I'm wondering if TheycalledmeJonah has any more recent examples of TLWF leaders or members being pushed out of the group because they asked too many questions or crossed the wrong person?
Since many have already seen how the same strategies were used by JRS/G&M to rid themselves of people who had become noncompliant in some way, it would behoove members and and leaders alike to learn from history rather than continually repeat it.
Thank you puddington for the Rachael Bernstein link. It is very good and I would highly recommend it. I so appreciate each one’s input that helps unmask and exposed the destructive influence that TLWF has had over each of our lives. My hope is that all of us will find our way back to health and turn what was meant for our destruction into something life giving. It seems in the story of life, very often the greatest obstacles contain the greatest opportunities. I would suggest our story is not over yet!
I jotted down a list from this video that Rachael gave as signs of a destructive cult. Which do you think apply to TLWF?
1. Is there a power difference between the leader and the follower that requires unquestioning devotion? 2. Do the teachings change over time to accommodate the whims of the leader? 3. Is there deception about what you are signing up for? 4. Are there secret teachings that you only find out about after you are fully indoctrinated? 5. Does it require leaving behind relationships (e.g. family) for the group? 6. Are there a few rules for the leadership and many rules for the followers? 7. Are the followers required to answer to the leader while the leader is not accountable to anyone? 8. Does the teaching have a goal or purpose, or is the real purpose just to control the followers? 9. Is there only lateral growth of the individual resulting in continued immaturity? 10. If you question something about the group, are you told it is your reactive mind, Satan, etc. and the problem is you – not the group? 11. Is there a code of secrecy protected by fear of something bad happening to you or your loved ones if you mention it or leave the group? 12. Are you told that you are specially chosen as “saviors” of the world, as long as you remain in the group?
I would answer, “Yes” to all twelve. Perhaps you cannot help but notice that many of these points would also apply to Jesus and his followers and therefore brand them as a destructive cult – something many cult leaders use as an example to manipulate their followers into thinking they are just like Jesus. I would suggest that the big difference is that Jesus is God and is looking out for our good and a cult leader is a thief that wants to take the place of God for personal gain. The fruit of obedience is completely different.
12. Are you told that you are specially chosen as > “saviors” of the world, as long as you remain in > the group?
I think it can be so difficult to unlearn the false destructive teaching of the LW regarding discipleship and being special. The LW hubris and elitism were/are imprinted on the members to the point that if you ever say to yourself, "I want out; I can't do this anymore," you can be left thinking as Rachael points out....something is wrong with you. And if you do act and leave, your friends or even family can turn on you and reject you as a failure or Satan.
So what is Jesus looking for? As Larry persistently suggests, if you read the words of Jesus he is not looking for cultish super Christians or those who are ready to buckle up their chin straps. He is looking for quitters. He is looking for losers who know they don’t have what it will take. He is looking for the poor in spirit—poor because they have renounced all, given up on ever having enough to even make it one second on their own strength. He is looking for those he had talked about in the parable who were invited to the fancy dinner party. The poor and outcast and misfits and losers who were brought in to take the place of “winners.”
Do I have what it takes to be the LW's cult version of a disciple? No, I don’t. Not now, not tomorrow, not ever. And that is the best news you could hear. To say I can't be what the LW leadership's false teaching demands of me is just to freeing.
lily rose Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > 12. Are you told that you are specially chosen as > > “saviors” of the world, as long as you remain > in > > the group? > > > So what is Jesus looking for? As Larry > persistently suggests, if you read the words of > Jesus he is not looking for cultish super > Christians or those who are ready to buckle up > their chin straps. He is looking for quitters. He > is looking for losers who know they don’t have > what it will take. He is looking for the poor in > spirit—poor because they have renounced all, given > up on ever having enough to even make it one > second on their own strength. He is looking for > those he had talked about in the parable who were > invited to the fancy dinner party. The poor and > outcast and misfits and losers who were brought in > to take the place of “winners.”
Contrast those words of Jesus. With the false and elitist latter rain manifested sons of God super race doctrine. This is what John taught we would do. As saviors of the world. You will reach an immortal state, overcome death, survive nuclear warfare, change physical form, speak any language, receive higher revelation and continuous spiritual experiences. That surpassed all my science fiction fantasies. They call me Jonah, does the LW still teach that super race stuff?
Regarding point #3, I’m trying to think of specific points of actual deception. What do any of you recall?
I guess one is the basic appearance of a regular Christian church when in fact, the LW is barely Christian at all. Heck, most members are inclined to never say the name “Jesus”. They say “Christ” or “Lord” instead.
Lily Rose said: "I think it can be so difficult to unlearn the false destructive teaching of the LW regarding discipleship and being special. The LW hubris and elitism were/are imprinted on the members to the point that if you ever say to yourself, "I want out; I can't do this anymore," you can be left thinking as Rachael points out....something is wrong with you. And if you do act and leave, your friends or even family can turn on you and reject you as a failure or Satan."
For the better part of a decade (especially whenever things in my life were not going well) I was paralyzed with the assumption that God was punishing me for leaving CLW. It affected everything in my life; relationships, career, finances... I had walked away from the Word over my life after all...
For a long while after that I was convinced that CLW had imploded because God was judging the church for worshiping JRS.
Later wondered if the implosion was God's way of "saving" those who would be saved from the ravages of the cult.
Great video, great list of points about destructive cults and great dicussion.
#10. If you question something about the group, are you told it is your reactive mind, Satan, etc. and the problem is you – not the group?
If I ever questioned anything, it was because I needed a revelation. It was sometinnes attributed to my carnal mind, a critical spirit, transference or a Jezebel spirit. If I ever brought up something that bothered me from the past, I was told that we only talk about the present and that I should break my bonds with the past. Or that I should break my bonds with a family member who was transferring their rebellion and doubts to me. There were many other excuses, but there was never an honest and open discussion about problems with leaders or the belief system.
When I could no longer reconcile it all, my root of bitterness and I finally left. And ten years later, I'm realizing that none of those things were my problem. I was just using thinking skills and the common sense that God gave me to remove myself from a very destructive situation. But it still hurts sometimes.
The more that I learn about destructive and controlling groups, the more I realize that my critical thinking skills are a part of me that I should value and be thankful for. "Critical" was a very bad word in TLWF. Here is a definition of critical thinking from Dictionary.com: Critical thinking is disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence.
Point 3. Is there deception about what you are signing up for?
Answer: If you read the sanitized version of what we believe on TLWF website, there is no mention of the shepherding on steroids that you will be forced to participate in, should you join the group. Most church services these days can be watched live online, instead of having to wait for weeks while the sermon goes through a whole editing process to hide what you are actually up to. God forbid that someone hear it who has not lost their critical thinking skills and expose you. There are SOP Libraries, Reference Libraries, and Shepherds Libraries that will require approval before you can hear the “deeper” teaching of TLWF. For those that did not have access to the Shepherd’s Library, the basic purpose at the time I left was to get followers connected and submissive to Marilyn. Imagine if you posted that on your sign in front of the church, instead of pretending to be a mainstream Christian church. That’s what you call a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I have way more respect for someone who may have fringe beliefs, but at least is honest about them than someone who knowingly lies and thinks the end justifies the means. The excuse given for secrecy was to edit out personal references, but I would suggest most sermons contained no such references. Other churches just don't publicly say bad things about people and then they don't have to worry about it.