Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: September 04, 2021 12:31AM
TheycalledmeJonah from January of 2018:
Posted by: TheycalledmeJonah
Date: January 05, 2018 06:10AM
I've been a lurker for many months now, and I finally got an account. I'm hoping I can add a bit to the conversation since I have only very recently left the church. In fact, this Sunday will be my first time going to a non-TLWF church on my own accord. I am a young man in my mid 20's who has attended Shiloh for the last 8 years and also attended the church recently opened in North Libery, IA.
I was born into the church in San Diego, and moved to Shiloh when I was 17. I finished up my last year of High School at Midprairie in Wellman, IA right next to Kalona. I've really appreciated being able to read all of your posts here. It really helped open my eyes to things that non of the congregants ever hear - The faults of the leadership.
As I grew up in the Shiloh church from a teenager to an adult, I would spend a lot of my time helping out with maintenance, music, and other work day activities. I would talk to Craig and Phyllis about things in my life and they would give their "input." A lot of the time, I would disagree with their input and end up doing it anyway because I was out here in Iowa alone, away from my family. They were really the closest thing to family I had for a while. If I disagreed with them, I was afraid that I would lose that sort of closeness.
Submitting relationships was really hard for me. I would talk to them if I wanted to take someone out on a date and they would say "Sure go out and have fun, but just stay friends." I would "hang out" with a person for months on end without it ever going anywhere because I would "Keep it just friends" until I lost interest in them and cut it off. That was always super unnatural. Luckily, I met my current girlfriend 9 months ago (when I was still attending Shiloh) and decided not to submit it, and she is amazing!
Also, sorry if this seems like rambling (it is)
This last summer I was already super burnt out with Shiloh because they had things going on at Shiloh constantly and I didn't have time to go do fun stuff that I wanted to do. There has been a lot of work on the Shiloh Cemetery (which is now called the Memorial Park). I'd get asked constantly to work all day on a Saturday and you say yes, because you don't feel the freedom to say no, even when pastors and leaders are constantly saying "Don't do anything if you feel obligated."
I know this complaint may bounce right off you all here because I know that the working conditions that you all experienced was probably much more severe.
I also started to wake up to the fact that I had a lot of differences in opinion than the majority of the church. The church is strictly conservative, and I have primarily democratic beliefs. I laugh every time I remember when Craig said in front of the church,
"Trump announced that today is the national day of prayer. You can say what you want about the guy, but when something happens, he turns to prayer"
Thats such obvious bullshit, I can't believe he fell for that. Obvious PR move.
Also, this last summer camp, Gary H brought a word where he talks about how he is not ready to drink the cup that sits before him. He spoke about how Jesus was able to drink the cup that the Lord put before him, but Gary was not ready. Then at a shabbat the following Friday, everyone was prophecying things like "We prophecy we drink the cup! We are ready to drink the cup!" and I was stunned. I looked around the room and thought "Did anyone listen to anything Gary said? He said he wasn't ready... why are you saying the things that you're saying? Do you even know what you're saying?"
I'm going to keep rambling on...
Another motive for me to not be associated with this church was the thing of control...
I was talking to Craig about a band that I was going to start playing with, and he said "Don't tell me you're gonna go out and become a fucking musician. That's not who you are." This really fucked with me. He obviously didn't want me spending time outside of Shiloh.
Anyway, I moved away from Kalona in October to Coralville, which is closer to my job, and further away from Shiloh. I feel so free, but I'm having to make some new friends because I just don't see the other ones who are in the church as much.
If any of you want to know about anyone or anything in the modern TLWF churches, feel free to ask.