Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: February 06, 2023 04:27AM

I wonder if anyone listened to a restricted tape, only to find out they had been set out of the fellowship. :)

The Jewel:
I am reminded of later in life when I had a government clearance, being told in a yearly briefing that the briefer felt that a lot of stuff was classified because they wanted to make sure people read it

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: February 06, 2023 04:47AM

If it makes you feel better, I always thought there should have been a few restricted tapes that were marked 'Set Aside Deacons Only.' Or as it applied to me--'Set Aside Kingdom Comics Only.'
Oh well.

The Jewel:
Seeing the “classified” tape marked “Pastors Only”, brought back memories of when I became “set aside” as a Deacon at Coniah and I could finally go to the tape library and check out the “classified” material.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: February 06, 2023 05:46AM

Kidding aside, I do recall a restricted tape I listened to where Marilyn was addressing a recent exodus of people from the LW building, likely (I think) related to her son's behavior. She mentioned having a file or notes on each one that left in protest/disgust, and said if they didn't keep their mouths shut, she would release what dirt she had on them (paraphrased). The intent to intimidate and/or smear any potential 'whistleblower' in the fellowship was clear.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: puddington ()
Date: February 07, 2023 02:30PM

That sounds like Scientology to me.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: February 11, 2023 01:15AM

More on restricted tapes...from February of 2016
Note: There's a Monty Python element to this topic (IMO):

Posted by: changedagain
Date: February 17, 2016 11:28PM

I became so weary of being pressured to listen to 'mandatory' recordings...the subject matter usually involving some person of significance that had a falling out with Marilyn and Gary, and the latter's explanation of what went down, and how we were now to relate, or not relate, to this individual. I pretty much lost track of how many people were guilty of violating the pure atmosphere. Today, maybe I would keep a blacklist of sorts in my bedroom, listing all of their names (accompanied by a picture)...perhaps rating them by perceived level of threat. Anyone that had sex with an alien would be taken very seriously.

Posted by: paleface
Date: February 17, 2016 11:42PM

I recall that some of these people that had been guilty of violating G&M's pure atmosphere would be put on a program of being sent to Coventry. Shunned in place. I recall Marilyn saying "we've sent them to their room. They can't be with the family right now".

Posted by: TheJewel
Date: February 17, 2016 11:55AM

I remember when you had to have a TLW "security clearance" of sorts to be able to get "restricted" tapes (or to check them out of the tape libraries). I can imagine now days getting e-mails from these guys that are "redacted" like from the CIA.

Posted by: Invisible
Date: February 18, 2016 01:20AM

RE: Restricted tapes

Here is the way I remember it.

Restricted tapes were a different matter, than tapes being rated with one to five stars.

Tapes marked restricted were for the apostolic ministries and pastors.

The funny thing about it is - that every one present at a service - any and all of the members who were present at a service had already heard what was spoken at a service , that was recorded and later marked restricted.

So it really was never designed to exclude any member from hearing what was spoken at a service. It was started to ear mark which services were most important for the ministries to hear.

If I remember correctly - a pastor could determine if he wished his congregation to hear a tape marked restricted. John left it up to the pastors of the outlying churches what messages a pastor wanted his congregation to hear.

It was my understanding that the label "restricted " was designed to alert the apostolic ministries and pastors about what tapes they should be sure to listen to - if they weren't present to hear the message that was brought at a service.

"Restricted labeled tapes," were automatically sent to the pastors of outlying churches, to pastors who requested they be sent the restricted tapes. ALSO- those doing the mailing of the tapes knew which tapes were to be sent out to those who had a standing order for the restricted tapes.

Pastors could order individual tapes - and the star rating was the way a pastor could determine which tapes he wanted to order. With 5 star being deemed as the best or more important of the messages brought.

Restricted and 5 star tapes were considered to be the most important sermons or messages that John wanted the ministries to hear. It was a part of a net work of communications being built - from John to the ministries.

Purchasing tapes was not a requirement - labeling a tape with the word restricted or a star rating was started as a way, for the Pastors to determine which tapes they wanted or could afford to buy. with-in their own budgets.

Posted by: TheJewel
Date: February 18, 2016 02:37AM

Invisible --

Yea, that is pretty much how I remember it as well. Thanks for the detailed clarification.

It was definitely a situation of "what you could afford" in terms of the tapes. I remember having a "4 star" subscription at one point or another. If you decided to take everything available, it was a lot of money. The tape libraries were very useful in that regard.

Posted by: paleface
Date: February 18, 2016 03:14AM

And then the 5-star rating got topped by the "RL" rating which stood for "Recommended Listening", as I recall.

So if you wanted the top-dog tape for a given series, you'd buy the 5-star, RL tape.

But I also recall seeing 2-star tapes with an RL on it too.

Yikes, amazing what you remember. I'll blame it on the "Lamp Ghost".

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: kBOY ()
Date: February 11, 2023 10:59PM

C O N I A H l e g a c y R E D U X

Further revelations from additional sources not included in the S H O U T E D post (see previous) paint a bleak picture of an environment at CONIAH that fostered sexual predation. While promoting a spiritual focus, there was a definite undercurrent by those in authority (and others in the congregation) that viewed some of the sheep as personal chattel to be exploited. One comment made was there were those who treated sister's houses like brothels.

There were examples of those who would mask their pursuits by never appearing in church as a couple, never going out with other couples, and thus concealing from everyone their current 'soup du jour', always appearing single and available. This even included one who continued to date while already designated to marry someone else.

Others were pursued while currently in a relationship, with some of the older ministries preying on younger unmarried women for extramarital affairs. Although these younger girls were of the age of consent, these authorities were using their church status for sexual exploitation.

With a subculture within the authority structure of CONIAH that seemed to excuse these activities, it is one more sad tale in a legacy that advertised itself as spiritual, but was little better than wolves in sheep's clothing fleecing the flock.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Reepicheep ()
Date: February 20, 2023 01:33AM

Must see...Episode 2 of TLW Documentary. Shalom's Letters: I Can No Longer Be Silent. []

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/20/2023 01:37AM by Reepicheep.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Reepicheep ()
Date: February 20, 2023 02:33AM

Correction: Shalom's Letters: I Can't Be Silent Anymore.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: February 25, 2023 02:31AM

Paraphrased quote from the latest episode:

"Anytime we had a complaint or questioned anything that was truly f*cked up, they (Gary and Marilyn) always manipulated us into thinking it was us that were seeing things wrong."

Reepicheep Wrote:
> Correction: Shalom's Letters: I Can't Be Silent
> Anymore.

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Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: changedagain ()
Date: February 28, 2023 01:16AM

Post by 'that little red flag' from four years ago. No idea who this person is, but he/she provides excellent advice (in my very humble opinion):

Posted by: that little red flag
Date: January 29, 2019 12:19PM

Disillusioned - 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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