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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 10-09-2017, 10:49 PM   #1
stella
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Default Chin up :)

Hello, my friends.

I discovered this forum a couple of months ago, and as I made my way through many of the threads, I began to feel a great weight lift off of my shoulders. I wasn’t so alone anymore.

I feel a kinship with many of you, and I want to thank you for sharing your voices and your hearts here. You’ve given me the bravery to share my own.

I’m here with what I hope will be words of encouragement. This post is for anyone who is struggling, doubting, grieving, aching. Maybe you are still in the church life, but have questions or issues. Maybe you have been hurt and abused by your fellow believers or by the culture and religiosity around you. Maybe you have already walked away, or you’re in the middle of leaving, or you’re tired and confused and don’t know what to do anymore.

Wherever you are, know that you are on a journey that is sacred and valuable. Know that it's 100% okay to struggle and wrestle. Know that you're not alone--at least one stranger on the Internet has your back! Also, give yourself some credit for the work you’re putting in. (I mean, you made it all the way to this forum. Come on!)

I can’t tell you that the pilgrimage into the wilderness is easy. It’s not. For me, leaving the place that truly was a beloved home to me for 7 years has been the hardest decision of my young adult life. My faith collapsed, and with it, much of my community. Meaningful, deep-rooted relationships were lost. My identity fractured. And I was crushed under the weight of too many heavy words spoken from podiums and written in ministry books. That someone like me was a backslider, a lost sheep, a dissenter, a sister who couldn’t get out of her emotions, an idealist instead of a visionary, etc. This psychological pain has been the most difficult to work through.

As someone who is now on the other side—recently, I might add…my exit process took several months, and my final decision to leave came only in July—I want to tell you there is hope. My own experience, while painful, has ultimately been one of grace and healing. I’m now in a different city, making new friends, and rebuilding my relationship with God one day at a time. I'd like to get back to church one day, but I'm taking it slow and easy at this point.

Whether you choose to stay or go, don’t lose heart. If you stay, I wish for so much peace and joy for you in your continued church life experience. And if you go, let me say this. Contrary to what you may have heard, there is a future for you. Your life is not over. Outer darkness is not waiting to consume you.

God loves you, even more than you can imagine. He is with you always, every step of the way.
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: Chin up :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by stella View Post
I discovered this forum a couple of months ago, and as I made my way through many of the threads, I began to feel a great weight lift off of my shoulders. I wasn’t so alone anymore.
Glad to see this forum has value out there. I've enjoyed writing here because I like ideas, and trying to express them, and having a venue for people to critique them has value to me. Nice to know it has value for others as well.

Your voice is important. Probably more than mine - I've maybe written about 1,000 more posts than I should have (give or take about 400).

The Lord always said that he'd leave the 99 to find the lost one. It is the lost ones that matter so much - who come forward and say, "here I am".

Peace to you & God bless your journey. The promise is, Seek and ye shall find. If anything in this universe is true, that's true.

~Aron
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: Chin up :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by stella View Post
Hello, my friends.

I discovered this forum a couple of months ago, and as I made my way through many of the threads, I began to feel a great weight lift off of my shoulders. I wasn’t so alone anymore....

God loves you, even more than you can imagine. He is with you always, every step of the way.


Your story makes me happy!


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Old 10-14-2017, 03:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Chin up :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by stella View Post
Hello, my friends.

I discovered this forum a couple of months ago, and as I made my way through many of the threads, I began to feel a great weight lift off of my shoulders. I wasn’t so alone anymore....
Wow Stella! That was awesome! You are an excellent writer; did my heart good to read your post.

Here's a verse that has been meaningful to me lately.

"But that's alright. God is ultimately in charge and I can trust him to put all things right. Meanwhilie, I will stay near to God, make him my refuge, and go on telling of his deeds."

Psalm 73:28
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Old 10-15-2017, 01:58 PM   #5
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Just wondering....are there any other groups/churches (that are not cults like the JWs and Mormons) who have a forum such as this to discuss the oddities and unrighteousness of a church body? If so, I have not seen one.

I am sure that there are some posts somewhere in which current members of a church discuss these things but I am wondering if it is same kind of forum where the members of a group have to come "in the cover of night", so to speak, to talk about things happening in their group--lest they be excommunicated.

My thinking is that the only reason that this forum is necessary is the practice of excommunication so diligently applied to all those who dare to disagree in the LC. And we see the result! The worst possible kind of publicity is now theirs!

In the church I grew up in, people were allowed to disagree agreeably. Anything not specifically spelled out by the Lord as a command could be discussed. Everyone's thoughts were welcome. When we had Bible studies, each person felt free to share what they themselves honestly thought--not just information provided by one adored author. Multiple sources were used and no one was pushed to "get in line" with what some leader said.

This is very sad, indeed
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Old 10-16-2017, 03:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: Chin up :)

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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Just wondering....are there any other groups/churches (that are not cults like the JWs and Mormons) who have a forum such as this to discuss the oddities and unrighteousness of a church body? If so, I have not seen one.

I am sure that there are some posts somewhere in which current members of a church discuss these things but I am wondering if it is same kind of forum where the members of a group have to come "in the cover of night", so to speak, to talk about things happening in their group--lest they be excommunicated.

My thinking is that the only reason that this forum is necessary is the practice of excommunication so diligently applied to all those who dare to disagree in the LC. And we see the result! The worst possible kind of publicity is now theirs!
I do know that ex-members of the Exclusive Brethren have websites and forums just like these. The parallels are uncanny. I have also read their history and at times could literally substitute current members of the Recovery into their accounts.

The Exclusives also had extensive excommunications over the most ridiculous of offenses, which led me to conclude that every quarantine or excommunication was not as it seemed. The published account never matched the real facts of the story. They were never about the truth, rather each was a struggle for power. Remember -- power corrupts. The lust for power is the key to understanding the sad and divisive history of both the Brethren and the Recovery.

And, btw, both systems were noted for their litigious ways silencing all critics.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:43 PM   #7
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Hi Stella, I grieve with you. How was it "truly...a beloved home" for 7 years? What changed?

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Originally Posted by stella View Post
Hello, my friends.
I discovered this forum a couple of months ago, and as I made my way through many of the threads, I began to feel a great weight lift off of my shoulders. I wasn’t so alone anymore...
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Chin up :)

Hi Stella,
Please consider registering for the Forum by sending an email requesting registration to LocalChurchDiscussions@Gmail.Com and include your desired UserName. (Stella or stella works!)
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:31 PM   #9
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Hi Stella, I grieve with you. How was it "truly...a beloved home" for 7 years? What changed?
Thank you for asking, and also, thank all of you for your kind words of support!! They mean a lot to me.

Before I respond, I'd like to clarify a few things. I’m going to try and be as objective as possible. Wish me luck. My intention here is not to spark more debate or to be contentious or ugly. I’m going to do my best not to make blanket statements about the saints or the local churches—I can only speak about my own personal experience. I also won’t go into tons of detail. There’s a lot I’m still processing, and I don’t want to be too rash.

So, to answer the first question, I met a small handful of LC members who were part of a campus ministry team when I was a freshman in college. I was young, vulnerable, already quite skeptical about God and organized religion, and dealing with a painful family situation. The saints fed me, housed me, and loved on me throughout my college years. Being around Christians with stable home lives, babies to cuddle, who loved the Bible and “walked the walk” made me feel safe, hopeful, and happy. I look back on that time with warmth and gratitude.

That being said, the first warning signs came early on. I’m a researcher by nature and by education, and came across “poison” on the Internet about the local churches and Witness Lee about 6 months after meeting the saints. I was obviously horrified to read things about cults and brainwashing and college students like myself being taken advantage of. I addressed what I had found with a sister in the LC right away, and I cannot emphasize this next part enough:

She was honest with me. She did not shut me down or turn me away. She and her husband were faithful to answer my many questions to the best of their ability. And she gave me a choice. I could stay or leave. It was up to me. I chose to stay. I chose to start meeting with the local church. I chose to attend the FTTA. I chose to do campus ministry for a year and a half. I chose all of those things. No one forced my hand.

Was there outside influence? Was I encouraged to do all of that? Was I up against something much larger than myself? Undoubtedly. But when it came down to it, I cannot and will not blame anybody. I believed I was following the Lord. All I wanted was to show my love for Him and please Him, to be absolute for Him.

And just like I chose to stay, I chose to leave. I had developed an elitist attitude toward other Christians, including my own family members. My relationship with my mother was especially damaged due to my pride. I couldn’t stomach the sexism and unsupportive, even antagonistic, stance toward the LGBTQ community. I didn’t want to participate in the whole “secret courting” thing when the time came…it just didn’t make sense to me. I could never really get behind the exclusivity of reading the works of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee (or if you were feeling adventurous, the trusted Christian pioneers mentioned within their books), the Recovery Version translation, etc. Mostly by the end I felt used up and far away from God. I gave all that I could, and I was left exhausted, depressed, and brokenhearted over the loss of a way of life that I thought would be permanent. Maybe these seem like crummy reasons that some would say I need to pray through or trust what the Bible says or get out of my mind about. Please believe me when I say I tried. I begged for God's mercy. I guess, for me, mercy took the form of leaving when it became harmful to stay.

I don't know how much I plan to participate on the forum in the future, but I couldn't stand the thought of being one more person that was silenced or living in fear. (Even though I'm here under an assumed name, these words still count, right?! Ha.) I struggle with the Bible these days, but I'm remembering a beautiful verse tonight. There's no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear.

Let's all keep moving into the light, friends. Thank you for reading. I stand with all of you.
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Old 10-20-2017, 07:03 PM   #10
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Hi Stella,

I am wondering what you mean by "unsupportive" of the LGBTQ community:

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I couldn’t stomach the sexism and unsupportive, even antagonistic, stance toward the LGBTQ community.
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Old 10-21-2017, 01:55 AM   #11
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Your love for the Lord rings through, Stella. And yes, He deeply loves you. He loves you perfectly. Perhaps He is loving you as He loved the children of Israel. In such a love, He led them purposefully in a downward direction. He led through a desert in which there was no natural water. He led them to Marah, to bitterness. There they learned that not only were their circumstances were bitter, but that in their own being there was bitterness, and that their being was bitter. Why did He do this? To heal them of their diseases: pride, lack of God's love for man: all of this was present in us before our salvation. "I am Jehovah who heals you." Without the exposing there is no healing.

What changes sometimes is simply that the Lord is going on in His transformation work. We passed one stage and go to another. It becomes impossibly hard. The Lord allowed the seeker in Song of Songs to be beaten by the watchmen, those who were supposed to watch over her soul. He allowed Jacob to suffer the mind-boggling situation of his sons slaughtering a people after his daughter was defiled.
May the Lord minister to you what you need so He can gain what He needs.
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:58 AM   #12
aron
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Default Re: Chin up :)

Chin up, stella. Your journey matters to God.
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Old 10-21-2017, 11:07 AM   #13
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When you can, chin down, eyes closed, heart turned. Pray. Contact the Lord. Converse with Him. He will remind you of your surely many consecrations through the years. He will not force you, but He wants to finish what He begun 7 years ago. Yes, it only gets harder. He doesn't remove the obstacles but increases the level of grace. He doesn't want to conform you to religiosity in whatever form. But He wants to conform you to the mold of His death. To bring you to resurrection. Then you will have resurrection life to supply to your mom, to the unbelievers, to the believers. Then you can be built with the believers. Jacob comes to Bethel twice. First time in a dream. Second time in actuality and practicality. I believe you saw the dream, you have seen the vision. Now it is the matter of actuality and practicality.You can be in Bethel permanently. But you have to pay whatever price of your soul life the Lord is gently asking.
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