Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: July 02, 2018 03:59AM
I very much agree with the cash cow analogy. I think that Gary cycles into periods of intense submission to keep people insecure and dependent on his uplifting, yet insidiously destructive message.
Listening to my old tapes again, it feels like he manufactures things for his followers to feel insecure, guilty, or humiliated about. Look no further than his latest message to the YASP. "You kids have all this free time now, and you're not giving enough of it to God." He dedicates a service to the kids, and admonishes them in it. That's a textbook example of something you'd see in an abusive relationship. He cycles between guilt and reward like a stick and carrot routine. Actually, you could follow that pattern back through most of his latest messages.
There is intense devotion there though. Being inside, I remember remarking with other members how Jonestown, or scientology, or Hare Krishna were obviously different than us, because they were only mimicking the truth that we knew we had. Looking back, that's not a very good justification.
If TLWF goes down that path, I think there will be warning signs. We'll see things like isolation, and more messages of fear, especially of the "principalities and powers of the outside world." The master plan for Shiloh has already zoned out the land so that they can house almost the entire church population on the grounds. If the satellite churches start converging to Shiloh, I'll be more worried about a Branch Davidian situation. I personally don't think Koresh planned mass suicide, but that paranoia of the outside world sure created a dangerous situation where things went tragically wrong.