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Introductions and Testimonies Please tell everybody something about yourself. Tell us a little. Tell us a lot. Its up to you!

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Old 06-21-2019, 10:20 PM   #1
Hannah
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Default How this 2nd gen came to leave the LC

Second gen, here. I avoided the boards for years when I left the LC. In the last year I became a lurker and now here I am registered and sharing my unedited story

As early as 4th grade I questioned "is the local church THE church?"

In late HS and college I didnt like praying, performing, prophesying etc. I was encouraged by my dad, actually, to stop doing anything that felt like show or routine. There was a q and a at the college conference and I asked about this and he gave me that answer publicly. Looking back, that was pretty bold on his part. I honor that. ❤

I kept staying in college because there were 3 older sisters who took amazingly good care of me, one had been with me since elementary school as a mentor, another my serving one in Anaheim (she moved to Cleveland). They took care of me as a person there was no agenda. They gave me dating advice, helped with HW, I played hooky from meetings at their house, heck I could seek refuge there even if they werent home.

In high school in Anaheim it did not take me long to figure out I was a project and I rejected that HARD. I wasnt going to pray or read with anyone, especially if they didnt seem to know or care about me in any real way. I was not encouraged to attend the FTT, that wasnt conversation in my home. I was relieved. If it was my choice then my folks would have trusted me. I will say, there were 2 or 3 young sisters who took care of me as a person.

In Cleveland,through college, I felt free to be me. But I also avoided the campus work. It was in this time that I questioned why there was only one sanctioned Bible and LSM the pushed publication.

Right out of college i moved to Korea to work at an international school as a young life coordinator, discipleship leader and teacher. I was the only "believer" of my kind in a sea of diverse Christians. It rocked my LC world. There are genuine believers outside of the LC? I can be "fed" at a Baptist service? I can learn from believers who dont read the RV? I was there for 2 years. It was there that I saw what the body of christ was. I came back to Cleveland, unaware of any issues and spoke in a LT about what I had come to believe and experience the body of Christ to be.

Still straddling the LC and christianity I moved to NYC and spent some time with the saints at Columbia where I was in school and connected a bit with Ricky Acosta who in his own way cared for me in a very practical non LC way. Then the quarantine happened and it rocked my world. How could brothers, who claim to be God's real representation on earth bring legal suit? How could "the church of the age" be like this. And if this is the church that has the up to date speaking be OK with treating Gods people like this then I am screwed because everywhere and everyone will disappoint. Where do you go from there?

After a year in NYC, still straddling but more out of the LC than in I moved to Baton Rouge. My fiance was there and I felt to give the church there a try but I simultaneously told him I was also not sold and was looking elsewhere. My husband was set on the LC. For 2 years I flip flopped between the LC and other churches. I attended the LT, I can enjoy worship just about anywhere and then high tailed it out of there for any messages and speaking. I had no desire for anything LSM. I actually refused to read anything but the Bible (I did very little of that) because I didnt give a damn about what other people had to say about the Bible. I didnt trust it. And I was in CONSTANT inner turmoil. This turmoil began after college and continued for nearly 6 years!

I also knew the elders in BR signed a letter condemning Cleveland, the very city and the very saints that raised me, helped teach me about God, and cared for me in ways I cannot express. I didnt trust them. There were a few sisters in BR who cared for me and I developed relatively normal relationships with. But I knew I couldn't bring up questions I had about the LC and LSM. I will add, I knew no one. My weekends the first few months before I married were spent in drug stores so I wouldn't be lonely. They provided some companionship that I am still thankful for, and one of those sisters is one of my dearest friends now.

The final straw for me was one Sunday I was parked in the BR mtg hall lot sobbing because the thought of going in brought me no joy, just angst.

That was my long departure. It was sealed as I made my home in a Vineyard church and began to see what a healthy church looked like. It took a few years of inner turmoil even there but the Vineyard in BR is where my soul/spirit/mind could be a rest. As I learn what church can be I know that the LC, as it is now, wont be that way. I also began connecting my heart for social issues with my faith and learned the two can co-exist and even "should." My church encouraged that. I saw a concern for children and youth, a desire to understand why kids leave church and faith, and how our church was committed to creating an environment that care deeply for children. I embraced my value and worth as a woman, it is not determined on my marital status or whether I ever have.children. that would mean God's value of me is conditional, which it isnt. I grew confident in a faith represented in isaiah 58. All of these things stood in stark contrast to the LC party line. Finally I was in a place that had a heart for humanity, not to gain members, not to sell publications, not even to save them. But simply to see them as God does, strive to love them as God does. I learned it was OK to challenge my pastor, to ask question, to demand more from him and from our faith community. I learned that faith is pretty simple, the LC made it too complex, too dependent on performance. It is all pretty simple: love.

Yes, living that out isnt easy. But I can get behind living a life that learns to love. And I can get behind raising my children that way.

There was no question in my mind that I wouldn't raise my kids in the LC. My husband and I were at odds about the LC since we started dating in 2001. We had many explosive and painful arguments once we were married. Eventually we agreed to do our own thing and to trust God in each of us. Everything in my mind told me I was doing it all wrong, I should do what my husband did. Except, he prefers to be alone so going to meetings on his limited time off wasnt his cup of tea �� I knew to go where he wanted me to go would crush me and I wanted to protect my kids from the superiority and performance nature of the LC. My dad, again, helped me out tremendously. It wasnt anything earth shattering, he just told me to honor my own heart. And then when my own kids come of age to allow them to trust their own heart.

Things with my husband began to shift in small ways 2 years ago. On his own he began to join us at church, but I knew it wasnt his preference. This last year larger shifts have taken place(in a good way). I am now free to share all of my old experiences and my thoughts. So after 11.5 years of marriage, in a way, we are starting from the beginning.
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:04 PM   #2
least
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Default Re: How this 2nd gen came to leave the LC

Praise The Lord.
Blessings to you, sister, and blessings to your family.
Thank you for sharing.
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Old 06-22-2019, 08:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: How this 2nd gen came to leave the LC

Hannah,

I see God working in your life. Continue to trust him and pray every day. Read his word, especially Isaiah chapters 40-66. So much there about God's restoration. Blessings!
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:39 AM   #4
aron
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Default Re: How this 2nd gen came to leave the LC

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Originally Posted by Hannah View Post
[In the Vineyard Church] I saw a concern for children and youth, a desire to understand why kids leave church and faith, and how our church was committed to creating an environment that care deeply for children. I embraced my value and worth as a woman, it is not determined on my marital status or whether I ever have children that would mean God's value of me is conditional, which it isnt. I grew confident in a faith represented in isaiah 58. All of these things stood in stark contrast to the LC party line. Finally I was in a place that had a heart for humanity, not to gain members, not to sell publications, not even to save them. But simply to see them as God does, strive to love them as God does. I learned it was OK to challenge my pastor, to ask question, to demand more from him and from our faith community. I learned that faith is pretty simple, the LC made it too complex, too dependent on performance. It is all pretty simple: love..
I was touched by the point of not having pressure to "gain members" and "sell publications", but having love in your heart towards your fellow humans. For a group that decries "dead works", it seems to me they exist for dead works. Do you really think, at the Bema of Christ, that they are going to check your book sales?

I told a story once on this forum. I was meeting with the local church in Pierre SD, and one day walking down the street I saw my good Christian brother Clem approaching. I hailed him from a distance, expecting our usual sweet fellowship. But I noticed that his brow was furrowed, his eyes downcast, and his mouth down-turned. To make a long story short, Clem wanted to know who I was with: Cleveland or Anaheim?

What? What did that have to do with the expression of Jesus Christ in South Dakota? Turns out the "local ground" was part of a bait-and-switch tactic. We'd been separated from extra-local affiliations only to be re-atrached to new HQ, new masters.

And on a related note, I see the LSM FB page showing banners from the recent Chinese-language conference: from a Body revelation (sic) then "individualistic thought and action are ruled out".

Another - Whaaaat? - moment followed. Notwithstanding the fact that Witness Lee's behaviours with Daystar and Philip Lee as Office Manager at LSM showed individualistic thought and action. Just look at the phrase for a minute: isn't ALL thought individualistic? I mean, the grey matter in between my ears belongs to me, does it not? Whose thoughts do I want circulating in my brain? If I let others do my thinking, I'll end up in Pierre SD arguing over Anaheim v/v Cleveland.

As Ohio said, leaders fight, then members fight. Is that God's kingdom? Think about it.

(And welcome to the forum)
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:53 AM   #5
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Dear Hannah, my respectful sister, I got instant message from divine revealation in Ephesians 4:16 through reading your testimony. All the body being joined together and being knitted together through the joint of rich supply
.. means that we can find church or community of faith which supports our need or all things related to us. Sister Hannah, your vineyard church can support your need and all things, right ? Praise the Lord, you can find your own joint of rich supply. By getting care from this joint, you will grow up in all things unto Him, who is the Head of all body.

This is contrary to Lee's teaching and LSM publications. They told us that we MUST NOT find the church or community of faith which can support our own need but only local churches under LSM system can fulfill what Ephesians said. This is not true. It can't help us to grow up in all things unto Him who is the Head of Body.

All churches in the world (Real believers in Roman catholic church and all denominations) are universal. We need to pray for divine guidance to find our own church which is our real joint of rich supply ordained by the Head for us before the foundation of the world. This will help us to grow up and experience what Ephesians 4:15-17 said. Congratulations Sister Hannah. You have found your own joint of rich supply determined and predestined by God. Thanks for your sharing. This helps me receive divine revealation and instant answer from Ephesians 4:15-17
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:46 AM   #6
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Unhappy Re: How this 2nd gen came to leave the LC

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I
I told a story once on this forum. I was meeting with the local church in Pierre SD, and one day walking down the street I saw my good Christian brother Clem approaching. I hailed him from a distance, expecting our usual sweet fellowship. But I noticed that his brow was furrowed, his eyes downcast, and his mouth down-turned. To make a long story short, Clem wanted to know who I was with: Cleveland or Anaheim?
When I left, we were all being asked the same question. Each side exhorted us to "take a stand for the truth." The real question was the same one raised in Corinth, Who are you "of"?

Thus the never-ending LC disconnect -- teach things almost Biblical as a smokescreen for the most sectarian of practices. It's no wonder that the next generation took it so hard. I rejoice just hearing about their struggle to walk by faith.

This morning I read about "Isaiah 58 faith." Sounded a lot like "Love your neighbor as yourself." Novel idea.
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Old 06-23-2019, 10:04 AM   #7
aron
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Thus the never-ending LC disconnect -- teach things almost Biblical as a smokescreen for the most sectarian of practices. It's no wonder that the next generation took it so hard.
Ohio, "Almost Biblical" is right...if you look at the recent Chinese conference banner you might think that "individualistic thought and action are ruled out" seems spiritual. Mystical, even. You know, "Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me (Jesus)", or simply "avoid selfishness". But ignoring the fact that the Maximum Leader of the LR CLEARLY was displaying "individualistic [selfish] thought and action" with regards to his immediate family, just look at the statement itself for a minute. It's actually multi-layered cult-speak, with the deeper hidden meaning being, "Don't think". If you exercise your God-given right to critical thought in the LR, you're being "individualistic" in the LR-land.

What one sees is near-Biblical teaching used as a smokescreen for the most high-demand, sectarian, cult-like of practices, where any who may try to think get called "rebellious" or "independent" or "divisive". To survive, those who do think have to hide it behind a bland know-nothing face -- "I'm just a simple brother (or sister) loving the Lord!!!" Or as a now-Blended said when the Philip Lee affair(s) broke open, "I'm proud to be an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand!"

From the Jo Casteel FB page:

Quote:
One of the larger purposes of the FTT is to get the saints used to blindly following extreme rules. It produces the cream of the crop brothers and sisters who are now fully indoctrinated with LSM's agenda and will go back to their localities and propagate the LSM mission.
Here I take "blindly" to mean thoughtlessly, uncritically, reflexively. They have parents conditioning their children from grade-school age, not to think "individualistically" but to go with the program from (book-publishing & sales) HQ.
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Old 06-26-2019, 04:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: How this 2nd gen came to leave the LC

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I kept staying in college because there were 3 older sisters who took amazingly good care of me, one had been with me since elementary school as a mentor, another my serving one in Anaheim (she moved to Cleveland). They took care of me as a person there was no agenda. They gave me dating advice, helped with HW, I played hooky from meetings at their house, heck I could seek refuge there even if they werent home.

In high school in Anaheim it did not take me long to figure out I was a project and I rejected that HARD. I wasnt going to pray or read with anyone, especially if they didnt seem to know or care about me in any real way. I was not encouraged to attend the FTT, that wasnt conversation in my home. I was relieved. If it was my choice then my folks would have trusted me. I will say, there were 2 or 3 young sisters who took care of me as a person.
Hannah:

Your testimony brings tears to my eyes. It was an earnest and honest path.

I wonder if you would expound on the above. Many of us have deep connection with some with whom we developed deep connections who remain meeting in the LC. It is sometimes a struggle to maintain the honest relationship even as you feel a deep critique of what they are in.

What has been your experience on this?

Your brother in Christ,

Peter
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Old 06-26-2019, 05:59 PM   #9
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What one sees is near-Biblical teaching used as a smokescreen for the most high-demand, sectarian, cult-like of practices, where any who may try to think get called "rebellious" or "independent" or "divisive". To survive, those who do think have to hide it behind a bland know-nothing face -- "I'm just a simple brother (or sister) loving the Lord!!!" Or as a now-Blended said when the Philip Lee affair(s) broke open, "I'm proud to be an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand!"
Years ago I worked with another engineer who was able to leave Russia during the Carter Admin. His official "papers" said he was Jewish, so he took a huge risk applying for asylum. He chose Columbus, Ohio because because he had heard of Christopher Columbus. We often chatted about life in a totalitarian regime. He described the survival technique by what you said about a "bland know-nothing face.

In legalistic, oppressive systems thoughts are dangerous. Thoughts often get teleported to our faces. Faces then can betray a person. The wrong look could be picked up by one of those who are watching. And the watchers were everywhere. Thus this practiced self-defense mechanism must be regularly maintained. Nothing produces a life-long bland know-nothing face like fear.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:43 AM   #10
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Default Re: How this 2nd gen came to leave the LC

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Hannah:

Your testimony brings tears to my eyes. It was an earnest and honest path.

I wonder if you would expound on the above. Many of us have deep connection with some with whom we developed deep connections who remain meeting in the LC. It is sometimes a struggle to maintain the honest relationship even as you feel a deep critique of what they are in.

What has been your experience on this?

Your brother in Christ,

Peter
Hey Pete
Took me a long time to respond. I dont know that I pursued deep connection with those that I knew were still firmly planted in the LC. Or rather, how deep is it, if I hid a significant part of who I am? Over the years I used involvement in the church, specifically the LSM arm, as my gauge for how I would engage with them, how much of myself I would let them see. I knew I was doing this, it was a conscious decision to protect myself because I did not trust them. I didnt trust their motives and i didnt trust the verses they shared wi th me. I even had a hard time believing my husband. The LC became toxic to me.I believed any fellowship would indicate to them that I was wrong and they were right.

I was more gracious to my Cleveland church family. For many summers when I returned home to mom and dads I would make an effort to go to the table meeting and show up to see the YP on Fridays. I wasn't really interested on their truth as much as I interested in connection with people who meant something to me. There were people I avoided but it was mo different then when I was in the LC.

I think i have one friend who is still in the LC in Cleveland, that gymnastics coach of mine. You know who. And i wouldn't say she is in as most people would describe it. She sees the bull****, she speaks out against it, and is genuinely following Gods leading. That's an easy relationship to maintain because was Jesus to me for more than 20 years. What I mean by that is she reflected who Jesus was. I know if I told her this she would likely tell me to shut up and say "are you friggin kidding me?!" Bottom line I trusted her and that came from countless encounters with her to cultivate that trust. There was no bull****.

Pete, I see in you a genuine desire to connect with those who are still in. Your ability to extend grace is honorable.
Love yoi
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