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Old 06-16-2019, 06:35 AM   #1
MrsFreedom
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Default Awoken after 38 Years

Hello all! I see you have found my leaving letter to the LCs.

My husband and I are presently leaving the LCs in a public way. I was in for 38 years and he was in for 12 years. I left in heart in mid-April of this year and posted my public letter this month.

If you would like to read the letter to the LCs, it can be seen here: http://bit.ly/GregJoannaCasteelLetter

If you would like to view my public facebook post about it, it can be seen here: http://bit.ly/FBPostGregJoannaCasteelLetter

Please feel free to ask me any questions about my experiences while in. I feel a bit like a laboratory specimen in a jar for all to see.

For the record, I love the saints. I want them to meet however they best feel before the Lord. Iím not trying to get anyone to stop meeting with the local churches.

Having been trained in ethics as a Registered Dietitian and Registered Nurse, I believe in informed consent. Once I realized the many unethical practices of the local churches, I could no longer take part and feel an ethical duty to report what I have seen.

I would like to thank the owners of this forum for having this incredible repository of information and for all of the members that have contributed to the discussions. I lurked here for weeks reading through what you have to say. You helped me leave.

~J
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

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Originally Posted by MrsFreedom View Post
Hello all! I see you have found my leaving letter to the LCs.

My husband and I are presently leaving the LCs in a public way. I was in for 38 years and he was in for 12 years. I left in heart in mid-April of this year and posted my public letter this month.

If you would like to read the letter to the LCs, it can be seen here: http://bit.ly/GregJoannaCasteelLetter
Welcome to the Forum! I was hoping you would join us.

Thank you so much for writing your story. Just want to encourage you and your husband to continually speaking of your journey. It was not until internet forums like this became available that the unrighteous corruption of WL and LSM became publicly known. I had been active in the LC's for decades, yet the stories from other "expelled" men of God -- whistle blowers if you will -- were never made known to us. Hence LSM could operate with impunity. Our Savior God has used the internet to expose those who have hurt His children.

What grieves me the most is how many young people, especially the 2nd generation, have given up their faith and love for Jesus because of the abuses they endured.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

Thank you again for your courage in being so open about this. Based on the responses, it is clear that many LCers agree with you, but so many of us who come from that world are unwilling or unable to risk losing friends, family, livelihoods, and even personal identity, to say nothing of the kingdom reward, so this really is an invaluable service.

What I would be most interested in hearing is the response from those who disagree with your statement. Reading the Facebook comments, with a few minor exceptions, it is mostly those who already see the problems who are commenting openly. I have no doubt that you have been contacted in private by saints who feel you have done something wrong. Considering most people who leave don't do it so publicly, I suspect many would have no idea what the response or pressure looks like in the aftermath.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:14 AM   #4
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

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Thank you again for your courage in being so open about this. Based on the responses, it is clear that many LCers agree with you, but so many of us who come from that world are unwilling or unable to risk losing friends, family, livelihoods, and even personal identity, to say nothing of the kingdom reward, so this really is an invaluable service..
I agree. Few have had the wherewithal to openly challenge leadership practices which allowed so many to be hurt. In spite of decades of egregious abuses and unresolved systemic issues only a few have broken the silence: Jane Anderson, Don Rutledge, Steve Isitt, John Ingalls, John So, perhaps a half-dozen others.

I think particularly of Steve Isitt, who had no intention of separation from the only thing that had been his home for years. One day in a meeting, Brother Lee mentioned those who had left, that they should be found and their stories heard (I think the talk was on 'reconciliation').

Steve took the word on face value, went out and found those who had left, and got their stories. (This was before the internet, and LSM effectively owned the only printing press in town).

When he brought his findings to the responsible brothers, dutifully following the LC hierarchy, no one wanted to touch them. Surprise, surprise. He was told to drop it, and when he kept speaking the stories and what they represented he was marginalised and then expelled. (And he's sought reconciliation with them ever since, to his credit.)

All of this is to say that I agree with the quote above, that when folks step forward and speak up, it's an invaluable service. High-demand, tightly-controlled goups thrive in silence.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

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Originally Posted by RambleOn View Post
What I would be most interested in hearing is the response from those who disagree with your statement. Reading the Facebook comments, with a few minor exceptions, it is mostly those who already see the problems who are commenting openly. I have no doubt that you have been contacted in private by saints who feel you have done something wrong. Considering most people who leave don't do it so publicly, I suspect many would have no idea what the response or pressure looks like in the aftermath.
I have to say, responses from LSM/DCP/saints who disagree are what I am interested in too.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

I would'nt hold your breath....you'll be passing out long before any of the boys in Anaheim lower themselves to answer any questions around this place
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Old 06-16-2019, 12:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

Thanks for sharing, Joanna. You'll find a lot of rich experience and wisdom on these pages. These folks can be rough around the edges (I'm looking at you Ohio and Unto ) but have huge hearts, rigorous faith, and troves of understanding about the history of the LC.
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Old 06-16-2019, 12:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

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Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
I would'nt hold your breath....you'll be passing out long before any of the boys in Anaheim lower themselves to answer any questions around this place
-
I'm saying for MrsFreedom. She said to feel free to ask any questions about her experience. Many people have left "the recovery" over the years, and many have spoken of it. What is unique about her and her husband's case though is they've been extraordinarily transparent about this process, pretty much in real time. Most people, myself included, gradually stop going to meetings, and eventually just stop altogether without making a big public statement, so there's no response from anyone attempting to pull you back in. However, this couple chose the most public modern forum possible to tell the world not only that they're leaving, but the reasons why, and they showed their work. I am assuming that there will have been some responses via email or other private methods. Or if not, that's interesting too. As she said, she's something like a public lab experiment right now. If pressure tactics are applied to intimidate or manipulate her into changing her stance or retracting things, that's something of a confirmation of what many have been saying for decades. If none of that happens, it means something else (not sure what precisely).

On the fb thread, she provided the text of an email she received from one of the full timers in her locality, instructing her to cease contact with the students in the club. That's an interesting development. I think it would be instructive for anyone who has an interest in the LC movement to see how they respond to this very public challenge. In my opinion their best move is to ignore this entirely. Trying to silence her risks causing a Streisand Effect. If they were, for example, to release a big formal open letter in response, it would a) draw attention to the original open letter and b) legitimize it in the eyes of many saints who would otherwise ignore it or chalk it up to [insert character assassination].
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

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I would'nt hold your breath....you'll be passing out long before any of the boys in Anaheim lower themselves to answer any questions around this place
-
Okay, understood, and agreed. What I meant was any responses to her from any saints who disagree with her (including potential but unlikely contact from someone at LSM or DCP). Obviously so far most of any disagreement expressed has only occurred through private contact with her directly or among individual conversations with saints talking among themselves.
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

I am receiving a flood of positive responses from saints both in and out of the LCs.

Since you specifically asked about the negative responses, here are some that I have received. Some of these have been directly messaged/texted/e-mailed to me. Some were cryptically worded in my FB newsfeed.

“Please just walk away.”

“Just be a gentleman and walk away.”

“You are a disturbed person.”

“You are deceived.”

“You are unchristian.”

“Honor your father and mother.”

“If you won’t honor your parents you won’t honor the Lord Jesus.”

“Keep us all looking away from the chaos into Your loving, wonderful face!”

“We are standing with You to keep building Your church that the gates of hell will never prevail against."

“If you have a problem with a group of people or an individual person, the best thing is to give them respect, just not say anything negative about them, and just cut off ties. To take verbal shots at people as you cut off ties with them is ugly and especially if you’re a Christian has no place.”

“May the Lord have mercy on us all and bring our use of social media into resurrection life. Satan is the liar, the killer, and destroyer. In Jesus, he has nothing, no hope, and no way.”

“Satan wants to distract us and keep us in turmoil, but I am here to say “Satan not today” I am looking away unto my Lord.”

“What are you looking at right now? Part of the enemy’s strategy is to lure you, even to compel you to look at some negative things in your environment or in your being or in your history…We need to say to the enemy, “Enemy shut up! I am going to look away to Jesus. I will not look at other or the failure of the condition of the church or my weakness or the enemy or Nephilim. I will look away unto Jesus. My eyes are on Him.”

“Notice the Word does not say that if you’re seemingly not heard to write a scathing letter making all kinds of accusations while keeping your own misdeeds hidden.”

“Do not be disappointed by the weakness of the local churches. I do not believe in the seemingly disappointing condition in the world or in the churches.”

“My heart is aching now on so many levels, and yet rejoicing that He as the worthy Lion Lamb is on the throne and has defeated the deceiver of this great darkness.”

“I was considering today about the spirit of anti-Christ being here. So true. Thankfully we have our victorious Captain that will defeat him with just one word. We will surely be rejoicing beyond measure when we throw him into the lake of fire. Also will be so happy when Babylon the great is fallen.”

“You cannot stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from making a nest in your hair.”

From a full-timer in my locality: “Hi Jo, In light of recent events, I understand that you and Greg are quite upset. For the most part, I have been content simply to observe as everything transpires, however, today I have received multiple complaints from our students that you have been contacting them unsolicited. I'm messaging you now to ask you to please stop as this falls under Facebook harassment. Thank you.” [I publicly posted this response and mine on the main FB post: http://bit.ly/FBPostGregJoannaCasteelLetter]

“I love you all, but I fully disagree!! I read Jo’s post and I know for fact that many incidents that she mentions are exactly the opposite. The claimed victims are the offenders. Call me if you want. But no real loving believer would slander anyone publicly or even privately. I choose to leave it to the Lord.” [This was also on the main FB public post and I responded there]

~J
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

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Originally Posted by Peter Debelak View Post
Thanks for sharing, Joanna. You'll find a lot of rich experience and wisdom on these pages. These folks can be rough around the edges (I'm looking at you Ohio and Unto ) but have huge hearts,
Thanks Pete, now I can ad an enlarged heart to my various health challenges! Nice to hear from you bro, don't make yourself so scarce my man!

Actually, Joanna, as you may or may not know, Peter is actually a trailblazer on the intrepid road that you and your husband have started out on. If I were you I would lean in and press on him for his rich experience and wisdom. He was raised in the Local Church like you, and his parents were very active and respected in their locality and region. Peter has literally "been there done that". If I were you I would PM him here on the forum, or maybe hook up with him on Facebook messenger.

As I recently told another forum member, "it looks like God is on the move among the dear younger brothers and sisters in the Local Church". I can't help but remember our Lord's words "Ask and you shall receive". Well, I've been asking for many, many years now. Sometimes desperately. But God does everything in His own time. There is a season. I truly believe that this will be the season for so many young people to be freed from the false religion and the system of error which we know as the Local Church of Witness Lee. I especially hope and pray for the sisters who have suffered and endured so much abuse without a voice and without recourse.

Maranatha, brothers and sisters, MARANATHA!

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Old 06-16-2019, 04:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

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Originally Posted by MrsFreedom View Post
Since you specifically asked about the negative responses, here are some that I have received. Some of these have been directly messaged/texted/e-mailed to me. Some were cryptically worded in my FB newsfeed.

“Honor your father and mother.”

“If you won’t honor your parents you won’t honor the Lord Jesus.”
Let me take a minute to tell one of my stories about how LC people cared about "honoring" my parents.

I went to the Revelations Training at the new LSM facility one month after joining the LC. For 10 days I was injected with Catholic Church hatred. I was told by brothers to publicly resign from my parish church, to smash all my parents' idols, to take my money out of their credit union, and to make a public announcement of departure. Not one brother cared about my parents, my honoring them, or them hearing good news. There was a loudspeaker in my ear shouting, "Come out of her My people."

And now they have become suddenly concerned for the 5th commandment? Hypocrites!
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

I hope you set up a good example of how to reveal the truth surrounding the LCs publicly so that I can follow it in my country.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:05 PM   #14
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I hope you set up a good example of how to reveal the truth surrounding the LCs publicly so that I can follow it in my country.
Amen Lord! Free our Father's children in South Korea! "As in heaven, so on earth"... amen Lord Jesus! The Word says, the children of the kingdom are free indeed... ~Matt 17:26
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Originally Posted by MrsFreedom View Post
“If you have a problem with a group of people or an individual person, the best thing is to give them respect, just not say anything negative about them, and just cut off ties. To take verbal shots at people as you cut off ties with them is ugly and especially if you’re a Christian has no place.”

“May the Lord have mercy on us all and bring our use of social media into resurrection life. Satan is the liar, the killer, and destroyer. In Jesus, he has nothing, no hope, and no way.”

“Satan wants to distract us and keep us in turmoil, but I am here to say “Satan not today” I am looking away unto my Lord.”

“What are you looking at right now? Part of the enemy’s strategy is to lure you, even to compel you to look at some negative things in your environment or in your being or in your history…We need to say to the enemy, “Enemy shut up! I am going to look away to Jesus. I will not look at other or the failure of the condition of the church or my weakness or the enemy or Nephilim. I will look away unto Jesus. My eyes are on Him.”

“Notice the Word does not say that if you’re seemingly not heard to write a scathing letter making all kinds of accusations while keeping your own misdeeds hidden.”

“Do not be disappointed by the weakness of the local churches. I do not believe in the seemingly disappointing condition in the world or in the churches.”.”
I’ve long found it fascinating that a group that so easily slides into negative speaking towards others could also be so hypersensitive to any perception of negativity toward themselves. In any given meeting one hears either veiled or blunt statements about “Christianity” or “Babylon”, and we see it formalized in publications like “Affirmation and Critique”, but how dare anyone 'critique' the LC, or the LSM! Suddenly, "You are being negative"!

All one can do is point out the glaring disconnect and hope that the cognitive dissociation is seen. Because the illogic is there, and it’s glaring, once noticed. In fact, once seen it’s very hard to unsee! Which is a hopeful thing, probably.

But in the meantime, one of the clear symptoms of untrammeled subjectivity is the characterization of one’s own activity as “correction” or “rebuke” or “adjustment”, whereas if any of it seems to come back it’s called “attack” or “accusation” or “slander”.

“So subjective is my Christ in me…”; yes, so subjective that it has little bearing on objective reality, if any. It’s the me-first subjectivity of a small child in a sandbox, writ large across the captive assembly.

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Once I realized the many unethical practices of the local churches, I could no longer take part and feel an ethical duty to report what I have seen.
As a long-time participant on this forum, what I've seen are similar traits between the DYL spin-off in Brasil which the LSM has quarantined, the cultic spin-offs they've disowned in the mainland (after WL publicly claimed them from the podium in the '90s) and the LSM itself: paranoia, secrecy, code words, deceptive recruiting practices, isolationism, a one-way system of publicly losing face (the underlings always, the Deputy God never), and periodic "storms" and "rebellions" when the high-demand leadership becomes too onerous. Additionally I see the Bible getting prominently waved when it's useful (which is often) and ignored or dismissed when the "oracle" can't use it (also often).

On the positive side, what I've learned is that the gospel is so simple: either God raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory, or not. If it is in fact so, then the other stuff in scripture has value inasmuch as it looks to the death and resurrection of the Messiah - it either looks ahead to this singularity (Psa 22) or it finds its meaning looking back (e.g., Rev 5:1-14). If there's no resurrection then the other stuff (parsing the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the 'nature' of Christ, the 1000-year kingdom/rapture/tribulation, the church[es]) don't really matter much, do they?

It all boils down to one thing: the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on the third day. This was the Galilean fisherman Peter's message on Pentecost, a message repeated nearly verbatim by the Gamaliel-trained Pharisee Paul a few chapters later in the same book. Everything looks to this one moment. Either our universe finds its meaning in this one event or it doesn't. Once you get the stunning clarity of this claim, and position yourself yourself appropriately (I believe/don't believe) then the rest tends to sort itself out pretty quickly... what matters and what doesn't.

As Forrest Gump said, "And that's all I have to say about that".
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:52 PM   #15
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Thanks for sharing, Joanna. You'll find a lot of rich experience and wisdom on these pages. These folks can be rough around the edges (I'm looking at you Ohio and Unto ) but have huge hearts, rigorous faith, and troves of understanding about the history of the LC.
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Thanks Pete, now I can ad an enlarged heart to my various health challenges!
You'd think that all the sandpaper I go thru would have helped with those "rough edges."

Thanks Peter!
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:12 PM   #16
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Amen Lord! Free our Father's children in South Korea! "As in heaven, so on earth"... amen Lord Jesus! The Word says, the children of the kingdom are free indeed... ~Matt 17:26
Thanks, Aron.

This could be a bit off-topic from the MrsFreedom's narrative, but I'd like to float two points in this particular point of time when US-Sino trade war is going.

1. In a nutshell, some Chinese brothers are (knowingly or unknowingly) so proud of those two Chinese christian leaders (WN, WL) who have taken lead in the so called Lord's Recovery that they even called WL their "father." They seems to try to maintain Chinese dominance even in the church life.

There have been "air" of arrogance of Chinese brothers when they were supposed to co-work with other ethnic group saints, sometimes very noticeable. Unfortunately, I have to say an insidious ethnical discrimination (or elitism) has permeated LC's inner atmosphere like the debate between Hellenistic Jew and Hebraic Jew in Acts.

2. It was WN who failed before WL. I've read "My Unforgettable Memories: Watchman Nee and Shanghai Local Church" by Lily Hsu, and understood why WN failed. I believe WL must have known those facts surrounding WN's failures, but WL didn't mention anything about those failures, meaning he himself was not balanced, not candid and had too much entanglements to start new.

The current leaders in the LC are trapped in a vicious cycle. The only escape would be frankly admitting their failures and shortcomings for turn-around, but instead they chose to tighten the inner control , just like the current CCP is doing to their innocent Chinese people.
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Old 06-17-2019, 02:42 AM   #17
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They seems to try to maintain Chinese dominance even in the church life. There's been an "air" of arrogance of Chinese brothers when they were supposed to co-work with other ethnic group saints, sometimes very noticeable. Unfortunately, I have to say an insidious ethnical discrimination (or elitism) has permeated LC's inner atmosphere like the debate between Hellenistic Jew and Hebraic Jew in Acts.
No small irony that 100 years later, a group birthed by nativist resentment to outside domination (think, Boxer Rebellion) subsequently imposed itself as an alien culture upon others. It cannot be overstressed that there's nothing wrong with Chinese culture per se, and in fact it has much to recommend it. But the church leadership that insists that there be "No culture" insinuates its own [Chinese] value systems and enables their dominance.

In my old "locality" the original church group has shrunk and the children are almost all gone - a few were captured by "the ministry" and are off serving somewhere, but most are through with the Christian religion in any form. The Sunday meeting is about 1/2 the size of the one I knew 30 years ago. But in the meantime a separate "Chinese-speaking meeting" has flourished. I suspect that in their eyes it's the Normal Christian Church Life, to use the title of a WN book. To Chinese it's as 'normal' as Anglican church practices were to Western missionaries in 19th-century China.
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:15 AM   #18
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As Forrest Gump said, "And that's all I have to say about that."
There's always an addendum, ha-ha.

I brought up the simplicity of the gospel specifically as an antidote to the obfuscation of esoteric "mystical" verbiage and the subsequent need to hide it from "new ones" when recruiting. Peter's gospel was simple on Pentecost, and nothing has changed. Everything else looks to this.

The deception in LC recruiting is a dead giveaway to what this group is all about. Veiled, subtle, insistent control.
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Old 06-17-2019, 04:14 AM   #19
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There's always an addendum, ha-ha.

I brought up the simplicity of the gospel specifically as an antidote to the obfuscation of esoteric "mystical" verbiage and the subsequent need to hide it from "new ones" when recruiting. Peter's gospel was simple on Pentecost, and nothing has changed. Everything else looks to this.

The deception in LC recruiting is a dead giveaway to what this group is all about. Veiled, subtle, insistent control.
In Corinth Paul faced much of the same esoteric "mystical" verbiage which seems to possess these folks. When it comes to "who is of who," all simplicity of faith gets lost in the dense fog. Paul's guiding beacon was to know nothing, but Christ and Him crucified.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:58 AM   #20
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I believe WL must have known those facts surrounding WN's failures, but WL didn't mention anything about those failures, meaning he himself was not balanced, not candid and had too much entanglements to start new.

The current leaders in the LC are trapped in a vicious cycle. The only escape would be frankly admitting their failures and shortcomings for turn-around, but instead they chose to tighten the inner control , just like the current CCP is doing to their innocent Chinese people.
Like Burger King, the LC can be called "Home of the Whopper" (yes I'm dating myself). One of the Big Lies in the LC was that in China, God found "virgin soil" for His "current move", free from the fallen-humanity-bred contaminations that plagued church-building efforts elsewhere. What a Whopper.

If you look at Peter in the NT, he's repeatedly failing, yet God still uses him. Jesus doesn't let him go. Why does one surmise from the NT that Christian leadership must be beyond error? Only with a culturally-derived lens (the Maximum Leader must never, ever lose face publicly) can one ignore the case of Peter. People, even Christian people, make mistakes, they get exposed, they learn, they repent, and they go on by God's grace. It's not the end of the world.

But WN and then WL were allowed to make mistakes again and again, and all the witnesses had to be purged, and everyone else had to pretend it never happened, and if you bring it up you're "leprous" and "poisonous"... how on earth can anyone grow, or change? How in heaven's name can anyone "become God" or even "become Godly" in such a make-believe world?

If you make a mistake, just repent. It's not such a big deal. You may have to relinquish your position as "Minister of the Age", but maybe, just maybe, God didn't want you to have such a position while on earth, anyway. You know, "He who's great in this age will be least in the kingdom of the heavens"... don't you want to be great in the kingdom of the heavens? So let go of your presumption of positional or dispositional infallibility. That's Jesus' forte, not ours. You and I are sinners. Redeemed and reborn, yes, but still fallible while in the flesh of sin. So stop with the make-believe.
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:49 PM   #21
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Joanna,

They say "please just walk away."

When someone has a problem with them, they expect respect and decorum. When they have a problem with someone, they call them all kinds of demeaning names.

Like you said, you can't have it both ways.

And UntoHim, the Blendeds might not engage here, but they will repent someday. They will be sorrowful. It will happen, and perhaps sooner than you might think.

Like I said, the dam is cracking, and when dams break, things happen very quickly.

There is a phenomenon in finance and nature called the Minsky Moment. It is that point in some seemingly stable systems when they suddenly collapse or rearrange violently. Imagine for example you are carefully pouring sand onto a pile. The pile grows higher and higher, and is seemingly solid. But no matter how carefully you pour, at some point which you cannot quite predict, one side of the mound will collapse into an avalanche. One is never quite sure which final grain of sand will trigger the collapse. But it is inevitable. The only question is when.

My sense is the LR is nearing this point. If someone as devoted as Joanna can have the reaction she did, imagine how many others the Lord is preparing. Her resume reads like the Apostle Paul's! An LCer of LCers. Blameless. Absolute. But her purity of soul was not made for the LR, as Paul's was not for Judaism. It was made for God, as Paul's was. And God is jealous for his people. More and more will leave, and at some point a chain reaction will begin, and there will be no stopping it.

The Minsky Moment is near. A seismic shift is coming. Keep praying and watching.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:03 PM   #22
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We really need to pray for all of these people coming out or on the verge. Most of them, including Jo, are throwing everything away and identifying as atheists or agnostics.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:44 PM   #23
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Thanks for checking in Koinonia.

I don't believe that Jo has identified as "an atheist or agnostic". She did go through a very dark place in which she doubted God. Of course she can speak for herself.

You have identified a very troubling trend for younger Local Churchers coming out of the movement - an alarming number have turned away from the faith. I know that in the locality where I've been for over 25 years, a vary large number of the 2nd generation have not only abandoned the false religion of the Local Church, but have also turned away from the Lord. I couldn't give you a percentage, but it is well over 50%, and probably closer to 70%. I now understand that this phenomenon is not isolated to a few localities, but these numbers are common throughout the movement in the USA.

I think there is little doubt what the main reason is for what is happening in the Local Church among the young people - the Local Church has become part of the dead religion that they have decried for decades. Sadly, and somewhat ironically, they have become one of the poorest sects of "poor, poor, Christianity". The dynamic that Joanna has described here indicates that of a starving Christian. The "green garden" of the church life has become a barren wasteland. If they really had been "eating, drinking, breathing Jesus" there would not be the problems that the Casteels have described in this letter.

The reason that there is such an alarming number of young ones abandoning the faith is that Witness Lee and his followers have abandoned the Gospel. Lee's "higher gospel" is not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, or the Gospel of the Scripture writing apostles. Lee's "high peak truths" are neither high nor truths. They are, in fact, "another gospel". Yes, they are novel. Yes, They are enticingly unique. Yes, they are even partially biblical. But they are without the true nutrition that is provided in "the faith once delivered to the saints". They are pseudo manna. They look like manna. They smell like manna. They may even taste like manna. But they are devoid of the life-giving nutrition that comes down from heaven. May the genuine "Bread of Life" have mercy on these dear people. May the genuine Light of the World shine on them and light the path to a new and living way.
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Old 06-18-2019, 06:26 AM   #24
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We really need to pray for all of these people coming out or on the verge. Most of them, including Jo, are throwing everything away and identifying as atheists or agnostics.
Can I ask Koinonia, what led you to believe that I'm now atheist or agnostic?

~J
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Old 06-18-2019, 06:35 AM   #25
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We really need to pray for all of these people coming out or on the verge. Most of them, including Jo, are throwing everything away and identifying as atheists or agnostics.
I'd like to throw in my two cents. I've been reading Koinonia here for several years and the posts are often among the most well-thought-out and well-reasoned things on this forum.

But in this case I'd like to say, "Let them be what they are". Some of the posters on Jo's FB page are self-identifying as non-Christian. Some are antagonistic to the faith. Some are using language not becoming of Christian (imho). But they've come out of an extremely repressive system - what the individual thinks for feels doesn't matter, and all that matters is to conform to the Hive Mind. Many were under this from infancy. So when they break out many of them scream and shout. Good! Let them shout!

Look at the people whom Jesus healed. Many of them were crying out and rolling in the dust, probably shrieking even. I say, Let them do what they need to do.

Our job (I'm using the royal 'we' here) as Christians is to meet people where they are, and respect them for what they are, today. Don't force them from one repressive thought-system (a reflexive non-thought system, really) into another. Just be patient and caring and let them know that they're loved, that their feelings and thoughts matter. We're here with them and for them, as they sort it all out.

Some of the stuff on the FB page is absolutely mind-blowing. And I've been on this forum for years. They have copies of emails the trainees were sent in the FTTA. They are writing about what it felt like being a teenager in that system, what it was like to be "in the pipeline".

But of course as Christians we should be a praying people, not "praying at" others but saying 'amen' to the Father of light who loves everyone. As in heaven, so on earth. And in heaven there is love.
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:04 AM   #26
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For the first time in my adult life I lost faith in God Himself. I was done with this awful God who only had judgment for me. There was no meaningful love or forgiveness from Him. My kingdom reward could be snatched away for thinking a negative thought towards an elder who told me that God does not need my love.

I was done with God
and it shook up my entire existence.
MrsFreedom, Koinonia's comment bothered me too, so I went back and read your letter again. Had I stopped after reading the above section, I might have assumed wrongly as he did. But I kept reading ...

And I hope the "Freedoms" keep writing their story about the love and freedom we have in Jesus.

But this brings up another matter on my heart -- most of those who have left the Recovery gave up God for good. It's so sad! They could not separate a legalistic, abusive, and thought-controlling system from our loving Savior Jesus. So both had to go. Hopefully just in the short term. And this is why this forum exists, not just to expose all the deception in the Recovery, but to mention that a path does exist to return to simplicity -- loving Jesus, loving His word, loving all His people, and loving our neighbor.
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:49 AM   #27
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Can I ask Koinonia, what led you to believe that I'm now atheist or agnostic?

~J
I think this is a really important part of the story of leaving, particularly for second generation. Jo, I think you did a really dynamic job of describing the difficult process.

The experience growing up in the LC is so all consuming. It is, frankly, all life itself. Everything of worth and meaning is derived from its ecosystem.

For a second generation to begin to see its cracks and its faults and its abuses - well, that is utterly identity-destroying. It is completely disillusioning. It is very natural to simply say, "Man, if there is a God, He's an a$s&o#e. How could this faith that was so beautiful and fueling of my whole life be built on such lies and deceptive practices?"

I don't blame folks for having extreme doubt, even bitterness, while going through this process. Its the nature of the system, particularly for those born into it.

Which makes it so utterly powerful when, despite leaving, a second generation re-finds a faith that they OWN for themselves.

Much love,

Peter
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:03 AM   #28
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Can I ask Koinonia, what led you to believe that I'm now atheist or agnostic?

~J
You have indicated as much on Facebook.
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:23 AM   #29
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You have indicated as much on Facebook.
Are you referring to what I have said on the main FB thread?

I need to look through my comments and see what indicated that if so.

~J
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:31 AM   #30
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Are you referring to what I have said on the main FB thread?

I need to look through my comments and see what indicated that if so.

~J
I'm not sure I understand--are you trying to hide the fact that you no longer believe?
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:38 AM   #31
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I'm not sure I understand--are you trying to hide the fact that you no longer believe?
Koinonia:

You might try quoting what you read and then ask questions. Given that Jo is actually on this thread, you might try avoiding 1) talking about her in third person; 2) being caustic rather than asking questions.

Just some thoughts.

Peter
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:41 AM   #32
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To anyone who wants to pop over to my FB post and contribute, you are more than welcome.

I know that many saints are reading the comments even if they aren't commenting due to the number of them who are reaching out to me asking questions.

Anyone who would like to contribute history about DayStar, WL's two sons, the control of LSM, etc. would have a lot to bring to the table.

I'm still learning since I have only been out for a couple of months and many of you have had years of learning.

Thanks so much and once again thank you for this forum!
~J
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:51 AM   #33
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Hi Jo,

I'd like to say that I admire your courage in speaking out. I know it takes a lot to do something like this and I know it'll also encourage others by letting them know they're not alone in their struggles.

I will be honest in saying that, like Koinonia, I also got the sense from reading your letter that you may have lost faith. While I don't agree with the way it was expressed by him, I can't help but to notice the lack of a testimony pointing back to God. As a Christian that has been through a few trials, it's just something that's apparent. This could be the reason why some may think this way.

My hope, however, is that it all does eventually go full circle and point back to Him. I don't have any reason to think otherwise. Our God is awesome and many that have already gone through what you're going through and have come out the other side with a much stronger and more resilient faith in Jesus Christ are praying for you.

You want to know something? It's completely understandable that one's faith in God is shaken in these types of circumstances...if in fact that is the case for you. If it is, please don't feel ashamed or condemned. As others have said, it's something that's normal and part of a process. Do have courage because I believe God is involved in this process and doing a great work in you and your family's lives.

With that said, it's not necessarily a bad thing to be stripped of the "god" and "Jesus" of the Local Churches. I say that because it's my personal belief that you have been taught a different gospel, a different Christ, and have been dictated a faith that wasn't your own. The danger is, however, allowing vengeful anger and wrath to come through the void that is left after coming out of oppressive religious groups.

My prayer in all of this is that the Lord shelter you and your family through this storm and fill you with the love and knowledge of our wonderful Savior. Take heart Jo, Jesus has already overcome the world. Self-determination helps us take the first steps but it'll only get us so far. Allow Him be your strength and comfort going forward.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:53 AM   #34
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For a second generation to begin to see its cracks and its faults and its abuses - well, that is utterly identity-destroying. It is completely disillusioning. It is very natural to simply say, "Man, if there is a God, He's an a$s&o#e. How could this faith that was so beautiful and fueling of my whole life be built on such lies and deceptive practices?"
The Emperor's New Clothes is a brilliant analogy of what many of us have gone through. See what's really going on. Until you find a forum such as this it can be quite maddening thinking "how is it I see this and no one else does?"
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:51 PM   #35
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To anyone who wants to pop over to my FB post and contribute, you are more than welcome.

I know that many saints are reading the comments even if they aren't commenting due to the number of them who are reaching out to me asking questions.

Anyone who would like to contribute history about DayStar, WL's two sons, the control of LSM, etc. would have a lot to bring to the table.

I'm still learning since I have only been out for a couple of months and many of you have had years of learning.

Thanks so much and once again thank you for this forum!
~J
This thread about Daystar is somewhat coherent, but unfortunately Daystar discussions tend to pop up all over the forum. Many of the picture links have expired.

The story about WL's son Philip was the most egregious:
  1. Philip had a long history of molesting sisters who volunteered to serve at LSM. Back in the late '70's, Max Rapoport confronted him about it, and WL expelled Max with numerous false accusations.
  2. Philip Lee was placed 2nd in command and treated dogs better than LC co-workers and elders. WL treated them only slightly better.
  3. If, like John So, a brother rejected PL's abuses, then Philip retaliated against the saints from Germany
  4. John Ingalls' account Speaking the Truth in Love made it abundantly clear that neither he nor other elders were out to hurt WL
  5. Like son, like father, WL retaliated against Ingalls et.al. with many false accusations, by smearing their reputations, and then expelling them
  6. In order to "change the subject" in the Recovery, and redirect the attention of the remaining saints, WL devised "high peak" teachings about becoming God. That only served to puff up the saints.
All this is documented, and has been posted on the forum.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:39 AM   #36
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My point about Daystar was this: even if it hadn't been a financial boondoggle where the money disappeared, at least some of which was in the hands of unspiritual child Timothy Lee, and 'investors' were told to consider it a donation, with ''training fees'' established to pay off those who insisted on repayment- even if it had played out differently it would show us something important.

Witness Lee used his position as church leader to leverage funds for family gain. He had selfish personal motives and displayed patterns of "individualistic thought" (to use LSM terms), both with Daystar and with other actions stretching back to Taiwan in the 1950s.

And Philip Lee as Office Manager at LSM was the same thing - even if he hadn't been a bully by all accounts, even if he hadn't been repeatedly caught molesting the office help - the very fact that WL used his church position to build his personal 'guanxi network's of close associates tells you everything you need to know about the 'Body' as it was practiced in the LC. And then they asked people to give their lives to it. What a despicable scam.
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:31 AM   #37
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My point about Daystar was this: even if it hadn't been a financial boondoggle where the money disappeared, at least some of which was in the hands of unspiritual child Timothy Lee, and 'investors' were told to consider it a donation, with ''training fees'' established to pay off those who insisted on repayment- even if it had played out differently it would show us something important.

Witness Lee used his position as church leader to leverage funds for family gain. He had selfish personal motives and displayed patterns of "individualistic thought" (to use LSM terms), both with Daystar and with other actions stretching back to Taiwan in the 1950s.

And Philip Lee as Office Manager at LSM was the same thing - even if he hadn't been a bully by all accounts, even if he hadn't been repeatedly caught molesting the office help - the very fact that WL used his church position to build his personal 'guanxi network's of close associates tells you everything you need to know about the 'Body' as it was practiced in the LC. And then they asked people to give their lives to it. What a despicable scam.
WL told us that the Lord led him to the US.

Later we learned that the Taipei saints were upset and rejected him. WL had forced the elders of Hall One to sell their church property in order to pay off his own personal business debts.

After every one of his failed boondoggles WL would remind the saints that Nee warned us of never mixing business with the church.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:13 PM   #38
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[*]John Ingalls' account Speaking the Truth in Love made it abundantly clear that neither he nor other elders were out to hurt WL[*]Like son, like father, WL retaliated against Ingalls et.al. with many false accusations, by smearing their reputations, and then expelling them[/LIST]
Past few years I've been out of touch with the ongoings from the LSM pulpit. I got the impression from a post several months back that John Ingalls is still being smeared by the narrative LSM wants to continue to propagate.
Any confirmation or denial?
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:18 PM   #39
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WL told us that the Lord led him to the US.

Later we learned that the Taipei saints were upset and rejected him. WL had forced the elders of Hall One to sell their church property in order to pay off his own personal business debts.
Seems same can be said of Philippines and much of Southeast Asia being closed to Witness Lee. Then came the World Fair in Seattle 1962. Could that be what led Witness Lee to the U.S.?
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:47 PM   #40
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To anyone who wants to pop over to my FB post and contribute, you are more than welcome.

I know that many saints are reading the comments even if they aren't commenting due to the number of them who are reaching out to me asking questions.

Anyone who would like to contribute history about DayStar, WL's two sons, the control of LSM, etc. would have a lot to bring to the table.

I'm still learning since I have only been out for a couple of months and many of you have had years of learning.

Thanks so much and once again thank you for this forum!
~J
Thanks, MrsFreedom for your effort. Regardless of your intention, I believe you are setting up a good example of how to publicly react when a disenchanted saint leaves the vicious system.

The exactly same thing as you described in FB post is happening in my country, South Korea. Recently one of leading brother who is close to me stepped down from the leadership position in the Church in Seoul citing his personal stuffs. But, I know he has passed through a lot of troubles during his service. Most of leading brothers in Korea are wearing the persona to still support the Lord Recovery, but actually they know there is something wrong.

The only reason they still are there is... authority, financial needs, and fears to be condemned as rebellious. In a sense, they devoted their youth and now in their 40s, 50s, 60s, where they could go?

BTW, WL's failures are surprisingly similar to WN's. If you have any spare time, I recommend you reading "My Unforgettable Memories: Watchman Nee and Shanghai Local Church" now available in eBook format at Amazon. I saw history is repeating...
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:07 PM   #41
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Seems same can be said of Philippines and much of Southeast Asia being closed to Witness Lee. Then came the World Fair in Seattle 1962. Could that be what led Witness Lee to the U.S.?
I've heard there is complication in Taiwan. In a nutshell, It's not that every leading brother or saint in Taiwan (of course Philippines and other Asian countries) blindly follow WL and LSM, but mostly not surfaced these days.

Some Korean brothers seem to have info sources in Taiwan and know the truth, but not enough. I hope some day any Taiwanese saint (like MrsFreeom) would bring the facts to the public for all to see.
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:12 PM   #42
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Past few years I've been out of touch with the ongoings from the LSM pulpit. I got the impression from a post several months back that John Ingalls is still being smeared by the narrative LSM wants to continue to propagate.
Any confirmation or denial?
RK mentioned JI in one conference meeting this year in not a good light. I also heard him in at least one other meeting before that. I thought he's still criticizing him after all these years even being JI is with the Lord!!
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:27 PM   #43
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RK mentioned JI in one conference meeting this year in not a good light. I also heard him in at least one other meeting before that. I thought he's still criticizing him after all these years even being JI is with the Lord!!
That was when Kangas accused John Ingalls of being "obsessed" with right and wrong by not realizing that being a "God-man" allowed you to bypass your conscience. Or some insanity like that.

I satirized his folly in this video: Rocket Raccoon punks Ron Kangas
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:41 PM   #44
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That was when Kangas accused John Ingalls of being "obsessed" with right and wrong by not realizing that being a "God-man" allowed you to bypass your conscience. Or some insanity like that.

I satirized his folly in this video: Rocket Raccoon punks Ron Kangas
Absurd! Yet too close to LC reality.

Has Ron Kangas gone off the deep end?


Take away the scripture and mock them for following their conscience ...

And this is the kind of nonsense that results.
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:36 PM   #45
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That was when Kangas accused John Ingalls of being "obsessed" with right and wrong by not realizing that being a "God-man" allowed you to bypass your conscience. Or some insanity like that.

I satirized his folly in this video: Rocket Raccoon punks Ron Kangas
Igzy, your moving clip is so fun.

Yes, it's so easy a way to get out of the predicament when they proved wrong.
"Don't care right or wrong. Just enjoy the three of life." The most efficient hard-stop when any reasonable discussion with the LCers is about to start.
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:21 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Igzy, your moving clip is so fun.
Thank you Gubei!

At some point you just have to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

Ron Kangas is a dear brother. Unfortunately his current incarnation is deluded windbag.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:16 PM   #47
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

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Trying to silence her risks causing a Streisand Effect. If they were, for example, to release a big formal open letter in response, it would a) draw attention to the original open letter and b) legitimize it in the eyes of many saints who would otherwise ignore it or chalk it up to [insert character assassination].
The "Streisand effect". That's exactly what happened with lawsuits in the early 80's. Brothers warn the saints not to read such and such book. In fact brothers and sisters would do the opposite. Go to the book store and see what's being said. Same could have been said currently about "lawless users of the internet". I say think for yourself and research for yourself. That's probably what brought many of us here.
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Old 06-21-2019, 05:27 AM   #48
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

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That was when Kangas accused John Ingalls of being "obsessed" with right and wrong by not realizing that being a "God-man" allowed you to bypass your conscience. Or some insanity like that.

I satirized his folly in this video: Rocket Raccoon punks Ron Kangas
Cute Igzy.

I'm not sure if Kangas left his conscience in Detroit or in Fort Lauderdale. Either way his wife was right about him. Kangas is an example of how very smart people can be morally bankrupt.

Back in the early 70s Kangas joined a crowd of "Christians" going back to at least the 4th century.
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Old 06-23-2019, 03:18 AM   #49
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Amen, 38 years. What a biblical synchronicity!
It looks like the year Israelites failed Jehovah in wilderness and missed the good land. Moreover, it reminds us the year Saul ruled corruptly while he is forsaking God. Now you are going to be in good land after being liberated from 38 years of failed generation in wilderness. Now you are freed from your spiritual years under Saul and preparing yourself to enjoy the reign of Christ as real David. Praise the Lord for His divine grace and mercy toward you. You are saved by Him again.
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Old 06-23-2019, 06:37 PM   #50
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

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Thank you Gubei!

At some point you just have to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

Ron Kangas is a dear brother. Unfortunately his current incarnation is deluded windbag.
Kangas may have been a dear brother in the early days but I would not say he is a dear brother today, given how many lives he has damaged in the LR. He is a brother in Christ though. Just my thought.
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Old 06-23-2019, 06:47 PM   #51
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

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Amen, 38 years. What a biblical synchronicity!
It looks like the year Israelites failed Jehovah in wilderness and missed the good land. Moreover, it reminds us the year Saul ruled corruptly while he is forsaking God. Now you are going to be in good land after being liberated from 38 years of failed generation in wilderness. Now you are freed from your spiritual years under Saul and preparing yourself to enjoy the reign of Christ as real David. Praise the Lord for His divine grace and mercy toward you. You are saved by Him again.
Great catch, Truthseeker!

Jo Casteel now reminds me of the man at the pool in John 5, who lied there 38 years. Jesus said, "Do you want to get well?" Then He said, "Rise, pick up your bed and walk."
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:10 PM   #52
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Kangas may have been a dear brother in the early days but I would not say he is a dear brother today, given how many lives he has damaged in the LR. He is a brother in Christ though. Just my thought.
I dearly loved brother Ron back in the c. in Detroit days. I use to sit at his feet in his living room. And we went on gospel efforts together. I was very impressed with his intelligence and vast knowledge of world religions.

When Detroit migrated to Fort Lauderdale, Fl. I thought he would be lead elder in Ft. Lauderdale. But he took of to Anaheim, to become Lee's scribe.

And he's compromised the Christian principles I thought he held so much that he's not the Kangas I knew back them.

His wife Susan publicly exposed his hypocrisies in meetings, and the saints just dismissed her out of hand (she was a smoker). But turns out she was right.
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:59 PM   #53
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Does being a smoker self-evidently make you less credible or something?
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Old 06-24-2019, 07:50 AM   #54
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Does being a smoker self-evidently make you less credible or something?
LOL ... well yeah ... in that case, anyway. Ron was shamed by it. But Susan ruled the roost. When she told Ron to do something, Ron jumped ... like asking how high on the way up. I mean it. Saw it.
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Old 07-08-2019, 02:11 PM   #55
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

Do we know of any warnings that have gone out to the saints re: recent testimonies of saints leaving the recovery? I heard an email went out in OKC warning the saints not to gossip. Just wondering if I find out my Uncle Billy Bob was doing unethical things with some of the grandkids and I tell and warn the moms and dads to watch out for Uncle Billy Bob is that gossiping or due diligence doing my job as a parent? The warning by the elders and being-blinded-brothers of the need to cover drunken Noah is a deceptive lie propagated by evil spirits, I believe. Paul tells us to seek the benefit and well being of others not just ourselves, so we must speak the truth in love.
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Old 07-08-2019, 04:45 PM   #56
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Default Re: Awoken after 38 Years

Chatter on FaceBook indicates LSM at the recent "Feast" is in damage control, warning their peopl not to "touch death."
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