Date: November 10, 2002 05:39PM
<< When an outreach is a total bomb, as most are, and everyone has done a ton of leg work (not the leaders, just the "saints") then they say: "We had a great time! The gospel went out clearly."
When an outreach results in some "contacts" they say this: "Pray for so and so and so. The Lord really spoke to them. Pray they would be delivered from Catholicism/immoral relationship/etc. Really saints, the Lord gave us a singular time, many people's hearts were touched. Pray that the enemy would not snatch away the many seeds that were planted."… “and the other Assemblies hear stories about how "revival" is occurring in San Luis Obispo, and they get the impression that God is working mightily on the farmers market outreach, etc.” >>
Now Brother, can we talk? The leadership works hard at what we do (like nothing!). And God was there at that outreach on Wednesday night. But I am a little disturbed by your attitude concerning the Lord’s work. You’ve been coming across as being sarcastic and brother that’s [u:8553d672b5]not[/u:8553d672b5] what the Lord wants. It also bothers me about how you’ve been reporting the outreaches to others. The Lord is doing a great work here! But to report this as happening in San Luis Obispo, when in fact it happened in the Valley, is a misrepresentation. In fact, those were Diotrophes exact words at the prayer meeting on Thursday night. Is this where you get your thinking that the assemblies are not autonomous. Brother, none of us report to Brother George. I think you need to repent about your attitude. Why don’t we pray about your attitude? Brother, you need to trust the Lord! How are your morning times? When’s the last time you said the Selfer’s Prayer? O.K., well trust the Lord, pray the selfer’s prayer 3 times, and praise the Lord, Brother.
Along the same lines, I’ve been noticing more of how the assembly works. I’ve spoken to 6 or 7 members recently. They all shared the same verses and said the same thing to me. Some said they got their word from the Lord. [u:8553d672b5]Now for the analysis[/u:8553d672b5]: In the assembly this was proof that God was speaking to us. It didn’t matter if a husband and wife said it because the husband could not have directed his wife to act as an agent for God. But I also know from experience that on many occasions I was to entreat someone on a particular issue in my own words and to present it as coming from me on my own initiative. The problem with this, is that in the assembly, we were not encouraged to think for ourselves. Thus everyone said the same thing, and the individual was “deeply convicted” that it was from the Lord. I was encouraged to say certain things to the brethren (in my own words), who were involved in the campus ministry as well as to the sisters who were in my home. The results were often predictable; ‘you are the third person to talk to me about this (the first being the one who approached me, and the second was usually his wife), this must be the Lord’s will.’
Many times I believed that I somehow was the catalyst that God used. This happens [u:8553d672b5]all[/u:8553d672b5] the time and is denied most of the time. Sometimes, an individual will pick up on a ‘hint’ and without thinking (as is the norm), will truly believe that they came up with it.
When I first left the Valley, I thought there couldn’t be a worse assembly than S.L.O. or the Valley. They are a lot alike on the abusive scale, specifically verbal abuse of members (my experience and others I’ve talked to). Now I’m finding out how much more the entire ministry is corrupt. Also, speaking with assembly members is like talking to a wall. They don’t listen! The most common response I literally hear is: “I don’t want to know the truth.” I get a better response from a J.W.!
Regarding Seattle, David, yes I remember that outreach. When the prayer letter came out, I was shocked and unsure of how to respond. I thought that Fullerton must have misunderstood what happened. The problem is the prayer letter was [u:8553d672b5]so[/u:8553d672b5] far off. I remember telling my wife, “this is not what happened.”
Your question reminds me of an event that occurs often in the valley assembly. When itinerant brethren come, they will usually send greetings from the assembly they came from and sometimes mention they’ve been praying for us. The greetings are exchanged and then Diotrophes has to get a word in. It goes something like this: “Brother, we have been praying for you (the assembly you’re in).” Rarely in 10 years was this ever the truth. Recently Mr. Tucker came from the Midwest, after visiting Fullerton, and the same proclamation was made. The problem was, we hadn’t prayed for the Midwest for years. It really bothered me and yet to approach this brother would have resulted in a verbal lashing. To approach another brother would have resulted in an accusation of causing division.
The assembly in doctrine holds to the scriptural practice of approaching a brother first, then bringing another, etc.
In reality the assembly holds to the practice of unquestioned totalitarian rule. Any questioning or criticism is silenced, if not verbally then by total avoidance by the members (effectively excommunication).
There is much more to tell; of visitors being followed through out a week by one of the leader’s wives, of an attempt to have a vocal sister placed into a mental institution, of accusations by leadership that a particular individual attempted immorality with someone else (when in fact the accused was seeing their parents ~120 miles away), of attempts to set up an individual for failure in order to “put them in their proper place in the assembly.” This is all based on first person testimony, some by the leader’s themselves.