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Old 10-04-2019, 02:12 AM   #1
Curious
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Hello Cal and Local Church discussers.

I have been following this forum and your YouTube messages with great interest.

Cal, you have made many wise and insightful observations and I believe you have approached the whole subject of the LC very, very well. (Additionally, from the topic of the LC, I am very impacted by the commentary on Noah and his cursing of Ham, I have taught it to my kids already!) I will start with a very brief introduction of myself. I have been a trophy hoped for by and LCer, whom I knew for a number of years. Within that time, I attended their weekly meetings with a shared meal, fellowship, songs and a “study”, for several of those years. I never joined, as they never told me that was their hope, and the longer I attended, the more I became aware of my own alarm bells going off. I have been ‘shunned’ already for some time. That is the bones of it.

However, I happen to know some others who are currently in, and one who has been and come out of, some other similar ‘christian’ groups. What makes me call them similar I the following: exclusivity, rejection of regular Christianity as fallen and spiritual Babylon, high demand, no accountability for leadership, sexual abuse, excommunicating those who object in any way, hiding and dismissing their crimes. I have been studying and considering how people become ensnared and I have a comment to make on it, that I think is relevant to this forum.

The group starts off meeting their needs, rather than teaching them truth. Persons whom have a deep need for the following: belonging, certainty, security, significance. Young adults today are increasingly dealing with lack in these areas, through divorce of parents, fears of planet destruction from the media, social media, cyber bullying etc. Those whose needs in these areas have been met by their inclusion in a group like the LC (and others with the same set of beliefs about themselves), and whose fears have seemed to be resolved by the answers they’ve been given, who are sold out on it, will not listen to you and me or any evidence or reason we can supply. It threatens the source of their newfound stability and certainty about the world and their place in it. They aren’t actually seeking truth yet, they are meeting their own needs. Until they mature, or become significantly hurt by the group, and are able to see it clearly, they won’t listen to us.

The big problem in the long run with valuing certainty, significance, and a rigid and strict interpretation of the bible, is that it feeds arrogance not humility. It leads the convert away from a Christian character not towards it: -Sense of certainty + exclusivity = arrogance, pride (even if hidden), self protection, self preservation. Its all about self and feeling safe. -Faith that surrenders self + acceptance of everyone as they are, but longing for the best for them = humility, awareness of own limitations, love for others and reliance on Gods love and mercy for self.

The second scenario actually delivers a much deeper sense of security and is the only true way to drive away fear. The first doesn’t really deliver, only seems to. In fact, in the first equation, one’s security becomes the doctrines of the group, and not Jesus himself. It doesn’t involve repentance either, and seeking security is the opposite of activating faith, as faith requires the letting go of safety security and control, to hold on to Jesus, think of the disciples in the boat when the storm flared up and put yourself in their shoes!

For the person longing to belong, fearful of their future, lacking confidence etc, it’s easy to feel so comforted by the strong sense of certainty provided by these charismatic and narcissistic leaders, (as to be so certain one has to have little actual conscience). That is what hooks them. I know because I was once young, afraid, had no confidence and longed to belong. I made my own mistakes too.

So, to any LC lurkers, I lay the challenger to you. What motivates you? Do you believe everything you are taught and tow the line because it meets your own needs? Or because you have independently assessed it all to be true? (Of course it’s a trap, you end up living in fear in the LC, exploited by the needs you had, trapped by fear of consequences if you leave, challenged to face those fears that caught you in the first place, like ground hog day!)

That’s my comment. I have much more to say. I’ll save my other points, for a future post.
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:24 AM   #2
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I have been studying and considering how people become ensnared and I have a comment to make on it, that I think is relevant to this forum.

The group starts off meeting their needs, rather than teaching them truth. Persons whom have a deep need for the following: belonging, certainty, security, significance.
Very perceptive.

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For the person longing to belong, fearful of their future, lacking confidence etc, it’s easy to feel so comforted by the strong sense of certainty provided by these charismatic and narcissistic leaders, (as to be so certain one has to have little actual conscience). That is what hooks them. I know because I was once young, afraid, had no confidence and longed to belong. I made my own mistakes too..
Same here. I came from a background of instability, holding shame, hoping to belong somewhere, and to matter. I was young, ignorant, naïve, trusting. So, "when in Rome do as the Romans do" - I soon found myself on the front row, doing the "fist pump" as I said "amen" in unison, praying in the sing-song manner with pauses appropriate for the "amens" of others to support me. Within months I was in a "brother's house", mailing ministry materials to my extended family in the hopes that the magical powers of these writings would somehow transfer into them as well. Our leader called it "metabolic transformation" - where the word, once read (or pray-read, or sung) would come into us and make us divine. Just go to the meetings, listen to the message, say "amen" when the brother speaks, and you are "in the central lane of the divine economy".

Not only that, we were told not to trust the 'uninterpreted word' - the Bible - but the 'interpreted word' - the ministry. You see, the Bible was full of fallen human concepts and only "God's oracle" could knew which were revelatory, and how. For example, in the RecV Bible, the majority of the Psalms is treated thus, even though the book is cited like 40 times in the NT. The footnotes (and lack thereof) are striking.

As you say, it's a sort of confidence game, in which the confidence of the leader is transferred to the followers, who supposedly get a one-stop-shopping cure for the ailments of life. In retrospect, I'm realizing that this may be true if the leader is named Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and seating in bright glory with the Father in heaven, and probably is not true if the 'leader' is actually one of your fellow sinners. (Older but wiser.) I left after several years of 24/7 immersion, because my shame (&c) didn't go away... it had merely been temporarily relieved by the euphoria of group shouting. But it was hard, as my mind was thoroughly programmed into reflexive non-thought. I've been on this forum for several years unpacking my various issues, Christian and otherwise.

Thanks for chiming in, and welcome!
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:41 AM   #3
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Cal, you have made many wise and insightful observations and I believe you have approached the whole subject of the LC very, very well. (Additionally, from the topic of the LC, I am very impacted by the commentary on Noah and his cursing of Ham, I have taught it to my kids already!)
Thanks Curious! And thanks for your insights. Good stuff.

There are two elements: bait and hook. All groups have "bait," so to speak--that is, all groups have some good things that attract potential members. But not all groups have hooks, that is the less pleasant things that hold people there against their will. In the LR, the hook is the fear that you "cannot leave because this is God's unique move blah-blah." For many, succumbing to this lie has become an accepted way of life. (But no subset of the Church has the right to try to hold members in such a way.)

So the hooked rationalize by consoling themselves with the good things of the "church life." And some even glory in their captivity, by believing that such a life is actually better than anything else. It's called coping. It's possibly a form of institutionalization. As you said, it's the wrong form of motivation. Instead of seeking the truth and to be obedient to God, they are seeking to avoid inner conflict and hard decisions.
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:31 PM   #4
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Welcome Curious!

Hope to hear more from you.
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Old 10-05-2019, 02:11 AM   #5
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Hello again,
Thanks for your encouragement for me to post more. I know that I’m declaring the following to outsiders reading, I see that those running this forum etc have insight and victory in these matters already. I want to expand on my thoughts that people can get hooked into the LC particularly if they are young and fearful or anxious about the future or life in general. I want to say this….seeking security in this way can be a shortcut to becoming a pharisee.

Pharisaism can be summed up as follows: It’s a focus on:
Details, alarm bells, and ways to keep yourself safe.
Avoiding tombs and all the hygiene rules, etc externalises sin and harm. God wants the circumcision of the heart, not the body. Not external signs, but internal faith. A very good book on this subject is “Extreme Righteousness, seeing ourselves in the pharisees” by Tom Hovestol. I highly recommend it. Being concerned with fear and self-preservation is the opposite of walking in faith. It is about building a fortress of protection that avoids any faith-based action. That’s why Jesus was such an unwelcome confrontation to them.

Faith is the only antidote to fear. A person can’t develop faith while invested in self-protection, elimination of risk, driven by fear. The prophet Jeremiah was put down a well and left to die there. God had promised to preserve his life, that was the only hope he had to hold on to. He didn’t know any way in which it could happen. That’s the level of faith I am talking about. A very real danger of being badly harmed or killed, but being able to rise above it and trust God for the outcome.

It is impossible to reach maturity without vulnerability. Admitting a mistake or a deliberate wrong is the only way forward for any human, to repent of it and be sorry. This makes us vulnerable and requires humility. Witness Lee did not demonstrate this nor do those who have continued after him, as well documented on this forum and elsewhere. He remained immature as do the blendeds following after him. We would all have respect for them if they admitted to mistakes and wrongdoing. That’s the crazy thing, they would find safety and grace if they turned and changed their ways.

I want to add, as so many of what he did and said turns out to be unoriginal, so too is his fortress of self-preservation, and justifying of himself. Another book, “the ugly Chinaman and the crisis of Chinese culture” by Bo Yang, (also Taiwanese man, incidentally). Bo Yang’s big beef with his own culture is exactly that, hostility to any correction by others, that he calls a crisis. He was jailed for his efforts to confront his own culture towards a healthy respect for the opportunity to develop through hearing the honest evaluations of others. He praises American culture for its ability to make use of these evaluations on order to grow and develop in business as well as other spheres of life. His comments are sometimes a bit crass, possibly his frustration showing through. Interestingly, he also points to the bible of western culture as being the source of their wisdom in this matter. So traditionally Chinese culture is baggaged with inability to hear a critique. The breakdown between Lee and his American followers was destined to happen.

One of the words God gave me about the LC as I pondered about them during my time of association was, I just asked,” what’s going on with them?” and the answer came just like this: ’They are stuck in immaturity and futility’. That’s what I felt God say. I will leave it at that today. I hope it all doesn’t sound too harsh or critical, we are all fallen, after all, its just which direction we are going in.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:58 AM   #6
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Curious,

Thanks for the comments. Amen on both counts:

#1. If we fear being "contaminated" and "dirty" we may hole up, literally or figuratively, congratulating ourselves on our ritualistic purity, our washings and fringes and tassels... when I met there the "separation" motif was so strong: don't meet with "fallen Christianity". We'd gather in our exclusive little club, circle our chairs and read the "proper" ministry. Any association with the supposed impurity of "Babylon" was avoided. And then there's the "World"!! No televisions. No sports. The first time (after Lee passed, natch) that I saw an elder's daughter sitting in their living room watching sports on the telly I surely did a double-take. That was "contamination"! No!!

And yet, where's one's heart in all of this? Safe and snug? And superior to others, who aren't so sequestered as oneself? And then we'd look at each other as the same 8 or 10 gathered every Saturday morning, to rehearse the "ministry outlines"... where were all the "new ones"? Our community impact was zilch. Where's the faith? Where's the vulnerability, the fragility, the trust in God's saving power? Instead we'd build our walls...

#2 Regarding the "do not critique leadership" and its cultural component. I read a story some time back that, even though Chairman Mao has been gone 40 years, nobody there can question his leadership. If you openly critique Mao you're unpatriotic and must be dealt with - public order and stability depends on it. Mao can critique the Chinese but they can't critique him. I read that and went, Gee, that seems so familiar. Repackaged in spiritual garb... "even when he's wrong he's right" was the mantra in my day. And everyone knew who "he" was. But Paul critiqued Peter. Martin Luther critiqued the Roman Catholic 'indulgences' and so forth. If something is in need of sunlight, God will shine.

Now, Western culture has its own challenges and instabilities. And the Eastern way of acculturation and socialization has millennia of history behind it and is not inferior. But it is not "divine and mystical" it is human like any other, or what Jesus called "the way of the gentiles" (Matt 6:32; 20:25; Mark 10:42; Luke 12:30) It's not the kingdom of God.
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Old 10-07-2019, 12:35 AM   #7
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Hello again. In response to aron’s response to my post, I want to add some more.

First, to emphasise the issue of repentance and forgiveness, 1 John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” It’s a done deal, and if God forgives, who are we to withhold, us mere mortals? We have an obligation to God to forgive. If any LSM leader repents, forgiveness is assured.

Germany repented to the world and to the Jewish race after WWII. They received reconciliation, restitution of friendly relations with the rest of the world, including the nation of Israel. If a nation can do it, so can a Christian ministry. Aron, your willingness to be transparent and vulnerable in sharing your own story to illustrate my points was more than I was expecting. Thank you.

I’m going to pick up on your mention of ‘shame’ in the package of things you felt as a young adult. Shame and rejection are major tools of destruction to the human heart. In quarantining and shunning, as well as other disciplines, shame and rejection has been used to control people, in the LC. This is very effective, given our vulnerability, and very evil, in my opinion. A great fear of shame and humiliation will terrify a person from opening their heart in the way aron has done, but easy when repentance is a way of life. The terror of being vulnerable in a critical and harsh environment can feel very real, and create a huge barrier for a person to navigate. Yet peace and a huge deep release await on the other side of that barrier. Being cleansed from all unrighteousness is a wonderful and empowering experience, actually.

Isn’t it interesting that the word ‘humility’ and the word ‘humiliation’ are so similar yet have very different meanings? (It’s one of the God-incidences in our language, like the word ‘sun’, gives light to the physical world, and ‘the son’ is the only source of light in the world of the heart). Humility towards God, and the fear of the Lord are the antidote to fear of humiliation. It brings with it the peace of knowing that all us human beings are fallen, and nothing we can be ashamed of or attacked about is more than what is common to man. Which releases us from shame. Humility is, in short, the antidote to humiliation. There is no hook to punish us by humiliation when we are detached from human approval and attached to Gods love and acceptance of us. To realise how core this is, demons often use mockery, its very common in deliverance ministry situations. Demons are evil. Mockery provokes shame and humiliation and demons know it is a powerful weapon against the human soul. Any using of it as a tool is evil as I said above, and Jesus never disrespected people in this way, never ever EVER.

Also, the fear of the Lord. If nothing else, face the temporary humiliation to spare yourself eternal punishment, that's still a good deal. After all, salvation depends on repentance. Genuine repentance is caring more about how you've hurt others than it is about preserving self. Which matters more? Next time I’m going to talk about the bubonic plague and its relevance to this discussion. That sounds well off the wall, don’t mind me, I am a bit wacky…. it will make sense when I explain it!
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Old 10-07-2019, 10:54 AM   #8
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It is impossible to reach maturity without vulnerability. Admitting a mistake or a deliberate wrong is the only way forward for any human, to repent of it and be sorry. This makes us vulnerable and requires humility. Witness Lee did not demonstrate this nor do those who have continued after him, as well documented on this forum and elsewhere. He remained immature as do the blendeds following after him. We would all have respect for them if they admitted to mistakes and wrongdoing. That’s the crazy thing, they would find safety and grace if they turned and changed their ways.
I couldn't possibly give a big enough "Amen!" to this! Out of the 2,700+ posts that I have made over the last decade+, you can throw out 2,695 of them and just pay attention to this one. Why? Because it hits upon the heart of the Gospel, and it hits upon the real heart of the divine revelation. Witness Lee and his followers have always prided themselves on having cornered the market on knowing and apprehending what is the "higher Gospel", and what is "the heart of the divine revelation". But they (also we..maybe especially me) have missed it big time. And I only have to point us to two passages - one in the Old Testament, and one in the New Testament:
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40)
Actually as I was reciting these verses another one came to mind and I'll ad it here as an addendum:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34,35)

Yes, these are simple, basic commandments, yet from these spring the way, the truth and life for us to accomplish and fulfill the desire and heart of God to see his will "done on earth as it is in heaven". Mere determination of the human will cannot accomplish this. The intellect of the most genius of men cannot accomplish this. The best intentions of the purest of hearts cannot accomplish this. Even the Lord Jesus was not able to completely accomplish this during his earthly ministry - He told his disciples that they "will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do" (John 14:12) Notice that our Lord did not proclaim to them "the vision of the age", or "become God in life and nature by eating and drinking", or any other such spiritually sounding gobbledygook. No. He spoke of "greater works than these". What is needed in this present evil age, and among this crooked and perverse generation is not any more vision(s) (of the age or otherwise), not any more high peak, recovered truths, and not eating, drinking and enjoying the Lord. Has not our experience in the Local Church of Witness Lee shown us that concentrating on these things will only allow us to be puffed up and consider ourselves as better than others, and assuage our consciences as we ignore the poor and vulnerable, and the outcasts of society, and even to coldly "beat our fellow servants" (our brothers and sisters in Christ). May God have mercy.
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:32 AM   #9
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hi I have listened to the youtube episode 32 by Cal. I am shocked at the words spoken by Ron Kangas: His statement that Steve Iset is ‘a man of death’. I’m going to focus on that one statement alone. I agree entirely with Cal’s comment on the matter, and I want to focus on more ramifications of what this guy Ron Kangas is doing.

I have seen evil dressed up as Christianity before in my life, not in the local church, but patterns of evil don’t change, they are always the same. (Satan is not omnipresent or omnipotent as LC teachings suggest but demons do not have individuality like humans). To pronounce a curse like this on another living soul, is very serious. It’s witchcraft, pure and simple. Domination and Control is what witchcraft is all about, so they are well in the territory of witchcraft, in my opinion.

I don’t mean to be alarmist, but we must not be ignorant of satan’s devices. Ron Kangas speaks curses, opposite in spirit to Jesus who said ‘forgive them father, they don’t know what they’re doing’ as he died even for his attackers. But Ron is ok with himself to curse a brother in Christ, to death no less, because he doesn’t agree with him. Horrific.

Their ‘promise’ of misfortune to befall those who leave is a witchcraft threat too. So to stack it up: they speak curses out in the open, they promise curses if you leave them, they operate in the nature if witchcraft. I think it would be naiive to think it stops there. (Evil is predictable). I think it wise to practise contingency in the case that they do actually practice cursing and witchcraft on leavers, especially outspoken ones, and if I am right, they are unleashing powers of darkness over people that they have already damaged. People who are angry and hurting and in a process where they are spiritually vulnerable. ‘A curse without a cause cannot land’ that means where there is no sin in our lives, a curse cannot land on us. For those escaping the LC, it is a process to get to a place of forgiveness, as they may still be discovering how damaged and lied to they have been. It takes time to walk away in freedom, and wholeness. For this reason I encourage every ex LCer, especially those who have revealed their identities, to pray the blood of Jesus over themselves, and pray for the cross of Jesus to be between themselves and anything coming at them from LC persons. do this regularly, even daily. Especially if you feel scared or confused. Pray the spiritual armour on, too. Make these a habit of prayer, as you may have active forces coming against you. The work of getting free has just begun, you will have ‘landing pads’ for a curse to land, expected as your process is still unfolding, I’m not putting any condemnation on, just being realistic. But you can be safe in asking for Jesus’ protection from their witchcraft. it will cover you as you heal. And help you grow to know Jesus as separate from the LC control. Look up Derek Prince’s teachings on blessings and curses, to help you understand that the LC has cursed you. Its certain they’ve done it as shunning, quarantining, warning to stay, or else, etc are all forms of cursing. Whether it affects you directly, is for you to determine. I’m just putting this out to speak to anyone who may need this awareness.

Additionally, I believe the LC headquarters monitor this forum, I have words specifically for you. When you use curses you are using the powers of darkness, not the Holy Spirit of God. (Like ‘the force’ in star wars, that can be used for good or evil, its up to the individual to decide, you are practicing hinduism, not Christianity. You can’t use Gods spirit to curse, do you think you can control God as well as man? ) I have a warning for you too. When you issue a curse, and the target person prays a shield of protection, and the curse can’t land, it can just drop and return to the pit of hell from whence it came. But there is also warning in many places in the bible, that those who lay a snare for innocent blood will fall into their own trap, what they willed for others will become their own fate. I am warning you to turn from your ways before your ways turn on you. They will if you continue to persist though the many cautions you are receiving through the internet. Don’t be like the Israelites of Jeremiah’s generation, full of lies, scorning repentance and eager to kill the messenger (or curse them to die!). Don’t squander your place in eternity because of a stubborn and haughty heart, It’s really not worth it. We don't wish evil on you, please change for your own sake.

The spirit realm is real, about this the LC is correct. we must all be careful how and to whom we are interacting with there.

My blessings to all LC people leaving and who have left and those speaking out. May God’s blessings and protection be over yourselves and everything that matters to you. May you prosper, and grow, and know the freedom and joy that Christ promises. Amen
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:08 AM   #10
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Curious, regarding your last post (#9), I sat passively in meetings where curses came forth. We were so conditioned to be reflexively "one with the speaking" that none actively rejected it. And yes, then we came under its power.

May the Lord Jesus Christ himself have mercy, and intercede for us. May we by his power and might shake off the darkness, reject the curse, and return to our source, the Light. Amen.
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:46 PM   #11
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hi I have listened to the youtube episode 32 by Cal. I am shocked at the words spoken by Ron Kangas: His statement that Steve Iset is ‘a man of death’. I’m going to focus on that one statement alone. I agree entirely with Cal’s comment on the matter, and I want to focus on more ramifications of what this guy Ron Kangas is doing.
When I first heard this recording of RK, I was shocked. I attended numerous trainings, and he always came across and someone to be taken seriously. But hearing him call someone a "man of death" really put things into perspective for me. He was obviously upset about things Steve Isitt had written and he was obviously upset enough to us the podium as his platform to say whatever he wanted about people. There is just no good reason for him to talk about someone like that.

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Additionally, I believe the LC headquarters monitor this forum, I have words specifically for you...
I sure hope they read every word which is written here. Sometimes in my posts, I like to think of them as my audience.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:11 AM   #12
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hi I have listened to the youtube episode 32 by Cal. I am shocked at the words spoken by Ron Kangas: His statement that Steve Iset is ‘a man of death’. I’m going to focus on that one statement alone. I agree entirely with Cal’s comment on the matter, and I want to focus on more ramifications of what this guy Ron Kangas is doing.

I have seen evil dressed up as Christianity before in my life, not in the local church, but patterns of evil don’t change, they are always the same. (Satan is not omnipresent or omnipotent as LC teachings suggest but demons do not have individuality like humans). To pronounce a curse like this on another living soul, is very serious. It’s witchcraft, pure and simple. Domination and Control is what witchcraft is all about, so they are well in the territory of witchcraft, in my opinion.

I don’t mean to be alarmist, but we must not be ignorant of satan’s devices. Ron Kangas speaks curses, opposite in spirit to Jesus who said ‘forgive them father, they don’t know what they’re doing’ as he died even for his attackers. But Ron is ok with himself to curse a brother in Christ, to death no less, because he doesn’t agree with him. Horrific.

Their ‘promise’ of misfortune to befall those who leave is a witchcraft threat too. So to stack it up: they speak curses out in the open, they promise curses if you leave them, they operate in the nature if witchcraft. I think it would be naiive to think it stops there. (Evil is predictable). I think it wise to practise contingency in the case that they do actually practice cursing and witchcraft on leavers, especially outspoken ones, and if I am right, they are unleashing powers of darkness over people that they have already damaged. People who are angry and hurting and in a process where they are spiritually vulnerable. ‘A curse without a cause cannot land’ that means where there is no sin in our lives, a curse cannot land on us. For those escaping the LC, it is a process to get to a place of forgiveness, as they may still be discovering how damaged and lied to they have been. It takes time to walk away in freedom, and wholeness. For this reason I encourage every ex LCer, especially those who have revealed their identities, to pray the blood of Jesus over themselves, and pray for the cross of Jesus to be between themselves and anything coming at them from LC persons. do this regularly, even daily. Especially if you feel scared or confused. Pray the spiritual armour on, too. Make these a habit of prayer, as you may have active forces coming against you. The work of getting free has just begun, you will have ‘landing pads’ for a curse to land, expected as your process is still unfolding, I’m not putting any condemnation on, just being realistic. But you can be safe in asking for Jesus’ protection from their witchcraft. it will cover you as you heal. And help you grow to know Jesus as separate from the LC control. Look up Derek Prince’s teachings on blessings and curses, to help you understand that the LC has cursed you. Its certain they’ve done it as shunning, quarantining, warning to stay, or else, etc are all forms of cursing. Whether it affects you directly, is for you to determine. I’m just putting this out to speak to anyone who may need this awareness.

Additionally, I believe the LC headquarters monitor this forum, I have words specifically for you. When you use curses you are using the powers of darkness, not the Holy Spirit of God. (Like ‘the force’ in star wars, that can be used for good or evil, its up to the individual to decide, you are practicing hinduism, not Christianity. You can’t use Gods spirit to curse, do you think you can control God as well as man? ) I have a warning for you too. When you issue a curse, and the target person prays a shield of protection, and the curse can’t land, it can just drop and return to the pit of hell from whence it came. But there is also warning in many places in the bible, that those who lay a snare for innocent blood will fall into their own trap, what they willed for others will become their own fate. I am warning you to turn from your ways before your ways turn on you. They will if you continue to persist though the many cautions you are receiving through the internet. Don’t be like the Israelites of Jeremiah’s generation, full of lies, scorning repentance and eager to kill the messenger (or curse them to die!). Don’t squander your place in eternity because of a stubborn and haughty heart, It’s really not worth it. We don't wish evil on you, please change for your own sake.

The spirit realm is real, about this the LC is correct. we must all be careful how and to whom we are interacting with there.

My blessings to all LC people leaving and who have left and those speaking out. May God’s blessings and protection be over yourselves and everything that matters to you. May you prosper, and grow, and know the freedom and joy that Christ promises. Amen
Curious,

Thank you for this post. I have long believed that Christians minimize the spiritual world and pay little attention to its effects on our lives and walk with the Lord...this regardless of the verses in the Bible about the “wiles of the Devil”. I would add to your prayer for blessings and protection, the absolute necessity for cleanliness. Spiritual cleanliness. That is, sin in our lives for which we have not repented and still bear the burden for before God.

This is critical because God is Holy. God sent his Son to atone for our sin paying the ultimate price. Sin cannot stand in the presence of God. This is God’s side of the equation. On the side of God’s enemy, Satan, where there is sin, he has the legal right to be. Satan has the legal right to lie, kill, steal and destroy where there is sin among God’s people. Satan is a liar and the father of lies. He has come to sift you like wheat. His days are short and he has vomited out vile and hateful lies on the world to cheat you out of your inheritance in Christ.

Look at the world today. Is Sin ruling and reigning?

Practical suggestion:
* Sit down with the Lord with pen and paper in hand.
* Pray for light on your personal life. “Lord, where have I sinned and am not aware? Show me. I want to be clean.”
* Don’t “go fishing”. Whatever He shines his light on, write it down.
* When finished, pray over the list, item by item. Confess. Repent.

I did this the first time after reading Neil T. Anderson’s The Bondage Breaker. From time to time I go through this process again.

I truly believe that being “clean” before God is the biggest factor in our spiritual lives. How can we fight spiritual warfare when we have sin in our lives? Whenever you have the sense that “something is not right” in your life, ask the Lord for his light. This is always the place to begin whenever you are having conflict of any kind.

Curious is correct, we need protection from unholy speaking...of any kind. That includes prayers prayed “against us”. For example, prayers “for” Jo Casteel by the DCP. A controlling “Christian” environment is a direct opposition to verses like “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Be not entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” We need protection from things we have no idea is a “threat” to our spirituality.

I think of this as a kind of spiritual “maintenance”. We take a shower every day because we get dirty. What do you have to lose? If you believe this or not, why not sit with the Lord and deal with him...because you love him.

Thanks again, Curious.

Nell

Last edited by Nell; 10-11-2019 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 10-12-2019, 03:37 AM   #13
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Ok, I’ve got some more things to say.

I once met a man with whom I had a short but very memorable conversation. He was acting strangely at the back of a hall during worship songs. He told me he had been a warlock but had been saved and was working his way through it all. As we talked, he said …the very worst thing is satan dressed up as Christianity. If you join a coven, you join with other people who care nothing for God or what is right. Its at least honest in that way, what you are getting into. But if evil forces can ensnare sincere people who want to honour God, and redirect them through deception, to worship satan if possible, thinking they are worshipping God, this is a far greater win for the wrong side. Those words spoken from a first hander. I think I have to agree with him. I’ve heard it said, the very worst demons are religious spirits. I think we see a lot of that damage done on this forum. Please don’t blame jesus for the harm done to you by religious spirits, they are nasty and damaging, He is loving and healing, please keep talking to Him and give Him a chance still, in spite of the flavor you have come to associate being in His house. That religious spirit you know is an enemy of Jesus, NOT He Himself. Hang on till you can tell the difference. ( that last bit is to trapped and others in the same place).

Next.
After I wrote: ‘demons don’t have individuality like humans’…in my last post, I thought about WL’s disdain for individuality (while retaining his own, note). I asked a wise friend: why make people all conform? My friend had an instant answer….it’s far easier to control people when all conforming....yes, makes sense. so ewe are going round in circles, we are back to ‘control’. A main manifestation of the religious spirit, by the way.

Domination
Intimidation
Manipulation...
The three ways of ungodly control….together they make the word DIM, and yes, the light gets very DIM indeed under these three means of control. The light of God’s presence...

Also on the issue of removing individuality…Scott Peck’s book, ‘People of the Lie’. He observes as a therapist, time and time again, that as people heal and move forward away from damage and oppression into health, they become more and more individual and unique. They flower into who they really are, as a natural result of growing into emotional health and freedom to be themselves. And it put him in awe of Gods creativity that each human being has a way about them that is special to them. Its little quirks, mannerisms, sense of humor. ‘He knows when we get up and lie down. He knows all our ways.’ Psalm 139(?) This is a special part of who we are. It is beautiful, not something to destroy.

As a quirky, unique creation of the Fathers love, I have more of my own thoughts to share. I’ll get back to the bubonic plague sometime, another time. In the meantime, be spontaneous, don’t be afraid to express your uniqueness, even a bit of quirkiness, it’s what makes us delightful, and there is no caution in the 10 commandments against it. be released from unnecessary control. its part of the joy of life, being who you were meant to be.
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Old 10-12-2019, 05:20 PM   #14
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I thought about WL’s disdain for individuality (while retaining his own, note). I asked a wise friend: why make people all conform? My friend had an instant answer….it’s far easier to control people when all conforming....yes, makes sense. so we are going round in circles, we are back to ‘control’. A main manifestation of the religious spirit, by the way.
Conformity equals control. Witness Lee wrote in the RecV footnotes that all the Local Churches should be "exactly identical", and "without any differences whatever", based on his readings of the seven golden lampstands in Rev 2 and 3. Oh really? Have you ever seen a hand-beaten gold calyx? Each is unique. And the seven angels that stand before the throne - is Michael identical in every way with Gabriel? Was Peter identical with John? Or Paul with Peter?

The whole line of thinking is absurd, contrary to nature, and to scripture, and God's to ordination. Star differs from star in glory. It's not a shame to be different.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:15 PM   #15
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Reading this thread, my spirit is joyous. I agree. Why would the Lord give His children divers gifts if what He wanted was 'identical children'? Lees' thinking simply doesn't match the Fathers actions and will for us.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:26 AM   #16
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(I’m going to continue with what I put on the ‘you tube discusses the local church’ thread, onto this thread as I don’t want to dominate Cals’s space with my thoughts).
…And my thoughts have been developing since my last comment, linking WL to his own words, which help reveal his misadventure.

If you look into the science of ‘statement analysis’, you can find that most criminals give themselves away with their own words- if you know what to look for and how to interpret them.

I now have the dragging feeling that WL’s ‘Economy Of God’ had a purpose all along.
Considering himself to be God’s only ‘deputy’, setting up his own ‘economy’ to benefit himself and family personally. He had already set up an environment to make this logically acceptable to the members of the LC. In other words, he was just reflecting the nature and pattern of behaviour of the ‘god’ he has successfully portrayed through his teachings: they work together to give him both licence and permission: god’s economy means business is His intention, and WL has the deputy authority to behave in like manner to god. Is this the real purpose behind these teachings? Its my new question.

I invite some consideration from those more aquainted with it all than I.

To explore this can I start with the following question: Can we group all his teachings into one of the following categories:?
1. Laying the trap, ie ensnaring people
2. Cutting off the outside (balancing) influences
3. Tightening the chords; drawing in the nets
4. Fleecing the flock

Am I being too hard on him?

Might he have carefully and diligently constructed all of this ON PURPOSE? Cal sees that Watchman Nee returned to his former role, after being axed for wrong behaviour, prepared to entrench his position this time, with a fresh (and self-contradicting) theological approach all worked out in order to achieve it. Could WL have done the same?

WL sought to get away with, the second time, that which caused for him problems in Taiwan the first time…setting up his own business in an unethical way, for his own personal gain. He possibly took a more considered approach, prepared the way better, developing teachings in a skilfull and deliberate way, and then sought to do the same unethical business again in America, but on a bigger scale!!

Were his motives corrupt all along? Or was it an instinctive thing that he just found himself doing?

I guess we’ll never know how deliberate it could have been. It would be comforting to give him some benefit of the doubt….yet to systematically assign his major theological assertions to the above list of main hidden purposes, might help expose his errors in a way effective for those confused and troubled by it all. (After all, people have committed suicide over being in the fallout from WL’s' brain babies', it is very serious). Or maybe it’s (perhaps), just my latest wild idea!!

By the way. My earlier list of DIM, for domination, intimidation and manipulation…..I have to add deception to the list. Another aspect of ungodly control is to deceive people. its such a powerful tool but I’d never seen it before to add to that essential list. So now it has to be DIMD for short! I guess once DIMD factors are all at work, the light of truth is ‘dimmed’ well and truly!
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:53 AM   #17
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I now have the dragging feeling that WL’s ‘Economy Of God’ had a purpose all along.

Considering himself to be God’s only ‘deputy’, setting up his own ‘economy’ to benefit himself and family personally. He had already set up an environment to make this logically acceptable to the members of the LC. In other words, he was just reflecting the nature and pattern of behaviour of the ‘god’ he has successfully portrayed through his teachings: they work together to give him both licence and permission: god’s economy means business is His intention, and WL has the deputy authority to behave in like manner to god. Is this the real purpose behind these teachings? Its my new question.

I invite some consideration from those more acquainted with it all than I.

To explore this can I start with the following question: Can we group all his teachings into one of the following categories:?
1. Laying the trap, ie ensnaring people
2. Cutting off the outside (balancing) influences
3. Tightening the chords; drawing in the nets
4. Fleecing the flock

Am I being too hard on him?

Might he have carefully and diligently constructed all of this ON PURPOSE? Cal sees that Watchman Nee returned to his former role, after being axed for wrong behaviour, prepared to entrench his position this time, with a fresh (and self-contradicting) theological approach all worked out in order to achieve it. Could WL have done the same?

WL sought to get away with, the second time, that which caused for him problems in Taiwan the first time…setting up his own business in an unethical way, for his own personal gain. He possibly took a more considered approach, prepared the way better, developing teachings in a skillful and deliberate way, and then sought to do the same unethical business again in America, but on a bigger scale!!

Were his motives corrupt all along? Or was it an instinctive thing that he just found himself doing?

I guess we’ll never know how deliberate it could have been.
Those who defend his ministry say that there's basis for an "economy of God" apart from WL's stressing it. Paul also espoused teaching it, per 1 Timothy 1:4 as "oikonomiea theou". But notice Paul doesn't say what "oikonomiea theou" is. He doesn't define it. Paul doesn't say, "which is masticating the processed and consummated Triune God to be metabolically transformed into God in life and nature (but not in the Godhead)" or some such. Paul never defines what "oikonomiea theou" is, even as he reminds Timothy to promote it. So my sense is that his readers would have known what it meant.

Now, to your question: did WL set up his personal version of "God's economy" to benefit his immediate family? Answer: yes. In fact if you look at recent financial statements of LSM, I believe they're still cutting checks to his grand-children, in the amounts of tens of thousands of dollars. Did WL do this on purpose? I suspect it was merely ignorance, plus he had children to take care of, so his interpretation was subconsciously guided by perceived needs on the ground.

If you look in the gospels, however, Jesus taught not to amass physical wealth but to give it away, which would bring you "treasure in heaven" per Matthew 6:19-21. The Acts of the Apostles continues this vein: people laid sale of property at the disciples' feet, but they didn't use the $$ to start up companies and install their children as CEO. No, they gave it all away to the poor. That continues right through the end of Acts: "After many years I came bringing alms to my nation" said Paul in 24:17.

I suspect this is what Paul referenced with "God's economy" but I'm not sure there's any way to definitively prove it. But there are more verses lining up with this view than that espoused by WL. Just look at "rich and poor" in the Bible and there are many. Here is an example from a Google search.

https://www.openbible.info/topics/ri...iting_the_poor

And it's consistent with Jesus' message. Think of his story of the rich man, with Lazarus the beggar. The rich man wouldn't share, and this became a torment to him later.

If you look at all those verses in the linked page, and see a pattern there, and remember Paul quoting the OT: "Those who gathered much had no excess, and those who gathered little had no lack", and realise that what he was talking about wasn't socialism or communism, but loving your neighbour and sharing, then it all makes sense. Oh! God's economy! Hey! But Lee was a master at missing the obvious, and making sure nobody else saw it either.
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:50 PM   #18
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Hello again. I really feel I need to comment on double-speak. I am referring to: two layers of message within one message.

In Episode 43 of ‘youtube discusses the LC’ titled, ‘the Linchpin of Control’ Cal includes this in his comments on the teachings of the BB’s on the basis of authority as they promote it. On the surface, a non-invested principle, but really it’s a cue to LCer’s to get back under control and into line, and return to the belief that WL and the BB’s are authorised by Gods word, to rule over them with impunity. But they could reasonably deny this if confronted openly about it….

I’m going to refer to my personal story now. I began meeting with a group of LCer’s, thinking they were all good, just a bit quirky with their cultural approach but nothing I couldn’t see past. Initially, I was impressed by them in a positive way. The very first cue I had that something was off was double-speak; a specifically targeted message hidden inside an innocuous one. The hidden message being secretive, concealed in plain sight. Its purpose could only be read by the layering of such messages, and designed only for the receiver to cotton-on to. (These messages were being directed at me otherwise I would not have noticed at all as I’ve never come across this behaviour in any other context).

I thought for a long time that the problems I then saw as I watched on, were specific to a couple of individuals. It took me a long time before my growing suspicion lead me to open up my copy of the book, ‘The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse’ and there I came across the paragraph on double-speak, explaining it as a coping mechanism for people who exist in a spiritually abusive environment. As I grew to appreciate their true attitude and beleifs about my christianity, I could see it is also a trained method of communication, practised on every level by the LC of WL. I watched them use it especially to draw in Christians from outside, and train them towards the ways of the LC by subtle influence. This involved much deliberate use of double speak. And most importantly, we can see from 'Shepherding words', its a natural mode of operation from the blended brothers themselves, only easily detected by those sensitized towards it.

By the way, I seem to remember another character in the bible who operated on secretive messages hidden in double-speak, way back near the start. Who was that again? Wasn’t that a creature with unbridled evil and whose efforts had about the single most damaging effect on the whole human race? I don’t think LC leaders are in very good company with these practices. You can’t use Satan's methods to achieve Gods purposes.
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Old 11-05-2019, 05:37 PM   #19
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John 10:1-10.

I intend to continue a bit about ‘coded’ communication, or ‘double speak’. Jesus approaches us directly, through the gate. He does not climb in some ‘other’ way….indirect, unclear, manipulative, dishonest, or passive aggressive. He comes openly and directly through the obvious means, the gate designed for entry to the pen.

He calls each sheep by name, even though they are gathered together as an assembly, a body of sheep, in the confines of the sheep pen. Even in this picture, it’s clear there is no delegated intermediator to call the sheep. He does so personally, to each one.

The ‘stranger’ is the one standing, or attempting to stand in Jesus’ place, and he’s clearly the bad guy.

Back to my testimony:
After associating with an LC group for an extended time, I realised that there was a strategy behind their influence on me. I noticed them drip-feed their doctrines, some I rejected as I heard them but didn’t say anything. However, I enjoyed the group sharing of thoughts on a scripture. Only at the end of my time with them, was it demonstrated to me by example, that to do so ‘properly’ was to read out the footnotes not express one’s own thoughts. So there were the things I liked, which influenced me towards them, but the doctrinal things never gained a hook.

It was a shock to me when I realised how much they had gotten inside my head. I had begun to behave in CONTRADICTION to my beliefs. I’m going to quote from my personal journal what I wrote at the time:

A person who is not a racist begins to hang out with racist people, long enough to start developing racist attitudes and behaviour, but not racist philosophy. One day they face in themselves what they could see happening. Shocked and puzzled at how this could even happen, they evaluate the influence they have been exposed to. The power that had driven this was that of familiarity…an identification socially with the group which brings a growing feeling of ‘normal’ with the values held within. This influence avoided, (even denied when confronted), any direct expression. It was subversive, not honest and clear. (avoiding the gate and slipping in over the fence around the back of the sheep pen!!) Slippery, sly, dishonest…..descriptive words can be multiplied here.

It in no way declared itself as ‘racist’ but fully intended to impart the same ‘racism’ (prejudice). Removing the analogy of racism now… Even though I never officially joined the LC group I met with, I began to grow uncomfortable with other worship styles, questioning regular worship services, no longer relaxed and open and engaging. I felt guilty going to other Christian events, like I was letting them down or being double-minded, in spite of being very open with them about my other Christian activities.

When I realised this I knew I had to cut contact completely. I felt angry for a time as I felt quite deceived and lied to, about matters of critical importance to me. I worked at separating in my mind, the people I knew, from the ministry itself. I still needed time to deprogram my thinking too, feeling beholden to LC thinking, took a while to shake it off completely.

So that’s part of my story. I was going to title my introductory thread…’curious, but not convinced’ hence my username choice so my comments could always be clear that I have been an outsider looking in, a somewhat independent assessment.

That title sums up my experience with the LC: I was curious about them, I learned about them through direct experience. In the end, I wasn’t convinced.

Finally, I note, in the RecV footnotes, WL ignores completely the scripture where Jesus says ‘my sheep know my voice’. Now I fully know why.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:09 AM   #20
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Back to my testimony:

After associating with an LC group for an extended time, I realised that there was a strategy behind their influence on me. I noticed them drip-feed their doctrines, some I rejected as I heard them but didn’t say anything. However, I enjoyed the group sharing of thoughts on a scripture. Only at the end of my time with them, was it demonstrated to me by example, that to do so ‘properly’ was to read out the footnotes not express one’s own thoughts. So there were the things I liked, which influenced me towards them, but the doctrinal things never gained a hook.

It was a shock to me when I realised how much they had gotten inside my head. I had begun to behave in CONTRADICTION to my beliefs. I’m going to quote from my personal journal what I wrote at the time:

A person who is not a racist begins to hang out with racist people, long enough to start developing racist attitudes and behaviour, but not racist philosophy. One day they face in themselves what they could see happening. Shocked and puzzled at how this could even happen, they evaluate the influence they have been exposed to. The power that had driven this was that of familiarity…an identification socially with the group which brings a growing feeling of ‘normal’ with the values held within. This influence avoided, (even denied when confronted), any direct expression. It was subversive, not honest and clear. (avoiding the gate and slipping in over the fence around the back of the sheep pen!!) Slippery, sly, dishonest…..descriptive words can be multiplied here.

It in no way declared itself as ‘racist’ but fully intended to impart the same ‘racism’ (prejudice). Removing the analogy of racism now… Even though I never officially joined the LC group I met with, I began to grow uncomfortable with other worship styles, questioning regular worship services, no longer relaxed and open and engaging. I felt guilty going to other Christian events, like I was letting them down or being double-minded, in spite of being very open with them about my other Christian activities.

When I realised this I knew I had to cut contact completely. I felt angry for a time as I felt quite deceived and lied to, about matters of critical importance to me. I worked at separating in my mind, the people I knew, from the ministry itself. I still needed time to deprogram my thinking too, feeling beholden to LC thinking, took a while to shake it off completely.

So that’s part of my story. I was going to title my introductory thread…’curious, but not convinced’ hence my username choice so my comments could always be clear that I have been an outsider looking in, a somewhat independent assessment.
I think this is one of the more valuable essays on the whole forum. Usually those who realise that the LC message departs from the Christian gospel and reject it, remain 'outsiders' and go off. They don't tell what was wrong, but simply leave. They sense that something isn't right and run away - "My sheep know my voice".

Those who do write about the experience often do so after a long process of indoctrination, years of 24/7 immersion, the subsequent trauma of leaving/separation, and the long unpacking afterward. So the freshness of the moment of getting sucked in is often lost, with its nuances and dynamics. It's often done with subtlety else it wouldn't catch so many unawares. As Curious says, It's a shock to see how deeply (and quickly) they get into your head.

This post reveals something of that process in real time, with the attraction and enjoyment on the one hand, and the concomitant hardening toward fellow members of the Christian faith on the other. The process is insidious and one usually doesn't appreciate it sufficiently, and objectively analyse it, and in a whirl of emotions gets 'caught' in the 'LC sheep pen'. In the LC it's all about 'enjoyment' until one day the 'enjoyment' is gone, and the minister blames you because you weren't rabid enough for the cause.

This poster was able to step back and see the LC gambit for what it is: it's not a ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5) but a ministry of estrangement (judgment, hostility, antagonism). That hardening towards 'others' allows LC members to be manipulated and controlled by the handlers: "If you don't do what we say, the Boogeyman will get you." One often fails to appreciate this sufficiently at the outset, but only when it's too late, when they're already 'in', at the endgame. They're now in The Church and can't go back to Mystery Babylon. The walls are up and the doors are locked.

Typically the 'outsiders' walk away silently, and the 'insiders' suffer silently. This post is an example of the kind of opening to dialogue that can release many.
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Old 11-14-2019, 07:19 PM   #21
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I think this is one of the more valuable essays on the whole forum. Usually those who realise that the LC message departs from the Christian gospel and reject it, remain 'outsiders' and go off. They don't tell what was wrong, but simply leave. They sense that something isn't right and run away - "My sheep know my voice".

Those who do write about the experience often do so after a long process of indoctrination, years of 24/7 immersion, the subsequent trauma of leaving/separation, and the long unpacking afterward. So the freshness of the moment of getting sucked in is often lost, with its nuances and dynamics. It's often done with subtlety else it wouldn't catch so many unawares. As Curious says, It's a shock to see how deeply (and quickly) they get into your head.

This post reveals something of that process in real time, with the attraction and enjoyment on the one hand, and the concomitant hardening toward fellow members of the Christian faith on the other. The process is insidious and one usually doesn't appreciate it sufficiently, and objectively analyse it, and in a whirl of emotions gets 'caught' in the 'LC sheep pen'. In the LC it's all about 'enjoyment' until one day the 'enjoyment' is gone, and the minister blames you because you weren't rabid enough for the cause.

This poster was able to step back and see the LC gambit for what it is: it's not a ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5) but a ministry of estrangement (judgment, hostility, antagonism). That hardening towards 'others' allows LC members to be manipulated and controlled by the handlers: "If you don't do what we say, the Boogeyman will get you." One often fails to appreciate this sufficiently at the outset, but only when it's too late, when they're already 'in', at the endgame. They're now in The Church and can't go back to Mystery Babylon. The walls are up and the doors are locked.

Typically the 'outsiders' walk away silently, and the 'insiders' suffer silently. This post is an example of the kind of opening to dialogue that can release many.
Responding to aron’s post I’m thinking to relate some more incidents from my experiences fellowshipping with a group from the LC….

At first encounter, I looked them up on the internet. The lovely CRC article came up, reassuring me of their earlier mistake in misjudging the LC and what a great bunch of Christians they are, albeit with some Chinese cultural quirks. I relaxed internally and trusted this article.

As I then proceeded to accept their invitation to meet regularly, for a shared meal and study, the story of the Exodus was presented. They didn’t explain the life-study notes s such, but we based our study on them, not the bible directly.

I did pick up a feeling that they were hinting that I needed to leave my regular church and join them as the outworking of ‘exodus’ in my life. But it was subtle and there was nothing tangeable, just a feeling hanging in the air. I noticed this but not in a concerned way. I knew when my own ‘exodus’ had been and they weren’t about to be able to rewrite that for me so I wasn’t concerned.

During the study, we looked at the manna. I really liked the analogies of the manna, its characteristics and how they can be likened to God’s character. After covering them all we had some discussion. My hosts seemed very satisfied with some criticism about Pentecostals (from the text on the ‘smallness’ of the manna), and they hooked on to the idea of ‘where are they (the Pentecostals) now?’ they repeated this idea amongst themselves several times. As though Pentecostals are all lost and gone nowadays. I thought to myself, ‘how would you know where they are? If you didn’t know any Pentecostals before now, how would you know where they are today?’ it was a doubt-casting commentary without any substance, I thought. When it came my turn to speak, I talked about how it was like bdellium, transparent, with nothing to hide. That had impressed me favourably. Now as I Look back on that study, there is a lot more criticism of Christianity there. I can’t remember that being in our notes in these meetings, oddly.

Next study topic: they asked me what I wished to study, offering me the choice of direction, it would seem. I said David or the psalms. They decided to start at the beginning of the story of David which starts with the story of Samuel. Giving me the reason it’s good to be thorough and start at the beginning of the book. So we looked at the life-study of Eli and Samuel. They taught that Samuel’s role marked the shift from the first system of worship through the tribe of Levi, to the kingship system, that the Levitical system was ‘degraded and apostate’ through Eli and his sons, and God was changing it. (Actually, the Levitical system was not abandoned by having kings, it continued on so that was not true, what they taught). Anyway, I got the clear impression again that they felt WN and WL were somehow restarting things like Samuel, abandoning a failed system, and regular Christianity was that system today that God has abandoned. I just felt it again. But they were all still friendly and I had not experienced a Christian group before that rejects Christianity outside of themselves so I was not alarmed yet.

It turns out that they weren’t intending to get to the story of David and the psalms, as they dropped that area after we finished with Eli and his sons, and did something else completely.

Now I’m going to jump to the end of my time with them. When it became clear that I had decided to detach from them, there was a short period of lowering the boom and going for the dressing down of my character in ways completely uncalled for. As I had already predicted this would happen next, (alerted by my reading of ‘The Subtle Power Of Spiritual Abuse’), I confused this effort by seeming to not even notice they were meaning this in a critical way, like it had gone right over my head. ( I was especially non-volatile as I was very concerned for the mental stability of a member who demonstrated very unstable behavior.)

Then I watched the following. One of them picked up their phone, and as a deliberate visual enactment, pretended to be looking something up and distracted by it. Then they mentioned a caution about looking things up on the internet. This was a perfectly clear example of the seeking to influence one’s behaviour by indirect but very directional means. This person was, in fact, far more involved in using their phone and the internet than I was, so I felt puzzled by it….until I found this site some months later.

I spent my research time looking up ‘Witness Lee on… (such and such)’ for a long time and developed my impressions of what is distorted about the ministry from that plus John Meyers book. Foolishly I thought ‘Local Church Discussions’ might be there to promote the LC so I didn’t take any notice of it for a while. Only I should’ve realised that the title is an oxy-moron, a contradiction in terms in itself, the Local Church itself doesn’t actually DO discussions, they just tell you how it is and advise you to submit!! (Therefore the logic is, ‘LC discussions’ MUST be a commentary that exists outside of the organisation itself!..I got that in the end!)

That is part of my experience. I hope it may be interesting and helpful to others to read. I may tell more of that journey if it seems relevant to others.
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Old 11-15-2019, 08:19 AM   #22
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I spent my research time looking up ‘Witness Lee on… (such and such)’ for a long time and developed my impressions of what is distorted about the ministry from that plus John Meyers book. Foolishly I thought ‘Local Church Discussions’ might be there to promote the LC so I didn’t take any notice of it for a while. Only I should’ve realised that the title is an oxy-moron, a contradiction in terms in itself, the Local Church itself doesn’t actually DO discussions, they just tell you how it is and advise you to submit!! (Therefore the logic is, ‘LC discussions’ MUST be a commentary that exists outside of the organisation itself!..I got that in the end!)

That is part of my experience. I hope it may be interesting and helpful to others to read. I may tell more of that journey if it seems relevant to others.
As I read this, I was struck by what a system of error the LC has become. This is such a remarkable contrast to me, that is, contrasting my time there in the early 70s with what you wrote. Back then, the fresh and living experiences of Christ, and genuine fellowship there, were bountiful (albeit, admittedly quickly fading)! It is obvious to me, and so many others on here, that the LC has now turned WL and his teachings into a bona fide cult figure, which has totally replaced Christ and the Anointing!

The seeds of this were certainly back there in the 70s . . . And since all the Life Studies and footnotes are in place, the LCers now just focus on those and miss the Spirit. Too sad.

The leaven has expanded the whole loaf into something totally off the mark of Christ's headship and the inner Anointing.
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Old 11-19-2019, 01:20 AM   #23
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Back then, the fresh and living experiences of Christ, and genuine fellowship there, were bountiful (albeit, admittedly quickly fading)! It is obvious to me, and so many others on here, that the LC has now turned WL and his teachings into a bona fide cult figure, which has totally replaced Christ and the Anointing!
In writing of my own experience and observation, I cannot tell if I witnessed what is widespread or only a particular situation. So responses on the forum help fill in the picture further. Tho’ the longer I observed the more I assessed the problem being systemic, with my final conclusion being; there was nothing I could do to help, they weren’t about to listen to me anyway.

To StG
What I love about your responding comment is that you had wonderful experiences of both Christ and brotherly love in the early days. It is wonderful you had that, so many people in the world have not been blessed in such a way. It never leaves a person, the imprint of God, and it is delightful to learn of such a time in a person’s life, regardless of any other factors.

Also, to balance my last post, I said that in SRA they deliberately and systematically break a person up and fragment their personalities…. in the LC cognitive dissonance is merely an unintended side-effect of funny theology and harmful practise, but not at all intentional. There is always much to be grateful for and blessing to be found in each of our journeys of life, and I don’t want to be critical in a narrow way.

Now I have made a whole list of dysfunctional behaviours I observed in LC people, as I became more and more tuned in to what was going on around me. As listed on another post, they are: Judgementalism, relationship breakdowns, dramas, blame shifting, pretence, and I will add, anger to that list, both suppressed and explosive. I want to say, this behaviour sets in when people are in an environment that is emotionally unsafe. Everyone is protecting themselves, running for cover, passing the buck. No-one wants to be the fall-guy. Those who are cleverest at these tactics become the most successful within the social strata, but through means of deception and manipulation. When people are trapped within such a closed system, that’s all the reality a person knows.

So I’m not going to just leave it there. I want to not just talk about a problem without pointing towards help with the solution. Knowing people have been taught not to read other Christian authors, and that the gaps in LC teaching and practise will make it quite an unknown territory to look for help, especially in areas invisible to LC world view… I have some suggestions. (I hope this is not stepping outside of the brief of this forum!!) Here goes…

‘Boundaries, when to say yes, when to say no, to take control of your life’ Henry Cloud and John Townsend. (They have other books and resources as well, including anger.)

‘Caring enough to Confront – how to understand and express your deepest feelings towards others’’ David Augsburger.

Healthy boundaries are not permitted or respected in the LC. This book will help dismantle the overemphasis on authority. When everyone has healthy boundaries and healthy respect for the other persons boundaries, then conflict and need for ‘authoritative direction’ is automatically greatly reduced.

Anger as a result of suppressing injustice, being exploited, and for some, outrightly abused. Being taught to rubbish your own feelings, opinions and individuality hurts deeply and anger is a mask for hurt. (show me an angry person and I’ll show you a hurting person!) Working through it, allowing time and process to create awareness and empowerment to gain control of anger and diffuse it.

Finding the courage to confront, be honest and transparent and able to develop integrity and emotional intimacy with others, to heal that disconnect that has been referred to so often on this forum.

All the above books are Christian.

My last suggestion is a book that I know nothing of the beliefs of the author. It’s a very simple book, but beautifully describes the journey for one coming out of a long-term oppressive situation, where one has lost a sense of who they are, and is not equipped and is overwhelmed by, the task of finding their way in a world they feel lost in. it is an emotional connection story rather than a self-help or intellectual process.

It’s a children’s picture book titled ‘Nothing’ by an author who goes by the name of Mick Inkpen. The content, though simple, is deep.

These I suggest and I also want to say the following: Nothing is lost in Gods REAL economy. All that happens to us is for a good purpose in Him. The hard experiences of life are our preparation to develop into something beautiful and precious for which there IS a plan and a purpose. No matter how deeply something has hurt or robbed us, He can restore us, though it takes time, and He can use it to protect and rescue others. ‘what man intended for harm, God has used for good, to accomplish the saving of many lives’ genesis 50:20. This applies to all of us, if we let it.

We need to very honest with Him about how we feel about what we’ve been through, He can handle it. He will use what has been forged in us for His glory, to accomplish things that could not be accomplished in another way. In the long term we can live to be glad for what we’ve gone through. There is hope, no matter how dark or messy the journey out can seem at the time.

I’m not going to tell my pre-story, and why I would track the LC without joining. But I will say, I can promise hope for the journey from my own experience. I have also come through trials, and on the pathway out there have been some very dark spots, and I’ve paid a price.

I hope these resources may help some people. I believe they will.
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:36 AM   #24
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As I read this, I was struck by what a system of error the LC has become. This is such a remarkable contrast to me, that is, contrasting my time there in the early 70s with what you wrote. Back then, the fresh and living experiences of Christ, and genuine fellowship there, were bountiful (albeit, admittedly quickly fading)! It is obvious to me, and so many others on here, that the LC has now turned WL and his teachings into a bona fide cult figure, which has totally replaced Christ and the Anointing!
STG, of course, we are contemporaries, having crossed paths back in Columbus. I'm not sure if you remember Phil Comfort or not, but one of my distinct memories from those early days (I first met the saints in June 1973), was their intense desire to firstly "come back to the pure word of God," and secondly to focus solely on "Christ, only Christ." This struggle, by all the members, brought much blessing.

In a sense, this was my "foundation" in the Recovery. These two in tandem were, in essence, the "Recovery" as it was presented to me. As a former Catholic I was constantly becoming aware of how much tradition had replaced the basic message of His word. It seemed that each discovery was so liberating, releasing me from the bondage of the traditions of men. I even loved the bright lights in the meeting hall since that freed me from the tradition of worshiping God in the darkness of the Catholic church.

Sure, there was lots of "background noise" in those early days, like the ground of oneness and some minister out in Anaheim. But, how things have changed! "Christ, only Christ," got replaced with "Lee, only Lee." "Coming back to the pure word of God," got replaced by "laboring into the 'interpreted word' of the ministry." How could this have happened? Was no one paying attention?
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:55 AM   #25
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Now I have made a whole list of dysfunctional behaviours I observed in LC people, as I became more and more tuned in to what was going on around me. As listed on another post, they are: Judgementalism, relationship breakdowns, dramas, blame shifting, pretence, and I will add, anger to that list, both suppressed and explosive. I want to say, this behaviour sets in when people are in an environment that is emotionally unsafe. Everyone is protecting themselves, running for cover, passing the buck. No-one wants to be the fall-guy. Those who are cleverest at these tactics become the most successful within the social strata, but through means of deception and manipulation. When people are trapped within such a closed system, that’s all the reality a person knows.
Fascinating concept here, Curious! I have long wondered why I have been surrounded by people who so easily "explode" losing their temper. So many relationships have been destroyed. How can we say the fruit of the Spirit is self-control, (Gal 5.25) when so little is witnessed?
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Old 11-19-2019, 09:30 AM   #26
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STG, of course, we are contemporaries, having crossed paths back in Columbus. I'm not sure if you remember Phil Comfort or not, but one of my distinct memories from those early days (I first met the saints in June 1973), was their intense desire to firstly "come back to the pure word of God," and secondly to focus solely on "Christ, only Christ." This struggle, by all the members, brought much blessing.

In a sense, this was my "foundation" in the Recovery. These two in tandem were, in essence, the "Recovery" as it was presented to me. As a former Catholic I was constantly becoming aware of how much tradition had replaced the basic message of His word. It seemed that each discovery was so liberating, releasing me from the bondage of the traditions of men. I even loved the bright lights in the meeting hall since that freed me from the tradition of worshiping God in the darkness of the Catholic church.

Sure, there was lots of "background noise" in those early days, like the ground of oneness and some minister out in Anaheim. But, how things have changed! "Christ, only Christ," got replaced with "Lee, only Lee." "Coming back to the pure word of God," got replaced by "laboring into the 'interpreted word' of the ministry." How could this have happened? Was no one paying attention?
Of course I remember Phil Comfort and his brother! There was still a good focus on Christ, I think, in Columbus in those days . . . (I left Columbus in 88, and the LC there a little earlier)

These days I've really been aware of a couple prayers I prayed when he saved me off the street, way back in 74. He reminds me of these two prayers frequently and I distinctly remember both. One was, "Lord, take me to be with those that love you the way I do." His first step was to almost immediately transport me 2000 miles away from Ohio to the LC in Berkeley. Then in the early 80s, he led me and my new wife to LCs in Ohio (she loved the gatherings!). Then in the late 90s He led me here to the Scottsdale group. He has always been faithful to that prayer! Praise Him! Praise Him!
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:44 AM   #27
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Domination
Intimidation
Manipulation...
The three ways of ungodly control….together they make the word DIM, and yes, the light gets very DIM indeed under these three means of control.
Let's discuss the practice of Intimidation in the Recovery. Lots has been written about the LC method of rebuking, public shaming, humiliating others ... supposedly done in order to "perfect" other brothers.

According to the history of the "Recovery" given to us by Lee himself, this practice of strong rebukes had its origin with a missionary sister named Margaret Barber in China. She used this "recovered" practice to perfect W. Nee, who alone could endure her extremely harsh rebukes. Thus W. Nee was matured for Christian ministry. I'm not making any of this up, I heard this from Lee on numerous occasions.

Though probably none of us were there to witness either Barber's or Nee's public practice of rebuking the other brothers, some were there with Lee, and I was there with TC. Each referenced his own practices to the "recovered" precedent he had received. Personally I watched an elder close to me dramatically change after beginning to serve full-time with TC. He went from beloved brother to bully, becoming abusive and condescending to other brothers. It was sad to watch, becoming instrumental to my departure, and explaining "what happened" as the condition of the LC's deteriorated over my tenure there.

Where do we find these Intimidation techniques in the scriptures? Can anyone find a verse showing us how to "perfect" the brothers by rebuking and humiliating them? How can this be "recovered" if it has no record in the scriptures? Where can we find this pattern among other men of God in church history? Surely Schaff's History ... would have recorded this?

In his last message to the elders before his long imprisonment, Paul emphasized (Acts 20) "how he was with you all the time, serving the Lord as a slave with all humility and tears." (vv. 18-19) Neither Paul nor any of the other apostles ever mentioned this prominent LC technique of Intimidation. I should also mention that during the formative, and blessed, first decade in the USA, WL hid this part of the "recovery" from the brothers. By all accounts he served as "a" minister, and treated all the brothers respectfully.

Note also that his own son Philip, though an unregenerate profligate, also used these same techniques as he took over LSM. Unfortunately he even treated the sisters worse than the brothers.
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Old 11-21-2019, 02:20 PM   #28
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Let's discuss the practice of Intimidation in the Recovery. Lots has been written about the LC method of rebuking, public shaming, humiliating others ... supposedly done in order to "perfect" other brothers.

According to the history of the "Recovery" given to us by Lee himself, this practice of strong rebukes had its origin with a missionary sister named Margaret Barber in China. She used this "recovered" practice to perfect W. Nee, who alone could endure her extremely harsh rebukes. Thus W. Nee was matured for Christian ministry. I'm not making any of this up, I heard this from Lee on numerous occasions....

...Where do we find these Intimidation techniques in the scriptures? Can anyone find a verse showing us how to "perfect" the brothers by rebuking and humiliating them? How can this be "recovered" if it has no record in the scriptures? Where can we find this pattern among other men of God in church history? Surely Schaff's History ... would have recorded this?....

...Note also that his own son Philip, though an unregenerate profligate, also used these same techniques as he took over LSM. Unfortunately he even treated the sisters worse than the brothers.
Well indeed, it seems we’ve come full circle on the need for psychiatric intervention in the LC, starting with its founder, Watchman Nee!

On the one hand, disempowering young women and imposing himself on them sexually for his own gratification, using his status to prevail upon them in this way. Intimidation again!

Then ‘paying’ for his sins…allaying his guilt….by subjecting himself to the harsh recriminations of an older woman. Flagellation in the manner of the catholic church before Luther’s time, at a guess?

Instead of being able to unravel this toxic and intense disturbance in his relationship to the opposite sex, he embedded these practises into his ministry. The shameful side of it hidden, the other side promoted as noble. I suggest them to be two sides one problem. (I know he then brought this practise into general use, but this is the dynamic wherein WN learned it, at the feet of a harsh, punitive woman…it seems even a bit sadomasochistic to me, though I don't like to feel I should say that.

Maybe his final 20 years of life away from females altogether (in prison) was God’s saving grace to him?

To be fair, he lived in a culture where you did not show your weakness and in a time when there was no help of the counselling kind. (That it is available today is evidence of Cal’s suggestion that things are getting better in some ways on this earth, not worse!!)

Furthermore though, it reveals the danger of being in a position of authority for anyone with unresolved personal /psychological problems. It also underlines the theological errors in the LC on several levels.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:27 PM   #29
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In my post no.23 I listed some books and online resources that I have used myself to look into areas that need help when a person is recovering from an abusive system.

To clarify, I know that secular help can address all these topics as just as well, and be better available. The benefit of including Christian based ones is they help to give a theological, scriptural back-up where a Christian can embrace the concept that God approves too! It’s His will for you to embrace these changes. And that really helps to unravel the mental conditioning that pre-exists in the person’s psyche.

The ‘boundaries’ book sub-title: ‘when to say yes, when to say no, to take control of your life’ this may sound like taking control that should be God’s not ours. The key is: We can’t give control to God that which we don’t own in the first place. If the control of our ‘yes’ and ‘no’ belongs to that guy over there, or that group over here, then we don’t have the choice to give it to God. It actually belongs to ‘them’ not us. We have to know the freedom to own it ourselves first, know it as our possession TO be able to submit it to Him. Also, having our yes and no misused by others can make it harder to trust God with it and further set us back from being able to really give it to Him.

On the matter of forgiveness I have a comment. The understanding and expectation the LC leadership promote to its followers is the Chinese religious model not the biblical one.

The Chinese goddess of mercy is named Guan yin. Personified as a woman usually looking rather floaty and serene. Guan yin deals with ‘sin’ by EXCUSING it. that’s how it works in the eastern religious system. This cultural mindset is contrary to Christianity and the harm it can do is well documented elsewhere on this forum. It is why all situations of accountability mentioned in the bible, especially form the prophets etc are ignored by the LC leadership and their twistings of the Noah story etc are cited. They have been used to back the practise and thinking of another religious system.

Biblical forgiveness actually exposes and names sin. It identifies and confronts it and is already willing to reconcile, bestow its blessing. However it requires acknowledgement from the offender in order to be received. The offender can only benefit from it and submit to some consequences as a result, if they hear, receive, and repent. Like the city of Ninevah is a good example. That is the pattern God has provided for the provision of forgiveness. Not excusing sin. Not His idea or plan. That is just giving licence to a system that is actually in rebellion to God.
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:56 AM   #30
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Now I have made a whole list of dysfunctional behaviours I observed in LC people, as I became more and more tuned in to what was going on around me. As listed on another post, they are: Judgementalism, relationship breakdowns, dramas, blame shifting, pretence, and I will add, anger to that list, both suppressed and explosive. I want to say, this behaviour sets in when people are in an environment that is emotionally unsafe. Everyone is protecting themselves, running for cover, passing the buck. No-one wants to be the fall-guy. Those who are cleverest at these tactics become the most successful within the social strata, but through means of deception and manipulation. When people are trapped within such a closed system, that’s all the reality a person knows.

...

Healthy boundaries are not permitted or respected in the LC. This book will help dismantle the overemphasis on authority. When everyone has healthy boundaries and healthy respect for the other persons boundaries, then conflict and need for ‘authoritative direction’ is automatically greatly reduced.

Anger as a result of suppressing injustice, being exploited, and for some, outrightly abused. Being taught to rubbish your own feelings, opinions and individuality hurts deeply and anger is a mask for hurt. (show me an angry person and I’ll show you a hurting person!) Working through it, allowing time and process to create awareness and empowerment to gain control of anger and diffuse it.

Finding the courage to confront, be honest and transparent and able to develop integrity and emotional intimacy with others, to heal that disconnect that has been referred to so often on this forum.
I totally agree with your list of dysfunctional behaviors you identified. I have seen them in spades, especially in the leadership. The rest you wrote quoted above is accurate according to my experience too.
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:58 AM   #31
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On the matter of forgiveness I have a comment. The understanding and expectation the LC leadership promote to its followers is the Chinese religious model not the biblical one.

The Chinese goddess of mercy is named Guan yin. Personified as a woman usually looking rather floaty and serene. Guan yin deals with ‘sin’ by EXCUSING it. that’s how it works in the eastern religious system. This cultural mindset is contrary to Christianity and the harm it can do is well documented elsewhere on this forum. It is why all situations of accountability mentioned in the bible, especially form the prophets etc are ignored by the LC leadership and their twistings of the Noah story etc are cited. They have been used to back the practise and thinking of another religious system.

Biblical forgiveness actually exposes and names sin. It identifies and confronts it and is already willing to reconcile, bestow its blessing. However it requires acknowledgement from the offender in order to be received. The offender can only benefit from it and submit to some consequences as a result, if they hear, receive, and repent. Like the city of Ninevah is a good example. That is the pattern God has provided for the provision of forgiveness. Not excusing sin. Not His idea or plan. That is just giving licence to a system that is actually in rebellion to God.

Do you have a source or some more information on Guan Yin dealing with sin by excusing it? I Googled a little and didn't come up with anything immediately, but also didn't have much time to spend on it.

The LC leadership has absolutely no idea how to deal with sin and 100% just wants to excuse it, so what you wrote is fascinating to me.
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:31 PM   #32
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[QUOTE=Trapped;90250]Do you have a source or some more information on Guan Yin dealing with sin by excusing it? I Googled a little and didn't come up with anything immediately, but also didn't have much time to spend on it.[QUOTE]


Dear Trapped,

To find information on guan yin that analyses the eastern interpretation of mercy in contrast to the biblical one, requires some level of investigation into ‘eastern pantheistic monism’ as a whole.

There is a thought process that ties eastern spirituality together and within that ‘kindness’ is not linked to ‘accountability’ as it is with the God of the bible. However, It’s not a clear and debated spiritual principle that is presented in the intellectual way we process these concepts in the western mind. So I don’t think you’ll easily find a categorical statement about it on the internet.

I practised a level of eastern religion myself before I became solidly a Christian so my awareness of this topic comes from some direct experience and exposure. As part of my reforming my thinking to a Judeo-Christian world view, I read in the book ‘the Universe Next Door, a basic world view catalogue’ by James W Sire, and published by Inter Varsity Press. I recommend this book as one chapter is devoted to eastern pantheistic monism and sums it up quite well. Other Christian books that explain buddhism would also be likely to comment on mercy as understood in the east and how it is different from the west. Guan yin really just personifies and reflects the thinking, is not per se, the source of the ideas on mercy.

IVP publishes other books that compare and contrast religious and philosophical systems of thought, if interesting to readers of this forum. They always gently and respectfully, (and intellectually!) back God’s Truth and the biblical account of truth as far as I know.

Personally, I see more than just the concept of mercy being adapted from eastern spirituality, in the LC frame. WL borrowed on communism, facism and Christianity especially from the Keswick convention and other individuals. Additionally, he borrowed from an eastern religious point of view too…..in my opinionated opinion!!

One point that I noted as I was evaluating what I was learning of the teachings, was this idea of God being processed into man, to become God again, and man, in the process, becoming God. This might be a good time for me to run my theory on this idea past y’all on this forum:

In eastern mystical thinking, the idea of reincarnation exists. Humans live multiple lives in sequence where they begin as something small like a bug, and after death, repeatedly return as increasingly complex beings, then as humans, learning ‘lessons’ along the way until eventually they reach ‘nirvana’ where they exist in some heavenly state for a long time and then rebegin the process all over again. Being of a high ‘caste’ in India, (their class system), is called a ‘Brahman’, which means you’re up there at the ‘God’ level. ‘Atman is Brahman’ means ‘self is God’, we only have to actualise it by recognising it, and practising mantra’s and transcendental meditation enables one to enter into this ‘reality’.

In short, you could say, Man is processing himself into God through reincarnation.

What a clever thing WL did…he turned it around! God is ‘processing’ himself into man through his ‘reincarnating’ of himself downwards towards man instead of man ‘processing’ himself upwards towards God.…..and achieves the same end result of man becoming God! It’s like WL just flipped it over and has God doing all the work instead of us!! Like reincarnation but better (for us that is, not God). Being incarnated as Jesus was one step, becoming the Holy Spirit was another, entering the person through regeneration is the next one then the whole new Jerusalem thing is the last one, it seems.

I don’t know what others will think of that, but I suspect WL may have borrowed from his own pre-Christian heritage, consciously or unconsciously, for his own questionable reasons….And in the process, he messed with what he didn’t really comprehend the significance of, creating damage through such carelessness. Personally, I give him top marks for ingenuity tho.

(Someone is going to need to rap me over the knuckles soon, for all the outrageous things I’m likely to say once I get going!!)

I hope that sort-of answers your question, Trapped. Being in a meditative state and not in your mind is very eastern, another link from WL to eastern thought. Simultaneously it explains why you won’t easily find definitive statements about eastern concepts like mercy, etc. (Maybe also it explains how the BB’s use words where the meaning is unclear too, as that is another feature with them).

Last edited by Curious; 11-25-2019 at 09:49 PM. Reason: mistake
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Old 11-26-2019, 03:28 AM   #33
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Default Mercy without repentance

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The understanding and expectation the LC leadership promote to its followers is the Chinese religious model not the biblical one.

The Chinese goddess of mercy is named Guan yin. Personified as a woman usually looking rather floaty and serene. Guan yin deals with ‘sin’ by EXCUSING it. that’s how it works in the eastern religious system. This cultural mindset is contrary to Christianity and the harm it can do is well documented elsewhere on this forum. It is why all situations of accountability mentioned in the bible, especially form the prophets etc are ignored by the LC leadership and their twistings of the Noah story etc are cited. They have been used to back the practise and thinking of another religious system.

Biblical forgiveness actually exposes and names sin. It identifies and confronts it and is already willing to reconcile, bestow its blessing. However it requires acknowledgement from the offender in order to be received. The offender can only benefit from it and submit to some consequences as a result, if they hear, receive, and repent. Like the city of Ninevah is a good example. That is the pattern God has provided for the provision of forgiveness. Not excusing sin. Not His idea or plan. That is just giving licence to a system that is actually in rebellion to God.
The system as pushed by LC leaders took great pains to appear strictly adherent to the Bible, both in letter and spirit, often using coded terms like 'proper' and 'genuine' and 'normal', but under stress they'd abandon this while church members pretended not to notice. But it's just been too obvious.

I'm thinking specifically of Lee's own hand-picked cadre of senior co-workers (Mallon, So, Ingalls, Rapoport et al) who used Matthew 18 principles to confront him with concerns about his son. People were being damaged. But repentance (i.e. acknowledgement of vulnerability, error and willingness to change) for Witness Lee was impossible. His cultural model demanded a different approach, alluded to by Curious above.

When challenged, all that rhetoric about propriety according to scripture went right out the window, and the LC system showed itself to be just as 'deformed' and 'fallen' as any in Christianity that it so often derided. Conversely, LC members who violated its unspoken tenets, even if raising concerns using Matthew 18 principles, were called 'rebels' and summarily ejected.

The lone sign of repentance was at the end, in a vague statement about failure in "receiving others", as if leaders needed more charity toward fellow Christians, even as 'deformed', 'fallen', 'satanic' and 'Christ-less' as they were held to be. Evidently Lee felt that they could have been more magnanimous towards others. But any facing of internal flaws - no. The system was predicated on avoiding this.
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Old 11-26-2019, 02:07 PM   #34
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Default Re: Mercy without repentance

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The system as pushed by LC leaders took great pains to appear strictly adherent to the Bible, both in letter and spirit, often using coded terms like 'proper' and 'genuine' and 'normal', but under stress they'd abandon this while church members pretended not to notice. But it's just been too obvious.
Very well said, aron. You have summarised so much here, so well. WL got himself into a pickle that was not possible for him to get out of. Words like ‘proper’, ‘genuine’ and ‘normal’…I remember those being used too. And they are so very subjective words.

The things we can all take-away through coming to an understanding of this……appearances can be deceiving, never trust in them alone. Feelings of identification and familiarity can also be snares, (but not always).

Above all…take care, lest we may fall into the same trap. Wanting the glory for ourselves, to set ourselves up on the throne that belongs to God alone. Its more tempting than we realise if we’ve never come close to tasting it personally. To be aware of how vulnerable we can all be to being corrupted in this way, if the opportunity is real. It truly is harder to resist than one might think. A leader or historical figure who has demonstrated themselves to be immune to the corruption of power has not happened often in the history of the world, although is has happened.

Also, at the every-day level, keep up on our own spiritual housework, as recommended by Nell in the 12th post on this thread. Be ever open to acknowledge our own ‘vulnerability, error’, and be ‘willing to change’, trusting God with the outcomes is where faith replaces self-reliance. Self-reliance that rejects facing our flaws, builds up a system of self-defence within us. Trust in God is the faith then that gets attributed to us as our righteousness. Like it did for Abraham. Like it equally did for Rahab. Righteous servant of God, or Canaanite prostitute, makes no difference: their ability to trust God and take risk based on that trust is at the heart of true faith. Self-reliance is based in fear and doubting God and leads to sin. Repenting of sin is in itself a step of faith in God’s reality and stepping away from our own reality. I had better stop, I’m getting carried away sermonising where I hadn’t meant to.

In short, WL hadn’t taken some essential steps of faith, (as far as I understand true faith to be). (He built up a system where he did not need to rely on God as he was managing his own security on the side!) He needed more opportunity to figure the fundamental things out, yet rose to leadership roles without such a foundation. Einstein said ‘premature responsibility breeds superficiality’ and some have said that pearl of wisdom is more significant than E=mc2.

To benefit in a positive way from being aware of WL’s error, it helps remind me of mistakes I could also make, especially if I’m over focused on being bothered about him more than being mindful of the principles of repentance, faith and humility, and applying them to myself. that's my lesson. and I think it is a valuable lesson to hold onto, one to be thankful of.
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Old 11-26-2019, 02:29 PM   #35
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I have made a whole list of dysfunctional behaviours I observed in LC people, as I became more and more tuned in to what was going on around me. As listed on another post, they are: Judgementalism, relationship breakdowns, dramas, blame shifting, pretence, and I will add, anger to that list, both suppressed and explosive. I want to say, this behaviour sets in when people are in an environment that is emotionally unsafe. Everyone is protecting themselves, running for cover, passing the buck. No-one wants to be the fall-guy. Those who are cleverest at these tactics become the most successful within the social strata, but through means of deception and manipulation. When people are trapped within such a closed system, that’s all the reality a person knows..
There's a lot in the rest of this post as well, but I wanted to comment on this part especially.

My impression is that the chief error being taught in modern (Protestant and post-Protestant) Christianity by its current shepherds is that it's about you. How you are feeling, how you are doing. In the LC the jargon was "making it", i.e. being an overcomer. And the way to measure that was "enjoyment" in the LC "church life", i.e. active participation in meetings focused on Living Stream Ministry materials.

The problem is, it's not about you - it's about him. He is the one who "made it". Until you get this at a cellular level, until your whole being strains toward him, then you'll forever get waylaid by Christian teachers who get you to focus on you, as a prelude to your focus on them. Once your eyes are off Jesus, you are ripe for manipulation, which inevitably leads to some sort of abuse as referenced above.

And as noted at the end of the previous post (#34), any of us can fall into this, at any level. I can focus on "what's wrong in the LC", as if there were nothing wrong with me. I can become loveless, bitter, judgmental. Conversely, I can puff up other forum members and become political, instead of obsessively fixating my consciousness on Jesus alone. Anyone can get distracted, and then distract (stumble) others.

Jesus taught, "These things were written concerning me". He's truly the only one who can safely be self-focused, because his self was completely dictated by the Father's will expressed in scripture. None else can claim this. He's the Second Adam, and there's no third. He's the Deputy God. He is Today's Moses, the sole law-giver ("Obey me, as I obey the Father's commands"). There is no Today's Paul - that is a ruse to pull you under another's influence. There is one mediator between God and man - the man Christ Jesus. Scripture is unequivocal.

He said, "I always do the Father's will." None else can say this.

And I want to echo what was said in the next-to-last sentence quoted above. In systems like the LC, one gets ahead by receiving the displaced anxiety and shame of the leader, and successfully channeling it "down" to one below you. One rises in the group social strata by surreptitiously displacing the leader's unease and disquiet. And who suffers the most? Those at the bottom. The most powerful testimonies are the people like Jo Casteel and Jane Anderson, who had to "take it" but couldn't "give it". They became receptacles of someone else's displaced shame. Their witness shows a system that is wrong at its core.
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Old 11-27-2019, 05:17 PM   #36
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Fascinating concept here, Curious! I have long wondered why I have been surrounded by people who so easily "explode" losing their temper. So many relationships have been destroyed. How can we say the fruit of the Spirit is self-control, (Gal 5.25) when so little is witnessed?
On the topic of anger as a ‘emotional product’ of being in an abusive environment:

Anger is a very real indicator of the true state of affairs. At the same time it is like a raging, out of control fire, it can cause a huge amount of destruction in a short space of time. It can be scary to for a person to lift the lid on it and have to negotiate what they have ‘consumed’ by allowing themselves to be submitted to a group that damages them. Also, once the lid is lifted, one can’t just put it back in the box. We have to move forwards, and have faith that God has the way ahead. The ‘volcanoes’ will get smaller and over time, and become something that will be replaced by the fruit of the Holy Spirit and a beautiful measure of self-control will replace the anger.

However, the shame of feeling so angry or having out-of-control bursts is a risk factor to moving forward as that shame can help keep the person trapped in the cycle of anger.

it's also worth noting, explosive anger gives a person a temporary surge of power, and can become a habit for a person who is otherwise conditioned to be unhealthily submissive. There is a danger of getting stuck there. However, if a person knows what’s happening, has awareness, owns it rather than blaming others, and works alongside help, and above all, prays their way through, then the pathway for emotional healing is secure.

I’m prattling on about this because the commentary of others on this thread, identifying with the features of an unhealthy emotional dynamic, has indicated worse than I actually thought!

Everything I am sharing about anger in the aftermath of abuse is from my own personal journey, not from a textbook. And it is all accurate, I'm not glossing or putting a spin on it. I'm absolutely truthful when I say its scary but it will be good in the long run.

I suggest that persons still in the LC who want to leave but are not strong enough, can begin the process of recovery on the quiet in order to prepare themselves. Stepping away is a huge and challenging thing to do, taking time to gear up for it seems sensible. It’s my suggestion to start moving forwards in manageable steps. my covering these emotional damage issues is my way of helping to see some ways a person may find helpful, and maintain hope, in negotiating their way to a better long-term place.
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Old 11-27-2019, 05:28 PM   #37
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Default Re: Curious!

my last thought for the day:

If 'Shepherding Words' are right about everything they say, then nobody from the LC, current or former, will be interested in my commentary about emotional damage. It will be irrelevant to LC people. it will not generate any interest on this forum.

That there are people who are identifying with it is evidence in itself. That seems logical enough to me. Perhaps 'shepherding words' would like to address the evidence?
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