Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: December 26, 2018 02:48AM
Greetings fellow former congregants, and Merry Christmas! (we bind that Nephilim spirit…)
First time poster - I have just spent the last several hours reading about the situation with the church. Holy Cow! What is so strange is that I am visiting relatives of my wife in Colorado for the holiday and she and I nearly stopped at the Palmer Lake site last Sunday, completely unawares. She and I are trying to decide where to relocate and even though I left the church in the early 2000s, I was like, “maybe if we move to Colorado, we can join the TLW church there so we would know some people in the area” – even though I privately don’t consider myself a Christian any longer.
I decided to go to the TLW Wikipedia site and saw the letter of resignation put out by Gary and the subsequent response from the church. Meanwhile, my mom told me at Thanksgiving, “everything is changing in the church and all the local churches have decided to act as independent church sites.” Never once did she mention what was going on (nice honesty Mum).
Thank you in advance for reading my post.
I am very much like many of you (born into the church, fervently indoctrinated to the doctrines, experienced many a genuine “connection” with God, worked hard for free, had temporary deep relationships, eventually left and lost those deep relationships).
I join you in anguish for the many people who were injured in one way or another by the church leadership and feel sorry for those who are still fellowshipping there.
For those die-hard types in the church, it is likely very difficult trying to figure out what to do now and how the reprehensible actions by Rick and others in the leadership has impacted their relationship-concept with God.
Personally, this would include my parents, other distant family members, and a TON of genuine, loving relationships I enjoyed during my time in the body (1974-2002). I sincerely hope the current climate of change doesn’t impact the relationship these people have with Him or with each other – what a waste that would be.
I hope you all know what a huge relief it is at finding this site. I have felt so incredibly isolated and alone since leaving the church in 2002. I have no idea what to expect but just want so badly to feel connected with other people who can understand what it was like to leave an organization that I had been heavily involved with since childhood.
It is so wonderful to feel even a small connection with other people who might understand walking around and asking oneself, “was it all just a lie?” for many years after leaving.
I still (insanely) question myself daily. For example, I remember experiencing some very strong connections during worship with what I really thought was “God”. I’ve wondered many times if the experiences were an actual connection with God, or if singing in the spirit creates harmonic tones that help to make you aware of your connection to the whole of reality, and THAT was what I imagined was a connection with “God”.
I still have a hard time believing everything was not completely truthful. What about the upward flow? What about my designated relationship(s)? What about my Franklin day planner and eating Shabot on Friday nights? I was a worship leader…
I acknowledge the truth of how poorly things have been run by the church leadership. I can think of many wrong things that happened to me and my sister growing up in the church (not edifying to describe or relive for the hundredth time).
And even as I write that, I know my “bad experiences” were nothing compared to the abuse Shalom and others suffered. Trust is a delicate thing and these actions that have come to light have definitely created a long-term, negative impact to the credibility of the leadership of the church. For the organization to survive, the only logical thing to do would be to ‘restructure immediately’ like it seems to be happening.
Yet still, without intending to defend anyone’s abhorrent behaviors, I am simultaneously caught up in the MANY memories of laughter, the feeling of being a part of a tribe of believers of ‘THE’ truth and feeling righteous in my path in life as the Holy Spirit would lead me to sing in the spirit and edify the rest of the congregation. Sadly, I have not found this feeling of connection since leaving the church and have desperately wanted to recapture it.
Many of you have mentioned the difficulty of maintaining a healthy relationship with their family who remains in the church. Part of the isolation I mentioned before has to do with the loss of my parent’s listening to me and validating my feelings.
I know they still love me deeply as their son, but the day I said to my mom I didn’t believe in Yahweh because of apparent inconsistencies within the Bible, she and my father stopped talking to me like they used to. I feel like I let them down by saying that, and the loss of their respect has been one of the hardest things to deal with.
I was never able to make friends very easily and to lose these two people who were some of the only people I could talk to about my concept of God, the loneliness was and is unbearable at times.
Would it be futile to express here that I agreed with Neo in his earlier post when he alluded to the idea that the kids that were brought up in the church from a young age (like me) never really had a choice to decide what is true and what isn’t. The truth was told to those kids by well-meaning parents and pastors, and then disciplined into them until it was unquestioned. It is this much-later realization that has caused me the most anger at the church since leaving.
Can anyone tell me, will I ever be able to get the walk-talk out of my mind? I still think in these terms much of the time despite my change in personal belief in the tenants of the Bible. Sadly, the old way of thinking in “church terms” and “church context” have been personally difficult to move away from.
I’ve come to believe there is no ONE truth except whatever truth that is real to all of us individually. Maybe the concepts JRS and GH taught are still ‘the truth’ for the people that believe in that, like my parents and many others who are still active in the body.
Without a doubt it is absolutely wrong how the leaders of the church have acted. I can’t dispute that in any shape, form, or fashion. A letter of apology from Gary or a carefully scripted statement from anyone else won’t ever validate anything (it’s too late).
But my parents who I love, my aunt and uncle who I dearly love, the many faces I grew up with in my local church and at the Feasts are all still walking in their “truth”. I love them, and I can’t change that love for them even if their truth doesn’t align with mine and despite the wrongness of the choices of their church leaders.
I am so sorry this post went on for so long – as I mentioned, I don’t have anyone to talk to about this and it felt so good to finally “get it out”.
Bless you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you have a great holiday season.