of the writing, we have learned a lot more about LSM. Feel free to add to the story or post corrections.
Some may not be familiar with Doug's testimony that provides lots of interesting insights
http://www.thebereans.net/forum2/sho...t=39611&page=9
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:54 AM   #11
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Some may not be familiar with Doug's testimony that provides lots of interesting insights
http://www.thebereans.net/forum2/sho...t=39611&page=9
Doug's testimony starts :
http://www.thebereans.net/forum2/showthread.php?t=39611

Maybe someone who can cut and paste could pull all of his testimony together.
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Old 03-30-2014, 01:52 PM   #12
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Doug's testimony starts :
http://www.thebereans.net/forum2/showthread.php?t=39611

Maybe someone who can cut and paste could pull all of his testimony together.
Sounds like a job for bro Ohio. He's good at the sort of stuff.
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Old 01-27-2018, 03:56 PM   #13
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Ohio posted this thread in 2014. I didn't know about it till now and want to post this "complete" and updated version. A Chinese brother in 2006 had asked me to do a timeline as a preliminary to ones' reading Deviating from the Path in the Lord's Recovery.



Witness Lee Timeline

http://www.leadersofthelordsrecovery...ssLeeEraUS.pdf
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Old 01-29-2018, 03:09 AM   #14
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Ohio posted this thread in 2014. I didn't know about it till now and want to post this "complete" and updated version.
Steve,

Thank you for what I consider to be a public service, letting people see the history of this ministry, and it's effect on so many. Of course there were positive things too, else it would not have spread and held. But even the spreading and holding of itself, ministry failures aside, had negative tones: the "glorious church life" was in contrast to a caricature, a made-up hobgoblin called "Christianity".

As the narrative shows, whatever problems "Christianity" had, and still has, must be balanced by a sober look at the proposed alternative, the so-called Lord's recovery aka the Local Church.
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Old 01-29-2018, 09:10 AM   #15
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Steve,

Thank you for what I consider to be a public service, letting people see the history of this ministry, and it's effect on so many. Of course there were positive things too, else it would not have spread and held. But even the spreading and holding of itself, ministry failures aside, had negative tones: the "glorious church life" was in contrast to a caricature, a made-up hobgoblin called "Christianity".

As the narrative shows, whatever problems "Christianity" had, and still has, must be balanced by a sober look at the proposed alternative, the so-called Lord's recovery aka the Local Church.
I concur- for those of us who still ponder what occupied a large chunk of our lives and Christian experience, it is good to see who was behind that curtain pulling the levers.
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:47 PM   #16
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I concur- for those of us who still ponder what occupied a large chunk of our lives and Christian experience, it is good to see who was behind that curtain pulling the levers.
Boxjobox, you have a way of saying just what is going on in my head sometimes
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:50 PM   #17
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I concur- for those of us who still ponder what occupied a large chunk of our lives and Christian experience, it is good to see who was behind that curtain pulling the levers.
Yes, it is incredibly difficult to believe.

I had bought WL’s version of history.... hook, line, and sinker (as the fishermen say). Astounding!
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:34 PM   #18
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Yes, it is incredibly difficult to believe.

I had bought WL’s version of history.... hook, line, and sinker (as the fishermen say). Astounding!
I have not discarded everything I ever learned from Lee about the Bible. Only the leaven. When it comes to church history and LC history, however, I have discarded everything.
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Old 01-29-2018, 11:10 PM   #19
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I was reading today about the current situation in China, how under Xi Jinping, the head of the Communist party, Internet is being controlled, communists are inserting themselves in businesses to control, and how there should be one speaking according to the thoughts of Jinping, everyone must submit to the one man plan, and the push to spread their influence.

Totalitarian actions are not good in countries or Christian gatherings.
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Old 01-30-2018, 12:48 AM   #20
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how there should be one speaking according to the thoughts of Jinping, everyone must submit to the one man plan
This is the "oneness" of Babel: rigid, external, and enforced. Akin to "Unless you have the mark of the beast, you cannot buy or sell"

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Totalitarian actions are not good in countries or Christian gatherings.
Where in the LC model is the "much discussion" of the Acts 15 gathering (v.7)? No where. Where is the "many counselors" of Proverbs 15:22 and 11:14? No where. Instead it is totalitarian rule by fiat.

The timeline suggests that from 1962-72, Witness Lee was softened by his previous failures in the East and didn't assert such primacy. The Local Churches were quite local, spontaneous, and autonomous. Migrations, pray-reading, song compositions, and gospel preaching were all "organic", not top-down affairs. But eventually the lure was too great: Daystar was birthed; failure only brought greater insistence of control.

Notice that in these systems disembodied abstractions become the keys to control. They can be manipulated to mean whatever leadership wants today. Get everyone to agree on some "crucial principle", then do whatever you want to make this principle concretised. But the principle forever remains abstract and unrealisable, even under the lash of compulsion.
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Old 01-30-2018, 10:26 PM   #21
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What is ironic is that Paul told the Corinthians that there should only be one speaking among them, and in the very next breath chided them about divisions caused by meetings in the name of their favorite apostle. http://biblehub.com/blb/1_corinthians/1.htm

We in the local churches thought and taught there should only be one speaking among us based upon our favorite apostle, Witness Lee.
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Old 01-31-2018, 10:24 AM   #22
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I was reading today about the current situation in China, how under Xi Jinping, the head of the Communist party, Internet is being controlled, communists are inserting themselves in businesses to control, and how there should be one speaking according to the thoughts of Jinping, everyone must submit to the one man plan, and the push to spread their influence.
Totalitarian actions are not good in countries or Christian gatherings.
This excerpt from Speaking the Truth in Love involves John Ingalls and two Asian brothers who all knew Witness Lee well and were meeting together for honest, forthright fellowship over the real situation in the churches. The elders had capitulated to one man's leadership and the churches descended into a system of control under the direction of that one man, Witness Lee.
************************************************** *******
Part
A Visit With Two Senior Co-Workers From Taiwan
- November 1988

During the past year I had heard of two senior co-workers from Taiwan who were living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Brothers Chu Shun Min and Jeng Guang Ming, and I longed to have fellowship with them. I had first met Brother Chu in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in 1965, and had seen him a few times since then at conferences and trainings. Although I did not know him well I had heard of his fruitful labors in Taiwan to build up the churches, especially in Kaohsiung and Taipei. Brother Jeng I had also met many years ago and was aware of his labor for the Lord in Bangkok and other places. The turmoil in Anaheim having grown and intensified, I was especially burdened to see them, having heard of their burden and concern for the present situation.

Thus on November 9th I flew to San Francisco and was met by Brother Jeng and Brother Daniel Wu, a former co-worker in Manila, who was living in the South San Francisco area. They transported me to Brother Jeng’s home in Los Altos, where for three days I met with the brothers. They were intensely interested in the progress of events in Anaheim, and I opened freely and fully to them. Likewise, Brothers Chu and Jeng opened freely and fully to me regarding their convictions and concerns for the churches and the work of the Lord. I would like to share in some detail their fellowship with me, beginning with Brother Chu Shun Min, who had been closely related to Brother Witness Lee since the revival in Chefoo in 1943 and the ensuing years. He knew Brother Lee and his family very well.

Brother Chu began by saying that he hoped that Brother Lee would have some change, but he had not seen a trace of this. Only a few know the source and the gravity of the problem. The reasons, he stated, for the present degraded situation of the churches were as follows:

Brother Lee’s position among the churches was overly exalted. The matter of greatest concern is that he would be idolized and thus replace the position of the Lord and the Holy Spirit in the church.
Brother Lee’s teachings and messages were overly read and repeated in the churches, causing us to be concerned that the position of God’s Word would be replaced. The words of man flourishes, and the Word of God languishes. The opportunities for the Holy Spirit to speak are scarce. These first two points are the fundamental problems.

Brother Lee’s leading has become a factor of discord and even of division among the brothers and sisters (e.g., door-knocking). Originally his leading was a factor of oneness.
Today we have overemphasized deputy authority more than the Bible teaches. The result is that people follow blindly and damage the Lord’s testimony. Obedience is a spiritual virtue, but we must be very careful lest we damage the Lord’s testimony through blind submission. Those who coordinated with Brother Lee in the past all learned the lesson of submission, but they were overly submissive with a tendency to exalt man. That caused trouble. The co-workers did this, and they led the saints also to do this. Thus the co-workers bear the responsibility for damaging the testimony.

Today there are too many practices that are not according to the truth. It was because of the truth that Paul resisted Peter, as recorded in Galatians 2. Today we don’t stand for the truth, but talk about deputy authority and raise up a pope. Thus the Holy Spirit is much restricted in the church. We talk about the Holy Spirit, but we don’t have the Spirit. We should only submit to the Spirit.

In many churches Brother Lee only set up as elders those who fully followed him. They are the ones who will execute his strategy. He did not consider whether those ones were immature or not; he only considered whether they would listen to him. Therefore someone called them "baby elders." Those who were experienced in the Lord, those who possessed the qualities of an elder and were manifested as such, were set aside.

Brother Lee’s leading was intended to help and supply the churches. However, unfortunately, he eventually used all kinds of methods to control: the ministry office, the trainings, the elders’ meetings, etc. He utilizes the simplicity of the brothers and sisters as a means of control. He controls the full-timers to influence the rest of the saints. He uses some of his writings and the way of reading.

Deviations in Brother Lee’s leading:

He causes the saints to overemphasize his writings (e.g. Life Studies, Truth Lessons, Life Lessons, etc.), leading to a reduction in the reading of the Lord’s Word.

He causes the saints to overemphasize prayreading and calling on the Lord (matters which are meant to help the saints), leading to a reduction of genuine prayers to the Lord. The result is that the brothers and sisters do not know how to pray, and those who are newly saved do not learn how to pray.

He overemphasizes and twists the matter of meetings in 1 Corinthians 14 so that the function of those members who can speak for the Lord as mouths in the Body is gradually diminished. Thus no gifts and functions are produced.

I would like now to record some of the comments made by Brother Jeng Guang Ming. He spoke as follows: "We co-workers in the past have not had genuine fellowship among us concerning any questionable practices in the churches due to the prevailing concept that we should have no opinion, but rather just listen and submit. Brother Lee has related his experience and attitude toward Brother Nee in order to kill all opinions as well as all feelings and concerns. But our genuine fellowship is in sharing the feelings the Lord gives us, and in this we discover the leading of the Holy Spirit.”

“I very much treasure Acts 13, where the Holy Spirit spoke, 'Separate unto me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' I believe that the speaking of the Holy Spirit to the brothers there in Antioch must have been through the genuine fellowship of the feelings which the Holy Spirit Himself gave to them. The same thing occurred in Acts 15.

As long as the Holy Spirit speaks among us there will be no problem. But we don’t have today the leading of the Holy Spirit as in Acts 13 and 15, a leading in fellowship, a subjective leading manifested by each one speaking his own feeling before the Lord. The plurality gives the Holy Spirit opportunity. If we emphasize the one leadership so much how can the Holy Spirit have opportunity? The Spirit’s leading in the Body is in the prayer and fellowship of all. The kind of submission being practiced today kills the move of the Holy Spirit in the churches through the genuine fellowship among the saints.

We have no intention to rebel or overthrow Brother Lee. We have suppressed our feeling for many years, though we sensed there were many points of deviation. In Taiwan Brother Chu and I had no such fellowship concerning the abnormal situation in the churches today as we now have. We feel that the genuine fellowship must be like that recorded in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, where the Lord did not refrain from pointing out the negative aspects as well as the positive, the real situation.

"One basic item of the change in nature in the Lord’s recovery is that it appears the Lord’s work has become Brother Lee’s work; the churches have become Brother Lee’s churches; and the Lord’s workers have become Brother Lee’s workers. All things have become personalized, and everything appears to require Brother Lee’s approval to be legitimate. He can acknowledge and he can also deny the validity of the Lord’s workers, elders, and even churches. This concept has been injected to all the brothers and sisters, particularly those who have a heart for the Lord. This is how denominations are formed. But the Lord had preserved some for Himself. This situation did not develop suddenly, and we cannot expect it to clear up suddenly."

Brother Chu Shun Min then told me how that on April 1, 1988, he had a conversation with Brother Lee in the Bay Area. He presented a number of serious concerns to Brother Lee and asked him to bring all these things to the Lord. Brother Chu told me that Brother Lee listened quietly and passively to all his points (with one exception), making no comment, neither admitting nor denying. The exception was a point he made concerning Brother Lee’s son, Philip Lee. In conclusion, Brother Chu told Brother Lee, "All the sweet feeling we had in the past is lost. All the rest in our spirit is over."

I will mention just a few more comments made by Brother Chu. He said that he feels very sorry for the present state of things -- he gave his whole life to this. He has received letters from elderly ones in Taipei that are full of blood and tears. There are very few elderly ones there who are not discouraged or withdrawn. The warfare now is fiercer than in Watchman Nee’s day when the issue was that of leaving the denominations. We are at a critical juncture. We cannot be silent regarding the change of nature in the Lord’s recovery. We should have no part in it. This is a day for further recovery. We need a new beginning to recover us back from the change of nature to the Lord’s original intention. We must discard all the changes of nature. The main direction is to come out of the system; it cannot change.

I greatly respected these brothers for their years of faithful labor, their knowledge of the Lord and His ways, their maturity in Christ, and their penetrating discernment. Their fellowship was a strong confirmation and encouragement to be steadfast for the truth’s sake. It seemed outwardly that Brothers Chu and Jeng were in a state of retirement from the work, but inwardly they were active and aggressive, praying and watching and fighting in the spiritual warfare. I have been greatly inspired by them. They count very much for the Lord’s interests.
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Old 01-31-2018, 10:28 AM   #23
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What is ironic is that Paul told the Corinthians that there should only be one speaking among them, and in the very next breath chided them about divisions caused by meetings in the name of their favorite apostle. http://biblehub.com/blb/1_corinthians/1.htm

We in the local churches thought and taught there should only be one speaking among us based upon our favorite apostle, Witness Lee.
It has been often said that Lee's assault on all Christian churches was only to change the established practice of "one man speaking" to the "speaking of one man" -- him.
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Old 02-02-2018, 06:13 PM   #24
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It has been often said that Lee's assault on all Christian churches was only to change the established practice of "one man speaking" to the "speaking of one man" -- him.
That's called prophesying- through the mouths of many. It's not their portion, but what was printed for them to speak.
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:09 PM   #25
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10. A Spirit of Migration: In 1973 migrations went out to Minneapolis and Milwaukee. There was a spirit of migration in the recovery and the air was filled with much anticipation and hope as all the churches were “standing on the ground of oneness in the Lord” in their locality and for “the Lord’s recovery of the city and the earth”. Conferences were held frequently around the country by Brother Lee, with only one essential message being given to the saints: to eat and drink Christ for the building up of the church. Life and building was the great theme in the local churches, and eating was “the way”.

A small addendum: 1973 migrations also included Norfolk, VA, although it only lasted appx 6 months, and it broke up and people moved to other churches...............HBJ
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