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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: August 16, 2019 02:45AM

Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: fool me twice
Date: August 15, 2019 10:28AM


Aardvark,
Firstly I do have to ask what is your point to ask these questions? No one here likely will state your viewpoint is not valid. I sure don't. That said, I first came to a service in what was then called the 'Walk' in 1961. I have several different family members that started as early as 1951. Ok enough of that, We both have enough history to say we have a view point. Off and on this 'cult' has been a factor in my life for many more years that I wish to explain. Let's forget we are talking about TLWF for just a moment. Please think of the term 'cult'. Does that leave a good though in your mind? For me I have to say not even close. Now again without thinking of TLWF please do some real research on cults. I, for one, fail to understand how you can say TLWF does not check nearly, if not all, boxes when cults are completely researched. While I traveled down this research path myself I first decided ok, GH & MH were not what we were led to believe. The more I did my homework I have to tell you JRS has far to many things he did that started this fellowship on this path. If you choose not to see any of this I'm ok with that. It's now my job to change your mind and I have little desire to do that. All I really know is that I would have spent the last 50 years very differently if I had known then even a few of the things I now believe to be true. The thing we need to be careful about is straining at gnats and swallowing the camel. My take is if you hear a few people saying something then it's quite possible they are deceived. If you hear 10 people saying it then perhaps you should at review things. If you hear twenty to fifty people saying the same thing then a wise person would say OMG what if just one of them is telling the truth! I rest my case.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: puddington ()
Date: August 16, 2019 03:49AM

Aardvark. I failed to mention that you are most welcome here. We are all looking for answers just like you.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Aardvark ()
Date: August 16, 2019 04:17AM

Thanks for the gracious response!

I’m actually not trying to refute a particular viewpoint- call LWF a cult if you like. I agree that huge mistakes were made and lots of people were deeply hurt. I’ve read the stories here and on the “survivors” site, many of which are horrendous. I want every perpetrator to be held accountable.

But here’s my problem with the broad brush. I consistently found God at CLW, including warm, loving people who loved God with all their hearts. I never suffered abuse or noted any of the issues mentioned here. And I could name hundreds of people who share my view point. So I ask you (this is an honest, not a rhetorical question) if this is true then how are these facts compatible with the characterization of TLWF, as a whole, being an evil cult?

Even assuming all the negative testimonies are true, the reality is not as black and white as you claim. My experience and that of countless others has been mainly positive. That is an absolute fact, whether you’re able to process it or not.

Perhaps the life of King David is a good analogy. Scripture presents David as a man who made some terrible mistakes - he is a murderer and an adulterer. However, that characterization is distorted and incomplete. He was also a man after God’s heart, a true worshipper and a type of the Messiah who was to come.

Perhaps LWF can be viewed the same way. Lots of mistakes, failed leadership and many wounded people does not cross out the multitude of blessed people, worshippers who walk to God. I admit it’s hard to hold both pictures simultaneously, but it is the reality nevertheless.

I’m personally thankful for the LWF implosion since it was time for me to move on, time for spiritual change. But I’m also thankful for JRS and the teaching that has helped me experience the Lordship of Christ in my life, and has equipped me to be a blessing to the Body of Christ.

Hope I’m not raining on anyone’s parade.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: August 16, 2019 04:17AM

Can anyone confirm this?
A post by 'Invisible' from January of 2014:

Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Invisible ()
Date: January 11, 2014 05:05PM


John and Martha Stevens were divorced in October of 1980 .

Around March of 1981 John and Marilyn were privately and secretly married and a small reception was held secretly at one of the other houses John owned, where about 20 guests or so were invited to attend the reception..

My husband and me were invited to attend their wedding reception, on the same day of the reception. When called by those holding the reception who were inviting us to attend, we were told not to tell any one that John & Marilyn had married or about the reception that was held.

We were personally surprised ourselves - to learn through this invitation to attend this reception that John and Marilyn had gotten married, earlier that day.

John and Marilyn were already secretly married - when John many months later announced from the pulpit, that he and Marilyn were considering, " beginning " a relationship with one another, and then John after some time, next announced that he and Marilyn had become engaged and then not too long after this, John lastly announced to the congregation the date that they were going to be married - inviting all of the members from all the churches to attend their wedding at the Church Of His Holy Presence in Anaheim.

John and Marilyn, were already married for many, many months - prior to the wedding ceremony held at the Church of His Holy Presence in Anaheim, Ca.

To me the real point here is - that people put on a show - in order to make you believe what they want you to think and believe.

Many years later, It crossed my mind that the reception " itself" could have been another show they were putting on -possibly putting on - for just a few of those, who were invited to the reception. Why would some one invite you to a reception without inviting you to the wedding? Why would people marry in secret and put on a show to make every one think - they were just getting married -- when they were already married?

In my opinion there are a few lessons to learn from this experience - and just one, of those lessons is - what you see taking place - may not always be - what is really taking place.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Onion ()
Date: August 16, 2019 04:45AM

Aardvark - I think it would be very interesting to hear your positive viewpoint.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Reepicheep ()
Date: August 16, 2019 05:22AM

Quote

Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: August 15, 2019 02:17PM

Can anyone confirm this?
A post by 'Invisible' from January of 2014:


I found a marriage record for JRS and Marilyn on 9/8/80, which is almost a month prior to the show wedding in Anaheim. IMO, it's entirely possible that Invisible was invited to a "for show" reception months before that. We have heard many accounts indicating that they had been secretly living as husband and wife for some time before, at Shiloh and elsewhere. Who knows why all the subterfuge was thought to be necessary.

Interesting that accounts have also indicated that G&M began a relationship almost immediately after JRS' death, if not before. They similarly pretended all the steps of a beginning relationship leading up to their spring 1984 wedding at CLW.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Aardvark ()
Date: August 16, 2019 05:29AM

Having said all that, I have to admit I'm astonished at the accusations against Gary and Marilyn Hargrave. Perhaps this proves my naivete.

I'm looking for the truth, but I'm not convinced by the stories I'm reading. I I'm not gullible enough to assume that objective, verifiable truth can be found in a forum such this one. Everyone has an agenda, and is prone to misinterpretation of words and events in accordance with their own conditioning and belief systems. This is the reason for the rigors of the scientific method and human legal systems.

Would these accusations stand up in court of law under cross examination? I have my doubts, but my mind is open.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: fool me twice ()
Date: August 16, 2019 05:44AM

Aardvark stated:
Having said all that, I have to admit I'm astonished at the accusations against Gary and Marilyn Hargrave. Perhaps this proves my naivete.


True that!

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: August 16, 2019 06:21AM

Aardvark Wrote:

> I agree that huge mistakes were made and lots of people
> were deeply hurt. I’ve read the stories here and
> on the “survivors” site, many of which are
> horrendous. I want every perpetrator to be held
> accountable.

That's a good start. So you apparently are willing to admit that Rick Holbrook and Gary Hargrave (among others) should be accountable for either perpetrating or allowing decades of sexual abuse to occur within the fellowship. So far we're on the same page.

> I consistently found God at CLW, including warm,
> loving people who loved God with all their hearts.

I think a lot of people experienced this love more from the rank and file. The leadership was generally overbearing, not tolerant of individual expression or (god forbid) a difference of opinion. The dedicated, hand to the plow followers were where the love was to be found (IMO). They carried most of the day to day burdens, and yet were routinely berated from the pulpit for not being "given enough."

> I never suffered abuse or noted any of the issues
> mentioned here. And I could name hundreds of
> people who share my view point.

You can name hundreds of people that did not experience abuse within TLWF? In the 12 years I have been writing in this forum, this is the first time I've come across this claim. On the other had, I've read comments from literally hundreds of people who have been deeply damaged by the TLWF experience, and have opened their hearts, asking for advice and help. Not just in this forum, but other online groups.
Note: there have been over 9500 comments in this forum alone.

> So I ask you (this is an honest, not a rhetorical question) if
> this is true then how are these facts compatible
> with the characterization of TLWF, as a whole,
> being an evil cult?

It is not true. As many have mentioned here before, the criteria for identifying a cult, put forth by various established cult experts and periodically shared here, indicates that TLWF is without a doubt a cult. Every single defining characteristic of a cult applies to TLWF.

< My experience and that of countless others
> has been mainly positive. That is an absolute
> fact, whether you’re able to process it or not.

Again, this is the first time I've come across a statement that makes the claim that "countless others" had a positive experience in TLWF.

> Perhaps the life of King David is a good analogy.
> Scripture presents David as a man who made some
> terrible mistakes - he is a murderer and an
> adulterer. However, that characterization is
> distorted and incomplete. He was also a man after
> God’s heart, a true worshipper and a type of the
> Messiah who was to come.

The King David analogy has been used often by TLWF loyalists to excuse the unconscionable abuses of leadership. To date, I haven't heard that Rick, Gary and company have even specifically acknowledged how they have harmed members of members of the fellowship (honesty is the first step toward receiving forgiveness). It has taken the vague form that what you wrote represents. "Well, we love God and worship him, so you should trust us that we are forgiven by God, and realize all humans make mistakes." Being nebulous isn't going to cut it.

> I’m personally thankful for the LWF implosion
> since it was time for me to move on

"Move on"--another phrase used frequently by those who choose not to be accountable. Many people that have expressed their hurts in this forum are doing so because they are seeking to "move on," looking for help from their brethren, who have experienced similar hurts, and seeking to live a productive life going forward. Insisting that they "move on" short circuits their healing. I know it's aggravating for the abusers...but frankly, that is not the problem of those who post here.

> Hope I’m not raining on anyone’s parade.

No parades going on here. Just people seeking to put the pieces of their life back together. And yes, significant progress has been made--by going through the necessary, painstaking process. No shortcuts.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Aardvark ()
Date: August 16, 2019 09:39AM

The fellowship you describe is not the same one I experienced (at least in the one church I was associated with). The shepherds and sheep were loving, not demanding or abusive. Or maybe God protected me- I don’t know. I’m sorry that you, and apparently many others had a different experience.

My current struggle is to reconcile these two viewpoints - cognitive dissonance. I’ve spoken to many others who have the same struggle.

Hope all find the peace and healing they are seeking.

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