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Old 02-21-2020, 04:31 AM   #1
Isaiah9:2
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Post My Confused Adulthood

Hello everyone! I have been reading for a couple weeks now and decided to finally create an account and be a part of the LC Discussions. I find it really helpful for me personally and my relationship with God. I like many of y'all grew up in the LC as yp. My parents first met in denomination then got married and started meeting in the LC due to my mothers dad and her siblings beginning to meet there (this was all in Anaheim). Before I knew it the church life became my life, with regular children's meetings then on to yp conferences, and finally the college conferences. This was where I feel like I enjoyed my pinnacle moments with the Lord but it also lead to a lack of satisfaction. A lack of satisfaction lead to doing many other things that I regret and was just always told "take the blood" when I understand that but I also had to feel good with myself and didn't. There needs to be more of a direction for a care of the man and I probably should have been told to go to therapy and learn how to deal with things going inside of me.

Like many yp who grow up in the LC my goal after college was the FTTA. It was the place that I was convinced produced the "overcomers." I was further from the truth but it was all I knew and never questioned it. Needless to say I didn't finish college in the 4 year period like many of my yp brothers and sisters I grew up with, got married early and moved out of the SoCal area. This put everything in question, the biggest questions "Will I ever be an overcomer, and Age Turner, a Daniel, a man of God...?" I felt the "church life" reserved these statuses and thus now my life was without purpose and meaningless. I struggled (am struggling still) to find myself and know myself as the person God intended me to be.

The LC's make a strong point that you need to separate from "the self, the emotions, the mind" anything from those parts is evil. The more I have read forums on here, ministry books outside LSM and the word I have come to discover this is far from the truth. I feel like this forum is a great way for me to challenge those ideas that I had about the church life and continue going on in the Christian life in a way that doesn't encompass LSMs beliefs but what the Bible has to say. Sorry this is all scattered, I have a lot to say and it feels really good to put my whole self out here and knowing I won't be judged.
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Old 02-21-2020, 07:10 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum! Most all of us on here are "recovering from The Recovery," so yes, you have our most sympathetic ears! For me there is not a set formula for going on except to seek Him alone and be in His word prayerfully each day, and get with others regularly who are doing the same in a sincere way (and also maybe not allow outward standards and expectations to sway you - by His life in you).

I think it's as simple as asking Him to show you what is true in everything. He will . . . if not right away, it will be in a good time!
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:35 AM   #3
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Like many yp who grow up in the LC my goal after college was the FTTA. It was the place that I was convinced produced the "overcomers." I was further from the truth but it was all I knew and never questioned it. Needless to say I didn't finish college in the 4 year period like many of my yp brothers and sisters I grew up with, got married early and moved out of the SoCal area. This put everything in question, the biggest questions "Will I ever be an overcomer, and Age Turner, a Daniel, a man of God...?" I felt the "church life" reserved these statuses and thus now my life was without purpose and meaningless. I struggled (am struggling still) to find myself and know myself as the person God intended me to be.
I also grew up in the LC, and going into college, I had every intention of going to the FTTA. I ended up taking longer in college than expected due to financial reasons, and by the time I finished, I had become less and less inclined to go to the FTTA.

I think that when the elders realized that I wouldn't be going, it was basically the equivalent of becoming an LC outcast. It really was a weird feeling, at one point being part of the demographic that is considered to be the "prime" of the LC, and then going to be someone that they really could care less about. It was an eye-opener for sure.
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:30 AM   #4
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Welcome Isaiah,

Your story reminds me a little of Paul's story in Philippians 3. He gave us his pedigree of where he was and what he did and what great future plans he had laid out before him. I think his credentials surpassed the creds of those we once followed. Yet he abandoned everything he had, and everything he stood for in the past.

Paul opens with a warning to beware of those who would deceive us and carry us away, then tells us what it's really about in vv. 8, 9 and 10--my favorites. So you're not the first. You are in good company...Paul and all of us .

What kind of God do we have, that we could KNOW him? What is "the fellowship of HIS suffering"? The power of his resurrection? What? What is THAT? This is so far beyond our understanding, but is something we can lay hold of. Pretty amazing...and it can be ours.

Again, welcome to the journey as we continue together!

Nell

Philippians 3 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
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Old 02-21-2020, 10:54 AM   #5
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There needs to be more of a direction for a care of the man and I probably should have been told to go to therapy and learn how to deal with things going inside of me.

I felt the "church life" reserved these statuses and thus now my life was without purpose and meaningless. I struggled (am struggling still) to find myself and know myself as the person God intended me to be.

The LC's make a strong point that you need to separate from "the self, the emotions, the mind" anything from those parts is evil. The more I have read forums on here, ministry books outside LSM and the word I have come to discover this is far from the truth. I feel like this forum is a great way for me to challenge those ideas that I had about the church life and continue going on in the Christian life in a way that doesn't encompass LSMs beliefs but what the Bible has to say. Sorry this is all scattered, I have a lot to say and it feels really good to put my whole self out here and knowing I won't be judged.

Welcome Isaiah 9:2!

I just wanted to mention something about separating from the self, emotions, mind, etc.

God has a mind, and uses it too. We were made in His image. The Bible actually never tells us or anyone to "get out of their mind" EVER. That kind of phrase is a hallmark of spiritually unhealthy churches and is just used to control people. Set yourself free from that unhealthy teaching. The more you use your mind to discern, the more teachings from the LC you will find you can discard.

God also has emotions. Jesus is the image of the invisible God, and we can see who God is by looking at Jesus. Well, guess what? Jesus wept. Jesus grieved. Jesus got angry. Jesus was nervous to the point of sweating blood before going to the cross. Jesus had compassion. Jesus comforted people. These are all fully human emotions, and He never showed any shame in having or expressing them. We were not created in the image of God only to have to somehow run from all the facets that involve the normal way we were created.

Of course, it doesn't mean we each sit back and let our emotions dominate 100% of the time every time, but true to their M.O., the LC went way too far in the other direction and shamed everyone for having any emotions at all.

This kind of thing, particularly when taught to young people, is incredibly detrimental since it comes right at the time in their life when they are learning how to handle and regulate their emotions and use their mind. The LC creates emotionally stunted humans.

God made HUMAN beings. He is interested in HUMANS. He is interested in YOU. Personally. Specifically.

It is for freedom that Christ came to set us free. For freedom! He came to release those who are oppressed. These teachings oppressing the saints for literally just being humans are teachings that Christ came to set us free from.
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Old 02-21-2020, 03:35 PM   #6
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Wow. These are the type of things that I have been missing growing the LC's, the actual connection to humans. As much as the LC's talk about it I can truly say I have not felt it as much as I should have, as much as any person who continues being part of the church should feel. This was really eye opening, thank you. "It is for freedom that Christ came to set us free. For freedom! He came to release those who are oppressed. These teachings oppressing the saints for literally just being humans are teachings that Christ came to set us free from."
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Old 02-21-2020, 03:37 PM   #7
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I also grew up in the LC, and going into college, I had every intention of going to the FTTA. I ended up taking longer in college than expected due to financial reasons, and by the time I finished, I had become less and less inclined to go to the FTTA.

I think that when the elders realized that I wouldn't be going, it was basically the equivalent of becoming an LC outcast. It really was a weird feeling, at one point being part of the demographic that is considered to be the "prime" of the LC, and then going to be someone that they really could care less about. It was an eye-opener for sure.
This is the same thing I felt. It was ALL about the college students and so while still being one I didn't feel a part of it and began to question many things about myself. Now I can say I feel much better about myself and that the FTTA is not a big aspiration in my life.
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:54 PM   #8
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"It is for freedom that Christ came to set us free." For freedom! He came to release those who are oppressed. These teachings oppressing the saints for literally just being humans are teachings that Christ came to set us free from."
AMEN!!!! This is such a liberating verse!!!
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Old 03-02-2020, 12:28 PM   #9
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This is the same thing I felt. It was ALL about the college students and so while still being one I didn't feel a part of it and began to question many things about myself. Now I can say I feel much better about myself and that the FTTA is not a big aspiration in my life.
I am one that got out of the LC in he mid-80’s. For the sake of general understanding, what exactly is the FTTA? Who runs it? Where is it held? What is the cost of attending? What materials are used? What is the expectation of outcome? What is the observed outcome from those who have attended-short term and long term.? What is the attachment of FTTA to the local assembly? What is a scriptural basis for having it? How is it sold to the LC assembly and the individual? And any other observations, insights, enlightenment that can be provided.
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:16 PM   #10
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I am one that got out of the LC in he mid-80’s. For the sake of general understanding, what exactly is the FTTA? Who runs it? Where is it held? What is the cost of attending? What materials are used? What is the expectation of outcome? What is the observed outcome from those who have attended-short term and long term.? What is the attachment of FTTA to the local assembly? What is a scriptural basis for having it? How is it sold to the LC assembly and the individual? And any other observations, insights, enlightenment that can be provided.
Full Time Training in Anaheim, which could also be the FTT is many other locations around the globe. Started in 1986 at FTT in Taipei under WL's direction during the "new way." LSM runs them all. Every semi-annual training has FTT promotionals. Local Churches support all the ones they send. Attendees should be college grads. 4 semester terms over 2 years. All materials are WL's. Young people are heavily recruited, producing a dual class structure of those who go and those who don't. Very much structured after the Mormons.

See what you missed?
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Old 03-02-2020, 02:11 PM   #11
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Full Time Training in Anaheim, which could also be the FTT is many other locations around the globe. Started in 1986 at FTT in Taipei under WL's direction during the "new way." LSM runs them all. Every semi-annual training has FTT promotionals. Local Churches support all the ones they send. Attendees should be college grads. 4 semester terms over 2 years. All materials are WL's. Young people are heavily recruited, producing a dual class structure of those who go and those who don't. Very much structured after the Mormons.

See what you missed?
So I left about the time some were going to Taipei and digging tunnels connecting two buildings- it’s a little fuzzy to me in that I was on my way out. Was this the beginning? I appreciate your response, but was hoping some more recent “recovery” people could respond and give a more recent experience of FFT. What qualifications do the teachers? possess, and what do they see as results other than a head full of LSM propaganda.
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Old 03-02-2020, 03:22 PM   #12
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I am one that got out of the LC in he mid-80’s. For the sake of general understanding, what exactly is the FTTA? Who runs it? Where is it held? What is the cost of attending? What materials are used? What is the expectation of outcome? What is the observed outcome from those who have attended-short term and long term.? What is the attachment of FTTA to the local assembly? What is a scriptural basis for having it? How is it sold to the LC assembly and the individual? And any other observations, insights, enlightenment that can be provided.

The FTTA was started by Witness Lee and is run, to my understanding, by LSM. LSM is the copyright holder at the bottom of the FTTA website (www.ftta.org), so I believe that is correct.

What is it? Two years of being taught in class after class what Witness Lee thought the Bible said. Two years of having to be in your seat, or at a meeting, or in bed, or woken up, or at a meal before the designated time you have to be there or you get punished.

The punishment? To read and summarize a Life-Study message.


Trainees are punished for not being places on time, or for not wearing the right colors by having to read the ministry! It's just too rich.

Some trainees break enough rules that they graduate the training with a backlog of punishment messages they have to read.

There is a rule that says something like "no hysterical laughter".

They learn to be nice little submissive Lee-filled members of the Lord's recovery, essentially.

Some graduate from the training and look back on the two years as "the best years of their life." Well, when you consider that their meals and other needs are taken care of, and they don't have to do anything but what they are told, and they spend all their time with their peers, and are taken care of by the saints in their locality like royalty......it's understandable why it would be looked upon fondly.

Trainees are required to wear uniforms which I hear people in Anaheim who are nearby the training call "nun uniforms". The FTTA trainees stick out when they are walking along the streets, to say the least. The schedule and living requirements (just barely enough sleep, your whole day is strictly scheduled, your living quarters are constantly inspected for wrinkles in your sheets, an errant hair in the bathroom, a little dust on a shelf) drive many trainees to exhaustion, sickness, or straight up panic attack. It is intentionally designed to force them to "live by Christ".

A well known phrase that comes out of many trainees' mouths who graduate from the training and are released back into the real world is "I don't know how to be anymore." For reals.

Cost of attending for the two years is about $17,000 for lodging and most meals. Add health insurance on top of that. (I'm just reading from the ftta.org website for that info).

Materials are exclusively Nee and Lee and the Bible (again, on the website).

It's run by LSM, with some of the teachers being co-workers or blended brothers.

Outcome varies wildly. Some graduate and spend several years recovering from their lost health. Some graduate and leave the church. Some graduate and go on to serve in a locality. Some graduate and go to work. Some graduate and get married immediately because it is a known "meat market" where trainees spend two years eyeing everyone and yet are forbidden to strike up relationships. Some trainees graduate utterly deflated that no one of the opposite gender contacted them at the end to initiate a relationship.

The FTTA will assign trainees to nearby localities in southern California, either to be on the college campus, or serve with the YP, or serve with the children.

The "About" page of their site says this:

"The Full-time Training in Anaheim, also known as The Living Stream Bible Truth and Church Service Training, was established in 1989 by Brother Witness Lee. This two-year program aims to help seeking Christians grow in the divine life, be constituted with the truths of the Bible, develop their spiritual capacities, and cultivate proper character. Trainees are college graduates of all nationalities and backgrounds. Over the course of four semesters, trainees take classes, participate in gospel work, and carry out practical services. The Full-time Training is neither a theological seminary nor a divinity school but a place where young Christians come to pursue Christ and learn to live Him in a normal, daily way."

In another place on the site they say: "Although the benefit one can gain from being trained is inimitable and unlimited, the Full-time Training is not for everybody. Having said that, we are still strongly persuaded that there is no better place for a seeking brother or sister in the Lord's recovery than the Full-time Training."

I'm not sure how it is sold specifically, but as far as scriptural basis, I believe I have heard saints point to whatever place in the Bible talks about some kind of school of training or education....I don't know where it is.

Teacher qualifications? Lee-parroting ability.
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Old 03-02-2020, 05:09 PM   #13
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Thanks Trapped and oh gosh . . . where can I sign me up!?
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Old 03-03-2020, 09:27 AM   #14
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Thanks Trapped, that was quite interesting. One would think someone who completed 4 years of college would want to be more than Tupperware salespeople for LSM plastic empty containers with sealable lids.

I would think that just “being in the church” would fill one up with the “truth” and constitute them god-men. But it seems that the normal Christian church life must fall short, so that another LSM program is needed.

Then those who graduate from the FFT are in a perfect position to indoctrinate others into the LC program and recommend LSM materials so that LSM has a continual flow of revenue.

Do we see a group in the LC then that rise above the laity- those who are in-the- know and others in the LC who are just nominal?
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Old 04-23-2020, 10:15 PM   #15
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Thanks Trapped, that was quite interesting. One would think someone who completed 4 years of college would want to be more than Tupperware salespeople for LSM plastic empty containers with sealable lids.

I would think that just “being in the church” would fill one up with the “truth” and constitute them god-men. But it seems that the normal Christian church life must fall short, so that another LSM program is needed.

Then those who graduate from the FFT are in a perfect position to indoctrinate others into the LC program and recommend LSM materials so that LSM has a continual flow of revenue.

Do we see a group in the LC then that rise above the laity- those who are in-the- know and others in the LC who are just nominal?

Oh yeah, they say that "2 years in the training is like 20 years in the church life". There is that little sales tactic. The fast-track to overcomersville!

Yes, oftentimes the FTTA graduates will just return to their locality to serve on the college campus to gain new ones who will in just a few short years be in a position to be pressured into what? Going to the FTTA themselves! Great way to circumvent all the hassle of dealing with the young people for 18 years. Just get new people when they are 18 and ratchet up the intensity for only 4 years, and funnel them right into the FTTA.

From my observation, the ones "in the know" are the responsible brothers. ITERO-invitees. They are the trusted, inner circle, back-slappers. I haven't personally seen a kind of "clergy class" of FTTA graduates, but that may vary among localities.
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Old 04-23-2020, 10:33 PM   #16
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This is the same thing I felt. It was ALL about the college students and so while still being one I didn't feel a part of it and began to question many things about myself. Now I can say I feel much better about myself and that the FTTA is not a big aspiration in my life.
when I resumed meeting there in the mid-90's I was past the FTTA age though my perception was attention given to church kids was oriented whether they attended FTTA or not.
I felt much better about myself when I stopped meeting with the local churches.
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Old 04-25-2020, 10:23 AM   #17
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Oh yeah, they say that "2 years in the training is like 20 years in the church life".
It's probably true, and the reason that at least some of the people going to the FTT (wherever) leave soon after. I only lasted 14 years. 20 years would be too much. So if it takes just 2 years to get the results of 20, I would need to drop out during the FTT.
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Old 04-27-2020, 11:45 AM   #18
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when I resumed meeting there in the mid-90's I was past the FTTA age though my perception was attention given to church kids was oriented whether they attended FTTA or not.
I felt much better about myself when I stopped meeting with the local churches.
Growing up, I was always fairly active in the LC – I attended most meetings, went to a lot of the conferences/trainings, etc. I think that I always wanted to try to win the approval of the elders. A lot of my peers were far less active, and it always felt like the elders did appreciate those of us church kids who actually participated in the LC.

At the same time, however, there was a bit of a darker side to it all. A lot of us church kids were always trying to figure out what was our place in the LC, what type of function did we have, etc. I know that at some point it dawned on me that there was an unspoken expectation that we should exist in the LC as “bench warmers” until we were told otherwise. I know that both saw and experienced for myself trying to get involved in various areas of service only to get shot down or pushed aside by someone who thought they knew better.

Against this backdrop, I saw all the FTTA attendees and graduates, they were entrusted with all kinds of things. It seemed like they were always busy, getting asked to do things, travel, etc. That made the FTTA seem like it would be desirable, because more than anything I just wanted to find my place and function in the LC. About halfway through college, however, I began to question that, asking myself why should I have to take some predetermined path in order to feel like I had any place within the LC. That eventually made me decide against attending the FTTA.

In retrospect, it seems like the whole issue should have been more obvious. For example, I heard a message where a brother mentioned that he attended the FTTA while WL was still alive and sat in the front row of one of WL’s trainings. What would be the purpose in mentioning that? Would it be because the attending the FTTA is viewed as proof that someone is the real deal? Maybe having attended while WL was still alive is considered an even higher achievement. When there are those who boast about such things, the end result is that those who have not done the same thing are automatically excluded. But that is the path that the LC has chosen to take.
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Old 04-27-2020, 12:07 PM   #19
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In retrospect, it seems like the whole issue should have been more obvious. For example, I heard a message where a brother mentioned that he attended the FTTA while WL was still alive and sat in the front row of one of WL’s trainings. What would be the purpose in mentioning that? Would it be because the attending the FTTA is viewed as proof that someone is the real deal? Maybe having attended while WL was still alive is considered an even higher achievement. When there are those who boast about such things, the end result is that those who have not done the same thing are automatically excluded. But that is the path that the LC has chosen to take.
"But from those who had a reputation of being something; whatever they were, it meant nothing to me because God does not accept man's person" -- Gal 2.6
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:17 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
Growing up, I was always fairly active in the LC – I attended most meetings, went to a lot of the conferences/trainings, etc. I think that I always wanted to try to win the approval of the elders.
I think that's normal behavior. Problem is if one is an introvert, you'll always be like paint on a wall. Just part of the background. Elder or not; trying to gain approval is feeble. Personal experience.
when you're on the verge of going into your senior year of high school, which tests to prepare for ASVAB or SAT? Not meaning to be harsh, but depending on a parent's role with their children, serving ones can intended or unintentionally usurp the parent's role in providing guidance for the high school senior.
How if they don't want to go to college immediately and go into the armed services? Serving ones will try to steer them away from this decision. It's not practical. It's not conducive for the church-life.
Then you have which college to attend. You'll be steered towards one that's near a locality or has a campus work, The major you select, you'll be advised of one that is practical for the church-life.
All this manipulating of choices can lead to a confused adulthood. Instead of deciding for yourself, a pattern is created of "I need the brother's fellowship".
Needing the brother's agreement in order to make a decision. Is it any wonder of social dysfunction of young people in the local churches. Relying on others instead of thinking for yourself. Deciding for yourself.
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