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Old 11-29-2014, 02:05 PM   #1
Loveneverfails
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Default In a period of discernment

Hello brothers and sisters,

I am a college-aged sister living in Alaska. I'm currently in a period of research, prayer, and discernment regarding the LC in my city. I have been fellowshipping with the college-aged group here for nearly two years now, and I have been greatly blessed by the fellowship, but I admit that I have always felt at least a mild discomfort with the teachings.

To give some background, I became a Christian as a child and I currently attend a non-denominational church with my family on Sundays. The only reason I was brought into the LC college-group was because of my then-boyfriend (now fiance). When I was first introduced to it, I was greatly disturbed and entered into a 2-month period of research and prayer. I met with my parents, my pastor, and finally the elders of the LC here in town. My pastor did the best he could with the little time I gave him to research and he cited the CRI article "we were wrong", and looked through a book given to me by the LC entitled something along the lines of "Basic Elements of Christianity". His conclusion was that though the LC may have some differing beliefs on secondary issues, they are orthodox when it comes to the core beliefs of Christianity. When I met with LC elders, most of my concerns were 'explained away' and I decided to continue fellowshipping with the college-group. I did, however, maintain a sense of respectful skepticism, and prayerfully considered all that was being taught in the meetings.

For the most part, I had to admit that most of the disturbing things I'd read on LSM's website weren't too prominent in the locality here. I suppose this could possibly be due to our physical isolation from Anaheim. Out of the 30-something adult saints in the congregation (college-students included), only one truly strikes me as being an semi-extreme "Lee follower". For this reason, I concluded that I might be alright with joining this group after my fiance and I marry.

However, several weeks ago the college students and I went to a college conference in Seattle. The topic was "the vision of the church", and I was extremely blessed.. by about 90% of the messages. When the topic got to 'oneness' and 'one-city-one-church', all of my previous "comfort" with the LC flew out the window. Suddenly, all of the arrogance that leaped off of pages of LSM publications were being played out in front of me. I had disturbing conversations with saints there who seemed to be completely unaware of how elitist they were. One brother in his mid-20's asked me how long I'd been in the church life. Though I suspected that he meant "how long have you been in the local church", I answered with "well, I was raised in the Church, but I came to know Christ personally as my Savior when I was 8", to which he dismissively responded "yeah yeah but when did you enter the church life? I could continue to list examples, but I'm sure they'd all sound familiar to you.

Anyway, that jarring experience spurred me to go on a second round of researching LSM. Even my fiance (born in Taiwan and raised in the LC) had to admit that the things I was finding were disturbing. We are now in a season of research, fellowship, prayer, and discernment as we try to determine what the Lord may want us to do. I have been lurking around this site for the past few weeks, and I am so thankful to have a place to read so many testimonies from past LC members. Reading about your experiences really helps me get a more broad perspective of the situation I'm facing. Thank you.
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Old 11-29-2014, 02:59 PM   #2
HERn
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Default Re: In a period of discernment

Follow your God-given conscience and not the teachings of men. I was comfortable in the LSM-controlled local churches until recently.
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Old 11-29-2014, 03:38 PM   #3
aron
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Default Re: In a period of discernment

The thing with this group is that they simultaneously manage to look orthodox to outsiders, to improve their recruiting rate, and still condemn all outsiders as not being the legitimate, true, genuine church. So from the outside they will try to impress you that they are a legitimate Christian group. Then, once you are in, they will continually discredit everyone else. And I mean everyone. They speak that only the local churches make God happy.

Then, when stuff starts to bother you, you turn around and there is no way out. Because they've convinced you that everything else, and I mean everything, is "Babylon", "degraded", "fallen", etc. So you have no where to go.

So they will try to look inviting and relaxing when you are outside. That is to get you in. Then, they will continually knock down all alternatives to "the church life", so you are stuck. I have seen this tactic used successfully; other groups use this tactic as well. The Mormons make a big deal about how they are a legitimate Christian church. But once you are in they will convince you that they are "special", that nobody else has legitimacy. So you are trapped.

They speak out of both sides of their mouth: to outsiders they are "just plain ol' folks", just like everyone else. But to the insiders they are special. Nobody else has their revelation. Nobody else can fulfill God's plan. You are special, now; you are with us. Not "just a Christian"; now you are a "local church saint".
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Old 11-29-2014, 04:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: In a period of discernment

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
a "local church saint".
Not just a local church saint either, but a member of the Lord's one and only recovery.
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Old 11-29-2014, 04:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: In a period of discernment

Hi loveneverfails,

I was in a similar boat you were. I knew of some serious problems with the LCs and was getting disillusioned but on the other hand I was so in love with my fiancee (now wife) at the time that I was probably willing to stay and stick it out for life. My wife was very gung-ho for the LCs and was your typical member who was very much "for the ministry". After we were married she made me attend practically every single training and conference.

It actually backfired because the level of ridiculous teaching I was being exposed to was magnified greatly and it increased my desire to leave. However doing so would still have been catastrophic as I'd probably have to cut off relationship with all our friends and my wife would never be on board with it.

One day as I was praying I heard in my head "If you don't leave, then you won't be an overcomer". I then responded to God "Lord, if you want me to leave, my wife has to be on board also".

Afterwards the Lord did open the way for my wife to start questioning the LC and it opened the door for me to show her the clear contradictions in LC teachings with the bible and to give her John Ingall's and John So's testimony for reading. When I think about it now, I think the Lord had a plan from the beginning to use me to bring my wife out of the LCs and we are much healthier for it now despite losing contact with many friends.

When we left the LCs, my wife used the excuse "I have to submit to my husband" when the sisters pressured her to stay. No one could find a proper rebuttal for that since it was one of the major points from the Sister's Conference she had to attend. The irony was delicious!

Perhaps the Lord wants you to do the same with your fiance or maybe not. I guess the major lesson for me was to keep my ears open to what God wanted me to do because God has the master plan for our lives.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
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Old 11-29-2014, 04:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: In a period of discernment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loveneverfails View Post
Anyway, that jarring experience spurred me to go on a second round of researching LSM. Even my fiance (born in Taiwan and raised in the LC) had to admit that the things I was finding were disturbing. We are now in a season of research, fellowship, prayer, and discernment as we try to determine what the Lord may want us to do. I have been lurking around this site for the past few weeks, and I am so thankful to have a place to read so many testimonies from past LC members. Reading about your experiences really helps me get a more broad perspective of the situation I'm facing. Thank you.
Normally I would suggest that you not just walk away but that you should run as fast as you can away from the LC. In your case, you seem insightful and intuitive so I believe you will make the right decision for yourself and with your fiancé. Your testimony is remarkable. Find some Christians you can relate to and meet with them is my suggestion. You may be drawn back to the LC but hopefully you will understand that there is no realistic future with them.
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Old 11-29-2014, 05:24 PM   #7
Loveneverfails
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Default Re: In a period of discernment

Thank you, everyone, for your input. Every comment is appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Normally I would suggest that you not just walk away but that you should run as fast as you can away from the LC. In your case, you seem insightful and intuitive so I believe you will make the right decision for yourself and with your fiancé. Your testimony is remarkable. Find some Christians you can relate to and meet with them is my suggestion. You may be drawn back to the LC but hopefully you will understand that there is no realistic future with them.
Thank you for the encouragement and advice, Dave. Yes, my fiance and I intend to meet with various other Christians soon. (Well, maybe not in the next few weeks, given that everyone is busy with holiday affairs). Like in my first round of research two years ago, we intend to discuss things with my parents, 2 pastors from my church, and some of the elders from the LC. I admit that if it weren't for my attachment to my fiance, I would follow your first suggestion and run as fast as I could away from the LC. He's the reason why I'm even pausing long enough to research these things, because it's very important to the both of us that we attend the same church when we're married.

One of the things that gives me great hope is knowing that although my fiance would be delighted if I chose to stay at the LC, he IS willing to prayerfully choose a different church if necessary. He doesn't have an ounce of condescension toward other churches, and he's proven it through action, not just words. He really appreciates that I've done so much to give the LC a chance - I've taken the time to develop relationships with the saints here and familiarized myself with their teachings and practices to the best of my ability. At this point, he knows that if something isn't sitting right with me, it's not because it's unfamiliar, but it's because my spirit is in distress and the Lord's trying to tell me something. My fiance is so graciously taking all of my concerns very seriously and for that I am so thankful. He even recently said to me that he can tell one of two things will happen:
1) After our research, my concerns will be put to rest, and I'll be comfortable enough to join the LC after we get married.
2) After our research, he will fully grasp the things that have bothered me all along and he will leave the LC with me on his own accord.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearbear View Post
Hi loveneverfails,

I was in a similar boat you were. I knew of some serious problems with the LCs and was getting disillusioned but on the other hand I was so in love with my fiancee (now wife) at the time that I was probably willing to stay and stick it out for life. My wife was very gung-ho for the LCs and was your typical member who was very much "for the ministry". After we were married she made me attend every practically every single training and conference.

It actually backfired because the level of ridiculous teaching I was being exposed to was magnified greatly and it increased my desire to leave. However doing so would still have been catastrophic as I'd probably have to cut off relationship with all our friends and my wife would never be on board with it.

One day as I was praying I heard in my head "If you don't leave, then you won't be an overcomer". I then responded to God "Lord, if you want me to leave, my wife has to be on board also".

Afterwards the Lord did open the way for my wife to start questioning the LC and it opened the door for me to show her the clear contradictions in LC teachings with the bible and to give her John Ingall's and John So's testimony for reading. When I think about it now, I think the Lord had a plan from the beginning to use me to bring my wife out of the LCs and we are much healthier for it now despite losing contact with many friends.

When we left the LCs, my wife used the excuse "I have to submit to my husband" when the sisters pressured her to stay. No one could find a proper rebuttal for that since it was one of the major points from the Sister's Conference she had to attend. The irony was delicious!

Perhaps the Lord wants you to do the same with your fiance or maybe not. I guess the major lesson for me was to keep my ears open to what God wanted me to do because God has the master plan for our lives.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
It seems like you truly can relate to my experience. Thank you for sharing! The first quote of yours that I emboldened really stood out to me. That is my heart's desire, too. I touched on that at the end of my response to Dave. I don't want to yank my fiance out of the LC. If he leaves, I'd want it to be on his own accord, in response to what the Lord tells him, not in response to what I say.

Thankfully, he's not all gung-ho "for the ministry". He just loves Christ and loves people, and he's been really blessed by the positive aspects of the LC (which have been acknowledged by many on this site). It's clear to me that his first priority is listening to God's will, not following Witness Lee. If it weren't, I think he would be putting a lot more pressure on me to accept the teachings of LSM.

Who knows? Maybe this was all part of God's plan. After all, I can already think of a couple benefits to this situation:
- By being raised in the LC, my fiance has developed some excellent habits, such as waking up early to spend quiet time with the Lord. I don't know many men my age who do this faithfully.
- By us coming together as a couple, each of us has had our beliefs/traditions/practices challenged greatly, and we've asked ourselves "why do I believe what I believe?" My dad always taught me to have a "Berean mindset", but I don't think I ever grasped the importance of that so clearly until now! My passion for comparing all teachings to Scripture has increased exponentially, and I do it with a spirit of joy. As for my fiance, he has admitted multiple times that he's never put so much thought into his beliefs until now.

I feel so much more encouraged already. Thank you all.
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Old 11-29-2014, 05:38 PM   #8
Dave
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Default Re: In a period of discernment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loveneverfails View Post
Thank you, everyone, for your input. Every comment is appreciated.

Thank you for the encouragement and advice, Dave. Yes, my fiance and I intend to meet with various other Christians soon. (Well, maybe not in the next few weeks, given that everyone is busy with holiday affairs). Like in my first round of research two years ago, we intend to discuss things with my parents, 2 pastors from my church, and some of the elders from the LC. I admit that if it weren't for my attachment to my fiance, I would follow your first suggestion and run as fast as I could away from the LC. He's the reason why I'm even pausing long enough to research these things, because it's very important to the both of us that we attend the same church when we're married.

I feel so much more encouraged already. Thank you all.
Thanks for responding. May God pour his riches upon you and your fiance whatever decision you make. Take care and again, thanks for your openness and honesty and for responding.
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Old 11-29-2014, 05:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: In a period of discernment

If loveneverfails and her fiancé need something to give their whole life to the local church will do the job.

Joining is a serious life impacting decision, with real repercussions.

For this reason I wouldn't pray about this matter. I would weight what I and my fiancé needed out of life, both now, and what is seen in the future together, and do what's best to that end. And that's a very important matter. Like getting married, in fact.
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Old 11-29-2014, 05:53 PM   #10
Dave
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Default Re: In a period of discernment

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
If loveneverfails and her fiancé need something to give their whole life to the local church will do the job.

Joining is a serious life impacting decision, with real repercussions.

For this reason I wouldn't pray about this matter. I would weight what I and my fiancé needed out of life, both now, and what is seen in the future together, and do what's best to that end. And that's a very important matter.
I am sure that awareness would add as an addendum to his advice the following: ...and then pray about it...because prayer is an important part of the decision making process. In this case, prayer would lead you both to the same comfort zone which is what is important in your relationship....take care...dave
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:54 PM   #11
Loveneverfails
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Default Re: In a period of discernment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
I am sure that awareness would add as an addendum to his advice the following: ...and then pray about it...because prayer is an important part of the decision making process. In this case, prayer would lead you both to the same comfort zone which is what is important in your relationship....take care...dave
I agree. Prayer is essential. Thank you.
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