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Old 04-08-2018, 06:34 PM   #1
Terry
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Default Relationships/Courting

On the topic of relationships/courting this doesn’t apply to many of us anymore, but this post is for those who are still single.
It’s been touch already in different posts, but I did want to comment further on the matter of relationships/courting in the local churches. For good reason dating isn’t encouraged. Not in high school and not in college. Yet sound explanations aren’t always provided why by serving ones. You will be told as I was many years ago, not until you’re ready to get married. Who makes that determination?
When that time comes, how to you get to know someone well enough to determine if there’s something there to be built into friendship and beyond? When I was a single brother, it was a difficult issue to deal with. I’m sure other single brothers and sisters grappling with the same problem.
The system produced such weirdness. How to relate to one another without being so weird? How to speak to one another as we really are? It’s as if there’s a magnetic field that prevents the humanity of brothers and sisters from shining through as they actually are instead of what groupthink dictates how a single brother single sister should speak and act. Groupthink meaning spiritual is good and the soul is bad. Brothers may have the concept to be a good brother your have to be for the ministry. If a brother bears his soul, he’s a worldly brother.
We are social beings, but in the local churches have become segregated socially to only those of our respective genders. As a result single brothers and sisters are unable to be unprogrammed from the teaching “don’t talk to sisters” or “don’t talk to brothers” as they enter into the workforce.
I’ll stop here for someone else to continue with the conversation.
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Old 04-08-2018, 08:41 PM   #2
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The church has no business being involved in relationships and courting. Just who do they think they are, parents? Oh I forgot. They are a cult.
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Old 04-08-2018, 11:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: Relationships/Courting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
We are social beings, but in the local churches have become segregated socially to only those of our respective genders. As a result single brothers and sisters are unable to be unprogrammed from the teaching “don’t talk to sisters” or “don’t talk to brothers” as they enter into the workforce.
I’ll stop here for someone else to continue with the conversation.

This is the single most damaging thing I got from being in there, it'll take me years to overcome. But hey good news I had a date last night, I think she's really into me and wow is she *stunning*! She enthusiastically agreed to another date. I'm gradually learning how to be with women lol
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Old 04-08-2018, 11:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Relationships/Courting

A couple of years ago I met up with a sister, not sure if she was still meeting with LC at the time, she was just in the same city as me for work.
She was dating someone not in LC, and I was single (as I still am) and we talked about how LC expects us to marry someone in LC, but all the single brothers were uhh... single for a reason.

The number of brothers who had no idea how to speak to sisters was astonishing. I found it tended to improve once they got married, but that's no help to a single sister!

Also, when I was part of Christians on Campus, I remember a new one (I don't think she stuck around long) at a lunch leaning over to me and asking "Why are there separate tables for guys and girls". I didn't know how to answer that. It really is abnormal.

Also, good for you Bradley!
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Old 04-09-2018, 12:20 AM   #5
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"how to you get to know someone well enough to determine if there’s something there to be built into friendship and beyond? "

When we look at courtship in the Bible, there is really little support for the idea of long-term courtship for the purpose of "getting to know if someone is right for you".

I personally believe 1 month is long enough to know if someone is marriage material or not. The human body is designed to produce chemicals of attraction when two people of the opposite sex spend enough time together. This is why arranged marriages often work and couples that have been dating for too long (say up to 10 years) lose interest in each other and fall apart when the chemicals of attraction decline. I know Indian couples who are not Christians who have long and happy marriages despite not knowing each other before marriage.

The bible shows that God created Adam and brought Eve to him. He did not tell Adam to "try her out", or "see if you like her and if not I'll make you another". Neither did God create a few women and ask Adam to date each one for a year. The modern day concept of 1-5 year "dating" with the "try before your buy" idea is really a modern concept.
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Old 04-09-2018, 01:22 AM   #6
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I personally believe 1 month is long enough to know if someone is marriage material or not. The human body is designed to produce chemicals of attraction when two people of the opposite sex spend enough time together.
That is just crazy!
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Old 04-09-2018, 04:24 AM   #7
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That is just crazy!
It's a modern day myth that two people need to spend a long time together to create a bond and then when they feel ready, they are ready for marriage.

God intended marriage, not dating, for creating lasting, long-term bonds. Adam and Eve got married very quickly and then got to know each other better later. This is why many fall into sexual sin before marriage - people in a long term relationship e.g. 3 years, often commit fornication because they "can't wait". They follow their natural desires as God intended but due to some social stigma for getting married "too early", they fall into the trap of waiting too long and so fall into fornication.

Here are some stories of people who married a short time after meeting, and had long marriages:

https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/sex-...theyd-just-met

Also, short courtship periods are the norm in many cultures, or non-existent, and used to be in western culture too.
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Old 04-09-2018, 05:21 AM   #8
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It's a modern day myth that two people need to spend a long time together to create a bond and then when they feel ready, they are ready for marriage.

God intended marriage, not dating, for creating lasting, long-term bonds. Adam and Eve got married very quickly
Yeah bro Ohio. Before running straight to the forbidden tree, they ran straight to the justice of peace, to tie the knot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by E
This is why many fall into sexual sin before marriage - people in a long term relationship e.g. 3 years, often commit fornication because they "can't wait". They follow their natural desires as God intended but due to some social stigma for getting married "too early", they fall into the trap of waiting too long and so fall into fornication.
My marriage was arranged in the local church, very quickly, by the elders. And there was no chance of hanky-panky, as we were never allowed alone together.

So there was no romance, or even kissing. More importantly there was no love.

After marriage, as long as she was involved with the sisters, and I was involved with the brothers, it didn't matter. But after we got the boot the lack of love stuck out like a sore thumb.

The marriage failed.

Arranged marriages is a custom thing, a cultural thing. It may work in India, but it's not the custom here in America.

The church has no business getting involved in relationships and courting. Only cults do that ; like polygamous FLDS (Mormon) cults.
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Old 04-09-2018, 05:57 AM   #9
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God intended marriage, not dating, for creating lasting, long-term bonds. Adam and Eve got married very quickly and then got to know each other better later. This is why many fall into sexual sin before marriage - people in a long term relationship e.g. 3 years, often commit fornication because they "can't wait". They follow their natural desires as God intended but due to some social stigma for getting married "too early", they fall into the trap of waiting too long and so fall into fornication.
Your argument about Adam and Eve is just bogus.

Don't you know that Adam checked out every girl on the planet before marrying Eve?
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Here are some stories of people who married a short time after meeting, and had long marriages:
https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/sex-...theyd-just-met
Also, short courtship periods are the norm in many cultures, or non-existent, and used to be in western culture too.
I know of at least two great marriages in the LC which occurred almost instantly. Both are still in loving and blessed relationships.

But we cannot use the exceptions to make rules. Both of those brothers were LC leaders, but they never preached their experience for others to follow, rather they thanked the Lord their marriage was blessed.

And btw you might want to cite a new site. One of the marriages in your definitive website got divorced. Oops!
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:45 AM   #11
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It's a modern day myth that two people need to spend a long time together to create a bond and then when they feel ready, they are ready for marriage.
God intended marriage, not dating, for creating lasting, long-term bonds..
You might have forgotten the most important romance - Christ and His Church. Christ is not in a hurry and still patiently waiting for His bride to be ready after thousands of years have passed.
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Old 04-09-2018, 10:45 AM   #12
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The church has no business being involved in relationships and courting. Just who do they think they are, parents? Oh I forgot. They are a cult.
Somehow this basic fact never occured to many of us. For those like myself who grew up in the LC, the ideology was pushed on us even at an early age. It seemed reasonable in the sense that we thought that the elders were simply looking out for our best interests.

It didn’t occur to me there was anything abnormal about it until I saw the attempts at meddling and matchmaking backfire on several people. When I came to see what was really going on, and how leaders were abusing the trust that was placed in them, I realized how wrong it really was.

What also was insightful was all the evasive answers I received when I tried to address such concerns. I heard people try to rationalize why matchmaking was needed. I heard denial that the LC interferes in relationships. I saw deliberate attempts to break up relationships, and when I tried to get people to acknowledge what was happening, the response was just to shrug it off as if it were nothing.

I am not married yet, but I consider that to be much better than to have been pushed into an arranged marriage.
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Old 04-09-2018, 12:04 PM   #13
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Freedom indeed. Hope you're very grateful.

You said, "we thought that the elders were simply looking out for our best interests."

As it turned out this was not my case at all. I'll keep my story as short as possible.

I came into the church in Santa Cruz, Cal. circa 1970. I spent about a year there. I went to my first conference at Witness Lee's The Kingdom Conference in L.A.

Well my stomping ground, and where I grew up, was the Detroit Michigan area. Lo and behold, unbeknownst to me, there was a small local church there, of about 40. Kangas was the leader elder.

At the conference, when Kangas, or one of the other elders, found out I was from Detroit, they approached me, pressuring me to move back, and be in the church in Detroit. They flattered me. I didn't know it, but the church was full of old people, and they desperately needed young people, for the outreach. So I hopped on a plane, and moved back.

These were the days when Witness Lee was saying, "brother's, it doesn't matter who you marry. Marry any sister, and go on with Christ and the Church."

I was single, and living with one of the elders. They still needed more young people in Detroit. Young sisters would be good too. So at the dinner table one night the elder asked me, "Isn't there at least one sister back in Santa Cruz, that you would consider marrying?" Feeling the pressure, I said, "I don't know. I guess there's one Chinese sister I had a little interest in." He broke out into a mock prayer, saying, "Oh Lord. Show me the sister you want to be my wife. Give me a sign. May she being wearing a polka dot dress, with a cow bell around her neck." Then he turned to me and said something like, "you better contact her before another brother gets her."

I know it sounds crazy. I was very spiritual. I wrote to her, and asked her to marry me. Trouble is, I didn't really know her. I saw her in the meetings, and we once rode in a car together, with 4 others, to a conference in San Fran. And that's all. But what did I know? Wasn't the elder in touch with God? Might it have been God wanting me to contact her?

Turns out she was living in a sister's house, with a bunch of my female friends from Detroit. When they got wind of the letter it became a real scuttlebutt ; at least a sensation in the sister's house. They told her, or shouted to her, to say yes.

Long story very very short. She took it to the elders, they called Kangas in Detroit, we got married in Santa Cruz, she became the next young person in the c. in Detroit.

None of it was "in OUR best interest."
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Old 04-09-2018, 03:07 PM   #14
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You might have forgotten the most important romance - Christ and His Church. Christ is not in a hurry and still patiently waiting for His bride to be ready after thousands of years have passed.
You prove my point. He has already chosen His future wife. He is waiting for her readiness not trying to get to know her better to see if she is the right one.
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Old 04-09-2018, 04:19 PM   #15
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You prove my point. He has already chosen His future wife. He is waiting for her readiness not trying to get to know her better to see if she is the right one.
No I didn't.

If even the all-knowing God would be patiently waiting/dating until His bride is ready, why the hurry for the not-all-knowing man to jump into marriage? Why would the elders have a role doing the matching? Why would they think romantic element in a relationship before marriage is unimportant when they know about the divine romance?
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Old 04-09-2018, 04:30 PM   #16
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But there's only one Bride. God is not dating different Brides to figure out who is the right one. Let's use Israel as an example - God chose Israel and remained committed to her, and did not "date" other nations to see who is the best match for him. Your analogy does not really fit.

I believe the bible leans towards the idea of match-making, rather than two people figuring it out for themselves by trial and error ( I don't recall any example in the bible of a man dating different women to figure out who is right for him). Whether it is God, grandparent or parent, or an elder, their wisdom is valuable:

Job 12:12 Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?

So I guess you think romance is about love-heart shaped chocolates and red roses. Read the bible and we see what the bible's idea of a "romantic relationship" between God and His people looks like. It includes, 400 years of slavery in Egypt, a brutal torture, mutilation and death of a man on the cross. Severe persecution of the church and martyrdom of the Bride (see revelation). The "divine romance" is about faith, hope, commitment and sacrifice.

It seems your attempt to argue for modern day dating practices using the bible as support has failed.
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Old 04-09-2018, 04:53 PM   #17
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It seems your attempt to argue for modern day dating practices using the bible as support has failed.
When and where have arranged weddings (where young people have their free wills taken from them) been the practice of Bible believing Christians in evangelical churches?
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Old 04-09-2018, 05:33 PM   #18
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When and where have arranged weddings (where young people have their free wills taken from them) been the practice of Bible believing Christians in evangelical churches?
You are confusing arranged marriage with forced marriage. If you don't know the difference you shouldn't be commenting. The statistics are on my side anyway:

According to a 2012 study by Statistic Brain, the global divorce rate for arranged marriages was 6 percent — a significantly low number. Compared to the 55 percent of marriages in the world that are arranged, this low statistic shows the success rate of arranged marriages.

http://thedailycougar.com/2015/04/03...-as-you-think/
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Old 04-09-2018, 05:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by clever sister View Post
A couple of years ago I met up with a sister, not sure if she was still meeting with LC at the time, she was just in the same city as me for work.
She was dating someone not in LC, and I was single (as I still am) and we talked about how LC expects us to marry someone in LC, but all the single brothers were uhh... single for a reason.
The number of brothers who had no idea how to speak to sisters was astonishing. I found it tended to improve once they got married, but that's no help to a single sister!
Also, when I was part of Christians on Campus, I remember a new one (I don't think she stuck around long) at a lunch leaning over to me and asking "Why are there separate tables for guys and girls". I didn't know how to answer that. It really is abnormal.
Also, good for you Bradley!
I second that. Good for your Bradley.
Well clever sister, those of us brothers raised in the local churches, at an early age perhaps beginning at 6-7 grade we begin being told "don't talk to sisters". Year after year of that teaching, it becomes ingrained. Equally as much we're taught to be obedient and submissive to those older than us. Another reason brothers tend to be awkward and inept when it comes to speak with sisters is fear of man. They don't want to be rebuked for speaking to a sister. Though there's always the possibility sisters are equally awkward when a single brother is speaking with the. They go into a panic. Thinking how to get away before a "responsible brother" sees the conversation.
How do you break the cycle? Only feasible option is to have blatant disregard for "the brothers" who give fellowship on the matter. Of course that would be received as being rebellious.
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
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It's a modern day myth that two people need to spend a long time together to create a bond and then when they feel ready, they are ready for marriage.
God intended marriage, not dating, for creating lasting, long-term bonds.
I agree with what you're saying here Evangelical. Even as brothers and sisters in the church, it's not enough to pair couples at whim. It's a given no one is at the growth spiritually. No getting past that. Much more to consider is can they be friends? What's their socio-economic background? What are their common goals?
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:16 PM   #21
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When and where have arranged weddings (where young people have their free wills taken from them) been the practice of Bible believing Christians in evangelical churches?
I believe what Ohio is referring to is when elders interject themselves whether playing matchmaker or breaking up a potential relationship. What this does is remove liberty, will, and choice from potential relationships ending in courting. When removing liberty, will, and choice happens an eventual marriage tends to be one of contract and not of covenant.
What I posted above was not my experience, but experiences of others.
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:16 PM   #22
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I believe what Ohio is referring to is when elders interject themselves whether playing matchmaker or breaking up a potential relationship. What this does is remove liberty, will, and choice from potential relationships ending in courting. When removing liberty, will, and choice happens an eventual marriage tends to be one of contract and not of covenant.
What I posted above was not my experience, but experiences of others.
In the cases that I saw, the lack of free will and choice was clearly evident. In the LC-style arranged marriages, it might not be something that is literally 'forced' on anyone, but the pressure is enough so that people will cave to what the elders are 'suggesting'.

I had a particularly vexing experience where a leading brother came to me to ask if there were any sisters that I was interested it. I wasn't comfortable with him asking me that, but I sat and listened to what he had to say anyways. Almost immediately, he starts allegorizing the story of Isaac and Rebekah, in attempt to say that it's best to wait for the brothers to pick someone out.

He then proceeded to tell me that young brothers don't have the experience to always pick the right person, that they need a "second pair of eyes." By the end of the conversation, I felt like telling him off and telling him that he had no business talking to me about that. Unfortunately I never stood up to that kind of nonsense, but what I did do is drop all communication with that brother.

I think the fear is what holds a lot of people back. It is not a trivial matter to stand up to a leading brother. Depending on how much influence they have, it is only a matter of time until they can pressure someone into what they want them to do.
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:36 PM   #23
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Anyone who denies that marriages arranged by the elders is not a common practice in the LC is lying. I witnessed or was told about them by those whose marriages were arranged many times from 1985-2015. In fact it was expected that at the least one seek the elders' blessing, if not arrangement.

My own marriage was not arranged, because I had met my wife-to-be before coming into TLR, and we came in together while we were dating. An elder got involved within a few months to warn us to stop dating or get married. So, we stopped dating, but got married 5 years later after we both had finished college. Our marriage has been great by the way. And, the warning was a good thing at the time because of our young age and temptation.

One of the last things I saw before I left in 2015 was that a long-time and faithful Chinese brother from Anaheim had a big shot elder from Taipai arrange a marriage for his daughter to a brother he didn't know from Taipai. Then when she moved to Taipai to marry the brother they kept her contact information secret from him, so he didn't know how to talk to her in spite of repeated pleas for information.

Evangelical can defend this TLR practice all he wants. It stinks and has done a tremendous amount of damage to unsuspecting dear saints like Awareness and Bradley.

This is another thing that shouts "cult, cult, cult!" to me.
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:49 PM   #24
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In all denominations that I am aware of the priest or pastor will bless the marriage/union and in some cases decline it. I do not see how the practice of elders blessing the marriage is any different.
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Old 04-09-2018, 09:02 PM   #25
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We have some posters who are adamant that the elders arrange marriages, supposedly contrary to the person's will, and this is a bad thing as evidenced by a few examples of failed marriages:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
When and where have arranged weddings (where young people have their free wills taken from them) been the practice of Bible believing Christians in evangelical churches?
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ View Post
Anyone who denies that marriages arranged by the elders is not a common practice in the LC is lying. I witnessed or was told about them by those whose marriages were arranged many times from 1985-2015.

Then we have others who clarify that the elders do not literally force people into marriage:

Quote:
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In the LC-style arranged marriages, it might not be something that is literally 'forced' on anyone, but the pressure is enough so that people will cave to what the elders are 'suggesting'.
There is enough diversity of opinion here to suggest that it is not true that "young people have their free wills taken from them". I think the reaction to "arranged" marriages in the LC is a case of modern day culture clashing with godly wisdom found in the Bible. It seems that people just want to blame the elders, the church, their parents for failed relationships that is ultimately their own responsibility. If two people make their vows before God at the altar and don't mean them or intend to follow through then they cannot blame the elders or the church.

If people think that because of some failures that we should throw away godly wisdom they are wrong. The bible overwhelmingly supports the idea of elderly counselors. This is particularly important in relationships given that certain "love chemicals" as nature intended can confuse rational decision making.

Some biblical examples are:

Prov 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Prov 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.

Prov 28:26 Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

1 Kings 12:6 Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?”

Prov 4:13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.

2 Samuel 17:4 And the advice seemed right in the eyes of Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

Job 12:12 Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.

Isaac and Rebekah's marriage was arranged by his father.
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Old 04-09-2018, 09:04 PM   #26
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You are confusing arranged marriage with forced marriage. If you don't know the difference you shouldn't be commenting. The statistics are on my side anyway: According to a 2012 study by Statistic Brain, the global divorce rate for arranged marriages was 6 percent — a significantly low number. Compared to the 55 percent of marriages in the world that are arranged, this low statistic shows the success rate of arranged marriages.http://thedailycougar.com/2015/04/03...-as-you-think/
And what are the stats for LC marriages?
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Old 04-09-2018, 09:49 PM   #27
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We have some posters who are adamant that the elders arrange marriages, supposedly contrary to the person's will, and this is a bad thing as evidenced by a few examples of failed marriages:
Spin it however you want EV. There is no comparison between what I have seen regarding how deeply LC elders regularly get involved in people’s marriages, and the pressure and power they exert and wield versus how most elders or pastors outside the LC do it. Good verses by the way. It is good to seek counsel from wise elders, including regarding marriage. Lording it over people and being busybodies in others business are another matter, and what I take issue with.

Issac and Rebekah’s marriage is an Old Testament type of Christ’s marriage to the church being arranged by God the Father, not a prescription for church elders’ New Testament practice. Show me some New Testament support for this practice you deny with one breath then support with the next.
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Old 04-10-2018, 12:38 AM   #28
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I second that. Good for your Bradley.
Well clever sister, those of us brothers raised in the local churches, at an early age perhaps beginning at 6-7 grade we begin being told "don't talk to sisters". Year after year of that teaching, it becomes ingrained. Equally as much we're taught to be obedient and submissive to those older than us. Another reason brothers tend to be awkward and inept when it comes to speak with sisters is fear of man. They don't want to be rebuked for speaking to a sister. Though there's always the possibility sisters are equally awkward when a single brother is speaking with the. They go into a panic. Thinking how to get away before a "responsible brother" sees the conversation.
How do you break the cycle? Only feasible option is to have blatant disregard for "the brothers" who give fellowship on the matter. Of course that would be received as being rebellious.
I'm not saying it was the brothers fault, only it was something that happened. I'm sure there were sisters who couldn't talk to brothers, as well, but I guess a blushing bride is more attractive than a stuttering groom.
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:55 AM   #29
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Prov 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety..
". . in an abundance of counselors. ."?

How does this jibe with "one trumpet"?
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:19 AM   #30
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Some biblical examples are: Prov 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Job 12:12 Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.
Sorry to say, but two of the primary criteria for all of today's LC elders are not listed in the Bible -- zeal and loyalty to Lee's ministry.

I have seen and read countless stories during the last 40 years of real elders who were replaced because they attempted to place the Bible and their church above the demands of headquarters.

And you want us to believe that these "loyal" elders have the best interests of their young people in mind when it comes to marriage and their future? What they're not willing to admit is all the failed arranged marriages over the years. They will boast in all their successes, but blame others for all their failures.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:01 AM   #31
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I'm not saying it was the brothers fault, only it was something that happened. I'm sure there were sisters who couldn't talk to brothers, as well, but I guess a blushing bride is more attractive than a stuttering groom.
I understand. I was trying to convey it's a problem for each gender. It's a systemic problem. Fear of man- fear of what the brothers might think.
Quite often it may appear opinions "the brothers have" has more clout than mutual attraction between a brother and sister.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:15 AM   #32
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Sorry to say, but two of the primary criteria for all of today's LC elders are not listed in the Bible -- zeal and loyalty to Lee's ministry.
For years the message was come to the meetings and the meetings will take care of.....(insert marriage or family). Some brothers took that literally. When marriages fail, elders will look at the brother why the marriage failed.
It's not the system. It's not "come to the meetings and the meetings will take care of your marriage or family". In a sense the elders are right in the husband being accountable, but as far as allowing damaging words to be uttered in the meetings such as that, elders come across as hirelings and not shepherds.
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:16 PM   #33
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[I]I personally believe 1 month is long enough to know if someone is marriage material or not. The human body is designed to produce chemicals of attraction when two people of the opposite sex spend enough time together...
One month is definitely not enough time to see past the “best version” of ourselves we all put up! Ha! No way, I’m sorry. I have a close friend who met and married someone quickly- only to find out after they married that he was bi-polar and she met him while he was in his “up” state. We all have highs and lows in life and I would suggest similar backgrounds as a naturally commonality and oil in your relationship (not for everyone- but many!), also- how do they react when they’re upset? What are their limits? What is taboo to them? Have you seen them upset? Stressed? In a rage of anger? Is one month enough time to see someone’s weaknesses as well as their strengths?
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:18 PM   #34
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Your argument about Adam and Eve is just bogus.
Don't you know that Adam checked out every girl on the planet before marrying Eve?
No kidding! I would say that if God created a women specifically for you- from your own rib- then yes, go ahead and marry her right away! Ha!
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:23 PM   #35
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[I]I personally believe 1 month is long enough to know if someone is marriage material or not. The human body is designed to produce chemicals of attraction when two people of the opposite sex spend enough time together...
Please be careful saying this too- you never know who could be reading. I know of two devastatingly awful arranged marriages where there were 3 or less dates. There will be some that make it- yes. But one month is not going to be long enough the vast majority of the time. Sorry- I don’t know why this upset me but you may have just not seen the train wrecks that kind of thinking produces.
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:58 PM   #36
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I agree. 3 dates is crazy. That's like 3 hours. The time required depends on the individuals and their circumstances. I believe 1 month total of quality time together, or 720 hours. That could be 8 hours per week for 90 weeks, or 1 hour a day for 720 days (about 2 years). I am only counting time actually spent together, other time, "waiting time" doesn't really count. If two people say they have dated for 3 years but only see each other for one day a year that is the equivalent of only 3 days.
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Old 04-10-2018, 03:16 PM   #37
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On the topic of elder interference, I agree that elders can interfere more than they should. So can parents, siblings, friends, co-workers and anyone else who wants to help.

In my experience, I have seen some wise elders who do not really interfere, but have seen some young single brothers or sisters who believe they are the next Dr Phil.
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:15 PM   #38
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On the topic of elder interference, I agree that elders can interfere more than they should. So can parents, siblings, friends, co-workers and anyone else who wants to help.

In my experience, I have seen some wise elders who do not really interfere, but have seen some young single brothers or sisters who believe they are the next Dr Phil.
I can see cases of interference by family/friends as being benign, however, elder interference is quite a bit more concerning. The thing about elders is that they are in a position of trust that goes beyond the type of interaction that families/friends have with each other, because the trust placed in them is related to spiritual guidance.

At one point in time, I would have never thought that elders could possibly posses any ulterior motives, so consequently, I was willing to place a blind trust in them. That was the case with everyone around me as well. Then a situation happened that was really an eye-opener to me.

There was a brother and sister who started dating. One of the elders caught wind of it, and started trying to break up the relationship. As it turns out, the elder had already decided that the brother should marry his daughter instead. Of course, the couple has no idea that this was his real motive. The elder tried to 'spiritualize' his actions. Once the other elders found out what was going on, they put the elder in his place (like they should). The issue appeared resolved on the surface, but unfortunately the couple faced severe marital issues later on.

For me, the takeaway from it all was that with things like unsolicited advice about relationships, there was ample opportunity for trust to be taken advantage of. If an elder approaches a couple or a young person with some 'fellowship', there is no way of knowing what the motive is. And it shouldn't have to be that way. If people want advice regarding a relationship, they can approach the elders if they want to.
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Old 04-10-2018, 09:30 PM   #39
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No kidding! I would say that if God created a women specifically for you- from your own rib- then yes, go ahead and marry her right away! Ha!
The problem is, there's no way of knowing if someone is your rib or not. I was certain my ex was my rib, I called her 'my God-ordained wife'. I literally married my ex because I was convinced that she was the rib that God had prepared for me.

When you've been separated from the opposite sex your whole life then you're like a starving hobo, gratefully gorging yourself on any food you can get your hands on. Not picky, low standards, you also have no experience in knowing what to look for. You don't really know what you like or what you don't like. You think you're 'in love' when really you're just getting some romantic affection and feeling some chemistry for the first time in your life. Especially if you get married quickly, there's no time to spot the red flags - or if you do see some, you don't take them seriously until its too late.

I'm done with the 'Christian way' of finding a partner. Fed up with it. I'm still a redeemed believer, but I absolutely refuse to submit to those rules for my love life. "Take whatever woman you can get without any skills in how to attract a woman and then commit your whole life to her before you know her well enough to trust her". Its the ultimate gamble and I am not a gambling man. The odds of finding a good partner this way are not in your favour! Let me explain:

To get a good partner you need to make some comparisons, but without knowing whats inside the box (really getting to know someone, i.e. by living with them) its hard to compare. Also you've never seen inside a box before, so you wouldn't know what you're looking for even if you did open it. Oh and thats just getting to know their personality, don't even get me started on sexual compatibility!

A man needs to be highly attractive to women (i.e. *skilled* in attracting women) in order to get a woman of value, and in order to learn those skills, you need to first be with women. You might argue that there are other things that attract women i.e. being spiritual and being financially secure, but I'm talking raw attraction here, not long term husband material stuff, that's not enough.

In order to be attractive enough to get a high quality woman, you need to have experience with women. If you have never been with a woman in your life, you are like a job applicant at a job interview with no work experience, you have never been employed in your whole life but you are asking that person to employ you and you alone for their whole life. Again, Christian women can ignore this because they don't know what they're looking for, but they'll be disappointed after they get married when they do eventually realise what is missing.

If a man has never had a girlfriend and he's getting older and lonelier, he'll be coming from a position of scarcity with regards to women. He will be needy, and no woman likes a needy man. Its just not attractive.

If a man is lucky enough to find a woman while being in a position of scarcity, she will have way too much power over him, because if he loses her he will be womanless again and it will be a struggle to find a replacement. So he allows her to take the lead. If she chooses to enjoy this power that she has, he is whipped, and say 'yes hunny' whenever she tells him what to do. Meanwhile she loses attraction for him because he isn't being masculine and so won't have sex with him. He needs sex, so she uses it against him to get what she wants. The sex becomes 'duty sex' and is plain vanilla, nothing special. Both parties lose attraction for each other, divorces and affairs inevitably happen.

However if a man dates around for a while, learns what kind of women he is attracted to, learns some skill in how to flirt and be with women, he becomes comfortable around women. He is not anxious about getting a girlfriend so he is not desperate or needy. He can pick and choose. He can reject women that would make an unhealthy relationship, because he's not needy, and he knows the right red flags to look out for, being the experienced man he is. Also, being the high value man that he is and able to get a replacement woman easily if she left him, she does not have the power to withold sex or otherwise boss him around. He is therefore able to take the lead in the family (in a loving way), maintaining masculinity, so she continues to respect him and be attracted to him. Their sex life stays healthy because it is built on mutual love and attraction.

TLDR/Conclusion:
If you don't date around a little before you get married, you're playing Russian Roulette with your future. You'll probably marry someone who isn't that awesome because you don't know what to look for, and because all the really awesome people are taken by those who have dated around. You will be inexperienced in dealing with the opposite sex and therefore shy, awkward and unappealling to the opposite sex. You will be in a position of scarcity due to your loneliness which will make you needy and even less appealing to the opposite sex. In your desperation and inexperience you will not be in the habit of rejecting people who are interested in you, not knowing what red flags to look for, and you'll be too desperate to really choose anyway - just glad that someone is willing to marry you. Your inexperience with the opposite sex and your scarcity and loneliness will trick you into thinking you're in love, when its really just your hormones and raging emotions. Your marriage will be unpleasant because the man loses his masculinity in the woman's eyes when she is able to boss him around, sexual interest fizzles out, and either the marriage breaks up or they just stay together in a dull, bland relationship.

Feel free to disagree, but this is my personal understanding of relationships, and why I choose to date women.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:16 AM   #40
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The problem is, there's no way of knowing if someone is your rib or not. I was certain my ex was my rib, I called her 'my God-ordained wife'. I literally married my ex because I was convinced that she was the rib that God had prepared for me...
I was joking! I meant if you were the first man on earth, and God specifically told you he was taking your rib and making your wife- then marry her Evangelical used Adam and Eve as an example of getting married immediately and it working out He also believes one month is sufficient time to get to know someone.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:16 AM   #41
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I agree. 3 dates is crazy. That's like 3 hours. The time required depends on the individuals and their circumstances. I believe 1 month total of quality time together, or 720 hours. That could be 8 hours per week for 90 weeks, or 1 hour a day for 720 days (about 2 years). I am only counting time actually spent together, other time, "waiting time" doesn't really count. If two people say they have dated for 3 years but only see each other for one day a year that is the equivalent of only 3 days.
So one month if neither of them have jobs?
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Old 04-11-2018, 11:40 AM   #42
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On the topic of elder interference, I agree that elders can interfere more than they should. So can parents, siblings, friends, co-workers and anyone else who wants to help.
Big difference from offering encouragement or advice versus suggesting whom.
Though it wasn't my experience, it did happen to others I knew.
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:34 PM   #43
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Big difference from offering encouragement or advice versus suggesting whom.
Though it wasn't my experience, it did happen to others I knew.
I conside unsolicited advice to be highly questionable. It raises the question of what the motive is for giving the advice.

If someone wants the advice of the elders, a normal type of interaction would be for that person to approach the elders, not the other way around.
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:10 PM   #44
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I was joking! I meant if you were the first man on earth, and God specifically told you he was taking your rib and making your wife- then marry her Evangelical used Adam and Eve as an example of getting married immediately and it working out He also believes one month is sufficient time to get to know someone.
Oh! haha ok yes. Thanks for clearing that up. Yeah if you meet a girl who was hand-crafted by God Himself then she must be quite a keeper. Plus there's literally no other women on earth nor ever will be, except your descendants. So I think they had God's permission to bang without getting to know each other first.

Whether or not they had a ceremony with a white dress and signed a bit of paper, well. Not sure about that. More likely they just had sex and then kept on having more sex, and because they had sex so much, they were in a relationship. So if we're going to use them as an example, it would be more accurate to say that Adam and Eve hooked up on their first date...
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Old 04-11-2018, 03:09 PM   #45
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If a man has never had a girlfriend and he's getting older and lonelier, he'll be coming from a position of scarcity with regards to women. He will be needy, and no woman likes a needy man. Its just not attractive.
I see your logic. However, my logic went like this: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose/meaning/role in being here? Who is "me"?

I knew that once I'd solved that riddle there would be no problem presenting myself to the opposite gender and that until I answered these questions to my own satisfaction, I'd present a needy, selfish, grasping, dissatisfied and confused person to the opposite gender. No amount of friendly match-making (or feminine charms) can overcome that.

Bradley, are arranged marriages a Chinese thing? We seem to be discussing whether it's good or bad, whilst ignoring what cultural values are at work.

In retrospect I find that the LC is the Normal Christian Church Life of you are holding Chinese cultural persuasions. Not so much for those from other backgrounds. Maybe arranged marriages are normal for this culture.
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Old 04-11-2018, 04:31 PM   #46
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Oh! haha ok yes. Thanks for clearing that up. Yeah if you meet a girl who was hand-crafted by God Himself then she must be quite a keeper. Plus there's literally no other women on earth nor ever will be, except your descendants. So I think they had God's permission to bang without getting to know each other first.

Whether or not they had a ceremony with a white dress and signed a bit of paper, well. Not sure about that. More likely they just had sex and then kept on having more sex, and because they had sex so much, they were in a relationship. So if we're going to use them as an example, it would be more accurate to say that Adam and Eve hooked up on their first date...
From God's point of view, sex is marriage. Adam and Eve were married as soon as they "knew" each other.
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Old 04-11-2018, 04:34 PM   #47
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I was joking! I meant if you were the first man on earth, and God specifically told you he was taking your rib and making your wife- then marry her Evangelical used Adam and Eve as an example of getting married immediately and it working out He also believes one month is sufficient time to get to know someone.
God did not even tell Adam he was going to make a woman out of his rib.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:48 PM   #48
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I conside unsolicited advice to be highly questionable. It raises the question of what the motive is for giving the advice.
If someone wants the advice of the elders, a normal type of interaction would be for that person to approach the elders, not the other way around.
Agreed! If it's the responsible brother/elder being approached it would be normal behavior to answer a question in form of advice. If it's being unsolicited, the though would be "what's the hidden agenda?"
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:29 PM   #49
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As a church kid in the U.S. from the age of zero, I can echo the extreme separation of brothers/sisters in the LC. One serving one told me, "Don't even think about it until you're 25." And like a little naive sheep with an entire community of laser beam eyes on me watching and judging every interaction I had with a member of the opposite sex, I did just that. Then when I turned 26 I got comments about how I was getting dusty and old. I was so confused....how can I be dusty and old already when I'd been in a straightjacket my whole life till just the year prior? After being told "run, stay away, evil, sex, ruin your life" about any interaction with a member of the opposite sex, suddenly I found myself in my late twenties wondering when the "ok, go ahead, you can interact with them now" would be spoken. Then it hit me ..... how can you possibly get to be interested in anyone when you have been prohibited from normal casual conversational interactions with them? When eye contact/smiling/laughing (i.e. a normal conversation between two humans) is tantamount to jumping into bed? I am a rule follower by nature and having grown up in the environment where everything spoken by the "saints" is essentially passed off as being from God's lips straight to your ears, I just didn't know to doubt or question anything. I just didn't know. All I know to do is shut down around the opposite sex who are my age and act like I could "take 'em or leave 'em" because that's the coping mechanism you have to develop in order to "stay away" from them the way you are mentally beaten into doing.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:49 PM   #50
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". . in an abundance of counselors. ."?

How does this jibe with "one trumpet"?
Great point, Aron.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:59 PM   #51
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As a church kid in the U.S. from the age of zero, I can echo the extreme separation of brothers/sisters in the LC. One serving one told me, "Don't even think about it until you're 25."..
This is exactly why this needs discussion here.

There are all sorts of ways for safe interactions between guys and girls to take place (talking at meetings, meeting in public places, meeting at homes of family or friends when they are there, chaperones, talking over phone or computer...). Yes no fornication. But, come on local church leaders and saints, drop the additions to God’s Word!
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:30 AM   #52
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From God's point of view, sex is marriage. Adam and Eve were married as soon as they "knew" each other.

If that's God's view then I haven't been keeping very good track of my husband. I'm not even sure what country he lives in now.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:39 AM   #53
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Yes no fornication. But, come on local church leaders and saints, drop the additions to God’s Word!
It would be interesting to see if, for example, the Chinese Presbyterian Church also had strict separation rules for young people, and bridged the gap by arranged unions. And then ask, how does this compare to the Presbyterian church otherwise? Do you see my point? Are we talking about the LC here, or merely Oriental culture?

Also, how about absolute control by centralised leadership with all constituent assemblies being "absolutely identical, with no differences whatsoever" (per RecV footnotes) versus allowance of local differentiation and latitude in non-essentials? Is this exclusive to the LC or does this have similarities to other Chinese assemblies and religious systems?

If we can see this as Chinese cultural traits, practices, and values writ large across the fellowship of the LC, then we'd be one step closer to breaking its iron hand. LC leadership says, "This is God" but it is merely their preferences dressed up as God. If my comfort equals your misery, why insist on my comfort?

I mentioned earlier that Chinese culture is not to question leadership. Mao cannot be criticised even 40 years after his death - doing so leads to loss of employment and civic position. Perhaps this attitude of not questioning, even when it is clearly counterproductive (miserable, isolated, lost young people) is culturally-driven.

Order over freedom. Even when the order is not from the Bible but from leadership preferences. This is why the LC is increasingly Asian - it matches their culturally-derived concepts and expectations of what is "normal".

And the great dilemma of the LC is that it can't change, even when it clearly needs to. If a local leader sees a solution to the problem, he or she can't act, even if the Holy Spirit leads. Change can only come from Anaheim, from old men who only care for filled conference chairs and book sales.
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Old 04-12-2018, 03:03 AM   #54
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Great point, Aron.
The LC is okay with the idea of many counselors, as long as they're all named "Witness Lee". I guess that's why he had to write so many books - so there'd be no shortage of opinions!
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Old 04-12-2018, 11:40 AM   #55
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As a church kid in the U.S. from the age of zero, I can echo the extreme separation of brothers/sisters in the LC. One serving one told me, "Don't even think about it until you're 25."...
Much of what you had to say was my experience when I was single. "how can you possibly get to be interested in anyone when you have been prohibited from normal casual conversational interactions with them?" On one hand you're told not to get involved until you're ready to get married, but at the same time beginning at a young age you're conditioned not to talk to the opposite gender. It was ingrained in me to heed and submit to those elder than me. Years go by and when you reach 25, 26, 27 years old you think when will it be time? If you dare speak to the opposite gender it's like causing that person to have an allergic reaction. The other recourse is not to avoid from engaging in conversation.
At the time, the thoughts were how dare I express exasperation with the system?
Purpose for beginning this thread was to somehow help those who might have been going through the exact something.
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Old 04-13-2018, 12:48 AM   #56
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As a church kid in the U.S. from the age of zero, I can echo the extreme separation of brothers/sisters in the LC. One serving one told me, "Don't even think about it until you're 25." And like a little naive sheep with an entire community of laser beam eyes on me watching and judging every interaction I had with a member of the opposite sex, I did just that. Then when I turned 26 I got comments about how I was getting dusty and old. I was so confused....
Wow I can so relate!! Esp w the laser beam eyes. Even other kids our own age would do it so it felt you could never have an opportunity to talk to someone.
It would be interesting to hear more of your story. I was a rule follower too, the peer pressure did not help either. But in my mind I just could not see a future for me there, and I couldn't stand the amount of control. It's validating to read from brothers on this forum that the control in this area is wrong. I didn't want my future children exposed to the intense feelings of shame and guilt over doing nothing. I didn't realize the lasting impact that part of my life would have on me esp since I experienced mutual attraction w someone there. The rebellious part of me didn't want to wait until an elder gave their "blessing" How weird, isn't that the parent's job? With my luck no elder would have given their blessing to me lol and I wasn't about to have years and years of my life taken away from me/ controlled, so I slowly stopped going.
With time, things get better. The distance between the weirdness then and reality now really helps to solidify that the regulations we were raised with were not healthy!
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Old 04-13-2018, 03:39 AM   #57
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I can so relate to many of the situations here being a church kid myself. I think that the whole treatment and handling of relationships in the local churches is the number one thing that caused me to start seeing all the flaws in the local church and eventually stop meeting. Growing up in the local church environment my memories are of gender segregated meetings from the age of 11 and every single camp/conference/training involved a meeting that was dedicated to brainwashing us about how terrible relationships are (unless you've finished your studies, worked a bit, completed 2 years training and are therefore ready to get married). All sorts of weird illustrations were given such as "its wrong for biological brothers and sisters to be in relationships in real life and therefore it's just the same in the church life between brothers and sisters (until God says otherwise)." As a result the obedient types have next to no ability to communicate normally with the opposite sex. Then you are expected to marry someone in the church life and lets just say... its slim pickings.

I too have observed some semi arranged marriages happen within my locality with a few adding to the casualties.
I especially feel sorry for the sisters passing 30 who are starting to realise that they have been disillusioned by the whole "God will provide a husband" mentality. 90% of your eggs are gone by the time you are 30. Its a stark contrast to the majority of mainstream christianity who in my observations seem perfectly capable of finding and marrying their own spouse.

All I can say is I feel extremely fortunate to have had the sense to not listen to a word of the garbage relationship advice that was force fed to me. I met my (now) husband at these very trainings/conferences as a teen. I am also thankful that our parents weren't fanatical enough to try and force split us up (something I also witnessed amongst my peers). I remember at one training a few of us were sitting around a piano and eventually is was just me, my (now) husband and one other friend of ours. Then some serving one came in and took the "friend" to the side for a quick word. Apparently he was told not to leave the two of us alone by ourselves (so they definitely had their eyes on us). When we were a little older we were often arriving and sitting together in meetings and being seen all over the place together (despite not having the engagement ring of righteousness). The laser beam eyes and curious disapproving vibes were pretty real during those times.

Honestly, I'm pretty bitter about the whole thing, not so much for my sake but for a lot of people that I grew up with. The whole thing is just sad.
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:09 AM   #58
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Honestly, I'm pretty bitter about the whole thing, not so much for my sake but for a lot of people that I grew up with. The whole thing is just sad.
Why bitter? Your life turned out good, you married someone from the environment in spite of the restriction and are happily going on, and 95% of the young people who did the same thing also are in a good place.... at least the ones I know. Sure, there are tragedies, divorces, unhappiness and I know of a few over forty years but those may be found anywhere. Human relationships are hard work and there is no pixie dust that makes the challenges all go away. Last thing any Christian group wants is a loose and permissive environment that leads to pregnancy or emotional issues as is a common concern for parents as well. Besides, raging hormones attack young people’s willpower and thier pursuit of the Lord so another line of defense is prudent.

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Old 04-13-2018, 11:25 AM   #59
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Oh! haha ok yes. Thanks for clearing that up. Yeah if you meet a girl who was hand-crafted by God Himself then she must be quite a keeper. Plus there's literally no other women on earth nor ever will be, except your descendants. So I think they had God's permission to bang without getting to know each other first.

Whether or not they had a ceremony with a white dress and signed a bit of paper, well. Not sure about that. More likely they just had sex and then kept on having more sex, and because they had sex so much, they were in a relationship. So if we're going to use them as an example, it would be more accurate to say that Adam and Eve hooked up on their first date...
The one time that was blessed by God!!! )))
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Old 04-13-2018, 11:27 AM   #60
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God did not even tell Adam he was going to make a woman out of his rib.
Thanks for clarifying, I was just making a joke about what circumstances involving marrying someone after knowing them for less than 30 days was obviously fine. In Adam and Eve's case, it clearly was arranged by God Also, you never did answer my question below - #42...
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Old 04-13-2018, 11:34 AM   #61
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As a church kid in the U.S. from the age of zero, I can echo the extreme separation of brothers/sisters in the LC. One serving one told me, "Don't even think about it until you're 25."...
You're not the only one, I'm sorry! There is absolutely help though. You can learn healthy relationship later in life!
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Old 04-13-2018, 11:36 AM   #62
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If that's God's view then I haven't been keeping very good track of my husband. I'm not even sure what country he lives in now.
Part humorous, part humbling perspective- very nice. I appreciate perspectives like that. They help us see the truth about ourselves in a way we can handle it. That being said, I'm grateful to be washed in His blood!
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Old 04-13-2018, 02:22 PM   #63
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Why bitter? Your life turned out good, you married someone from the environment in spite of the restriction and are happily going on, and 95% of the young people who did the same thing also are in a good place.... at least the ones I know. Sure, there are tragedies, divorces, unhappiness and I know of a few over forty years but those may be found anywhere. Human relationships are hard work and there is no pixie dust that makes the challenges all go away. Last thing any Christian group wants is a loose and permissive environment that leads to pregnancy or emotional issues as is a common concern for parents as well. Besides, raging hormones attack young people’s willpower and thier pursuit of the Lord so another line of defense is prudent.
Like I said, I'm not really bitter for my sake. I'm bitter because the vast majority of my friends and acquaintances that I grew up with either still in it and living under the same rediculous rules whilst slowly losing any optimism for marrying before 30 (which has been their goal) or they have left the LC partly because of the relationship reason and are having to deal with many issues caused by growing up in such a bubble and trying to integrate into the real world.

Amongst my immediate peers I am part of 10% who have managed to forge a relationship for themselves and get married (and for all of us it involved beings "rebelllious").
I don't think young people are given enough credit to be able to work things out for themselves. If they are brought up properly and able to communicate openly with parents about "pregnancy and emotional issues" rather than have it all swept under the rug with a "if make eye contact with the opposite sex you will get pregnant and die" attitude, maybe that would be better than all the unhealthy practices that are going on.
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Old 04-13-2018, 05:21 PM   #64
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Like I said, I'm not really bitter for my sake. I'm bitter because the vast majority of my friends and acquaintances that I grew up with either still in it and living under the same rediculous rules whilst slowly losing any optimism for marrying before 30 (which has been their goal) or they have left the LC partly because of the relationship reason and are having to deal with many issues caused by growing up in such a bubble and trying to integrate into the real world.

Amongst my immediate peers I am part of 10% who have managed to forge a relationship for themselves and get married (and for all of us it involved beings "rebelllious").
I don't think young people are given enough credit to be able to work things out for themselves. If they are brought up properly and able to communicate openly with parents about "pregnancy and emotional issues" rather than have it all swept under the rug with a "if make eye contact with the opposite sex you will get pregnant and die" attitude, maybe that would be better than all the unhealthy practices that are going on.
Well, now you sound bitter for your own reasons.

But, where do you draw the line? Two teens alone?

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Old 04-13-2018, 05:51 PM   #65
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Well, now you sound bitter for your own reasons.
But, where do you draw the line? Two teens alone?
Asking "where to draw the line" reveals a heart issue, a disconnect from our Lord and His Gospel. The question shouldn't be "how far can I go", the question should be how can I glorify and honor God through my actions. Man, it can be hard to think this way! In many ways, we want these RULES and we want a RULER - maybe that is one reason that Witness Lee and his ministry gained a little bit of traction.

The problem is that Lee and his "ministry" can't fulfill like Jesus Christ and His Gospel. What a beautiful, bulky, deep, and intimate offering we have though Jesus. Why would anyone want to trade this for a lie and follow a creature rather than the creator??

I saw this first hand in regards to relationships/courting in the churches of Witness Lee - these poor guys blindly following the blind (I won't speak for the sisters), rather than the Spirit. I am so thankful for my wife, our relationship, our courtship - it was a truly special time where God drew me to His side. How sad it would have been to miss out on this just to "please the brothers", or try to DO, SAY, ACT, COVER, whatever the LSM tried to feed.
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:16 PM   #66
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Why bitter? Your life turned out good, you married someone from the environment in spite of the restriction and are happily going on, and 95% of the young people who did the same thing also are in a good place.... at least the ones I know. Sure, there are tragedies, divorces, unhappiness and I know of a few over forty years but those may be found anywhere. Human relationships are hard work and there is no pixie dust that makes the challenges all go away. Last thing any Christian group wants is a loose and permissive environment that leads to pregnancy or emotional issues as is a common concern for parents as well. Besides, raging hormones attack young people’s willpower and thier pursuit of the Lord so another line of defense is prudent.
I'm surprised that you could not understand her feeling for friends and family who have been hurt by LSM's mandates on the young people.

Yet when Phillip Lee ran the LSM, code named "The Office," this same "loose and permissive environment" went on unhindered and even protected by many of the Blendeds willing to win favor with Phillip's Daddy.
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:41 PM   #67
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I'm surprised that you could not understand her feeling for friends and family who have been hurt by LSM's mandates on the young people. Yet when Phillip Lee ran the LSM, code named "The Office," this same "loose and permissive environment" went on unhindered and even protected by many of the Blendeds willing to win favor with Phillip's Daddy.
Therefore you should understand the need for tight boundaries no matter who.

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Old 04-13-2018, 07:31 PM   #68
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Personally, knowing the self-serving and contentious nature of those at LSM, I cannot see any reason whatsoever that a supposed book publisher should actively interfere in the marriages of young people.

Since they have assumed these "matchmaking" duties, would not it be appropriate for LSM to also publish a long-term study of the results of their work? Should not an objective and transparent study be made available to prove the efficacy of this program?

I do find it extremely presumptuous for LSM handlers to assume these roles, in effect "playing God" with the lives of His children. In doing so, they sidestep the roles of the respective parents and the LC elders most familiar with these young people.
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:31 PM   #69
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Therefore you should understand the need for tight boundaries no matter who.
What are tight boundaries for no matter who?
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Old 04-13-2018, 10:19 PM   #70
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Well, now you sound bitter for your own reasons. But, where do you draw the line? Two teens alone?
If you insist Drake as for drawing lines, I came to the conclusion long ago that no amount of line drawing and insisting that young people learn from your experience and ideas of what is Ok and not ok will stop their ultimate need to grow and experience life themselves and learn from their own mistakes. If it makes someone feel better to be drawing lines then good for them, but don't expect much out of it if you're not willing to actually have open honest discussions with young people.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:42 AM   #71
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I can so relate to many of the situations here being a church kid myself. I think that the whole treatment and handling of relationships in the local churches is the number one thing that caused me to start seeing all the flaws in the local church and eventually stop meeting....
I either know who you are, or know a sister who was in a similar situation to you. I look back and hope that I didn't give judgey vibes, but I remember being curious about the relationship status between these two, until the sister confided in me.
I don't think it is right that two people in a long term relationship should feel like they can't be open about it, just because they are not yet engaged.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:56 AM   #72
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Therefore you should understand the need for tight boundaries no matter who.
Forcing young people to keep relationships secret only fosters an environment when certain ones can take advantage of others.
Much better for everything to be out in the open.

Also, studies have shown that open communication with teens is the best way to prevent teenage pregnancy, with informed teenagers being more likely to wait until they are older before having sex. Nothing is as tempting as 'forbidden fruit'.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:25 AM   #73
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I either know who you are, or know a sister who was in a similar situation to you. I look back and hope that I didn't give judgey vibes, but I remember being curious about the relationship status between these two, until the sister confided in me.
I don't think it is right that two people in a long term relationship should feel like they can't be open about it, just because they are not yet engaged.
I'm pretty sure I have figured out who you are and I'm sure you can figure out who I am too We got eaten alive by mosquitos at our hospitality that one time!
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Old 04-15-2018, 05:40 AM   #74
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If you insist Drake as for drawing lines, I came to the conclusion long ago that no amount of line drawing and insisting that young people learn from your experience and ideas of what is Ok and not ok will stop their ultimate need to grow and experience life themselves and learn from their own mistakes. If it makes someone feel better to be drawing lines then good for them, but don't expect much out of it if you're not willing to actually have open honest discussions with young people.
Unreg,

I learned a long time ago that if you leave young people alone without boundaries trouble will follow. Learning from ones own mistakes will happen anyway but structure and rules are key to mitigating, as much as possible the trappings of today’s culture.

Nevertheless, you grew up in the culture you describe and turned out fine. Therefore, you know two young people that made it to adulthood and presumably well adjusted. I could list hundreds more from where I sit.

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Old 04-15-2018, 05:49 AM   #75
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Forcing young people to keep relationships secret only fosters an environment when certain ones can take advantage of others.
Much better for everything to be out in the open.

Also, studies have shown that open communication with teens is the best way to prevent teenage pregnancy, with informed teenagers being more likely to wait until they are older before having sex. Nothing is as tempting as 'forbidden fruit'.
I agree with open communication. I also agree with encouraging an environment of openness. I don’t agree that open means permissive.

My experience is that though most teens pretty much resent any restriction in their lives, as they mature into adulthood upon reflection many have expressed appreciation for the restriction. Structure is a small price to pay to keep them from major negative life events and to foster positive and proper relationships before the Lord.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

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Old 04-15-2018, 07:21 AM   #76
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Personally, knowing the self-serving and contentious nature of those at LSM, I cannot see any reason whatsoever that a supposed book publisher should actively interfere in the marriages of young people.

Since they have assumed these "matchmaking" duties, would not it be appropriate for LSM to also publish a long-term study of the results of their work? Should not an objective and transparent study be made available to prove the efficacy of this program?

I do find it extremely presumptuous for LSM handlers to assume these roles, in effect "playing God" with the lives of His children. In doing so, they sidestep the roles of the respective parents and the LC elders most familiar with these young people.
I would love to see a life-time study of this! Yes, just like any organizations may track the results of their labors, the LC should too!

Obviously I'm kidding. I can only speak to what I know about my locality but that would, in whole, be a depressing study. I will say they've taken some steps back in recent years, probably bc they saw the trend. But, they're still very involved in knowing who is going to "court" who, the details, etc.
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:06 AM   #77
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Years ago Titus Chu, former senior worker until they quarantined him, pressed LSM for statistics on those who attended the FTT's. It was not related to marriage, but he wanted data on those who passed thru LSM's trainings, like how many are still serving, how many are still in LC's, and how many went to the world.

LSM loves their "good reports," but no one knows how honest they are. Kind of like how they used and misused statistics during the "new way."
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:56 AM   #78
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Structure is a small price to pay to keep them from major negative life events and to foster positive and proper relationships before the Lord.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
In the LC, terms like "proper" and "positive" are dog whistles, cues to conditioned insiders as to what's going on and what's expected. You'll hear about proper church life, proper teachings and interpretations, proper leadership, and proper relationships, all defined within the circle and modified as the subjective leanings of the promulgators change.

It's a ministry of exigency, where the only constant is the shifting winds of teachings, of "moves" and "flows". But the "flavor" never changes: it's whatever the ministry needs today. Propriety is defined on such shifting sands as these.
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:55 AM   #79
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In the LC, terms like "proper" and "positive" are dog whistles, cues to conditioned insiders as to what's going on and what's expected..
This is very true. I encountered numerous LC members who were more or less aware of some of the problems related to problems such as the meddling in relationships. But it was always excused as being necessary to keep people from making the wrong decisions. They will say that everything needs to be 'proper', but what that really means is just that everything needs to be by their terms.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:41 PM   #80
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They'll say that everything needs to be 'proper', but what that really means is just that everything needs to be by their terms.
Of course there is such a thing as propriety, on both Christian and more general (societal) terms. And the LC will agree with "Christianity" to some extent, if nothing else to keep you off-balance. But ultimately they consider it entirely within their purview, and that wholly subjective.

And if push comes to shove, it becomes what "we" do is proper and what "they" do is not. "We" are the church, spotless and pure and ready for the Bridegroom, and "they" are fallen Christianity, deformed and darkened, satanic even. "We" are full-timers, consecrated to Christ and the Church, while "they" are clergy, bought and paid for. Ours is the proper translation, theirs is deficient.

This goes for relationships, both marital and otherwise, in "fellowship" and other forms of social adjudication. And so on. "Proper" is entirely subjective, and freighted with LC baggage.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:20 PM   #81
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My experience is that though most teens pretty much resent any restriction in their lives, as they mature into adulthood upon reflection many have expressed appreciation for the restriction. Structure is a small price to pay to keep them from major negative life events and to foster positive and proper relationships before the Lord.
Drake, I would agree with you to a point. Restrictions should come from the teens parents. Not by brothers or sisters in the church. Otherwise a parent may consider their parental responsibility is being trespassed.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:44 PM   #82
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My experience is that though most teens pretty much resent any restriction in their lives, as they mature into adulthood upon reflection many have expressed appreciation for the restriction. Structure is a small price to pay to keep them from major negative life events and to foster positive and proper relationships before the Lord.
I have heard those in the LC attempt to make such an argument many times. Like Terry says, restriction is appropriate if it is coming from parents. What makes the elders think they have the right to interfere? What makes the elders think that creating structure is their own responsibility?

Several church kids that I grew up with got into drugs and trouble with the law. In such cases the elders did not get involved, and they identified the problem as what it was - parenting issues. But when it comes to relationships, all the sudden the elders think they have the right to get involved.
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Old 04-15-2018, 03:18 PM   #83
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Drake, I would agree with you to a point. Restrictions should come from the teens parents. Not by brothers or sisters in the church. Otherwise a parent may consider their parental responsibility is being trespassed.
Sure. However, when the parents are not present, say at a young people’s retreat, then the responsibility falls to the serving ones. Besides, most parents do not object to oversight of their kids in their absence. And young people know the regulations when they sign up for an event.

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Old 04-15-2018, 03:25 PM   #84
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I have heard those in the LC attempt to make such an argument many times. Like Terry says, restriction is appropriate if it is coming from parents. What makes the elders think they have the right to interfere? What makes the elders think that creating structure is their own responsibility?

Several church kids that I grew up with got into drugs and trouble with the law. In such cases the elders did not get involved, and they identified the problem as what it was - parenting issues. But when it comes to relationships, all the sudden the elders think they have the right to get involved.
It depends. In my experience elders did not get involved unless there was an issue such as fornication, or the potential, and then as it affected the church.

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Old 04-15-2018, 07:57 PM   #85
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I learned a long time ago that if you leave young people alone without boundaries trouble will follow. Learning from ones own mistakes will happen anyway but structure and rules are key to mitigating, as much as possible the trappings of today’s culture...
From what I have seen, it is the young people with the most pressure/structure/boundaries placed on them that rebel the most. I attended a Christian school growing up and it was always the pastors children that ended up going off the rails the most. My friends in the LC with the strictest parents and/or parents in "higher" positions who interfered in their lives the most rebelled the most (with devastating results). Of course boundaries are necessary but so is a balance.

Although I'm sure my parents worried at times, they knew we were regularly communicating from the age of 13. They let us bus over to visit each other in different cities and spend the whole day out together by ourselves. We would spend entire weekends at each other's family homes (different bedrooms of course). I'm sure plenty of saints went to our parents expressing their concern but they let us be. Of course I knew what my parents expectations of me were, they had taught me long before any of this started and when it did they didn't have to interfere. Yes we turned out fine; maybe because our parents didn't act like the typical parents in the culture we grew up in.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:52 AM   #86
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Sure. However, when the parents are not present, say at a young people’s retreat, then the responsibility falls to the serving ones. Besides, most parents do not object to oversight of their kids in their absence. And young people know the regulations when they sign up for an event.

Drake
Nice, trying to change the subject.

I don't think anyone here has been complaining that at the SSOT there are rules that brothers are not allowed in the sister's rooms or vice versa.

What we are talking about is the prevalent teaching that young people should have no "special relationships" until they are ready for marriage, which apparently the brothers know better than anyone else when you are ready for marriage, and once you are ready you should just go in blind with whoever the brother chose for you.
It's the culture in which elders feel they have the right to split apart or push together young people as they see fit.
It's the environment in which single brother are scared to talk to sisters and vice versa, and for those 'rebellious' ones who do start a relationship to hide it.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:03 AM   #87
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:24 AM   #88
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Nice, trying to change the subject.

I don't think anyone here has been complaining that at the SSOT there are rules that brothers are not allowed in the sister's rooms or vice versa.

What we are talking about is the prevalent teaching that young people should have no "special relationships" until they are ready for marriage, which apparently the brothers know better than anyone else when you are ready for marriage, and once you are ready you should just go in blind with whoever the brother chose for you.
It's the culture in which elders feel they have the right to split apart or push together young people as they see fit.
It's the environment in which single brother are scared to talk to sisters and vice versa, and for those 'rebellious' ones who do start a relationship to hide it.
I have observed what you described above a very few times in the 40 years I have been in the Lord recovery and I disagreed with it when I saw it.

I am objecting to the idea presented that young people should not have boundaries for if they do they will rebel. I believe this idea is an artifact of our modern day American or Western culture for the most part for other cultures are much more restrictive and though I would not want to grow up in those cultures nor would I wish the restrictions imposed by those cultures on anyone, nevertheless those cultures do not have a high incidence of rebellion among their young people refuting the notion that rebellion emerges out of restriction.

So where as I don’t disagree with those who believe that elders should not be making decisions about who young people marry, I do disagree with the general notion that young people should be able to interact unhindered with each other in mixed gender environments or should be allowed to be alone, and when I say alone I mean without any supervision in plain sight.

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Old 04-16-2018, 09:50 AM   #89
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No one here has complained "They wouldn't let me be alone with a MOTOS!" (abbreviating "member of the opposite sex" so I don't have to keep typing that whole phrase) or "They wouldn't let me be unhindered and uninhibited and do whatever I wanted with a MOTOS!"

Of course in the YP meetings, SSOT, any YP trips, in college, etc we were around MOTOS. We are not complaining that there were serving ones around to make sure everyone was safe, taken care of, and two people didn't run off and do something that would devastate their families and the church.

What has created long-lasting, life-affecting issues is the constant, "is that a MOTOS? RUN AWAY!!! FORNICATION!! You had a conversation?!?!? SINFUL!! YOU WERE CIRCLING THE WELL OF PREMARITAL SEX! YOU SMILED WITH THEM ABOUT A COMMON INTEREST?! YOU WERE INCHES AWAY FROM RUINING YOUR LIFE AND YOUR BODY AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND THE SAINTS AND THE CHURCH AND YOUR PARENTS AND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WOULD HAVE BEEN RUINED IRREVOCABLY!!!!"

I had a circle of (non-church) friends in high school who were just about the most innocuous group well-behaved, high achieving, normal guys and girls that any parent would love for their own children to have. They sought me out and included me because I was so fearful of getting "yoked with unbelievers" that I couldn't reach out and make normal friendship connections. The few times I went over to their house, while they were laughing and making jokes and having a great time (and yes, there were guys and girls sitting in the same living room), I could barely interact or relax or simply have a clear-headed, fun, enjoyable time with them (100% non-sinful) because of the massive weight of the "who are your friends? STAY AWAY!!" relentless drumbeat that had been drilled into me year after year. Those kind of happy childhood friendships were not something I was allowed (mentally) to have because of how evil and dangerous HAVING FRIENDS was made to be. As an adult I cannot fathom how any group of adults could collectively agree to teach impressionable young people that having friends is a bad and shameful thing. But it is still in me as I do not have any friends outside of the church and the thought of doing so still, as an adult, makes me feel like I would be rebelling or "stepping outside the safety of the ark" or would somehow get the divine retribution and I would get in some horrific car accident while driving somewhere with these evil non-saint friends that I had the audacity to go out and find and enjoy spending time with.

The same thing goes for interacting with MOTOS. When any MOTOS interaction, even 100% "covered" with many people around and serving ones there to keep things kosher (which again, I agree with) is essentially equated with sex, then you end up not being able to have any interaction without mentally equating it with sex. Then as you get older and find yourself wanting sex and companionship in a proper way (waiting until marriage, etc), you cannot even do what you need to do to get there because to get married you first need to interact with a MOTOS. You need to open yourself up to them, make eye contact, laugh, smile, find common ground, enjoy being around each other, let your guard down. But when the thought that doing just one of those things is like drunkenly circling the evil well of Hades and lust, you have no way to do the normal human things you need to do in order to get to the place where you know and like them enough to get married and are allowed to have sex. I am, as my username suggests, Trapped. In many areas, but this is a big one.

One elder mentioned in passing to me that he and his wife were high school sweethearts (they were not in the church at that time). It was said with a smile on his face and passed off as a good and sweet and commendable thing. I could have punched him. His mentality as a high schooler was not depressed and weighed down in that area, yet he was now a part of the group of the ones in the church that make sure the mentality of young people like me are depressed and weighed down. It's the mental prison and the unrelenting fear and shame of normal things. That is why it is so hard to get the struggle and the despair across to people....because it's not an external, visual, measurable thing.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:17 AM   #90
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One time I was talking to an elder about this topic and he said that there was one area (not sure if it was a specific locality or a general area of the country in the U.S.) where there were a disproportionate number of older (say in their 40s, I think?), unmarried, waiting saints (I think they were all or mostly sisters). He said the fellowship they received was rather than stay unmarried and get to their 50s and 60s and be bitter that they never got married and feel like they were cheated out of a life, they were told to just go out outside "the church" and find a spouse themselves but just to follow the Lord's leading. He told me this story ostensibly to "help" me but all it did was make me mad. All I saw was that these saints lost decades of love, companionship, belonging, physical contact, and sex, and then were told "forget everything we told you, just go follow the Lord now." How about tell them "FOLLOW THE LORD" when they are in their early 20s so they don't lose their best years!?
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:36 AM   #91
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And the joys of having children!

One of the things that made me mad was all the lies I heard disguised as spirituality. Like when they told you to "trust the Lord" and do nothing, when you knew within that you should be taking some action.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:37 AM   #92
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Trapped,

You are describing a church life that I am unfamiliar with. I never saw young people not meet with MOTOS. Nor have I ever witnessed young people not have friends outside the church life.

I can hear messages warning young people against the trappings of the world outside the church life. Might have delivered one or two of those myself. But many christian groups give that message to their young people and some go a bit further with dress code regulations, etc.

I have observed many church kids marry outside the church with the proper courtship.

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Old 04-16-2018, 11:38 AM   #93
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Drake, I am truly glad you are unfamiliar with what I am describing. I know churches in different areas of the U.S. are very different. Where I grew up (I cannot be specific at the present time) it was like this. I know many church kids from my area who have had a lot of unnecessary struggles into adulthood because of it. Most of the church kids I know who married outside the church are no longer in the church (not because the marriage took them out, but because the mental shackles they had to break in order to marry outside the church were the fear-related ones keeping them in to begin with).

Again, I am very glad there are places where what I have described isn't the case. I do know, and have heard messages to this point, that some brothers over the YP work in the U.S. have realized they were "too much" in previous years. For example, on the friends thing, (which I know is a little off topic for this thread so I'll keep it short) they have stated they should not have taken a heavy-handed "Who are your friends? STAY AWAY!" approach, but should have taken a "Who are your friends? Invite them over!" approach. Their reasoning was that they realized they could use the YP in the church as seeds of the gospel ("propagation rather than preservation"). In other words, how can YP preach the gospel to their friends if they don't have friends? I am not the biggest fan of this thought because it uses the YP as tools to increase the church and places, in my eyes, unnecessary pressure on them to "witness" to their friends before they have enough solid, genuine experiences of the Lord to actually witness to their friends, but it is a step better than what I got growing up.

I am in a different area of the country now than when I grew up and I can see that many things have softened and relaxed in a normal, yet still proper, way (although I'm not sure if the softening is area-specific or just softening from the passage of some years), and the young people here are generally growing up in the LC much more well-adjusted that I was able to. I envy them greatly.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:02 PM   #94
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No one here has complained "They wouldn't let me be alone with a MOTOS!" (abbreviating "member of the opposite sex" so I don't have to keep typing that whole phrase) or "They wouldn't let me be unhindered and uninhibited and do whatever I wanted with a MOTOS!"

Of course in the YP meetings, SSOT, any YP trips, in college, etc we were around MOTOS. We are not complaining that there were serving ones around to make sure everyone was safe, taken care of, and two people didn't run off and do something that would devastate their families and the church.

What has created long-lasting, life-affecting issues is the constant, "is that a MOTOS? RUN AWAY!!! FORNICATION!! You had a conversation?!?!? SINFUL!! YOU WERE CIRCLING THE WELL OF PREMARITAL SEX! YOU SMILED WITH THEM ABOUT A COMMON INTEREST?! YOU WERE INCHES AWAY FROM RUINING YOUR LIFE AND YOUR BODY AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND THE SAINTS AND THE CHURCH AND YOUR PARENTS AND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WOULD HAVE BEEN RUINED IRREVOCABLY!!!!"
Trapped, thank you for your honesty. I can relate from long ago. My experience is relative to one raised in the local churches. Those who came into the local churches as a young adult may have had a far different experience.
Even to mention common interests is the same as speaking loosely, worldly and fleshly. Be spiritual in all many of speaking.
Just as Trapped said, conversation is sinful.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:24 PM   #95
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I can't help think about how people met in society until very recently.

There were social dances were people would go and mingle and have the chance to talk (and dance) to different MOTOS one on one. All the while chaperones (usually parents/aunts of the females) would be around to make sure nothing got out of hand, but they weren't going to judge anyone who talking to a MOTOS, that was what they were there for.

And then if two people felt mutual attraction than the next stage would be to dine with each others families and get to know each other in less formal situations, but all still properly chaperoned, even if it was just someone's younger sister being forced to tag along with them somewhere.

In this modern day, sometimes I hanker for the simple ways of the past. Even if at other times I am happy to line in a time of vaccines.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:13 PM   #96
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I can't help think about how people met in society until very recently...
It's funny how you speak of the past. People still chaperone today, even young people, may date as a group or with a particular friend by their side, a wing man or wing girl.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:24 PM   #97
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Trapped, thank you for your honesty. I can relate from long ago. My experience is relative to one raised in the local churches. Those who came into the local churches as a young adult may have had a far different experience.
Even to mention common interests is the same as speaking loosely, worldly and fleshly. Be spiritual in all many of speaking.
Just as Trapped said, conversation is sinful.
Thanks Terry. It's taken me many years to get my thoughts together in any kind of coherent honest way. Yes, those raised in the LC usually have quite a different experience than those not. Somehow they often have the ability to let the more extreme things roll off their back.

The biggest thing that stuck out to me from The Thread of Gold book (I didn't read all of it, but read the parts that I related to) was the comment that God made some things lawful and some things sinful. Witness Lee made many lawful things sinful, and this has screwed me up to my core.
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:20 PM   #98
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It's funny how you speak of the past. People still chaperone today, even young people, may date as a group or with a particular friend by their side, a wing man or wing girl.
Yes, I just love the idea of social dances which used to be mainstream.
I've actually started going to dance classes recently.
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:42 AM   #99
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Witness Lee made many lawful things sinful, and this has screwed me up to my core.
Witness Lee ran a comprehensive social conditioning programme where thinking, which is not only our God-given right but also our duty, was considered tantamount to rebellion.

If anyone sat down and tried to figure things out for themselves, they were considered dangerous subversives and a threat to godly order, being variously called independent, divisive, factional, and ambitious.

And Watchman Nee was lauded, lionized even, for doing exactly that. Yet for us it was forbidden.
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Old 04-17-2018, 11:45 AM   #100
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Witness Lee made many lawful things sinful, and this has screwed me up to my core.
Somethings Witness Lee did or did not do, I think brothers took that and became legalistic with those practices even if it's non-essential to our faith or plain not even scriptural. (For example Witness Lee would say he didn't watch TV. As a result it became legalistic not to have a TV in one's home and if there was it was with the caveat for only children's educational purposes. Otherwise TV's were kept in the closets or not in the homes at all.)
I would just say read the Bible daily and through reading it will become clear what was we should affirm and what we should reject.
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:30 PM   #101
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Witness Lee ran a comprehensive social conditioning programme where thinking, which is not only our God-given right but also our duty, was considered tantamount to rebellion.

If anyone sat down and tried to figure things out for themselves, they were considered dangerous subversives and a threat to godly order, being variously called independent, divisive, factional, and ambitious.

And Watchman Nee was lauded, lionized even, for doing exactly that. Yet for us it was forbidden.
This was exactly my experience. I remember reading one of the Psalms once in a small group. I wondered, as in saying, " I wonder..." if what the footnote said about there being some Psalms that were written according to the human concept and some according to the spiritual one worked in the Psalm we were talking about. Immediately, a sister jumped in and said, "that's what the footnote says and that's how I understand it. There are two lines in the Psalms... it's right there". And then I said, "Or...it's not." I received a mixed bag of looks that ranged from daggers to confusion.

I always remember the verses where the Lord REASONS with people, where Paul REASONS with people.
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:58 PM   #102
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This was exactly my experience. I remember reading one of the Psalms once in a small group. I wondered, as in saying, " I wonder..." if what the footnote said about there being some Psalms that were written according to the human concept and some according to the spiritual one worked in the Psalm we were talking about. Immediately, a sister jumped in and said, "that's what the footnote says and that's how I understand it. There are two lines in the Psalms... it's right there". And then I said, "Or...it's not." I received a mixed bag of looks that ranged from daggers to confusion.

I always remember the verses where the Lord REASONS with people, where Paul REASONS with people.
The word Reason in the bible means differently to what you say.

On Isaiah 1:18 (for example), Ellicott's commentary says:

Come now, and let us reason together.—The Authorised Version suggests the thought of a discussion between equals. The Hebrew implies rather the tone of one who gives an authoritative ultimatum, as from a judge to the accused, who had no defence, or only a sham defence, to offer (Micah 6:2-3). “Let us sum up the pleadings—that ultimatum is one of grace and mercy—‘Repent, and be forgiven.’”


This and other commentaries explain that reasoning with God is not as thou sayest:

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/isaiah/1-18.htm

For this reason I must reject any idea that the Lord reasons with people as equals or entertains their meager opinions. What's the Lord going to do, accept our mere human opinion? (consider Job). Rather, the Lord's reasoning is an authoritative ultimatum - it's God's way or nothing.

In fact, the story of Job is a good example of how God reasons with people. This reasoning is not one of best friends sharing their opinions. It is one of God showing that He is God, and Job is not. God says this about Job's opinions:

Job 38:2 “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?

Job 40:2 "“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?"

Job responds:

Job 42:3 "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know."

Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

The bible emphasizes teacher-student (disciple) relationships. Not round-table discussions where each person has a turn in stating their opinion and everyone goes home feeling enlightened. Most denominational bible studies are run as round-table opinion chit-chats, and everyone goes home with the same opinions they came in with (they will often pose the useless questions "what do you think about this?" "what do you feel about that"?). A genuine bible study is where a teacher or someone who knows more than the students, will enlighten the students, so the students leave knowing more than they did before. Jesus taught the 12 disciples, they in turn taught their disciples, and so on and so forth. This is the biblical pattern. Sometimes in a small group it is nice to know other people's opinions, but unless one of those opinions is the truth and the correct interpretation, no one is going to be enlightened.

There is a quote by Isaac Asimov which is relevant:
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:19 PM   #103
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Somethings Witness Lee did or did not do, I think brothers took that and became legalistic with those practices even if it's non-essential to our faith or plain not even scriptural. (For example Witness Lee would say he didn't watch TV. As a result it became legalistic not to have a TV in one's home and if there was it was with the caveat for only children's educational purposes. Otherwise TV's were kept in the closets or not in the homes at all.)
I would just say read the Bible daily and through reading it will become clear what was we should affirm and what we should reject.
While I do agree that that happened (i.e. brothers took things he said and became legalistic with those practices), I was thinking of the many ministry quotes where W.Lee says things like:

"...whenever I enter a department store I have the deep conviction that I am going into hell." (LS of Genesis Chapter 24). Or,

"Consider the situation in modern society. I do not even dare to look at a newspaper. It contains too many temptations. While I am walking along the street, I do not dare look into the show windows.....department stores are more than devilish, and all the exhibitions and displays in them come from hell." (LS of Genesis Chapter 28). Or,

"The worldly attraction of the department store and the worldly entertainment of television are .... on the way to the lake of fire..." (The Testimony of Jesus). Or,

Other places in the LS of Genesis he implies that if you go to the department store you will lose your inner weight of gold, but if you say "Amen Lord I will not go to the department store" you will keep the gold. Or,

"...it is regrettable that many of the brothers and sisters are not home, but have been attracted to worldly things such as surfing, movies, sports, and even gambling." (LS of John)

"Going to movies is a sign of weakness in one's Christian life." and "You should forget about movies." and "Many people are under the bondage of movies." and "After being saved, if we still go to a movie, something within will cause us to feel bad." (Crucial Elements of God's Economy) -- hahaha!! It's hilarious that going/not going to movies are in a book called "Crucial Elements of God's Economy"!

And there are many more.

These kind of statements are not him simply saying what he does in his own life. He is making clear statements, with the implication being that if you do the opposite of what he is saying, you will be in hell/lose the Lord/be sinning.

What else is a young kid who hears/reads/is taught these things supposed to think besides be scared/fearful/ashamed to look at a newspaper, look at a store display, go to a cartoon movie, watch a baseball game, go surfing (? why did he pick that of all things?), or turn on the TV? (I know with non-verbal communication it might come across like I'm belligerently asking you that question, but I really mean it rhetorically and typed it in calmness and sadness.)

If those things don't take pre-eminence in your life and consume you, then there is nothing wrong with doing them (unless the Lord has actually touched you about something). But when Lee paints with those kind of strokes, then he creates, from youth, people who are afraid of normal, human, non-sinful things, and who, as adults, can also not enjoy doing those things. When so many things are made sinful, then there's quickly nothing else left.

I recognize this is OT from this thread, and I apologize, but I think some principles of what I'm saying do apply to it.
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Old 04-18-2018, 02:53 AM   #104
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The bible emphasizes teacher-student (disciple) relationships.
The NT shows a network of peers, all learning from the Lord. "Were not our hearts burning, as He (the Lord) opened to us the scriptures."

There is one Master. The dominant/submissive relations you imply are antithetical to the spirit of Jesus. In the LC you get one man's ignorant opinions. Why can't we critique them, just as he did with others?

If you want to see good leadership, look at George Washington. His generals were nothing if not opinionated. Washington would let them hash it out in front of him, as he carefully watched. Then he would speak for group consensus. Kind of like Peter and James in Acts 15, after "much discussion" (vv. 7,13)

In the LC you get one man's ignorant opinion, presented as divine fiat.
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Old 04-18-2018, 12:03 PM   #105
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If those things don't take pre-eminence in your life and consume you, then there is nothing wrong with doing them (unless the Lord has actually touched you about something). But when Lee paints with those kind of strokes, then he creates, from youth, people who are afraid of normal, human, non-sinful things, and who, as adults, can also not enjoy doing those things. When so many things are made sinful, then there's quickly nothing else left.
Quotes you've provided is Lee expressing his opinion. I've tended to take such statements lightly. My influence growing up was Gene Gruhler and Francis Ball. Not WITNESS LEE. He to me was an author from my parent's bookshelf.
By the time I was nearing completion in college I had read Fermentation of the Present Rebellion and Reconsideration of the Vision. Negates any influence Lee could have had on me.
As far as doing things someone might consider sinful, you've might your point, is it pre-eminent? My point some one makes it a rule, it's legalistic. Approach others have given in fellowship, do it until the Lord occupies that part of your heart. For me it was baseball, basketball, and football. Gradually, my loves for those sports has waned.
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Old 04-18-2018, 05:17 PM   #106
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The NT shows a network of peers, all learning from the Lord. "Were not our hearts burning, as He (the Lord) opened to us the scriptures."

There is one Master. The dominant/submissive relations you imply are antithetical to the spirit of Jesus. In the LC you get one man's ignorant opinions. Why can't we critique them, just as he did with others?

If you want to see good leadership, look at George Washington. His generals were nothing if not opinionated. Washington would let them hash it out in front of him, as he carefully watched. Then he would speak for group consensus. Kind of like Peter and James in Acts 15, after "much discussion" (vv. 7,13)

In the LC you get one man's ignorant opinion, presented as divine fiat.
In the Bible we do not see much critique of Jesus's teachings by his disciples. We see doubts, questions, "what did you mean Lord?", but no critique as such. Rather, it was the Pharisees who critiqued his teachings.
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Old 04-18-2018, 08:46 PM   #107
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These kind of statements are not him simply saying what he does in his own life. He is making clear statements, with the implication being that if you do the opposite of what he is saying, you will be in hell/lose the Lord/be sinning.

What else is a young kid who hears/reads/is taught these things supposed to think besides be scared/fearful/ashamed to look at a newspaper, look at a store display, go to a cartoon movie, watch a baseball game, go surfing (? why did he pick that of all things?), or turn on the TV? (I know with non-verbal communication it might come across like I'm belligerently asking you that question, but I really mean it rhetorically and typed it in calmness and sadness.)
WL made many such statements, and these types of statements serve to show how legalistic he really was. It doesn't help matters any that everything he spoke is taken to heart.

I have heard people in the LC go so far as to deny that WL was ever legalistic. They will say that legalism only comes from brothers here and there who are "unbalanced". There is no admission of any root problem.
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Old 04-19-2018, 12:00 PM   #108
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I have heard people in the LC go so far as to deny that WL was ever legalistic. They will say that legalism only comes from brothers here and there who are "unbalanced". There is no admission of any root problem.
That may be. "Brothers here and there" tend to be ones functioning in some responsible capacity for any given locality. It becomes a product of peer pressure for everyone else.
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Old 04-19-2018, 12:11 PM   #109
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In the Bible we do not see much critique of Jesus's teachings by his disciples. We see doubts, questions, "what did you mean Lord?", but no critique as such. Rather, it was the Pharisees who critiqued his teachings.
So then why did LSM put out a magazine called "Affirmation & Critque" if we aren't supposed to critique Jesus? Does this imply that WL is today's Jesus, the Untouchable One?

I do get the point with Jesus, but not with the application to Lee. Why was he beyond reproach, even when his reasonings were of poor quality (inconsistent, arbitrary, at variance with NT patterns, &c).

Your One Great Man Per Age theorem either reduces Jesus or it elevates Darby/Nee/Lee&c. Either way it's wrong, and entirely against the spirit of the NT.

Back to relationships/courting- if proscribing arranged romantic relationships and squashing them out of elder-approved domains is causing so much angst, why can't we critique that? And, shouldn't we ask if this is merely cultural convention at work? Aren't we being sold human culture here as though it were divine?
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Old 04-19-2018, 01:47 PM   #110
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WL made many such statements, and these types of statements serve to show how legalistic he really was. It doesn't help matters any that everything he spoke is taken to heart.

I have heard people in the LC go so far as to deny that WL was ever legalistic. They will say that legalism only comes from brothers here and there who are "unbalanced". There is no admission of any root problem.
Freedom,

Brother Lee was not legalistic in the sense you mean it. . In his personal life he was legalistic or strict and organized. However, he would coach the saints with stories about "socks in a glass" exhortations usually meant for church life matters such as care in hospitality. Or receiving a tie as a gift that he did not have the peace to wear but neither the peace to give away..,, "what to do?"... or in describing "Japanese umbrella haircuts" as a lesson in how not to shepherd others....

I found his sense of humor delightful. But sometimes when he was serious and the saints would laugh he would often say "I am serious, don't laugh" which made us laugh all the more. Yet, I found moments of complete gravity and the Lord's speaking in his speaking and streaks of extreme enlightenment and conviction. But not in a legalistic sense of following outwardly but an examination by the Lord Himself and followed with dozens or hundreds of conversations with Him.

I don't reject claims that some leading ones in some localities may have been legalistic and if Brother Lee ate Cocoa Puffs so would they. Just in my experience I never saw that and no one ever imposed any personal matter like clothing, grooming, car I drive, shoe shines, etc. on me.

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Old 04-19-2018, 01:53 PM   #111
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That may be. "Brothers here and there" tend to be ones functioning in some responsible capacity for any given locality. It becomes a product of peer pressure for everyone else.
Terry,

Peer pressure.

I don't know.

I always held the view that I came by the Lord's leading, would stay or go based on the leading, but if someone wanted to expedite my departure I would take that from the Lord as well. So I felt no need to conform outwardly.. though I did change overtime but that through the Lord's shining.

I never felt peer pressure.... well maybe to bring something to love feast other than just dinner rolls.

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Old 04-22-2018, 05:54 AM   #112
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"how to you get to know someone well enough to determine if there’s something there to be built into friendship and beyond? " When we look at courtship in the Bible, there is really little support for the idea of long-term courtship for the purpose of "getting to know if someone is right for you".
I personally believe 1 month is long enough to know if someone is marriage material or not. The human body is designed to produce chemicals of attraction when two people of the opposite sex spend enough time together. This is why arranged marriages often work and couples that have been dating for too long (say up to 10 years) lose interest in each other and fall apart when the chemicals of attraction decline. I know Indian couples who are not Christians who have long and happy marriages despite not knowing each other before marriage.
The bible shows that God created Adam and brought Eve to him. He did not tell Adam to "try her out", or "see if you like her and if not I'll make you another". Neither did God create a few women and ask Adam to date each one for a year. The modern day concept of 1-5 year "dating" with the "try before your buy" idea is really a modern concept.
Yes, but when I was in the LC 1977-1981, I saw people getting married who literally did not know one another. They were not arranged marriages at all, just the acts of completely unexperienced young people whose courtship did not get past the infatuation stage. When they got engaged I was often surprised that they even knew one another. Thus there were some disasters. One that stands out is a marriage between a girl and guy who were completely unsuited to one another. They were plenty old enough - 25 and 26 - but when the infatuation stage wore off they were already married, they could actually "see" one another for who they were, and the arguing began. She began to see him as not smart enough for her and thus had no respect for him. They tried joining the army. They tried having a baby. Ultimately after about eight years of misery they parted ways. In his 30s he found a girl just right for him. I don't know what happened to her. I could tell other similar stories of disaster, but you get the picture.

I agree that the world's way of courting for 10 years before marriage is ridiculous. I think six months to a year is plenty of time. That gives you time to let the infatuation stage wear off and see if - the other party is a spendthrift, or is addicted to gambling, or has annoying habits you cannot abide, or if they have layabout relatives you will be expected to support, etc.
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:51 PM   #113
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Yes, but when I was in the LC 1977-1981, I saw people getting married who literally did not know one another. They were not arranged marriages at all, just the acts of completely unexperienced young people whose courtship did not get past the infatuation stage. When they got engaged I was often surprised that they even knew one another. Thus there were some disasters. One that stands out is a marriage between a girl and guy who were completely unsuited to one another. They were plenty old enough - 25 and 26 - but when the infatuation stage wore off they were already married, they could actually "see" one another for who they were, and the arguing began. She began to see him as not smart enough for her and thus had no respect for him. They tried joining the army. They tried having a baby. Ultimately after about eight years of misery they parted ways. In his 30s he found a girl just right for him. I don't know what happened to her. I could tell other similar stories of disaster, but you get the picture.

I agree that the world's way of courting for 10 years before marriage is ridiculous. I think six months to a year is plenty of time. That gives you time to let the infatuation stage wear off and see if - the other party is a spendthrift, or is addicted to gambling, or has annoying habits you cannot abide, or if they have layabout relatives you will be expected to support, etc.
In retrospect over 4 decades I Have not seen any evidence that suggests hastily arranged marriages or longer courtships endure better of one over the other.

Anecdotal examples can be cited to support any contention.

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Old 04-22-2018, 02:56 PM   #114
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In retrospect over 4 decades I Have not seen any evidence that suggests hastily arranged marriages or longer courtships endure better of one over the other.

Anecdotal examples can be cited to support any contention.

Drake
This was one example of a disaster marriage due to church approved courting practices. I could write a book on marriage disasters due to the practice of not even getting to know the person until engaged. But if I wrote a book somebody would figure out who all of these people are and I don't want to embarrass anyone.

At the age of 60, looking back at all I have seen, I can say that it is best to know the person well before marrying or you could have a life of unhappiness. What works in China or India does not necessarily work in America. The saying "marry in haste repent at leisure" is, in fact, quite true.
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Old 04-22-2018, 03:58 PM   #115
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This was one example of a disaster marriage due to church approved courting practices. I could write a book on marriage disasters due to the practice of not even getting to know the person until engaged. But if I wrote a book somebody would figure out who all of these people are and I don't want to embarrass anyone.

At the age of 60, looking back at all I have seen, I can say that it is best to know the person well before marrying or you could have a life of unhappiness. What works in China or India does not necessarily work in America. The saying "marry in haste repent at leisure" is, in fact, quite true.
I agree that it is best to know the person you are marrying.

Still, other than anecdotal I have not seen any evidence that marriages do better or worse with either way.

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Old 04-23-2018, 03:46 AM   #116
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I agree that it is best to know the person you are marrying.

Still, other than anecdotal I have not seen any evidence that marriages do better or worse with either way.

Drake
Unless you know someone doing a study on courtship in the LC following them over a number of decades and recording, not just if they separate or not, but how happy they are in the relationship, I think all we will have is anecdotal evidence.
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Old 04-23-2018, 04:37 AM   #117
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In retrospect over 4 decades I Have not seen any evidence that suggests hastily arranged marriages or longer courtships endure better of one over the other.

Anecdotal examples can be cited to support any contention.

Drake
I have.

Very few of these "hastily arranged marriages" survived.

The elder(s) would decide that they needed to have "fellowship" with a bunch of brothers and sisters, and the next thing we would hear is that a handful of marriages being being prepared. The cross of Christ was supposed to take care of any "difficulties."

It was reported that one couple not only had no premarital relations but no post-marital relations as well. But, both were "absolute" for Christ and the church, so all was "fine."

Looking back on my time in the LC's, much of what we thought were "recovered truths," exclusive to the Recovery, were really cultural mores or superstitious beliefs.

One brother I lived with for a while was married under such circumstances. The marriage did not last. Later on I heard that the brother decided he was gay.
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:31 AM   #118
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I have.

Very few of these "hastily arranged marriages" survived.

The elder(s) would decide that they needed to have "fellowship" with a bunch of brothers and sisters, and the next thing we would hear is that a handful of marriages being being prepared. The cross of Christ was supposed to take care of any "difficulties."

It was reported that one couple not only had no premarital relations but no post-marital relations as well. But, both were "absolute" for Christ and the church, so all was "fine."

Looking back on my time in the LC's, much of what we thought were "recovered truths," exclusive to the Recovery, were really cultural mores or superstitious beliefs.

One brother I lived with for a while was married under such circumstances. The marriage did not last. Later on I heard that the brother decided he was gay.
As I said anecdotal examples can be cited to support any position. “It was reported...” .. “I heard...” are indications that your information is not only anecdotal but hearsay.

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Old 04-23-2018, 05:34 AM   #119
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Unless you know someone doing a study on courtship in the LC following them over a number of decades and recording, not just if they separate or not, but how happy they are in the relationship, I think all we will have is anecdotal evidence.
Exactly.

Any belief can be propped up with anecdotal evidence.

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Old 04-23-2018, 06:10 AM   #120
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At the age of 60, looking back at all I have seen, I can say that it is best to know the person well before marrying or you could have a life of unhappiness. What works in China or India does not necessarily work in America. The saying "marry in haste repent at leisure" is, in fact, quite true.
I knew a young Indian Christian from a Christian family in southern India who came here for his education. He was brilliant, loved the Lord, and was perfectly at ease with a marriage arranged by his parents after returning home.

What he described to me was absolutely different from LC arrangements. He spoke of how much time his parents invested into finding the right spouse for him, using a host of criteria so that the couple would be a suitable match. He saw no downsides to this arrangement, and probably witnessed an entire life of family and friends blessed by this custom.

LC marital arrangements were completely different, and never once had such long term preparations, love, and consideration.
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:11 AM   #121
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Unless you know someone doing a study on courtship in the LC following them over a number of decades and recording, not just if they separate or not, but how happy they are in the relationship, I think all we will have is anecdotal evidence.
Biased, self-serving "anecdotal evidence" at best.
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:22 AM   #122
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As I said anecdotal examples can be cited to support any position. “It was reported...” .. “I heard...” are indications that your information is not only anecdotal but hearsay.

Drake
What is this a court room?

Dear Drake you have spent far too much time with LSM's legal defense team DCP.

When I hear the sad stories of people I have known over the years, it is not hearsay, neither is it being "negative."

But I realize Anaheim is most scared of this type of information, and has to keep all the inmates from any contact with the real world.
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:36 AM   #123
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What is this a court room?
Dear Drake you have spent far too much time with LSM's legal defense team DCP.
When I hear the sad stories of people I have known over the years, it is not hearsay, neither is it being "negative."
But I realize Anaheim is most scared of this type of information, and has to keep all the inmates from any contact with the real world.
Brother Ohio,

This is a courtroom of public opinion.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion based on what they know however limited the knowledge that opinion is based on.

However, your responses to this topic, as also the last sentence above, indicate that you have an axe to grind and therefore you look for things to support your bias even to the extent that you make things up and actually believe them to be fact. For instance, what information do you have that “Anaheim is most scared of this type of information...”? Did somebody in Anaheim say that to you? Were you in a meeting with people in Anaheim? You overheard a conversation? What?

There is no evidence that short or long courtships result in shorter or longer marriages, other than anecdotal that support either side of the argument.

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Old 04-23-2018, 11:09 AM   #124
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Brother Ohio,

This is a courtroom of public opinion.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion based on what they know however limited the knowledge that opinion is based on.

However, your responses to this topic, as also the last sentence above, indicate that you have an axe to grind and therefore you look for things to support your bias even to the extent that you make things up and actually believe them to be fact.

For instance, what information do you have that “Anaheim is most scared of this type of information...”? Did somebody in Anaheim say that to you? Were you in a meeting with people in Anaheim? You overheard a conversation? What?
It's not me who has an axe to grind, but the Lord. (Luke 3.9; Matt 3.10)

Listen, brother Drake, I have never made up a story on this forum, in fact, I have to carefully edit and sanitize these sad stories for public consumption.

Of course LSM hates that these stories be made known, that's why they constantly warn their members about "that evil internet."
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:09 PM   #125
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Any belief can be propped up with anecdotal evidence.
This coming from someone whose reply is often, "That wasn't my experience", as if your anecdote nullifies the previous dozen or fifteen.

And why are Witness Lee's opinions more believable than anyone else's? Because he said so?

I know, you'll say, "I have found them to be so" but many have found them to be not, and have explained why.
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:58 PM   #126
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Brother Ohio,

This is a courtroom of public opinion.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion based on what they know however limited the knowledge that opinion is based on.

However, your responses to this topic, as also the last sentence above, indicate that you have an axe to grind and therefore you look for things to support your bias even to the extent that you make things up and actually believe them to be fact. For instance, what information do you have that “Anaheim is most scared of this type of information...”? Did somebody in Anaheim say that to you? Were you in a meeting with people in Anaheim? You overheard a conversation? What?

There is no evidence that short or long courtships result in shorter or longer marriages, other than anecdotal that support either side of the argument.

Drake
Drake, in your own words - oh stop with the phony melodrama and read what Ohio writes.

You could learn a lot from Ohio, but you refuse.
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:25 PM   #127
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You're not the only one, I'm sorry! There is absolutely help though. You can learn healthy relationship later in life!

How? I am serious. Any help is appreciated and much needed.
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:31 AM   #128
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How? I am serious. Any help is appreciated and much needed.
My advice. Forget about relationships. Forget about career. Forget about everything. Ask yourself a few simple, basic questions. The ones God wants you to ask.

Not to put words in your mouth, but here are a few examples:
Did God really raise Jesus from the dead? What then does it mean, "If you confess with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved"?

What does 'saved' mean? Who am I? Saved, or not? Why am I here?

Forget about the "hand fits in the glove" crap they spoon-fed you. You need your own answers. And believe me, they will come. God wants you to ask. He said, "Seek and you will find". The LSM tried to shut down your seeking and supply you with their material. Dump it. Start again.

What will happen is that at some point you will ask a question, of God, that will resonate in the core of your being. The answer will surprise you, I guarantee. You will know it is God. "My sheep hear my voice." Follow that voice. You will never get answers, only more questions. But I tell you, the path is peace. Jesus is . . . wow. Words fail me.

Along the way, you will find the Right Person and the Right Job and all that other stuff. But it starts with a question. You just have to find the right one. It is within you.

And I'm not talking 'mysticism' stuff. I am talking Bible. I go by the Word. Period. I supplement it with other readings, but Jesus is the Word of God. It all starts with the Bible. Use your Bible to find the right question. Then God will answer, because He's been waiting for you to ask that question. He wants to tell you something.

Mediators are good and helpful. You will get many companions. But Jesus is the One True Mediator. He is the Faithful Witness. There is only one. Follow him.

God bless your journey.
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Old 06-30-2018, 02:54 PM   #129
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My advice. Forget about relationships. Forget about career. Forget about everything. Ask yourself a few simple, basic questions. The ones God wants you to ask.

Not to put words in your mouth, but here are a few examples:
Did God really raise Jesus from the dead? What then does it mean, "If you confess with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved"?

What does 'saved' mean? Who am I? Saved, or not? Why am I here?

Forget about the "hand fits in the glove" crap they spoon-fed you. You need your own answers. And believe me, they will come. God wants you to ask. He said, "Seek and you will find". The LSM tried to shut down your seeking and supply you with their material. Dump it. Start again.

What will happen is that at some point you will ask a question, of God, that will resonate in the core of your being. The answer will surprise you, I guarantee. You will know it is God. "My sheep hear my voice." Follow that voice. You will never get answers, only more questions. But I tell you, the path is peace. Jesus is . . . wow. Words fail me.

Along the way, you will find the Right Person and the Right Job and all that other stuff. But it starts with a question. You just have to find the right one. It is within you.

And I'm not talking 'mysticism' stuff. I am talking Bible. I go by the Word. Period. I supplement it with other readings, but Jesus is the Word of God. It all starts with the Bible. Use your Bible to find the right question. Then God will answer, because He's been waiting for you to ask that question. He wants to tell you something.

Mediators are good and helpful. You will get many companions. But Jesus is the One True Mediator. He is the Faithful Witness. There is only one. Follow him.

God bless your journey.
Not following this thread much, but AMEN to what Aron wrote here!!! Ask and He will answer. Sometimes it takes a while. Occasionally it happens almost immediately (I must confess I really enjoy those times!)

And let me add my marital 2 cents - when my wife and I were engaged (20 years a ago), she, being a very inquisitive person (I tell her that her questions would give Socrates a run for his drachma), was fond of asking long-term couples, "What is the secret to your longevity as a couple?" Let me tell ya, the answers were all over the map! Eventually we both came to one conclusion as to what formula makes a marriage work - THERE IS NO FORMULA!

Just as it says "God places the members in the body as He desires" I think the same is true of finding the right person. So pray, and He'll let you know.
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Old 06-30-2018, 04:41 PM   #130
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My advice. Forget about relationships. Forget about career. Forget about everything. Ask yourself a few simple, basic questions. The ones God wants you to ask.

Not to put words in your mouth, but here are a few examples:
Did God really raise Jesus from the dead? What then does it mean, "If you confess with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved"?

What does 'saved' mean? Who am I? Saved, or not? Why am I here?

Forget about the "hand fits in the glove" crap they spoon-fed you. You need your own answers. And believe me, they will come. God wants you to ask. He said, "Seek and you will find". The LSM tried to shut down your seeking and supply you with their material. Dump it. Start again.

What will happen is that at some point you will ask a question, of God, that will resonate in the core of your being. The answer will surprise you, I guarantee. You will know it is God. "My sheep hear my voice." Follow that voice. You will never get answers, only more questions. But I tell you, the path is peace. Jesus is . . . wow. Words fail me.

Along the way, you will find the Right Person and the Right Job and all that other stuff. But it starts with a question. You just have to find the right one. It is within you.

And I'm not talking 'mysticism' stuff. I am talking Bible. I go by the Word. Period. I supplement it with other readings, but Jesus is the Word of God. It all starts with the Bible. Use your Bible to find the right question. Then God will answer, because He's been waiting for you to ask that question. He wants to tell you something.

Mediators are good and helpful. You will get many companions. But Jesus is the One True Mediator. He is the Faithful Witness. There is only one. Follow him.

God bless your journey.

Thanks for taking the time to write that.

Unfortunately from my time in the LC I am totally closed to being open to God, even though because of that very upbringing, in my living I am still trapped in waiting on Him to bring me a mate.

A while back as I realized I would be "one of those saints" who doesn't get to have a marriage partner at the time in their life when many others do, and a nascent, angry, realization began in me wrapped up in many church kid concepts about God: "Does God use the marriage thing to break people?" And everything in my experience has bolstered that thought, which has made me so angry that He would *&^% around with people in that way just to get what He wants.

So while opening to God in the way you described may be, and probably is, the pathway to a spouse (although I understand that if I open to God with the intention and goal of a spouse He won't "honor" that because the goal is not purely God Himself......maybe the truth or maybe another concept?), I am at the point where about the only way God can prove to me He is worth opening to is to work out the spouse thing first. (Like "you drop your gun first, then I'll drop mine." "No you drop yours!' "No you drop yours!") So there's a massive, volcanically angry standoff between me and Him that I can't even think about too much because we all know the God of the universe will win every time, and I am convinced that even if He gets me to open to Him, He will end up twisting it so that "He is enough" rather than bringing someone along for me to spend my life with, which thought just pisses me off to no end too.
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Old 06-30-2018, 07:15 PM   #131
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I am at the point where about the only way God can prove to me He is worth opening to is to work out the spouse thing first. (Like "you drop your gun first, then I'll drop mine." "No you drop yours!' "No you drop yours!") So there's a massive, volcanically angry standoff between me and Him that I can't even think about too much because we all know the God of the universe will win every time, and I am convinced that even if He gets me to open to Him, He will end up twisting it so that "He is enough" rather than bringing someone along for me to spend my life with, which thought just pisses me off to no end too.
Got it. Sorry I made assumptions in my last post.

Modified advice. Don't look for a spouse, and be a person that a spouse would love to hang out with. Don't be needy and grasping. Be satisfied and happy. Be caring. Be emotionally available. Be optimistic. Be pleasant. Be steady. Have a job that you like, and work hard at it - bring home the proverbial 'bacon'. Take care of all the practical stuff and you'll be ready to meet the right person.

But the key is, to control your "inner landscape". Control your emotions. If you are emotionally unstable, blowing this way and that, who would want to commit to hanging out with you?

If and when God comes into the landscape is another story. Actually my personal testimony is like this, somewhat. I left the LC, tried religion of various sorts (there are Christians even more frenzied than the LC - I found folks who made the LC look tame). Eventually I got tired of all the unanswered prayers and hopes and dreams and just gave up.

Eventually I found a career path that I loved. Gave myself to it. Kinda re-made myself in the secular realm. Most importantly of all, I learned to think again. I owned my own thoughts and feelings. Eventually I began to gravitate toward the "god" thing, but on my own terms. Not on someone else's.

And the romance/marriage thing worked out, too. But it had to be built on a good foundation. So focus on the foundational stuff and the relationship stuff will get added to that. Be the person you always wanted to be, and someone will want to hang out with you. It starts within.
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Old 07-01-2018, 03:54 PM   #132
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Thanks for taking the time to write that.

Unfortunately from my time in the LC I am totally closed to being open to God, even though because of that very upbringing, in my living I am still trapped in waiting on Him to bring me a mate.

A while back as I realized I would be "one of those saints" who doesn't get to have a marriage partner at the time in their life when many others do, and a nascent, angry, realization began in me wrapped up in many church kid concepts about God: "Does God use the marriage thing to break people?" And everything in my experience has bolstered that thought, which has made me so angry that He would *&^% around with people in that way just to get what He wants.

So while opening to God in the way you described may be, and probably is, the pathway to a spouse (although I understand that if I open to God with the intention and goal of a spouse He won't "honor" that because the goal is not purely God Himself......maybe the truth or maybe another concept?), I am at the point where about the only way God can prove to me He is worth opening to is to work out the spouse thing first. (Like "you drop your gun first, then I'll drop mine." "No you drop yours!' "No you drop yours!") So there's a massive, volcanically angry standoff between me and Him that I can't even think about too much because we all know the God of the universe will win every time, and I am convinced that even if He gets me to open to Him, He will end up twisting it so that "He is enough" rather than bringing someone along for me to spend my life with, which thought just pisses me off to no end too.
When I read what you wrote, it really resonated in me! That is because I believe I know where this thinking comes from, because I am also recovering from that sort of view of God.

When I was with the LCs, and for years after (and am actually recovering a bit still) I held a very similar concept of God. Then I got around some saints who didn't see God as some kind of unbeatable chess-master/steamroller. This is a concept I definitely picked up in the Recovery. There were so many stories there about that, and how he would get you in the right place to crush your natural life through whatever means He could somehow conjure up. To sums up that whole train of thought in one word - BALONEY!

Yes, God has a purpose and He will get that purpose. But what is His purpose about? All His motivation is His great love for us. HE LOVES US!

If God was just a steamroller He could have had His purpose long ago. So what's standing in His way? Mostly us. But since His purpose is about having a family that is built on mutual love, He is not about crushing the family members, is He? Of course not. The view that He is out to get us somehow is one that has gone off the rails.

When I began to see that His underlying motive for everything is His amazing love for us, and not just about His purpose, then the scriptures began to open to me in a new way, and my heart was also softened. The old, misguided concept of God was exposed as a lie.

He loves us. His love is the answer to all the "whys." He loves us. He will wait for us just as the Prodigal Father in Luke 15 (read that story of a Father's extraordinary love again - the Father anticipates the sons return and recklessly runs out to embrace him). Why? Love is patient and love is kind according to 1 Corinthians 13. Love never fails. This is the true picture of who we are pursuing!

This is the God that you can open to. He loves you. He knows what is binding you up and keeping you from the glorious freedom He wants for you. He wants to heal your heart. Tell Him you are bitter and don't hold back the expletives if you feel to. He's your Abba Daddy, and just wants a real relationship with you. This is the One Jesus came to show to us - One full of amazing love, amazing grace.

Don't let misconceptions keep you from just talking to Him in the most brutally honest way.

May the Lord give you the biggest hug!
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Old 07-02-2018, 07:27 PM   #133
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Thank you aron and Sons to Glory for your helpful responses. I'm under the weather at the moment and this topic takes it out of me, so I will probably respond more in depth a little later, but for now wanted to say thanks.
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Old 07-04-2018, 07:27 AM   #134
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Default Re: Relationships/Courting

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A while back as I realized I would be "one of those saints" who doesn't get to have a marriage partner at the time in their life when many others do, and a nascent, angry, realization began in me wrapped up in many church kid concepts about God: "Does God use the marriage thing to break people?"
That was my experience. Now I realize through younger generations and not only me that parents who came into the local churches raising their children in the local churches have/had no clue the paradox churchkids are faced with in regard to relationships/courting.
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