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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 09-13-2020, 07:23 PM   #1
JD620
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Default Wow, What Did I Grow Up In?

The last 12 hours have been a bit of a rambling rabbit hole for me, so please forgive the caffeine induced tangents.

I grew up as a CK in the New England Local Churches. My mother and father came into the Local Churches in their 20's, met each other in RI, and married in the early 80's. That was enough information for some of you to guess who I am. Yes, I have a few siblings.

My father was an elder for a period of time. I really can't fault my parents for how they raised me. Afterall, I've met their parents and as a 34 year old, I can now appreciate a number of decisions they made. However, I would not raise my kid the way many people did in the LC's during the 90's.

I was not raised in abuse, but being a Christian shouldn't feel like a life and death situation everyday. Memorizing verses, praying the right way, fitting every damn meeting in my schedule, and etc. all felt soooo important. If you let down the LC, it was like letting down God. As a child I felt like I was under constant scrutiny. As an adult, I felt like I was performing which made me question some of the true experiences of God I was having.

But what really kills me (and I'll never understand why I didn't leave sooner) is how women are/were treated. I don't know why I wasn't bothered before, but the way gender roles are assigned; how sisters are addressed; messages on sisters being more susceptible to gossip, manipulation, lies, emotions; and sitting in the second row.....there's sooo much. SERIOUSLY. How is the sexism so tangible and obvious, yet we never ever talk about it as a church?

I can't even begin to deal with how we've talked about LGBTQ. More perplexing (as of late) has been how leading brothers are keen on "understanding an eye on the world situation," but are quick to ignore national issues that effect many saints.

Still, the sexism is such a huge problem. I'm horrified that I didn't notice it sooner. I'm frightened about the people who may have been abused, assaulted, harmed, and subsequently ignored because of the practice of "covering the brothers."

We really need to talk about that.

I spent the last few hours reading about the "rebellions" in the local churches. They really did not represent that accurately to us. It was always some saints going way of biblical script or trying to "puff themselves up." Or they were somehow ambitious.

Reading the other side of that discussion, it's kind of obvious that there was a lot of "covering" happening.

I'm emotionally exhausted for today. Thank you to everyone who has come forward and shared their stories over the past few years. Speaking up about the LC is never easy. It's almost always followed by a discrediting campaign.

If you're an east coast former church kid that wants to chat and catch up, I'm all for it.
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Old 09-14-2020, 07:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: Wow, What Did I Grow Up In?

Welcome to the LCD Forum, and thanks for sharing! I was in the LCs in the 70s & 80s (when I was 18 - 32), and wasn't so aware of the sexism thing. Of course, I grew-up in a somewhat backward, mid-western family who was inherently a little sexist, racist, etc. Therefore it just may not have been on my radar as much - these days there is also such a heightened awareness of such things! Also, some of those things might not have been so prevalent in the LC localities we were in (Berkeley and Ohio churches).

However, these frequent discussions regarding church kid experiences, that are frequently brought up on here, is causing me to wonder how my kids saw all that! I think I will ask them at some point . . .
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Old 09-17-2020, 07:31 PM   #3
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Welcome JD620!

In short, the answer to your question in the title of your post is this: you grew up in what can be called "an abusive church". Or "an aberrant Christian group".

Was it intended to be an abusive church? Do the people in it know it's an abusive church? Has it always been an abusive church? Different people answer those questions different ways, but the end-result detrimental effects on the people in it, especially church kids, is the same regardless.

Which means, when you said that you were "not raised in abuse", it's kind of an interesting statement. Because if you are in the typical atmosphere and environment in the local church, then actually you were raised in abuse! It's just a covert, subtle kind of abuse that is very difficult to pinpoint, articulate, and put your finger on unless an outside source gives you the low down on what is really going on. The abuse you were raised in in the local church as a church kid is "spiritual abuse". It is not uncommon for people who are spiritually abused to not even know they are being abused!

Does that make the abuse ok? Not at all. People don't have to consciously be aware of the harm done to them for it to count as abuse. And how do I know that you were raised in abuse? Because you said that being a Christian shouldn't feel like a life and death situation every day. There's the abuse right there. The weight, the oppression, the condemnation, the requirements - none of which God put on you, but it was put on you in God's name. On the one hand, being a Christian, ironically, is at its core a matter of life and death (i.e., Jesus came to make us dead people alive again), but in our daily life, once we are saved and safe in Him....Jesus told us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. That doesn't sound like life and death to me. Yes, we've got to take up our cross, but Jesus is the one who did the dying and the suffering for us. In fact, one of the known attributes of high control groups is that people in them experience "inferred, symbolic, and/or literal death threats". If you have listened at all to the sharing from the co-workers about a year ago, you will know immediately that inferred, symbolic, and/or literal threats of death are indeed found in the local churches. That's not normal for a church. It's not a healthy church. And it's not of God. God doesn't threaten us with death; His mercies are so rich that He saves us from the punishment of death!

The sexism is, I think, tied up somewhat in the thought-stopping cliches in the local church. Thought-stopping cliches are sayings that shut down rational thought, and prevent the ability of members to speak up. If you've got prevalent teachings like "get out of your mind" or "you are on the wrong tree" or "we are not in the realm of right and wrong", then almost any horrific thing can be said and the members are already fully ingrained to immediately doubt their own concerns and condemn their own reactions! (all that's spiritual abuse too, for the record). And as a former poster here used to observe, if you can shut down and oppress half the members (women), then you have successfully shut down half of the people who will keep you accountable! So many things are just about control.

There's more I would like to say in response to your post, but I'm short on time right now. I understand the rabbit hole, and I understand the emotional exhaustion. It's very normal for what you are discovering.

Read books on spiritual abuse. Watch YouTube videos on spiritual abuse. There are some good ones (and some mediocre ones). You should be able to discern the good from the mediocre pretty quickly. As a church kid, the light will go on once you hear people NOT from the local church describing something they call "an abusive church" and it.......just so happens to sound like the local church. It's eye opening. Here are two interviews with the authors of one of the more well-known books on spiritual abuse (called The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse).

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

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Old 09-18-2020, 07:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Wow, What Did I Grow Up In?

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The last 12 hours have been a bit of a rambling rabbit hole for me, so please forgive the caffeine induced tangents.

I grew up as a CK in the New England Local Churches. My mother and father came into the Local Churches in their 20's, met each other in RI, and married in the early 80's. That was enough information for some of you to guess who I am. Yes, I have a few siblings.
I'm a fan of tangents. Please keep 'em coming.

And I am guessing ... to no avail.

Thanks for speaking up for women and lbgtq brothers and sisters.

I'm sorry you had to grow up in that oppressive and abusive cult. Are you okay?

Harold
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Old 09-19-2020, 02:07 PM   #5
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But what really kills me (and I'll never understand why I didn't leave sooner) is how women are/were treated. I don't know why I wasn't bothered before, but the way gender roles are assigned; how sisters are addressed; messages on sisters being more susceptible to gossip, manipulation, lies, emotions; and sitting in the second row.....there's sooo much. SERIOUSLY. How is the sexism so tangible and obvious, yet we never ever talk about it as a church?

Still, the sexism is such a huge problem. I'm horrified that I didn't notice it sooner. I'm frightened about the people who may have been abused, assaulted, harmed, and subsequently ignored because of the practice of "covering the brothers."

We really need to talk about that.
Yeah, I started noticing several years ago that they "start 'em young", that's for sure. In some localities the truth schools/SSOT's even have the young people brothers sitting in the front row, as if teenage boys have a higher place in God's house than teenage girls. I don't know that all localities do that, some may split them down the middle so boys can sit up from on one side and girls can sit up from on another side, but when you have the chairs in a square, it's the young boys who sit in the front row.

And the ultimate irony is that when the speaking brothers stand on the stage and paint the sisters as gossipers, manipulators, liars, driven by emotions, as well as susceptible to gossip, manipulation, lies, and emotions.......IT'S THE BROTHERS ON STAGE who are manipulating, lying, and being driven by their emotions (fear of losing control)! What a clown show!

The very concept that there are such tangible things in the church that are never talked about and never allowed to be talked about -- that's a red flag of an abusive church. You can't talk about the weirdness or the problems or the horrible treatment of a group of people, and if you do, then YOU are the problem, rather than the problem being the problem.

I think the local church is probably seething inside with people who have been abused, harmed, and ignored or even blamed because of the covering doctrine. That doctrine, by the way, is another known red flag of an abusive group.

Thankfully, we know God hates this. He is not for the covering doctrine for one second. He will right the wrongs that are not righted in this life.

They (the red flags) are everywhere. That's why the co-workers threaten "death" over the saints if they try to go off and read information from non-LSM sources. Because the eyes of their heart will be enlightened very quickly. But the ministry has set up such a fear-based system that it's almost impossible to even get any given member to agree to give contrary information the time of day. It's a gut-wrencher.
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Old 09-19-2020, 02:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wow, What Did I Grow Up In?

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And the ultimate irony is that when the speaking brothers stand on the stage and paint the sisters as gossipers, manipulators, liars, driven by emotions, as well as susceptible to gossip, manipulation, lies, and emotions.......IT'S THE BROTHERS ON STAGE who are manipulating, lying, and being driven by their emotions (fear of losing control)! What a clown show!
"It's that woman that You gave me!!!" (It's why we get married and have kids, to blame things on.)
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Old 09-19-2020, 05:15 PM   #7
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"It's that woman that You gave me!!!" (It's why we get married and have kids, to blame things on.)
The church I'm now in went through a portion of Genesis a little while back related to marriage, as well as the verses about husbands loving their wives as their own bodies, and loving as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. It struck me that this comment of Adam's (finger pointing at the woman) after they ate of the tree was the dead opposite of God's intention for the marriage relationship. Instead of giving himself up for his wife, Adam went in the other direction and distanced himself from her and threw her under the bus! Not exactly a picture of loving his wife as himself and with sacrificial love!
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:55 PM   #8
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And the ultimate irony is that when the speaking brothers stand on the stage and paint the sisters as gossipers, manipulators, liars, driven by emotions, as well as susceptible to gossip, manipulation, lies, and emotions.......IT'S THE BROTHERS ON STAGE who are manipulating, lying, and being driven by their emotions (fear of losing control)! What a clown show!
Bullseye! Trapped, you're right on. Brothers are busy playing politics. How is it leading brothers portray sisters so poorly?
1. Some sisters are truth-tellers which may not be "covering the brothers".
2. Some brothers might have a psychological animus against sisters which is why one might speak consistently so strongly against sisters.
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Old 09-19-2020, 10:08 PM   #9
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I'm emotionally exhausted for today. Thank you to everyone who has come forward and shared their stories over the past few years. Speaking up about the LC is never easy. It's almost always followed by a discrediting campaign.
Kind of sounds like present day America. Instead of believing news reports, go straight to the source. Easier in LC circles to do that sort of thing.
I'm always grateful for "Indiana"'s labor. Ones like Indiana and ourselves were supposed to believe the report LSM gave on the turmoils, rebellions, etc. Then Indiana goes an interviews many former elders and co-workers nearly 20 years ago. Oh, the current LC elders get all bent out of shape for Indiana speaking to these former LC elders. Is there something to hide for seeking the truth?
Though ones like John Ingalls had been out of the LC prior to his passing, the smear campaign against him was unrelenting.
This account was quite touching to me personally. The summer before my uncle passed (a LC responsible brother for many years) my sons and I had lunch with my uncle and aunt. Out of the blue they were reminiscing of their time with John Ingalls in South Africa.
How is it there is such strong feelings towards ones who leave the local churches? My conclusion is an absence of grace.
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Old 09-19-2020, 10:22 PM   #10
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How is it there is such strong feelings towards ones who leave the local churches? My conclusion is an absence of grace.
My two cents are that it's fear again. But not fear put on the members by the co-workers, it's fear on the co-workers' part that:

1. their sin might be uncovered
2. their abusive teachings might be revealed for what they are
3. they have given the entirety of their lives to a lie
4. they have harmed many people and are accountable to God for it
5. they are wrong

I mean, think about it. Those five things would drown anyone in shame and be too much for anyone to handle without God stepping in.

When people react as irrationally and as strongly as the LC leadership does (and the lay-members react the same because they have been taught to), it says much more about what's going on inside the co-workers' hearts than has anything to do with anyone who leaves. The lay-members may react due to points 3-5 above, and they really know the truth in their heart, but have to swim around in the pool of cognitive dissonance and just close up their ears to cope with it. The strength of the feelings against ones who leave points to the sheer volume of anxiety trapped within the person who has those strong feelings. Based on his vituperative rhetoric, it seems Ron Kangas is actually the one walking around with the most anxiety within him, regardless of his "no fear, no worry" attitude on stage. I mean, seriously. People only react the way Ron does when they can't cope with what a given member's leaving the LC means for HIM.
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Old Yesterday, 06:45 AM   #11
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Default Re: Wow, What Did I Grow Up In?

Excellent post, Trapped.

I would add to your list:

6. Follow the money.

Early on, one point of "truth" being taught by Lee was poor, degraded Christianity's practice of hiring pastors and paying them to shepherd their flocks. Hirelings he called them. It's shameful! "In the Local Church, we don't do that." Why? When the going gets tough, the hireling will be gone.

If you don't pay them, they will be gone. If you do pay them, you own them. You control them. They will say what you pay them to say. Whoever is hired can be fired. They are bought and sold. In other words, follow the money.

Witness Lee "inoculated" us, the faithful, early on against relying on the hirelings. WE don't do that! WE don't pass the offering plate like THEY do! WE don't have hirelings. This was the inoculation. This was the Kool-aide we drank. It even seemed like the right thing to do. Rely on offerings of the faithful to pay the treading ox.

Then the lying started. Then Lee turned around and started the family business and began to sign up his own hirelings and pay them.

How long has it been since Ron Kangas worked a job in the private sector? Who owns Ron Kangas? How many more hirelings does the LSM hire to service its franchise outlets?

I honestly don't know that hiring pastors is wrong. People have to put food on the table and raise their families. What's wrong is the overwhelming, in-your-face, blatant hypocrisy.

You have to drink a lot of Kool-aide to keep your eyes blinded to the hypocrisy in "the ministry". When I figured out that something was wrong with the Kool-aide, I stopped drinking it. I began to question EVERYTHING Lee taught. Everything was suspect. I only kept what I could confirm in the Bible. If I believed something, it was because it was clearly taught in the Bible. NOT because "Brother Lee said..."

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Old Yesterday, 05:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: Wow, What Did I Grow Up In?

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My two cents are that it's fear again. But not fear put on the members by the co-workers, it's fear on the co-workers' part that:

1. their sin might be uncovered
2. their abusive teachings might be revealed for what they are
3. they have given the entirety of their lives to a lie
4. they have harmed many people and are accountable to God for it
5. they are wrong

I mean, think about it. Those five things would drown anyone in shame and be too much for anyone to handle without God stepping in.
Was this not also the inner motivation of the High Priests, scribes, and lawyers who pushed for the crucifixion of the Messiah?
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