Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: September 28, 2018 01:21PM
In December 1972 Brother Stevens disappeared for an entire day and a few days later he went to the Valley Church and claimed that he'd been caught up in the spirit and taken 7 years into the future where he saw the Kingdom. As he explained his vision and his sense of losing all track of time that day, some of the young prophets speculated about black holes and time warps in the spirit where time did not matter. That vision of the Kingdom became the basis for a lot of the preaching for the next 7 years.
Many people and churches dedicated their lives and their survival planning and their life decisions around that 7-year date and the revelation that John was the apostle to the Kingdom. Twenty years later a woman from the Valley church got word to Gary and Marilyn that she had been with John on that December 12th in 1972. A lot of people around the Living Word building gossiped about the story, but nobody said or perhaps knows if John actually had his vision that day or if he was just with someone not his wife for the day. Aimee McPherson once disappeared mysteriously and later claimed that she'd been kidnapped and taken to Mexico or somewhere -- it's not that uncommon for ministers to try to cover their tracks.
It's like a Mormon hearing that Joseph Smith hadn't really found magic tablets and translated a new version of the Bible for latter day saints. How do you say, okay maybe that didn't happen but the rest of our church is still the true church of the end time. Joseph Smith's vision was not confirmed by others and John's claims were not really confirmed by others -- he was the leader and knowing that he had a special insight into the Kingdom was a draw.
Nothing about this disclosure was mentioned to the churches -- other than a few veiled words about how John's real problem was disobedience -- and not giving himself enough to Marilyn. (Another warning for people to shape up and get with the program.) Gary warned cryptically that things might be coming down that would shake people's loyalty but it would only be proof that they never had a revelation.
One of Rick's escapades also surfaced sometime in the 90s but he was not the only thing that was wrong in the fellowship. Going back to the 70s there were dozens of accounts of financial and sexual abuse by the pastors of many of the large churches, along with mistreatment of the people. After Gary & Marilyn took over, there was still large scale psychological abuse and reckless shepherding that left a lot of casualties. Marilyn had anger issues and would often lash out violently at those she felt were violating her spirit or offending her. This was interpreted as how the Lord felt about those people, especially since she was being promoted as the Lord in the earth and there was no "God in the sky" or "God in your brain" that you could trust. Submission to her as Christ in the flesh was the order of the day.
For every young person who came forth as a talented and accomplished adult, there were many more who were cast aside or labeled or discarded. Amazingly, Gary Hargrave has continued to promote John's vision as the plumbline for the fellowship even after he knew the background. (He might know something that no one else knows.)
Maybe the fellowship is in its death throes and is winding down due to dwindling membership, an aging congregation and the urgent need for finances to support the many facilities on an annual basis. It is also harder to isolate people from the world around them since they have so much access to what's going on outside the church walls. The messages follow the same pattern of Feasts and winter months and Purims to celebrate Marilyn and Passovers to leave Egypt and summer camps to be the prophets who rule the nations, along with reaching out to other churches and groups. But while the messages may be getting more orthodox in their delivery, their claims about how they are changing the whole earth are -- who knows?
For sure there is a crisis of confidence and trust -- similar to the Catholic church where the highest leaders are saying "We had no idea of the extent of the corruption in our midst." But the corruption was institutionalized through the years -- which is why it's kept repeating itself.
It's possible that the whole movement has just run its course and the world is waiting for others who can find a way to make a difference without hurting so many people in the process. They might not even come out of the Christian world
We've still been given a precious opening to move on. The past abuses were painful and for sure left scars but it doesn't mean some of your best days are not still ahead of you, not behind you.
The name I chose for this forum is Saw enough -- I don't want to focus on the past that much and I'm no expert with an inside track but I saw enough to feel that it is better to be out of there than in there.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/28/2018 01:36PM by Saw enough.