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Old 08-27-2012, 06:17 AM   #1
GraceofChrist
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Default Testimony from Europe

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

First of all, I would like to apologize for my poor English, I live in Europe and I don’t speak this language fluently. So, sorry for my mistakes, but as brothers and sisters, I am sure you will understand. As well, I will avoid to mention my city and names.

This is my personal testimony. I’m still in a LC in Europe, but for how long? Even if I love the dear saints in my locality, I’ve seen too many things that bother me.

The Lord touched me when I was 19, three years ago. It was my first year far from my family, and I felt so alone. I couldn’t find anything to fill the gap inside me, but a student preached me the gospel, and offered me a New Testament. I was very suspicious, I didn’t know anything about Jesus, I thought it was a crazy thing to believe in Him. But as I didn’t know what to do some afternoon, I opened the Gospel of John, and began to read. I saw a lovely person, Jesus. I couldn’t stop my reading, I really drank every word from Jesus. I read, read…and suddenly I wept, it was a very deep feeling, and I knew that I believed in Him with all my soul and all my strength.

The next few weeks, I had long moments of fellowship and prayer with the sister who preached me the gospel –she isn’t in the Recovery. We read the Bible together, sometimes we read and prayed all the night, it was so wonderful…but she had to go to another country, so I saw that I should find a church. I decided to contact the only other Christian I knew in my college, a student from Taiwan. I asked her: "can I go with you in your church next Sunday?" and she answered "yes, of course!".

So, on Sunday, I arrived at a house where lived a Taiwanese couple. I didn’t know that there were meetings in houses, but even I found it weird, I thought it was interesting…I couldn’t help but being suspicious. The first thing which concerned me was these repeated "Oh Lord Jesus", and all these shouted amens. I know it sounds really Christian, but, well…I liked the hymns, even if I didn’t understand very well the lyrics : there were a bit difficult to understand for a newcomer. The prophecy meeting was a strange moment to me. I liked seeing everybody prophecizing, but I had the feeling to hear the same thing - says differently from a person to another, that’s right, but always the same. I was bothered, but I didn’t dare to say anything to the sister who led me there. When she called me to propose me to go to another meeting, I said: OK. At the end of this second meeting (it was in June 2009), I was still worried, about practices: I felt that, even if everything seemed so lively, happy, there was something dead inside (it’s hard to explain, it was just feeling). But I decided to be baptized, because I knew it was important for a Christian to be baptized (I didn’t really know what it means).

During the summer holidays, as I was thinking about my situation, I felt clearly that I should leave this church. It was the Lord’s voice. So I send an e-mail to the saints, and I explained my thoughts and my worries. Very kindly, some saints invited me for a fellowship. At the beginning, I was a bit worried, I was in fear of some reproaches ; but they didn’t say anything. Quickly, I felt better. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, but I remember that they manage to convince me that all the practices were good. And when we prayed together, I really felt the Holy Spirit filling me. It was so sweet ! I decided that I should see other meetings. Now, I must notice that it was one of the few times we didn’t mention the ministry (or I didn’t know that it was from the ministry).

So, I came to the meetings. I shushed this small voice inside when I was worried, thinking it was Satan’s strategy. This church was so unique: people were meeting together with joy, eating together, praying together, constantly praising the Lord. It was so close to the model of the church in Acts! It looked wonderful! They seemed to have found many "hidden truths". And I was sometimes impressed by what I could read in their litterature, it sounded really true. Even if some details seemed strange to me, who was I to object? I didn’t study the Bible like Witness Lee did.

Time passed by, and every disturbing thing became a habit. I went to my first conference in October, and even if I had a bad feeling, I did as if I was happy and managed to convice myself (for a while…). As I really loved the Lord, I wanted to be zealous for the church. I began to prophecy, to encourage everybody, to study the books of the ministry…The saints noticed my progression with joy. But inside me, there was something dead. As I was very busy with my studies, I didn’t have much time to think about it and to go very regularly to the meetings. I noticed it was curiously during these periods without fellowship with my church that I was the closer to God. Sometimes, as I went back from a prayer meeting, I was full of joy and strength. But I noticed that The Ministry was so exalted! They sincerely thought that it was the Lord’s ministry. But this matter of ministry seemed to trap the church, and even if it spoke about the Lord, it became as important as the Lord himself (or maybe even more). We didn’t open the Bible anymore in the meetings, or rather when we did it, it was impossible to quote a verse without reading the footnote. Once again, I managed to repress my doubts. It was getting more and more difficult, but I conviced myself it was something fleshly.

I went to a Young People Camp, last summer, and had a very weird time: sometimes, I really felt the presence of the Lord there. Some messages captured my heart, and I thought: "Yes, this is absolutely from the Lord". Sometimes, I was so worried with what I heard and saw. I have nothing to reproach to people who shout "praise the Lord", who repeat loudly the stanzas of a hymn. After all, if you do it from deep in your heart, it’s so good for the Lord, isn’t it? But I began to understand better. These praises were not (at least, not often) spontaneous, there were a teaching, something people had to do. If you did it differently, or if you didn’t praise with the whole group, there was like a silent pressure on your shoulders: you were not with the others, you were not in the mold. Because of this pressure, I felt obligated to shout, to do everything like my brothers and sisters, and sometimes, in order to show that I was with them, I did twice as much than them. I just wanted to survive in this environment. I was so disturbed as well with the constant reminder of going to the FTT: "the best place on Earth!". One night, as I prophesied a bit too long, a brother came to me after the meeting and admonished me in an ironical manner. I knew it was tactless and not mean, but I felt so hurt! All my soul was in this short sharing, and because I had spoken a few seconds too long…it is normal to have some rules and to respect them, but it was so legalistic! Many things were so legalistic! But it was still confused in this moment. At the end of the camp, many young people were baptized: wonderful news! But when a brother I knew decided to get into the bathtub, I told him: "I thought you were baptized?" "I am, but I was so young…now I understand what it means". I keep silent, but instantly one verse in Ephesians came to my mind: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism"…one baptism…

I went back to my city. I was happy to find some calm in the small church we have. I was still very motivated for the church. In spite of the things that disturbed me, I wanted to keep in mind that I was in the Lord’s recovery, it was The Church (it was so close to the church in Acts!), these problems were normal and, maybe, someday, the Lord would arrange everything…to be honest, I tried to ignore my feelings (fleshly thing!) and to go forward. But the Lord is too strong, so marvellous and powerful. And he forced me a few months ago to have a deep introspection, alone with Him.

Short periods of zeal for the ministry alternates with long periods of doubts. I must precise that my doubts were not about the Lord, I still loved Him with all my heart, but about the church and the ministry. I always prophesied on Sunday meeting, I couldn’t imagine a meeting without my prophecy, even when I had many unanswered questions. I was less and less faithful in the reading of the HWFMR, but I always read on Saturday night a few messages of the current week in order to have a few words to say the day after. Another problem disturbed me: recently, I felt a feeling of superiority compared to the sister who led me to the Lord, because I was in the Local Church and she wasn’t. I felt so shameful! But I saw that the bashing of denominations was the origin of this sinful thought. And another one: why, why did we always read books by Witness Lee ? I felt deeper that the ministry was more important than the Lord himself.

In March of this year, one night, the Lord put in my head the story of Jacob, in Peniel, with this thought: "Why do you resist to me? Why do you continue this fight? You know I will win. "I understood instantly what he was talking about. For the first time I did a simple thing, a thing that I didn’t dare do before: I searched on Google informations and testimonies by ex-Local Church members. The first text I read was from brother John So. After a few hours of searching, I had a quite complete view of the hidden (and very well hidden) history of the Local Churches, and I was sure that these testimonies were genuine. I saw once again the preeminent importance of a man, Witness Lee, and his ministry. Voluntarily or not, they took the first place among us. Of course, I was very embarrassed, but I couldn’t imagine to leave the local church. I still thought it was the church that the Lord desired, with or without the problems!

Three months went by. I was so busy that I couldn’t go to the meetings and think about the situation. But immediately after this intense period of work, the Lord put in front of me the same questions. I couldn’t go away, and all the things I repressed came to light:

1°) The practices: praises come not often spontaneously, but saints are taught to praise in a certain manner. Pray-reading, which sounds so dead to my ears, is not a bad practice: it’s a very good thing to pray the Word of God. But the way it is done in the Local Church (broken sentences repeated and emphasize again and again) is just dead, because it’s done in a legalistic way. The reading of the Bible (at least in my locality) is very rare during the meeting, and it seems it can’t be done without footnotes. Another disturbing belief is to call on the name of the Lord. Yes, saints have always call on the name of the Lord. But it’s not the mantra you can hear in the Local Church; it was something from deep inside. As well, to believe that a person is just saved because he says: "O Lord Jesus! "is an important mistake. Yes, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians: "no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit." But the Bible also says in Romans: "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? "To call on the Lord is not a magic formula or an empty mantra, but the expression of a deep need to contact the Lord, to feel His presence.

2°)The attitude toward the other denominations, always so proud. The most pernicious thing is that they will never say that they think, Christians in other denominations are unsaved. But they always act like if they are superior. One sentence can prove this; sometimes, at the prayer meeting, I heard: "There is no saint in that city". There is no saint? Nobody is saved is that city? No, this means: "This is no Local Church."

3°) The importance of Witness Lee and the Ministry: actually, the main problem, and it comprises all the other matters. The church is now centralized on a ministry and his leader. If you’re not following them, maybe they won’t excommuniate you (they did it for a few saints) but there is like a bareer between you and the church. In order to avoid division, Witness Lee decided to be the unique author of the books that Local Church should read. This is a very dangerous way. The Local Churches are not recognizable because they are following Christ, but because they are following the Living Stream Ministry. Criticize Witness Lee’s writings is like criticizing God’s Word. They are placing Witness Lee as an infallible man; you must accept everything (I heard in a conference that all the footnotes of the Recovery Version are right; if you don’t agree, you have to pray, and the Lord will show you it’s true…). Paul said to the Thessalonians: "Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test them all". And John: "do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God". In the Recovery, you have no possibility to test, because there is one possibility for you to stay: accept everything from the Ministry. This is an important sin: idolatry. Now Witness lee is dead, but the problem is the same. In the eyes of the ministry, his writings are definitive and there is nothing to add…I sometimes had the feeling that the name of Watchman Nee was sometimes used as a pretext to justify that Lee’s writings were the continuation (and the amelioration?) of Nee’s ones.

More personal problems came at light as well: some questions, that I tried to answer honestly: do you want to marry a zealous sister of the Recovery, who does everything as the Ministry says? No! I don’t want it. But a sister whose heart is for the Lord himself. The brothers and sisters hope, I will tell them that I want to go to the FTT. But I can’t! With all the things I saw, how could I? It is not my way. And I know that if I have to move to another city, I will probably be a responsible there, responsible to teach them things I disagree. Before God, I can’t do this. And I noticed, I couldn’t open the Recovery Version of the Bible since a few months, because it turned my stomach to see all these footnotes. (Wow! It’s so strange to write this…) I understood better as well, why young people in the meetings are not lively. They are fragile, and the food we give them is not life-giving…some sentences, "it’s the attack of the enemy", like if the church couldn’t do a mistake, and God always approved them…

There are probably many things that I don’t mention, especially about the history of the Local Church. As I was kneeled on my bed, alone with the Lord in my room, I saw everything so clearly. I didn’t know how it had happened, but my face bathed in tears. I understood it was the beginning of another fight, not against the Lord but with Him, and for the first time I didn't pray: "Should I stay here?", but: "Lord, help me to leave the Local Church."

I say another fight, because I felt so depressed. For a few nights, I had terrible nightmares. All my convictions about the church fell like a house of cards. I don’t mean that all the teachings are wrong! Some of them are absolutely correct. But some of them are wrong, and it seems, that it’s an offense to say there is a mistake. And this church is like a family to me, I love them as brothers and sisters! But the truth for the Lord is more important…One thing helped me a lot: the finding of this forum. I saw that I was not alone.

Now, I would like to ask you to pray for me. Because I received these last few days messages from saints worried to have no news from me. The Lord streghten me! It will be a shock for them when I will tell them what is on my heart! But I know that I must leave them. God has a way for each person. But for everybody, I can say: be careful when you’re going to a church. Feel free to test the spirits, and do not follow a man blindly, except Jesus Christ. Obey to Him, otherwise you will have a tedious experience like mine, or other persons in this forum. But He will show you His faithfulness.

Sorry, it’s a very long testimony.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:55 AM   #2
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Dear friend,

Two pieces of advice:

1)God has a plan for you. Ask Him: "Lord, show me my path; reveal to me Your will." He will give you fellowship with other Christians. One of the strategies of God's adversary is to cut off and isolate Christians from each other. So don't try to "leave" the LC so much as "connect" with other believers. If you try the first it will make you weak but if you do the second it will make you strong. I also had the "superiority" attitude when I began to meet with other believers. I knew verses nobody else knew; I had impressive interpretations and could show off. But eventually I realized that many of these non-LC christians had love in their hearts that I would be wise to imitate. So I humbled myself and eventually was able to continue my spiritual journey outside the LC churches. God is good; God will not let you go.

2) Do not fight or argue with anyone. Just be nobody; be nothing. "I am determined to know only one thing among you, and that is Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2) Forget about doctrines, teachings, practices, ministries, trainings, FTT, footnotes, hidden histories. You didn't come to this earth to either join the local churches of the Lord's Recovery, or to "oppose" them (their favorite word). Just be you: a sinner who has repented and believed into Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Trust that He is now leading you home to your heavenly Father. Just continue on your journey. The journey is long, and it sometimes seems hard and lonely, but your Guide and Protector will be with you every step.

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you" 2 Thess 3
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:02 AM   #3
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Amen, dear aron, and thank you very much. These two advices touch me a lot. You're right : God is good, and He will not let me go.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:23 AM   #4
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Dear GraceofChrist,

Thank you so much for your heartfelt story. As I read it, I marveled at the balance of your perspective, your willingness not to judge, and your resolve to put God first and trust him. These have served you well and will continue to do so.

I also thought of how your story must be the story of so many--lovers of Jesus who long for a pure community of Christians with which to serve the Lord, who initially see promise in the LC, who then see the problems, and who end up conflicted and not just a little confused.

Simply realize this. No community of Christians, no matter how seemingly good, has a monopoly on God. Jesus said that God was able to raise up worshipers from rocks on the ground (Matt 3:9). So surely he can raise up communities of Christians as he pleases. He may even use you to do so! Do not think it's the LC or nothing. Some there actually believe that. This is the root of practically all their problems.

Keep climbing in faith.

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Old 08-27-2012, 07:27 AM   #5
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So don't try to "leave" the LC so much as "connect" with other believers. If you try the first it will make you weak but if you do the second it will make you strong.
Tremendous advice, aron. I never thought of it that way.

Thanks!
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:12 AM   #6
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Dear GraceOfChrist,

A regular reader of this forum sent me a copy of your testimony posted here and I felt I could not stay silent. So much of what you've said rings true with what I've experienced in the past, as well as very recently. Especially your question about whether you could marry a zealous sister of the recovery.

I grew up in the LC. I became a Christian and was baptized around the time I was 12. As a child of an elder and full-timer, most of my life revolved around the LC. During my teen years I attended several of the "Summer School of Truth" conferences. It was there where I began to question the practices of the LC.

There was so much I didn't understand about the practices. We were forced to pray read in a very set pattern. If you didn't participate, you were singled out and told to. We would have to stand on our chairs and shout "Praise the Lord" at the ceilings as loud as we could. After messages if there were no people getting up to testify willingly, they were publicly volunteered. As a young teen I stayed silent, too afraid to voice my questions and unsure if my questions would mark me as an unbeliever.

After a couple of years (my last "Summer School" I believe) I finally found the courage to ask what was up with these practices. I asked a brother why, if God is all knowing and all encompassing, did I have to shout things that weren't in my heart at Him? Would HE not know I did not mean the things I said, that I was saying these things to satisfy the brothers? I was quickly told that I did not understand, and that this was the way you exercised your spirit. I will admit that at the time it was mostly teenage rebellion, but it did puzzle me. I asked a few more times, different brothers in different localities over the next little while, and no one could answer my question to my satisfaction. It was always "that is the way you exercise your spirit." I too had questions about why everything was "Brother Lee this, Brother Lee that." Despite having found the courage to question some practices, I never found the courage to ask one question - is Witness Lee infallible? Regardless of anything or everything he knows, is he not still just a man? Even to my young eyes it was apparent to me that he was held in reverence and could not be questioned.

For the next few years I'd go to conferences, if only to stay in touch with friends. With that as my only motivation for staying it is probably needless to say I eventually left the LC for good in my early 20's. Again mostly out of rebellion but also because nobody could answer my questions. I'd seen friends from the LC go off to young people's trainings and come back whipped into a frenzy, spouting catchphrases and doctrine. "Brother Lee says..." I couldn't talk to them - socially or spiritually. There was only one way. One. Any variance was wrong. My questions, apparently, were the result of not being in my spirit even though I would ask for clarification on their stance.

I realize I'm focusing a lot on the negative here and have to say it was not all like that. There were joyous times, real heart-felt testimony and messages I remember. I still think about some brothers who I looked forward to hearing a message from. But I've opened a floodgate that has been closed for a very long time and it is hard to filter at the moment.

For ages I did not meet anywhere - I'd turned my back on God and lived like it. I knew He was with me, watching over me, but I paid no attention. There were times when my conscience would flare up (lots of them actually) and I'd turn back to the Lord briefly before I'd resume living my life my way.

Fast forward through some very difficult times, and I've found myself seeking again (there is nothing like personal tragedy to bring you back to the Lord.) I've attended meetings here and there with different groups, finding none to my satisfaction. I'll always find something wrong. "A good message, but..." "Enjoyed the hymns, but..." All this despite knowing my thoughts and conceptions are the result of overexposure to the LC and how things are "supposed" to be done.

A short time ago, I met someone in the LC I had known previously and we fell for each other. This is where your testimony hits me. I read your post not 30 minutes after hanging up after a heated discussion with this someone. Despite all of my misgivings, I'd agreed that I'd at least attend the Lord's table meetings with this person. Over the course of a few months I've attended several LC meetings and have found that nothing, really, has changed. Though like you, I did notice that no one brings a bible anymore. And also like you I did enjoy the hymns, but immediately after the singing stops my guard goes up. Every verse of the hymn is still pray read or shouted ad nauseum. Screaming and shouting. I'm not saying it can't be genuine, but it feels so rehearsed and pre-meditated most of the time. I was shocked to hear that there are no longer messages as well. And the prophesising, just parroting what was said previously - or so it felt. That is not to say I did not enjoy some of the speaking. There were some testimonies that were extremely enjoyable, full of life. But still, to me, so much feels like programmed response and performing for the elders.

I asked this person why things were being done the way they were being done, and immediately got a programmed response. A lot of the terminology I remembered from back when I was in, but new ones as well. All these phrases, the repetition of meaningless words. They are unfortunately easy to spot, even if you don’t know the new ones. I asked why there are no bibles. I was told they weren't needed, that the verses they needed were in the morning revival books. All the saints reading the morning revival books across the globe was described to me as being necessary for the “oneness.” I asked what would happen if you testified based on something that wasn't in the morning revival books. I didn't get a straight answer. I asked if Witness Lee is no longer on this earth, does that mean there is nothing more to be learned from the word? I asked why only his teachings were taught? I was assured that he had found what was needed out of the bible. Despite telling this person I did not have a problem with their meeting in the LC, I was still told I was being negative and attacking unnecessarily. For asking simple questions. When I told this person that I was genuinely seeking just not through the LC exclusively I was told that the LC is God’s movement on earth. Period.

I, too, apologize for going on so long. But I needed to get this off of my chest. And thank you, brother, for your testimony. I’m not especially learned in the word (although I am working on that) but your experience in the LC sounds so close to what I’ve experienced on and off over decades that I felt I had to pour it out.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: Testimony from Europe

Thank you everybody for the answers. You know, it's so good to find a place where people can understand what you are going through, where people know the doubts and the sufferings you can feel. LSM churches are so complex when you love the Lord, a mix of joy, of doubts and sufferings! You need to go through this experience to know what it is.
And I was so glad to read your testimony, dear guest, and glad to see, it was helpful for you as well. About practices in Local Churches you use this word : "pre-meditated", I believe it's the exact word. I often had this experience too: "A good message, but...", "Enjoyed the hymns, but...", like you. As I said, nothing is completely black, and nothing is completely white in these churches, that's why it's so difficult to leave.
And I'm not surprised about the answers you received, I heard them very often. Thank you again for your testimony, and thank you everybody.

May God bless you all.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:12 PM   #8
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Although my opinion here isn't needed, and may clutter things up, I still wanted to offer a brief "amen" to what has been written. These things also were my experiences.

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I asked if Witness Lee is no longer on this earth, does that mean there is nothing more to be learned from the word? I asked why only his teachings were taught? I was assured that he had found what was needed out of the bible.
I was told this as well: "All the high peaks have been recovered." This is completely wrong, factually, and second it smacks of pride and arrogance.

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Despite telling this person I did not have a problem with their meeting in the LC, I was still told I was being negative and attacking unnecessarily. For asking simple questions.
This I got on-line in an internet forum. Any questionings of LC practices and I was told (in writing) that I was "dark" and "bitter" and attempting to draw people away after myself.

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When I told this person that I was genuinely seeking just not through the LC exclusively I was told that the LC is God’s movement on earth. Period.
One of the interesting things about the LC program is that fellowship with non-LC christians is discouraged. They also warn that if you seek the Lord apart from "the ministry", then you "have left the ground". I was told that you may get confused, or "poisoned", not hearing the "pure" ministry.

The LC program tries to put itself off as the most orthodox and inclusive of christian groups, but in practice I found that nothing but LC activities promoted by Living Stream Ministry headquarters in Anaheim, is tolerated. My local church tried to have a conference once on one of Witness Lee's books, and were told on no uncertain terms (this our elder there told us personally) that we were to cover the last conference by the Blended Brothers. The "flow" from Anaheim only went one way: you could not tell them anything; rather they told you what to collectively do.

So the "oneness" which supposedly is all-inclusive of all christians, in practice turns out to be divisive and sectarian, in my experience. As in, "Everybody who doesn't do exactly what I am doing, is divisive and sectarian."
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:32 PM   #9
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When you are dealing with staunch LCers you are dealing with closed-minded Christians. Christians, yes. Close-minded, unfortunately that too. There is little way to reason with such people.

One thing you have accept is that you are probably never going to get satisfactory approval from these people. That is a very hard thing to process emotionally since they have been important to you. They are likely always going to think you have gone astray, and though you believe you haven't, you still long for their approval. You want them to think well of you. And when that doesn't come it makes you uneasy, because you've been trained in a very fundamental way to "follow the saints," but also simply because you want the understanding and approval of those close to you. It's a normal human response.

But from their end it's manipulation. It's a form of bullying. One very important lesson in life is to learn to have rewarding relationships without being manipulated by those you are in relationship with. The LC's extreme views of community are a hotbed for manipulation.

Self-respecting people don't allow themselves to be manipulated. Look at Jesus. Do you think he ever let anyone manipulate him?
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraceofChrist View Post


1°) The practices: praises come not often spontaneously, but saints are taught to praise in a certain manner. Pray-reading, which sounds so dead to my ears, is not a bad practice: it’s a very good thing to pray the Word of God. But the way it is done in the Local Church (broken sentences repeated and emphasize again and again) is just dead, because it’s done in a legalistic way. The reading of the Bible (at least in my locality) is very rare during the meeting, and it seems it can’t be done without footnotes. Another disturbing belief is to call on the name of the Lord. Yes, saints have always call on the name of the Lord.

2°)The attitude toward the other denominations, always so proud. The most pernicious thing is that they will never say that they think, Christians in other denominations are unsaved. But they always act like if they are superior. One sentence can prove this; sometimes, at the prayer meeting, I heard: "There is no saint in that city". There is no saint? Nobody is saved is that city? No, this means: "This is no Local Church."

3°) The importance of Witness Lee and the Ministry: actually, the main problem, and it comprises all the other matters. The church is now centralized on a ministry and his leader. If you’re not following them, maybe they won’t excommuniate you (they did it for a few saints) but there is like a bareer between you and the church. In order to avoid division, Witness Lee decided to be the unique author of the books that Local Church should read. This is a very dangerous way. The Local Churches are not recognizable because they are following Christ, but because they are following the Living Stream Ministry. Criticize Witness Lee’s writings is like criticizing God’s Word. They are placing Witness Lee as an infallible man; you must accept everything (I heard in a conference that all the footnotes of the Recovery Version are right; if you don’t agree, you have to pray, and the Lord will show you it’s true…). Paul said to the Thessalonians: "Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test them all". And John: "do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God". In the Recovery, you have no possibility to test, because there is one possibility for you to stay: accept everything from the Ministry. This is an important sin: idolatry. Now Witness lee is dead, but the problem is the same. In the eyes of the ministry, his writings are definitive and there is nothing to add…I sometimes had the feeling that the name of Watchman Nee was sometimes used as a pretext to justify that Lee’s writings were the continuation (and the amelioration?) of Nee’s ones.

More personal problems came at light as well: some questions, that I tried to answer honestly: do you want to marry a zealous sister of the Recovery, who does everything as the Ministry says?
GraceofChrist,
much of what you said I relate to.

1. Practices:
Pray reading is good, but it can also become a form.
Calling on the name of the Lord. Something my wife and I do, but keep in mind you only need to call on Him once to get His person.
Footnotes have their place. I find the value as a reference, but invariably in LSM fellowship footnotes become preeminent. Can't read verses without reading footnotes and in some books (1 John for example) footnotes text overshadow the verses.
2. Attitude towards other Christians:
what I heard this past month is an assumption all non-LSM Christians are in denominations. Not so. Often what I heard in the locality where I reside, "here in the local churches, we see so much. Christianity sees very little". It's an attitude of putting down non-LSM Christianity while lifting up the ministry LSM publishes. It was this attitude I found to be a turnoff. As I mentioned before on this forum, my wife misses the fellowship. However she was present for the Table meeting and with the children when the attitude towards non-LSM Christianity came out in the prophesying meeting. Even in homes there's an atttude non-LSM Christians is a Sunday morning venture while in the LSM fellowship it's 24/7. Just too much to bear.
3. Witness Lee and the Ministry:
In years since Witness Lee has died, the ministry is stressed but from audio recordings of messages I have listened to Blended brothers have backtracked in respect to Witness Lee being infallible. Still rare is the locality where one can speak apart from Holy Word for Morning revival. Still it's LSM publication which many see LSM churches as a ministry church and not a local church. These assemblies existence is to promote the ministry and not to build up the church as an assembly of the locality.
Earlier this year there was a city-wide prayer in Austin, Texas I believe Igzy or Aron posted on. It would be highly unlikely if the Church in Austin participated. The city wide prayer would not benefit LSM as it would the Christians in Austin coming together for a city wide prayer.
In the years since Witness Lee has died, older brothers who know better do not want to touch anything that adversely affected the recovery while Witness Lee was still alive. Rather anyone who brings up such issues is likened to "opposer", "rebel", and "attacking the ministry". Not hardly!

You posed the question,
"do you want to marry a zealous sister of the Recovery, who does everything as the Ministry says?"

As one who was raised in the local churches, I always thought that's what I was supposed to do. Over a several month period of intense prayer, the Lord led me to a sister who was not "a zealous sister of the Recovery". In many ways in itself that was a type of salvation.
As for zealous sister of the Recovery, who does everything as the Ministry says, I cannot agree with that statement. There are brothers and sisters alike in the recovery who are simply uneducated in the history of the Recovery. There will be sisters who do believe every word that comes from the blended brothers. There are also sisters, in being Christ focused, their absence become conspicous. All the while remaining silent. Why is that? Have sisters tired of the brother's political games that has cost them dear relationships over the years?
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