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

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Old 06-16-2020, 12:04 PM   #1
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Default Being in this Cult is one of the Worst things that Happened in my Life!

I was in the local church in Anaheim, California from the age of 12 to 17 when Witness Lee was located there. Being in this cult is one of the worst things that happened in my life! My whole family was involved in it. My family still got together every Friday night just to socialize. I was told by an elder they were praying for my family to break apart. When my father lay dying in the hospital, they refused to come and give us comfort or prayer. When I finally worked up the courage to leave, I was told by an elder I was like the dogs of hell barking at the gates of heaven. Years later I was told by the Rapaport family they always celebrated Christmas and watched television at their grandparents house. What an insult! I no longer go to church anywhere. I can't take the judgment of everything I was taught at such an impressionable age. But, I refuse to let the Local Church ruin my life!
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Old 06-16-2020, 08:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Being in this Cult is one of the Worst things that Happened in my Life!

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I was in the local church in Anaheim, California from the age of 12 to 17 when Witness Lee was located there. Being in this cult is one of the worst things that happened in my life! My whole family was involved in it. My family still got together every Friday night just to socialize. I was told by an elder they were praying for my family to break apart. When my father lay dying in the hospital, they refused to come and give us comfort or prayer. When I finally worked up the courage to leave, I was told by an elder I was like the dogs of hell barking at the gates of heaven. Years later I was told by the Rapaport family they always celebrated Christmas and watched television at their grandparents house. What an insult! I no longer go to church anywhere. I can't take the judgment of everything I was taught at such an impressionable age. But, I refuse to let the Local Church ruin my life!
As a fellow church kid, I both sympathize and am also speechless at what you've described. Prayer for any family to break apart is not prayer, it's a curse. God is not for the destruction of families. God calls divorce "a violent act" in the Bible, and I believe that would be the same applied to a family breakup too.

The Bible says "woe to those" through whom stumbling comes, and that elder has some woe coming to him from the God who grieves at the pain you've endured and at the stumbling you've encountered through what he said.

You said you were in Anaheim. Since the seven feasts are often made up of the same attendees no matter where they are (save ITERO's of course), I have spoken to enough church kids from that area over the years to be able to say fairly confidently myself that many of them grew up under what can only be described as "waves of condemnation" washing over them, over and over and over, crushing their developing souls right at the most impressionable age. Nothing they did was good enough for God to be happy with them. Nothing they avoided made them acceptable. They couldn't do or join in or participate in so many healthy and human things without feeling bad or wrong or condemned for doing so, because the God who loved them while they were sinners was misrepresented to them to the point that He became a God who was out to get them and punish them for the slightest error or enjoyment in human life that wasn't Him and Him alone. That's not God.

I'm glad you are of the mindset that the local church wouldn't ruin your life. We are here to listen if you ever want to say anything more.
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Being in this Cult is one of the Worst things that Happened in my Life!

I can relate to your pain and confusion. I was in for 34 years including a full-time training. If there is anything I can help you with, please reach out. I can testify that Jesus is the most loving and caring Person you could ever meet, your best Friend and much more!
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Old 06-17-2020, 07:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: Being in this Cult is one of the Worst things that Happened in my Life!

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I can relate to your pain and confusion. I was in for 34 years including a full-time training. If there is anything I can help you with, please reach out. I can testify that Jesus is the most loving and caring Person you could ever meet, your best Friend and much more!
And I'll second this and what Trapped wrote. According to what you shared, what they did was NOT of Christ! How do I know? Love was missing and condemnation was present. This is the enemy, not our loving God. (They may have thought they were doing those things out of some misguided sense of "tough love," but they were deceived.)

God is not the God of condemnation and discouragement. No, He is the God of love and God of all encouragement! Seek Him and leave far behind anything else, that speaks to you differently.
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Old 06-17-2020, 08:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: Being in this Cult is one of the Worst things that Happened in my Life!

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And I'll second this and what Trapped wrote. According to what you shared, what they did was NOT of Christ! How do I know? Love was missing and condemnation was present. This is the enemy, not our loving God. (They may have thought they were doing those things out of some misguided sense of "tough love," but they were deceived.)

God is not the God of condemnation and discouragement. No, He is the God of love and God of all encouragement! Seek Him and leave far behind anything else, that speaks to you differently.
Kangas says Lee is comparable to Apostle Paul, but Paul would tell Lee that Lee's ministry was of the letter that kills and was the ministry of death and condemnation. (2 Corinthians 3.6-9)
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Old 06-17-2020, 01:53 PM   #6
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.... and this is the ultimate purpose of this forum and all the work and time put into it by this wonderful bunch of ex-LCers. To reach out in healing and truth to the suffering and those in deep pain from all that has happened. A safe place to process it all, and warm arms of comfort reaching through the channels of the Internet!

This forum even probably saves lives from despair that could reach desperate levels if there were no hope, no correcting shield of truth to comfort and guide those harmed as yourself and others.

I wish you all the best as you extricate yourself from all this deep entanglement that has penetrated your being. It takes time, but the rewards are there. What men meant for harm, God will turn to good (a Scripture from Genesis 50 verse 19) and you will slowly develop wisdom that will become a shield in turn, for others.

Then all this will become a reward for your heart. There are many more WL's and BB's in the world, in many different guises, you will identify them easily as you heal and understand the dynamics behind them through this bad experience. I don't make promises lightly or often, but I can promise you that.
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Old 06-18-2020, 05:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Being in this Cult is one of the Worst things that Happened in my Life!

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I was in the local church in Anaheim, California from the age of 12 to 17 when Witness Lee was located there. Being in this cult is one of the worst things that happened in my life! My whole family was involved in it. My family still got together every Friday night just to socialize. I was told by an elder they were praying for my family to break apart. When my father lay dying in the hospital, they refused to come and give us comfort or prayer. When I finally worked up the courage to leave, I was told by an elder I was like the dogs of hell barking at the gates of heaven. Years later I was told by the Rapaport family they always celebrated Christmas and watched television at their grandparents house. What an insult! I no longer go to church anywhere. I can't take the judgment of everything I was taught at such an impressionable age. But, I refuse to let the Local Church ruin my life!
The local churches is not indicative of most churches. Ones I have attended since are no where near the sectarian and legalism the local churches are. Having been raised in the local churches I don't have any regrets up until the age of 12. Beyond the age of 12, there was peer pressure. Not just me, but parents too. Trying to conform to LC norms came with a price even if it meant becoming socially dysfunctional. Lessons been learned. No way no how was I going to let my role as a father be undermined by the local churches.
Each LC households I was among raised their children differently. Some had TV's and some didn't. From 1975 forward we had Christmas presents but without the Christmas tree and decorations. Years later as an adult I reasoned why each of these families were raised different was due from the different Christian backgrounds they came out of. Mennonite background, you wouldn't find a TV or radio. Jehovah witness background, you wouldn't see birthdays being celebrated. In Anaheim, I attended many a birthday party for fellow churchkids.
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Old 07-07-2020, 08:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Being in this Cult is one of the Worst things that Happened in my Life!

I have been thinking about this and other testimonies like it, and the injustice that some have started their Christian journey in such a harsh and negative way.

I have a parallel to compare: I am going to use the experience of coming out of the LC or another Christian cult as an analogy for the Israelites and their exodus from Egypt. Let me explain:

Phase 1: the Entry.
As a young, unformed people, in fact just a family, not a people yet, (could be likened to being in a child form) they became members of the Nation of Egypt. They were respected, made welcome, made their home there, and had a good life in the shelter and provision of Egypt.

Likewise, a young or new convert or member of the LC. Happy to be a part of the system, welcomed in and treated well. Love-bombed, baited deliberately, yes. It would not be fair to say that Egypt did that to the Israelites, but the initial, happy stage, where Israel is young, innocent and unformed as a people are the points of similarity.

Phase 2: the Change.
Down the track, it all shifts. Fully emmersed and invested in the system they have entered, and done so in good faith. Even God lead them there. Nevertheless, the Israelites lose their status as equals in the nation they joined, and are denigrated to slave status. We donít know if this shift happened suddenly, but we are not told otherwise.

How is it that they accept this? They could have rejected this and risen up quickly and decisively against it. They could have made plans to leave and escape away from Egypt, or fight against it. One thing is for sure, itís a bad deal and it wonít get better, there will be no point in the future where it will all go away. The longer they exist in such a weakened way, the harder it would be for them to resist this, and the deeper the dependence of the Egyptians on their servitude. The time to resist is, immediately as it happened. They are passive at this point. Do they lack strong leadership? Do they not know their value, allowing this abuse? Did the Egyptian system promote a propaganda designed to weaken their confidence or actively condition them? We are not given this detail, and maybe it was as sudden as the account seems to convey.

I liken this to the stage where the LC member has come to the place where they are being devalued and exploited. Why does the person accept this treatment? How are they weakened/conditioned such that they accept it? (we know the propaganda used by the LC here).

Why Godís special people started out as an innocent people who through no fault of their own, become ensnared into slavery is an interesting question to ask. No wonder the Pharaoh that Moses confronted had little regard of a God who represented a people that were his pee-ons! What sort of god would be attached to a bunch of slaves, surely one who was at the bottom of the pecking order of deitys, and could only tolerate poor, dirty, smelly, helpless people. Pharoahís people, after all, he owned them, not some second-rate deity. And it was a good, a great arrangement from his point of view! A god of a noble, wealthy, beautifully adorned and elegant people would be one he could consider. I can see why he didnít take it all seriously at first.
Anyway, I digress a little. Gods people start out in the same situation as an unhappy trapped LC member, who has been innocently trapped into a damaging system, and there is no justice in it, and seems to make no sense as to why. And the pain is great. Thatís my point in phase 2.

Neither the Israelites nor the unhappy exploited LCer has any healthy boundaries nor is permitted to within their system. And is conditioned to allow abuse.

Phase 3: Extrication.
The bold step of leaving! For the Israelites it is along drawn out process with much drama along the way. (This part of the biblical story is so well known I wonít detail it). For the LCer it may be an internally dramatic and stressful process, which may or may not be externally dramatic.

However, both end up in a period of isolation and removal from all they had known and depended on for their survival. For the Israelites it was physical provision, for the newly formed ex-LCer it may be social and cultural. This is a time to form dependence on God alone, the opportunity to come to know Him genuinely, and know His ways.

Hard to do as a survivor of abuse, but this period in the history of the formation of the nation of Israel, does relate to the period of time for an LC- exited person, directly after leaving. Those testifying of this time on this forum, passed through it in different ways. I hope Iím not suggesting a too-rigid frame. I just hope it might be an encouragement to see this general pattern.

Phase 4: finding Identity, Purpose and Strength.
Who they were, as a people, when they entered the wilderness was not who they were when they emerged on the other side! (That is the encouraging part of this long post).

They developed a sense of themselves, based on their submission to God, that made them a strong and conquering people. A force that could not be quenched or resisted. They conquered everyone they encountered and the people groups around them feared them. This was not the ramshackle collective of beaten-down slaves that left Egypt.

As a result of their time under Godís training, they now were strong, disciplined, organized, internally structured and had decisive leadership. They knew what they were about and where they were headed. They were certainly not a people to scorn or even think of treading down.

Crossing to the analogy of a person post LC: To be shaped from an amorphous, passive lump of clay, into a highly organized, clear-sighted and functional individual through the long-term process of having once been a servant to an evil system. It is actually a great long-term outcome. Its not an easy journey, but it is a valuable one, which delivers eternal rewards not just temporary ones. And creates something not just ordinary, but exceptional in the person (or nation) trained in such a way.

Take heart, God seeks to achieve something great in you, He is the same God that achieved this in his people, the Israelites!! Donít be dismayed by the hardships in the journey, though they will be hard, there is an amazing goal at the end of it. Thatís my final point.

Look at Balaamís impressions as he looked out over Israel camped in the desert. How beautiful were their streets and homes. (I donít think he was perceiving in the natural). Think of how Rahab longed to join them and leave behind the miserable existence she endured before. The Israelites had become something special, exceptional. A place of safety, shelter, and peace. This is my analogy in it's completion.

I hope it can encourage the discouraged, and inspire a prayer of faith and hope in Godís overall plan. And willingness to co-operate in it, above all the other offerings this life seeks to distract us with! Why it starts with Gods beloved coming out from under an abusive situation, I don't know. it will be a good one to ask when we get to heaven! I do know the result is good!
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