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Old 09-10-2018, 01:51 PM   #1
ExChurchKid
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Talking Hope for all you church kids

Hi,
I've been a lurker on this website for about a year and a half. I check in now and then to see the latest posts and threads. I'm a former church kid. My family joined when I was in 4th grade. We eventually ended up in the heart of the church life, Orange County, CA. I was in as deep as person could possibly be. If "hooked" had a definition, it would be me. I've been out for about a year and a half now, and I couldn't be more thankful to God for showing me the truth and surrounding me with the people I needed to help support me. It wasn't easy, by any means, but I want the church kids out there to know that it is possible, and you will feel so much better once you're out.

The journey started when I met a man who had no interest in the church life whatsoever, but decided to check out our club on campus. He only help coming around because of me and we eventually started talking. As we started dating (which was already frowned upon as he wasn't in the LC), I, a devoted church kid, was doing everything in my power to "bring him in" and "unveil him" from his denominations. However, he is a VERY strong Christian and right off the bat could tell that something was wrong with the church life. Fast forward two years, our relationship is strong, except for our spiritual connection. I wouldn't leave the church life and he wasn't joining. I came to a crossroads, and no matter how he explained the wrongs of the LC, I was too brainwashed to see he was right. It was only by the Lord's mercy that I trusted GOD enough to begin my slow exit from the LC. It was a rough year. I lost my relationship with my parents. I questioned my stance on biblical truths. My relationship with God became almost nonexistent. I didn't know what truth was anymore. The road will be rough, but a year and a half after leaving, my relationship with God is strong, I married the love of my life, and I feel so free. I understand the BIBLE is the only thing we follow.

To former church kids:
1. If you're questioning the church life, don't shut down those questions-- investigate! Find the truth.
2. Remember that sometimes the Lord puts these "negative" and "veiled" people in our lives for a reason.
3. These "evil denominations" aren't "evil" at all. The church I go to now is non-denominational and there's absolutely nothing unbiblical about it. These people love Jesus and want to grow their relationship with God. The claim that denominations are "caught up in the world" is a bold faced lie. **Keep in mind though, that you need to find a home thats right for you, and not everywhere is perfect and nobody is perfect.

Hoping this helps someone out there,
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hope for all you church kids

1. If you're questioning the church life, don't shut down those questions-- investigate! Find the truth.

This is exactly what the Church disapproves of and openly tells people not to do, warning them that the internet is filled with slander. Someone just sent me a link to the Labor Day Conference in Chicago. The first two messages, especially the first, is an Abridged and edited version of the history of the local church. Interspersed, the speaker speaks about looking online and all the negative things that people have to say and he discourages people from investigating.

To your advice I'd add reading the Bible without footnotes, without the distraction of the ministry. Spend time with the Word.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:52 PM   #3
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ExChurchKid,

Thanks so much for your encouraging post! Any more tips and experiences are welcome and appreciated. Glad you have found yourself in a good place and are doing well.

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Old 09-13-2018, 07:02 AM   #4
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I was in as deep as person could possibly be. If "hooked" had a definition, it would be me. I've been out for about a year and a half now, and I couldn't be more thankful to God ...
I too was "sold out" for the cause, and would try to steer other Christians to the LC. What did they have to offer me? Nothing. They were in "fallen Christianity", which was full of darkness, full of faults. In the LC we had the "recovered truths" and the "proper ground" which ensured that our excitement (yelling slogans, fist pumping) was actually the Holy Spirit ("reality! reality! reality!") and not just manufactured enthusiasm. As for us, we knew "God sees no iniquity in Israel"; yet by contrast all God could see in "poor, degraded Christianity" were faults upon faults.

Then one day the FTTA trainer told us, "Don't waste your time" with the aged, the poor, the weak and the sick. He continued, don't bother with those who can't repay you in this age; rather go for the "good building material" (college students). I was aghast. I protested. This was nothing like the gospels! They ignored me. So I let it go. . . I was sold out, remember? But looking back, that was the beginning of the end . . . I left 3 years later.

This was when the transition was underway from "door knocking" to "campus work". LC'ers got their eyes trained and calibrated to scout for middle class Caucasian college students. Anyone else, meh.

On a related note, I recently met with one from the LC, who told me that this year's push on campus had a theme: they need "fresh blood for the Body". Later in considering the phrase I remembered that it was Walter Martin the vampire expert who early on warned of the dangers of this group. Coincidence? Maybe not.
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Old 09-14-2018, 07:23 AM   #5
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Hey ExChurchKid!

Please consider registering as a forum member. Simply send an email to LocalChurchDiscussions@Gmail.Com requesting membership. Be sure to include your desired UserName (I have reserved "ExChurchKid" if you want it) We will then shoot you back a return email with a temporary password.

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Old 09-14-2018, 07:47 AM   #6
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Hi,
I've been a lurker on this website for about a year and a half. I check in now and then to see the latest posts and threads. I'm a former church kid... I lost my relationship with my parents. I questioned my stance on biblical truths. My relationship with God became almost nonexistent. I didn't know what truth was anymore. The road will be rough, but a year and a half after leaving, my relationship with God is strong, I married the love of my life, and I feel so free. I understand the BIBLE is the only thing we follow.
Can you expound a little more on why you lost your relationship with your parents and how that might be restored? It seems an unnecessary loss since you are now married.
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:38 AM   #7
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You're right ZNP, the loss of relationship with parents and other close family members is totally unnecessary. Too bad that close, normal relationships outside of the Local Church were discouraged by Witness Lee. He labeled such common and natural relationships "as honey that spoiled the offering". Where he came up with this bizarre and totally unbiblical notion is a mystery to me. I guess it's just one of those things that he invented and used to keep the hearts and minds of his followers fully and completing devoted to himself and his so-called "ministry". Admittedly, it worked pretty darn well for over 50 years.
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Old 09-14-2018, 06:20 PM   #8
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I guess it's just one of those things that he invented and used to keep the hearts and minds of his followers fully and completing devoted to himself and his so-called "ministry". Admittedly, it worked pretty darn well for over 50 years.
It's still working.
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:07 PM   #9
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Yeah, I was afraid of that.
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:36 PM   #10
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You're right ZNP, the loss of relationship with parents and other close family members is totally unnecessary...
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The funny thing is, I don't understand the draw of these things for people like the blended brothers. What is in it for them to maintain complete allegiance to someone not around any longer and who will not sit at the judgment seat? What is in it for them that prevents them from being able to say "xyz was a little overkill, the Lord has shined some light, having positive family relationships (or whatever) is ok"? Is it just job security? Not being able to handle the notion that they have been wrong (to whatever degree) for a large part of their life? Serving up refried Lee sounds like just an awful job to me. I have seen in some localities when ministry is reproduced and used for certain meetings, they will quietly replace "overkill" portions with ellipses. Why can't we openly and honestly acknowledge those ellipses?
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Old 09-15-2018, 08:59 PM   #11
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This reminds me of the doctrine and writings of Ellen G White who is the 'prophetess' of the Seventh Day Adventist church. There is so much there that was spoken which is now hidden from the average faithful SDA member. In Gods' word, 'hidden things' go hand in hand with 'darkness'.....and I totally agree...how can such things be hidden....what christian can go along with hiding all the error, sin, satanic deception....how can that be justified among those who are supposedly shepherding the flock? It righteously belongs in the light of examination by Gods' word! Let it all come before the body! Let the good be held fast.....let the rest be corrected.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:04 PM   #12
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On a related note, I recently met with one from the LC, who told me that this year's push on campus had a theme: they need "fresh blood for the Body". Later in considering the phrase I remembered that it was Walter Martin the vampire expert who early on warned of the dangers of this group. Coincidence? Maybe not.
Not to distract from some great reading material in this thread:
It was J. Gordon Melton (also a vampire expert, Google it) who was a paid expert witness that supported Lee and TLR in the first lawsuits against Walter Martin and Jack Sparks' books that had labeled Lee a cult leader and TLR as a cult.

Please continue the thread y'all!
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:33 AM   #13
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The funny thing is, I don't understand the draw of these things for people like the blended brothers. What is in it for them to maintain complete allegiance to someone not around any longer and who will not sit at the judgment seat? What is in it for them that prevents them from being able to say "xyz was a little overkill, the Lord has shined some light, having positive family relationships (or whatever) is ok"? Is it just job security? Not being able to handle the notion that they have been wrong (to whatever degree) for a large part of their life? Serving up refried Lee sounds like just an awful job to me. I have seen in some localities when ministry is reproduced and used for certain meetings, they will quietly replace "overkill" portions with ellipses. Why can't we openly and honestly acknowledge those ellipses?
Sorry to jump on an old thread. Just picking through to find those that feel relatable. I think a big portion of why there isn't the change you are asking about is generational. What Boomers do you know who are quick to admit they are wrong? They do tend to be really good at sweeping stuff under rugs though. I think we will have to see a generational shift in power before there is even a chance at "change" in the LC. And by that point... if it really is just a money grubbing enterprise then the likelihood of change remains slim.
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:48 AM   #14
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Sorry to jump on an old thread. Just picking through to find those that feel relatable. I think a big portion of why there isn't the change you are asking about is generational. What Boomers do you know who are quick to admit they are wrong? They do tend to be really good at sweeping stuff under rugs though. I think we will have to see a generational shift in power before there is even a chance at "change" in the LC. And by that point... if it really is just a money grubbing enterprise then the likelihood of change remains slim.
The absolute brothers really believe that when they open their eyes after death that they will see WL standing there with his hand out saying "well done good and faithful servant". They believe this because they have allowed themselves to be deceived by evil spirits. The evil spirits' strategy in LSM and the LC is to direct attention, love, honor, and devotion to the ministry of WL. The degree to which the saints allow themselves to be distracted is the degree to which they are distracted from Jesus, His clear teachings, and the true apostles' teaching found only in the NT. If only the absolute brothers would read the NT 30 minutes for every 10 minutes they read LSM publications their minds will be transformed, their souls will be washed with pure water, and their consciences will begin to function again.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:32 AM   #15
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The absolute brothers really believe that when they open their eyes after death that they will see WL standing there with his hand out saying "well done good and faithful servant". They believe this because they have allowed themselves to be deceived by evil spirits. The evil spirits' strategy in LSM and the LC is to direct attention, love, honor, and devotion to the ministry of WL. The degree to which the saints allow themselves to be distracted is the degree to which they are distracted from Jesus, His clear teachings, and the true apostles' teaching found only in the NT. If only the absolute brothers would read the NT 30 minutes for every 10 minutes they read LSM publications their minds will be transformed, their souls will be washed with pure water, and their consciences will begin to function again.
...maybe...

but... I think it's still generational. Think about it. These guys have been in control of this thing for 40 years. What is the motivation for change?
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:54 AM   #16
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...maybe...

but... I think it's still generational. Think about it. These guys have been in control of this thing for 40 years. What is the motivation for change?
Yep, you're right. Definitely a generational "Boomer thing" going on. One of my observations is that many of the Boomer old guard got saved in the despicable "denominations" and intuitively know there is truth and life outside of the LC movement, but many of the younger bucks and does who got saved via LC doctrine and practices have no experience outside of the LC, and some might not be saved but just faithful followers of the LSM ministry. These are more likely to teach that there is no way to go on with the Lord Jesus if you leave the LC movement. Just think of the fallout that happens when the dear saints who have been taught this realize they must leave the LC movement. Where can they go? Nowhere, so their faith becomes shipwrecked and they become functional agnostics. Absolute brothers who cause this to happen to the dear saints might want to consider what the Lord Jesus said about stumbling the little ones. After death instead of a handshake from WL they may get the proverbial millstone around the neck and a push into the sea.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:08 AM   #17
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Just think of the fallout that happens when the dear saints who have been taught this realize they must leave the LC movement. Where can they go? Nowhere, so their faith becomes shipwrecked and they become functional agnostics.
This is assuming of course that they had their own faith to begin with.

From what I've seen many or I'd even say most generational LC members have lived their faith vicariously through parents and through a ministry having never developed an actual personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Why do they leave and become functional agnostics? Because they were always agnostic and just haven't had the space to realize it.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:19 AM   #18
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This is assuming of course that they had their own faith to begin with.

From what I've seen many or I'd even say most generational LC members have lived their faith vicariously through parents and through a ministry having never developed an actual personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Why do they leave and become functional agnostics? Because they were always agnostic and just haven't had the space to realize it.
True that.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:54 AM   #19
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The absolute brothers really believe that when they open their eyes after death that they will see WL standing there with his hand out saying "well done good and faithful servant". They believe this because they have allowed themselves to be deceived by evil spirits. The evil spirits' strategy in LSM and the LC is to direct attention, love, honor, and devotion to the ministry of WL. The degree to which the saints allow themselves to be distracted is the degree to which they are distracted from Jesus, His clear teachings, and the true apostles' teaching found only in the NT. If only the absolute brothers would read the NT 30 minutes for every 10 minutes they read LSM publications their minds will be transformed, their souls will be washed with pure water, and their consciences will begin to function again.
Evil spirits. You are very astute in discerning it. I was there almost a year and the WL name kept coming up. Something was seriously wrong. Once I asked a Serving One working with the youth what determined the material that is used to teach the youth? I was told prayer and fellowship. Then I asked who wrote the material....Witness Lee. I was disgusted at that point. The person could not even see how absurd his answer was. There is a very religious way about the WL books that keep the members from seeing the gospel, the majesty and sovereignty of God.
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:19 PM   #20
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This is assuming of course that they had their own faith to begin with.

From what I've seen many or I'd even say most generational LC members have lived their faith vicariously through parents and through a ministry having never developed an actual personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Why do they leave and become functional agnostics? Because they were always agnostic and just haven't had the space to realize it.
Speaking as one such "functional agnostic" who was raised LC, I resent this line of thinking. While there's little room for doubt that this may be the case for some, I can say wholeheartedly that I 100% believed until I reached my early 20s. At that point things began to wobble for me as I encountered other viewpoints and considered various critiques of the christian faith. But prior to that, and even for another 5 years or so afterward, I very much thought of myself as a believer, prayed, struggled with doubt, prayed more, met with brothers about my struggles, branched out into other christian authors...At that point in my life, I had plenty of space, too. It wasn't that people were forcing me to do anything.

I'm just saying, even if it is the case that some percentage of exLCers never believed on a personal level, assuming that to be the case for all or most of them robs them of their own journey. Which effectively means being robbed of the choice by overbearing parents on the front end, and being robbed of the experience by observers afterward who write you off as having been a phony all along. Because even though I absolutely agree in hindsight that I wasn't given a free choice, in the moment I nevertheless believed.
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Old Today, 07:32 AM   #21
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Speaking as one such "functional agnostic" who was raised LC, I resent this line of thinking. While there's little room for doubt that this may be the case for some, I can say wholeheartedly that I 100% believed until I reached my early 20s..
RO,

I think that the "functional agnostic" ex-church kids who have recently come on board this forum have a powerful voice to describe life inside the LC, and life after. Most of them, presently, don't realise they have a voice, that was stolen in childhood.

I don't have capacity to presently address your points but would just like to repeat a probably un-answerable (sociologically-speaking) question that I raised before:

What percent of ex-LC "church kids" became agnostic?
What percent of Asian versus Caucasian (i.e. how much was cultural, on both sides of the "faith" paradigm [belief v/v unbelief])?
Compared to:
What percent of [mostly Caucasian] ex-Amish kids who become agnostic?
What percent born to Orthodox/Conservative Jews who as adults lose faith in God altogether?

Etc.

Complicated questions with a lot behind them, but voices like yours can help unravel this.

I think faith is an important part of the human psychological make-up, but finding it (or not) on one's own, versus having it essentially rammed down one's throat, and rejecting that experience, is a big part of the paradigm. And cultural influences, which either encourage or permit or forbid questioning, may play larger roles than we realise.

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I came to a crossroads, and no matter how he explained the wrongs of the LC, I was too brainwashed to see he was right. It was only by the Lord's mercy that I trusted GOD enough to begin my slow exit from the LC. It was a rough year. I lost my relationship with my parents. I questioned my stance on biblical truths. My relationship with God became almost nonexistent. I didn't know what truth was anymore. The road will be rough, but a year and a half after leaving, my relationship with God is strong, I married the love of my life, and I feel so free. I understand the BIBLE is the only thing we follow.
Some people's faith survives the questioning process and some don't. And some cultures are more "open" and forgiving to questioning long-standing practices an values than others are.

For me it became, How much do I assume, and how much do I critically examine? And, How much is implicit, and how much is explicitly placed, and subject to open scrutiny? To me, "faith" involves allowing one's treasured concepts to be buffeted somewhat by bright air, sunshine, windy days etc. If it survives it's the better for it. If not, too bad. It wasn't worth holding.
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Old Today, 10:16 AM   #22
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This is assuming of course that they had their own faith to begin with.

From what I've seen many or I'd even say most generational LC members have lived their faith vicariously through parents and through a ministry having never developed an actual personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Why do they leave and become functional agnostics? Because they were always agnostic and just haven't had the space to realize it.
I've been speaking with a so called young LC generational who is "coming out," and is taking a lot of heat for it from her parents and LC friends she grew up with. And it is like they are "Coming Out" as non-believers.

But there are those that grow up in it and become "all in" for it. This person's siblings are like that.

I can't imagine the horror of those coming out as gay, to parents, LC friends, etc. And that happens too. Those are the ones that should be showered with 1st Corinth 13 type Christian love.

As also should be true for those coming out as agnostic or atheist. They all do at least qualify as 'neighbors.'

To each his or her own -- I guess -- but my Christian empathy, that I've developed since leaving the LC, has no problem identifying with them.
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Old Today, 11:57 AM   #23
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Aron,

I am also very interested in those sorts of questions. Due to the atmosphere of fear and anxiety present in the LCs, people don't feel liberty to openly discuss doubts, if they have any. The ones who leave generally do so quietly. This benefits the status quo because it is easy to shape the narrative that way. "He left because he was unclear" or "those who leave are slaves to sin" or "they've gone back to the world." It's almost a necessary component to maintaining control of the congregation. The ones who leave are instructive cautionary tales to frighten everyone else to get back into the "diamond lane of the church life."

I'm reminded of the famous "clapping" anecdote from The Gulag Archipelago in which an assembly gave a standing ovation to Stalin for 10 minutes straight, long past the point of absurdity. Finally, in the 11th minute, a manager at a paper company decides he has had enough, and he sits down. Very quickly the rest of the room follows suit. The next day, that manager is arrested and charged with some other crime, with a sentence of 10 years in the gulag. But in the interrogation room, he is told, "never be the first to stop clapping."

I don't mean to make a false equivalency here. Clearly no one (outside of FTT) is being sentenced to labor for insufficient outward shows of conformity. But hearing some of the recent official "Oracle of God" comments from RK about repenting for liking and commenting on social media, or for repenting for things you have agreed with or participated in, I can't help but draw parallels. Instead of threatening 10 years hard labor, they threaten 1000 years of teeth gnashing outside the wedding feast. Same emotional trigger though. The fear of standing out too much keeps people from saying something simple and personal like, "you know dear ones, I love you all and I value the relationships here, so I have no desire to leave, yet I must admit that I am having some definite struggles with some of the teachings here, both in this ministry and in the Bible itself." Just imagine the awkwardness and the tension! The accepatable options one such person would have include 1) quietly praying alone and 2) fellowshipping privately with the brothers. But there's no forum for openly debating or even just exchanging ideas, so there's no model to the saints at large for how real emotional and intellectual maturation occurs. Publicly no one wants to appear disgruntled, so they parrot the lines they are given. It's all received, prepackaged, processed ideas (reminds me of Kraft Singles "Prepared Cheese Product"). We don't need to do anything, just receive. It's like we are holding a Dixie cup under Niagra falls here, when we are under Brother Lee's ministry. Why try to do your own thing when it's all been done for you. And if you ask too many questions, it must be because you're ambitious. So don't be ambitious, don't try to do too much, or anything really, just abide in the vine, allow your edges to be worn down so you are good building material, nothing natural does the body life allow, deny the self, Satan dwells in your flesh, do not trust yourself, follow the sense of life...

And the responses from saints to those who have spoken out, it's striking how they all follow the same habits of argumentation. Ad hominem attacks ("she's a wounded sister...she has been harboring bitterness and offenses...overly emotional...mentally unstable...") None of these are actual arguments; they simply allow you to ignore the issues by discrediting the messenger. Like, let's assume all of the above is true, does that mean Daystar didn't happen? Or that phony false flag rebellions weren't concocted to justify excommunicating disloyal voices? But rank and file "saints" just ignore all that and stick to the below the belt irrelevant personal attacks. Hard to respect people who do this so readily. Then there's the classic term "opposer", which is so weak and also creepy Orwellian sounding. Everyone is an opposer to something right? Christians oppose Satan, right? So that's a meaningless term without context. But no one wants to be included in the smear, so don't do anything which might be perceived as opposer-esque. I remember growing up as a "church kid" (hate this cutesy term the more I think about it too) we used to joke about how if you miss one meeting that's understandable, if you miss two you're a backslider, and if you miss three in a row you're an opposer. Point is it's a term that is so embedded in "recovery" culture that children can make joking ironic references to it. So to hear people use it to refer to people who click "like" on a public post is so gross to me. It just demonstrates an infantile, unnuanced worldview. Quick, get thee to the semi annual so you can be told how to think about this new threat to the Lord's unique move upon the Earth, and then quietly apply dour, passive aggressive social pressure to the saints in your locality to make sure they aren't spreading poison.

The only time "the" "brothers" even acknowledge dissent is when it serves their purpose. Just like the only time they reference any other Christian institution is when they twist their arm into running a cover story called "We Were Wrong." Now suddenly this is a worthwhile publication and all the saints should avail themselves of its riches too. I mean don't get me wrong, there's still just the one trumpet in the Lord's army, but Hank Hanegraff and Gretchen whoever are totally right about this one thing and we are going to make an ostentatious show about it so the saints feel validated by the very same people we usually say have nothing to offer. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. It's so self serving and ridiculous, and it's the same dynamic with this sudden "burden" to address rebellion and Miriam in the semi annual. It seems we are having more trouble than usual controlling how people talk to each other online. Let's name drop all the dead people opposers might be reading about from 40 years ago, but keep it vague and ominous sounding so nobody asks too many questions. And even sort of imply that the reason they are dead might have to do with the fact they "touched the delegated authority." Also make sure that they know God knows their Twitter password and can read all their tweets, and liking a post under a pseudonym is wicked too, so don't think you're fooling anyone. You will stand before the judgment seat with your browsing history in full view. So scary oOoOoO.

Anyway, so sorry for the tangents. I think you're right that it's practically impossible to say what percentage of church kiddos end up in various categories.
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