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Oh Lord, Where Do We Go From Here? Current and former members (and anyone in between!)... tell us what is on your mind and in your heart.

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Old 01-14-2014, 05:28 PM   #1
bearbear
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Default Feeling shame and learning to trust again after leaving the LCs

After my wife and I left the LCs the process of leaving and finding a new church was very uncomfortable.

In one church we visited one of the elders there asked us why we left our previous church. I tried to explain our situation but after I brought up the name of Watchman Nee he started defending the LCs even though he knew nothing of Witness Lee. It turned out he was a huge Watchman Nee fan and he started judging us for leaving and me for labeling my previous church system to be cult-like.

In another setting, a woman asked us what made us come to their church and we replied that we were just interested in visiting Christians around the area. To us this was a big deal because we had been living in the Local Church bubble for the longest time. She gave us a blank stare and said something along the lines of "Thats weird! You can just go to such and such an area for that you know? There's tons of Christians there!"

So basically there weren't many people out there who knew what we were going through and we felt very alone. I felt shame concerning my LC background and learned to never bring it up again towards other Christians.

Eventually the Lord led us to the church we're at. We noticed this church was unlike the others because the members seemed to really genuinely love each other. We liked that they practiced praying for each other in small groups during the meetings and there seemed to be so much joy and love being passed around. The teachings were also interesting and I felt fed with each passing sermon.

Eventually we were introduced to another ministry within the church. It turns out that the elder there was an ex-LCer! Finally we had someone who could understand us and minister healing to us. The Lord really prepared everything for us.

Gradually I came to trust in ministry leaders again. In the beginning I reasoned that if Witness Lee could deceive so many smart folks, what was preventing myself from being deceived?

But through the church, I learned to build up my foundation in God's word and develop intimacy with Jesus. Now that I've learned to trust and stand on Jesus and the word as my solid foundation, I've been able to "trust" myself enough to begin "trusting" others again. I know if the leaders ever go astray, I'll always have the word of God and the spirit of God available to tell me. I've learned that it's not leaders that are the problem, it's simply whether or not they have God's presence and if the Holy Spirit is welcome in the environment.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

John 16:13
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: Feeling shame and learning to trust again after leaving the LCs

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But through the church, I learned to build up my foundation in God's word and develop intimacy with Jesus. Now that I've learned to trust and stand on Jesus and the word as my solid foundation, I've been able to "trust" myself enough to begin "trusting" others again. I know if the leaders ever go astray, I'll always have the word of God and the spirit of God available to tell me. I've learned that it's not leaders that are the problem, it's simply whether or not they have God's presence and if the Holy Spirit is welcome in the environment.
Amen! My experience is strikingly similar where I didn't want any part of a Christian environment whose fellowship was based on a specific ministry. Rather one where the speaking s from the Word and multiple ministries are supported financially. An environment where the fear of God is not overridden by the fear of man. An environment where each Lord's Day reading the Word daily is the continually enocuraged.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:47 AM   #3
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Default Re: Feeling shame and learning to trust again after leaving the LCs

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Amen! My experience is strikingly similar where I didn't want any part of a Christian environment whose fellowship was based on a specific ministry. Rather one where the speaking s from the Word and multiple ministries are supported financially. An environment where the fear of God is not overridden by the fear of man. An environment where each Lord's Day reading the Word daily is the continually enocuraged.
Maybe that was the reason that we latched onto a church that actually had no pastor at the time.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Feeling shame and learning to trust again after leaving the LCs

Thankfully God is not a misanthrope ,,,,
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Feeling shame and learning to trust again after leaving the LCs

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Maybe that was the reason that we latched onto a church that actually had no pastor at the time.
What did your church have then if it had no pastor, who was leading that church and how was it being led by?
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:36 PM   #6
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What did your church have then if it had no pastor, who was leading that church and how was it being led by?
The previous pastor had left and there was a vacancy being filled by a professor from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS). About two months after we started there, they had identified a replacement and he began. that was over 26 years ago and he is still there. The church is only 51 years old now, so he has been the pastor for more than half of its existence.

But the church was never without leadership. The elders were a very capable group. And there was at least one DTS professor among them (not the one who was filling the pulpit). That church has grown significantly over those 26 years, although growth is a poor measure of quality. Yet I would call it quality.
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:52 PM   #7
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The previous pastor had left and there was a vacancy being filled by a professor from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS). About two months after we started there, they had identified a replacement and he began. that was over 26 years ago and he is still there. The church is only 51 years old now, so he has been the pastor for more than half of its existence.

But the church was never without leadership. The elders were a very capable group. And there was at least one DTS professor among them (not the one who was filling the pulpit). That church has grown significantly over those 26 years, although growth is a poor measure of quality. Yet I would call it quality.
Why does the LSM today claim they have no leader nor pastor in their local churches except the Lord Jesus Christ? But when asked how does the Lord Jesus lead and shepherd them they have no definite answer but to simply quote bible verses. Were you not with them before?
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Old 02-17-2019, 12:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: Feeling shame and learning to trust again after leaving the LCs

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Originally Posted by bearbear View Post
After my wife and I left the LCs the process of leaving and finding a new church was very uncomfortable.

In one church we visited one of the elders there asked us why we left our previous church. I tried to explain our situation but after I brought up the name of Watchman Nee he started defending the LCs even though he knew nothing of Witness Lee. It turned out he was a huge Watchman Nee fan and he started judging us for leaving and me for labeling my previous church system to be cult-like.

In another setting, a woman asked us what made us come to their church and we replied that we were just interested in visiting Christians around the area. To us this was a big deal because we had been living in the Local Church bubble for the longest time. She gave us a blank stare and said something along the lines of "Thats weird! You can just go to such and such an area for that you know? There's tons of Christians there!"

So basically there weren't many people out there who knew what we were going through and we felt very alone. I felt shame concerning my LC background and learned to never bring it up again towards other Christians.

Eventually the Lord led us to the church we're at. We noticed this church was unlike the others because the members seemed to really genuinely love each other. We liked that they practiced praying for each other in small groups during the meetings and there seemed to be so much joy and love being passed around. The teachings were also interesting and I felt fed with each passing sermon.

Eventually we were introduced to another ministry within the church. It turns out that the elder there was an ex-LCer! Finally we had someone who could understand us and minister healing to us. The Lord really prepared everything for us.

Gradually I came to trust in ministry leaders again. In the beginning I reasoned that if Witness Lee could deceive so many smart folks, what was preventing myself from being deceived?

But through the church, I learned to build up my foundation in God's word and develop intimacy with Jesus. Now that I've learned to trust and stand on Jesus and the word as my solid foundation, I've been able to "trust" myself enough to begin "trusting" others again. I know if the leaders ever go astray, I'll always have the word of God and the spirit of God available to tell me. I've learned that it's not leaders that are the problem, it's simply whether or not they have God's presence and if the Holy Spirit is welcome in the environment.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

John 16:13
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

I have this problem too. Meeting new people in a new church inevitably brings up the logical question of how you got there or where you came from - how do you even begin to explain where you came from without turning their smile into frozen steel and their eyes wide as they get a weirder story than they bargained for? From the get-go you are "weird", when you just need help and understanding about something that is impossible to understand unless you lived it!

Also finding out that elders in the LC are quite comfortable speaking half-truths makes it difficult to trust people in positions of authority anywhere as upright persons too.

It's amazing what the Lord worked out for your situation!
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: Feeling shame and learning to trust again after leaving the LCs

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I have this problem too. Meeting new people in a new church inevitably brings up the logical question of how you got there or where you came from - how do you even begin to explain where you came from without turning their smile into frozen steel and their eyes wide as they get a weirder story than they bargained for? From the get-go you are "weird", when you just need help and understanding about something that is impossible to understand unless you lived it!

Also finding out that elders in the LC are quite comfortable speaking half-truths makes it difficult to trust people in positions of authority anywhere as upright persons too.
Consider a person from North Korea who just escaped. All their life they were told of the evil outside world. New York City, for instance, is supposedly full of heroin addicts, muggers and rapists. Then somehow, they escape and they're in NYC. Sure enough, there's a heroin addict laying on the street. A wino with no teeth grabs at them. Another person accosts them for a handout. Wow! It's really that bad!

No, it's not. It is bad, actually, but not as bad as North Korea. In the land of freedom, people do indeed misbehave, but that's better than a totalitarian state where jaywalkers and heroin addicts are summarily executed, as well as people who don't clap loudly enough when the Great Man speaks.

But it's hard, I admit, when you get out of the One Party State, to sort it all out. First impressions become snap judgments. It sure does look messy! (and yes, they look at you often as a "weirdo").

In my case, I left physically, as the practices were bad (no love), but I was firmly convinced that all the doctrines were without flaw. Somehow we just had to meld the teachings with the right practices, and the "life" of "Elden Hall" would come back into the Podunk Community Church. I really thought this - I mean, how could any teachings be an improvement on God's New Testament Economy?

So I had a lot to unlearn before I could learn. I was programmed to think a certain way. (They call it "training"). I had to be de-programmed first. Only then could I begin to look around and sort out what was what.

In short, "Christianity" is arguably a mess. On many levels. But if you boil down the gospel, either you believe or you don't. Either Jesus Christ rose from the dead according to the scripture (OT and NT) or no. Either its the truth or it's a lie. Once I boiled down the gospel to it's irreducible core (for my satisfaction), then suddenly I could begin to navigate the subject of "church" among others. But that took years of frustration and confusion. Hopefully it won't be as bad for you.
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Old 02-17-2019, 05:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: Feeling shame and learning to trust again after leaving the LCs

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearbear View Post
After my wife and I left the LCs the process of leaving and finding a new church was very uncomfortable.

In one church we visited one of the elders there asked us why we left our previous church. I tried to explain our situation but after I brought up the name of Watchman Nee he started defending the LCs even though he knew nothing of Witness Lee. It turned out he was a huge Watchman Nee fan and he started judging us for leaving and me for labeling my previous church system to be cult-like.

In another setting, a woman asked us what made us come to their church and we replied that we were just interested in visiting Christians around the area. To us this was a big deal because we had been living in the Local Church bubble for the longest time. She gave us a blank stare and said something along the lines of "Thats weird! You can just go to such and such an area for that you know? There's tons of Christians there!"

So basically there weren't many people out there who knew what we were going through and we felt very alone. I felt shame concerning my LC background and learned to never bring it up again towards other Christians.

Eventually the Lord led us to the church we're at. We noticed this church was unlike the others because the members seemed to really genuinely love each other. We liked that they practiced praying for each other in small groups during the meetings and there seemed to be so much joy and love being passed around. The teachings were also interesting and I felt fed with each passing sermon.

Eventually we were introduced to another ministry within the church. It turns out that the elder there was an ex-LCer! Finally we had someone who could understand us and minister healing to us. The Lord really prepared everything for us.

Gradually I came to trust in ministry leaders again. In the beginning I reasoned that if Witness Lee could deceive so many smart folks, what was preventing myself from being deceived?

But through the church, I learned to build up my foundation in God's word and develop intimacy with Jesus. Now that I've learned to trust and stand on Jesus and the word as my solid foundation, I've been able to "trust" myself enough to begin "trusting" others again. I know if the leaders ever go astray, I'll always have the word of God and the spirit of God available to tell me. I've learned that it's not leaders that are the problem, it's simply whether or not they have God's presence and if the Holy Spirit is welcome in the environment.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

John 16:13
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Your testimony reminded me of the man who was going down to Jericho, fell among thieves and then was helped by the good samaritan.

Imagine that this man is also the one who was telling the Lord how he was thankful he wasn't like these other people ("satanic jews", "idolatrous catholics" and "dead protestants") he was glad he was one of the "elite Christians" absolute for "God's up to date move" following the "Minister of the Age". Imagine how he feels when he wakes up in the Inn realizes he had fallen among thieves and it was the good Samaritan that helped him (weren't they mixed, not absolute?).

The good news is he can now repent of that arrogance.
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:53 AM   #11
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Default Re: Feeling shame and learning to trust again after leaving the LCs

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Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
I have this problem too. Meeting new people in a new church inevitably brings up the logical question of how you got there or where you came from - how do you even begin to explain where you came from without turning their smile into frozen steel and their eyes wide as they get a weirder story than they bargained for? From the get-go you are "weird", when you just need help and understanding about something that is impossible to understand unless you lived it!

Also finding out that elders in the LC are quite comfortable speaking half-truths makes it difficult to trust people in positions of authority anywhere as upright persons too.

It's amazing what the Lord worked out for your situation!
I wouldn't join a church that asked me to reveal my life story. It's none of their business unless I choose to reveal it, especially in the early going.

But if asked simply out of curiosity, I would start out with a general innocuous reply. I would say something like, I was in a church where the leaders became more and more controlling over time, and it became clear it was time to leave. If the people in your new church have the right attitude, the first thing they will try to do is reassure you they are not controlling, which should mean they won't press you anymore. If they push for more details in a way that makes you uncomfortable then they probably just don't get it and it may be time to try again.
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