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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: sierradawn ()
Date: July 12, 2013 01:57AM

I was born into the Walk in 1976. Went to church 4+ times a week throughout most of my childhood in Yakima, WA. Even in high school, I felt like G&M were put on a pedestal and fought with my parents not to go to church anymore.

Because I was able to leave home at 17/18 to pursue my worldwide modeling career, (thankfully with the support of my parents) I believe I was pretty much shielded from a lot of the devastating effects of the church.

Sure, I was aware of some weird stuff going on in Yakima like pins that were made and worn saying, "SHE who must be obeyed" and being involved in an auction to try to win the PRIVILEGE of talking with G&M over the speakerphone (Really????), but I don't feel I was damaged by anything….maybe because I chose to be ignorant of some things but also didn't know any better since I was born into it.

Sure, I had some of my own positive personal experiences with God and the worship music, more than anything, had a positive effect on me (except when they would sing the same song OVER and OVER for 20 minutes). But I mostly looked forward to seeing my friends and playing with them at every service.

To make a long story short, after years of modeling, I finally moved to San Diego to be closer to friends, the church and family after being away for so long. I was spiritually empty. I soon met my now-husband, took him to church a few times and he saw how unbiblical and wrong it was and we both "blew out". Hurt my parents deeply, but no one from the church pursued us and we were still always accepted whenever we went to events or visited my parents.

Both of my parents, especially my dad, were staunch believers and supporters of the church, JRS, G&M and all that it was about. I say "were" because they are both now dead.

My dad, Bill Huisman died in 2009 from lung cancer. My parents were living in San Diego at the time. Some of the people in the church were actually pretty great about supporting them, bringing them meals, turning my dad in the middle of the night (he was paralyzed for the last six months of his life) so my Mom, Ann Huisman, could get some rest. I am forever grateful to those people.

My mom, almost three years later, had her own diagnosis with colon cancer. She just died last month on June 14th, 2013. For her, however, it was a different story. After my dad had passed, she suddenly found herself without her soul mate, a person whom she made all decisions with. She struggled deeply with living life on her own and feeling like she couldn't make any decisions for "a year" based on what her designated relationships told her to do and what JRS said about not making decisions under times of stress. All she wanted to do was move closer to either me and my husband or her son and his wife. That's hardly a choice thinking twice about.

Because of some decisions she made that were against the advice of her designated relationships, Bruce and Gilee Larson, along with God knows who else, actually instructed people to STAY AWAY from my mom, even during her times of need: don't give her a ride to the ER when she needs it, stop calling/talking (relating) to her, etc. Many people have left the church (including John Miller, who stood up for her) because of this absolutely criminal and inhumane directive against my mom, who's served for well over 35 years. I am angered.

I have all her journals. She's told me some things about the church. One of which she'd been wanting to leave the Body for as long as 15 years. She stayed in it because of my Dad, who never wanted to leave. He even told her not to blow out if he died. That was hard for her. Fortunately for her, she finally got smart and decided to leave San Diego last year and move up to Truckee to be near my brother, his wife and their son, along with continuing her chemo treatments there. I'd never seen someone so free and happy as her once she got the hell out of San Diego and out of the church.

There is a LOT I'm not saying…..but I will say this. I found a letter she had written to my Dad (long after he died) just last November. Here was the paragraph that gut-punched me in the stomach: "Most people were worried about me, not knowing what I was going to do. I stayed as long as I could. But the more I stayed the more I realized it was not in me anymore. I was done. I should have left sooner, I don't think I could have left without an excuse. In my mind I needed something so I created that cancer. It was what I needed to get out."

I am horrified to know that the way the church operates so killed her own free will and following of her intuition that she couldn't just up and leave without having to "Submit" or run it by her designated relationship.

So that's my intention for writing this. If you're on the fence about leaving the church, I implore you to do it now. You do NOT need ANYONE telling you what to do. They are NOT God in the flesh and just as mortal and fallible as you. God gave you an intuition for a reason, speak to HIM about the matters in your life. A healthy church does not make you feel bad about leaving and doing what you feel you need to do.

There are a lot of great people in and out of the church, people I will forever love. I write this in hopes of someone else being free, especially if they want to be and don't know a way out. Lightning will NOT strike you if you leave. One might need counseling, but there is a much freer life out there outside of the church. You are still covered in God's love. God is EVERYWHERE, not just in church.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: July 12, 2013 06:18AM

My wife knew your parents well. She too originated from Yakima, during the time period you mentioned. Thank you for posting this, Sierra Dawn. It's saturated with a great deal of insight, and though painful to absorb, should greatly help those still struggling with the decision of whether to remain or leave.
If it's any solace, Marilyn and Gary will one day have to give an accounting to the God they claim to know, and I suspect it won't be pretty.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: paleface ()
Date: July 12, 2013 08:29AM

Chaos, I'll answer your question about how long I was in: "too long !" I was in it long enough that my inner voice got suppressed to the point where I didn't hear it for long periods of time. We were taught to not trust our own thinking. I took that literally for a long time. But that still small voice does not go away and at some point it starting getting louder. I kept getting the feeling deep inside of me that something was wrong in the LW. Then certain things happened and all the sudden, I woke up and listened to that inner voice again. I've come to believe that that inner voice was the Holy Spirit trying to get my attention. At some point I couldn't ignore it any longer and started doing my own research about what has been written regarding the Living Word Fellowship and it's cult-like tendencies. That led to my liberation from that hell. And it was truly a hell here on earth.

Sierra, your post has broken my heart. Thank you for posting that. I liked your parents a lot. They both died before their time. And yes, I'm sure the stress of living inside that toxic church took it's toll on them. I'm glad that your mother got free the last months of her life. The way she was treated by COHK is shameful. Unfortunately, her story isn't unique. Wow, talk about sheep-beaters!

For those of you still trapped in the mind-lock of the Living Word teaching, think about this: God gave you a brain - use it. That inner voice is a gift from God too. Listen to it. Listen to your inner core. You've been taught that it is Satan, maybe you've got it backwards.

Another thought: If I was going to control people and get them to do things for me without questioning me, don't you think I'd tell them to ignore that voice too?

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: sierradawn ()
Date: July 12, 2013 12:01PM

Quote
changedagain
My wife knew your parents well. She too originated from Yakima, during the time period you mentioned. Thank you for posting this, Sierra Dawn. It's saturated with a great deal of insight, and though painful to absorb, should greatly help those still struggling with the decision of whether to remain or leave.
If it's any solace, Marilyn and Gary will one day have to give an accounting to the God they claim to know, and I suspect it won't be pretty.

Hi Changed Again,

I don't know who you and your wife are, but yes, it is a solace to know that they will one day have to account for their actions against God. I'm choosing not to hold bitterness, and while my anger is righteous, I also know that the church and the leaders need prayer. The enemy has taken a hold of that church and twisted the truth of God's word. It's easy to judge, and I have a hard time believing that any of the leaders would so intentionally hurt people this way, but maybe there are some leaders that just don't care, but we still have to pray for them. Even my mom, after she left the church, didn't want to judge. She knew the spiritual law of bitter-root judgement and how that can come back and bite you, so I've taken that lesson to heart.

I won't say who told me this but I've been told by an insider that they've been taken over by the spirit of greed and control. It's the worst it's ever been, especially with their dwindling membership and tithes. They've been ousting people left and right, anyone who isn't in line with the MO.

It's a matter of time before it implodes. There's a LOT of great, amazing people in the Body, so let's pray the blinders are taken off and that they see things for what they are and become set free.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: sierradawn ()
Date: July 12, 2013 12:10PM

Quote
paleface
Chaos, I'll answer your question about how long I was in: "too long !" I was in it long enough that my inner voice got suppressed to the point where I didn't hear it for long periods of time. We were taught to not trust our own thinking. I took that literally for a long time. But that still small voice does not go away and at some point it starting getting louder. I kept getting the feeling deep inside of me that something was wrong in the LW. Then certain things happened and all the sudden, I woke up and listened to that inner voice again. I've come to believe that that inner voice was the Holy Spirit trying to get my attention. At some point I couldn't ignore it any longer and started doing my own research about what has been written regarding the Living Word Fellowship and it's cult-like tendencies. That led to my liberation from that hell. And it was truly a hell here on earth.

Sierra, your post has broken my heart. Thank you for posting that. I liked your parents a lot. They both died before their time. And yes, I'm sure the stress of living inside that toxic church took it's toll on them. I'm glad that your mother got free the last months of her life. The way she was treated by COHK is shameful. Unfortunately, her story isn't unique. Wow, talk about sheep-beaters!

For those of you still trapped in the mind-lock of the Living Word teaching, think about this: God gave you a brain - use it. That inner voice is a gift from God too. Listen to it. Listen to your inner core. You've been taught that it is Satan, maybe you've got it backwards.

Another thought: If I was going to control people and get them to do things for me without questioning me, don't you think I'd tell them to ignore that voice too?

Pale Face,

I love what you wrote, it's so true. I distinctly remember a service where they were talking about how bad individuality was, that we all needed to be one and be led by others. WOW. We had to look at others as we were singing, to sing to "the Christ in others". I also remember the nursery leaders telling the 2 year olds to keep their focus on the worship leader shortly before service started. Craziness. What's crazy is that you see those red flags but still ignore them. It took my husband to really show me how off it was. When you're born into it, it's easy not to question, even with my bullshit meter going off.

I don't know who you are but I'm glad you knew my parents. They were probably some of the freest in their thinking.....to a point. Yes, it took its toll on them. They are an example. But they also both had their fair share of personal family trauma growing up that had nothing to do with the church. I am grieving so deeply for my Mom.....she did not want to die. She wanted to keep being a grandmother and living free. What a premature death.

It's healing to me to be able to share this. Thanks for listening.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Chaos1952 ()
Date: July 12, 2013 02:49PM

PALEFACE SAYS: "Chaos, I'll answer your question about how long I was in: "too long !" I was in it long enough that my inner voice got suppressed to the point where I didn't hear it for long periods of time. We were taught to not trust our own thinking. I took that literally for a long time. But that still small voice does not go away and at some point it starting getting louder. I kept getting the feeling deep inside of me that something was wrong in the LW. Then certain things happened and all the sudden, I woke up and listened to that inner voice again. I've come to believe that that inner voice was the Holy Spirit trying to get my attention. At some point I couldn't ignore it any longer and started doing my own research about what has been written regarding the Living Word Fellowship and it's cult-like tendencies. That led to my liberation from that hell. And it was truly a hell here on earth."

Well, It's all just part of the experience of life Paleface. I met a lot of good people in the Walk, met a lot of space cadets too, but all in all, it was not bad experience. I made my mistakes too, I have my regrets, I should have taken things more seriously, in my first marriage (I am a widower, married again recently,) and I should have taken the opportunity to serve more seriously, should not have not played around drinking and smoking at the regionals and all. You see, I was one of the licentious ones, now I know that the Grace of God is given for us to climb over the flesh, His Grace helps us overcome our nature, helps us to pick up our crosses and follow Him. Jesus Christ is the first born of many brethren, we need not wait for anyone to be the first to enter resurrection life, He has done it already.

I am just happy finding former members to talk with, I feel like I am getting acquainted with people I probably didn't know when I was in the Walk.

chaos

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Chaos1952 ()
Date: July 13, 2013 12:59AM

I am curious about something. I was familiar with all the Living Word churches in the Southeast United States when I was in it, but I had limited exposure to the churches of the other areas of the country. Other than a visit to Shiloh now and then, and a call to Com-central or whatever that was it. We just listened to the tapes and nothing was mentioned about any "designated relationships." Was all that going on while John Stevens was alive or is that something Marilyn added on later?

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: July 13, 2013 01:37AM

Quote
Chaos1952
I am curious about something. I was familiar with all the Living Word churches in the Southeast United States when I was in it, but I had limited exposure to the churches of the other areas of the country. Other than a visit to Shiloh now and then, and a call to Com-central or whatever that was it. We just listened to the tapes and nothing was mentioned about any "designated relationships." Was all that going on while John Stevens was alive or is that something Marilyn added on later?

uh oh, Chaos. This has the potential of introducing an endless topic. Anyway, there are people that frequent this board far more capable of describing the origins of this concept--and how it played out (hint: the sheep suffered) than I. Let them tackle it!

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: paleface ()
Date: July 13, 2013 03:05AM

Designated Relationships came along after JRS. I don't think John would have liked the form it ended up in, where any congregant gives "words" to other sheep. He warned us of the care that is needed in giving direction. For a good discussion, please see kBoy's post from Jan. 12, 2011 (p7)

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Chaos1952 ()
Date: July 13, 2013 12:59PM

Yea I am certain JRS would not have gotten into the designated relationship shepherding thing. The thing that bugs me is several people have said that someone said that it isn't practical to try to relate to an invisible God. That it's better to have a person in the place of that God. That is sort of like the golden calf concept, the people could not deal with the fact that Moses was up on the mountain so long and so they made themselves a god because they didn't want to relate to that invisible God.

The whole ide of putting someone on the pedestal to worship like a god is A. you don't have any responsibility, or at least you don't think you do, and B. you can control that person. You will find that in cults, those two things, some want someone to control them, and others, like Marilyn, play the leader, make him think she is a hundred percent supportive, but the whole idea in the long run is to control him, and eventually, take his ministry completely. She was successful. The played JRS very well. The moderator can delete this if he wants to but an old preacher said this and I will quote it, I apologize to any ladies present reading here, but his words were, : "Chaos, there are two things that bring down many man of God and those two things are cash and gash, not necessarily in that order."

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