Finally got brave enough to share my Anti-This-Week <biting nails nervously>, including the Walk Talk Dictionary words I felt were most pertinent. I am sharing it here for anyone who might want to read it.
FAIR WARNING - it is written for those who want to leave TLWF and pursue Christianity and the pastors who might be receiving ex-Living Word members into their churches, so it is full of scripture and references to Jesus.
It begins with an introduction sharing why I wrote the booklet, tells briefly of my experience with TLWF (including how and why we left seven year ago), explores and describes what I believe to be the foundational doctrinal flaws in the Body, explains some of the feelings and reactions one can expect to feel upon leaving, offers advice on how to interface with the Christian world in future, and ends with a Living Word Fellowship dictionary for people to be able to understand some of the concepts and interpretations of certain words that are unique to TLWF. (THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP ON THIS!) :)
I know the format (a Google Doc) is not terribly user friendly, but I'm not sure of the best way to make it readable and accessible for those who might be interested. If you’d like to share the link with someone you think might benefit from it, you are welcome to do so, but please do use discretion. To understand why, and what to expect from the booklet, I’m sharing the entirety of the foreword below. Thanks for letting me share my story with you and for being willing to share yours with me.
Throughout the process of thinking through and putting down in black and white just how broken The Living Word Fellowship has been from the start, and the reality that I believed in it and gave everything to it for so long, has been very difficult. Even now as I am finishing the last touches and preparing to share it with others, I find myself wanting to just shut my computer and pretend it never existed. That I had never processed or admitted to having been part of a cult. That, in fact, I never had been. But, that’s not the truth, and Jesus says in John 8:32 that it is only the truth that will set us free.
The truth is that this makes me feel vulnerable. Embarrassed. Ashamed. It seems, once again, like I am free falling through all the stages of grief and the many emotions that we dealt with when we first left, only now I’m making that decidedly inelegant process public and putting it on display. After all these years, when I thought I’d finally shaken the feelings of being unworthy and have built a reputation as someone who is mature and credible in her faith, I’m risking it all to broadcast my prior gullibility and failings for everyone to see. That’s how writing and sharing this booklet feels - exposing. But, that’s ok, because I’m not alone. Chances are, you’re feeling naked, vulnerable, stripped, unworthy, not credible, pitied, or shameful as well. And, if you’re not now, you probably will be eventually. This is a hard place to be, but has its own strange nobility, which I’m choosing to embrace right now because I believe it serves a higher purpose.
You see, the reason that the Living Word Fellowship was able to burn through and abuse so many people for so long is that they didn’t let the light shine in. They isolated themselves - especially the leadership - in big facilities behind closed doors and kept other believers (except for a select few) at arm’s length, ostensibly for the protection and purity of the sheep, but mostly because it kept them from being exposed. The people in the Fellowship who saw the truth over the years and left usually did so quietly (like we did at first), not wanting to highlight the brokenness they walked away from because of what they thought it said about them that they’d even been part of it. But, brave people are starting to stand up, look beyond the risk to their own feelings and reputations, and share their stories to let their voices be heard. I want to be a part of that. That’s why I’m willing to feel exposed all over again with this booklet. If removing the secrecy and privacy of the healing process, which I’ve used to cover my shame, is what it takes to show that the emperor of TLWF has been naked all along, so be it.
Now, more than ever, it’s time to embrace the light of Jesus. It’s time to let it shine into all the dark and uncomfortable places in our own hearts and lives, and to shine on His behalf in the rest of the world. Don’t be afraid of stepping into His glorious light - no matter how dirty or ragged it might show you to be. He didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery for her nakedness (John 8:1-11), and he won’t condemn you, either. Over two thousand years ago, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 9, which was quoted in Matthew 4:15-16: The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. Now, He’s fulfilling that promise once again for me and for you and for everyone leaving the shadow of The Living Word Fellowship behind. Jesus - the light - has now been shined into that darkness, and the darkness will never overcome Him (John 1:5). So, maybe leaving TLWF, and especially talking publicly about that process, feels exposing. Or, maybe it just means that we’ve finally stepped into the light.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2019 10:24AM by JesusJesusJesus.