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Old 12-31-2018, 11:53 PM   #1
Melo
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Default My experience as a church kid: Why I want out

This is my first time posting here, so I thought Iíd give myself kind of an introduction. My ultimate goal in posting this isnít to ruminate in my dislike of Lee or the Local Churches, I just want to see if thereís anyone with a similar upbringing who has advice on disassociating themselves from the church without disassociating from their family.

Iíve been meeting with the church in a major city since the first grade. My parents stumbled into it and never left, so Iím definitely a church kid in every sense of the word. I remember being baptized at 13, going to Jr. High and High School meetings every Saturday night, attending pretty much every YP conference and beyond. While itís an advantage that I am pretty fluent in the Recoveryís overall culture and vernacular, I constantly find it difficult to relate to my other Christian friends and Ďmainstreamí Christianity.

It wasnít until high school that I begin to have real doubts about the church. Part of my doubts came from my own struggles with mental illness that was written off by my parents as a symptom of Ďnot reading the Word enoughí. Ultimately, most of my doubts came from the Ďcherry-pickingí of biblical doctrine, Leeís unfounded statements concerning mental illness, views towards women, and disapproval of critical thinking. I realize that some of these examples may not necessarily be unique to the Recovery, but like I said, I donít have experience anywhere else so itís hard for me to differentiate. While I agree to a point with the ideas of oneness and enjoying the Lord over simply memorizing doctrine, I found it troublesome that this kind of groupthink philosophy would be repeatedly hammered into the heads of young ones especially.

Iím a sophomore in college and I still see myself drifting further away from these ideologies. Since my university is in close proximity to another one of the local churches, I still see saints quite a bit and participate with some of their on-campus club stuff. However, if Iím being honest, I donít see myself meeting in the future after college. I canít bring myself to, especially with how much disdain I have for Lee (specifically his blatant nepotism, racism, and anti-Western philosophy).

The only problem is my immediate family is wholly involved with the church, and I donít know how I would even tell my parents that kind of thing without sending them into cardiac arrest. My parents are also hinting about wanting me to go to the FTTA, and I honestly think I would go completely insane if I was subjected to that for an extended period of time. I only really go to the Sunday meetings when Iím with my parents, and even then, I find myself disgusted with the many of the underlying teachings. I want to clarify that I agree with many of the teachings in the Recovery, concerning things like the Divine Trinity, Godís Economy, etc. My major qualms are the teachings that seem to be base-less, hypocritical, or suppressing critical thinking, much like many have already pointed out.

I think my ultimate question is if anyone has had an experience of leaving the church and explaining to their family why they left? What has been peopleís experience with their campus ministry (both good and bad)? Also is there any specific place on here for younger people to talk about their experiences with the church? Thank you in advance!

ALSO Happy New Year, hope everyone's having a lovely start to their 2019!
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: My experience as a church kid: Why I want out

Hi Melo,
I’m an older one who has met for over 40 years. There are young ones like yourself who post and you can discuss similar experiences with them. They are in many threads, some of which you find in the testimonies section as well in other threads. The moderators and some others can point you to these ones with similar experiences to you.
May our Lord bless and guide you.

Last edited by Weighingin; 01-01-2019 at 12:19 AM. Reason: Misspelling
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: My experience as a church kid: Why I want out

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This is my first time posting here, so I thought Iíd give myself kind of an introduction. My ultimate goal in posting this isnít to ruminate in my dislike of Lee or the Local Churches, I just want to see if thereís anyone with a similar upbringing who has advice on disassociating themselves from the church without disassociating from their family.
Welcome to the forum Melo!

Like many LC kids, you sound suffocated by an oppressive system. This always happens when old guys in stuffy rooms make up endless rules for other Christians to live by. Both your spirit and your flesh are longing for freedom. If the "truth sets us free," then LC teachings and rules, though sounding good, are merely doctrines and letters, and not real "truth.".

I encourage you to reflect on your Christian walk with the Lord, and assess both the good and the bad. Perhaps you have spent more time recently on the downside, but it's far more healthy for you to see the good and the blessings the Lord has given you. As they say, "count your blessings." One Christian counselor calls this "treasure hunting," and is beneficial for us all. For example, if your parents are still married, yet overly devoted to the LC, then thank the Lord daily that they are still married, and you have been spared from the horrors of divorce. I mean that.

Since you are in college, visit all of the best Christian clubs and find new friends and healthy relationships. Talk to the Lord and develop a new and positive relationship with Him. He knows you and loves you. Like I said, your flesh wants liberty too, and many 2nd generation Christians discard their faith in order to find themselves, and become bait for God's enemy. Don't let him present the temporary enjoyment of sin as the only alternative to the oppressive LC system.

Your folks may have dreams of you graduating from the FTT, but they also love you, and want you to love the Lord. He is the Good Shepherd and has led many like you out of the oppressive LC "fold," (John 10) into green pastures (Psalm 23) where His care and love for you does not feel like a straight jacket. Let your parents know how much you appreciate them and their love, helping you to know the Lord Jesus, then share what you have received from the Lord "out there" in Christianity. Rule #1: never argue with your parents. The Lord will bless you when you honor them, not when you obey mandates from LSM.

When I left the LC, I told others that I'm just trying to follow the Lord. What could they say? For about 5 years I visited the LC just to worship with them and see the brothers and sisters. Meanwhile I found other Christian friends to worship with.
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Old 01-01-2019, 11:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: My experience as a church kid: Why I want out

Brother Melo, welcome.

I didn't grow up in the LC, but I can tell by your OP that because you've discover critical thinking that you are now internally free from the LC.

However, you're kinda in the closet right now. And coming out isn't going to be easy, but for the sake of your mental health, you need to find a way to do it.

Good luck with that, and I hope the best for you. Thanks for joining our forum. Hope you find help here.
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Old 01-01-2019, 02:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: My experience as a church kid: Why I want out

Melo,

I'm so sorry for the situation you find yourself in. Witness Lee taught "If you take care of the church, the Lord will take care of your family." I'm sure you've heard this lie before.

It's amazing also that lately many new forum members are young adults and college age, and seem to have a similar problem of how to leave the Local Church without destroying your relationship with your family and those unrelated to you who became close or closer than your biological family.

These testimonies all seem to have the root lie of WL teaching to abandon your family and punishing those who don't. Also, we are indoctrinated that there is no acceptable reason to justify "leaving the church".

The truth is, the family was established by God and Christians are responsible for family members, especially parents for the children they bring into the world, to love, care for and nurture for one another. "The church" is universal and once you're "in" you cannot "leave" regardless of where you meet.

As a Sophomore in college, you are becoming your own person. You are developing a sober mind and you are not blind to the paradox you see in the LC. You are also in a position to establish your independence from the group and from your immediate family. Develop a thick skin. Instead of telling them how you really feel at this point, try to present them with new interests you're developing. What you're thinking of doing after college when they may expect you to go to the FTT. Reinforce your love for them with a "but" which indicates you may have other ideas. Make new Christian friends but don't burn any bridges. Look for opportunities for a "moment of truth" with them about who you are becoming, presented to them with grace, dignity and respect for who they are (your parents) and what they have done for you (gave you life and raised you as a Christian.)

Honestly, I don't have answers for you. I hope this helps. I went through the same type issues and it was strained for many years, but my family is growing closer again. I'm so grateful to Him for that. It seems now that there is more tolerance in some localities, but that's hard to predict.

I will pray for you Melo. You need the Lord's wisdom to care for the parents God gave you, while growing into the freedom wherein Christ has made us free. Your parents, likewise, need wisdom to care for you.

Blessings to you, Melo.

Nell
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Old 01-01-2019, 02:01 PM   #6
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Since you are in college, visit all of the best Christian clubs and find new friends and healthy relationships. Talk to the Lord and develop a new and positive relationship with Him. He knows you and loves you. Like I said, your flesh wants liberty too, and many 2nd generation Christians discard their faith in order to find themselves, and become bait for God's enemy. Don't let him present the temporary enjoyment of sin as the only alternative to the oppressive LC system.

Your folks may have dreams of you graduating from the FTT, but they also love you, and want you to love the Lord. He is the Good Shepherd and has led many like you out of the oppressive LC "fold," (John 10) into green pastures (Psalm 23) where His care and love for you does not feel like a straight jacket. Let your parents know how much you appreciate them and their love, helping you to know the Lord Jesus, then share what you have received from the Lord "out there" in Christianity. Rule #1: never argue with your parents. The Lord will bless you when you honor them, not when you obey mandates from LSM.

When I left the LC, I told others that I'm just trying to follow the Lord. What could they say? For about 5 years I visited the LC just to worship with them and see the brothers and sisters. Meanwhile I found other Christian friends to worship with.
Thank you for your response! I have been spending some time with some other Christian groups on my campus; I randomly got invited to one of their events and have kept contact with their leading ones, though not as much now since winter break commenced. I think one of the main reasons it's easier to fall back on the Christian's on Campus club is just since I know all of the people already, whereas in a new club I feel as if everyone is already knitted together, if that makes sense.

I really appreciated how you explained to other's how you chose to leave the LCs. It doesn't sound overly confrontational, and highlights your desire to pursue the Lord. A true lover of the Lord shouldn't be confined to dead regulations.
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Old 01-01-2019, 02:05 PM   #7
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@Weighinin Thank you! I appreciate the guidance! (Sorry I think I posed this reply incorrectly, oops!)
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Old 01-01-2019, 02:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: My experience as a church kid: Why I want out

A few comments, most of which are not directed towards your main question.

1. The idea of oneness - while it sounds good, the local church's idea of oneness is an internal, inward-facing oneness. It is not a oneness with the rest of the Body of Christ. (And yes, there is a "rest" of the Body of Christ....growing up in "the church", "the Body" is made equal to "the local church" while disregarding the millions of other Christians who are also the church). The local church is not, has no desire to be, and takes no steps to be one with those other Christians.

2. Do not go to the FTTA if you don't want to. It will cause problems for yourself, your family, the other trainees, the trainers, etc... Being there unwillingly WILL make your situation worse.

3. The Sunday meetings were what I hung on to for a long time too....also to please my parents, but eventually I couldn't deny the inward revolting at most of what I heard.

4. The teaching of the divine Trinity in the "Recovery" (p.s. there is no such thing as "the recovery".....there is no special "recovery" within the Body of Christ), is actually problematic in a number of areas. Many Christians have called on the local churches to renounce its views on the trinity, which say, for example, that the Father IS the Son. Lee actually says in one place that God is not three Persons, just one. He also uses some very irresponsible language to describe the three persons of the Godhead, and while the local church does clearly teach against modalism, Lee's language in some places is unacceptable ("successive steps") and the source of, guess what? A rift between the local church and other Christians (there's your oneness!) that could be easily corrected if the top brass would set aside their arrogance for a few minutes.

(Having said that, people have tried to explain and describe the Trinity for centuries, and we won't understand in this life all of His complexities, that's for sure.)

5. God's economy is mentioned in the Bible. However, I was blown away when I came across a post on this forum that recommended reading the first chapter of The Economy of God. Guess what? Lee provides zero.....ZERO.....backup, basis, or foundation for his presentation of God's economy. He makes a statement about what it is, and then says "a thorough reading of the Bible reveals this." And then doesn't give any further details. No verses, no excerpts, no making a connection. He makes sweeping statements with no Biblical backup whatsoever. Furthermore, the verse actually says "teachings.....which RESULT in God's economy." But Lee spins that to say we need to "teach God's economy". That shift showed me a lot.

6. Suppressing critical thinking is huge. I cannot tell you how many mental battles I have fought with myself worried that a thought I had that is not 100% in line with Lee's teaching might be from Satan, or from my self, or a source of poison, or me being deceived because I stepped out of the ark for a second, or me being in darkness. When the words of the Bible are as plain as day!!

7. Explaining to your family is difficult. Definitely keep the emphasis on the Lord and that you love the Lord and want to follow Him, and that you love your family. I know one family where even an adult child decided to leave the church and attend another church, and the parents told them they were leaving the place where God is going to accomplish His heart's desire. With the possibility of those kind of statements coming your way, you need to be firm in your convictions. But you also need to bring your convictions to the Lord to make sure they are firm in Him.
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Old 01-02-2019, 03:46 AM   #9
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Suppressing critical thinking is huge. I cannot tell you how many mental battles I have fought with myself worried that a thought I had that is not 100% in line with Lee's teaching might be from Satan, or from my self, or a source of poison, or me being deceived because I stepped out of the ark for a second, or me being in darkness. When the words of the Bible are as plain as day!!
The LCs run a comprehensive thought-suppression system whose perniciousness lies in how well it masks itself. When I was there, we were told that trying to think for ourselves would only cause us to be confused. We didn't trust the word unless it was lined with "the interpreted word"; if not, it was considered to be fallen human concepts.

We were promised an alternate reality that would magically transform us: we would be "metabolically reconstituted with God" by following LC practices and teachings. Problem is, this path entailed a thoughtless state, in which we couldn't notice the lack of transformation. By tacitly agreeing not to think, we lost the ability to discern that we were being robbed of our basic human rights and freedoms.

And if we came to spots where today's teachings contradicted those from last year, or contradicted the Bible, or overturned basic Christian precedent, we'd repeat one of the thought-suppression mantras and keep going. Even when, deep inside, we knew something wasn't right. Our renunciation of thought kept us from trying to figure out what was really going on.

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Explaining to your family is difficult. Definitely keep the emphasis on the Lord and that you love the Lord and want to follow Him, and that you love your family. I know one family where even an adult child decided to leave the church and attend another church, and the parents told them they were leaving the place where God is going to accomplish His heart's desire. With the possibility of those kind of statements coming your way, you need to be firm in your convictions. But you also need to bring your convictions to the Lord to make sure they are firm in Him.
A key is to have compassion and not to become adversarial. The people pushing the thought-suppression system are, to some extent, its victims.
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:49 AM   #10
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This is my first time posting here, so I thought I’d give myself kind of an introduction. My ultimate goal in posting this isn’t to ruminate in my dislike of Lee or the Local Churches, I just want to see if there’s anyone with a similar upbringing who has advice on disassociating themselves from the church without disassociating from their family...
Hi Melo,I don't know what it's like to grow up in the church. I was an adult when I came in. But it's never easy to leave,a persons conscience gets manipulated to feel guilt about leaving,at least mine did. But you having your parents in the church makes it a doubley hard. I hope you can leave and still have your family respect and understand your feelings. The Lord bless you and be with you.
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:40 AM   #11
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The LCs run a comprehensive thought-suppression system whose perniciousness lies in how well it masks itself.
Once I was in an immersive "church life" experience, living in a "brother's house" with meetings 6 days a week, plus an equal amount of informal "fellowship", and when I left, the ingrained LC thinking remained. Even though I went back to Protestant Christianity physically, when I read a spiritual book, I'd say, "That's not God's economy"; same with Christian meetings: if the pastor said something good, I'd think, "Brother Lee already covered this." Or, again, "That's not God's economy". It took years to get such knee-jerk reflexive responses out of my head, and to think critically; it took years to slowly unpack it and see the deeply rooted and self-reinforcing system of mind control. LC mantras had covered the doorways of thought.

That's why I call it pernicious, in that it maintains power because LC members are trained, or conditioned, not to critically examine the thoughts the ministry's put in their heads. They're led to suppose that every other teaching can be wrong, even the Bible can contain "fallen human concepts", but the "ministry" - never! That option has been removed - one simply isn't allowed to think that - to even entertain it is being "negative". You don't want to be negative, do you? Critical thought in the LC is forbidden fruit, held up as the first step to independence and then rebellion.

Since leaving, I've learned to question most everything; I believe and confess that God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day, and that the blood of Jesus is efficacious, and cleanses me from every sin. On that I'm consciously dogmatic, because the NT clearly states this: if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that God raised Jesus from the dead, you'll be saved. Likewise, it says that if I forgive others their trespasses, God will forgive mine; Jesus taught this prayer, and I repeat it.

Beyond that, we have the right to question; if anyone comes along with an "extra", we should examine to see if indeed it's so. All the "derived truths" are actually man-made abstractions, theological overlays imposed on the text. But anyone can come up with abstractions - Witness Lee could, so can I. But I don't take any of them on face value, especially mine! "Prove all things, hold to what is good." The journey continues.
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Old 01-02-2019, 04:26 PM   #12
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The only problem is my immediate family is wholly involved with the church, and I don’t know how I would even tell my parents that kind of thing without sending them into cardiac arrest. My parents are also hinting about wanting me to go to the FTTA, and I honestly think I would go completely insane if I was subjected to that for an extended period of time. I only really go to the Sunday meetings when I’m with my parents, and even then, I find myself disgusted with the many of the underlying teachings. I want to clarify that I agree with many of the teachings in the Recovery, concerning things like the Divine Trinity, God’s Economy, etc. My major qualms are the teachings that seem to be base-less, hypocritical, or suppressing critical thinking, much like many have already pointed out.
Melo,

You seem to have a commendable respect for your parents therefore, you should have a heart to heart with them and let them know exactly how you feel and what you think. Of course they want what they think is best for their children but if you differ then the Lord will supply them to handle it. Yet even if it upsets them it would be not in your, their, or in the best interest of the other students in the FTT for you to participate considering how you feel about it at this time. They'll understand that. The first thing the Lord requires is an honest heart to Him and by extension to your parents.

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Old 01-02-2019, 10:01 PM   #13
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1. The idea of oneness - while it sounds good, the local church's idea of oneness is an internal, inward-facing oneness. It is not a oneness with the rest of the Body of Christ. (And yes, there is a "rest" of the Body of Christ....growing up in "the church", "the Body" is made equal to "the local church" while disregarding the millions of other Christians who are also the church). The local church is not, has no desire to be, and takes no steps to be one with those other Christians.
Let me amend this one point by saying this, since I don't want to be guilty of making the same type of sweeping statements about one Christian group that the local churches make about other Christian groups: In the spiritual realm, I believe the local church is one with other Christians on the basis of the shared life in Christ, and some individual saints can and do live this out in certain ways in their daily life (since I've seen it). The shared life in Christ, the one Lord, is the basis of the oneness that should be among all Christians and I can't discount the existence of that in the individual believers in the local church.

However, in practice, the local churches as an organization (uh-oh....another church-life buzzword) are not and simply cannot be one with the rest of the Body of Christ given the permeating spoken and printed disdain for non local church believers (those who are not "saints"). Even new college students learn very early on that others "don't see what we see", and in years past I've heard things like that come out of their mouths. Whether the local churches do experience or enter into certain things that other congregations don't is irrelevant at that point because the "us vs. them" chasm has ruined the oneness.
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:24 PM   #14
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Let me amend this one point by saying this, since I don't want to be guilty of making the same type of sweeping statements about one Christian group that the local churches make about other Christian groups: In the spiritual realm, I believe the local church is one with other Christians on the basis of the shared life in Christ, and some individual saints can and do live this out in certain ways in their daily life (since I've seen it). The shared life in Christ, the one Lord, is the basis of the oneness that should be among all Christians and I can't discount the existence of that in the individual believers in the local church.

However, in practice, the local churches as an organization (uh-oh....another church-life buzzword) are not and simply cannot be one with the rest of the Body of Christ given the permeating spoken and printed disdain for non local church believers (those who are not "saints"). Even new college students learn very early on that others "don't see what we see", and in years past I've heard things like that come out of their mouths. Whether the local churches do experience or enter into certain things that other congregations don't is irrelevant at that point because the "us vs. them" chasm has ruined the oneness.
Thank you for your response, it's re-assuring to hear someone else talk about their struggle with this, and validate my resistance to attend the FTTA.

And I completely agree with your above point! I can only speak of the church life perception of other denominations, but I've always felt as if this idea of oneness rarely extends into practice. If all denominations were truly considered of equal value, there would be no reason for these divisions in the first place. I've always felt like in the church life there was always 'two' salvations that needed to occur. (1) Believing in the Lord Jesus, and (2) Believing into the church life.

I also have a dumb question that is more directed towards your previous comment concerning God's economy. Is God's economy a concept that is mentioned in other denominations and translations of the Bible aside from Lee's writings? A simple Google search for God's economy sent me to literature all stemming from LSM, but I just wanted to make sure. While I'm not here to debate the validity of the term 'God's economy', to me that illustration has helped clarify God's dispensing and doesn't seem overtly offensive to me. Any clarification would be appreciated!
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:37 PM   #15
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Once I was in an immersive "church life" experience, living in a "brother's house" with meetings 6 days a week, plus an equal amount of informal "fellowship", and when I left, the ingrained LC thinking remained. Even though I went back to Protestant Christianity physically, when I read a spiritual book, I'd say, "That's not God's economy"; same with Christian meetings: if the pastor said something good, I'd think, "Brother Lee already covered this." Or, again, "That's not God's economy". It took years to get such knee-jerk reflexive responses out of my head, and to think critically; it took years to slowly unpack it and see the deeply rooted and self-reinforcing system of mind control. LC mantras had covered the doorways of thought.

That's why I call it pernicious, in that it maintains power because LC members are trained, or conditioned, not to critically examine the thoughts the ministry's put in their heads. They're led to suppose that every other teaching can be wrong, even the Bible can contain "fallen human concepts", but the "ministry" - never! That option has been removed - one simply isn't allowed to think that - to even entertain it is being "negative". You don't want to be negative, do you? Critical thought in the LC is forbidden fruit, held up as the first step to independence and then rebellion.

Since leaving, I've learned to question most everything; I believe and confess that God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day, and that the blood of Jesus is efficacious, and cleanses me from every sin. On that I'm consciously dogmatic, because the NT clearly states this: if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that God raised Jesus from the dead, you'll be saved. Likewise, it says that if I forgive others their trespasses, God will forgive mine; Jesus taught this prayer, and I repeat it.

Beyond that, we have the right to question; if anyone comes along with an "extra", we should examine to see if indeed it's so. All the "derived truths" are actually man-made abstractions, theological overlays imposed on the text. But anyone can come up with abstractions - Witness Lee could, so can I. But I don't take any of them on face value, especially mine! "Prove all things, hold to what is good." The journey continues.
I completely agree! There's this insidious idea to not question the teachings or doctrines being handed to us, and I'm not quite sure I'm built to except things like that at face value. Sometimes, I wish I could. It definitely would make life easier sometimes.

Additionally, I appreciated you mentioning your time in corporate living. I myself could have opted for corporate living, but thankfully my parents didn't push me to. I don't think I could have handled being around that kind of environment. It's always awkward since I see the saints a lot, many of them seem perplexed that I'm not in corporate living and don't intend to be anytime soon. What was your experience with corporate living, aside from the constant bombardment of meetings? Was this during university, or later?
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Old 01-05-2019, 04:18 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Melo View Post
Is God's economy a concept that is mentioned in other denominations and translations of the Bible aside from Lee's writings? A simple Google search for God's economy sent me to literature all stemming from LSM, but I just wanted to make sure. While I'm not here to debate the validity of the term 'God's economy', to me that illustration has helped clarify God's dispensing and doesn't seem overtly offensive to me.
The only place Jesus used the word 'oikonomeia' in the gospels is a parable in Luke 16:1-13, where it's translated 'stewardship', i.e. 'position of responsibility' (vv.2,3). There, the focus isn't on dispensing per se, but on obedience to God's command to manage one's duties well. And one of the main duties, of course, is to help others, to 'do unto others', to give out or to dispense; Jesus taught, "Blessed is that one who, when the Master comes, finds him so doing." (Matt 24:26; Lu 12:43).

In Lee's hands, "God's economy" meant go to meetings, sit in a chair, and listen to messages; then one left with "more God" than when they arrived. I heard it put just that plainly.
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Old 01-05-2019, 07:09 AM   #17
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In Lee's hands, "God's economy" meant go to meetings, sit in a chair, and listen to messages; then one left with "more God" than when they arrived. I heard it put just that plainly.
At one point Lee said it was better to sleep through his message than apparently to be home doing something valuable. Part of the transformation process, we were assured.

We were constantly informed by Lee's marketeers that we "needed more training," which became the never ending excuse for "going to more meetings, sitting in those chairs, and listening to more messages," all by Lee, of course. And don't forget to buy the latest book.
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:22 AM   #18
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What was your experience with corporate living, aside from the constant bombardment of meetings? Was this during university, or later?
I thought the subject may benefit from more extended discussion, and started another thread, "Corporate Living", in the "Orthopraxy" section.
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Old 01-19-2019, 02:01 PM   #19
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Hi Melo,

I was looking for something when I saw your post. I peruse this forum every now and then and I am registered, but I haven't logged in awhile to remember what my password is. But like you, I grew up in the local church as well. The Lord has taken me in, out, around and about in what may be described as quite an adventure.

My story is that I grew in the up the LC. When I went to college, the Lord plucked me out of that environment. Whenever I came home to visit, I would meet with the LC saints because my parents are also meeting there. During that time there was some turmoil and lawsuits against Harvest publishing house, and I was really saddened by that whole ordeal. By the time I graduated, there was yet again another big event (i.e. the quarantine), I turned 180 degrees and I extremely angry at the LC. My time in college, the Lord paired and connected me with other Christians. These are my dearest and closest spiritual companions to date. I have made more since then and most do not meet with the LC. After college, the Lord brought me back to the LC and I didn't understand, because I was still angry. Then one night, the Lord asked, "What are you doing, <my name>? These are My people, too." My first year in college, meeting with denomination campus fellowships, the Lord said to me: "Do not count them out. These are My people." Growing up in the LC, I always had the impression that those not meeting with the LC are dwelling in the synagogue of Satan and we the LCers have some really special. Going to college and coming back, I learned His presence is everywhere, especially in those who are focused on Him and Him only.

I repented of my attitude to the LC. Then the economic crises and my job forced me to quit and move back to my parents' house. But then I found myself, not being completely satisfied and still had all these lingering concerns regarding the LC, I started meeting with other local churches/assemblies not associated with the LC. I treasure all the friendships I made throughout this time and by the Lord's mercy, I still keep in touch. Because once again, the Lord brought me back to the LC. Currently, this is where I am. Sometimes, I sit wide awake in bed asking God, why did you bring me back??? Most times, I feel like a fish out of water. I even feel like I'm the end of a wall, a living stone not built up with anyone.

I can't tell you what you should do. For me, I am here because God wants me here. I serve Him. If He wants me to go fellowship with another group saints, I'm very glad to pack my bags and go. I do not compromise what the Lord has shown me, but I pray earnestly that the Lord would open my heart to forgive and love the saints in the LC equally as I love the other members of the Body. My advise to you is to listen to the Lord. Allow Him to lead you. I was very fortunate with my parents, because they understood. Talk to your parents lovingly about how the Lord is leading you. They may disapprove; that is a possibility. But do not be dismayed. Keep praying for a clear vision, softening of hearts and that He would ultimately provide you an opportunity to leave or stay whichever He wills. I know the saints are very protective of the younger generation. At the same time, we need to remind them who is really doing the protecting? Us or God. As a serving one, I want to protect you from the world and the evil one, but I've also learned to let go and just be available. We all need to have our own conversations and testimonies with the Lord.

Joshua 1:9 says "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, neither be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you, wherever you go."
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Old 01-19-2019, 08:52 PM   #20
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I can't tell you what you should do. For me, I am here because God wants me here. I serve Him. If He wants me to go fellowship with another group saints, I'm very glad to pack my bags and go. I do not compromise what the Lord has shown me, but I pray earnestly that the Lord would open my heart to forgive and love the saints in the LC equally as I love the other members of the Body. My advise to you is to listen to the Lord. Allow Him to lead you. I was very fortunate with my parents, because they understood. Talk to your parents lovingly about how the Lord is leading you.
I appreciate your response; I'm so glad that you were able to find God's calling for you! I definitely know a lot of people who found themselves falling away from the church life in their college years. Some eventually come back stronger than ever, others don't. I'm worried I will be in the latter.

If I'm being honest, I don't know if my qualms are with the LC or religion itself. I don't know where God is leading me, often it feels like He isn't leading me at all. Not that I'm an atheist by any means, I think I'm just struggling with my own spirituality. I want to read the Bible and see a righteous, loving God. But other times I read it and see only anger, restriction, and jealousy -- a God that I want no part in.

I think my parents would take it better if I went to a different church. They definitely wouldn't be happy, but they couldn't really say anything about it since in Him there is only one church. But that of course depends on me regaining my enjoyment of the Lord.
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Old 01-20-2019, 04:49 AM   #21
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But that of course depends on me regaining my enjoyment of the Lord.
There's much that could be said about regaining enjoyment of the Lord, so my comment might miss the mark. Maybe right now you shouldn't worry about huge theological issues like comparing God's justice in the Old vs. New Testaments; or God's sovereignty vs. man's free will; or questions like "Was brother Lee really the minister of the age?"

Keep it simple. You might try reading the gospels in a new version that only has the text, no footnotes, references, or other distracting items. A version in paragraph rather than verse form might be fun. Start with Mark and let the text draw you into the life of Jesus and the people He interacted with. When you get to know the Jesus in the gospels it won't be long before you start talking with the Jesus who lives in your heart. Who knows, maybe enjoyment will follow. Just my two cents from my experience.
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Old 01-20-2019, 09:34 AM   #22
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If I'm being honest, I don't know if my qualms are with the LC or religion itself. I don't know where God is leading me, often it feels like He isn't leading me at all.
No one can tell you which way to go at this point in your life. Can you hang loose and let it happen?

When I left my head was full of questions. I've been answering them ever since, in hindsight with a leading, that pulled the rug out from under all that I placed faith in other than God.

Because I don't consider myself to be an evangelical, or fundamentalist, many out here would say that that leading was from the devil.

True, my mind has been expanded so that it can no longer fit into the LC, or any organized religion.

But that's just me. Your leading might be different. I've seen many leave the LC. They've all gone their own way. Some of them found happiness by letting go of it all.

I just hope that you too will find happiness, wherever you're led, if led at all. Sometimes you won't know you're led until looking back on it later.

As they say : Let go and let God. And just be you and be honest with your LC folks. Share your doubts and questions with them along the way. You've got to be you, or hide in the closet. The closet is not a happy place.

Sometimes the truth hurts.

Many blessings ...
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Old 01-20-2019, 09:49 AM   #23
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I want to read the Bible and see a righteous, loving God. But other times I read it and see only anger, restriction, and jealousy -- a God that I want no part in.
Melo, that is true....He is both righteous and loving and some of what you are objecting to is a response to His dealing with unrighteousness among men, overthrowing Satan's work, and sin among His people. Judgement begins with His own. He is a God who judges and condemns and yet He is also a God who provides a way out.

If you want no part of in a righteous God then you can have no part in a loving God.

Simply put, it is because He is righteous we have the assurance of our salvation. Through His provision of salvation He has to save us because He is righteous. He is obligated to forgive us when we believe God's Son and apply His shed blood through faith. Of course, we know because He loved the world that He gave us His Son and that by believing we are thereby saved from God's judgement. All men are already condemned and on the broad way to destruction but because He loved us He provides a way out of the path of destruction. The same righteous God that condemned sin, sins, the world, Satan,on the cross is the same righteous God that saves us. God may not like you for whatever reason but He has to save you if you take His provision for salvation... because He is righteous.

If you are a believer, that is if you have accepted the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior and believe with your heart that He was your substitute on the cross, that He bore your sins on the cross, and shed His blood for you, and that God raised Him from the dead, then you are no longer condemned and you have the eternal life of God. Yet, do not allow God's enemy to rob you of experiencing the joy of the Christian life and experiencing a direct and personal relationship with God by stirring up reasonings in your mind.

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Old 01-20-2019, 05:45 PM   #24
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... But that of course depends on me regaining my enjoyment of the Lord.
Melo,

What do you mean "regain your enjoyment of the Lord?"

Isn't "enjoyment" based on emotion...what feels good? I understand walking by faith. It's not always pleasant, sometimes it is, but it is scriptural. Do you have verses for "enjoyment of the Lord?"

I believe much of Witness Lee's ministry relies on what is called "non-scriptural 'Christian' teachings.' It may sound good, but is not biblical. This means you are holding yourself to a standard that God does not require.

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Old 01-23-2019, 07:18 PM   #25
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Default Re: My experience as a church kid: Why I want out

I did grow up in the church.

After a specific incident, I decided to disconnect from the church. But my parents and family were true believers, and I did not want to disconnect from them. At first, I continued to go to meetings, just less frequently. Going to college in another city helped. Sometimes I talk to them about spiritual related things or to other church friends. At family get togethers, I listen more than talk. Sub-optimal or not, that is how I handle it.

It was not until after studying mind control manipulation methods used to manipulate people that I began to realize that was what the BBs were doing in the LCs. Then I found this LCD blog, confirming my worst fears. :-)

I have discussed specific complaints with my parents and select others. When talking to a church person, if I want to talk about disagreements, I use specific verses or passages from the LSM publications pointing out specific discrepancies between words and deeds.

My greatest criticism of the group is that the LSM BBs and elders violates what they themselves state they should do or not do in administering the church. Then they quarantine anyone who points that out publicly. They say it is about the lord's recovery. It's all about the hierarchy which they established and maintain for themselves using deception. "Hypocrites!" Quoting what Jesus said to the sadducees and pharisees. They damage many people.

Last edited by recoveringCK; 01-23-2019 at 10:20 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:57 PM   #26
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I did grow up in the church.

After a specific incident, I decided to disconnect from the church. But my parents and family were true believers, and I did not want to disconnect from them. At first, I continued to go to meetings, just less frequently. Going to college in another city helped. Sometimes I talk to them about spiritual related things or to other church friends. At family get togethers, I listen more than talk. Sub-optimal or not, that is how I handle it.

It was not until after studying mind control manipulation methods used to manipulate people that I began to realize that was what the BBs were doing in the LCs. Then I found this LCD blog, confirming my worst fears. :-)

I have discussed specific complaints with my parents and select others. When talking to a church person, if I want to talk about disagreements, I use specific verses or passages from the LSM publications pointing out specific discrepancies between words and deeds.

My greatest criticism of the group is that the LSM BBs and elders violates what they themselves state they should do or not do in administering the church. Then they quarantine anyone who points that out publicly. They say it is about the lord's recovery. It's all about the hierarchy which they established and maintain for themselves using deception. "Hypocrites!" Quoting what Jesus said to the Jesus Christ was quoted as saying to the sadducees and pharisees. They damage many people.
I too shy away from endless doctrinal debates, and address specific discrepancies between LSM's words and deeds. The Bible says not to judge people, but we should judge their actions, especially those which hurt others.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:27 AM   #27
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Default Re: My experience as a church kid: Why I want out

Hi. I am currently in college too (currently doing my masters) and I left the LC in my second year. Luckily my family wasn't in it, so I can't give any advice. Since I left them I also haven't gone to any other Church (unwisely I know).

What drove me out was also some of the hypocrisy. Having read C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity at the time I became very distrustful of the LC's exclusionary views of other Churches. Their odd philosophy, quasi-heretical views on the trinity and the realisation that I really don't know who they are drove me away. They also hinted a couple of times that I should join the training. Nope!

The only advice I can give is this: don't think you are alone in disagreeing with them or leaving them. Don't be afraid to say what you dislike about the LC to them. Some of them might even be understanding. And don't feel as though you are forsaking the Church itself.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:39 AM   #28
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What has been peopleís experience with their campus ministry (both good and bad)?
The good: they were there even during a time when I felt incredibly lonely. I didn't know anyone on campus and I went through some stuff. Just meeting with them on campus and at their houses helped a lot psychologically. I think I would have had a much worse time without them.

They were also accepting of other Bible versions (despite obviously preferring the Recovery version) and what I really respect them for is that not a single time did they ask for money. That showed that they are at least honest in their intentions.

The bad: At the time a friend of mine became an atheist. Being a young earth creationist at the time I did not have any good arguments to make to convince him to stay a Christian. The LC dismissed this. They don't seem to care for any rational discussion of anything really. My one LC friend said in a similar discussion he would just repeat "Jesus loves you" or something similar. That really put me off. How many non-believers go away thinking the Church has nothing to offer?

Also, their references to man becoming God became very scary and seemed more and more heretical. I began to seriously consider whether this group is a cult. Their disdain for other denominations as I mentioned made my suspicion even worse.

Tying in with what I said earlier about my loneliness, in second year things were better. I made good friends on campus and I stayed with my best friend nearby. At the same time the two LC members I were close with moved to other campuses, which basically removed any personal links I had. So leaving them became easy. The last time I went to a meeting I brought a friend with me. During that meeting I saw the whole thing through my friend's eyes: I realised how utterly weird this whole thing is: the people, the music, the "Oh Lord Jesus". My eyes were opened and I never went back.

Also, a minor thing, at one point where everyone shared something they learned, one guy told a Biblical story that was completely wrong scripturally and no one bothered to correct him.

tl;dr The good: they are nice people. The bad: they are exclusionary and don't care for reasoning.

As a last note I'll say this: you mentioned that it's difficult to leave because of your parents. And that's just it, isn't it? It's all so personal. It's all so a part of you. Not grounded on truth, but on relationships. That's not always a good thing.
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