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Old 04-11-2017, 05:51 PM   #1
askseek
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Default Important excerpts from Don Rutledge and Jane Anderson

I've recently spent a lot of time here learning the real history of Witness Lee and the Local Church. An important part of this has been creating my own files of excerpts for my own reference. It's helped organize and clarify a number of things for me, as there are plenty of aspects to learn.

The following posts are some of my excerpts from Don Rutledge and Jane Anderson. Most is from comment threads outside of their lengthy written accounts. Thus much of it would be unaccessible to readers unless they have plenty of time to dig into it. That's why I'm sharing it here.

I also highly encourage taking the time to read their lengthy accounts in this forum. These excerpts are intended as a supplement to those.

WARNING: this is part of the dark underbelly of LC history, which is essential to learn to truly understand it.
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Old 04-11-2017, 05:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: important excerpts from Don Rutledge and Jane Anderson

John So and Don Rutledge publicly rebuked by Witness Lee in 1978

The LSM office had seemly come out of nowhere and began setting the direction for the individual local churches. This was raising some alarm bells. The booklet, "The Beliefs and Practices" was announced after a morning training session. John So and I had scheduled a lunch that day. We both had gotten a copy and were very troubled by several matters. Not the content, but the authorship, "The Co-Workers of the Lord's Recovery". Here was an entity and group of which we had never heard. To us, the Lord's recovery was a spiritual activity originated in the third heavens at the throne of God rather than some group or organization on earth. So who are these seemingly self-anointed emissaries? In addition, we were not happy that the brothers and sisters could just hand someone an official publication, as was promoted with the announcement of the booklet, rather than being ready to give an answer for the hope that is within them. In addition, how could you not say that we now had a headquarters which could speak for all the so-called local churches?

As we spoke and walked to the diner, other brothers began to join us, kind of like Luke chapter 24. Francis Ball, Ned Nossaman, and James Barber were with us. I am pretty sure that Dick Taylor was also there. They all agreed that they had a bothering. Francis as an elder in Anaheim prayed with WL before every meeting. He proposed that he set up a private fellowship with him after the evening session. We all agreed. James was in total agreement with John and me and expressed his desire to be in that meeting and to express his concerns to WL.

Right after the meeting James informed John So and I that WL was very upset. Francis had tipped off James. WL did not want to have a quiet private talk but chose to dress the two of us down in the hall for all to see. As soon as the meeting was over, we two were marched to the front. Chairs were rearranged. John and I set by ourselves facing WL and about 50 brothers including James Barber who sat behind WL in support of him. Scores of the attendance milled around the little court room and became an audience. WL never asked us to open our concerns but immediately launched into a tirade against us and issued a general warning that if we continued to question what the office and the ministry was doing we would cause a lot of damage to the saints and we would damage ourselves. I can never forget the glare of despising we got from Ron Kangas as WL continued for about 10 minutes with the rebuke. Then he dismissed the meeting and we all went home. Was I ever in shock!!! So was John So. I was taking hospitality with Ned. On the ride home he laughed and laughed. He said this regularly happened to the elders in Orange County.

After that night, there were no more auras around the WL coordination for me. I determined I would never be bullied again. I still held to the vision of Christ as Life and the Oneness of the Body of Christ is a vital matter, but the personality cult was broken for me. I did backslide and allowed myself to get drawn into the lawsuit for a while. But I never jumped again when WL or one of his cadre yelled frog. I never again promoted the activities from Anaheim as something all the members in Dallas should plunge into. We begin to shepherd the church according to the need of the members. I decided to take what was helpful and leave alone what was some wild hare. Shortly after this I learned of the secret bank account of WL and LSM being run by Benson and an elder in Dallas. Yet it still took several years for my direction and loyalties to change.
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Old 04-11-2017, 05:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: important excerpts from Don Rutledge and Jane Anderson

request for Don R. to clarify leadership roles

You refer to Lee, Barber, and Rapoport as the main leaders in the LC. In America my impression is that Lee was the main leader and under him were John Ingalls, Bill Mallon, and James Barber. And these three worked together to travel and give conferences usually in pairs. Later Max Rapoport was brought into a prominent role by Lee and his manifestation started with his joining the others in giving a conference in Anaheim replacing Lee who was sick at the time. Apparently the audience seemed to really appreciate Rapoport's refreshing humor and ability to story tell.

Meanwhile there were regional leaders emerging: Benson Phillips, Bill Freeman, and Titus Chu who more or less dominated their areas.

From this I get that under Lee as the papal figure there were more or less about 7 key leaders. Am I correct in this? And if so what roles did they play? Especially John Ingalls and Bill Mallon who were there from the beginning with Lee in L.A.

Rutledge response

You have it pretty much right. I would add John So if you want to include Europe and Ransford Acka in Africa. The difference between Ingalls and Mallon and Barber and Rapoport was the extent of their shaping influence. Neither Ingalls nor Mallon had the force of personality or boldness to attempt to shape the churches, elders, and co-workers. They, like all, had their opinions but were primarily interested in spiritual growth and purity of testimony.

All of the seven you mentioned had one common thread. They all were devoted to and very protective of WL. They all had a superstitious notion about deputy authority, the oneness of the work or ministry, and WL's special portion. Bill Freeman and Bill Mallon were the most flexible and appreciative of what the Lord was doing in the various churches and through other brothers, both in the LC and outside. John Ingalls could be a little naive and tended to always trust everyone's good intentions. But James felt he should play a role in assuring the "Oneness of God's Move" or should I say conformity with and submission to WL and his work. Max believed in the vision of Christ and the Church and that the Lord was currently building up a practical testimony. But he was different from James in that he did not see the current way being practiced generally in most of the local churches as the way to go. You could say he started the first national new way movement in the local churches. Barber opposed, just as he had opposed and overcome the two Dougs in Berkeley. Max was stronger and prevailed. But take it as fact it was going to be James or Max. James would have included Ingalls and Mallon as his inner circle, while Max had selected a different set of supporters.

Yes the big three conference givers were JI, JB and BM and later MR. Conferences were one thing, but the extensive and exhausting private fellowships with the local and regional leaders that went on behind closed doors during the conference times was where the action was.

Here is a little 20,000 foot picture of how the various brothers operated in these sessions:

  • John Ingalls wanted to discuss the messages of the conferences and to learn what was happening in the various churches. He also was very interested in individuals and had an incredible memory for details regarding brothers and sisters. He was deeply interested in their well being. He also was very free to offer his help and opinion on spiritual living and functioning in the church.

  • Bill Mallon loved to discuss the Bible truths as well as whatever he was speaking on. He was big on fellowship regarding the experience of the cross. If things were not going smoothly, do not look to Bill for a lot of sympathy. In his view, no elder was ever treated badly, but rather we all needed more of the cross and more life. Only Benson was more interested in the fine points and details of a local project. If you were buying property, renovating a building, or getting a fax machine do not bring it up. Bill loved to discuss the details.

  • Bill Freeman was always soaring at least at second heaven level. He loved to discuss his latest revelation from the scriptures and to discuss "the Lord's Work". He was extremely interested in the story of any of the brothers where he was visiting. While I was with Bill F. least of all, I know more details of his life before, at, and after salvation than any of the others.

  • Titus Chu was a big listener. He conducted himself in a very humble manner and it was so easy to open whatever was on your heart. We were always amazed when he responded at how helpful and insightful his fellowship was. He had a different flavor in his regards for WL. It was almost a reverence and marked by great gratitude. If an apostle is one who is a special gift to the Body of Christ to give direct aid in the local building of the church, that was Titus above all others. He never pushed Witness Lee's personal work, like Freeman did, but rather gave full attention to the building up work at hand.

  • James Barber spoke little about what he might be sharing at the conference, but was busy reporting on issues and problems and warning the local leaders. He also had a lot to say about how things should be done and which of the elders or co-workers throughout the country/world were not exactly proper in their alignment with WL or who was working independently or who was not in life. He liked to talk about the economy, business, and politics. Many times I felt I was just in a good ole boys bull session.

  • Max Rapoport was ready to get with the program of taking the earth, spreading the gospel, mobilizing the saints, etc. He had little use for so-called spirituality and criticized in a generic way those who would stress purity of method over what will work. After two hours with Max, you often did not know if you should jump through a flaming hoop or just wind your watch. But you probably did have a good time.

  • Benson Phillips was and is the best at this type of gathering. He could control but would not exercise control. He would lead without appearing to do so. Eventually he was the strongest of all. He was a master at this type of meeting, maybe even better than WL. Whenever the session ended, we all knew our place and what we were expected to do and that Benson was in charge.

It was in this type of setting that WL controlled the churches. Later, as he traveled less he added more of his special elders/co-workers gatherings. James and Max and later Benson used this setting to gain influence throughout the country. Benson is not a dynamic speaker or Bible expositor, yet he is now the leader. How? What I introduced is the key to understanding how things were done. I am not trying to blow my own horn, but if you were not allowed into these gatherings you are not privy to the “what happened to us” full picture.

Rutledge follow-up

There were two clear categories of participants. The senior brother(s) and the juniors. The juniors listened, nodded, and maybe took notes and appeared to be impressed and enthralled. In those gatherings I was a small potato. I was not a big enough player to really have a style.

By the late 1970s, I took the Ester approach. "If I perish, I perish." If I had something to say I said it and would not yield to a WL fillabuster until I had released what was in my heart. WL actually respected me for this and eventually would listen. I doubt if it really made much of an impact on him.

Sometime around 1984–85 I was no longer under the fear of WL or Benson. I knew about their unrighteous dealings around the Daystar mess. I was complicit in immorality swept under the rug (but did not yet know about Philip Lee, the last straw for me). I still had some respect for them due to their past service and their gift but was done trying to please them and score points.

By then it was already clear that there would be no blessing on the Irving Training Center or Church and that it was just a big expensive boondoggle. By then I had seen so many snafus from WL that if there was really anything to the teaching of deputy authority, it sure was not WL. Let him take the lead in a spiritual enterprise or a business enterprise and failure was sure to result. And no, James Barber and Ray Graver, the failures of WL were not a test from the Lord.

By then watching my 14 year old son play soccer was more important than hearing the legend of WN and WL for the 50+ time from the mouth of one of the legends. In 1980 I would not have ducked out of a "critical time of fellowship" for my son's game. But by 1984 I was in the process of cutting ties. There was beginning to develop a group of brothers who were concerned for what had happened to us. Not a fermentation of rebellion but an awakening to the fact that something had gone terribly wrong.

In 1986 I moved to the forests of North Carolina. And believe me what a mental health move it was to avoid the so-called special, urgent elders/co-workers meetings. Another 18 months and I was voluntarily out. There was no need to quarantine me.

Looking back, I find it hard to believe for how long I gave the main leaders—WL, JB, MR—a pass on attitudes and behaviors which any sincere believer would reject or have serious reservations.
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Old 04-11-2017, 05:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: important excerpts from Don Rutledge and Jane Anderson

Back in 2007, before he had revealed his true identity, Don Rutledge posted this on the Berean forum about the cover-up of the adultery of Irving, Texas elder Ben McPherson in the early 1980s

Ray Graver was the first to know. He contacted Benson Phillips who called for an urgent gathering at his home with Ray, Joe Davis of Houston, Don Looper of Austin, and Don Rutledge of Dallas. This occurred the morning after Ben was found out. All the brothers there were furious. Don Rutledge angrily declared that they had all been betrayed. All agreed that Ben should be publicly excommunicated and publicly rebuked that all may fear. All agreed that the Lord could not bless the church in Irving due to Ben's sin. Ben had confessed to Ray that this sin was not a one time thing but had been going on for some time including when he was in Arlington. Ben also admitted that he knew the Church in Arlington had lagged the other Dallas area churches in blessing due to his sin. At that time, none of these brothers would sympathize with any immorality and especially from an elder or co-worker.

While they were meeting, Witness Lee returned Benson's urgent message. After about a 30 minute conversation, Benson returned to the room where the brothers were waiting, still in a state of shock and outrage. WL urged them to consider Ben's family and the harm to them if he was publicly exposed. He urged them not to publicly excommunicate him but simply ask him to move away. That is what Ray and Benson decided to do. The other three had big reservations but deferred to the Irving brothers to take care of the matter.

But then the lying started. Many people began to call wanting to know what happened to Ben. Since WL, Benson, and Ray had decided to keep the real situation under wraps, what where these brothers to say? Looper and Rutledge would say that something must have happened in Irving and they did not know for sure—A LIE. Benson and Ray told various stories like Ben wanted to get away, etc. and not to worry since he was in fellowship. WL urged Benson and Ray to spend time with Ben and seek to recover him, but they were too disgusted to seek to contact him.

Yes the worldly wisdom from Witness Lee and the unfaithfulness of the five brothers led to more tragedy. All five have an account to give at the judgment seat.

-Hope
In Christ Jesus there is hope for us all.


This is the account of Jane Anderson on the aftermath of the cover-up

In 1990, while he was still married, Ben McPherson seduced the wife of a leader in the Church in Fort Worth, a leader with whom he had formerly served. Don Looper, under Benson Phillips' direction, had labeled this leader's wife as rebellious in 1977. Looper did this to her in Austin about the same time that Benson did the same thing to me in Houston. She suffered for years afterward, more than I did, because her husband stood with the LC leadership against her, whereas my husband stood with me. As a consequence of her long-term unhappiness, she was more susceptible to Ben's seduction years later. Benson's unbiblical actions as a Christian leader played a destructive role in both this sister's family and Ben's.

For much of the year after she had repented for her adultery, she lived with my husband and me. (We were no longer in the LC by this time.) She was trying to regain her spiritual footing, and we were encouraging her to return to her husband. She was willing to do this on the condition that he would move far away from the Local Church and start taking care of their marriage. (He never could bring himself to do this.) We told no one about her sin, because she had repented.

At one point, this sister received a letter from someone in the Church in Austin who was trying to find out if it was true that she was going to marry Ben McPherson! Upon reading this letter, she broke down and wept. She told me it was evident to her that the LC leadership would never change. To her knowledge, the only other people who knew about her sin were her husband, the other leader in Ft. Worth, and Benson. She realized one or more of these leaders had not only revealed her sin to others but also had spread an untrue rumor about her that she was going to marry Ben, and that this rumor had even reached her fellow Christians in Austin. I still have a copy of that letter. That day was the final straw for this sister. She then gave up trying to walk in repentance, moved out of our home, and, not long afterwards, did marry Ben. Two families were broken up.

some more backstory from Jane

In the late 1970s in Houston, years before the Dallas cover-up happened, my husband and I and two other sisters had a time of private fellowship with Ben McPherson, Ray Graver, and Joe Davis (the three leaders in the Church in Houston at that time). Due to the situation in the church, we raised the possibility that there might be "sin in the camp" that was affecting the blessing on the church there. Upon hearing this, Ben broke down and began to weep saying something to the effect that the church's condition was probably his fault.

Ben's weeping in Houston should have been a red flag for Ray and Joe that something was wrong with him. He obviously needed help, and his fellow leading brothers saw this. A man weeping as he did is an unusual thing. I wonder if Ray or Joe took the time to discover what was troubling Ben, as they clearly should have. Immediately after this episode, Ray called Benson to inform him, and before long Ben was moved to another city, ending his role as the main leader in Houston.

Instead of seeing Ben's weeping as a sign of a brother in need of help, I have reason to believe that Benson saw it as a shameful downfall, maybe a sign of weakness. In 1977, at the time when Benson was giving me my first label, in a meeting in front of Joe Davis, Ray Graver, and some others, he said to me without explanation, "and the shameful downfall that you caused to one of us." I had no idea what he was talking about, but I later deduced he was probably referring to Ben weeping. I suspected that Benson would have seen this as a shameful downfall because Ben was a leader, a "delegated authority".
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Old 04-11-2017, 06:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: important excerpts from Don Rutledge and Jane Anderson

Don R. on James Barber

As we all desire to sort through our journey with Christ and our common experience in the LC, it is important to consider James Barber. Few brothers had such a defining influence on the LC. I spent much more time with him than I ever did with WL. In fact during the critical time period of 1973–78, I spent much more time with Max Rapoport than I did with WL.

James was a very peculiar person, and his staunch advocacy of exalting leaders, aka deputy authority, caused a lot of abnormal development. The same can be said of other leaders, such as Ray Graver, Patsy Freeman, etc. Most of the extreme LC problems are associated with a few personalities. Particular personalities gaining dominance combined with the deputy authority thing caused too much hurt.

Almost from the beginning, James was in a struggle for the hearts and minds of brothers and sisters outside of L.A. Later Max also was in a struggle to be the most influential person in the LC network. They battled each other. I know because I was an object of their fight and heard from both of them about the other brother and what he was doing. James was a very significant player in the downfall of Doug Krieger in Berkeley. Then he was working to bring down Max and vice versa. Max won and James went to OK City where he would have little influence over WL or the work in Anaheim and a diminished role nationally.

James was the number one advocate for putting meetings and church functions above family. He despised saints who only came on Sundays. He had invented a smear "SMOs" (Sunday Morning Only). I heard him use this countless times to slander some of the brethren in L.A. He constantly admonished elders in private fellowship to limit the SMOs. Sometimes I heard him concede to a brother about caring for the SMOs with the statement, "well at least they are good for numbers."

No one was ever more critical of others both in the LC and in Christianity than James. This was a point Max successfully used against him as nearly everyone was consciously or unconsciously bothered by James' unending put downs. (I hear the same kind of mocking derision in the Barber sons. I must believe they learned it from their father.) Since James represented WL and always made sure all realized that he had come from WL, his behavior and speaking was the equivalent of WL's speaking and behavior. At the time, I was too naive. Until Max made it clear that James was not necessarily a spokesperson for WL, it was hard to see how much was actually James. Of course, I do strongly believe that James was to a great extent a product of the shaping of WL.

Now, James truly loved Christ and desired to serve the Lord. He was a very gifted teacher of the Bible and somewhat an evangelist. We all received spiritual help from James. Otherwise his negatives could not have taken hold.

His family is a big testimony of his negatives, which included church activities over caring for the family, the meetings and ministry take care of everything, don't have opinions, don't think, don't criticize the ministry, and the big one: WL is God's anointed, today's David, and thus God will bless whatever WL does.

James died of cancer in the late 1980s. He was in Irving living with Benson seeking to get help from alternative treatments. During this time no one had much contact with him. Before this I had pretty much dropped contact with him. He was becoming more and more odd. I attributed it to nothing in particular. Perhaps it was due to internal conflicts about the LC. He suffered greatly over the whole thought of the video messages. He complained to me that "we ministering brothers" may as well get a popcorn machine and sell it during the videos. It was obvious to me that he saw his role in the recovery was pretty much over and WL was going a different direction with different people. James could have certainly been disappointed. I never heard him criticize WL, but he was not happy at the end.

Jane A. on the Barber family

I was told about Lee's bad treatment of James directly from his wife Virginia, about 10 years after James died. I can't remember the details about how James ended up in OKC, but I remember that it was not a result of his burden, but Lee's directive. She said Lee was very abusive and that his treatment of James tore him up because he considered Lee a father figure. She and the boys hated to see him go to a training in Anaheim because of the state he would be in when he returned, after having been mishandled (she said "abused") by Lee while there. She said the family usually took the brunt of his upset.
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Old 04-11-2017, 06:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: important excerpts from Don Rutledge and Jane Anderson

Don R. on family

In the LC there was a real lack of vision regarding the very crucial and critical role of the family in God's plan and purpose. Sadly, in the LC, many parents made serious mistakes and did not receive needed healthy instruction regarding raising children for the Lord. Frankly, I absolutely love to speak of the family and how powerful the four generational wall of testimony is.

Jane A. responds

LC teachings were off concerning marriage and family. How many Christian churches can you go to today that teach you the church comes before marriage and family? Where is this in the Bible?

We were taught that if you take care of the Lord and the church, God will take care of your marriage and children. This is clearly not biblical, but we bought it. I remember in my first years in the LC being told that Samuel Chang said the most important thing we could do for our children was to be consecrated. That translated into consecrated to the church.

Children need time. They need a lot of hands on involvement, praise, encouragement, etc. They need to know they are important. Both of my children have told me that they always knew they came in second when it came to the church. If there was an event for them (school or recreational) and a church event at the same time, the church event took precedence. Suffice it to say that because the church took all our time, their events got basically none.

In the years after we left, God made me face squarely what I did wrong in my family. I had to do some serious soul searching and repenting to my husband and to my children. Then, I had to change my behavior and show them they were important and that their things were important. I'm still working on that. I will need to walk that way the rest of my life. I will never be able to make up for my neglect. I can cry thinking about it.

If you want to understand why so many kids grew up with problems, ask the sisters. They had to deny their most basic instincts concerning the family. Most of the brothers were happily off with their heads in the meeting clouds. The sad thing was that everything in me wanted to do the right thing for my children, but the unhealthy teaching I was receiving told me that was my "self".

I am thankful every day that the Lord has had mercy on my children. The one thing I did right was not cram the program down their throats. If they didn't want to be involved, they were free not to be. I never made them "call on the Lord," etc. I knew that God had come to me and won my heart as a child, and I wanted the same for my children. I prayed that He would win them, and He did. Mercy.

Don responds

I did hear from some like Samuel Chang such statements, but this teaching was among those that came from peculiar personalities. In my history I mentioned this phenomenon of peculiar personalities having outsized influence in the LC. I should have developed it much more, but I was afraid I would come across as too negative and decided to let this part of the history go. This thread illustrates that was probably a mistake. There were a lot of odd teachings that gained some traction here and there. The anti-marriage stuff was ridiculous. I shot it down whenever I could. The baloney about how miserable the wives could make the husbands and vice versa was one of my favorite targets. I would never let it go by. I would counter about my own experience with Sheryl and report about many other very happily married couples.

The LC collected a lot of peculiar people who were damaged in some way. They often applied things in an extreme way. Some of the leaders did not practice proper leadership because they were themselves damaged and odd.
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: important excerpts from Don Rutledge and Jane Anderson

Deputy Authority

[my note: Deputy (aka Delegated) Authority was mentioned several times in the above excerpts. It's a key concept for understanding LC history and its leadership system, so I'm reposting these excerpts from Jane A. that I'd posted in another thread yesterday. To me, her analysis provides useful insight into the twisted doublethink LC leaders may need to justify their domineering and corrupt behavior.]

The DA concept

LC leaders believe that they are "delegated authorities", men to whom God has given His own authority. LC members believe that God wants them to submit to these delegated authorities. Delegated authorities believe that they must submit to other delegated authorities who are over them. Here, from Watchman Nee's book, Spiritual Authority, are some of the statements that helped produce these kinds of beliefs:

In the past God overlooked our transgressions because we were ignorant, but now we ought to be serious about God's delegated authorities. What God stresses is not His own direct authority but the indirect authorities which He has established. All who are insubordinate to God's indirect authorities are not in subjection to God's direct authority.

Delegated authority is so serious that if one offends it, he is at odds with God. No one can expect to obtain light directly from the Lord if he refuses to have light from delegated authority… It is absolutely impossible for us to reject delegated authority and yet be subject directly to God; rejecting the first is the same as rejecting the second.

God always maintains the authority which He has delegated. We are therefore left with no choice but to be subject to the governing authorities.

an explanation of the DA mindset

Benson's behavior (and that of other LC leaders such as Titus) is the result of a strong belief system, primarily concerning deputy authority. In Benson's way of thinking, his actions as a deputy authority are completely separate from his actions as a person or a brother in Christ. This means that in his view what he did to me was a result of carrying out his God-given responsibility as an authority of God, and it was not anything personal. (I've heard this excuse given for this kind of authoritarian behavior.) Therefore, he thinks that since he (Benson, the man, the Christian brother) did not do this, but he (Benson, the acting deputy authority of God) did this, he has nothing for which to repent. In fact, in his thought, if he were to repent it would be the same as repenting for being obedient to God. That's not going to happen without some major truth earthquakes in his mind that dislodge his delusion.

A brother who was very close to Benson in the early years said to me about him (paraphrased): "Benson is one of the nicest, most likeable people you will ever meet—that is, as long as you do not 'touch' the church. If you 'touch' the church, he turns into a completely different person." Having known Benson myself, I find this statement to be true. The brother indicated that he found the ‘different person’ change to be very disturbing. (I heard this statement from this brother before Benson had ascended up the LSM ladder.)
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Old 04-17-2017, 01:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: important excerpts from Don Rutledge and Jane Anderson

Don R. on Daystar and other business failures

My first conversation regarding Daystar occurred in the Magnolia House in LA around 1970-71 summer time. Frank Deluna’s wife had inherited some money. He was looking to start a business. He and Tim Lee had come up with the idea of selling expensive exclusive motor homes. They were in the very early stages. I was in sales and very interested in running my own business. I was curious as to what I could learn. Frank and I spoke for about an hour on the porch.

A few days later, I happened to be in a group conversation with WL. The conversation went to the spreading of the local churches and the need for some of the brothers to serve full time and the need for funds to acquire adequate property. Since we were primarily a very young group, there was little surplus for any projects. WL mentioned the business that Tim and Frank were starting. He felt it “matched us,” what ever that meant I am not sure but those were his words. He then went on to share how he believed that the best way was to build the coach ourselves. He believed they could be manufactured in Taiwan which would provide jobs for the saints and resources for the Lord’s work in the Far East. Then they could be sold to wealthy Americans and by eliminating other entities, (that is keeping everything within the circle of the local churches) a substantial profit could be made on each unit. He went on to add that saints in the USA and Taiwan and Manila could invest for their own profit and provide a source of revenue for the “Lord’s Work.” He wanted to dedicate 35% of the profit for “the work.” 35% of the profit would go to the investors and I do not recall exactly what was to happen to the final 30% perhaps it was to go for the work in the Far East.

The project moved very quickly from there. Within about three years, a factory had been built in Taiwan and a facility for finishing the coaches had been acquired and put into operation in Orange county. The only problem was there were no buyers and we were in the midst of the oil embargo. The project did not last very long. I was very close to Bob Bynum, who sold the coaches in the Southwest. We knew it was a real losing boondoggle. I was with him quite a bit as he evaluated the product and market. Very BLEAK. Max Rapaport became the President and quit his job to run Daystar. He told me that “if there is a market for the Daystar, it is sitting on the head of a pin.”

About this time, I was in a conversation with James Barber. James was very enthusiastic about the whole venture and had invested in the business. I told him my opinion and how hopeless it appeared to me. His response was that even if I was correct, WL was God’s man for today and the Lord would bless it anyway. I was in more than one conversation where some brother expressed this superstition.

In my opinion, it was something that got way out of hand and took on a life of its on. People were extremely enthusiastic and optimistic about the project. WL did not have to do much to persuade the saints to invest. Every pitch I ever heard was off line from a regular meeting and whoever was directing the meeting was very careful to give a disclaimer at the beginning that the Daystar business was a business and not a part of the church but that it was owned and run exclusively by brothers and sisters in the local churches.

Quality of the Daystar unit: It had pluses and minuses. It was designed by an elderly gentleman who had designed the original Coke delivery trucks. Many in the RV community did not like the design and believed it did not match the time. The interior was spectacular. Marble counter tops. Teak wood. Soft Cadillac leather. The body was core 10 steel. This made it safer than a tank but also put it at the limit of weight. The problem was that paint did not bond well to the shell. Several of the units began to shed paint. I saw one in Austin, it had been sold, but it looked like a mangy dog.

The main problem was the price. They had originally been priced at around 60k. A handsome sum in 1973-74. Eventually I believe the units that sold sold for around 30k. There were a dozen or so shells at the plant in Orange County which were never finished out and were sold for the steel.

No one was the same after Daystar. WL has said that the recovery lost its virginity. At least there was a loss of the Lord’s presence and the glow that had been with many began to fade. The simplicity and purity was gone. LSM became a business. Fees were charged for conferences. Some who served full time began to receive a salary. Churches, elders and saints began to be evaluated based on their “usefulness.” The push for “good material” began. We had a call for the gospel song that had a line that went, “To the beaches, the parks or where ever we may.” This song ceased to be sung. The highways and byways were replaced with go the campus and bring in the good material. So. California was never the same in spite of great effort to recapture the era of blessing and glory.

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Linko was something that the office came up with. It was presented as an example of the wonderful God ordained leadership of the recovery. After a lot of money was raised and spent on the property and many plans made and a great hub bub made, the brilliant office learned that the land had not been approved for development and was basically useless.

I never supported this project and the young BBs promoted it as a means to humble the elders. Minuro gave a stirring speech at an elders coworkers meeting about how the elders would be blessed if they went to Linko and shoveled dirt. He promised that the Spirit would enliven you as you shoveled dirt and they would be greatly rewarded spiritually if they gave up being an elder and went to Linko to shovel dirt.

Just another boondoggle. Just another ridiculous project proposed by the office and the deputy authority. How things had changed!! Yet the Daystar fiasco was the beginning in the USA of one scheme after another which was divinely judged. We were very much like the nation of Israel. We had great victories and huge failures. Solomon built the temple and then his immorality and projects caused the nation to be divided. The Bible is faithful to record both the victories and blessings and the defeats and failures.

I recall a conversation with Witness Lee regarding the American character and his failure to take this factor into consideration. Witness Lee told me that he had learned that Americans are susceptible to “hero worship.” They do not critically consider what their leaders may propose. He believed that some of his wrong headed ideas had gotten support due to this flaw in the American character and that he needed to be careful not to take advantage of this weakness. Yet we know he repeatedly took advantage of this American characteristic.

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I would assume that every church handled these matters in their own way. In Dallas, we never presented Daystar to my knowledge even though there was a lot of talk as a brother attempted to sell them to the public and sometimes one was parked in our parking lot.

After a meeting, we permitted brother Chang to present his vitamin business. I bought some. Also we were contacted about a savings program that the LSM was sponsoring to encourage the young people to save their surplus. It was called “the little bankers.” An elder in a church would collect and record additions and interest to someone's account. I was asked to take care of the Dallas saints. I had a meeting with some of the young people and a few put in a few dollars. Unfortunately, I put $500 into an account for myself. We all thought we could just withdraw at any time. Then I learned the money went for a last ditch effort to keep Daystar afloat. Say goodbye to it. Later, WL asked me to sign a waver of forgiveness from the LSM. Silly me. I signed the release and kissed the money good-bye. Compared to what many lost in Daystar etc my little bit was something to just forget about.

I never mentioned Linko in Dallas but it was a big deal in Irving complete with models of the buildings to be built etc. Because the church in Dallas would not join in the cheerleading and fund raising from Irving there was more and more a strained relationship. Dallas did give money for Irving and the goal and purpose for the facility was shared. Benson came over a time or two and did some fund raising for that hall after a Lord’s table.

Usually Dallas had a sizable surplus in our bank accounts. On three occasions in Texas area elders meetings Benson and Ray put a press on Dallas to release our extra funds for Irving and LSM. We said no each time as our conscience did not agree that the money had been given by the saints for the questionable projects. This put quite a strain on our relationship.

Enough for now about these events. I am getting a little sick at my stomach.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:38 PM   #9
aron
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Default Re: important excerpts from Don Rutledge and Jane Anderson

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Rutledge View Post
After a meeting, we permitted brother Chang to present his vitamin business. I bought some. Also we were contacted about a savings program that the LSM was sponsoring to encourage the young people to save their surplus. It was called “the little bankers.” An elder in a church would collect and record additions and interest to someone's account. I was asked to take care of the Dallas saints. I had a meeting with some of the young people and a few put in a few dollars. Unfortunately, I put $500 into an account for myself. We all thought we could just withdraw at any time. Then I learned the money went for a last ditch effort to keep Daystar afloat. Say goodbye to it. Later, WL asked me to sign a waver of forgiveness from the LSM. Silly me. I signed the release and kissed the money good-bye. Compared to what many lost in Daystar etc my little bit was something to just forget about.

I never mentioned Linko in Dallas but it was a big deal in Irving complete with models of the buildings to be built etc. Because the church in Dallas would not join in the cheerleading and fund raising from Irving there was more and more a strained relationship. Dallas did give money for Irving and the goal and purpose for the facility was shared. Benson came over a time or two and did some fund raising for that hall after a Lord’s table.

Usually Dallas had a sizable surplus in our bank accounts. On three occasions in Texas area elders meetings Benson and Ray put a press on Dallas to release our extra funds for Irving and LSM. We said no each time as our conscience did not agree that the money had been given by the saints for the questionable projects. This put quite a strain on our relationship..
The above confirms my earlier post on the issue of a minister abusing his authority in the church. Poor business decisions. Fraud. Money laundering. A supposed "investment" with promised "profits" suddenly turned into "donations".

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
I'm throwing out the idea that Witness Lee was "the" apostle, or even "an" apostle, if he was leveraging his position to borrow $100K from Sal Benoit and the believers in Massachusetts. Positive cash flow or not, he was wrong hitting up church members for $$ for his kid's business. Totally unethical. (And I presume that what we have documented from MA was repeated around the country. We don't know how much in total flowed from local churches to Phosphorous to Daystar to Timothy Lee).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don R View Post
By then I had seen so many snafus from WL that if there was really anything to the teaching of deputy authority, it sure was not WL. Let him take the lead in a spiritual enterprise or a business enterprise and failure was sure to result. And no, James Barber and Ray Graver, the failures of WL were not a test from the Lord..
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