Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: October 26, 2022 09:36AM

Reepicheep Wrote:
> Happy 4th anniversary of Shalom's post heard
> 'round the world, the beginning of the end for
> TLWF. Let freedom ring!


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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: October 27, 2022 01:14AM

I wonder what, if anything, the independent investigation discovered. Perhaps by now they know who stole that small box of paper clips from one of the local churches. Really looking forward to the report!

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: October 30, 2022 02:11AM

"Today, the people in politics who most often invoke the name of Jesus for their political causes tend to be the most merciless and judgmental, the most consumed by rage and fear and vengeance."

Peter Wehner
-The Atlantic

Note: Yes, this is a politically-oriented post, and should the moderator remove it, I won't object. I might throw my lunch at a wall in a fit of temporary rage, but it will end there. Promise.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: November 07, 2022 03:51AM

Always remember those who treat you kindly during rough times. Dan and Carol E. filled that role for me in the 80's. I moved to L.A. in the early 90's and no longer benefited from their hospitality.
Extremely uncertain times we're living in now...

Posted by: puddington
Date: March 14, 2018 09:27AM

I agree. This is very sad news. Carol was a very kind human. Very loving person. She will be very much missed.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: November 29, 2022 10:29AM

Just a small dose of the substantial contribution that Richard M. made to the discussion in this forum--especially pertaining to JRS:

Posted by: Richard M.
Date: February 19, 2019 05:33PM

Reepicheep, thanks. I knew Stevens was a phony when I first saw and met him. He wouldn't look at me eye-to-eye and seemed even a little frightened of me. Of course, it later made more sense. But if there hadn't been Marilyn and my kids tied to her, he never would have survived to stand at another sermon . . . But I had my own future and two kids’ lives to consider so abdicated to a lesser course. Absent any formal complaint of coerced sexual or other criminal misconduct, "religious freedom" protects the otherwise guilty until far too late .. . . . You know of Jim Jones and his murder-suicide of his followers, but hardly anyone knows that long before that he had been arrested in a movie theater for lewd conduct by a Rampart Division vice officer. It had been politically attempted to be covered up by a judge and other officials by destroying or pulling all documents, but the arresting officer had kept his own copy of the arrest report. It was made public again after the murders. I know, I forwarded a copy of the only surviving document to the Chief of Police. I say this because it’s also possible that credible and formal complaints of coercion and sexual abuse of minors had long been made on Stevens and Rick that were, or were not, properly investigated . . . who knows?

Posted by: that little red flag
Date: February 19, 2019 06:18PM

Richard M. -

Wow. Thank you for sharing. I, like others that have spent decades living this lie, appreciate your insight and honesty. I remarked to my husband, as I started to read your story, how easy it was to assume and believe that you were the bad guy. I can also feel the heartache of hearing you acknowledge losing a wife and kids to all of the deceit. I'm sure some of the posts here are hard to read, but on the other hand, I can only imagine how validating they are for you. It sounds like you lived a life worth living beyond all of this. Welcome to the forum, and thanks again for giving us additional insight to the maze of the Living Word Fellowship Cult.

Posted by: Richard M.
Date: February 20, 2019 04:16PM

"that little red flag," hello, and thanks. While there was bad stuff going on during my unfortune tenure with this fantasy church, I made some contacts there that had positive and lasting effects for an untold number of southern Californians regarding law enforcement that had nothing to do with the church. I provide that because in spite of the falsity and self-serving that was preeminent and obvious to me, there were some really fine and upstanding people involved. For one, George Pipkin if anyone recalls.. . . he could also fill in more of the story . . .



Posted by: Cloudwatcher
Date: February 20, 2019 08:39PM

What a joke. They want to make people think they care to try and bolster the image. It is sickening. In all the years--never did we do anything for the community and in fact were discouraged---it was considered beneath the "real" purpose of God.

Thank you Dick for posting. I remember you and your story makes me very sad. And yet I see your strong character and that you took the high road and being a good person mattered. I too struggle with just trying to be the best person and do right and do it for posterity. It is a hard and lonely road. It is just good that you have gotten this out there especially now.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: December 06, 2022 04:10AM

Reshaping the narrative as needed...

Posted by: Saw enough
Date: November 03, 2015 04:13AM

What Larry Bobo said about a Shiloh pastor being interviewed and saying he could not recall praying for John’s resurrection was an example of LWF authority just reshaping their narratives for their own convenience.

Every civilization develops its narratives – its creation stories, genealogies, stories of battles won and how they came to be. Churches are no different. Martin Luther, Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Ron L. Hubbard, the Apostle Paul, Jim Jones -- all claim to have had a unique experience that qualified them to be listened to.

The Walk had its own narrative – none of us were really around during its beginnings, but they involved special prophecies over Robert Stevens, personal appearing of Jesus Christ to him, changing his name to John Robert Stevens, and others. One critic of the Living Word wrote that every time the church was on the verge of a split or crisis, Brother Stevens would have another meeting with the Lord and be able to keep the group going. None of us were there – and we can’t really say for sure if the meetings were real or not.

The big vision of 7 years into the Kingdom came during another time of crisis. John disappeared for an entire day and when he presented the vision to the church later that week he said he’d been so overtaken in the spirit that he had no concept of time or space. The prophets at the Valley church all jumped in with theories of time warps in the spirit, and loud amens to the vision.

Many years after John’s death, a group split off from the church and there discussions around the Valley that one of the Blix girls was supposed to have told Marilyn that she was with John that day and that Marilyn was pissed about it but believed it because the story never quite made sense. Of course, John could have still have been with one of the girls and still had that vision into the future, but he could also have just made up the story as a cover for not being able to account for his whereabouts. Most people just accepted the vision on face value and then based their entire lives on it for the next 30 years. If John did not have the vision, it would constitute a huge betrayal to people who trusted him, even if it was only one episode in a long life of service to God. It doesn’t either invalidate everything he did or let him off the hook, but it’s been excluded from the official narrative. If Gary and Marilyn believed the account of the Blix girl, you have to wonder why they continued to reference the vision year after year, all the way into this year, in fact. Or again, perhaps they did believe her but they also thought that God still gave him the vision. They have remained silent on the matter.

In this modern age, can you afford to say “this vision was not ever confirmed” and still retain your credibility? What if the Mormons were to say, “Okay maybe there wasn’t an Angel Moroni and magic tablets and spectacles helping Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon from gold plates. But the rest of our teaching is sound.”

Along the way there were other teachings unique only to them – the unequal yoke justifications to break up marriages or to remarry, the Mom and Dad era which lasted until they decided that they didn’t want to be everyone’s Mom and Dad, which led to the whole era of designated relationships and mentors and teachings about killing the male spirit, worshiping Christ in the flesh, Lamps of Israel, etc.

Gary has become the interpreter of everything that happens to the group. When John died, he rebuked the people who were feeling a release and peace in the spirit – condemning them for feeling satisfied when they should have been pissed over the lack of fulfillment. Later he said that he and Marilyn had noticed a lack of the spirit of Satan in the warfare, and concluded that it was because John had taken down Satan with his death. This was routinely proclaimed and accepted. Sometime after Gary went to seminary, Satan re-emerged in the teachings as a foe to be fought, and the leadership just revised their narrative again and denied that they had ever taught this. Then when other stories about John emerged indicating that he had not always been “faithful” to Marilyn – even though he was not married to her, Gary brought words citing John’s real sin as being disobedience. When someone like Bob McClane died, Gary turned his memorial service into a rant about how pissed he was that Bob did not overcome his weaknesses. When David Boney died from a car accident, it was presented as an act of bravery by someone who wasn’t afraid to go to the other side.

When Marilyn died, Gary told the people that their prayers had not failed, but that she had been transported to the cloud of witnesses and was still alive and functioning from her place in the spirit realm. He is skilled at handling the scriptures, including the Biblical view of what happens in death and after death. But his is also demanding that the people get rid of any confusion about Marilyn’s death and accept at face value his interpretation of what Marilyn’s death means now.

There are other options of interpretation – she might have died of old age. The healing that the churches had claimed was proof that they’d broken into miracles may have been a simple remission followed by a simple relapse. Her life may have been a mixed narrative of great sacrifices to support John and preserve the Word, and great secrecy and manipulation behind the scenes to get his wife out of the picture and herself as his mate. It could be a legacy of making a lot of people feel included mixed with a violent temper and anger that drove others away. Or pulling the pieces together of John’s empire during a difficult time and making it a more efficient group of churches and yet terrorizing a lot of people who didn’t match up to her demands by creating authorities who would enforce her philosophy of “my way or the highway.”

Instead of being instantly elevated to a place of authority in the cloud of witnesses, perhaps her spirit has been freed from her flesh and she is at rest, better able to see what in her life was true and not true. Maybe she found peace, maybe death just brings an end to all the turmoil. No one knows for certain, which is why most people feel humility when their lives are impacted by death.

A little healthy skepticism or a time of waiting for confirmation of these many narratives might have saved a lot of damage to people’s lives. But they are doubling down with greater certainty than ever before.
In many cases the people followed with a simple, childlike trust even while their leaders were more cynical behind the scenes. The end of bringing forth the Kingdom might justify the means in their eyes. But their willingness to engage in cover-ups and the whitewashing of their own narrative to appear more acceptable to the Christian world doesn’t speak well to a community that claims to be pursuing the truth.

It would help sometimes if these great movements would start by taking a version of the Hippocratic oath to “First, do no harm.”

I am not saying this to “bring down the Walk” or even say that God was not ever in the teachings or activities of the church. But for those who have decided to move on to a different way of life, you should know that perhaps you didn’t just “blow out” or lose faith – maybe you were being led into a better and healthier way of life. None of us can reclaim the time we spent there, but it’s still possible to have a meaningful life apart from their heavy hand.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: December 09, 2022 06:58AM

A few posts from September of 2016:

Posted by: Twoteetwo
Date: September 02, 2016 10:27PM

I'm a sometime reader who wants to thank you all for the years of great posts. I binge read the FactNet site about ten years ago and now here I am again binge reading this site. Don't know what that means other than you can take people out of the Walk, but it sure is hard to get the Walk out of people.

I was a John follower for twelve years in the '70s and '80s. I was sad when John married Marilyn, was sickened when Gary dumped Donna and baby for Marilyn, and was finally ready to call it quits after watching people pledge their undying loyalty to Lamp Marilyn.

It sounds like I blame the Walk's woes on Marilyn, but I agree with some of the posters that the real problem (other than myself) was John from the get-go. He was just so much easier to like.

God speed to you faithful ones here. There are a lot of people reading your posts, and you're helping them. Thanks for your time, your memories, your insight, your vulnerability, and most of all, your humor (bwahahaha!).

Posted by: changedagain
Date: September 05, 2016 01:47AM

<Perhaps former members are still trying to work through things that deeply affected them decades ago and are still unresolved. I know I’ve had communication with many where the wounds are still fresh 30 years later – you would think they had left weeks ago instead of decades ago.>

My wife mentioned to me the other day that we've actually been out of TLWF for close to 20 years. Some days it feels like 20 years, a relatively distant memory, other days as though we left "weeks ago." The conditioning from being constantly monitored and controlled--and the subsequent difficulty, once we left, of trusting anything or anyone--is deep. That said, we've made significant strides since leaving that mess, and never have we had any doubt it was the right decision. As I predicted to my wife after it became apparent to the church we were going to leave ('96), the professions of "love" from leadership would come through...and once that proved ineffective, ominous predictions (threats) of what would happen to our lives once to chose the "rebellious path." It didn't sway us--thank God.

Posted by: Cloudwatcher
Date: September 08, 2016 05:24PM

Hi all, I have read to try and catch up--but I can't process much right now. I am going in and out of shock at the actual price I have paid--a dear price--for leaving.

The horror of having lived in that crucible---it is beyond words as I watch my world crumbling into something that will be better than anything I have known since childhood and the brainwashing I endured for over 50 years-- talk about criminal--how is it some person can just walk in to your life and take it for themselves? I don't care how kind or loving he was, he was a sick man and the sooner we all realize that and make peace with it, the better.

I know people who still hang on to the thinking that it was all good until Marilyn. It was not good, not good at all. And if John had not died, it still would have gotten as bad, if not worse than it did under the gruesome control of G and M. I don't believe John would have wanted things the way they became--but he was headed there with her.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: December 11, 2022 11:33PM

Cloudwatcher wrote:
I don't care how kind or loving he was, he was a sick man and the sooner we all realize that and make peace with it, the better.

Post by 'fool me twice'--providing a glimpse of John (aka Apostle of Love) behind the facade:

Posted by: fool me twice
Date: March 23, 2019 10:57AM

Onion wrote:
Fool me twice: How many hours did you work to earn that whopping weekly pay? I would estimate at least 60 hours a week.

60 is likely the correct amount of hours. I should add that for $35.00 weekly I got room and board (an unfinished, musty and dirty basement) Once I got my raise to $75.00 a week all living expenses were mine to pay. Yes to be 'selected' for this opportunity to serve my marriage was rushed and we were in Iowa two weeks later.

I had the 'privilege' to work for a different KB as a painter. I did painting on both the JRS home and the Blix house. One day while I was scraping paint on JRS's house, a job that is not only quite dirty but also causes a lot of paint chips to fall into your eyes since no productive gear was a thing with KB's. JRS stepped out of his house and scolded me because I had failed to somehow prevent the paint chips from falling into his flower beds. "That paint has lead in it and that will kill my plants" Not that lead paint could be harmful to you or your eyes. Actually that was the only time JRS said a single word to me outside of a service.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: December 12, 2022 03:20AM

A new documentary being made by two ex-members of this cult. I'll certainly be watching this. Here is the trailer on YouTube:


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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Reepicheep ()
Date: December 12, 2022 04:50AM

Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: December 11, 2022 01:20PM

A new documentary being made by two ex-members of this cult. I'll certainly be watching this. Here is the trailer on YouTube:



Yes!!! Please follow this documentary and share, share, share!!!!

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