Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: September 06, 2018 09:37PM
I love what everyone has been posting lately. I feel like so many of us have been holding our tongues for a very long time and we have somehow collectively realized that the time has come to SPEAK UP! Someone mentioned recently the concept of "doing your own thing" and do I ever relate to that. I was certainly labeled as such on many occasions. Oddly, when I look back at the times when I wasn't super involved in the church and wasn't submitting to any shepherds (tsk tsk) those were the times when I was actually functioning the best in my life. Sure I had ups and downs and heartaches, regular life stuff...but it wasn't this intense psychological war zone like it was for me when I became involved and submitted to TLWF leadership. To be honest, the only reason I did give myself to submit in the first place was because I was made to feel so "less than", so unloved, so marginalized by the people that were supposed to be my family because I wasn't. I came to the conclusion that well, this is what I had to do to be accepted so I had better get on board. And thus began the worst years of my life. No joke.
I spoke recently with an old friend of mine who was never in the church, and when I was finally honest with her about how I had been raised in this bizarre cult, she felt free to be honest with me. She said that once when she and her boyfriend came to a church sponsored function on my invitation, on their way home she said to him, "I think she is in a cult!" We had a good LOL over that, but it also saddened me. She could see it so clearly, but I was completely blind. How could I not be? We were completely immersed, discouraged from relating to the outside world in any real way, made to fear it even. The truth is that the friends I have made outside the church over the years have oftentimes proven to be far deeper and more genuine than those I had in the church. It made me realize how shallow so many of my church relationships really were. We were fed lines about being family, and told that the relationships are born out of the work, and so we labored together and built Rick three bars to get drunk at church, and five-star facilities for the pleasure of a relatively small group of elite, and made Gary & Marilyn's meals, cleaned their house (while they had two assistants on staff) and any other number of endless projects that were put before us. Not one of which involved helping ANYONE in the community, no encouragement to get out there and help the underprivileged or be socially conscious. I realized one day that, for the most part, all of these people I had worshipped with and labored with for so many years didn't even really know me, nor I them. We weren't given the time! We were too busy laboring for Jesus! This became all the more evident when we left the church, because NO ONE has even asked us why they haven't seen or heard from us. Family my ass.
On another current topic of conversation, I am sickened hearing about this plan to implement a team of overseeing ministries that will allegedly have "one equal voice" but still includes mean-spirited, power-drunk individuals and is still meant to be at the top of the divine order chain. It is still being preached that submission and divine order are necessary, but oh, "there is no hierarchy". I call bullshit. I am so sick of having divine order shoved down my throat. And why does it always have to mean some pyramidal idea of order? They could easily restructure it to be circular, level, equal. More of an organized way of doing things rather than a chain of command that does not allow the "little people" to have a voice. And for God's sake, let people make their own fucking life decisions! Teach people to navigate their own way in life and cultivate intuition and good decision-making skills. Stop dictating to them and telling them that YOU know God's will for their lives. Why does this demand for total involvement and total renunciation of your will to another HUMAN BEING continue to be a theme?
Also, even if Rick & Lorena Holbrook are permanently ousted, every single one of the people mentioned for that leadership team (Phyllis & Craig, Silas & Shuma, Steve & Becky, etc.) are guilty of treating sheep at a minimum unjustly, but mostly cruelly. The hierarchy will continue, because that is the culture that Gary & Marilyn created when they continued to allow themselves to be put on a pedestal, worshipped essentially as gods, and waited on hand and foot. Their leaders are only emulating them! This culture will not change. Get out while you can still salvage a good portion of your life. I agree with everyone else that has said life on the outside is BRILLIANT! The trials and tribulations that the Walk labels "battle" are really just the fruit of what they are sowing. You sow shit, you eat shit. Plain and simple. Over here on the other side, there is freedom and peace, genuine relationships and LOVE that does not require you to be anything but YOU. And also does not require you to clean their toilet. (snark)