Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: puddington ()
Date: January 27, 2019 10:28PM

“The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance. … How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!” –

Mark Twain, 1906

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Dissillusioned ()
Date: January 29, 2019 05:22AM

I wanted to respond to your comment about people making it an us versus them.
I have been in TLWF since 1973. Over the last 2 years I have been what we always called one of the BBQ people. Only coming around for special occasions. I am calling myself Dissillusioned because that is what I have become in the last months. Everyone in TLWF knew Rick was a serial cheater. After all he had affairs on 3 of his wives. For even one affair he should have never been allowed to keep any position of authority over a church. The only reason he did was because his mother was protecting him. I was personally never aware of any of the other situations of sexually misconduct such as Shalom and Maureen have shared. I read all the posts on Shalom’s page and was disgusted more and more with each post I read.

Then I started reading posts of how messed up everyone in the church is for not doing anything about it. But seriously Marilyn was the big kahuna. Who was going to challenge her? The ones who did were exiled to the never-lands. The only reason it came out now is because she is dead and could not protect him anymore.

As someone who has children who were brought up in this church I did try and protect them. I have read of little girls being molested by men in the church. But I would never have left my daughter alone with any man, ministry or not. I can’t even fathom that. I must have had a rebellious streak because if someone told me I am going to parent your child now and you can’t even talk to them anymore I would have said the hell you say! This is my child. There was one pastor we had and his wife was very critical of my daughter. Once I found out about it I just tried to keep her away from her. I got in between them anytime she tried to talk to her. She did do some damage to her self esteem before I got the picture of what was going on. I got her counseling also.

I think everyone who has been in the church are not total villains. It seems like we are all being lumped together as the enemy of the survivors. It seems like there are some people who were really hurt by this church. But others are blaming every bad thing that ever happened in their life on TLWF. Don’t get me wrong I know people were hurt and that is messed up. But not every problems these hundreds of people have are from the church alone. There needs to be some personable accountability for life choices.

So I guess I am saying it’s not us versus them. Everyone who has been in the church was duped in some way. The main one being Gary walking away a multimillionaire and many my age who gave most of their lives to the church just getting by. So let’s not go after each other.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Onion ()
Date: January 29, 2019 12:13PM

Thank you Disillusioned. I agree wholeheartedly.

One thing I have learned from being part of this forum (which saved my life) is that Rick Ross (who is a renowned expert) is very alert to any time someone tries to place blame on the victims of cults because what the cults have done to each and every one of us had nothing to do with our choices. The walk/cult was in the business (big business) of burying us under their rules and interfering with our decision-making ability.

That being said, I think a lot of people are in various stages of peeling their own onion layers and finding the deeply ingrained conditioning and harm that we have been living under for so many years. Even if you pulled back a little so you were a BBQ person (I love that term) you were still dealing with all the weird thinking and programming in the walk/cult. I'm so glad you were vigilant for your children. And I welcome your input. We really can all get free of this and helping one another is the best way I know.

I don't feel enmity towards congregants who are trying to salvage a church. I feel grieved because it's only delaying the inevitable. It is so hard realizing your life has been given to something false, and it will be just as hard for everyone who is trying desperately to hold on. I don't believe any church is going to survive the damage that has been done by the abusers and those who helped them/covered for them.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: January 29, 2019 12:19PM

Dissillusioned - I hear what you are saying, there are so many good people that I continue to respect and love.

However, I would encourage you to read the moderators list of identifying cult factors. We were in a cult. We were vulnerable, thinking we were getting ourselves into a church that was "different than other churches".

I think that once I read the list I began to see that much of who I thought I was had been defined and rehearsed to me by my "shepherds". My own voice of reason on conscience was no longer there, or even allowed. Any normal course of learning about life, emotions, forming opinions, relating to everyday life occurrences had been defined and distorted by this group of people, which I now know is a cult.

I appreciate your concern, and agree it should not be an "us against them". If there is any reason that people (like myself) are being so assertive, it is because we love these people, and want them to realize that there is a high probability that they are in a cult, and are also damaged material. It can change, but most likely not until this is realized and acknowledged.

I challenge you, as someone who cares, to read the following. It might give you more understanding as to why people have been so vocal. In addition, I think it is extremely important to realize that many have been hurt beyond the point of reasoning. They have been denied help, trust, and recognition of the abuse and have had no one to that they could (and should have been able) turn to. As a mom myself, I hear you when you talk about your daughter and what you would do to protect her. That is the feeling that many have in knowing that an injustice has been done to these kids (and, really, to all of us also). People are finding that they just cannot keep silent. Combine that with no real attempt of the leadership to humbly admit where they failed, and it is hard to just sit quietly by.

I hope the following (by Rick Ross, Expert Consultant and Intervention Specialist) brings some light.

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.

Don't be naïve, develop a good BS Detector.
You can protect yourself from unsafe groups and leaders by developing a good BS detector. Check things out, know the facts and examine the evidence. A safe group will be patient with your decision making process. If a group or leader grows angry and anxious just because you want to make an informed and careful decision before joining; beware.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Prettyboy ()
Date: January 29, 2019 12:42PM

puddington, seems like today's political climate. and for "disillusioned" comments, before you take umbrage, please take into account the part you may have played in the ruse. if you were duped, if you had a part in denigrating naysayers who were right in a moral sense and then you just stood by and said nada because it was just too damn hard, too goddamn hard to stand up and say "this is wrong" or this is "not the christian way" and now you are compromised and wondering "what the fuck", although that is not in your lexicon. is the language in how something is presented less important than the substance of what is presented? i say yes. surf through the expletives, surf through alleged abuses, etc. several things are patently clear - multiple folks, maybe even some of these readers, were part of a grand party to to grand hoax. my unwarranted advice - get over it. tune in to your moral compass, and if you do, providing you've the courage, goddamned it is not that morally complicated

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Prettyboy ()
Date: January 29, 2019 01:51PM

i hope you are not in iowa now, as am i. also, i find a kindred spirit in you albeit i am near 40 years removed from lw/shiloh. i believe, as do you, one should not be remiss of one's role/responsibility in being taken/duped. blame it all on someone/something else, then the "one" has no sense of accountability. it is certainly not always the case, situations sometimes do not allow one an opportunity of choice (e.g., as one being raped). that example, methinks different from the one you suggested. your example, and correct be i be wrong, is that each and everyone of us have freewill and the wherewithal to act upon the dictates of that freewill. those that remain as ardent supporters of lw/shiloh orthodoxy are acting upon the same freewill afforded to you, myself and the many others who have left it.

ultimately do you or i (frankly, why should i give a frig?) or the merry merries really care? of course we do. is there a consensus on this forum to applaud that baby boy rick holbrook and pussy-whipped gary hargrave will have their balls skewered on the nephi-post (think topless bar post, gary and ricky stuffing your tithes in the dancers' pulsating, inviting "please fuck me"and scintillating "i so want you" hip moves right in the face,

there you got it in a sort of symbolic sense. the hangers-on holding out for a lapdance

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Prettyboy ()
Date: January 29, 2019 03:00PM

to the merries, i applaud you all, for your support for each other, for your resilience, for your courage, for your fortitude, for your love of life and for your concerns for those who still wallow in the the shadow of deceit.

from outside looking in,

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: kBOY ()
Date: January 29, 2019 08:01PM


I wanted to point out a nuance that may be missed with your statement, "Not every problem these hundreds of people have are from the church alone. There needs to be some personable accountability for life choices."

For most, that is absolutely true, but there are those few who would characterize their abuse as causing long-term psychological damage affecting all of their subsequent decisions. This is not hard to imagine in a world where just about everyone suffers from some level of PTSD, beginning with moment we arrived on the scene.

Looking forward to the great BBQ in the sky.

* * * * *


Stoke the furnace.

I apologize in advance, but I did not understand the reason for your comment to PUDDINGTON, or maybe I missed something he said earlier.

I also wanted to point out your 'just get over it' suggestion is hard for deeply damaged individuals to even process. Our release from damage does not come from an additional 'command', but from wide open arms ready to absorb our tears.

The 'free will' issue of buying what JRS/G&M were selling always loops back around. It is important to point out how the pitch and the product declined over the years, with the 'big sell' coming in the 70's (witnessed by the growth of churches and membership), and the stagnant growth of the G&M era, where most of the new additions came from those born into it.

As with anything, we can choose to believe one moment, and change our mind the next. The issue is not simply a matter of believing, but what is the percentage of the buy-in. Quantity matters here.

Please take no unnecessary risks during your subzero Polar Vortex. (The desert sun calls.)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/29/2019 08:03PM by kBOY.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: JesusJesusJesus ()
Date: January 29, 2019 11:13PM

Greetings from the polar vortex!

I woke up this frigid morning (with more and worse on the way tomorrow) and my first though (honestly) was, "It's colder than Marilyn's reception of an unbidden congregant trying to strike up a casual chat."

Hope the levity brings a little warmth to your day.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: kbyrne ()
Date: January 30, 2019 12:25AM

Reading some of the lastest posts, strangely, it reminds me of magic tricks.

Coming into the walk in '73, a huge thing was to try to position yourself to
get a "word," "personal ministry," from JRS. Personally, I could never
get enough. And like a magic trick, I would wonder, how did JRS know that
about me?

The thing about magic tricks are, once you learn how it is done, it's easy
to blame yourself, "How did I not see that? It's so obvious now that it was
a trick." Once you know how it's done, It certainly loses its allure and its power over you.

There are those people that never want to see how a magic trick is done,
because they don't want to lose the magic.

I can say that even though I left the walk 30 plus years ago, I didn't want
to let go of the magic. I did not want to believe that I was deceived. I
didn't come into the walk saying "Please deceive me." No, unfortunately
there were leaders, JRS and others, that knew how to perform the magic
tricks, and did, with full knowledge of what they were doing.

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