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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: July 16, 2013 05:53PM

See [www.culteducation.com]

Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

The group/leader is always right.

The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.

Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.

Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.

Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".

Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.

Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.

Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.

A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.

Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.

Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.

Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.

Ten signs of a safe group/leader.

A safe group/leader will answer your questions without becoming judgmental and punitive.

A safe group/leader will disclose information such as finances and often offer an independently audited financial statement regarding budget and expenses. Safe groups and leaders will tell you more than you want to know.

A safe group/leader is often democratic, sharing decision making and encouraging accountability and oversight.

A safe group/leader may have disgruntled former followers, but will not vilify, excommunicate and forbid others from associating with them.

A safe group/leader will not have a paper trail of overwhelmingly negative records, books, articles and statements about them.

A safe group/leader will encourage family communication, community interaction and existing friendships and not feel threatened.

A safe group/leader will recognize reasonable boundaries and limitations when dealing with others.

A safe group/leader will encourage critical thinking, individual autonomy and feelings of self-esteem.

A safe group/leader will admit failings and mistakes and accept constructive criticism and advice.

A safe group/leader will not be the only source of knowledge and learning excluding everyone else, but value dialogue and the free exchange of ideas.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Chaos1952 ()
Date: July 17, 2013 02:18AM

Of those ten warnings of a dangerous group leader the current LWF leadership qualifies perfectly. Now, I am looking for the truth about the original leader. I THINK the Walk went about a hundred percent worse when John Stevens died. However, I am not in the dark about John Stevens either. Now I can't judge him, because I can not accept my own behavior in the Walk. I was not even saved at the time, let alone Spirit filled, and I was overseeing a church and had a lot to say about the regional direction of the churches in my area. In fact, when I went to California I was offered a commission in one of the California churches. I think that was done for one reason only, I don't think they were serious, I think that was done so that I would go back home and push Marilyn's program. They didn't have a lot of respect for the South, it wasn't that they didn't want people to blow out here, it had to do with the money that was rolling in from the South. But be all that as it may be, I was not qualified to serve in any office in a church, even now I would not consider myself a candidate for that. I know that John Stevens put in office a lot of people that had no business being called an apostle or prophet or any thing else. By the way, the dude that stood at the microphone at the Valley church and said "I don't know this "JESUS DUDE," I know JOHN," was MIKE SHIMMERHORN.

So if anyone knows anything at all about John Stevens, such as what sort of living he pulled out of the churches I would like to know the truth on that. We had the impression in the South that he lived rather humbly. I have heard that Marilyn and Gary make a huge living from the sweat of the Living Word members.

chaos

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: July 17, 2013 04:08AM

Quote
Chaos1952
Of those ten warnings of a dangerous group leader the current LWF leadership qualifies perfectly. Now, I am looking for the truth about the original leader. I THINK the Walk went about a hundred percent worse when John Stevens died. However, I am not in the dark about John Stevens either. Now I can't judge him, because I can not accept my own behavior in the Walk. I was not even saved at the time, let alone Spirit filled, and I was overseeing a church and had a lot to say about the regional direction of the churches in my area. In fact, when I went to California I was offered a commission in one of the California churches. I think that was done for one reason only, I don't think they were serious, I think that was done so that I would go back home and push Marilyn's program. They didn't have a lot of respect for the South, it wasn't that they didn't want people to blow out here, it had to do with the money that was rolling in from the South. But be all that as it may be, I was not qualified to serve in any office in a church, even now I would not consider myself a candidate for that. I know that John Stevens put in office a lot of people that had no business being called an apostle or prophet or any thing else. By the way, the dude that stood at the microphone at the Valley church and said "I don't know this "JESUS DUDE," I know JOHN," was MIKE SHIMMERHORN.

So if anyone knows anything at all about John Stevens, such as what sort of living he pulled out of the churches I would like to know the truth on that. We had the impression in the South that he lived rather humbly. I have heard that Marilyn and Gary make a huge living from the sweat of the Living Word members.

chaos

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: July 17, 2013 04:21AM

Chaos,
Back in the day, being immersed in that environment, I'm sure I said a lot of nutty things, too. But I made a helluva effort not to treat people disrespectfully, or lord it over them...which I had the opportunity to do. It's one thing to become attached to bizarre theology, it's another to use it as a license to treat others inhumanely. From what I remember, Mike was kind...other leaders, not so much so.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: July 17, 2013 04:37AM

Quote
larry bobo
Thank you Sierra for sharing your story. TLWF has obviously had a deep impact on your life and your overcoming is an encouragement to others. I knew your parents but was not close to them. Thanks also for your openness and honesty to share very personal areas of your life without the veil of a ficticous user name - I know many others will know your family and your story will have much more impact. Many who have once belonged to TLWF and suffered in silence have started to to reach out for help - they just don't want to do it in a public forum.

Nice

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Invisible ()
Date: July 17, 2013 04:55AM

One of the Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.

Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.
----------------

In reply,

I addressed what I wrote to those, who have a family member in this church - mainly to those who were once a member of this church, who are or who may be experiencing what I wrote about.

We could discuss, reason together or even argue about & over, what is really being spoken by Jesus Christ in all the Scriptures you quoted - but this would not help or bring about restoring the relationships between many families who were once related to one another as a family.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Chaos1952 ()
Date: July 17, 2013 04:58AM

Quote
changedagain
Chaos,
Back in the day, being immersed in that environment, I'm sure I said a lot of nutty things, too. But I made a helluva effort not to treat people disrespectfully, or lord it over them...which I had the opportunity to do. It's one thing to become attached to bizarre theology, it's another to use it as a license to treat others inhumanely. From what I remember, Mike was kind...other leaders, not so much so.

I had a lot of conversations with Mike Shimmerhorn at Com-West (I think it was com-west, not central) anyway, maybe he got caught up with the hype of the moment or whatever. I just never got the idea that he was not a Christian. He was a really nice dude. I agree with that. The thing that bothered me the most about that statement was the fact that he was cheered wildly when he said that. That is when I realized completely and fully that these people were the worst of the worst, and the thing that is so offensive to me even to this day was the arrogance they had about being right and everybody else being wrong. The WALK was not even a Christian church, it was the church of John Stevens. They did worship the man, and that is not the way it was in my part of the country. I think it was better for us to simply know John Stevens as the man on the tape. The ones closest to him knew him less than we did.

chaos

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Chaos1952 ()
Date: July 17, 2013 05:09AM

BY THE WAY, does anyone know what ever became of these people: Bob Raba (played for Washington Redskins, he and I swept up one day around the kitchen and eating area at Shiloh) and his sister, she drove a tractor trailer, and visited our church one time in Decatur Georgia, also Bill Maybee, also a guy by the name of I think it was BRENT Finney, Larry Hayes and his ex wife Sandy Hayes, he had a son that boxed professionally I heard years later, Craig Christian, also any of the people at the church in Memphis Tennessee, Tom and Louise Bradford, I am sure there are others, there are so many people that I lost track of that I would like to know how they are doing.

chaos

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: paleface ()
Date: July 17, 2013 10:18AM

Chaos - Why are you singling out Mike S? The phrase you are claiming he said -- there were dozens of people that said that over the pulpit. It was a slogan. A catch-phrase the we all said to earn points with "the cool guys" back then. We were young, crazed and trying hard to be accepted. Mike S, like a lot of pastors, had to leave when the toxic level got too high and the worship of Marilyn became intollerable. It's still that way today, by the way. Intollerable.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Chaos1952 ()
Date: July 17, 2013 10:38AM

Quote
paleface
Chaos - Why are you singling out Mike S? The phrase you are claiming he said -- there were dozens of people that said that over the pulpit. It was a slogan. A catch-phrase the we all said to earn points with "the cool guys" back then. We were young, crazed and trying hard to be accepted. Mike S, like a lot of pastors, had to leave when the toxic level got too high and the worship of Marilyn became intollerable. It's still that way today, by the way. Intollerable.

I think I have singled him out because I really liked him, I considered him a valued friend. Also, I was not out on the west coast or Shiloh enough to hear all of them saying that, I didn't know they were all denying Christ from the podium, but it does not surprise me. I am glad Mike left the Walk, I hope he found a true church and a strong revelation of Jesus Christ.

chaos

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