(Notes taken by a current member of the Atlanta Congregation)
Here are my notes from most of last night's meeting in Orlando. I stayed until 1:15 a.m. The meeting went until 6 a.m.
Open Forum 2/28/03 Orlando, FL
Reading scriptures. Eph. 4.
Elder comments: lots of feelings, but we will stay together. We're going to follow Jesus. We're also going to grow up. We're going to leave the old behind. Encourage you to speak honestly. Say what's on your heart w/o fear. In your anger (ok to be angry), do not sin/no unwholesome talk. Matt. 18 applies, specific problems w/ individuals, speak to them first. If you've done that, go ahead. You talk; we hear. Things will change; we don't yet have answers; we'll develop those with your participation. We will apologize.
We'll work with you to implement changes. We do take this very seriously.
We were cowards. Did things we knew weren't right. We were asked to leave. Blessing from God. Always knew we'd come back. ___________ helped us. No longer bitter. I still need to see leaders who've led us apologize and understand need for real changes. And a real commitment to Bible teaching, not just propaganda. Freedom, revival.
Looking for right church. Priority on Bible study. Worship & prayer. Looks after its members. Growing. Saw these. Lot of attention before baptism. Stopped. Dating first thing. Brothers started telling me what to do with my house. Tried to strip me of all my independence. Have challenged false teaching. Submit or leave. Never agreed to accept this treatment. Respect is earned. God is demanding repentance. People not getting it. Improper training.
When 1 is accountable, other is not, relationship is doomed.
Feeling fear, of not measuring up, speaking up. Recon. Survived. Went through many leaders, then disciplers. Talks, told not to come back w/o visitors. Told to obey or leave. To leave = hell. Fear for my kids. Kingdom Kids instructions...show no mercy; choose best kid. Common theme, performance based. Fear sins won't be extracted by roots. Can't treat disagreement like sin. No lateral change.
My journal...never good enough. Discipler lying to SL about me to make me look bad. Why invite friends to be miserable like me. Stopped putting up with it, but allowed it to happen to other people. Leaders meetings no fun. Absolute power corrupts. No more "let's just move on."
Feel afraid when I come to church. People dropped friend who was not ready for baptism. Felt completely manipulated, controlled. Called prideful. Told to cut my hair. Unsolicited advice. Lot of depressed members. Dating control.
Feel liberated. You (leaders) don't have a choice but to change...the people will no longer go along with false teaching. If HK hadn't come, would you have changed? You've herded, not shepherded. You've cut people out of the flock, not searched for the missing sheep. We've learned not to fight it. Pre-baptism, people are loving, then they're gone. We're not going back.
Full-Time staff used to live a modest life. Living now in the nicest homes, etc. Not living a sacrificial life. I've held back so many things.
Problem with giving. Night of my baptism, was called at home and asked how much planning to give. Felt policed re dating.
Does this mean we won't have convictions anymore?
Gave up, left. Coward. Value sincerity, people saying I love you, don't even know you. Forced to do stuff, no heart, can't make own decisions. Felt free after leaving. Leaders tell you what to do, don't know my name. One leader hung out, no one since. Labeled critical. Upper leaders good old boy's club. Felt like I was never doing enough. Leaders' kids taken care of, others not.