Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: June 11, 2018 07:03AM
I think one of the more frustrating aspects of trying sift through what's been whitewashed about TLWF is that so much was deemed "not worth rocking the boat" to the point that it only exists in memories now. I think this allows people to believe that these things never happened, or were isolated cases, and certainly not related to JRS. It makes it easier to write off cases of infidelity, embezzlement, and even things that should have a large and messy paper trail, like a silver mine.
For example, I've recorded one instance where Dan Statton sent a letter to an individual asking to remit that individual's share in the silver mine worth hundreds of dollars in the 70s. The letter was signed and returned, and that individual lost his money, but no copy exists today. All that remains is a bitter taste in that individual's mouth.
Similarly, I can remember listening to tapes of JRS joking with Leo Swartz about smuggling diamonds into the United States to fund his trips back and forth from Africa. Some say JRS had a few diamonds. Others say Leo ran into problems with Customs over all of it, but through years of not rocking the boat, we can't be sure.
When I started reading this thread, it was hard for me to believe that so much could be covered up. As a believer in the movement during the 90s, that was enough for me to dismiss all of the rumors as hearsay; too grandiose to be believed.
I don't place a lot of merit in rumors, but I think where TWLF is conerned, it's definitely worth being aware of them. I say that because TWLF has done a lot to re-imagine much of this history online and in print. When I left the movement, JRS was becoming deified in my opinion. It would have been impossible for me to believe a rumor such as that the valley church was initially split in two during the 60s over JRS having an affair with another elder's wife. Apparently that elder even had a letter his wife had written JRS making the affair self-evident. Conveniently, the letter has been lost.