Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: August 16, 2019 06:21AM
> I agree that huge mistakes were made and lots of people
> were deeply hurt. I’ve read the stories here and
> on the “survivors” site, many of which are
> horrendous. I want every perpetrator to be held
That's a good start. So you apparently are willing to admit that Rick Holbrook and Gary Hargrave (among others) should be accountable for either perpetrating or allowing decades of sexual abuse to occur within the fellowship. So far we're on the same page.
> I consistently found God at CLW, including warm,
> loving people who loved God with all their hearts.
I think a lot of people experienced this love more from the rank and file. The leadership was generally overbearing, not tolerant of individual expression or (god forbid) a difference of opinion. The dedicated, hand to the plow followers were where the love was to be found (IMO). They carried most of the day to day burdens, and yet were routinely berated from the pulpit for not being "given enough."
> I never suffered abuse or noted any of the issues
> mentioned here. And I could name hundreds of
> people who share my view point.
You can name hundreds of people that did not experience abuse within TLWF? In the 12 years I have been writing in this forum, this is the first time I've come across this claim. On the other had, I've read comments from literally hundreds of people who have been deeply damaged by the TLWF experience, and have opened their hearts, asking for advice and help. Not just in this forum, but other online groups.
Note: there have been over 9500 comments in this forum alone.
> So I ask you (this is an honest, not a rhetorical question) if
> this is true then how are these facts compatible
> with the characterization of TLWF, as a whole,
> being an evil cult?
It is not true. As many have mentioned here before, the criteria for identifying a cult, put forth by various established cult experts and periodically shared here, indicates that TLWF is without a doubt a cult. Every single defining characteristic of a cult applies to TLWF.
< My experience and that of countless others
> has been mainly positive. That is an absolute
> fact, whether you’re able to process it or not.
Again, this is the first time I've come across a statement that makes the claim that "countless others" had a positive experience in TLWF.
> Perhaps the life of King David is a good analogy.
> Scripture presents David as a man who made some
> terrible mistakes - he is a murderer and an
> adulterer. However, that characterization is
> distorted and incomplete. He was also a man after
> God’s heart, a true worshipper and a type of the
> Messiah who was to come.
The King David analogy has been used often by TLWF loyalists to excuse the unconscionable abuses of leadership. To date, I haven't heard that Rick, Gary and company have even specifically acknowledged how they have harmed members of members of the fellowship (honesty is the first step toward receiving forgiveness). It has taken the vague form that what you wrote represents. "Well, we love God and worship him, so you should trust us that we are forgiven by God, and realize all humans make mistakes." Being nebulous isn't going to cut it.
> I’m personally thankful for the LWF implosion
> since it was time for me to move on
"Move on"--another phrase used frequently by those who choose not to be accountable. Many people that have expressed their hurts in this forum are doing so because they are seeking to "move on," looking for help from their brethren, who have experienced similar hurts, and seeking to live a productive life going forward. Insisting that they "move on" short circuits their healing. I know it's aggravating for the abusers...but frankly, that is not the problem of those who post here.
> Hope I’m not raining on anyone’s parade.
No parades going on here. Just people seeking to put the pieces of their life back together. And yes, significant progress has been made--by going through the necessary, painstaking process. No shortcuts.