Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
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.