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Old 11-16-2020, 10:22 AM   #1
ExChurchKid
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Default We should do something

Hi all,


I was forced by my parents to grow up in the churchlife, and it was terrible. I felt judged, shamed, controlled, and isolated. But somehow, I also felt like I had to stay, because of the brainwashing. It took much therapy and the experience of the outside world throughout undergrad and grad school for me to realize that I was normal, and the church was not. Not the other way around, which I had always thought. I had always seen myself as abnormal for not experiencing the Lord, or feeling Him in me, or all these other things that were supposedly what the churchlife was about. I just learned to do whatever it was I wanted to do the least (i.e. read a fantasy novel, or a ministry book? Better read a ministry book because I need to deny myself and that's probably what God wants anyway because the novel sounds more fun).


But I'm free! I finally got financially independent, emotional independent, and left. Now I rarely talk to either churchlife people, or even my parents. I've come to realize that growing up in the churchlife (and for reference, I was born in the 90s), and then leaving, is a unique experience that only other ex-church kids can truly understand. People still in the church don't understand, and neither do people who never experienced the local churches. So in conclusion, I think we should do something. I'm so grateful I found this website (it was recommended to me by someone on Reddit who says they're a minor stuck in the churchlife because their parents are forcing them, which I think is terrible). Is there anything we can do? Can we help the current church kids to not have to go through what we went through? Can we expose the truth of the local churches? I read about a libel suit in the 80s that the local churches actually won, by suing the authors and publishers of a couple of books that I think tell the truth about the churches. I think those books should be back in print. I feel somewhat powerless and lost.


Thanks for reading!
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Old 11-16-2020, 12:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: We should do something

I wrote this to help people coming out of various abusive groups. You might find it helpful.

https://energeticprocession.wordpres...ing-your-cult/
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Old 11-16-2020, 01:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: We should do something

Hi, Exchurchkid, great to hear from you.

To address you question.... In a free society, there are limits to what can be done, and the LC is one of many abberant groups. They are more subtle and insidious than most which is the thing that gets my heckles up about them! (the most concerning factor about them). I mean, the jehovas witness and the Mormons have a clear reputation that goes before them, but who's heard of the LC's? Even their lack of a clear defining name helps keep it under the radar to the general public.

This forum is one of the ways to reach people trapped inside. Sadly, we can't do more than create something for people to choose to look into, and they have to be brave or extremely disillusioned, or angry enough to do so.

An encouraging thing recently has been the unusually high numbers of new posters among people such as yourself. Ex-church kids, and younger generation people who maybe joined through a campus outreach, and have been in long enough to have seen through it, but not long enough to be so intimidated or deeply indoctrinated. This plus other sites on the Internet committed to this cause, and one-on-one personal contact with members, (tackling the mind games head-on, not an easy task) is the best that can be done that I can think of, anyway.

The other aspect about a free society is that a person IS free to leave, and retribution from the LC itself has to he limited to what is legal. They can't do a literal 'witch-hunt' to destroy you, only play psychological warfare with words. Damaging enough yes, but not as bad as past episodes of church history!

Focusing on one's own full recovery is the best first move. I wish you well on your journey!!
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Old 11-16-2020, 09:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: We should do something

Welcome ExChurchKid! (How was that username not already taken??)

Glad to see another fellow church kid on this forum.

I don't have time to say much at the moment, but as far as doing something, I personally think the more web presence out there, the better.

The local churches only exist at this point because of the heavy drive on college campuses to get naive, uncertain college students in their clutches. Without that influx, the local churches would be steadily dropping in numbers.

The best way to reach college students is to put more online about what the local churches really are. Jacob Howard's site, www.thelordsrecovery.org is a good example, as is his personal example of the way he interacts with existing members who disagree. It is commonplace now that when you encounter something new - a restaurant, a store, a product, a campus club - you google it. You look it up. You see what others have to say. College students have come across Jacob's site this way, and they have chosen to leave the church (or the campus club) as a result. This is exactly what's needed, the way I see it.

So there needs to be more out there with what we have to say about the local church. Use the right keywords. Use the right metatags. So when new people do inevitably look it up, they see real people's real experiences and educated comments about the local church and the abusive teachings, doctrines, and practices. That alone is a huge step up from what the rest of us had.

Hope you post more.

Trapped

P.S. but what's put online also needs to be the right content. Not rage-filled anger and sounding like a lunatic. Not 8 different fonts and outdated appearances. Not rambling about unrelated personal experiences. It needs to be clean, easily navigatable, logical, reasoned, Biblically-based, and condemning the right things - the teachings and the ones who defend the controlling teachings - rather than the general saints as a whole. The saints are the sheep being mistreated by wicked shepherds. Sheep won't respond if the content condemns them directly.

Just my two cents.
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Old 11-17-2020, 10:05 PM   #5
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Welcome ExChurchKid! (How was that username not already taken??) Glad to see another fellow church kid on this forum.
Just to tie this back to what you are - a church kid - real quick (and again, I'm short on time, sorry), but I wanted to add one thing in case it seemed like I was focusing on the new college students rather than on another equally important group, the church kids. Websites that expose the teachings would serve the church kids, both in and out, just as much as it would the new college recruits, because it's the teachings that enslave and entrap. And it's the teachings that are the psychological binds that tie so many deflated and downtrodden church-kid-adults and keep them judged, shamed, controlled, and dependent, just like you described feeling.

The sheer volume of layers of chains and padlocks that the local church deftly wraps around and closes tightly around its members takes years to unwind and unshackle. I feel like I can write circles around a few of the more major doctrines of error the local church holds to, and yet I still find myself operating according to those same doctrines of error in my daily thought life and action life more often than I'd like to admit. More websites about the erroneous and unbiblical teachings are a critical part of the unchaining process, at least the way I see it, because it 1) says that there are people who speak up when the church life atmosphere is designed to be so opposite to that, and 2) allows for that first crack in the armor that there are people who know "the ministry" and had the same experience growing up as the ones reading the site, and yet see genuine issues with it. For me, it was one crack in the armor - the error of claiming "we are not a denomination" when what we did was so much worse (hyperfocusing on a person-wise) than what we despised the denominations for doing. Once that crack was allowed to exist, I realized that absolutely everything else was up for questioning. And once you can question things, then they all fall apart pretty quickly.

Congratulations, by the way, on becoming free and independent!! [insert confetti emoji here] I totally get what you mean about feeling like it is a unique experience that not many people will get. It's true. Especially once you leave, you don't "fit" with the people still in, and you feel like a weirdo trying to explain to others what your previous life was like and its effects. It's a bit isolating, unfortunately, because there are usually so many things you are trying to sort out and yet may have really no one to talk to about it! You are of course welcome to post here, and there are counselors out there who understand what "abusive churches" are (which is what the local churches are), but it's a rare counselor who has the necessary gamut of skills, training, and personal life experiences who can handle the range of issues that a former church kid ends up having to grapple with. But it's still worth looking for, as far as I'm concerned.

I also am right there with you on feeling abnormal for "not experiencing the Lord, or feeling Him in me", etc. But guess what? I came to find out decades later as an adult that those same church kids I grew up with who I looked at thinking THEY were "experiencing" the Lord when I wasn't myself, are now struggling and tripping up and faltering over the local church just like me. So much of it for church kids was outward appearance while a whole storyline of other thoughts, feelings, opinions, and emotions was going on inside. And like is so typical in abusive churches, no one could or would talk about the truth of what they were really thinking or going through.

The other side is, how can anyone "enjoy" or want to "experience" the condemning, threatening, oppressing "god" of the local church? No wonder church kids struggle so much in that area!! It's not the real God!

I'm also there with you when it comes to "normal fun thing vs ministry/Bible/God". The local church is all about denying yourself when God isn't asking you to deny yourself. The truth is we are supposed to deny ourselves when it's relative to obedience to God, but not just for the sake of denying ourselves any fun when God isn't asking us to. I still have a hard time with "frivolous fun" (games, sports, hobbies, etc) because it's been so hardwired into me that getting any pleasure or enjoyment out of anything is wrong. We were cheated, I'll just say that.

But God takes what others have abused, and renews them instead.

As I said in my previous post, hope you'll post more.

Trapped
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Old 11-18-2020, 03:21 AM   #6
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Welcome Exchurchkid! You are not alone. I am also a 90s kid who was raised and born in the LC. If you ever want to talk, shoot me a PM. Just letting you know that it was a confusing time and difficult for me when I left as well, it happened in stages, I saw some things wrong when I was in middle school, then high school, then the pivotal moment was in college where I just started attending less and less meetings until almost everyone was used to me being absent. I’m really really happy you are out. when I was 19, I also wanted to tell the whole world, including my parents (my parents already knew that there was something wrong with the church but my mom grew up in it as well and my father was ingrained since college), but tbh I found that you cant really convince the crazy haha. Or even have the litigation money since you know, poor millenials and such. first few years I was just working on myself, exploring other church groups, pursuing my hobbies, even changing my career plans twice to help and give back to the community in other ways, and most importantly, seeking a counselor or talking to ex LCers , especially ex LC kids to normalize your experience. There’s only so much we can do, but I believe that the biggest change to making my family less prone to recruiting me back into the church was seeing me grow and mature into a successful adult and being able to handle all sorts of situations and live in a way that brings you happiness.
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Old 11-18-2020, 11:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: We should do something

Welcome Serenitylives and ex church kid

There are lots of topics to explore here. People are very helpful to answer your questions.

Keep in mind everyone’s experience in the LC is different. In addition, Everyone ‘s level of spirituality is different too. Not everyone is on the same page. Even when scriptures are quoted to express a thought, it is their thought, their insight.

At the end of the day The Holy Spirit of God the Father and Jesus The Son and Savior is our Teacher and our Counselor. He reveals the Word of God to us that we may grow in God’s Love, Patience and Wisdom

Blessings,
Carol
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Old 11-18-2020, 12:09 PM   #8
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I found that you cant really convince the crazy haha. Or even have the litigation money since you know, poor millenials and such. first few years I was just working on myself, exploring other church groups, pursuing my hobbies, even changing my career plans twice to help and give back to the community in other ways, and most importantly, seeking a counselor or talking to ex LCers , especially ex LC kids to normalize your experience. There’s only so much we can do, but I believe that the biggest change to making my family less prone to recruiting me back into the church was seeing me grow and mature into a successful adult and being able to handle all sorts of situations and live in a way that brings you happiness.
You are correct SerenityLives one cannot change or convince “the crazies” in the LC. But GOD CAN!! And if they are truly seeking Him, He will set the prisoners free. He did it with you and all of us here.

I commend you for ‘working out your salvation’ through exploring church groups, pursuing hobbies even counseling. I am more than sure Father God is smiling at you.
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Old 11-18-2020, 03:52 PM   #9
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You are correct SerenityLives one cannot change or convince “the crazies” in the LC. But GOD CAN!! And if they are truly seeking Him, He will set the prisoners free. He did it with you and all of us here.

I commend you for ‘working out your salvation’ through exploring church groups, pursuing hobbies even counseling. I am more than sure Father God is smiling at you.

Hey Carol,
I appreciate the kind words to SerenityLives and myself, but I would request that you be careful with the religious rhetoric. Like you said, everyone's experience and level of spirituality is different. God is not my teacher or counselor, at least not at the moment. I feel no need to "work out my own salvation", and I sure don't feel like any all-powerful entity is smiling at me at the moment. I respect your beliefs, but personally, I'm a bit agnostic after everything I went through growing up. I hope you're right about God convincing the true believers that the LCs are crazy, but my journey of leaving the LCs had nothing to do with God. He did not set me free. In my experience, he was keeping me prisoner and I set myself free. Since not everyone's experience is the same, please don't lump us all into the same boat by saying God set all of us here free. At least, please don't lump me into that boat.
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Old 11-18-2020, 10:15 PM   #10
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Hey Carol,
I appreciate the kind words to SerenityLives and myself, but I would request that you be careful with the religious rhetoric. Like you said, everyone's experience and level of spirituality is different. God is not my teacher or counselor, at least not at the moment. I feel no need to "work out my own salvation", and I sure don't feel like any all-powerful entity is smiling at me at the moment. I respect your beliefs, but personally, I'm a bit agnostic after everything I went through growing up. I hope you're right about God convincing the true believers that the LCs are crazy, but my journey of leaving the LCs had nothing to do with God. He did not set me free. In my experience, he was keeping me prisoner and I set myself free. Since not everyone's experience is the same, please don't lump us all into the same boat by saying God set all of us here free. At least, please don't lump me into that boat.
ExChurchKid, would you be willing to say more about your experience here? i.e. what is your view of God, how did you arrive at that conclusion, etc?

I'm asking because as a church kid who was saved in the local church, my salvation experience was this:

1. got saved
2. hated God for the next few decades
3. only recently found out that the local church preaches about a "god" that is not of the Bible, and am starting to see there is good evidence He 1) exists, and 2) is totally different from what the local church teaches.

I felt like God had me in a straightjacket for years and years as He gleefully watched me suffer in distress, but that was the local church tentacles choking me, while the real creator God was slowly getting me out of the local church so I could hear about Him in the very place I had been told He wasn't - in "evil Christianity".

Anyway, my purpose isn't to preach at you or evangelize, but just to hear some of your thoughts, experiences, conclusions, because I think a lot of church kids have some very intense feelings about God, understandably so, and I also think it's a good thing to be able to get those feelings/thoughts out, if you are comfortable to.

I would just ask any others reading on this thread not to try to "correct" anything ExChurchkid says in response, if she responds to my question, but just to listen and understand.
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Old 11-19-2020, 05:31 AM   #11
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ExChurchKid, would you be willing to say more about your experience here? i.e. what is your view of God, how did you arrive at that conclusion, etc?

I'm asking because as a church kid who was saved in the local church, my salvation experience was this:

1. got saved
2. hated God for the next few decades
3. only recently found out that the local church preaches about a "god" that is not of the Bible, and am starting to see there is good evidence He 1) exists, and 2) is totally different from what the local church teaches.

I felt like God had me in a straightjacket for years and years as He gleefully watched me suffer in distress, but that was the local church tentacles choking me, while the real creator God was slowly getting me out of the local church so I could hear about Him in the very place I had been told He wasn't - in "evil Christianity".

Anyway, my purpose isn't to preach at you or evangelize, but just to hear some of your thoughts, experiences, conclusions, because I think a lot of church kids have some very intense feelings about God, understandably so, and I also think it's a good thing to be able to get those feelings/thoughts out, if you are comfortable to.

I would just ask any others reading on this thread not to try to "correct" anything ExChurchkid says in response, if she responds to my question, but just to listen and understand.
Hey Trapped,
That's a really insightful question, thanks for asking. I definitely feel a lot of the same things you're describing, although I don't have a problem with Christianity in general. I've been to a few Catholic masses and they're boring and somewhat pointless in my opinion, but they don't make me angry. Same for a Methodist funeral I went to. I just don't like having religion or God shoved in my face. I cant stand listening to the type of praying or pray-reading or calling on the name of the Lord that happens in an LC. The terminology they use still gets to me. I'd say I'm agnostic at the moment, but for some reason I still read my Bible every night (no footnotes ugh), and I pray in my head in the morning sometimes while I'm in the shower or whatever. Mostly what I need from God right now, if he even cares, is to fix the damage. Even if the LCs got everything crazy wrong, I still tried for 2 decades to be a good Christian. I think that should count for something, but I'm left with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and a severe lack of close family and friends. It really grinds my gears when someone talks to me in a way that attributes beliefs to me that I don't agree with.
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Old 11-21-2020, 06:02 AM   #12
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... I just don't like having religion or God shoved in my face. .. Mostly what I need from God right now, if he even cares, is to fix the damage. Even if the LCs got everything crazy wrong, I still tried for 2 decades to be a good Christian. I think that should count for something, but I'm left with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and a severe lack of close family and friends. It really grinds my gears when someone talks to me in a way that attributes beliefs to me that I don't agree with.
I'm very glad to see some former LC church kids post here. The damage suffered to their humanity, growing up in that environment, was extensive. Most of them were so traumatized by it that they don't want to talk about it, but avoiding the subject entirely may slow the healing.

So - while this is a forum largely populated by Christians who wear their faith on their sleeve, figuratively speaking, it would behoove us all to remember that not everyone thinks exactly the same. In fact, I'd say that this may be an antidote to the "everyone must think exactly the same" mindset that we remember so well.

And I offer my own experience as a representative sample. After leaving the LC physically, it took me years to unpack what happened mentally, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually. At one point, after years of fruitless church-hopping, I just gave up. I was tired praying to a god that didn't answer. I started to pray one morning, because I was supposed to pray, but instead,I said, "You're fired".

I didn't pray or read the Bible for several years. And they were good years, relatively speaking. Better than the previous ones. Less frustrating. Eventually I realized, that you can't deny your soul-life unless you first have one, and after being generous and selfish with myself, self-indulgent if you will, I got some small semblance of a soul-life, a humanity, a "me", and began to seek again. But it was on my terms, not someone else's. I get to define what the Bible means to me. Of course I still listen to others, but I own the terms of my journey.

Today, I feel that many around me have been conditioned to 'see' what the Bible says, and if it says something other than our conditioning, we look away. The LC is a poster child for this, but it's only an extreme example of a widespread phenomenon. But if one instead looks away from their received conditioning, and starts looking at the actual contents of the scriptural text, a narrative emerges. It can be quite fascinating, really. Happy hunting.
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Old 11-21-2020, 06:24 AM   #13
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Great post, but worth reposting 3x?
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Old 11-21-2020, 06:29 AM   #14
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Great post, but worth reposting 3x?
I was in a good mood. I really wanted to share my joy!
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:24 PM   #15
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I'm very glad to see some former LC church kids post here.

Thanks . I'm really glad I found this website. It actually took me far too many years to realize that there were other ex-LC, even other ex-church kids like me out there. And thanks for sharing your experience too. Perhaps I will seek more in the future, but like you said, on my own terms. The Recovery is pretty strong about integrating God into literally every conversation, and making every moment of your life about the churchlife, so I guess I'm pretty sensitive about people talking very religiously towards me, even if it isn't LC-related stuff. I especially hate it (unrelated to this thread, because this is in a sense a forum for talking about religion), when people randomly and repeatedly bring God into the conversation, even outside of the Recovery. Thanks for understanding, aron.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:56 AM   #16
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Hey Trapped,
That's a really insightful question, thanks for asking. I definitely feel a lot of the same things you're describing, although I don't have a problem with Christianity in general. I've been to a few Catholic masses and they're boring and somewhat pointless in my opinion, but they don't make me angry. Same for a Methodist funeral I went to. I just don't like having religion or God shoved in my face. I cant stand listening to the type of praying or pray-reading or calling on the name of the Lord that happens in an LC. The terminology they use still gets to me. I'd say I'm agnostic at the moment, but for some reason I still read my Bible every night (no footnotes ugh), and I pray in my head in the morning sometimes while I'm in the shower or whatever. Mostly what I need from God right now, if he even cares, is to fix the damage. Even if the LCs got everything crazy wrong, I still tried for 2 decades to be a good Christian. I think that should count for something, but I'm left with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and a severe lack of close family and friends. It really grinds my gears when someone talks to me in a way that attributes beliefs to me that I don't agree with.
Hey ExChurchKid,

Yeah, makes total sense, and I understand. Thanks for sharing and explaining. Your thoughts are very normal given what you've grown up in and been through. I was right there in step with you when you said "...if he even cares...". I started a thread on this forum a while back titled something like "How do you know God cares?" because I felt the same way. I personally came to a point a year or so ago where I decided "okay, there has to be a creator God" (what on earth else could be responsible for all of creation, etc?), but I didn't think that that creator God was a caring God at all. I'm not going to try to convince you of anything here, but just to say that I understand.

I'm going to recommend the same thing I've recommended to some other church kids: read books on spiritual abuse. They are the things that helped make the most sense for me of what we grew up in. The two I would most recommend are:

1. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by Johnson and VanVonderen
2. Healing Spiritual Abuse by Ken Blue

Since you don't like having religion or God shoved in your face, I'll tell you up front that you will encounter some Christian/Biblical language in these books. But I just skimmed through them again and can say that they are both written not in a way to preach AT you, but more to show that abusive churches (which is what the local church is) actually operate contrary to the Bible. The verses and words in the books are used so differently than what you and I grew up in, I don't think it should be triggering or grind your gears as much as LC-speak would. What I'm doing with this recommendation is trying to get you more information that will make sense to you about how a system like the LC works.

You can "look inside" the first few pages on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/Subtle-Power-.../dp/0764201379

https://www.amazon.com/Healing-Spiri.../dp/0830816607

The authors of the first book did an interview, which is in two parts here, if you like listening rather than reading:

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGL_Wl7BAfE
2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MelXy5Gj7Jc

I'm no doctor, and I'm not qualified in ANY way to talk about your medical or health history, and I'm saying this knowing you might have other reasons for your mental and physical health struggles, but when I hear of a church kid, who might otherwise be a healthy young adult, who speaks of dealing with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and lack of close relationships, I can't help but think of the local church as at least one source of the issues. It takes an IMMENSE amount of inner emotional energy as a young kid to exist under the weight of what I call "constant waves of condemnation" that come at you from the meetings, the teachings, the serving ones, anything you read from the ministry, and even your parents (if they were staunch local churchers).

Growing up feeling like the God of the universe, who you obviously can't fight against and win, who gets His way "no matter what" (psh, and you want me to believe He "cares"?), who doesn't want you to enjoy doing anything or read a normal fantasy novel or relax and kick back and have fun with friends without feeling bad about it, is like growing up having your soul whipped and slowly crushed year after year. And when you are in a place where you can't speak up, disagree, push back, call out problems, correct errors, or have any effect on wrongdoing, it means your physical body absorbs all the blows, all the inner feelings, all the conflict, all the fear and sadness, all the feelings of helplessness and feelings like God doesn't give a crap about how you feel.

And that can end up manifesting as anxiety, depression, pain, and an inability to be close to anyone. Your entire existence ends up being shackled without a way to do anything.....and as I'm typing that I can definitely understand your urging of "we should do something", in that context. I would just say that if you can read those two books, they might start to help unshackle you and loosen some of the chains. Finding out that the Bible shows pretty clearly that God and Jesus hate the type of things the local church does and teaches was revolutionary for me. I'm speaking more of my mental health there, rather than speaking religiously.

It might be a difficult read due to some of the subject matter, but there is also a great book called "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel Van der Kolk that comes to mind. It's not Christian or biblical or church-related, but is about how trauma, abuse, neglect, etc affect the body. Being a church kid in the local church means that you have almost certainly been abused (spiritual abuse) and traumatized, even if you don't know it.

As an example of that last sentence, just in case it seemed over-the-top: it's a true statement to say that church kids grew up under death threats, either inferred, symbolic, or literal. Most church kids heard enough to understand that if you leave the church, there's a decent chance something horrible will happen to you, possibly even dying. (Not true, of course). Most church kids heard enough to know not to "touch death" (i.e. normal human things, or the truth about the local church like what is on this forum).

Ok. Those are "threats of death - inferred, symbolic, and/or literal". That's not a normal thing for children to grow up under. It's traumatizing, and it's spiritually abusive. These things have detrimental effects on our minds and our bodies.

I 100% understand what you said (somewhere....can't pinpoint where) about being annoyed when people shove God into everything. I remember going on, say, family trips to some national park or place of natural beauty, and being there so glad to be away from the meetings and in a different place, and my parents always had to say something about God which would totally spoil the view I was looking at. Now as an adult who believes in God, I do kind of understand the awe they were probably trying to get across, but man......I just wanted to say "would you shut up about God already? Geez, I hear about Him all the time, can you give it a break? Let me freaking enjoy these mountains without you shoving GOD DOWN MY THROAT!!" I think it's great if adults want to have those kind of conversations among themselves all the time, but kids need to be allowed to be little human kids without everything being spiritualized. There is a caring, healthy way to bring kids to God, and there is a force-fed way of choking them with God. You can guess which one doesn't work.....

Yes, for me, finding out that the local church had grossly misrepresented God certainly helped my view of God as well as my willingness to give Him a chance, but again, I won't get into that.

There is one more thing you said that I want to respond to, but I don't know how to yet. It was this thought of yours: "Mostly what I need from God right now, if he even cares, is to fix the damage. Even if the LCs got everything crazy wrong, I still tried for 2 decades to be a good Christian. I think that should count for something..."

It's a hard thing to respond to, partially because I could totally botch it and make things worse, so I want to think about it some more. But once again, I totally get it. Every word.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:18 AM   #17
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Wow, thanks for the really well thought-out response! I'll keep everything you said and suggested in mind, and I really appreciate your validation of how I feel. Although I do understand that God can be separated from LC, I'm still not really interested in religion or spirituality at the moment. I mostly just want to right the wrongs.
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:03 AM   #18
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I'm very glad to see some former LC church kids post here. The damage suffered to their humanity, growing up in that environment, was extensive. Most of them were so traumatized by it that they don't want to talk about it, but avoiding the subject entirely may slow the healing.

So - while this is a forum largely populated by Christians who wear their faith on their sleeve, figuratively speaking, it would behoove us all to remember that not everyone thinks exactly the same. In fact, I'd say that this may be an antidote to the "everyone must think exactly the same" mindset that we remember so well.

And I offer my own experience as a representative sample. After leaving the LC physically, it took me years to unpack what happened mentally, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually. At one point, after years of fruitless church-hopping, I just gave up. I was tired praying to a god that didn't answer. I started to pray one morning, because I was supposed to pray, but instead,I said, "You're fired".

I didn't pray or read the Bible for several years. And they were good years, relatively speaking. Better than the previous ones. Less frustrating. Eventually I realized, that you can't deny your soul-life unless you first have one, and after being generous and selfish with myself, self-indulgent if you will, I got some small semblance of a soul-life, a humanity, a "me", and began to seek again. But it was on my terms, not someone else's. I get to define what the Bible means to me. Of course I still listen to others, but I own the terms of my journey.

Today, I feel that many around me have been conditioned to 'see' what the Bible says, and if it says something other than our conditioning, we look away. The LC is a poster child for this, but it's only an extreme example of a widespread phenomenon. But if one instead looks away from their received conditioning, and starts looking at the actual contents of the scriptural text, a narrative emerges. It can be quite fascinating, really. Happy hunting.
Great post bro Aron. And similar to my exit, and path since. Better articulation. Thanks for expressing it.
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:20 AM   #19
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I'm completely gobsmacked by this thread, and the resulting openings up.

If I opened up the result would be at least one book.

And speaking of books, does "The Body Keeps the Score" also speak of keeping the good score?

Like Bob Dylan writes, and sings : "Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain."
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Old 11-22-2020, 04:23 PM   #20
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If I opened up the result would be at least one book.
You should write that book
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Old 11-22-2020, 04:32 PM   #21
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You should write that book
Thanks. If I gathered all of my posts, from exLC forums, I'd prolly have a couple of books.
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Old 11-22-2020, 05:00 PM   #22
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Wow, thanks for the really well thought-out response! I'll keep everything you said and suggested in mind, and I really appreciate your validation of how I feel. Although I do understand that God can be separated from LC, I'm still not really interested in religion or spirituality at the moment. I mostly just want to right the wrongs.
I'm glad you feel validated. You're feelings are, as I said, very normal.

Since there are some misunderstandings on the forum at the moment, let me say this up front here before I ask my next question: imagine my tone is as if we are discussing this over a cup of coffee, thoughtfully, intellectually, and respectfully.

From my side, I can talk all day long about the numerous wrongs in the LC, but I usually include God in the picture and/or compare things to what the Bible actually says.

I respect that you don't see God in the picture, and that you simultaneously also want to right the wrongs. So we have the same goal, but come from different viewpoints. From your viewpoint, what wrongs do you see that you would like to see righted?

This is a thought exercise for me too, because I'm not used to thinking about it from this angle.
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Old 11-22-2020, 07:28 PM   #23
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Trapped,

To be honest, I always imagine your tone as that of a nice coffee shop conversation! If it were completely up to me, we would write a book or a website or something that collates all of our real experiences. Like what Duddy tried in his book, but with real people and real experiences, and preferably without the libel suit part. Or something that would stand up to a libel suit. It would have to appeal to Christians, agnostics, atheists, and everyone in between in order to be effective, I would think. I just want the world to be aware, and perhaps some kids to be saved some suffering. I want our story told and other children to be saved from having to repeat it.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:39 PM   #24
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Trapped,

To be honest, I always imagine your tone as that of a nice coffee shop conversation! If it were completely up to me, we would write a book or a website or something that collates all of our real experiences. Like what Duddy tried in his book, but with real people and real experiences, and preferably without the libel suit part. Or something that would stand up to a libel suit. It would have to appeal to Christians, agnostics, atheists, and everyone in between in order to be effective, I would think. I just want the world to be aware, and perhaps some kids to be saved some suffering. I want our story told and other children to be saved from having to repeat it.
Hmm....I haven't read Duddy's book, so I don't know the approach he took. No "look inside" options on Amazon either! As far as real people and real experiences, what you are describing sounds a little bit like what was done about a year ago on www.mylocalchurchexperience.com.

From what I can tell the site seems to have collected about 8 stories and then kind of ground to a halt (although I'm not sure why). Is that kind of collection of experiences the kind of thing you are looking for, or not quite?

What is some of the suffering you want other children to be saved from? Can you give me some examples? If you want me to start, I think one good example is the death threat thing I mentioned earlier. To hear that in any church screams "run for the door!"
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:25 AM   #25
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Hmm....I haven't read Duddy's book, so I don't know the approach he took. No "look inside" options on Amazon either! As far as real people and real experiences, what you are describing sounds a little bit like what was done about a year ago on www.mylocalchurchexperience.com.

From what I can tell the site seems to have collected about 8 stories and then kind of ground to a halt (although I'm not sure why). Is that kind of collection of experiences the kind of thing you are looking for, or not quite?

What is some of the suffering you want other children to be saved from? Can you give me some examples? If you want me to start, I think one good example is the death threat thing I mentioned earlier. To hear that in any church screams "run for the door!"

The lack of look inside option is probably because the book was run out of print by the libel suit. I'm looking to get a used copy for myself, but reading the judge's ruling and the wikipedia description of the suit gives me an idea of what Duddy was trying to express. The website is kind of what I'm looking for, but a bit on the religious side. Duddy's book is more along the lines of where I would go. And a book would be more far-reaching than a website, especially if it was aimed at more than just Christians. But perhaps that is just a pipe dream.



I just want other children to be saved from being forced into the LC. Nothing more specific than that, really. There's way too many things that happen to them to be able to target specific sufferings. Sorry, I know that might not be very explanatory! I just thought if knowledge of the Recovery was more widespread, people would be more aware, and perhaps more likely to intervene if they saw a niece/nephew/cousin/grandkid/etc. being forced by their parents. Or, parents would receive backlash from others and perhaps it would open their eyes. I don't really know. But I think a book would be better than nothing. And currently, there's nothing, because the previous attempts were run out of print.
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Old 11-23-2020, 09:14 AM   #26
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I just want other children to be saved from being forced into the LC. Nothing more specific than that, really. There's way too many things that happen to them to be able to target specific sufferings. Sorry, I know that might not be very explanatory! I just thought if knowledge of the Recovery was more widespread, people would be more aware, and perhaps more likely to intervene if they saw a niece/nephew/cousin/grandkid/etc. being forced by their parents. Or, parents would receive backlash from others and perhaps it would open their eyes. I don't really know. But I think a book would be better than nothing. And currently, there's nothing, because the previous attempts were run out of print.
I have long felt that an easily accessible (e.g., Amazon.com for $7), comprehensive, scholarly/objective yet simple treatment of the LC would be beneficial. You find out your kid isn't coming home for Christmas, but is going to the "college training" - what is that? Your kid probably doesn't know that WL's sons preyed on church members.

If I knew about Daystar and Philip Lee, I would not have joined. I just heard of "rebellions" that were not spoken of openly. I had no ready avenue for information, other than what I was being fed by my handlers. By the time I got clues that something wasn't right, I was "sold out", I was "wrecked, ruined" for the group. Things unfortunately had to get really bad for a long time, before I screwed up the courage to walk.

It would be nice if people had information But could anyone write about them openly without being sued?
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Old 11-23-2020, 09:28 AM   #27
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I have long felt that an easily accessible (e.g., Amazon.com for $7), comprehensive, scholarly/objective yet simple treatment of the LC would be beneficial...It would be nice if people had information But could anyone write about them openly without being sued?
I totally agree with you about the book thing! Regarding being sued, I think as long as everyone is willing to attach their name and legal testimony to their story, and the stories corroborate each other, we would have a good defense against libel. In addition, we could try to find help from a non-profit anti-cult group (or perhaps even something like the ACLU), to help us were we to get sued. We'd have to be prepared, but I think it could work. Also, if we were to set up an LLC, any legal action would be taken against the LLC, and we would only lose the money in the LLC (i.e., book profits), not anything in our own names.
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:06 PM   #28
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Like Trapped said, I highly recommend Body Keeps Score too. Had to read in my graduate program and it’s good for anyone who have experienced any sort of trauma, including religious trauma. It’s more from a secular, psychological and mental health point of view and has scholarly publications in the back.

I’n interested in the non profit endeavor too.
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Old 11-24-2020, 02:32 PM   #29
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Like Trapped said, I highly recommend Body Keeps Score too. Had to read in my graduate program and it’s good for anyone who have experienced any sort of trauma, including religious trauma. It’s more from a secular, psychological and mental health point of view and has scholarly publications in the back.
It was one of the best books I ever read. Hands down.

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I totally agree with you about the book thing!
The best just-the-facts accounts of the LC experience from former insiders are:

1. Indiana (Steve Isitt)
2. Hope (Don Rutledge)
3. John Ingalls
4. Jane Anderson
5. Lily Hsu
6. Jo and Greg Casteel

They are of course subjective, sometimes obviously so, but still they were by people who saw the inside. Start with those, build your case. Then add other voices. They can't sue you for what you saw.
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Old 11-24-2020, 03:01 PM   #30
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The best just-the-facts accounts of the LC experience from former insiders are:

1. Indiana (Steve Isitt)
2. Hope (Don Rutledge)
3. John Ingalls
4. Jane Anderson
5. Lily Hsu
6. Jo and Greg Casteel

They are of course subjective, sometimes obviously so, but still they were by people who saw the inside. Start with those, build your case. Then add other voices. They can't sue you for what you saw.

Do you know where we can find these people's accounts?
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Old 11-24-2020, 03:38 PM   #31
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Do you know where we can find these people's accounts?
All but #5 are complete on the "Writings of former members" section of this forum. The Lily Hsu book is on Amazon.
"My unforgettable memories ". I read it on pdf that was passed around.

Btw, I panned the book at first. But later I realized that it really showed a lot about what it was like there in China. And while WN's confession, made in a Communist show trial, was done to save his own bacon, knowing full well the devastation it would cause. That tells me a lot about who he really was. It was all about "me", all along. And WL's two sons, Philip and Timothy - all about "me". All that self-abnegation was a scam to impose on others.
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Old 11-24-2020, 05:39 PM   #32
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All but #5 are complete on the "Writings of former members" section of this forum. The Lily Hsu book is on Amazon.
"My unforgettable memories ".

Thanks, I will definitely take a look! A couple of questions:

1) Were any others besides Lily Hsu's actually published, and available in print for people to stumble on?
2) Are any of these written to appeal to a non-Christian, i.e., that frame things in a scholarly rather than religious way?


I'm sure I'll get some answers when I actually read through the writings, but since you've been so helpful, I thought I'd ask!
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Old 11-24-2020, 06:48 PM   #33
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...It would be nice if people had information But could anyone write about them openly without being sued?
Yes. You can write about anything but it has to be the truth. Even if it's the truth, you can be sued. (Anybody can sue anybody for anything.)

If you do get sued, you need to be able to finance your defense through to a jury decision and not have it decided by a default judgment. This was Neil Duddy's problem when he was sued over "The God-Men".

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Old 11-24-2020, 07:06 PM   #34
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Thanks, I will definitely take a look! A couple of questions:

1) Were any others besides Lily Hsu's actually published, and available in print for people to stumble on?
2) Are any of these written to appeal to a non-Christian, i.e., that frame things in a scholarly rather than religious way?


I'm sure I'll get some answers when I actually read through the writings, but since you've been so helpful, I thought I'd ask!
John Ingalls, deceased, published Speaking the Truth in Love (pdf on Forum).
Jane Anderson published The Thread of Gold, God's Purpose, the Cross and Me. Send a PM to Thankful Jane to find out how to get a .pdf, or purchase it on Amazon and several other sites. She also has a website.
Hope, Don Rutledge is a forum member but inactive since 2014 but it wouldn't hurt to PM him.
Kyle Yoakum forum member knows Don personally and may be able to forward a message to him, or arrange contact in some way.
Check with Indiana (PM) on any published works.

I don't believe these authors wrote for an audience other than former or current LC members.

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Old 11-24-2020, 09:12 PM   #35
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If you click on the paperclip next to my introduction thread you will find a partial doctoral dissertation written by Morris Aron Fred (1968) that discusses a split in the local church that occurred in Taiwan.
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Old 11-24-2020, 10:25 PM   #36
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John Ingalls, deceased, published Speaking the Truth in Love (pdf on Forum).
Jane Anderson published The Thread of Gold, God's Purpose, the Cross and Me. Send a PM to Thankful Jane to find out how to get a .pdf, or purchase it on Amazon and several other sites. She also has a website.
Hope, Don Rutledge is a forum member but inactive since 2014 but it wouldn't hurt to PM him.
Kyle Yoakum forum member knows Don personally and may be able to forward a message to him, or arrange contact in some way.
Check with Indiana (PM) on any published works.

I don't believe these authors wrote for an audience other than former or current LC members.

Nell
Also : Story of Watchman Nee Against the Tide
https://www.amazon.com/Against-Tide-...=UTF8&qid=&sr=
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Old Yesterday, 07:31 AM   #37
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Thanks to all of you for the info! It looks like I might have a gap to fill if I try to get a book out that looks at the LCs from a more secular point of view, with plenty of stories from ex-members (as long as I can find enough willing ones, of course)
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Old Yesterday, 08:01 AM   #38
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Thanks to all of you for the info! It looks like I might have a gap to fill if I try to get a book out that looks at the LCs from a more secular point of view, with plenty of stories from ex-members (as long as I can find enough willing ones, of course)
I think that a non-apologetics book simply covering what happened, what people saw, what it was like, is potentially very powerful. One example that I like is a man named Daniel Boyarin. He is a Jew who doesn't believe in God, at least in the 'orthodox' sense, but works as a scholar on Jesus and the early church. His perspective is really eye-opening, in the fullest sense of the word. He uses sources. He has read the literature. He knows the early witnesses, and can weave them into his narrative. It is such a powerful experience to read his books. I read "Border Lines" about how early non-Jewish Christians 'invented' Judaism to distinguish what their faith was. They created a caricature, if you will. And then the Jewish sages were forced to argue against that, and created modern rabbinic Judaism as reaction.

If you grew up on WL's "History of the church and the local churches", it's so amazing to read someone who actually uses sources. Assemble all the witnesses, and let the narrative emerge.

Let me indulge, if you will, and circle back to the Lily Hsu book once more. When I read it, I felt that it was a cheap hatchet job. I was not predisposed to be favorable to Watchman Nee, but the account was of a young woman witnessing a Chinese Communist 'show trial' in the mid-1950s, where Watchman Nee confessed to producing pornography. The evidence was suspect , to me - who'd produce pornography and write on it, "this belongs to Watchman Nee" as the ChiComs allege? I was quite dubious. And my counter argument was this - nobody in the Chinese Communist system could plead innocent, mount a defence, call witnesses, argue a case, and be acquitted. You had to admit guilt or be executed. So WN pleading guilty was moot.

But then as time went on, I began to feel that this was still a witness. It was still a voice. The LSM apologist says "This was just a young impressionable girl. She didn't know Watchman Nee." But she describes what happened to her faith as she heard him confess. And like I said, a 'senior co-worker' Ruth Lee also was devastated, as many were. Why? Because WN was their shining star. WN, like WL after him, built a caste system in which the Top Dog, were he to fail, would cause the whole to crumble. So the Top Dog is untouchable. Thus, "Even if he's wrong, he's right" as the LC saying went.

Secondly, it brings up an interesting question that I didn't consider at the time. Either WN lied and confessed to something that he didn't do, simply to save his hide, or he confessed to something that he did, to save his hide. Either way, he put his hide above the flock. He knew full well what would happen to the faith of so many like Lily Hsu and Ruth Lee. It's the Kingdom of Self, with a spiritual veneer. Suddenly, WL putting sons Philip and Timothy into the LC trough to fill their bellies makes perfect sense. It wasn't an aberration at all.

So my point of the story is, seek out as many disparate witnesses as you can. You may not appreciate or enjoy the stories, or agree with their conclusions and explanations, but as you put them together, a sort of mosaic will coalesce and you will see a picture. You'll gain understanding, bit by bit, which will help you heal, and pehaps be a roadmap of healing for others.

(when I say 'you', of course I simply speak to my experience. It may or may not be applicable to others. It's just how I like to write).
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Old Yesterday, 09:19 AM   #39
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So my point of the story is, seek out as many disparate witnesses as you can. You may not appreciate or enjoy the stories, or agree with their conclusions and explanations, but as you put them together, a sort of mosaic will coalesce and you will see a picture. You'll gain understanding, bit by bit, which will help you heal, and pehaps be a roadmap of healing for others.

(when I say 'you', of course I simply speak to my experience. It may or may not be applicable to others. It's just how I like to write).

Really good point, and a lot of food for thought, thank you.
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Old Yesterday, 11:54 AM   #40
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Really good point, and a lot of food for thought, thank you.
Thank you for the kindness.

More on Boyarin: I kind of missed my point. I was trying to say that for me, reading a non-Christian author using primarily Christian texts to make his case for "what happened" was almost hallucinogenic. It was as if what I'd always seen and heard and assumed to be so, I was now seeing anew, through Boyarin's eyes. It didn't matter, ultimately, whether I agreed with him or not but that I gained new perspectives. It was quite liberating.

That's largely why I advise people today, Read books that challenge your perceptions. Then read books that challenge them. In so doing you'll have a better understanding of why you believe what you do, and not other things.

A big weakness of the LC programme is that they don't allow for such open, critical examination. I think it speaks of the inerent frailty of their position. Last year, the "The Great Rebellion of 2019" was actually a 38 year-old mother of 2, a registered dietition, who posted an open letter on facebook. That was all it took.
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Old Yesterday, 12:49 PM   #41
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Last year, the "The Great Rebellion of 2019" was actually a 38 year-old mother of 2, a registered dietition, who posted an open letter on facebook. That was all it took.

The Great Rebellion of 2019? Please tell me more.
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Old Yesterday, 01:11 PM   #42
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Default Re: We should do something

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The Great Rebellion of 2019? Please tell me more.
I guess it was the spring, maybe April of 2019, a couple named Greg and Joanna Casteel from Tennessee posted an open letter on facebook. "Dear saints in the Lord's Recovery..." Jo grew up in the LC, I think Greg joined in HS or college. They both went through the Full Time Training in Anaheim, and became "working saints" or "community saints" after the training. And then things just got weirder and weirder. They read the Bible, apart from the "interpreted word", and it looked more and more discordant, what they were seeing in the "church life". So they searched online, found out about Daystar, and Philip Lee, and sexual abuse covered over in the LC, and said, "No thanks".

LSM called a special meeting of FTT graduates at the summer training, telling them, "Don't read the letter! It is poison!" etc. All the leaders of the LC were alarmed, making speeches, threatening that the earth would swallow these rebels up. The LC had to start a whole new website, "Shepherding Words.com" to address (or obfuscate) the stuff that the Casteels brought up.

The reaction from LSM leadership to one couple posting on facebook, really shows what kind of realm they were living in.... everyone's like, "NOOOOO!!!!!!" Talk about living in a bubble. The slightest bit of light and just like Dracula - shrieking and waving wildly as the body ossifies and crumbles.
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Old Yesterday, 02:06 PM   #43
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LSM called a special meeting of FTT graduates at the summer training, telling them, "Don't read the letter! It is poison!" etc. All the leaders of the LC were alarmed, making speeches, threatening that the earth would swallow these rebels up. The LC had to start a whole new website, "Shepherding Words.com" to address (or obfuscate) the stuff that the Casteels brought up.

The reaction from LSM leadership to one couple posting on facebook, really shows what kind of realm they were living in.... everyone's like, "NOOOOO!!!!!!" Talk about living in a bubble. The slightest bit of light and just like Dracula - shrieking and waving wildly as the body ossifies and crumbles.

You make a really good point. Growing up it was all about not being "corrupted", but researching the facts and breaking out of your own little bubble doesn't "corrupt".

Somewhat related, but this line of reasoning takes me to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why was it bad for humans to seek knowledge? (Sorry, I know this is a little bit off topic)
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Old Yesterday, 02:32 PM   #44
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You make a really good point. Growing up it was all about not being "corrupted", but researching the facts and breaking out of your own little bubble doesn't "corrupt".
Exactly. If the truth and facts are what "corrupts" the local churches.....what does that say about what the local churches are protecting or trying to hide?

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Somewhat related, but this line of reasoning takes me to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why was it bad for humans to seek knowledge? (Sorry, I know this is a little bit off topic)
ExChurchKid,

So glad you decided to stick around. For reals.

I would say that the garden of Eden story is probably one of the all-time single most botched interpretations that Witness Lee disgraced us with. He twisted it until it is unrecognizable, and used that twisted version to control saints, excuse sin, cover unrighteousness, and oppress many consciences.

It wasn't bad for humans to seek knowledge. It was bad for humans to disobey God.

Knowledge, and distinguishing good and evil, are spoken of as good things in the Bible (or as being bad to NOT have):

Hosea 4:6
my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.

Hebrews 5:11-14
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.
12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Witness Lee taught that knowledge was bad/death/poison. But the Bible never says that. Death was not a part of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which is what Lee taught. Death was the punishment from God for disobedience.

There are numerous verses in Romans that speak of what the problem was, and I'll spare you from reading all of them, but I'll include two:

Romans 5:18-19
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.
19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

The problem was not obtaining knowledge, or good and evil being "of death" (they aren't)....the problem was "the trespass" or "the disobedience". Adam and Eve had....probably.....100s or 1000s of other trees to choose from, and God only forbade one of them. God punished them for disobedience, but not because knowledge was bad.

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Old Yesterday, 03:03 PM   #45
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Thanks, Trapped, that's very nice of you to say. I will mention that StG and jigsaw (much more so the former, on the lgbtq thread in alt views, but jigsaw just had to throw something into the libel suit thread after we had gotten things back on track) are pushing at my patience again. I've reported their comments, but...it feels pretty nasty to feel like I have to be nice and play by the rules while they're lobbing unnecessary comments at me and the discussions I'm trying to have.



Thank you for the very well thought-out response, and all the supporting verses (it's always good to see something come straight from the Bible). Follow-up question: why didn't God want Adam and Eve to have the knowledge in Eden?
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Old Yesterday, 04:15 PM   #46
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Default Re: We should do something

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The problem was not obtaining knowledge, or good and evil being "of death" (they aren't)....the problem was "the trespass" or "the disobedience". Adam and Eve had....probably.....100s or 1000s of other trees to choose from, and God only forbade one of them. God punished them for disobedience, but not because knowledge was bad.

Trapped
It's really hard to understand the garden story without using symbolism. To me all that happened with the wrong tree is that Adam and Eve grew up from innocent childhood and became adults.

And as far as God being only upset with disobedience, the tone has "them" being upset that Adam and Eve "became as one of us." (and not any sign that "they" were the trinity -- we don't really know who "us" was or is).
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Old Yesterday, 04:16 PM   #47
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ExChurchKid,

So glad you decided to stick around. For reals.

I would say that the garden of Eden story is probably one of the all-time single most botched interpretations that Witness Lee disgraced us with. He twisted it until it is unrecognizable, and used that twisted version to control saints, excuse sin, cover unrighteousness, and oppress many consciences.

It wasn't bad for humans to seek knowledge. It was bad for humans to disobey God.

Knowledge, and distinguishing good and evil, are spoken of as good things in the Bible (or as being bad to NOT have):

Hosea 4:6
my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.

Hebrews 5:11-14
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.
12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Witness Lee taught that knowledge was bad/death/poison. But the Bible never says that. Death was not a part of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which is what Lee taught. Death was the punishment from God for disobedience.

There are numerous verses in Romans that speak of what the problem was, and I'll spare you from reading all of them, but I'll include two:

Romans 5:18-19
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.
19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

The problem was not obtaining knowledge, or good and evil being "of death" (they aren't)....the problem was "the trespass" or "the disobedience". Adam and Eve had....probably.....100s or 1000s of other trees to choose from, and God only forbade one of them. God punished them for disobedience, but not because knowledge was bad.

Trapped
I would like to add, after having puzzled over these questions myself.....the elements that caused Adam and Eve to disobey, included doubting God. Choosing not to trust Him, to reject His instruction to them as a lie, and instead, trusting the evil one, to their own peril.

'Without faith we cannot please God' [Hebrews 11:16] 'Faith was attributed to Abraham as righteousness' [Romans 4:9]. Not just to Abraham but all of us. What 'the law' failed to accomplish, is accomplished by us having faith.

Faith is the only antidote to doubt. It is the risk we can choose to take to 'undo' the breakage of the fall. Adam and Eve 'broke faith' with God by their trusting the words of the serpent over His words to them.

I believe God put the two trees at the center of the garden because they were both critically important for Adam and Eve. The tree of life, his love and gift of life to us, His sustaining power for us. And to know good from evil. I think God would have had a plan to teach this knowledge to Adam and Eve Himself, as He had lost one third of all the angels of heaven already. They had fallen in a very similar way to Adam and Eve, trusting Lucifer over God, choosing to follow him instead in rebellion, and being lost to God forever.

Two of our biggest lessons of this life are 1. to 'trust God with all our hearts, lean not into our own understanding' [Proverbs 3:5-6], and 2. Know good from evil, from the perspective of God's training and guidance, not ours or satan's. [As per Trapped's scripture references above]. Only then can we know God and that there is no darkness in Him and no shadow of turning. We have to know what darkness (evil) IS to be able to know God as not!

It is the end goal of this forum....to help us all here to distinguish good from evil: God's true character from the LC system, in this particular case. It makes this journey worthwhile, and as an eternal lesson, the cost though great, worth bearing.
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Old Yesterday, 04:20 PM   #48
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@ExChurchKid, I am more than willing to have a conversation with you on any personal issues you with me on private msg. What ever concerns, comments, and questions you may have for me- I am more then willing to take in a private manner. That way we can get to a middle ground on your issues on this forum so far.

In fact would you like me or SOG to deliver some oatmeal and macadamia cookies in order to alleviate the indignant mood you have obtained upon your experiences so far? I am pretty sure we would not mind at all doing such a menial task in order to compensate for your troubles! We wish for you to have best the experience on this server and we would love to carry on a little extra burden to slowly walk in your delicate home made out of the most pristine thin and fragile glass with the most greatest of modesty. If touched without the most delicacy, this house would shatter and collapse like a house of cards that got swept by a zephyr. Hopefully I learn to one day operate in such a delicate home and perhaps others shall to!

- We deeply care for you Exchurchkid and just want to be welcomed in your home, that is made out of the most thin and frail glass out there.
- In the name of love and care we welcome you.

Sincerely,
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Old Yesterday, 04:28 PM   #49
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It's really hard to understand the garden story without using symbolism. To me all that happened with the wrong tree is that Adam and Eve grew up from innocent childhood and became adults.

And as far as God being only upset with disobedience, the tone has "them" being upset that Adam and Eve "became as one of us." (and not any sign that "they" were the trinity -- we don't really know who "us" was or is).

Wait, I'm confused, can you elaborate? Becoming an adult was bad in God's view? Or becoming God-like was bad? Gaining God's knowledge, I guess?
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Old Yesterday, 04:32 PM   #50
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I would like to add, after having puzzled over these questions myself.....the elements that caused Adam and Eve to disobey, included doubting God.

It is the end goal of this forum....to help us all here to distinguish good from evil: God's true character from the LC system, in this particular case. It makes this journey worthwhile, and as an eternal lesson, the cost though great, worth bearing.

Thanks for the perspective. Why is doubting God bad? Or why was it bad, in Eden?

Also, I believe the end goal of this forum is for ex-LCers to express their experiences and vent in a safe place, but not necessarily end up with the same beliefs as everyone else on this forum. Also, to ask questions about God in a safe non-LC space, and yes differentiate the God of the Recovery from the other types of God that people believe in, but not necessarily ending up with a certain set of beliefs. Mods, correct me if I'm wrong? I really am trying to understand this forum.
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Old Yesterday, 04:41 PM   #51
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@ExChurchKid, I am more than willing to have a conversation with you on any personal issues you with me on private msg. What ever concerns, comments, and questions you may have for me- I am more then willing to take in a private manner. That way we can get to a middle ground on your issues on this forum so far.

In fact would you like me or SOG to deliver some oatmeal and macadamia cookies in order to alleviate the indignant mood you have obtained upon your experiences so far? I am pretty sure we would not mind at all doing such a menial task in order to compensate for your troubles! We wish for you to have best the experience on this server and we would love to carry on a little extra burden to slowly walk in your delicate home made out of the most pristine thin and fragile glass with the most greatest of modesty. If touched without the most delicacy, this house would shatter and collapse like a house of cards that got swept by a zephyr. Hopefully I learn to one day operate in such a delicate home and perhaps others shall to!

- We deeply care for you Exchurchkid and just want to be welcomed in your home, that is made out of the most thin and frail glass out there.
- In the name of love and care we welcome you.

Sincerely,
Jigsaw44

Thank you, but no, anything you want to say to me you can say in public. I take issue with your response #103 from the libel suit thread. You threw in an unnecessary defense of how vitriolic Ohio was being, after UntoHim had already gotten us back on track and warned the ones who had derailed the conversation in the first place. God, why is this forum full of hypocrites??? StG freaks out if anyone so much as questions his precious self-declared angelic character, and Ohio throws insults everywhere at the slightest provocation, and rushes to defend his bro StG if anyone even dares to disagree with him. Such a representation of everything wrong with religion. Why am I even here? I am unwanted, by people who claim they love God, so what does that say of how God feels of me?
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Old Yesterday, 04:42 PM   #52
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Trapped, please help me
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Old Yesterday, 04:46 PM   #53
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@exchurchkid you sure you don't want cookies? Would you prefer the classic chocolate chip flavor of cookies or perhaps something like lemon or sugar cookies? We could mail any kind of cookie you want that is reasonable to obtain!!!
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Old Yesterday, 05:37 PM   #54
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I don't think doubting God is bad in Eden or anywhere else. Maybe it's OK to doubt God until we don't?
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Old Yesterday, 06:32 PM   #55
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Wow jigsaw... are you sure you’re not projecting? A little self reflection might be in order. People like you and Ohio and StG constantly hijacking threads and being obtuse is the reason so many end up lurking instead of participate in discussion here. 10 mins browsing this forum is enough to scare any church kid looking for answers off. This should be one of the most valuable tools/resources out there for people who are at the start of their deconstruction journey. Thank you exchurchkid for all of your valuable insight and contribution and for standing up to the bullies.
From another millennial, female ex church kid.
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Old Yesterday, 07:42 PM   #56
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Thanks for the perspective. Why is doubting God bad? Or why was it bad, in Eden?
I am thinking about the answer here....First offerening...

We were created to be in relationship with God. When we don't trust /doubt to the point of deciding against/ rebel against that 'person' for no good reason, someone we are in a loving relationship with, we destroy the foundation of that relationship. We cannot have an intimate relationship with someone we don't trust. We have voted to trust instead, in this case, God's enemy. They betrayed God and the foundation of trust He provided them.

That's one thought.

My other thought is, according to the Christian beleif, God is the source of all that's good. Satan is the deceiver, he kills, steals, destroys, and is the manifestation of evil. They aren't just two different people, absolutes are at stake. To bail on one and sign up with the other, is a significant choice. God warned them the consequence of taking that action would be that death would enter their world. They disregarded the seriousness of it, took the risk that God was lying. This betrayal was over something important, not trivial.

The last thought I have is, the temptation to greatness that the serpent offered. 'You will elevate yourselves to equality with God of you 'outsmart' Him and act against His counsel'. It was the offer of glory or greed to become greater than God made them that ensnared them to lust for this power and status. To resource themselves outside of His knowledge or provision to get there. (The question I have with this one is, if they were made perfect then why would an offer that uses the hook of pride and vanity even work on them? I don't know, except that freedom of choice exists in us, to even choose pride and vanity. Maybe Trapped or someone else here can provide some insight on this part) .

Certainly it was an unfriendly, perhaps hostile act, to one who had provided lovingly, everything they could ever want or need, in an utopian environment. It was a betrayal of the love He bestowed apon them, so it mattered. And it instantly changed them into liars, blame-shifters and deceivers themselves. No longer trusting they became untrustworthy, This was the fruit.

Then the other vices rode in.

Thats my general understanding of it. Hope it is interesting to you.

I am happy to explore these questions without requiring you or anyone else to agree or disagree. We each have the freedom and responsibility to work it all out for ourselves, at out own pace, and to our own conclusions.
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Old Yesterday, 09:03 PM   #57
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Unregistered Poster number 55, make an account and join the forum! Don't worry little miss we won't bite ya, its an anonymous internet forum, join with and type away with your zeal and robust persona! Everyone is free to hop in on any thread and express their opinion and choice of words. No exclusivity here, but be warned there is a catch.
There is a thing called humanity and mankind has various people with different forms of thought, opinions and expression. In life you will encounter people who are the complete opposite of you and perhaps these differences create a taste of dislike. It's not like you can just snap your finger and kill off all these people, so you just gotta deal with em and this goes on all sides. Ahhhh humanity, the species of many minds yes?

Isn't if beautiful we have a species that is so diverse in the state of mind and expression of will? Even those whose minds are combusted with the step of a tongue and whose hearts boil upon the spice of conversation


A forum of free speech, come and join!!!!
Sincerely'
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Old Yesterday, 09:13 PM   #58
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Happy Holidays @everyone
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Old Yesterday, 09:34 PM   #59
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Wow jigsaw... are you sure you’re not projecting? A little self reflection might be in order. People like you and Ohio and StG constantly hijacking threads and being obtuse is the reason so many end up lurking instead of participate in discussion here. 10 mins browsing this forum is enough to scare any church kid looking for answers off. This should be one of the most valuable tools/resources out there for people who are at the start of their deconstruction journey. Thank you exchurchkid for all of your valuable insight and contribution and for standing up to the bullies.
From another millennial, female ex church kid.
Unregistered,

I agree that any church kid looking for help or answers would be scared off right now. I am, however, so happy to know another ex church kid is on the forum, and am glad you piped in. Hopefully past threads, where people had their heads screwed on more tightly, have been a help to you.

I have no idea why anyone is piling on new members with biting sarcasm like they are the enemy, or why some don't understand that things like "just enjoy Christ" are the very same types of over-spiritualized and unhelpful comments used as weapons against very real hurting people in the LC, and still feel like weapons outside of it. Hoping I'll wake up tomorrow and find out this insanity was just a bad dream.

So glad you are an EX church kid!

Trapped
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Old Today, 02:57 AM   #60
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ExChurchKid, since we are young, we can look to publishing a book in the future about a compilation of our experiences. And we can publish under pen names too. Or we can wait until our parents are in their 70s and do it. We can also recruit other millennial ex church kids to pitch in their stories. I think this would be nice and different compared to the usual one-person biographies that others have published over the years. We can also make the writing more simple and entertaining (but serious) so that it can reach wider audience. We can incorporate poetry and anecdotes, funny stories, etc and artwork (I can do some illustrations) as well. My personal mentor/therapist has always told me I should publish my own biography but I also think committing to a project like this will be worthwhile. What do you think? We can pitch it to the fb group once you have your account ready to go.
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