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Old 08-24-2019, 05:25 PM   #1
eDh22
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Default Late 1970s Boston "storm"

Help! What was the "storm" in Boston in the late 1970s? Based on what I've read on this site, I'm under the impression that it was related to Boston-based Sal Benoit calling WL out on Daystar. I'm asking b/c I want to better understand my parents' history with the LC. They opted to side with the LC on this one but spoke sadly of the many close friends they "lost" at this time.

I'm curious what they may have been told vs. what went down that they were not told?

Thank you!
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Old 08-24-2019, 05:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: Late 1970s Boston "storm"

Almost everything you need to know is within this taped conversation between "Brother Lee" and Sal Benoit, circa 1978. It is my understanding that Max Rapaport was there at Sal's home when this was being taped. The "One Minister with the One Ministry for The Age" was exposed all the way down to his Godman socks. Hit the "play" button and then hang on to yur hat!

https://www.metacafe.com/watch/6800733/wlsl/

Please be advised that this was NOT Witness Lee's first foray into financial/business malfeasance with church money/property. He had ripped the saints off time and time again going way back to the earliest days in Taiwan. This is well documented on this forum and some other places on the Internet. I know this is a very hard thing to accept for people like your parents, and maybe even for you. But the simple truth is that this is the history of Witness Lee & Sons. There is no escaping this truth.
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Old 08-25-2019, 12:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Late 1970s Boston "storm"

Thank you all for preserving and cataloguing your experiences and those of others who can no longer speak for themselves. I am grateful for the many first-hand accounts. I wish we had more recordings such as this one. May it provide clarity for many, allowing them to be reconciled, avoid the mistakes of the past and move forward.

I've read about Daystar on this site, including many links to other sources. It sounds like Max was once leading efforts for Daystar and convincing the saints to forgive their debts, and then was "kicked to the curb" for his efforts and/or repented. He reached out to other brothers on his experiences. Sal Benoit, a leader in Boston, was concerned about the legality of the the business network (for which the Living Stream Ministry was arguably a front). He confronted Witness Lee and then shared his findings with the Boston locality. He was then defamed by the LSM, and continues to be to this day (citing the recent Kangas message).

Many of the Boston saints were appalled and left. Some truly believed the LSM side of the story that Max and Sal were in a satanic, ambition-fueled "rebellion" or went with the path of least resistance, as staying would be easier than recreating their life's path, since they had made LSM the center of their existence and cut off old friends and their families. Also, it's difficult and embarrassing to say you are wrong once you've been "all in.

That's my interpretation of events. Where have I mis-stated the facts or made unsupported suppositions?

I'm trying to understand why people I love and respect might not have thought critically and acted what I would see as responsibly towards people they said they loved dearly.
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Old 08-26-2019, 05:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Late 1970s Boston "storm"

I came across this 1979 letter from, it looks to me, a Matt Anderson. It's a helpful contemporary narrative from someone who initially supported "the ministry" and then repented and was cast out.

He says, "Quite a few things I said in spite of a protest in my conscience...Some of the things I said were misrepresentations of the truth. And some things were just plain untruths...I have put all these things into your ears; now all I can do is recant and apologize." I think many of us can relate and empathize, or at least applaud his courage for recanting and apologizing.


It's also tragic as we review the questions and concerns that he asked that got him cast out - BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SAME WE ARE ASKING 40 YEARS LATER!!!

"What do you mean when you say, “There is no church without the ministry.”

"Bro. Lee’s message pamphlets are treated as ‘spirit and life’ while the works of other Christian writers are just knowledge and subject to error."

"I believe that our emphasis on the one-man-ministry of Witness Lee has caused us, over the last few years, to retrograde from our original stand as the church in each locality, gathered into the name of the Lord, to a standing as the church in each locality of the ministry of Bro. Witness Lee.

***for my purposes of understanding my parents and their experience in Boston he writes, "The only church which I ever saw or heard of as being different was Boston, but that has changed." So maybe there was once something special there? Once, a long long long time ago...

"I’m afraid our center has become Bro. Lee and our sphere his ministry. I think this is the reason some Christians have charged us with being a cult" - You think??

"The Living Stream Ministry Inc. is in every meeting. We have a Wednesday Ministry-training meeting as well as the Friday video Ministry meeting. We even pray over the current themes of the Ministry in our prayer meetings. Sunday morning we have a Ministry as the gospel meeting. And Sunday night is the meeting in which most of the, “Praise the Lord for this Ministry,” testimonies occur. The Ministry pamphlets and practically all that we will read Bro. Lee’s Ministry also appears to be our entire source of fellowship. Outsiders have trouble entering into our very ungeneral fellowship, because we have a jargon all our own, sprinkled with Bro Lee’s unusual and sometimes awkward English expressions." Ahhhh! You mean this was already around 40 years ago??? What are we doing????

"I believe that in centering around the ministry of Bro. Witness Lee we have actually infringed upon the right of the Lord Jesus to be the head of the church." Yikes. That's not ok.



And then back into the history, where he speaks of an "exposing test":

"I became aware of this when the exposing test came to Boston and then to us. According to the leading ones there and here, the case is simple: Max is a divisive person who must be excommunicated; Sal refused to do this, which constituted him as a divisive person."

So Sal was at fault for refusing to excommunicate Max? Why Sal? B/c they figured they had him b/c his name was on the $100k loans that had something to do with propping up Lee and Phosphorus during the Daystar debacle?

"The difference here [in Washington DC] was that the saints who signed a so-called ‘divisive letter’, to Bro. Lee weren’t to be excommunicated – only interrogated before being allowed to attend any meetings...The excommunications are still going on in Boston and its vicinity." People, are we talking about the Salem Witch Trials here? This is scary!!! And I wonder if my parents were asked to renounce Sal, and if they were interrogated...

"I told Elton and Bob there were two churches, Wellesley and Framingham, meeting in the Lord’s name, receiving all believers, which refused to cut off Sal Benoit. Were they still to be considered churches? They said no."

"I am not interpreting anything. I also saw his tax statement. Bro. Lee is making approximately a million dollars every year from the Living Stream Ministry Inc. He also has other income not filed with the IRS."

"Yet although we pay a fee to register for each training, (an amount paid for a service rendered), the money is listed as donations before the IRS. The money is then funneled into a company called Overseas Christian Steward, which is not
registered in any country. O.C.S. owns the Phosphorous factory in Taiwan, which currently manufacturing tennis rackets fro retail in the U.S.A."

"I believe these practices are dishonest, and they should be illegal. Presently Bro. Lee is under full investigation by the IRS. They estimate it will take them about 1 year. Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps this funneling of tax exempt money into business investment is lawful." I guess nothing came of that?

Apologies if this letter is linked elsewhere and I have missed it. I have honestly done my best to read this entire discussion board from end-to-end, as it pertains to Local Church history.

http://www.blendedbody.com/WitnessLe...ChurchInDC.pdf
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Late 1970s Boston "storm"

Quote:
Originally Posted by eDh22 View Post
I came across this 1979 letter from, it looks to me, a Matt Anderson. It's a helpful contemporary narrative from someone who initially supported "the ministry" and then repented and was cast out.

He says, "Quite a few things I said in spite of a protest in my conscience...Some of the things I said were misrepresentations of the truth. And some things were just plain untruths...I have put all these things into your ears; now all I can do is recant and apologize." I think many of us can relate and empathize, or at least applaud his courage for recanting and apologizing.

It's also tragic as we review the questions and concerns that he asked that got him cast out - BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SAME WE ARE ASKING 40 YEARS LATER!!!
The author of this letter back in 1979 should not be confused with Matt Anderson who has been a poster on this forum, and would have been a child at that time.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Late 1970s Boston "storm"

Thanks! I'm looking for the "edit" function so I can remove my assumption there. My intention is to understand the events so I can understand the people. I apologize for my error.

Is it not possible to edit a post once it has been quoted? Is there a time limit? I contacted the admin for help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eDh22 View Post
I came across this 1979 letter [redacted]. It's a helpful contemporary narrative from someone who initially supported "the ministry" and then repented and was cast out.

He says, "Quite a few things I said in spite of a protest in my conscience...Some of the things I said were misrepresentations of the truth. And some things were just plain untruths...I have put all these things into your ears; now all I can do is recant and apologize." I think many of us can relate and empathize, or at least applaud his courage for recanting and apologizing.


It's also tragic as we review the questions and concerns that he asked that got him cast out - BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SAME WE ARE ASKING 40 YEARS LATER!!!

"What do you mean when you say, “There is no church without the ministry.”

"Bro. Lee’s message pamphlets are treated as ‘spirit and life’ while the works of other Christian writers are just knowledge and subject to error."

"I believe that our emphasis on the one-man-ministry of Witness Lee has caused us, over the last few years, to retrograde from our original stand as the church in each locality, gathered into the name of the Lord, to a standing as the church in each locality of the ministry of Bro. Witness Lee.

***for my purposes of understanding my parents and their experience in Boston he writes, "The only church which I ever saw or heard of as being different was Boston, but that has changed." So maybe there was once something special there? Once, a long long long time ago...

"I’m afraid our center has become Bro. Lee and our sphere his ministry. I think this is the reason some Christians have charged us with being a cult" - You think??

"The Living Stream Ministry Inc. is in every meeting. We have a Wednesday Ministry-training meeting as well as the Friday video Ministry meeting. We even pray over the current themes of the Ministry in our prayer meetings. Sunday morning we have a Ministry as the gospel meeting. And Sunday night is the meeting in which most of the, “Praise the Lord for this Ministry,” testimonies occur. The Ministry pamphlets and practically all that we will read Bro. Lee’s Ministry also appears to be our entire source of fellowship. Outsiders have trouble entering into our very ungeneral fellowship, because we have a jargon all our own, sprinkled with Bro Lee’s unusual and sometimes awkward English expressions." Ahhhh! You mean this was already around 40 years ago??? What are we doing????

"I believe that in centering around the ministry of Bro. Witness Lee we have actually infringed upon the right of the Lord Jesus to be the head of the church." Yikes. That's not ok.



And then back into the history, where he speaks of an "exposing test":

"I became aware of this when the exposing test came to Boston and then to us. According to the leading ones there and here, the case is simple: Max is a divisive person who must be excommunicated; Sal refused to do this, which constituted him as a divisive person."

So Sal was at fault for refusing to excommunicate Max? Why Sal? B/c they figured they had him b/c his name was on the $100k loans that had something to do with propping up Lee and Phosphorus during the Daystar debacle?

"The difference here [in Washington DC] was that the saints who signed a so-called ‘divisive letter’, to Bro. Lee weren’t to be excommunicated – only interrogated before being allowed to attend any meetings...The excommunications are still going on in Boston and its vicinity." People, are we talking about the Salem Witch Trials here? This is scary!!! And I wonder if my parents were asked to renounce Sal, and if they were interrogated...

"I told Elton and Bob there were two churches, Wellesley and Framingham, meeting in the Lord’s name, receiving all believers, which refused to cut off Sal Benoit. Were they still to be considered churches? They said no."

"I am not interpreting anything. I also saw his tax statement. Bro. Lee is making approximately a million dollars every year from the Living Stream Ministry Inc. He also has other income not filed with the IRS."

"Yet although we pay a fee to register for each training, (an amount paid for a service rendered), the money is listed as donations before the IRS. The money is then funneled into a company called Overseas Christian Steward, which is not
registered in any country. O.C.S. owns the Phosphorous factory in Taiwan, which currently manufacturing tennis rackets fro retail in the U.S.A."

"I believe these practices are dishonest, and they should be illegal. Presently Bro. Lee is under full investigation by the IRS. They estimate it will take them about 1 year. Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps this funneling of tax exempt money into business investment is lawful." I guess nothing came of that?

Apologies if this letter is linked elsewhere and I have missed it. I have honestly done my best to read this entire discussion board from end-to-end, as it pertains to Local Church history.

http://www.blendedbody.com/WitnessLe...ChurchInDC.pdf
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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
The author of this letter back in 1979 should not be confused with Matt Anderson who has been a poster on this forum, and would have been a child at that time.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: Late 1970s Boston "storm"

Hi. I know the brother who wrote this letter. It is not me (yes, I was 6y old at the time). The brother is unrelated to me, but shares the same last name.

I met him years later by showing up at the church he happened to attend. I am not naming him. I would want his permission to do so. He was in Washington DC and I believe he was in Boston at the time of the taping of the Sal Benoit conversation with Witness Lee. If my memory serves me correctly, he was in the next room while the taping occurred. (I would have to re-check that fact to be certain).

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Old 08-27-2019, 06:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Late 1970s Boston "storm"

The Late 1970s Boston "storm" referenced here is very helpful because of Sal's recording. Note that the thousands of hours of video and audio recordings available by LSM are all carefully managed to maintain a certain false appearance. Nigel Tomes wrote an article on this at one point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NigelTomes View Post
WITNESS LEE SANITIZED—
LSM’s Life-Study Radio Broadcast Examined
Quote:
Originally Posted by NigelTomes View Post


Summary:
For over a decade LSM has promoted Witness Lee’s Life-study via radio broadcasts. W. Lee was an out-spoken critic of Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church, Protestant denominations and free groups were all severely condemned. However, his denunciations were systematically censored from LSM’s radio programs. Thus radio listeners hear only a sanitized version of W. Lee, not his comprehensive ministry. Basic Christian integrity requires the full disclosure of all aspects of his ministry—both the innocuous and the potentially offensive should be presented. Evidently LSM has adopted a “Bait and Switch” strategy—broadcasting a laundered version of W. Lee’s ministry to the wider Christian public in order to gain new recruits, while reserving the “real Witness Lee” for “insiders” within the Local Church movement.
The recorded phone call represents a "field recording" of life in the LC. Just like when WL was telling the newspaper reporter, "Here we are so free", and RG was telling BM, "We do what we are told"; the "unsanitized" behind-the-veil reporting is crucial to give a more complete view of the LC "church life" as it actually exists.

This was one of Sal's questions on the phone: If your company Daystar goes bankrupt, and you need to pay us back the "loans" or "investments" we sent you, and now you ask us for donations to LSM, how do we know that our donations are not simply being used to pay ourselves back? WL: none of your business... this is my personal business... you have no right to ask these questions... Sal, you have gone too far.
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Old 08-27-2019, 07:33 AM   #9
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Default Re: Late 1970s Boston "storm"

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WL: none of your business... this is my personal business... you have no right to ask these questions... Sal, you have gone too far.
I smell a rat anytime Christian leaders hide their financials.

Remember Paul's practices concerning money and offerings? Here is one: "Taking forethought for things honorable in the sight of both God and man." -- II Cor 8.21
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Old 08-27-2019, 07:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Late 1970s Boston "storm"

So...the IRS audit that the brother speaks of in his letter (waiting to hear from admin how to remove the name)...could any of you confirm that it occurred? I've heard several times that people regret not reporting on the activities but I don't remember that an investigation actually occurred.
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:54 AM   #11
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Default Re: Late 1970s Boston "storm"

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So...the IRS audit that the brother speaks of in his letter (waiting to hear from admin how to remove the name)...could any of you confirm that it occurred? I've heard several times that people regret not reporting on the activities but I don't remember that an investigation actually occurred.
Sorry if Boston info is scarce. Here's a piece of info that put Boston into the spotlight back in the mid-70's.

The increase of new people was dying down, so WL shared a "new move" of God to get trained in order to preach the gospel on the campuses. This was the genesis of today's FTT and Campus work by LSM. It was called the "Young Galileans" move, with all of the current young people in the LC's likened to the young Galilean disciples called by the Lord. I'm a little sketchy on details since I joined the church in Cleveland in May '76 in the midst of this incredible "move of God."

Back to Boston. Young people along the entire East coast were encouraged to move to Boston for training. Many LC's were "robbed" of their young people. Titus Chu in Cleveland initially rejected this mass migration of his people, which put him at great odds with Anaheim. Another Migration was promoted to Orange County CA to "support the ministry."

Boston quickly became a super LC training center under Sal Benoit. Max Rapoport in Anaheim, the "Universal Coordinator of the One New Man," saw Sal as a useful Lieutenant. Pretty exciting for a season. Crazy wild gatherings. Then Max decided to confront Philip Lee about his hanky panky at LSM's new offices on Ball Road. When Max Left, Sal left. The gig was up. Last I heard there were like 50 marriages in Boston in 1978. The "Young Galileans" move of God segued into the "Brotherly Love" move of God.

This to me was the "storm" in Boston. The letter you mentioned was retaliation.
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