Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: August 18, 2020 11:17PM
From January of this year (excerpt):
Posted by: JesusJesusJesus
Date: January 03, 2019 07:17PM
Throughout the process of thinking through and putting down in black and white just how broken The Living Word Fellowship has been from the start, and the reality that I believed in it and gave everything to it for so long, has been very difficult. Even now as I am finishing the last touches and preparing to share it with others, I find myself wanting to just shut my computer and pretend it never existed. That I had never processed or admitted to having been part of a cult. That, in fact, I never had been. But, that’s not the truth, and Jesus says in John 8:32 that it is only the truth that will set us free.
The truth is that this makes me feel vulnerable. Embarrassed. Ashamed. It seems, once again, like I am free falling through all the stages of grief and the many emotions that we dealt with when we first left, only now I’m making that decidedly inelegant process public and putting it on display. After all these years, when I thought I’d finally shaken the feelings of being unworthy and have built a reputation as someone who is mature and credible in her faith, I’m risking it all to broadcast my prior gullibility and failings for everyone to see. That’s how writing and sharing this booklet feels - exposing. But, that’s ok, because I’m not alone. Chances are, you’re feeling naked, vulnerable, stripped, unworthy, not credible, pitied, or shameful as well. And, if you’re not now, you probably will be eventually. This is a hard place to be, but has its own strange nobility, which I’m choosing to embrace right now because I believe it serves a higher purpose.
You see, the reason that the Living Word Fellowship was able to burn through and abuse so many people for so long is that they didn’t let the light shine in. They isolated themselves - especially the leadership - in big facilities behind closed doors and kept other believers (except for a select few) at arm’s length, ostensibly for the protection and purity of the sheep, but mostly because it kept them from being exposed. The people in the Fellowship who saw the truth over the years and left usually did so quietly (like we did at first), not wanting to highlight the brokenness they walked away from because of what they thought it said about them that they’d even been part of it. But, brave people are starting to stand up, look beyond the risk to their own feelings and reputations, and share their stories to let their voices be heard. I want to be a part of that. That’s why I’m willing to feel exposed all over again with this booklet. If removing the secrecy and privacy of the healing process, which I’ve used to cover my shame, is what it takes to show that the emperor of TLWF has been naked all along, so be it.