For newbies trying to make sense of the mess with The Church of the Living Word; its sister churches and Shiloh this post explains why the mother church in Washington, Iowa broke away and even went to court.
There is a link to a newspaper article- worth reading.
> Greetings everyone,
> I'm sharing some documents I've accumulated
> 1) Here is Woodrow Nichol's book on TLW. In it,
> Nichols documents many travesties which serve as
> warning signs for some of the terrible things
> we've unfortunately all become aware of recently.
> Nichols raises many warning signs about JRS'
> authoritarian personality, as well as his
> insistence on total submission and unquestioning
> loyalty from his followers. Nichols also documents
> allegations of JRS abusing the trust and devotion
> his congregation placed in him by using his
> position as pastor to pursue and commit affairs,
> beginning as early as 1967. That particular
> incident split the Valley church when love letters
> were found corroborating claims that he'd been
> using his influence as pastor to seduce a deacon's
> 2) This is an article in the Honolulu Advertiser
> dated Sunday, June 27th, 1999, a time that Gary
> was likely giving a Summer Camp sermon at Shiloh,
> Iowa. In the article, Gary is showing off his
> "Hidden Island Sanctuary," a luxurious property he
> and Marilyn owned on Oahu. This property is
> located within a mile of both the ocean and
> Diamond Head State Park. In the article, Gary
> claims that most of the renovations were done
> almost exclusively with church labor. It appears
> that in either June of 2000 or April 2005, Gary
> sold this property at a considerable gain. If it
> was sold in 2005, the sale price was $3.5M. Also
> in April 2005, Gary purchased his current
> property, located within a half mile of another
> beach. Gary's current property appears to have
> also been renovated and has since seen a large
> increase in value as well, from approx. $1.75
> million in 2005 to approx. $3.25M today. My
> sources all come from public data available
> online, primarily the City & County of Honolulu
> and a local Oahu real estate page, oahure.com.
> Therefore, these figures could be inaccurate, but
> are reasonable estimations. I share them because
> this is how things appear based on public data. At
> the very least, this shows an example of the
> luxury Gary and Marilyn have enjoyed for the past
> few decades. Unfortunately, if accurate, it could
> also serve as an example of Gary using church
> labor to greatly amplify his personal wealth.
> 3. An interview given to the Iowa City Press
> Citizen detailing "death prayers" being directed
> by leadership toward Martha Stevens at Shiloh.
> These prayers have been vehemently denied by
> leadership as having occurred, although at times
> it is admitted that they were prevalent, but "in
> no way sanctioned by JRS or senior leaders."
> 4. A Des Moines Register article detailing a
> burglary case involving Joe Knott, a member of
> TLW, who burned down the house of a critic of John
> Robert Stevens. In the court case, Knott claimed
> that the local church at Shiloh incited him to
> commit the burglary and arson.
> These articles do not prove beyond a reasonable
> doubt any wrong doing. That said, they should
> raise questions. Those questions should be asked,
> and they should not be discouraged. These events
> do not need to be believed, but we should all be
> aware that they're possibilities. I repeat, they
> should not be discouraged. At this point in TLWF's
> history, ex-members probably outnumber current
> members by thousands. There are countless
> testimonies of ex-members explaining how TLWF
> harshly discourages asking questions that are
> critical of its history or the decisions of its
> leaders. My point is not to spread gossip. My
> point is that this church has discouraged any
> criticism whatsoever with phrases like "that's
> just gossip," "check your spirit," or "so and so
> is just bitter." Ask questions. Demand answers.
> There is nothing shameful about seeking the truth.