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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Invisible ()
Date: July 29, 2013 04:08AM

Changed4me,

I am interested to hear what you have to express about what you experienced in the C of the L.W. You said you haven't spoken since 1997 (for almost 16 years ) about your life in the C. of the L.W. You have kept silent for almost 16 years - after being told you were no longer welcome in the fellowship.

25 years is many years, to be involved in a churches teachings, their doctrines and a fellowship with people you were relating to as brothers and sisters in the faith - who were also for all those years - relating to you, as a related member of theirs - in the faith.

Living all those years of your life in this kind of relationship with many people, in being a member and part of the C of the L.W . - then to be told you were no longer welcome in the fellowship, must have been in some ways devastating for you.

I look forward to hearing about you and your life and what you have to say today these 16 years later, after being told you were no longer welcome in the fellowship.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Chaos1952 ()
Date: July 29, 2013 09:24AM

Larry that is a very good post. You mentioned the spiritual return of the Lord (JRS used the word parousia, which by the way, means presence, whether spiritual presence or literal physical, I checked it out in interlinear bibles) anyway, the jist was always assumed to mean the coming of the Lord in His body, BEFORE His physical coming, however I have heard LIVING WORD adherants and former ones claim the Lord might not ever return at all, see, many have taken that much farther. I am wondering if you remember what JRS taught, if he was specific or not. I can't remember.

I have also mentioned that Latter Rain is exactly JRS teaching, one hundred percent of the way. What comes to mind is a member of the church in Atlanta, thinking that JRS had a direct revelation from God to store food down in the cellar (tunnel?) at Shiloh to preserve it. This guy thought nobody ever did that before in the history of the world. He was completely in bliss to the 'revelation' that the American Indians for one group, as well as thousands of other civilizations have stored food below ground level for thousands of years. That is the mindset of Living Word members.

It is sad, but true, there is a cult mentality. The idea that a leader can not be wrong, the belief that a leader is original in every precept, in every idea, that a leader is the one person connected with the mind of God, of all people on the face of the Earth, is the state of mind that caused Germany to give itself over to Hitler, that causes another "mainline Christian" religion to believe whatever head honcho is elected at the moment is the vicor of Christ, infallible and perfect. It is the same mentality that causes over nine hundred followers to go to a South American jungle to find heaven on Earth only to wind up with fly infested bodies with swelling bellies lying in the sun, or dozens of other followers to end up in well made bunk beds wearing new tennis shoes as their souls I guess are happily riding a comet to eternity.

The Living Word Fellowship is a sad case. The people in it are a sad lot. Thinking themselves to be wise, they have become fools, while the leaders laugh on the way to the bank.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Chaos1952 ()
Date: July 29, 2013 09:31AM

CHANGED4ME,

First of all, welcome to the forum. I am hoping that you will give some insight on John Robert Stevens. I have wondered for many years what he was like personally, what he was like in the early years, before Marilyn. I did not know him at all. The only contact that any of my family had with him in person was once at Shiloh my son and him shot off firecrackers outside right before service. Other than that, JRS was only a man in a box, a voice on a tape. I was in a local church in Atlanta Georgia from 1977 or so to 1984.

I would love to hear what you have to say. I would like to know how much money JRS made as compared to Marilyn and Gary Hargrave, I would like to know if he was the sort of controller that the current leaders seem to be, I would like to know what sort of man I followed.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Chaos1952 ()
Date: July 29, 2013 09:46AM

CHANGED4ME,

ALSO, I would like to know if JRS was a drinking man? Was he a ladies man? Was he a visionary, a dreamer that believed in people to a fault, that thought the people he put in positions of authority were honorable, or was he a manipulator and egomaniac drunk on power? Did he enjoy the idolization of himself, or did it sadden him that he became the object of worship and maybe he saw that it would do no good to discourage his followers? What is your opinion of JRS? After all he is the man that started this "church." Would it have been better if he had of just stayed in the Assemblies of God?

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: July 29, 2013 10:08PM

Quote
Changed4me
Twenty-five years is a long time to be a part of a religous/social organization. So many things happened to change me as an individual human being and spiritual person. In September 1997 everything shut down and I never spoke about my life in TLWF, 25 years of my life, until now. I recently discovered this website and thread and began to read, and read some more. Something has come over me and is compelling me to share my experience.

Welcome, Changed4me. Looking forward to any further posts from you.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Chaos1952 ()
Date: July 30, 2013 01:05AM

You know, from reading the posts here, and from my travels through Christiandom all these years, not just my time in the WALK, in other groups, denominations, movements, sects, cults as well, whatever you choose to call them, it is my observation that sadly too often the “sheep” grow to maturity in spite of the “shepherds,” not because of them. However it is important that we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Most of us started out looking for the Christ, however we perceived Him to be at the time. Christians look to their leaders as their role models. The leaders should be switching their focus on Christ. The scripture says “shine your line before men (in such a way) that they will see your light and GLORIFY THE FATHER.”

The leaders have always been the focus in the WALK. The intercession has always been for the leader to “break thru” and to “enter into resurrection life.” The “sheep” were there for the “shepherds” not the other way around. Now I understand the leaders have really taken the advice of some unnamed televangelists, thinking it is their duty to live modestly in order to supply the "shepherds" with extravagant lifestyles.

I was one that left the WALK along with hundreds, and looking back, I wish that the ones that were going to finally leave had all left at once, perhaps many local churches that closed down could have networked together, and become that “movement without leaders” JRS may have invisioned.

I recall JRS saying when one has a revelation of God, they have a corresponding revelation of themselves. I have seen myself in it's ugly reality, and I pray that I have not injured anyone along the way myself. Now that we have stopped praying for the leaders, let us that have gained our senses intercede for those that have left, that none of them walk away from Christ for good. And those that are left there, may they all come to a true revelation of Jesus Christ and a corresponding revelation of themselves. And when they leave, let them all be wise a serpent and harmless as a dove.

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The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Changed4me ()
Date: July 30, 2013 05:56AM

Chaos1952 and Invisable.... thank you both for your warm welcome to this group. I hope my thoughts and writing them become a cathartic experience for myself as well as for readers.

JRS was a spiritual mentor for me as a college student searching for answers about myself and about my place in life on earth. He had the ability to look at you with his eyes such that you knew he knew what was going on in your mind and in your heart. He never judged me about what I told him I was thinking or feeling or what I had experienced. He always encouraged me to wait on the Lord to find my way. I did some pretty stupid stuff in those days. No matter the circumstances, I knew John Stevens as a human being, who had his own crosses to carry. I felft he never lost site of his own humanity. He never spoke a sermon or word from a "holier-than-thou" position.

Many people never saw that side of John which is unfortunate because my experience of him being a spiritual mentor, was only strengthened by his humanity. I saw a man, that lived with the same trials of the flesh, have such creative faith for others.... to the point I actually began to believe I could also be a spiritual man without reaching the perfection of the flesh.

To many members became obsessed with the idiom of the month.... what ever became fashionable to pray for or to believe for. But hey... I was one of them! As John became more surrounded by the selected few, an atmosphere of wanting to be a part of that was very infectious thereby creating the will and drive to be accepted.

I became a part of a kingdome business because I knew that was "the place to be" if surely I was to be one of the chosen few.

My early connection with JRS really blinded me to the signs that I was a part of a cult! I am just now coming to grips within my ownself that I had been dooped into all the trapings. For years I defended that TLWF was not a cult. But, in a true free environment, people come and go as they please. In a cult, the fear of being rejected from the group keeps the crowds under the suttle control of the leaders.

Today, I am seeing very clearly how much mind control had affected me.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Changed4me ()
Date: July 30, 2013 06:33AM

Invisable,

I kept silent for so long because I was done with organized religion. That true heartfelt non-judgemental acceptance I had experiened early on in The Walk was no longer existant towards anyone like myself that didn't need the affirmation of the "authorities" to exist. At the time in 1997 when I was told I was not welcome, I was devistated because I felt that 25 years of my life just ended abruptly. Here were human beings whom I had counseled, shepherded, took their children into my home when mom and dad were struggling with their relationship, the list goes on. These people I had loved and prayed for refused to speak to me or answer a phone call or answer a letter..... because they were told to cut it off. I hate the fear these people live under.... the fear of being rejected.... the fear of not belonging to a group.

My recent interest in this topic is because I am feeling betrayed by myself for allowing the mind control tactics to have effected me. I am now allowing myself to admit that I was in an occult!

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: paleface ()
Date: July 30, 2013 09:00AM

Welcome to all of you relatively new, free souls. I'm so thankful for all of you being here and sharing your stories.

Changed- I feel like you do at times. I feel like an idiot at times for following something that had red lights blinking constantly. But I figure God had me there for a reason, and maybe that reason will play out still in the future. Shunning like you experienced is a very tough thing to go through. Especially when so much of your heart and soul was invested in those relationships. It's a very cruel, age-old practice.

I was recently talking to a young adult that was an ex-member, born and raised in the fellowship. We talked about the impact of growing up in the Living Word. The normal adult development is so stunted by the practise of "sherpherding". We compared notes about this and had similar experiences like:
1. difficulty making decisions on our own
2. a feeling that when bad stuff happens, it's God punishing us for leaving the "center of the camp"
3. stunted relationships/dating skills with the opposite sex
4. difficulting taking correction (like when a boss at work needs to correct you)

I could list more, but will stop for now.

Chaos, regarding JRS. He was many things. He drank, had affairs, let people worship him too much. But having seen him devasted at times, I don't think he was an arrogant tyrant. Just an imperfect vessel. I think he should have shut down the JRS worship and corrected us all. At times he tried. But I think Marilyn wouldn't let him shut it down. It gave up too much power. Power that Marilyn needed and wanted and still does. After all, she's the "Lamp of Israel" isn't she?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/30/2013 09:03AM by paleface.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Chaos1952 ()
Date: July 30, 2013 10:07AM

What about JRS's wife, the first wife. The story I got from EVERYBODY was how wicked she was, and how good for John Marilyn was. I am curious about her, and the statements she made about 40 million dollars worth of property and cash that was in direct control of John Stevens. Is there any truth to that? I think by now I can ask a simple question here without getting "shunned">> just kidding.

Personally, I know that every minister I have ever met is human, so the drinking doesn't bother me, and the affairs is pretty much the way men are, I know I had affairs that I regret now, very much. I have been known to be bringing the word and reach under the couch and pull out a bottle of whisky and take a drink just to freak out a few hard core Pentecostal types we had in the local church. On top of that I was high at the time, so I am not judgeing JRS for all of that, I was just curious. But about my behavior with the getting high etc., one thing that stands out in my memory, and in my menagerie of regrets was a time when at a regional meeting a new member said to a lady that was there, "I knew they were heads." That will always be in my memory, I was a punk that had no business in a ministry at all. I pray that I did a minimum of harm. But that is the value system that many of us had, we didn't want to be "religious" no matter what the cost. A total opposite of the Apostle Paul, a man that I would not consider to me "religious." But he would not even eat meat at all for the rest of his life if it offended someone that was 'weak,' or had a hang-up about it.

So if anyone knows anything about Martha Stevens, I would like for you to fill me in. I know that she was shunned in much the same way as CHANGED. I told earlier of a lady in our local church that was at Shiloh where she was working in the kitchen and this lady asked "aren't we not supposed to be speaking to her?"

Also I told of the "word" I got to divorce my first wife so I could be available to Marilyn.

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