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Old 02-06-2017, 02:53 PM   #1
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Default How Many Are Former Members Of The Local Church

I was wondering how many are former members of the local church . I left a year ago and now I am having trouble starting a new . May I ask why you left . I left because of a way they handled a brothers marriage arrangement , and I saw things they are a border line cult .
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:12 PM   #2
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I was wondering how many are former members of the local church . I left a year ago and now I am having trouble starting a new . May I ask why you left . I left because of a way they handled a brothers marriage arrangement , and I saw things they are a border line cult .
Welcome to the forum, April.

I left the LC about two years ago, although my disillusionment with the whole thing began to develop several years before that.

Basically, in the LC I was taught to eschew "religion" and "organization," and once the Lord opened my eyes, I realized that the Local Church is about the most "religious" and "organizational" thing there is.

Would you like to share what you experienced?
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:39 PM   #3
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I was wondering how many are former members of the local church . I left a year ago and now I am having trouble starting a new . May I ask why you left . I left because of a way they handled a brothers marriage arrangement , and I saw things they are a border line cult .
Welcome, April.

Just about every poster here was once in the local church. I was there 30 years.

There are many sad stories about marital manipulations in the local churches. Some of these are posted on the Introductions sub-forum.
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Old 02-06-2017, 08:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: How many are former members of thr local church

I haven't met on a regular basis since 2009 since taking exception using the prophesying meeting to put down Christians outside the local churches. The lead elder disagreed with my feeling, and that was it the last time I met with the local church where I reside. However whenever I visit my parents in Southern California I do meet with the locality they meet with.
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Old 02-06-2017, 08:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: How many are former members of thr local church

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I was wondering how many are former members of the local church . I left a year ago and now I am having trouble starting a new . May I ask why you left . I left because of a way they handled a brothers marriage arrangement , and I saw things they are a border line cult .
Welcome Many Blessings,

The really short version and final blow of why I left the LC, my elderly parents needed my care and attention and I became unable to toe the line attending meetings. I was being pressured by an elder about my attendance but I was led by the Lord to take care of my parents. I followed the Lord.

I reached this place over a period of years, but I have never looked back. I prayed "Lord, please don't let go of me." He didn't.

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Old 02-07-2017, 07:55 AM   #6
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Actually I am still in local church (LC). When talking about LC, be aware not to offend our Lord. LC is belong to our Lord, not to a group of people. LC can be anywhere, in home or a place with your dear brothers and sisters.
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Old 02-07-2017, 08:01 AM   #7
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LC can be anywhere, in home or a place with your dear brothers and sisters.
Amen to that littlesheep! Welcome to the forum. Feel free to give your testimony regarding your salvation and experience in the Local Churches.
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: How many are former members of thr local church

I was in the LCM many years ago. It took me a long time to readjust. I think it would have been a lot easier if I had this board and especially if I had sought counseling. That's my recommendation. Find a good, well-adjusted Bible-based church and the ask the pastors for help with finding counseling. The enemy would have you keep your doubts and fears to yourself. Open up to a mature counselor and you will get help.

Leaving the LCM is hard because of the cognitive dissonance. There are good things mixed with the bad things. This is confusing. The bottom line is there is no imperative to stay there. It is not the only place you can grow and serve the Lord. Their message that they are is the worst thing about them.
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Old 02-07-2017, 10:34 AM   #9
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I left the church because the lord relived the truth to me. I was depressed for some time , I was told by the church we need the Lords supply . We do need the supply but I did not agree with some of the teaching . I learned we can rely on our own strength with Gods help. And they would arrange a marriage between to people who do not know each other .
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:37 PM   #10
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I left almost a year ago. What drove me away were their theological views and their implying that man can be lesser gods. I've heard someone say that we are, in a sense, "gods" with a small "g".

Their constant blaspheming* of Jesus' name by calling upon Him for no reason did not help, either.

This led to me leaving them, though only after discovering this forum did I find I am not alone.

* I know it's not blaspheming for them. Yet it tasted like blasphemy when I forced myself to say His name for no good reason other than "to be like the others".
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Old 02-07-2017, 02:29 PM   #11
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In the LC from January 1973 until about August 1987. Left with my wife and 2 children.

The biggest problem for us was that we were having marital problems and just going to more meetings was not a solution.

But the biggest transition for us was realizing how many ways our understanding of even common things in the Christian life and faith had been subtly altered. And some not so subtly. I eventually had to decide to take each case where my first reaction to something in Christianity was to say "whaaaaaatttttt???????" and force myself to assume that the LC teaching was wrong and then only reaccept it if I could prove it as true.

As a result, I have generally come to the conclusion that unless you have no base for faith from outside the LC, the best answer is to consider Christianity more likely correct and the LC wrong. Throw out the bathwater. And as long as you have another source for the "baby," you can presume that throwing out the baby with the bathwater is OK since what you need (the "baby") is covered elsewhere.

Where there are relationship, psychological, addiction, etc., issues, consider almost any reasonable source of help. Counselors, "recovery" programs, etc. I'm not saying to resort to Zen Buddhism, but you get the point.

For sure try to quickly get over things like:
  • sitting in pews
  • having a band leading the singing in worship
  • joining the choir (or the band) (I do both in two different types of service)
  • having communion with little separate cups (or dipping a wafer in a bowl of juice/wine) (and even calling it "communion")
  • "going to church"
  • praying for "low" things like the health of Aunt Susie or your own need of a job or reduction in back pain
  • tacking "in Jesus name" on the end of prayers
  • doing responsive readings in a meeting or reciting a creed
The list goes on an on.

Be willing to talk with the pastor or another leader about problems you are having.
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Old 02-10-2017, 04:31 AM   #12
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I left a year ago and now I am having trouble starting a new . .
The reason you're having trouble starting anew is because you've been poisoned. They call it being "inoculated" but I daresay it's the opposite. You're constantly told in the LC that Christianity is dead, dormant, lifeless, Christless, satanic etc. That causes you to consider other believers with suspicion, judgment, and fear. You weren't allowed to receive them in Christ Jesus, because they weren't on the ground of oneness. But Jesus taught, Love those who hate you. Give them your other cheek if they slap you. Give them your shirt if they want your cloak. Forgive them their trespasses just as God forgave yours. Visit them in sickness, comfort and encourage them. In other words, oneness is within, reaching out to those who lack. Instead, in the LC you were given an outward oneness, or conformity, or uniformity, in order to "fellowship" with them.

So now you're maybe out of the LC system, but its poison in your own system lingers. You were "inoculated" against love, charity, forbearance, tolerance, magnanimity, receiving one another, functioning among the flock. Instead you passively received the LC "ministry" and now that it is gone you have no way to start anew.

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May I ask why you left .
I left because I was tired of the same group of people who sat in a circle and exercised their spirits over the words of ministry, and the select verses which the ministry approved. We met as the church but we despised the church, and only received those who sat in the circle and exercised their spirit over the words of ministry. Plus they had no real way to deal with problems among members, or within the group. Everything was supposed to be "glorious church life" so anything else was denied.

But after leaving I was still positive for the ministry, and tried to share it with others, but gradually I realized the ministry was merely the subjective output of one fallen human being and his very subjective opinions and concepts.

For example when reading the Psalms in the RecV, it notes that Psalm 45 was a type of Christ marrying His bride the church. But why? Isn't Psalm 45 merely the fallen concepts of well meaning, pious humans? That's how most of the rest of the Psalms are treated in the RecV. So likewise in Psalm 45, shouldn't this interpretive rule apply as well? Here, the king is seen marrying a foreign wife, which biblical history shows us caused his heart to turn to foreign idols. Remember Solomon? Remember Ahab with Jezebel (daughter of Tyre [v.12])?

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religio...-psalm-45.html

No, Witness Lee said that it was a type of Christ. Okay, fine; but why is this a typological picture of Jesus Christ, when elsewhere, similar statements in psalm were fallen human concepts? Just vanity, empty words of sinful men trying to be good? For an example, why was Psalm 16 a vision of Christ obeying the Father and being given glory (according to Peter and Paul in Acts) yet then Witness Lee said Psalms 17 and 18 were not, but just David being David? Just another sinner talking smack? So, one must ask why one rule interprets scripture in one place, and another elsewhere? Apparently only because the subjectivity of the expositor wanted it this way.The bible text became secondary, and exposition had primacy. Interpretation ruled the text, not vice versa.

And everyone in the audience knew it, or most of them. They knew the ministry said one thing one day, and another thing the next day. But they couldn't leave "the ground", because they were convinced that Christianity was dead. So it is the LC, failures and all, or nothing. And so, as our friend has said, there's no way to start anew. We were "wrecked, ruined"... boy didn't we know it! We'd been poisoned.

Look at any Witness Lee message, and it's full of phrases like "We all must see that..." and then something follows that isn't even true. All these "We must" and "We have to" and "We need to" phrases fill the ministry speaking. I think That Lee was displacing his needs on the church, and we passively accepted it as real. Lee needed us to turn this way or that, so he'd say, "We all need to do thus-and-such" even when the Bible didn't say it. But Lee would say, "Clearly the Bible show us that..."

So I'll similarly offer some alternate "musts" and "need to"s and "have to"s.

We have to receive speaking from more than one minister or ministry. Proverbs says three times that the counsel of many brings safety.

We must listen to the ancients. Not just the up-to-date speaking of this last conference.

We must turn away from any minister who says he hasn't learned anything from anyone else for 45 years. That person is trapped in a self-delusion of ignorance and arrogance.

We must receive all believers, not just those who meet on some arbitrary "ground". Oneness is when you can be one with all, not just a select few who meet your criteria. Look at Jesus - He was one with all sorts of people. He met them where they were. He didn't impose restrictions, except to love and forgive. He met them "Just as they were" and led them to the Father. And He said we should be one, as He was with the Father. We must be open to all, not just a few of "God's best".

We must open to the whole Bible, not just selected passages that can support today's teaching. The NT was founded on the whole scripture, on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. It's called scripture for a reason.

We must use consistent interpretive rules that apply to all scripture, and that are consistent with NT use of scripture (i.e. Psalm 16 interpretive rules should also apply to interpretation of Psalm 17 and Psalm 18).
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:31 AM   #13
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We met as the church but we despised the church
To me this is the glaring problem of the LC, and why I began to look outside at "Babylon" even after 24/7 immersion in group activity, teaching, and practice. We were the supposedly the church, but we wouldn't talk to anyone else including other Christians.

But look at Jesus. He met everyone where they were. He had the best outreach ever... the ones who tried to stay holy, and pure, were aghast. Lepers! Prostitutes! Drunkards! Jesus met them all, where they were. We, by contrast, were told only to go after the "good material", i.e. naive college students. Nobody else was worth the time.

And that nobody included me, ultimately. I came in from Babylon, the worse for wear. When I tried to confess my sins to the LC eldership they got nervous. "Just call 'O Lord Jesus' and all your problems will go away". There was no opportunity for healing, for growth. So after a season of pretense I went back to where people had problems, and admitted them to each other, and as I began to minister to others my own problems became more bearable. Lo and behold - "Do unto others and it will be done unto you" was true after all!

The church is all who name the Lord, not just those affiliated with a ministry or minister. In its attempt at purity the local church became myopic, dysfunctional, and ultimately delusional. The groups associated with a minister and his ministry were held as the glorious church, the Bride of Christ and the Body of divine/human incorporation; all others were fallen, dark, satanic, devilish, deformed, yada yada.

The unreality of it all became too glaring for me, and I left. The dissociation was more than I could bear. I just wanted to be a normal Christian. Poor material or not. Christ's love and sacrifice were for all.
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Old 03-29-2017, 05:40 PM   #14
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I left the church because the lord relived the truth to me. I was depressed for some time , I was told by the church we need the Lords supply . We do need the supply but I did not agree with some of the teaching . I learned we can rely on our own strength with Gods help. And they would arrange a marriage between to people who do not know each other .
I never witnessed a marriage between two people who had never met, but i do know of some from different localities that were introduced to each other and after courting were eventually married.
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Old 03-30-2017, 11:51 AM   #15
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Plus they had no real way to deal with problems among members, or within the group. Everything was supposed to be "glorious church life" so anything else was denied.
I learned this at a young age. If you have problems, no one wants to hear. General advice would be, "just call on the Lord three times". Dealing with problems each of us has is viewed as building up the individual, not building up of the Body. Sure, at various times there have been flows where brothers would speak about "shepherding the soul". Easy to speak about, but difficult to do if you don't want to deal with problems.
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Old 03-30-2017, 03:28 PM   #16
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I learned this at a young age. If you have problems, no one wants to hear. General advice would be, "just call on the Lord three times". Dealing with problems each of us has is viewed as building up the individual, not building up of the Body. Sure, at various times there have been flows where brothers would speak about "shepherding the soul". Easy to speak about, but difficult to do if you don't want to deal with problems.
That, or "go to more meetings."
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Old 04-28-2017, 08:12 PM   #17
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Hi I just stumbled upon this site the other night and I have registered but have to wait for a reply. I am also a former member from a small group in Maine. I grew up in the LC and got out of it when I was 18 years of age. My parents left before I did because I assumed the LC was the only way to God and leaving was leaving God behind and turning toward the world. Every part of the LC was a normal way of life to me until the one day when I met with the "elders" of the group and I realized my whole childhood upbringing in this group was one big lie. I had a lot of issues when I left; for a short time I was not doing so well and then I met my then boyfriend who later became my husband. He was saved and he helped me to get through the difficult years of leaving such a group as the LC. We've now been married for over 20 years and to this day I thank God for sending my DH to me when he did. When you first leave something like this especially as a young person you look for anything or anyone to fill the void that 100 people you thought were your "real" family; walk out of your life in one day. To this day I still feel sick and dizzy when I read teachings concerning the "recovery" but I am so glad my family and I are free to enjoy Christ outside of the LC. Now I just study and show thyself approve the KING James Bible with my family. Thanks for reading and looking forward to more posts in the future!
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Old 05-01-2017, 07:15 AM   #18
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Hi I just stumbled upon this site the other night and I have registered but have to wait for a reply. I am also a former member from a small group in Maine. I grew up in the LC and got out of it when I was 18 years of age. My parents left before I did because I assumed the LC was the only way to God and leaving was leaving God behind and turning toward the world. Every part of the LC was a normal way of life to me until the one day when I met with the "elders" of the group and I realized my whole childhood upbringing in this group was one big lie. I had a lot of issues when I left; for a short time I was not doing so well and then I met my then boyfriend who later became my husband. He was saved and he helped me to get through the difficult years of leaving such a group as the LC. We've now been married for over 20 years and to this day I thank God for sending my DH to me when he did. When you first leave something like this especially as a young person you look for anything or anyone to fill the void that 100 people you thought were your "real" family; walk out of your life in one day. To this day I still feel sick and dizzy when I read teachings concerning the "recovery" but I am so glad my family and I are free to enjoy Christ outside of the LC. Now I just study and show thyself approve the KING James Bible with my family. Thanks for reading and looking forward to more posts in the future!
Welcome to the LC Discussion forum!

Please read the Gospel of John chapter 10.

There was a time when Jesus the Good Shepherd led some His seekers into the Recovery to find "green pastures," but those days are long past.

Today the Good Shepherd leads His seekers out of the Recovery to find "green pastures" elsewhere because many LC leaders have become LSM "hirelings."

Thanks for sharing your story. Please register and share more.
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Old 05-01-2017, 11:44 AM   #19
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Today the Good Shepherd leads His seekers out of the Recovery to find "green pastures" elsewhere because many LC leaders have become LSM "hirelings."
It's not nice to say, but it's true. Experience has shown an unwillingness to labor or to turn away when confronted with difficult situations.
Leadership becomes a product of loyalty and not from capacity to shepherd.
In practice nothing more than LDM facilitators.
The focus and concern is more how they're perceived in Anaheim/Cleveland than in being shepherds of a flock.
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:24 PM   #20
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hello, this is my first time to post here.
In the LC from 84 (birth) until '08. My entire family (parents, siblings & siblings-in-law) are not just members, but serving full time.

Marital problems were the final straw.

Although growing up, even as a small child I was very conflicted when told I was 'chosen'. It never sat right with me that we had all the answers and that other christians (and everyone actually) were in the dark.

It wasn't until I was put into an abusive marriage with an emotionally unstable brother, that I completely saw through the fraud. When I decided to leave him, an elder told me I could not. In the locality that I was in, I saw first hand that there was no care for anyone other than College freshman. When leaving my exhusband I lost all friends, and family too for a while.

This board might not be for me, as I dont identify as a christian anymore. However, I think any of us who were raised in the churchlife, especially in an active city like Irving was in the 80s, knows the true spiritual abuse that happens there.

I beg that you don't close your eyes to any marital problems you see. Help and stand with those that the church turns their back on.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:22 AM   #21
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This board might not be for me, as I dont identify as a christian anymore. However, I think any of us who were raised in the churchlife, especially in an active city like Irving was in the 80s, knows the true spiritual abuse that happens there..
anotherchurchkid,

As one who kept his faith when he walked away, and still identifies as Christian, I'd say your journey is just as real to you as mine is to me, and that your voice is as important here as anyone else's. The non-Christian perspective is a valuable window into what happens in the LCs. Think of sociological, cultural, psychological insights; to be more specific think of an Asian-flavored personality cult.

Some defenders of the group say that our complaints are of 30-year-old events; "Get over it", they say. Testimonies like yours show that the manipulation and control issues are still there, just modified a bit to be less obvious. All the more reason they should be pointed out.

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I beg that you don't close your eyes to any marital problems you see. Help and stand with those that the church turns their back on.
I write partly for those who don't write, who think that somehow it was their fault, that they "couldn't make it" etc. Mostly I write for self-therapy (and boy do I need it!!), and occasionally because I just like to hear myself think. This forum is for you as much as for anyone. Thanks for writing and peace to you.
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Old 05-30-2017, 10:49 AM   #22
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hello, this is my first time to post here.
In the LC from 84 (birth) until '08. My entire family (parents, siblings & siblings-in-law) are not just members, but serving full time.

Marital problems were the final straw.

Although growing up, even as a small child I was very conflicted when told I was 'chosen'. It never sat right with me that we had all the answers and that other christians (and everyone actually) were in the dark.

It wasn't until I was put into an abusive marriage with an emotionally unstable brother, that I completely saw through the fraud. When I decided to leave him, an elder told me I could not. At the locality that I was in I saw first hand that there was no care for anyone other than College freshman. When leaving my exhusband I lost all friends, and family too for a while.

This board might not be for me, as I dont identify as a christian anymore. However, I think any of us who were raised in the churchlife, especially in an active city like Irving was in the 80s, knows the true spiritual abuse that happens there.

I beg that you don't close your eyes to any marital problems you see. Help and stand with those that the church turns their back on.
Welcome to the forum anotherchurchkid! You are the reason we are here! Many of us have decades in that program, others just a few years, yet we all have been hurt.

You are not alone to question your faith, but let me assure you that Jesus Christ loves you, and is also grieved by the abuses you have endured. No one should lose the love from family and friends. Should not the unconditional love from Christian family and friends reflect God's unconditional love for us? But, as you have experienced, God's love in the Recovery has long been replaced by a business model. Austin, TX is merely one of their franchise centers.

I'll pray that you will one day be able to distinguish between the conduct of evil workers and the work of God's perfect love manifested to a sinful and dying world on the cross.
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Old 05-31-2017, 11:58 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by anotherchurchkid View Post

It wasn't until I was put into an abusive marriage with an emotionally unstable brother, that I completely saw through the fraud. When I decided to leave him, an elder told me I could not. In the locality that I was in, I saw first hand that there was no care for anyone other than College freshman. When leaving my exhusband I lost all friends, and family too for a while.

This board might not be for me, as I dont identify as a christian anymore. However, I think any of us who were raised in the churchlife, especially in an active city like Irving was in the 80s, knows the true spiritual abuse that happens there.

I beg that you don't close your eyes to any marital problems you see. Help and stand with those that the church turns their back on.
It's happened in the 1980's and it still happens now. As long as a husband is viewed in good standing, the elders & deacons will look the other way when it comes to marital issues. Whether my opinion has merit or not, my feeling has been brothers are ministry-centered while sisters are Christ-centered. So of course there's going to be conflict because when I say ministry-centered, that also involves church politics.
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Old 05-31-2017, 01:30 PM   #24
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However, I think any of us who were raised in the churchlife, especially in an active city like Irving was in the 80s, knows the true spiritual abuse that happens there.
It was from Irving that my wife and I left with our two small children. But that was many years ago now (30 years in just 2 months). But it was for all the reasons that you enumerate. They are useless with respect to care for the flock.

And much of the time we were there, Irving was exceptionally bad because all they cared about were those who gave of themselves to the printing operations.
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Old 06-05-2017, 07:10 PM   #25
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Wow, AnotherChurchKid, we are so similar!

Besides the point that we're the same age (born '84) I also left the church because of the way I was treated after leaving my abusive spouse. Happened just 6 months ago.

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It wasn't until I was put into an abusive marriage with an emotionally unstable brother, that I completely saw through the fraud. When I decided to leave him, an elder told me I could not. In the locality that I was in, I saw first hand that there was no care for anyone other than College freshmen. When leaving my exhusband I lost all friends, and family too for a while.
Just swap the word 'brother' for 'sister' and 'husband' for 'wife' and you have my testimony.

My family were never in the recovery so I didn't have that problem. They were very happy to finally have me back though, as while I was in the church I was taught to keep them at arm's length because they didn't have the view of God's economy.

I still identify as a Christian but I don't live like one. In fact, I'm actively making an effort to go against my fundie background and integrate back into 'worldly' society. For example, how on earth does one go about dating and meeting women? I'm having to learn from scratch in my 30s.
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Old 06-25-2017, 11:32 AM   #26
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I am in the gray area between church member and ex-church member. I'm in the long process of leaving right now.
This community is amazing for everybody, especially people like me in the process of leaving.

I havent posted in several months, but I definitely need to get back on here in the discussions.
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Old 11-11-2017, 09:55 AM   #27
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It's funny; about once every year or two, I will go looking for information about the local churches to see what people are saying. What usually happens is what is happening right now: I feel sick. Eventually it makes me let it go, as I realize it is not good for me to dwell on it and risk bringing on depression through reliving psychological trauma.

I have held in much of my thoughts and experiences, and so many things I've wanted to say, for several years now. I left in my post-college years, after being at the "Full-Time Training" for one semester.

I ask myself why I haven't spoken before, especially online. Is it fear? I do fear being persecuted a little...not because I usually care what anyone thinks, but because when you leave a community, however damaging it is, it is like leaving a family, and it is so painful. Even when you know you have to go and they are bad for you. But they were what I had for years and years, because they were important to my parents.

I also fear because - and this probably the biggest reason and main contribution I can give as a past insider - I am a woman, and the local churches view women who speak out as particularly evil. This was the biggest issue for me; experiencing growing up being taught that you are not important, that you are only meant as a side attachment for some man (and if single, basically a chaste nun), and there is really only one way you're supposed to be. A strong woman is seen as rebellious and trying to "be a man."

There is no regard for the humanity of women on the deepest levels, and this was so psychologically damaging for me. Just try to imagine what it is like to be 7 years old, and hear the story of Jezebel (as told in the Bible by the men who murdered her) for the first time. Think about what message that sends to you. You will never again question - out loud - what did she do wrong?!

I'll have to get more into that another time. But I have known of only one other woman to publicly come out and actually write a book about her experience, and I have heard the way they talked about her, and I have seen the litigation battles and absolute *insistence* on removal of anything negative published by others, and I'm a little afraid I have that to look forward to. Especially, as I said, as a woman. The local churches will never, ever, concede to criticism by a woman. Ever.

Behind closed doors, they will say...who knows what. They're people just like me...complex. But as a group, in public, they will always tow the line. They will hide conflicts. For women, a lot of times this just meant silence. You have two choices: Speak up and be persecuted and become the new Jezebel story, which will be told live to hundreds of people, and taped on video at a conference somewhere, even with you sitting in the room listening, never being able to say anything back, or just bear it silently, alone. Or else.

I am a little afraid and discouraged because despite the rise of the internet, which I experienced, I don't see a LOT of stuff in a search on ex members speaking. I see lots of blogs and sites where people are giving apparently positive testimonials; I was around when they were starting to do this, and I know what it is. Whenever they receive any bad press or public criticism, they rally a bunch of them together to write positively.

And people are only too happy to do so. I challenge anyone to find one that doesn't quote a verse in it, incidentally...they are unable to speak honestly and free from a place of emotion. They can only express themselves using and tagging back to scripture and scriptural teaching quotes. These testimonials are solicited, and very deliberate. And I have no doubt, to be clear, that the people saying them believe what they are saying. Remember, I was there. But they steer clear of all emotional, humanizing language...and I will at some point explain what that is like to grow up with, too.

But finally, I am pretty sure I know why I have not seen as much back and forth, or honesty about leaving, as I believe is out there. And I know a bunch of people will relate to this. It's because no matter what, there's always a little feeling of guilt...which really, I interpret to be deep regret and reliving of the pain of rejection. This is what I imagine it must feel like to have abusive parents that the child in you just can't help but still wish, on some level, loved them as they should have, though they know they never will. (And actually, one of my parents *was* abusive on occasion. It's only in the past year I've been able to call it that.)

And the feeling of family with this group? It is deeeeeeeeep.....deep. Especially if you've grown up in it, as I did. I didn't know anything else. So you always feel a little like maybe you're being too hard on them...like maybe, they don't mean anything wrong, just misunderstandings, human nature...yadda yadda...but even if there are light excuses like these, that does not, I have finally come to the conclusion, dismiss or dissolve or erase the harm that is done, and the unrepentance of that harm. I am a strong believer in being accountable for one's actions, regardless of intent.

I know most of them (at least that I experienced directly, in my day to day life) have good intentions. Maybe even love. I know that they are misguided. But that does not change anything about the impact of their behaviors. I write this now, unlike in the past, not in the hopes that they will ever hear this with openness should they come across it (and they will), because I know now that they won't. And that's okay. Now I do this, finally, for myself. Because I need to. Because my biological family is still with them, and while I have left, this fact continues the harm to me psychologically. Probably spiritually, too, now that I think about it.

So let me summarize what would literally take book length to cover, my experiences, and what I have to say, and I'll say some things about who I am now, and finally, what I will and won't do.

FIRST: I am no longer Christian. In fact, I am pagan. And with that, about 70% of you will not read further, I imagine...I have noticed that the people who do have the temerity to speak out are usually still Christian, or at least not as fully counter cultural as to be pagan! Satanic! Whatever. I'll talk about that another time.

My point in saying this, is that EVEN with this, I have ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM with their interpretations of the Bible and their theology. I do not disagree with how they interpret the Bible...and that's probably helped by the fact that I don't really care. But honestly, I never had a problem with all they got from it and their teachings, on the esoteric, abstract level (which is where they like to live).

Hell, I was *into* it. i would have written for the Defense and Confirmation journal, if they'd let me. I remember being so excited when it first came out, something that fed the intellectual hunger in my mind, as well as my spiritual enjoyment. I think there was a part of me that wanted to. But the only woman's name I ever saw in it was an editor. I knew they would never have a woman say and publish anything intelligent that might give the appearance of authority.

But I even openly have no problem saying I got something from many of the experiences of engaging with the Bible, the spiritual work with others, the example led by some! That they helped me lay the spiritual groundwork for who I am today. I AM who I am because I met God as a child in that upbringing. So we're cool there. I *did* have many of my spiritual needs met for a time, until the damage started to tip the balance so far in the other direction, that it was time for me to leave. I was no longer going to get anything spiritual, anything of God as I knew God all my life, from them anymore. So I followed God elsewhere.

My issues with the local churches are all human issues. (Is there really another kind?) My problem is that their living, their behavior, their actual impact and culture versus what they BELIEVE or want to believe is their impact and culture, are completely dichotomous and do not match at all. There is so much dissonance it almost doesn't make any sense. I heard literal contradictions of what they believed to be fundamental truths regularly, that seemed to depend on the situation.

This happened most memorably whenever I was trying to wrestle with and understand how they were saying God saw me as female. We would be told, in the same breath, that all are one in Christ, women are precious, whatever other positive things...and that women are supposed to submit, man is supposed to be the head, and basically women's highest aspiration is to be married- or not married-?? What the hell? Literally, this is the mixed message I was tormented with. And no two people said the same thing.

This is not necessarily so bad: I learned that people each find their own nuanced truth, their own way of reconciling what they say they believe with what they believe. it was something I had to do and learned to do myself...where I could. But when it came from the highest levels, when it happened in the same conference, it would rip me apart with turmoil and confusion...because I WANTED to do the right thing, I wanted to understand what God wanted intimately, and I wanted to be right with God, because God was my friend, my parent, my one constant. I had a very close relationship with God.

So of COURSE I tried, to say nothing of the human need to belong to groups. Still, I preferred the mixed messages to the few times the messages were absolute, because the absolute was always on the side of the former interpretation: women are inherently meant to be under the rule of men. And there's only a few suitable roles for them. They are not individuals as people, while men have all kinds of ways to be seen and appreciated as different individuals. If a woman is behaving differently, or just doesn't fit the mold, she's evil. Pure and simple.

Understand that when I say they do not respect women, they will point to this or that verse - actually, let's be honest: it'll be a slew of letters of full paragraphs of scripture, with the Greek and Aramaic thrown in; oh and quoted Nee or Lee, because you learn it so well it starts to become how you speak - and they will describe how nice they are, how they honor women, how they uplift women (cult of virginity, anyone?), and the women will talk about how nice everyone is. Yes, absolutely, everyone is pretty nice. I absolutely experienced love. I'm not saying "nice" ironically. They seriously, REALLY are nice. And genuinely, in my experience, for the most part.

But what they SAY and what they DO, or pressure you to do, will so fundamentally disagree that it eventually becomes an impossible situation to live in...for a thinking human being. To be treated on the one hand with love, and be told that God loves me the way I am, and then have tagged on: but women are supposed to submit. Women are supposed to be...not whatever it is you are. It is the most soul-tearing thing.

It is hard to explain. But you will immediately understand if you have been there. This was one of many ways I experienced the disconnect between their fantasy, and our lived reality.

This fundamental denial of my humanity as a woman was, obviously, eventually what made it impossible for me to stay. It was not ONLY that - I know they would love to be able to point this one thing and say, AH HA! Look what feminism does! It makes you a witch! Watch out, sisters! - but when a fundamental part of what defines you as a human being, such as your racial identity for another example, is denied by others, yeah, I'm afraid it means you're going to have a completely different experience in almost every way from others, and yeah, it's going to be a part of everything. So it was not only that, but that was the part that became increasingly impossible. In fact, if I had stayed? I think I might have been at risk of suicide, that's how depressed that cognitive dissonance made me. it felt so helpless.

I use this for a primary example of one way that the local churches behaves in a cult like manner. I am finally going to use that word: they are not a cult in the way that many might think of them. No one tried to stop me when I left. They aren't that much different from other non-denominational groups that each think they are the only, the chosen by God to carry out the secret deep mysteries that only they are willing to understand. I use the word cult to describe certain things, namely, the group-think effect.

The way we had internal language that no one else understood, which effectively made it impossible for me to talk to anyone who wasn't a member about anything meaningful to me. The way it kept me from being able to name things, acting as some kind of code to cover what was really happening. (The most common one is to blame anything uncomfortable on "the enemy." "The enemy is attacking." That phrase could mean many different things depending on the context, but generally I have recognized it as, "There's something wrong happening here and I can feel it.")

When people asked me what church I went to, I would have had to give them a paragraph on interpretation of Paul's letters to get to answering that simple question. It was things like that: the control of language, the control of who speaks and who doesn't, the control of the NARRATIVES even, by using one's visible position as a leader to publicly refer to things that happened privately to hundreds of people, so that you never, ever wanted to express a level of discontent that might appear to be rebellious...this kind of thing.

I'll some up this particular entry by saying, my major concern about the local churches is that they are psychologically damaging to people as a group, and display many forms of abuse. Even if on a whole they don't mean to, even if they really intend the best, like most of us...they really are horribly unhealthy, especially if you are a little less likely to fit in, for whatever reason. If you are not as much in need of people thinking for you, and like to think for yourself, it will be a very difficult place to be. And the truth is there is no excuse for abuse. None. It is was it is, which is a love of power and control. Which, by the way, is ultimately motivated by fear and insecurity. Not a good place for spiritual teaching to come from.

But now that I have reclaimed my stories for myself, and no longer wish or care if they understand (I just know they won't. Not as a group.), I say these things to add to the collected info gathered from people current and past, to help fill in the picture. And though I have never had any intention of going out of my way to try to sway people to leave, I haven't even tried ONCE, I realize that somebody somewhere may need this in the way that I probably needed it so many times growing up.

I wish I didn't have to be that person, to air the dirty laundry and stir things up so that I'm the convenient bad guy, but the truth is, we know enough now that what happens when a family system constantly hides conflict and secrets, they're just going to get worse, and worse. Ultimately? I wish them the best.

On some level, I still love them..though I will stay as far away from them as I can get, for my own health and well being. And I grieve that they never accepted me and others, that they would listen to us, or let us speak, and that they have stifled, warped, and critically disabled people with beautiful and unique gifts that they could instead have benefited from. The best case outcome I could ever hope for is that they will learn to be able to accept criticism, even public criticism, that they will learn from there mistakes.

There's too much more I can't fit in one post, things that, like this, will acknowledge both good and bad, because what I really care about is truth, that's all. I don't have a grudge. I don't have time for that. I DO need release, though, and I need healing, and I need to follow the lead of my conscience and intuition that lets me know if I keep on being unheard by my own choice, I will continue to suffer in circles. Eventually, stories have to be told.

I will end with this: I have no idea how often I will return to this forum. This is literally the first time I have EVER spoken what I experienced and how I feel to a group of people that actually know who and what I'm talking about. I don't know how painful it will be for me to see the reactions. I stay off of Facebook now for this reason...it's not good to spiral into drama. So I'm going to have to manage this carefully. I'm strong, but I'm not THAT strong. I'm human. But now that I have spoken I will try to return...for the sake of the people who need to hear someone else say something they understand but thought they were alone in thinking, and more importantly, for my sake, because I need to speak. i will, if with anyone, engage with those people. I will not engage with anyone else: not testimonials, not pleas to come back into the folds, not strong declarations to the demon they believe is in me or the woman that needs to be put down...not a damn thing. I will not engage because it will not go anywhere, and I will not feed the drama machine.

Also, for those readers who are sympathetic and/or need this kind of honesty: Here's a few things I predict you should expect, based on my experience. Things may have changed, but really, groups don't change easily. It often actually takes a few generations. I doubt I am wrong in this.

- I expect that people who are still in the local churches will respond to stories and comments like mine by emphasizing my mention of depression and psychological damage. They will describe and cast people like me as inherently ill or tortured in my mind, completely independently of them, and portray me as an unreliable narrator.

- I expect that people will immediately jump on the fact that I claim to be pagan, and this argument will be so strong a reason to completely disregard what I say that it will ultimately be effective even with people who agree with everything else I say. I like to think that, because of much of the love I experienced from well meaning people in this family I once had, they would never do this to me...they would not make an example of me that casts me as evil, like I'm something other than a human being, cackling in the corner or demon possessed. *eye roll* but I won't hold out hope. I will have to be ready for that.

- I expect that even if they have no need to use other of those two arguments against me or others, if they know of what I've written, they will speak about it second and third hand, telling everyone there is someone out there who thinks like this, and they won't need to say anything by way of interpretation other than repeating what I've said, because it will be "understood" in the group culture that, for example, a woman who speaks out like this is someone you do NOT want to be. "You might leave the church" is it's own cautionary tale, in their view.

- I don't want to, but I somewhat expect that at least a contingent, especially the men who hold positions of power, (or the young ones who aspire to), may try to come after me with all they got. They might find some way to have this post removed. Hell, i don't know...maybe even the moderators will. I'm not sure what the culture is here, or the rules. First timer. I'm pretty sure some of them are lawyers. I would not be surprised, given what I've seen on the internet so far, and what I haven't, if they are somehow effective in claiming slander about everything they don't like. This is worst case scenario to me, and I really don't want to believe they would do this, but...I know they would. Not all of them, not the ones who know me, but the ones who hold the power, who don't need to know me, who couldn't care less, I think they would.

- I expect that the best case scenario would be to be ignored. And I hope for that. Not to be listened to...that will not happen in my lifetime. It is nearly impossible to change a group without ripping it into pieces internally by some conflict or strife, and I'm not a part of the group and have no vested interest in doing anything like that. I do, actually, have a life. I'd like to get back to it; that's why I'm speaking about these things I've been carrying for so long.

The best thing those who disagree with me could do, would be to respect my story and not seek to silence it. Because that is what needs to happen. If these people really want to be the people they imagine themselves to be, they are going to have to learn to take criticism and be okay with dissent. They're going to have to get past the need to control everything. I guess I have some hope that there are some people who understand that. Some who might try. In any case, I believe that would be the healthiest and best thing they could do: Prove me wrong.

Well, that's enough about them. But heads up anyone who is uncertain or feeling confused: I'm telling you now the things you could see, and I may not have covered them all, so that you will recognize it when it happens, and if it does, knowing in advance may help you discern what truth resonates for you. Whatever it is, I respect you and your journey. And I respect my own enough to talk about it. Thanks for listening.
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:15 PM   #28
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Welcome Mysteria. Thank you for your post.
Your post makes me realised the importance and necessity of THAT woman who had spoken out. The author of 'Thread of gold".
After reading your post, for the first time I prayed for this forum owner. I have tears.
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:16 PM   #29
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Mysteria, I read your whole post, and appreciated your candor. Your spiritual/mental/ideational space is valid to you, as any one else's is to them. Your opinion, experience, and voice have value. No one can take it away.

My comment/question is, do you think that Dora Yu, Ruth Lee, Margaret Barber, Peace Wang, or any of the women who were pillars of the early 'recovery' would last two months today? I doubt it. (Not to mention Jessie Penn-Lewis, Madame Guyon, Mary McDonough [three 'parts of man]&c).
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:22 PM   #30
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Mysteria,

I read your whole post, and appreciated your candor. Your spiritual/mental space is as valid to you as any other's is to them.
Thank you so much. That was fast. So, as a result of writing that post, I ended up feeling so sick I went to sleep and was unable to get up, and I had troubled dreams. That's how deep this trauma is. :/ It makes me sad. But when I see all here, I am starting for the first time to feel that I'm not really alone...they were SO effective in programming me and others, that we would rather suffer in silence than risk being known to talk badly about them.

Fyi, I came back to correct a comment I made: I cited the Defense and Confirmation project. I meant Affirmation and Critique. D&C really took off after I left. When I read some of the stories here, people actually committing suicide, for example...I am horrified. My experience, at least on the surface, was not quite that bad, but I don't doubt it for a second. It makes me question what I have wanted to believe are good intentions.

Anyway...thanks for the validation. i am going to continue speaking.
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:26 PM   #31
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Welcome Mysteria. Thank you for your post.
Your post makes me realised the importance and necessity of THAT woman who had spoken out. The author of 'Thread of gold".
After reading your post, for the first time I prayed for this forum owner. I have tears.
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Thank you for saying that. Speaking of which, I don't quite understand this forum. There's no real introduction to the whole thing that I've found yet...is this forum owner still a member, or an ex member? Or just someone unusually open to honest conversation?
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:28 PM   #32
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Mysteria,

I read your whole post, and appreciated your candor. Your spiritual/mental space is as valid to you as any one else's.

I have only one comment/question: do you think Dora Yu, Ruth Lee, Margaret Barber, Peace Wang, or any of the women who were pillars of the early 'recovery' would last two months there, today? I doubt it.

Not to mention Jessie Penn-Lewis, Madame Guyon, Mary McDonough (three 'parts of man' teacher)&c.
That's a good question! I have no idea. And I only know a few of those names, because I was never really told about any women contributors other than the one in particular who converted Nee. I imagine any woman who is strong enough to speak her truth to begin with, especially during times when it was even less acceptable or possible, would "last," but perhaps not there. I think they would have automatically had their own following. Not by their choice, just because that's what would have to happen. There is no questioning of authority in that group.
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:12 PM   #33
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Thank you for saying that. Speaking of which, I don't quite understand this forum. There's no real introduction to the whole thing that I've found yet...is this forum owner still a member, or an ex member? Or just someone unusually open to honest conversation?
Hi Mysteria
To your question, let the forum owner answer it.
I like to know too.
I came across this forum when I was on the internet searching for 'whatever that was that I've forgotten'. Read a little but couldn't be bothered. It was 'negative', 'bitter', 'not building up', .... Even tho I was then already out of the LSM/LC.
Circumstantially, I encountered situations whereby I got 'bad mood' and I came here to check out the 'bad' side of things concerning LSM/LC.

Then one day I started writing ...

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edited: The to Then
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:55 PM   #34
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That's a good question! I have no idea. And I only know a few of those names, because I was never really told about any women contributors other than the one in particular who converted Nee. I imagine any woman who is strong enough to speak her truth to begin with, especially during times when it was even less acceptable or possible, would "last," but perhaps not there. I think they would have automatically had their own following. Not by their choice, just because that's what would have to happen. There is no questioning of authority in that group.
http://www.tripartiteman.org/historical/mcdonough.html

Mary McDonough's one of the early contributors that strongly influenced Nee's theology. Today she couldn't speak on Lord's Day mtg except to say what she "enjoyed from the ministry" this week.

You can look up the other names as well. Today none of them would be able to function as they once did.
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Old 11-11-2017, 08:06 PM   #35
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Thank you for saying that. Speaking of which, I don't quite understand this forum. There's no real introduction to the whole thing that I've found yet...is this forum owner still a member, or an ex member? Or just someone unusually open to honest conversation?
Forum owner is UntoHim.

He was a member in SoCal for 20 years.

He is a regular poster with lots of valuable insight.
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Old 11-11-2017, 08:25 PM   #36
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I am a little afraid and discouraged because despite the rise of the internet, which I experienced, I don't see a LOT of stuff in a search on ex members speaking. I see lots of blogs and sites where people are giving apparently positive testimonials; I was around when they were starting to do this, and I know what it is. Whenever they receive any bad press or public criticism, they rally a bunch of them together to write positively.
Welcome to the forum Mysteria!

This forum has many ex-member testimonies in the Introductions and Testimonies sub-forum.

In another sub-forum are the Writings of Ex-members.

My goal and the goal of other posters is to help ex-members keep their faith and love in the Jesus our Savior. The pain and abuse of the LC experience unfortunately leads many to question our Father's unconditional love for us. Life is tough enough without all the nonsense that all too often happened in the LC community. After I left the LC, I kept a very short reading list -- basically the Gospels, the stories of Jesus life and love for us.
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:10 PM   #37
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Well sister, your post provides lots to chew on.

My initial knee-jerk reaction is : YOU GO GIRL!!!

I'm super impressed with your ability to articulate what you are going thru, and have gone thru, growing up in the LC. I'm sorry for your family dynamics, and loss.

But as far as being a pagan, I understand. After all you've gone thru, if that's what it is to be Christian, I'd want no part of it too.

I've seen others leave the local church and seek elsewhere for their spiritual pursuits. One sister I've known since Kangas was the lead elder in Detroit, now says she a Hindu. One brother that I've known since kids, who came into the LC with me, and eventually became an elder in San Diego, is now a Native American Shaman.

And others I know let go of it all ; no God, no religion, no Bible, no church, no nothing ... nada ... and no stupid forums like this one. They say they had to let go of it all in order to keep their sanity.

Let's face it, coming out of a cult isn't easy.

Blessings sister ..
Harold
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Old 11-11-2017, 11:05 PM   #38
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Harold, thank you for your kind words! And Ohio, for your welcome!

I think many people, especially if they are coming into adulthood from having been raised one way, eventually find a different spiritual path that works for them. Or, in the case of many Christians here, a better home and source of Christian spiritual wisdom. Although I'm writing from a place of pain, it is old pain that just never got expressed.

I'm actually very happy now, in the present, and I love my spiritual path. I do not see it as merely a reaction against Christianity. (It takes a LOT more than that to come from a monotheistic view of God and enter a polythiestic one!!!) What I have gotten from it is an extension of my opportunity to explore my relationship with God from a completely different paradigm. I had gotten all I could from the old one...a flipped perspective can be very valuable. And I value things about Christianity. I don't see these spiritual paths, or others, as completely oppositional to each other. I know that's a hard sell. LOL

That's okay. I just say this to say I am happy with my path, it is rich for me, my relationship with God never stopped...only changed, but it has been seamless in my experience. It feels that way because I followed God, like many of you did, where I found God's familiar presence. I let that guide me instead of what others told me. Anyway...sure, I have a lot of anger. It boils up inconveniently. In fact, that's part of why I'm finally doing this. I would like to let it go. It is getting in the way of my growth...it is a suit that doesn't quite fit anymore.

So I realize in order to do so, I'm just going to have to work through the process of saying everything I was unable to say for so long, which means I'm gonna sound angry and sad probably pretty often. I value anger...it saved me, finally allowing myself to feel that way. But now I'm ready for it to serve me instead of the other way around, and the older anger is not currently doing that. This should help.

Aaaaaaaanyway theological perspectives aside, that's not what's important - I want to say THANK you for your support. I feel from the responses here, despite the fact that I have gone in a way that is probably completely incomprehensible to others, it is clear that people understand, fundamentally, where we are similar, what we all have been through. And that is so, so comforting.

I told another former member who was a good friend of mine about this site. She was so happy and is going to check it out. I told her it felt good to finally talk about it with people who actually knew what I was talking about, who lived through it, all the internal language and culture and taboos like I did.

On another note, I noticed someone posted about dating, and not knowing how to approach women because of the way that the local churches controlled and dealt with marriage. I sympathize so much with him and others...I think one of the worst things that happened was feeling unprepared for living in the world, for any kind of practical human experience. I constantly feel like I am catching up, even though I am nearing 40!

My complaint is not the things they say; they say pretty awesome SOUNDing things. But that's all it is...words. They have no sense of grounding in reality, and when you come from that, it is so hard to acclimate to the actual world and to relate to other people, you hardly know where to start.

Because of this, I have decided to do something I've thought of doing for a long time, and have a blog dedicated to what I have learned through my spiritual journey, much of which addresses a lot of questions that I know many others must have, both spiritual and practical. I think at least THAT is something I have to offer...dunno. But I think so. And I also want to make sure that others who have found a completely different path, or decided they don't need a religion at all, know they also are not alone.

Since I realize talking about some of that may not be appropriate here, and I respect that I am in the minority, I decided not to post about it here but on my own space, so people can go to it if they want to, but not be exposed to it here or face more confusion than they are ready for or want.

So I hope in mentioning it, I am not breaking any rules...I do not want to be separated from this connection I have finally made with others, so hopefully I can do a decent job of filtering what I have to say to the places it is appropriate and helpful. Fwiw! In the meantime, the blog I started is called by the same name as my username here, and is a word press site. I will refrain from posting the link for now until I know more about what's acceptable for here.

I suppose that's enough for now. Thanks so much for the understanding and ACCEPTANCE. Even with me being different in some ways than most here. See? It's not that hard! That was one thing I could never understand about those people...it's not that hard to find common ground, to see that everyone has something to offer. they made it SO freaking difficult I am STILL learning how to make friends to this day.

I have been looking around and there are a looooooooooooooooot of stories here; you're right! That is encouraging, that people have found a place they can talk about it.
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Old 11-12-2017, 11:47 AM   #39
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I think you prolly know it already, but what you are talking about, blending monotheism with polytheism, is called syncretism.

It happens all the time. I've read of missionaries going to remote tribes and teaching them Christianity, only to find years later the tribe blended the Christian beliefs with their "superstitions" and myths. They relate the demons and spirits of their mythology with those in the Christian beliefs.

I myself syncretize Christianity with the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. I find it fitting that when the gospel of John is translated into Chinese the word "Logos" is translated as "Tao." I understand that. The Tao and the Logos are the same "thing." The Tao became flesh.

And question, if I hit you in Private Message will you give me the link to your blog? I'll do that now.
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Old 11-12-2017, 12:36 PM   #40
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Mysteria >”I'm actually very happy now, in the present, and I love my spiritual path. I do not see it as merely a reaction against Christianity. (It takes a LOT more than that to come from a monotheistic view of God and enter a polythiestic one!!!) What I have gotten from it is an extension of my opportunity to explore my relationship with God from a completely different paradigm.

Mysteria,

What “polytheistic” view and “completely different paradigm” are you now embracing?

Drake
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Old 11-12-2017, 06:43 PM   #41
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Really liked your posts Mysteria and your name is really cool! You are clearly a very intelligent woman in touch with her inner self and an excellent writer to boot! I too had bad dreams during my transition out, felt very guilty (still do at times) and cut myself off from the saints because they were only interested in recovering me and I did not want to "poison" them. I think there is only one LC brother, and he is a relative, that I shared things with. Still having to battle the deception that anything "bad" that happens in my life or family is God's judgement on me for leaving the so-called recovery. I wish you all the best and a very happy and blessed life!
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Old 11-12-2017, 10:23 PM   #42
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Mysteria >”I'm actually very happy now, in the present, and I love my spiritual path. I do not see it as merely a reaction against Christianity. (It takes a LOT more than that to come from a monotheistic view of God and enter a polythiestic one!!!) What I have gotten from it is an extension of my opportunity to explore my relationship with God from a completely different paradigm.

Mysteria,

What “polytheistic” view and “completely different paradigm” are you now embracing?

Drake
Drake, I'm an eclectic, polytheistic neo-pagan.
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Old 11-12-2017, 10:26 PM   #43
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Really liked your posts Mysteria and your name is really cool! You are clearly a very intelligent woman in touch with her inner self and an excellent writer to boot! I too had bad dreams during my transition out, felt very guilty (still do at times) and cut myself off from the saints because they were only interested in recovering me and I did not want to "poison" them. I think there is only one LC brother, and he is a relative, that I shared things with. Still having to battle the deception that anything "bad" that happens in my life or family is God's judgement on me for leaving the so-called recovery. I wish you all the best and a very happy and blessed life!
I don't know you but I just want to hug you. i so relate.

Even coming to this board has made me look at some things again and ask more questions. Like I'm starting to think about why they didn't try to hard to come after me. I thought it was they were being respectful, and also were not even sure how to do it. so they didn't try. But I'm wondering now if there were some, maybe leaders, who thought I'd be trouble and it'd be better for me to go.

Having mixed feelings about that.

My experiences on the surface did not seem as bad as some of the ones I've seen described here, so I've come away with mostly the sense that there were best intentions, if also great levels of arrogance the higher up you go. But now I'm wondering.

I suppose there's never really one way to look at it. It could be all and everything at once, huh?
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Old 11-12-2017, 11:01 PM   #44
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Drake, I'm an eclectic, polytheistic neo-pagan.
Did you ever receive the Lord Jesus and accept Him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life? Or was He just one of many teachers along the way?

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Old 11-13-2017, 06:20 PM   #45
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This was the biggest issue for me; experiencing growing up being taught that you are not important, that you are only meant as a side attachment for some man (and if single, basically a chaste nun), and there is really only one way you're supposed to be. A strong woman is seen as rebellious and trying to "be a man."
This made me cry, mostly about how complicit I was in the system. I had a set of "sister skirts" set aside for meetings. I practiced my "prophesying" so I could best come across as a good sister. I looked down on the women who didn't play the game to win and sat there calmly or sullenly. I was not an ally. How do I go about asking forgiveness now?

There was one sister who stood up for me when there was a couple who was trying to set me up (in marriage, I suppose) with a young brother and she stood up and told them to leave me alone. Frighteningly, I was probably brain-washed enough to have just agreed, without her intervention. I also remember one time a leading brother asked the sisters to head to the kitchen and the brothers to stack the chairs and she looked at me with a twinkle in her eye, and said, "let's stack chairs!". I love her dearly for that. I heard she and her husband are no longer with the LCs and are reviled for being a bad influence on the college students. Oooh - a sister stacking chairs. The wickedness of my college days.

When I asked my mother what she most regretted about her time (decades and decades) in the LCs, she surprised me by saying that she regretted the way she let her husband treat her, as "just a sister". Following the LC culture, and reinforced by her husband who wanted to be a "good brother", she shrank away until she barely existed. They made it through (and out) and now happily married (they were married before, in the LCs, but I'm not sure their marriage then was characterized by happiness but more by religious compliance).

I did see a Christian therapist to try to work through some of all this, but he seemed really hesitant to speak out against what I saw as abusive religious practices. Does anyone have recommendations?
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:54 PM   #46
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Actually I am still in local church (LC). When talking about LC, be aware not to offend our Lord. LC is belong to our Lord, not to a group of people. LC can be anywhere, in home or a place with your dear brothers and sisters.
Hi little sheep -

I can't speak for everyone. But when I refer to the LC on this forum - it isn't in reference to the local church... It is in reference to the churches of Witness Lee.
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:53 PM   #47
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Mysteria, I have to thank you so much for bringing me to this site as I no longer feel guilty for leaving a pasture that was no longer green. You have written so eloquently here and I too can relate to the depression I felt for so long being in the LC. Also, when you left the FTTA I was so shocked because I always saw you as a spiritual giant and aspired to have the utterance you had while testifying. I remember when you announced being pagan on Facebook I found it so weird but I also was so intrigued by your boldness! You also graciously replied to my " don't worry She will come back home" and I see now how insensitive I was. Also, reading your post I now understand that I should not actively try to persuade friends and family members to leave the church life as this may be damaging to them. Peace my friend!
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Old 11-14-2017, 03:51 AM   #48
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I did see a Christian therapist to try to work through some of all this, but he seemed really hesitant to speak out against what I saw as abusive religious practices. Does anyone have recommendations?
lf you see a Christian therapist you have to get past their ignorance and bias. No small task.

I recommend reading - it's always been my best therapy (followed pretty closely by writing, as my many posts here attest).

Read people that challenge everything you've ever thought. Then, read the people that challenge THEM. Get my drift? Then the two-bit, tin-horn wanna-be satraps like Nee and Nee can't rule your mind.

Challenge yourself. Be willing to challenge everything you've ever thought. Overturn all the shopkeepers' tables in your brain. Drive out the sheep & the pigeons. Throw the money on the floor.

There is writing out there that will challenge everything that once seemed real. Find it & face it - don't be afraid. Then- important - go to the writings that critically challenge THAT writing.

Lee taught us to be passive; the Minions' One Publication Policy chained us to inertia and fear. A nice, safe cage.
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Old 11-14-2017, 04:29 PM   #49
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I did see a Christian therapist to try to work through some of all this, but he seemed really hesitant to speak out against what I saw as abusive religious practices. Does anyone have recommendations?
Same here. While exiting I had a PhD Christian counselor, and three different pastors "not taking the bait" when I mentioned what I thought was a cult-like influence from the LSM recovery movement. I wanted to talk, ask questions and get some help. They were very hesitant to criticize fellow brothers in Christ; compare this to the continual bashing of Billy Graham and other groups and people by the LSM recovery leaders. At least while I was there; maybe now the LSM leaders have felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and dropped some of their bad behavior?
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Old 11-15-2017, 01:07 AM   #50
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-1

.....compare this to the continual bashing of Billy Graham and other groups and people by the LSM recovery leaders.”

In my 4+ decades I have never ever heard any brother in the Lords Recovery bash the Lords servant Billy Graham even once... much less continually.


“God gives faith and enlarges our heart. When our heart is large, it is easy to have living faith. Living faith enables us to receive God’s commission, God’s burden. This has everything to do with our function and our usefulness. Billy Graham was raised up by the Lord less than ten years ago and is not yet forty years old. The reason he is able to carry out his work is that he has a large heart. He is young, competent, and steady, not proud or arrogant. His large heart gives him a living faith that enables him to receive the burden of the gospel. The burden he received is from God.

Some orthodox Christians in America are unreasonable in opposing Billy Graham. Without the proper view from God, a doctrine may be dead. God asked the prophets to do things that seemed unreasonable. For example, He asked the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute (Hosea 1:2). Hosea could only follow this command, even though he would be criticized. Some believers are opposed to Billy Graham and his crusades because even people from heretical groups attend the crusades. Billy Graham, however, cares only that people hear the gospel. He does not care who hears the gospel. He would preach the gospel even if the devil attended a crusade.

This shows that Billy Graham has an enlarged heart. He stands with God and preaches the word to whoever attends. He does not try to please people. He has living faith and receives his burden from God. The Spirit affirms his labor with a strong result and supplies him. This does not mean, however, that we should imitate him. In principle, we should receive help from others, but we are accountable to God for our work.“

The Perfecting of the Saints and the Building up of the House of God, Witness Lee



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Old 11-15-2017, 02:24 AM   #51
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-1

.....compare this to the continual bashing of Billy Graham and other groups and people by the LSM recovery leaders.”

In my 4+ decades I have never ever heard any brother in the Lords Recovery bash the Lords servant Billy Graham even once... much less continually.

Drake
I doubt!

Personally I heard the criticism of Billy Graham, "oh, he doesn't see the church."

Because of this, to this day I regret never going to one of his gospel crusades.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:39 AM   #52
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I doubt!

Personally I heard the criticism of Billy Graham, "oh, he doesn't see the church."

Because of this, to this day I regret never going to one of his gospel crusades.
RK told us once, point blank, "Billy Graham has done absolutely nothing to build up the Body of Christ". Then he repeated himself, "Absolutely nothing".
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:10 AM   #53
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-1

.....compare this to the continual bashing of Billy Graham and other groups and people by the LSM recovery leaders.”

In my 4+ decades I have never ever heard any brother in the Lords Recovery bash the Lords servant Billy Graham even once... much less continually....
Drake
Wow! I heard it at our meetings back in 1975/1976. And in 2005, I visited some saints whose relatives had sent them some teachings by a Christian teacher outside the LR. I recognized the teacher but those LCrs not only did not listen/watch the videos or cd's but went on bashing and bashing 'Christianity' and praising WL.

I praise neither. Just sharing my observation.
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Old 11-15-2017, 11:41 AM   #54
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RK told us once, point blank, "Billy Graham has done absolutely nothing to build up the Body of Christ". Then he repeated himself, "Absolutely nothing".
Wow! I have met many who personally received the Lord thru brother Graham,

This is perhaps the most pathetic comment Ron Kangas has ever made.

Yet, RK has given more credit to the devil for the building of the body.

But ... of course ... it is neither in print nor recorded. Convenient.
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:38 PM   #55
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I was wondering how many are former members of the local church . I left a year ago and now I am having trouble starting a new . May I ask why you left . I left because of a way they handled a brothers marriage arrangement , and I saw things they are a border line cult .


I grew up in it until the Holy Spirit told me that I was done there, about two years ago. It wasn’t until after I left that I saw how wicked the LC/LSM is.
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:18 AM   #56
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RK told us once, point blank, "Billy Graham has done absolutely nothing to build up the Body of Christ". Then he repeated himself, "Absolutely nothing".
Drake,

Assuming Witness Lee never said these things, why are these guys making this up?

During my time with the LSM church (2015), Billy Graham was much less relevant, but none the less - I could picture members of the LSM churches saying this, so I tend to believe their statements to be true. Someone in the "church" disparaged other groups, fellowship, and denominations in ALMOST every single meeting (home, lords table, etc). I wish I would have kept more than just a mental log of this. Additionally, I heard a leading brother make negative comments about a leading pastor at another local church (non-denominational). This forever stuck with me because I knew this church well - I saw how many people they brought to Christ and the HUGE impact they were making in the community. All the while the LSM church in my city sit and made surface level, memorized, chit chat about whatever topic Living Stream "Ministry" told them to discuss, brought people to know Witness Lee (rather than Jesus) and had zero impact on their neighbors. Well I should say positive impact...
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Old 11-18-2017, 01:16 PM   #57
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Drake,

Assuming Witness Lee never said these things, why are these guys making this up?

During my time with the LSM church (2015), Billy Graham was much less relevant, but none the less - I could picture members of the LSM churches saying this, so I tend to believe their statements to be true. Someone in the "church" disparaged other groups, fellowship, and denominations in ALMOST every single meeting (home, lords table, etc). I wish I would have kept more than just a mental log of this. Additionally, I heard a leading brother make negative comments about a leading pastor at another local church (non-denominational). This forever stuck with me because I knew this church well - I saw how many people they brought to Christ and the HUGE impact they were making in the community. All the while the LSM church in my city sit and made surface level, memorized, chit chat about whatever topic Living Stream "Ministry" told them to discuss, brought people to know Witness Lee (rather than Jesus) and had zero impact on their neighbors. Well I should say positive impact...
I've told this in part before, but when Lee ordered five localities to migrate to Ft. Lauderdale, for the "good material" Spring Breakers, Bob Mumford had already declared the ground.

But he wasn't loyal to Lee, so we couldn't joined them, like the Lee's doctrine of the ground held.

Back then, I remember, there was a new on fire brother, Bob Coy, that was with Mumford (and Derek Prince). Long story short, Bob Coy went on the build the largest mega-church in America ; 20,000 strong. And the church in Ft. Lauderdale is gone. It disappeared from LSM's list of Lee local churches long ago.

So where/who would we say, that, God poured out His blessings upon?
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Old 11-18-2017, 01:36 PM   #58
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"Someone in the "church" disparaged other groups, fellowship, and denominations in ALMOST every single meeting (home, lords table, etc)."

Thanks! That's what I meant by "continual". The criticism of non LSM/LC churches is rife among the saints, at least from my experience. We did not say they weren't brothers, we just knew that they were in a poor, degraded state that had no access to the high truth teachings, and lived in spiritual poverty.
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:01 PM   #59
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Drake,

Assuming Witness Lee never said these things, why are these guys making this up?

During my time with the LSM church (2015), Billy Graham was much less relevant, but none the less - I could picture members of the LSM churches saying this, so I tend to believe their statements to be true. Someone in the "church" disparaged other groups, fellowship, and denominations in ALMOST every single meeting (home, lords table, etc). I wish I would have kept more than just a mental log of this. Additionally, I heard a leading brother make negative comments about a leading pastor at another local church (non-denominational). This forever stuck with me because I knew this church well - I saw how many people they brought to Christ and the HUGE impact they were making in the community. All the while the LSM church in my city sit and made surface level, memorized, chit chat about whatever topic Living Stream "Ministry" told them to discuss, brought people to know Witness Lee (rather than Jesus) and had zero impact on their neighbors. Well I should say positive impact...
LofT,

I don't believe most are making anything up. I think they are articulating their recollections to the best of their ability. Only in a few cases, I think some have consciously changed the facts to suit their narrative.. but for the most part I believe they believe what they said is true.

My response was to the assertion "“.....compare this to the continual bashing of Billy Graham and other groups and people by the LSM recovery leaders.”

First, I have never heard Brother Lee bash once, never mind continually, Billy Graham. I provided a quote representative of the type of things I heard from Brother Lee and others say about Billy Graham.

Did someone, someplace, at sometime, say something about Billy Graham? Well, I am not omnipresent so I cannot know for sure. But if true, it dispels the notion that everyone marches in lockstep to Brother Lee since we know what he said and it was not bashing once or continual.

Drake
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:55 PM   #60
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Default Re: How Many Are Former Members Of The Local Church

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First, I have never heard Brother Lee bash once, never mind continually, Billy Graham. I provided a quote representative of the type of things I heard from Brother Lee and others say about Billy Graham.
Your quote was NOT "representative of the type of things I heard from Brother Lee and others say about Billy Graham." In fact, the quote you provided was from 1958 in Taiwan, long before Lee even moved to this country.

How about quoting something said during your (and my) tenure? I doubt much will be found because this stuff got edited out.

To be honest, I heard little from Lee derogatory on Graham. I heard it mostly from others. There was a trickle down effect. Lee would regularly and constantly condemn all of poor, poor Christianity. Then all he had to say privately was "Billy Graham doesn't see the church" and his minions run with it.

I definitely heard Lee say, "anyone can get people saved, but who can raise them up?" This pathetic distortion of the truth implied that over all the earth only Witness Lee was actually "raising people up."
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Old 12-06-2017, 07:59 PM   #61
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My recollection is consistent with Ohio’s on this topic. When Lee mentioned Graham in his spoken messages he would say it was good that he presented the gospel and people got saved. But, he would also in the same message talk about “the low gospel” Christianity preached in contrast to Lee’s “Lords Recovery high gospel” and about poor follow-up after Graham’s campaigns for subsequent growth and building up.

I heard this repeated a lot by an elder and many saints in my locality.
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Old 12-06-2017, 09:23 PM   #62
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Default Re: How Many Are Former Members Of The Local Church

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My recollection is consistent with Ohio’s on this topic. When Lee mentioned Graham in his spoken messages he would say it was good that he presented the gospel and people got saved. But, he would also in the same message talk about “the low gospel” Christianity preached in contrast to Lee’s “Lords Recovery high gospel” and about poor follow-up after Graham’s campaigns for subsequent growth and building up.

I heard this repeated a lot by an elder and many saints in my locality.
What kind of Teacher would say to an Evangelist (given as a gift by the Head to His body) "I have no need of you."
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